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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-06-03

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

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

Wednesday, 3 June 2015 Issue No: 4969

CONTENTS

  • [01] EU leaders 'will tread path of realism,' agreement on Greece 'very close,' Greek PM says
  • [02] 'We have tabled a realistic plan for Greece's exit from the crisis', PM Tsipras says
  • [03] The government does not send and does not accept ultimatums, Gov't vice president Dragasakis says
  • [04] Greece has officially submitted proposal to institutions, Minister of State Pappas confirms
  • [05] Greece has sent comprehensive 47-page draft agreement to institutions, gov't sources say
  • [06] Brussels Group, EuroWorking Group expected to meet Wednesday, says sources
  • [07] EU Commission: Merkel meeting on Greece evaluated progress of talks, more to follow
  • [08] Intensive efforts to reach a deal, EU officials say
  • [09] Greek government confirms it has not received draft agreement by the institutions
  • [10] Finance ministry: Greece to adopt international accounting standards for the public sector
  • [11] FinMin Varoufakis has meetings with SYRIZA MPs
  • [12] We are close to a deal, Alternate Min for Administrative Reform Katrougalos says
  • [13] People should be asked if a decent and advancing compromise is not reached, Labour Min says
  • [14] SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman: Discussion moving in quicksand
  • [15] New Democracy lashes out at government on its negotiation policy
  • [16] Opposition Potami questions PM's absence from meeting in Berlin
  • [17] Communist Party criticises PM Tsipras for the ongoing negotiations with Greece's lenders
  • [18] Austerity increases debt, says head of European Left group GUE/NGL
  • [19] Golden Dawn trial to resume on Thursday; new courtroom sought
  • [20] Greece seeks to sign memorandum for natural gas pipeline with Russia?
  • [21] Alt. Shipping Min: We are categorically against selling outs
  • [22] Greek-listed enterprises' profits up 7.1 pct in Q1, report?
  • [23] Greek PMI up in May?
  • [24] Registered unemployment down in April
  • [25] Austria has earned more than 100 mln euros in interest from Greek bailout, APA reports
  • [26] TIF-Helexpo signs cooperation agreement with China's Canton Fair
  • [27] Greek economic sentiment index down in May?
  • [28] BC Partners buys majority share in Pharmathen?
  • [29] Greek stocks end significantly lower?
  • [30] Greek bond market closing report?
  • [31] ADEX closing report?
  • [32] Greece 'speeds up' with its first High Performance Computer, Professor Tsanakas tells ANA-MPA
  • [33] Communicative action "Green Cultural Routes" on June 5-7
  • [34] Geo Routes Cultural Institute to cooperate with Ukraine's National Kyiv-Pechersk
  • [35] Robbery suspects to examining magistrate; autopsy findings on third consistent with suicide, coroner says
  • [36] Major cocaine bust by Attica security police drugs squad
  • [37] Earthquake measuring 4.4 on Richter scale shakes Zakynthos
  • [38] 244 undocumented migrants rescued
  • [39] Municipal workers to hold work stoppage on June 16
  • [40] Scattered clouds on Wednesday
  • [41] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] EU leaders 'will tread path of realism,' agreement on Greece 'very close,' Greek PM says

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday underlined his conviction that European leaders will "tread the path of realism," while receiving a delegation of MEPs from the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) at the government headquarters.

    "We are at the end of a very tough negotiation but I believe we will do the best possible in order for Europe to remain united. That is our goal," Tsipras underlined.

    The Greek premier said he did not believe in a divided Europe and this was the reason why Greece was engaging in a very difficult negotiation, making numerous concessions, in order to create a more stable situation for all of Europe.

    He added that the proposals submitted by the Greek side to the institutions "are exceptionally realistic," precisely so as to avoid the mistakes made in the past.

    "I think that we are very close to an agreement that will give Greece an opportunity to recover, but in a way that is fairer [than before]," he said, stressing that the previous five successive years of recession had been disastrous for Greeks on low and middle incomes.

    [02] 'We have tabled a realistic plan for Greece's exit from the crisis', PM Tsipras says

    "The Greek government is negotiating with a plan and a strategy and has submitted specific proposals," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday said during his visit to the Education Ministry and added that "the dilemma is now in Europe's leadership."

    More specifically, Tsipras noted: "We are negotiating with a plan and strategy amid difficult conditions. All Greeks know the difference between a government that negotiates and the previous governments that signed whatever they were asked to. The Greeks should be proud, regardless of the party they belong to. Greece has tabled proposals, we have made concessions - a normal practice in a negotiation - but we have submitted a realistic plan for the country to get out of the crisis. The next day of the negotiation will have difficulties, and what the Greek people are asking is for the government to overcome the difficulties in just and equal terms. The outcome of the negotiations will mark the end of the division of Europe. It is now clear that the decision about whether they wish to adapt to realism and exit the crisis without Europe's division belongs to the leadership of Europe. It is not just a Greek problem, it is a European and global issue. The dilemma is between a realistic exit option and the division of Europe. The government is moving with a plan and determination and based on the vast majority of the Greek people, who wants a solution and does not want the country to return to the previous period of memoranda and subordination."

    inally, Tsipras expressed his optimism that the political leadership of Europe will approach their positions with respect and Greece will have made its contribution to the future of a united Europe.

    He added that the ministries of Education and Health will determine whether the government has achieved its targets at the end of the four-month period. "A major goal of the government is to create the conditions for young people to stay and offer in the country. Education, Culture and Research are the areas that will judge the government's ability to make reforms. Our aim is not to reproduce the models of the past, but to change the status quo," he stressed.

    [03] The government does not send and does not accept ultimatums, Gov't vice president Dragasakis says

    There was a long period of negotiations and the conditions are now mature for the final discussion on certain issues, Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis on Tuesday said during the GUE/NGL conference, held in the Athens Intercontinental hotel.

    "For us, the troika ended with the vote of the Greek people, which we respect. We have a clear mandate to move to a new post-memorandum era. We will respect that mandate and we are not concerned in 'blind' rifts or ultimatums or the troika's return. The government does not send nor accepts ultimatums. It is not blackmailed and it does not blackmail anyone. We are ready to make compromises, make proposals, we do not accept ultimatums," he underlined.

    He added that the Greek economy and society cannot tolerate any more austerity. The government's aim is not only the interest of the Greek people, but the interest of all Europe. Dragasakis also stressed that with common political will, the debt can be restructured without the slightest burden on the European tax payers.

    [04] Greece has officially submitted proposal to institutions, Minister of State Pappas confirms

    Greece officially submitted a complete, comprehensive and compact draft of its proposals for an agreement to the country's creditors on Monday night, Minister of State Nikos Pappas said on Tuesday, confirming earlier reports citing government sources.

    He noted that this was a requirement under the February 20 agreement and urged "anyone having something specific to say concerning the proposal to do so."

    "There is no time for soundbites. As Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras recently said, anyone who wants a solution should contribute now, and those who don't want a solution should keep quiet," Pappas added.

    [05] Greece has sent comprehensive 47-page draft agreement to institutions, gov't sources say

    The Greek government submitted a comprehensive draft agreement running to 47 pages to the institutions representing Greece's creditors on Monday and is now awaiting their reply, government sources said on Tuesday.

    They said this proposal provides for a primary surplus of 0.8 pct in 2015 and 1.5 pct in 2016, as well as three VAT rates of 6 pct, 11 pct and 23 pct.

    Earlier, the government denied as inaccurate a report appearing in the website tovima.gr, citing sources, about the alleged contents of the Greek side's proposals.

    [06] Brussels Group, EuroWorking Group expected to meet Wednesday, says sources

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Negotiations between Greece and its creditors are progressing in an accelerated pace and the representatives of both sides at the Brussels Group are expected to convene on Tuesday afternoon, a eurozone source said.

    The Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) is also expected to meet on Wednesday, the same sources said.

    Commenting on the content of Monday's mini summit meeting in Berlin, where the leaders of Germany and France and the heads of the institutions met, European Commission sources said the main conclusion is that eurozone and the institutions will from now on speak with one voice. They also said Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande know very well each side's "red lines", following their talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the heads of the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF.

    Taking these developments into account, it is believed that a plan for a joint agreement will start being drafted in the next few hours. Commission sources noted that Monday's mini summit meeting was aimed at smoothing out differences between the institutions and forming a common political line. They also said it is possible that a decision will be adopted which will have a medium- rather than a long-term nature, since it will not include final arrangements for the Greek debt.

    [07] EU Commission: Merkel meeting on Greece evaluated progress of talks, more to follow

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    There was an evaluation of the progress in negotiations between Greek authorities and the institutions during Monday night's high-level meeting in Berlin attended by the ECB and IMF, European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said on Tuesday. Talks between the five participants - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, ECB President Mario Draghi and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde - will continue, she added.

    Breidthardt stressed that Greece's international partners speak with one voice and that talks are continuing on all levels, while the institutions remain in close contact with Greek authorities in order to complete the negotiations, adding that Monday's meeting was held in this framework.

    On the composition of the meeting and why other European leaders were not invited, the spokeswoman referred reporters to the German chancellor's office. She also pointed to a statement by European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici that progress toward an agreement had been made "but we are not there yet".

    Meanwhile a euro zone official told the ANA-MPA that a meeting of the Eurogroup Working Group will be held on Wednesday to discuss Greece.

    [08] Intensive efforts to reach a deal, EU officials say

    The meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the French President Francois Hollande, the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, IMF chief Christine Lagarde and the ECB president Mario Draghi was concluded late on Monday.

    According to Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, the five officials discusssed the progress of the negotiations between Greece and the institutions and agreed on intense efforts to reach a deal while maintaining a close contact with the Greek government.

    [09] Greek government confirms it has not received draft agreement by the institutions

    The Greek government, in a non-paper, on Tuesday said that it has not received any draft agreement from the creditors' side, nor did the prime minister or other government official have contact with the institutions representatives.

    Foreign reports, mainly from the German media, said that a draft agreement has been sent to Athens claiming that it is a final proposal, which was not confirmed by the Greek government.

    [10] Finance ministry: Greece to adopt international accounting standards for the public sector

    Greece's finance ministry announced on Tuesday it will set up working groups to implement International Accounting Standards for the public sector and reform financial legislation.

    According to the ministry, the decision by Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas aims at forming a framework which will effectively monitor public finances.

    "Adopting International Public Sector Accounting Standards-IPSAS stands out as a major step forward in financial accounting, enhancing the transparency and credibility of public finances, while contributing to global growth and prosperity through the convergence and harmonization of public accounting systems in the various countries and organizations," the ministry said.

    It also said the new standards "will cut the operating cost of public administration and government, reduce state borrowing, and its associated cost, improve the allocation and release of public funds, which will help boost employment, reduce the cost of public goods and services, improve transparency and accountability through the disclosure of all transactions conducted and improve the quality and enhance the credibility of public accounts."

    [11] FinMin Varoufakis has meetings with SYRIZA MPs

    Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Tuesday had a meeting with MPs of the ruling coalition's SYRIZA party and briefed them on the progress of the negotiations with Greece's creditors.

    [12] We are close to a deal, Alternate Min for Administrative Reform Katrougalos says

    Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform George Katrougalos speaking at the forum of the French communist party, held in Paris, on the relation between markets and democracy described the markets as a 'Financial Frankenstein'.

    Katrougalos, who represented the Greek government, underlined that "the weakness of democratic control and the lack of appropriate regulation of international markets are the main cause of the recent global economic crisis."

    According to the Greek minister, the critical challenge is now that "the political market control is a prerequisite for the maintenance of democracy itself", adding that "this is why the Greek elections in January is an historic moment, not only for Greece but for the whole Europe. Greece has become the mirror of the continent's future. For our country, because this is the first time that the left is in power, but also for Europe, because the austerity policies that have destroyed our society and economy are the same policies that lead the Union to deflation and economic stagnation."

    Katrougalos said that "with the rise of inequality and poverty, Europe will be faced with a lost generation. Thus, there are two different perspectives: the first is the continuation of austerity policies, the exacerbation of inequalities and poverty. The second one is the vision of a social Europe, a Europe of freedoms and social rights."

    Katrougalos also expressed his optimism that the government will implement its programme, which has been approved by the Greek people, despite the creditors' unwillingness, while he termed the negotiations for a viable and decent compromise as rather "strident".

    [13] People should be asked if a decent and advancing compromise is not reached, Labour Min says

    Labour Minister Panos Skourletis, on Tuesday in statements to SKAI, referred to the possibility of asking the people's opinion in case the deal with the creditors is not a "decent and advancing compromise."

    According to skai.gr, Skourletis underlined that the Greek people should be asked to approve such a deal before we sign it.

    The Greek government has made the "maximum of concessions" in the negotiations and there is no room for further concessions, he said and noted that "the other sides act like governors".

    Regarding party discipline, he stated: "Before we start talking abour party discipline, we will have to look into the agreement, there can be no 'directives' on this matter, party discipline in this case is not helpful."

    [14] SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman: Discussion moving in quicksand

    "The discussion is moving in quicksand and the measures have not been finalised yet" said SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman Nikos Filis speaking on Tuesday to ANT1 TV.

    He added that "measures that are not in the framework compatible with SYRIZA's programme can't be accepted".

    Asked on the a possible ultimatum (from Greece's lenders) with the form 'take it or leave it', Filis said that the government can't accept it because it will be against SYRIZA's programme and against the people's mandate.

    [15] New Democracy lashes out at government on its negotiation policy

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Costas Karagounis on Tuesday lashed out at the government on its negotiation policy.

    More specifically, he accused the government of having admitted that "the so-called proud negotiation has ended into an ultimatum."

    "Until last week, Mr Tsipras was assuring us that the text of the agreement was being finalised," while "today he says that an agreement has not been reached yet and he has just submitted his own draft," Karagounis noted.

    He also referred to SYRIZA members' statements on the possibility of early elections, elections that Greece cannot withstand.

    "What are they going to ask for? A mandate to drive the country onto the rocks? Or an apology for the lies they have said?" Karagounis wondered.

    [16] Opposition Potami questions PM's absence from meeting in Berlin

    Opposition Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis on Tuesday repeated that his party will support an agreement with the creditors if it comes to Parliament, while questioning the prime minister's absence from the meeting called by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss Greece on Monday night, with the leadership of the three institutions in Brussels Group and French President Francois Hollande.

    He noted that his party will not wait until the economy and society suffocate before making up its mind: "We have said and we say again that we will support a plan that servies the country's need for growth and social justice, for reducing inequalities," he said.

    Commenting on an announcement by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday that Greece has already sent a comprehensive plan of its proposals for exiting the crisis to the creditors on Monday, Theodorakis asked whether anyone else knew about this plan apart from the prime minister, given that members of the coalition "are continuing to regurgitate dangerous theories about a falling-out and the drachma."

    Meanwhile, Potami was critical of the prime minister's annoucements on education reform on Tuesday, calling the proposals put forward by the education ministry's leadership a "conservative counter-reform with obscurantist views that are precisely the opposite of what the country needs."

    [17] Communist Party criticises PM Tsipras for the ongoing negotiations with Greece's lenders

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) slammed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday for duping the public into thinking the government is negotiating when in fact it is preparing to sign a new memorandum.

    "The insolence and mockery have exceeded all limits. As the government is discussing an agreement with new tough measures, it is asking the people to be 'proud' because this is the 'first time [a government] is negotiating,'" the party said in a statement following Tsipras' public address earlier in the day.

    The party also added that this negotiation is not really about the people but about helping capitalists exit the crisis and Greeks will have to foot the bill again.

    [18] Austerity increases debt, says head of European Left group GUE/NGL

    Greece's debt problem could be resolved by ending austerity, the President of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), Gabriele Zimmer, told ANA-MPA on Tuesday.

    "The debt problem can be resolved first and foremost by ending the policy of austerity, as this is one of the reasons debt is augmenting," Zimmer said, following a meeting of the leadership of GUE/NGL with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras earlier in the day.

    Zimmer, an MEP with Germany's Die Linke, also said she's convinced that there are options other than that of austerity imposed on Greece by its creditors. "We must accept that the solution does not only lie in fiscal policy; we must see at the same time how sustainable development can be supported in Greece but also in other EU member-states," she explained.

    Spanish party PODEMOS MEP, Lola Sanchez, said returning money to creditors should not be placed above human rights and social policy. "Greece, Spain, all Mediterranean countries which have a high debt must find a solution to return the money by taking also into consideration that we have to develop, to have steady growth, so that we can return it," she said.

    "If there's no demand, it's impossible to collect the revenues to repay the debt," she added.

    [19] Golden Dawn trial to resume on Thursday; new courtroom sought

    The trial of senior members of far-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi), including party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and a swathe of party members and supporters, on various criminal charges is expected to resume on Thursday. Meanwhile, the justice ministry is seeking a new venue to replace the Korydallos Prison courtroom, following complaints by participants in the trial but also the Korydallos municipality that the Korydallos Prison courtroom is inadequate.

    Korydallos Mayor Stavros Kasimatis is continuing contacts with justice ministry officials and pressing for the trial's transfer elsewhere, saying that the trial has seriously disrupted daily life in the community. A rally is planned on Thursday morning when the trial resumes, by the Movement United Against Racism and the Fascist Threat.

    Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said that a new courtroom at the appeals court is expected to be ready in early September and has not ruled out proposed solutions for upcoming court sessions, if requested by the judges on the bench.

    Financial News

    [20] Greece seeks to sign memorandum for natural gas pipeline with Russia?

    Greek Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis on Tuesday said that intense efforts were made to promote a significant project for Greece and Russia, the Greek Stream project.

    In an interview with Russia-24, following completion of a series of meetings in Moscow with Energy Minister Alexander Novak, deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak and Gazprom's chairman Alexey Muller, Lafazanis said that the Greek natural gas project "puts another significant stone to the development of Greek-Russian relations, which are very important for Europe and particularly for the region of Southeastern Europe".

    The Greek minister said that the cost of the Greek Stream will reach 2.0 billion US dollars while he stressed that there was a huge interest for participating in the construction and management of the natural gas pipeline project. "From our side, the Greek state company will participate in the construction, while the funding of the project has be resolved," Lafazanis said. He added that the project will create around 20,000 new job positions in Greece. "The pipeline will offer a significant boost to the Greek economy which is currently facing difficulties. All these will be to the benefit of the Greek people," he said.

    Lafazanis said that Greece has the expertise for a fast and efficient construction of pipelines, adding that the Greek pipeline carrying Russian natural gas will contribute decisively to energy security and stability in our region and Europe. He said that Greece would probably sign a memorandum with Russia for the construction of the pipeline project during an International Economic Forum in St Petersburg, where a larger Greek delegation will arrive headed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. "We will try to sign a bilateral memorandum between Greece and Russia for the political support of the project. By June 18-20 we will try actively to prepare this document which will offer political support positions," he said.

    Commenting on a planned TAP pipeline project carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan, Lafazanis said Greece was accepting both projects. "We do not considered them to be rivals. On the contrary, we think they both contribute to energy supply of European countries. That's why it is odd that the Russian project is raising concern and doubts in the US and the European Union," he added.

    "We will not submit to the interests and wishes of any third country. Greece is nobody's property. We move based on the interests of our people and our national interests. The country must become a development hub for Europe's energy supply," he noted.

    Lafazanis said that sanctions imposed against Russia were "unacceptable, servicing only to create a new cold-war climate in Europe".

    The Greek minister said that the government will accept any agreement with the so-called "institutions" which would include harsh measures against the Greek people".

    [21] Alt. Shipping Min: We are categorically against selling outs

    "The government is not in favour of privatisations" noted Alternate Shipping Minister Theodoros Dritsas speaking on Tuesday to private TV MEGA referring to the issue of the development of Greek ports.

    "We are categorically against the selling-outs" he said underlining however that especially for Piraeus port "some urgent and serious issues must be solved".

    Specifically on Piraeus Port (OLP), Dritsas noted "We must rush for a Greek State's new concession contract to OLP that will guarantee and totally define the port's identity".

    Asked if pressure is being exerted from abroad, Dritsas said that "the pressure is obvious".

    [22] Greek-listed enterprises' profits up 7.1 pct in Q1, report?

    Greek-listed enterprises reported an 1.5 pct decline in turnover to 14.6 billion euros in the first quarter of 2015, while operating earnings grew 21 pct over the same period, an analysis by BETA Securities said on Tuesday.

    The analysis, based on the quarterly results of 193 listed companies, said that profits grew 7.1 pct in the January-March period with the refinery sector leading the race with 60 million euros in contribution.

    From a total 193 companies, 38 reported higher losses, 58 reduced losses and 19 became profitable, with 40 pct of total listed companies reporting profits.

    Mytilineos, Jumbo, Terna Energy and OTE reported very good profits in the first quarter, accompanied by Lamda Development, Grivalia Properties, Athens Water, Elval and Karelias. Among small- and medium-sized enterprises, Thrace Plastics, Crete Plastics, AS Company, Petropoulos, Karatzis, Flexopack, Loulis, European Credit, Mermeren Combinat, Korres, Kanakis, Intracom Constructions, Elton Chemicals, Nakas, Profile, Space Hellas, Korinth Pipeworks, Kri-Kri, Kyriakidis and Paperpack, reported strong results.

    [23] Greek PMI up in May?

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 48 points in May, recovering from a 22-month low of 46.5 in April, Markit said on Tuesday. Production in Greek manufacturing units shrank for the fifth successive month, although at a slower rate, led by a poor performance of the investment goods and intermediate goods sectors which recorded the lowest production levels.

    Greek enterprises said that low new orders was the main reason behind a decline in production, while new work levels fell again in May hit by uncertainty and adverse financial conditions prevailing in the country. Manufacturing enterprises cut further with workforce in May, for the second month in a row, while purchasing activity fell significantly, further reducing inventory levels.

    The report also showed that inflow prices fell significantly, although at a slightly slower rate compared with April.

    [24] Registered unemployment down in April

    Registered unemployment fell by 3.18 pct in April, the Workforce Employment Organization (OAED) said on Tuesday.

    In a monthly report, OAED said that the number of registered unemployed people not seeking a job fell significantly by 21.70 pct in April compared with March, while the number of people receiving unemployment benefit fell 2.54 pct over the same period.

    The number of unemployed people totaled 840,216 in April, from 867,855 in March, with 377,891 (or 44.98 pct) characterized as long-term unemployed.

    The number of unemployed people not seeking a job totaled 148,366 in April, from 189,495 in March, of which 72,226 (48.68 pct) long-term unemployed.

    The number of people receiving unemployment benefit totaled 104,888 in April, down from 107,623 in March.

    [25] Austria has earned more than 100 mln euros in interest from Greek bailout, APA reports

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/ D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Austria has received 101.73 million euros in interest on loans given to Greece under the first Greek bailout programme by December 2014, according to figures released by the Austrian finance ministry, Austria's press agency APA said on Tuesday.

    This is the amount that the Greek government has transferred to Austria until this time for the country's contribution to the first financial aid package to Greece in 2010, amounting to 1.56 billion euros, while Vienna has also received additional guarantees amounting to 4.3 billion euros for loans in the framework of the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF).

    Figures given to APA by the Austrian central bank, meanwhile, show that Austrian banks have largely pulled out of their investment in Greece in recent years, with their exposure to Greece falling to just 153 million euros by the end of 2014.

    [26] TIF-Helexpo signs cooperation agreement with China's Canton Fair

    TIF-Helexpo signed a cooperation agreement with one of the largest exhibitions of China, the Canton Fair, which takes place twice a year and presents products and services from almost all sectors of the economy.

    This agreement incorporates TIF-Helexpo to the Media Resource Exchange Program, which is a platform of promotion and communication services, giving access to 210,000 businesses worldwide, 24,000 companies from China and creating communication channels with the most populous country in the world.

    The program provides for the presence of the two organisations on online media and social media, while TIF-Helexpo will have the opportunity among others to present its activities during the Chinese exhibition and organize more events.

    The next fair has been scheduled for October 15-November 4, 2015.

    [27] Greek economic sentiment index down in May?

    Greek economic sentiment index fell further to 91.4 points in May, from 92.7 in April, to its lowest level since December 2013, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Tuesday.

    IOBE, in a monthly report, attributed this development to an intense deterioration of business expectations in the services and construction sectors and a new decline in consumer confidence.

    The report noted that lack of progress in negotiations between Greek authorities and its creditors, a government decision to move with internal borrowing, delays in public sector payments and the use of cash reserves by organizations of the wider public sector, all contributed in further reducing liquidity in the Greek economy.

    More analytically, business expectations in the manufacturing sector gained ground over production in the next few months, while estimates over new orders and demand rising slightly.

    In the services sector, business expectations worsened further over the current and short-term demand, although negative estimates over the current condition of enterprises improved slightly.

    In the retail sector, estimates over current sales improved along with estimates over short-term trends. In the construction sector, an intense deterioration of employment prospects was recorded.

    In consumer confidence, expectations over Greek households' finances and the Greek economy's conditions in the next 12 months worsened further, along with expectations over unemployment, while saving intentions improved slightly.

    [28] BC Partners buys majority share in Pharmathen?

    Pharmathen on Tuesday announced the signing of a partnership agreement in principle for the purchase of a majority share by BC Partners. In an announcement, Pharmathen said that the Katsos family will remain in the Group with a significant equity stake and will retain management.

    BC Partners is a leading investment company, with an investment capital under management at around 13 billion euros. It was founded in 1986 and has developed into one of the leading companies in acquisitions, investing largely in large companies in Europe and the US, through its network with branch offices in London, Paris, Hamburg and New York.

    Pharmathen focuses on research, development and production of generic pharmaceuticals. It was founded in 1969 and has developed a customer base of more than 180 international accredited customers. Its workforce totals more than 1,000, working in three state-of-the-art laboratories and two production units.

    Nikos Stathopoulos, Managing Partner of BC Partners, said: "We are particularly pleased with the partnership with the founders and managing group of Pharmathen, for the further enhancing of the group's growth through investing in research, creating new products, expanding its international presence and acquisitions in the constantly developing sector of generics, in which Pharmathen is a European leader".

    Vasilios Katsos, chairman of Pharmathen said: "With this deal, Pharmathen fortifies its already strong base, opening new prospects for the Group. Our goal is to create an international pharmaceutical group, with its heart "beating" in Greece".

    [29] Greek stocks end significantly lower?

    Greek stocks came under strong selling pressure to end significantly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Traders said market sentiment was hit by international uncertainties over prolonged negotiations with the "institutions". The composite index fell 2.47 pct to end at 804.96 points, after rising as much as 0.95 pct early in the day. The Large Cap index dropped 3.52 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.47 pct higher. Turnover was an improved 105.91 million euros.

    GEK Terna (4.09 pct), PPC (2.63 pct), Piraeus Port (1.42 pct) and Mytilineos (1.35 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Terna Energy (7.60 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (7.02 pct), OPAP (6.74 pct), Jumbo (6.16 pct), Lamda Development (5.73 pct) and OTE (5.32 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Among market sectors, Chemicals (2.14 pct), Financial Services (1.43 pct) and Raw Materials (1.23 pct) scored big gains, while Personal Products (6.11 pct), Travel (5.64 pct), Telecoms (5.32 pc) and Oil (5.10 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 66 to 48 with another 16 issues unchanged. Vioter (19.40 pct), Altec (15.79 pct) and Progressive (15.05 pct) were top gainers, while Varagis (20 pct), Hellenic Sugar (18.18 pct) and G.E.Demetriou (12.50 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -3.58%

    Insurance: -1.84%

    Financial Services: +1.43%

    Industrial Products: +0.46%

    Commercial: -3.58%

    Real Estate: -3.67%

    Personal & Household: -6.11%

    Food & Beverages: 7.241.13 -2.69%

    Raw Materials: 2.557.67 +1.23%

    Construction: -1.32%

    Oil: -5.10%

    Chemicals: +2.14%

    Travel & Leisure: -5.64%

    Technology: +0.18%

    Telecoms: -5.32%

    Utilities: -0.47%

    Health: -0.66%

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

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE

    Large Cap index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.320

    Eurobank 0.146

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.68

    Coca Cola HBC: 19.53

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE): 4.50

    National Bank of Greece: 1.12

    OPAP: 8.30

    OTE: 7.65

    Piraeus Bank: 0.493

    Titan: 20.48

    Grivalia Properties: 7.50

    Aegean Airlines: 6.96

    [30] Greek bond market closing report?

    The two-year Greek state bond yield fell significantly to 23.11 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday on market optimism over a positive outcome in negotiations between Greek authorities and its creditors. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened slightly to 10.50 pct, from 10.39 pct last week, with the Greek bond yielding 11.16 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.66 pct. There was no turnover in the market, while turnover totaled 2.0 million euros in May.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate eased to 0.158 pct from 0.160 pct, the nine-month rate fell to 0.098 pct from 0.099 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.048 pct from 0.049 pct, the three-month rate was -0.013 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.060 pct from -0.059 pct.

    [31] ADEX closing report?

    The June contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.05 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,535 contracts with 41,134 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 49,655 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (13,039), followed by Alpha Bank (9,616), National Bank (8,060), Eurobank (13,036), MIG (745), OTE (821), PPC (2,269), OPAP (564), Mytilineos (112), Hellenic Petroleum (172), GEK (298), Ellaktor (172), Jumbo (113) and Terna Energy (166).

    General News

    [32] Greece 'speeds up' with its first High Performance Computer, Professor Tsanakas tells ANA-MPA

    National Research and Technology Network managing director Panagiotis Tsanakas, in an interview with ANA-MPA, explained the importance of the High Performance Computer that is available in Greece as of Tuesday.

    Tsanakas, who is also a Professor at the National Technical University (NTUA), stressed the importance of this High Performance Computer especially for Greek researchers. Its use will be initially free for everyone while foreign researchers will also have access to it.

    The High Performance Computer is installed on a specially designed secured underground space, about 100 square meters, in the main building of the Education ministry.

    The system will be available - for the first two months on a pilot basis - to researchers of all universities, technological institutes and research centers of our country.

    The total cost (excluding VAT) was 2.6 million euros, including the air-conditioning system, the monitoring system, the cost of installation and training of personnel. The supply and installation of the system, following an international tender that took place about a year and half ago, was made within the project 'PRACE-GR', which was co-financed by European funds.

    The Greek system has 426 computer nodes, offers a total of more than 8,500 processing cores (CPU cores) interconnected network FDR Infiniband, an interface technology that offers very low latency and high bandwidth. It also has modern software tools for the development of various applications such as compilers, scientific libraries and scientific applications suites.

    The full interview is available for subscribers at ANA-MPA website.

    [33] Communicative action "Green Cultural Routes" on June 5-7

    The Culture Ministry organises a series of events, with free entrance, within the context of the communicative action "Green Cultural Routes" on 5-7 June. This action was drafted by the Museums directorates in the framework of the participation in the National Action Plan for Education in the sustainable development. The aim is the promotion of the sustainable growth with the people's education in issues of protection and promotion of the Greece's cultural wealth an natural environment.

    The organisers call the public to get informed and be entertained by participating in information presentations, educational programmes, and thematic tours, visits, promenades, cycling routes, hikings and artistic happenings.

    [34] Geo Routes Cultural Institute to cooperate with Ukraine's National Kyiv-Pechersk

    "Geo Routes Cultural Institute" and the "National Kyiv-Pechersk Ukraine" signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding, familiarization and promotion of cultural relations between Ukraine and Greece.

    The "National Kyiv-Pechersk Ukraine" is the responsibility of Ukraine's Culture ministry. The Geo Routes Cultural Institute through Geo & Aegean Routes' cultural & environmental thematic travel, which is under the auspices of the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO and the support of the European Commission Representation in Greece, aims to highlight the "other image" of Greece in view of its cultural heritage and contributing to the development of the local community through volunteer programs and Corporate Social Responsibility.

    The general director of National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical & Cultural Preserve Lubomyr Mykhaylyna and the president of Geo Routes Cultural Institute Yiannis Balakakis agreed to proceed with the setting up of a working group, which will develop proposals to promote intercultural dialogue and the cultural heritage of the two peoples.

    [35] Robbery suspects to examining magistrate; autopsy findings on third consistent with suicide, coroner says

    The two suspects arrested in Nea Aghialos in Volos in connection with a robbery in Distomo were led before an examining magistrate on Tuesday. The face charges of robbery, theft and weapons possession, as well as other lesser charges relating to forming a criminal gang and abduction.

    Meanwhile, the coroner in charge of the autopsy on a third suspect, Spiros Dravilas, who was found dead of gunshot wounds to the head within the Nea Aghialos house raided by police, told the ANA-MPA that the findings of the autopsy were consistent with death by suicide.

    [36] Major cocaine bust by Attica security police drugs squad

    A criminal gang importing quantities of cocaine into Greece has been dismantled in an operation by the Attica Security Police narcotics squad, police reported on Tuesday. Four members of the gang have been arrested in Athens - three Albanian nationals and one Greek - while another two Albanian nationals are being sought.

    Police arrested two Albanian men aged 32 and 34 years old, respectively, a 27-year-old Albanian woman and a 52-year-old Greek in the Athens districts of Ano Patissia and Kolonos. Criminal charges were drawn up against them for forming and participating in a criminal organisation and for violating laws on weapons and drugs.

    The arrests were the result of a police investigation into reports that a criminal outfit was importing drugs from cocaine-producing countries, uncovering the suspects, their hiding places and the precise mode of action.

    According to the findings of the investigation, the gang's members had a specific plan of action and discrete roles with respect to contacting suppliers, cutting the drugs, as well as the transport, concealment and distribution of the cocaine, which was done in a car with a specially adapted storage area.

    During raids on houses, premises and vehicles, police found and confiscated 3,387 kilos of cocaine, smaller quantities of cannabis, an unidentified powder for cutting the drugs, 43,600 euros, a gun, three cars, 10 mobile phones and one set of electronic scales.

    The suspects were led before an Athens misdemeanours court prosecutor and referred to an examining magistrate.

    [37] Earthquake measuring 4.4 on Richter scale shakes Zakynthos

    An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale shook the Ionian island of Zakynthos late on Tuesday afternoon, at around 17:05.

    The epicentre of the quake was near the town of Lixouri, about 16 kilometres west of Argostoli, and at a depth of five kilometres, the Athens Geodynamic Institute said. The tremor was felt on both Zakynthos and the nearby island of Kefallonia but no damage or injuries were reported.

    Earlier, on Tuesday morning, there was a smaller tremor of 3.3 on the Richter scale in the area.

    [38] 244 undocumented migrants rescued

    Coast Guard rescued 244 undocumented migrants during the night in three separate incidents near the eastern Aegean islands of Chios, Kos and Lesvos

    [39] Municipal workers to hold work stoppage on June 16

    Municipal Employees Federation (POE-OTA)called a work stoppage on Tuesday 16 June from 12:00 until the end of the morning shift.

    A protest rally will also be held outside the Interior Ministry at 12:30.

    POE-OTA reacts to the privatisation, in a number of municipalites, of the garbage collection service.

    Weather forecast

    [40] Scattered clouds on Wednesday

    Scattered clouds and northerly winds are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 11C-29C. Scattered clouds in the western parts with temperatures between 12C-28C. Mostly fair in the eastern parts with temperatures between 13C-29C. Scattered clouds over the Aegean islands and Crete, 16C-26C. Mostly fair in Athens, 17C-27C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, 15C-28C.

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

    DIMOKRATIA: Special tax on 150,000 businesses

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The five-member opera

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Early pensions. The 35 categories to be abolished

    ESTIA: On downtrend for 12 months

    ETHNOS: Dramatic night in Berlin and Athens

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Negotiation fever

    TA NEA: The bill increases

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