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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-03-01

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

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

Tuesday, 1 March 2016 Issue No: 5122

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras chairs meeting on refugees, first program review
  • [02] Government asks local authorities to step up and help with refugee crisis
  • [03] We cannot abandon Greece now, German Chancellor Merkel says
  • [04] EU drafts emergency plan for Greece and the countries of the Balkan Corridor, says EU spokesperson
  • [05] Shipping Min Dritsas meets Alternate Civil Protection Min Toskas on refugee issue
  • [06] There must be mandatory, percentage-based allocation of refugees in EU, Vitsas tells ERT
  • [07] Refugee crisis is a historic challenge for Europe, says parliament head
  • [08] Shortage of tents at Idomeni as refugee numbers climb to 7,000
  • [09] 5,000 refugees and migrants now staying in Piraeus port passenger areas
  • [10] Two frigates ready to join NATO force in Aegean
  • [11] Passenger ferry used to carry prefab houses to Kos for refugee center
  • [12] Undocumented migrants to be readmitted to Turkey
  • [13] Greece bars TV crews, journalists from migrant and refugee reception centres
  • [14] Armed forces to help set up migrant hospitality camp in west Athens park
  • [15] Political leaders meeting on Friday, sources say
  • [16] Communist Party leader to participate on Friday's political leaders' meeting
  • [17] ND leader Mitsotakis: Government incapable of handling migrant-refugee crisis
  • [18] Euroworking Group to discuss Greek program review on Monday
  • [19] Greek economist Athanasios C. Thanopoulos takes over as head of ELSTAT
  • [20] Minister agreed with proposal for special corporate accounts exempt from confiscation, HCCE says
  • [21] Highest pension to be set at 3,088 euros for multi-pension beneficiaries, says minister
  • [22] Finance ministry announces tighter inspections to discourage profiteering from refugees, migrants
  • [23] Head of OLAF attends meeting with Greek anti-fraud services in Athens
  • [24] PM Tsipras congratulates Potami leader for re-election
  • [25] Patras mayor planning protest march to Athens against unemployment in April
  • [26] Privatizations needed for Greek economy to enter growth phase, says agency head
  • [27] Greek GDP revised upwards in Q4
  • [28] Greek retail sales turnover index up 22.9 pct in Dec
  • [29] Greek medical tech product market down 12 pct on average in 2010-2015, Icap report
  • [30] Entersoft Group says revenue up, profits down in 2015
  • [31] Greek stocks end strongly higher
  • [32] Greek bond market closing report
  • [33] ADEX closing report
  • [34] Migrants' arrivals on Greek islands increase on Monday
  • [35] "Ariadni" ferry with 1,810 refugees arrives at Piraeus port on Monday
  • [36] Ferry sailings cancelled due to high winds in Aegean
  • [37] Traffic accidents causing fatalities or injuries up in Dec.
  • [38] No metro service from start of shift until 08:00 on Tuesday
  • [39] Partly cloudy on Tuesday
  • [40] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Tsipras chairs meeting on refugees, first program review

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday chairs a meeting on the refugee issue and the first program review ahead of the critical EU summit on March 7.

    Tsipras underlined that Greece will ask for the obligatory allocation of refugees in EU countries, otherwise it will not consent to agreements from now on. He will brief the President of the European Council Donald Tusk during his visit to our country next Thursday on the issue.

    Meanwhile, the government is waiting for the representatives of the institutions to arrive to Greece and the first program review to be concluded, stressing that it implements the measures and the terms of the agreement.

    [02] Government asks local authorities to step up and help with refugee crisis

    The Greek government on Monday asked for the assistance of local authorities in handling the refugee crisis, in a meeting involving several cabinet ministers, as well as central and local government officials, chaired by Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis.

    Local authorities were asked to inform central services within the next few days which facilities and spaces they will make available for use for the hospitality of migrants and refugees passing through Greek territory, such as camping sites, sports facilities, summer camps, abandoned army bases and others, preferably near the national highways on the route between Athens and Idomeni near the FYROM border.

    The meeting also decided to set up a committee on the refugee crisis with representatives of the police, coast guard, army, health and welfare services and civil protection services.

    In statements afterward, Kouroumblis and Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas appeared confident that the situation will soon be manageable.

    Other ministers at the meeting included Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, Shipping and Island Policy Minister Thodoros Dritsas, Alternate Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis, Alternate Labour Minister Theano Fotiou and Deputy Interior Minister Yiannis Balafas.

    [03] We cannot abandon Greece now, German Chancellor Merkel says

    "We simply cannot abandon Greece now," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said late on Sunday in an interview with German TV ARD.

    Merkel accused Austria of the situation created at Greek-FYROM borders and underlined that she is in close contact with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. "The problem was created because Austria decided to accept up to 80 refugees daily," she stated.

    "We will meet on March 7 to discuss the issue. We did not keep Greece in the eurozone and then abandon a country member of the eurozone and the Schengen with so many problems," she said.

    Merkel also said that Greece should have provided accommodation for 50,000 refugees, but it has not done so, however, "we cannot leave Greece alone."

    "When a country designates its borders, the other one must suffer. This is not my Europe," the German Chancellor concluded.

    [04] EU drafts emergency plan for Greece and the countries of the Balkan Corridor, says EU spokesperson

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    European Union is currently drafting emergency plans for Greece and other countries of the Balkan Corridor so that a humanitarian crisis is avoided, stated on Monday EU spokesperson Mina Andreeva.

    According to Andreeva, the drafting of the emergency plan for the refugees problem in Greece was a European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker's request to the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras during their meeting in Brussels on February 17.

    Andreeva noted that Greece has already completed the report on the needs for the refugees in cooperation with the European Commission.

    As she said, the European Commission is closely monitoring the conditions and prepares emergency plans to assist Greece and the other countries of the so called Balkan Corridor. She also added that the Commission is examining the current and future needs of refugees reception, manpower, financing as well as material support.

    [05] Shipping Min Dritsas meets Alternate Civil Protection Min Toskas on refugee issue

    Shipping Minister Thodoris Dritsas on Monday met with Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Toskas to discuss the management of the refugee flows at Piraeus port and the improvement of the temporary accommodation conditions.

    "We cooperate with the Shipping ministry and I had a meeting with Shipping Minister Thodoris Dritsas in order to improve our coordination in addressing the refugee flows at Piraeus port," Toskas said to exclusive statements to ANA-MPA.

    Asked whether the Greek Police faces problems, Toskas replied: "Every day we are trying to improve the situation and since yesterday there are no refugees in Athina-Thessaloniki highway as they have been allocated in several cities and new camps in northern Greece. We aim at improving the situation, curtailing refugee flows and providing organised camps where refugees can stay on human conditions without causing any problems to the local society."

    [06] There must be mandatory, percentage-based allocation of refugees in EU, Vitsas tells ERT

    The solution to the management of refugee flows was a mandatory, percentage-based allocation of refugees throughout Europe, Greece's Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas told the Greek state broadcaster ERT on Monday.

    In an interview, he noted that the proposal for mandatory allocation was first made by ruling SYRIZA at the European Council in March last year and the resulting decision for voluntary participation in the scheme had, in certain cases, become "voluntary avoidance."

    It was in the interests of the older EU member-states not to close the borders, Vitsas added, pointing out that the impact from an effective abolition of the Schengen treaty could run to several billion euros.

    "We have the veto procedure. We also have cards for averting closed borders," he said. "There is a next day also and Greece will be called on by events to play a stabilising and developmental role."

    To turn Greece into a "warehouse of souls" in exchange for monetary compensation was not only wrong but created a situation that would help neither Greece, nor Europe, nor the surrounding regions, the minister added, noting that the situation would be "manageable" if the system operated at a level of around 70-80 percent.

    On how the crisis will evolve in the future, Vitsas said there were indications relating to refugee flows that were "hopeful" but also actions relating to the operation of Turkey's political and military system that gave rise to concern.

    [07] Refugee crisis is a historic challenge for Europe, says parliament head

    Europe has a historic opportunity to show solidarity through the refugee crisis, Parliament President Nikos Voutsis said in an interview with public radio station Proto programa.

    "It's Europe's historic moment to reaffirm its links of solidarity and all the values that emerged after the two bloody wars of the 20th century in its territory," he said, adding that the continent must face the crisis united.

    "If we lose this great opportunity, in the sense of a historical challenge, we will be talking about a divided, torn and possibly crumbling European Union," he added, while expressing hope that Europe will form a strategy for the refugee crisis by March 7, the date of the EU summit meeting on migration.

    [08] Shortage of tents at Idomeni as refugee numbers climb to 7,000

    Aid organisations were reporting an acute shortage of tents at the temporary refugee and migrant camp set up on the Greek side of the border crossing with FYROM at Idomeni on Monday, where the number of people seeking shelter reached 7,000 as FYROM authorities drastically slowed the passage of refugees into the no-man's land.

    About 500 people were forced to sleep out in the open, trying to keep warm using blankets and makeshift fires using fuel found in fields around the camp. Late arrivals that reached the camp on foot, unless they carried tents with them, usually had to wait until morning or until a tent was vacated in order to find some sort of shelter.

    Disappointment often awaited many groups of Syrian and Iraqi refugees waiting to pass the border, since many were turned back when their turn came around due to minor irregularities in their papers.

    "It is common for mistakes to be made in their service notes, especially to the date of birth," a Greek border guard told the ANA-MPA, noting that the inspections were now extremely strict.

    FYROM authorities opened up access to the no-man's land at 11:30 on Monday morning and only 10 people were let through before the incidents at the railway track began and FYROM police responded with tear gas and other riot control measures. After the turmoil subsided, about 200 refugees returned to the railway track with banners and carried out a sitting protest, demanding that the borders to the north be opened.

    [09] 5,000 refugees and migrants now staying in Piraeus port passenger areas

    There are currently 5,000 refugees and migrants currently staying in the passenger areas at Piraeus port, even after 800 departed for northern Greece on Monday morning, according to aid workers operating in the area. They are staying at gates E1, E2, E3, E6 and E7, as well as an old stone warehouse at the port, while gate E1 has been converted in to an informal "warehouse" for food, clothing, medicine and other essentials that the volunteers are sharing out among the refugees and migrants in the port.

    The volunteers reported a touching response from the general public, who are arriving with more aid supplies daily, while fruits and vegetables are sent from the Athens central vegetable market each day.

    Aid workers said the situation has changed in the past week, since people are no longer arriving at the port and then leaving but staying there, so the management methods need to change. They noted that better organisation was needed and that an announcement will soon be made so that anyone wishing to help can communicate with aid organisations and be included in the programme.

    Volunteers noted that the aim was to also involve the people staying at the port in the efforts to organise and keep the area clean.

    "We don't want to cultivate a culture where people expect everything from others," they said.

    Meanwhile, the health ministry, the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP), Medecins Sans Frontieres and Smile of the Child have sent doctors to provide medical care.

    Members of the public wishing to help can call the Piraeus Refugee and Migrant Support Initiative at the phone line 210 4123952, while donations are collected at Solidarity Piraeus, 49 Evripidou Street, Piraeus 18532. Large quantities should be sent to its warehouse on 13-15 Tombazi Street, Piraeus 18536 from 10:00 until 15:00, by appointment.

    [10] Two frigates ready to join NATO force in Aegean

    Two frigates are ready to join the NATO force which will be operating in the Aegean by helping to stop refugee traffickers, sources from the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS) said on Monday.

    The Italian frigate Libeccio which participated in a naval exercise in Italy and French frigate Montcalm are currently located southwest of the Peloponnese. Four frigates from Germany, Canada, Turkey and Greece are already part of the mission.

    [11] Passenger ferry used to carry prefab houses to Kos for refugee center

    A passenger ferry sailing from Samos to Kos was carrying prefabricated houses which will be set up at the temporary accommodation center on the island, a Shipping ministry source told ANA-MPA on Monday.

    The ship "Blue Star Patmos" sailed without any passengers and is now set to arrive to Piraeus to load more prefabricated houses for Kos.

    With the port of Piraeus filling up with newly arrived refugees and migrants, authorities have licensed the "Express Pegasus" ferry to use as a temporary accommodation shelter and the ministry has contacted more shipping companies asking them to make more vessels available for the same purpose.

    Later in the night, "Diagoras" ferry is expected to arrive in Piraeus carrying 316 refugees from Rhodes. It is not yet clear if it will makes stops tom other islands to pick up more people.

    [12] Undocumented migrants to be readmitted to Turkey

    Greek police on Tuesday will send back 308 undocumented migrants to Turkey. 90 percent of the migrants are Moroccans and a small number of them are Tunisians and Algerians.

    According to police, it is the largest, up to date, number of undocumented refugees that will be readmitted to Turkey as part of the bilateral agreement between Greece and Turkey. The migrants will be transferred by bus to the Turkish borders at Kipi and will be delivered to the Turkish authorities.

    [13] Greece bars TV crews, journalists from migrant and refugee reception centres

    Greece's migration policy ministry announced on Monday that it will no longer give permission to journalists and television crews to enter facilities set up for migrants and refugees in the country, such as reception centres and hospitality facilities. It said the decision was taken after consultations with the coordinators of hotspots and other centres on both the islands and on mainland Greece.

    In a press release issued later in the day, the ministry explained that the decision was taken after a request by the centre coordinators who asked not be distracted from their work.

    "As those working at the [refugee] centers are particularly burdened by the crisis, they themselves asked to be undistracted from their work for a reasonable period of time. In this context, they asked that representatives of media, organizations and university researchers are not allowed in," the ministry said, adding that the government will soon provide an organized access to the areas.

    [14] Armed forces to help set up migrant hospitality camp in west Athens park

    The Greek armed forces, working in collaboration with local authorities, have undertaken to set up a camp for refugees and migrants in the Antonis Tritsis camp in west Athens. They will set up tents supplied by various agencies, including the civil protection secretariat.

    [15] Political leaders meeting on Friday, sources say

    A political leaders meeting chaired by President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos will take place, according to sources, on Friday.

    The same sources said that earlier on Monday Pavlopoulos spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who also had a phone contact with main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

    [16] Communist Party leader to participate on Friday's political leaders' meeting

    The leader of the Communist Party, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, will participate in the political leaders' council meeting on Friday, during which he will present his party's views on migration, sources said on Monday.

    Earlier, during a phone call by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Koutsoumbas reportedly said the meeting will simply serve as a "wish list", considering the "government and the other parties are bound by the decisions of the EU and NATO, which are creating problems."

    [17] ND leader Mitsotakis: Government incapable of handling migrant-refugee crisis

    The government is proving itself incapable of implementing an emergency contingency plan to handle the migrant-refugee crisis and its attitutude so far does not inspire confidence, main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday after a meeting of the ND crisis management team on the refugees problem.

    He called on the government to immediately mobilise the entire state mechanism, including the armed forces, in order to provide the essential basic facilities for the refugees and migrants arriving in the country, such as food, sanitation and medical care. It should also prepare, within a week's time, the necessary supervised open but also closed temporary housing facilities, properly distributed throughout the country, Mitsotakis added.

    Thirdly, he urged better coordination between state services and local authorities in handling the crisis, action to ensure that the NATO force deployed in the Aegean did the job for which it was created in deterring people traffickers and an effective use of existing European funds, as well as asking for additional emergency funds to deal with the humanitarian crisis.

    Lastly, ND's leader called on the government to immediately launch initiatives to improve the country's image abroad and support the country's tourism product.

    Given the current conditions, convening a meeting of the political party leaders was imperative, Mitsotakis said, while the circumstances called for seriousness and responsibility, not "rushed and unilateral choices that will deepen the country's isolation and further damage its credibility."

    "The memory is still fresh, in any case, of the tragic negotiations of last summer. We will not permit further, devastating mistakes," he said.

    [18] Euroworking Group to discuss Greek program review on Monday

    The Euroworking Group, that will meet on Monday with the participation of the heads of the institutions, will discuss the date of their return to Athens and the review of the economic programme.

    Greek government sources confirmed there is convergence between the Greek side and EU officials on the crucial issues of the negotiation such as the pension reforms and the fiscal gap while the IMF differentiates its stance regarding the measures to be taken until 2018 and the fiscal figures.

    Special emphasis will be placed on Germany's stance as for the first time Finance Minister Wolfgang Shaeuble acknowledged during the G20 meeting Greece's financial burden from the evaluation and the refugee issue.

    The aim of the Greek government is the institutions to return as soon as possible so that the first program review is completed and a positive signal regarding the Greek economy is given to the markets.

    [19] Greek economist Athanasios C. Thanopoulos takes over as head of ELSTAT

    A Greek economist specialising in public finance, Athanasios C. Thanopoulos, has taken over as the new head of Greece's statistical authority ELSTAT by order of Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. An ELSTAT announcement on Monday said that Thanopoulos, an economics professor at Athens University, was unanimously proposed for the post by an ad hoc international committee of experts.

    He was recently member of a committee of experts advising the government on a wide range of topics, including: statistical governance; quality of official statistics; design of bank recapitalisation and resolution schemes; social security and pension system design; and design of optimal reimbursement schemes for pharmaceuticals.

    Thanopoulos also participated for several years as a head of delegation and national expert in the respective EU Committees and Working Groups, including the EFC Sub-Committee on Statistics and the Council WP on Statistics.

    [20] Minister agreed with proposal for special corporate accounts exempt from confiscation, HCCE says

    Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis on Monday indicated that the finance ministry was open to the idea of creating special corporate accounts that will be exempt from seizure for overdue debts, speaking at a meeting with the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (HCCE).

    An HCCE announcement said that Alexiadis agreed with four of the association's suggestions, including the creation of special bank accounts for companies that will be exempt from confiscations to cover state debts and will contain funds to cover businesses essential operating expenses and payroll costs.

    HCCE President Vassilis Korkidis also suggested that such accounts be directly linked with company POS terminals, in order to increase incentives for their use. He noted that the sums paid into accounts through the use of POS terminals were not net profits since they included VAT and also had to cover essential operating expenses needed to keep businesses running.

    The seizure of funds from the first euro was often counterproductive, he pointed out, since this often resulted in a business's cash flow being wiped out and prevented it from generating the revenue needed to cover its debts.

    [21] Highest pension to be set at 3,088 euros for multi-pension beneficiaries, says minister

    The new pension ceiling for those receiving more than one pension will be lowered to 3,088 euros in total - for all the pensions received - from 3,680 euros today, Deputy Minister for Social Insurance Issues Tasos Petropoulos said on Monday, during a debate on the social security and pension reform bill in parliament.

    He also said the highest pension one may receive will be 2,304 euros from 2,773 euros today. According to the government's proposal, the new pension limits will be implemented at least as long as fiscal consolidation is necessary, which is until 2018.

    [22] Finance ministry announces tighter inspections to discourage profiteering from refugees, migrants

    The finance ministry on Monday announced more frequent inspections in areas along the routes taken by refugees and migrants in order to discourage price-gouging and profiteering at their expense. The announcement was issued following reports concerning exploitation of migrants and refugees in first-reception areas and along the routes taken by migrants heading north.

    A meeting at the general secretariat for commerce and consumer protection decided to send out a circular to all regional authorities to step up inspections of businesses located in key areas along such routes, to discourage such phenomena.

    [23] Head of OLAF attends meeting with Greek anti-fraud services in Athens

    The head of the European Union's Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) Giovanni Kessler on Monday attended a meeting held in Athens on coordinating Greek anti-fraud services with their European counterparts, chaired by the general secretary on combatting corruption Giorgos Vassiliadis.

    Participants at the meeting included the special secretary for the SDOE financial crime squad Costas Christou, Financial Police chief Lieut. Gen. Emmanouil Ploumis and the head of the European Commission's office in Greece Panagiotis Karvounis.

    The meeting focused on further improving the excellent cooperation between OLAF and the general secretariat for combatting corruption, which has been named as the authority in charge of coordinating anti-fraud action (Greek AFCOS).

    [24] PM Tsipras congratulates Potami leader for re-election

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras congratulated Stavros Theodorakis for his re-election as leader of Potami party on Monday.

    According to party sources, Theodorakis discussed with Tsipras the refugee crisis and the premier informed him of his intention to convene a meeting of the political leaders' council on Friday (March 4) at noon (local).

    [25] Patras mayor planning protest march to Athens against unemployment in April

    Patras Mayor Kostas Peletidis on Monday announced plans to organise a 220-km protest march from the port city of Patras to Syntagma Square in central Athens, to be held in the first 10 days of April, in order to demand measures to counteract unemployment. He said that there were currently 15,638 long-term unemployed registered in Patras in 2015, as well as an additional 10,721 that were not considered long-term unemployed.

    Financial News

    [26] Privatizations needed for Greek economy to enter growth phase, says agency head

    The Greek economy needs to continue its privatization program to enter a new phase of growth, the head of the country's privatization agency HRADF Stergios Pitsiorlas told a Greek radio station on Monday.

    "The steps which have been taken recently show the government is working effectively, despite individual problems. For the Greek economy to pass into a new phase of development, I think this privatizations program should have taken place anyway," he told Vima FM, discussing the agency's ongoing projects.

    "The government and HRADF are making a difficult effort to move ahead with a program of privatizations which, even with previous governments, faced problems in the general political system in Greece - and not in society - and it is therefore logical to be facing some discord," he added.

    Commenting on the concession of "Eleftherios Venizelos" international airport, Pitsiorlas said the airport's BoD agreed to start negotiations for its extension, noting however the process will be long. "It is a difficult and technical negotiation. It will conclude in a few months, but I believe it will have a positive outcome because it will provide a prospect of stability for the airport," he said, noting that the company running the airport is doing very well.

    Concerning the other major ongoing privatization at Athens' former airport Elliniko, Pitsiorlas said the agency is negotiating with the investors for possible improvements in the existing contract. "We aim to finish the negotiations in April and have an agreement so that we can proceed with the licensing and implementation of this project," he said, adding that the surrounding municipalities are in accord with the plan and are participating in the talks.

    "I believe we're very close at completing this phase of negotiations. We estimate it will create about 40,000 new jobs," he noted.

    On the sale of Piraeus Port to China's Cosco, the head of HRADF said the agency is waiting for the Court of Auditors to approve the paperwork after which the deal will be tabled in parliament for a vote. The Competition Committee will also have to give the green light for the deal.

    In January, Cosco was the sole bidder for a 67 percent stake in Piraeus Port and is set to be named the preferred investor.

    "Piraeus will become one of the largest ports in the world and this will help immensely with jobs and the economy and the emergence of Piraeus as hugehub," he said, noting that Cosco's recent merger with China Shipping Group, makes the company the largest in the world in the sector. "The fact that this giant will manage the port for the next 40 years, gives us the opportunity to make the most of our geographical position and emerge as a key gateway of Asia's products to Europe," he added.

    [27] Greek GDP revised upwards in Q4

    Greek authorities on Monday revised upwards Gross Domestic Product figures for the fourth quarter of 2015. Hellenic Statistical Authority, in a report, said that GDP (in volume terms) grew 0.1 pct in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter of 2015, after a 0.6 pct decline estimate announced February 2, 2016.

    On an annual basis, the Greek GDP contracted by 0.8 pct in the fourth quarter, after a 1.9 pct contraction initially estimated.

    Based on non-seasonally adjusted figures, the country's GDP fell 0.7 pct in the fourth quarter compared with the same period in 2014, significantly down from a 2.0 pct contraction initially estimated.

    [28] Greek retail sales turnover index up 22.9 pct in Dec

    Greek retail sales turnover index fell 0.1 pct in December 2015, compared with the same month in 2014, but jumped 22.9 pct from November, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.

    The statistics service said that the retail sales volume index rose 0.4 pct in December 2015, from December 2014, and was up 22.4 pct from November 2015.

    The seasonally-adjusted turnover index rose 1.9 pct in December from November 2015, while the volume index was up 1.7 pct in the same period.

    [29] Greek medical tech product market down 12 pct on average in 2010-2015, Icap report

    The Greek medical technological products market has fallen by an average annual rate of 12 pct in the 2010-2015 period, after recording double-digit growth rates in the 1995-2009 period, an Icap Group report said on Monday.

    The pubic sector absorbed around 65-70 pct of sales in recent years, while In Vitro diagnostics, disposable sanitary productst and orthopedics accounted for around 48 pct of market sales.

    The sector comprises mostly of a large number of import companies and a few manufacturers. Demand comes mostly from state and private hospitals, private diagnostics centers, laboratories, medical offices and in some cases from end-users.

    Stamatina Panteleou, Economic Surveys Director in Icap Gropu, said that various interventions to reduce public health spending in recent years, hit sales, while big delays in state payments created serious liquidity problems to some companies, while the imposition of capital controls in the summer of 2015 made things more difficult.

    The survey analyzed the balance sheets of 94 companies in the sector, which showed that assets fell by 2.5 pct in 2014/2013. Own capital grew 2.1 pct and sales rose 0.7 pct, while gross earnings fell 1.5 pct in the same year. Pre-tax earnings fell 23.5 pct while EBITDA fell 10.3 pct in 2014. A total of 68 companies were profitable.

    [30] Entersoft Group says revenue up, profits down in 2015

    Entersoft Group on Monday said its net revenue amounted to 9.53 million euros in 2015, slightly up from the previous year, while pre-tax earnings fell to 960,000 euros from 1.54 million euros in 2014.

    Parent net revenue was 6.99 million euros while pre-tax earnings totaled 850,000 euros.

    The company said that despite a cut in investments last year, Entersoft managed to sign significant new contracts, while sales abroad rose strongly helped by the operation of a subsidiary company in UAE.

    [31] Greek stocks end strongly higher

    Greek stocks ended strongly higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, ignoring a negative climate prevailing in other European markets, as market sentiment was encouraged by an upward revision of the country' s GDP in the fourth quarter of 2015. Buying activity focused on bank shares.

    The composite index rose 1.89 pct to end at 516.71 points, after falling as much as 1.11 pct early in the day. The Large Cap index jumped 2.71 pct higher and the Mid Cap index eased 0.37 pct. Turnover was a strong 93.104 million euros in volume of 156,077,810.

    Eurobank (22.51 pct), Piraeus Bank (13.87 pct), PPC (9.44 pct) and National Bank (9.29 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day among blue chip stocks, while Hellenic Exchanges (5.44 pct), Aegean Airlines (2.62 pct) and OTE (2.30 pct) suffered heavy losses. National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day.

    Among market sectors, Banks (10.32 pct), Utilities (6.07 pct) and Raw Materials (4.98 pct) scored big gains, while Financial Services (4.59 pct), Telecoms (2.30 pct) and Travel (1.71 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 52 to 41 with another 28 issues unchanged. Eurobank (22.51 pct), Trastor (16.53 pct) and G.E. Demetriou (14.29 pct) were top gainers, while Hellenic Sugar (19.35 pct), Boutaris (13.04 pct) and Progressive (10.29 pct) were top losers.

    [32] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 10.17 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 10.52 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.27 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.10 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved significantly lower. The 12-month rate fell to -0.024 pct from -0.015 pct, the nine-month rate fell to -0.079 pct from -0.072 pct, the six-month rate eased to -0.134 pct from -0.128 pct, the three-month rate fell to -0.205 pct from -0.201 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.265 pct from -0.262 pct.

    [33] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.76 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,427 contracts, with 14,553 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 76,885 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (21,635), followed by Alpha Bank (13,442), National Bank (15,972), Eurobank (16,224), MIG (3,551), OTE (1,646), PPC (1,813), OPAP (1,242), Hellenic Exchanges (147), Mytilineos (336), Hellenic Petroleum (176), GEK (228), Ellaktor (129) and Motor Oil (71).

    General News

    [34] Migrants' arrivals on Greek islands increase on Monday

    Approximately 2,500 migrants and refugees have been identified and ready to depart from Lesvos to Piraeus or Kavala port.

    1,450 refugees that arrived on Lesvos from Sunday until Monday morning have been identified at Morias hotspot while 500 persons are currently waiting to be identified.

    1,250 persons arrived on Chios on Sunday. 270 of them are ready to depart from the island for Piraeus while approximately 300 migrants and refugees are waiting to be identified at the hotspot of VIAL.

    Police said that the migrants and refugees arrivals are increased on Monday.

    [35] "Ariadni" ferry with 1,810 refugees arrives at Piraeus port on Monday

    "Ariadni" ferry with 1,810 migrants and refugees from Chios and Mytilene docked at Piraeus port on Monday morning.

    The ship transferred 1,360 persons from Mytilene and 450 persons from Chios. Several of them will be accomodated at the port's passenger stations.

    The port authorities have offered four passenger stations and the warehouse for hosting refugees.

    "Blue Star 2" is expected to arrive to the port later in the day carrying 183 refugees and migrants from Leros island.

    [36] Ferry sailings cancelled due to high winds in Aegean

    Several scheduled ferry sailings have been cancelled on Monday due to high southeasterly winds of up to 9.0 Beaufort blowing in the Aegean, the coast guard announced.

    It said planned sailings by the passenger-car ferry "Andreas Kalvos", "Nissos Mykonos", "V. Kornaros" and "Blue Star Naxos" to the Cyclades islands have been cancelled. Ships to Crete sailing at 21:00 are set to depart as planned, though passengers are advised to contact their local port authority or travel agency before departure, in case there are changes to departure times or ports of call.

    [37] Traffic accidents causing fatalities or injuries up in Dec.

    Traffic accidents causing deaths and injuries rose by 21.5 percent in December 2015 relative to the same month in 2014, the Greek Statistical authority ELSTAT reported on Monday.

    The total number of such accidents in the month were 1,111 and resulted in 76 deaths (10.1 pct up relative to 2014), 66 serious injuries (14.3 percent drop) and 1,274 lighter injuries (25.1 percent up).

    [38] No metro service from start of shift until 08:00 on Tuesday

    There will be no metro service and electric train on Tuesday from the start of the shift until 08:00 am due to a work stoppage called by the workers' union.

    Weather forecast

    [39] Partly cloudy on Tuesday

    Clouds, rain and southerly winds are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Clouds and local rain in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 07C-20C. Partly cloudy in the eastern parts with temperatures between 09C-22C. Sunny over the Aegean islands and Crete, 11C-22C. Mostly fair in Athens, 10C-21C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, 10C-17C.

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

    DIMOKRATIA: It (media sector) stinks

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' meetings

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: 20 tips for retirement at 58

    ETHNOS: Alarm in five fronts

    KONTRANEWS: Bring down the fences and open the borders

    NAFTEMPORIKI: SOS from the cruise sector

    TA NEA:The Shanghai syndrome

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