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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-11-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 Issue No: 4227


  • [01] PM Samaras addresses ONNED event on entrepreneurship
  • [02] Juncker sees green light for financial aid to Greece at Tuesday's Eurogroup
  • [03] Schaeuble promises "every effort" for Greek solution at Tuesday's Eurogroup
  • [04] IMF, Eurozone nearing compromise on Greek debt sustainability
  • [05] SYRIZA: Reversal of Memorandum policy the only answer
  • [06] SYRIZA leader in Barcelona on Thursday
  • [07] Minister calls on FYROM to abandon tactics, work with Greece for mutually acceptable solution to name issue
  • [08] UN envoy Nimetz presents proposals to Greece, fYRoM
  • [09] Israeli envoy on Gaza Strip crisis
  • [10] PASOK party on Gaza developments
  • [11] Greek Defence Minster at EU ministerial meeting in Brussels
  • [12] KKE party criticises DM's stance on EU in Africa
  • [13] Glezos briefs Task Force chief on German war reparations
  • [14] Development Minister meets Task Force chief Reichenbach
  • [15] Venizelos, Kouvelis meet bank workers union, discuss future of Post Bank
  • [16] Budget deficit down in Jan-Oct
  • [17] IKEA employees in Greece call work stoppage over pay cuts
  • [18] Business Briefs
  • [19] Stocks end flat on Tues.
  • [20] Greek bond market report
  • [21] ADEX closing report
  • [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [23] Attalos Stoa sculpture exhibition officially inaugurated
  • [24] Unicef award for 17-year-old's mechanical glove invention
  • [25] WCC and CEC representatives express solidarity to suffering Greek people
  • [26] Nat'l con'f briefed on bad, good developments regarding HIV
  • [27] Koukounaries archaeological site on Paros
  • [28] Arrest for theft of personal data of 9 million persons
  • [29] Four arrested, three wanted in human trafficking ring bust
  • [30] Two arrested for multiple power-line transformer thefts in Tripolis
  • [31] 'Express Service' president, restaurant owner arrested for owing millions to state
  • [32] Fire on ferry
  • [33] Second rabies incident reported in N. Greece
  • [34] Arrests in counterfeiting case
  • [35] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras addresses ONNED event on entrepreneurship

    "Today is a very difficult day, but quite important in many ways," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Tuesday referring to the Eurogroup session in Brussels, looking into Greece' s debt problem.

    Samaras was attending an event of the New Democracy party-affiliated youth group ONNED on entrepreneurship, held in Athens at the Mihalis Kakoyiannis Foundation.

    The prime minister said that as he has already pledged, "as soon as Greece overcomes the difficult point, it is my obligation to push ahead with the process of growth and recovery." Government efforts are focused on effectively dealing with 'misery,' he stressed.

    He also noted that securing the banking system recapitalisation is necessary and stressed that there are already signs that conditions are improving, saying that when uncertainty is over, then "the negative psychology will also change."

    Referring to young people, the prime minister said he believes in their dynamism and vision. There is "light at the end of the tunnel," that many will see soon, he added.

    Fourteen out of the 40 proposals submitted by ONNED for entrepreneurship were presented at the event.

    [02] Juncker sees green light for financial aid to Greece at Tuesday's Eurogroup

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Greece has fulfilled its commitments and will receive the next tranche of financial aid as soon as any remaining outstanding matters are settled, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said as he arrived for the meeting in Brussels on Tuesday evening.

    Juncker said that he expected mutual concessions in order to arrive at an agreement concerning the sustainability of Greece's debt, on which there are differences between Eurozone countries and the IMF.

    [03] Schaeuble promises "every effort" for Greek solution at Tuesday's Eurogroup

    BERLIN (AMNA -F. Karaviti)

    In statements to Germany's federal Parliament during the 2013 budget debate on Tuesday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble stressed that "every possible effort " will be made to find a solution concerning Greece's debt problems at the Eurogroup meeting later that evening.

    Among other issues, Schaueble highlighted the need to protect the German economy and noted Germany was entering into a difficult phase as both the European and global economies slowed down.

    Commenting on Moody's decision to cut France's credit rating on Monday night, the German finance minister said this was not "especially serious" and stressed that the French economy was very stable.

    [04] IMF, Eurozone nearing compromise on Greek debt sustainability

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Aroni)

    Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) appeared to be nearing a compromise solution regarding the sustainability of Greece's debt, during talks in Brussels ahead of Tuesday evening's crucial Eurogroup meeting on disbursing financial aid to Greece.

    Experts on the economic staff of Euro area governments met on Tuesday morning to seek a combination of "technical solutions" to cover Greece's financing gap, estimated at 32.5 billion euro by 2016, and for lightening Greece's debt burden. Eurozone finance ministers are due to take over in this effort at 6:00 p.m. (Greek time) when the emergency Eurogroup convenes.

    Representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF troika will brief the Eurogroup meeting on the progress of Greece's austerity programme and present their assessment concerning the sustainability of Greece's debt.

    Euro area finance ministers, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and ECB President Mario Draghi must then hit upon a compromise solution concerning Greece's financing in the future, with several news agencies predicting that a "partial solution" will emerge from Tuesday's Eurogroup, while several important decisions will be left for December.

    Regarding the IMF's insistence that further restructuring of Greek debt is necessary, economic and political analysts believe that it is still too soon for political decisions of this kind to be made. Eurozone countries, primarily Germany, have strongly opposed the prospect of reducing Greece's debt to other states - a position echoed in statements made on Monday by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble and other EU officials.

    [05] SYRIZA: Reversal of Memorandum policy the only answer

    Main opposition SYRIZA, in an announcement on Tuesday, warned that "it appears once again that a viable answer to the problem of the Greek debt, and by extension to the major issue of a European strategy on the crisis, will not be given" at a crucial Eurogroup meeting later in the day, adding that "the prerequisite for a socially just exit from the crisis is the reversal of the Memorandum policy in Greece and Europe".

    SYRIZA said that the disbursement of the EU/IMF bailout loan tranche will not impact the situation in the real economy, while the infamous extension will create an addition financing cost of 30 billion euros and will skyrocket the debt over time from the moment that it is incorporated into the existing Memorandum framework", and accused the government of apathetically watching the developments.

    The government's presence exhausts itself in reassuring the lenders that "every Memorandum choice for austerity, layoffs, salary reductions and dissolution of the social state, will be accepted," SYRIZA said, adding that the government's haste to 'give its credentials of subjugation to the Troika' is so great that with Legislative Acts it was adding new measures that it forgot to include in the Middle-Term Programme and to tie the Greek society hand and foot with monitoring mechanisms become only colonies.

    Reversal of the Memorandum policy in Greece and Europe, write-off of the greatest part of the debt and repayment of the balance with a grow clause, public control of the banking system, refounding the EU on new axes of growth, solidarity, and redistribution of the wealth are the necessary conditions for a socially just exit from the crisis, SYRIZA concluded.

    [06] SYRIZA leader in Barcelona on Thursday

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras will visit Barcelona on Thursday, following an invitation by the United Left of Spain and specifically the United Left of Catalonia. The SYRIZA leader will participate in the final political activities and rallies ahead of the elections for the local parliament of Catalonia.

    According to a SYRIZA announcement, the United Left of Spain and SYRIZA are co-founders of the European Left Party and cooperate at all the levels of the European structure, and jointly struggle against the policies of austerity and the shrinking of democracy in Spain, Greece and Europe.

    [07] Minister calls on FYROM to abandon tactics, work with Greece for mutually acceptable solution to name issue

    MELBOURNE (AMNA/S. Hatzimanolis)

    Greece's Macedonia-Thrace minister Theodoros Karaoglou called on the Skopje government to abandon its tactic of forging history and to work with Greece for finding a mutually acceptable solution to the FYROM name issue, addressing an event in Melbourne on Monday.

    "They must realise that Greece is a friendly country and abandon their populist, ethnicist policy, otherwise they risk remaining on the threshold of the EU and NATO, and this does not serve even their own national interests," Karaoglou said.

    On the economic crisis in Greece, he expressed optimism that following the recent adoption of the new package of measures and the 2013 budget, growth would also come for the country. "We are currently in the stage of winning the confidence of the citizens. We believe that these measures were the last. We promise and pledge to work hard so that growth will come and we will exit the crisis," he said.

    While in Melbourne, the minister will attend the opening of an exhibition of vintage photographs of Thessaloniki at the Melbourne City Hall on Saturday organized by the Greek cultural council "Enossi" in collaboration with the Pontian Community of Melbourne and the local Association of Thessalonikians.

    On Friday he will attend the opening of an exhibition on the migration of Greeks to Australia that will be on display at the Hellenic Museum of Melbourne, while on Thursday he will address a Greek business form at the Quest Brighton on the Bay.

    Karaoglou will also visit Sidney.

    [08] UN envoy Nimetz presents proposals to Greece, fYRoM

    NEW YORK (AMNA/P. Panagiotou)

    Matthew Nimetz, the UN Secretary Generals' personal envoy in talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), on Tuesday put forth a number of proposals and ideas regarding a solution to the fYRoM name issue.

    Nimetz, who held a joint meeting at the UN headquarters with the representatives of Greece and fYRoM, ambassadors Adamantios Vassilakis and Zoran Jolevski, respectively, said discussion centered on old and new ideas, while he himself presented some other proposals to be examined by Athens and Skopje.

    The envoy said that both sides exhibited "good disposition" on reaching a solution, and that a new meeting will be held in New York at a time to be set. Nimetz may also visit the region.

    Central to the discussion between the two sides was the Memorandum of Understanding, proposed by Greece's Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos to his fYRoM counterpart, Nikola Poposki, on October 3.

    "Greece constructively participates and consistently supports negotiations under the UN and under Mr. Nimetz's mission," Vassilakis said, adding that "a specific proposal was presented for the singing of the MoU, aimed at speeding up the process and defining the parameters for a solution."

    But, "so far, there has been no reply" on the specific proposal, Greece's ambassador said.

    [09] Israeli envoy on Gaza Strip crisis

    Israeli Ambassador to Greece Arye Meckel told a press conferenece here on Tuesday his country wanted an agreement that would guarantee the end of firing rockets against its territory from the Gaza Strip.

    "Israel wants to reach an agreement which will guarantee the end of firing rockets against its territory from the Gaza Strip, as well as the halt of the illegal import of arms in it through Egypt," Meckel said.

    The Israeli envoy added that for achieving an agreement, his country looked forward to Egypt, "which is an important country and a significant player in the Arab world, as well as to the seriousness of it leaders." He also noted that the fact that important world personalities, such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as European and Arab foreign ministers are currently visiting the region, this "underlines the need for a ceasefire."

    He asserted that it was Israel which was first attacked and that its responses aimed at "protecting the life and security of its citizens, which is the first concern of every government."

    The attack against the military leader of Hamas, Ahmed Jabari was part of this policy, Meckel said, "as is the case of targetting the long distance rockets Fajr, that were installed in Gaza, many of which were destroyed."

    The envoy stressed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the framework of contacts he had with foreign leaders to brief them on the situation prevailing in the region, also held a telephone conversation with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras last Saturday.

    "This contact is indicative of the friendly relations with Greece and the importance Israel attributes to it," Meckel added.

    Palestinian envoy appeals for international intercession to stop bombardment of Gaza and avert ground operation

    The head of the Palestinian diplomatic representation to Greece, Ambassador Samir Abou Ghazaleh, appealed to the international community to intercede for an end to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and avert a ground operation, in an exclusive interview with AMNA on Tuesday.

    "Four years after the massacre of 1,500 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, Israel has launched a new attack, which up to now numbers tens of dead unarmed civilians, and once again mainly women and children," Ghazaleh said, adding: "Israel is bombing the homes of civilians, offices of journalists and even banks. It is clear that the unarmed Palestinians are not collateral damage but are the chief target of the Israeli attack."

    "The Netanyahu government is consciously committing war crimes," the Palestinian envoy charged.

    To a comment that at a time when the international community is pressing for a truce Israel has announced that it is suspending plans for a ground operation for the duration of the diplomatic efforts, Ghazaleh said that "a prospective ground invasion by the Israeli army would be a real tragedy", and "we call on the international community to oblige the Netanyahu government to not proceed to such a crime".

    "The Netanyahu government has shown that it is not interested in peace, unfortunately. It continues with the colonization of the occupied territories in the West Bank, it continues to alter the Arab character of Jerusalem, refuses to recognize the 1967 borders and holds thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons," he said.

    To a comment that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on all the sides involved in the Gaza conflict to proceed to an "immediate cease-fire", stressing that any new escalation would put the entire region at risk, Ghazaleh replied: "It is said that, while entire families are being wiped out, the international community suffices itself with verbal condemnations instead of undertaking its responsibilities emanating from the UN Charter for the safeguarding of international security and peace in the world."

    "The Palestinian Authority has decided to take recourse in the UN General Assembly for recognition of the Palestinian state at the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital, for a two-states solution," he said, stressing that "it is up to the international community, chiefly the US and the European Union, to take a position."

    "Israel believes that the Palestinian issue can be solved through military strength. Our people, however, continue and will continue to fight for an end to the Israeli occupation. Without an independent Palestinian state, there cannot be peace in the Middle East," the envoy concluded.

    [10] PASOK party on Gaza developments

    An announcement by the PASOK party on Tuesday said "PASOK is watching the bloody developments in Gaza with great concern. We are facing once again a humanitarian crisis and the generalised violence against non-combatants".

    It added that PASOK supports efforts for an immediate ceasefire so that procedures for talks between Israelis and Palestinians can be scheduled and that the party "believes that the only exit from the violence is a fair and viable solution to the Palestinain issue in the framework of the principles and resolutions of the UN".

    [11] Greek Defence Minster at EU ministerial meeting in Brussels

    The fortification of the EU's defence policy was among the issues discussed at the EU Defence and Foreign Ministers' meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, chaired by European Council vice president Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

    Greek Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos said that the Greek side underlined the need for completion of the procedures for the establishment of an integrated institutional arm for the exercise of the defence policy and security policy, as well as of a uniform policy in the defence industry sector in the united Europe.

    Moreover, Panagiotopoulos said "We made a substantial intervention in order for the EU operations against piracy in Somalia and other neighbouring countries to proceed and for the protection of Greek interests in international merchant shipping".

    According to sources, EU inspections in the area will intensify.

    [12] KKE party criticises DM's stance on EU in Africa

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Tuesday, termed as "extremely dangerous for the people", the Greek government's stance on the "development of war operations of EU countries in the Horn of Africa and Somalia, with the pretext of tackling piracy".

    Referring to the stance of Defence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos at the session of EU Defence and Foreign Affairs ministers, the KKE stressed that (this position) "constitutes substantive contribution to the development of the EU's imperialist interventions beside the US and NATO, particularly in a region where the developments entail yet another imperialist war".

    [13] Glezos briefs Task Force chief on German war reparations

    Veteran Left politician and main opposition SYRIZA MP Manolis Glezos met on Tuesday with European Commission Task Force chief for Greece Horst Reichenbach.

    The meeting, which took place at Glezos' home, was held at the request of Reichenbach who asked to be briefed in detail on the issue of the German war reparations to Greece, a SYRIZA announcement said.

    Present at the meeting were the head of the European Commission representation in Greece Panos Karvounis, SYRIZA MP Yannis Milios and historian Lee Sarafi.

    Financial News

    [14] Development Minister meets Task Force chief Reichenbach

    Development, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Tuesday met the head of the European Commission's Task Force for Greece Horst Reichenbach to discuss efforts underway to stabilise the economic and restore liquidity in the Greek market.

    He also briefed Reichenback on efforts to assist export businesses, reduce bureaucracy and complete decrees concerning technical professions.

    After the meeting, Hatzidakis announced that a draft bill for a fully electronic system for state procurements will be unveiled on Wednesday and announcements on the tabling of a draft bill on investments in Parliament will follow in the coming week.

    Reichenbach stated that Wednesday would see further confirmation of a trend toward stabilisation that was beginning to emerge after the investments by Unilever and HP, while he pointed to plans for an agreement to be signed by the development ministry and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) early next month on improving competitiveness in four sectors of the Greek economy, construction materials, retail trade, manufacturing and tourism.

    [15] Venizelos, Kouvelis meet bank workers union, discuss future of Post Bank

    The bank workers' union federation OTOE and the Hellenic Post Bank staff association on Tuesday held successive meetings with the leaders of the two junior members of the coalition government, Democratic Left (DIMAR) president Fotis Kouvelis and PASOK President Evangelos Venizelos, to discuss the fate of Hellenic Post Bank.

    The union and staff associations raised the issue of recapitalising Hellenic Post Bank, noting that it had the potential to make a positive contribution to efforts to support the real economy and social needs and to play a special role in the banking system of the country, as post office savings banks did throughout Europe.

    They also disputed claims made by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos that Post Bank was not sustainable, inviting PASOK and DIMAR to check what they said were the bank's true financial figures in order to see that this was not the case.

    Finally, the union stressed that Post Bank's future must be handled in a way to protected jobs and worker rights.

    An OTOE announcement issued later said that both Kouvelis and Venizelos had, with minor differences, relayed the government's decision to attempt to recapitalise and save Post Bank so that it could continue to operate independently and retain its identity as a "priority option", saying this had been the outcome of a discussion with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

    They had also given assurances that, if another option was followed, every effort will be made to protect jobs, workers' rights and the bank's operation and network.

    The two party leaders had also indicated that the state's interests must be protected in all banks using capital that essentially belonged to the Greek state and was borrowed for this purpose. They had also reported that a discussion was underway for mergers or unions of cooperative banks, which might have a special or regional role in the new conditions.

    OTOE welcomed the positions expressed by Venizelos and Kouvelis as "initially positive" and expressed guarded optimism concerning future developments, while declaring that it is ready to defend jobs and rights at Post Bank and the banking sector as a whole.

    [16] Budget deficit down in Jan-Oct

    Greece's state budget cash deficit fell to 12.259 billion euros in the January-October period, down from a budget target for a deficit of 13.425 billion euros, while primary deficit was 1.140 billion euros in the 10-month period, down from a budget target of 2.294 billion. The budget deficit was down 41.9 pct compared with the corresponding period last year.

    Net budget revenues totaled 41.777 billion euros in the January-October period, up 1.5 pct from the same period in 2011 and up 272 million euros compared with a revised budget target. Net regular budget revenues totaled 39.131 billion euros in the 10-month period, up 499 million euros from a 2012 budget target of 38.632 billion euros. This increase is attributed to higher revenues in October, receipts from capital taxes, the receipt of 79.5 million euros from Spain (return transfer from the Spanish central bank's Greek bond holdings) and a satisfactory course of property tax receipts.

    State budget spending totaled 54.036 billion euros in the January-October period, down 894 million euros from a budget target of 54.930 bln.

    Regular budget spending fell short of budget targets by 368 million euros, reflecting lower primary spending by 280 million euros, lower spending on defense programmes and lower spending on subsidising state hospitals.

    Spending on interest totaled 11.119 billion euros, slightly down from a budget target of 11.131 billion euros. State budget spending were down 13.2 pct compared with the corresponding period last year.

    [17] IKEA employees in Greece call work stoppage over pay cuts

    Employees at the IKEA outlets co-owned by the Fourlis Group in Greece have announced a four-hour work stoppage on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in protest against pay cuts being imposed by the firm's management.

    On Tuesday afternoon, groups of protesting staff formed a picket line outside the entrance of the IKEA store on Kifissos boulevard, but did not prevent customers from entering.

    A few days ago, management asked the staff to sign new individual work contracts, envisioning pay cuts ranging from 8-11 percent.

    In an announcement, the Federation of Private Employees expressed its support for the "struggle of the IKEA workers' union and the workers, who refuse to sign amended, individual contracts". The federation also pointed out that the pay cuts are not justified given that IKEA stores have not only continued to show steady and significant profit throughout the economic crisis but are actually increasing sales and market share.

    In addition to the IKEA branch on Kifissos, an industrial action has been announced at the IKEA outlet in a southeast Athens mall and the iconic IKEA outlet near the Athens Airport at Spata

    [18] Business Briefs

    Citibank on Tuesday announced it was closing 16 branches in Greece along with a voluntary retirement program for around 170 executive staff as part of a plan to further lower its presence in the Greek market.

    -- Greece's merchant shipping fleet fell by 3.2 pct in September this year, compared with the corresponding month in 2011, after a 4.2-pct decline recorded in September 2011, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Tuesday.

    -- OPAP on Tuesday said its net profits totaled 371.7 million euros in the January-September period, down 9.2 pct from the same period in 2011 (409.1 million euros).

    [19] Stocks end flat on Tues.

    Stocks ended flat at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday as investors remained sidelined ahead of a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.

    The composite index of the market rose 0.04 pct to end at 821.23 points, after losing as much as 0.86 pct during the day. Buying activity in selective blue chips counterbalanced a new selling pressure in bank shares. Turnover remained a disappointing low 52.694 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 0.62 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 0.31 pct. The Health (9.0 pct), Technology (2.88 pct), Food (1.37 pct) and Travel (1.35 pct) sectors were top gainers, while Raw Materials (3.48 pct), Banks (2.53 pct) and Commerce (1.94 pct) suffered losses.

    Motor Oil (1.91 pct), OPAP (1.89 pct) and Coca Cola Hellenic (1.39 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (4.46 pct), Mytilineos (4.28 pct), Viohalco (3.28 pct) and Cyprus Bank (3.10 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 81 to 53 with another 21 issues unchanged. Hellenic Fish Farms (19.74 pct), Alsinco (19.55 pct) and Elbisco (18.18 pct) were top gainers, while HOL (20 pct), PC Systems (20 pct) and Mohlos (19.72 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -1.56%

    Construction -0.44%

    Oil & Gas: +0.79%

    Personal & Household: -1.21%

    Raw Materials: -3.48%

    Travel & Leisure +1.35%

    Technology: +2.88%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: -2.53%

    Food & Beverages: +1.37%

    Health: +9.00%

    Utilities: -0.73%

    Financial Services: -0.85%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.76

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.41

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.49

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.27

    National Bank of Greece: 1.62

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.79

    OPAP: 4.85

    OTE: 3.80

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.43

    Titan: 13.50

    [20] Greek bond market report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell significantly to 15.65 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 16.48 pct and the German Bund 1.33 pct. Turnover in the market was a thin 2.0 million euros, equally distributed between buying and selling orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.58 pct, the six-month rate was 0.35 pct, the three-month rate was 0.19 pct and the one-month rate 0.10 pct.

    [21] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.17 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover shrinking to 13.140 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,955 contracts worth 5.847 million euros, with 30,207 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 49,649 contracts worth 7.293 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (16,163), followed by Alpha Bank (11,543), Piraeus Bank (12,824), Cyprus Bank (2,078), OTE (908), PPC (1,087), OPAP (862), Eurobank (2,154), Mytilineos (350), Cyprus Popular Bank (340), Intralot (546), Ellaktor (100), GEK (172) and MIG (123).

    [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.300

    Pound sterling 0.816

    Danish kroner 7.570

    Swedish kroner 8.776

    Japanese yen 105.96

    Swiss franc 1.223

    Norwegian kroner 7.445

    Canadian dollar 1.294

    Australian dollar 1.251

    General News

    [23] Attalos Stoa sculpture exhibition officially inaugurated

    A exhibition "Examples of Sculpture from the Ancient Agora" was officially inaugurated on Tuesday on the upper-floor galleries of the Attalos Stoa, which this year reopened to the public for the first time in 30 years. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Culture Minister Costas Tzavaras, Culture ministry general secretary Lina Mendoni, U.S. Ambassador to Athens Daniel Bennett Smith, Norwegian Ambassador to Athens Sjur Larsen and the head of the American School of Classical Studies James C. Wright.

    The exhibition features 52 stone statues, some of them on show to the public for the first time, that are all representative examples of Athenian sculpture in the later Classical, Hellenistic and Roman eras.

    The works on show on the top floor galleries, positioned so that they can be viewed from all sides, include idealised forms of gods and mortals, Roman-era copies of classic works, Roman portraits of rich Athenian citizens and sculptures that decorated private schools in later antiquity.

    The upper floors of the Stoa of Attalos, which looks out over the Ancient Agora in central Athens, were reopened to the public last July after remaining closed for three decades.

    The 1,440 square meter upper floor had previously served as a storage area for artifacts, archives and the offices of the American School of Classical Studies that was conducting excavations in the area.

    In addition to the sculptures going back on display, the exhibition has also been be enriched with newly discovered ancient artifacts never exhibited before, following a Finance Ministry approval in 2010 of a joint proposal by the School and the First Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities to showcase the rich collection of antiquities at the site in a more 'museum-like' concept, which was also endorsed by the Council of Museums.

    The study for the showcasing the exhibits was conducted within the framework of a project called "Reviving the Ancient Agora, the place where Democracy was born.

    The proposal suggested that the presentation of sculptures takes place in thematic sections and chronological succession allowing the visitors to witness the evolution of sculptural art during the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman Times, highlighting the course from the Ancient Greek idealism to the Roman realism.

    The Stoa of Attalos houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora. Its exhibits are mostly connected with the Athenian democracy.

    The project also included the digitalisation and storing of more than 300,000 archive documents, including photographs, negatives, plans, maps, excavation logs and reports. This will allow the public to gain a deeper insight into classical-era civilisation and the way democracy functioned in ancient Athens.

    [24] Unicef award for 17-year-old's mechanical glove invention

    A 17-year-old high school senior picked up a Unicef award in Athens this week for his ground-breaking invention: a state-of-the-art mechanical glove for people with disabilities.

    Haris Ioannou said he came up with the idea of a metallic glove two years ago when he first noticed his grandmother having difficulty with her hands, "at times she couldn't even grab the television remote", Ioannou said during an awards ceremony at an Athens book store.

    The form-fitting device is made out of metal and weighs just 350 grams. It includes pressure sensors that detect when the person wearing it makes a specific hand movement. A processor inside the glove then activates a mechanically induced movement using programmed algorithms. According to the device's teenage inventor, the glove can added up to 17 kilos worth of power to every joint of the hand.

    [25] WCC and CEC representatives express solidarity to suffering Greek people

    World Council of Churches (WCC) secretary general Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, as well as Conference of European Churches (CEC) secretary general Dr. Guy Liagre, who are in Greece, expressed their grave concern during a press conference on Tuesday over the increase in racist phenomena, as well as of the far-right in Europe.

    The WCC secretary general spoke of the danger of the principles of democracy and human rights being harmed due to the drastic cutbacks and the austerity measures that deprive citizens of access to basic goods and rights in neuralgic sectors, such as employment, health, as well as dignified living.

    Both speakers expressed their solidarity to the Greek people who are suffering from the economic crisis. They stressed that the only exit from the crisis in Greece and in the rest of the European countries, that are being harmed by it, is the unity and cooperation of all for the supply of resources so that the societies that are being harmed harshly to recover.

    [26] Nat'l con'f briefed on bad, good developments regarding HIV

    Carriers of the HIV virus can now live more than 40 years after their infection thanks to the latest treatments, which have significantly increased life expectancy of those suffering from the virus that causes AIDS -- mostly similar to the life expectancy levels of the general population.

    The positive news was emphasised in view of the 24th national conference on AIDS, however, the negative news is that some strains of the virus -- detected around the world and in Greece -- have become extremely resistant to the latest anti-retro-viral drugs. Additionally, the number of new AIDS-infected patients is increasing due to transmission amongst users of intravenous drugs.

    According to researchers, the combined anti-retro-viral therapy (cART) was a triumph of modern AIDS treatment 15 years ago, and led to a significant improvement in the quality of life of patients, in addition to increasing life expectancy.

    However, experts stressed that eradication of the disease has not yet been accomplished, even though latest data show that this may be feasible in the future.

    Within 2013, two new combinations of anti-retro-viral drugs are expected to be available, but scientific efforts to develop an effective vaccine for the cure of the HIV infection have not yet been met with success.

    [27] Koukounaries archaeological site on Paros

    Human presence on Paros island since the Neolithic Period has been revealed by finds brought to light during excavations in Koukounaries. "The finds date back to 5th millenium BC," said Dimitris Schilardi, who heads the excavations in Koukounaries.

    Speaking at a conference in the northern Greek city of Komotini on the theme of islands archaeology with emphasis on the smallest Aegean islands, Schilardi outlined the work that has taken place since the beginning of the year at the archaeological site of Koukounaries, which is situated in an exceptional area with view of Naoussa bay and next to the popular beach of Kolymbithres.

    A large number of painted ceramics and luxury objects made of copper and ivory were unearthed during excavations at the site.

    [28] Arrest for theft of personal data of 9 million persons

    A 35-year-old man has been arrested in a major case involving the theft of personal data of 9 million Greek citizens, after charges filed by the Personal Data Protection Authority, police said on Tuesday.

    According to information forthcoming from the police electronic crimes squad, the 35-year-old, who is employed in the marketing sector, had acquired personal data such as tax registration numbers, asset lists, names, addresses, etc. of nine million citizens, possibly via state services, and was selling the information to companies.

    Announcements on the case were expected later in the day by police.

    [29] Four arrested, three wanted in human trafficking ring bust

    Four foreign nationals have been arrested in Athens and Argolida and another three are wanted as members of an organized human trafficking ring that literally exploited the people they smuggled as work slaves, police said on Tuesday.

    In a coordinated operation by Attica Security Police in collaboration with security police of Nafplio and Argos, four Romanian nationals (two men and two women) aged 33, 41, 30 and 40 were arrested on Monday morning in Athens and Argolida while three more foreign nationals -- two Romanians and a Turk -- are wanted.

    An investigation was launched after a complaint lodged by six Romanian nationals, and turned up that the ring members, using chartered buses via a tourist agency belonging to a Turkish man, who is wanted, would smuggle into the country people in dire financial condition from Romania with the promise of work on farms for 25 euros per day and free room and board provided by the employers.

    Police found that the ring, using this method, had brought 41 laborers from Romania to a farming region in Argolida a month ago and turned them over to other ring members.

    The ring members took away the Romanians' travel documents and put the up in an abandoned stable with no sanitation facilities, where they lived in absolute squalor. In the following days they forced the Romanians to work 12-hour days gathering oranges, without giving them the pay they had been promised, which was paid by the employers to the ring members. They also forced the Romanians to purchase food from them at exorbitant sums and did not allow them to leave the stable, for which they were forced to pay 50 euros a month each.

    Three of the ring members were arrested during a raid on the stable, and 10 Romanians were freed, including two children who lived there and were forced to work under the same conditions.

    A 40-year-old Romanian woman was arrested simultaneously in Athens, who was the legal representative in Greece of the tourist agency of the wanted Turk, who had organized the transfer.

    Police found and confiscated 10,125 euros in cash, 31 Romanian identity cards, five passports, a hunting gun, six cell phones, a large number of notes containing dates, names and corresponding sums of money for collection of the wages of the laborers, and tourist office tickets.

    The victims, who were in a bad physical and psychological condition, were provided with medical attention, assistance, and protection by the Security Police's organized crime and human trafficking division.

    The arrestees will be taken before a Nafplio prosecutor.

    [30] Two arrested for multiple power-line transformer thefts in Tripolis

    Tripolis security police on Tuesday announced the arrest of two Pakistani men, aged 20 and 30 years old, respectively, who are believed to be part of a gang responsible for 42 thefts and attempted thefts of power line transformers from electricity pylons in the Tripolis area. The total damage to the Public Power Corporation (PPC) as a result of their activities is believed to exceed 250,000 euro.

    The two suspects under arrest were charged with forming a criminal organisation, grand larceny and causing aggravated damage.

    Based on a police investigation, the two and an unknown number of accomplices had carried out 39 thefts of PPC transformers and three attempted thefts of PPC transformers in and around the prefecture. Police also found and confiscated a number of tools used in the thefts, two mobile phones and a private car used to transport the loot.

    The two were led before a first-instance court prosecutor and referred to a Tripolis examining magistrate, while police are continuing to look for the remaining members of the gang.

    [31] 'Express Service' president, restaurant owner arrested for owing millions to state

    The president and CEO of the auto assistance firm "Express Service" Yiannis Raptopoulos, 69, was arrested in Thessaloniki on Tuesday morning for outstanding debts to the state exceeding 7.8 million euro, as well as a failure to pay 150,000 euro in staff IKA contributions.

    The well-known business man was led before a Thessaloniki Misdemeanours Court prosecutor, charged and brought before a police court, which granted a postponement and set him free pending trial.

    Also arrested on Tuesday was a 50-year-old woman restaurant-owner in Amfilochia, with total debts to the state exceeding three million euro, who is due to appear before a public prosecutor in Agrinio.

    [32] Fire on ferry

    Fire Brigade operations to remove nine trucks and to contain a fire that broke out on the Crete II ferry on Monday after midnight were continuing until late on Tuesday in the port of Patras, where the vessel is docked.

    According to the coast guard, 17 trucks (tractor trailers) in total were damaged after a fire broke out on board. The vessel was carrying 92 trucks and 18 cars.

    The fire broke out on Monday midnight on the ferry 'Crete II' in one of its garages as the vessel was sailing 3.5 nautical miles off the western port of Patras.

    The fire was partly contained by the vessel's fire extinguishing system and the vessel docked in Patras without further problems.

    The 113 passengers and 87-member crew are all disembarked safely but some of the trucks were still trapped in the car desk, which were filled with smoke and water sprayed by the sprinkler system.

    The Crete II was carrying out the itinerary Venice-Igoumenitsa-Patras and has been forbidden to sail until it has undergone inspection and obtains a certificate that it is still fit to travel.

    The shipping line ANEK has announced that the company will make arrangements to transport the passengers on board the ferry that were unable to travel.

    [33] Second rabies incident reported in N. Greece

    Mass vaccinations of dogs against rabies are being carried out in the area of Kastoria, northwestern Greece, after a second incident of rabies was reported in the area.

    The second incident was reported after a dog bit its owner, a farmer and a hunter as well as two sheep and eight dogs. The three men are taking special anti-rabies medicine while the animals were put to sleep.

    The first rabies case was reported one month ago in a fox while the second five days ago.

    Kastoria and particularly the area of Ieropigi, where the rabies incident was reported, is located 800 metres from the border with Albania.

    Rabies has not been reported in Greece since 1987.

    [34] Arrests in counterfeiting case

    Police in the central city of Larissa arrested four suspects allegedly behind a counterfeiting ring.

    The ring was comprised of a 47-year-old and a 64-year-old, while further investigation turned up evidence on the involvement of two more persons, aged 74 and 43, in other offenses.

    The ring was discovered with the arrest of the 47-year-old last Friday who, together with his 64-year-old accomplice, who is still at large, made a purchase at a store in the town of Elassona using a counterfeit 50-euro banknote.

    [35] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Eurogroup meeting on Tuesday and the decisions on the Greek debt, the Legislative Acts announced by the government and the government's agreement with the banks for an auspicious settlement for the borrowers, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Agreement for the next step".

    AVGHI: "They passed the burden of the bankruptcy onto the citizens".

    DIMOKRATIA: "How the salaries will return to the...state!".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "The working class goes to hell".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Agreement 'breather' for loans and credit cards"".

    ESTIA: "Our lenders 80 years ago".

    ETHNOS: "Disbursement of the 44 billion euros in two installments".

    IMERISSIA: "Tranche 'arrives' on December 5."

    KATHIMERINI: "Thriller up to the last moment".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Four-year grace period for 200,000 borrowers".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Disobedience and action for the abolition of the memorandum and the reversal of the exploitation".

    TA NEA: "Blackmail up to the last minute!".

    VRADYNI: "All the changes in severance pay, overtime and marriage benefits".

    6 DAYS: "Colony by law".

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