|Thursday, 20 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-10-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 8 October 2010 Issue No: 3613
 PM: Alert not over, effort continues, but no new measures plannedThe alert is not over, and the effort for the country's salvation is continuing, prime minister George Papandreou said on Thursday, noting that "2011 will be the critical second half of the game", given that "the painful measures have been taken in the first year", but adding that no new measures are planned.
Addressing his ruling PASOK party's parliamentary group, Papandreou said that even if Eurostat revises upwards the Greek fiscal deficit and debt, "we will not alter our targets and it will not be necessary to take additional measures".
The European Commission is slated to finalise the exact level of fiscal deficit and public debt of all EU member states for the period 2006-2009 within the month, according to an announcement Wednesday by a spokesman for EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn.
"We have a patriotic duty for the country to move forward. We are doing away with established mentalities. Through painful measures, we are making a huge, collective effort, regardless of any political cost, to change Greece," the premier stressed.
He accused the preceding New Democracy (ND) government of 'inflating' the real deficit to 15 percentage points of GDP, and spoke of criminal actions of the ND government "whose legacy is hunting us internationally".
Papandreou said that the PASOK government has achieved the first difficult steps with tough sacrifices in order to exit the crisis. "Half the way down this path, ND is telling us to abandon the effort...and let the efforts of the people go to waste," Papandreou said, accusing ND of an "opportunistic policy".
The premier stressed that no new measures will be taken and the government's economic targets will not be impacted, despite an expected upwards revision of the country's deficit.
Papandreou lashed out against ND and its preceding (former prime minister Costas Karamanlis) and current (Antonis Samaras) leaders, and characterised as "political" next month's local government elections.
On the economy, he said that reduction of the deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2014 remains the central goal.
"We are on an impressively good path, but the effort must continue," he said, adding that 2011 will be the final year of the recession and expressing optimism that recovery and growth will come earlier than expected, with 2012 as the year of development.
Papandreou stressed that his government is determined to succeed, and lauded the Greek people for the effort they are making despite the fact that "many Greeks are suffering".
He said that if the government had not occupied itself with the deficit and the debt, everyone would have been swept up by the crisis, beginning with the weaker strata. "What we are doing is our patriotic duty," the premier added.
Beyond the deficit and the debt, the country's biggest problem is a deficit in progressive changes, Papandreou continued, adding that his government is implementing today the biggest ever program of progressive reforms in Greece, and already the "positive signs are multiplying".
The most painful decisions were taken during the government's first year in office, but the alert has not ended and 2011 will be the "critical second half" of the game.
In 2011, which will be a difficult year, the focus will be on the social state, with the first priority being the support of those with the biggest need, and boosting employment, he said.
Papandreou added that the policy followed by his government aims to open up the markets in order that the country's growth will be financed.
Responding to opposition criticism of his pre-election statement that "money exists", Papandreou said that "the money did exist, but it was wasted" in the various scandals such as the Vatopedi Monastery-state land swaps, the structured bonds, excessive spending, and sizeable remunerations for the members of the various committees, etc.
The premier said that his government had been called on to "tackle the risk of the bankruptcy of one of the 25 richest countries in the world, Greece". That risk, he added, was ND's "achievement", while his PASOK government has "done our duty and we did not allow that to happen".
On criticism that he had been aware of the state of the Greek economy before the 2009 general elections, Papandreou noted that since June 2008 he had repeatedly called for early general elections "because I saw how the conditions in the Greek economy were developing", and that he had repeatedly requested of then prime minister Karamanlis to inform the Greek people on the true state of the economy, "but he remained indifferent".
"We knew that the state of the economy was not good, but none of us had expected the extent of the fire that ND lit, nor the intensity of the winds that would be coming from the markets," Papandreou added, pledging that his government "will wage a tough battle and not allow the efforts and sacrifices of the Greek people to go to waste".
 ND leader replies to PM's statementsMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, speaking Thursday in Corinth, in the Peloponnese, where he is on tour, replied to the address by Prime Minister George Papandreou at the ruling PASOK party's Parliamentary Group, who had spoke of "ND crimes in the Greek economy".
"Last year, Mr. Papandreou was telling us that money exists and then he told us that he will give increases to salaries and pensions," the ND leader said, adding that "today, he tells us that ND is again to blame for his mistakes. He was telling lies then and now he is telling lies with one difference. That now all the people have understood him."
Samaras is on a three-day tour of the prefectures of Corinthia, Argolida and Arcadia with the aim of presenting ND's programme on the exit from the crisis and to support his party's candidates in light of the November local government elections.
 Swift opposition reaction to PM's address before Parliamentary groupPrime Minister George Papandreou's address before ruling PASOK party's Parliamentary group on Thursday generated the swift response of the parties of the opposition.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos accused the prime minister of "lying", no less, stressing that "last year, he maintained that there was nary a money problem and that he would give (pay) raises above the inflation rate, but in the end, he proceeded with cut salaries and pensions ... Now, the prime minister maintains that ND is responsible for everything," Panagiotopoulos said.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) underlined that "the people should take under serious consideration the confession made by the PM that voting for the candidates of PASOK in the upcoming local government elections means that its policies enjoy popular approval."
A KKE statement underlined that if people vote for PASOK's candidates "in essence, they will give (the government) the go ahead to proceed with the adoption of new tough measures to be implemented after the November local government elections."
Coalition of the Left (SYN) spokesman Panos Skourletis stressed that the PM "tried unsuccessfully to convince that the policies of his government are not 'Siamese' with those of ND."
 FM receives AKP official, Erdogan adviser; separate meeting with Cypriot envoyForeign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Thursday launched a series of contacts with ambassadors accredited to Greece, first meeting with Republic of Cyprus ambassador Joseph Joseph.
Both sides reaffirmed the continuous and close cooperation shared by Greece and Cyprus, as well as, the continuous and excellent cooperation between the Cypriot embassy in Athens and the foreign ministry. The meeting focused on developments in the Cyprus issue and other matters of mutual interest.
Later in the afternoon, the Greek FM met with the deputy chairman of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Omer Celik, as well as with Ibrahim Kalin, the international affairs counselor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On Friday, Droutsas will separately receive the new ambassadors of the United States, Japan and Germany, while on Monday he will meet with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak.
On Tuesday Droutsas will focus on Greek activities organised to take place within the framework of the European Anti-trafficking Day, while on Thursday he will participate in a joint NATO extraordinary meeting of foreign and defense ministers.
Meanwhile, Deputy FM Spyros Kouvelis met on Thursday with Union of Greek Shipowners President Theodoros Veniamis and later in the afternoon was set to participate in a forum at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) on the subject of "Major trends in the Geopolitical Dynamics of the 21st century", together with former Italian prime minister and former European Commission president Romano Prodi and journalist Jean-Marie Colombani.
On Tuesday, Kouvelis will participate in a discussion on "biodiversity and Mediterranean" hosted by the French embassy.
Finally, Dep. FM Dimitris Dollis and Minister of State Haris Pamboukis will visit Israel next week as a follow up to the Israeli prime minister's visit to Athens over the summer.
 Turkish PM in Athens on October 22 for climate change meetingTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to visit Athens on October 22 in order to take part in an international conference on climate change in the Mediterranean, the Greek foreign ministry said on Thursday. The event is called the Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative and will take place in the Astir Palace seaside resort of Vouliagmeni in Attica.
Foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras was unable to confirm whether Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will visit Athens before or after Erdogan while noting that an agreement for a visit by Davutoglu in October had been agreed in New York.
With regard to relations with Turkey in general, Delavekouras repeated Athens' position in favour of enhancing and deepening bilateral relations and said that similar positions were expressed by the other side but had to be backed up by appropriate actions.
"Up until now, some of Turkey's actions are contrary to the practices ordained by international law and the code of good neighbour relations," he added.
The spokesman said that the visit by Davutoglu was taking place as a follow-up to the high-level Cooperation Council between Greece and Turkey in May, in order to plan the next steps and advance the process of exploratory contacts.
He noted that the 47th round of Greek-Turkish exploratory talks was taking place in Bodrum on Friday but refused to discuss the details, noting that the talks were confidential and concerned delineation of the Aegean continental shelf.
 Parliament passes environment ministry bill on ratifying forest mapsAn environment ministry draft bill for a 'Green Fund' and the financing of environmental projects, including the controversial article 24 concerning the ratification of forest boundaries, was passed by Parliament on Thursday during the vote on the individual articles.
Of the 246 MPs that cast their vote, 148 ruling PASOK MPs voted in favour and 98 opposition MPs voted against.
Article 24 suspends the issue and revision of construction permits in settlements within the boundaries of land classified as forest for a period of two years, with the option of extending the ban for one additional year. Also suspended are processes for presenting objections to building permits.
Where objections to extending the town plan have been raised, local authorities will undertake to collect all the facts and forward them to the local forestry authority and via the the General Directorate for the Development and Protection of Forests and the Natural Environment, these will be sent to the Special Secretariat for Forests at the environment ministry.
If it is shown that the forest map has been altered with administrative acts that have not been cancelled or revoked, it will then be possible for the town plan to be extended in the specific area by decision of the environment ministry, in whole or in part, and the ratification process is brought to a conclusion.
Replying to criticism of the specific article, Environment Minister Tina Birbili admitted that it was "bureaucratic and seemed abstruse" but stressed that an effort was being made to give a final solution to a long-standing problem enlarged by the state's failure to take action.
The minister explained that there were currently areas in Greece that were defined both as forest and as residential because town plans had later been cancelled by courts or had not been approved because they were incorrect or unlawful.
She said the proposed solution sought to take into account both the dictates of the Constitution and the principle of justified confidence in the legal process by differentiating between changes to the nature of land use based on valid administrative acts and those that were invalid.
The minister clarified that residential settlements in the former case had a legal basis and would be allowed and extended, while in the latter the option would not exist because there was no such legality.
She stressed that without article 24, the ratification of forest maps would be confined only to the most obvious cases and the problems would simply be perpetuated or made worse.
The measures were criticised by main opposition New Democracy, which noted that thousands of small-scale owners would suddenly find that their homes were illegal and accused the government of seeking additional ways to impose new fines on owners.
 Transport Minister briefs US envoy on investment opportunitiesÔransport, Infrastructures and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas briefed new US ambassador to Greece Daniel Bennett-Smith on the investment opportunities in Greece, during a meeting on Thursday.
Reppas also noted that the government offers to the country political stability and credibility with the necessary reforms and structural changes it is making which, he added, guarantee Greece's exit from the crisis.
Bennett-Smith, in turn, said that the US government, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, are following with great interest Greece's efforts and believe that positive results will arise in the near future.
 Citizen's Protection minister meets U.S. Deputy Homeland Security secretaryBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
Citizen's Protjection Minister Christos Papoutsis met on Thursday with U.S. Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Jane Holl Lute, on the sidelines of the EU Justice and Internal Affairs Council in Luxembourg.
An exchange of views took place during the meeting on the handling of composite challenges resulting from the increasing intensity of illegal immigration.
The two ministers agreed on the need for strengthening cooperation between the U.S. and the European Union and the member-states, to jointly guarantee the security of their citizens.
In his intervention at the Council, Papoutsis stressed the need for coordinated actions by member-states to handle the increase in the immigration flows that Greece is receiving.
Papoutsis added that the phenomenon is not local, it is clearly European and pointed out that Greece is making every effort but needs the support of the European Commission and of the member-states.
 FM spokesman on FYROMIn order for FYROM's Euroatlantic course to proceed, there must be a solution to the name issue, Greek foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said on Thursday, noting relevant unanimous decisions of the EU and NATO, in reply to press questions on the prospect of FYROM accession to NATO under its interim name.
During a regular press briefing, Delavekouras said that there is no other alternative solution, and categorically denied press reports that replacement of Greece's chief negotiator in the UN-brokered name talks, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, is planned.
"There is no such thought, and those who make such statements are committing a diplomatic faux pas. They should, instead, focus on the negotiation process," Delavekouras said, adding that Greece desires a solution to the problem that will unblock the neighboring country's European orientation.
On Syria's recognition of FYROM with its constitutional name, Delavekouras said that such an action was not consistent with either the UN Security Council resolutions or the good relations between Greece and Syria.
He said that Syria's ambassador to Greece was called to the foreign ministry earlier Thursday by the ministry secretary general to clarify his country's position.
The spokesman stressed that Greece will continue the deliberations until there is a clear-cut position, in accordance with the Security Council resolutions.
He warned against disorientation of the discussion. "Our attention must remain focused on the solution, and we must not seek other 'outlets'. In other words, FYROM must manifest a constructive stance" in the UN-brokered negotiation process," Delavekouras said.
He further said that Athens' constructive stance has shown to the FYROM society that Greece is a friend that wants to become a NATO ally and EU partner, and also that Greece holds a positive stance. "It is the decisions of the FYROM leadership that are keeping the neighboring people from fulfilling their European prospect," Delavekouras added.
 FM spokesman on KosovoGreece's position on the status of Kosovo is well-known, and it is hoped that the effort currently underway for the commencement of a political process, following the International Court of Justice's (Hague) ruling and the UN General Assembly resolution, will serve as the proper basis that will facilitate a consensus solution, foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said on Thursday during a regular press briefing, in reply to a question on the prospect of Greece recognising Kosovo independence.
He added that Greece has stressed from the beginning the need to for consensus, diplomatic solutions as the only way for the Balkans, and noted that immediately after the Hague ruling, foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas visited Belgrade and Pristina.
Greece, the spokesman stressed, maintains open channels of communication with all the players in the region.
 Health minister repeats determination to resign if he fails to clean up national health systemHealth Minister Andreas Loverdos on Thursday stressed his determination to clean up the health sector, repeating that he had made up his mind to resign as minister if he was unable to do what was necessary. The minister was speaking during an interview with Flash radio station and had made a similar statement to that effect when briefing a Parliament committe the day before.
"If this beats me, what is the point in going around as minister? I will do what has been happening for decades, in other words nothing and then blame it on my bad luck or say I was wronged and other such rubbish. We either do what we must or we have no reason to exist," he said.
Loverdos said that he would be making decisions in December about which hospital managements were doing their job and which were not and make changes accordingly. He also cited examples where labyrinthine bureaucracy was costing lives, such as the nine-month waiting list for an examination for cancer patients at an Athens hospital that could be cut down to three months if it had a ministry licence.
He said the ministry hoped to solve many current problems by installing IT systems that would eliminate current delays.
 Deputy culture minister at EU ministers' council on audiovisual mediaDeputy Culture and Tourism Minister George Nikitiadis on Thursday participated in an informal meeting of EU ministers for cultural issues and audiovisual media held in Brussels.
In his address to the meeting, which focused on the funding of small and medium-sized enterprises in the arts and entertainment fields, Nikitiadis raised questions about the quality standards for cultural products that qualified for funding, asking to what extent soap-operas could be justifiably financed as culture.
He also stressed that research and innovation were currently one of the top priorities of the European Union and that it was important for EU countries to work together in order to consolidate the position of cultural and creative production in order to contribute to achieving the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.
 Education minister meets Romano ProdiEducation Minister Anna Diamantopoulou met on Thursday with former EU Commission president and former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi.
The minister said after the meeting that she briefed Prodi on "the big reforms that are taking place in our country and particularly in the sector of education".
 Romano Prodi addresses Athens eventFormer Italian prime minister and former EU Commission president Romano Prodi described the rapid and substantive changes in our present-day world, at an event held at the Concert Hall (Megaron) on Thursday night and attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis and former prime minister Costas Simitis.
Replying to questions put to him by French journalist Jean-Marie Colombani, Prodi stressed the "positive surprise created by the Chinese support of Greek state bonds," while referring to the history of repeated changes in our world, noting that "if the 19th century was the century of Europe, the 20th was the century of the United States and the 21st appears to be of Asia."
See the picture," he said, adding that "in the fifties the U.S. had 50 percent of the international GDP and now they have 25 percent. Two centuries ago, China had 30 percent of the international GDP and Japan 15 percent, while over the 1999-2004 period in Asia, 150 million people exited from absolute poverty - because China began to develop."
 KKE leader addresses meeting of Attica regional governor and mayoral candidatesCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing a meeting of regional governor and mayoral candidates in the Attica basin on Thursday, said that "the decrease in forces of (ruling) PASOK and (main opposition) New Democracy, their defeat in the November elections is necessary, but what is of greater importance is the release of the masses with political and class criteria, so that we can then be led to a reversal of correlations."
Papariga anlysed at length the political significance of this election, stressing that preconditions "are being created for the disguising of the political system," adding that with Attica as the focus, "plans are being prepared that aim at trapping the people in new formations" and referred to candidates who are appearing as independents but are not.
 Kaklamanis-Alavanos meetingThe problem of illegal street trade dominated Thursday's meeting between Vassilis Kikilias, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party's candidate for the Attiki regional governor's post, and Athens Commerce and Industry Chamber (ACCI) President Constantinos Mihalos.
They also discussed the need for infrastructure projects in the greater Athens region and the creation of an industrial zone in the prefecture of Attiki (the greater Athens area).
Meanwhile, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Thursday met with leftist leader Alekos Alavanos, who is also candidate in the Attica regional governor's race. The meeting took place at the Athens City Hall following a request by Alavanos, with talks touching on the city's historic centre and immigration policy.
Kaklamanis briefed Alavanos on initiatives the municipality has undertaken, particularly in the area of social welfare and services, and "without any assistance from the state", as he charged. Kaklamanis, an incumbent in the November election, said that although the central government was exclusively responsible for immigration policy, the municipality nevertheless covers basic food, clothing and medical needs of migrants.
 Military exercise 'Parmenion 2010' ends Fri.The military exercise "Parmenion 2010", including all three branches of the Greek armed forces, will be completed on Friday.
Greek military leadership on Thursday viewed artillery and armour manoeuvres at a shooting range near Alexandroupolis in the extreme northeast of the country, which included operations by a para-trooper battalion and mechanised units.
On Wednesday, the defence ministry's leadership observed naval manoeuvres near the island of Hydra.
 IMF: Greece on right track, fiscal revision 'unfortunate development'WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Thursday said an upward revision of Greece's fiscal deficit by Eurostat was an "unfortunate" development, although he stressed that Greece did not need to do something different at present.
"Of course, it would be better to have had the correct information earlier, but as I have said several times in the past, the Greek government was implementing a programme in a way that we and the European Union consider as very bold. The things they do move fully towards the right direction. In many cases they perform better than expected although several things still remain to be done," Strauss-Kahn told reporters during a news conference in Washington ahead of the annual IMF and World Bank annual meetings.
"At this point I would not consult the Greek government to change something," he said, adding that
"We must know exactly how big the revision will be, how much it will affect 2010. It might not be big, it might have a limited impact, maybe not. We will see. Only then we will be in a position to know if it will affect the program we have designed, but today the Greek government is clearly on the right track and that what I would like to underline".
 SEB defends necessity of memorandumThe head of Greece's largest employers' union on Thursday defended the necessity of a memorandum signed with the EU and the IMF and said that all those adopting a rhetoric criticism against it acknowledged as necessary the changes it was envisaging.
Addressing a general council meeting of the Association of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB), Dimitris Daskalopoulos stressed there was money in the economy as long as the government effectively combated tax evasion and supported business activity.
Daskalopoulos stressed that vested interests -from political parties, trade unions, economic and media sectors- were giving a fierce battle to support inactivity by saying there were fighting for the people, creating a climate of confusion that was servicing their own interests.
He noted, however, that the memorandum was not a Bible written on granite, but a dynamic business plan needed revision on its every step mainly over measures covering fiscal interventions. Daskalopoulos acknowledged that weaker classes have reached their limits and that the private economy continued weakening.
Commenting on a government project to restructuring local authorities, through a plan named "Kallikratis", Daskalopoulos said there was the risk of creating a new layer of public bureaucracy, with a huge cost, if it was not properly implemented.
 ADEDY strike disrupts public-sector services, flightsSchool teachers, doctors, air-traffic controllers, tax and customs officials and staff in state enterprises, local authorities and social insurance funds were among those that participated in a 24-hour nationwide strike held on Thursday by the civil servants' union federation ADEDY.
Public-sector services were at a virtual standstill and airline flights were disrupted or cancelled, while problems also occurred at state hospitals operating with skeleton staff.
ADEDY called the strike in order to demand reversal of the EU-IMF Memorandum and its policies, which included pay cuts for public-sector staff and changes in the pension system.
There was also heavy traffic going into the centre of Athens after 11:00 a.m. due to the strike rally organised by ADEDY in the city centre, with protestors gathering at Klafthmonos Square and marching to Parliament. Athens public transport staff did not participate in the strike, with all transport services running normally.
 Australian tourism to Greece up 15 pct in Jan-JulyMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)
Defying forecasts, tourism from Australia to Greece marked an impressive rise in the first seven months (January-July) of the year, according to Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) Australia director Christina Kalogera, citing data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
More specifically, the number of Australian visitors to Greece in the first seven months of 201 rose by 15 percent against the corresponding period last year, she said, noting that a total of 600,000 Australians visited foreign destinations in August.
Kalogera also said that, according to forecasts, Australian passenger movement to Europe will increase by 4 percent in 2011, "which also means an increase towards Greece, too".
Greece, she continued, "offers many kinds of tourism year-round and for everyone".
Kalogera attributed the rise in travelers to Greece to the high parity of the Australian currency and the availability of airline seats and affordable ticket prices, given the heavy competition in recent years among the various airlines that carry out Australia-Greece itineraries. She also noted the large Greek community in Australia.
 Opposition parties on electricity ratesMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party Energy and Natural Resources sector chief Mihalis Yiannakis, commenting on the decision on the restructuring of Public Power Corporation (DEH) rates, spoke of even greater pressure on the already reduced incomes of consumers, adding that the upcoming increases in electric power are a "punch in the stomach" for the suffering family income and sink the economy into even greater recession.
The Coalition party (SYN) also criticised the increases in DEH rates, stressing that it is a policy that exhausts the poorer households and places a mine in the foundations of growth and added that "at least the government should have kept rates frozen as it had promised before the elections."
 Greek inflation up to 5.6pct in Sept.Greek annual inflation rate rose to 5.6 pct in September from 5.5 pct in August, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.)said on Thursday.
The statistics agency attributed the increase in the consumer price index to higher prices in almost all goods and services markets, reflecting higher VAT and special fuel consumption tax. The September figure was the highest since August 1997.
The consumer price index was up 0.7 pct in September 2009 compared with the same month in 2008, while the September figure was 1.9 pct higher from August 2010.
The statistics agency attributed the 5.6 pct annual increase in the inflation rate to: a 2.1 pct increase in food and beverage prices, a 17.7 pct jump in alcohol and tobacco, a 2.4 pct rise in clothing and footwear, an 8.0 pct increase in housing prices and 1.6 pct rise in durable goods, a 0.8 pct increase in healthcare prices, a 17.7 pct jump in transport, a 3.0 pct rise in communications, an 1.1 pct rise in entertainment, a 0.2 pct rise in education and a 3.2 pct increase in hotel-coffee-restaurant prices.
Greece's harmonized inflation rate rose to 5.7 pct in September, from 5.6 pct in August, while it was up 1.9 pct in September from August 2010.
 Foreign investors raise participation in ASE's capitalisationForeign investors raised their participation at the Athens Stock Exchange's capitalisation in September to 49.8 pct, slightly from 49.3 pct in August, official figures showed on Thursday.
Foreign investors accounted for 47.3 pct of total value of transactions in the Greek market, while foreign investors also recorded a net capital outflow of 125.1 million euros in the month.
Greek private investors recorded a net capital inflow of 94.2 million euros and Greek institutional investors a net inflow of 1.5 million euros in September.
The value of transactions totaled 2.406 billion euros in September, up 40 pct from August (1.719 billion euros), but down 56 pct compared with September 2009 (5.562 billion euros). The number of active member codes jumped to 68,786 in September, from 41,616 in August, with 3,460 new member codes registered in the month.
The Greek market's capitalisation totaled 55.9 billion euros at the end of September, down 8.0 pct from August and 43.5 pct off compared with September 2009.
 Stocks end flat on Thurs.Stocks ended flat at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, after a three-day rally of prices. The composite index of the market rose 0.08 pct to end at 1,553.76 points, with turnover at 112.474 million euros. National Bank's shares rose 1.39 pct to 8.0 euros, while Eurobank (3.2 pct), PPC (3.4 pct) were among top gainers in the blue chip index and Hellenic Bottling (2.86 pct), ATEbank (2.08 pct) and Mytilineos (2.08 pct) were among top losers.
The Big Cap index rose 0.34 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.03 pct higher and the Small Cap index fell 0.17 pct. Utilities (2.65 pct) and Chemicals (0.93 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Food (2.73 pct) and Commerce (1.78 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 82 to70 with another 54 issues unchanged. Maillis (14.29 pct), Mohlos (10 pct) and Unibios (10 pct) were top gainers, while HOL (10 pct), Medicon (10 pct) and Koumbas (9.09 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.30%
Personal & Household: +1.75%
Raw Materials: -1.44%
Travel & Leisure: -0.47%
Food & Beverages: -2.73%
Financial Services: -0.48%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Coca Cola, Bank of Cyprus and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 5.29
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.16
HBC Coca Cola: 18.70
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.80
National Bank of Greece: 8.00
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.16
Bank of Piraeus: 4.03
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 9.82 pct. Turnover in the market totaled 130 million euros, of which 89 million were buy orders and the remaining 41 million were sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 56 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month rate was 1.47 pct, the six-month rate 1.20 pct, the three-month rate 0.97 pct and the one-month rate 0.74 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.15 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover at 43.165 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,306 contracts worth 35.032 million euros, with 28,936 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,618 contracts worth 8.133 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,900), followed by Eurobank (1,315), OTE (1,153), PPC (468), Piraeus Bank (946), Alpha Bank (1,547), Cyprus Bank (498) and Mytilineos (388).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.408
Pound sterling 0.881
Danish kroner 7.515
Swedish kroner 9.395
Japanese yen 116.02
Swiss franc 1.352
Norwegian kroner 8.147
Canadian dollar 1.423
Australian dollar 1.424
 Alexandros Tombazis, artist, writer and eco-architecture pioneerIt has been said that architecture without Alexandros Tombazis would be like poetry without Yiannis Ritsos, although the vibrant octogenarian architect, artist, writer, photographer and pioneer in low energy and bioclimatic design, with his trademark modesty, brushes this off with a shrug and a simple "that's not so".
The recipient of more than 110 awards in Greek and international competitions, Tombazis is the designer of many public and private buildings, hospitals, museums, parks, hotels residences and places of worship in Greece and abroad.
From the ongoing revamping of the Pedion tou Areos Park in downtown Athens to the Museum of Vergina central building, to the recent (Roman Catholic) Church of the Most Holy Trinity in the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal, Tombazis' inspired and pioneering design has left its mark on modern European sculpture.
The fourth largest church in the world, the decoration of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, is inspired by Byzantine and Orthodox art, indicative of Tombazis' unique talent for combining the old with the new.
Tombazis is also a prolific writer, artist and photographer, and continues to travel around the world, putting down his impressions in his paintings, sketches and photographs.
His new book, "Ecological Thought and Architecture", which will circulate in November by Melissa publications, is addressed to the wider public and aims to acquaint the public with bioclimatic architecture, while the renovated Pedion tou Areos Park is also slated to reopen in November complete with 90,000 new plants and trees, two renovated theaters and a new skateboard park.
 Culture minister to inaugurate Arta Archaeological Museum exhibitionCulture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos is to inaugurate the permanent exhibition of antiquities found during excavation of ancient Amvrakia (present-day Arta) at the Arta Archaeological Museum on Friday afternoon.
The Arta Archaeological Museum is housed in a new building erected for the purpose that is near the historic bridge of Arta.
 Suspects in 'Revolutionary Struggle' case refuse to answer to new chargesTwo of the defendants in the "Revolutionary Struggle" urban guerrilla case, Panagiota Roupa and Konstantinos Gournas, on Thursday refused to provide supplementary testimony on new felony charges filed against them by the appointed court of appeals prosecutors.
The two refused to testify following the example of self-confessed ringleader Nikos Maziotis on Wednesday. Another of the defendants, Christoforos Kortessis was summoned to testify on Oct. 20.
The summons for supplementary testimonies addressed to the six suspects in the "Revolutionary Struggle" case, who are currently in custody pending trial, were based on new evidence gathered by police following investigation in organization hideouts.
Sarantos Nikitopoulos and Evangelos Stathopoulos, who were also summoned to testify on Wednesday, will appear before an examining judge on Oct. 20.
 88-year-old man's murder solvedPolice on Thursday announced that they have solved the murder of an 88-year-old man who was found dead in his residence in Vassilada, Messinia prefecture the previous day.
According to Messinia police, the perpetrators of the crime are two siblings from Albania aged 31 and 20, who were illegally residing in the country.
The two suspects, who confessed to the crime during questioning, said that they knew the victim and had worked in the past doing farming jobs for him. The two foreign nationals said that they had wanted to rob the elderly man and thus set up an ambush near his house, tied him up and sealed his mouth with plastic tape.
Afterwards they searched his house and took 300 euros and fled, abandoning the victim in his house, where he was found dead.
The coroner's autopsy revealed that the victim died from suffocation. The two suspects will be taken before a Kalamata prosecutor on charges of murder and robbery.
 European Day against Human Trafficking eventsOpen discussions, screenings of television and film productions, public awareness campaigns aired on TV and radio stations and student happenings will be among the foreign ministry events organized on the occasion of the European Day against Human Trafficking.
On Monday, Oct. 11, Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas will inaugurate the Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (founded by the "Child's Smile" organization), while on Tuesday, Oct. 12 he will open an event during which the Greek action plan against trafficking in persons will be unveiled.
 One dead, two injured in assaultsA 37-year-old man died and two people were seriously injured in three assaults during the night in Attica.
In the first case, three unknown individuals attempted to grab from the 37-year-old man, a Pakistani national, his mobile phone but he resisted and the muggers stabbed him in the back and fled. The incident occurred in Kypseli, downtown Athens. The victim was rushed to hospital where he died early Thursday.
In a separate incident, which took place one and a half hours after midnight at Aharnes, district of Athens, two persons stormed into a grillhouse, fired shots in the air and injured an employee in the back. The robbers took an unknown amount of money. The wounded man was hospitalized and police have launched a manhunt.
Two hours later in Patissia, downtown Athens, unknown individuals stabbed in the back a Bangladeshi and took his cash. The victim was taken to hospital.
 US embassy to remain closed on Monday in observance of Columbus DayThe US embassy in Athens, including the Consular section, the US consulate general in Thessaloniki, and all US government offices in Greece will be closed on Monday, October 11, in observance of Columbus Day, a US national holiday, an embassy announcement said on Thursday.
 Rainy on FridayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 23C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 13C to 18C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 10C to 13C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe economy, the Memorandum, and tax issues dominated the front pages of Athens' newspaper headlines on Thursday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "They discontinued the pensions of 1,000 'unmarried daughters', another 20,000 being investigated".
APOGEVMATINI: "End to the lies - Antonis Samaras (main opposition New Democracy leader), in Lamia visit, called on voters to condemn the government policy in the upcoming local administration elections".
AVGHI: "Piranhas and Memorandum stripping the hospitals".
AVRIANI: "Papandreou knew first hand about the size of the deficit since January 2009".
ELEFTHEROS: "New tax trap by Finance ministry with receipts - Cold sweat for two million taxpayers".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Presumed income proofs involving main home, holiday homes, cars - Secret provision to be effective as of this year".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The 45 traps of the tax system - Everything you need to be cautious of with the Tax Bureau".
ESTIA: "Pogrom against businesses - The Chinese are coming, the Greeks are leaving".
ETHNOS: "The changes to the presumed income proofs, taxes, receipts - Detailed guide for 2011 taxation".
IMERISSIA: "Presumed income proofs/traps for real estate, cars".
KATHIMERINI: "Eurostat 'operation' in Athens to clear up the Greek statistics - Worry over the effects of the revision (of the 2009 debt and deficit)".
LOGOS: "The argument continues full swing - The deficit on the rise".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "The revision of the economic data will bring new Memorandum".
NIKI: "Settle your debts with 350 euros per month - Explosive proposal serves faits accomplis to banks".
PONTIKI (weekly): "Unemployed to reach one million by end 2011".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Aleka Papariga (Communist Party of Greece leader): Anti-monopoly vote in the upcoming elections".
TA NEA: "The 2010 taxes - The secrets and the traps".
TO VIMA: "What we will pay - Taxes, receipts".
VRADYNI: "Lost in the receipts - All the changes to taxation in 2011".
 Medvedev reaffirms Russia's position on CyprusNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Visiting President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev has reaffirmed that his country's position on the Cyprus problem remains unchanged and that it supports a solution without outside pressure.
Speaking at a joint press conference on Thursday with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, President Medvedev said the aim was for Cyprus to remain a united state with a single sovereignty and a single international personality.
President Medvedev, who is the first Russian President to visit Cyprus, noted that the peoples of Russia and Cyprus are linked by history and true friendship, and expressed hope that his visit would contribute to strengthening ties between the two countries.
President Christofias pointed out that the support of the Russian Federation, one of the permanent members of the Security Council, is invaluable, and thanked President Medvedev for the principled position of the Russian Federation on the Cyprus problem, which is founded on the respect of international law, the UN Charter and the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
He added that with President Medvedev he had the opportunity to discuss the main aspects of their cooperation and to set plans for the future.
In his opening remarks at the press conference, President Medvedev, who was speaking through an interpreter, said his visit was a milestone in the relations of the two countries, because it marked 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cyprus and Russia, and because it was the first official visit of a Russian President to the island.
''We did much today and I hope we will continue at this good rate. We already have a large result, this large package of bilateral documents that have just been signed. Among them are great bilateral documents, such as the Joint Action Plan for three years, which describes almost all directions of cooperation between Russia and Cyprus. There are many documents, such as the Joint Declaration of the Presidents of Russia and Cyprus to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the allied victory, which signify and symbolise the common positions of the two countries regarding international issues,'' he said.
He added that the Russian citizens love Cyprus and visit it, not only for tourism but for business activities, ''because Cyprus offers such potential.''
''Today many financial documents were signed, such as the protocol that amends our agreement for avoiding double taxation, and it is an important document for our economic relations,'' he said.
He added that the volume of bilateral exchanges was growing and with President Christofias ''we discussed the potential of expanding business transactions.''
''Our cooperation in the financial sector is growing dynamically,'' he said, adding that proof was the presence of ''so many representatives of Russian companies.''
President Medvedev noted that he would be participating along with President Christofias in another important event, the inauguration of the new branch of the largest bank in Russia, which would facilitate not only bilateral transactions but natural persons, the Cypriot citizens.
''Of course, we also discussed international issues, such as regional problems and international challenges, especially the Cyprus problem,'' he added.
President Medvedev noted that he assured President Christofias that ''the position of Russia on the Cyprus problem remains unchanged and we are in favour of a solution without outside pressure,'' adding that ''the aim is a united state with a single sovereignty and a single international identity.''
He added that the people of Russia and Cyprus are linked by history and true friendship, spiritual unity and a mutual interest, and expressed hope that his visit ''will contribute to developing the friendly relations between our countries.''
President Christofias welcomed the Russian President with ''feelings of great sentiment, appreciation and honest friendship.''
''Your historic visit to our island seals 50 years of excellent relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation and constitutes an important milestone, which will hereafter determine the course of the relations between our two countries,'' he said.
He added that they had the opportunity ''to discuss the main aspects of our cooperation and to set our plans for the future,'' adding that ''the results of our negotiations are reflected in the documents which were signed today, including the Common Declaration on the occasion of the celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the Allied Victory.''
President Christofias noted that ''these documents mark a new impetus in the wide-ranging cooperation of our two countries in the political, economic and cultural fields.''
''The thirteen Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding are sealed by the Strategy document we signed with President Medvedev, and which determines our joint action for the next three years in all fields, without exception, at the bilateral and the multilateral levels. It is worth mentioning that for the drafting of this document all the Ministries and Services of the Republic of Cyprus efficiently worked together with the 43 respective Services and Ministries of the Russian Federation,'' he said.
President Christofias noted with satisfaction that ''a great momentum is being developed to strengthen and expand our present ties in the fields of economy, commerce, tourism and investments by both Russian and Cypriot businessmen,'' adding that the Cyprus-Russia Business
Forum was also being held on Thursday in Nicosia, ''with great success and with the participation of a large number of Russian businessmen who arrived from Russia, taking opportunity of President Medvedev's visit to Cyprus.''
He also pointed out that ''the signing of the Protocol of the Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation also constitutes an important development, which will assist in the further improvement of economic relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation.''
Referring to the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said that ''from this podium, I take the opportunity to express once again the deep gratitude of the people of Cyprus for the principled position of the Russian Federation on the Cyprus problem, which is founded on the respect of international law, the UN Charter and the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.''
He added that ''the genuine interest of Russia in the Cyprus problem and its concrete support to reach a mutually acceptable solution, in the interest of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, is clearly stated in the Three-Year Action Plan we signed today with President Medvedev.''
''In this Action Plan, we express support for the efforts towards a solution of the Cyprus problem, without arbitration and artificial timetables. A solution which foresees the evolution of the unitary state into a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single indivisible sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality, and which incorporates political equality as defined in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. For us, the support of the Russian Federation, one of the permanent members of the Security Council, is invaluable,'' he pointed out.
President Christofias said they also discussed President Medvedev's proposal for a New European Security Treaty, adding that ''we reaffirmed the positive evaluation of the Republic of Cyprus regarding this proposal and together with the Russian President expressed our support for a constructive, equal-footed cooperation with our respective partners, with the aim to create an open-for-all and reliable system of comprehensive security in the Euro-Atlantic region.''
''We further established with President Medvedev either a concurrence or a convergence of views on all the issues of international affairs and expressed our political will to continue our constructive cooperation in all fora,'' he said.
President Christofias congratulated ''all those who assisted in making this historic visit a success, both from the Cypriot and also from the Russian side.''
''On behalf of the people of Cyprus, I wish to once again express my gratitude for the stable, consistent, principled support of the Russian Federation to our struggle to defend the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus. I wish the people of Russia a bright future, a future of prosperity and social progress and to you personally, good health, strength and wisdom to succeed in your difficult mission,'' he concluded.
Medvedev: Relations with Turkey not a threat for Cyprus
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev assured that Russia's relations with Turkey did not constitute a threat for Cyprus, and reaffirmed his country's dedication to a united state in Cyprus with a single sovereignty and a single international identity.
Replying to questions at a press conference with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, President Medvedev said that Russia's stance on the Cyprus problem ''remains unchanged for a united state with a single sovereignty and a single international identity,'' adding that ''we will cooperate to achieve this aim.''
Asked how his proposal for a New European Security Treaty could facilitate a solution to the Cyprus problem, President Medvedev said it would contribute to the solution of problems in Europe, and thanked President Christofias for his support.
To questions regarding investments, President Medvedev said ''Russian businesspeople prefer to do business in Cyprus, to use Cyprus for investments, and this is apparent from the volume of investments from Cyprus in the Russian economy, which exceeds 50 million dollars.''
Both President Medvedev and President Christofias referred to the agreements signed between the two countries in the financial sector, and noted that they would further facilitate investments.
Asked if they discussed the abolition of visas for Russians visiting Cyprus and for Russians visiting the EU, president Christofias said they discussed the issue which ''is of great interest to both sides.''
''We are interested in helping Russia regarding the abolition of visas in EU countries in general. Have no doubt that we are working in this direction,'' he added.
Christofias and Medvedev pledge their support to business cooperation
The President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev pledged their commitment to boosting and expanding business cooperation between Cyprus and Russia.
Speaking at the Cyprus-Russia Business Forum in Nicosia, the two Presidents referred to the importance of the agreements and memoranda signed earlier Thursday.
Special reference was made to the agreement to avoid double taxation.
President Christofias noted that the agreement provides an impetus in the ongoing efforts to deepen the two countries' cooperation.
President Mendvedev on the other hand described the agreement as very important, since Cyprus constitutes one of the most important channels of investment in the Russian economy.
President Christofias welcomed the Russian businesspeople, present at the Forum and underlined the importance of the financial sector, and in particular the area of investments, in the cooperation between the two countries.
"As you know, Cyprus is among the first foreign investors in Russia," the president noted.
The good level of financial cooperation is the product of consistent effort, put by the financial and business circles of the two countries, Christofias added.
He also said that this cooperation is the result of the political will of the two governments and made clear that "the development of these relations is our high priority".
President Christofias went on to add that the two sides, by signing the agreements and memoranda in the areas of economy, tourism and stock market cooperation, materialized their commitment to the common political declaration of 2008.
The Cypriot president added that an agreement was signed between the two countries to avoid double taxation, and noted that this development is very important for boosting entrepreneurial activity and furthering the economic relationship.
"As the government of the Republic of Cyprus, we are committed to do whatever possible, to open the way and facilitate the reinforcement and expansion of business cooperation among the two countries", Christofias said.
The Russian President expressed his pleasure for the organization of the Business Forum during his visit and said that Russia maintains good relations with Cyprus. "We share the same understanding vis-a-vis all international problems, we share history and our relations are characterized by intellectual kinship", he added.
Referring to the 15 agreements and memoranda signed on Thursday between the two countries, Medvedev said most of these documents provide various possibilities to the businesspeople, as a solid base for their future cooperation.
On the agreement for avoiding double taxation, Medvedev said that a new version of this accord was signed. "This document is very important, because Cyprus constitutes one of the most important channels of attracting foreign capital and investments to the Russian economy", he explained.
He added that his side will do everything, so that these relations remain transparent, comprehensible and flexible for both, the state and the businessmen.
Addressing the audience of business people, Medvedev expressed his hope that new investments and financial relations will emerge, as a result of these contacts. He concluded by saying that the state will do everything on its part to realize this goal and materialize the decisions taken during his visit to the Republic of Cyprus.
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