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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-01-13

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

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

January 13, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin presents export promotion plan for 2006
  • [02] Coordination and readiness at customs offices for bird flu
  • [03] EU justice ministers to discuss cooperation on asylum and immigration issues
  • [04] Ruling ND continues to lead PASOK: latest opinion poll
  • [05] Gov't dismisses Souda base complaint as 'too vague'
  • [06] President receives justice minister, IKA governor
  • [07] Markoyiannakis departs from public order ministry
  • [08] Koumoutsakos expresses regret over developments regarding Iran's nuclear program
  • [09] President Papoulias hosts reception in honor of the Armed Forces, Security Corps
  • [10] Tourism ministry initiative to brief int'l tour operators on bird flu measures in Greece
  • [11] Greece present at Vienna Int'l Tourism Exhibition
  • [12] Greek franchising market has great growth potential, report
  • [13] Hellenic Sugar Industry to close down its Xanthi factory
  • [14] Temporary board of directors appointed for proposed OA successor
  • [15] SE Europe faces risk of energy shortage, new Business Council head says
  • [16] EU approves grant for Greek and Cypriot potato output
  • [17] EU Commissioner notes high cost, low penetration of broadband in Greece
  • [18] EU's innovation 'scoreboard' released on Thursday
  • [19] Gov't on inflation rate
  • [20] Intralot raises equity stake in Inteltek to 45 percent
  • [21] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise
  • [22] Cyprus Airways airbus lands safely in Athens after engine trouble
  • [23] Greek delegation to discuss Evros River flooding in Bulgaria
  • [24] Merchant marine minister holds talks with U.S. senators for granting of Liberty-type ship to function as museum
  • [25] Constantine Stephanis appointed new president of Athens Academy
  • [26] Bomb hoax suspect to face criminal charges
  • [27] Dead birds in Rodopi killed by salmonella infection
  • [28] Deliberations on diplomatic level for Straw's visit to Cyprus
  • [29] Adoption of euro to the benefit of all Cypriots, says finance minister
  • [30] Mine removal in UN buffer zone continues next week

  • [01] FinMin presents export promotion plan for 2006

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Thursday presented actions and policy priorities organized by the Hellenic Organization for External Trade (OPE) for the current year.

    Speaking to reporters, Alogoskoufis said the program envisaged a total of 31 business trips abroad, up from 16 in 2005, while Greek participations to international trade fairs would exceed 80.

    More than 4,000 Greek export enterprises have been informed over OPE's program for 2006, aimed to support access of Greek products to foreign markets and in particular, the US, Canada, Germany, Britain, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, UAE, Australia, India, China and South Korea.

    The Greek minister said a National Export Council was expected to meet, soon, to approve OPE's action plan for 2006 and stressed that both agencies were spearheading Greek export growth.

    Hellenic Organization for External Trade has set three policy priorities for the current year: accessing big foreign markets, combined presence of Greek product and services abroad and promoting goods and services.

    Alogoskoufis said government initiatives, taken so far, have already offered results with Greek exports up 12.8 pct in the first 10 months of 2005 compared with the same period in 2004.

    PASOK's V. Papandreou on OPE's action program: Vasso Papandreou, responsible for the Economy Sector of the Political Council of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), commenting on Thursday on the Greek economy's extroversion program presented by National Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, said that "it is positive that the Economy and Finance Minister, after almost two years of governance, dealt with the action program of the Greek Export Promotion Organization (OPE)."

    She added: "However, it is irresponsible and pitiful for him to attempt to mislead the Greek people on the results of the government's policy, of a supposed increase of exports and consequently of an improvement of the Greek economy's competitiveness."

    Vasso Papandreou referred to an excerpt of a report by the Centre for Economic Planning and Research (KEPE), which, as she noted, "disproves the current minister." The excerpt says that "the improvement of the export performances in the first six-month period of 2005 is mainly due to the upsurge of revenue from the sale of ships, and secondly to an increase in the value of fuel exports. Therefore, the exports of goods not only did not increase, but showed a drop of 4.2 per cent in comparison to the corresponding six-month period of 2004, thus overturning the levels of the first six-month period of 2003."

    [02] Coordination and readiness at customs offices for bird flu

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Intensive checks are being conducted at customs offices in central and western Macedonia due to the issue of bird flu, while strict controls are also being carried out at customs offices in the border Evros region.

    Drivers and passengers of every vehicle driving through the Niki, Krystallopigi, Evzoni and Promahonas border checkpoints, located on the borders with Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria, are being given an extensive briefing by customs staff on measures aimed at preventing the disease from spreading.

    Security measures taken by customs services are stringent, detailed checks are made and foodstuffs are not allowed into the country unless they have been examined by veterinarians.

    Traffic to and from Turkey has decreased considerably at the border checkpoints of Kipi and Kastanies and the authorities are on the alert to confiscate foodstuffs coming from the neighboring country.

    Local authority meeting on bird flu held in Xanthi

    A meeting of local authorities in Eastern Macedonia-Thrace was held in the northern Greek city of Xanthi on Thursday to discuss the response to an outbreak of bird flu in Turkey.

    The meeting assessed the degree of readiness of local services to deal with the crisis and was carried out in the framework of the Greece-Bulgaria-Turkey Cross-Border Cooperation Net-work.

    It was attended by senior officials in the Drama, Kavala, Xanthi, Rodopi and Evros prefectures, as well as the heads of veterinary and health departments in the region and officials from the health and agriculture ministries.

    Those attending the meeting agreed that Eastern Macedonia-Thrace was at greater risk from bird flu than other areas in Greece because it contained several wetlands and shared a border with Turkey, where the most incidents of the disease have been reported.

    Xanthi Prefect George Pavlidis also noted during the meeting that there was almost daily contact and cross-briefing with local authorities in Bulgaria and Turkey near the Greek border, in the framework of the Cross-Border Cooperation Network, in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

    Chickens safe to eat, health minister stresses: Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis on Thursday underlined that the public should not shun chicken because of bird flu.

    He noted that nothing had changed since the bird flu scare a few months back with respect to organized poultry farms: they had no problem and people could, if they wished, fearlessly eat chicken.

    The minister also stressed that he continued to eat poultry himself, though stressing that he was not likely to repeat a public chicken meal like the one he ate on the island of Oinousses, during a previous bird flu scare that proved to be a false alarm.

    Kaklamanis was answering questions during an event marking the 15th anniversary of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Technology.

    [03] EU justice ministers to discuss cooperation on asylum and immigration issues

    VIENNA, 13/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    The three-day informal Council of European Union Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers began here on Thursday night with emphasis being placed on issues concerning the further development of European penal law and the fundamental rights of citizens, as well as operational cooperation between member-states on asylum and immigration issues and the future course of the European Police Service (Europol).

    The delegation of the Greek public order ministry at the informal Council, the first of 11 Councils of Ministers to be held in Austria during its EU presidency in the first half of the current year, is being headed by the ministry's Secretary General Leonidas Evangelidis, while Justice Minister Anastassios Papaligouras will arrive in the Austrian capital on Friday, accompanied by ministry officials.

    Corresponding ministers from EU candidate countries are also participating in the informal Council, that is from Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    [04] Ruling ND continues to lead PASOK: latest opinion poll

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) fielded a 2.5-point lead over main opposition PASOK, 42 percent to 39.5 percent, in the latest opinion poll unveiled on Thursday.

    In terms of smaller parties, 8 percent of respondents in the poll picked the Communist Party of Greece (KKE); 3.5 percent opted for the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) and 4.5 percent for the out-of-Parliament LA.OS party.

    Regarding the question of who is more capable to govern, 49 percent of respondents chose Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis; 24 percent picked PASOK leader and former foreign minister George Papandreou, whereas 19 percent said neither.

    On the question of which of the two major parties can best deal with the country's problems, ND was chosen by 33 percent of respondents to 15 percent for PASOK. A majority, 38 percent, said neither.

    Two other questions queried respondents on whether the ND government is keeping its pre-election promises and on whether the main opposition party is undergoing renewal.

    Regarding the first, 51 percent of respondents said the government is "probably not" meeting its pre-election pledges; 26 percent it "probably is"; 17 percent gave a mixed answer.

    Finally, 53 percent of respondents said they did not believe PASOK was undergoing a renewal; 27 percent said it was, and 6 percent gave a mixed answer.

    The opinion poll was commissioned and unveiled by the Athens-based radio network Skai. A total of 949 respondents were interviewed by telephone throughout the country on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10.

    [05] Gov't dismisses Souda base complaint as 'too vague'

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Thursday said that the government was unable to act on a complaint about the use of Souda base on Crete, voiced by the leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party George Karatzaferis, because it was too vague.

    Karatzaferis' complaint concerned the alleged use of the base by U.S. forces to transport or interrogate suspects.

    The spokesman referred reporters to a statement made by the foreign ministry on the issue.

    [06] President receives justice minister, IKA governor

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday received Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras and the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) governor Yiannis Vartholomeos.

    Talking to Papaligouras before reporters, the president said that he following the justice ministry's work "with great interest" and once again reiterated the need to restore the public's faith in justice after last year's revelations of corruption within its ranks.

    The justice minister noted that the ministry was working efficiently and that the judicial system was being modernized and cleaned up.

    [07] Markoyiannakis departs from public order ministry

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Former deputy minister Christos Markoyiannakis bid a tearful farewell to the public order ministry on Thursday, following his abrupt resignation the previous day.

    Markoyiannakis opted to resign on Wednesday after a recording of him lambasting Supreme Court Prosecutor Dimitris Linos as "an uneducated fool" during what he thought was a private conversation were broadcast on the air. The deputy minister had originally denied making the statements.

    As he left the building, Markoyiannakis stressed that his relations with Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis during their work at the ministry had been excellent, while Voulgarakis said that he was proud to have worked with Markoyiannakis and thanked him for the very good cooperation between them.

    Government spokesman: Commenting on Markoyiannakis' resignation, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that everyone had an obligation to show respect for justice and its functionaries. He also stressed that Markoyiannakis had not been removed from the government but had voluntarily resigned.

    He also underlined that the present government was different from previous PASOK governments in that it respected the independence of justice and did not presume to judge its decisions.

    [08] Koumoutsakos expresses regret over developments regarding Iran's nuclear program

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Foreign Ministry Spokesman George Koumoutsakos in an announcement on Thursday evening expressed Greek diplomacy's regret over developments regarding Iran's nuclear program.

    Koumoutsakos expressed regret because "the diplomatic procedure is being halted, an effort which Greece, like other countries throughout the world, supported."

    The foreign ministry spokesman added:"At the same time, we condemn every nuclear program which does not respect the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The European Union had already, since last September, supported the probable referral of the matter of Iran's nuclear program to the UN Security Council in the event that this country continued its nuclear activities. Two days ago, the EU condemned Iran's decision to continue towards this direction and, as is known, the European initiative was halted."

    Koumoutsakos noted that following Iran's persistence and the latest developments, "it is apparent that the referral of the issue to the UN Security Council is henceforth probable if not unavoidable."

    [09] President Papoulias hosts reception in honor of the Armed Forces, Security Corps

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias hosted the traditional reception in honor of the cadres of the Armed Forces and of the Security Corps at the Presidential Mansion on Thursday evening.

    Present at the reception were Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda, government ministers, former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, the leadership of the Armed Forces and of the Security Corps as well as officers of all the Corps.

    [10] Tourism ministry initiative to brief int'l tour operators on bird flu measures in Greece

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Minister of Tourism Development Dimitris Avramopoulos has ordered the release of a circular to all branches of the National Greek Tourism Organization (EOT) in order to inform international tourism organizations and tour operators of the measures Greece has taken to prevent cases of bird flu.

    Avramopoulos stressed that no case of bird flu has been reported in Greece and that authorities have taken precautionary measures since the threat of bird flu became known.

    He also added that the ministry is highly concerned about the exaggerated reactions that have surrounded the issue.

    "This sense and perception can hurt our country, particularly at a time when trends in the international tourism markets are being finalized for this year," he said.

    [11] Greece present at Vienna Int'l Tourism Exhibition

    VIENNA, 13/1/2006 (ANA/MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Greece is among the participants at the Ferien Messe - International Fair for Holiday Travel and Leisure, Austria's biggest tourism exhibit that opened on Thursday.

    Roughly 150,000 visitors are expected at the exhibit, which runs through Sunday.

    Representatives from major Austrian travel agencies and tour operators predicted another good year for Greek tourism, noting that Greece has been a leading holiday destination for Austrians in recent years.

    They have predicted a 5%-6% increase in tourist arrivals to Greece from Austria for 2006 compared with last year.

    [12] Greek franchising market has great growth potential, report

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    The Greek franchising market has great growth prospects for the next few years, a survey by ICAP said on Thursday.

    The report said that only 4.0 percent of enterprises included in the survey (retail trade and other activities) have adopted franchising as a way to expand business, compared with a 30 percent rate in the UK market, one of the two largest franchising markets in the EU.

    Franchising network grew by 13.7 pct in Greece last year, while ICAP forecasts a 2.6 percent growth rate, reflecting economic uncertainties in the country.

    Total active franchisors (with at least one franchising unit) totalled 400 in 2005, up from 230 in 2001 and 187 in 1998, for an increase of 74 percent in the period 2001-2005.

    The sector report said the clothing and accessories and the food-detergent-cosmetics categories ranked first last year with a 16 percent market share each.

    The shop per business concept rate, however, reached the rates of most advanced markets worldwide (US, France, Britain), with around one in 10 franchisees owning more than one shops, while around one in two franchisees owned a second trade concept last year.

    Domestic origin concepts (76.8 pct) also reached the rates of other larger European markets, with imported concepts using the master franchise form with main origin from Italy, France and the UK.

    [13] Hellenic Sugar Industry to close down its Xanthi factory

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Hellenic Sugar Industry's board, after a marathon meeting late on Wednesday, announced it was suspending the operation of its sugar factory unity in Xanthi, Northern Greece.

    A board announcement said the suspension of operation would begin from the next crop season and after the unit resigned from its production quota, in the framework of an integrated business plan aimed to adjust the Greek sugar industry to new EU regulations on sugar.

    "The decision to close down the Xanthi unit was taken after great consideration, based on Hellenic Sugar Industry's determination to survive into a new regime and to continue offering value to its shareholders, quality products to consumer and economic growth in regional Greece," the announcement said.

    An EU Farm Ministers' Council agreed to cut benchmark sugar prices by 36 percent in the next four years, starting with a 20 percent drop in the next crop season.

    Hellenic Sugar's board underlined that its decision to limit its production to four production units, combined with an integrated program of interventions, was aiming to achieve a production cost that would preserve its competitiveness and to service domestic market needs. The board also said that by taking timely decisions the company was ensuring funding from the EU's restructuring fund. These funds will be used to help workers, in the framework of a smooth adjusting process aimed to boost competitiveness, it said.

    Workers at Hellenic Sugar Industry's unit in Xanthi on Thursday said they were determined to begin dynamic mobilizations. Speaking ANA-MPA, Andreas Demetriades, secretary of the workers' union, said Hellenic Sugar Industry's workers at the units of Serres, Larissa, Orestiada and Plati would stand by in their actions. Demetriades accused Agrotiki Bank, Hellenic Sugar's main shareholder, of pressuring for the close down of the factory, based on a survey conducted by Delloitte on the viability of Hellenic Sugar Industry's production units.

    Demetriades also accused Hellenic Sugar's management of inability and stressed that instead of closing down the Xanthi factory it would promote the production of bio-fuel. The Xanthi unit employed 114 workers. The factory's manager Constantinos Kapetis said the board has agreed on offering favorable benefits to workers, either to continue working to other units or the accept a voluntary pension plan.

    Xanthi Prefect George Pavlidis on Thursday expressed his anger on the decision to close down the factory and said he was ready to begin a fight against this decision.

    [14] Temporary board of directors appointed for proposed OA successor

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    A new company to succeed debt-ridden national carrier Olympic Airways (OA) moved a step further to materialization on Thursday with the appointment of a board of directors for the proposed company.

    The new carrier, expected to include stakes by the state and private investors, lists Spyros Martsekis as chairman and managing director, while other board members are attorney Evaggelia Konstantaki, engineer Georgios Yiannopoulos, as well as economists Yiannis Economou and Dimitris Papadopoulos.

    According to a transport ministry press release, appointing a temporary board of directors for the proposed company was a necessity, as commercial law dictates the existence of a board in order to establish a societe anonyme company.

    The ministry added that a new and permanent board will be appointed once the public-private entity's shareholders are finalized.

    [15] SE Europe faces risk of energy shortage, new Business Council head says

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    SE Europe could suffer brief energy shortages over the next two years mainly due to a restructuring of the energy industry in Bulgaria, Aldo Fumagalli, a SOL group executive and the new chairman of the Business Council of Southeast Europe said in Thessaloniki on Thursday.

    Presenting the Council's goals during a one-day seminar in the city, Fumagalli said Bulgaria ranked fourth in Europe in electricity exports last year but harmonization with European energy and environmental legislation meant that the country must close down several power production units and build new ones.

    The Business Council's secretariat will be permanently based in Thessaloniki, operating within the framework of the Stability Pact for SE Europe.

    Representing the government was Deputy Economy Minister Christos Folias, who called the promotion of regional cooperation one of Athens' and the EU's primary policy goals for the entire region.

    At present, the deputy minister said, Greece has assumed a significant share of the developmental initiatives in the Balkans and SE Europe, financing - via development laws -- 51 investment schemes worth 127 million euros and absorbing workers from neighboring countries into its workforce. Folias, in fact, said that third country nationals now comprise 10 percent of Greece's active population.

    [16] EU approves grant for Greek and Cypriot potato output

    BRUSSELS, 13/1/2006 (ANA/M Aronis)

    The European Union's executive Commission on Thursday awarded Greece and Cyprus a grant of 1.4 million euros for potato production as part of a 25.5 million euro package in 14 member states to provide information and promote agricultural products in the bloc.

    Earmarked for the two countries are a total of 2.9 million euros under the EU program of ¨ 50.9 million, of which the EU will contribute half, the Commission said in a statement.

    Selected were 25 programs in Belgium, Germany, Greece and Cyprus, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom as eligible for financing. They cover organic products, agricultural quality products, oils, milk, cheese, meat, wine, fruit and vegetables, flowers and potatoes.

    The approved programs are the second series for the year 2005, A first series was approved in June 2005. The EU budget available in 2005 for promotion programs for agricultural products in the European Union was ¨ 48.5 million.

    The publicity measures aim to highlight the advantages of EU products, especially quality, hygiene, food safety, nutrition, labeling, animal welfare or environment-friendliness.

    The measures can also cover participation at events and fairs, information campaigns on the EU system of protected designations of origin (PDO), protected geographical indications (PGI) and traditional specialty guaranteed (TSG), information on EU quality and labeling systems and organic farming,

    Information campaigns on the EU system of quality wines produced in specified regions (QWPSR) are also amongst the possibilities.

    The remaining half of the cost of programs will be met by the trade groups that which proposed them, and/or by the governments concerned.

    [17] EU Commissioner notes high cost, low penetration of broadband in Greece

    13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Greece has among the highest cost and lowest penetration of broadband among European Union countries, European Commissioner Viviane Reding said in response to a question placed by Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) MP Dimitris Papadimoulis, which was released as an announcement by SYN on Thursday.

    According to Reding, the percentage of Greek homes using broadband was just 1.1 percent - a tenth of the EU average, which was just under 11 per cent in July 2005.

    Comparing the cost of broadband connections between EU countries was difficult because of the different packages offered by providers but the information obtained by the Commission showed Greece to be among the most expensive.

    The Commissioner said that Greece's failure to incorporate the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications, which would allow the appropriate regulatory measures and facilitate competition, might be a contributing factor to lack of competition and the high cost of broadband in the country.

    The Commission had referred Greece to the European Court of Justice on this issue, she added.

    Reding also said that Greece had the fourth lowest percentage of Internet users among the 25 EU member-states, with an estimated 16 percent of households having Internet access.

    [18] EU's innovation 'scoreboard' released on Thursday

    BRUSSELS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Greece occupies a lackluster 23rd spot out of the European Union 25 in the 5th edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), which was released here on Thursday.

    At the top of Europe's innovation ladder are Sweden, Finland Switzerland, Germany and Denmark. However, on a heartening note, Greece was listed by the EU Commission as one of the counties "catching up", along with Slovenia, Hungary, Portugal, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus and Malta.

    According to the Commission, "most of the new Member States are engaged in the catching-up process, however, their slow pace is unlikely to allow for short-term convergence in Europe. In addition, should trends for the 25 Member States continue, the innovation gap between Europe and the United States will not close."

    According to a relevant press release, the EIS index includes innovation indicators and trend analyses for all 25 EU members as well as for Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, the United States and Japan. The five key dimensions of innovation it assesses include: innovation drivers, knowledge creation, innovation and entrepreneurship, applications, and intellectual property.

    "The innovation scoreboard clearly shows that we have to do more for innovation. Boosting innovation is a major pillar in our Partnership for Growth and Jobs. There is clear evidence that more innovative sectors tend to have higher productivity growth rates", Commission Vice President GŁnter Verheugen said.

    "Average performance" counties included France, Luxembourg, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Italy and Iceland.

    Conversely, countries identified as "losing ground" were Estonia, Spain, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and EU hopeful Turkey.

    [19] Gov't on inflation rate

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday dismissed concerns over the inflation rate, saying a recent upturn is due to recent increases in the price of crude oil.

    Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also noted that efforts to curb smuggling and profiteering are continuing.

    [20] Intralot raises equity stake in Inteltek to 45 percent

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Intralot on Thursday announced the completion of a purchase of a 20 percent equity stake in Turkey's Inteltek for 67 million euros, raising its total stake in the company to 45 percent. The purchase will be financed through a five-year banking loan.

    Inteltek has signed an exclusive eight-year contract for the management of betting game services in Turkey. The game's proceeds surpassed 900 million Turkish lira in 2005, in its first year of full operation.

    Intralot expects the betting game to grow faster in Turkey over the next few years.

    [21] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    The Athens share index closed at 3,885.23 points, showing a rise of 0.21%. Turnover was 395.9 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.07% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.14% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.90% up.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 138 to 134 with 58 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): OTE (2759)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 150.3 million euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outpace sellers

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2015): 3.48% yield

  • German benchmark 10-year bund: 3.24%

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2015 (990 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.1 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates: Friday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.221

    [22] Cyprus Airways airbus lands safely in Athens after engine trouble

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    A Cyprus Airways Airbus-320 en route from Larnaca to Moscow landed safely shortly after noon Thursday at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA) after developing a malfunction in one of its engines as it was flying in Greek national airspace.

    The Airbus, carrying 147 passengers, landed safely at 12:33 p.m. at AIA.

    The pilot ascertained a problem in one of the plane's engines, according to indications on his instrument panel, as the Airbus was flying through Greek national airspace, and immediately requested permission to land at AIA, where all safety measures were immediately instituted.

    The passengers were disembarked and were at the airport's boarding lounge, while the Airbus was due to undergo checks by technical personnel so as to ascertain the problem.

    [23] Greek delegation to discuss Evros River flooding in Bulgaria

    13/1/2006 (ANA)

    A Greek delegation headed by Deputy Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Athanassios Nakos will meet Bulgarian Deputy Environment and Waters Ministers Ljubka Katsakova and Jordan Dartnov in Sofia on Friday to discuss the joint systematic handling of the flooding phenomena of the Evros River.

    The issue will be examined by officials of the two countries, in the framework of the meeting, to achieve the immediate programming of the next steps to be taken in this respect.

    [24] Merchant marine minister holds talks with U.S. senators for granting of Liberty-type ship to function as museum

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis held talks with expatriate U.S. senators on Thursday on the issue of the granting by the U.S. government of a Liberty-type ship, one of the few such vessels remaining in the world, which will function as a museum.

    According to an announcement by the merchant marine ministry, Kefaloyiannis met at the ministry with Senators Leonidas Raptakis (Road Island) and Dimitris Yiannaros (Connecticut) who were accompanied by Robert Winchester, on behalf of the U.S. embassy in Athens and shipowner Spyros Polemis.

    The initiative for the granting of the ship for the creation of a Maritime Tradition Museum had been undertaken by Kefaloyiannis during his last visit to the United States, in cooperation with the Greek American senators.

    The ship-museum will be placed in Piraeus next to the space where the merchant marine ministry will be housed and will highlight the country's longstanding maritime tradition, as well as being the focus of attraction for thousands of visitors.

    [25] Constantine Stephanis appointed new president of Athens Academy

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    The appointment of the new president of the Athens Academy, Constantine Stephanis, and of the Academy's vice-president, Panagiotis Vokotopoulos, was held at an event on Thursday evening.

    Present at the event, held at the audience-packed premises of the Academy, were academics, representatives of the government, Parliament and of the political parties, as well as former Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Stephanis took over the post from the Academy's outgoing president Manolis Roukounas.

    [26] Bomb hoax suspect to face criminal charges

    ATHENS, 13/1/2006 (ANA)

    A man suspected of being responsible for hundreds of hoax bomb-threats in Athens and Patras was brought before a public prosecutor on Thursday and charged with criminal offences.

    The suspect is a 26-year-old man from the village of Skiada in Achaia, who was arrested on Wednesday morning at his home by Attica police.

    Police say hold the 26-year-old responsible for 220 phone calls made since December 13 that threatened bomb explosions in public places, such as Syntagma Square, all kinds of public transport, airplanes (one of which was turned back), the prime minister's offices and a number of public buildings.

    Under questioning, the man also admitted to two more bomb hoaxes during the Athens Olympic Games, one in a passenger ship and another in the Panpeloponnesian Stadium while games were underway. He said his motive was "to have a laugh".

    He is now in custody, in accordance with laws for criminals "caught in the act", since he had carried out 10 bomb threats in Athens and Patras on Tuesday.

    On concluding their investigation, police will also inform the bodies that received the bomb threats so that they can file suits for any financial damage they might have incurred.

    [27] Dead birds in Rodopi killed by salmonella infection

    13/1/2006 (ANA)

    Domestic poultry found dead in Moslem minority villages in Rodopi were killed by salmonella infections, veterinary labs announced on Thursday.

    The results of tests on the first five samples sent to the National Reference Laboratory for bird flu do not give rise for concern, the head of the Rodopi Veterinary Service Mihalis Diamantakis said.

    The deaths of dozens of domestic fowl have been reported by several poultry breeders in the area in the past few days, around the villages of Agra, Filyra, Kalhas and Deilina. The results of another 11 samples sent from Deilina are expected to come out on Friday.

    In the meantime, veterinary service crews are visiting the villages in order to inform inhabitants how to react if they notice sick birds among their flock.

    The area is considered high-risk for contamination by avian flu by wild migrating birds, since it is a stopping point along their migration routes.

    [28] Deliberations on diplomatic level for Straw's visit to Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 13/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides described here on Thursday as a crafty combination the reference of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for a traditional enmity between Cyprus and Turkey resulting in the interference of each country to interpolate obstacles in each other's activities.

    ''I do not know if there are any obstacles from our part,'' he said, adding that ''there was no veto from the Republic of Cyprus for the commencement of Turkey's accession negotiations to the European Union in December 2004 or in October 2005.''

    Asked about the proposed visit to Cyprus by Straw, Chrysostomides said that deliberations are being carried out on a diplomatic level.

    In the meantime, British High Commissioner in Nicosia Peter Millet said discussions and deliberations are being carried out for Straw's visit to Cyprus.

    In statements after a reception at the Presidential Palace, Millet said he was keeping in touch with Foreign Minister George Iacovou.

    Invited to say if it was so important to Britain for Straw to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat at the ''presidential palace'' in the Turkish occupied areas, Millet said, ''It is not a presidential. It is the office of the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.''

    ''We do not and will not recognize this state'', he said, adding that ''we will see if we can arrange a solution.''

    [29] Adoption of euro to the benefit of all Cypriots, says finance minister

    NICOSIA, 13/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said on Thursday that his ministry strongly believes that it will be to the benefit of all Cypriots to adopt the euro the soonest possible, adding that the target date was the January 1, 2008.

    ''With the fact and only that we are members of the European Union, we are given the right to enter the euro without additional obligations beyond the fulfillment of the Maastricht criteria,'' he said.

    Sarris added that the introduction of the euro will not involve additional sacrifices or demands from Cyprus.

    The minister was speaking at a joint press conference with Central Bank Governor Christodoulos Christodoulou, during which they presented the communication strategy for the adoption of the euro in Cyprus.

    He said that in order to ensure the smooth introduction of the euro, it was necessary to have a plan, the basic element of which would be the communication strategy.

    Christodoulou said there is excellent cooperation between the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank for the preparation and materialization of the strategic plan for the adoption of the euro.

    He added that the Central Bank has already entered into an advanced stage on the issue of legislation, and networking with other commercial, financial institutions and associates.

    [30] Mine removal in UN buffer zone continues next week

    NICOSIA, 13/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    The EU-funded Mine Action Centre Cyprus (MACC) will remove mines located in the UN buffer zone area adjacent to Nicosia's Ayios Dometios area on January 17 next.

    The work is part of ongoing mine clearance operations in Nicosia.

    Residents in the affected area could be inconvenienced by de-mining activity in the neighborhood.


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