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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-09-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 4 September 2013 Issue No: 4451


  • [01] PM Samaras to inaugurate Thessaloniki Fair Sat. morning
  • [02] Interior minister confirms PM reviewing changes in mayoral elections
  • [03] Troika rejects gov't plan to liquidate defense industries, Larco
  • [04] Party reactions on defence industry liquidation issue
  • [05] KKE on the fate of the defence industries, Larco
  • [06] FinMin: No tax reduction in heating oil
  • [07] Dev't minister Hatzidakis urges banks to increase market liquidity
  • [08] PM meets with Athens Concert Hall president
  • [09] PASOK leader calls for 'historical self-awareness' and persistence of efforts
  • [10] PASOK official on party's 39th anniversary
  • [11] Deputy FM: Greece in constant touch with Greek community in Syria
  • [12] Education minister pledges to make improvements to secondary education restructuring bill
  • [13] Education minister briefs President Papoulias
  • [14] UN envoy Nimetz in Athens and Skopje on Sept. 9-13
  • [15] Additional judges on labour law cases to ensure timely court trials
  • [16] DM Avramopoulos meets with Republic of Korea Minister of Patriots and Veterans
  • [17] DM Avramopoulos visits parachutists academy, Pachi military airport
  • [18] Turkish aircraft intercepted
  • [19] Greece raises 1.138 bln euros from T-bill auction
  • [20] Socar delegation in Athens, DESFA sale nears completion
  • [21] Greek banks' deposit interest rates down in July
  • [22] OGA extends pension registration to September 27
  • [23] Free distribution of foodstuffs to over 800,000 beneficiaries by end of year
  • [24] Majority of business transfers fail, report says
  • [25] Duty Free Shops to open new sales units in Piraeus port
  • [26] Greek stocks end 2.37 pct higher
  • [27] Greek bond market closing report
  • [28] ADEX closing report
  • [29] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [30] 'Conspiracy of Cells of Fire' assumes responsibility for boobytrapped envelope
  • [31] Vouliagmeni businessman shot after break- in at his home
  • [32] Athens press union elects its first female president
  • [33] Cadmium levels in Nestos River 50 times over safe levels
  • [34] Financial Crime Squad suspends operation of four enterprises for 48 hrs
  • [35] Fair on Wednesday
  • [36] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras to inaugurate Thessaloniki Fair Sat. morning

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will inaugurate at 10 am on Saturday the 78th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF). The opening ceremony will be held at TIF's Corona Hall and afterwards Samaras will deliver an address to representatives of the local authorities and entities.

    At 12 noon tomorrow, Wednesday Samaras will meet at the Maximos Mansion government headquarters with representatives of production representatives from Thessaloniki and Northern Greece. Macedonia-Thrace Minister Theodoros Karaoglou will be also present at the meeting.

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras will visit Thessaloniki twice. On Saturday 7 September will take part in the umbrella labour unions GSEE (private sector)and ADEDY (public sector) protest rally and on Friday 13 September will address a SYRIZA open political rally. On Saturday 14 he will meet with representatives of local entities and on Sunday he will give a press conference.

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos will be in Thessaloniki on Sunday 8 September. At 10:00 am he will have a meeting with the TIF-Helexpo management and at 11:00 am he will speak in an event with the participation of the local productive entitities.

    Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos will be in Thessaloniki from Monday 9 until Thursday 12 September. On Monday at 8:00 pm he will speak in an event organised by the Geopolitical Studies Institute at Macedonia Palace hotel. On Tuesday noon he will give a press conference at Vellidio Congress Centre and on Wednesday at 8:00 pm, Kammenos will speak at Independent Greeks Youth General Committee meeting. On Thursday he will attend a meeting of his party's National Congress to be held at the Grand Hotel at 11:00 am.

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis will be in Thessaloniki on 11 and 12 September. On Wednesday at 6:00 pm he will meet with young farmers and at 8:00 pm he will speak for DIMAR's cadres at Thessaloniki Town Hall. On Thursday at 11:00 am, Kouvelis will tour TIF and at 12:00 he will give a press conference.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas will visit Thessaloniki on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September. On Saturday at 9:30 pm he will speak at the Communist Party Youth Organisation (KNE-Odigitis) Festival that is held at former military camp Pavlos Melas.

    Tsipras, Kammenos, Kouvelis and Koutsoumbas have stated that during their stay in Thessaloniki they will visit the former national broadcaster ET3's premises to express their support to laid off staff who are still broadcasting newscasts from the station.

    [02] Interior minister confirms PM reviewing changes in mayoral elections

    The government is planning to change the way mayors and city council members are elected, Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis told private radio station Sto Kokkino, confirming a press report published a day before.

    "These are thoughts of the prime minister we are working on, to allow citizens at the next local government elections to select the mayors and city council members they wish without party lists, by proportional representation. In the case of council members, especially, residents will be able to vote for candidates they believe are worthy and able from different political groups. In other words, it will be the first time they won't have to vote for people from a specific political party," he explained.

    According to daily Kathimerini, at his meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday Michelakis discussed the option of providing voters with two lists, one listing all candidates running for mayors and another with all candidates for city councils, listed by name alphabetically.

    Mayors, in such a system, will announce their chosen running mates as a group in the press and be put up at each municipality, while they will be elected if they garner 42 percent of the total votes in the first round (Sunday) of elections. If repeat elections are held, only the top two contenders will be listed as candidates.

    According to the newspaper, a candidate mayor must have collected at least 5 percent of the total vote in order to be able to choose his or her city council.

    Responding to the radio interview, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) ridiculed the decision, saying, "After New Democracy and PASOK insisted for decades on extreme majority voting systems that awarded three-fifths of parliament's seats to the first party, regardless of its percentage won, with the result that they created a bad copy of the central biparty system on local government level, Michelakis remembered meritocracy and proportional representation."

    The party statement added "this isn't coincidental, as he knows that in the coming local government elections citizens will sweep away the old and worn system of mayors and other 'local factotums' of the two parties. Not only that, but he proposes a system that is not proportional, as he claims, but extreme-majority based, as the largest faction will be able to vote for all candidate council members.

    PASOK party sources, commenting on the meeting and the reports, said on Tuesday that "there is no discussion by Samaras and Venizelos, therefore there is no issue."

    Responding to SYRIZA, New Democracy political committee secretary Andreas Papamimikos said that "SYRIZA once more proves it's expressing the sterile reaction against any reform and any change."

    "SYRIZA expresses whatever is conservative, overcome, outdated and worn. We have another opinion and stance - we want the able, the qualified and the recognised to be everywhere...We want citizens to make their choices a reality," he added.

    [03] Troika rejects gov't plan to liquidate defense industries, Larco

    Greece is preparing an alternative plan over the future of its defense industry and Larco metallurgical company following a decision by the troika to reject the government's initial plan, insisting that the government should close down the three loss-making companies without compensating workers, Alternate Defense Minister Fofi Gennimata said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, Gennimata said she has contacted Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, vice-president Evangelos Venizelos and National Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, while the issue was discussed earlier in the day during a meeting between representatives from the Finance and Defense ministries and the prime minister's aides.

    Gennimata said she asked for an intervention at the highest possible level while the prime minister's office has undertaken the task of coordinating the government's next moves.

    The Greek government's proposal was to liquidate the three industries while remaining operational, separating factory units into military and civilian and offering voluntary retirement incentives to workers.

    The troika offered its assessment, rejecting the Greek plan through an e-mail sent to Finance ministry late on Monday.

    [04] Party reactions on defence industry liquidation issue

    Main opposition Radical Left Colition (SYRIZA) deputies and defence committee members Thodoris Dritsas, George Varemenos, Agni Kalogeri and Vassilis Hatzilambrou issued a joint statement regarding reports that the troika is demanding the immediate closure of the country's defence industry.

    "The Samaras-Venizelos government and all the previous ones bear the full, the absolute responsibility for the annihilation of the defence industry," the SYRIZA statement said. "Implementing the mandates of creditors and usurers, they participated, planned and implemented the present development, applying in full the commitment they voted for in the medium-term fiscal programme in 2011 on the sellout of the Hellenic Defence Systems (EAS) as a prior action for the continued lending to our country, extending it to the remaining groups of the defence industry as well."

    It added, "The Samaras-Venizelos government is dangerous for the people and the country. It is dangerous for the country's national defence. Hands off the Greek defence industry! Employees at the EAS, at Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELVO), the employees of all sectors that they have declared war on to close, once and for all, the door to this dangerous government."

    The Democratic Left party (DIMAR) said in an announcement that the restructuring of the defence enterprises EAS, ELVO, Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAV) and Larco must take place while they are operating and by shutting down. It added that "the troika, for as long as it is not being faced with strong negotiating, will put forward new illogical demands and across-the-board layoffs, the abolition of specialities and closure of enterprises of the wider public sector".

    "DIMAR proposes this path be stopped, since the defence industry constituting a crucial industry for the country must be taken into consideration," it added.

    Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos said about the issue that "the coalition government, with a mandate by the troika, while delivering public property and confiscating private property, has decided to abolish the ammunition of national defence. For shame".

    In another development, the European Commission, according to a spokesman to European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn, is waiting for the adoption of final decisions regarding the restructuring, including a considerable decrease, in light of the privatisation or the liquidation of ELVO, EAS and Larco.

    [05] KKE on the fate of the defence industries, Larco

    The opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has called on the people to unite and fight against plans to shut down the defence industries and Larco metallurgical company and fire their personnel. In a press release on Tuesday, KKE also noted that people should not be trapped in scenarios suggesting liquidation of the companies while still in operation.

    Such developments confirm the anti-popular nature of the economic growth path that is being followed in the EU, KKE underlined.

    The party's statement was made in response to Greece's international creditors' rejection of the government plan and their counterproposal that suggested the closing down of the three companies without compensating workers.

    [06] FinMin: No tax reduction in heating oil

    The tax on heating oil will not be reduced, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told daily Kathimerini on Tuesday, commenting, "It's no time for tax reductions".

    "We do not have a primary suprlus yet," Stournaras said, "We are on the right course, we have covered two-thirds of the fiscal adjustment, but we are a long way from our final goal. It would be a mistake to introduce such an issue now. This is the government's line as set by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and by the Finance Ministry," noted Stournaras.

    Moreover, Stournaras said that "the special consumer taxes on heating oil and diesel were brought to par in order to fight oil smuggling. If we reduce the special tax in heating oil we will open a window to the smugglers again." He also noted that the amount allocated from the budget to help subsidise heating oil for homes (each family fulfilling requirements had to apply in person) was not absorbed last year.

    [07] Dev't minister Hatzidakis urges banks to increase market liquidity

    Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis has urged the country's banks to honour their commitments and enhance liquidity in the market through the activation of funding tools included in programmes of the National Strategic Reference Framework ESPA (ETEAN, Jeremie, etc.).

    In statements he made following a meeting with representatives of the Association of Greek Banks (EET) on Tuesday, Hatzidakis noted that a new timetable will be set that will contain specific monthly targets, to be detailed by September 15, so that the four systemic banks would contract 2.0 billion euros from structural funds by the end of the year.

    According to EET president George Zanias, if the funds owed by the Greek state to enterprises was added, then a total of some 8.0 billion euros, or 5 pct of the country's GDP, will be made available in the market.

    [08] PM meets with Athens Concert Hall president

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday met with the president of Athens Concert Hall Yannis Manos.

    Samaras expressed his confidence in Manos' initiatives regarding the operation and development of the organisation.

    The premier recognised the Concert Hall's contribution in the cultural life of Greece as well as in the promotion of the music, the letters and the science.

    According to information the government's decision is to find a permanent solution to the Concert Hall's longstanding funding issues.

    [09] PASOK leader calls for 'historical self-awareness' and persistence of efforts

    PASOK is sending a message of "national and social responsibility", government Vice President, Foreign Minister and party leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday, in his opening remarks to the two-day symposium of the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME).

    At the symposium, held on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of PASOK's founding at the Ellinikos Kosmos Cultural centre, Venizelos explained, "PASOK never existed for and does not exist for itself; it exists for our homeland, for progressive forces, and for the name of the commitments it has undertaken through the years."

    The party also sent out a message of "historical self-awareness", of "keeping in touch with the difficult reality experienced by the people", of "political decisiveness", of "active participation" in efforts to change European balances now that Greece is assuming the presidency (in January 2014) and ahead of next year's Euroelections, and a message of "respect for the wider central-Left political area".

    "There never was and there is no plan B," Venizelos said of Greece's current fiscal programme, and "this is the way that leads safely to the exit from the crisis". He also warned that "this is a risky time, as the country is turning the corner towards the exit from the crisis; it is now we must help the real economy to hold, and it is now we must initiate measures to support social cohesion, and give future options and hope to the people."

    The party, he said, was being called upon to provide "answers without hemming and hawing" in terms of political and government stability, and to find what it is that it has in common with New Democracy (the ruling party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras) in the crisis and what separates the parties in terms of values.

    He also charged the opposition with having "become cozy under the sign of anti-memorandum rejection". Venizelos also accused main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) of having a "strategic dead end" and "a paucity of arguments", while he said that tomorrow he would speak about the future of PASOK, the democratic section of politics and the center-Left "however one defines it". (Venizelos will deliver his main speech tomorrow, Wednesday.)

    The Greek economy is a great economy with a wealth of natural resources and an outstanding geographic location, and it was necessary to "arm our national self-confidence".

    PASOK's leader stressed that the party "felt society's anxiety to leave the crisis definitely behind us" so that next year's 40th anniversary of PASOK's founding is celebrated under different circumstances.

    He also explained that the anniversary celebration would be held on Wednesday instead of Tuesday (today) after the end of the symposium, "Not because we want to change history, but because we want to signal our role in our homeland's future."

    [10] PASOK official on party's 39th anniversary

    PASOK party Communication secretary Dimitris Karydis, speaking in an interview with ANA-MPA on the occasion of the party's 39th anniversary, said that "PASOK has divorced itself from disaster talk, populism and easy promises to all and for everything".

    He added that "the time has now come to the country when we must proceed on a different course: to speak to the Greek people with sincerity and all of us together - each assuming his responsibility at his level - to be able to realize our country's rebirth/recovery and reconstruction".

    Commenting on the joint presence for the first time of three PASOK presidents at a two-day symposium held by the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME) on the recreation of the centre-left in Greece and PASOK's role, Karydis stressed that the meeting signaled the efforts the party and the democratic side is making to send a message of the greastest possible unity and rallying together.

    "The progressive sector between the conservative side and the Communist Left must be reconstructed and reborn. This is a very big wager for us," Karydis said.

    Referring to relations with the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party following its pullout from the government, Karydis said, "We have closed the door to no one. The forces that will be participating from now on in the rallying for the reorganising of social demcracy and the centre-left will be live citizen and social forces and in no way will they be a top-level agreement".

    [11] Deputy FM: Greece in constant touch with Greek community in Syria

    The Foreign Ministry wants Greeks who are in Egypt to feel safe and to know that Greece is by their side, noted Deputy Foreign Minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos on Tuesday speaking to ANA-MPA Web TV.

    The Ministry and he, said Gerontopoulos, are keeping an open line with the Greek diplomatic authorities, the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchates and the Greek communities, and "a watchful eye ready to offer help whenever and if needed".

    On Syria, he said, "It is a difficult period," the minister said, as "people are experiencing fear and despite of what will happen from now on in Syria they have experienced a humanitarian catastrophy. Many of them have been forced to leave the area and Greeks were among them. The Greek families that remain in Syria are mostly in mixed marriaged and our ministry is in contact with them. The Greek embassy in Damascus is not open but there are some consulates, the consuls are in Damascus and the telephone numbers of the Greek Foreign Ministry are on the embassy's site and they can contact us any moment."

    On the Antioch Patriarchate, Gerontopoulos said that his in open contact with Patriarch Ioannis who briefs the Foreign Ministry on the prevailing condition. "We are hoping and we do not stop our efforts" he said, referring to the abducted Metropolitans and he explains that his visit to Lebanon will be held under any condition.

    Speaking about Mt. Sinai's St. Catherine's Monastery, which lies in an extremely dangerous area, Gerontopoulos said he and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos had both been briefed by Archbishop Damianos and said the monks are "doing everything they can to be able to maintain this cradle of Greek culture out of danger."

    [12] Education minister pledges to make improvements to secondary education restructuring bill

    The initial debate and voting of a draft bill on the restructuring of secondary education was concluded on Tuesday evening in the Parliament's Cultural and Educational Affairs Committee, with the government and the leadership of the Education Ministry defending the new changes in the education sector.

    Opposition parties resisted the new arrangements, speaking of a patchwork and a class rationale.

    Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos pledged to make improvements to the bill by Tuesday when a vote will be taken in the parliament plenum. At the same time, Arvanitopoulos appeared positive to a proposal to include Informatics in the subjects to be put to examination.

    "We have noted your comments and memos by agencies, as this dialogue should be open-minded," the minister told the committee, adding that comments and memos will be accepted during the bill's 'second reading' and clear improvements will be made.

    [13] Education minister briefs President Papoulias

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias met on Tuesday with Education Minister Costas Arvanitopoulos at the presidential mansion.

    Arvanitopoulos expressed optimism that the new school year will start without problems and briefed Papoulias on issues of his responsibility.

    "Despite the adversities and the cutbacks, everything will be all right. The school books are already in the schools and the teachers will be in their classes," Arvanitopoulos told Papoulias, adding that in today's very difficult conditions, the educational community shows its support because the aim is common and what's at stake is very important.

    [14] UN envoy Nimetz in Athens and Skopje on Sept. 9-13

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)

    The UN Secretary General's personal envoy in the talks between Greece and FYROM on the latter's name issue, Ambassador Matthew Nimetz, will have meetings in Athens and Skopje, the UN announced on Tuesday.

    Nimetz will visit the region on September 9-13 and will have meetings with senior Greek and FYROM government officials in Athens and Skopje to continue the talks aimed at reaching "a mutually acceptable solution" to the name issue.

    [15] Additional judges on labour law cases to ensure timely court trials

    More judges will be assigned labour and employment law cases to ensure that the cases are tried within the legal deadlines, according to a document signed by Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou forwarded to parliament on Tuesday.

    The justice minister referred to cases concerning the annulment of employee layoffs, as well as requests for the issuance of temporary settlements in instances of court-issued provisional measures or temporary orders currently into effect.

    The written reply was issued in response to a question by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MPs Dimitris Tsoukalas, Dimitris Stratoulis, Alexis Mitropoulos and Nikos Voutsis as regards the deadline included in a recently passed law, according to which such cases had to be tried no later than November 1, 2013.

    [16] DM Avramopoulos meets with Republic of Korea Minister of Patriots and Veterans

    Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday met with visiting Republic of Korea Minister of Patriots and Veterans Park Sung Choon, and referred to the two countries' harmonious cooperation within the framework of international organizations and their strong bilateral relations in the areas of investment, shipping and finance.

    Avramopoulos spoke of the memories and the prospects of friendship and cooperation between Greece and Korea based on ties built during Greece's contribution to the side of the Korean people 60 years ago.

    Greek ship owners have built or are currently building more than 300 large-capacity vessels in Korea, Avramopoulos noted, adding that a process currently under way in the defense area would lead to the signing of a bilateral defense cooperation between the two countries.

    The Defense minister also conveyed a message of friendship and solidarity by the Greek people to the people of Korea, stressing that this message will also be conveyed to by the President of the Greek Republic Karolos Papoulias during his scheduled official visit in early December.

    The Korean Minister referred in particular to the development of ties in the fields of tourism and trade, while Avramopoulos presented him with the "Star of Merit and Honour."

    [17] DM Avramopoulos visits parachutists academy, Pachi military airport

    Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday attended a ceremony concerning the awarding of diplomas to cadets trained in using parachutes at the Parachutists Academy, Aspropirgos, Attica prefecture.

    Speaking during the event, Avramopoulos said "despite the tough times, the other Greece exists. The Greece of duty, honour, values, true love for the country. And this is the message that is being sent today from this modest but full of symbolisms event."

    The minister also said "above material values are the higher moral and patriotic values. It is yet another message that we are sending from this place today, not only to the armed forces but to all of Greece as well".

    Avramopoulos later visited the military airport at Pachi, Megara where he was briefed on the programme of the NH-90 helicopters.

    [18] Turkish aircraft intercepted

    A formation comprising two Turkish aircraft and a CN-235 aircraft entered the Athens FIR on Tuesday, violating the Athens FIR twice and the National Airspace once in the northern and central Aegean.

    All the aircraft were intercepted and identified in accordance with standard practice, an announcement by the National Defence General Staff said.

    Financial News

    [19] Greece raises 1.138 bln euros from T-bill auction

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a six-month Treasury bill issue, raising 1.138 billion euros from the market at a stable cost.

    The Public Debt Management Organization, in a statement, said that bids submitted totaled 1.65 billion euros, 1.89 times more than the asked sum, while the interest rate of the issue was set at 4.20 pct, unchanged from the previous auction of same T-bills.

    Settlement date was set for Friday, 6 September. The organization will also accept non-competitive bids up to 30 pct of the asked sum by Thursday, 5 September.

    [20] Socar delegation in Athens, DESFA sale nears completion

    Completion of the sale of Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA) is entering its final stage after Hellenic Petroleum's shareholders approved a bid by Socar.

    A general shareholders' meeting approved the sale of an equity stake owned by Hellenic Petroleum in DESFA accepting as satisfactory a bid submitted by Socar. The sale now only needs approval by European Union's competition authorities.

    A Socar delegation arrived in Athens on Tuesday, including Socar's representative in the European Commission. The delegation will be briefed over developments in DESFA and over a TAP pipeline project. It is the first visit by Socar's officials in Athens following approval of DESFA's sale to the Azeri company.

    [21] Greek banks' deposit interest rates down in July

    Greek banks' interest rates on new deposits fell in July, while the interest rates on new loans remained almost unchanged in the month, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.

    The central bank said in a report that in July 2013, the overall weighted average interest rate on new deposits decreased, while the corresponding interest rate on new loans remained almost unchanged. The interest rate spread between loan and deposit rates increased by 15 basis points to stand at 3.29 percentage points.

    In the case of deposits, the average interest rate on overnight deposits from households increased by 6 basis points and stood at 0.47 pct in July 2013, while the corresponding rate on deposits from non-financial corporations decreased by 3 basis points and stood at 0.46 pct. The average interest rate on deposits from households with an agreed maturity of up to one year decreased further by 41 basis points to stand at 3.48 pct. The overall weighted average interest rate on all new deposits decreased by 14 basis points to stand at 2.26 pct, in July 2013.

    In the case of loans, the average interest rate on consumer loans without a defined maturity (a category which includes credit card debt, open account loans and debit balances on current accounts) remained almost unchanged at 14.64 pct in July 2013. The average interest rate on consumer loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year increased by 87 basis points and stood at 7.50 pct.

    The average interest rate on corporate loans without a defined maturity remained almost unchanged at 7.42 pct. The corresponding rate on loans to sole proprietors decreased by 7 basis points and stood at 9.53 pct. The average interest rates on corporate loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year decreased by 13 basis points to 7.13 pct for loans up to 250,000 euros, decreased by 14 basis points to 6.08 pct for loans above 250,000 euros and up to EUR 1 million, and decreased by 29 basis points to 5.72 pct for loans above EUR 1 million.

    Finally, the average interest rate on housing loans at a floating rate or with an initial fixation period of up to one year increased by 5 basis points and stood at 2.85 pct. The overall weighted average interest rate on all new loans to households and corporations remained almost unchanged at 5.55 pct in July 2013.

    [22] OGA extends pension registration to September 27

    The Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) on Tuesday extended the deadline for elderly pensioners born in Greece to register with OGA in order to keep receiving their pensions, to September 27.

    An announcement by OGA's board says that the extension was considered necessary as their data shows a large number of pensioners have not responded to this obligation. According to sources, of a total of 29,589 elderly people being pensioned by OGA, 8,324 have not appeared to register.

    The Organisation's board stressed that those failing to appear by the deadline will have their pensions suspended as of November 1, 2013.

    [23] Free distribution of foodstuffs to over 800,000 beneficiaries by end of year

    The Rural Development ministry plans to complete its free distribution of foodstuffs to over 800,000 beneficiaries by the end of the year.

    The programme's total budget amounts to approximately 25 million euros and is jointly funded by the EU. The tendering process has already been completed and the number of contractors selected amounts to 16, out of the 25 that had participated.

    As Rural Development Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris had announced, in order to for the tendering process to proceed without obstacles and in transparency, the Ministry divided the country into three geographical zones for each product of free distribution to enable the participation of more persons interested, to increase competition and to distribute food to the greatest extent possible.

    It is noteworthy that the European programme of free distribution of foodstuffs is being implemented in Greece by the Rural Development ministry in cooperation with OPEKEPE, the Greek payment authority of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aid, and includes staples of the Greek diet such as pasta products, rice, olive oil and cheeses such as feta, kaseri, graviera and kefalograviera. More than 1,000 agencies are involved in its implementation, including hurch, town, associations and nonprofits.

    Tsaftaris said it is "a programme of special importance for the beneficiary lower-income groups, while at the same time it benefits Greek production and processing with a turnover valued at 25 million euros, and it also supports quality Greek products since the majority are Protected Destination of Origin products".

    [24] Majority of business transfers fail, report says

    Around 15,000-20,000 company transfers are made in Greece each year, which are failing in their majority, further weakening the country's productive sector through a loss of capital, know-how and clientele, Dr Odysseas Katsaitis, a professor in the American College said on Tuesday.

    Addressing an event organized by the Athens Chamber of Crafts, Katsaitis said that knowledge is not enough for the transfer of an enterprise within a family, but the interest and the skills of the next generation to safeguard its viability.

    Pavlos Ravanis, president of the Chamber, addressing the even said that Greek businessmen were facing a big challenge in their efforts to maintain their activities and to examining alternative solutions.

    During the event, the Chamber presented a new website aimed at facilitating its members business activities.

    [25] Duty Free Shops to open new sales units in Piraeus port

    Piraeus Port Organisation (OLP) on Tuesday signed an agreement with Duty Free Shops SA, offering commercial space in the port's international sea cruise terminals "Themistocles", "Miaoulis" and "Aghios Nikolaos".

    Under the terms of the agreement, the accession contracts will have an initial duration to the end of 2015, while Duty Free Shops will pay a monthly fee of 5.0 pct of its turnover at the port.

    [26] Greek stocks end 2.37 pct higher

    Greek stocks ended strongly higher on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index rising above the 920-point level for the first time after six sessions. The index rose 2.37 pct to end at 920.46 points, off the day's highs of 926.43 points. Turnover rose slightly to 42.5 million euros.

    The Large Cap index rose 2.11 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 2.38 pct higher. All blue chip stocks ended higher with Terna Energy (6.79 pct), Mytilineos (5.25 pct), OTE (4.80 pct) and Titan (4.08 pct) recording the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The Telecoms (4.80 pct), Raw Materials (4.41 pct), Constructions (3.74 pct), Financial Services (3.52 pct) and Banks (3.22 pct) were top gainers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 66 to 53 with another 18 issues unchanged. Spider (19.35 pct), Sidma (17.06 pct) and Sato (14.46 pct) were top gainers, while Parnassos (19.64 pct), Attica Holding (16.05 pct) and Vioter (12.07 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.62%

    Commercial: +3.05%

    Construction: +3.74%

    Oil & Gas: +0.80%

    Personal & Household: +1.00%

    Raw Materials: +4.41%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.88%

    Technology: +2.16%

    Telecoms: +4.80

    Banks: +3.26%

    Food & Beverages: +0.17%

    Health: +1.97%

    Utilities: +3.22%

    Financial Services: +3.52%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.52

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.43

    Coca Cola HBC: 21.24

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.01

    National Bank of Greece: 3.10

    Eurobank Properties : 6.41

    OPAP: 7.54

    OTE: 7.20

    Titan: 14.79

    [27] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased slightly to 8.41 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 8.45 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 10.34 pct and the German Bund 1.93 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were almost unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.55 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.45 pct, the six-month rate was 0.34 pct, the three-month rate was 0.225 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.129 pct.

    [28] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.81 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising slightly to 11.898 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,489 contracts worth 7.112 million euros, with 46,738 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,335 contracts worth 4.786 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (2,899), followed by National Bank (2,125), Piraeus Bank (1,791), Eurobank (208), MIG (318), OTE (1,601), PPC (1,267), OPAP (165), Hellenic Exchanges (936), Mytilineos (204), GEK (241), Ellaktor (169), Intralot (137) and Eurobank Properties (86).

    [29] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.337

    Pound sterling 0.860

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish krone 8.833

    Japanese yen 132.94

    Swiss franc 1.251

    Norwegian kroner 8.121

    Canadian dollar 1.407

    Australian dollar 1.480

    General News

    [30] 'Conspiracy of Cells of Fire' assumes responsibility for boobytrapped envelope

    The Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire terrorist group assumed responsibility for the sending of a boobytrapped envelope that burst into flames on Sunday evening at the home of a special investigator dealing with cases of terrorism.

    In a proclamation posted on a self-styled antiestablishment website, the group terms the attack "a first, minimum and reflexive reply" to the arrests of the two persons in Thessaloniki who were accused of sending a boobytrapped envelope to the former director of the counter-terrorism squad.

    Its action it said was part of efforts to revive urban guerrilla war in collaboration with the self-styled "Informal Anarchist Federation FAI".

    [31] Vouliagmeni businessman shot after break- in at his home

    A 62-year-old businessman, a repatriated Greek from the former USSR, is hospitalized in serious condition after being shot in the head and leg by an unidentified assailant who broke into his house in Athens' seaside suburb of Vouliagmeni in the early morning hours on Tuesday.

    Police said that the culprit shattered the glass front door after firing at it and entered the house, where the man, his wife and two children were sleeping on the first-floor bedrooms. The man was shot when he went downstairs after being awakened by the noise of the gunshot and the breaking glass. The culprit immediately fled the scene.

    Police see personal differences as the most likely motive for the attempted murder and are focusing the investigation on the victim's business environment.

    [32] Athens press union elects its first female president

    For the first time in its history, the Athens' Journalists Union (ESIEA) is headed by a woman. In a meeting on Tuesday, the ESIEA board elected Maria Antoniadou as its president in a secret vote cast by the six board members present.

    Marilena Katsimi was elected general secretary. The rest of the ESIEA board members will be elected in the next board meeting.

    [33] Cadmium levels in Nestos River 50 times over safe levels

    A fishing ban was ordered by authorities in northeast Greece, who were alarmed after two samples tested in Nestos River revealed that concentrations of the cancer-causing metal cadmium were 50 times higher than acceptable safe levels, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The decision concerns the Greek part of Nestos River in the prefectures of Drama, Xanthi and Kavala, while an unrelated fishing ban is also in effect in its tributaries until October 31 for reasons of protecting aquatic ecosystems.

    Two sample testings were taken in two areas near the borders with Bulgaria and were of the river's surface waters. According to authorities, the pollutant did not originate in Greece, as there is no industrial, mining or cattle raising activity in the region.

    The issue of pollutants being discharged into Nestos River in Bulgaria has reached the Greek Parliament through a question by Drama MP Dimitris Kyriazidis who asked for clarifications by the Environment Ministry as to whether scientific studies have been made on the Nestos River pollution and whether there is a joint action plan with Bulgaria in the context of bilateral cooperation.

    Alternate minister Stavros Kalafatis had replied that the Bulgarian side has not responded yet to a Greek request for information as regards polluting activities it its side of the border.

    [34] Financial Crime Squad suspends operation of four enterprises for 48 hrs

    The Financial Crime Squad (SDOE) imposed a 48-hour suspension of operation of four enterprises for tax evasion. The businesses were headquartered in the cities of Kalamata, Volos, Trikala and Komotini.

    According to a relevant announcement, apart from the operational suspension measure, the procedure includes the imposition of an administrative fine, the submission of tax payments and the initiation of court proceedings.

    Moreover, the first-instance procedure was carried out in two cases and those responsible were arrested and brought before a prosecutor.

    Weather forecast

    [35] Fair on Wednesday

    Generally fair, but slightly overcast locally from midday on at higher elevations except for the Aegean. Northerly winds from 3 to 6 Beaufort, rising to 8 locally in the northeast Aegean and the Dodecanese Islands. Temperatures from 15C to 33C. In Athens, fair with temporary cloudiness from midday on. North-northeasterly winds 4 to 6 Beaufort, dropping from midday on. Temperatures from 20C to 31C. In Thessaloniki, the same, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 29C.

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

    AVGHI: September 3 (PASOK party's 39th anniversary)... Samaras (Antonis, prime minister and New Democracy leader)!

    DIMOKRATIA: New cutbacks in supplementary pensions and lump sum.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Days of... the '60s- GSEE's (Major labour union umbrella) revealing report.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: All official figures point at a gloomy tomorrow for the people.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: 2,475 seasonal hirings in public sector via express procedures.

    ETHNOS: Changes in supplementary pensions and lump sum.

    IMERISSIA: Cheaper loans.

    KATHIMERINI: Pressure for 'relax' to government.

    LOGOS: Summer sales nosedive.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Extreme austerity a threat for the new State Budget.

    RIZOSPASTIS: The 'anti-educational' draft law must remain only on paper.

    TA NEA: How to be included in the regulation for the illegal buildings.

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