|Friday, 24 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-11-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 8 November 2011 Issue No: 3927
 Greek FinMin at Euro Group meetingBRUSSELS (AMNA)
Greek Government vice president and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said here on Monday evening that from Monday's Euro Group finance ministers meeting "it is concluded that the Eurozone is ready to implement, in its entirety, the October 26 decision, beginning with the disbursing of the 6th tranche, if and as soon as the new (Greek) government and the political forces that support it, confirm in a written statement Greece's committments that relate to the EU's October 26 decisions."
Speaking after a Euro Group finance ministers meeting, Venizelos added that an EC/ECB/IMF troika would be coming to Athens for the necessary consultations "that lead to the new program."
The Greek minister also said that the Euro Group welcomed "very wormly" recent political developments in Greece and particularly the decision of the two main stream parties to support a government which would implement the October 26 decision.
 Greek finmin attends Eurogroup meeting, holds talks with Juncker, RehnBRUSSELS (AMNA)
Greek government vice-president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday met European Commission vice-president and Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn.
According to a finance ministry announcement, the meeting was "positive and productive, in light of recent developments in Greece" and focused on the processes for a prompt disbursement of the 6th tranche of EU-IMF bailout loans and preparations for the PSI haircut of Greek debt.
Venizelos also had a meeting with Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker to brief him on the latest developments in Greece, prior to the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.
In statements as he arrived for the Eurogroup meeting, the Greek finance minister stressed that there was now a new political situation and framework in Greece, after a difficult week.
"We have a government of national unity and responsibility," he said, adding that this was proof of Greece's commitment and its ability to implement the programmes and rebuild the country.
 Consultation frenzy over new gov'tPrime Minister George Papandreou on Monday held repeated contacts with main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras within the framework of ongoing consultations over a new coalition government, government sources said.
Papandreou has also briefed opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) president George Karatzaferis on the course of the consultations, as well as, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis and Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyannis.
The Democratic Alliance leader underlined that her party has been in favour of a national salvation government and stressed that she will back the new government.
PM Papandreou will tender his resignation and his government's to Republic President Karolos Papoulias as soon as an agreement is reached with ND on the name of the new prime minister. The new prime minister will then receive the mandate to form a government.
 Government spokesman on Papandreou-Samaras contactsMinister of State and government spokesman Ilias Mosialos, on Monday night said in a statement that "today's (Monday) contacts between Prime Minister George Papandreou and main opposition party leader Antonis Samaras took place with positive approaches on the person of the new prime minister."
Meanwhile, government sources said that the discussions will be continued on Tuesday, both on the framework of the new government's operation, an issue that comes first, and the person to head the new formation. According to the same sources, it was clarified that the agreement on the person of the new prime minister "is closer" in relation to the operation framework.
 PM Papandreou to chair cabinet meeting on TuesdayPrime Minister George Papandreou will chair a cabinet meeting at 12 noon on Tuesday.
The announcement on the meeting was made late on Monday night, shortly after the statement by government spokesman Ilias Mosialos that there were "positive approaches on the person of the new prime minister" in the contacts between Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras.
 Samaras chairs broad ND meetingA broad meeting was chaired on Monday morning by main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras with the participation of top ranking party officials to set out the framework of Sunday night's agreement for a new government.
According to sources, Samaras stressed that the destabilisation of Greece's relations with the EU that would have resulted from prime minister George Papandreou's handlings was the reason that led to his decision on Sunday to "sit at the same table" with Papandreou.
Samaras explained that the new government would be of a limited mission and time, with the sole purpose of managing the results of the October 26 eurozone summit decisions and to lead the country to general elections, with the simultaneous removal of Papandreou from the prime ministership.
 ND vice president on Samaras decision for a coalition gov't"New Democracy was called to safeguard, with a historic transcendence, Greece' European orientation and the future of the country," stressed main opposition New Democracy (ND) vice president Dimitris Avramopoulos, explaining ND leader Antonis Samaras' decision on Sunday to support a new coalition government.
Avramopoulos said that following Sunday's developments "Greece is gaining time and we are forming the conditions so that in, the general elections that will take place as soon as the new government completes its mission, the society will decide clearheadedly and without the pressure of ultimata on how it wants to move forward and seek a better future".
The ND official did not refer to a specific date that general elections will be held, but noted that "ND and Antonis Samaras guarantee, both today and tomorrow, and express the need for a political change in order for Greece to regain its national dignity and its international prestige, ?n order to seek to play a central role on the international scene and, above all, to create a social environment of security and certainty for the Greek people".
 KKE leader: 'Black front of the parties of the big capital'Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Monday charged that the new government being formulated was a "black front" of the "parties of the big capital", and warned that it would neither tackle the country's debt nor the deficits, nor the "country's uncontrolled bankruptcy".
Addressing a press conference, Papariga attributed the creation of the new government to pressure from the EU and the domestic big capital.
She said the KKE's target, in this new political background being created, was to topple this government or shorten its duration as much as possible, since "the measures it will take will be unprecedented".
Papariga said that a large part of the Greek people feel humiliated by the positions taken by German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy as well as other European officials, adding that the if the Greek people want to rid themselves of that humiliation the country must rid itself of the rule of the monopolies and the EU. "That is patriotism, for us," she stressed.
She opined that the new government will not be a short-lived government of a few weeks "because what it wants to do will require more time".
"What is certain, though, is that the consequences of its policy will be felt by the Greek people for many years," she warned.
Papariga further expressed opposition to the creation of "opportunistic fronts", and called for backing for her party.
 Karatzaferis: New government is 'no national salvation government, but PASOK-ND co-governance'Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on Monday put forward three fundamental conditions for backing the new transitional government, during a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on current developments.
Karatzaferis told reporters after the meeting that the new government scheme "is not a national salvation government", as he has been demanding for the past 18 months but "a PASOK-New Democracy co-governance".
However, "this is better than nothing", he added.
The three conditions put forward by Karatzaferis are "no more reductions in salaries and pensions, no concession of national sovereignty, and no to the looting that will be attempted".
On a possible LAOS participation in the new government, Karatzaferis said that he had played some role in bringing prime minister George Papandreou and ND leader Samaras 'closer', but "from here on, we will be spectators, and present in the developments".
 SYRIZA's Tsipras urges resistance to coalition governmentCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday urged the Greek people to resist the new coalition government in the process of being formed by the two main parties, stressing that ordinary people "have the power and can overthrow it".
Tsipras criticised the planned coalition government as a perversion of democracy and said that voters, regardless of their previous political beliefs, should not let themselves be blackmailed or terrorised into "allowing democracy to go before a firing squad".
He repeated his position for immediate elections with simple proportional representation, stressing that this would be the only solution to restore regularity and social cohesion.
"Just as people forced the Papandreou government to fall, so sooner or later they will succeed in bringing a new coalition to power that will challenge the unconstitutional loan agreements and restore the people's sovereignty, social justice and national dignity," Tsipras underlined.
Despite being forced to step down as prime minister, George Papandreou must be secretly relieved since he would not have to preside over the implementation of his choices but would foist their results on his successor, Tsipras added.
He also criticised main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras for rushing to water down his opposition to the harsh austerity measures and accept the loan agreement and the policies that accompanied this.
Tsipras expressed doubts about whether the government being formed now would be transitional or interim, stressing that it would have to take crucial decisions that would be binding for decades to come.
"If we accept the loan agreement we will face a hell without end, whereas if we refuse the scorching dilemma will pass to the opposite side, to our lenders," he said.
 Democratic Left will not participate in coalition gov't, if askedDemocratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis on Monday clarified that his party will not participate in any new coalition government.
"We will not participate in the coalition government and our stance will be determined by the political commitments and the term of this transitional government. I will not tell you whether we will vote for or against the new government," he added.
The party was established by independent MPs that departed the Parliament-represented Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party since the last general election in October 2009.
 Democratic Alliance to back cooperation gov'tDemocratic Alliance party leader Dora Bakoyannis announced on Monday her intention to back and give a vote of confidence to a coalition government expected to be announced in a matter of days, if not hours.
"I have made it clear that the Democratic Alliance's issue is not participation in the government. The party will support the (new) government," she said.
The party was established by a handful of independent MPs that departed from the main opposition New Democracy party since the last general election in October 2009.
 President's meeting with political leaders cancelledPresident of Republic Karolos Papoulias' meeting on Monday with the political party leaders was cancelled following Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga's and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras' refusal to participate.
 PM phone contacts with EU officialsGreek prime minister George Papandreou had telephone discussions with German chancellor Angela Merkel, eurozone president and Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council president Herman van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday, an announcement from the prime minister's press office said.
The telephone discussions focused on developments in Europe and the eurozone, while Papandreou also briefed the European leaders on his initiatives for achieving the widest possible understanding and cooperation among the country's political forces in order to go ahead with the materialisation of the country's commitments emanating from the October 26 eurozone summit agreement and the developments that followed.
Papandreou told the European leaders that the new government that will arise will have the specific mission of materialising the October 26 decisions, before leading the country to early general elections.
 Merkel expresses 'respect' for Papandreou decision to step down, in telephone call to Greek PMGerman chancellor Angela Merkel called Greek prime minister George Papandreou on Monday morning and expressed her "respect" for his decision to step down, a German government spokesman said in Berlin.
Merkel, in their telephone discussion, told Papandreou that she "respects what took place", and praised his "courage and strength of is convictions", spokesman Steffen Siebert told a regular press briefing.
"The Chancellor greatly respects what George Papandreou accomplished. With courage and the strength of his convictions, he place the country on the right path and managed to overcome numerous obstacles," Siebert said.
"Greece has need of major reforms and substantial money-saving measures. It is a difficult road...but it is also an inevitable road," Siebert cited Merkel as saying to the Greek premier during their telephone conversation.
He said that the two sides agreed that the absolute priority of the transitional government in Greece will be to fully implement all the European decisions, ahead of early general elections.
 Juncker: situation in Greece 'moving in the right direction'BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday said that the situation in Greece appears to be moving in the right direction, while he stressed that no decision concerning Greece will be made on Monday.
Arriving for the Eurogroup meeting, Juncker said that the issue of disbursing the 6th tranche of bailout loans will be discussed and the result would largely depend on the answers given by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
Juncker noted that Greece had enough money to cover its borrowing needs until mid-December, giving enough time to take the decision.
Concerning his meeting with Venizelos before the start of the Eurogroup meeting, Juncker said he would ask for a detailed briefing on the situation in Greece.
 Luxembourg government website announcement on PM Papandreou-Juncker communicationLUXEMBOURG (AMNA)
An announcement under the title of "Jean-Claude Juncker talks with the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou" was posted on the website of the Luxembourg government.
According to the announcement, Juncker thanked Papandreou for the efforts made by Greece in general and the Greek government in particular, during the past two years.
It is also mentioned that the eurozone's head "expressed his admiration for the courage and the integrity with which Papandreou is facing the crisis that hit his country so harshly."
 European Commission asks Greece for 'more clarity' on political economic developmentsThe European Commission on Monday asked Greece for "more clarity" on the political and economic situation of the country before disbursing any more loan money, including the disbursement of an 8 billion euros 6th tranche of the 110 billion euro EU-IMF bailout loan.
"We first of all need more clarity as regards the political and economic developments in Athens, and then we will discuss" the disbursement of the 6th tranche at a eurogroup meeting later Monday, Commission representative for economic affairs Amadeu Altafaj said.
 FM Lambrinidis holds telephone conversation with US counterpart ClintonForeign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the framework of his contacts, lately, for a briefing on recent developments in Greece. Lambrinidis also talked to his counterparts of Austria and Portugal.
 US hails developments for consensus in GreeceNEW YORK (AMNA-P. Panagiotou)
The US government hailed the reaching of consensus in Athens. State Department spokesperson Victoria Newland, referring to developments in Greece, stressed that they have reached a "political agreement" in Greece to forge ahead.
Newland hailed the fact that consensus has been achieved regarding the need for Greece's commitments towards the International Monetary Fund and the European Union for reforms to be implemented.
Lastly, she urged the government to move "as soon as possible" to fulfill the commitments that have been made in the framework of the "rescue programme".
 Gov't spokesman: 'Greece has won'Greek government spokesman Elias Mossialos said in the early hours of Monday that "today is a historic day because today Greece has won", in an informal press briefing following the agreement between embattled prime minister George Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras during a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, for the formation of a new consensus government without the former, PM George Papandreou, at its head.
Mossialos also confimed that three-teams from the two parties began deliberations late Sunday night to discuss the timetables for pushing forward the materialisation of the October 26-27 eurozone summit agreement.
The teams comprise comprise finance minister Evangelos Venizelos,deputy minister Philippos Sahinidis and Venizelos' chief policy strategist George Zanias on the government''s side and ND shadow finance minister Christos Staikouras, Chryssanthos Lazaridis and Dimitris Stamatis.
Mossialos further announced that Venizelos will represent Greece at Monday's eurogroup meeting.
The spokesman explained that elections will be held following the full materialisation of the October 26 agreement.
Mossialos said that the Papandreou-Samaras meeting with the President of the Republic took place in a "very good climate",and afterwards Papandreou and Samaras had a brief private discussion. He added that the two would have a contact early on Monday to discuss who will head the new government and the composition of the new Cabinet.
To a relevant question, Mossialos said that there is no veto, no was one put forward, on the participation of other parties in the new government.
 Text of 7 steps for implementation of October 26 eurozone summit decisionA text of seven necessary steps for implementation of the October 26 eurozone summit decision was distributed to the Cabinet members on Sunday.
The steps are:
1) Disbursement of the 8 billion euros 6th tranche of the 110 billion euro EU-IMF bailout loan to Greece.
2) Immediate commencement and speediest possible completion of the negotiations with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' on the new bailout programme for Greece (also decided at the October 26 summit).
3) The tabling in parliament of the 2012 State Budget before November 20, and its ratification before December 31.
4) Completion of the execution of the 2011 State Budget in the context of the 5th revision of the Memorandum.
5) The taking of all the necessary measures for the secure participation of the Greek banks and Greek social security funds in the procedure provided in the October 26 decision.
6) The formulation of the legal and fiscal prerequisites for implementation of the new private sector participation (PSI) formula.
7) Disbursement of the 1st tranche of the new bailout programme to meet Greece's borrowing needs (additional 20 billion euros) before the end of February 2012.
 Pangalos interview in Chinese newspaperBEIJING (AMNA)
Government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos on Monday underlined here the need for Greece become more competitive in international markets and to "repair mistakes of the past", especially in terms of state spending, in statements posted on the People's Daily webpage and initially published by the Nanfang Daily newspaper.
Pangalos, who is paying an official visit to China, lamented the fact that Greece now has the most under-performing economy in the Eurozone, at the same time that it is facing the twin quandary of a massive debt and serious deficit.
In terms of bilateral relations, he cited efforts for a direct air link from Guangzhou (Canton) to Athens as well as Greece's great expectations of cooperation with China in the sectors of maritime transports, rail, tourism and culture.
 EBEA president Mihalos calls for radical change in economic policyThe business sector hopes that the settlement of pending issues and the change in government will lead immediately to a new economic policy, Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) president Constantine Mihalos said on Monday, commenting on developments in the country's political and economic scene.
Mihalos underlined that the economic policy implemented over the past two years will have to change radically for the Greek economy and enterprises to survive.
The austerity measures, indiscriminate and excessive taxation, extraordinary taxes, the state's overdue debts to the private sector and the discouragement of new investments will lead to a disorganized production sector and an impoverished society with grave consequences on competitiveness and social cohesion, he said.
Mihalos stressed that "it is time the political parties and the troika, the European Commission in particular, realised that the policy adopted is unfortunately wrong and leads nowhere. That memorandums limiting income and fiscal policies bring no results and that speedy economic growth is a one-way street for Europe."
"The role and future prospects of the European Union in the international scene will have to be reinforced through policies that will guarantee economic growth and safeguard European social cohesion without discriminating between poor southern and rich northern states," Mihalos pointed out.
 Inauguration of Greek pavilion at tourist exhibition in LondonLONDON (AMNA-L. Tsirigotakis)
The political developments in Greece dominated the press conference given by Greek Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos in London on Monday, in the framework of the inauguration, by him, of the Greek pavilion at London's world tourist exhibition.
Geroulanos said the message "we are trying to pass is that we are entering a new period and it is a very positive fact that more parties will bear the burden of the changes that must take place in Greece."
Asked whether he ascertained that the economic and political crisis in Greece has affected the intentions of British tourism towards Greece, Geroulanos said "we do not have such indications."
 Meeting on cruises between OLP-shipowners"The political developments are not creating any problem in the cruise sector and big companies have already shown special interest in coming to our country and participating in port infrastructures as well," Mihalis Lambros, vice president of the new cruise agency, the Union of Shipowners of Passenger Ships and Shipping Agencies, said on Monday.
The statement was made after a meeting between the directorate of the new Union with the managing director of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) George Anomeritis.
Lambros said, however, that many foreign companies are raising as a precondition to start circular trips of their ships with Piraeus as the home port or other Greek ports, the full lifting of the cabotage and the abolition of the relevant contract on cruises.
 Proton Bank case suspects summonsedProsecutor Yiannis Dragatsis investigating the Athens-based Proton Bank embezzlement case has summonsed businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis to testify, in was announced on Monday. Summons were also delivered to six members of the bank's credit committee and board of directors who will have to appear before the prosecutor on Wednesday.
Sources close to the prosecutor's office said that more suspects will be called to answer charges of participating in a criminal organization, fraud against the state and money laundering.
The investigation focuses on large loans that were damaging for the bank and were approved when Lavrentiadis, who is facing felony charges, served as Proton Bank board chairman.
Banking sector executives, familiar with the bank's economic figures, maintain that the sums in question are estimated to 700 million euros.
Lavrentiadis has already returned 51 million euros to the bank to ensure immunity from prosecution. However, a relevant decision by the Economic Prosecutor is still pending.
 Credit to private sector remained negative in Sept.The annual growth rate of total credit granted to the domestic private sector in Greece decreased to -2.2 percent in September 2011, compared with -1.3 percent in August 2011 and 0.0 percent in December 2010, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank, in a monthly report, said that the net flow of total credit to the domestic private sector was negative amounting to 1.059 billion euros (September 2010: positive net flow of 1.197 billion euros).
 Credit to enterprisesThe net flow of credit to enterprises in September 2011 was negative, amounting to 584 million euros (September 2010: positive net flow of 1.174 billion) and the annual growth rate of credit decreased to -0.9 percent from 0.5 percent in August 2011 (December 2010: 1.1 percent).
 Credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnershipsThe net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was negative, amounting to 108 million in September 2011 (September 2010: positive net flow of 133 million) and the annual rate of change of credit decreased to -5.1 percent in September 2011 (August 2011: -4.0 percent, December 2010: 0.3 percent).
 Credit to individuals and private non-profit institutionsIn September 2011, the net flow of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions was negative, amounting to 367 million euros (September 2010: negative net flow of 111 million euros). As a result, the annual growth rate of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions decreased further (September 2011: -3.1 percent, August 2011: -2.9 percent, December 2010: -1.2 percent).
 Competition Committee on coastal shipping companiesCoastal shipping companies, as well as the Union of Coastal Shipping Enterprises, have been acquitted of charges of violating the article on the creation of cartels, by decision of the Competition Committee.
Following an investigation at the Union of Coastal Shipping Enterprises and companies that are active in the sector of coastal shipping transport in Greece, on the possible violation of the article the Competition Committee Plenum decided, with a majority decision, that in the case being considered no violation of the article was ascertained, as it stands, and that there is no reason for further action.
 Business Briefs-- Greek authorities will launch an auction for parts of the radio wave length 900 MHZ and 1800 MHZ, for which the three largest mobile telephony operators in the country (Cosmote, Vodafone and Wind Hellas) have expressed formal interest.
-- Hellenic Exchanges (HELEX) on Monday said its consolidated net profits totaled 21.8 million euros in the January-September period, from 22.2 million euros in the corresponding period last year, a decline of 1.5 pct despite a significant fall in trading activity in domestic capital markets.
-- Plaisio Computers on Monday said its after tax earnings totaled 4.1 million euros in the January-September period in sales of 229.2 million euros.
 Stocks end 1.39% higherStocks ended higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, as the market welcomed a political agreement to form a coalition government in the country.
Bank stocks were at the focus of investment interest, although the market ended off its day's highs as investors awaited news over the composition of the new government. The composite index of the market rose 1.39 pct to 761.04 points, after rising as much as 3.24 pct during the day. Turnover was a low 47.923 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose 1.73 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.40 pct higher and the Small Cap index fell 0.02 pct. Hellenic Postbank (8.91 pct), Alpha Bank (6.86 pct), National Bank (5.43 pct) and Eurobank (4.76 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Cyprus Bank (5.54 pct), Mytilineos (2.22 pct) and PPC (1.39 pct) were top losers.
Banks (2.93 pct), Telecoms (2.17 pct) and Travel (2.0 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (2.22 pct) and Utilities (1.29 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 100 to 51 with another 19 issues unchanged. T Bank (29.63 pct), MIG Real Estate (29.32 pct) and Ideal (29.09 pct) were top gainers, while Medicon (29.07 pct), Spider (27.34 pct) and Haidemenos (24.54 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.82%
Personal & Household: +0.41%
Raw Materials: -1.50%
Travel & Leisure: +2.00%
Food & Beverages: +1.78%
Financial Services: -0.53%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.09
Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.67
HBC Coca Cola: 13.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.52
National Bank of Greece: 1.94
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.74
Bank of Piraeus: 0.25
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained stable at 16.13 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 17.92 pct and the German Bund 1.79 pct. There was no turnover in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.03 pct, the six-month rate 1.69 pct, the three-month rate 1.47 pct and the one-month rate 1.36 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading a discount of 0.52 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 15.534 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,059 contracts worth 10.518 million euros, with 18,787 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 30,100 contracts worth 5.015 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (12,311), followed by Eurobank (1,714), MIG (917), OTE (2,663), Piraeus Bank (3,406), Alpha Bank (2,690), Cyprus Bank (1,365), Hellenic Postbank (1,264) and OPAP (548).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.394
Pound sterling 0.869
Danish kroner 7.555
Swedish kroner 9.220
Japanese yen 108.91
Swiss franc 1.252
Norwegian kroner 7.863
Canadian dollar 1.419
Australian dollar 1.349
 Two minor earthquakes shake Crete, SantoriniTwo moderate earthquakes occurring within half a day of one another shook the islands of Crete and Santorini late on Sunday and early on Monday morning, worrying local residents.
A quake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale was felt just before 11:00 p.m. on Sunday night. Its epicentre was located the sea northeast of Crete, between Crete and the island of Santorini, some 297 kilometres southeast of Athens and 70 kilometres south-southeast of Santorini. No damage was reported.
There followed a second quake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale at 11:20 a.m. on Monday morning, with an epicentre 79 kilometres northeast of Iraklio and at a depth of six kilometres, which was strongly felt on the north coast of Crete.
Seismologists were reassuring about the two quakes, saying that they were within the normal pattern for seismic activity in the area.
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy 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 3C and 23C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 10C to 19C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 16C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePrime Minister George Papandreou's and main opposition New Democracy (ND) Antonis Samaras' agreement on the formation of a cooperation government on Sunday night, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
AVGHI: "Government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy government".
AVRIANI: "George (PM Papandreou) should be referred to Special Court".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Papandreou toppled - Consensus with Samaras' 'seal'- General elections on Feb. 19 ".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Room-mates for harsh measures".
ESTIA: "Papandreou, Samaras have agreed".
ETHNOS: "Historical agreement for National Unity".
IMERISSIA: "Salvation government - Historical agreement between Papandreou and Samaras".
KATHIMERINI: "New government under the 'drachma' threat".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "National coalition government at the last minute before the havoc".
TA NEA: "At last! The first major step towards the country's salvation".
VRADYNI: "Necessity forced the leaders to agree".
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