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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-08-24

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 Issue No: 3871


  • [01] Greece recognises Libya's nat'l transitional council
  • [02] PM holds telephone contacts on developments in Mideast, Libya
  • [03] Gov't spokesman on PM at TIF, VAT rates, ERT
  • [04] PM on education draft bill
  • [05] Education Minister on changes in higher education draft bill
  • [06] Draft bill on higher education tabled
  • [07] PM to chair Cabinet meeting on Wed.
  • [08] Anti-Gaddafi protesters call on Athens to recognise Libyan transitional council
  • [09] Ukrainian embassy press release on occasion of independence day
  • [10] New civil servants union president
  • [11] FinMin on deficit decrease
  • [12] Support for re-establishment of merchant marine ministry; sharp ND criticism
  • [13] Tourism-sector unions hold protest in Athens
  • [14] Bank shares pull ASE down
  • [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [16] Police locate makeshift heroin lab
  • [17] Wildfires in Achaia, Corinth
  • [18] Wildfires in central Greece, Peloponnese
  • [19] Olympiacos Volos, Kavala relegated to 4th division
  • [20] Fair on Wednesday
  • [21] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] Greece recognises Libya's nat'l transitional council

    Greece's foreign ministry on Tuesday announced that the country has recognised the Libyan resistance's national transitional council as the legal representative of the Libyan people.

    FM Stavros Lambrinidis referred to a "crucial new phase of the transitional process, for the benefit of Libya as well as the stability in the wider region."

    He added that Greece and the international community will continue to support this effort, "always with respect for the sovereignty of Libya and the will of the Libyan people."

    The Greek FM called for the beginning of a national dialogue within Libya for work for the country's future and to avoid retribution and a new round of bloodletting.

    [02] PM holds telephone contacts on developments in Mideast, Libya

    Prime Minister George Papandreou held telephone conversations on Monday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, with whom he discussed developments in the Middle East and Libya.

    On Tuesday, Papandreou held a telephone conversation with EU representative for foreign policy and security issues Catherine Ashton, with whom he also discussed developments in the Middle East and Libya, as well as Greece's role, and its preparedness to provide assistance for a smooth and peaceful transition towards a democratic exit.

    [03] Gov't spokesman on PM at TIF, VAT rates, ERT

    Minister of State and government spokesman Ilias Mosialos, speaking to a radio station on Tuesday, said announcements on the prime minister's upcoming visit to the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) will be made soon.

    "It will be a simple and substantive presence," he said.

    As regards the increase in VAT rates for restaurants, cafes and various eateries, he stressed that Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos clarified that it will be carried out, while underlining that tax exemptions and tax rates are being re-examined, along with objective criteria for self-employed professionals.

    He pointed out, however, that the aim is for revenues to increase and that targets must be achieved so that the country's credibility is restored.

    Concerning the national radio and television broadcaster (ERT), he said that in the coming week he will announce the independent committee, following an understanding with opposition parties, noting that a staff assessment will take place.

    Replying to a question on whether an issue of voluntary exit is also being discussed, he said it is a question for ERT's administration -- "we shall see it in the framework of economic management as well."

    He added, however, that he will not step back from a restructuring of public television, and pointed out that "the public services are not the property of the workers, but of the Greek people, who pay."

    [04] PM on education draft bill

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking in Parliament over a new draft law on tertiary education, said "with this bill we are freeing universities and technical institutes from statism; we are delivering them to society as public educational institutions, ones functioning for the public interest and not short-sighted unions."

    Papandreou said the sector of higher education constitutes an example of the clientele conceptions that have prevailed in Greek society, resulting in a "Soviet model of central irrational planning ... with student leaders involved in transactions with professors, who aspire to assume administrative positions."

    [05] Education Minister on changes in higher education draft bill

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Monday called for consensus regarding whatever changes in a series of articles included in a higher education reform draft bill, which was tabled in Parliament.

    Diamantopoulou told Parliament that the plan for changes in higher education includes 80 articles.

    "Interventions and changes have been made in everything except election process for rectors and presidents. I do not believe that these two issues can hinder consensus," she said.

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) tabled proposals for changes on nine points.

    [06] Draft bill on higher education tabled

    The issue of university autonomy and the creation of councils of higher education foundations with administrative duties and with the participation of individuals outside academia was discussed during debate on a draft bill for higher education.

    The draft bill is backed by the government majority and deputies of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) party.

    [07] PM to chair Cabinet meeting on Wed.

    Prime Minister George Papandreou will chair a Cabinet meeting at noon on Wednesday that will examine six draft bills, including one on additional supervisory measures and a restructuring of credit institutions, which will be presented by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    [08] Anti-Gaddafi protesters call on Athens to recognise Libyan transitional council

    A group of Libyan anti-government demonstrators gathered outside the Libyan embassy in Athens on Tuesday again called on the Greek government to recognise the national transitional council in the strife-plagued North African country, a day after protesters briefly took over the building in the Athens' diplomatic row.

    On Tuesday, the solid green flag that symbolised the Gaddafi regime in Libya for more than four decades was waving from on the embassy's flagpole. Protesters on Monday had removed the flag and hoisted the tri-colour flag of the Libyan resistance.

    According to reports, the Libyan ambassador to Greece, Ramadan Barg, along with a handful of diplomatic employees remained in the closed embassy, whereas the consul general was locked in the opposite consulate.

    Both embassy and consular affairs were essentially suspended at the mission on Tuesday, with doors locked at all entry points.

    [09] Ukrainian embassy press release on occasion of independence day

    Ukraine celebrates the 20th anniversary of its national independence on Wednesday (Aug. 24) as a sovereign and independent state.

    According to a press release circulated on Tuesday by the Ukrainian embassy in Athens, the country's independence laid the foundations for the "...nation's further legal development, establishment of a democracy, a socially focused market economy and the preservation of human rights ... It was done by maintaining a peaceful and mutually beneficial cooperation with all members of the international community based on generally recognized principles and norms of international law."

    [10] New civil servants union president

    Labour leader Costas Tsirikas, a veteran cadre of the primary teachers' union (DOE), on Tuesday succeeded Spyros Papaspyros as the head of the ADEDY labour grouping, which represents the country's civil servants.

    Papaspyros had confirmed his intention to step down a day earlier, after having submitted a resignation in early July 2011.

    Financial News

    [11] FinMin on deficit decrease

    Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking to the representatives of the businesses that will participate in the 6th annual "Greek Roadshow", reassured that the target of a decrease of the deficit to 7.5 percent in 2011 is valid and can be achieved "if all the measures that have been ratified are implemented."

    [12] Support for re-establishment of merchant marine ministry; sharp ND criticism

    The government is planning to implement a new policy for shipping, according to Alternate Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Haris Pamboukis, who on Tuesday also expressed support for the re-establishment of the merchant marine ministry.

    "It is a 'new deal', a new sector contract that will concern all the branches and factors of shipping," Pamboukis explained, adding that incentives will be given agencies with this new contract.

    The minister said a re-established merchant marine ministry is a universal demand, citing weaknesses in the current shipping policy sector. He also expressed support for the harbour corps and coast guard to return to that ministry's responsibility.

    ND reaction

    Meanwhile, Pamboukis' statements drew reaction from the main opposition New Democracy party.

    ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis spoke of?government confusion" since, as he said, Pamboukis admits that the abolition of the merchant marine ministry was a mistake.

    "Indeed he 'washes his hands', saying that 'I have raised my skepticism with the prime minister. I have done my duty. From then on the problem is not mine," Mihelakis said.

    [13] Tourism-sector unions hold protest in Athens

    Several dozen protesters affiliated with the restaurant and tourism-sector unions -- with the Communist Party-affiliated PAME grouping the most prominent -- staged a symbolic blocking of the entrances to three downtown hotels off Syntagma Square in Athens on Tuesday.

    Demonstrators decried the pending exclusion of their professions from a list of heavy and hazardous occupations, with the unions threatening more mobilisations in the near future.

    Although the demonstrators raised banners and stood in front of the hotel entrances, they permitted the entrance and exit of people.

    [14] Bank shares pull ASE down

    Stocks eased further at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, hit by a significant drop in bank shares. The general index lost 3.15 pct to close at 911.07, as it flirted with the 900-point level throughout the session.

    Turnover was an improved 61.30 million euros.

    The Big Cap index dropped 4.19 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.45 pct lower and the Small Cap index dropped 4.65 pct.

    Insurances (8.11 pct) followed by a distant Constructions (0.57 pct) posted the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Technology (-7.64 pct), Banks (-6.56 pct) and Financial Services (-5.90 pct) recorded the biggest losses of the day.

    Indicatively, the share price for Hellenic Postbank decreased by 10.07 pct; National Bank lost 9.01 pct; Piraeus Bank 7.58 pct; Alpha Bank 5.95 pct and Eurobank was down 5.58 pct.

    Broadly, advancers trailed decliners by 31 to 116 with another 32 issues remained unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +8.11%

    Industrials: -1.98%

    Commercial: -0.57%

    Construction: +0.57%

    Media: Unchanged

    Oil & Gas: +0.29%

    Personal & Household: -1.68%

    Raw Materials: -2.73%

    Travel & Leisure: -5.48%

    Technology: -7.64%

    Telecoms: -4.31%

    Banks: -6.56%

    Food & Beverages: +0.18%

    Health: -5.63%

    Utilities: -4.40%

    Chemicals: -4.29%

    Financial Services: -5.90%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Folli Follie and OPAP.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 2.37

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.86

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.55

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.34

    National Bank of Greece: 3.23

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 2.03

    OPAP: 8.50

    OTE: 4.00

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.61

    Titan: 12.90

    [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.467

    Pound sterling 0.889

    Danish kroner 7.561

    Swedish kroner 9.241

    Japanese yen 112.38

    Swiss franc 1.158

    Norwegian kroner 7.925

    Canadian dollar 1.447

    Australian dollar 1.397

    General News

    [16] Police locate makeshift heroin lab

    Police on Tuesday arrested two local men, aged 49 and 17, along with a 34-year-old Albanian man, on charges of setting up a makeshift heroin lab off the Athens-Corinth national highway.

    Acting on a tip-off, police spotted the suspects and arrested them.

    More than 1.5 kilos of heroin, 10 grams of cannabis, a 30-ton hydraulic compressor, a precision scale, a large number of plastic packets, two cars and other objects were confiscated.

    [17] Wildfires in Achaia, Corinth

    Firefighters partially extinguished wildfires in two sites of Achaia prefecture in western Greece as well as one wildfire in Corinth prefecture.

    The situation on the wildfire fronts at Stano in Amfilochia, Makri in Alexandroupolis and Korpi in Vonitsa was improved, according to the fire brigade, although they are still blazing.

    A wildfire also broke out earlier in the region of Langadas in the Thessaloniki prefecture, where firefighters were aided by two firefighting aircraft.

    [18] Wildfires in central Greece, Peloponnese

    A series of wildfires were reported as blazing throughout the country on Tuesday. According to the fire brigade, wildfires were reported in at least two sites in central Greece, and two major blazes in the Peloponnese.

    One wildfire near Vathy, Laconia prefecture, that claimed the life of the local fire brigade commander, was still raging.

    A large number of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping helicopters and airplanes, were battling with flames. Strong winds were reportedly hampering operations.


    [19] Olympiacos Volos, Kavala relegated to 4th division

    Pro football clubs Olympiacos Volos and Kavala have been relegated to the fourth division after failing to receive a license to participate in the upcoming Super League -- Greece's first division pro league -- by the relevant state-affiliated Professional Sports Commission.

    The decision states that no substantive changes took place in the two teams' ownership status, following recent decisions by a sport tribunal to hand-down life-time bans against the majority owners of the clubs, Achilleas Beos and Makis Psomiadis, respectively, from any activity in the football sector.

    Both men have been implicated and charged in a high-profile match fixing case, complete with explicit mobile phone conversations intercepted by Greece's intelligence service on orders from a high-ranking prosecutor.

    Beos remains in jail awaiting trial, while Psomiadis disappeared and is wanted on an international arrest warrant.

    Moreover, out of the seven clubs examined on Tuesday, AEK Athens did not receive a playing license, although an extension was given until Thursday for the popular team to produce a single original document.

    In a latter statement, Culture & Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos, whose portfolio includes the professional sports sector, referred to an "end to the violence and corruption in professional football. Today's decisions by OPAP (the betting pools organisation) and the Professional Sport Committee show this decision of ours. We shall use every implement that we have at our disposal."

    Asked whether the Super League championship will begin as scheduled on Saturday, Aug. 27, he said "the procedures are complicated. It is up to the Hellenic Football Federation..."

    Protests in Volos

    More than 2,000 Olympiacos Volos supporters assembled in the centre of the central Greece city after the decision was announced, before heading to the offices of the ruling PASOK party, which was pelted with stones and other objects.

    Police arrived at the scene and used teargas to disperse the crowd.

    Weather Forecast

    [20] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 18C and 37C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 5-8 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 25C to 35C. Same in Thessaloniki, with tempera-tures ranging from 23C to 34C.

    [21] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Pending VAT rate hikes for restaurants, eateries and cafes and the ongoing deliberations over reforms in higher education mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Four-hour work ... with half salary".

    AVGHI: "Battle for universities".

    AVRIANI: "Greece' bankruptcy in 2011".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "23-percent VAT of 'additional incapabality'."

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Final surcharge on food and beverages".

    ESTIA: "Change of course mandatory".

    ETHNOS: "Confusion with VAT".

    IMERISSIA: "Stop to Finland for guarantees'.

    KATHIMERINI: "Beginning of a new era in Libya".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Back-and-forth with the changes in VAT rates".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "New anti-popular tax storm".

    TA NEA: "Final cost-of-living factors for self-employed professionals".

    VRADYNI: "Retroactive cutbacks in civil servants' salaries".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS

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