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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-09-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 Issue No: 4457


  • [01] Greek primary budget surplus totalled 2.922 bln euros in Jan-Aug
  • [02] Finance ministry comments on primary surplus figures
  • [03] Primary surplus the product of creative accounting, SYRIZA MP Tsakalotos said
  • [04] Venizelos: Schools must remain open
  • [05] Deputy Education Minister on the teachers' mobilizations; new lyceum draft bill
  • [06] KKE party supports teachers' strike action
  • [07] Tsipras says SYRIZA disagrees absolutely with LARKO shrinking, privatisation
  • [08] SYRIZA party supports Russian proposal for international control of Syria's chemical weapons
  • [09] KKE leader meets Archbishop Ieronymos
  • [10] DIMAR's Kouvelis to visit Thessaloniki Wednesday, Thursday
  • [11] Independent Greeks leader: No cooperation with parties of the memorandum
  • [12] Finance Minister releases cost of pensions to former deputies, MEPs
  • [13] FinMin shoring up tax collection services with additional staff
  • [14] DM Avramopoulos to visit SEEBRIG headquarters on Wednesday
  • [15] Health ministry announces initiative to distribute free medicine to poor, uninsured
  • [16] Insurance funds staff to go on rolling strikes Sept. 16
  • [17] Greek-Israeli cooperation highlighted at environment ministry water management workshop
  • [18] Transport Minister Chryssohoidis meets with European Commissioners Hahn, Almunia
  • [19] Public Order Minister Dendias launches two-day official visit to Belgrade
  • [20] Deputy FM Kourkoulas meets Missing Children Europe delegation
  • [21] Security exercise for handling terrorist threat held at Corfu port
  • [22] North Rhine-Westphalia minister visits Nazi atrocity monument in Peloponnese
  • [23] Greek employment prospects index up slightly in Q4, survey
  • [24] Azeri envoy on TAP pipeline
  • [25] Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corporation to construct logistics center in Piraeus
  • [26] Greek central government cash deficit 9.041 bln euros in Jan-Aug, BoG report
  • [27] Wholesale turnover down 9.4 pct in Q2
  • [28] Foreign investors's share in ASE capitalization down in August
  • [29] Building activity down 37.3 pct in H1
  • [30] Tendering for regional airports proceeding to second phase with seven investment formations
  • [31] Draft bill liberalising inter-city bus transport tabled in Parliament
  • [32] Turnover in car/motorcycle market down 1.2 pct in Q2
  • [33] Investigation launched into Emma Delta charges concerning OPAP, state lottery
  • [34] Dias Aquaculture seeks protection from its creditors
  • [35] Piraeus Bank completes voluntary retirement programme
  • [36] Greek stocks extend rally for sixth day
  • [37] Greek bond market closing report
  • [38] ADEX closing report
  • [39] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [40] International conference on Saints Cyril and Methodius in Thessaloniki
  • [41] Cloudy on Wednesday
  • [42] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greek primary budget surplus totalled 2.922 bln euros in Jan-Aug

    Greece on Tuesday reported a primary budget surplus of 2.922 billion euros in the January-August period, surpassing a budget target for a surplus of 2.496 billion euros and after a primary deficit of 1.414 billion euros in the corresponding period last year.

    The state budget recorded a deficit of 2.441 billion euros in the eight-month period, sharply down compared with a budget target for a deficit of 7.833 billion euros and a budget deficit of 12.484 billion euros in the same period in 2012.".

    The finance ministry, in a report on the provisional budget figures (on a cash basis) for the January-August period, said that net budget revenue totalled 34.943 billion euros, up 5.9 pct from a budget target of 32.987 billion euros. Regular budget net revenue was 30.964 billion euros, or 3.9 pct higher from a budget target of 29.807 billion.

    Revenues from indirect taxes surpassed targets by 26.5 pct in August, overshadowing a shortfall in revenues from direct taxes in the same month. The ministry attributed the shortfall in tax revenues exclusively to income tax and other taxes from previous year due to a delay in submitting income tax statements and delay in collecting property taxes.

    State budget revenues totalled 37.384 billion euros, down from a budget target of 40.820 billion euros. Regular budget spending was 34.840 billion euros, down 18.9 pct compared with the same period last year, reflecting a 9.1 pct decline in primary spending and a 51.6 pct drop in capital spending.

    [02] Finance ministry comments on primary surplus figures

    Greek Finance ministry officials on Tuesday said that a difference in state budget figures released by the Bank of Greece and the General Accounting Office reflected the fact that the central bank, in its calculations included spending worth 4.632 bllion euros earmarked for repayment of the state's overdue debt to the private sector.

    The officials noted that this figure was earmarked for general government agencies and should not be calculated in the process of data made by the Bank of Greece.

    Christos Staikouras, Alternate Finance Minister, commenting on the figures said that if an economic recession was smaller then Greece would have the largest primary surplus in the Eurozone. He acknowledged that a shortfall of around 713 million euros in tax revenues could be covered in the coming months with the payment of income taxes and property taxes.

    [03] Primary surplus the product of creative accounting, SYRIZA MP Tsakalotos said

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MP Efklidis Tsakalotos described as an "optical illusion" the figures given by the finance ministry on Tuesday showing a 2.9-billion-euro primary surplus in the state budget.

    According to Tsakalotos, the primary surplus figure was the product of "creative accounting". He underlined that the ministry of finance has managed to gain 683 million euros by not paying tax rebates to citizens and businesses and 800 million euros from the Public Investments Programme (ESPA).

    At the same time, public investments are 1.3 billion euros short of the goal set, while the finance ministry has gained 2.1 billion euros from the manipulation of the Public Investments Programme alone, Tsakalotos said, adding that 2 billion euros came from primary expenditures bringing the operation of the state to its limits.

    According to Tsakalotos, the finance ministry included the sum of 1.5 billion euros in the budget from the return of revenues of Central Banks, despite a clause to the contrary included in the memorandum.

    [04] Venizelos: Schools must remain open

    Government Vice President expressed on Tuesday the wish that essential responsibility will prevail and schools will remain open, speaking to private radio Alpha 9.89.

    "I will meet with the Schoolteachers Federation, the schools should remain open and the children must do their lessons," he said referring to the schoolteachers mobilisations announced late Monday.

    At a query on the developments in Syria, Venizelos said that "a drama is in progress. The picture is complicated. The refugees are a huge problem but we have taken precautionary measures. Referring to Moscow's intiative on the chemical weapons he noted "the Russians have more flexibility and are quicker".

    Regarding the Greek defence industries, Venizelos said that "they belong to the Greek state and that the troika has set the issue of a radical restructuring of EAS (Hellenic Defence Systems), ELVO (Hellenic Vehicle Industry) and Larco (Hellenic Metallurgical and Mining Company)," adding that the government is preparing an answer to the troika's proposals.

    Venizelos, who is also PASOK leader, reiterated that his party is "a victim of the crisis", adding that "we do not flirt with those who practising petty politics on the Greek people's backs."

    [05] Deputy Education Minister on the teachers' mobilizations; new lyceum draft bill

    The strike action decided for next week by the secondary education school teachers in protest to the public sector employee "mobility scheme" affecting them, was strongly condemned by Deputy Education Minister Simeon Kedikoglou on Tuesday, noting, at the same time, that the government is not considering issuing a back-to-work order.

    In an interview with ANA-MPA, he said that the government will do everything it can to ensure that there will be no obstacles to the smooth operation of the country's schools, noting that "the federation of secondary education school teachers OLME should say what it intends to do to keep the schools...closed."

    "Everyone is judged by society based on their actions," he said, adding that "when students in Europe move toward the future with great speed it is anachronistic, putting it mildly, to keep our schools closed."

    Referring to the draft bill on the new lyceum (senior high school), the deputy education minister said that it does not obliterate past reforms but, on the contrary, upgrades and modernizes the education provided. He attributed reactions to the draft bill to "political party expediences and petty trade unionist interests that always put a brake on the adoption of changes or block the modernization of public life".

    Kedikoglou said that there is a political undertone to the teachers' strike action. "Certain forces, (main opposition Radical Left Coalition) SYRIZA, in particular, invests in tension and polarization because it is in a strategic impasse. They use outdated terms but the Greek society has gotten tired of all these and has turned its back," the deputy education minister underlined.

    [06] KKE party supports teachers' strike action

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas, who attended the rally of the KKE-affiliated labour group PAME in Omonia Square in Athens against the government's bill on education, said that KKE supports with all its strengh the strike action decided by teachers in their general assemblies.

    "We shall play a leading role to give to the movement a struggling orientation, against all anti-education laws, for the mass participation of the sector's employees in the movement's procedures and for the consolidation of the joint parents-pupils and teachers action," Koutsoumbas stressed that.

    [07] Tsipras says SYRIZA disagrees absolutely with LARKO shrinking, privatisation

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras expressed the party's absolute disagreement with LARKO's shrinking and privatisation during his meeting with the firm's unions on Tuesday.

    Tsipras said SYRIZA is "radically opposed to the shrinking and privatisation of LARKO that the Samaras-Venizelos government is promoting jointly with the troika, because first of all considerable national wealth is being sold out since the business is the only one in the EU that produces excellent quality nickel, exploiting its own local deposits having a total value of about 25 billion euros, meaning a large part of strategic importance of our country's mineral wealth."

    At the same time, he added, LARKO's shrinking and privatisation will create great economic and social harm for the local societies of six prefectures in the country, endangering about 6,000 jobs in such a difficult period for the Greek people.

    SYRIZA supports the struggle of LARKO's employees "to prevent the great national, economic and social crime of its shrinking and privatisation and believes that the most effective way is their coordination with the struggles of other employees for the overthrow of the government, the troika and their memorandums," the SYRIZA leader said.

    [08] SYRIZA party supports Russian proposal for international control of Syria's chemical weapons

    The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), in an announcement on Tuesday, expressed support for the Russian proposal for Syria's chemical arsenal to be placed under international control and "more time to be provided for absolute substantiation by the UN experts committee in order to prove in the most objective way who perpetrated the hideous crime against unarmed people in Damascus."

    SYRIZA added that latest developments, with this proposal being the focus, open a window of hope for the prevention of the war. It also stresses "the absolute absence of the Greek government from whatever actions aiming at de-escalation.

    On the contrary, SYRIZA further said, the government found itself with the few willing declaring that it was ready to fulfill "its conventional commitments".

    SYRIZA is categorically opposed to every action violating the UN's Charter, while at the same time it supports every initiative to prevent the war, that will be based on the principles of International Law, the announcement concluded.

    [09] KKE leader meets Archbishop Ieronymos

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Tuesday met with Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.

    Koutsoumbas said that he had wanted to meet with Ieronymos earlier, but the circumstances and the time pressure from both sides did not allow such a meeting, and he thanked the archbishop for his wishes after Koutsoumbas' appointment at the helm of KKE.

    "It was a first meeting with the Archbishop, with whom we exchanged opinions on the developments and the situation in Greece, the crisis our compatriots are experiencing, the poverty and the unemployment as well as the huge problems that the workers and the young are facing," said Koutsoumbas.

    Moreover, Koutsoumbas briefed Ieronymos on KKE's concern over the developments in the wider region of the East Mediterrenean, in Syria and the danger of a military conflict, and reiterated the need for people to be alert over the developments.

    "Of course the Church and the parties' roles are clear," the KKE leader said and reaserted that KKE will continue to struggle for the best interests of the Greek people in order better days to dawn within another society".

    On his part, the Archbishop said that Koutsoumbas's visit to the Archiodecese was an unprecedent event and it was a very happy day, adding that they discussed general issues and it was repeatedly underlined that the parties, and KKE's role is totally different. "We should not forget that KKE is a party with its own ideology, something that does not happen with the church".

    [10] DIMAR's Kouvelis to visit Thessaloniki Wednesday, Thursday

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis will pay an official visit to Thessaloniki on Wednesday and Thursday.

    His schedule on Wednesday includes successive meetings with young farmers (6:00 pm), employees of former state broadcaster ERT (7:15 pm), and with mayor Yiannis Boutaris (8:00 pm) at the town hall, to be followed by an address to members and supporters of DIMAR on the same premises.

    On Thursday, Kouvelis will be meeting successively with the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) board of directors (11:00 am), then give a press conference at the premises (N. Germanos Bldg, Hall C) at 12:00 noon. Before returning to Athens, he will also meet with University of Thessaloniki rector Yiannis Mylopoulos, at 6:00 pm.

    [11] Independent Greeks leader: No cooperation with parties of the memorandum

    "The is no chance of cooperation after the next general elections with parties that support the memorandum," Independent Greek leader Panos Kammenos said on Tuesday at a press conference on the premises of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    At a press question of what he would do if he had to choose between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, Kammenos did not reply directly but said instead that "the New Democracy and PASOK formations will not exist after the general elections".

    He charged Samaras and government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos with lying during their TIF speeches and that Tsipras changed his position and now speaks of a renegotiation of the memorandum instead of the denunciation of the memorandum.

    The party leader proposed that VAT be reduced to zero for basic household needs, property turned over to children be taxed by 1 percent, and that tax be reduced to under 8 percent to increase competitiveness with neighbouring countries, among other things.

    [12] Finance Minister releases cost of pensions to former deputies, MEPs

    Monthly pensions to deputies, Eurodeputies and their next-of-kin - 750 beneficiaries - amount to 1,492,704.99 euros, according to the Finance Ministry, which submitted the figures to Parliament on Tuesday.

    Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras sent the figures in reply to a question by Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) deputy Ilias Panagiotaros, who based his query on press reports about former MEP Christos Papoutsis, recently appointed Greece's representative to the World Bank.

    The minister responded to detailed questions by a general overview of pensions in writing, without reference to Papoutsis. The data he used is based on August 2013 records.

    The deputies and MEPs taking pension directly total 475, the ministry said, and the cost to the state is 1,037,148.79 euros per month. Widows and widowers of deputies number 233 and get paid a total of 386,706.75 euros per month, while children entitled to their deceased parent's pension number 42, with funds paid out to them totalling 68,849.45 monthly. The total number of beneficiaries is 750, and they get paid a total of nearly 1.5 million euros per month, the ministry said.

    The ministry said deputies'/MEPs' pensions were reduced since 2010, based on reductions in the civil sector; recently, Parliament approved the elimination of double pensions for former members of Parliament.

    Following similar questions on salaries and pensions that have been raised again in the past, the union of former deputies and MEPs had said that a full pension for someone serving over 17 years in Parliament amounted to 1,950 euros per month and that all reductions, instituted from the start of the crisis to this year, amount to 50.4 percent of the original amount.

    [13] FinMin shoring up tax collection services with additional staff

    The Finance Ministry denied press reports on Tuesday that it had laid off tax service staff, and provided data to prove it had gone forward with hirings through ASEP, the state hiring agency.

    In an announcement, the ministry said it had hired 200 tax personnel in the last month and was preparing a new batch of hirings, of 300 individuals, by the end of the year, with another 1,000 to be hired within 2014. It also said that 2,500 of the existing tax service employees had been certified as inspectors.

    A significant number of Finance Ministry staff in other services would be tranferred to tax offices to fulfill administrative and customer service positions, it added.

    The ministry also said that the Body of Sworn-in Valuers (SOE), whose responsibility is to provide official evaluations of assets, would be abolished and their duties carried out by certified valuers on a ministry registry, which will be uploaded on the ministry's site, Public services, legal entities and individuals may choose a valuer listed and come to an independent agreement on a price for services to be rendered without percentages or minimum rates set by the state.

    [14] DM Avramopoulos to visit SEEBRIG headquarters on Wednesday

    National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will visit the headquarters of SEEBRIG (South Eastern European Brigade) in Tyrnavos, central Greece, on Wednesday, where he will attend the change in Presidency of the PMSC (Politico-Military Steering Committee) of the SEDM-CC (South Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial Coordination Committee) as well as the change of SEEBRIG's administration.

    The Deputy Defence Policy and Planning Minister of Romania, Sebastian Huluban, assumes the duties of PMSC President from Italy's Deputy Defence Minister, Gioacchino Alfano.

    Turkish Brigadier Hakan Eser assumes the duties of SEEBRIG's new Commander from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) Brigadier Zdravko Popovski.

    Avramopoulos will also visit the headquarters of the 1st Army and of the Tactical Air Force Headquarters (ATA).

    [15] Health ministry announces initiative to distribute free medicine to poor, uninsured

    The health ministry on Tuesday announced an initiative arising through the collaboration of the Athens Medical Association, the Association of Pharmaceutical Enterprises in Greece, the Archepiscopate of Athens and the ministry to create a "pharmaceuticals bank" for the poor and those lacking health insurance.

    Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said the ministry had received 34,000 applications for the ministry's health aid programme, of which 10,500 have been approved until now. Among others, the programme aims to collect and distribute free medication that is a few months before its expiry date. The head of the pharmaceutical enterprises association estimated that roughly 900,000 such units of medication will be collected each year, to be distributed after inspection by the National Organisation for Medicines (EOF).

    The minister was closely questioned about generic drugs in view of an upcoming bill on pharmaceuticals and revealed that there will be a further price reductions in order to generate incentives for the use of generic medication, until it accounts for 60 pct of medicines used.

    He stressed that generic drugs were checked by EOF before release and only 4 percent were deemed unsafe, the same percentage as for brand name drugs. He also revealed that the troika had criticised the low (25 percent) contribution paid by patients toward the cost of drugs.

    [16] Insurance funds staff to go on rolling strikes Sept. 16

    Employees of insurance funds and the Manpower Organisation (OAED) will start five-day rolling strikes as of Monday, September 16 to protest staff layoffs and prevailing conditions at the funds, they said Tuesday.

    At a press conference at the Labour Ministry, the federation of employees said that 618 staff had been placed on the mobility scheme - a government plan that includes both transfers and gradual layoffs in the civil sector - and that from 2008 to the present their staff had been reduced by 40 percent.

    They also charged the government with showing total lack of interest in the funds and said that the average pension they issued to beneficiaries was below that set by the Labour Ministry, while it also took 14 to 15 months to actually go into effect. They also expressed fears that main pensions will be reduced by a further 10 percent, auxiliary pensions by 30 percent while the lump sum will be abolished.

    They also claimed that the real number of unemployed has climbed over 1.5 million people, and that with the current laws in effect thousands of seasonal employees will not get unemployment benefits this year.

    The strikes are supported by most major pension funds including the Social Security Foundation (IKA) and the staff at OAEE, the self-employed and professionals fund.

    [17] Greek-Israeli cooperation highlighted at environment ministry water management workshop

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis on Tuesday noted the excellent level of cooperation between Greece and Israel in areas such as managing water resources, energy and related technologies. Maniatis was speaking during the 2nd scientific workshop on water resource management held at the environment ministry.

    "We are making rapid steps in implementing cooperation that allows us to join human, scientific and business forces in order to overcome the problems existing in the broader area," the minister said, especially emphasising the importance of sound water management as a factor for sustainability, environmental balance, peace and prosperity.

    The workshop was also attended by Israel's Ambassador to Athens Aryeh Mekel, who noted that Greek-Israeli relations were historically at their best-ever level, with an unprecedented level of cooperation in a large number of areas.

    He pointed to an upcoming visit to Israel by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on October 8, at the head of a large Greek government and business delegation, as an indication of the close cooperation between the two sides. During the trip, Samaras will meet his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in order to sign a series of bilateral agreements.

    He also referred to advanced desalination methods employed by Israel and confirmed Israeli interest in the upcoming privatisation of the Thessaloniki water company.

    Alternate Environment Minister Stavros Kalafatis said that cooperation between Greece and Israel was being strengthened in all key areas and he referred to the need to bridge the gap between available water resources and total demand.

    The workshop focused on techniques for optimising water usage and producing fresh water via desalination methods in areas short of water. The keynote speaker was Dr. Ofer Dahan of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, who emphasised the importance of sound water use for economic growth.

    Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in energy, environmental protection and water management on August 8.

    [18] Transport Minister Chryssohoidis meets with European Commissioners Hahn, Almunia

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)

    Transport & Networks Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis met here on Tuesday with European Commissioners for Regional Policy and Competition, Johannes Hahn and Joaquin Almunia, focusing on the relaunch of major motorway construction projects in Greece.

    The European Commissioners noted that the completion of the projects is important for economic growth, new jobs and road safety, sources said, also underlining that intense efforts are being made by the Greek authorities to finalize the relevant agreement.

    [19] Public Order Minister Dendias launches two-day official visit to Belgrade

    Public Order & Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias arrived in Belgrade on Tuesday for a two-day official visit.

    Dendias will meet on Wednesday morning with Serb Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic to sign the EU-Serbia Readmission Agreement Implementation Protocol, pursuant to article 19 of the agreement which allows EU member-states to sign bilateral readmission implementation protocols.

    Early on Wednesday afternoon, Dendias will meet with First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

    In the meetings with Serb officials, Dendias will raise issues of bilateral interest as regards illegal migration, organized crime and police cooperation.

    [20] Deputy FM Kourkoulas meets Missing Children Europe delegation

    Efforts to raise awareness concerning missing and sexually abused children will continue during the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2014, Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas told ANA-MPA on Tuesday, and cooperation between pertinent EU and regional authorities will become closer.

    Earlier, Kourkoulas had a meeting with a three-member delegation of the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children (Missing Children Europe) and "The Smile of the Child" organization, the federation's representative in Greece.

    The purpose of the meeting was to brief the deputy foreign minister on the federation's mission and work, namely, raising public awareness as regards the issue of missing children, and also to examine synergies with foreign ministry actions in the context of the Greek EU Presidency.

    Kourkoulas underlined that "the economic crisis should not be used as an alibi to introduce social policy cutbacks," noting that "with good organization, willingness and the assistance of private sector and the EU, we can continue to work and intensify our efforts".

    The Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children represents 28 NGOs active in 19 member states.

    [21] Security exercise for handling terrorist threat held at Corfu port

    A security exercise on handling a terrorist threat during the docking of a cruise ship was carried out at the port of Corfu last Saturday, at the Port Organisation's initiative.

    The cruise ship Costa Magica of the Costa Crociere S.p.A. company, the Corfu Port Organisation's staff, employees of the Passenger Station's services and stores, the MONDIALPOL security service company, the Central Harbour Corps, the Fire Brigade, the police, the Civil Protection and others participated in the exercise.

    Apart from conventional means, two unmanned helicopters of the Greek Rescue Group were used during the exercise and the activation of the Emergency Handling Plan, with cameras sending pictures in real time from the location of the event to the Control Centre.

    The unmanned helicopters are always at the disposal of the Corfu Port Organisation for whenever needed.

    [22] North Rhine-Westphalia minister visits Nazi atrocity monument in Peloponnese

    North Rhine-Westphalia Minister for European Affairs Dr. Angelic Schwall-D?ren on Tuesday paid a visit to a shrine set up for 212 Greeks executed by Nazi occupation forces during World War II in Stavros-Vigles in Megalopolis, Peloponnese. The German minister, who is on an official visit to Tripolis and the Peloponnese region, expressed "deep shame" and apologised for the atrocities committed by German troops during the Nazi occupation. She was accompanied by Peloponnese Regional Chief Petros Tatoulis and Megalopolis Mayor Panagiotis Bouras.

    She emphasised the need to promote bilateral cooperation on an economic and social level as a means of highlighting humanity and human relations.

    The visit to Megalopolis was followed by a working meeting at the regional authority's headquarters in Tripolis, with the participation of local authority leaders, which focused on expanding cooperation between North Rhine-Westphalia and the Peloponnese so as to boost exports of local products, increase tourism and carry out energy investments.

    Schwall-D?ren will wrap up her meetings in the Peloponnese by visiting Nafplio for a working dinner.

    Financial News

    [23] Greek employment prospects index up slightly in Q4, survey

    Confidence among Greek employers rose steadily, although fractionally, for one more quarter, a survey by Manpower showed on Tuesday.

    A quarterly survey on employment prospects in the country, covering the period October-December 2013, showed that although the employment prospects index remained negative for 15 consecutive quarters, hiring plans for the next quarter are the most favourable since the second quarter of 2010.

    Employment prospects are positive in three out of a total nine sectors of economic activity in the Greek economy. At the same time, employers' forecasts seem to be improved in four sectors compared with the previous quarter and in eight compared with the same quarter of 2012.

    A 12 pct of employers expect an increase in its workforce, a 16 pct expect a decline and a 69 pct expect no change at all. The index of Total Employment Prospects is -1.0 pct, up by two percentage points compared with the previous quarter and by 12 percentage points compared with the same period last year.

    The lowest employment prospects are recorded in the tourism sector (seasonal trend), manufacturing and electricity/natural gas/water sectors. On the other hand, employment prospects are favourable in the financial services sector, insurance, real estate and services to enterprises.

    Employers in the wider Attica region are reporting the strongest forecast for employment since the first quarter of 2010, while on the other hand, employers in Northern Greece expected employment conditions to deteriorate in the October-December period.

    [24] Azeri envoy on TAP pipeline

    The construction and operation of the Transadriatic Pipeline (TAP) is not expected to bring only gas to Greece but Azeri capital as well, in various sectors apart from that of energy, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan in Athens Rahman Mustafayev said in Thessaloniki on Tuesday.

    Greece's involvement in the project has made the firms of Azerbaijan have a different view of it and the TAP is expected to operate like "yeast" for the attraction of investments in sectors related indirectly to energy, such as construction, the transportation of raw materials and pipes, social infrastructures, hotels and services in general, he said.

    At the level of privatisations, however, Azeri interest in firms under privatisation in Greece does not appear likely to proceed, for the time being, apart from the buyout of DESFA by Socar, he added.

    The Azeri ambassador was speaking on the occasion of the inaugural assembly of the Friendship and Cooperation Federation between the two countries.

    [25] Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corporation to construct logistics center in Piraeus

    The construction of a logistics center in Piraeus, the country's largest commercial seaport, will get underway by the Chinese ZTE Corporation telecommunications company in the last quarter of the year, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The decision was made public following a meeting between Development & Competitiveness Minister Costis Hatzidakis and ZTE Corporation Vice-President for Central & Eastern Europe Chang Xiao Wei which was held in the context of a bilateral memorandum of cooperation signed during Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' recent visit to China.

    It was preparatory in nature ahead of a visit by ZTE Corporation President and Executive Director Lirong Shi to Greece on October 10 and his scheduled meeting with the prime minister.

    The Chinese company, the fourth largest telecommunications company worldwide, plans to make more investments in Greece, including the establishment of a Research and Development Center and the opening of a production line that will cover the European market's needs.

    More details on the planned investments will be announced after the prime minister's meeting with the ZTE Corporation head in October.

    [26] Greek central government cash deficit 9.041 bln euros in Jan-Aug, BoG report

    Greece's central government cash balance showed a deficit of 9.041 billion euros in the January-August period this year, compared to a deficit of 6.371 billion euros in the same period in 2012, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.

    The central bank in a report, said that during this period, ordinary budget revenue amounted to 28.767 billion euros, compared to 30.593 billion euros in the corresponding period of last year.

    Ordinary budget expenditure amounted to 38.824 billion euros compared to 36.810 billion euros in January-August 2012.

    [27] Wholesale turnover down 9.4 pct in Q2

    The wholesale turnover index fell 9.4 pct in the second quarter of the year, compared with the same period in 2012, after a decline of 15.3 pct recorded in the April-June period in 2012, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.

    The index was up 11.1 pct in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter of the year. The wholesale figures are based on figures offered by 21,221 enterprises in the wholesale sector with an annual turnover equal/more than 300,000 euros (2005 data).

    The statistics service selected the surveyed a sample of 463 enterprises around the country.

    [28] Foreign investors's share in ASE capitalization down in August

    Foreign investors lowered their participation in the capitalization of the Athens Stock Exchange in August to 27.7 pct, from 28.5 pct in July, while Greek investors' share was 34.2 pct, official figures showed on Tuesday.

    However, following the successful completion of share capital increase schemes by Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank and Piraeus Bank - where the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund has a significant share of 17.69 billion euros or 36.9 pct - foreign investors' participation (excluding the Fund) in the Greek capital market rose to 43.9 pct in August, from 43.1 pct in July, an increase of 1.86 pct.

    Foreign investors were net buyers in the month, with capital inflows of 127.98 million euros, while Greek investors were net sellers with capital outflows of 115.09 million euros.

    Foreign investors accounted for 47.2 pct of all transactions in the market in August, slightly down from 47.5 pct in July, while Greek investors accounted for 31.7 pct of transactions (from 31 pct in July).

    The value of transactions totalled 946.65 million euros in August, down 0.5 pct from July, but sharply up (96.1 pct) compared with August 2012. Average daily value of transactions was 45.08 million euros, up from 41.37 million in July and from 21.94 million euros in August 2012.

    The number of active investor codes was 24,951 in August, from 27,045 in July and 20,025 in August last year. The market's capitalization totalled 47.89 billion euros at the end of August, up 4.1 pct from July and 89.6 pct from August 2012.

    [29] Building activity down 37.3 pct in H1

    Private building activity continued shrinking after falling by 15.2 pct in June this year, while the coming months are expected to be more difficult for the approximately 35 professional sectors participating in the so-called "steam engine of the economy", as building permits issued in June fell by 31.7 pct.

    Private building activity (volume) was down 37.3 pct in the first half of the year.

    Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), in a report released on Tuesday, said that building activity was down by 40 pct in the first half (permits) and by 37.3 pct in volume compared with the corresponding period in 2012.

    [30] Tendering for regional airports proceeding to second phase with seven investment formations

    The Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund (TAIPED) has proceeded with the approval of seven investment groups that will continue in the second phase of tendering for the granting of the right to use, manage, develop, extend, maintain and exploit Regional Airports that are separated into two groups.

    Investments are expected to be implemented through the utilisation procedure that will contribute to increasing the potential of regional airports, improving the level of services for users of the airports and the subsequent strengthening of Greek regions' tourist activity and economic growth.

    During the second phase of tendering, the shortlisted investors will obtain access to details and the terms of the tendering procedure.

    [31] Draft bill liberalising inter-city bus transport tabled in Parliament

    A draft bill liberalising inter-city bus transport services was tabled in Parliament late on Monday night by the infrastructure and transport ministry.

    The bill significantly relaxes current rules and restrictions, while creating three classes of bus routes. These include a subsidised route for lines with low passenger traffic, such as islands. that cannot be profitably run without such assistance, where operators will have exclusive rights to run the service. A second category will be routes awarded by tender that are not subsidised but do give operators exclusive rights and the third are routes with heavy passenger traffic, where any firm complying with specifications can offer transport services provided it does not engage in unfair competition.

    Under the new rules, those providing intercity coach transport will be free to decide the form of company their firm will have, in order to allow the founding of economically viable enterprises in line with market rules.

    The new intercity bus market will be regulated by an independent authority that will decide which bus routes will receive subsidies and the size of these subsidies, which routes will have exclusive operating rights, organise the rules of tenders, set maximum fares and supervise the 'free competition' routes and the terms of operation for these.

    The concessions to operate routes will be for a minimum of eight and maximum of 10 years, with an option to extend by up to 50 percent.

    [32] Turnover in car/motorcycle market down 1.2 pct in Q2

    The turnover index in the car and motorcycle market, including wholesale/retail, repair and parts, fell 1.2 pct in the second quarter of 2013, compared with the same period last year, after a 32 pct fall recorded in the second quarter of 2012, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that the index was up 22 pct compared with the first quarter of 2013.

    The statistics service also said that turnover in the sale of cars rose 0.1 pct in the second quarter of the year, compared with the same period in 2012, while on a quarterly basis the index was up 22.7 pct.

    [33] Investigation launched into Emma Delta charges concerning OPAP, state lottery

    First-instance court public prosecutor Haralambos Tzonis is to carry out a preliminary investigation into charges concerning OPAP and the state lottery, at the instructions of the Supreme Court, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The focus of the investigation will be claims made by Emma Delta, which acquired a share in OPAP through a tender, which said the terms for the concession awarded to the firm 'Kratika Lahia' to run the state lottery were counter to OPAP's interests. Emma Delta claimed that OPAP had not secured a controlling share of seats on the board and also that the agreed share of revenue for Intralot-Scientific Games, shareholders in Kratika Lahia, is above the going rate internationally.

    If the investigation turns up evidence of culpability on the part of state officials, the case will be forwarded to the prosecutor for corruption cases.

    [34] Dias Aquaculture seeks protection from its creditors

    Dias Aquaculture SA on Tuesday said it had filed for protection from its creditors under the article 99 of the law 3588/2007 in a move aimed also at ensuring the viability of the company, safeguarding the interests of its workers.

    The management expects that through a restructuring process the company will achieve a rescheduling of its debt and the smooth continuation of its operations.

    [35] Piraeus Bank completes voluntary retirement programme

    Piraeus Bank on Tuesday announced the successful completion of a voluntary exit programme.

    The total number of participation in the programe totalled 2,182 employees, accounting for around 12 pct of the Group's workforce in Greece. The programme's aim was to cover 10 pct of its workforce, according to the bank's restructuring plan.

    [36] Greek stocks extend rally for sixth day

    Greek stocks extended their rally for the sixth consecutive session pushing the composite index of the market above the 1,000-point level during the session. The index ended at 992.83 points, up 1.58 pct, after rising as much as 2.52 pct during the day, to end at its highest closing since June, 3 2013. The index is up 10.41 pct during the last six sessions and up 24.05 pct from its 2013 lows of 800.31 points (July 15).

    Turnover improved further to end at 136.37 million euros. The Large Cap index rose 1.45 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.58 pct higher. Jumbo (5.18 pct), National Bank (4.38p ct), METKA (2.81 pct) and OPAP (2.77 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Athens Water (0.76 pct), Intralot (0.62 pct) and Ellaktor (0.44 pct) were top losers.

    The Constructions sector was the only one to end lower (-0.27 pct), while Personal Products (4.46 pct), Health (2.85 pct) and Travel (2.41 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 86 to 48 with another 24 issues unchanged. Pegasus (19.38 pct), Boutaris (18.75 pct) and Kathimerini (17.44 pct) were top gainers, while Spider (20 pct), PC Systems (18.99 pct) and Papoutsanis (18.05 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.64%

    Commercial: +1.16%

    Construction: -0.27%

    Oil & Gas: +1.48%

    Personal & Household: +4.46%

    Raw Materials: +0.89%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.41%

    Technology: +0.45%

    Telecoms: +1.84%

    Banks: +1.64%

    Food & Beverages: +0.37%

    Health: +2.85%

    Utilities: +1.82%

    Financial Services: +0.74%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.57

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.88

    Coca Cola HBC: 22.58

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.62

    National Bank of Greece: 3.34

    Eurobank Properties : 7.07

    OPAP: 7.79

    OTE: 7.74

    Piraeus Bank: 1.34

    Titan: 16.19

    [37] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 8.32 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 8.55 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.35 pct and the German Bund 2.03 pct. Turnover was a thin three million euros, all buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates remained 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 was 0.129 pct.

    [38] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.32 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising further to 23.015 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,021 contracts worth 15.450 million euros, with 50,738 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 32,179 contracts worth 7.565 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (10,363), followed by National Bank (5,430), Piraeus Bank (7,071), Eurobank (2,456), MIG (650), OTE (1,203), PPC (1,268), OPAP (333), Hellenic Exchanges (257), Viohalco (213), Mytilineos (503), Hellenic Petroleum (214), GEK (343), Ellaktor (309), Intralot (435) and Jumbo (201).

    [39] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.343

    Pound sterling 0.856

    Danish kroner 7.570

    Swedish krone 8.819

    Japanese yen 134.79

    Swiss franc 1.257

    Norwegian kroner 7.978

    Canadian dollar 1.388

    Australian dollar 1.446

    General News

    [40] International conference on Saints Cyril and Methodius in Thessaloniki

    An international conference marking the 1,150th anniversary of the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius will be hosted by the City of Thessaloniki on November 28-30, it was announced on Tuesday.

    More than 75 distinguished Slav scholars and researchers from Russia to the United States will participate in the conference, while Greek universities and institutes will be represented by 25 expert academics.

    The City of Thessaloniki will also host a major exhibition (November 2013 - February 2014) on the two Thessalonian Saints marking the launch of their mission in 863 AD, when the two brothers became Christian missionaries among the Slavic peoples of Great Moravia and Pannonia.

    Free of charge guided tours, in Greek and Russian, will be available on Saturdays in the months of November and December 2013 for visitors to sites and monuments in Thessaloniki associated with the two saints.

    Weather Forecast

    [41] Cloudy on Wednesday

    Cloudy weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 2-5 beaufort. Temperatures between 18C and 35C. Fair in Athens with variable 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures between 19C and 34C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 19C and 31C.

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

    AVGHI: Education SOS.

    DIMOKRATIA: Expensiveness a 'poison' for households.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: New Armageddon in social security system.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Government-schoolteachers rupture with the schools closed.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Mistakes in pensions' cutbacks.

    ESTIA: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras issues strong rebuke.

    ETHNOS: New system in commercial leases.

    IMERISSIA: Athens Stock Exchange's wager to reach 1,000 points.

    KATHIMERINI: Window for solution in Syria.

    LOGOS: Households' basket of goods gets more expensive.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Bank profit plans create shares frenzy.

    RIZOSPASTIS: Anti-educational draft law to remain on papers.

    TA NEA: "The misery of being Greek..."

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