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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-11-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 10 November 2016 Issue No: 5286


  • [01] Tsipras urges creditors to recognize Greek efforts to reform, offer debt relief
  • [02] We were prepared for both possibilities, gov't sources say on US election result
  • [03] President Pavlopoulos congratulates U.S. President-elect Donald Trump
  • [04] Tsipras congratulates Trump on his election win; calls for closer ties
  • [05] Defence Min Kammenos congratulates Trump
  • [06] FM Kotzias: We always had good relations with the US and the American people
  • [07] US-Greek relations will not be affected by elections result, ND leader Mitsotakis says
  • [08] Greek-American relations were and will remain strong, say ND sources
  • [09] Expressing shock at the rise of populists is not enough, PASOK leader says
  • [10] Personal defeat of Clinton family, Greek correspondent to the US Ignatiou tells ANA
  • [11] Trump's election is a negative result for all the planet, Papadimoulis says
  • [12] Obama to speak from hill near ancient Pnyka during Athens visit
  • [13] CIA agents, thousands of Greek police officers to participate in massive security operation during Obama visit
  • [14] Parliament economic affairs committee chairman stresses need for simpler EU fund procedures
  • [15] Negotiation on debt a national affair that opposition should support, gov't spokesman says
  • [16] EU wishes comprehensive agreeement before the end of 2016, Moscovici says
  • [17] Moscovici optimistic over Greek economy
  • [18] Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon to work toward closer cooperation, Kotzias says
  • [19] Europe needs a stable and democratic Turkey on its side, European Commissioner Avramopoulos says
  • [20] Antonis Balomenakis to chair Parliamentary committee investigating party, media loans
  • [21] Struggle against drugs continuous and persistent, says police chief Tsouvalas
  • [22] Hellenic League for Human Rights calls for an end to returns and extraditions to Turkey
  • [23] Over 5,300 migrants returned voluntarily to their countries in 2016, IOM reports
  • [24] European Commission's autumn forecast sees recovery, stabilisation of growth in Greece
  • [25] National Bank elects Panayotis Thomopoulos as chairman
  • [26] National Bank wins innovation award
  • [27] China Development Bank renews agreement with XRTC
  • [28] Engineers present 20 proposals for development
  • [29] Cyta announces sale of Greek subsidiary
  • [30] Greek industrial production up 0.1 pct in Sept
  • [31] Greek red wine wins Critics Award in Grand Tasting of New York
  • [32] Greek food manufacturing enterprises at risk
  • [33] Rebate and clawback hurt pharmaceutical companies
  • [34] Greek stocks end flat on Wednesday
  • [35] Greek bond market closing report
  • [36] ADEX closing report
  • [37] Athens University to support 'Health for All' healthcare programme for at-risk groups
  • [38] National Archaeological Museum organising 'treasure hunt' in Athens on Sunday, for 150th anniversary
  • [39] World to see biggest, brightest supermoon since 1948 to on November 14
  • [40] Syrian refugees to take part in Classic Marathon
  • [41] Wildfire on Naxos
  • [42] Bridge collapses due to heavy rainfall in northern Greece
  • [43] First snow of the season falls in northwestern Greece
  • [44] Police clears out garbage in illegal Roma settlement due to health risks
  • [45] Clouds, rain on Thursday
  • [46] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Tsipras urges creditors to recognize Greek efforts to reform, offer debt relief

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged Greece's creditors to recognize the efforts made by the country to achieve fiscal consolidation by offering debt relief, during his address at an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Union of Greek Shipowners, at Athens' Music Hall on Wednesday.

    "After six years of deep crisis, the Greek economy is finally in the phase of recovery," he told attendants, noting that 2016 is emerging of the year of economic stabilization which has to be preserved by clarifying the strategy behind the management of Greek debt.

    "It is now time to recognize our efforts through the adoption of necessary measures for debt relief," he said, adding that with the conclusion of the second program review and the definition of the short-term relief measures expected in December, Greece aims to start the New Year by specifying the medium- and long-term measures.

    "The economic horizon for Greece, the access to money markets, must become clear and the access must be opened [...] because our economy, the markets and Eurozone itself need it," he said. "Especially in a volatile international conjuncture, we all now realize that there is no longer any reason to perpetuate the Greek issue. Especially when Greece constitutes the last stronghold of stability in a wider destabilized region."

    Tsipras said this is the reason why the latest developments in Europe and the world must not lead to fatalism but to action and turn the crisis turns into an opportunity, and cited Brexit as an investment opportunity for the shipping industry.

    Commenting on the shipping sector, he said the government will continue to promote the interests of Greek shipping community in international organizations and improve economic policies.

    "The challenges for the future are great. However the State will continue to be a supporter and fellow traveler in storms and lulls. It will continue to defend the interests of Greek shipping in international organizations and improve policies in the interest of the Greek economy and by extension Greek society," he concluded.

    [02] We were prepared for both possibilities, gov't sources say on US election result

    "The Greek government had been prepared for both possibilities given the failure of the pollster companies in recent years," a government source said on Wednesday on the outcome of the US elections.

    The same source said that Obama's visit is of significant importance for the second programme review and the debt issue as well as for the fact that the US foreign policy gives emphasis on Greece and so far this does not seem to change.

    "Of course there will be changes in the US interior affairs and the international system, which we are closely monitoring," the same source added and concluded: "However, there is some concern over the respect of human rights and the rights of the minorities."

    [03] President Pavlopoulos congratulates U.S. President-elect Donald Trump

    President Prokopis Pavlopulos congratulated President-elect Donald Trump for his win in the U.S. elections in a letter on Wednesday, noting the long and durable friendship between Greece and the United States.

    "On the opportunity of your election as the 45th President of the United States of America I wish you every success in your important mission, in a period of global changes and challenges," he says.

    Pavlopoulos noted the "long lasting and durable friendship [between Greece and the US] based on shared values of freedom, human rights and democracy."

    "I believe that, during your Presidency, these bonds will continue to strengthen and enhanced, to the mutual benefit of our nations and for the benefit of world peace, stability and progress," he added.

    [04] Tsipras congratulates Trump on his election win; calls for closer ties

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras congratulated Donald Trump for winning the U.S. elections, stressing the traditional bonds of friendship between the two countries, in a letter sent to the President-elect on Wednesday.

    According to Tsipras' office, the premier noted the common values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights between the two countries and his will to deepen cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples, peace and regional stability.

    [05] Defence Min Kammenos congratulates Trump

    Defence Minister Panos Kammenos on Wednesday in a comment posted on Twitter congratulated the new US President Donald Trump adding that the position of Giorgos Papadopoulos, close associate of Trump, is now very important.

    [06] FM Kotzias: We always had good relations with the US and the American people

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Wednesday congratulated the newly elected US President Donald Trump.

    "The Greek government has systemic relations with both parties, the Democratic and the Republican. We had discussions with the team of Trump last September on issues of the region on the sidelines of the UN general assembly. The Greek government and any Greek government always had good relations with the US and the American people. We continue to have good political relations. We are waiting to welcome US President Barack Obama's to Greece," he said adding that Obama is very popular in Greece.

    "President Obama's meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the Greek government will be fruitful, positive and productive" Kotzias underlined.

    Kotzias is paying an official visit to Beirut along with his Cyprus' counterpart Ioannis Kassoulides.

    [07] US-Greek relations will not be affected by elections result, ND leader Mitsotakis says

    "The US people have decided. It is a result that is respected. The US-Greek relations are very strong; they are geostrategically important relations and will not be affected by the elections result," main opposition New Democracy leader said on Wednesday.

    Mitsotakis was addressing producers at Chania, Crete.

    [08] Greek-American relations were and will remain strong, say ND sources

    "The Americans have decided. The result is respected. The Greek-American relations were and will remain strong and will not be affected by the specific elections result," main opposition New Democracy sources said on Wednesday commeting on the result of the US elections.

    [09] Expressing shock at the rise of populists is not enough, PASOK leader says

    Declaring one's shock at the election of populist leaders around the world is not enough and progressive forces must instead join forces to tackle the reasons that led to their election, PASOK leader and head of the Democratic Coaliton Fofi Gennimata said on Wednesday, commenting on the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.

    "Constantly declaring our surprise and shock by the prevalence supposedly anti-systemic, but in reality deeply conservative, anachronistic and populist choices, clearly is not enough,"Gennimata said. "Progressive political parties in Europe and the world must immediately provide answers and solutions to the problems facing ordinary people," she added.

    [10] Personal defeat of Clinton family, Greek correspondent to the US Ignatiou tells ANA

    For the US people, the Clinton family is considered corrupted, Michail Ignatiou, correspondent of Greek media in the US, on Wednesday said to Athens-Macedonian News Agency's radio station Praktorio 104,9 FM.

    Also the controversy over Clinton's personal emails, which constitute a breach of national security, have also had a negative impact, he added.

    Ignatiou underlined that Hillary Clinton and her team did not take into account that a movement against the establishment had been developed. Moreover, he stated that America did not deserve these two candidates adding that if the Democrats had another candidate, the former minister would have lost with great difference.

    [11] Trump's election is a negative result for all the planet, Papadimoulis says

    The election of Donald Trump is a negative result for all the planet, Greek MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis on Wednesday said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

    Papadimoulis stressed the need for Europe to activate in order to achieve social cohesion and growth and Greece to swiftly implement its plans for debt relief in order to become a pole of stability in the wider region.

    Moreover, he expressed the hope that Tramp's victory would send a message for the creation of an anti-fascist, democratic front around the globe.

    [12] Obama to speak from hill near ancient Pnyka during Athens visit

    U.S. President Barack Obama will make his keynote speech in Athens at an ancient site overlooking the Acropolis Hill, after Greece's Central Archaeological Council granted a rare permission to use the site.

    Obama's visit on November 15-16 has been described by the government as "historic" and his speech, scheduled for November 16, will focus on the values of democracy, it was announced.

    The U.S. President will stand at a plateau outside the Doridis telescope, near the Athens Observatory's visitors' center in Thisio.

    [13] CIA agents, thousands of Greek police officers to participate in massive security operation during Obama visit

    More than 300 CIA agents and private security personnel as well as 3,000 Greek police officers are expected to participate in the draconian security measures which will be deployed during the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Athens on November 15-16, a police source said on Wednesday.

    According to the senior police official, the final security plan will be completed at the end of the week, when American authorities are expected to declare the details of those who will participate in the massive security operation, along with their weapons, vehicles and any other equipment they might use.

    U.S. agents along with the competent Greek authorities are checking thoroughly the areas, buildings and routes which will be used during Obama's visit, and will gradually be followed by the operational teams that will accompany the U.S. President everywhere.

    The same official said roads will be closed off half an hour before Obama's car is due to pass, while snipers and undercover policemen will be stationed in various locations. Secret services are also inspecting Philopappos Hill and the surrounding area where Obama is set to give his speech in public on November 16.

    Speaking about the imminent visit on TV channel SKAI, Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Toskas said police will face many challenges next week as Obama's visit almost coincides with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising, but expressed his belief that things will go well.

    Asked whether he will request people to avoid the center of Athens during the visit, he said he is not asking for this and added: "I invite all citizens and all those who plan to protest, within the limits permitted by our laws and democracy, to do what they want in this context, while respecting the lives of other citizens: Respecting the laws, the existing rules and [...] the lives of other citizens."

    He said demonstrations have already been announced to the police.

    [14] Parliament economic affairs committee chairman stresses need for simpler EU fund procedures

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Spinthourakis)

    The chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament Gerasimos Balaouras on Wednesday stressed the need to simplify the procedure for EU funds and improve the current institutional framework.

    Balaouras participated in the Interparliamentary Meeting of the European Budgetary Control Committee with the participation of national parliaments.

    He underlined that the system of limited management system between States and the Committee contribute to shared responsibility and the collective participation in European affairs and that shared responsibility is an essential European added value to be maintained in the future, addressing, however, the need for further simplification, proportionality and flexibility.

    [15] Negotiation on debt a national affair that opposition should support, gov't spokesman says

    Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos on Wednesday criticised statements by main opposition New Democracy politicians regarding U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Athens, noting that the negotiation on Greece's debt was an issue of national importance that the opposition parties had an obligation to support.

    "The alacrity with which ND members, such as Mrs Bakoyannis and Mr. Tsiaras, rushed to forecast the failure of the visit ...causes aversion," Tzanakopoulos commented.

    "Regardless of developments in the U.S. the negotiation on Greek debt is a national affair that the opposition has an obligation to support. On the contrary, and at a time when all of Europe is discussing the need for a sustainable solution for Greek debt, ND is rushing to put priority on its own petty party objectives," he added, noting that this followed closely on the "unacceptable stance" displayed by ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis when talking to foreign investors a few days ago, "when he took pains to undermine the country's effort to attract investments."

    [16] EU wishes comprehensive agreeement before the end of 2016, Moscovici says

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ Ch.Vassilaki)

    European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici reiterated European Commission's wish for a comprehensive agreement for Greece before the end of 2016, during the presentation of EU autumn economic forecast on Wednesday.

    Asked on Donald Trump's election in the US and if something will change in IMF's participation in the Greek programme, he said that he does not wish to link IMF's stance with a political event.

    "We are trying to get into a virtuous circle with Greece," stated Moscovici adding that the goal is "the memorandum to succeed, the reforms to be implemented correctly, growth to return and the trust to be restored" he said.

    Moscovici reiterated that the Greek authorities have already assumed their responsibilities despite the fact they did not do it 'totally' or 'spontaneously' and now it is the partners' time to assume their own responsibilities.

    "I insist on May 2016 statement and I hope to achieve a more comprehensive agreement before the end of 2016 which will include the IMF," he said adding that he expects the IMF to participate in the programme.

    [17] Moscovici optimistic over Greek economy

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Spinthourakis)

    EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici on Wednedsay expressed his optimism over the course of the Greek economy.

    Moscovici said that 2016 recession will be lower than expected and Greece will gradually return to growth. In 2017 growth will reach 2.7 percent, and 3.1 percent in 2018, he said adding that this is the result of structural reforms mainly in the labour sector.

    He also estimated that investments and demand will increase in 2017 and 2018 and added that the Greek programme is successful and the confidence in the Greek economy restored.

    [18] Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon to work toward closer cooperation, Kotzias says

    BEIRUT (ANA/S. Aravopoulou)

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Wednesday joined his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides and Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut, for a meeting confirming their intention to strive for closer cooperation at an important time for Lebanon, along the lines opened at the Rhodes Conference for Stability and Security in September.

    "We journey together in an atmosphere of friendship, looking to the future of our three countries. We believe that Lebanon is a country that shows us all, in Europe, how to resolve the problems of the Middle East," Kotzias commented in a joint press conference held after their meeting.

    Following two hours of talks, the three ministers noted their intention to further cement ties between their three countries following the election of President Michel Aoun, which has restored stability in Lebanon. Kotzias and Kasoulides said that Aoun's election has greatly enhanced Lebanon's importance in terms of regional cooperation and its role in the sensitive region of the Middle East. They said their talks focused on cooperation in economic affairs, culture, tourism, academic collaboration and education.

    Kotzias praised the model provided by Lebanon, where different religions existed side by side and worked together, and said this pluralism provided a positive impetus for a country that stuck faithfully to the tenets of tolerance and respect.

    Kasoulides noted the excellent relations and frienship with Lebanon and said its new president would proceed with reforms based on the greatest possible consensus. "We are ready, with solidarity as friends, to stand by the Lebanese people," he added.

    Bassil noted that greater cooperation between the three countries was a shared goal, citing telecommunications and services as promising candidates. "We have shared views and ideas but what is lacking is implementation. With this spirit of good cooperation, we hope to catch up with the other European countries and find peaceful solutions to crises," he said.

    The Lebanese minister stressed the importance of a stable investment environment and expressed hope that fossil fuels will soon be a priority for the Lebanese government. The delays in this area had been due to local problems rather than the intervention of neighbouring countries, he added.

    Kotzias and Kasoulides were also received by Aoun, congratulating him on his election and expressing their support for Lebanon during a new phase of political stability in the region. The three ministers then participated in a conference at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik on "The role of Identity and History in Shaping Foreign Policy."

    [19] Europe needs a stable and democratic Turkey on its side, European Commissioner Avramopoulos says

    "The situation now is manageable. We look forward to a positive response by Turkey to respect the conditions set for the deepening and strengthening of cooperation between the two sides," EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said in Malta where he is paying a two day visit.

    The European Commissioner stressed that Turkey faces many problems, such as ISIS and numerous terrorist attacks, while the political situation remains fragile. "Given the complex and volatile situation in the region, stretching from Tunisia to Ukraine, Europe needs a stable and democratic Turkey on its side," he said. Avramopoulos also said it is positive that Turkey, until now, has met 65 of the 72 criteria set by the EU last year, and this demonstrates the willingness of the country to come closer to Europe.

    Presenting the priorities of the EU, the Greek Commissioner stated that focus will be given on combating terrorism, security of citizens and the cohesion of the EU, noting: " EU remains committed to enhancing its policies on migration, security, combating terrorism and radicalization, management of external borders, as well as cooperation with its international partners. "

    [20] Antonis Balomenakis to chair Parliamentary committee investigating party, media loans

    The parliamentary committee investigating the legality of loans given to political parties and media enterprises on Wednesday elected a new chairman to replace the MPs Sokratis Famellos and Kostas Sandorinios, who resigned after taking up posts in the new cabinet.

    The committee elected SYRIZA MP for Chania Antonis Balomenakis, one of its existing members, to take over from Famellos as chairman. It also selected two new ordinary members, MP for Magnisia Symeon Ballis and MP for Pieria Charilaos Tzamaklis to replace those departing. A meeting of the committee on Thursday has been postponed until next week so that the new members can be briefed.

    [21] Struggle against drugs continuous and persistent, says police chief Tsouvalas

    Police seized over 6.7 tons of cannabis, 45,630 cannabis plants, 62,646 drug pills, 178.7 kg of heroin and 101 kg of cocaine in the first 10 months of 2016. Moreover, 11,220 persons were arrested for drug trafficking.

    Greek police chief Constantinos Tsouvalas noted "the struggle against drugs is continuous and persistent. The Greek police works rigorously against the organised criminal drug dealing rings. We are ruthless against those who import and trade death, it is the least we owe to do for the new generations and for the Greek citizens."

    [22] Hellenic League for Human Rights calls for an end to returns and extraditions to Turkey

    The Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR), Greece's oldest human rights organization, called on the country's administrative and judicial authorities to stop returning or extraditing people back to Turkey, citing its crackdown on dissidents after the failed attempted coup last July.

    "The ever-worsening state of affairs in Turkey should be taken into account by the asylum screening and issuing bodies in Greece. The concept of a 'safe country', which is a legal prerequisite for the return of people to Turkey, is impossible to stand on an institutional ground that no longer offers any guarantee for the protection of anyone's fundamental rights," the NGO said.

    "We call on our country's competent administrative and judicial bodies to stop returns (or extraditions) to Turkey, as those people are exposed to the full endangerment of their fundamental rights. Otherwise the Greek legal system will become part of the connected vessels of extreme lawlessness," it added.

    [23] Over 5,300 migrants returned voluntarily to their countries in 2016, IOM reports

    In figures announced on Wednesday, the International Migration Organisation (IOM) reported that 5,328 third country nationals had left Greece and returned voluntarily to their countries of origin between the start of 2016 and November 7.

    Of these, 1,193 persons returned to Afghanistan, 1,040 to Morocco, 934 to Iraq, 577 to Iran and 472 to Pakistan.

    The repatriations were held within the context of the "Government assisted repatriation programme including reintegration measures" carried out by IOM Greece in cooperation with the Interior Ministry. The programme is 75 percent financed by European funds and 25 percent by national funds.

    Financial News

    [24] European Commission's autumn forecast sees recovery, stabilisation of growth in Greece

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Aroni)

    The second half of 2016 will see an economic recovery and stabilisation of growth in Greece, according to the European Commission's Autumn 2016 Economic Forecasts report published on Wednesday. The report predicted a return to strong growth in 2017 and continued robust growth rates in 2018, supported by higher domestic demand and exports.

    "Economic recovery is expected to return strongly in 2017 with growth at 2.7 pct, on account of the assumed gradual normalisation of the financial sector, which should lead to the gradual relaxation of capital controls over time. Domestic demand is expected to increase, with investment fuelling a positive net exports contribution. Investment is expected to take off in 2017 backed by improved credit conditions and EU funding. Real GDP is expected to continue recovering at a robust pace in 2018, with growth forecast to reach 3.1 pct," the report said.

    Regarding unemployment, the report said this was set to continue decreasing from very high levels, while it revised the primary surplus downward in relation to its spring forecast, to 0.2 pct of GDP, and said that Greece's public debt will peak in 2016 at 181.6 pct of GDP before starting to fall in 2017.

    [25] National Bank elects Panayotis Thomopoulos as chairman

    National Bank of Greece on Wednesday announced that a Board of Directors' meeting has elected Panayotis Thomopoulos as chairman (non-executive member) of the board, by absolute majority.

    In announcement, National Bank said its board convened and resolved by absolute majority upon its reconstitution into a body as follows:

    Panayotis-Aristidis (Takis) Thomopoulos, BoD Chairman, Non-executive member

    Petros Sabatacakis, BoD Vice-Chairman, Independent non-executive member

    Leonidas Fragkiadakis, Chief Executive Officer, Executive member

    Dimitrios Dimopoulos, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Executive member

    Paul Mylonas, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Executive member

    Arthur Michael Royal Aynsley, Independent non-executive member

    Marianne ?kland, Independent non-executive member

    Claude Piret, Independent non-executive member

    Stavros Koukos, Non-executive member

    Efthymios Katsikas, Non-executive member

    Spyridon Lorentziadis, Non-executive member

    Charalampos Makkas, Independent non-executive member

    Panagiotis Leftheris, Representative of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund

    It also appointed Panos Dasmanoglou, Assistant General Manager - Group Chief Compliance and Corporate Governance Officer as Secretary of the Board and its Committees.

    It is noted that, in accordance with the provisions of the legal and regulatory framework, the election of credit institutions' board members, is subject to approval and constant review by the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) of the European Central Bank.

    Following his election as chairman of the bank's board of directors, Thomopoulos addressed the board members and noted that he will make every effort, in the context of his responsibilities, for "further enhancement and development of the National Bank and for development of its human resources for the economy and society." Thomopoulos noted that this will be done in full cooperation with the Chief Executive Officer, but also with the Bank's main shareholder, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund".

    The bank's Chief Executive Officer Leonidas Fragiadakis stated that "the National Bank will dynamically continue imple-menting its strategy with a view to achieving targets and actions of the restructuring plan. In this context, the bank will continue operating with dedication to corporate governance rules and with respect to the supervisory authorities, its shareholders and its customers. Additionally, Fragkiadakis stated that the National Bank, acknowledging the significant role of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund as main shareholder, "will contribute with all its powers to further enhancement of cooperation with the HFSF, in the context of the principles deriving from the legal and regulatory framework".

    [26] National Bank wins innovation award

    National Bank's i-bank pass service excelled in the fourth international competition Distribution and Marketing Innovation Awards 2016 for financial services, organized by the prestigious organization EFMA, (with a membership of approximately 3,300 financial institutions in 130 countries) in collaboration with Accenture.

    The i-bank pass service won the first Innovation Award for Physical Distribution. On the 10 categories of the contest a total of 460 proposals were submitted by 200 banks and financial organizations from 61 countries.National Bank became the first Greek bank to distinguish in this competition with participating organizations such as Citibank, ING, Santander, BNP, IntesaSanPaolo, etc.

    The i-bank pass service is available through mobile application (mobile app) for Android and iOS operating systems, and through the bank's website, offering the possibility to everyone (customers and non NBG ), to choose the store that has the shortest waiting time, to issue electronic priority tickets and update in real time to customers and waiting time, also to timely plan their attendance under alert service and evaluate both the service experience and using the application.

    Application i-bank pass was designed with the aim of facilitating customer access to shops and reduce the waiting time entailed a visit, especially on busy days.

    In five months of operation of the i-bank pass service, about 85,000 users have installed the application on their devices and issued about 140.000 i-bank pass tickets.

    [27] China Development Bank renews agreement with XRTC

    China Development Bank renewed a finance consultant agreement with XRTC aimed to fund Greek shipping.

    XRTC, based in Piraeus, has been declared in 2012 Preferred Shipping Finance Consultant by one of the largest Chinese financial institutions with the aim to expand its activities in the shipping sector and in particular the Greek shipping market.

    The new agreement was signed in October 21 at XRTC's offices in Piraeus between George Xiradakis and Xin Liu, China Development Bank's general manager Ningbo branch.

    George Xiradakis, founder and chief executive of XRTC Business Consultants, commenting on the agreement said: "The renewal of confidence by China Development Bank to our company is a great responsibility for our course in shipping finance and a great joy for what we have accomplished so far with the Chinese market".

    XRTC Business Consultants Ltd was founded in 1999. It has worked with Credit Lyonnais and Natixis and as a consultant of national and international organizations and international shipping companies.

    [28] Engineers present 20 proposals for development

    The decline in unemployment, especially in the ranks of engineers, a sustainable solution to the pension issue and enhancing growth are the key priorities of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE), its president George Stassinos said in the review of an one-and-a-half year tenure.

    TEE submitted 20 proposals for development, "with little or almost no cost, but with the basic condition a strong political will," as he said, while according to official data 70% of the country's engineers live in poverty.

    To initiate a "growth shock", he said, it is necessary to promote electronic licensing of operation in tourism, craft, industrial and restaurant/coffee stores under the responsibility of self-employed professional engineer. Also he referred to the need to offer incentives to citizens outside the EU for house purchase, such as granting visa -based on Portugal's model; where there is considerable interest from China, and the granting of incentives for home purchases to Greek immigrants with zero or very low tax.

    In addition, he stressed the need to institutionalize an Earth Bank, with an electronic system able to carry out a wide variety of operations, as well as freeing up of building societies while providing funding incentives from investors.

    At the same time, he proposed assigning controller role to freelancer engineers for licensing based on the successful model of building inspectors, to combat bureaucracy and corruption.

    Stasinos also stressed the need to activate new EU-funded programs, to introduce a new land planning for tourism and to support start-up companies with the inclusion of engineers. He also called for the exploitation of old army barracks located inside urban spaces to create parks.

    [29] Cyta announces sale of Greek subsidiary

    The government cabinet of Cyprus, set in motion a tender process to sell 100% of shares of ?Cyta Hellas?, subsidiary of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), to the highest bidder.

    This process will be carried out separately and independently from any other process for the privatization of other assets of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority. Additionally, for the procedure to be followed, it is likely that Cypriot authorities will recruit new consultants from privatization since the original plans for the privatization of Cyta did not include a separate sale of the subsidiary in Greece.

    According to the newspaper "Kathimerini" Cyprus, although the company's financial results for 2015 recorded an increase in revenue, gross profit and EBITDA, the year failed to become profitable. Total income amounted to 107.8 million euros, an increase of 19.16% compared to the previous year.

    Accordingly, gross profit recorded an increase of 45.33% to 42.8 million euros, while operating profit (EBITDA) was positive to 14.6 million euros. However, the Greek subsidiary recorded a loss before tax of around 2.97 million. Compared with 2014, losses recorded a fall of 80.4%. On the positive aspects of last year, broadband customer base grew to 325,000 active customers.

    The subsidiary Cyta Hellas SA was founded in 2007 and its share capital on 31.12.2015 was 145.9 million euros. Since August 2014 it began to provide mobile telephony services in Greece as a virtual provider. It employs 766 staff, of whom 686 are full-time. According to the company's management, the aim in 2015 was to reduce staff by 10% and payroll by 5%, an aim which was not achieved, since costs despite the reduction in the number of employees remained at the same level as in 2014 (16.1 million euros in 2015 compared to 16.5 million in 2014).

    [30] Greek industrial production up 0.1 pct in Sept

    Greek industrial production grew 0.1 pct in September, with manufacturing production rising 2.2 pct in the month, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a monthly report, said the industrial production composite index was up 0.1 pct in September compared with the same month last year after a 3.0 pct rise recorded in the 2015-2014 period. It attributed this development to a 15 pct fall in mining production, a 2.2 pct increase in manufacturing production (pharmaceuticals up 15.3 pct, non-metal minerals up 29.5 pct, machinery up 29.4 pct and trailers up 26.6 pct). Electricity production fell 2.8 pct and water production eased 1.0 pct.

    The average industrial production index in the January-September period grew 1.8 pct compared with the same period last year, after an 0.6 pct increase recorded in the 2015-2014 period. The seasonally-adjusted index fell 1.8 pct in September compared with August 2016.

    [31] Greek red wine wins Critics Award in Grand Tasting of New York

    The Greek wine "Grand Reserve Naoussa Boutari 2008" won the Wine Spectators Critics Award in the Grand Tasting of New York Wine Experience.

    The New York Wine Experience is organised every year by the popular wine magazine Wine Spectator. The disctinction for Grand Reserve Naoussa Boutari, which was the only Greek wine among 250 wines from 15 countries, is extremely important because it had to contest emblematic wine etiquettes such as the Chateau D'Yquem, Penfolds, Opus One, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Vega Sicilia.

    "We are very proud that our wine stood high next among the "Major Wines" of the international vineyards and excels for its character and is internationally praised something that is indicative of our consistence and focus on quality," Boutari wineries general director Ioannis Voyatzis stated to Athens Macedonian News Agency.

    The red wine Grand Reserve Naoussa Boutari comes from the Greek wine variety Xinomavro which originates from the uplands of Naoussa and is mostly cultivated in Goumenissa, Amyntaio and in other parts of Macedonia.

    [32] Greek food manufacturing enterprises at risk

    Hundreds of Greek food manufacturing enterprises are in danger under pressure from a very small group of supermarket chains -not more than two- to offer additional product and services beyond their annual agreements, representatives of the sector told ANA.

    The Federation of Northern Greece Industries (SBBE) sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and to the leaders of all other political parties a few days ago to inform them over the problem and calling them to legislate specific measures for the protection of business transactions included in a European legislative framework.

    Athanasios Savvakis, president of SBBE told ANA that: "the market needs to regulate itself, but in critical times it is necessary to bear in mind the extreme conditions under which we have to operate".

    SBBE sources noted that the pressure exhorted by the two supermarket companies -one based in Athens and another in Northern Greece- mainly on Greek manufacturing enterprises was unbearable since "the combination of high interest rates and high production cost has not left any fat all to enterprises".

    They added that the pressure was almost exclusively on Greek enterprises and not multinational consumer product groups since they have strong brand products and a strong negotiating power.

    The conflict began after an agreement by suppliers for a 50 pct haircut on Marinopoulos' debt . The two supermarkets demand equal benefits for themselves for the current year.

    [33] Rebate and clawback hurt pharmaceutical companies

    Increasingly higher sums returned to state coffers from rebate and clawback are raising huge hurdles in the operation of pharmaceutical companies in Greece, Hellas List said in a report released on Tuesday.

    The report, based on the financial results released by 30 companies in the pharmaceutical/cosmetics sector, showed that total liabilities grew 9.0 pct to 924 million euros, while equity capital rose 3.0 pct to 538 million euros. The figures do not cover the whole sector, as the release of 2015 balance sheets has not been completed yet, but they are indicative of the serious problems accumulated on the current operation of the pharmaceutical sector.

    Accumulated turnover grew 4.3 pct to 1.182 billion euros. The report includes enterprises with productive activity in Greece and not multinational subsidiaries. The report said that turnover of 119 productive enterprises in the sector fell to 2.134 billion euros in 2014 from 2.184 billion in 2013, a decline of 2.3 pct.

    Net pre-tax earnings grew 21.4 pct to 77.7 million euros in 2015 from 64 million in 2014.

    Vianex -a member of D.Giannakopoulos group of companies- topped the list of the Greek pharmaceutical industry with annual turnover of more than 210 million euros and net profits of more than 9.0 million euros, from 4.3 million in 2014.

    Famar -a member of Marinopoulos Group of companies- reported sales of 124.6 million euros and profits of 9.5 million euros.

    Pharmathen recorded an annual turnover of 200 million euros and profits of 20.89 million euros in 2015.

    Elpen reported a turnover of around 120 million euros, up 5.12 pct from 2014, and stable profits of 4.9 million euros.

    Boehringer Ingelheim, the only multinational company with its own production line in Greece, Demo, Unipharma, Genepharm were also among the top 10 of pharmaceutical companies.

    [34] Greek stocks end flat on Wednesday

    Greek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, recovering from initial losses after the shock waves from the election victory of Donald Trump briefly rocked international markets. The composite index of the market eased 0.05 pct to end at 581.92 points, after falling as much as 1.68 pct early in the day. The Large Cap index rose 0.21 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 1.09 pct. Turnover was an improved 40.086 million euros, in volume of 52,786,412 shares.

    OPAP (3.57 pct), Titan (2.77 pct) and National Bank (1.09 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day among blue chip stocks, while Jumbo (2.29 pct), Folli Follie (1.78 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (1.47 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Among market sectors, Travel (3.28 pct) and Construction (1.78 pct) scored big gains, while Personal Products (2.07 pct) and Commerce (1.78 pct) suffered losses. National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 49 to 41 with another 29 issues unchanged. Logismos (29.92 pct), Chatzikraniotis (19.44 pct) and ANEK (19.23 pct) were top gainers, while Pasal (19.79 pct), Progressive (19.57 pct) and Attica Publications (9.90 pct) were top losers.

    [35] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 7.13 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday. The Greek bond yielded 7.31 pct and the German Bund yielded 0.18 pct. Turnover was a thin 1.0 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month rate was -0.054 pct, the nine-month rate rose to -0.131 pct from -0.132 pct, the six-month rate fell to -0.203 pct from -0.202 pct, the three-month rate was -0.304 pct and the one-month rate rose to -0.371 pct.

    [36] ADEX closing report

    The November contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,841 contracts with 8,005 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 55,443 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (20,463), followed by Alpha Bank (7,277), National Bank (11,144), Eurobank (9,346), MIG (2,955), OTE (1,342), PPC (916), OPAP (1,1070), Mytilineos (406), Metka (102), Titan (47), Viohalco (47), Ellaktor (47) and Jumbo (59).

    General News

    [37] Athens University to support 'Health for All' healthcare programme for at-risk groups

    The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) on Wednesday announced that it is lending its support to the "Health for All" action plan, designed to provide primary health and welfare services to vulnerable population groups. Athens University Rector Athanassios Dimopoulos will be on the programme's central committee.

    The goals of the action plan are to enhance the way in which activities by related agencies involved in providing care to vulnerable population groups supplement each other. It is aimed at the most at-risk populations, such as Roma gypsies, Pomaks and residents of mountainous Thrace, refugees, the very poor and the uninsured, seeking to facilitate their integration into the social and economic fabric and to provide access to health and welfare services.

    Among others, it provides clinical examination and vaccinations for children, gynaecological exams, screening for heart disease and other health problems for adults and referral of cases requiring further care to healthcare units.

    More than 100 university and Greek national health service doctors volunteer in the programme, in addition to 40 scientific bodies. The "Health for All" programme is under the aegis of the Greek ministries for health and welfare, the vaccinations committee, the UNESCO chair in Adolescent Health Care and the Central Health Council.

    The chairman of the programme's scientific committee is Athens University Paediatrics Prof. Georgios Chrousos, with Eleni Sotiropoulou, Sofia Kalantaridou, Eleftherios Thireos and Efi Koukkou serving as coordinators.

    [38] National Archaeological Museum organising 'treasure hunt' in Athens on Sunday, for 150th anniversary

    Greece's National Archaeological Museum and the Atenistas community have got together to organise an "archaeological treasure hunt" that will take place in Athens this Sunday, as part of a year of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the museum's foundation.

    The activity begins in the city centre on Sunday morning at 11:00, at the Old Parliament building on the corner of Stadiou and Kolokotroni streets near Syntagma, and is scheduled to continue until 16:00. All those wishing to take part in this alternative exploration of the city centre can obtain the map showing the 12 points along the route between 11:00 and 14:00, in order to start their "hunt".

    The map will provide information about artifacts discovered in each location and what each area was like in antiquity, as well as outlining how the items were later discovered. Participants in the treasure hunt that collect all 12 stickers along its route can then visit the museum free of charge between 12:00 and 16:00.

    The "archaeological treasure hunt" will continue inside the NAM galleries, with a "close encounters" introduction to the 12 antiquities 'discovered' along the route and meetings with museum archaeologists. The first 60 people that reach the museum with all the stickers collected will also win copies of NAM publications.

    Athens is a modern metropolis but also a city steeped in history. As well as the better-known archaeological sites, its streets contain lesser known surprises and secrets, where antiquities have come to light in unexpected places and are now preserved in the NAM. The treasure hunt reveals many of these hidden spots and gives us a rare insight into the lives of the ancient people that once lived there.

    [39] World to see biggest, brightest supermoon since 1948 to on November 14

    The biggest, brightest 'supermoon' that most people alive today will ever have a chance to see will be at the next full moon on November 14, when its orbit brings it closer to Earth than at any other time since 1948, almost 70 years ago.

    According to NASA, the full moon on November 14 will be 7 pct larger and 16 pct brighter than the average full moon. In Greece, the 'supermoon' will be at its peak at 15:52 Greek time on November 14, when it is still daylight, but the moon is expected to be almost equally impressive on the nights of November 13 and November 14.

    The next time the moon comes this close to Earth again will be in November 2034, NASA said.

    [40] Syrian refugees to take part in Classic Marathon

    The non-governmental organisation SolidarityNow has entered a group of refugees in the 5.0-km race of the Athens Classic Marathon, taking place on November 13.

    The runners are 15 Syrians that have sought asylum in Greece and are awaiting relocation to another EU country.

    Their participation in the race aims to send a message of solidarity, unity and peaceful co-existence.

    [41] Wildfire on Naxos

    A wildfire that broke out in Mavromari on Naxos island is in progress.

    The blaze is burning brushland and according to the fire brigade the fire is not threatening inhabited areas.

    Strong winds are blowing in the area making the firemen's work extremely difficult.

    [42] Bridge collapses due to heavy rainfall in northern Greece

    A bridge in Konitsa, northwestern Greece, collapsed due to heavy rainfall that hit the area in the last two days. The bridge was the village's only link with the rural road.

    The mayor of Konitsa Andreas Papaspyrou that is currently in the area said to the Athens Macedonian News Agency that the high volume of waters in Santaporos river damaged one pillar of the bridge resulting in its collapse.

    [43] First snow of the season falls in northwestern Greece

    The first snow has fallen in the area of Vasilitsa in the region of Grevena, northwestern Macedonia. Snow started falling early on Wednesday on the mountains of northern Macedonia from an altitude of 1,700 metres. The snow has reached 10 cm on some parts of the road network in the area of the ski resort of Vasilitsa.

    Temperatures are ranging between 01C and -01C and visibility is low due to fog.

    [44] Police clears out garbage in illegal Roma settlement due to health risks

    Police with the assistance of a prosecutor cleared out piles of garbage from a plot of land in Piraeus where a group of Roma had settled illegally due to public health concerns, it was announced on Wednesday.

    Piraeus mayor Yiannis Moralis said the area was like a "landfill" and posed a direct risk to public health, adding that municipal bodies will help authorities eliminate criminality in the city. The cleaning operation will continue on Thursday.

    Weather forecast

    [45] Clouds, rain on Thursday

    Rain and westerly winds are forecast for Thursday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Heavy rain in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 09C to 20C. Partly cloudy in the eastern parts and temperatures between 13C and 21C. Clouds and light rain over the Aegean islands and Crete, 13C-23C. Mostly fair in Athens, 12C-20C; Cloudy in Thessaloniki, 11C-19C.

    [46] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: Settlement for 145,000 housing loans

    DIMOKRATIA: Towards the fourth memorandum

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Cuts in lump sums

    ESTIA: The prospects of a fourth memorandum

    NAFTEMPORIKI: EU Commission wants triple agreement

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