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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-01-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 4 January 2011 Issue No: 3685


  • [01] PM chairs broad meeting on EU affairs, euro-bond
  • [02] ND: Eurobond initiative a 'communications gimmick' by gov't
  • [03] Government spokesman replies to ND on eurobond issue
  • [04] PM urges immediate dialogue for opening of closed professions
  • [05] PM to attend Turkish diplomatic con'f in Erzurum this week
  • [06] Turkish Dep. PM Arinc meets with Patriarch, members of ethnic Greek community
  • [07] FM holds telephone conversation with Ecumenical Patriarch
  • [08] Gov't circular again emphasises reduction in public sector hirings
  • [09] Gov't on broadcast media sector
  • [10] Minister again cites tougher stance vis-a-vis illegal migration
  • [11] Reports: Nimetz expected to meet Greece, fYRoM reps late this month
  • [12] Prosecutor recommends arraignment of former minister over inaccurate asset declarations
  • [13] Stricter framework for tax evasion announced
  • [14] Tougher penalties for fuel market violators
  • [15] Economy in 'vicious circle', Athens-Piraeus Industrialists president warns
  • [16] ESEE: Shop turnover, revenues down in 2010
  • [17] BEA will not hold annual New Year event due to economic situation
  • [18] Piraeus Bank announces 807-mln-euro share capital increase
  • [19] More union action against Athens mass transports on Wed.
  • [20] Greek PMI again falls in Dec.
  • [21] Credit expansion slowed to 0.4% in Nov.
  • [22] Budget revenues up 10.6% in Dec.
  • [23] ASE outlines 3 main priorities for 2011
  • [24] Only two blue chip stocks end 2010 with gains
  • [25] Stocks end 0.4% higher
  • [26] ADEX closing report
  • [27] Greece's first Vehicle Museum opens to public in March
  • [28] Burglary at City of Athens facility, PCs stolen
  • [29] Probe continues into Bulgaria's 'robbery of the century'
  • [30] Police unit says it intervened in 61 cases of threatened -- via the Internet -- suicide in 2010
  • [31] Court fees increased
  • [32] Illegal migrants detained on Corfu
  • [33] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM chairs broad meeting on EU affairs, euro-bond

    Prime minister George Papandreou on Monday chaired a broad government meeting on developments in the major issues concerning the EU, and afterwards went straight into a second government meeting, with a different composition, that is discussing govern-ment planning, including the opening of the so-called closed-shop professions.

    In the first meeting, which was also attended by the premier's advisor and European Central Bank former vice-president Loukas Papademos, discussions focused on the Greek government's initiative for the collection of at least one million signatures throughout Europe in favor of the issue of a euro-bond, while the various formulas for euro-bonds that have been put forward were also discussed.

    "The issue does not concern only Greece, but all of Europe," the head of the signature collection campaign Vasso Papandreou told reporters after the meeting.

    [02] ND: Eurobond initiative a 'communications gimmick' by gov't

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Monday said it considers a high-profile initiative by Prime Minister George Papandreou regarding the Eurobond as nothing more than a "communication gimmick".

    An announcement by the party's press office stressed that "ND President Antonis Samaras had replied in an explicit and categorical way on the issue of the eurobond during his address in Parliament on the 2011 budget. Addressing the prime minister himself, he had referred to a 'communication gimmick', such as the latest with the announcement on the gathering of signatures for the holding of a referendum in Europe."

    The party reminds in its announcement that in the discussion in Parliament Samaras mentioned that "one million signatures from anywhere are not enough. They must come from seven member states, at least, and indeed, with enacted minimum signatures in every member state.

    "Secondly, they must pass from many stages, but in the end the Commission will be called on to accept or not the relevant initiative. And if the Commission accepts it, the Council must also approve it unanimously..."

    [03] Government spokesman replies to ND on eurobond issue

    Government spokesman George Petalotis, commenting on Monday on an announcement by the main opposition New Democracy party that the government's initiatives on the eurobond constitute "communication gimmicks", said that ND does not realise that what the government is pursuing is already becoming the topic of increasing intensive discussion in Europe.

    Petalotis said that ND appears not to be realising neither the country's problems nor the solutions that, with hard and systematic work, the government is pursuing, stressing that Greece's role, with clear positions and with a strong voice now, is to contribute decisively to positive developments and determinative decisions, so that the necessary reforms in Europe will also acquire a growth dimension, with a direct benefit for our country as well.


    Conversely, opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis expressed optimism as regards the creation of a "Eurobond", as backed by Papandreou but, at the same time, he stated that alternative options are necessary.

    [04] PM urges immediate dialogue for opening of closed professions

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday underlined the government's volition to proceed with the EU-ECB-IMF "troika" mandated opening of so-called "closed professions", speaking during a meeting with relevant ministers at the Maximos Mansion government house.

    "Proceed immediately and through dialogue with the opening of the closed professions. This reform will make services more affordable, will reduce red tape and reinforce the competitiveness of the economy," Papandreou was quoted as saying.

    Within the next two weeks - based on the government's timetable - competent ministers will have to launch a dialogue with various professional sectors so that a ministry of finance-sponsored draft law for the opening of closed professions is ready to be tabled in Parliament by the end of the month.

    [05] PM to attend Turkish diplomatic con'f in Erzurum this week

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will attend a Turkish ambassadors' conference in the northeast Anatolia city of Erzurum this week, following a formal invitation.

    Papandreou will be accompanied by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will address the meeting of Turkey's top diplomatic corps.

    The third annual Turkish ambassadors' conference, entitled "Visionary Diplomacy: Global and Regional Order from Turkey's Perspective", will be chaired by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and will be attended by Turkish diplomats serving abroad and at the country's foreign ministry.

    The week-long session opened in Ankara on Monday and will continue in Erzurum.

    [06] Turkish Dep. PM Arinc meets with Patriarch, members of ethnic Greek community


    Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Monday expressed the Ankara government's desire for "equal treatment of all citizens", speaking during a closely watched meeting at the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate here.

    The a high-profile meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, members of the Holy Synod and representatives of the dwindling ethnic Greek minority of Istanbul was held at the Patriarchate's Fanar-district headquarters.

    This is the second time a senior member of the Turkish government has visited the Fanar since the 1952 visit of then premier Adnan Menderes.

    The talks between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the top Turkish government official focused on several pending and pressing issues, including the reopening of the Theology School of Halki and the smooth operation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the "primus inter pares" of the world's Christian Orthodox Patriarchates. Another long-standing issue involves property seized over the decades from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and ethnic Greek charitable foundations in Turkey, as the return of such real estate holdings requires the Turkish government's direct cooperation.

    Bartholomew thanked his interlocutor for the return of the historic Greek Orthodox orphanage on the Marmara isle of B?y?kada (Prinkipo) to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and reminded that 2011 marks 40 years since the Theology School on the isle of Halki was shut down.

    Commenting on the Prinkipo Orphanage case, Arinc underlined that "the law and court decisions were implemented".

    During his visit to the Fanar, which lasted more than an hour, Arinc also met several Hierarchs, members of the Holy Synod, while he was also met with leading representatives of the ethnic Greek minority in Istanbul.

    The visit of the Turkish deputy PM bears heightened symbolism, the latest in a string of several noteworthy changes that have taken place in recent years in relations between the Patriarchate and the Turkish government.

    [07] FM holds telephone conversation with Ecumenical Patriarch

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas was briefed by telephone by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Turkish government vice president Bulent Arinc's visit to the Phanar on Monday and expressed the hope that this visit will be accompanied by more substantive steps by Turkey that will lift obstacles for the Patriarchate's functioning.

    On the occasion of the telephone conversation between Droutsas and the Ecumenical Patriarch to exchange best wishes for the new year, the Foreign minister stressed that Greece's steadfast pursuit is the improvement of

    Greek-Turkish relations, underlining that a precondition for this is for attitudes undermining efforts to build confidence to disappear on the part of Turkey.

    [08] Gov't circular again emphasises reduction in public sector hirings

    A strict implementation of government declarations on reduced hirings in the public and wider public sectors as well as in local government entities was reaffirmed on Monday with a relevant urgent circular signed by Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis.

    The notification, received by all public sector organisations and agencies, clarified that "any requests for new hirings should be limited to the absolutely necessary".

    In addition, annual hirings of permanent personnel should be made on the basis of one hiring for every five retirements and resignations, and after taking into account personnel transfers, while the hirings of contract workers will be down 15 pct in 2011 compared with 2010.

    [09] Gov't on broadcast media sector

    Alternate Culture Minister Telemahos Hytiris, speaking at a press conference on Monday, said that in January the government will table reforms for the wider broadcast media sector, following 20 years of an "anarchous environment", as he said.

    In parallel, he said reforms will try to safeguard healthy competition in the sector and to put an end to "distortions" in the market.

    Hytiris said the crisis in the sector does not leave much ground for mistaken moves and delays, "worsening the problems that we were aware of before it broke out, such as that of more media operating than the country can absorb."

    [10] Minister again cites tougher stance vis-a-vis illegal migration

    Citizen's Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Monday again referred to the problem of illegal immigration faced by Greece, stressed that "in the past year Greece was called on to face the entry of about 128,000 illegal immigrants."

    Papoutsis said that over the last four years this figure reached 512,000.

    "From Turkey alone in the first 11 months of 2010 about 50,000 illegal immigrants came in, of whom 43,500 from the Evros prefecture. This is the tough reality and we have a responsibility towards Greek citizens to deal with it," he emphasised.

    The minister reiterated that Athens will proceed with the construction of preventive means to block the entry of illegals, including fences along land borders with Turkey.

    Moreover, Papoutsis charged that "it's hypocrisy when some have been condemning Greece for being unable to guard its borders, in accordance with the Schengen Treaty, to now appear as critics, because it (Greece) wants the self-evident, to strengthen the security of its borders."

    [11] Reports: Nimetz expected to meet Greece, fYRoM reps late this month

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Frangopoulos)

    UN mediator on the "name issue" Matthew Nimetz is expected to have meetings in New York on Jan. 27 with the representatives of Greece, Amb. Adamantios Vassilakis, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Zoran Jolevski, according to the national news agency in the neighbouring country, which cited sources at the fYRoM foreign ministry.

    The same reports were broadcast by a handful of private television channels in Skopje.

    According to the formal process followed, the meetings between Nimetz and representatives of the two countries are announced by the UN's secretariat. However, there has not yet been any relevant official announcement on the part of the UN.

    [12] Prosecutor recommends arraignment of former minister over inaccurate asset declarations

    An appeals court prosecutor has recommended the arraignment of former minister Tassos Mantelis on charges of filing inaccurate declarations of assets statements, a mandatory requirement for Parliament deputies.

    The prosecutor's proposal was tabled with the council of appellate magistrates.

    The prosecutor examined a case file related to the inspection of Mantelis' assets and asset declarations, a probe that commenced after he admitted receiving money from German multinational Siemens in 2000, money deposited in a Swiss bank account opened by family friend G. Tsouganis to facilitate him.

    The bank account was listed under the code name "A. ROCOS."

    Mantelis served in successive PASOK governments in the 1990s, including the portfolio of transport minister. He has claimed that the money was part of a "campaign contribution" towards his Parliament re-election in 2000.

    Financial News

    [13] Stricter framework for tax evasion announced

    The finance ministry secretary general on Monday announced stricter provisions for penalties imposed on individuals caught in the act of tax evading.

    Referring to the new tax bill that the government will table in Parliament this month, Dimitris Georgakopoulos also announced the enactment of first instance court procedure for those suspected of not turning over VAT proceeds.

    At the same time and according to evidence resulting from checks carried out by the Economic Crime Squad in music halls over the past weekend, it appears that one out of two such clubs engaged in tax evasion. Out of 131 checks performed by the squad's units, 69 music halls were detected not issuing receipts or engaging in other serious tax violations.

    [14] Tougher penalties for fuel market violators

    The adoption of an amendment that includes tougher penalties in case of fuel market violations, namely, the imposition of larger fines and the withdrawal of petrol station operation licenses, was announced on Monday by Regional Development & Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis.

    The relevant amendment will be presented by the minister to the parliamentary committee on development, set to meet on Monday afternoon.

    [15] Economy in 'vicious circle', Athens-Piraeus Industrialists president warns

    The Greek economy has entered a vicious circle that will be very hard to exit, president of the Association of Industrialists of Athens and Piraeus Dimitris Mathios warned, in a circular/message to the association's members.

    This, he added, was due to the fact that the measures taken by the government are apparently failing to halt the recession into which the country has already fallen and, on the contrary, could very well entrench the Greek economy into a dangerous form of stagflation.

    Mathios further said that the advent of 2011 finds Greek industry and the Greek economy in general in an even more difficult position than 2010, compounded by adverse international developments such as the rising prices of crude oil and raw materials that further encumber achievement of the budget targets.

    He also warned that the government's persistence on indirect and special taxes will maintain tax inflation at a high level, while the "most oppressive measure" was the "continuation of the punishment of profit with an extraordinary contribution for the 2009 tax year by profitable enterprises, which should be exempted from taxation on both fixed assets and their total installations".

    [16] ESEE: Shop turnover, revenues down in 2010

    Turnover plunged by more than 50 percent in real terms in the clothing-footwear branch in 2010, while substantial declines were also recorded in the branches of cosmetics, medicines, fuel and even food, according to a survey by the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) on the course of the market, entrepreneurship and employment in the past year that was released on Monday.

    Overall, shop revenues declined by 5.1 percent in the period 2008-2010, although the decline was sharply contained from 7.1 percent in 2009 to 2.2 percent 2010, the second consecutive year of recession on the market.

    According to ESEE, the decline in consumption in real terms (volume) in 2010 was 52 percent in clothing and footwear, 28 percent in fuel, 27 percent in medicines and cosmetics, 15 percent in furniture and electrical appliances, 14 percent in alcohol and tobacco, and 11 percent in food.

    ESEE anticipated that it will be very difficult to 'heal the wounds' left by 2010 in business activity, the market and chiefly Greek commerce given that commerce recorded a decline in turnover and suffered the withdrawal of thousands of entrepreneurs from the profession.

    Also, the VAT rate increases, the 20 percent reduction of civil servants' salaries and pensions that resulted in a drastic reduction in the purchasing power of consumers, the decline in liquidity (cash flow), the increase in unemployment and the "reproduction of the negative psychology on the market" had "dramatic effects" on Greek commercial enterprises, ESEE said, adding that the spectre of more austerity measures by the government puts a brake on any investment initiatives.

    The confederation further noted that the number of people employed in commerce declined by 52,000 in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the corresponding quarter in 2009, falling to 785,500. The figure improved partly in the second quarter of 2010, rising to 801,100 but falling again, although at a smaller proportion, to 800,200 in the third quarter of 2010.

    [17] BEA will not hold annual New Year event due to economic situation

    The Athens Chamber of Small and Medium Industries (BEA) announced on Monday that, just as last year, it will not hold its traditional annual New Year reception.

    "Greek small and micro industries are going through a very difficult period and are facing a plethora of problems that are accumulating threateningly," a BEA announcement said.

    "In such a context, the BEA administration has decided not to organise this year the traditional annual event for the New Year, in an act of acknowledgement of the difficulty of the times," the announcement added.

    [18] Piraeus Bank announces 807-mln-euro share capital increase

    Piraeus Bank on Monday announced a unanimous board decision to seek a share capital increase plan, worth 807,054,045 euros in cash.

    Under the plan, the bank will issue 807,054,045 new common nominal shares at an offering price of 1.0 euro per new share to be offered at a ratio of 12 to five to existing shareholders. The bank said the offer price represents a 43 pct discount on its fair price -excluding rights- based on closing prices of Monday 3, January 2011.

    The plan is expected to be completed by the end of January and the new shares will begin trading in the Athens Stock Exchange by mid-February. Following completion of the share increase plan, the bank's total number of common nominal shares will be 1,143,326,564.

    The plan is fully covered by a consortium of international financial firms, headed by Barclays Bank Plc, Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Ltd, Goldman Sachs International and Morgan Stanley & Co Intl Plc, acting together as international coordinators and managers for the international offering.

    The plan is also supported by ING Bank NV, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Ltd, Macquarie Capital (Europe) Ltd, Mediobanca-Bance di Credito Finanziario SpA and MPS Capital Services SpA, who will act as co-managers.

    Commenting on the plan, Mihalis Sallas, chairman of the bank, said Piraeus Bank aims to further strengthen its capital base amid a difficult economic situation and to create the necessary conditions in order to benefit from a gradual recovery of countries in which Piraeus Bank has established activities. "I have to underline also that we are very satisfied with the strong support offered by our main shareholders to the plan," he added.

    [19] More union action against Athens mass transports on Wed.

    Yet another strike by unions representing mass transit employees in the greater Athens area is planned for Wednesday, the day before the Epiphany holiday, with the Athens metro and the electric rail line (ISAP) to be affected by a 24-hour industrial action.

    A bus drivers' union has called for a work stoppage from noon to 4 p.m.

    [20] Greek PMI again falls in Dec.

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) eased to 43.1 points in December from 43.9 in November, its lowest reading since August, evidence of worsening conditions in the Greek manufacturing sector.

    Incoming new orders fell in the last month of 2010 with the fastest rate since March 2009, reflecting worsening conditions in demand, domestic and abroad, while production levels also continued to fall rapidly.

    The combination of adverse business conditions in tandem with strong competition prevented Greek manufacturers from raising their prices in December, with outflow prices falling for the 27th consecutive month despite a steep rise in inflow costs.

    With revenues falling and inflow costs rising, Greek manufacturers sought ways to cut spending in December. As a result, purchasing activity, inventories and employment fell further in the month.

    The purchasing managers' index measures business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while readings below 50 a shrinking sector.

    [21] Credit expansion slowed to 0.4% in Nov.

    Credit expansion slowed further in Greece for an annual growth rate of 0.4 pct in November, down from 1.0 pct in October and 4.1 pct in December 2009, the Bank of Greece announced on Monday.

    The central bank, in a report, said the November figures reflected a decline in the annual growth rates of lending to all sectors of the economy.

    Specifically, lending to enterprises was a negative 533 million euros in November, down from positive lending of 302 million euros in November 2009 -- an annual growth rate of 1.6 pct in November (2.2 pct in October and 5.1 pct in December 2009).

    The commerce sector recorded improved lending figures in November although it remained on a negative trend (-1.5 pct, compared with -1.9 pct in October and 4.2 pct in December 2009).

    All other sectors recorded a further slowdown in their annual lending growth rates: agriculture (-0.3 pct), manufacturing (-1.6 pct), tourism (3.8 pct), shipping (7.0 pct), other financial institutions (-1.1 pct), constructions (1.4 pct), electricity-gas-water (20.9 pct), other transports (-1.4 pct) and all other sectors (4.4 pct).

    Net lending to self-employed professionals, farmers and personal businesses was a negative 76 million euros in November for an annual growth rate of -1.0 pct, down from 0.1 pct in October.

    Net lending to households was a negative 227 million euros in November after a positive flow of 399 million euros in November 2009. The annual growth rate slowed further to -0.6 pct in November from -0.1 pct in October and 3.1 pct in December 2009.

    Net flow of mortgage loans was a negative 87 million euros in November after a positive flow of 267 million in November 2009, for an annual growth rate of 0.3 pct in November, from 0.7 pct in October and 3.7 pct in December.

    Consumer loans recorded an annual growth rate of -3.1 pct in November, from -2.3 pct in October and 2.0 pct in December 2009, while the other loans category recorded an annual growth rate of 3.8 pct in November from 4.2 pct in October and -1.1 pct in December 2009.

    [22] Budget revenues up 10.6% in Dec.

    Greek budget revenues rose 10.6 pct in December, boosted by a tax amnesty scheme introduced by the government, with revenues rising 5.4 pct in the year, falling short of a budget target for an annual growth rate of 6.0 pct, the Finance ministry said on Monday.

    Ministry officials expressed satisfaction with revenue figures for the year, totaling 51.1 billion euros, down 280 million euros from a revised budget provision.

    [23] ASE outlines 3 main priorities for 2011

    Attracting investment interest for Greek stocks, promoting capital increases by listed enterprises and taking advantage of X-NET's network in order to gradually become the best pan-European information and transaction order network, are the three priorities for Hellenic Exchanges this year, Socrates Lazaridis, the president of the Athens Stock Exchange, said on Monday.

    During an address at a New Year's ceremony, Ioannis Georganas, Hellenic Exchange's chief executive, said he expected the Greek economy to begin recovering by the end of 2011 after a very difficult first half of the year, more difficult than 2010.

    He also said the economic recovery would be based on an improved course of Greek shipping and tourism, investments made through the 4th Community Support Framework programme and higher exports.

    [24] Only two blue chip stocks end 2010 with gains

    Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (21.1 pct) and Viohalco (2.0 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end with gains in 2010, while bank shares suffered heavy losses last year.

    Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling also presented the highest capitalisation (7.088 billion euros), surpassing National Bank (5.784 billion euros), while OPAP (4.127 billion), Hellenic Telecoms (3.004 billion) and Public Power Corp. {PPC} (2.491 billion) surpassed all other banking shares.

    The performance of energy shares was negative but satisfactory, given the very negative conjecture of the Greek economy, with PPC falling by 17.4 pct, Hellenic Petroleum (-25 pct) and Motor Oil (-29.5 pct). Other groups with activities in energy also suffered losses (Mytilineos (-12 pct), Ellaktor (-35 pct) and Titan (-19.2 pct).

    Bank shares suffered the heaviest percentage losses among blue chip stocks, with ATEbank down 61.9 pct, MIG (-66.9 pct), National Bank (-60.7 pct), Piraeus Bank (-54.9 pct), Alpha Bank (-53.7 pct) and Eurobank (-52.4 pct).

    Only two stocks scored gains in the Mid Cap index as well: Frigoglass (46.9 pct) and Folli Follie (39.6 pct). On the other hand, Alapis (87.3 pct), Lambrakis Press (78.3 pct), Geniki Bank (76.4 pct), Mechaniki (71.6 pct), ANEK (68.8 pct), Proton (65.5 pct), Intracom (64.8 pct), Vovos (63.6 pct) and Avax (56 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses.

    In the Small Cap index, Euroconsultants (54.7 pct), Eurodrip (34.2 pct), Selonda (18.3 pct), Kanakis (18.2 pct), Haidemenos (18.2 pct), MLS (16.7 pct), Dias (10.8 pct), Flexopack (10.7 pct), Nireus (10.6 pct) and Karatzi (9.3 pct) scored gains, while Intracom Constructions (77.1 pct), Pegasus (77 pct), Sprider (76.3 pct), Ilis (74.3 pct), Alco (70.6 pct), Aspis Bank (70.6 pct), Pasal (65.4 pct) and Sfakianakis (65.3 pct) top losers.

    The composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange ended the year 35.62 pct down at 1,413.94 points.

    [25] Stocks end 0.4% higher

    Stocks ended slightly higher at the first trading session of 2011, with the composite index of the market rising 0.40 pct to end at 1,419.66 points.

    Turnover remained a disappointing low of 43.026 million euros. The Big Cap index rose 0.38 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.94 pct higher and the Small Cap index eased 0.05 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 81 to 63 with another 48 issues unchanged. Attikat (14.29 pct), VIS (9.72 pct), Spyrou (9.62 pct) and Druckfarben (9.52 pct) were top gainers, while Ilyda (11.43 pct0, Spider (10 pct) and Mohlos (9.09 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.43%

    Industrials: -1.26%

    Commercial: +0.04%

    Construction: -0.88%

    Media: +1.63%

    Oil & Gas: +0.56%

    Personal & Household: +0.35%

    Raw Materials: -0.93%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.14%

    Technology: -0.17%

    Telecoms: +0.33%

    Banks: +0.67%

    Food & Beverages: +0.20%

    Health: +0.01%

    Utilities: +1.57%

    Chemicals: +1.57%

    Financial Services: +1.55%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Piraeus Bank, OPAP and Marfin Popular Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 3.87

    ATEbank: 0.72

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.95

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.40

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.88

    National Bank of Greece: 6.16

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.72

    OPAP: 12.94

    OTE: 6.15

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.57

    Titan: 16.30

    [26] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -3.55 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 12.284 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,640 contracts worth 8.501 million euros, with 28,601 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 10,519 contracts worth 3.783 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's shares (2,402), followed by Eurobank (641), MIG (1,326), OTE (897), Viohalco (232), Mytilineos (710), Cyprus Bank (314) and Marfin Popular Bank (1,635).

    General News

    [27] Greece's first Vehicle Museum opens to public in March

    Vehicles covering a period of more than a century will be on display at Greece's first Vehicle Museum in an exhibition that will open in March.

    The recently-inaugurated Museum, located on the top level of the three-storey Athenian Capitol multi-purpose cultural, commercial and recreational facility, features an 1895 fire pump, the oldest exhibit on display, while other highlights include cars belonging to historical figures of the arts and politics, some of which were acquired through international auctions over the last three decades.

    The Athenian Capitol mall, which also contains a conference center, a 3D cinema, some 30 shops, and 10 restaurants and cafes, as well as an 8-storey underground garage with a capacity of 800 cars, is a 45 million euro investment by the Charagionis Group is expected to attract more than three million visitors annually.

    All the Museum's exhibits are from the private collection of Group founder Theodoros Charagionis, which currently numbers 292 vehicles.

    Initially, 111 of the vehicles will be on display in the alternating exhibition. They will be replaced by 100-120 other vehicles next year, and by the remaining vehicles of the collection the following year.

    The Museum also plans to host parallel theme exhibitions such as racing cars, and exhibits dedicated to vehicles originating from different industries, such as Ferrari, or different countries, such as Italy.

    Among the current exhibits are actor Paul Newman's Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing, legendary Led Zeppelin rock group frontsman Robert Plant's 1959 Chrysler ?mperial, Formula 1 driver Lorenzo Bandini's personal 1953 Lancia Aurelia with its Gucci-designed interior, as well as cars that belonged to dukes, barons and members of the House of Lords.

    A special road safety program for children will also be running at the Museum on weekdays, specialised for a variety of age groups.

    Another attraction is a Formula 1 simulator, while the Museum Store offers a host of collector-item memorabilia.

    [28] Burglary at City of Athens facility, PCs stolen

    Burglars broke into the City of Athens' supplies division building in downtown Athens on New Year's Eve and stole seven PCs, police said on Monday. The incident was discovered the following morning by the building's guard when he arrived to take up his shift.

    According to the security guard, the burglars broke a basement window to enter the building, and removed the PCs from the first and second storey offices.

    Police are investigating the incident and questioning the employees of the division to ascertain the contents of the PC hard drives, given that the value of the stolen articles themselves is not noteworthy.

    In a later statement on the incident, new Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis stated that "... unfortunately, the break-in at the municipality's supplies department was not the best start to the new year. Understandably, it raises questions as outlined in the press today (Monday). The case, in terms of tracking down the culprits, is now the responsibility of Greek Police.

    "As for the Municipality, an investigation into the circumstances of the break-in, as well as the documents that were removed, is underway. The relevant department assured us that it will soon be in a position to recover these particular documents."

    [29] Probe continues into Bulgaria's 'robbery of the century'

    SOFIA (ANA-MPA / M. Borisov)

    Authorities here merely said an investigation is continuing within the framework of international cooperation, when asked to confirm Greek press reports that searches are underway on Greek territory to trace a portion of a large quantity of precious metals stolen last October from the Sofia Airport.

    The Hollywood-style robbery has been dubbed by Bulgarian media as the "robbery of the century".

    A total of six individuals, all with a criminal record, were arrested on Nov. 10, 2010 as suspects in the Oct. 18 robbery when 378 kg of silver, 20 kg of gold and 1.8 kg of platinum were stolen overnight from a warehouse in Sofia Airport, after the suspects drilled a hole in a wall.

    The Bulgarian interior minister stated after the arrests that a large part of the stolen silver and pieces of gold jewelry had been recovered during searches in the homes and offices used by the six suspects, among them, a former customs officer believed to have masterminded the heist.

    [30] Police unit says it intervened in 61 cases of threatened -- via the Internet -- suicide in 2010

    Greek Police's (EL.AS) electronic crimes squad announced this week that the unit was instrumental in preventing threatened suicides by 61 people (59 local residents and two foreign nationals) aged between 13 and 67. In a statement, the unit said the individuals had cited an intention, in online chat rooms, to end their lives, with most citing personal reasons.

    [31] Court fees increased

    As of Jan. 23, 2011, lawsuit fees will increase from 10 to 100 euros, while the plaintiff representation fee will increase from 10 euros to 50 euros, the government announced on Monday.

    All criminal court procedure fees will increase in accordance with the finance and justice ministers' joint decision.

    The new regulation, nevertheless, drew criticism from Athens Bar Association members, who said the hikes prevented citizens from "exercising their constitutional rights".

    [32] Illegal migrants detained on Corfu

    Five illegal migrants were arrested Monday by port authorities on the island of Corfu, where stole a boat with the aim of heading to Italy.

    The authorities acted after being informed that a boat had been stolen from the port of Sidari, and apprehended the illegal migrants in a remote spot in the Othonon area of the island.

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Rainy on Tuesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -6C and 15C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 5C to 10C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -2C to 5C.

    [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The increase of the 11 percent VAT to 13 percent, the economy and the bomb attack at a Coptic church in Alexandria were the main front-page items in Monday's dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "350 million euros 'bribe' to Goldman Sachs".

    AVRIANI: "Hundreds of thousands small and medium size enterprise (SME) businessmen and self-employed professionals being sent to jail".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "New Year with unbearable price and rate increases".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "What we will be paying with the new 13 percent VAT".

    ESTIA: "2011 a turning point".

    ETHNOS: "Sweeping changes in real estate market in 2011".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Countdown for return to the markets".

    TA NEA: "Burglary at Athens City Hall".

    VRADYNI: "New bomb for households due to higher VAT on foods, utility prices and fuel".

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