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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-11-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Thursday, 17 November 2011 Issue No: 3935


  • [01] New Papademos gov't given overwhelming
  • [02] Papademos: Every vote for gov't a vote for staying in Eurozone
  • [03] Samaras: Transitional gov't with specific purpose
  • [04] Karatzaferis: Yes to government, without reservations
  • [05] SYRIZA leader calls for election cooperation of the Left
  • [06] Panos Kammenos removed from ND party's Parliamentary Group
  • [07] Former minister expresses 'no confidence' in new government's LAOS members
  • [08] PASOK MP refuses to give vote of confidence to gov't
  • [09] PASOK MP to vote against Papademos gov't
  • [10] PM, FinMin meet IIF chief
  • [11] Juncker on disbursement of sixth tranche
  • [12] President receives armed forces leadership, stresses need to maintain strong deterrent
  • [13] Turkish air force aerial survey planes enter Athens FIR, fly over Kastellorizo
  • [14] Troublemakers render Polytechnic anniversary events 'meaningless', Education minister says
  • [15] Civil servants' union ADEDY urges mass participation in Nov. 17 anniversary events
  • [16] Rail transport services to observe minute's silence for Nov. 17 anniversary
  • [17] PPC union cuts power to health ministry, claiming unpaid bill; Ministry says allegation untrue
  • [18] PASOK leader Papandreou meets outgoing Turkish ambassador
  • [19] US Vice President Biden meets Archbishop of America Demetrios
  • [20] Greek inflation unchagned at 2.9 pct in Oct.
  • [21] Greek budget deficit up in Jan-Oct
  • [22] Protest against new property tax at Thessaloniki municipal council
  • [23] Cost of household goods up 3.0 percent, consumer centre reports
  • [24] Smaller hotels in mountainous regions facing increased difficulties
  • [25] 'Macedonia Palace' hotel in Thessaloniki stopping its operation
  • [26] Business Briefs
  • [27] Stocks end 2.41 pct lower
  • [28] Greek bond market closing report
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Heroin lab uncovered in Athens
  • [31] Distressed sailboat with illegal migrants tugged to Preveza port
  • [32] Panama-flagged ship runs aground off Hydra
  • [33] Smugglers caught carrying about 150,000 packets of contraband cigarettes
  • [34] Greek musical event in Astana, Kazakhstan
  • [35] Bread exhibition in Amfiklia, central Greece
  • [36] Cloudy on Thursday
  • [37] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [38] Christofias - Eroglu agree on their next meetings Politics

  • [01] New Papademos gov't given overwhelming

    Greece's new transitional unity government under Lucas Papademos obtained an overwhelming vote of confidence in 300-MP Parliament on Wednesday evening.

    Voting in favour were 255 deputies out of 293 present, while 38 voted against.

    The roll call vote came after a three-day debate in the wake of new Premier Papademos' policy statement.

    Papademos presented his policy statements on Monday afternoon.

    The transitional government is backed by the majority PASOK party, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party and the small right-of-centre Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party.

    Most of the former PASOK government ministers and deputy ministers have remained at their posts, including Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, while ND is participating with six members and LA.O.S with four.

    [02] Papademos: Every vote for gov't a vote for staying in Eurozone

    Every vote for the new government will be the equivalent of a responsible decision for Greece staying in the Eurozone and for recovery of the Greek economy, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said in Parliament on Wednesday, during the last address in a three-day debate for a vote of confidence for the new transitional government.

    Reiterating that the path to overcome the crisis lies within the Eurozone and warning that conditions would be much worse with any new and "rapidly devaluing national currency", Papademos promised to consider the reservations expressed by his critics during the debate.

    "It is necessary that we act quickly, systematically and with a plan, having our gaze turned mainly to the unemployed," he said, explaining that despite the steps taken over the past two years "the path shall be long", while emphasising the need for the burdens to be shared fairly.

    The new prime minister also underlined that problems will be aggravated if Greece does not participate in the euro, noting that the problems will be overcome with the solidarity and support of our European partners.

    Referring to the crisis, Papademos noted: "It created doubts on the capability of the eurozone. Some are already making ominous predictions on the eurozone's stability. Personally I am optimistic that the EU will overcome the difficulties. The basic reason, is that despite the differences that exist regarding the way of solving the crisis with political and institutional restrictions, the peoples of the countries of the eurozone will take the necessary decisions and will adopt the framework so that the euro and the solvency of the banking system will be secured. Despite the difficulties appearing at insitutional level we have a common interest in the eurozone's cohesion being secured because solidarity will continue in this way."

    "I believe that we shall shape integrated proposals on the rescuing of the eurozone. It is an imperative need that we rescue Greece so that it will be inside the eurozone when it emerges from the crisis," he added.

    [03] Samaras: Transitional gov't with specific purpose

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras stressed on Wednesday that the new government under Lucas Papademos is a "transitional government with a specific purpose,? speaking during a confidence debate in parliament that culminates Wednesday afternoon with a roll-call vote of confidence, and reiterated that the new transitional government "is not a co-governance" but "the product of necessity in order to restore the country's credibility internationally and avert default and its exit from the eurozone".

    Speaking on the final day of a debate following new prime minister Papademos' presentation of the policy statement of his coalition government, which is backed by former ruling PASOK party, main opposition ND and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, Samaras also remained firm on the timing of general elections, initially agreed by the backing parties as February 19, warning that "if anyone attempts to extend the tenure of this government, he will incite a social explosion".

    "Everything is hanging by a thread," Samaras warned.

    As for the EU demand that the new prime minister Lucas Papademos, finance minister Evangelos Venizelos and the leaders of the political parties backing the government commit in writing to implementation of the October 26-27 eurozone summit agreement, Samaras remained firm that this was not necessary, given that his ND party is backing the Papademos government which will implement it, and also the fact that in democracies, what is binding on the country is the decisions taken by parliament, and not personal declarations.

    Samaras also said that his party will vote in favor of all bills it agrees with and will vote against those it disagrees with.

    The present government is a product of necessity so that Greece will not find itself helmless at a time when the debt crisis has struck Europe, he said, adding that after former prime minister George Papandreou's "unfortunate initiative" for a referendum, that was subsequently retracted, Greece was an ungoverned ship in the midst of a global storm.

    "The need was great for a solution to the impasse, immediate and demanding. We have clearly set out the mission of the (new) government: To unblock the 6th tranche that had been ready but stumbled against Mr. Papandreou's initiative, to advance the completion of the (new bailout) loan agreement and to lead the country to elections on February 19. In the meantime, the government will also manage the country's day to day requirements," Samaras said.

    "Those attempting to extend the tenure and role of this government, in the absence of the people, are undermining the government. Those who do not want elections at the end of the three-month period are not doing a service to the prime minister...and will incite a public exposition," he said.

    Samaras further reiterated that the policy followed so far has deepened recession, thus obstructing the attainment of the targets to reduce the deficit and debt. "Bad implementation of the programme is not only to blame, but also the programme's bad recipe. We do not say this to antagonize anyone, but so that the targets will be met. This policy must change no in order for us to avoid our obligations to our lenders, but in order to fulfill these obligations. We disagreed wherever we disagreed, but we did not place obstacles," he added.

    Backing the above statement, Samaras cited the results for the first 10 months of the year, according to which "all categories of taxes in which the tax rate was increased posted reduced revenues".

    "Instead of an 8 percent increase from the collection of taxes, we had a 4.1 percent reduction," he said.

    Samaras once again reiterated that his party will support the Papademos government, but added "if something is correct, we will vote for it", but it will not vote for something it disagrees with.

    [04] Karatzaferis: Yes to government, without reservations

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis said "yes" to the Papademos government, "without asterisks, vets and conditions, and without undermining", during a debate in parliament preceding a vote of confidence in Greece's new transition government later on Wednesday.

    He also called on the former ruling PASOK party ministers participating in the new cooperation government to put a rein on the "deep PASOK" beneath their feet in order that the new government may be strengthened, adding that the government will be reinforced only if it is not undermined by self-serving aims and by manufactured failed practices of the past.

    On the date of general elections, Karatzaferis said this will depend on the completion of the government's programme.

    As for a eurozone demand that the prime minister, finance minister and the leaders of the political parties backing the new government make a commitment in writing, Karatzaferis called on new prime minister Lucas Papademos to convey to Greece's partners that "no signature is necessary" because the Greeks and the political leaders who are backing the government are men of their words and men of honour.

    [05] SYRIZA leader calls for election cooperation of the Left

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president Alexis Tsipras, addressing an event in the Athens district of Kesariani on Wednesday evening, considered as a necessity the election cooperation "of the Left, the progressive antimemorandum forces and of the huge multiform movement of social resistances in a new political and social power coalition."

    Tsipras also criticised Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, saying that the new prime minister "did not request a vote of confidence from Parliament, but from the bankers and our creditors."

    [06] Panos Kammenos removed from ND party's Parliamentary Group

    The New Democracy (ND) party's press office announced on Wednesday evening that "the deputy and member of the party Panos Kammenos is removed from the Parliamentary Group of New Democracy."

    [07] Former minister expresses 'no confidence' in new government's LAOS members

    In a letter to Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos, ousted former PASOK minister Haris Kastanidis on Wednesday said he would support the government of Lucas Papademos with his vote but clarified that this did not extend to the members of that government from the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party.

    According to Kastanidis, these had "served the junta-supporting right or are the genuine descendants of the dictatorial regime" and he said it was a "historic mistake" of the PASOK party to "accept the participation of far-right ministers and deputy ministers in the cooperation government."

    [08] PASOK MP refuses to give vote of confidence to gov't

    PASOK deputy elected in Xanthi prefecture Tsetin Mantatzi made known on Wednesday in parliament during a confidence debate in parliament that he will not give the new govenment a vote of confidence.

    "I can't walk hand in hand with those who obstruct and torpedo the composition of the Greek society with their ultra right rhetoric" he said, but added that he has confidence in transitional prime minister Lucas Papademos and his abilities.

    [09] PASOK MP to vote against Papademos gov't

    PASOK MP for Thesprotia Christos Katsouras announced his decision to vote against the new government under Prime Minister Lucas Papademos while speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, during the final hours of debate leading up to a confidence vote in the new government.

    Katsouras dismissed the three-party coalition government under Papademos as a "media creation".

    [10] PM, FinMin meet IIF chief

    Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met on Wednesday evening with Institute for International Finance (IIF) managing director Charles Dallara, at the Maximos Mansion (government headquarters).

    The meeting focused on the restructuring of the Greek debt and the private sector's participation.

    Earlier in the evening, the IIF chief held talks with Government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on the implementation of the Eurozone Summit decision taken on October 26 and in particular the issue of the private sector's participation in the Greek economy's support package.

    The banks that the IIF represents in the negotiations with the Greek government are called on to accept a 50 percent decrease of the value of the Greek state's bonds that they have in their possession.

    [11] Juncker on disbursement of sixth tranche

    Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker assured on Wednes-day during his speech in the Europarliament that the troika's (European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Commission) decision on the disbursement of the sixth tranche of the bailout loan to Greece will be taken before the end of November.

    However he said, a letter from the new Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos detailing the government's intentions as well the programme that will be followed for implementation the recommendations and measures that have been submitted by the troika was awaited.

    [12] President receives armed forces leadership, stresses need to maintain strong deterrent

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received the new leadership of Greece's armed forces and the new defence minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos. During the meeting, he stressed that the Greek armed forces must remain a strong deterrent force for "those that have their eye on our national integrity".

    Addressing the new chief of the armed forces general staff, Gen. Mihail Kostarakos and the other armed forces chiefs, Papoulias said that the economic crisis should not be allowed to affect the combat readiness of the military.

    He also expressed confidence that the new minister was well versed in the issue and would exceed himself in dealing with the problems.

    "You, the armed forces, are an important deterrent factor. And this is very important for the country - now that we are all of us fighting to overcome the crisis - the stability and security that the armed forces inspire," he said.

    [13] Turkish air force aerial survey planes enter Athens FIR, fly over Kastellorizo

    Two Turkish Air Force RF-4 aerial-survey planes entered the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) without submitting flight plans at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday and flew over the Aegean island of Kastellorizo at a height of just 1,000 feet (300 metres).

    The Turkish aircraft were in the Athens FIR for approximately one minute before departing.

    Sources at the Greek Armed Forces General Staff termed the action of the Turkish air force a "provocation".

    [14] Troublemakers render Polytechnic anniversary events 'meaningless', Education minister says

    As the annual events to mark the anniversary of the November 17, 1973 Polytechnic uprising against the junta of that time continued to unfold on Wednesday, Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said the heavy policing made necessary by the troublemakers that marred the events each year had made the symbolic remembrance ceremonies "meaningless".

    "I refuse to participate in this process that constitutes a deep insult to the historic memory and converts the essence and meaning of the Polytechnic anniversary into a spectacle of violence and sensationalism. Instead of laying wreaths we all have a duty to present the truth," she said.

    According to the education minister, the truth was that in the conditions created for several years by the actions of dynamic minorities acting outside democratic boundaries "there is absolutely no point in laying wreaths with an escort of either police or party supporters".

    "We have a duty to protect the true meaning and symbolism of the Polytechnic and to politically and morally isolate these minorities that with their actions undermine the meaning of democratic expression of all citizens," she said.

    [15] Civil servants' union ADEDY urges mass participation in Nov. 17 anniversary events

    The civil servants' union federation ADEDY on Wednesday urged mass participation in events marking the anniversary November 17, 1973 Polytechnic uprising and the march to the U.S. Embassy traditionally carried out each year on that day.

    "Thirty-eight years after the uprising of student youth that led to the overthrow of the seven-year, the slogan 'bread, education, freedom' is exceptionally relevant today," the union said in an announcement.

    "In an era of now generalised economic crisis caused by a globalised and completely bank and market-controlled system of governance, trapping governments and countries, the central slogan of the Polytechnic [uprising] is the start for new struggles by workers and our people with the aim of overthrowing the neoliberal policies in Greece and Europe," ADEDY said.

    [16] Rail transport services to observe minute's silence for Nov. 17 anniversary

    Staff on fixed rail transport services in Athens, such as the Athens metro, tram and the electric overground railway ISAP, will observe a minute's silence at 12:30 on Thursday in remembrance of the November 17, 1973 uprising at the Athens Polytechnic, in defiance to the junta that ruled Greece at that time.

    Their unions announced that all trains will mark the 38th anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising by stopping at stations at 12:30, where they will observe a minute's silence. They have also called on their staff to participate in the march to the U.S. Embassy, stressing that the demands of that day continue to be relevant following the raft of harsh and unjust austerity measures inflicted on Greek society, leading to high unemployment and cuts in wages and pensions.

    [17] PPC union cuts power to health ministry, claiming unpaid bill; Ministry says allegation untrue

    The union representing employees of the state-run Public Power Corp. (PPC) on Wednesday morning "symbolically" cut the electricity to the health ministry in central Athens, in protest over the government's austerity policy, while also claiming that the state owes the PPC a total of 141 million euros, 3.8 million by the ministry itself.

    In a later announcement, however, the health ministry's leadership disputed the claim, saying a same-day audit by the ministry's general secretary, in cooperation with PPC's managing director, verified that no amount is due by the ministry itself. A further audit will investigate whether public hospitals owe back payments to the state-run power utility.

    On its part, the union, GENOP, said the protest was against the "unacceptable fact" that while the Greek state owes the PPC 141 million euros, it was at the same time "giving orders for the electricity supply to be cut to the poor, the unemployed and the small-pension earners".

    GENOP was referring to an extraordinary surtax on real estate (built properties) imposed by the previous PASOK government, which is collected via electricity bills.

    The PPC has traditionally allowed users to make arrangements with the company to pay electricity bills in tranches, if needed. But with the inclusion of the solidarity surtax in the electricity bills, such arrangements can no longer be made, and the PPC must go ahead with power supply cuts to users who do not pay the entire sum asked -- electricity bill and surtax -- by the due date.

    GENOP said that money owed to the PPC from unpaid electricity bills alone currently stands at 856 million euros, and the figure was expected to increase in the coming period due to the surtax.

    [18] PASOK leader Papandreou meets outgoing Turkish ambassador

    PASOK party leader George Papandreou met on Wednesday afternoon with outgoing Turkish ambassador to Greece Mehmet Hasan Gogus who, on completion of his period in office, is leaving Athens for Turkey.

    [19] US Vice President Biden meets Archbishop of America Demetrios


    US Vice President Joe Biden met here on Wednesday with Archbishop of America Demetrios.

    The meeting was held at the offices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

    Issues discussed during the meeting were the religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the request for the reopening of the Halki School of Theology and the ecclesiastical, humanitarian and social mission of the Archdiocese and of the expatriate community in general.

    Biden is due to visit Greece and Turkey early December.

    Financial News

    [20] Greek inflation unchagned at 2.9 pct in Oct.


    Greek annual inflation stood at 2.9 pct in October, unchanged from September, Eurostat announced on Wednesday.

    The EU executive's statistics arm, in a report, said inflation in the Eurozone was also unchanged at 3.0 pct in October, up from 1.9 pct in October 2010, while in the EU the inflation rate rose to 3.4 pct from 3.3 pct in September and 2.3 pct in October last year.

    Sweden (1.1 pct), Ireland (1.5 pct) and Malta (2.4 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates in October, while UK (5.0 pct), Estonia (4.7 pct) and Slovakia (4.6 pct) the highest rates. The inflation rate rose in 13 EU member-states, it was unchanged in five and fell in nine member-states in October compared with September.

    [21] Greek budget deficit up in Jan-Oct

    Greece's state budget deficit totaled 20.104 billion euros in the January-October period, down from a revised budget target of 20.362 billion euros, but up from 18.081 billion euros in the corresponding period in 2010, official figures showed on Wednesday.

    A Finance ministry announcement said that according to provisional budget figures, state budget revenues (regular and Public Investment Program) fell short by 1.103 billion euros while spending were down 1.360 billion euros compared with revised budget targets. Regular budget net revenues totaled 39.230 billion euros, down 4.1 pct from the same period last year, reflecting a higher-than-expected economic recession, lower tax receipts and delays in collecting taxes because of strike mobilizations. The ministry, however, expects that this shortfall would be reversed in the last two months of the year when a new set of tax rules would begin offering results.

    The Public Investments Program's revenues rose 38.1 pct, or by 521 million euros, compared with the same period last year, while spending fell 37.4 pct or by 2.260 billion euros. Regular budget spending rose 5.7 pct, or by 3.121 billion euros, reflecting higher capital spending (up 19.5 pct), higher primary spending (up 2.4 pct reflecting higher subsidies on social insurance, healthcare and social protection programs).

    [22] Protest against new property tax at Thessaloniki municipal council

    Dozens of protestors carrying placards and shouting slogans against the new property tax imposed via electricity bills delayed the start of the Thessaloniki municipal council session on Wednesday, demanding that the council discuss the issue and support owners.

    The council session started half an hour late, after observing a minute's silence in remembrance of the November 17, 1973 polytechnic uprising.

    [23] Cost of household goods up 3.0 percent, consumer centre reports

    The cost of the 'basket of goods' for the average Greek household climbed 3.0 percent to reach 2,317.78 euro in October 2011, up from 2,249.10 euro in August 2010, the Greek Centre for Consumers (ELKEKA) said on Wednesday.

    The largest price hikes were for housing (8 percent), alcoholic drinks and tobacco (6 percent) and transport (5 percent).

    [24] Smaller hotels in mountainous regions facing increased difficulties

    Smaller hotels operating mostly during the winter season, particularly in the mountainous regions of the country, are expected to greater difficulties, as a higher cost of heating oil and the introduction of an extraordinary property tax are projected to lead to increased closures.

    P. Matzoufas, the president of the Hoteliers' Association of Evritania, a mountainous prefecture in central Greece, told AMNA that higher fuel prices could "strangle" small hotel enterprises, saying that a 20-room hotel that spent 45,000 euros on heating oil last year faces a cost of around 60,000 euros this year, amid a period where room prices are falling and taxes rising.

    Yiannis Retsos, president of the Panhellenic Hoteliers' Federation, did not exclude the closing of hotel enterprises, noting that domestic tourism fell by around 20 pct this year.

    [25] 'Macedonia Palace' hotel in Thessaloniki stopping its operation

    The historic hotel "Macedonia Palace" in the northern city of Thessaloniki will cease operating on December 27, 2011, as was revealed by the tourist enterprise company that has assumed its management over the past 15 years.

    "After thanking you for our excellent cooperation all these years, we would like to inform you that our company is stopping operating the hotel 'Macedonia Palace', on 27/12/2011. We remain at your disposal for any clarificatin," the announcement said.

    The hotel has 120 employees who are following developments with concern.

    [26] Business Briefs

    -- Mytilineos Group on Wednesday reported a significant improvement in its nine-month results, with consolidated turnover rising 56 pct to reach 1.13 billion euros in the January-September period.

    [27] Stocks end 2.41 pct lower

    Stocks suffered heavy losses for the second consecutive session at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with bank shares under strong pressure amid concerns over the effects on local banks of a 50-pct haircut in Greek bonds and the spreading of a European debt crisis.

    Market sentiment was also hit by a decision by Morgan Stanley to remove the shares of Alpha Bank, Cyprus Bank, Eurobank and PPC from its international indices (MSCI Global Standard Indices).

    The composite index fell 2.41 pct to end at 717.93 points, with turnover shrinking to 37.703 million euros. Alpha Bank (11.76 pct), Cyprus Bank (15.63 pct), Eurobank (12.35 pct) and PPC (5.86 pct) suffered heavy losses, while Marfin Popular Bank (11.01 pct), Piraeus Bank (8.70 pct) and National Bank (4.30 pct) ended lower among blue chip stocks. Ellaktor (4.24 pct) and Viohalco (1.33 pct) ended higher.

    The Big Cap index fell 3.48 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.84 pct lower and the Small Cap index eased 0.50 pct. The Technology (1.53 pct) and Insurance (0.60 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (8.66 pct), Utilities (4.99 pct) and Commerce (3.80 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 106 to 50 with another 21 issues unchanged. Q&R (27.23 pct), Nexans (21.78 pct) and Teletypos (20 pct) were top gainers, while Fieratex (29.93 pct), Mathios (29.80 pct) and Vis (29.31 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.60%

    Industrials: -0.26%

    Commercial: -3.80%

    Construction: -0.96%

    Oil & Gas: -0.69%

    Personal & Household: -1.27%

    Raw Materials: -1.27%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.58%

    Technology: +1.53%

    Telecoms: -1.79%

    Banks: -8.66%

    Food & Beverages: -0.04%

    Health: -2.17%

    Utilities: -4.99%

    Chemicals: -2.03%

    Financial Services: -0.75%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank and Bank of Cyprus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.85

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.30

    HBC Coca Cola: 13.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.30

    National Bank of Greece: 1.78

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.60

    OPAP: 6.63

    OTE: 3.30

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.21

    Titan: 12.36

    [28] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained unchanged at 16.18 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 17.98 pct and the German Bund 1.81 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 2.02 pct, the six-month rate 1.68 pct, the three-month rate 1.45 pct and the one-month rate 1.20 pct.

    [29] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.45 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover shrinking to 10.425 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,316 contracts worth 7.354 million euros, with 18,968 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 21,024 contracts worth 3.070 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,771), followed by Eurobank (2,514), PPC (663), OPAP (482), GEK (1,124), Alpha Bank (3,412), Marfin Popular Bank (1,660), Cyprus Bank (2,262), Hellenic Postbank (966) and Mytilineos (255).

    General News

    [30] Heroin lab uncovered in Athens

    A 33-year-old Albanian national was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni charged with drug dealing.

    Police arrested the suspect as the latter was entering an apartment in Nea Smyrni which had been converted into a drug laboratory.

    A search revealed 10.308 kilos of heroin, 0.5 grams of cocaine , 45.8 kilograms of an unidentified powder, 1,270 euros cash, a precision scale, 2 cell phones and a fully equipped heroin adulteration and packaging laboratory.

    In a separate incident, two locals aged 31 and 25 were arrested in the Athens suburb of Maroussi late Tuesday for possessing and trafficking cannabis and cultivation of cannabis plants. Police found in their residence six potted cannabis plants, 16 grams of cannabis, three airguns, a precision scale, a mobile phone and other objects.

    All suspects will be sent before an Athens prosecutor.

    [31] Distressed sailboat with illegal migrants tugged to Preveza port

    A sailboat with 54 Afghani illegal migrants on board that ran adrift early Wednesday 30 nautical miles off the western shores of Lefkada island in the Ionian Sea is currently being tugged by a Greek freighter to port in Preveza.

    According to information the human smuggling boat was heading to Italy when it suffered a mechanical failure.

    The sailboat is expected to reach Preveza port at 15:00 and the local authorities are preparing a place to house the illegal migrants.

    The Coast Guard is investigating the possibility that the ship had set sail from the Turkish coast.

    [32] Panama-flagged ship runs aground off Hydra

    The Panama flagged freighter "Commander" was reported on Wednesday to have run aground on a reef, in the sea region off the southwestern coast of Hydra island. The ship, with an 18-member crew on board, had set sail from Elefsina, destined for Algiers.

    No injuries or sea pollution was reported. Coast Guard vessels are in the area and are waiting for a tug boat to arrive to dislodge the ship and escort it to the closest port for inspection.

    [33] Smugglers caught carrying about 150,000 packets of contraband cigarettes

    Police have arrested three members of a ring smuggling about 150,000 packets of contraband cigarettes, while another two are being sought.

    A police operation in Neo Petritsi in the northern Serres prefecture detected two trucks with five people on board who were carrying a total of 147,750 packets of cigarettes of various brands that did not bear authenticity markings.

    The cigarettes had been imported and were being circulated in Greece without the legal duties and taxes being paid, with the aim of having them exported illegally from Greece to Bulgaria.

    The police check led to the arrest of three of the five in the vehicles, while the other two succeeded in escaping and are being sought.

    [34] Greek musical event in Astana, Kazakhstan


    The Greek embassy in Kazakhstan will co-host a musical evening here on Wednesday featuring well-known Greek and Kazakh music.

    The event comes within the framework of events in Astana celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Central Asian country's independence.

    Greek performer Kalliopi Vetta will headline the event, performing works by Theodorakis, Hatzidakis and long-time collaborator and composer Yiannis Ioannou, who will accompany her on piano.

    The event is co-sponsored by the Greek foreign ministry and the Kazakh culture ministry.

    [35] Bread exhibition in Amfiklia, central Greece

    The folklore & dance society in the central Greek town of Amfiklia, on the eastern slopes of Mt. Parnassus, will host a Bread and Bakery Exhibition this weekend in the town's main plaza.

    The exhibition, billed as unique in Greece, will also feature culinary specialties from the area of the Kifissos valley, along with a presentation of flour production from a traditional mill.

    Weather Forecast

    [36] Cloudy on Thursday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -2C and 17C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 6C to 13C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -2C to 11C.

    [37] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The reserve labour measure in the public sector and the surtaxes to be paid by the end of February as well as the ongoing thriller over the disbursement of the sixth tranche of the EU-IMF bailout loan, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS: "Turmoil in ruling PASOK over the party leader's (George Papandreou) succession".

    AVGHI: "Papademos (prime minister) transitional government a structured bond".

    AVRIANI: "Earthquake in Europe demolishes the euro".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Multi-speed reserve labour".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Seven surtaxes in 100 days".

    ESTIA: "Politicians or technocrats?".

    ETHNOS: "Confusing circular on reserve labour ".

    IMERISSIA: "Positive start".

    KATHIMERINI: "Thriller with letters and sixth tranche of the bailout loan to Greece".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Hard bargaining over the sixth tranche and for consensus signatures".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Struggle for the popular problems".

    TA NEA: "George Papandreou remains in his post (PASOK leader) and prepares list for elections".

    VRADYNI: "Reserve labour portends 30,000 civil servants' layoffs".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [38] Christofias - Eroglu agree on their next meetings


    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu agreed Wednesday on a schedule for their meetings until January, when they will have a new meeting with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    Speaking after Wednesday's meeting that last an hour, UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Liza Buttenheim said that their next meeting will take place on Monday 28 November.

    "The idea is to have, in principle, one leaders' meeting a week and then there will also be discussions by the UN with the leaders respectively. And this was a formula that was found to be useful by the two at the latest meetings that were held in New York. It will be an intensive phase but we are not calling them 'all-day' meetings", she said.

    Asked whether there will also be one meeting a week with a UN representative, the UN officer said that they still have to work out the schedule of the other meetings.

    "Today what was agreed by the leaders is their meetings with each other which will take place until January and roughly one a week. In some cases there might be two meetings in one week", she said.

    She also said that on Monday they will discuss the Governance and Power-sharing Chapter.

    Speaking at the Presidential Palace, after the meeting, President Christofias said that Wednesday's meeting was a purely procedural meeting. He added that they fixed the dates of the meetings with Eroglu and the UN.

    The UNSG suggested the two sides meet again with him in mid January, following another round of intensive negotiations. The aim, he added, is to bridge the gap which divides the two sides on fundamental aspects of the Cyprus problem, something which is difficult bearing in mind the differences, but not impossible.

    Cyprus, has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The latest peace effort to find a negotiated settlement began in September 2008, under UN auspices.

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