|Friday, 24 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-10-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 7 October 2015 Issue No: 5038
 First review of 3rd bailout program to be completed soon, say government sourcesLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki)
The first review of Greece's third bailout program will be completed "very soon", so as to allow the government to put its growth plan in place, government sources which are in Luxembourg for the Eurogroup meeting said on Monday.
According to the sources, the Greek plan presented by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos to his Eurozone counterparts consists of three parts: In the short-term, the aim is to complete the implementation of the 49 prior actions by October 15, so as to unlock the 2-billion-euro subtranche. After that, the second package of reforms will follow which will unlock the remaining one billion euros from the August installment.
In the medium-term, the Greek government wants to complete the first program review fast - by the end of November - so as to move forward with the recapitalization of Greek banks and the debate on the country's debt restructuring. The sources said that a fast and successful completion of the first review will provide the necessary time for the government to present and implement its growth program on March 2016.
In this timetable presented by Greece, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was the one which appeared to be more skeptical, with its representative expressing doubts about the government's readiness to push with the implementation of the aforementioned prior actions.
 EU Commission's Declan Costello sees 'good chance' of success for new Greek programmeBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ C. Vasilaki)
The new programme for Greece has a "good chance" of succeeding, the European Commission's head of mission for Greece Declan Costello said on Tuesday. Costello made the statement while attending an event on the Greek programme at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) think tank in Brussels, also attended by former minister Nikos Christodoulakis.
According to Costello, the third programme for Greece was more likely to work because it was largely frontloaded. This mean that nearly 60 pct of the fiscal adjustment had already been passed into law, while more than 50 pct of the programme funds were available to Greece in the first six months of its implementation, he said.
He also noted that Greece's partners have pledged to start discussing a restructuring of the country's debt after the successful conclusion of the first review, while the discussion now underway was on the scale of this restructuring and when it will take place.
Christodoulakis noted that the main problem faced by Greece was a reduction in investment, while he estimated that roughly 107 billion euros in investments must be made over the next six years. He said this amount could feasibly come to the country through a return of deposit, as well as from privatisations and financing from EU structural funds.
 Tsipras visits refugee centers in Lesvos with Austrian Chancellor FaymannPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a plea for solidarity with Greece on the issue of the refugee crisis on Tuesday, saying people fleeing war-torn countries simply want a better future.
Speaking with journalists after visiting reception centers and Kara Tepe and Moria refugee camps in Lesvos with visiting Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, Tsipras said the two leaders had the opportunity to see the "the good face of Europe", the Europe of solidarity.
"Lesvos shows a different face to refugees," he told journalists during their tour of the island's facilities. "Lesvos is a small island that receives huge flows of refugees, who come from Syria's war zone seeking a better future in Europe," he added and reiterated that the refugee crisis is a European and worldwide problem which has to be dealt with jointly.
The Austrian Chancellor, who had an opportunity to see for himself the strain placed on public services from the continuous arrivals of refugees and migrants, said the problem has to be addressed by the European Union as a whole. "Addressing the refugee problem can only be done in a unified manner by the countries of the European Union."
Their visit on the island concluded at the open reception center "The Village of all-together" where the two officials confirmed the close cooperation of the two countries on the management of the refugee crisis and "the need for a gradual approach to the issue, to ensure both the efficiency and the necessary humanitarian parameter."
 Austria to contribute to the operation of refugees identification centres, Chancellor Faymann saysAustria will contribute to the operation of the refugees identification centres, the so-called hotspots, in Greece and provide a 30 million euro financial aid to the UN Food Program, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said in statements after Tuesday's weekly cabinet meeting in Vienna, shortly before leaving for Lesvos, where he met and hold talks with the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, on the refugee crisis.
The Chancellor said that talks with Tsipras will focus on finding European support for Greece, noting that the European Union must provide the staff and financial means for the creation of the necessary infrastructure in hotspots.
This takes place in close consultation with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Commission, noted Faymann adding that Austria will contribute actively to the operation of these centers.
According to the Austrian Chancellor, people who will arrive at these centers should be informed if there is a possibility to be granted asylum, while measures for their re-allocation require higher discipline.
 Commissioner Cretu calls meeting with PM Tsipras fruitfulTsipras received European Commissioner responsible for the Regional Policy Corina Cretu on Tuesday at the Maximos mansion and thanked her for her efforts and her personal contribution noting that the government will try to make an efficient use of those very important funds for the Greek economy.
After the meeting, Cretsu said that Tuesday is a very important day because the europarliament is expected to vote the extraordinary measures for Greece following a Commission's proposal in order the country to be able to face the liquidity problem through the increase of the European funding at 100 percent of the pending works (up to date the funds' absorption is 91 pct). She said that her meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was fruitful and congratulated him for his re-election.
The European Commissioner said that 2 billion euros will be disengaged immediately after the issue of the decision.
"Now it is time for action" said Cretu to Tsipras because the European Commission did whatever possible on its part, everything in now on the table and the measures should be implemented quickly.
 EU Commission's efforts to address refugee crisis focused on Greece, Juncker saysPARIS (ANA-MPA/ O. Tsipira)
"The European Commission's efforts on dealing with the refugee crisis are focused on Greece," the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday. He also said that he is preparing a "cooperation memorandum between EU-Turkey" on the same issue.
?Addressing the "humanitarian situation of refugees" within the EU and the neighbouring countries was the focus of discussions at the European Parliament plenary, in the presence of the President of the Council Donald Tusk and the European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.
The two presidents presented the conclusions of the informal September 23 European Council meeting on the refugee crisis.
The Commission's proposals for 2015 and those to be filed in the coming weeks for 2016 relate initially to 800 million euros. He argued that the European Commission's participation in the effort for the reallocation of refugees and the rapid response are important as this will persuade the Council to follow.
He underlined that 66,000 migrants that have arrived in Greece should be reallocated to other EU countries adding that the Commission will provide up to 600 employees to support Greece in the protection of external borders.
 EU finance ministers approves deal to share information on tax rulingsLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
European Union finance ministers adopted unanimously a proposal requiring governments to share information on tax rulings, in an effort to stop corporate tax evasion by multinationals, during a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday.
According to the political agreement achieved in today's Ecofin, which will come into effect in 2017, countries will be obliged to exchange information on tax agreements made with corporations so that they cannot avoid taxation in the countries where they have opened offices.
The new rules will have a retroactive effect to include deals going back five years.
Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, expressed his satisfaction with the agreement saying it will provide fairer competition. "This is a major step in combating aggressive tax planning, creating greater transparency in corporate taxation and in providing fairer competition for both businesses and consumers. I see today's agreement as an important signal that member states are ready to deliver on our common goal of fair and effective taxation," he said, adding that the EU will work to implement these transparency rules worldwide.
 Bad loans will not be sold to foreign funds, gov't spokeswoman Gerovassili says"The left policy is a realistic policy, with whatever measures needed regularly in laws that will serve the interests of majority," government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili said in an interview with Praktorio 104.9 FM on Tuesday.
Gerovassili underlined that realism and sincerity are the main features of the left party.
In another interview with ANT1, she said: "Bad loans will not be sold to foreign funds. This is a commitment and it has been announced by Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis." She added that among the government's top priorities is the legislation on bad loans and the protection of first residence.
Gerovassili noted that the government is now obliged to immediately implement a first series of measures ahead of the first evaluation. "This is very very important, this is the first important step, so that the debt issue opens after the evaluation along with the recapitalizations of the banks."
She also referred to the government's efforts to find equivalent measures for the 23 percent VAT on private education and expressed optimism that these will be found.
The government spokeswoman noted that the banks recapitalization that is expected to be successfully completed will put an end to the threat of a deposits haircut.
Regarding the new tax measures, she said that it will burden more those who were benefited in the previous years.
 ND leader Meimarakis: A tax raid and more pension cuts are comingThe 2016 draft budget presented by the government on Monday returns people back to the harsh reality of budget cuts, main opposition leader Vangelis Meimarakis said on Monday, following the presentation of the government's policy statements in Parliament by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras earlier tonight.
"He [Tsipras] tried to kill us all by telling us how great the situation is and the policy he will implement," the leader of New Democracy said, adding that new cuts are coming in the main and supplementary pensions, along with a tax raid. He also said that Tsipras' budget will result in a deficit and recession instead of a surplus, while unemployment will increase in 2015 and 2016.
"ND has stressed that it will approve any constructive, correct, European, progressive, growth-promoting measure and will disapprove of any recessionary, anti-European and backward measure he [Tsipras] brings," he added.
 New Democracy spokesman Karagounis resignsNew Democracy (ND) spokesman Costas Karagounis on Tuesday submitted his resignation to party leader Evangelos Meimarakis.
 PM delivered 'Groundhog Day' speech in Parliament, Potami saysThe opposition Potami party on Tuesday compared Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the lead character in the film "Groundhog Day", saying the promises he made in Parliament on Monday night were just as general and virtually indistinguishable from those he had made last January.
"It was as if he hadn't been in power for the last eight months, as if he had not understood that the third memorandum and the new tax raids are the result of his own disastrous choices, which shut down the banks with as yet incalculable consequences," a Potami announcement said.
The prime minister appeared not to have understood that they only way for the economy to recover was to ease taxation on productive people and SMEs that are provenly unable to support a problematic and party-dominated state, Potami added.
 PASOK leader Gennimata accuses Tsipras of presenting 'virtual reality' to peoplePASOK leader Fofi Gennimata accused the prime minister on Tuesday of presenting a "virtual reality" to people by pretending the problems will disappear on their own.
"The prime minister proved in Lesvos today and yesterday in parliament, that he is contend with presenting a virtual reality. However, the circle of illusions has closed for good," Gennimata said, commenting on Alexis Tsipras visit to Lesvos.
"Neither the refugee crisis nor people's problems will disappear with chatter on the easy problems and an awkward silence on the difficult issues. The problems are here, they are many and demand solutions," she added.
 PM Tsipras congratulates Portuguese "Left Bloc" leader on their success in the national electionsPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday spoke on the phone with the coordinator of the Left party of Portugal "Left Bloc" Catarina Martins and congatulated her on her party' success in the national elections.
According to the prime minister's press office, Tsipras congratulated Martins on her party's success which is indicative of the strenghtening of the parties of the left as well as the front against austerity in Europe.
 Culture minister outlines plans to increase revenue from ancient sites, promote tourismAddressing Parliament during the three-day debate on the government's policy statements, Culture and Sports Minister Aristidis Baltas on Tuesday said his ministry would seek to increase revenues from archaeological sites and cultural events, while also taking steps to ensure that people were denied access to culture due to the economic crisis.
He outlined plans to introduce an electronic ticket to boost revenues and noted that steps had already been taken to raise entrance tickets to sites, which he said were currently inexcusably low. The minister also presented plans for promoting and linking archaeological sites to boost their revenues, including underwater archaeology and diving tourism.
Baltas expressed his conviction that alternative sources of revenue will be found by such means, which would allow the government to avoid imposing 23 pct VAT on private tuition and schools.
For those on low income, he added, in addition to the solidarity card, the government could also add free entrance to museums and archaeological sites that would not place a burden on the state budget.
 Council of State ruling a chance to hold necessary talks with government, Hellas Gold CEO tells ANA-MPALast week's Council of State (CoS) ruling, which temporarily reversed a ministerial order and allowed the resumption of gold mining activity in Halkidiki, was a chance to hold necessary talks on the issues with the government, Hellas Gold CEO Mihalis Theodorakopoulos said on Tuesday.
"We will not put the CoS on the company's board, nor a minister; you cannot have investments with MAT riot police and the CoS," Theodorakopoulos told the ANA-MPA radio station 'Praktorio 104.9'.
He also stressed that Hellas Gold did not consider itself an "opponent" to the state:
"The important thing is to sit down with the state to find a political solution, or whatever else is needed to satisfy the government, in order to continue. We don't even want to think about the contract being revoked," Theodorakopoulos stressed.
He noted that since 2012, when the company was in "full investment mode", a total of 600 million dollars had been brought in by the parent company.
Hellas Gold was willing to participate in a scientific conference to discuss all the outstanding issues involving the investment on a scientific basis, Theodorakopoulos said, noting that opponents of the project disputed scientific conclusions supporting the investment in the same way that football supporters disputed referee calls against their team.
The Hellas Gold CEO also pointed out that the environmental safety of the investment applied throughout its duration. "We have 30 years of operation ahead of us. We cannot pretend to be 'good boys' for four to five years and then make mayhem," he added.
He referred to other interests of the parent company Eldorado Gold in the region of Thrace, noting that the area's mineral wealth could become an engine for growth in northern Greece, especially.
"They call it mineral wealth, not mineral misery or a mineral curse," he quipped.
 Justice minister repeats pledge to extend civil partnership agreements to same-sex couplesJustice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos reiterated on Tuesday the government's pledge to extend the civil partnership agreement to same-sex couples, during the presentation of the government's policy statements in Parliament.
Last June, the ministry had posted a draft bill changing civil partnership agreements online for public consultation, but it was never sent to parliament. That bill didn't allow adoption.
"Some issues concerning the rule of law and equality will be regulated, such as the new form of the civil partnership agreement that will recognize the marriage of homosexuals and heterosexuals," Paraskevopoulos told parliament.
He also said new legislation will be introduced to guarantee press freedom "so as to secure citizens against tabloid journalism and discourage excessive compensation [from law suits] which may act as informal censorship". The government will also seek to extend anti-racism legislation by adding racist speech and acts and create a national action plan for racism and xenophobia.
The slow administration of justice is another issue that the ministry will attempt to tackle, Paraskevopoulos said, noting it is a complicated issue where quick solutions are not possible. He said the government has set up working groups and legislative committees which will handle the new issues.
 Arms dealer Konstantinos Dafermos arrested on bribery chargesGreek authorities on Tuesday announced the arrest of the arms dealer Kostantinos Dafermos for illegal payments relating to an armaments programme, on the basis of a warrant issued by a corruption magistrate.
The warrant against Dafermos and two employees at his arms dealership relates to illegal payments allegedly given as bribes to secure a contract to supply 98 'Kornet' long-range anti-tank missile launchers to the Greek armed forces.
Based on evidence collected by Greek authorities, including the testimony of former deputy director for arms procurements at the defence ministry Antonis Kantas, a total of three million dollars was paid in kickbacks for the deal.
The charges against Dafermos and the two other suspects are for active and passive bribery, aggravated by the provisions of laws on embezzlement from the public sector and money laundering. All three will be led before the examining magistrate.
 European Parliament approves 35-billion-euro funding package for GreecePARIS (ANA-MPA/ O. Tsipira)
The European Parliament on Tuesday approved changes to the structural fund rules for Greece that will allow the front-loading of 35 billion euros in financial aid to help boost the country's ailing economy. The MEPs adopted the European Commission's proposal unchanged, on the recommendation of the EU Parliament's regional development committee, rejecting all proposed amendments.
The Commission's proposals were backed by a strong majority of 586 votes in favour, 87 against and 21 abstentions. This fast-track procedure paves the way for the swift adoption of the measures by the Council and their immediate entry into force.
The set of one-off measures is aimed at boosting the effective spending of 35 billion euros earmarked for Greece in the EU 2014-2020 budget. This includes 20 billion euros from the European structural and investment funds and 15 billion euros from agricultural funds.
The measures aim to speed up the implementation of EU funds to help Greece ensure that all the money available to it from the 2007-2013 programming period is used in time (before it expires at the end of 2017), and to help Greece meet the requirements for accessing all the EU funds available to it in the current programming period of 2014-2020.
The funding covers programming periods up to 2020. The amendment to the current regulation proposed by the Commission and agreed by Parliament allows some 500 million euros to be released as soon as the legislation is adopted and a further 800 million euros will be released in advance of the formal closure of the programmes in 2017. These special measures are neutral for the EU budget, as they will be implemented within the country allocations agreed in the current multi-financial framework for 2014-2020.
Under the emergency measures, Greece is relieved of the obligation to put up national co-financing funds since the EU contribution rate is raised to 100 pct, while levels of pre-financing are raised by 3.5 pct and making the total amount - including pre-financing and interim payments, immediately available. Otherwise at least 5 pct of EU payments would have to be held back until 2017.
A total of 11 amendments put forward by far-right groups in the EU Parliament were rejected.
 Minister pledges crackdown on tax evasion, with German-style tax raids on big businessThe government intends to crack down on tax evasion by adopting best practices from other countries, Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis said in Parliament on Tuesday, during the debate on the government's policy statements.
Among others, he announced plans to follow the German model for tax inspections, in which large teams of inspectors conducted raids on the offices of large and well-connected businesses, and to push back the end-of-year deadline by which a number of major tax evasion cases are written off.
He also promised that the investigation into the so-called 'Lagarde list' will be completed within 2016, with priority given to the firms and individuals linked to politics and the media, where he promised the relevant inspections will be completed within five months. According to Alexiadis, investigations have been initiated in 481 cases out of a total 2,062 on the Lagarde list, and only 136 have been completed due to the small number of investigators on the case.
He said the government will target large-scale tax evasion in its crackdown, focusing on banking groups, businesses that supplied the public sector and media owners. To this end, the SDOE financial crime squad will be reinforced with extra staff, Alexiadis announced. He pointed out that the government had carried out more than 140,000 inspections in the last summer, compared with just 22,275 the previous year and 7,115 in 2013.
The minister also revealed plans for "last-chance" legislation that will allow tax payers to reveal undeclared capital, either in Greece or abroad, before a wealth register is activated.
Finally, he outlined plans to make all transactions with tax offices fully electronic, abolishing the necessity for trips to the tax office in person, and incentives to the public to use 'plastic' money rather than cash, while reducing the cost of POS equipment for retailers.
 Final solution for Thessaloniki metro until the end of October, says Infrastructures Min Spirtzis after his meeting with Commissioner CretuAn agreement on the restart of the works at Thessaloniki metro is expected until the end of October, stated on Tuesday, Infrastructures, Transport and Networks Minister Christos Spirtzis after his meeting with European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu.
Earlier, Cretu underlined the need works to be accelerated and particularly the works of Thessaloniki metro which constitutes a main pillar of the economy.
"Political decisions are necessary as well as national legislation in order everything to move faster" she said.
On his part, Spirtzis referred to a close cooperation between the two parts adding that in two weeks the responsible agencies will meet "to find the best possible way to complete the works that are underway".
The minister said that 750 million euros from the NSRF will be used for the motorways and the railways.
The ministry's plan is that those works that are not completed until the end of the year, to be transferred as works-bridge to the new programme. The financing of the new programme for infrastructures is significantly lower than the NSRF and will reach 4 billion euros.
 Greek contagion risks remain a concern, IMF saysContagion risks from Greece-related events to other euro area economies, while lower than earlier in the year, remain a concern, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday.
The IMF noted that risks have diminished since the agreement on a new European Stability Mechanism program for Greece, but should policy and political uncertainty reemerge in the country, sovereign and financial sector stress in the euro area could also reemerge, with potentially broader spillovers.
The Fund's economic estimates were in line with Greek government forecasts. The IMF expected the Greek economy to contract by 2.3 pct this year and by 1.3 pct in 2016, rising by 2.4 pct in 2020. It noted that a moderate economic recovery in the Eurozone meant that Greek economic prospects were clearly more negative following a protracted period of uncertainty which prevailed earlier in the year.
The IMF expects the inflation rate to remain in negative territory this year (-0.4 pct) rising to zero in 2016 and to 1.4 pct in 2020. The country's current account balance is projected to record a surplus of 0.7 pct of GDP this year and to 1.5 pct of GDP in 2016, but returning to a 0.2 pct deficit in 2020. The unemployment rate is projected to rise to 26.8 pct of the workforce this year and to 27.1 pct in 2016.
The IMF revised lower its forecasts for global growth to 3.1 pct this year and to 3.6 pct in 2016, down from 3.3 pct and 3.8 pct in its spring forecasts, respectively.
 Heating oil price is seen lower this yearThe heating oil price will be around 85 cents per litre at the beginning of the winter season, on October 15, provided that the special consumption tax remains stable at last year's levels (23 cents per litre), according to petrol station owners.
Therefore, the price of heating oil is expected to be significantly lower than last year (1.0-1.1 euros per litre). The drop is due to the decline in global oil prices.
However, the issue of the heating oil allowance for low incomers remains open, as the agreement with the creditors provides for a 50 percent reduction in the relative funds.
 Terna signs four contracts in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi worth 150 mln eurosTerna SA on Tuesday announced it has signed four new contracts worth around 150 million euros in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
In Bahrain, Terna signed a contract to build and support a complex of 832 houses in the framework of "Affordable & Social Housing" with a budget of around 95 million euros. Terna will also build a sewage project in Bahrain budgetted at around 23 million euros, as head of a joint venture with CGCE Abu Dhabi.
Terna has signed two new contracts in Abu Dhabi, worth around 32 million euros to build a luxury house complex and a general hospital.
 Delta says yogurt sales abroad up 180 pct in Jan-SeptDelta Dairy on Tuesday its export activity was growing rapidly as part of a company strategy to seek growth in foreign markets.
A company announcement said that sales of Delta yogurt abroad grew by a spectacular 180 pct in the January-September period, particularly in Italy, where Delta has launched its authentic Greek yogurt brand in cooperation Granarolo. Sales of Delta yogurt totaled 10 million euros annually in Italy and awarded with the "Self Service Excellence Award 2015".
 Tax losses of 4.3 mln euros from contaband cigarettesA large quantity of contaband cigarettes were hidden in a freighter located off the coasts of Chania, Crete on September 28.
The freighter was led for inspection at Souda port.
According to a Coast Guard announcement, the search in the freighter revealed 1,160.000 packets of cigarettes and the tax losses were estimated at 4,245.147,48 euros.
 Passenger traffic up 14.7 pct in SeptPassenger traffic in the Athens International Airport grew 14.7 pct in September to 1.8 million, from 1.6 million passengers in the same month last year.
The Athens airport recorded a new passenger traffic record in the January-September period with a total of around 14 million passengers. Domestic passengers totaled 636,000 in September, up 15.2 pct from last year, while international passengers totaled 1.2 million euros, up 14.4 pct. Foreign travelers grew 25 pct in September, while Greek travelers fell 5.0 pct.
In the January-September period, passenger traffic totaled 14.1 million, up 21 pct from the same period last year, of which domestic traffic grew 24.6 pct to around 5.0 million passengers and international traffic rose 19.2 pct to around 9.1 million passengers.
Scheduled flights totaled 17.1 thousand in September, up 11.1 pct from the same month last year, while in the nine-month period, the number of flights totaled 137.7 thousand, up 15.8 pct from 2014.
 Foreign investors cut exposure in Greek stock market in SeptForeign investors cut their exposure in the Greek stock market in September to 52.4 pct (including the participation of Hellenic Financial Stability Fund), while excluding HFSF participation, foreign investors' participation was 56.3 pct in September from 57.3 pct in August.
Greek investors held a 39 pct of the market's capitalization last month. Foreign investors were net sellers with capital outflows totaling 2.58 million euros, while Greek investors were net buyers with capital inflows totaling 2.41 million. Foreign investors accounted for 53.2 pct of total market transactions in September, down from 66.2 pct the previous month and 64.7 pct in September 2014.
The value of transactions totaled 662.97 million euros in September, down 26.6 pct from August (902.94 million) and down 69.8 pct from September 2014 (2.195 billion euros).
Average daily turnover was 30.13 million euros in September, down from 43 million in August and 99.53 million euros in September last year. The number of active investor codes totaled 17,074 in September, down from 21,016 in August and 22,822 in September 2014.
The market's capitalization was 30.81 billion euros at the end of Septemebr, up 3.0 pct from August but down 49.6 pct from September 2014.
 Greek stocks end slightly upGreek stocks ended slightly higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday supported by strong demand for selected blue chip stocks such as National Bank, OPAP and OTE. The composite index rose 0.54 pct to end at 670.69 points, off the day's highs of 673.28 points. The Large Cap index rose 0.92 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.01 pct higher. Turnover was an improved 41,325 million euros, the highest in the last 12 sessions, while volume was 194,520,197.
National Bank (4.55 pct), OPAP (2.83 pct) and OTE (2.73 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains among blue chip stocks , while Piraeus Port (3.46 pct), Piraeus Bank (2.33 pct) and GEK Terna (2.23 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses.
Among market sectors, Telecoms (2.73 pct), Banks (2.19 pct) and Travel (2.05 pct) scored big gains, while Insurance (2.74 pct), Chemicals (2.18 pct) and Real Estate (1.19 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 45 to 41 with another 19 issues unchanged. Selonda (10 pct), Spyrou Farm (9.92 pct) and Newsphone Hellas (9.50 pct) were top gainers, while Audiovisual (29.55 pct), Vioter (20 pct) and Progressive (19.28 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 7.25 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 7.41 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.84 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.59 pct. The two-year Greek bond yielded 9.71 pct and the five-year bond yielded 8.58 pct. Turnover was a low 7.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate rose to 0.139 pct from 0.137 pct, the nine-month rate eased to 0.073 pct from 0.074 pct, the six-month rate was unchanged at 0.027 pct, the three-month rate fell to -0.046 pct from -0.043 pct and the one-month rate rose to -0.112 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe October contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,238 contracts with 10,571 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 52,131 contracts with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (18,553), followed by National Bank (10,435), Piraeus Bank (15,518), Eurobank (4,903), OTE (396), PPC (1,011), OPAP (350), MIG (1880), GEK (129), Hellenic Petroleum (141), Jumbo (119), Frigoglass (95) and Hellenic Exchanges (82).
 ANA-MPA exclusive: Aerial photos of migrants' disembarkation on LesvosThe aerial photos of the Mytilene Aero Club showing migrants and refugees disembark at Korakas Cape, northeastern Lesvos, and a Turkish trafficker returning across the coast are breathtaking. A Coast Guard vessel, after being informed about the incident by the pilot of a small plane of the Aero Club, rushed to the area and arrested the trafficker.
More specifically, a plane of the Mytilene Aero Club, participating in aerial surveillance of the island for fear of forest fires, was flying in the sea region north of Lesvos when the pilot noticed at least four overloaded boats with more than 200 passengers. One of them arrived at Korakas Cape where around 50 people disembarked, while the Turkish trafficker made an effort to return to Turkey.
The pilot of the small plane informed the Coast Guard which rushed to the area, spotted the trafficker and chased him. The pilot of the Aeroclub, who wants to remain unknown, photographed the whole process, and said to ANA-MPA that the chase and arrest of the Turkish trafficker were really breathtaking. "And while all these were happening, a vessel of the Turkish Coast Guard was remotely watching."
On Monday, the Turkish smuggler carried 54 migrants and refugees, including 20 women and children, to Lesvos. He was arrested and brought to justice.
 Greek opera "Insenso" opens theatre circle of Cultural Capital of Europe 2016 in WroclawThe opera "Insenso," written by Dimitris Dimitriadis, and directed by Peter Sevastikoglou, will open the theatre circle of the Cultural Capital of Europe 2016 in Wroclaw, Poland, on January 15.
In the theatre of the renovated old train station in Wroclaw, Alexandra Kazazou will perform the monologue of Countess Livia Serpieri on love and passion that led to humiliation and triple betrayal -the country, social class, lover.
"For Dimitriadis, as for many people, love is one of the most revolutionary elements of life, one of those that shake our inner world. I think that the work indirectly has to do with what we are experiencing today, our effort to overcome what we take for granted, and try something that we do not dare," Sevastikoglou explained.
The opera is in Greek, but surtitles will be provided. There is no music as it is based on the musicality of the text that the author himself has called a "silent opera."
 Group exhibition launches Le Corbusier tribute in AthensA group exhibition held as a tribute to the pioneering Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, a founding figure of the modernist architecture movement, opens its doors in the Athens district of Kypseli (Kykladon 8) on Tuesday evening, at the Spiteri/Proveleggio House.
The exhibition "In the name of Le Corbusier" launches a series of events that will be held in the autumn of 2015 until the spring of 2016 in Athens to market the 50th anniversary since Le Corbusier's death.
"Why Le Corbusier? He played a tremendous role in architecture, the arts and letters, urban planning in the 20th century. He became a global figure and had a very close relationship with Greece. A relationship that gives him a special role when we refer to Greek architecture and Greece's relations with the international architectural scene," noted National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) Professor Panagiotis Tournikiotis, who helped organise the exhibition.
Tournikiotis highlighted Le Corbusier's love of the Greek landscape and environment, both that of Greek antiquity and in the unique architecture of the Cyclades islands and also his hugely influential lecture held in front of the NTUA in 1933, when he was head of the 4th International Congress on Modern Architecture.
"This was so great that since 1930, even before the congress, and until his death in 1965, 18 Greek architects and civil engineers went to Paris to work with him. Some of them were famous, such as Aristomenes Proveleggios, who was the architect of this house and Yiannis Xenakis," he noted.
The events in Greece are co-organised or supported partly or totally by the French Institute, the Swiss Embassy, the Greek Docomomo and other cultural or scientific entities.
 Athens' Choco Factory and Museum to open on Nov 7Athens' "Choco Factory and Museum" is a theme park with educational and recreational content. It is located at the premises of HELEXPO and it will operate from November 7, 2015 to February 21, 2016.
Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the chocolate waterfalls, fudge mountains, giant truffles, and caramel rivers while participating in chocolate and biscuit workshops.
At the Chocolate and Cocoa Museum, visitors can learn everything there is to know about the exotic cocoa tree and see real samples of the cocoa fruit and beans.
In the Aztec Temple, they will learn about the natives of the Americas, their civilization, their legends and incredible stories about cocoa.
In the Amazon Jungle, a unique experiential tour through a small, but real, jungle, where simulated conditions allow you to feel the heat and stifling humidity.
In the wooden Amazon Hut you can watch the journey of cocoa and chocolate through Europe, with the help of modern technology.
At the Chocolate Workshop you can participate in the production and packaging stages of chocolate and, of course,... taste it!
At the Biscuit Workshop you see the production process of biscuits and at a new workshop you prepare your own tasty gift!
At the Milk Workshop you can have your picture taken (and more) in the fairy-tale setting of a small farm.
At Quality Control, in the Factory's chemistry lab, with the help of a "magical" scientist, you learn what you should be careful of as consumers and, of course, you will observe an impressive "chocolaty" experiment.
The Time Machine will take you to places and times where chocolate has travelled through an intricate and playful Labyrinth.
At the Education Hall you will learn, through fun and small gifts, about correctly brushing your teeth and oral hygiene.
At the Choco Art Gallery, a different art and culture venue, you can admire, up close, sculptures, paintings, various works of art, a photography exhibition and comic strips related to chocolate.
At the Caramel Workshop you can see how handmade caramel is produced, which you will obviously have to try while it is "fresh."
The tour of the "Chocolate Factory and Museum" is an unprecedented, unforgettable, experiential, educational and tasty experience as you watch, learn, create, touch and taste!
 French producer Jean-Francois Lepetit gives ERT the rights to his entire workFrench producer Jean Francois Lepetit, famous for works such as 'Three Men and a Baby', 'Death and the Maiden' and others, on Tuesday announced that he is granting the Greek state broadcaster ERT the rights to broadcast his entire body of work without any fee, in order to hail the decision for to reopen Greece's public broadcaster.
"I believe it is very important for every country to have independent, public mass media because they are the guardians of cultural diversity and pluralism," Lepetit said at a event held at the ERT building on Monday night, attended by ERT director Lambis Tagmatarchis and Culture Minister Aristidis Baltas.
Lepetit has produced more than 80 films, both fictional and documentaries, as well as a number of television series.
 Fire on board yacht near Lefkada; two rescued from the waterA fire broke out on board a yacht sailing in waters off the Ionian island of Lefkada on Tuesday, close to the island of Meganisi, forcing those on board to jump into the water.
Two people, thought to be the only persons on board the vessel at the time, were collected from the water by a vessel sailing nearby and taken to Lefkada General Hospital.
The head of the Ionian Island Fire Brigade Service Efthymios Georgakopoulos told the ANA-MPA that a ferry boat carrying a fire engine and the necessary equipment to approach the flaming yacht is now heading to the scene to put out the fire.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: A 4-year plan to change Greece
DIMOKRATIA: Annihilation plan
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Ten equivalent measures for a lighter memorandum
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The 23 pct tax on education is suspended until it comes back
ESTIA: A 20-month government
ETHNOS: What are the budget codes hiding?
IMERISSIA: Bet on growth
KATHIMERINI: Another 4.35 billion euros from taxes and pensions
NAFTEMPORIKI: New 4.35 billion euro measures
RIZOSPASTIS: Their programme is a new anti-popular policy
TA NEA: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' focus on the markets
 Rain on WednesdayRain and winds from variable directions are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Heavy rainfall in the northern and western parts particularly in the afternoon and temperatures ranging from 11C-26C. Clouds in the morning and rain in the afternoon in the eastern parts of the country and temperatures between 14C-27C. Mostly fair in the morning and rain in the afternoon over the Aegean islands and Crete, 16C-26C. Partly cloudy in the morning and rain in the afternoon in Athens, 17C-26C. Thunderstorms in Thessaloniki, 16C-23C.
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