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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-11-24

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

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

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 Issue No: 5069

CONTENTS

  • [01] ESM approves 2-bln-euro tranche disbursement to Greece
  • [02] Greece meets conditions to receive 10 bln euros for bank recap - Eurogroup statement
  • [03] Dombrovskis: Greece must finalise second set of milestones by mid December
  • [04] PM Tsipras speaks on the phone with Merkel, Faymann
  • [05] PM Tsipras and Ukraine's president Poroshenko talk on the telephone
  • [06] Germany, Greece and Turkey's leaders to meet on refugee crisis, German deputy gov't spokesperson says
  • [07] New Democracy reschedules elections for new leader for Dec 13-sources
  • [08] New Democracy interim leader Meimarakis resigns
  • [09] Minister warns against linking refugee crisis with terrorism, after confirming report on 2nd Paris attacker
  • [10] EU member states' ambassadors to visit Mytilene on Tuesday
  • [11] Alt. FM Xydakis discusses refugee situation in Idomeni with FYROM ambassador
  • [12] Health minister calls for funding to support healthcare for refugees on islands
  • [13] FM Kotzias rejects claims PM agreed to open EU chapters with Turkey without Cyprus' agreement
  • [14] Education minister talks about Paris terror attacks in EU conference
  • [15] Cyprus problem an issue of invasion and occuption, Voutsis tells Cyprus Parliament
  • [16] Greece, institutions discussing second list of prior actions
  • [17] Greece can achieve the growth rates needed to pay back its debt, Regling tells South China Morning Post
  • [18] FYROM will no longer allow economic migrants to cross its borders, Popovski says
  • [19] New bank recapitalization was planned to secure interests of State-sources
  • [20] Employment in Greek commerce sector up 5.3 pct in 2015, report
  • [21] OTE unveils bond buyback program
  • [22] Taxpayers' ovedue debt grew by 812 mln euros in Oct
  • [23] Eurobank allocates 80 pct of new shares to investors through book-building offer
  • [24] Jumbo Group reports 8.9 pct rise in Q1 profits
  • [25] Austrian travel agency 'Gulet' ups Greek destinations to 19
  • [26] ATHEX Group says net profits down 68 pct in Jan-Sept
  • [27] Greek stocks remain under pressure as banks plunge
  • [28] Greek bond market closing report
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Sharp drop in migrants/refugees arriving on Lesvos, with no arrivals reported since Sunday night
  • [31] Another 1,016 refugees from Mytilene arrive at Piraeus port
  • [32] Court acquits three investigated for arson attack on Hellas Gold worksite
  • [33] Turkish economist Dervis to give lecture in Athens
  • [34] Canellopoulos Museum in Plaka to host exhibition on ancient Greek theatre
  • [35] Police finds gas canisters outside house used by Muslims for prayer
  • [36] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [37] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] ESM approves 2-bln-euro tranche disbursement to Greece

    The Board of Directors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) authorized on Monday as expected the disbursement of 2 billion euros to Greece, following the country's completion of the first set of milestones.

    The disbursement will primarily be used for debt service, as well as for arrears clearance, and co-financing projects funded by EU structural funds, the body said in a statement.

    "Today's decision to disburse 2 billion euros of ESM funds reflects the Greek government's commitment to the programme as it implemented an extensive list of essential reforms. These include key financial sector reforms which are important to support the ongoing bank recapitalization process," the ESM's Managing Director Klaus Regling said.

    "If programme implementation remains strong, I am confident that the Greek people's reform efforts will allow them to make visible strides towards a sound recovery," he added.

    This installment is the second of the initial loan sub-tranche of 16 billion euros approved in August 2015. The first part of this sub-tranche, 13 billion euros, was disbursed on 20 August. The remaining one billion euros will be available to be disbursed upon the completion of a second set of milestones.

    [02] Greece meets conditions to receive 10 bln euros for bank recap - Eurogroup statement

    Greece has met all the conditions required to disburse up to 10 billion euros in funds to recapitalize its lenders, the Eurogroup concluded on Monday, according to a statement released earlier.

    "The Eurogroup welcomes the completion by the Greek authorities of the first set of milestones and the financial sector measures that are essential for a successful recapitalization process," the Eurogroup said.

    "The EWG agreed, on the basis of a positive assessment of the European institutions, that the policy conditions, necessary to support the transfer of funds to the HFSF out of the 10 billion euros earmarked for bank recapitalization and resolution purposes, have been met by the Greek authorities," it added, noting that the formal decision of the transfer of the funds to the HFSF will be taken by the ESM Board of Directors, following the relevant state aid decisions on a case-by-case basis.

    It also urged Greek authorities to accelerate the work with the institutions on a second and final set of milestones under the first tranche and on the measures needed to complete the first programme review. "We welcome the commitment of the Greek authorities to finalise a second set of milestones by mid-December and to take all the necessary decisions needed to remove bottlenecks on key projects (including metro, motorways, environment) co-funded by the EU and EIB," it added.

    [03] Dombrovskis: Greece must finalise second set of milestones by mid December

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ C. Vasilaki)

    The next steps for Greece will be to finalise the second set of milestones by mid December, prepare for the first review and effective implementation of European Union funds, European Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis said in a tweet on Monday. (https://twitter.com/VDombrovskis/status/668849356100018176)

    [04] PM Tsipras speaks on the phone with Merkel, Faymann

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras late on Sunday spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann to discuss the refugee issue.

    Tsipras also spoke with Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades and decided to be in constant contact ahead of a possible EU-Turkey summit on the refugee issue.

    [05] PM Tsipras and Ukraine's president Poroshenko talk on the telephone

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday received a telephone call from Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, who thanked him for the Hellenic Parliament's ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, according to a press release issued by the Greek premier's office.

    They also discussed the need to ensure peace and stability in the Ukraine and surrounding region, as well as the prospects of enhancing Greek-Ukrainian relations, the announcement said.

    [06] Germany, Greece and Turkey's leaders to meet on refugee crisis, German deputy gov't spokesperson says

    The leaders of Germany, Greece and Turkey have agreed to meet because the refugee crisis concerns them particularly, German deputy government spokesperson Georg Streiter said on Monday referring to the trilateral meeting announced last week by the Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu.

    Streiter added that the meeting will soon take place, but explained that he was not in a position to announce the date and place.

    On his part, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer, in reply to a question concerning the creation of hotspots in Turkey, stated that the negotiations between the EU and Turkey are underway, and referred to the European Commission for more information.

    [07] New Democracy reschedules elections for new leader for Dec 13-sources

    The elections for a new leader of the main opposition party, New Democracy, which were postponed on Sunday due to serious technical problems, have been rescheduled for December 13, sources said on Monday.

    The party's Central Electoral Committee, which met on Monday, also decided to look immediately for an information company that will be able to handle the procedure.

    [08] New Democracy interim leader Meimarakis resigns

    New Democracy (ND) interim leader Evangelos Meimarakis submitted his resignation on Monday and lashed out against the other candidates for their recent stance.

    Meimarakis announced that he would call on the secretary of ND parliamentary group Yiannis Plakiotakis and ask him to start immediately the procedure to appoint a new interim leader. Moreover, he called on the other candidates to resign from their posts. Adonis Georgiadis accepted the call and already resigned from party parliamentary spokesman as well as Kyriakos Mitsotakis while Apostolos Tzitzikostas cleared out that he will not step down from his position as local governor.

    He argued that the issue was totally technical and it should not have taken a political dimension. "Everybody knew the specific company; it is highly hypocritical to suggest they were not aware of it and ask for the resignation of the chief of the political electoral committee, who had no relation with the technical issues."

    Meimarakis stated that he was never particularly interested in the position of the interim leader. "I told them to hand over the reins in August, but nobody wanted it," he said. "I am ready to hand over the interim leadership, I want to clarify that I do not resign from the process that has already started and nobody should dare to imagine that can stop it," he added.

    [09] Minister warns against linking refugee crisis with terrorism, after confirming report on 2nd Paris attacker

    Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Toskas confirmed on Monday that two of the terrorists involved in Paris' attacks passed from the island of Leros in October, but warned against linking refugee flows with terrorism during an interview with private radio station.

    "There were two incidents for which we cooperated with the French authorities and which were identified in record time. They passed through Leros in early October and participated in the terror attacks in Paris," the minister told Real FM commenting on media reports that some of the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks had passed through Greece.

    "The French asked for the information and we gave it because there has been a good identification in Leros and we confirmed this information. But we're talking about two cases among 500,000 people who have arrived since the start of the year," he added.

    Asked if the country has taken increased security measures following the attacks, Toskas said identification has become more thorough on the islands and that security has also beefed up - among others - around areas of mass attendance, embassies of certain countries, companies. "We have taken increased measures in the identification centers on the islands were more checks take place and we try to make them better. There's always room for improvement," he said, adding that there's also cooperation with other countries.

    [10] EU member states' ambassadors to visit Mytilene on Tuesday

    The European Union state members ambassadors to Greece will visit the island of Lesvos on Tuesday in order to be informed on the prevailing conditions at the refugees and migrants reception and identification centers in Mytilene.

    Alternate Foreign Minister responsible for Foreign Issues Nikos Xydakis, Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas along with a delegation of Greek officials will accompany the ambassadors and their associates.

    During their visit to Lesvos, the EU ambassadors will visit the camp at Kara Tepe and the refugees and migrants identifications center at Moria as well as the reception centers at Sykamnia.

    They will also have meeting with officials of the local administration.

    [11] Alt. FM Xydakis discusses refugee situation in Idomeni with FYROM ambassador

    Greece's Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis on Monday had a meeting at the foreign ministry with the head of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Liaison Office in Athens, Darko Angelov.

    During the meeting, the discussion focused on bilateral cooperation on the refugee and migration issue, with emphasis on the acute form the issue has taken on in Idomeni. Moreover, reference was made to the potential opening up for the two countries in the context of the confidence-building measures.

    FYROM recently announced that it will only allow refugees fleeing armed conflict - such as in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq - into the country and has started barring entry to economic migrants. This has left roughly 1,000 third country nationals stranded in the no-man's land between the Greek and FYROM borders at the crossing near the Greek village of Idomeni.

    Of these, some 10 Iranians on Monday began a hunger strike and stitched their lips together in protest.

    [12] Health minister calls for funding to support healthcare for refugees on islands

    Refugees and migrants arriving in Greece urgently need a comprehensive health plan financed by EU funds, Health Minister Andreas Xanthos said on Monday during his speech at the conference of the World Health Organization in Rome, which focuses on the refugee crisis.

    In his speech, Xanthos noted that 80 pct of the refugees and migrants fleeing war zones arrive in Europe through Greece, with 70 pct of them being refugees from Syria. Among Syrian refugees, 16 pct are women and 25 pct are children.

    "Obviously there's no issue of a 'heath bomb' or of transmitted infectious diseases, but there's a need for preliminary examinations and emergency health care for people afflicted with illnesses of the general population; for early registration and separation of those who need special medical care and a rapid referral via ambulance to public healthcare units," he said.

    He also noted that these funds are needed immediately to increase medical staff and buy drugs, vaccines, and essential first aid material of all public health centers on the islands of the Aegean, as well as to provide 24-hour staffing for open accommodation centers in Attica.

    [13] FM Kotzias rejects claims PM agreed to open EU chapters with Turkey without Cyprus' agreement

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias rejected on Monday claims by opposition MPs that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to open more chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations without the agreement of Cyprus, during a session of the parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.

    "What the prime minister said is that the chapters could be opened; the question is how they will close. No chapters related to Cyprus; decision will be opened. We follow the Cyprus' choices. If [Cyprus] wants to keep a chapter under veto, they will keep it, and with our signature," he said as he briefed the Committee on Greece's foreign policy in the Balkans, the Middle East and Cyprus.

    The minister also dismissed the idea of joint Greek-Turkish patrols in the Aegean noting that "we condemned the idea from the beginning and Europeans apologized publicly."

    He also stressed that what Greece has big disagreements with Turkey but that, as neighbours, the two countries must talk between them. "The worst is to have third parties talk about us. We're restarting talks with Turkey in order to put forward confidence building measures."

    [14] Education minister talks about Paris terror attacks in EU conference

    Education Minister Nikos Filis said on Monday the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks in Paris were young people who embraced the extremist views of jihadists, who are constantly finding their way into Europe.

    The minister was speaking at a conference of EU Education ministers in Brussels, during which he expressed his condolences to the French delegation.

    He pointed out that to prevent these attacks, Europe must eliminate inequalities which make newcomers feel like strangers even when they are European citizens and, secondly, to change the image Europe's image to the Middle East.

    Concerning Greece's efforts to address the issue, he said that huge efforts are made in the midst of a difficult economic situation, to put an emphasis on languages and sport as a means of social integration of refugees, particularly the young.

    [15] Cyprus problem an issue of invasion and occuption, Voutsis tells Cyprus Parliament

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/ A. Viketos)

    Greece believes that Ankara holds the key to reaching an agreement on the Cyprus issue, Greek Parliament President Nikos Voutsis said on Monday while addressing Cypriot lawmakers, during a visit to the island.

    "A solution to the Cyprus problem is a prerequisite for the full normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations," he said.

    Speaking during a special session of the Cypriot Parliament, Voutsis underlined that the Cyprus problem was "primarily an international issue of invasion and occupation."

    He said that Greece was waiting for specific, constructive and meaningful initiatives from Turkey as "proof of its otherwise welcome rhetorical assurances of support for the negotiation process."

    Voutsis noted that the best method for resolving the Cyprus issue were bi-communal talks based on UN Security Council resolutions and UN mediation. Other methods proposed by Turkey from time to time chiefly sought to bypass UN decisions, undermine the legal Cyprus government and "equate the responsibilities of the occupation force, which is Turkey, with Greece's multi-faceted efforts to support the Cyprus Republic and the negotiating effort," he added, in order to "perpetuate the outdated and unacceptable... 1960s system of guarantees."

    He repeated that a mutually acceptable solution must be compatible with Cyprus' position as an EU member-state, ensuring the implementation of Community laws and regulations and Cyprus' continued effective representation in EU decision making.

    Voutsis also noted that Greece does not interfere in the negotiation on internal aspects of the Cyprus issue and centred its interest and initiatives chiefly on the international aspects of the problem.

    He also urged Turkey to accept that a fundamental condition for resolving the problem was to accept and recognise Cyprus' sovereignty and independence.

    Greece's Parliament president also underlined that neither Cyprus nor Greece will accept the island's division.

    Cyprus House of Representatives President Yiannakis Omirou, in his introduction, said the Greek-Cypriot side was hoping to see Turkey finally abandon its traditionally intransigent stance during the negotiations process currently underway, in order to open the way for a solution.

    Earlier, Voutsis had separate meetings with Cyprus' Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and the heads of the parties in Cyprus' Parliament. He was also received by Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    [16] Greece, institutions discussing second list of prior actions

    Three thorny issues included in negotiations between Greek authorities and the country's creditors -raising tax rates for farmers, introducing new tax scales on rent income and integrating an extra contribution tax on income tax scale are said to be postponed at a later stage, probably next year.

    Finance ministry sources said that these three issues will not be included in a list of prior actions needed for the disbursement of an 1.0 billion euros sub-installment, remaining from a 3.0 billion euros installment. A Euroworking Group meeting on Saturday agreed that Greece successfully implemented a first list of prior actions related with the disbursement of a 2.0 billion euros sub-installment. ESM is expected to approve the disbursement of this sum along with part of capital from a 10-bln-euro loan earmarked for the recapitalization of Greek banks.

    A second list of prior actions for the disbursement of the remaining 1.0 billion euros is currently under negotiations between Greek authorities and the institutions, but sources said that the Greek government has ensured an time extension on these three issues. However, the second list of prior actions will include issues such as managing non-performing loans, the privatization of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMHE), the independence of a General-Secretariat for Public Revenue and a single payroll in the public sector.

    [17] Greece can achieve the growth rates needed to pay back its debt, Regling tells South China Morning Post

    Greece is capable of achieving the growth rates that will enable it to pay off its debts, European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Managing Director Klaus Regling said in an interview with the Hong Kong newspaper "South China Morning Post" published on Monday.

    Asked whether Greece could realistically grow at a rate that would allow it to pay back its debt "and support the social infrastructure that is expected of a Western government," Regling replied: "It is possible. There is no doubt about that."

    According to the ESM's head, the lending terms to Greece were so favourable, with such low interest rates and long maturities, that "the debt stock itself is not very meaningful when we try to assess the debt burden on Greece."

    "It is much lower than the debt to GDP ratio would suggest. It is a little bit comparable to Japan where we have a debt to GDP ratio of almost 250% but obviously Japan has no problem servicing it because the interest rates are very, very low. So it is a little bit in that direction. The other side of the equation is indeed: what is a reasonable expectation for growth for Greece in the future. We saw that growth came back last year with the right policies."

    Regling noted that this return of growth was interrupted for about 6-7 months because the government elected on January 25 "tried a different approach," and "reversed some of the reforms".

    "But we know from the experience of last year and from the assessment of the institutions that with the right reforms Greece can have a good growth performance."

    "The OECD has said that with the right reforms Greece can have the highest potential growth rate in Europe," he pointed out. "At the same time they get all this very favorable lending from us. So it can add up. After a while the debt can begin to fall and they can grow out of their problems. This is possible but it requires a continuation of the reform efforts," he added.

    [18] FYROM will no longer allow economic migrants to cross its borders, Popovski says

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA/ N. Fragopoulos)

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will continue to allow refugees from war zones to cross its borders but bar entrance to all economic migrants, FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Popovski said on Monday in a meeting with foreign ambassadors to his country.

    He said FYROM had been forced to take this step after certain European countries announced that they will only accept refugees from war zones, as well as similar decisions taken by Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia on its borders.

    Popovski also asked that Greece, as an EU member-state in the Schengen area, should 'sort' the economy migrants from the refugees fleeing armed conflict and determine who has a right to cross the Greece-FYROM border and who doesn't.

    According to the FYROM interior ministry, 5,980 refugees were allowed into FYROM on Sunday, all originating in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    In the meantime, local news channels are reporting that dozens of migrants stranded in the no-man's land between the two countries at Eidomeni and barred from crossing the border have started a hunger strike and stitched their lips together in protest.

    Financial News

    [19] New bank recapitalization was planned to secure interests of State-sources

    The timely completion of the recapitalization of Greece's systemic lenders has averted the risk of a "haircut" on bank deposits which would have led to the collapse of the economy, sources from the Government Vice-President's office said on Monday.

    The sources noted that, from 2016, a new EU directive will come into force which leaves deposits over 100,000 euros uncovered, if a bank is unable to collect funds from the market to cover its capital requirements.

    "The new recapitalization has been planned in a way that secures the interests of the State in the best possible way and may even lead to a total recovery of the amount allocated in this phase," the sources said, adding that this was the reason the faster procedure of book building was chosen over the classical process of capital increase which "would not have been completed before the end of the year."

    They also said that all large banks were saved as if they hadn't been able to cover their basic capital needs from private funds, they would have been "resolved", an event that would scare off investors and significantly increase the cost of recapitalization for the Greek government and thus public debt.

    [20] Employment in Greek commerce sector up 5.3 pct in 2015, report

    Employment in the Greek commerce sector is up 5.3 pct this year, or 32,824 new job positions, reversing a five-year decline in employment (2009-2014) as a result of a deep economic crisis. Employment in the commerce sector totaled 657,319, returning to 1997 levels, Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) said in its annual report.

    Addressing an event organized by ESEE for the presentation of its annual report, Rania Antonopoulou, deputy Labor Minister said "we all have to help to move forward. It is a patriotic duty for employers, trade unions and the state".

    The report expected employment to remain unchanged in 2016, while for the first time a trend to halt business closures was evident, with less businessmen expected to close down their business.

    Antonopoulou said a return of unemployment citizens in the labor market was a challenge for the government and announced a series of programmes aimed to offer work to 104,000 unemployed people for a period of between 6-12 months and with a payroll cost of up to 450 euros. The Greek minister noted it was important to forge close cooperation with social partners, to build strong foundations of cooperation, adding that combating unemployment was not one ministry's responsibility. "Cooperation and consensus is needed," Antonopoulou said.

    ESEE president Vasilis Korkidis, addressing the event, said that Greek products were gaining market share, although he noted that additional burdens were a cause of concern for Greek commercial enterprises, predicting a further increase in overdue tax debt. Korkidis said he expected employment to stabilize in 2016. ESEE's annual report said that four out of 10 enterprises (societe anonymes and ltd) could not make any future predictions, while 4 out of 10 expected a decline in sales and profits in 2016.

    Employment in Greece grew 2.4 pct in 2015, with the unemployment rate easing to 24.6 pct of the workforce from 26.8 pct in 2014. The commerce sector remained the most significant employer in the country, with a market share of 18.1 pct in total employment and 20.8 pct in non-agricultural employment.

    [21] OTE unveils bond buyback program

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) on Monday unveiled a bond buyback offer and a plan to issue a new four-year bond loan.

    In an announcement to capital markets, OTE said it planned to buy back its bond loans, maturing in May 2016, at a price of 101.50 pct and maturing in February 2018 at a price to be set based on mid swap rates plus 350 bps.

    The total of bonds to be included in the buyback program will be determined by OTE plc and will depend on the successful completion of a new bond loan. The new bond will be issued under the Medium-Long term bond program of OTE plc, it will be priced in euros and will carry a fixed interest rate.

    OTE said the bond buyback program was aiming to achieve a more efficient management of the group's debt.

    [22] Taxpayers' ovedue debt grew by 812 mln euros in Oct

    Taxpayers' overdue debt to the state grew by 812 million euros in October, totaling 10.380 billion euros so far this year, up from 9.548 billion euros in September, the General Secretariat for Public Revenue said on Monday.

    In a report, the general secretariat said that total overdue debt to the state (combining both old and new debt) totaled 82.294 billion euros at the end of October.

    [23] Eurobank allocates 80 pct of new shares to investors through book-building offer

    Eurobank on Monday said it allocated 80 pct of its new shares to investors that participated in a recent book-building offer.

    The Greek bank, in an announcement, said that from a total of 2,038,920,000 new common, nominal shares issued in the framework of a share capital increase plan, 1,621,150,153 shares (around 80 pct of total) were allocated to investors participating in an offer to institutional investors and 417,769,847 shares (around 20 pct) were allocated to investors according to a liability management exercise announced in October 29.

    [24] Jumbo Group reports 8.9 pct rise in Q1 profits

    Jumbo Group on Monday reported an 8.9 pct increase in its first quarter profits to 21.79 million euros, from 20.01 million in the corresponding period last year.

    In the July-September period, sales grew 4.89 pct to 152.63 million euros, from 145.51 million, with domestic sales easing slightly while sales abroad continued rising. Gross profit margin rose slightly to 47.97 pct from 47.55 pct last year. EBITDA grew 9.58 pct to 32.86 million euros, from 29.99 million.

    "Sales in October and November so far showed a positive growth rate in all countries with established activities by the group, offering evidence that the Greek market remained resistant. However, Christmas sales will determine second quarter trends," Jumbo said in an announcement.

    Jumbo launched a new store in Pitesti, Romania, last month, raising its network to 73 branches in four countries.

    [25] Austrian travel agency 'Gulet' ups Greek destinations to 19

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/ D. Dimitrakoudis)

    The Austrian travel agency Gulet on Monday issued an announcement saying that Greece will be the main focus of its 2016 programme with a total of 19 destinations. The agency describes itself as "specialising" in Greece and said it provides access to both large and small Greek islands directly from Austria.

    [26] ATHEX Group says net profits down 68 pct in Jan-Sept

    Athens Exchange Group on Monday said that consolidated net after tax profits dropped 68 pct in the first nine months of 2015 to 5.6 million euros from 17.3 million euros in the first nine months of 2014. ATHEX Group said that, including the bond valuation differences, the net after tax profits per share in the January-September period amounted to 0.07 euros from 0.28 over the corresponding period last year.

    Turnover amounted to 23.1 million euros in the nine-month period this year from 36.2 million over the corresponding period in 2014, while after subtracting the Hellenic Capital Market Commission fee, total consolidated revenue amounted to 22.1 million from 34.5 million in 2014. The bank holiday that reduced the number of working days by 25 (of which 23 in the 3rd quarter), and the continuing restrictions in the trading activity of Greek private investors due to the imposition of capital controls, were significant negative factors affecting the turnover and profitability of the Group during the third quarter, the group said. In addition, in the nine months, total consolidated revenue is reduced due to the reduction in trading activity and the capitalization of the cash market, as well due to the reduced number of corporate actions by listed companies (share capital increases, new listings etc.). In the nine-month period of 2015 the average daily traded value was 84.2 million, compared to 132.6 million last year, a 37 pct reduction, while total traded value dropped by 45 pct. It should be noted that the number of working days in first nine months of 2015 were 160 vs. 186 in 2014.

    The average capitalization of the Greek capital market dropped by 38 pct compared to 45.2 billion euros from 72.8 billion in 2014. Market liquidity, as measured by turnover velocity, dropped to 56.3 pct in 2015 from 59.4 pct in 2014, while the average daily volume increased to 177 million shares compared to 91million shares in the corresponding period last year.

    In the derivatives market, the average daily number of contracts increased by 87 pct. The total number of contracts increased by 61 pct, while the corresponding trading and clearing revenue posted an 18 pct reduction due to the drop in the prices of the underlying securities and the change of the product mix in the market.

    Consolidated Earnings Before Tax (EBT) in January-September 2015 amounted to 7.9 million euros from 23.3 million over the corresponding period last year.

    [27] Greek stocks remain under pressure as banks plunge

    Greek stocks remained under pressure in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the bank index falling to new record-low levels. National Bank' s share was locked in the daily limit down pushing the bank' s capitalization to 555 million euros, while the capitalization of the four systemic banks fell to 1.5 billion euros. Bank shares are falling as traders seek to close a gap between current share price levels and the prices set in recent share capital increase plans.

    The composite index of the market fell below the 650-point level at 643.51 points, down 2.33 pct. The Large Cap index dropped 2.60 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.04 pct lower. Turnover was a low 26.784 million euros with volume at 169,398,904.

    Athens Water (0.97 pct), Folli Follie (0.52 pct) and Piraeus Port (0.20 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while National Bank (29.91 pct), Piraeus Bank (26.67 pct), Eurobank (17.65 pct), Alpha Bank (8.77 pct) and Hellenic Exchanges (5.91 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Among market sectors, Chemicals (0.72 pct), Commerce (0.48 pct) and Utilities (0.08 pc) scored gains, while Banks (20.79 pct), Financial Services (5.40 pct) and Raw Materials (3.71 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 80 to 25 with another 24 issues unchanged. Attica Bank (30 pct), Dionic (20 pct) and Intertek (9.94 pct) were top gainers, while National Bank (29.91 pct), Nafpaktos Spin Mills (26.83 pct) and Piraeus Bank (26.67 pct) were top losers.

    [28] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained almost unchanged at 6.57 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 6.58 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 7.11 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.54 pct. Turnover was an improved 18 million euros, of which 16 million were sell orders and the remaining 2.0 million were one buy order.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.062 pct from 0.068 pct, the nine-month rate fell to 0.009 pct from 0.016 pct, the six-month rate fell to -0.030 pct from -0.024 pct, the three-month rate fell to -0.099 pct from -0.092 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.155 pct.

    [29] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.52 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,234 contracts with 14,016 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 4,808 contracts with investment interest focusing on OPAP's contracts (1,572), followed by MIG (562), OTE (402), PPC (1,362), Hellenic Exchanges (102), Mytilineos (155), Hellenic Petroleum (201), Metka (102), Ellaktor (136).

    General News

    [30] Sharp drop in migrants/refugees arriving on Lesvos, with no arrivals reported since Sunday night

    Police authorities on the north Aegean island of Lesvos on Monday reported a sudden and unexplained drop in the number of refugee and migrant arrivals, with no boats coming ashore since the previous day.

    "Since Sunday night, for the first time on Lesvos there has been no report of migrants arriving," a senior police officer told ANA-MPA.

    Authorities had seen the flow of migrants from the shores of Turkey dropping off sharply in the last few days but "today it's as if someone turned off a tap," the same officer said.

    He ruled out the 6.0-Beaufort southerly winds blowing in the area as the primary cause for the lower numbers, noting that the island had seen as many as 5,000 people a day arriving on its shores in similar or even worse weather during October.

    The Migrant and Refugee Registration and Identification Centre in Moria and the camp in Kapa Tepe have emptied, as has Mytilene's harbour. It is considered certain that with the sharp drop in arrivals, the ferries departing for Piraeus at night will have completely cleared Lesvos of migrants and refugees.

    [31] Another 1,016 refugees from Mytilene arrive at Piraeus port

    Two ferries carrying 1,016 refugees from Mytilene arrived at Piraeus port on Monday.

    "Super Fast VII" and "Blue Star Patmos" carried 503 and 513 refugees respectively.

    [32] Court acquits three investigated for arson attack on Hellas Gold worksite

    A Polygyros misdemeanours court on Monday acquitted three local residents from Ierissos of charges pressed in the wake of an investigation into an arson attack against the mining company Hellas Gold. The charges concerned weapons and other contraband items found in a police raid of their homes, in the wake of the attack on one of the company's worksites in Skouries.

    A fourth man was handed down a sentence of four months for illegal possession of firecrackers but was released pending appeal.

    The three had been charged with possession of hunting shotguns, fireworks, firecrackers and two-way radio transmitters found during raids on March 7, following the arson attack in February.

    The court accepted the defendants defence that the weapons found were either family heirlooms or not in a fit condition to be used.

    [33] Turkish economist Dervis to give lecture in Athens

    Turkish economist Kemal Dervis will deliver a speech entitled "The future of Europe beyond Multiple Crises: A way forward" on Wednesday in Athens.

    Dervis is vice president of the department of Global Economy and Development of Brookings Institute, one of the most important think tanks of the USA and former Finance Minister of Turkey.

    The speech will be in English without translation to Greek.

    [34] Canellopoulos Museum in Plaka to host exhibition on ancient Greek theatre

    The Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum in Plaka (12 Theorias Street) will on Friday inaugurate an exhibition on ancient Greek drama entitled "Discovering Ancient Theatre", with Culture and Sports Minister Aristidis Baltas attending. The opening ceremony will be held at noon, in the museum's temporary exhibitions gallery.

    The exhibition will trace the origins of theatre in ancient Greece, starting with the first impromptu performances and moving on to the birth of classical theatre in ancient Athens and its revival in the present day. The exhibition makes extensive use of digital technology, video and interactive applications in order to combine information with entertainment, designed to appeal to school children and families and to provide wheelchair access.

    Special education programmes for school groups will be offered on Tuesdays and Fridays.

    [35] Police finds gas canisters outside house used by Muslims for prayer

    Greek police found on Monday unexploded gas canisters outside of a house in the city of Iraklion, Crete, known to be used occasionally by Muslims as a prayer area.

    The unknown individuals had placed four gas canisters and several firecrackers at the entrance of the house, none of which were used. Police is investigating the incident.

    Weather forecast

    [36] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Clouds, rain and southerly winds are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Showers in the northern and the western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 10C-22C. Partly cloudy in the eastern parts with temperatures between 12C-23C. Scattered clouds that will gradually become thicker over the Aegean islands and Crete 15C-23C. Scattered clouds in Athens, 14C-21C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, 13C-20C.

    [37] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: New Democracy is dissolving with unprecedented procedures

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: New Democracy; a giant madhouse

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Shame, anger, dissolution clouds in New Democracy

    ESTIA: New Democracy under collapse

    ETHNOS: Vertigo in New Democracy after the fiasco

    KONTRANEWS: Chaos in New Democracy

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Three burning cases

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