|Saturday, 16 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-11-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 9 November 2016 Issue No: 5285
 Government presents plan to relieve pressure on Chios from migrationMigration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas presented on Tuesday the government's plan to alleviate some of the pressure on the island of Chios caused by migration. During the meeting, chaired by State Minister Alekos Flambouraris, ministers and authorities from Chios focused on proposals to support the islands bearing the brunt of the problem.
Mouzalas said the government proposal foresees giving priority to the completion of infrastructure and environment projects on the island with the cooperation of the Northern Aegean prefecture and the municipality. He said the ministry of development will legislate by the end of the year a new development plan for the region which will be funded by the National Program of Pubic Investments.
The government plan also includes the construction of a new accommodation center in the area of a former uncontrolled landfill as the only economically feasible solution for now, as well as the possible closure of the Souda center and the use of VIAL solely as an identification and registration center.
Mouzalas said a third measure is to use temporarily the camp in Mersinidi as a pre-removal center for 120 migrants and try to find another location, while boosting police presence on Chios. The minister also pledged to speed up the asylum procedure by hiring more staff at the Asylum service, which will have 40 members by the end of the year.
"The government accepted that that there should be a special support program of the islands that are faced with the problem," Northern Aegean prefect Christina Kalogirou told journalists as she exited Maximos Mansion. "During the meeting I stressed the need to maintain a reduced VAT on the islands in order to address the social and economic impact," she added.
New Democracy MP Notis Mitarakis, who is elected in Chios, said talks were constructive and "the government adopted significant changes which are moving in the right direction."
"We stressed the significant delays in issues of granting asylum and generally problems concerning the management of refugee hotspots. We asked for a speeding up of the procedure, separation of refugees from migrants and a better coordination and support of islanders," he said, adding that the government also has to find new spots to accommodate refugees that meets necessary security standards.
Chios mayor Emmanouil Vournous said the municipality will review what was discussed at the next municipal meeting and mentioned the proposal to create a registration center and a pre-removal center to detain those who failed to receive asylum.
Commenting on the proposal to lower VAT on the islands burdened from migration, Vournous said its adoption from the government would show it understands the problem caused to the islands.
 The conclusion of the second programme review is government 's first priority, gov't spokesman Tzanakopoulos says"The government continues the successful path of multidimen-sional and peaceful foreign policy," newly appointed govern-ment spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos on Tuesday said in the first press briefing after the government reshuffle.
"Greece has now ceased to be a pariah and now represents one of the key players in the broader geopolitical scenery," he said.
Referring to the imminent visit of US President Barack Obama, he said that it is another message-step of support to the country's effort to get out of the crisis and to continue playing an important stabilizing role in a broader destabilized region.
The government's efforts, in the interior and the foreign affairs, will not stop despite main opposition New Democracy's doomsday, Tzanakopoulos noted adding that New Democracy's plan is extremely dangerous not for the government but for the country itself.
Its programme includes, he added, horizontal cuts in pensions, mass layoffs in the private sector, layoffs in the wider public sector, sale off of public assets and perpetuation of tolerance to intertwined interests.
Tzanakopoulos stressed that the conclusion of the second programme review is the first priority of the government.
The second priority is the beginning of the debate on the final measures for debt settlement. The third priority is boosting investment activity in the Greek economy. The fourth priority is the constant preoccupation and orientation of government in everyday issues of citizens.
Moreover, he said that yesterday's Eurogroup "is giving us one more reason to be optimistic" adding that "it is now commonplace that the effective settlement of the debt issue is a priority for the eurozone but also for the international community."
 Greece aiming for agreement on 2nd review by Nov. 28, finance ministry source saysBRUSSELS (ANA/ C. Vasilaki)
The Greek side is aiming for an institutions-level agreement on the second review by November 28, when the EuroWorking Group will meet to prepare for the Eurogroup on December 5, a Greek finance ministry source told the press here on Tuesday.
Achieving this target will also mark the start of an in-depth discussion on debt relief that will help create a "clear exit corridor" for Greece, the same source said. This "corridor" will include the basic steps that will lead Greece to an exit from memorandum programmes in mid-2018, the source added, specifying that this means an agreement on the debt, participation in the European Central Bank (ECB) quantitative easing programme, a successful foray into the markets and, finally, an exit from memorandum programmes.
The same source reported that the atmosphere within the Eurogroup was good, and that despite the various disagreements and differences on what is needed to make Greece's debt sustainable all sides agreed on these steps and time frame. The source also clarified that the short-term measures due to be presented at the next Eurogroup will be "more ambitious" than had been expected.
The goal of the Greek side and many others, as indicated by the statements of Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Monday, was for the upcoming discussion to go further and include primary surpluses after 2018, the source added.
Regarding medium-term measures, these will concern a combination of steady interest rates, a grace period and maturation linked to debt sustainability and primary surpluses, the source said.
 The government is focused on the conclusion of 2nd programme review, Alternate Defence Min Vitsas saysThe government is focused on the conclusion of the second programme review, Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas on Tuesday said in statements to Athens-Macedonian News Agency's radio station Praktorio 104.9 FM.
He underlined that after the conclusion of the second programme review starts the debate on debt relief measures and appeared optimistic on the course of the Greek economy. "Greece will get on track to quantitative easing and the economic activity will be boosted. Private investments will help the country at an economic and social level so that it can return to the markets with low interest rates," he stressed.
Asked on the recent statements of Turkey's and Albania's leaders, Vitsas said that the external environment on a global scale is unstable and insecure because of the conflicts and terrorism. However, he sent a clear message to every direction: "There are political statements, which have the form of threats [...] Greece is a peaceful place, but the issue of sovereign rights is not on the table of negotiations; therefore leaders should exclude Greece from their statements."
 Italy's Padoan notes need to achieve deal on Greek debt relief measuresBRUSSELS (ANA/M. Aroni)
Italy's Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan stressed on Tuesday the need to achieve a deal on the extend of the short-term and medium-term debt relief measures, during a press conference after the end of the Ecofin meeting in Brussels.
Responding to a question by Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), Padoan said Greece is implementing a reform program which is currently being evaluated and includes short-, medium- and long-term measures which will have to be coordinated in the right way.
He also said Italy believes Europe must find the right time horizon within which the Greek economy will recover thanks to the reforms and with a view to repaying its debts.
 No legislation until options for consensus on NCRTV are fully exhausted, sources sayThere will be no legislation to regulate the television broadcasting sector before the possibilities for consensus on forming a new National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV) have been fully explored, sources at the digital policy ministry told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday. The sources were replying to articles speculating on the content of a 'bridging law' if the parties fail to reach agreement on the composition of the NCRTV.
"There is no possibility of legislating before the options and possibilities for consensus on forming the NCRTV have been exhausted," the sources said.
 We will set the road tolls issue in spring 2017, says Infrastructure Min SpirtzisInfrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis said that the issue of road tolls will be reconsidered after the end of construction works in motorways, in spring 2017, speaking to public broadcaster ERT on Tuesday.
We believe that now it is not the right time to set the issue because there will be a problem with the construction works, noted Spirtzis adding that after the end of March we will discuss with the joint ventures to see the contracts because indeed the tolls are expensive.
Spirtzis also said that in early 2017 the first part of line 4 of the metro estimated at 1 bln euros will be put up for tender and we seek funding for the second part estimated at 2.5 bln euros.
Referring to the works in Kastelli airport (Heraklio, Crete)and the container hub in Thriassio, he said that they will proceed normally if the offer is financial and technically sufficient.
 Government reshuffle is pointless unless economic policy changes, Korkidis saysThe government reshuffle will be pointless unless the devastating blend of the institutions' economic policies that has resulted in the current gloomy economic situation changes, Vasilis Korkidis, president of Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE), said on Tuesday.
"The priorities of the new government is the reduction of over-taxation, the settlement of the internal debt market, liquidity, the social security system, the social dialogue and the establishment of fair and friendly business environment, so that small and medium sized companies implement initiatives that will boost employment and competitiveness. But under current circmstances our prior actions to the institutions remain wishful thinking as long as the memorandum policies of the creditors are not reshuffled," he underlined.
 Greek, Cypriot foreign ministers on joint visit to Lebanon after Bulgaria's Mitov cancelsForeign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides are scheduled to depart for a two-day visit to Lebanon on Tuesday night, in a trip arranged last September at the Rhodes Conference on Security and Stability.
They will not be accompanied by Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, who was originally scheduled to join them but cancelled at the last minute due to political developments in Bulgaria.
Kotzias and Kasoulides will be received by Lebanon's newly-elected President Michel Aoun and meet their Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil, as well as Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
Talks during the visit are expected to include cooperation in a number of areas, including the refugee crisis, security, the economy, energy and the education and culture sectors.
The two minister will also participate in a conference at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik on "The role of Identity and History in Shaping Foreign Policy."
 HFSF meeting on NBG chairman ends; announcements on WednesdayA meeting of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund's (HFSF) general council on the appointment of a new president for the National Bank of Greece (NBG) ended on Tuesday without any official statements.
HFSF says it will announce its decisions on Wednesday, after the meeting of NBG's board.
 Government not involved in NBG's procedure to select president, say VP sourceThe government is not involved in any way in the procedure to elect a new chairman at the National Bank of Greece (NBG), a source from the vice-presidency said on Tuesday, responding to allegations made by a Democratic Coalition MP.
"The government has absolutely no involvement in the procedure to select a president at the National Bank and those who talks of government interventions have chosen the wrong target," the source said and continued, "the government will speak extensively on the matter once the procedures that are underway are completed."
 Tax evasion reaches 9.0 pct of GDP in Greece, EY reportTax evasion in Greece is estimated at around 9.0 pct of the country's GDP, Ernst & Young said in a survey conducted for DiaNEOsis.
EY said that a continuing increase in taxes (the tax/GDP rate grew to 35.9 pct in 2014 from 34.4 pct) failed to raise public revenue, which fell in double digits compared with 2010, Stephanos Mitsios, head of EY's Tax Department said on Monday, addressing the 8th Tax Forum, organized by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Thessaloniki.
"Tax evasion in the country ranges between 6.0 pct and 9.0 pct of GDP, of which 1.9-4.7 pct of GDP from income taxes annually. Lost revenue from VAT accounted for 3.5 pct of GDP, while tax evasion and tax avoidance from enterprises were estimated at 0.06-0.15 pct of GDP, while tax losses from smuggling in alcohol, cigarettes and fuel accounted for 0.45 pct of GDP," Mitsios said.
He added that state revenue are down 12 pct since 2010 despite an increase in most tax factors.
Revenue from direct taxes were almost stable because of the introduction of new taxes. The reduction in tax revenue reflects an economic recession and a shrinking of a tax base in the country. EY said there were eight factors fuelling tax evasion in Greece: over-legislation, complexity of the tax system, insecurity of both taxpayers and tax agency workers, a continuing increase in taxes, a timeless absense of political will to deal with this phenomenon, lack of technological means, bureaucracy, structural problems of the Greek economy and in particular an extremely high rate of self-employed people (double the European average) and a weak tax culture.
EY said a combat against tax evasion should be based on reducing tax factors, extensive use of plastic money, efficient tax controls, upgrading tax agencies services, training of tax agency workers, combatting corruption, creating a stable and simplified tax system, structural changes in the a development model and promoting a tax culture in the country.
 Tourism Min Kountoura inaugurates Greek pavilion at World Travel MarketTourism Minister Elena Kountoura and the secretary general of the Greek National Tourism Organisation inaugurated the Greek pavilion at the World Travel Market in London with the participation of 68 Greek exhibitors, regions, destinations, tourist operators and businesses.
Kountoura referred to the positive course of Greek tourism in 2016 and the increase of tourist arrivals from Britain. She also presented the actions for the promotion of Greece in 2017 throughout the year adding that high value investments have been carried out in the tourism sector.
Kountoura held a series of meetings with officials of the British and international tourism industry, tour operators and airlines to promote new partnerships in 2017. She also met with representatives of TUI, ThomasCook and OlympicHolidays, which confirmed the positive signals from the British market for Greek tourism, next year.
 Ivan Savvidis holds more than 35 pct stake in SourotiIvan Savvidis Group acquired slightly more than 35 pct of shares in Souroti SA, a Greek water bottling company, in the first five days of an offer period ending on Wednesday, 9 November.
In an announcement, Savvidis Group said it would address Souroti's board council to call for an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting with the aim to discuss a share capital increase plan, a process that will give Savvidis Group the ability to move forward with the implementation of its development plan for the company.
Coca Cola HBC, currently holding around 20 pct of shares in Souroti, is also interested in buying the water bottling company and has extended a deadline -which ended November 4- in an offer to buy more shares from individual shareholders.
Market sources have begun discussing various scenarios over the development in the process, among them the scenario of Savvidis Group buying Coca Cola's equity stake.
The municipality of Thermi, owner of a 16 pct equity stake in Souroti said it did not plan to sell their shares to either candidate. "We will maintain our stake but we will not raise any hurdles to any businessman. We will help any businessman who plans to develop Souroti and to raise job positions," Theodoros Papadopoulos, mayor of Thermi said recently.
Souroti holds a dominant position in the sparkling mineral water sector in Greece, with a market share of 55 pct.
 Piraeus Bank, Royal Mint forge strategic alliancePiraeus Bank and The Royal Mint have agreed to expand their cooperation into a strategic alliance for the distribution of the gold bullion Sovereign coins across Greece.
Piraeus Bank is the only commercial bank in Greece that offers its clients a comprehensive range of gold products and services, namely sales and purchases, appraisals, and storage facilities. Through this agreement, Piraeus Bank will further enhance the quality of its gold product offering and better serve customer needs. Piraeus Bank and The Royal Mint marked the commencement of their enriched co-operation, at an event held at the Residence of the British Ambassador in Athens, Mr. John Kittmer.
Her Majesty's Ambassador to Greece, Mr. John Kittmer stated: "The Sovereign, in its modern form, will be 200 years old next year. For this event, the Royal Mint has produced a very special version of this much known and much loved coin. I know that the Sovereign has been important not only in the UK and the countries of the former British Empire, but also here in Greece, where it has often been bought as an investment in tough economic times, or given away as a keepsake at births, baptisms and weddings. Since 2005, Piraeus Bank has been the coin's distributor in Greece. The Bank is celebrating its own centenary this year. This is a nice coincidence of anniversaries, and I wish the Bank and the Royal Mint every success with their partnership."
George Poulopoulos, Piraeus Bank's Deputy CEO, commented: "We are very pleased with the strengthening of the cooperation with The Royal Mint in Greece for this unique coin, the gold bullion Sovereign, recognized across the world through history. In this way, Piraeus Bank further broadens the range of client products by working with a global prestigious organization. The gold bullion Sovereign enjoys an emblematic status in Greece. Throughout the years, we Greeks have developed a special bond with the Sovereign coin. We are extremely honored that The Royal Mint, an over-millennial prominent 1,100 year old institution, has chosen Piraeus Bank as its trusted partner in Greece".
Speaking about the new partnership, Chris Howard, Director of Bullion at The Royal Mint said: "Royal Mint Bullion is delighted to be partnering with Piraeus Bank across Greece in the distribution of our iconic coin, the bullion Sovereign."
 Greek exports grew significantly in SeptemberGreek exports grew significantly in September, covering a large part of the pressure felt in the first half of the year, the Panhellenic Federation of Exporters said.
In an analysis of provisional data released by Hellenic Statistical Authority on the country's merchandize trade in September, the Federation said the value of exports grew 16.6 pct ?? 2.35 billion euros, from 2.05 billion in September 2015. A rebound in international oil prices helped in the increase of exports in September, but almost all sectors recorded an increase in exports. The value of exports excluding oil products grew by 12 pct in September compared with the same month in 2015.
This development helped to reduce losses suffered in the previous months of 2016 to 3.7 pct (18.56 billion euros from 19.28 billion in the nine-month period). In the January-August period, the value of exports was down 6.3 pct compared with 2015.
Excluding oil products, exports grew 1.0 pct in the nine-month period, after falling by 0.5 pct in the first eight months of the year.
Exports to EU member-states grew 11.6 pct, while exports to third countries rose 23.3 pct. Excluding oil products, exports to EU grew 12.2 pct and exports to third countries rose 11.7 pct.
In the nine-month period, Greek exports to EU countries grew 0.9 pct, but fell 9.4 pct to the rest of the world. Excluding oil products, exports to EU countries grew 4.1 pct and exports to third countries fell 5.4 pct.
All export sectors grew in September, for the first time in two years, led by oil products (+28.5 pct), machinery (+25.5 pct) and raw materials (+23.7 pct), followed by chemical products (+6.1 pct) and industrial products (+6.3 pct).
In the nine-month period, six out of 10 sectors still record losses.
Imports grew 4.2 pct in September to 3.71 billion euros, while excluding oil products imports rose 3.4 pct. In the nine-month period, imports rose 0.5 pct to 32.06 billion euros, while excluding oil products, imports grew 9.8 pct compared with the same period in 2015.
The country's trade deficit grew 7.1 pct in the nine-month period to 13.5 billion euros, compared with 2015, while excluding oil products the deficit jumped 21.7 pct.
 Greek oil products sector returned to profitabilityThe domestic oil products commerce sector returned to profitability in 2015, after five years of accumulated losses of 224 million euros and the collapse of one of the most historic enterprises in the sector (Mamidoil Jetoil).
According to provisional data of an ongoing survey by Hellas List, a total of 18 oil products commerce companies reversed their accumulated losses of 6.6 million euros to profits totaling 23.7 million euros. The survey is not complete since companies have not concluded the release of their financial results.
Hellas List said that total turnover of the 18 enterprises in the survey fell 8.76 pct to 8.7 billion euros, gross earnings grew 18.54 pct from 433.7 million euros in 2014 to 514.1 million in 2015, while total equity capital grew 22.71 pct to 636.2 million.
Liabilities remained almost unchanged at 1.4 billion euros.
This performance, combined with the conclusions of a recent survey by IOBE, confirmed the leading role played by the oil products commerce sector in the Greek economy. The survey showed that the sector offers 1.8 billion euros of added value and 42,400 job positions, directly and indirectly, to the economy, while budget revenues from indirect taxes on oil products was 5.6 billion euros in 2015 (11.8 pct of total revenues).
The report said that tax burden on the sector is high and was expected to rise further in January 2017 with the introduction of higher taxes on petrol and diesel oil.
 Sunlight Systems continues growingSunlight Systems, a member of Olympia Group, continues growing despite a prevailing adverse economic environment in the country, with exports accounting for 98 pct of its production, while its workforce grew by 19 pct to 750 in 2016 from 630 workers last year.
The company created 130 new job positions mainly in its unit in Xanthi, reflecting a sharp increase in demand for its products from international customers. Sunlight Systems has doubled its workforce in Xanthi.
V.Billis, chief executive of the company, said: "Sunlight after several years of working methodically has managed to penetrate to 100 countries and it is based exclusively on an export model. We are a Greek export company working in a fully competitive environment, among the top producers of energy storage systems worldwide. In a period of recession - disindustrialization in the country, our company continues investing in structures and human resources against all odds."
Sales in 2015 grew 14 pct to 136.6 million euros from 119.6 million in 2014, while EBITDA rose 31 pct to 13.4 million euros from 10.2 million in 2014.
 Car registrations up 20 pct in OctoberCar registrations grew 20 pct in October, compared with the same month last year, boosted by demand for imported used cars, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday.
The statistics service, in a report, said that car registrations totaled 9,479 vehicles (new and used ones) in October, from 7.897 in the same month last year, for an increase of 20 pct. New car registrations totaled 5,485, up 0.8 pct from 2015.
In the January-October period, car registrations totaled 110,775 (new and used ones), form 97,788 in the same period in 2015, for an increase of 13.3 pct. New car registrations totaled 73,263 in the 10-month period, up 8.3 pct from the same period last year.
Motorcycle registrations totaled 2,866 in October (new and used ones), form 2,543 in October 2015, for an increase of 12.7 pct. New motorcycle registrations grew 12.7 pct to 2,683 in October.
In the 10-month period, motorcycle registrations totaled 35,177, up 12.1 pct from the same period last year. New motorcycle registrations rose 11.3 pct to 32,829.
 Hellas Horse Races sign strategic agreement with PMUHellas Horse Races SA, a member of OPAP Group, on Tuesday announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement with Paris Mutuel Urbain (PMU), the French Horse Races, offering Greek players access to the largest European horse racing common pool, bringing together 19 countries with 24,000 sales points.
Greek players will be able not only to bet on French horse races but to participate in the common pool together with bets placed by players from other countries, seeking larger awards. French Horse Races have an annual turnover of 8.2 billion euros, or 22.5 million euros on average per day. The French pool has an average play of 823,500 euros per race.
Hellas Horse Races SA has the exclusive right to organise ground and internet mutual horse racing betting in Greece for 20 and five years, respectively.
 Wineries across Greece open to public on Nov.13Wineries across the country will be open on Sunday 13 November participating in the European Wine Tourism Day.
Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the vineyards, to meet the wine producers and to visit the production areas and finally to taste new, selected and fine wines and get informed on the fresh wines of the new harvest.
The wineries will be open from 11:00 to 17:00 with free entrance.
 Greek stocks end slightly upGreek stocks ended higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday in thin trading conditions as investors remained on the sidelines - as in other international markets - awaiting the outcome of the presidential elections in the US.
The composite index of the market rose 0.28 pct to end at 582.20 points, off the day's highs of 584.75 points. The Large Cap index ended 0.34 pct higher and the Mid Cap index rose 0.43 pct. Turnover was a thin 24.907 million euros in volume of 39,967,022 shares.
Aegean Airlines (2.13 pct), Folli Follie (1.57 pct) and Athens Water (1.48 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Viohalco (1.56 pct), Grivalia Properties (1.10 pct) and Lamda Development (1.02 pct) suffered heavy losses.
Among market sectors, Commerce (1.57 pct) and Travel (1.18 pct) scored big gains, while Real Estate (1.06 pct) and Industrial Products (0.64 pct) were top losers.
National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 46 to 35 with another 32 issues unchanged. Elgeka (9.84 pct), Lavipharm (9.57 pct) and Selonda (8.05 pct) were top gainers, while Akritas (20 pct), Pasal (20 pct) and Athina (10 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to new six-month lows in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, falling to 7.17 pct from 7.42 pct on Monday. The Greek bond yielded 7.32 pct and the German Bund yielded 0.15 pct. Turnover totaled 4.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month rate was -0.070 pct, the nine-month rate rose to -0.129 pct from -0.130 pct, the six-month rate was -0.211 pct, the three-month rate was -0.312 pct and the one-month rate was -0.374 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe November contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.02 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,982 contracts with 8,089 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 23,524 contracts with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (6,709), followed by National Bank (2,150), Piraeus Bank (4,034), Eurobank (4,582), MIG (3,826), OTE (269), PPC (1,006), OPAP (407), Mytilineos (195), Athens Water (117), Intralot (58), Metka (36), Viohalco (12) and Hellenic Petroleum (12).
 Bears promenade in the streets of KastoriaTwo young bears were wandering in the streets of Kastoria throughout the night upsetting the residents. The two bears were spotted on the road next to Kastoria lake and called the police.
Police tried to frighten the bears and make them leave but instead of leaving the city they turned back and took the streets of Kastoria, said the member of Kastoria Environment Protection Society Nikos Panagiotopoulos to Athens Macedonian News Agency.
"We tried to frighten them and send them to the mountain but the two bears appeared to be accustomed to humans and for this reason they were very calm during their promenade in the city," said Panagiotopoulos.
Four hours later the two bears decided to leave the city and return to the mountain.
"The one-year old bears were seen several times with their mother in the wider region and probably they will come back looking for food. It is interesting that at the foot of the mountain there is a playground and the little bears love to play on the swings and especially on the seesaw."
 New evidence on what caused tsunamis after massive Santorini volcanic eruption in the Bronze AgeNew evidence discovered by Greek scientists concerning the cataclysmic volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini 3,600 years ago suggests a new narrative for the disaster that crippled the Bronze Age civilisations that had thrived in the prehistoric Aegean for more than 2,000 years.
Scientists had previously believed that the nine-metre tsunamis that smashed into the shores of Crete, dealing a severe blow to the Minoans that had dominated the region until that time, were caused by the collapse of the island's caldera, or volcanic crater, created during an eruption that blasted 80 cubic kilometres of rock into the ocean.
Geologist-Oceanographer Dr. Paraskevi Nomikou and her colleagues from Athens University's Geology and Geo-Environment Department have now suggested an entirely different time line for these tsunamis, based on new seismic and ocean floor data, combined with modelling. According to their theory, published in Nature Communications, the tsunamis were the result of 'pyroclastic flow' - the hot ash, rock and lava that was spewed into the ocean before the crater's collapse.
The new data from their study seems to indicate that the caldera was not open to the sea during the main phase of the volcanic eruption but flooded afterwards, when the eruption was over. The Greek scientists have discovered a submarine channel measuring one kilometre across and three kilometres in length that links the caldera with the sea. They said that this was initially blocked by ash and other material from the explosion, acting like a dam. This subsequently gave way and filled the previously dry bed of the caldera with sea water in less than two days, or possibly even hours.
Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), Dr. Nomikou said that scientists have been studying the morphology of the Santorini volcano for years to discover which sections sank and which remained on the surface after it erupted.
"The new study shows us that there was a channel between Oia and Thirasia that was filled in by the explosion, so that the main caldera collapsed without causing a tsunami. Afterward, when the dam in the channel between Oia and Thirasia broke, sea water entered the caldera in two days at the most.
"Something like this, however, did not cause a tsunami. This was caused because, during the third and fourth phase of the eruption, huge quantities of volcanic ash were blown up into the air, and pyroclastic flows then entered the sea. These were what caused the tsunami that affected northern Crete and all the eastern Mediterranean," she said.
While the main eruption was in full swing, the Greek scientists suggest, there may have been little of no water inside the crater, which was cut off from the surrounding sea. They believe that a shallow caldera may have already existed in the north section of the island's volcanic field, created by a previous eruption 18,000 years ago. The major volcanic eruption in 1610 B.C. then made this more ancient caldera deeper and wider until it was flooded with water.
In support of this theory, researchers have found deposits of pyroclastic material up to 60 metres thick on the seabed around the shores of Santorini, in quantities sufficient to cause a tsunami-like wave. This also agrees with later studies on the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, which identified pyroclastic flows as the culprit for the tsunami generated at that time.
Scientists estimate that the eruption of Santorini took place at around 1610 B.C. - give or take 15 years -and was probably one of the largest the world has seen for the last 10,000 years. According to Nomikou, however, it was not responsible for wiping out Minoan civilisation as popularly supposed. She pointed out that Crete's Minoan civilisation managed to survive for almost two centuries after the tsunami hit - until roughly 1450 B.C. - and finally collapsed due to endogenous causes, though it was made more vulnerable.
Working with Nomikou on the Greek study were Dr. Dimitris Papanikolaou and Danae Lambridou, along with other scientists from France, Britain, Germany, the United States and Iceland.
The original paper is available at the address: nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/NCOMMS13332.
 Invader plant species spreads rapidly and threatens protected areasAn alien species, a plant invader that was named "German" is spreading rapidly displacing the local species and threatening protected areas while the fight against it is extremely difficult because the plant is working as a Hydra.
Professor in the Biology department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Nikos Krigas has covered thousands of miles of the rural road network and the motorways in order to locate and recorde the spread of the Solanum elaeagnifolium, a plant of American origin that is one of the most dangerous invaders worldwide.
"The plant follows the road networks because its round grains are drifted by the passing vehicles and spread rapidly," he said.
The plant was initially spotted in 1927 in Thessaloniki and was imported probably with goods that came from the US. In 1930 it started growing in the city and during WWII the locals named it "German" because it spread everywhere.
According to an urban myth, the German occupiers brought it in Greece to feed their mules, something that is not true because the plant is poisonous, said Krigas adding that in 1950 the plant made its first appearance in Athens.
The plant does not have any natural enemies in Greece. On the contrary in America there are insects that eat its flowers.
In his study, professor Krigas found that the recorded populations of this species increased by 1,750 percent and 10 percent of Natura 2000 protected network has been invaded. "The natural ecosystems with structured societies when not disturbed appear to work as a barriers against the invaders. "A strong and broad programme with pesticides and constant uprooting must be applied against the invader. The most important is to be aware the the bigger the human intervention on the ecosystems the weaker they became in the invasion of the solanum elaeagnifolium," said professor Krigas.
 Police releases six self-proclaimed anarchists who entered U.S. Consulate in ThessalonikiSix self-proclaimed anarchists that were detained by police after they entered the U.S. Consulate in Thessaloniki earlier on Tuesday to throw flyers were released, after they were identified at the police station.
About a dozen individuals, who identified themselves as members of "Rouvikonas" and "Free Thessaloniki Initiative" in a message posted on an anti-establishment website, entered the Consulate and shouted slogans against the planned visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.
 Notaries to abstain from foreclosure auctions of primary residencies on WednesdayThe Greek union of notaries said on Tuesday it will abstain from foreclosure auctions of primary residencies on Wednesday.
According to the union, notaries are asking the government to ensure the "proper and safe conduct of auctions, which are part of the administration of justice" and to present direct legislation provisions protecting the primary residence from foreclosure auctions for debts towards the State, pension funds, and local authorities. It also wants the government to improve existing provisions protecting the primary residencies from debts towards banks.
 More than six in 10 death certificates in Greece contain errors, Hellenic Society of Forensic Medicine revealsMore than six in 10 death certificates issued in Greece contain errors, especially with regard to the information given about the cause of death, according to the Hellenic Society of Forensic Medicine.
The society cited figures given at a medical conference held on Crete on November 4-6 showing that 64 pct of death certificates contain significant errors, mostly relating to "the mistaken use of death mechanisms instead of causes and an incorrect order of recording multiple causes."
The society stressed the need to improve the training given to doctors in this area, noting that the information given on death certificates was the main source of data for calculating mortality statistics in the country, which in turn served as the basis of the oldest and most comprehensive system for monitoring public health and deciding policy and targets in this area.
 Five-year-old girl with meningitis B treated in hospitalA five-year-old girl diagnosed with meningococcal septicemia was transferred from a private clinic to "Aglaia Kyriakou" children's hospital for surgery and further treatment, the hospital announced on Tuesday.
According to the hospital, the girl spent a week in the intensive care unit and then at the department of infectious diseases after surgeons had to remove part of her lower left leg to stop ischemic necrosis.
"At no part of her hospitalization did the young patient present symptoms that were threatening to her health, however she developed a rare but serious complication of the disease related to ischemic necrosis of the left lower limb, a complication which usually cannot be prevented," the hospital said.
The vaccine against the meningococcal serogroup B (meningitis B) disease is not included in the National Immunization Program, with the National Immunization Committee saying it is not necessary to do so at this stage.
 Wildfire in gorge on Evia islandA wildfire broke out on Tuesday at a remote area inside a gorge near Karystos, Evia island.
A strong force of firemen assisted by two firefighting aircrafts are currently in the area battling the blaze.
Strong winds blowing in the area are hindering firefighting efforts.
Inhabited areas are not in danger.
 Rain on WednesdayRain and southerly winds are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Heavy rain in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 10C to 22C. Clouds and rain in the eastern parts and temperatures between 15C and 24C. Clouds and rain in the afternoon over the Aegean islands and Crete, 18C-25C. Cloudy in the morning and rain in the afternoon in Athens. Heavy rainfall in Thessaloniki, 18C-22C
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDIMOKRATIA: (German Finance Minister Wolfgang) Schauble cancels (Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras
ETNOS: Bonus for payments with credit cards
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Strong confict between Tsipras and (former Education Minister Nikos) Filis
ESTIA: Fireworks government
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: He (Filis) talked to the soul of the left party
IMERISSIA: The bet of Alexis Tsipras
KATHIMERINI: Premiere with turmoil
KONTRA NEWS: Austerity, Growth or War
NAFTEMPORIKI: Positive message from Brussels
RIZOSPASTIS: A message of speeding up anti-popular struggle
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