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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-04-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 22 April 2011 Issue No: 3771


  • [01] Easter 'exodus' climaxes
  • [02] Easter messages by Christian Orthodox Church leaders
  • [03] ND leader Samaras, Archbishop Ieronymos visit homeless shelter
  • [04] DM denies 'troika' purported demand f or 30pct reduction in Armed Forces staff
  • [05] Probe on e-mail over Greek debt restructuring
  • [06] Government spokesman on ND party
  • [07] Injured Libyans airlifted to Athens
  • [08] Greece raises a total of 2.0 billion euros from T-bills auction
  • [09] Dep. FinMin on the Diaspora bonds
  • [10] Registered unemployment up 3 pct, hirings up 15 pct in March
  • [11] Non-resident arrivals up 0.6pct in 2010
  • [12] Building materials cost index up 3.7 pct in March
  • [13] Stocks end week 2.57% down
  • [14] Greek bond market closing report
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [17] Robbers seize 250,000 euros from ATM machine in Larissa bank
  • [18] Major drug busts, two arrested, others sought
  • [19] Ancient marble objects were used to decorate villas on Kos
  • [20] Drug arrest on Kos
  • [21] Fair on Friday
  • [22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [23] President denounces Turkish arrogance
  • [24] Leaders to meet Wednesday Politics

  • [01] Easter 'exodus' climaxes

    The holidaymakers' 'exodus' from the urban centers for the Easter holiday is expected to climax on Friday.

    Traffic police throughout the country are on standby, while extra measures have been taken to facilitate excursionists.

    The Easter exodus is expected to be bigger than last year, despite the economic crisis, spurred by weather forecasts of better conditions than last year's, with plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures.

    Bookings of trains, airplanes and ships have reached 90 percent, not taking into account the last-minute travelers.

    [02] Easter messages by Christian Orthodox Church leaders

    Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece issued an Easter message referring to the unfavourable situation and the ordeal the country is experiencing while underlining that "each time our nation was on the verge of becoming debilitated was lifted up by the hope brought by the Resurrection."

    He also urged the faithful to be fearless when faced with injustice, illness, daily hardships, the economic crisis or insecurity for the future and become "people of Resurrection".

    The disaster in Japan, wars and terrorist acts which in combination with the economic crisis create a nightmarish global picture, were underlined in Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's Easter message.

    He referred to the "arrogant human mind" that attempts to harness the immensely stronger forces of nature, noting that this attitude is directly linked with the "spiritual deviation of the human race". Faith in the Risen Christ forms the only path modern man should follow, the Ecumenical Patriarch underlined.

    Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem referred to the pastoral, philanthropic, social and peace-keeping work performed through the centuries by the Church in the Holy Land and wished to the faithful good health, prosperity and progress.

    Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa highlighted the social problems of abused women in Africa, human trafficking and illegal migration. He also referred to the recent incidents in Egypt that have changed the course of the country's history.

    Patriarch Irinej of Serbia wished Happy Easter to all Christians, underlining that relations between peoples and individual human beings are being threatened by egoism, envy, violence and hatred.

    [03] ND leader Samaras, Archbishop Ieronymos visit homeless shelter

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece on Holy Thursday visited the City of Athens Reception Centre for the Homeless.

    Samaras referred to the great welfare work performed by the Church and urged the people to offer their help to the ill, the elderly, the weak and the poor in their neighborhoods.

    Archbishop Ieronymos expressed joy for the opportunity he had to visit the people in need. He stressed that two years have passed since the specific initiative was launched by the Church and wished that problems will be solved soon.

    [04] DM denies 'troika' purported demand f or 30pct reduction in Armed Forces staff

    Defense minister Evangelos Venizelos denied as "totally inaccurate" reports that the EU-IMF 'troika' representatives have demanded a 30 percent reduction in the Armed Forces Staff, responding in parliament to a relevant question tabled by MPs Yiannis Dimaras and Vassilis Economou.

    He also denied as inaccurate reports that Greece has a 200,000-strong Armed Forces, explaining that the professional staff in the Armed Forces together with the civilian personnel numbers approximately 80,000.

    Venizelos said that there is no issue whatsoever of dismissals of Armed Forces staff.

    The minister said that "we may have limited fiscal sovereignty due to the crisis, but that does not mean that foreign policy and national defence issues have been transferred from the jurisdiction of the government and parliament to the jurisdiction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and European Commission (EC)".

    [05] Probe on e-mail over Greek debt restructuring

    A prosecutor's probe into market rumours about an imminent restructuring of Greece's debt, that hit bank stocks on Wednesday, found that the rumours were prompted by an e-mail sent by an employee working in an international banking group based in London.

    The e-mail was sent on Wednesday and soon after it was made public, Citizens Protection Christos Papoutsis asked for an investigation of the case, while the prosecutor's office ordered a probe in the matter. The e-mail was sent to a large number of Internet users and particularly Greek market participants.

    [06] Government spokesman on ND party

    Government spokesman George Petalotis on Thursday accused the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party of "irresponsibility, corruption and propaganda", commenting on what was said about the economy in the past few days by the spokesman and officials of ND.

    "Instead of uttering a substantiated political speech, in the face of its disastrous governmental past, it is showing that it is realising nothing," the government spokesman said.

    [07] Injured Libyans airlifted to Athens

    Injured people were airlifted to Athens from Libya on Thursday afternoon and, according to initial reports, 49 injured Libyans were carried and 15 relatives of theirs with an aircraft of Qatar's air force that landed at Athens airport. The injured people are being treated at an Athens hospital.

    The operation is part of humanitarian aid which Greece has declared that it is prepared to offer, both in bilateral contacts with leading officials of Arab countries and at regional and international forums that have been convened for an end to violence in Libya.

    Financial News

    [08] Greece raises a total of 2.0 billion euros from T-bills auction

    The Greek government on Thursday said it accepted an additional 375 million euros from supplementary non-competitive bids submitted in a 13-week Treasury bills auction held on Tuesday.

    An announcement by the Public Debt Management Organization said the settlement date for the additional sum is April 26.

    With the additional sum, the Greek government raised a total of 2.0 billion euros from the market, at a slightly higher interest rate.

    [09] Dep. FinMin on the Diaspora bonds

    The issuance of Diaspora bonds will take place in the third quarter of 2011 at the latest, Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sahinidis said in a newspaper interview on Thursday.

    Responding to a relevant question in Athens' Imerissia daily, Sahinidis said that an application has been submitted to the US Capital Markets Regulation Committee. The bond issue has been set at 3 billion US dollars.

    The intention to issue Diaspora bonds had been announced by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou in the autumn of 2010 with the aim of drawing capital from the large Greek community abroad.

    [10] Registered unemployment up 3 pct, hirings up 15 pct in March

    The number of registered unemployed increased 3 pct in March compared with February, the Workforce Employment Organization (OAED) said on Thursday. New hirings increased 15 pct, while lay-offs rose 8.56 pct.

    According to a report issued by OAED, the registered unemployed totaled 714,675 in March, up 3.20 pct compared with February. Specifically, 314,741 (44.04 pct) were men and 399,934 (55.96 pct) were women.

    The 30-54 age group accounted for 62.44 pct of registered unemployed, the below-30s age group accounted for 28.15 pct and the above-55 age group accounted for 9.41 pct.

    Greek citizens accounted for 91.91 pct of registered unemployed, third countries' citizens accounted for 6.49 pct and EU citizens 1.59 pct.

    The number of unemployed receiving unemployment benefit totaled 305,952 in March, up 9.24 pct from the previous month.

    Net flows of employment in the private sector were -7,419 in March from -10,652 in February.

    [11] Non-resident arrivals up 0.6pct in 2010

    Non-resident arrivals from abroad rose by 0.6 percent in 2010, according to figures released on Thursday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

    ELSTAT said that, according to the Border Statistical Survey conducted by the Bank of Greece, in the period Jan-Dec 2010, arrivals of non-residents from abroad increased by 0,6%, as compared with the same period of the year 2009.

    More specifically, arrivals from Europe, which account for the majority of arrivals of non-residents to Greece (88.5%), registered a decrease of 2.4% in Jan-Dec 2010 as compared with the same period of 2009, while arrivals from the Member States of the European Union recorded a decrease of 6.3%.

    A significant decrease of arrivals was observed from the UK (14.7%), Germany (13.8%), France (9.8%), and Italy (9.8%).

    On the other hand, there was a significant increase in arrivals from Poland (97.6%), Russia (63.5%) and Cyprus (32.2%).

    As regards the distribution of arrivals by country of origin of non-residents, the largest number of arrivals came from Germany (13.6%), the United Kingdom (12.0%), France (5.8%) and Italy (5.6%).

    Moreover, the corresponding data for the rest of the continents shows a significant increase of arrivals from Asia for the period Jan-Dec 2010 as compared with the same period of 2009.

    The analysis of the data by means of transportation and by point of entry shows that most arrivals are by air, and airports with the largest proportion of traffic are those of Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport (20.6%), Iraklio (Crete, 12.8%) and Rhodes (9.4%).

    [12] Building materials cost index up 3.7 pct in March

    The Building Materials Cost Index rose 3.7 pct in March from the same month last year, after an increase of 2.7 pct recorded in March 2010, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said diesel oil (24.1 pct), steel pipes (16.5 pct) and iron (14.6 pct) recorded the highest percentage increase in the month.

    The building materials cost index was up 0.1 pct in March from February, after an increase of 0.5 pct recorded in the same period last year.

    Meanwhile, the New Home Building Price Categories Index was unchanged in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the corresponding period last year.

    [13] Stocks end week 2.57% down

    Greek stocks recovered strongly in the last trading session of a shortened week in the Athens Stock Exchange, recovering the ground lost on Wednesday. The composite index rose 2.26 pct to end at 1,431.33 points, for a net loss of 2.57 pct in the week. Turnover, however, was a low 67.518 million euros.

    The Big Cap index grew 2.22 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.48 pct higher and the Small Cap index ended 0.90 pct up. Hellenic Petroleum (0.83 pct) and PPC (0.63 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end lower, while OPAP (6.05 pct), MIG (5.88 pct), ATEbank (4.44 pct) and National Bank (3.05 pct) were top gainers. The Travel (6.13 pct), Financial Services (4.84 pct) and Food (3.60 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while only the Oil sector ended lower (0.17 pct). Broadly, advancers led decliners by 102 to 38 with another 52 issues unchanged. Forthnet (10 pct), Moda Bagno (10 pct) and Alco (10 pct) were top gainers, while Ideal (11.69 pct), Sciens (10.26 pct) and ANEK (10 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +1.75%

    Industrials: +1.30%

    Commercial: +3.23%

    Construction: +1.05%

    Media: Unchanged

    Oil & Gas: -0.17%

    Personal & Household: +0.05%

    Raw Materials: +2.73%

    Travel & Leisure: +6.13%

    Technology: +2.42%

    Telecoms: +0.77%

    Banks: +1.84%

    Food & Beverages: +3.60%

    Health: +0.49%

    Utilities: +0.23%

    Chemicals: +1.67%

    Financial Services: +4.84%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Alpha Bank and Coca Cola 3E.

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

    Alpha Bank: 3.66

    ATEbank: 0.47

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.00

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.98

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.14

    National Bank of Greece: 5.40

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.42

    OPAP: 14.96

    OTE: 7.90

    Bank of Piraeus: 1.11

    Titan: 17.74

    [14] Greek bond market closing report

    Speculation over a debt restructuring by Greece continued pressuring Greek bond yields, pushing spreads to new record highs on Thursday. The 10-year Greek benchmark bond yielded 14.77 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market, while the German Bund yielded 3.30 pct, with the yield spread rising to a record high of 1,147 basis points.

    Turnover in the market was a low 16 million euros, all sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 4.0 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly higher. The 12-month rate was 2.13 pct, the six-month rose to 1.66 pct, the three-month was 1.36 pct and the one-month rate was 1.19 pct.

    [15] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of -0.34 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover falling to a record low of 17.074 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,274 contracts worth 13.604 million euros, with 29,042 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,489 contracts worth 3.470 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,260), followed by Eurobank (418), Piraeus Bank (1,595), Alpha Bank (1,430), Mytilineos (394), Hellenic Petroleum (233), Cyprus Bank (230) and PPC (244).

    [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.480

    Pound sterling 0.894

    Danish kroner 7.569

    Swedish kroner 9.021

    Japanese yen 121.31

    Swiss franc 1.304

    Norwegian kroner 7.901

    Canadian dollar 1.403

    Australian dollar 1.376

    General News

    [17] Robbers seize 250,000 euros from ATM machine in Larissa bank

    Two persons riding a motorcycle and wearing helmets broke the window pane of a bank in the city of Larissa with a plastic hammer at noon on Thursday, at a time when employees were preparing to load an ATM machine, and at gunpoint seized 250,000 euros that were about to be placed in the machine.

    The robbery took place in a few minutes time and the fact that the robbers appeared at the moment that the ATM machine was being loaded led to the conclusion that the premises had been watched. Police later found the abandoned motorcycle used in the robbery.

    [18] Major drug busts, two arrested, others sought

    Attica drug squad police arrested two people and seized large quantities of narcotics in two incidents in Ilion and nearby Peristeri on Wednesday.

    Police seized a large quantity of narcotics and arrested an Albanian national during a raid Wednesday night of an apartment in the Ilion district used as a warehouse by an organised Albanian drug trafficking ring, police said on Thursday.

    An Albanian man, serving as a guard of the apartment, was arrested during the raid, while 271 kilos of cannabis, 2,800 euros in cash, two cell phones and two cars were seized.

    The investigation was continuing on Thursday to locate and arrest other members of the organisation.

    In a second incident, a 31-year-old man was arrested for possession and trafficking of large quantities of heroin.

    A total of 1.286 kilos of heroin and small quantity of cannabis and other items were found in the man's possession and seized.

    The detainees in both incidents will appear before a public prosecutor on Thursday.

    [19] Ancient marble objects were used to decorate villas on Kos

    Roughly 150 ancient marble objects destined to decorate local villas were found in a marble workshop in Messaria region on the southeastern Aegean island of Kos.

    Acting on information, the prosecutor and the archaeological service searched the workshop premises where the marble objects were being processed and found a total of 600 marble items, 150 of which were of archaeological value.

    The workshop owner was arrested.

    [20] Drug arrest on Kos

    A 22-year-old Albanian woman was arrested on the island of Kos, southeast Aegean, on drug charges, it was announced on Thursday.

    Acting on a tip-off, police found in her possession a total of 5,144 grams of unprocessed cannabis.

    Weather Forecast

    [21] Fair on Friday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 5C and 23C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 19C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 20C.

    [22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Economic issues and increasing speculation of restructuring of the Greek debt were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The 25,000 public administration governors/directors will be 'greenguards' (PASOK-affiliated)".

    AVGHI: "Collapse of state revenues, stocks and bonds - Instead of the targeted 8.5 percent increase, state revenues in first quarter of the year fell by 8.5 percent, falling short by 2.8 billion euros".

    AVRIANI: "Greece another Lehman Brothers, heading full speed to bankruptcy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "'Settlement' of unlicensed buildings at cut-rate prices".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Settlement procedures for unlicensed buildings".

    ESTIA: "Last chance for the prime minister".

    ETHNOS: "Settlement for unlicensed buildings after Easter".

    IMERISSIA: "The 'piranhas' are here - Supply of medical materials at prices 20 times up".

    KATHIMERINI: "GENOP (Public Power Corporation employees' union) received 31.2 billion euros (in subsidies from PPC) for posters and excursions".

    LOGOS: "Shocking report on funding from PPC to GENOP".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "25 billion euros sought for the needs in 2012".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Battle against the abolition of state hospitals and IKA (state Social Security Foundation) units".

    TA NEA: "GENOP Tours - Shocking report on the PPC trade unionists".

    VRADYNI: "Panic over the revenues".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [23] President denounces Turkish arrogance


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias confirmed on Thursday that he has sent letters to the UN

    Secretary General and the Presidents of the European Council, Commission and Parliament, denouncing the arrogance with which Turkish officials are behaving towards Cyprus.

    President Christofias said he would not be revealing the content of the letters but noted that they refer to ''the arrogance and cynicism with which the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and other Turkish officials behave towards Cyprus.''

    Replying to questions after a ceremony at the Presidential Palace to wish Happy Easter to the staff, President Christofias said that the Republic of Cyprus is closely following the intentions of Turkey to carry out explorations in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone, and is in close contact with the EU and Greece.

    ''The situation is being closely monitored by the Republic of Cyprus. We are also in contact with the EU and with Greece, of course, because this is an issue that is of direct concern to Greece, and we are coordinating efforts in order to tackle any possible interventions and/or threats on behalf of Turkey in our exclusive economic zone.''

    During the ceremony, addressing the Presidential Palace staff, President Christofias said the Turkish side was displaying record arrogance and arbitrariness, noting that, ''while our side is continuously trying to submit constructive and bridging proposals at the talks, the other side, due to the attention it is given by various sides, is unjustly appearing tough.''

    He also pointed out that the Turkish occupation force was not respecting the Turkish Cypriots and that the Greek Cypriot side's message was that the Turkish Cypriots are Cypriots and must be respected as equal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.

    President Christofias furthermore sent a message of optimism, love, respect and hope for the future to the refugees, the enclaved and the families of missing persons.

    He also referred to the economy and unemployment, assuring that the Government was making every possible effort to solve the problems.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Talks are currently underway between the two communities to reunify the island.

    [24] Leaders to meet Wednesday


    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu will meet on Wednesday, 27 April, in the framework of the UN-backed direct negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The meeting will be held at 1000 local time at the residence of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cyprus, in the UN-protected area of Nicosia Airport.

    During their working dinner on 14 April, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu discussed ways to move the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.

    UN Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for Cyprus, Alexander Downer told reporters after the dinner that the Cyprus leaders have made progress on the issues of internal security and international agreements.

    He also that he discussed with the leaders their meeting in June with the UN Secretary General.

    UN-backed direct negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem began in September 2008. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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