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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-01-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] IMF praises Greek fiscal effort, sees strong growth
  • [02] Greece's Bakoyannis stresses need for stability, security in Afghanistan
  • [03] Greek military presence in Afghanistan not increasing, spokesman says
  • [04] KKE, Coalition parties comment on NATO meeting
  • [05] FM Bakoyannis to meet OSCE SG on Monday
  • [06] Waste management for Attica discussed by PM, Athens mayor
  • [07] Reaction to Talat spokesman
  • [08] Deputy FM Valinakis participates in 18 EU Affairs Ministers meeting
  • [09] Tzannetakis, Papandreou to attend centennial conference in India
  • [10] Papandreou calls on Socialist Int'l leaders to support campaign against capital punishment
  • [11] DM Evangelos Meimarakis on official visit to Egypt
  • [12] Kassimis, Papandreou attend Cem funeral in Istanbul
  • [13] Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos receives Rodi Kratsa
  • [14] Cyprus' DHSY president speaks in Thessaloniki on Cyprus issue
  • [15] Finmin says reform aiding investment
  • [16] Greece wants shipping debated on global level
  • [17] Discussion on future of Olympic Airlines company
  • [18] Most Lannet phone lines disconnected
  • [19] Hotel occupancy rate at 62.9 pct in Jan-Sept, yr/yr
  • [20] Greek stocks ease slightly on Friday
  • [21] Derivatives Market Close: ATEbank top in stock futures trade
  • [22] Foreign Exchange Rates
  • [23] Greek leadership commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day
  • [24] President Papoulias hosts reception in honor of Armed Forces and Security Corps leadership
  • [25] Ecumenical Patriarchate's 'Ecumenica' sends medical equipment to Sarajevo
  • [26] Greece proposed as theme country at 40th Cairo International Book Exhibition
  • [27] Graduates with fake degrees discovered by Greece's recognition agency
  • [28] Papoulias in Thessaloniki over the weekend
  • [29] Tree planting by Greek-American foundation at Dion site
  • [30] Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis to meet Richard Bottram, inspirer of 'Marathon 365'
  • [31] Thessaloniki police report long waiting lists for new passports
  • [32] Suspect seriously injures woman with acid in face
  • [33] Car with diplomatic plates in Thessaloniki damaged in fire
  • [34] Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud on Saturday
  • [35] The Athens dailies at a glance
  • [36] Cabinet approves definition of sites for exploration of oil deposits
  • [37] FM: New UNSG wants to meet with G/C side to discuss Cyprus problem
  • [38] Cyprus to apply for EMU entry next month, Finance Minister says
  • [39] OSCE SG underlines Cyprus' role in the organisation

  • [01] IMF praises Greek fiscal effort, sees strong growth

    The Greek government has achieved significant progress in its fiscal consolidation effort in the period 2005-2006 although further deficit cuts are needed, primarily to prepare the country for higher social insurance spending in the future due to an ageing population in the country, the International Monetary Fund said in a report on the Greek economy.

    The report recommends that Greece present balanced budgets in the period 2010-2012 and surplus budgets afterwards.

    Greece's growth rate - remaining strong for several years - is expected to remain above the EU average rate, further closing a gap in living standards between Greece and its west European partners. The IMF said the country's GDP grew 4.1 pct in 2006 and predicted a slight slowdown to 3.8 pct this year due to lower demand and noted risks of further slowdown in the coming years.

    The IMF praised a sharp reduction of the fiscal deficit (below 3.0 pct) in 2006 but noted that the Greek economy developed certain vulnerable spots, such as very high credit expansion, persistent inflationary pressure, lower competitiveness and excessive current accounts deficit.

    The report underlined the need to reform the country's pension system. Referring to the Greek banking system, the report said it was generally healthy but recommended that the Bank of Greece be alerted over any over-extended debt burden by Greek households.

    Combating tax evasion, reducing red tape, improving efficiency in public enterprises, expanding privatisation, further deregulating markets and more flexible labour markets were top reform priorities for the government, the IMF said.

    [02] Greece's Bakoyannis stresses need for stability, security in Afghanistan

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)

    Greece's Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Friday said that the international community must succeed in its mission to make Afghanistan stable and secure and that Greece will continue to contribute to efforts for its reconstruction.

    She made the statements in Brussels after taking part in Friday's meeting on the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan by NATO foreign ministers, on the sidelines of which she also met U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Turkish counter-part Abdullah Gul.

    Developments in Kosovo following the recent elections in Serbia were also on the agenda during her talks with Rice - as in the NATO meeting earlier - while they also discussed Greece's possible entry in the U.S. Visa Waiver programme.

    Bakoyannis noted that Greece issued high-security passports and hoped to join the Visa Waiver programme, which would mean that Greek citizens would no longer be obliged to obtain visas in order to visit the United States.

    Speaking after the NATO meeting, the minister stressed that further efforts must be made to help the Afghan people, particularly in the social sector, such as education, health and the fight against drugs.

    She said that Greece will continue contributing to the effort for the reconstruction of Afghanistan in the following way: with a 120-strong engineering battalion, which is already there; with the additional number of Greek officers who already fill various posts on the ISAF staff; extending the stay of a 45-staff hospital unit which is stationed in Kabul airport by six months; contributing 300,000 euros in 2007 to a special UN fund for dealing with drug problems; providing 500,000 euros in economic aid to four programmes for agricultural development, water resource management, education and health; donating 10 to 13 M-60 A3 tanks to Afghan forces.

    Regarding developments in Kosovo, Bakoyannis said that NATO member-states wished to avoid possible problems after UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari submits his proposals regarding the future status of Kosovo.

    With respect to Serbia, the minister said that following Serbia's entry into NATO's Partnership for Peace program, she expected that the EU would follow the same path of cooperation and trust.

    [03] Greek military presence in Afghanistan not increasing, spokesman says

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, replying to questions by the press on statements and assessments on a supposed increase in the number if Greek troops in Afghanistan, said on Friday that Greek military presence in Afghanistan will not increase.

    "As Foreign Minister Mrs. Dora Bakoyannis has clearly stated, the Greek presence in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, by decision of the UN Security Council, remains as it was from the point of view of manpower. Not even one Greek soldier is being added," the spokesman said.

    "Greece's latest contribution to international efforts for stability and the reconstruction of Afghanistan concerns exclusively the following," Koumoutsakos added.

    ü An extension of 3+3 months, 6 in all, for the stay of the medical unit.

    ü A contributrion of 300,000 euros to the UN's special fund to handle the problem of drugs in Afghanistan.

    ü 500,000 euros in four reconstruction and support programs, in cooperation with Hungary, in the following funds:health, training, farm development and water resources management.

    ü The granting in the form of a donation to the Afghan armed forces of 10-13 tanks of the M-60 A3 type.

    [04] KKE, Coalition parties comment on NATO meeting

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party on Friday commented on the NATO alliance's meeting, criticizing Greece's decision to increase its military presence in Afghanistan.

    "The government's agreement on NATO increasing its occupation and war forces in Afghanistan and its decision to strengthen Greek military forces in this framework must meet with the universal outcry of the Greek people. It is a criminal, adventurous and dangerous act," KKE said.

    "The ND government is also exposed towards previous proclamations it has made that it would not increase the Greek troops that the PASOK government sent. The war in which it is participating is not against terrorism, it is a terrorist one and must be judged by the people in this way," it added.

    Lastly, KKE said "the people must demand the immediate and unconditional return of the Greek army from Afghanistan and from wherever else it is found outside the borders. No participation in the imperialist army of war and terrorism against peoples. The anti-imperialist movement must strengthen its struggle and give its own reply."

    The Coalition party's Political Bureau member, Panos Trigazis, commenting on statements by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis after NATO's meeting, said that "unfortunately, the concerns we had expressed over the special session of NATO foreign ministers have been confirmed."

    And this is so because "the Greek government accepted the demands by the Bush administration for greater involvement in the war in Afghanistan, confirming its Atlantic options."

    Trigazis further said "we denounce this policy and we request Greece's immediate and full withdrawal from Afghanistan."

    [05] FM Bakoyannis to meet OSCE SG on Monday

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will receive at noon on Monday Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary General Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, a ministry press release said on Friday.

    The two officials will address reporters after their talks.

    [06] Waste management for Attica discussed by PM, Athens mayor

    In his first official meeting as Athens mayor with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday, Nikitas Kaklamanis raised the issue of integrated waste management for Greece's capital, stressing that it was an issue of urgency.

    After the meeting, Kaklamanis said they had discussed issues that concerned Athens and local authorities in general, such as local authority funding and finances, payment of a tax on beer and an increase in annual subsidies to local government from the state budget from 5% to 7%.

    According to the Athens mayor, Karamanlis had agreed both to his proposals on waste management and on local authority finances, promising to discuss them with the new leadership that emerged after the elections at the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities KEDKE in April.

    Asked if he would try to run for KEDKE's presidency, meanwhile, Kaklamanis said that the issue was premature.

    Regarding Athens, in particular, Kaklamanis said that he had asked that funds be immediately set aside in the budget for continuing the "Help at Home" programme that ends in May, as well as the transfer of funds currently administrated by the environment ministry for the maintenance of drains in Attica to municipal authorities, who take over responsibility for keeping them clear at the start of 2008.

    He also briefed the prime minister on the progress of a double redevelopment project in the region around the stadium of the Athens football club Panathinaikos.

    Answering questions on the city's waste management woes, Kaklamanis said that a decision from Greece's supreme administrative court, the Council of State, was imminent regarding the creation of a new landfill site in Grammatiko, while decisions were still pending regarding planned landfills in Fyli and Keratea.

    Until that time, he added, work would go ahead on a temporary landfill site. The mayor stressed that this was a huge expense but that there was no other choice, while noting that he had asked the premier to lose no more time and begin construction of waste processing plants in the government's next four-year term.

    Gov't on tax evasion, T/C spokesman's quip over 'illegal' military forces

    The government on Friday reiterated that the pervasive and long-standing problem of tax evasion in the country cannot be resolved from one day to another, but that efforts to date have produced tangible results.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros made the statement during his regular press briefing, and in reply to questions citing a handful of measures announced a day earlier by Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, who more-or-less said tax evasion was rampant.

    [07] Reaction to Talat spokesman

    Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Antonaros was also called on to comment on a bizarre statement of a day earlier by a spokesman for Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who maintained that "the Turkish army is the only army deployed on Cyprus legally and in compliance with international agreements."

    The same spokesman said that national guard forces belonging to the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which he called "south Cyprus", "have no legal basis".

    Antonaros merely reminded that the international community is "well-aware of which ranks as the only occupation army on Cyprus based on UN resolutions and every international organization."

    A Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state was illegally declared in 1983 in the roughly one-third of the EU member-state's territory that has been occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

    [08] Deputy FM Valinakis participates in 18 EU Affairs Ministers meeting

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis represented Greece at the meeting of 18 European Affairs Ministers "Friends of the Constitutional Treaty" held in Madrid, Spain, on Friday.

    "The European Constitutional Treaty is very important for Greece because it secures for our country a series of special advantages, such as greater security, protection of external borders, as well as special activities for tourism and the development of insular regions. All these benefits for Greek citizens make us a faithful ally of the idea that we must move ahead," he said.

    The meeting titled "The Friends of the Constitutional Treaty" was attended by 18 European Union member-states who have ratified the "European Constitution" to date for an exchange of views and to coordinate their moves. Assistance for the work of the German Presidency to present proposals and a road map on the future of the Constitutional Treaty in June and the need for emphasis to be placed on the fact that over two-thirds of member-states have ratified the Treaty, encouraging the remaining members of the EU in the same direction, constituted the main aims of the meeting.

    "2007 will be a crucial year. The German Presidency has already started consultations with the EU's member-states to enable us to proceed with the scheduling of a plan for us to exit from the present situation," the deputy foreign minister said, stressing that "Greece was among the first countries to ratify the Constitutional Treaty, sending a message of determination and at the same time of devotion by the overwhelming majority of Greek citizens for the vision and course of European unification."

    [09] Tzannetakis, Papandreou to attend centennial conference in India

    Former prime minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) MP Tzannis Tzannetakis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou will be attending events in India marking the first centennial since the founding the Indian National Congress or Congress Party, which will take place in New Delhi on January 29-30.

    Tzannetakis, who leaves Friday for India and will be representing the Greek government, will convey the efforts of the Greek government and prime minister Costas Karamanlis for closer ties with Indiea in the sectors of politics, the economy, and culture.

    Papandreou, who is also president of Socialist International, will go to India on Saturday at the head of a PASOK delegation. He is expected to meet with Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi, and the Indian foreign minister.

    The Indian National Congress is hosting an International Conference in New Delhi on 29-30th January 2007 on the theme of - Peace, Non-Violence and Empowerment and Gandhian Philosophy in 21st Century reflecting the renewed the commitment of people to building a world that is in peace and harmony with itself.

    Over 300 delegates, including Heads of State/Government, Foreign Ministers, other Ministers, eminent personalities, Nobel laureates, representative delegations from the major political parties from all regions of the world, and leading civil society organizations working for peace and human rights are participating in the conference.

    [ details at ]

    Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, and Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, will address the Conference, according to an announcement by the Indian embassy in Athens.

    The Conference will consider presentations by eminent scholars on subjects such as non-violent approach to Conflict Resolution and Peace building, Gandhian philosophy for poverty eradication, education & people's empowerment, Dialogue among Peoples and Cultures, and progress towards a nuclear weapons-free and non-violent world order.

    11th of September 2006 marked the Centenary of the Satyagraha movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa for the peaceful resistance against discriminatory and unjust laws. It became a powerful mass movement of passive resistance and civil disobedience. Over the years, it achieved major successes, including India's freedom from colonial rule, and civil rights for people suffering from racial discrimination in the US.

    [10] Papandreou calls on Socialist Int'l leaders to support campaign against capital punishment

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, in his capacity as president of the Socialist International (SI), on Friday addressed letters to the leaders of SI's member-parties requesting their active support of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi's initiative to abolish the death penalty world-wide.

    Papandreou said support for the initiative, within the frame-work of the United Nations, aims at achieving a suspension of capital punishment in every country ahead of an eventual global ban.

    "A democratic society must recognize the right to life as the first and foremost human right. This is a fundamental value. The death penalty has no place in democratic societies, regardless of any circumstances. Governments and judicial systems must struggle for justice instead of revenge..." Papandreou stated in his letter, while adding:

    "As long as human justice continues to be fallible, the danger of an innocent individual being executed cannot be eliminated."

    The PASOK and SI leader also reminded that more than half the countries in the world have already, in practice, abolished the death penalty, "but complete elimination remains an unending objective".

    [11] DM Evangelos Meimarakis on official visit to Egypt

    Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis will leave for Egypt on Sunday on an official visit (accompanied by the president of the Parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense Panos Kammenos).

    Meimarakis will meet with his Egyptian counterpart Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, with whom he will be discussing issues concerning defense, technical and military cooperation between the two countries, according to an announcement by the defense ministry.

    In the framework of his visit, the minister will be visiting the Monument of the Fallen Greeks at El Alamein, the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Library and the Greek Language School for the cadres of Egypt's armed forces and will be having contacts with the Greek community in Cairo and Alexandria.

    [12] Kassimis, Papandreou attend Cem funeral in Istanbul


    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis represented the Greek government at a funeral here on Friday for one-time Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem, while main opposition PASOK leader and former foreign minister George Papandreou also attended the ceremony for his former counterpart.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan led the official Turkish government delegation at the funeral.

    "We were close friends. He (Cem) was very mild-mannered, but he had a very dynamic personality. We worked together for peace, for a European Turkey. I would like to pay my last respects to my friend, Ismail, by bringing an olive branch from my garden. I remember that we planted an olive tree together on Samos. This tree of peace has blossomed, with fruits for both nations and the peoples of our two countries," Papandreou told local reporters.

    [13] Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos receives Rodi Kratsa

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos received European Parliament Vice President Rodi Kratsa-Tsangaropoulou on Friday.

    Kratsa requested from the Archbishop, according to an announcement by the archdiocese, the assistance of the Church to enable the completion of the Saint George Cathedral in Beirut.

    The Archbishop congratulated Kratsa on the assumption of her new duties and noted that the Church, through the non-governmental organization "Solidarity", sent 156 tons of humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Lebanon last week and promised that the Church will continue to implement development and humanitarian programs.

    Lastly, the Archbishop also received the president and the members of the society "The child's smile", who briefed him on the work they are accomplishing and the Archbishop, after congratulating them, expressed the hope that their efforts will be continued.

    [14] Cyprus' DHSY president speaks in Thessaloniki on Cyprus issue

    Cyprus' Democratic Rally (DHSY) president Nikos Anastasiades on Friday expressed the wish "for the talks to be able to be prepared so that 2008 to be a decisive year for the Cyprus issue."

    Anastasiades made the statements after meeting Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.

    Anastasiades took a cause from the term "Greek north" to say that "unfortunately in Cyprus when you talk about the north, today some people use the term 'Turkish north'," noting:"And this is maybe dictated and necessitated for Hellenism to review certain stances, to pave a new strategy so that Cyprus to soon be reunited. And as a united state to prosper in the large family of the Europeans."

    Financial News

    [15] Finmin says reform aiding investment

    LONDON (ANA-MPA/A Tsirigotakis)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday that the government's economic reform drive had led to a major rise in investment from abroad.

    "The Greek economy is becoming more dynamic and outward-looking, and friendlier to investment, thanks to a reform program being implemented by the government," Alogoskoufis told a conference in the UK capital arranged by the Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce.

    "The result has been a spectacular increase in foreign investment to 4.0 billion euros in January-November 2006," he noted.

    The aim was to show investors from abroad that Greece could also be used as a springboard for operations in southeastern Europe.

    "Greece is the de facto economic and business centre in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. It has become the local spur to progress and growth in a region of 250 million inhabitants," the minister stated.

    "Greek firms have strengthened their position in the region, becoming larger and more consistent and ambitious," he said.

    Alogoskoufis laid particular emphasis on the government's tax reform drive, which has lowered corporate tax brackets by 10 percentage points to 25% from 35% from 2005 to 2007.

    Another key speaker at the conference on Greece as a strategic partner in the region was Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis, who handles economic diplomacy.

    "Employing economic and energy diplomacy as tools, Greek foreign policy is seeking to make Greece an operational centre for investment in the wider region of southeast European, Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean," Stylianidis reported.

    "We have been working at this with success, which shows in exports and investment in those countries. At the same time, we have managed to make Greece an energy producing and transit centre," he stated.

    The head of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Dimitris Lambadarios, outlined changes in the law and measures introduced by the tourism ministry to improve Greece's tourism product.

    A key aim was to make Greece an all-year travel destination, he said.

    The conference was held under the aegis of the British ambassador in Athens, Simon Gass.

    [16] Greece wants shipping debated on global level

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/P Stangos)

    Greece would like to see environmental protection and safety in shipping debated on a global level and not only within the European Union in order to prevent a flight from the bloc's fleet, of which 60% is Greek, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said on Friday.

    Kefaloyiannis was speaking in the German capital after a meeting with Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee linked to Germany's assumption of the EU's rotating presidency.

    The talks were "in-depth and substantive", and Athens backed most of the German presidency's agenda for the sector, the Greek minister told reporters.

    He stated that Greece was insistent that regulations on double hulls for liquid fuel carriers in the EU and other countries should match, otherwise, the bloc's tighter rules could lead to a flight from European registers to flags of opportunity.

    [17] Discussion on future of Olympic Airlines company

    Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis, speaking in Parliament on Friday on the state of the Olympic Airlines company, following a question tabled by the main opposition PASOK party, said that "Olympic Airlines is in a better position today than what I had received three years ago and we are close to a solution."

    Rejecting data by PASOK that the company's work has diminished, Liapis said that the capacity of the company's flights is presenting an increase, having reached 70 percent (compared to 64-66 percent over the 2003-4 two-year period) and that during ND's governance only three lines were dropped as against 21 during the 2001-3 period.

    "We are creating a new course for Olympic, with sincerity towards the Greek people and the EU and continuously, every day, we are gaining Olympic's lost credibility," the minister said.

    [18] Most Lannet phone lines disconnected

    An Athens court on Friday upheld a move by OTE telecom to cut 85% of telephone lines belonging to Athens-quoted Lannet SA, which leases infrastructure from OTE for its fix-line network.

    OTE, a heavily traded stock on the bourse, disconnected the lines last week following a failure by Lannet to pay a 10 million euro debt incurred by a subsidiary, Telepassport, which it acquired recently.

    Lannet had contested the decision, seeking a restraining order from the court. According to management, OTE's move breached interim court orders in October and November 2006.

    The company has sued OTE chairman Panayiotis Vourloumis and the board of directors for the disconnection, which was linked to an intra-day suspension and resumption of trade in Lannet's stock on the Athens bourse last week.

    [19] Hotel occupancy rate at 62.9 pct in Jan-Sept, yr/yr

    Overnight stays in Greek hotels rose by 2.5 pct in the January-September 2006 period, compared with the same period in 2005, the National Statistical Service announced on Friday.

    NSS, in a report, said guest arrivals were up 2.4 pct over the same period, while occupancy rates in Greek hotels rose slightly to 62.9 percent, up from 62.8 pct, over the same periods, respectively.

    The majority of guests arriving at Greek hotels hailed from EU countries, with Germany and the UK at the top of the list. Overnight stays and arrivals were up also from other European states and North America

    [20] Greek stocks ease slightly on Friday

    Greek stocks ended slightly lower on the last trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index fell 0.24 pct to end at 4,688.67 points with turnover a moderate 386.4 million euros.

    Sector indices ended mixed, with the Financial Services (0.80 pct), Technology (0.66 pct) and Media (0.63 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while the Travel (0.96 pct), Telecoms (0.80 pct) and Insurance (0.65 pct) suffered the heaviest losses.

    The Big Cap eased 0.28 pct, the Mid Cap ended 0.05 pct higher and the Small Cap rose 1.05 pct.

    Texapret (11.11 pct), Parnassos (10.48 pct) and Mohlos (10.0 pct) were top gainers, while Petzetakis (7.75 pct) and Tria Alpha (4.44 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 139 to 119 with another 52 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.65%

    Industrials: +0.22%

    Commercial: +0.23%

    Construction: +0.31%

    Media: +0.63%

    Oil & Gas: +0.20%

    Personal & Household: -0.01%

    Raw Materials: +0.55%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.96%

    Technology: +0.66%

    Telecoms: -0.80%

    Banks: -0.21%

    Food & Beverages: +0.62%

    Health: -0.36%

    Utilities: -0.45%

    Chemicals: +0.42%

    Financial Services: +0.80%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Marfin Popular Bank, OTE, and Eurobank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 25.12

    ATEbank: 4.24

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 21.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 29.70

    Hellenic Petroleum: 11.22

    Emporiki Bank: 23.04

    National Bank of Greece: 39.30

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 30.00

    Intralot: 25.34

    Cosmote: 22.90

    OPAP: 29.76

    OTE: 22.96

    Titan Cement Company: 43.00

    [21] Derivatives Market Close: ATEbank top in stock futures trade

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: -0.28%

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: +0.05%

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): ATEbank (964)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 146.4 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.37 pct

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 4.37 pct yield

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2016 (1.1 bln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.6 bln euros

    [22] Foreign Exchange Rates

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

    U.S. dollar 1.300

    Pound sterling 0.663

    Danish kroner 7.513

    Swedish kroner 9.156

    Japanese yen 157.9

    Swiss franc 1.631

    Norwegian kroner 8.259

    Cyprus pound 0.583

    Canadian dollar 1.537

    Australian dollar 1.681

    General News

    [23] Greek leadership commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day

    "The right to never forget and to educate next generations about the Holocaust is self-evident and non-negotiable. Mobilization toward this direction is undoubtedly a necessary precondition to avoid similar genocides in the future," Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed on Friday in a statement on the occasion of the international Holocaust Memorial Day.

    Bakoyannis pointed out that Greece honors the Holocaust Memorial Day, stressing that the Nazi atrocities that led, among others, to the extermination of one third of the Jewish communities around the world, including many fellow Greek citizens, will always be a historic warning to humanity of the dangers of hatred, racism, fanaticism and prejudice.

    The foreign minister underlined that Greece witnessed the horror of WWII and rejects any intolerance and display of violence directed against people and nations because of their origin or religious beliefs. Such phenomena hinder under-standing between cultures and faiths and do not contribute to the mutual understanding between peoples, most necessary today, she added.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, in a message to the Greek Jewish community, stressed that a special place in our thoughts is reserved for those who survived the Nazi purgatories and for the Greek Jews who were sheltered and rescued by their fellow countrymen.

    Kassimis added that the history of the Nazi occupation of Greece is filled with human tragedies and acts of heroism and self-sacrifice that attest to the centuries-long harmonious co-existence of Christians and Jews in Greece.

    The deputy foreign minister also reminded that the Greek Parliament declared Jan. 27 as a memorial day for the Greek Jews martyrs and heroes of the Holocaust, while a Holocaust Monument has been erected in Thessaloniki.

    On his part, main opposition PASOK party spokesman Petros Efthymiou underlined that "Greece paid dearly in blood during the struggle against Nazism and fascism. A portion of this sacrifice was comprised by our fellow Greek Jewish citizens, who were slain in the torture chambers of the Holocaust, whose savagery will remain forever etched in human memory. This is why we believe the Holocaust must be taught to the next generations, not only for humanity to never again live through similar abominable phenomena but so that younger generations can create conditions for a democratic, tolerant society of solidarity and compassion".

    [24] President Papoulias hosts reception in honor of Armed Forces and Security Corps leadership

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias hosted a reception at the Presidential Mansion on Friday evening in honor of the Armed Forces and Security Corps leadership.

    Present at the reception were Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou, Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis, Deputy National Defense Ministers Vassilis Michaloliakos and Yiannis Lambropoulos, Deputy Environment Minister Anastasios Nerantzis, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, former prime minister Ioannis Grivas, main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) deputy and head of the Foreign and Defense Department of the party's Parliamentary Council Theodoros Pangalos, former ministers, the leadership of the Armed Forces and of the Security Corps, high-ranking officers of the three branches of the Armed Forces and of the Security Corps and many other officials.

    [25] Ecumenical Patriarchate's 'Ecumenica' sends medical equipment to Sarajevo

    SARAJEVO (ANA-MPA/N. Pelpas)

    The non-governmental organization of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, "Ecumenica", on Friday sent modern medical equipment and an ambulance to the Health Centre of eastern Sarajevo, in Bosnia-Herzevogina.

    The Greek foreign ministry, through its program Hellenic Aid, also contributed to the purchase of the material which cost 133,000 euros.

    The delivery of the equipment was made by the director of "Ecumenica", George Varsamis.

    [26] Greece proposed as theme country at 40th Cairo International Book Exhibition

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    Greece received a particularly warm welcome at the 39th Cairo International Book Exhibition, the most important exhibition in the Middle East and the Arab world.

    "As the Frankfurt exhibition is for Europe, the same importance is for the Arab world this exhibition in the Egyptian capital," the director of the National Book Centre, Catherine Velissari, told the ANA-MPA. She expressed her satisfaction over Greece's participation at this world forum of publishers, at which taking part are 23 countries from all over the world. Among them are France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, China and Turkey.

    At the exhibition, which was inaugurated last Tuesday by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Italy is the theme country for this year.

    As stated by Velissari, the exhibition's president, Dr. Nasser Al Ansary, proposed Greece to be the theme country for the next exhibition which will be held next year in the Egyptian capital.

    At the same time, the director of the National Book Centre signed a protocol of cooperation with the president of the Cairo International Book Exhibition, so that Egypt to officially participate in the corresponding exhibition in Thessaloniki, central Macedonia.

    The 39th Cairo International Book Exhibition, in which Greece participates for the first time, ends on February 4.

    [27] Graduates with fake degrees discovered by Greece's recognition agency

    Greek authorities on Friday announced the discovery of some 310 fake foreign degrees, mainly from Eastern Europe, that had been submitted to Greece's degree recognition agency DOATAP for ratification.

    Deputy Education Minister Spiros Taliadouros said that the fraud was uncovered following a change in the organization's checking procedure and that the degrees had originally passed as genuine under the old system.

    Under the new procedure, DOATAP now also cross-checks the validity of degrees with the education ministries in the countries involved, as well as the institution awarding the degree. The new, more stringent checking method was applied to degrees issued from 2004 onward, while checks are continuing for degrees issued in the previous years.

    Most of these fake degrees appear to have been awarded by universities in Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Russia and the majority concerned qualifications in medicine, civil engineering, economics and law.

    The details of those holding the fake qualifications have now been sent to the public prosecutors' office, while the education ministry will also seek further clarifications from the universities that allegedly awarded the degrees.

    Taliadouros also stressed that none of the so-called graduates had been awarded a license to exercise a profession.

    [28] Papoulias in Thessaloniki over the weekend

    President Karolos Papoulias will visit Thessaloniki on Saturday to inaugurate an exhibition of artist Christos Kapralos' sculptures at the Aristotlelian University of Thessaloniki's Teloglion Foundation of Art.

    Papoulias will also watch a performance of "Don Carlos" at the city's Royal Theatre on Saturday evening.

    [29] Tree planting by Greek-American foundation at Dion site

    A joint effort by the "Plant Your Roots in Greece" foundation and the "Friends of Green Thessaloniki" organisation aims to plant trees and improve the landscaping around the Dion archaeological site in northern Greece, part of the foundation's efforts to plant trees at various archaeological sites around the country, foundation officials said in Thessaloniki on Friday.

    "Plant Your Roots in Greece" is a Greek-American non-profit organisation established in 1991 in Washington D.C. It was presented to the Greek-American communities in 1994 at the annual conference of the Hellenic American National Council held in Chicago, and was placed under the auspices of the HANC national council during the devastating fires in Greece that year. Over the last few years it has been very active in promoting its programme within the wider Greek-American community as well as in Greece where the first branch was established in 2004, according to the group.

    Since 1999, the foundation has planted numerous trees at the Vouliagmeni and Sounion sites in Attica prefecture, at the Pythagorean archaeological site on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, at ancient Olympia, Delphi, Kalavryta, Crete, Messinia prefecture, and the island of Samothrace, among others.

    [30] Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis to meet Richard Bottram, inspirer of 'Marathon 365'

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis will receive at the Town Hall at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, Richard Bottram, the inspirer of a particular Marathon, the "Marathon 365", the aim of which is the gathering of money for research against cancer and the immediate support of all those who suffer from this disease.

    Starting from Kotzia Square, Bottram will cross the city of Athens.

    Richard Bottram began from Patras, in the Peloponnese, on January 14 and apart from Athens, he will cross quite a few of the country's cities, departing on February 10 from Igoumenitsa to continue his course to other countries as well. In all, he will cross 14 European countries in 365 days, covering daily 42 kilometres and 195 metres, that is, a daily Marathon.

    The reason for this important effort but also for the creation of the non-profit foundation "Marathon 365-Run against Cancer", was the death of his companion from cancer.

    His vision and that of the foundation's, constitutes a world where cancer will not be a threatening disease.

    [31] Thessaloniki police report long waiting lists for new passports

    Thessaloniki police authorities on Friday said that there were still long waiting lists for the new biometric passports, leading them to replace an appointments system in favor of a numbered queuing system that will kick in from February.

    A police spokesman said that the police passport office in the Thessaloniki area had received 92,000 applications for new passports and that waiting times currently ranged between five and seven days. The service's goal was to reduce this period to three or four days, he added.

    He said waiting times in the last month of 2006 were even greater, since the old passports ceased to be valid with the start of the new year.

    [32] Suspect seriously injures woman with acid in face

    A 27-year-old woman remained hospitalized on Friday with serious burns on her face, including her eyes, after an unidentified suspect who threw acid at her in an attempt to steal her purse late Thursday -- an uncharacteristically vicious an unprecedented attack as far as local purse snatchers are concerned.

    A 23-year-old man who ran to her assistance also suffered lighter burns on his neck.

    The assailant fled the scene atop a motorcycle, whereas police are also examining the likelihood of a revenge attack.

    [33] Car with diplomatic plates in Thessaloniki damaged in fire

    A vehicle with diplomatic plates sustained damages from a fire early Friday morning in central Thessaloniki, with authorities investigating whether the blaze was caused by a firebomb - cars belonging to diplomatic missions are sometimes targeted by self-styled anarchist youths - or whether another cause is responsible.

    [34] Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud on Saturday

    Scattered cloud is forecast in all parts of the country, with northerly winds gradually gaining strength and lowering temperatures from late evening. Temperatures in Athens from 12C to 19C; and in Thessaloniki between 7C and 14C.

    [35] The Athens dailies at a glance

    National economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis' announcements on the campaign against tax evasion, the hiring of 6,000 healthcare staff at the state hospitals, analyses of the 'Revolutionary Struggle' group's proclamation claiming responsibility for the recent rocket attack at the US embassy in Athens, which caused minor material damage but no injuries, the auction at Christie's in London of Greek royal artifacts, and a Greenpeace report on alternative energy sources, were the main front-page items in Friday's dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Hirings by the health, defense, and education ministries, etc.".

    ANO KATO: "6,000 hirings in Health - The ESY (National Health System) will be strengthened, Avramopoulos (health minister) said after meeting with the prime minister".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The ELITE of the tax-evaders - Finance minister George Alogoskoufis reveals the champions of tax evasion".

    AVGHI: "The government without allies on the framework-law and asylum - Unrest in the universities".

    AVRIANI: "310 doctors and engineers with forged degrees uncovered by the DIKATSA (the state authority/agency for the recognition and accreditation of foreign degrees and diplomas) and referred to public prosecutor".

    CHORA: "How the hiring of 6,000 people will take place in the hospitals".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "In an effort to...'fish' allies, the terrorists sent a 'drift-net' proclamation in murky waters".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Hirings in hospitals of 6,000 people announced by health minister after meeting with prime minister".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Vigilance over the tax-looting - Government's national campaign against tax evasion".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "War against the greenhouse effect - Greenpeace report on alternative energy sources".

    ETHNOS: "The truth about the silverware revealed by the Copenhagen courtiers".

    KATHIMERINI: "Hiring of healthcare personnel for the ESY - The opposition describes it as 'pre-electoral announcements' ".

    LOGOS: "National Commission on combating tax evasion".

    NIKI: "Pre-electoral announcements - Last-minute promises for hirings in the ESY".

    PARASKEVI+13 (weekly): "You're boring, that's why you strike - You strike at the Left and at the individual freedoms - P+13 reply to Revolutionary Struggle".

    PARASKINIO (weekly): "Scent of (early general) elections, with confidential document - All the (public sector hiring) examinations 'frozen' suddenly until Easter".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Escalation of struggle for Education and their needs by pupils, students, parents".

    TA NEA: "17 secret targets of the terror-proclamation - What the Counter-Terrorism Squad read".

    TO VIMA: "Greeks professional tax evaders, with the exception of the salary and pension earners".

    VRADYNI: "Hiring of 6,000 healthcare staff in the ESY, beginning in February".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [36] Cabinet approves definition of sites for exploration of oil deposits


    The Council of Ministers in an extraordinary meeting on Friday, defined the sites within its exclusive economic zone where exploration and exploitation of oil deposits can take place.

    Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes told re-porters after the meeting, that ''the Cabinet approved the definition of 13 sites for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone''.

    The Cabinet also approved the opening up of tenders during the first round of submission of applications for the granting of exploration and exploitation licenses as well as the assessment criteria for each application.

    Minster of Trade, Industry and Tourism Antonis Michaelides said that the first phase of offers would begin on February 15th and would expire on July 16, 2007.

    During that time, all interested parties are expected to put forward their bids regarding oil and gas exploration and exploitation in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone.

    Invited to comment on Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali TalatΤs statement that the oil deposits should be jointly administrated with the Turkish Cypriots otherwise difficult situations will arise, the spokesman said that "Talat's threats to create a hot situation are not worthy of any attention or comment".

    He expressed conviction that Talat's "threats will not be taken seriously by any country that would be interested in our invitation for oil or gas exploration or exploitation".

    "The signing of agreements with any country for any issue, is an inalienable right of the Republic of Cyprus and is not subject to the approval of Talat or Ankara", he said.

    Pashiardes urged the Turkish Cypriot leader to contribute to the implementation of the July 8th agreement "rather than making statements of this kind".

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Talat agreed on July 8th 2006, during a meeting in Nicosia in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari, to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day to day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    The Republic of Cyprus entered the EU in 2004. Cyprus is divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [37] FM: New UNSG wants to meet with G/C side to discuss Cyprus problem


    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his wish to meet with the Greek Cypriot side in order to discuss and

    exchange views on the Cyprus issue, said here Friday Foreign Minister George Lillikas, who met Thursday with the UNSG on the sidelines of the International donors Conference for Lebanon, that took place in Paris.

    The Cypriot foreign minister said that Ban Ki-moon expressed regret for his reference on "two countries" in Cyprus and explained to Lillikas that his statement was wrong.

    ''My view, is that we should not attach importance on the statement. The Cypriot government considers it a mistake and it did not attach any other political importance to it", he noted.

    He added that the UNSG "expressed the wish to meet soon, discuss and exchange views on the Cyprus issue. We are of course ready for such a meeting and I hope that soon we will hold a meeting for further discussion".

    Commenting on a remark that the general impression is that the new UNSG is not well aware of the Cyprus issue, Lillikas said that ''we should stop judging the new Secretary General, who assumed his post only three weeks ago, or to seek any confrontation with him".

    "The new UNSG will be informed not only on the Cyprus problem, but on all international problems that concern the UN. It is only natural to give priority to problems that include disputes. My belief is that the Cyprus question will be among his priorities", he concluded.

    The Republic of Cyprus entered the EU in 2004. Cyprus is divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [38] Cyprus to apply for EMU entry next month, Finance Minister says


    Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said here Friday that Cyprus will apply for accession in the Economic Monetary Union (EMU) next month.

    Speaking during a press conference, Sarris said that by next May, Cyprus will mark two years since its accession in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), necessary for a member-state before entering the EMU, while the government will proceed with certain legislation reforms as far as the Central Bank is concerned.

    The Cypriot Council of Ministers decided that Cyprus will enter the Eurozone on February 1 2008.

    ''Based on these data, we hope that we will submit our application in mid February, so that Cyprus will be evaluated by March-April, the necessary recommendations from the competent committees and the Finance Ministers Council (ECOFIN) will be made and the EU Heads of States and Governments will take a decision around July,'' Sarris said.

    The Cypriot Finance Minister also expressed satisfaction over the European Commission's evaluation of Cyprus' convergence programme and the national programme for the Lisbon strategy.

    ''The report confirms the positive course of the Cypriot economy and acknowledges especially the important progress made in the public finances,'' Sarris said, adding that the Commission considers that the predictions for Cyprus as far as the future public debt and fiscal deficit are feasible and achievable.

    Cyprus aims at reducing by 2009 its fiscal deficit to 0,5 per cent of GDP (today stands at 1,5 per cent) and to contain the public debt below 50 per cent from 65 per cent where it stands today.

    These findings are very important because they will constitute the basis for the Commission's evaluation for the application of Cyprus to enter the Eurozone, Sarris added.

    Furthermore, the finance minister stressed that Cyprus is seriously taking into consideration the Commission's recommendations, namely the need for further reforms in the sectors of pensions and medical care, in order to tackle the consequences from the aging population.

    ''The Minister of Labour and Social Securities is processing specific proposals, which he will discuss with all parties concerned with a view to reach a timeframe to tackle these serious problems as soon as possible,'' Sarris said.

    [39] OSCE SG underlines Cyprus' role in the organisation


    Cyprus continues to be a great contributor to the work and future of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the organisation's Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said here Friday after a meeting he had with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    Brichambaut, who is paying an official visit to Cyprus, described his conversation with the President "very good" and said he had the privilege to listen to the president "who explained to me the Cypriot point of view regarding the Cyprus problem and I indicated to him I would always bare in mind the message he left with me."

    "I was very happy to meet the President. It is always a great honour to address one of the heads of state of a participating state of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as this organisation is based on strong shared values. Cyprus has been a founding member since Helsinki in 1975 and continues to be a great contributor to the work and future of the organisation," he added.

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