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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-03-31

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

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

Thursday, 31 March 2016 Issue No: 5142

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras: Greece is at the end of a difficult road
  • [02] The government will exhaust its four-year term, PM Tsipras tells Parliament
  • [03] President Pavlopoulos meets Israeli counterpart Rivlin
  • [04] Terrorism is a common enemy, says Israeli President Rivlin
  • [05] We show zero tolerance to all forms of intolerance, President Pavlopoulos stresses
  • [06] President Pavlopoulos: 'We have to exterminate the Minotaur of neoliberalism'
  • [07] Migration bill expected to be submitted to parliament on Thursday
  • [08] Exclusive Vanessa Redgrave interview to ANA-MPA: 'Europe is trampling on principles and human lives'
  • [09] Greek program review may be ready by end of April, says EC's mission chief to Greece
  • [10] A timely deal on Greek debt will open the way for investments, says FinMin Tsakalotos
  • [11] Economy minister discusses Greek economic recovery with Europarliament delegation
  • [12] EU Commissioner Avramopoulos to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
  • [13] ND to propose parliamentary probe into capital controls and third memorandum, party sources say
  • [14] Government will not accept main opposition's proposal to investigate capital controls
  • [15] Potami and Democratic Alliance to examine prospect of cooperation
  • [16] FM Kotzias meets ambassadors, envoys from 14 Arab countries
  • [17] Greek oil producer Energean Oil & Gas says it has no cooperation with former aide
  • [18] National Bank ready to support economic recovery, NBG chief Katseli says
  • [19] Greek PPI down 11.4 pct in Feb
  • [20] Dairy producer Fage to leave domestic milk market
  • [21] Greek stocks rally for fourth time in buoyant opening session for this week
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] 51,430 refugees and migrants in Greece on Wednesday
  • [25] Refugees and migrant numbers in Piraeus swell to 5,800 as transfers delayed
  • [26] Seamen abducted by pirates from Greek-owned ship off Nigerian coast released
  • [27] British Ambassador attends 'Red Arrows' training in Tanagra
  • [28] Mostly fair on Thursday
  • [29] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Tsipras: Greece is at the end of a difficult road

    Greece is at the end of a difficult road and economic recovery is well in sight, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during a meeting with the working group of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), who is visiting Athens, the prime ministers' office said in a statement.

    According to his office, the European Parliament's involvement in the Greek program review will contribute to the protection of the European acquis and social cohesion in Greece, and increase the transparency of the process.

    Commenting on the policies followed in the last few years, Tsipras said these focused on the fiscal aspect of the crisis and not on the reconstruction of the country's production model or the promotion of a sustainable economic model.

    The representatives of the European Parliament noted that the body doesn't participate directly in the negotiations but that their monitoring role can contribute in s faster and successful completion of the first review. They also welcomed the common ground found between the Greek government and the European institutions, adding that relieving the country's debt is an important element in Greek economic recovery.

    The European Parliament delegation was headed by the Committee's Chair, Roberto Gualtieri.

    [02] The government will exhaust its four-year term, PM Tsipras tells Parliament

    "The government will exhaust its four-year term," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in Parliament late on Tuesday and urged main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis to forget the possibility of early elections.

    Tsipras was speaking at an off-the-agenda debate on justice issues in Parliament.

    The prime minister also announced that the parliamentary group of SYRIZA will submit a proposal over the next days for setting up an investigation committee that will look into the loan agreements of banks with parties and media adding that the findings are expected late May.

    Tsipras pledged to give an end to the law on ministers' responsibility with the revision of the constitution. As he said, ministers should be treated like any citizen.

    Moreover, he accused New Democracy of trying to give the impression that the government has failed and the economy has collapsed and cited the OECD report which sees the recovery of the Greek economy in the second half of 2016.

    [03] President Pavlopoulos meets Israeli counterpart Rivlin

    "Europe needs to address the refugee issue in terms of humanity," Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Wednes-day said at a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin at the presidential mansion in Jerusalem.

    "Europe must never again become a 'dark continent' and it must fight against any kind of xenophobia and racism, including anti-Semitism," noted the President.

    Pavlopoulos underlined that the Middle East is experiencing hard times because of the crises, the war, violent extremism and terrorism. "Europe and the entire civilized world are determined to crack down on terrorism, treating the jihadist terrorists as servants of a new kind of barbarism. But the refugee issue needs to be treated in terms of humanity," he stated.

    In 2016 Greece and Israel complete 26 years of diplomatic relations, Pavlopoulos said, which today "have acquired a dynamic momentum and have achieved a steady progress and substantial deepening of cooperation in all sectors" ...

    "Together the two countries can contribute to the restoration of stability in the Middle East and the promotion of an inclusive regional cooperation and help in consolidating the human and democratic values in the region. We also have to meet the new needs of our times, which require the support of all of us to consolidate and promote peace, stability, development and prosperity, ?the Greek President stressed.

    [04] Terrorism is a common enemy, says Israeli President Rivlin

    "We are not only friends, but two peoples close to each other," Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday said during a meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who is paying an official visit to the country.

    On terrorism and the Islamic State, he stated: "We need to address together the challenges of the wars in the Middle East, the chaos in Syria, and terrorism. We need to be united against the common enemy."

    [05] We show zero tolerance to all forms of intolerance, President Pavlopoulos stresses

    "We show zero tolerance to all forms of intolerance that affects and undermines our culture and we are bound by the promise we have given: "Holocaust-Never Again," Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Wednesday said during his visit to the Holocaust Museum, Israel.

    The President laid a wreath in memory of the Jews killed in Nazi camps and noted that "the Holocaust taught us in the most painful and horrible way that the principles and values of Humanism are not, in fact, self-evident. It is our duty to be vigilant in order to protect them. Especially now that racism, intolerance, anti-Semitism are, unfortunately, again on the rise. That is why it is imperative to maintain the memory of the Holocaust and pass it over to the future generations."

    Pavlopoulos stressed that "it is a matter of national consciousness to refer, among the millions of victims, to the 67,151 Greek Jews who were killed in Nazi camps."

    [06] President Pavlopoulos: 'We have to exterminate the Minotaur of neoliberalism'

    President Prokopis Pavlopoulos used the myth of the Minotaur and its labyrinth to describe the state of the international economy in a speech during a ceremony awarding him an honorary doctor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Wednesday.

    "European legal order is in a dangerous vortex of an unprecedented socio-economic crisis ... with the economy increasingly resembling the mythic Labyrinth, in the sense that the entrance is visible but the exit is far away, labyrinthine and obscure," Pavlopoulos, who's on an official three-day visit to Israel said.

    "In this labyrinth and against this Minotaur, legal order and the institutions assume the shape of a new Theseus, whose shield is the traditional democratic legitimacy and its spear is the full sense of his institutional mission, must fight to find the Minotaur and exterminate him," he added. "This economic Labyrinth which has its own Minotaur, as an architect and as a relentless watchdog of nightmarish chaos, is the legitimate child of the neoliberal economic ideas."

    During a visit to the Holocaust Museum earlier in the day, Pavlopoulos said countries must not tolerate racism, anti-Semitism.

    "We show zero tolerance to all forms of intolerance that affects and undermines our culture and we are bound by the promise we have given: Holocaust-Never Again," he said.

    The President laid a wreath in memory of the Jews killed in Nazi camps and noted that "the Holocaust taught us in the most painful and horrible way that the principles and values of Humanism are not, in fact, self-evident. It is our duty to be vigilant in order to protect them. Especially now that racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism are, unfortunately, again on the rise. That is why it is imperative to maintain the memory of the Holocaust and pass it over to the future generations."

    Pavlopoulos stressed that "it is a matter of national consciousness to refer, among the millions of victims, to the 67,151 Greek Jews who were killed in Nazi camps."

    [07] Migration bill expected to be submitted to parliament on Thursday

    The interior ministry is expected to table in parliament on Thursday a draft bill on migration which incorporates EU law on asylum seekers and will allow the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, sources said on Wednesday.

    The bill includes, among others, provisions for registering refugees, for allowing them to find work and for those who qualify for international protection. According to previous announcements on the bill, it will be fast-tracked through parliament.

    [08] Exclusive Vanessa Redgrave interview to ANA-MPA: 'Europe is trampling on principles and human lives'

    In blistering criticism of Europe's attitude toward refugees and its failure to secure them a safe and legal passage, award-winning actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave on Wednesday accused European governments of trampling on both principles and human lives.

    "The European Union is trampling, is using their feet to trample, put their boots on, everything that my father's generation tried to make better after the horror of the Holocaust and the Second World War, that's what they're doing now. How can they do this? We can't allow them to do this," she said.

    In an exclusive interview given to the ANA-MPA after her visit to the port of Piraeus, where she met refugees and talked to members of organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Redgrave said she was trying to stop European governments in the only ways that she could, which was by supporting organisations MSF and their efforts to meet the refugees' humanitarian needs, by talking to people and, in her case, by making a film.

    She praised the work done by MSF and the UNHCR, noting that both organisations had been emphasising that Europe and the EU must give safe and legal passage to refugees.

    "European government should have given the refugees some document which gave them a safe and legal passage...There are a lot of dead people and this should be on the conscience of Europe but I don't see that it is...they died because of Europe," she said.

    Redgrave also had warm praise for the Greek people, as opposed to the Greek government, thanking them for the support they had shown to the refugees.

    "I felt it so strongly that the Greek people...were responding with their hearts and whatever they could give to help the refugees. In other words they considered the refugees were human beings," she said. The governments of Europe, by contrast, were not treating the refugees as human beings," she added.

    "I spent a lot of time in my life spending time with refugees, too much time. I never dreamed when I was young that I would be seeing human beings being treated the way they are, either by warring forces and militias or governments dropping bombs, sending shells, without a thought for the human beings that are suffering these conflicts and wars and destroying their homes and their futures. I never dreamt this would happen," Redgrave said.

    There were wars everywhere and the governments of Europe bore a huge responsibility for these wars, and the ensuing poverty and persecution that followed, the actress pointed out.

    She was scathing in her criticism of the governments that had closed their borders to the refugees, calling it the stuff of Hollywood horror.

    "This is the kind of thing you expect a Walt Disney film to be made about, some Hollywood disaster. A country won't open its borders it puts up wire that catches the flesh. It sounds like a horror movie; and it isn't a movie but it is horror," she said, noting that ordinary people wanted to help and it was governments that wouldn't let them. Redgrave also drew parallels with the behaviour of the British and other governments in the 1930s, in the run-up of WWII, and the suffering this had brought.

    "The reality is that Europe can take care of the refugees but refuses to do it," she added. "The principles are contained in the lives that they are trampling on. When I see the babies and the wives, and the husbands that are trying to protect them, I think I wish I could protect you but I can't open the borders. But the governments can and I wonder why are these governments, FYROM and others, why are they allowed to close their borders."

    Redgrave said it made her furious, since it was such an immense crime to force refugees to put their lives in the hands of ruthless traffickers in order to have a future, while Europe sought to deter them from coming. "It makes me so ashamed after what happened in Europe in the 1930s," she said.

    The actress also talked about a film that she is working on, with passages from classical literature read or acted by actors such as herself, Emma Thomson or Ralph Fiennes. She noted that artists often felt very inadequate, as if they were helpless to do anything, but that "we can use different parts of our voices and that's what the film is about."

    " It will be half a requiem and in speaking that kind of truth and homage to the suffering and those who've suffered and are suffering, I think it will help awaken our thinking, a lot of people that want to help and are helping."

    In addition to making the film, Redgrave said she was ready to join with her colleagues in putting pressure on governments and even go to Brussels, if necessary, and tell them that they should resign, go into retirement, rather than allow themselves to commit this atrocity of neglect and brutality.

    She was accompanied on her visit to Piraeus by dramatist and screenwriter Martin Sherman, himself descended from a family of refugees that left Russia seeking a better life. Describing his own family's experience, he noted that they had been "traumatised for life" by their trip. Similarly, he added, during visits to the refugee centres in Greece he saw that the people there were "in a state of shock". The worst thing, he added, was that the whole thing was unnecessary.

    "There's no need for any of this. There 500 and something million people in Europe and we're talking about one million refugees, which in the scheme of things is not that much and they can be absorbed. We're not talking about one country, they can be absorbed into all of the European countries, if the EU countries cooperated. But Europe has been disgraceful, not least by their behaviour amongst themselves. There are some countries that have steadfastly refused to take any refugees, which have blackmailed the other countries that were originally willing to do something, and have succumbed to the blackmail. These people can be absorbed, there is no reason for this and this is possibly the most shocking thing," he said.

    On the role of art in a crisis such as this, Sherman noted that art cannot solve a political situation like the refugee problem but can alert people to it and make them aware. "Some of what is reported in the press is deceptive...the good thing about art is that it is selective. Art can show you where to look," he said.

    [09] Greek program review may be ready by end of April, says EC's mission chief to Greece

    The Greek program review can be concluded by the end of April, EC's mission chief to Greece Declan Costello said in a meeting of Greek and European Parliament members, according to Europarliament SYRIZA deputy Dimitris Papadimoulis.

    During the meeting of the Social Affairs Committees of the European and the Greek Parliaments, Costello informed the Greek delegation that the International Monetary Fund wishes an agreement is reached and is not asking for more than those agreed in August. He also estimated that the differences between the Greek side and the creditors can be bridged.

    [10] A timely deal on Greek debt will open the way for investments, says FinMin Tsakalotos

    Achieving a timely agreement with Greece's lenders on the country's debt will open the way for attracting new investments, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told a delegation of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) who are visiting Athens on Wednesday.

    The meeting, which was also attended by Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Chouliarakis, focused on Greece's ongoing negotiations with the institutions and the conclusion of the first program review.

    The two ministers noted, among other issues, that reforms in the pension system will serve the government's short-term and long-term goals, while restructuring public costs in the next few years is also a main target.

    Tsakalotos also said that for Greece to turn a page, it's important for the country's creditors to give a political signal that the government is implementing what has been agreed. This, he added, will provide solutions on an economic and political level.

    [11] Economy minister discusses Greek economic recovery with Europarliament delegation

    Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis expressed his confidence on Wednesday that Greek economy will return to growth in the second half of 2016, during a meeting with a delegation of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) who are visiting Athens.

    "A necessary prerequisite for the economy to enter a stable growth path is to complete the first program review as soon as possible, on the basis of a viable agreement that will ensure social cohesion and promote social justice," the minister told the delegation.

    The meeting focused on the government's plans concerning non-performing loans, on strategies to support health and education, on legislation to tackle corruption and simplify the public procurement system, the utilization of the "Juncker plan" and the gradual removal of capital controls.

    [12] EU Commissioner Avramopoulos to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)

    European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Fillipo Grandi discussed the possible increase of refugees relocation in Europe on Tuesday in Geneva on the sidelines of the high-level conference in Geneva calling for more options for Syrian refugees.

    Moreover, Avramopoulos will meet on Wednesday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    [13] ND to propose parliamentary probe into capital controls and third memorandum, party sources say

    Main opposition New Democracy intends to table a proposal within the day for a parliamentary probe to investigate the reasons why capital controls were imposed on Greece, as well as the signing of the third memorandum and the need for a fresh recapitalisation of Greek banks, sources at the party's headquarters said on Wednesday.

    Such a parliamentary examining committee should also investigate whether there was a plan for the country's exit from the euro through the issue of a parallel currency and a haircut of bonds held by the European Central Bank, or whether there was a plan to break into Greece's national mint that involved ministers of the previous government, the same sources said.

    It should also look into whether the prime minister knew about such plans, as ministers of the then government had claimed, or whether they were acting not on his orders and without his knowledge, they noted.

    The sources pointed out that ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, during Tuesday's debate in Parliament, had called on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to strike an agreement under which the main opposition will vote in favour of the government's proposal for an examining committee on the loans to political parties and the media, while the government will vote in favour of ND's own proposals for an examining committee.

    [14] Government will not accept main opposition's proposal to investigate capital controls

    The government will not approve New Democracy's proposal for a parliamentary probe into the reasons why capital controls were imposed on Greece, as well as the signing of the third memorandum and the need for a fresh recapitalisation of Greek banks, government sources said on Wednesday.

    Earlier, sources from the main opposition party had said ND intended to table the proposal in the coming days.

    According to the government sources, ND's move is a distraction from the government's proposal to investigate bank loans given to companies and other economic scandals. They also said that capital controls were imposed on the country as an effort to manipulate last years' referendum.

    [15] Potami and Democratic Alliance to examine prospect of cooperation

    Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis will meet PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata on Thursday, at 17:00, at parliament.

    The two leaders will examine a possible cooperation between Potami and Democratic Alliance (DIMAR-PASOK) parliamentary groups as well as other joint actions.

    [16] FM Kotzias meets ambassadors, envoys from 14 Arab countries

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias received 14 ambassadors and charg?s d'affaires of Arab countries to Athens on Wednesday, with whom he discussed bilateral, regional and international issues.

    Talks centered on the refugee and migrant crisis and security issues, on which Kotzias invited all 14 countries to participate in the Conference on Security in the Eastern Mediterranean which will be held at the end of summer. The conference is an initiative of the foreign minister and is part of cooperation between Greece and Egypt.

    The envoys represented Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tunisia.

    [17] Greek oil producer Energean Oil & Gas says it has no cooperation with former aide

    Greece's sole oil producer Energean Oil & Gas said on Wednesday the company has absolutely no partnership, shareholding relationship or any kind of cooperation with Stavros Papastavrou, a former aide of the previous prime minister, Antonis Samaras.

    Papastavrou is a lawyer who paid a 3.3-million-euro fine to avoid criminal charges for undeclared deposits of 5.4 million dollars in Switzerland, as part of the investigation in the so-called "Lagarde list". Energean Oil & Gas was responding to statements made by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos during a parliamentary debate on Justice on Tuesday, during which the minister said that subsidiary Kavala Oil was "given" to its current chairman Mattheos Rigas in 2013 by the then government of New Democracy, because of his relations to Papastavrou.

    "Energean Oil & Gas acquired the stocks of Kavala Oil in 2007 and not in 2013, as it was wrongly stated in parliament. It acquired them from its previous stakeholder, private company 'Regal', which is a listed in the London stock exchange and therefore nobody 'gave it' to Energean," the company said in a press release.

    "Since then, it has invested about 300 million euros in the hydrocarbons sector, providing work to 400 employees in a time of recession for the Greek economy, and contributing more than 260 million euros to state coffers and the local community in Kavala. It also continues to invest, in a completely negative environment for oil production created by the plunging of international oil prices, having started a new program of 15 drilling wells in Prinos," it added.

    Financial News

    [18] National Bank ready to support economic recovery, NBG chief Katseli says

    National Bank (NBG) meets the pressing needs of the country for reconstruction of the productive base in order to safeguard social cohesion and the continuous upgrading of the educational and cultural level, its governor Louka Katselli on Wednesday said in an event for the celebration of its 175 anniversary.

    On his part, the managing director of National Bank Leonidas Fragiadakis said that the bank is ready to commit all its forces in order to lead the economic recovery.

    National Bank, with unprecedented capital ratios in our market, and excess liquidity, it is ready to finance the economy and support innovative businesses through sound risk-taking, and an alignment of incentives between the bank and the company, he added.

    [19] Greek PPI down 11.4 pct in Feb

    The Overall Producer Price Index in Industry (total of domestic and non domestic market) recorded a decrease of 11.4% in February 2016, compared with February 2015. The index in February 2015 had recorded a decrease of 4.8% compared with February 2014.

    The Overall Producer Price Index (PPI) in February 2016 compared with January 2016 recorded a decrease of 0.4%. The index in February 2015 had recorded an increase of 4.2% compared with January 2015.

    The twelve-month average overall index, from March 2015 to February 2016, compared with the same index of the period from March 2014 to February 2015, decreased by 7.6%. The previous year the twelve-month average overall index had decreased by 2.1%

    Prices in total industry in February 2016 decreased by 0.4% compared with the previous month, January 2016, due to the monthly changes of the sub-indices of the markets:

    a. The PPI of the Domestic Market decreased by 0.6% b. The PPI of the Non-Domestic Market increased by 0.1%

    Prices in total industry in February 2016 decreased by 11.4% compared with the same month of the previous year, February 2015, due to the annual changes of the sub-indices of the mar-kets:

    a. The PPI of the Domestic Market decreased by 9.9% b. The PPI of the Non-Domestic Market decreased by 16.0%

    [20] Dairy producer Fage to leave domestic milk market

    Greek dairy producer Fage on Wednesday announced its withdrawal from the domestic milk market.

    In 2015 report, the company announced its intention to leave the milk market as the sector is non-profitable. It has already started negotiations to sell all its properties, plants and equipment of the factory in Amyntaio, Florina. Fage also owns two factories at Metamorfosis, Attica region, and Trikala, for the production of yoghurt and other dairy products.

    According to the economic results announced by FAGE International, the company reported sales of 648.22 million dollars in 2015 compared to sales of 667.9 million dollars in 2014 while net profits reached 14.74 million dollars from 0.1 million dollars in 2014.

    Sales by volume rose 3.2 percent last year compared to 2014, with the biggest increase coming from Italy (40.1 percent) and the UK (32 percent). In Greece, Fage saw its sales decline by 11.1 percent in 2015 compared with the previous year.

    [21] Greek stocks rally for fourth time in buoyant opening session for this week

    Greek stocks continued their rally for the fifth successive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, buoyed by a positive climate in the European markets, making significant gains amid high turnover. Investors appeared confident of a good outcome in the ongoing negotiations between Greece and its creditors, and a positive conclusion to the review of the Greek programme.

    The composite index of the market rose 2.15 pct to end at 578.83 points, off the day's highs of 584.95 points, for accumulated gains of 6.85 pct over the last five sessions.

    The Large Cap index rose 2.51 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 2.59 pct higher. Turnover was a high 113.876 million euros in volume of 170,534,628.

    Piraeus Bank (12.25 pct), Ellaktor (9.30 pct) and Terna Energiaki (8.33 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Eurobank (2.41 pct), OPAP (2.23 pct) and Hellenic Exchanges (0.40 pct) suffered the heaviest losses. Piraeus Bank and National Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day.

    Among market sectors, Banks (4.63 pct), Utilities (4.63 pct) and Industrial Products (3.67 pct) scored big gains, while Travel (1.41 pct) and Insurance (0.69 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 85 to 23 with another 22 issues unchanged. Naftemporiki (30.00 pct), Alpha Astiki Akinita (19.12 pct) and Boutaris (18.75 pct) were top gainers, while Yalco (19.28 pct), PC Systems (12.50 pct) and Voyatzoglou Systems (9.82 pct) were top losers.

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds contracted to 8.64 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 8.69 pct the previous day. The Greek bond yielded 8.79 pct and the German Bund yielded 0.15 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate rose to -0.004 pct from -0.006 pct, the nine-month rate rose to -0.069 pct from -0.071 pct, the six-month rate rose to -0.132 pct from -0.134 pct, the three-month rate fell to -0.243 pct from -0.242 pct and the one-month rate was -0.332 pct.

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The April contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.85 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday. The FTSE/ASE Large Cap index closed at 160.36 points, registering gains of 2.51 pct. Volume on the Large Cap index totaled 4,050 contracts with 11,003 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 83,363 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (33,814), followed by National Bank (25,461), Eurobank (9,896), Alpha Bank (6,963), MIG (1,883), PPC (951), OPAP (844), GEK (644), Mytilineos (570), Hellenic Petroleum (514), Ellaktor (468), OTE (431), Motor Oil (309), Viohalco (91), METKA (48), and Frigoglass (65).

    General News

    [24] 51,430 refugees and migrants in Greece on Wednesday

    51,430 refugees and migrants were in the Greek territory on Wednesday while 766 new arrivals were recorded until early in the morning.

    According to the Refugee Crisis Management Coordination Body figures, 28,573 of the refugees are in northern Greece, 15,081 are in the region of Attica and 2,753 are hosted in different areas in Central Greece.

    [25] Refugees and migrant numbers in Piraeus swell to 5,800 as transfers delayed

    The number of refugees and migrants finding shelter in Piraeus port swelled to 5,800 on Wednesday as the rate of transfers to better organised accommodation centres once again slowed.

    In spite of a decision at an emergency Shipping ministry meeting on Tuesday to issue flyers with the help of translators in order to explain to the refugees and migrants why they must move, this never actually took place. Meanwhile, according to sources, the additional area that is to be used to house refugees at the Elaionas centre in Athens was not yet ready, nor was the Kyllini centre, which is designed to accept 1300 people.

    Two more ferry boats are due to arrive in Piraeus port from the islands on Thursday morning, though it is not known whether they will carry more migrants and refugees.

    [26] Seamen abducted by pirates from Greek-owned ship off Nigerian coast released

    Four seamen abducted by pirates from the Greek-owned, Panama-flagged tanker "Madonna 1" have been released unharmed in Nigerian territory, the shipping company announced on Wednesday. The four - three Greeks and one Filipino - were abducted in early March while the ship was sailing without cargo about 15 nautical miles from the coast of Nigeria.

    The Greek ship's captain, first engineer and an agent of the shipping company have already returned to Greece and are in good health, the company said.

    The ship was sailing with a crew of 21 and one passenger, the shipping firm's agent, and was heading toward the port of Lome in Togo when it was attacked by armed pirates that abducted the four men. After the abduction, the ship continued its journey and the Greek Shipping ministry mobilised its crisis management team, which alerted the ministries of national defence, foreign affairs and international centres for fighting piracy to the incident.

    [27] British Ambassador attends 'Red Arrows' training in Tanagra

    Britain's Ambassador to Greece, John Kittmer, visited the 114 Combat Wing of Greece's Air Force in Tanagra, an area north of Athens on Wednesday, to attend a training session of the "Red Arrows", the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.

    The "Red Arrows", who are currently training in Tanagra air force base, is one of the world's premier aerobatic display teams, known for presenting extraordinary and impressive shows across Britain.

    The British envoy, who was accompanied by Defence Attach?, Captain Richard Blackwell, was welcomed by the Wing Commander, Colonel Athanasios Ganas and then flew with one of the 11 Hawk-T1-Aircraft used by the Red Arrows in the aerobatics.

    The Royar Air Force team will complete its training program on April 28.

    Weather forecast

    [28] Mostly fair on Thursday

    Mostly fair weather and wind from variable directions are forecast for Thursday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Mostly fair in the northern and the western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 08C-22C. Fair in the eastern parts with temperatures between 08C-23C. Sunny over the Aegean islands and Crete, 10C-21C. Mostly fair in Athens, 09C-21C; the same for Thessaloniki, 08C-19C.

    [29] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: No revelations at the off-the-agenda debate on justice issues in Parliament

    ETHNOS: Environment ministry proposes settlement for legalizing real estate

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: (Main opposition leader Kyriakos) Mitsotakis urges (Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras to resign in order to save the country

    ESTIA: Defamation over trains

    AVGHI: The 'guilty' silence of Mitsotakis

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Parallel monologues of political leaders in Parliament

    KATHIMERINI: Mitsotakis: Dare to go to elections

    RIZOSPASTIS: The policy of supporting the capital is the main scandal

    TA NEA: Burned Democracy

    IMERISSIA: Taxes and contributions send investors away

    NAFTEMPORIKI: 5.4 billion euro measures for 2016-2018

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