|Monday, 27 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-04-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 1 April 2011 Issue No: 3756
 PM Papandreou on innovation in agriculturePrime Minister George Papandreou expressed Thursday his satisfaction to Greek farmers, while attending the conference of the Agricultural Development and Food ministry on innovation in agriculture.
Speaking at the end of the conference, Papandreou said that he felt "joy and emotion" since he saw a human potential that produces and exports quality Greek products bringing wealth into the country.
"We succeeded in not going bankrupt. Now you are bringing to us optimism that we Greeks are here present. We are producing and creating the new identity of the country which is linked to the development of a quality agriculture. We are a lucky country. It has a unique biodiversity, rich soil, an interesting scene and environment and it can, with certified and safe products, conquer markets. We had a state of underdevelop-ment with mismanagement of wealth and a shaky growth model that instead of exporting made imports for the feeding of the people. This model has ended. The question is now being raised if there is a perspective for our agriculture. Your action proves that we Greeks deserve and can overcome the crisis," the premier noted.
The prime minister concluded that the state will support all the growth efforts in agriculture with the training (founding of agricultural schools), the reshaping of cooperatives, the codification of agricultural legislation and the parallel promotion of certification in production (ISO), support for innovation and the decrease of bureaucratic obstacles.
Agricultural Development and Food Minister Costas Skandalidis stated that Agriculture does not only constitute a big opportunity for exiting from the economic crisis. He said it is the only breakthrough for the development of the country. A modern and innovative agriculture that will produce quality and safe products.
 PM chairs ministers' meetingPrime Minister George Papandreou chaired a ministerial meeting in Parliament on Thursday afternoon, as the session focused on rationalising spending at the foreign, defence and citizens' protection ministries.
Taking part in the meeting were Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitris Droutsas, Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis as well as Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.
According to government sources, joint actions between the above ministries were examined.
 Foreign ministry calls on Turkey to contribute to results in exploratory talksThe Greek foreign ministry on Thursday called on Turkey to help achieve results during exploratory talks with Greece or else agree to take issues such as delineating the continental shelf to the International Court at the Hague.
Foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras urged Turkey to cease provocative actions and present a specific result after the upcoming Parliamentary elections.
"Turkey has an obligation to prove its reliability, we have a government in Turkey that says it wants good relations with Greece. It must prove this through actions," he stressed.
Delavekouras said that positions presented by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu during negotiations for the Cyprus issue had a "backward" and "divisive" logic, which resulted in a lack of progress. The spokesman called on the Turkish-Cypriot negotiator and Turkey to change their stance on the Cyprus issue.
Asked about the case against Greece brought by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which is currently underway before the ICJ, Delavekouras said that Greece respects the process at the ICJ and is waiting for its decision. He said the Greek side had presented its arguments and given a "strong reply" to those presented by FYROM.
He also clarified that the trial underway at the Hague was not related to the negotiations over the name issue but Greece's refusal to allow FYROM's entry into NATO.
Asked about the Italian ship "Explora", Delavekouras said the ship had asked permission to enter an area under Greek jurisdiction and received it. He stressed that Turkey had harassed the ship in violation of international law. Both these actions and those that followed were illegal, invalid and did not generate any legitimate result nor cast doubt on Greek sovereign rights, the spokesman underlined.
The ship, contrary to assurances provided by Italy, had also asked permission from Turkey and this led to a Greek demarche to the Italian ambassador, which the Greek permission to the ship was immediately rescinded. Greece fully established its sovereign rights, in spite of Turkey's actions, Delavekouras added.
 FM Droutsas on issue of Italian ship 'Explora'Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, referring to the Italian exploration ship 'Explora' which had requested permission from the Greek and Turkish sides to proceed with works in the Greek continental shelf/exclusive economic zone, said that "the moves that the Greek side has done are directed at anyone disputing or attempting to dispute the Greek sovereign rights. There were strong protest demarches to both the Italian side and Turkey from the very first momenrt that the harassment of the Italian vessel by a Turkish warship had taken place."
He added in an interview with the "Radio 9" station that "what is most important in this case is that the Greek sovereign rights have been safeguarded in full, there is not even a scratch."
He also pointed out that "our weapon is the International Law, the Law of the Sea, that consolidates the Greek rights and Turkey is trying to get out of this 'narrow corset' of the Law of the Sea."
 Sub case file against three former DMs forwarded to ParliamentA case file concerning the four 214-type submarines purchased by Greece based on directly assigned contracts signed with the German company HDW and Skaramangas Shipyards was forwarded to Parliament for further investigation into the likelihood of ministerial liability, it was announced on Thursday.
A first instance court chief prosecutor will forward the specific case file to the Supreme Court before it is sent to Parliament.
The investigation will focus on three former defence ministers, Yiannos Papantoniou, Spilios Spiliotopoulos and Vangelis Meimarakis, who served from 2002 until the summer of 2009.
This section of the case file is being forwarded to Parliament following the portion that concerns former defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, based on new findings by the financial crimes squad (SDOE).
New evidence suggested that clauses, included in the initial defence contracts, were not activated, while contractor dead-lines and contractual obligations were not met. Additionally, there are charges of constructional defects and non-execution of contracts for offset benefits.
Within the next few days the prosecutor's office will summon roughly 10 individuals involved in the first phase of the case (1998-2002) to testify on the purchase of defence systems for the Hellenic Navy. They will be added to the list of 37 individuals already summoned to testify as suspects on charges of breach of faith, bribery and money laundering. (ANA-MPA)
 Papoulias receives defence ministry leadershipPresident Karolos Papoulias on Thursday met with the defence ministry'? political and military leadership and highlighted the importance of the armed forces in a period of economic crisis.
"In critical periods, such as the economic crisis, the armed forces are a plus guaranteeing that diplomatic battles will be met with success while discouraging all those who think that they can take advantage of the economic crisis by becoming pushy and unbearable to the detriment of our national interests," President Papoulias stated, expressing his appreciation to the Greek armed forces.
Referring to Libya and the economy, Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said there is an "actual and a symbolic war".
He briefed the president on the situation in Libya and the level of participation of the Greek military in the operations, pointing out that "the country's diplomatic and political position is being highlighted and reinforced".
He also characterised as very crucial the fact that air traffic regulations are being observed by all aircraft participating in the operations headed by NATO and the coalition of forces.
 Gov't on Keratea incidents; illegal migrantsCitizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Thursday defended law enforcement authorities' handling of protests and mobilisations in the Keratea district in extreme southeast Attica prefecture against a garbage processing centre in the area.
"Police are doing their job in a cool-headed manner. They are trying to face a situation that is unprecedented in Greece. This has never happened before and the time has come for justice to undertake initiatives against those who are responsible," he said.
Papoutsis referred to continuing protests against the construction of such a facility in Keratea.
In an unrelated development, and following a meeting with a delegation of 14 MEPs, members of the European Parliament committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE), he cited the Greek government's decision to grant asylum to eligible foreign nationals and to proceed with the voluntary repatriation or deportation of the rest.
On his part, LIBE Committee chairman Juan F. Lopez Aguilar underlined that Europe will display tangible solidarity to the actions undertaken by Greece as regards EU external borders, adding that the work done by the Greek government in the specific period is being appreciated.
 Leftist leader on economic crisisRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group president Alexis Tsipras on Thursday said "every miracle lasts three days, so the celebrations for the summit results are over and now the government and prime minister are faced with the harsh reality and cannot hide for long."
Tsipras said government must explain where it will find 25 billion euros by 2015 and what new measures it intends "to take against the Greek people", as he charged.
 PM at Democratic Left party congressPrime Minister George Papandreou submitted a public proposal to the Democratic Left for the development of a political dialogue which will have a specific agenda, while addressing the party's first congress on Thursday evening, also criticising the other leftist parties.
The prime minister said that it is time for political dialogue to be de-demonised, clarifying that there is no question neither for power nor positions, but the promotion of changes that will benefit the country and for the consolidation of a new political culture.
Papandreou alse referred at length to what he called "clientele state", criticising the main opposition New Democracy party and the the public sector's situation. He reiterated his position on a change in the state so that it will be placed at the service of citizens and not the serving of powerful interests.
 Greenpeace's Greek branch on nuclear energyThe chief of Greenpeace's Greek branch Takis Grigoriou, speaking about the climatic changes and energy campaign, said "nuclear energy apart from dangerous and very costly is also not needed."
Grigoriou, who spoke to ANA-MPA on Thursday, said that "on the occasion of the dialogue that will be taking place in the summer in the European Union on the energy future of Europe and the decrease in emissions of the greenhouse phenomenon we wanted to present a report, utilising all the data and studies, because data say one thing and the nuclear industry another. Unfortunately, the accident in Fukoshima came before us and we are issuing the report earlier than we had estimated."
In the report "The myth of cheap nuclear energy", the Greek branch of Greenpeace provides data and examples from the nuclear stations projects being planned. It shows the real cost of the nuclear, a cost many times more than that claimed by the supporters of nuclear energy.
 Work stoppages at ANA-MPA ruled illegalAn Athens first-instance court on Thursday ruled work stoppages by staff at the ANA-MPA beginning the same day illegal and abusive.
The work stoppages were scheduled to take place from Thursday until Wednesday next week, at the hours of 9:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00 and 21:00-24:00.
The labour action was decided by the board of the Athens union of journalists ESHEA and the national journalists' federation EPHEA to demand that the ANA-MPA should not be given the status of a state-owned public utility company, adherence to the ESHEA and EPHEA collective agreements and against a second 10 percent cut in staff salaries at the ANA-MPA.
 Com't on Euro-bond convenesA committee established to determine Greece's policy vis-?-vis the "Euro-bond" issue was concluded on Thursday, with the meeting chaired by PASOK MP and former minister Vasso Papandreou.
The committee was established by Prime Minister George Papandreou.
One of the actions discussed by the committee is the greater promotion of the initiative on a Europe-wide level, especially at the grassroots level.
The initiative is currently being promoted within the European Socialists Party (PES), in which Greece's ruling PASOK belongs, as well as the Socialist group in the European Parliament.
 S&P downgrades four Greek banksStandard & Poor's on Thursday lowered its long-term credit rating of Greece's four largest banks - National Bank, Eurobank, Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank- to B+ and raised the its risk assessment for the country's banking system. The credit rating firm said its decision on Greek banks followed a decision taken on Tuesday to lower the country's sovereign credit rating to BB- from BB+.
The risk for the Greek banking system was raised by two notches, to the level of Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Hungary. In an announcement, S&P said "it believed that Greece's financial system faces a greater deterioration in the operating and economic environment ahead and an increased likelihood of a government debt restructuring.
 IMF official on GreeceWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA)
The head of the IMF's foreign relations department on Thursday emphasised that the Greek government has "made it clear" that it plans to duly meet its obligations in terms of paying off the country's debts.
Caroline Atkinson made the statement here in response to press questions, while adding that the IMF's programme for Greece is based on two axes, namely, measures to boost competitiveness, and fiscal reforms.
 Deputy FM Kouvelis in BelgradeStrengthening Serb-Greek economic relations and widening the investment activities of Greek businessmen in Serbia is the main topic of a two-day visit to Belgrade by Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis.
In this framework, the deputy minister will be having a series of meetings with ministers of the Serb government, making an address at the Greek-Serb business forum on the issue of the "perspective of Greek-Serb economic relations" and holding talks with representatives of the Serb and Greek business community.
On Friday, Kouvelis will be meeting Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and the President of the Serb Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, and then he will be having talks with Economy and Regional Development Minister Nebojsa Ciric.
 EU Council of Transport ministersBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
The global satellite radio navigation system Galileo, cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and road and trade transports were the main issues that preoccupied the European Union's Transport ministers, during their Council in Brussels on Thursday, with the participation of relevant Greek Minister Dimitris Reppas.
On the sidelines of the Council's works, Reppas met Bulgarian Alternate Transport Minister Kamen Kitjchev, with whom he discussed the development of Greece-Bulgaria rail transport, and in particular the promotion of rail axis 22, which is a priority project of the Intereuropean Transport Network.
 Reduction in road tolls a possibility, minister saysDeputy Transport Minister Yiannis Magriotis on Thursday said there might be an agreement with concessionaires to reduce road tolls even before Easter.
"I believe that we could have made the announcements today, if the banks wanted it. Next week we will make our proposals public in their entirety. I continue to believe that next week there may be an agreement," Magriotis said.
According to the minister, the state had solved most of the problems raised, speeded up the rate of land expropriations for the highways under construction, resolved issues with state and EU funding and established measures concerning the obligation to pay road tolls.
"In our talks with representatives of the banks and concessionaires we have submitted specific proposals for reducing tolls and the solution of technical problems," Magriotis said. He added that work on the roads had stopped because banks had cut off funding for the projects, which was not the responsibility of the state sector.
 Greek GDP per capita at 20,830 euros in 2009GDP per capita in Greece was 20,830 euros a year in 2009, 1.2 percent lower than in 2008, according to provisional data from regional accounts released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority ELSTAT on Thursday.
According to these, the three regions with the highest per capital GDP in Greece were the Southern Aegean (25,290 euro a year), Attica (24,884 euros a year), and central Greece (22,534 euros a year).
The poorest regions were Eastern Macedonia-Thrace (14,495 euros a year), Epirus (16,232 euros a year) and Western Greece (16, 247 euros a year).
 Retail trade volume index down 16pct in JanuaryGreece's retail trade volume index, excluding automotive fuel, slumped a further 16 percent in January against the corresponding month in 2010, according to figures released on Thursday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
The Turnover Index in Retail Trade, excluding automotive fuel, recorded a fall of 13.3% in January 2011 compared with January 2010. The Volume Index in Retail Trade, excluding automotive fuel, recorded a fall of 14.8% in January 2011 compared with January 2010.
According to provisional results, the turnover index in retail trade at current prices, excluding automotive fuel, recorded a fall of 13.3% in January 2011 compared with January 2010. The Index in January 2010 recorded an increase of 5.3% compared with January 2009 (Tables 1,3).
The turnover index in retail trade, including automotive fuel, recorded a fall of 10.5% in January 2011 compared with January 2010. The Index in January 2010 recorded an increase of 8.3% compared with January 2009.
The volume of retail trade (i.e. turnover in retail trade at constant prices), excluding automotive fuel, decreased by 14.8% in January 2011, compared with January 2010. The Index in January 2010 recorded an increase of 5.5% compared with January 2009.
The retail trade volume index, including automotive fuel, decreased by 16.0% in January 2011 compared with January 2010. The Index in January 2010 recorded an increase of 6.0% compared with January 2009.
 Business briefs...-- Greek listed enterprises reported record losses of 3.1 billion euros in 2010, with the number of loss-making listed enterprises rising to 62 pct of total, according to figures published by Pegasus Securities on Thursday. Profitable companies totaled 101, of which 26 raised their profits, 62 saw their profits fall and 13 returned to profitability after losses in the previous year. A total of 164 listed enterprises were loss-making with 64 recording higher losses, 41 managed to limit their losses and 59 enterprises returned to losses.
-- The Bank of Greece on Thursday permanently revoked the operating license of "European Pronia", an insurance company, after the company failed present an economic restructuring plan (share capital increase).
-- Greek wage-earners are largely pessimistic over the outlook of the enterprises in which they employ them this year, with 28 pct of respondents worried they could lose their jobs, a survey by Workmonitor showed on Thursday.
-- Greece's per capita Gross Domestic Product totaled 20,830 euros in 2009, down 1.2 pct compared with 2008, Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Thursday. The statistics service, in a report, said Southern Aegean was the richest region of the country, with a per capita GDP of 25,290 euros, followed by Attica (24,884) and Central Greece (22,534). On the other hand, east Macedonia-Thrace (14,495 euros), Epirus (16,232) and western Greece (16,247) recorded the lowest per capita GDP figures in 2009.
-- Folli Follie Group on Thursday said its sales fell 0.3 pct in 2010 to 989.6 million euros, from 992.5 million euros in 2009. The group said its sales abroad accounted for 52.2 pct of total turnover, up from 49.4 pct in 2009. Gross earnings rose 1.1 pct to 498.5 million euros last year, with a gross profit margin rising to 50.4 pct, while operating earnings fell 3.3 pct to 171.6 million euros.
 Stocks end significantly lowerStocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, remaining on a strong downward trend for the fourth consecutive session this week. The composite index fell 1.50 pct to end at 1,535.19 points, with turnover remaining a disappointing low 94.884 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 1.56 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.11 pct down and the Small Cap index fell 0.82 pct.
Jumbo (1.87 pct), Motor Oil (0.44 pct) and Titan (0.11 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (4.97 pct), ATEbank (4.05 pct), Ellaktor (3.73 pct) and MIG (3.70 pct) were top losers.
The Travel (4.59 pct) and Insurance (3.07 pct) sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Media (2.37 pct) and Personal Products (0.59 pct) were the only sectors to move higher.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 113 to 51 with another 47 issues unchanged. Vivere (17.39 pct), Boutaris (11.11 pct) and Dromeas (10.53 pct) were top gainers, while Euromedica (19.37 pct), Varvaressos (18.75 pct) and Imperio (16.13 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.53%
Personal & Household: +0.59%
Raw Materials: -1.17%
Travel & Leisure: -4.59%
Food & Beverages: -1.19%
Financial Services: -3.28%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.55
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.26
HBC Coca Cola: 18.95
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.37
National Bank of Greece: 6.27
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.40
Bank of Piraeus: 1.40
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened further to 957 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 940 bps the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 12.79 pct and the German Bund 3.33 pct. Turnover in the market shrank to a low 8.0 million euros, of which 7.0 million were sell orders and 1.0 million were buy orders. The six-month Treasury bill was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 2.0 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.99 pct, the six-month rate 1.54 pct, the three-month 1.23 pct and the one-month rate 0.96 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.22 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover remaining a low 34.211 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,491 contracts, worth 26.401 million euros, with 25,872 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 20,191 contracts worth 7.810 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (8,277), followed by Eurobank (676), MIG (602), OTE (1,568), OPAP (775), GEK (878), National Bank (3,012), Alpha Bank (1,464), Mytilineos (967), Hellenic Postbank (477) and ATEbank (418).
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.432
Pound sterling 0.890
Danish kroner 7.516
Swedish kroner 9.004
Japanese yen 118.55
Swiss franc 1.310
Norwegian kroner 7.895
Canadian dollar 1.389
Australian dollar 1.384
 13th Athens Fashion Week opens at TechnopolisAttracting 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 13th Athens Fashion Week presenting the 2011/2012 Fall-Winter collections is running through Sunday at the City of Athens' Technopolis events complex.
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.
Throughout the week, fashion shows will be staged by designers.
The Fashion Week kicked off on Wednesday with a fashion show featuring creations by Greek designer Dimitris Dassios.
 Road accidents down in Jan.Road accidents recorded a substantial drop of 11.2 percent in January against the corresponding month in 2010, according to figures released on Thursday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
More specifically, a total of 966 road accidents resulting in injury or death were recorded throughout Greece in January, marking an 11.2 percent decline over January 2010.
According to the statistics released, the road accident related deaths dropped a substantial 17.3 percent, totalling 67, but a 3.6 percent increase in serious injuries (114) and a 15.3 percent decline in lighter injuries (1,102).
 Four illegals detected in Italy-bound truck's fuel tankPort authorities in the extreme northwest port of Igoumenitsa arrested a 53-year-old man for transporting four illegal immigrants in a hidden compartment in his truck.
The four illegals were detected in the right fuel tank of the truck as it parked in the hold of a ferry boat heading to Igoumenitsa from Patras. The final destination was Brindisi, Italy.
On the arrival of the vessel "Elli T" in Igoumenitsa, authorities arrested the four foreign nationals and the lorry's driver.
 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 6C and 22C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 10C to 14C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 8C to 16C.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe government's changes in public high schools and speculation over new austerity measures mostly dominated the headlines in the Thursday edition of Athens' dailies.
The Athens newspaper headlines at a glance
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Police sweep against protection rackets, mobsters".
AVGI: "Calvary of entrance exams for four years".
AVRIANI: "Storm of new austerity measures to cover widening deficit".
DEMOKRATIA: "Memorandum bomb -- PASOK MP slandering (PM) Papandreou and FinMin Papaconstantinou".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Operation 'shutdown' against small newspapers by PASOK junta".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "New high school with five traps and full-scale tutorial school".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New high school with old recipe".
ESTIA: "Prime minister isn't persuading".
ETHNOS: "New high school with 19 fewer lessons".
IMERISSIA: "Heightened powers to state-appointed bank commissioners".
KATHIMERINI: "Tighter state control of banks by the state".
LOGOS: "Economic recovery (!) brings new austerity measures".
???: "Axing of tax breaks for first residence loans".
RIZOSPASTIS: " 'New high school' deeply class-based; against young people's education".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Listed companies lose four billion euros in profits".
VRADYNI: "Seizures over debts commence".
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