|Monday, 11 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-11-22
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 22 November 2016 Issue No: 5294
 Tsipras proposes meeting with Erdogan in bid to resolve obstacle of guaranteesPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet to discuss the system of guarantees in Cyprus, which remains one of the thorniest issues in the ongoing negotiations during recent calls to the Turkish leader, government sources said on Monday.
According to the sources, Tsipras told Erdogan differences between the two sides remain and any multilateral meeting before this issue is settled is bound to fail. The Greek premier and Anastasiades also agreed that the latter proposes a date for the multilateral meeting on the condition that Tsipras meets with Erdogan ahead of the talks.
Tsipras has been in contact with Turkey's leadership as well as Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades in recent days as talks between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots intensify.
 The second programme review will advance without concessions on labour issues, gov't spokesman saysThe IMF insists on a series of reforms that we believe they will not contribute to the country's competitiveness, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos on Monday said referring to the second programme review.
"We will proceed with the second programme review without making concessions on labour issues," he underlined in statements to SKAI TV.
Tzanakopoulos noted that the government seeks to restore the collective bargaining regime. It also seeks to clarify whether the IMF wants to participate in the programme and in what way adding that the IMF should not impose strict conditions in order to participate.
He also said that the government aims to have the review concluded by the Eurogroup on December 5 and have the timetable for debt settlement fixed.
Asked on German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's statements, he explained that his positions have been known since 2010 but estimated that the climate has changed as he has opposed to everyone, including US President Barack Obama.
"The debt settlement and the return to the markets do not mean that there will be immediate impact on citizens. It is clear that it will be the first step to loosen the guardianship regime," he explained.
The government spokesman also accused main opposition New Democracy of wishing the failure of the negotiation and that is why it is asking for elections. As he said, New Democracy wants a harsh memorandum in exchange for debt relief and insists on austerity policies.
Moreover, he said that the government has never spoken of a success story as it is aware of the important social problems and is trying to correct them. He added that the government has managed to reduce unemployment by 4 percentage points and estimated that it will be further reduced.
 Greek 2017 draft budget tabled in ParliamentAlternate Finance Minister George Chouliarakis on Monday submitted the draft state budget for 2017 to Parliament President Nikos Voutsis.
Voutsis said that the debate on the draft budget will begin before Parliament's Financial Affairs Committee on Thursday and take place over four sessions. The debate before the plenum will begin on Tuesday, December 6 and end at midnight the following Saturday, December 10, with a roll call vote.
 Finance ministry sources report 'substantial convergence' with institutions on fiscal, justice issuesThere has been "substantial convergence" in the negotiations between the government and the institutions' missions in Athens on all matters related to fiscal issues and justice, finance ministry sources reported on Monday.
They said that meetings between the heads of the missions and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, Economy Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou, Energy Minister George Stathakis and Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis were concluded in a good atmosphere, while the final technical details will be clarified over the next few days.
 Government, institutions pause talks as new deal is draftedThe main issues that remain open in the ongoing negotiations between the government and the representatives of the institutions are labour laws, fiscal issues and the out-of-court settlement for non-performing loans, a finance ministry official said on Monday evening.
According to the official, the two sides paused the meeting for a few hours so that the representatives of the institutions can draft a new draft agreement which will include the comments of the Greek side. The plan will be handed over to the government's economic team later tonight, signaling a new round of talks, as "some (of the Greek observations) might be accepted, some may not be accepted and some may be deferred," the official said.
He also said a teleconference will be held next week as the heads of the institutions will leave Athens on Tuesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.
 Institutions and Health Minister discuss measures to rationalise expenditureHealth Ministry Andreas Xanthos in a meeting with the representatives of the institutions late on Sunday promised to rationalise public expenditure and monitor the demand for drugs and exams.
The Health Ministry stressed that the targets will be met through the integration of protocols and guidelines in the electronic prescription system, the strengthening of the public sector capacity to meet health needs and the additional support of private providers as well as the centralization of public hospital supplies.
They also discussed the gradual implementation of the new primary health care system based on the guidelines of the World Health Organization and the control of pharmaceutical expenditure through the Health Technology Assessment mechanism, entry criteria to the positive list of innovative medicines, negotiating prices and increased penetration of generics.
During the meeting, the officials confirmed the agreement on the basic reforms in the health sector aiming at the universal, equal and effective care of the citizens.
 ND insists on political change because Greece needs to restart, party source saysNew Democracy (ND) insists on political change not only because of the lack of proportion between the parliamentary majority and the electorate, but also because the Greek society and economy need to restart, a senior ND source said on Monday.
The same source stressed the need for a bolder approach to reforms in other issues such as the banks.
"We are concerned because the government is moving towards the right direction, but slowly," it said adding that there are more and more international reports for the possibility of a fourth memorandum.
According to the source, there is pessimism over the current negotiation with the institutions and estimated that the government will miss the December 5 deadline. What is needed, it added, is the participation to the ECB quantitative easing programme.
 Mitsotakis calls for 'post-populism' politics during book presentationA political change is needed as soon as possible that will allow Greece to adopt a new productive and growth model and a "policy of post-populism", New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday, during the presentation of a book by Giorgos Pagoulatos, titled "The island that is leaving; 121+1 essays about the crisis".
"Greece remains cumbersome in terms of reforms, financially ambivalent and without orientation in terms of development, while time passes relentlessly and the hourglass of opportunities is steadily being emptied at our expense," he said. "For it reason, it is imperative that policies change as soon as possible. The country does not just need a new production and growth model. It needs a new political model. We need to invent the 'policy of post-populism'."
He said the party must not merely be content with the ideological superiority of its ideas, or believe that because the people at this event agree on these issues, the party has won the trust of the Greek society's silent majority. "We have to read the 'spirit' behind the 'letter' of the populist vote, without becoming populists," he noted.
"To achieve this, we need a brave and creating break with our past. One thing is certain: we cannot approach the future with the tools and vocabulary of the past. I know well we will not be able to reach some people, because we will not confront populism by softening our political voice. But we have to appeal to the 'forgotten man'. The average Greek family which, away from ideologies, sees its future getting darker every day," he added.
 New Democracy is the only credible alternative for the Greeks, Koumoutsakos says"New Democacy is a political force of reference for the future and hope for Greece; it is the only credible alternative solution for the Greeks," George Koumoutsakos on Monday said during the hand over ceremony.
On the foreign ministry, he said: "It is a great responsibility as there are crucial issues ahead of us: the Cyprus issue, the Greek-Turish relations, the relations with Albania and a general uncertain European and regional climate."
On his part, the new spokesman of New Democracy Vassilis Kikilias said: "Our aim is to be in contact with the journalists, the media and the society. Our aim is to send the message to the people that need hope. The new hope is that the truth that we will serve."
 Greece and Cyprus to sign cooperation agreement on expatriatesDeputy Foreign Minister responsible for Greeks Abroad Terens Quick and the Presidential Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Fotis Fotiou will sign a cooperation agreement on issues regarding expatriates.
The memorandum provides among others, according to the Foreign ministry, the cooperation between the competent bodies in Greek and Cyprus governments. Special emphasis will be given on the Greek Youth Abroad, the promotion of cultural and intangible heritage and the strengthening of the teaching and dissemination of the Greek language.
 ELSTAT rejects claims that official figures underestimate 'real' unemploymentGreece's independent statistical authority ELSTAT on Monday criticised a recent report by the Employment Institute of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) trade union group, advising "avoidance of references to 'real' unemployment rates" and rejecting suggestions that the official figures underestimated its full extent.
In an announcement, ELSTAT said that the unemployment figures that it published, as well as other labour market parameters, were drawn up in accordance with European guidelines and definitions, decided at international statistical conferences under the aegis of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in order to produce comparable statistics across the EU and OECD.
In response to criticism that this official figure did not take into account the workers that were under-employed, or people seeking work but not available during the period of the survey, or those available but not seeking work, ELSTAT clarified that these cases were also recorded as three separate indices after 2013, which were complementary to the unemployment rate. These recorded individuals that "shared common characteristics with those considered unemployed, on the basis of the established definition of the ILO, but did not satisfy all the criteria to be termed unemployed," ELSTAT said.
 Anti-establishment group claims responsibility for firebomb attack on Exarchia police stationAn anti-establishment group calling themselves "Solidarity with the Revolutionary Costas Sakkas" on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack on an Exarchia police station using firebombs on November 15, the day that U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Athens for a two-day visit.
The group's proclamation was posted on an anti-establishment website and, among others, said that the action was "dedicated to the revolutionary Marios Seisidis, who goes on trial on December 16."
 Former President Kostis Stefanopoulos died on Sunday nightThe former President Kostis Stephanopoulos died on Sunday night, at 23.18, at the hospital "Errikos Dunant" in Athens where he was hospitilized suffering from a serious respiratory infection,according to his doctors.
Ninety-year-old Stephanopoulos was hospitalized on Thursday night suffering from a serious respiratory infection. According to information released the next day, his condition was viewed as serious, given his age and weak health.
"He was admitted to hospital with fever and severe respiratory difficulty. It was found to suffer from pneumonia," Dr. Antonios Dimitrakopoulos said. "Despite intensive treatment, his clinical picture was deteriorating with failure of multiple organ systems," he added.
 Former president Stephanopoulos' funeral service to be held on TuesdayThe funeral service for former president Konstantinos Stepha-nopoulos will be held on Tuesday, at the church of Agios Dimitrios in Palio Psychiko, at 14:00.
Twenty-one honourary cannon shots will be shot from the gun emplacement on Lycabettus Hill.
 Condolences book for former president Constantinos Stephanopoulos at presidential mansionA book of condolence for former Greek president Constantine Stephanopoulos, who died in hospital on Sunday night, is to be opened at the presidential mansion on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to a presidency announcement, the entrance for the public will be from Vassilisis Georgiou II Avenue, between 10:00-14:00 and 17:00-20:00.
 Greek state draft budget envisages primary surplus of 2.0 pct of GDP in 2017The 2017 draft state budget envisages that primary surpluses for 2017 and 2016 will significantly surpass targets, paving the way for measures to boost social policy in the coming years.
The primary surplus in 2017 is projected to reach 2.0 pct of GDP, surpassing a target of 1.75 pct set in the economic policy programme and confirming the positive trend of fiscal data. The 2016 primary surplus is also expected to surpass targets to reach 1.09 pct of GDP, from a 0.53 pct initial budget target.
The Greek economy expected to grow by 2.7 pct after a contracting -0.3 pct rate in 2016, while the unemployment rate is projected to fall to 20.6 pct this year.
The country's public debt is expected to ease to 176.5 pct of GDP in 2017, from 180.3 pct in 2016, although in absolute figures it is expected to rise to 319.2 billion euros in 2017 from 315.4 billion in 2016.
The 2017 budget aims to maintain fiscal balance so as to complete a restoration of the country's credibility and enable an exit from the fiscal adjustment programme the soonest possible, also to fairly distribute adjustment costs and to achieve a socially fair distribution of the benefits of an economic recovery.
The finance ministry, in an announcement, said "it is the third successive year that the government will achieve its goals, thanks to a prudent fiscal management, a gradual recovery of economic activity and an improvement in tax revenue".
The draft budget also puts priority on strengthening and fortifying social protection and boosting public investments. For this reason, the budget incorporates a series of interventions, such as:
-expanding the implementation of a social solidarity income with 760 million euros, covering more than 250,000 households living in poverty,
-strengthening health, education and social protection with an additional 300 million euros,
-contributing 100 million euros for the settlement of non-performing loans by over-indebted households with set income and asset criteria and
-raising the national leg of a Public Investments Programme by 250 million euros.
 Statistical data offer more evidence of Greek economic recoveryRecent official statistical data confirmed expectations of a recovery in the Greek economy from the third quarter of 2016, with a stronger-than-expected growth rate of 1.5 pct on an annual basis and 0.5 pct on a quarterly basis, as a result of high base effects, Alpha Bank said in its weekly economic bulletin.
Greek GDP fell by 2.2 pct, yr/yr, in the third quarter of 2015, according to revised figures, for a zero change in the January-September 2016 period, after a 0.6 pct decline in the same period last year.
Alpha Bank's analysts said "it is particularly encouraging the fact that the Greek economy's resilience in GDP terms is combined with a gradual decline in unemployment rate to 23.4 pct of the workforce in August from 24.6 pct in August 2015".
The analysts noted a return of the Greek economy to positive growth rate would be significant if it could be combined with stronger growth rates in employment and reducing unemploy-ment. They stressed that a reversal in the ratio between growth rates and productivity growth rates -expected from 2019 wit hthe help of upgraded infrastructure from higher investments on machinery equipment and constructions in the 2017-2018 period- will have positive effects on labor productivity and could lead to an unemployment rate of below 1/5 of the workforce by the end of the next decade.
Eurobank, in a weekly economic bulletin, also said that positive messages coming from Greek economic trends offered signs of a stabilization in the economy.
The bank's analysts stressed that the contribution of net exports to economic growth was negative in the third quarter and attributed an increase in real GDP to domestic demand factors.
"A change in inventories and fixed-capital investments had a positive contribution," the bulletin said.
 Greek current account balance shows 1.0 billion euros surplus in SeptGreece's current account balance showed a surplus of 1.0 billion euros in September, an improvement of 104 million on a year-on-year basis, as a result of an increase of 255 million euros in the balance of goods and services surplus, which reached 1.1 billion, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank, in a monthly report, said that total exports of goods and services grew faster (12.6 pct) than the corresponding imports (9.1 pct). By contrast, the primary and secondary income accounts deteriorated. The deficit of the balance of goods declined year-on-year, owing to an improvement in the oil balance, which offset an increase in the deficit of the non-oil balance. Non-oil exports rose year-on-year, by 12.2 pct and 15.1 pct at current and constant prices respectively. This rise was offset by an increase in non-oil imports of goods.
The surplus of the services balance grew by 178 million euros, as in September all subaccounts improved year-on-year. The largest increase was registered in the transport balance on account of higher net air and sea transport receipts. As regards the travel balance, non-residents' arrivals increased by 13.7 pct and the relevant receipts by 2.3 pct. Net other services receipts improved as well.
In September 2016, the primary and the secondary income accounts deteriorated year-on-year.
In the January-September 2016 period, the current account showed a surplus of 1.4 billion euros, down by 456 million year-on-year. More specifically, the primary and the secondary income accounts improved, while the balance of goods and services deteriorated.
The balance of goods showed an improvement of 740 million euros, which reflects the improved oil balance and reduced net payments for purchases of ships. By contrast, the deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil and ships grew, chiefly on account of an increase in the value of imports, while the value of the corresponding exports remained unchanged. It should be noted that, at constant prices, total exports of goods rose by 7.6 pct, reflecting mainly a rise in the volume of oil exports, while non-oil exports of goods also grew by 3 pct.
The surplus of the services balance dropped by 1.8 billion euros year-on-year, mainly due to a significant decline in net transport receipts, which is largely attributable to capital controls. Net travel receipts also recorded a fall. Total non-residents' arrivals increased by 3.5 pct, while the corresponding receipts declined by 5.5 pct. These developments were offset to a small extent by an improvement in the other services balance.
In the January-September 2016 period, the primary income account showed a surplus of 504 million euros, up by 330 million year-on-year.
In September 2016, the capital account showed a small deficit of 25 million euros, which was lower than that in the same month of 2015, while in the January-September 2016 period it showed a surplus of 613 million, up by 60 million year-on-year.
In September 2016, under direct investment, residents' external assets rose by 114 million euros, with no remarkable transactions.
In the January-September 2016, period, residents' assets from direct investment abroad declined by 809 million euros, while the corresponding liabilities, that represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, increased by 1.8 billion, compared with a rise of 688 million in the same period of 2015.
At the end of September 2016, Greece's reserve assets stood at 6.8 billion euros, compared with 5.1 billion at the end of September 2015.
 Greek honey exports to China have great growth potential"Greece, despite domestic perceptions, is the 34th exporter of honey worldwide, with a market share of 0.34 pct of total value of exports in 2014, and a total export value of 7.47 million US dollars, less than Portugal (9.49 million dollars), Serbia (8.64 million), Moldova (10.1 million), Austria (10.5 million), Denmark (14.5 million), Turkey (20 million), Saudi Arabia (13.4 million), Italy (40.4 million), Spain (112 million), Bulgaria (42.8 million), Romania (43.2 million), Hungary (90.2 million), Poland (24.4 million), Belgium (41.4 million), Ukraine (106 million euros)," the Greek embassy's economic and commercial affairs bureau in Shanghai said in a report.
In 2013, Greece exported honey worth 8.56 million US dollars, with a market share of 0.44 pct, ranking the country in the 33rd position worldwide. Greece is the sixth honey exporter from Europe to China and the fifth in the EU, however, China absorbed only 4.0 pct of total honey exports from Greece, worth 307,000 US dollars in 2014, or 0.5 pct of total honey imports in China.
Honey exports to China totaled 307,000 dollars in 2014 and 206,000 in 2013, or 0.51 pct of total honey imports in China.
Greek honey exports to China were largely insignificant from 2004 to 2012. In 2014, Greek exports totaled 7.47 million US dollars in value, of which 12 pct to Asia, 63 pct to Europe, 22 pct to North America, 1.0 pct to Australia and 0.3 pct to Africa (0.28 pct to Egypt).
China was the ninth biggest export destination for Greece in 2014, worth 307,000 US dollars, or 4.0 pct of total exports, for a market share of 0.51 pct, the highest rate since 2005 (0.35 pct).
Greek honey exports to China began in 2006, although the rate of increase lagged behind the rate of exports to East Asia (the value of Greek honey exports tripled in 2014 compared with 2013). The report noted that this development showed that Greek honey has not yet found the right distribution channels in the region.
Honey imports to China is projected to reach 102 million US dollars in the next two years, which means that if Greek honey wanted to maintain its market share in the country it should boost exports to China by around 430,000 US dollaris.
An analysis of the competition showed that Greek honey could drain a percentage of 1.5 pct to 2.5 pct from Europe (excluding Ukraine) and a percentage of 0.3 pct to 0.7 pct from Asia and a percentage of 0.1 pct to 0.2 pct from Turkey. Greek exports to China could rise by four times based on realistic and conservatives estimates, to 1.2 million US dollars, or one-sixth of total Greek honey exports in 2014.
 ICAP Group awards True LeadersICAP Group delivered the awards to the Group-Leaders in the country as par of a True Leaders award, put under the auspices of Economy, Development and Tourism ministries and the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV).
The awards were offered during a special ceremony in November 16 at the presence of Deputy Economy and Development Minister Sergios Pitsiorlas, Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry Constantinos Mihalos, SEV executive vice-president Constantinos Bitsios and other officials.
Pitsiorlas, in its first public appearance since taking over his new duties, congratulated the enterprises that excelled in the award and ICAP Group for its True Leaders initiative. "The ministry will be at your side to work together to define the terms in order to have the conditions to boost entrepreneurship in Greece," Pitsiorlas said, adding that "the Prime Minister and the government have realized deeply that the only road is the road of development and that a deep knowledge and a great reform effort was necessary to promote a new business culture and investment perception in the country".
The True Leaders initiative examined 14,000 enterprises, of which 58 companies and 13 Groups excelled based on a number of criteria.
Nikitas Konstantellos, chairman and CEO in ICAP Group, said the awarded companies covered multiple and difficult criteria, amid uncertainty and adverse economic conditions.
 Praktiker Hellas to invest 9.0 million euros in 2017Praktiker Hellas will invest 9.0 million euros in 2017, two years after its purchase by Fairfax, the Canadian fund, while its medium-term plans envisage a further development of its network in more hub points around Greece.
Praktiker Hellas celebrates 25 years of presence in Greece this year, with a branch network of 15 units, a rapidly growing e-shop, a specialized B2B department, 1,400 workers and significant environmental and social actions.
Yiannis Selalmazidis, CEO of the company, told reporters that 2016 is very important year for everyone in Praktiker Hellas. "With completion of 25 years of presence in Greece, we are in a pleasant position to discuss of the company's extremely positive financial and social print, particularly during the last few difficult years for the country. Our goal is to continue investing, keeping our values unchanged and achieving even more results for our customers, our workers and our shareholders".
Praktiker Hellas launched a new unit in Rhodes and reported a turnover of 4.2 billion euros in the last 25 years. In 2015, turnover improved 3.8 pct to 167.01 million euros, compared with 2014, profits totaled 2.09 million euros, while job positions grew 7.0 pct. The company has zero debt.
 Karatzis gets operating license for energy subsidiaryKaratzis SA on Monday announced that the Energy Regulatory Authority approved an electricity power operation license, with a power of 300 MW, to its subsidiary KEN SA
KEN SA is a 100 pct subsidiary of Karatzis SA with an equity capital of 600,000 euros. The new electricity power provider will have its own sales points and partnerships with companies operating a widespread retail network and will offer high-level services throughout the country, seeking to gain a significant market share very soon.
Karatzis Group has established activities in the electricity power sector from renewable energy sources for the last 10 years, operating photovoltaic stations with a power of 15 MW in Greece. The group also has established activities in packaging nets and in the tourism sector.
 Strong airline interest for "Macedonia" airportA project to upgrade airport facilities at the "Macedonia" airport in Thessaloniki must be completed within schedule to avoid creating any big problems during next year's summer season, George Vilos, managing director of Commercial and Business Development Fraport Greece said, commenting on scheduled works on the maintenance and strengthening of runways. "These works are expected to be completed by the end of July and this is something that must be averted. We all must help to complete works earlier," he noted.
Vilos said Thessaloniki is a city with an exceptional dynamism and that there were several airlines that have expressed interest in investing in the city as a travel destination. He added that Fraport Greece will take over the management of 14 regional airports by the end of January, with the start of a four-year investment program, budgetted at around 400 million euros.
Fraport Greece will begin works at the "Macedonia" airport in October 2017 to avoid creating any operating problems in the airport during the summer season. "By then, however, we will make some quick works with immediate results, such as renovating hygience areas and some internal rearrangements to improve the terminal's capacity, new runway signalling, etc," Vilos said.
He said the company has already hired around 90 persons and there was need for around 550 workers. A total of 60,000 job applications have been submitted so far.
 Trade visitors up 72 pct in Philoxenia and HoteliaVisitors increased significantly in the first day of Philoxenia and Hotelia exhibitions held in Thessaloniki.
More specifically, trade visitors increased by 72 percent and visitors in general by 17 percent.
A total of 621 exhibitors and 383 hosted buyers participated in the exhibitions that are considered among the biggest ones of the last five years.
Philoxenia and Hotelia are held under the auspices of the Tourism Ministry, the Interior Ministry (Macedonia and Thrace), Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), and all the major tourist agencies of the country, such as SETE and HATTA. Qatar Airways is the official carrier of Philoxenia.
 Apartment prices down 1.5 pct in Q3, BoG reportNominal apartment prices are estimated to have declined on average by 1.5 pct year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank, in a report, said that according to revised data, the decline in the first and second quarters of 2016 was 4.3 pct and 2.6 pct respectively, while the average annual rate of decline in 2015 was 5.1 pct.
More specifically, in the third quarter of 2016, the year-on-year rate of decline in prices was 2.2 pct for "new" apartments (up to 5 years old) and 1.0 pct for "old" apartments (over 5 years old). According to revised data, in 2015 as a whole the average annual rate of decline in the prices of "new" and "old" apartments was 5.6 pct and 4.7 pct respectively.
According to data broken down by geographical area, in the third quarter of 2016 apartment prices are estimated to have declined year-on-year by 0.9 pct in Athens, 1.4 pct in Thessaloniki, 1.2 pct in other cities and 3.0 pct in other areas of Greece. According to revised data, for the whole of 2015, apartment prices dropped on average by 5.3 pct, 5.4 pct, 4.9 pct and 4.6 pct respectively in the above-mentioned areas. Finally, as regards all urban areas of the country, in the third quarter of 2016 apartment prices declined by 1.5 pct year-on-year, while based on revised data, for 2015 as a whole, they declined at an average annual rate of 5.1 pct.
 Thessaloniki promoted as a conference destinationThe Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (HATTA) and the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau (TCB) signed a memorandum of cooperation during the Philoxenia tourism exhibition in the presence of Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, Deputy Macedonia-Thrace Minister Maria-Kollia Tsaroucha and the secretary general of the Greek National Tourism Organisation Dimitris Tryfonopoulos.
The aim of the memorandum is the the creation of the appropriate cooperation framework for the development of conference tourism and the signing of the necessary synergies for the promotion of Thessaloniki as a conference destination.
 Greek beer exports to Italy up 3.5 pct in 2013-2015Greek beer exports to Italy grew by 3.5 pct in the 2013-2015 period, with the country taking a 0.74 pct share in the Italian market, ranking 12th surpassing Spain, US and China, from 26th in 2013, the Greek embassy's economic and commercial affair bureau in Rome said in a report.
Germany was the largest beer supplier of Italy, with a shrinking market share in the 2013-2015 period. Beer imports to Italy grew 11.2 pct, offering prospect of a further growth in Greek-Italian bilateral trade transactions.
Greece ranks 21st in beer consumption, while based on the number of breweries in Europe, it ranks 23rd with 19 enterprises (1,700 in the UK), while Italy approached France with 593 breweries (660 in France).
Beer production in Italy in the period 2010-2014 grew 5.5 pct, while consumption rose 2.9 pct in the same period. The Italian beer market is expanding with volume rising by 16.8 pct in the 2013-2015 period, imports grew 11.2 pct and exports rose 37.5 pct.
Italy ranked 10th in beer production in Europe in 2014, with Germany at the top, while France rose to sixth place in 2016 from eighth in 2014, boosting production by 20.8 pct.
China is the biggest beer consumer in the world, followed by the US.
 Greek stocks rally for fourth successive sessionGreek stocks moved moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, extending their rally for the fourth successive session. The composite index of the market rose 0.64 pct to end at 615.83 points, for a total gain of 6.51 pct in the last four sessions, while the bank index is up 22.42 pct in the same period. The Large Cap index rose 1.01 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.47 pct higher. Turnover was an improved 70.396 million euros in volume of 132,643,872 shares.
Hellenic Exchanges (5.01 pct), Piraeus Bank (4.42 pct) and OPAP (3.66 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Folli Follie (2.75 pct), Jumbo (2.67 pct) and PPC (1.92 pct) suffered heavy losses. Among market sectors, Financial Services (3.83 pct), Travel (3.26 pct) and Banks (2.15 pct) scored big gains, while Chemicals (2.44 pct), Commerce (2.75 pct) and Personal Products (1.77 pct) were top losers.
National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 52 to 48 with another 19 issues unchanged. Elastron (29.03 pct), Boutaris (19.57 pct) and Chatzikraniotis (19.54 pct) were top gainers, while Sato (19.35 pct), Alumil (14.89 pct) and Epilektos (10 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 6.82 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 6.98 pct last Friday, falling below the 7.0 pct psychologically-critical level for the first time in two years. The Greek bond was yielding 7.09 pct and the German Bund was yielding 0.27 pct. Turnover was a thin 2.0 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates largely unchanged. The 12-month rate fell to -0.079 pct from -0.077 pct, the nine-month rate fell to -0.140 pct from -0.135 pct, the six-month rate was -0.217 pct, the three-month rate was -0.316 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.376 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.06 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,268 contracts with 8,197 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 104,784 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (47,492), followed by Alpha Bank (7,313), Piraeus Bank (25,303), Eurobank (16,975), MIG (3,630), OTE (1,226), PPC (629), OPAP (369), Hellenic Exchanges (117), Mytilineos (948), Hellenic Petroleum (149), Metka (199), Ellaktor (137), Folli Follie (81), GEK Terna (73) and Athens Water (40).
 CERN and Central Macedonia Region to sign cooperation protocolCERN and the Central Macedonia Region in northern Greece will sign a cooperation protocol at the end of January 2017, at CERN's headquarters in Geneva, for the transfer of CERN knowhow to companies in the region involved in innovation and new technologies.
The protocol will be signed in the presence of representatives of 15 such firms in the region. It will also allow Central Macedonia university students to attend CERN seminars in Geneva and local businesses to submit bids in CERN procurements tenders.
Central Macedonia Region governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas said the authority was striving to provide incentives and prospects for young scientists, working in collaboration with the Thessaloniki 'Technopolis' to draw up a plan for setting up a support mechanism for start-ups. This led to an initiative for an ICT cluster using financing from the new European structural and investment funds for 2014-2020.
The decision was made after Tzitzikostas and the head of Thessaloniki 'Technopolis' Tasos Tzikas contacted CERN and spoke with its Head of Relations with Associate Members and Non-Member States, Senior Physicist Dr. Emmanuel Tsesmelis, who briefed them on how the organisation can help new start-ups intending to use CERN technology.
Tzitzikostas also noted the need for state support, however, such as the introduction of a 10 pct flat tax rate for all businesses that chose Central Macedonia as their base.
CERN and the Thessaloniki Technopolis have already signed a four-year cooperation agreement to set up a Business Incubation Centre, using CERN technology to create new products and services.
 Incidence of venereal disease in Greece is rising, experts reportA lack of awareness, especially among the young, and the large migration waves passing through Greece were the chief causes of a rapid increase of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) in recent years, experts reported on Monday in messages ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1.
Dr. Apostolos Karalexis, head of the dermatology clinic at the Naval Hospital in Athens, warned that the majority of people seem unaware of the need to protect themselves against venereal disease, adding that the scientific community and relevant agencies must take action before the situation spirals out of control.
Karalexis said that this was partly due to the fact that the weight of global public awareness campaigns in recent years had fallen on AIDS and HIV. "Apropos World AIDS Day, therefore, it would be good to remember the other sexually transmitted diseases, for which we must also take protective measures," he added.
Among the STD's whose incidence had risen substantially in the last 10 years, experts listed syphilis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HPV, hepatitis, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
A recent epidemiological study on new cases of syphilis at the Andreas Syggros hospital said their number had increased 38 pct between 2003 and 2010, from 116 cases in 2003 to 160 in 2010. Nationwide, another 241 cases were reported, of which 209 were men and 32 were women. Of the infected men, 58.8 pct were homosexuals or bisexuals and the main age group affected were 25-34 year olds for both sexes.
Cases of gonorrhea also increased from 108 in 1990 to 312 in 2010, with the majority of patients being heterosexual males aged 25 to 34 years old.
Genital warts or HPV were still the most frequently transmitted STDs, in spite of the introduction of the vaccine that has led to a reduction in the number of patients in some countries. Records at the Andreas Syggros Hospital and the Naval Hospital in Athens show that the number of patients presenting with HPV doubled between 2006 and 2011. There are currently two vaccines against HPV available in Greece as part of the national immunisation programme since 2008.
New AIDS cases recorded in recent years have shown a mixed pattern, with new cases doubling between 2010 and 2012, from 530 to 1059, and then falling again to 802 in 2014 and 667 in 2015.
The protection measures for preventing infection with STD's were the use of condoms, having a steady sexual partner and the HPV vaccine, Dr. Karalexis said.
 Thermal springs offer great opportunities for tourism developmentThermal springs can offer great opportunities for tourism development in favour of the local communities and the Greek economy, and foreign investors seem to be aware of that, Markos Danas, general secretary of the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs said in statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
Russians, Australians, Chinese, Italians, Germans, and Greeks have expressed their interest in investing in thermal springs, he said adding that "the negligence on the part of the Greek state to measures that do not require any capital expenditure, can be fatal for the industry."
In order not to "miss" once again the enormous opportunity to attract a significant number of the 22 million people that visit annually the thermal springs of Europe, Greece has to speed up the legislative settings on technical specifications and sign the ministerial decision for the distribution of natural wealth, Danas underlined.
 Benaki Museum launches crowdfunding campaign to support photo exhibition tour in U.S.The Benaki Museum is launching its first crowdfunding campaign to support the U.S. tour of its next event, the presentation of the album of German photographer Albert Mayer from the first modern Olympic Games of Athens in 1896.
The exhibition kicks off in New York City in December 2016 with events at both the United Nations and the Consulate General of Greece. The campaign's goal is to raise 100,000 dollars, which will allow the album to continue its 2017 tour in at least four additional U.S. cities, to allow Greeks of the diaspora, photo enthusiasts, Olympic memorabilia collectors and friends of the Benaki Museum to enjoy this unique album.
Meyer was one of the most famous photographers of that period and he traveled to Athens for the Games, becoming the official photographer of the German team. The press announced the making of the album before it had even commenced. The Greek newspaper of Trieste "Imera" (Day) as well as the Athenian "Akropolis" both wrote that the album would turn out to be the keepsake of the Games for the royal courts all over the world, as well as for the members of the Olympic Games Committee.
The 25 rather spartan photographs of the album capture the chronicle of the Games, beginning with the photograph of the International Committee and that of the Greek national benefactor Georgios Averof. The following photographs capture both the athletic rituals and efforts. The runners, the discus throwers, the shot put competitors and gymnastics athletes who project the urban tradition of western European countries in exercises of acrobatic precision, follow the photograph of the Philharmonic Orchestra. The photographs with the rings, the pommel horse and the horizontal bars lead to the one of the Greek emblem of the Games, the Marathon runner, (water carrier by profession) Spyros Louis, who poses for Albert Meyer wearing a national costume after winning the First Marathon.
The photographic archive of Meyer, including his photos from the Olympic Games, was destroyed in 1945, when bombardments flattened Dresden, Germany, hence turning the original photographs into rare and priceless artifacts.
The few copies of the leather album were distributed to the members of the Olympic Games Organizational Committee, amongst which was George Streit, banker and minister of the Greek government of the period. Marinos Yeroulanos, president of the Board of Trustees of the Benaki Museum for many years and grandson of George Streit, donated the album to the Historical Archives of the museum. Since then, this unique album is safeguarded with care as imposed by its rarity, being a unique token to both history and art.
To support the campaign, go to https://www.classy.org/events/detail?eid=87304 or email email@example.com.
 Prosecutor orders investigation into Energa suspect's ankle monitor escapeChief appeals prosecutor Antonis Liogas ordered a preliminary investigation into the circumstances surrounding the removal of an electronic monitoring bracelet by a 43-year-old suspect charged with money laundering in the Energa-Hellas Power scandal.
Prosecutors will have to ascertain if there was any negligence on the part of police officers in locating the woman, or if there were any omissions on the side of the company that provides the electronic monitoring devices, and is the justice ministry's technology provider responsible for the overall operation of the system.
In a press release on Monday, the company supplying the ankle monitors said it complied with all the procedures required by authorities, informing them constantly about the suspect's movements "until it received a signal that the bracelet had been cut".
According to the ongoing case, power companies Energa and Hellas Power withheld 257 million euros from the state by collecting a special property tax levied through electricity bills which they failed to pay to the state.
 U.S. volunteer network 'Orphan Grain Train' ships 3rd batch of aid to northern GreeceA new shipment of humanitarian aid from American NGO "Orphan Grain Train" will arrive at Thessaloniki port on December 14, a social solidarity official from the prefecture of central Macedonia said on Monday, during a council meeting.
The 20-ton shipment includes food, vitamins, books, toys, clothing and items of personal hygiene, which will be distributed at the start of the new year among 30 organized networks that provide help to vulnerable citizens, especially those affected by the economic crisis, Haris Aidonopoulos said. The food items will not be distributed to refugees as catering services are only decided through a tender, he added.
Aidonopoulos said the prefecture will also organize a solidarity concert at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on December 18, with free entrance, where attendants will be asked to contribute food and clothes which will be distributed during the holidays.
This is the "Orphan Grain Train's" third shipment to Thessaloniki. The NGO is a Christian volunteer network that ships donated food, clothing, medical and other needed items to people in 65 different countries including the USA.
 Civil servants' union federation ADEDY calls strike and rally next ThursdayThe civil servants' union federation ADEDY announced a rally in Klafthmonos Square on Thursday at 11:00, on the same day that it has declared a 24-hour general strike.
ADEDY's strike action was decided in response to the negotiations between the government and institutions on labour issues and trade union rights, which it said would lead to new reversals, such as fully lifting restrictions on mass layoffs and further cuts to the minimum wage, as well as extending regimes of flexible hours and non full-time employment.
Among others, ADEDY wants a stop to processes for the assessment of structures and staff, the abolition of laws reducing permanent positions, the abolition of "rented" employees, part-time employment and flexible hours employment and the abolition of laws that reduced pensions, wages and benefits.
 Greek seamen's federation calls 24-hour strike on Nov. 24Greek seamen's federation (PNO) announced a 24-hour, nationwide strike on Nov. 24, to protest against the imminent cuts in main and supplementary pensions. Labour action will start at 00:01 on Thursday.
PNO also sent a letter to the ministries of shipping and labour, urging them to secure the rights of active and retired Greek seamen, by agreeing to 13 issues, among which the signing of new labour agreements in ocean shipping, which is pending since 2010.
Many ferry companies announced changes in their scheduled services dur to the strike and passengers planning to travel should consult with the local tourist offices and port authorities.
 Barba Stathis supports child initiativeBarba Stathis, a subsidiary of Virartia and member of MIG Group, on Monday said it implemented -in cooperation with "Together for the Child"- a program to cover the Union's food needs, as part of its corporate social responsibility actions and on the occassion of a World Food Day.
Barba Stathis created a video highlighting the nutrition benefits of vegetables. The video was projected on youtube and on Barba Stathis' Facebook page, urging users to spread the message of proper nutrition. Barba Stathis will offer 10,000 kg of vegetables for the daily food needs of the children supported by "Together for the Child" union.
"Together for the Child" is a non-profit union working since 1996 for the prosperity of more than 30,000 children annually of which 10,000 on a systematic basis.
Barba Stathis is based in Thessaloniki and is a leader in the Greek market.
 Scattered clouds on TuesdayScattered clouds and winds from variable directions are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy in the afternoon in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 02C to 16C. Mostly fair in the eastern parts with temperatures between 06C and 20C. Scattered clouds over the Aegean islands and Crete, 12C-20C. Scattered clouds in Athens, 09C-19C. Same weather in Thessaloniki, 06C-16C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDIMOKRATIA: Greece at an impasse
ETHNOS: The Fund is promoting a labour jungle
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Pension from 55 to 60 provided that you apply by the end of 2016
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Uniform personnel and lawyers
TA NEA: Programme review is moving slowly
NAFTEMPORIKI: Thorns and deviations at the last moment
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