|Wednesday, 19 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-10-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 16 October 2010 Issue No: 3620
 PM: 'We are not yet out of the tunnel'Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed on Friday that "the fight is still on for both the country's salvation and change," adding that "we are getting positive messages but we are not out of the tunnel yet."
Speaking in a meeting between the government, PASOK MPs and party officials in Parliament, the prime minister underlined that "we are on a better course" and that PASOK had saved the country from the destruction to which it was led by the preceding government of New Democracy (ND). The meeting was attended by government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, ruling PASOK MPs and party cadres.
"We are building the future step by step through revolutionary changes and reforms to salvage the country once and for all," he stressed, pointing out that one of the changes is the "Kallikratis" local government reform plan.
He strongly criticized ND leader Antonis Samaras and accused him of offering "vain hopes and general formulas".
Papandreou added that the ND leader's proposal is "to return to the past" and pointed out that his stance "is damaging to the country" and "dangerous for the future of the Greek people".
The meeting focused on all current issues.
 PM lambasts previous governmentPrime minister George Papandreou launched a scathing attack on main opposition New Democracy (ND), accusing the preceding government of doctoring fiscal data, during a discussion in parliament on Friday.
Responding to a current question tabled by Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on the time period to be investigated in a prospective fact-finding commission on the economy, Papandreou said that his PASOK government is prepared to discuss everything, but the investigation itself, however, will focus on possible accountability "that has to do with the deliberate falsification of the figures and the country's denigration because of that over the past two years -- from 2007 to 2009 -- which created an unbelievable lack of credibility for any Greek leader taking over the government".
"Censure us, if you wish, but the specific political responsibilities that exist and perhaps others that have to do with the deliberate falsification of the data...is something else".
In his question, Karatzaferis asked whether a parliamentary fact-finding commission on the economy will be set up and, if one is set up, whether the time period under examination will extend back to the time of Greece's EMU accession to the present.
 ND response to PM Papandreou's statementsMain opposition New Democracy (ND) took up the offensive in response to statements made by Prime Minister George Papandreou speaking earlier on Friday in a government and PASOK party meeting in parliament.
ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos stated that "we could have acknowledged that he possesses the value of self-criticism," if PM Papandreou "referred to himself when he spoke of vain hopes" presented to the people.
He said that "by accusing the ND leader he is exposed once again for telling lies and resorting to extremes. Panic is a poor counsellor".
 PM, KKE leader cross swords in parliament on unemploymentPrime minister George Papandreou and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga crossed swords in parliament on Friday over unemployment.
Papandreou told parliament that his PASOK government's goal is to introduce a different developmental model that will invest in the quality of work rather than cheap labor, and put emphasis on green development which, he said, is expected to create 250,000 new jobs.
"Our target is a different developmental model that will be founded on new technologies. That is where we are investing our efforts, in order to change the tide of the economy. In the name of the international revolution we will not allow petty party expediencies to prevail," he said.
Papariga accused the premier of vagaries, and charged that the developmental model being advanced by the government takes away the possibility of increasing employment, while predicting that unemployment will rise substantially and will be long-term.
"International forecasts on unemployment are that it will rise, and the sure thing is that there will be much fewer jobs than those being lost. Tens of thousands of unemployed, mainly young farmers and owners of small shops, will be added," Papariga said, and called for specific measures to support the unemployed for as long as they remain without work.
Responding, Papandreou acknowledged that unemployment is perhaps the biggest social problem faced by the country and will be around for the following years, and that specific steps are necessary.
He accused the preceding New Democracy (ND) government of irresponsibility, and of leaving a legacy of an unbelievable deficit to the PASOK government and the country without any credibility.
Papandreou said his government's first concern had been to restore Greece's credibility, the second to restore the country's confidence, and the third to bring investments. "And that is what we are doing," he added.
The premier further invited the political parties to put forward specific proposals, "which we will seriously consider, because the effort must be a joint one".
 Finmin reply to Papariga: 'sacrifices will not be in vain'The sacrifices of the Greek people would not be in vain, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou stressed on Friday in Parliament, during a reply to questions put by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga.
In her question, Papariga had accused the government of introducing measures in order to exit the economic crisis that would in turn trigger a new cycle of crisis.
Papaconstantinou defended the government's decision to resort to a loan-support mechanism in order to avoid a default, noting that the greater part of the reforms required under the EU-IMF programme would have been necessary anyway.
The minister said the government was making necessary structural changes amd supporting the retention of jobs through incentives to business. While admitting that "difficult decisions were taken", he appeared confident that the final outcome would justify the sacrifices made.
"The issue for us is that the developmental potential of the country be united with and not in opposition to the workers. We are also interested in who is making the investments, for what purpose and what they will yield, what will be the proportion for the industrial sectors and the relation of the economy with education," Papariga responded.
In reply to Papariga's criticism of the government's attitude to workers in state utilities and their pay levels, Papaconstantinou denied that the government considered worker salaries to be the cause of their problems. At the same time, he pointed out that there were cases where the payroll cost was greater than revenue and that this "is not possible".
 PM, SYRIZA leader clash over corruption, Astakos minePrime Minister George Papandreou and the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group Alexis Tsipras clashed violently in Parliament on Friday over a mining project in Astakos, Aitoloakarnania and its impact on environment. Tsipras' statements at some point also prompted Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos to intervene and call him to order.
"I welcome you to the Parliament of corruption and the country of the corrupt," Tsipras said, in a question to the prime minister laced with heavy sarcasm. He accused the government of not seeking out corruption among contractors and suppliers but among state employees that found jobs paying 500 euros a month.
The aside drew an immediate response from Petsalnikos, who stressed that "this is the first time I have heard a party leader use such terms."
Papandreou also reacted strongly, accusing Tsipras of "adopting the racist beliefs of foreign journalists who say that Greeks are corrupted and that we have corruption in our DNA. I never said any such thing. I said that there is a problem with corruption and that we need to create mechanisms to fight this."
The prime minister also stressed that corruption does exist in Greece and that the government was seeking to fight this by "bringing everything into the light and creating transparency".
"We are striking at corruption through democratic institutions, openly and in ways that strengthen transparency," he underlined.
The premier was also direct in his reply to hints from Tsipras that a member of his staff was pushing for the lignite mine in Astakos, Aitoloakarnania for his own reasons.
"Mr. Tsipras dropped hints about companies. I do not know what he wants to say. I must say something in general, however. In our country everyone can very easily have friends and relations. All of us have. No one, however, is a friend or relation to me above the public interest. I want you all to know that," he said.
Replying to Tsipras' concerns about dangerous repercussions for the environment, Papandreou said that an environmental impact study had been assigned to an independent, international shipping register and stressed that he would himself stop the project if there was any concern about its safety for the environment.
 PM: Acropolis blockade politically incitedPrime minister George Papandreou on Friday charged that the blockade of the Acropolis by a group protesting culture and tourism ministry contract workers was "political party-incited", warning that such actions serve only those who are banking on Greece's defeat.
Replying to current questions in parliament on Friday, Papandreou referred to the closure of the Acropolis at the beginning of a discussion on a current question by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on unemployment.
He said that every citizen's right to freedom of expression is sacred, but so was the right to the country's wealth "which belongs to no individual, group or political party".
"No one has the right to put a padlock on, to take hostage, the country's monuments and to appropriate a global heritage such as the Acropolis," Papandreou said.
He said that it is only rational and legitimate that there are reactions in these difficult times. "I am the first to indignant over where the situation the country is in. But we must not do us harm ourselves with extreme actions that hurt the country and give leverage to those banking on Greece's defeat. No party has the right to incite and approve of such actions," the premier stressed.
Papariga countered that the country's tourism is not shamed by a hundred protesting contract workers, but by the riot police (MAT).
"The only problem on the Acropolis is that the padlocks have been changed. But the big problem is Mr. Papoutsis' (Citizens' Protection minister) riot police," she said.
Papandreou, in turn, called on Papariga to contribute to the changes being advanced for the country's reform, rather than backing those who want to put a padlock on the Acropolis and shame the country around the world.
The premier further accused main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras of being responsible for the situation with the culture ministry's contract employees which, he said, had its roots back to Samaras' tenure as culture minister during the ND government.
ND party spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos, in a statement later, replied that the completion and opening of the New Acropolis Museum -- "a project of global stature" -- bore Samaras' signature, and that the issue of the contract employees had been settled by Samaras with an amendment "the extension of which the same contract employees are seeking today".
"On the one hand, then, we have the Acropolis Museum with Samaras' seal and on the other the chaotic situation with the MAT and the teargas on the Acropolis with the seal of Papandreou, who is humiliating the country internationally," Panagiotopoulos said, adding that the people have already drawn their conclusions.
 Acropolis reopensThe Acropolis reopened to the public at noon on Friday, after being barricaded for 2 1/2 days by protesting culture ministry employees.
Entrance to the country's most famous archaelogical site was free to the public after it reopend.
 Main opposition ND rejects inquiry into economy restricted to 2007-2009Main opposition New Democracy on Friday rejected a proposal by Prime Minister George Papandreou for a Parliamentary inquiry into the economy spanning the period between 2007-2009, when an ND government was in power.
The party stressed that ND leader Antonis Samaras had made it clear that his party would only support an inquiry that reached as far back as 1981.
ND said that its position was justified by the recent statements of Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, who said that the roots of the Greek economy's current problems dated back at least two to three decades.
The main opposition will also insist that the inquiry examine the period after October 2009 when current premier George Papandrou was in power in order to shed light on the events that led to soaring spreads and forced Greece to accept the EU-IMF bailout and the Memorandum.
ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos stressed, in response to the premier's statements in Parliament on the issue, that ruling PASOK could not order Parliamentary inquiries "to fit" PASOK's narrow party interests.
He stressed that the truth about the deficits and debt should be sought by all sides together, from 1981 (when PASOK was first elected to power) and until the present day.
 Birbili attends the EU Environment Ministers CouncilEnvironment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili attended the EU Environment Ministers' Council in Luxembourg focusing on Greece's efforts to tackle the consequences of climate change through the speediest possible transition to a low-carbon use society. The protection of biodiversity and the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) were also under discussion.
Addressing the council meeting on Thursday, Birbili underlined that the EU wish to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 with the broadest possible participation should be reaffirmed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun.
Referring to the targeted 20 pct reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Birbili stated that consultation should be launched with the social partners and the production sector representatives to assess the impact on competitiveness. As regards Greece, she underlined that the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a political choice to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, green development society.
On GMOs, Birbili stressed that she is in favor of a regulation that will allow the member states to limit or ban their cultivation on their soil and underlined Greece's firm position against their use.
In the margins of the Environment Ministers' Council, Birbili had bilateral meetings with European Commissioner for the environment Janez Potocnik and EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard.
 Culture minister in NY: Something's changing in GreeceNEW YORK (ANA-MPA)
"Something is changing in Greece," culture and tourism minister Pavlos Geroulanos told a gathering of the local Greek community in Astoria, New York, on Thursday evening, and stressed the "significant contribution" of the Greeks abroad in the "difficult times" faced by the country.
"Whatever we have accomplished up to now in the midst of the crisis, a large part is due to your contribution," Geroulanos said, and outlined his ministry's efforts to attract tourists to the country, at the same time presenting ideas for specialised tourism.
He further outlined what he called the ministry's new strategic concept regarding its promotional campaign and the new internet program my-greece.gr (http://www.my-greece.gr), where users are invited to upload photographs and videos of their own favorite places in Greece.
 PM Papandreou will visit Larissa on SundayPrime Minister George Papandreou will visit the city of Larissa in central Greece on Sunday and attend a meeting with local authorities focusing on social, developmental and farm policy issues.
The prime minister is scheduled to address the meeting during which a speech will be delivered by the ruling PASOK candidate for the post of the regional governor of Thessaly.
 Turkish PM's office on upcoming Papandreou-Erdogan meetingAn announcement issued by the office of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said that the Turkish premier's talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou during a visit to Athens on October 21-22 would likely focus on issues in relation to the first meeting of the High-level Strategic Cooperation Council held by the two countries in May.
"There will be an exchange of views on bilateral and multilateral issues, in the light of the first session of the High-level Cooperation Council held in Athens on May 14-15 but also positive developments in Greek and Turkish relations," the announcement said.
Erdogan will be visiting Athens at Papandreou's invitation, attending an event organised by Greece to discuss climate change in the Mediterranean.
 Samaras meets with new US ambassadorThe new US ambassador to Athens Daniel Bennett-Smith on Friday paid a courtesy visit to main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras.
During the meeting, which was held at the ND headquarters, the two officials focused on the economy and geostrategic issues of the region.
Samaras presented in detail to Bennett-Smith his positions on national and economic issues.
No statements were made after the meeting.
 LAOS leader: October 2009 result the 'bar' in upcoming electionsThe leader of the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party George Karatzaferis on Friday said that LAOS's goal in the upcoming local government elections was to surpass the percentage it received in the general elections of 2009.
In an exclusive statement to the ANA-MPA, Karatzaferis said that the 'bar' for judging the result of the local elections would be the result that his party received nationwide in October 2009 or 5.63 percent of the vote.
He said the measure would be the general election because LAOS had not fielded its own candidates during the previous local government polls, with the exception of Thessaloniki, and thus had no means of comparison.
"We only have the national elections to compare with. Therefore, the only comparable figure is whether and by how far we are above the election result of 5.63 percent," he said.
According to Karatzaferis, his aides were confident that LAOS can top this percentage while the region of most interest to the party is that of Attica, where the results of its candidates will play the most important role.
During the previous election, the average percentage received by LAOS in the newly created Attica region was 7.65 percent or 386,152 votes. The new Attica Region combines the 1st and 2nd Athens constituencies, the 1st and 2nd Piraeus constituencies and the 'Remainder of Attica' constituency into a single electoral district.
Specifically, LAOS received 7.59 percent of the vote in the 1st Athens constituency (23,120 votes), 7.28 percent in the 2nd Athens constituency (73,984 votes), 7.56 percent in the 1st Piraeus constituency (9,811 votes), 7.59 percent in the 2nd Piraeus constituency (14,147 votes) and 8.23 percent in the rest of Attica (26,479 votes).
 UNHCR says rising migrant flow has created 'state of emergency' in Evros migrant centresThe UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday called for emergency action to ease the plight of illegal immigrants currently held at reception centres in Evros, along the Greek-Turkish border, stressing that a sharp rise in their numbers was creating a humanitarian crisis.
The call came after a two-day visit by UNHCR officials to the region on October 12-13, which found a "state of emergency that requires immediate action since it cannot be handled by the existing administrative structures and available human resources".
According to the head of the UNHCR office in Greece Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, the organisation also called for "policies to attribute responsibility and solidarity on behalf of the European Union".
In an announcement on Friday, UNHCR officials noted that the number of foreign nationals entering via Evros illegally had shot up in the last year. Based on figures supplied by local police authorities, 34,000 people had been intercepted entering Greece illegally via this route since the start of 2010 - nearly four times the 9,000 caught throughout 2009.
The higher numbers were placing a massive strain on already over-crowded reception centres for illegals, in which men, women and children were currently being held in conditions that were both unsuitable and unhygienic and without any yard time.
While expressing support for the Greek government's efforts to create infrastructure to handle migrant flow, the group also appealed for emergency measures to ensure adequate staff and basic support services to the migrants arriving at existing centres. The group particularly emphasised the plight of unaccompanied children and asylum seekers, calling for more suitable facilities than the former border jails in which to house them.
 Amendment to avoid excessive road tolls for local communities tabledThe infrastructure, transport and networks ministry on Friday tabled an amendment in Parliament that allows it to abolish road toll posts and transfer the tolls charged there to the nearest adjacent toll post, as a means to relieve the impact on local communities that are not adequately served by roads bypassing national highways.
The amendment allows for the merger of the tolls charged at such toll posts in order to both reduce the cost of local trips and also protect the rights of those holding concessions by allowing them to adjust the tolls in the remaining toll post.
The money due to the concession holder will be paid regardless of whether the next nearest toll post is operated by the same, another concession holder or the state.
 Suspicious suitcase causes alert near ND officesPolice were alerted at 6 in the evening on Friday after a suitcase was found in a garbage can at the intersection of Rigillis and Mimnermou streets, at a short distance from the offices of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, in central Athens.
According to a phone call made to the police by security men in the region, the suitcase was left by a taxi driver who left the area immediately afterwards.
The area was sealed off and bomb disposal experts arrived at the scene to ascertain whether it was an explosive device or something else.
For precautionary reasons, bomb disposal experts used a special device to create a controlled explosion, which at the end showed that the suitcase contained used clothes.
 Greek PM says National Bank's plan a sign of confidenceA share capital increase plan by National Bank of Greece was a "sign of the confidence that we are all regaining slowly, both the banking system and the Greek economy," Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Friday, at the start of a meeting with the chairman and the chief executive of National Bank, Vasilis Rapanos and Apostolos Tamvakakis, in Parliament.
The Greek Premier congratulated both bankers for National Bank's success, saying it was very significant and noted it was also a very positive sign for the market and Greece, but internationally as well.
At the same time, Papandreou pointed out that the country was not yet out of the woods, noting that the battle was still on.
National Bank's chairman, Vasilis Rapanos, expressed his confidence that National Bank's successful effort was contributing to the government's effort to restore confidence in the Greek economy and for the country to exit its current difficulties, "finding again the road to growth and prosperity". Chief executive Apostolos Tamvakakis underlined that markets will open up slowly and noted that it would not be easy for the bank to proceed with its plan if there was not an improved climate concerning the country.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting with the premier, Rapanos said they briefed Papandreou over the successful share capital increase plan and the next stage of the capital boost program, which is selling a minority stake in Finansbank, its Turkish subsidiary. Rapanos stressed that the capital boost program would raise National Bank's capital adequacy rate to more than 14 pct, "one of the strongest in Europe," he added.
Rapanos said the meeting did not discuss mergers between banks. Tamvakakis said that a total of 207,000 shareholders from 77 countries participated in the share capital increase plan and stressed it was very significant that they trusted the bank, the banking system and the country.
 Greece to auction three-month T-bills on TuesdayGreece will auction a three-month Treasury bills issue next Tuesday, 19 October, seeking to raise 900 million euros from the market. The issue will be auctioned to the market's primary dealers and settlement date was set Friday, 22 October, the Finance ministry said on Friday.
The Finance ministry said the T-bill issue will be offered to private investors as well.
Greece successfully auctioned a six-month Treasury bill issue on Tuesday raising around 1.5 billion euros at a reduced interest rate.
 PASOK: no new measures, OSE will not be sold"There is no room for new measures," ruling PASOK party parliamentary spokesman Christos Protopapas underlined during a radio interview on Friday and clarified that there will be no more salary and pension cuts.
He said that the Hellenic Railways (OSE) reform is necessary and stressed that the organization will not be sold ruling out employee layoffs.
Protopapas stated, however, that based on the relevant draft law a large part of rail operator Trainose will be controlled by a private investor.
As regards the loss-making public utility companies, known as DEKO, he said that many factors have contributed to the problems they face including, mismanagement, lack of transparency in procurements and absence of strategic planning.
 FinMin meets Deutsche Telekom officialFinance Minister George Papaconstantinou met on Friday with Deutsche Telekom official Guido Kerkhoff. No statements were made after the meeting.
According to reports, the meeting focused on appointing a new Hellenic Telecoms (OTE) president after the current president Panagis Vourloumis's decision to resign from his post.
 Maritime Affairs minister holds talks with EU Commissioner DamanakiMaritime Affairs, Research and Fisheries Minister Yiannis Diamantidis held talks on Friday with European Union Commissioner Maria Damanaki on issues pertaining to their duties.
In a statement, the minister wished Damanaki all the best in the task she has undertaken in the European Commission, while stressing that they discussed all issues touching on their duties and what will result, as he stressed, "will be positive both for our fisheries and the interest of our country."
On her part, Damanaki said that she came "to congratulate the minister on the assumption of duties and to wish him all the best." Greece, she added, "can have an amazing presence on the issues of Shipping and fisheries, on the other hand, however, being a member of the European Union, it also has obligations, there are also time limits that are running."
"I believe that we shall do the best so that Greece can observe its commitments towards the European Union," the Commissioner added.
 Farm production cost up 3.9 pct in AugustProduction cost in the farm sector grew 3.9 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, while agricultural prices rose 1.0 pct in the same period, leaving Greek farmers with a negative difference between prices and cost of -2.9 pct, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Friday.
The statistics service, in a report, said producer prices grew only 1.0 pct on average in August, reflecting price increases in tomatoes (54.5 pct), carrots (31.4 pct), cucumbers (22.6 pct), while prices for onions (27.9 pct), tobacco (19.8 pct) and peaches (18.1 pct) fell.
Production cost rose 3.9 pct in August reflecting higher fuel prices, animal feed and electricity prices, while fertilizers and seed prices fell.
 Local government employees to go ahead with weekend strike despite court rulingLocal government employees on Friday announced that they will go ahead with a strike they have called for Saturday and Sunday despite an Athens court decision earlier in the day declaring the planned strike as illegal.
The employees are striking in demand of an "elections benefit" for work having to do with November's local administration elections, which their umbrella federation POE-OTA says is not part of their regular duties.
The POE-OTA executive committee decided during a meeting on Friday to go ahead with the "abstention from all elections-related work on October 16 and 17 and from every elections-related work both within the working hours and in overtime, as such work is not part of the employees' normal duties".
In an announcement, the interior ministry stressed that local government employees had an obligation to uphold the law and go to work normally, assisting in the smooth holding of the election. To this end, the ministry has sent a circular to municipalities and regional authorities to ensure that candidates receive proper service and that the elections are held. It also slammed POE-OTA's call to its members to defy the court ruling as "unprecedented and inconceivable" given that it was "attempting the undermine the highest expression of democratic function".
 Firemen set up protest tent in Athens' Syntagma SquareThe firemen in the prefecture of Attiki set up a tent at Athens' Syntagma Square on Friday morning in a show of protest demanding that pay cuts from their salaries be returned. They stress that the measure was "illegal and unconstitutional" and demand that their profession be included in the so-called "hazardous occupations".
The firemen also call for the appointment of 4,000 people to cover permanent positions as well as better work conditions.
The protesters maintain that their mobilization will continue until their demands are met.
 Greek trade deficit down to 14.4 bln euros in Aug, EurostatBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)
Greek trade deficit fell by 2.9 billion euros to 14.4 billion euros in August, compared with the same month last year, Eurostat said on Friday. The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said Greek exports totaled 8.7 billion euros, while imports totaled 23.1 billion euros, up 2.0 pct and down 10 pct, compared with last year's figures, respectively.
Germany recorded the biggest trade surplus in the EU-27 (87.7 billion euros), followed by Ireland (24.7 billion) and Holland (22.1 billion), while the UK (63.6 billion euros), France (33.6 billion), Spain (30.2 billion) and Greece (14.4 billion) recorded the highest trade deficits.
Eurozone's trade deficit with the rest of the world totaled 4.3 billion euros in August, while the EU-27 recorded a trade deficit of 17.3 billion euros.
 Credit conditions improved in SeptCredit conditions improved in September, with both bouncing checks and unpaid bills falling in the month, reflecting shrinking activity because of the economic recession the country. Bouncing checks totaled 18,533 in volume in September, worth 167.56 million euros, down 12.43 pct compared with August 2010 and down 34.57 pct compared with September 2009.
Unpaid bills totaled 13,581 in volume, worth 19.8 million euros, down 8.22 pct from the previous month and down 19 pct compared with September 2009.
 Athens Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011Attracting thousands of visitors, the international press and celebrities, Athens Fashion Week has earned its place in the world of couture as Greek and international designers unite for this extravaganza at the Technopolis in Athens.
The 12th Athens Fashion Week presenting the 2011 Spring/Summer collections is running through to Sunday at the City of Athens' Technopolis, and this year is being held in cooperation with ActionAid Hellas.
The event showcases renowned Greek fashion designers and newcomers, giving them the opportunity to establish their own identity and make their mark in the international fashion scene.
Athens Fashion Week is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness & Shipping, the City of Athens, Hellenic fashion industry associations SEPEE and SKEE, ELSEBBYE (Hellenic Association of Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters), Athens Traders Association and ELKEDE (Technology and Design Centre).
Throughout the week, fashion shows will be staged by designers Angelos Bratis, Aslanis, Christoforos Kotentos, Corina Vladescu, Delight, Dimitris Dassios, Evangelos Kavathas, Lito Barre, Kathy Heyndels, Makis Tselios, Mi-Ro, Panos Apergis, Sotiris Georgiou, Vassilis Zoulias, Yiorgos Eleftheriades, and New Generation (Cathreen Mal, Johanna Daniil, Lukas).
 Mykonos voted 'Best European Island' in 2010The readers of the US edition of Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted Mykonos as the "Best European Island" with the highest total score of 78.0.
The central Aegean island received the Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Award leaving behind other top island destinations among them Ibiza, Capri, Madera and Majorca.
Readers began voting for their favorite island in April 2010 and further details on the poll results will be available in the magazine's November issue.
 Electricity demand slightly up in SeptemberElectricity demand rose slightly in September but was mainly covered by energy imports as domestic production of electricity decline significantly in the market, according to official figures.
A report by DESMHE, the electricity market regulator, said electricity imports from Turkey totaled 108,599 MWH in September, while exports to the country totaled 14 MWH during the first month of operation of an interconnection program between the two countries, as part of an EU policy to connect the European electricity grid with Turkey's grid.
Electricity consumption in the domestic market grew 0.86 pct in September, compared with the same month last year. Net electricity production fell 6.26 pct in the month, while net demand totaled 4,170,528 MWH.
Electricity production from lignite fell 4.01 pct, from natural gas was down 4.20 pct, from hydro-electric power dropped 17.4 pct, from renewable sources fell 8.16 pct, while production from oil fell to zero.
In the nine-month period, electricity demand rose 0.23 pct.
 Stocks end higherGreek stocks ended moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, with the composite index of the market rising 0.53 pct to end at 1,549.94 points. Turnover was a low 116.466 million euros. PPC (3.46 pct), OPAP (3.34 pct) and OTE (3.27 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while MIG (6.82 pct) and Viohalco (3.82 pct) were main losers.
The Big Cap index rose 0.38 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.77 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 0.11 pct. The Telecoms (3.27 pct) and Utilities (3.08 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Financial Services (4.16 pct) and Industrial Products (0.95 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 93 to 58 with another 45 issues unchanged. Geniki Bank (11.65 pct), Q&R (8.62 pct0 and Nutriart (8.0 pct) were top gainers, while Edrasi (14.29 pct), Pairis (9.68 pct) and Medicon (9.68 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.88%
Personal & Household: -0.81%
Raw Materials: +0.61%
Travel & Leisure: +3.02%
Food & Beverages: +0.27%
Financial Services: -4.16%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Coca Cola, Eurobank and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 5.14
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.26
HBC Coca Cola: 18.04
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.75
National Bank of Greece: 8.10
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.78
Bank of Piraeus: 3.98
 Greek bond market closing reportGreek bond spreads rose slightly in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Friday, with the Greek 10-year benchmark bond yielding 8.93 pct, up from 8.88 pct on Thursday. Turnover in the market rose to 160 million euros, of which 112 million were sell orders and the remaining 48 million euros were buy orders. The 10-year bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 63 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.49 pct, the six-month rate 1.22 pct, the three-month rate 0.99 pct and the one-month rate 0.78 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.78 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover at 43.551 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,130 contracts worth 34.221 million euros, with 29,814 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,232 contracts worth 9.330 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (5,974), followed by Eurobank (1,033), MIG (824), OTE (1,082), Piraeus Bank (733), Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (576), Alpha Bank (1,406), Mytilineos (502), Cyprus Bank (1,184).
 Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.420
Pound sterling 0.884
Danish kroner 7.516
Swedish kroner 9.296
Japanese yen 115.19
Swiss franc 1.353
Norwegian kroner 8.157
Canadian dollar 1.427
Australian dollar 1.425
 Deputy labour minister outlines new Greek naturalisation laws at Brussels seminar"Naturalisation is neither a means of accelerating nor a reward for the socioeconomic integration of migrants but a completion of the process of integrating them in society," Greece's Deputy Labour Minister Anna Dalara said in her address to the joint European Commission/OECD seminar on "Naturalisation and Socio-economic Integration of Immigrants and their Children" held in Brussels on October 14-15.
She noted that the acquisition of nationality, either through birth to a family of legal migrants or by virtue of attending Greek schools, was another progressive means for the social integration of even the preceding generation, that of a child's parents.
"The new legislative measures aims to attract those that wish to become fully Greek because they already feel that way, through their long years of daily contact with us. It rules out, at the same time, those that entered the country without legal documents and possibly others that might see a Greek nationality as a "flag of convenience" for travelling to another member-state," she added.
According to the minister, the legislative changes secured the remaining EU countries against mass inflows of illegal migrants while she asked for the support of the other member-states, especially in persuading Turkey to honour re-admission agreements it has signed.
 Plummeting profits move restaurant owners to defy smoking banRestaurant owners faced by plunging turnover and profits intend to defy the newly imposed smoking ban and supply their clients with ashtrays as of Sunday, their federation announced on Friday.
"We are radically opposed to the time period in which the anti-smoking law is coming to be enforced. In a period when [the drop in] turnover in venues has reached or exceeded 50 percent, no one can oblige you to enforce an anti-smoking law that based on the figures that we have from the European Union leads to a 25 percent reduction in turnover. If to the 50 percent we add 25 percent then we are finished," said the president of the Restauranteurs and Related Professions Federation Yiannis Tsakos in statements to the private ANT1 radio station.
"We are going to put out ashtrays on all the tables. We know they can shut us down but we will shut down in any case so we want to hand over the keys and let them pay the rent, the electricity, VAT, local authorities, everything. Let's see what they will do with the 400,000 people working in the dining sector. On Monday we will be here and waiting for them to come for the keys," he added.
 Man caught with 80 kilos cannabisA 19-year-old Albanian man was arrested by narcotics officers in Sagiada, Thesprotia in western Greece on Friday after he was caught carrying approximately 80 kilos of cannabis in his car.
Police pursued the young man after he failed to comply with a signal to pull over but instead increased speed in order to escape. He was caught when he collided with a road sign and lightly injured.
Searching the car, police found three sacks containing approximately 80 kilos of cannabis in the boot and confiscated both the drugs and the car.
The driver is to be led before a Thesprotia public prosecutor and an investigation launched by the Igoumenitsa narcotics squad.
 Arrests for series of thefts on CreteTwo Romanians, 19 and 21, were arrested in the municipality of Mithon, near Heraklion on the island of Crete, during a break-in attempt, police said on Friday.
The suspects confessed during questioning that they had committed another seven break-ins targeting local stores in the region of Ierapetra and Sitia from which they had stolen food items, liquor, electrical and electronic devices as well as an estimated 20,000 euros from the stores' cash drawers.
A search in their homes revealed a large number of the stolen goods.
 Rockfall at Tempi slows traffic; truck damagedFalling rocks on the national highway through the Tempi valley on Friday brought up shades of the previous year, when a massive landslide resulted in one death and the closure of Greece's main north-south highway for a period of several months.
The problems caused by Friday's rockfall were less extensive, since the road was only closed for a brief space of time until it was cleared, while one truck alone was damaged.
 New opening hours for archaeological sitesThe ministry of culture and tourism announced on Friday the new opening hours for the archaeological sites in Mistras, Knossos, Phaistos and Gortina in effect until Oct. 31.
Specifically, the archaeological site in Mistras will be open 08.00-17.30 while Knossos, Phaistos and Gortina will be open for the public 08.00-18.00.
The Archaeological Museum of Corfu is closed for maintenance work until further notice, the ministry announced.
 Rainy on SaturdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 27C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens, with southwesterly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 25C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 19C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceCulture Ministry contract employees' protest and the "fast track bill" to be tabled on Friday in parliament, mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Salary cuts in DEKO (Public Utilities and Organisations) too".
APOGEVMATINI: "Desecration - They turned the Acropolis into a Roman arena".
AVGHI: "Unemployment creates a lost generation".
AVRIANI: "Ruling PASOK headed for crushing defeat in local government elections".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Faster than Democracy -The 'fast track' circumvents the parliament, the laws and the court of Justice".
ESTIA: "The vicious circle of taxes and revenues".
ETHNOS: "Flurry of students applying for transfers".
IMERISSIA: "Emergency plan - Liquidity and incentives for exports".
KATHIMERINI: "Images of shame on the Sacred Hill (Acropolis)".
LOGOS: "Stagflation and recession ... an explosive mixture for social turbulence".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Express procedures for strategic investments".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Government's lies'.
TA NEA: "Athens' teardrop".
TO VIMA: "Secret rendezvous in main opposition New Democracy (ND)".
VRADYNI: "Social explosion".
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