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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-06-19

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

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

Tuesday, 19 June 2007 Issue No: 2622

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis says high time to go ahead with European integration
  • [02] ND secretary, Parliament president address ND pre-conference on Europe
  • [03] Papandreou disputes official figures showing decline in unemployment
  • [04] Government spokesman replies to PASOK on employment, unemployment issues
  • [05] PM to receive Serbian FM Jeremic on Tuesday
  • [06] EU General Affairs Council convening in Luxembourg
  • [07] Education minister meets in Cairo with Egyptian counterpart ahead of Euro-Med ministerial conference
  • [08] Police brutality video continues to cause political reverberations, condemnations
  • [09] KKE leader lashes out at mainstream parties, SYN
  • [10] KKE MPs call for Parliamentary inquiry into funds affair
  • [11] Greek companies' investments abroad thriving, report
  • [12] Finance and economy ministry on SMEs
  • [13] BoG governor on pension funds, monetary policy
  • [14] Top US agriculture department official in Greece
  • [15] Tourism minister addresses 2nd Cooperation Forum
  • [16] Tourist arrivals in Chalkidiki up 8.0 pct this year, hoteliers' forecast
  • [17] Greek minimum wage earners in top end of EU list
  • [18] Greek unemployment rose to 9.5 pct in March, yr/yr
  • [19] Athens airport general director elected president of Europe Airports Council International
  • [20] ASE head calls for abolition of transactions tax
  • [21] Greek stocks end 0.18 pct up
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [25] 2nd int'l con'f on disability, mass media begins in Athens
  • [26] Greek, Spanish transport ministers discuss bilateral, European issues
  • [27] Fine imposed for pollution caused by 'Sea Diamond' sinking
  • [28] Instructions to people in light of heat wave
  • [29] Deputy Minister of Sports on the Agios Kosmas beach issue
  • [30] Archbishop Demetrios receives honorary degree from Fordham University, to visit Cyprus July 2-6
  • [31] Children's Museum of Manhattan interactive exhibition on ancient Greece
  • [32] Turkish teen convicted of migrant smuggling
  • [33] Greece, China sign second cooperation protocol in sports sector
  • [34] Key to Cyprus solution is in Ankara, says President Papadopoulos
  • [35] Cyprus FM: Archbishop's visit to the Holy See very successful Politics

  • [01] PM Karamanlis says high time to go ahead with European integration

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Monday that the path to the future of Europe is long and difficult, stressing that the government desires European integration and European deepening and that the European Union must forge ahead with all its member-states along this course.

    Karamanlis, who was addressing a ruling New Democracy party pre-conference focusing on Europe in the city of Nafplio in the Peloponnese, further said that "there is also the path of strengthened cooperation when and where necessary. The example of the EMU is already a strong model."

    The prime minister pointed to the need for a solution to be provided for the pending issue of the Constitutional Treaty as soon as possible and clarified that his adherrence to the base, essence and balance of the text already shaped is a foregone conclusion and that he supports efforts developing for a solution to be found and implemented before the next Euroelections.

    "It is high time for all of us to rise to the challenges, to schedule a solution to the pending issue that arose, for all sides to move with a European conception, with magnanimity, a strong will and with faith in the European vision," he said.

    The prime minister then expressed support for political unification and the shaping of a joint foreign affairs and security policy.

    Since this year is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the treaty that paved the way to the European course, Karamanlis said "we pay homage to Constantine Karamanlis and his associates, political and diplomatic, the historic cadres of New Democracy who worked and achieved in difficult times the feat of our country's incorporation in the European family. We are proud because our party shaped and put into practice the European course of our country and succeeded, despite barren internal reactions, in leading Greece ahead, we are the party of great and absolutely vindicated national options."

    Referring in turn to government policy, Karamanlis said "we are continuing the changes and the reforms that we have scheduled with consistency and intensifying rates."

    He said that "our strategy is a foregone conclusion and our decision is irrevocable. We are continuing, far from doctrines and mistaken ideas with the support of the wide social alliance of changes and reforms."

    "We have promoted considerable reforms, we have enacted new development incentives, speeded up the absorption of European Union funds and we have already achieved considerable results and we are continuing with intensifying rates. The successes that we have had recently confirm the correctness of our options and highlight the effectiveness of our policy, while indicating its continuation as well," the prime minister concluded.

    [02] ND secretary, Parliament president address ND pre-conference on Europe

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, addressing the party's pre-conference on Europe in the city of Nafplio in the Peloponnese on Monday, said that the European Union "is the base on which our country's security, economic growth and progress is being built."

    Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki said that Europe is being called on to take crucial decisions on its future, decisions as to how it will be ruled as a unified and strong political force.

    The head of ND's Eurodeputies, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, referred to the celebration concerning the 50th anniversary of the European Economic Community's (EEC) treaty. He said that Greece is participating in this celebration since for the last 50 years it has belonged to the group of pioneers of the European idea and achieved its accession to the then EEC in 1979. This achievement belongs exclusively to late statesman Constantine Karamanlis.

    [03] Papandreou disputes official figures showing decline in unemployment

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou visited a Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) vocational training centre in the Neapolis district of Thessaloniki on Monday, within the framework of his tour of northern Greece.

    Papandreou charged that contrary to government announce-ments, unemployment has not declined, while uninsured employment, part of the so-called "underground economy", has skyrocketed, with roughly one million people working without social security insurance, as he claimed.

    Papandreou said OAED is being "exploited" by the ruling New Democracy government and party officials.

    Responding to a comment by one of the instructors, according to which the same practice was the norm during the previous PASOK governments as well -- namely, that a total of 42,750 hirings were made for 8,000 job openings -- Papandreou said he condemns such practices.

    OAED instructors briefed him on job-related problems and student representatives referred to the downgrading of diplomas bestowed by Greek universities, as they said.

    Papandreou presented PASOK's programme for tackling unemployment, including the option of "social employment" for the unemployed who need only a few years of work stamps to be eligible for a pension as well as OAED's regional decentralisation.

    Wrapping up his visit to Pella prefecture in north-central Greece on Sunday, Papandreou announced that at the end of the week he will launch another major tour, from the western part of the country to the city of Alexandropoulis in the extreme northeast.

    Gov't reaction

    In a reaction to Papandreou's statements, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros charged that the main opposition and Papandreou personally were engaging in a "hypocritical campaign of disinformation".

    "This is incredibly hypocritical for an entire organisation that led the country towards so many impasses, a party such as PASOK, whose magnitude of failure lies in the fact that unemployment in 2004 was above 11 percent," Antonaros charged.

    The spokesman also noted that the national statistical service's figures are approved by Eurostat and debunk, as he said, PASOK's claims.

    In a later reply to Antonaros' statements, PASOK spokesman Petros Efthymiou said the government merely raised the unemployment rate by 2 percentage points when it took power in order to later show a decrease. He also charged that the government does not count certain categories of jobless individuals in the overall unemployment figures.

    [04] Government spokesman replies to PASOK on employment, unemployment issues

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, replying to the main opposition PASOK party's spokesman on employment and unemployment issues, said on Monday that, "as always, the government replies to PASOK's vagueness and inaccuracies on employment and unemployment issues with evidence."

    "Who is entitled and who is not entitled to register himself in the records of the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) is determined by the existing legal framework, that is clear and explicit, and has been shaped since 1985," Antonaros said.

    "As regards farmers and their possibility of registering with OAED, absolutely nothing has changed in relation to the past," the alternate government spokesman added.

    "Lastly, a few days ago, (PASOK official Maria) Mrs. Damanaki mentioned that 150,000 unemployed young people are registered with labour experience acquiring programmes. Mr. Efthymiou is speaking of 30,000 today. Which of the two is telling the truth? Let them make up their minds at last," Antonaros concluded.

    [05] PM to receive Serbian FM Jeremic on Tuesday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday will receive Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic at his office. Earlier, the premier will meet with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis.

    Karamanlis will chair and Inner Cabinet meeting in the morning.

    [06] EU General Affairs Council convening in Luxembourg

    LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    The European Union's General Affairs Council convenes here on Monday to pave the way for the EU summit and to examine latest developments in the Middle East. Greece will be represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    The foreign minister said in a statement that "Europe is at a crucial crossroads" and that "yesterday's (Sunday) discussion, that lasted four hours, tried to respond to the proposals of the German presidency for a compromise between member-states regarding a reforms Treaty, that will not be a constitution but will be able to compromise the different views of member-states."

    According to Bakoyannis,Sunday's discussion "showed that while most countries appeared with an extremely constructive spirit and responded positively to the proposals of the German presidency, there were countries that observed more rigid positions, resulting in efforts having to be continued today to enable us to have some results at the EU summit."

    [07] Education minister meets in Cairo with Egyptian counterpart ahead of Euro-Med ministerial conference

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    The strengthening of Euro-Med cooperation on issues of higher education, and Greek-Egyptian cooperation on educational matters were at the focus of Greece's education minister Marietta Yannakou's discussions with Egyptian minister of higher education Hani Hilal in Cairo on Sunday night, ahead of the 1st Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial meeting on Higher Education and Scientific Research, which opens in the Egyptian capital on Monday.

    "We had an excellent meeting with the Egyptian minister of higher education, and discussed matters related with our very close cooperation, our universities, the research centres and, naturally, we also talked bout the joint statement that will be released on the Euro-Med Cooperation and agreed that we must strengthen that cooperation, that there are already delays and therefore we must run at a higher speed, backing our neighbouring peoples and neighbouring countries," Yannakou told reporters after the meeting.

    On bilateral educational issues, Yannakou announced that Greece's ministry of education was undertaking new initiatives for cooperation between universities of both countries, adding that she and Hilal had also discussed "matters related to knowledge and Greek studies in Egypt".

    Dr. Hilal welcomed Yannakou to the 1st Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial meeting on Higher Education and Scientific Research, which he noted was "the first conference on higher education and scientific research issues to take place in 12 years, following the Barcelona Treaty", and expressed satisfaction that this conference was taking place in Egypt with the cooperation of the German presidency of the European Union.

    [08] Police brutality video continues to cause political reverberations, condemnations

    Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras on Monday reiterated that the government was working to "make a better police force with absolute respect of human rights and democratic legality", following the airing over the weekend of shocking images showing a police officer mistreating two teenage detainees at a downtown Athens police precinct in 2006.

    A grainy cell phone video, approximately five minutes long, that first appeared on the Internet showed at least one police detective ordering the two suspects, reportedly foreign nationals, to alternately punch and slap each other in the face. The man is also shown striking and verbally abusing the two teens.

    Polydoras again cited condemnation of the incident, while at the same time questioning the timing of its video's release. "Let me just against express my abhorrence over this incident last year, which, strangely, was uncovered just now," he said.

    Authorities on Saturday ordered urgent criminal and administrative proceedings over the incident, with the public order ministry's announcing the suspension of the officer involved and the demotion of the Omonia police station's chief that same day.

    Speaking to reporters on Monday, Polydoras also made an appeal to the media, asking that "discussions related to this abhorrent incident" be oriented "in the direction of aiding our efforts for a better force ... and not in the direction of 'deconstructing' the police force."

    The incident sparked intense reactions by Greece's opposition parties, whereas Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis himself personally condemned the incident.

    Gov't spokesman

    On his part and in answer to numerous questions during a latter press briefing, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros emphasised that the current government condemns, investigates and sends perpetrators to the courts when violations are uncovered.

    "Any type of violence is absolutely condemnable," Antonaros added.

    Conversely, he dismissed an assertion that such instances of police brutality first appeared during the current government's tenure or the instances of police-related violence increased over the last three-year period.

    He pointed to a past Amnesty International report citing 66 such instances, in comparison to a sharp decrease in the present, as he said.

    Asked about a statement attributed to Polydoras, namely, "what business do I have with those miscreants? (rogue police officers)", Antonaros said there was no doubt that "people who violate their duty in such a blatant manner can only be characterised in such a demeaning way".

    PASOK, opposition

    Main opposition PASOK cadre and former minister Alekos Papadopoulos, meanwhile, called for the resignation of the public order ministry's political and law enforcement leadership over the incident, referring to a "river of crocodile tears" by those "attempting to persuade the Greek people that such instances of violence are isolated."

    On her part, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga again commented as well on Monday following the video's broadcast on Saturday.

    "Political responsibilities are a given, as are the government's responsibilities ... this climate wasn't created overnight but over the last 15 to 20 years, as we've seen an exacerbation in police suppression."

    Papariga also called on Polydoras to stop "slandering and shifting responsibilities left and right and onto other parties", as she said.

    [09] KKE leader lashes out at mainstream parties, SYN

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said Monday that the weakening of the two mainstream parties -- the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and main opposition PASOK -- and strengthening of the KKE was her party's main political target.

    Speaking at a press conference during which she precented the KKE's central political platform in view of national elections, Papariga said that "all together, independent of our different views on certain issues, must strike a uniform blow of punishment at ND and PASOK".

    She said that the opportunity of the electoral battle must be taken advantage of to put a rift in the correlation of forces, which she said was detrimental to the people, and in order to create momentum in the course to "averting the new storm of anti-popular measures".

    Papariga said it was necessary to convert the electoral battle into a springboard from which positive effects would result in the movement and in the policy of alliances.

    Under the present circumstances, "the realistic and hope-bringing step would be a tanbible decline of the forces of the two-party alternation (in government) so that a government and main opposition that are weak in votes will arise, in conjunction with a strengthening of the main and most fundamental rival of the two parties and plutocracy, which is the KKE", she said.

    Regarding the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party, Papariga said that it's platform placed it close to one of the two mainstream parties, and thus it was neither a credible nor a frank opponent of the two-party system.

    On the Popular Orthodox Rally Party (LAOS), Papariga said that the representatives of the interests of the two-party system rlied on other political forces as well in order to achieve their goals.

    [10] KKE MPs call for Parliamentary inquiry into funds affair

    The Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) Parliamentary group on Monday called for a special Parliamentary committee of inquiry to investigate the ongoing state-run pension fund affair.

    In a letter addressed to Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda, KKE party deputies said those responsible should be tried, while pointing out that recent developments show that both the current New Democracy government and the former PASOK governments "are responsible for the looting of pension funds' assets."

    Financial News

    [11] Greek companies' investments abroad thriving, report

    Greek enterprises' expansion in foreign markets, and particularly in the Balkans, is giving a strong boost to exports, enterpreunship, research and development, employment and to the Greek economy in general.

    This was the conclusion of an event organized by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) to present a report on "The role of Greek multinational enterprises in economy and preconditions for further development," written by Th. Palaskas, M. Papanastasiou and K. Filippaios.

    Financial diplomacy is one of the stronger means to promote the country's financial interests abroad, Foreign Deputy Minister Evripides Stylianides told the even. "We reformed the country's financial diplomacy in the last three years and sought three significant openings to the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Arab world, while we strengthen our presence in significant international markets," the Greek minister said.

    Commenting on Greek investments abroad, Stylianides stressed, however, that despite their dynamism they remained at low levels compared with global trends, a fact leaving room for more foreign direct investments outflows. Greek FDIs totaled 8.3 pct of Gross Fixed Capital Investments in 2005 in international markets, 21.1 pct in the EU and 2.7 pct in Greece. Stylianides said Greece's geopolitical positions makes it a starting point for business access to the Balkans, Black Sea, the Middle East and the Mediterranean in general.

    Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Hellenic Industries and Enterprises, said IOBE's report offered strong evidence over the role played by Greek enterprises both in international markets and domestically. Greek enterprises are a model of export orientation and several of them have managed very significant progress in international markets, he noted.

    IOBE said Greece ranked high in the global Foreign Direct Investment outflow list, focusing more in the Balkans, North Africa and the US markets. The country, being the most developed economy and Southeastern Europe and the only EU member-states by January 1, 2007, obtained an advantage against other Balkan countries, playing a very significant role in economic development in the region.

    More than 3,500 enterprises, of Greek interests, are currently activated in the Balkans with investments totaling around 6.0 billion US dollars in the last three years.

    In Bulgaria, Greece is the second largest foreign investor after Austria, with investments totaling 1.4 billion euros, while in Romania it ranks 10th with 530 Greek enterprises investing around 3.0 billion euros in the country.

    The report said foreign activities accounted for 33 pct of total sales and to 41 pct of total workers in the Greek enterprises.

    Greek multinational showed a 7.9 pct average annual growth rate in employment in the period 2001-2005, almost four times higher compared with employment average rates in Greece.

    [12] Finance and economy ministry on SMEs

    Small and very small businesses will be able to participate in the new round of subsidisation for small and medium-size businesses (SMEs), according to the finance and economy ministry.

    These businesses, that must be active in the sectors of trade and services, will begin submitting their applications to bank branches all over the country in June.

    According to a joint ministerial decision by Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Christos Folias, the new round of subsidisation for SMEs will be funded with 403.7 million euros (that can reach 499 million euros).

    [13] BoG governor on pension funds, monetary policy

    Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas on Monday reite-rated that the country's central bank lacks the jurisdiction to regulate and monitor state-run pension funds, in comments to reporters regarding the ongoing structured bond furor.

    He clarified that a relevant committee within the central bank's framework, as foreseen by a 2004 legislative act, was never activated, despite repeated requests by the BoG's leadership.

    Regarding the ECB's monetary policy, Garganas issued a written statement, noting, amongst others:

    "Based on our assessment of incoming data, we will do what is necessary to ensure that risks to inflation do not materialise. Having said that, we do not predetermine the path of monetary policy. Further action hinges on the evolving distribution of risks to inflation further out, which are presently seen on the upside," he said.

    [14] Top US agriculture department official in Greece

    Agriculture Development Deputy Minister Alexandros Kontos on Monday received visiting US Agricultural Section officer (Foreign Agricultural Service) Geoffrey W. Wiggin for talks revolving around bio-ethanol production in Greece (Xanthi and Larissa), as well as prospects in the domestic cotton and corn-growing sectors.

    [15] Tourism minister addresses 2nd Cooperation Forum

    Tourist Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Monday addressed the 2nd Cooperation Forum on the theme of "Development of strategic marketing and of the branding system of Greek tourism," stressing that Greece's tourist product needs continuous promotion actions and structural changes.

    Referring to "the very positive fact that our country is acquiring a strategic adviser for the first time," Petralia said that "through a strategic and operational planning we have the opportunity of approaching the sectors of marketing and communication methodically and effectively and utilising to the greatest possible degree the possibilities of promotion and advertising."

    The minister further said that "the ultimate goal is to make Greece more competitive," adding that the new marketing planning anticipates nine different forms of tourism that will be developed in various regions of the country, in accordance with their particularities, local customs and their natural and cultural wealth.

    [16] Tourist arrivals in Chalkidiki up 8.0 pct this year, hoteliers' forecast

    Tourist arrivals in the region of Chalkidiki are expected to rise by 8.0 pct this year, reaching last year's growth levels, the Hoteliers' Association of Chalkidiki said on Monday.

    In a news conference, the association said this year's growth rate would be a result of prefect authorities and hoteliers' efforts to ensure that no damages were suffered after last year's devastating fires in the region.

    Chalkidiki's prefect, Asterios Zographos, speaking to reporters, underlined however the problem with visa delays for incoming tourists from Ukraine and FYROM and other countries outside the Shengen Treaty.

    The hoteliers said hotel room prices remained competitive despite a 4.0 pct increase this year, compared with 2006.

    [17] Greek minimum wage earners in top end of EU list

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Spinthourakis)

    Greek minimum wage earners rank in the top end of the list in the EU-27, Eurostat said on Monday.

    The Statistical Office of the European Communities, in a report published on Monday, said minimum nominal wage in Greece was 668 euros in 2006, low compared with Luxembourg (1,570 euros), Ireland (1,403) and the UK (1,361), but large compared with Bulgaria (92 euros), Romania (114) and Latvia (174). In January 2007, 20 of the 27 member states of the EU had national legislation setting statutory minimum wages. They varied widely, from 92 per month in Bulgaria to 1,570 per month in Luxembourg. When adjusted to take into account differences in purchasing power, the disparities between the member states are reduced from a range of one to seventeen (in euros), to a range of one to seven (in purchasing power units) with Luxembourg (1,503 per month) the highest and Romania (204) the lowest.

    It should be noted that the proportion of employees receiving the minimum wage also differs greatly between member states, ranging from less than 1% in Spain to 17% in France.

    Three groups of countries

    Looking at the level of the minimum wage in euro, member states fell into three broad groups. In Bulgaria ( 92 per month), Romania ( 114), Latvia ( 172), Lithuania ( 174), Slovakia ( 217), Estonia ( 230), Poland ( 246), Hungary ( 258) and the Czech Republic ( 288), minimum wages were below 300 per month in January 2007. Portugal ( 470), Slovenia ( 522), Malta ( 585), Spain ( 666) and Greece ( 668 in July 2006) fell into a second group, with minimum wages of between 400 and 700 per month. In France ( 1 254), Belgium ( 1 259), the Netherlands ( 1 301), the United Kingdom ( 1 361), Ireland ( 1 403) and Luxembourg ( 1 570) minimum wages were over 1 200 per month. For comparison, the federal minimum wage in the USA was 676 per month in January 2007.

    [18] Greek unemployment rose to 9.5 pct in March, yr/yr

    Greek unemployment rose to 9.5 pct in March, from 9.2 pct in the same month last year but down from 10.6 pct in March 2005, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.

    The statistics service said the number of employed people totaled 4,418,510 in March 2007, while the number of unemployed people was 462,642 and the the number of non-active population totaled 4,292,428.

    Employment grew by 1.4 in the period March 2005-March 2004 and by 3.7 pct in March 2005-March 2006, while employment fell by 0.17 pct in the period March 2006-March 2007.

    South Aegean (21.8 pctP, Ionian islands (19.1 pct) and West Macedonia (14.1 pct) recorded the highest unemployment rates in March, while Central Greece and Evia (8.9 pct), Attica (8.7 pct) and Western Greece (8.2 pct) recorded the lowest unemployment rates.

    [19] Athens airport general director elected president of Europe Airports Council International

    The general director of the Athens international Eleftherios Venizelos airport, Yiannis Paraschis, has been unanimously elected President of the Europe Airports Council International (ACI Europe) that constitutes the official agency and voice of 400 airports in 45 European countries, representing 90 percent of Europe's commercial air traffic.

    On the occasion of his election during the 17th General Assembly of ACI Europe in Zurich, Paraschis said "my election to the post of President of the Airports Council International of Europe is a special honour for me. The choice of our European colleagues reflects the international recognition of Athens airport and at the same time it is an excellent distinction for the Greek air sector."

    Paraschis is also a member of the ACI World's board that represents 1,530 airports in 175 countries all over the world.

    [20] ASE head calls for abolition of transactions tax

    The Athens Stock Exchange fears that the introduction of the MiFID directive by Greek authorities could lead to a "leak" of foreign investors or even the "relocation" of the Greek market to London after November 2007, unless the government abolished a duty on stock market transactions and cut other charges, ASE's chairman Spyros Kapralos said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a 4th International Capital Markets Conference in Thessaloniki, bringing together market watchdogs from Cyprus, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania, FYROM, Georgia, Jordan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro, Kapralos said it was urgent that the government abolished the transactions tax and rapidly adapt legislation to a new environment so that the Greek market did not lose its competitiveness.

    Kapralos said the MiFID directive for financial product markets in Europe "interiorised" transactions offering the opportunity to foreign investors to place their capital to other markets, such as the London's trading platforms. He expressed his satisfaction over the fact that all related agencies in the country have already begun realizing the need for immediate action.

    He underlined, however, his belief that if necessary changes were made and the Greek market became more competitive in legislation, rules and taxation, then foreign capital would continue entering the market since foreign investors were "betting" on the outlook of Greek-listed enterprises, particularly their business activities in the Balkans.

    Kapralos also announced that a new semi-regulated market in the Athens Stock Exchange will "definitely" start operations in autumn and noted that "many, very dynamic companies are interested in participating in the market".

    He said that ASE's goal was to become the "organizer" of regional markets, although he stressed that a process of promoting partnerships was difficult and very slow, particularly in equity partnerships, since national governments have a say in the process.

    Juuka Ruuska, chairman of OMX and president of the European Exchanges Association, speaking to reporters, said the MiFID directive would combat monopolistic characteristics from European markets and noted it could bring healthy competition if it worked well.

    Ruuska said European markets, mainly emerging, must respond more quickly to demands by foreign investors and to offer lower access cost to their markets.

    "Mergers and acquisitions leading to consolidation are the main goals and tools to the development of international stock markets, particularly smaller ones," he said.

    Iakovos Georganas, chairman of Hellenic Exchanges Group, noted the need for cooperation between markets in Southeastern Europe.

    [21] Greek stocks end 0.18 pct up

    Greek stocks moved cautiously higher on Monday, with the composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange rising 0.18 pct to end at 4,909.48 points. Turnover was a moderate 358.4 million euros.

    Most sector indices ended higher with the Media (2.06 pct), Food/Beverage (1.78 pct) and Personal/Home Products (1.61 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Utilities (2.44 pct), Telecoms (0.71 pct) and Travel (0.15 pct) suffered losses.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.19 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.14 pct higher and the Small Cap index ended 0.01 pct up.

    Marfin Investment Group (51.25 pct), Epilektos (15.79 pct) and Lavipharm (11.76 pct) were top gainers, while Altius Investments (7.83 pct), ANEK (7.01 pct) and Gevka (6.37 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 151 to 113 with another 41 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.98%

    Industrials: +0.80%

    Commercial: -0.08%

    Construction: +0.43%

    Media: +2.06%

    Oil & Gas: +0.06%

    Personal & Household: +1.61%

    Raw Materials: +0.68%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.15%

    Technology: +1.32%

    Telecoms: -0.71%

    Banks: +0.45%

    Food & Beverages: +1.78%

    Health: +1.61%

    Utilities: -2.44%

    Chemicals: +0.52%

    Financial Services: +0.74%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Alpha Bank and Eurobank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 23.40

    ATEbank: 3.88

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 21.72

    HBC Coca Cola: 34.10

    Hellenic Petroleum: 11.78

    Emporiki Bank: 21.34

    National Bank of Greece: 42.18

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 26.18

    Intralot: 23.80

    Cosmote: 22.54

    OPAP: 27.32

    OTE: 22.86

    Titan Cement Company: 43.38

    [22] ADEX closing report

    Turnover turned moderate in the Athens Derivatives Exchange, after last week's boosted figures due to the triple witching in the market. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.12 pct and on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.33 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 10,297 contracts worth 135.898 million euros, with 33,920 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 416 contracts worth 13.227 million euros, with 1,246 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 6,691 contracts worth 10.757 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Hellenic Petroleum's contracts (1,133), followed by National Bank (595), ATEbank (656), Hellenic Telecoms (259), PPC (261), OPAP (385), Piraeus Bank (292) and Attica Bank (310).

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 2.613 billion euros, of which 1.36 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 1.253 billion were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017), was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 980 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.20 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.88 pct and the German Bund 4.68 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate eased to 4.08 pct from 4.09 pct on Friday, the two-day rate rose to 4.09 pct from 4.08 pct, the one-month rate was 4.10 pct and the 12-month rate was 4.51 pct.

    [24] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.351

    Pound sterling 0.681

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 9.51

    Japanese yen 166.78

    Swiss franc 1.675

    Norwegian kroner 8.139

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.448

    Australian dollar 1.605

    General News

    [25] 2nd int'l con'f on disability, mass media begins in Athens

    The 2nd international conference focusing on the subject of people with disabilities and the mass media was held in Athens on Monday held at the Secretariat General of Communication's media center, with Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos inaugurating the sessions.

    "Dealing responsibly with the problems that people with disabilities face is a matter concerning everybody, and as an objective defines the quality of democracy a country enjoys," Roussopoulos stressed, adding:

    "The mass media play a major role in public dialogue and in efforts for better information, greater awareness and positive action."

    He also stated that the moves agreed upon in last year's conference have already been implemented, referring to specific steps aimed at raising public awareness on issues concerning people with disabilities, combating stereotypes and prejudices and improving accessibility.

    Roussopoulos said the international conference has become an annual event and from now on it includes the International Documentary Festival on Disability in Athens, already underway since Saturday at the Benaki Museum.

    In addition, a guidebook for journalists offering assistance with disability-related terminology has been published, whereas the www.ameamedia.gr website covers the conference proceedings, he said.

    Greek officials added that the Secretariat General of Commu-nication-Secretariat General of Information website will soon become accessible to the visually impaired.

    [26] Greek, Spanish transport ministers discuss bilateral, European issues

    Greek Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis on Monday met with visiting Spain's Development Minister, responsible for public works, transport and shipping, Magdalena Alvarez Arza and discussed both bilateral and European matters.

    The Greek minister emphasized on the promotion of Galileo, the satellite radio-navigation programme, which was currently in a turning point after the break of negotiations with a private consortium to develop the programme. He also urged for the need to complete a third railways package, currently under negotiation by the European Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Europarliament, and supportred the adoption of large transition periods. Liapis said he will visit Spain to see the country's high-speed railway system.

    The Greek minister also presented the country's position on deregulating postal services, saying Greece supported the full deregulation of the domestic markets but noted that a deadline set was very early.

    The two ministers also announced a joint issuing of a stamp on Asclepios, the semi-god of medicine.

    [27] Fine imposed for pollution caused by 'Sea Diamond' sinking

    The merchant marine ministry has imposed a fine amounting to 1,173,881 euros, in connection with the sinking of the cruise ship "Sea Diamond" outside the port of Santorini last April, on captain Yiannis Marinos, the shipowner company and the vessel's managing authority that is represented by private individuals.

    The total fine was imposed by decision of Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis because pollution was caused in the wider sea region of the accident, while the responsible source has not yet submitted a finalised plan to pump fuel and other pollutant substances from the sunken ship, did not immediately assign the carrying out of sampling and the recording and continuous monitoring of the consequences on marine life in the wider region and because pollution was caused in ecologically sensitive regions.

    It is reminded that the imposition of relevant fines amounting to 9,000 euros is continuing on a daily basis against those responsible for pollution, while the Santorini Port Authority has imposed a fine totalling 560,000 euros.

    Main opposition PASOK party development, tourism and shipping rapporteur Christos Papoutsis said on his part that "with today's announcement by the merchant marine ministry's press office, the minister Mr. Manolis Kefaloyiannis is refuted by reality, who had repeatedly reassured Parliament that no harm has been done to the marine environment in Santorini by the shipwreck of the Sea Diamond, that the cleaning up operation is developing smoothly and that pumping procedures have been scheduled."

    [28] Instructions to people in light of heat wave

    The Civl Protection General Secretariat is advising people to take necessary precautions to protect themselves in light of the heat wave expected in the country this week.

    According to predictions by the National Meteorological Service (EMY), the heat expected over the next three days will give its place to unbearable temperatures since they will increase further as of Friday and they might even reach 42 degrees Celsius on the mainland over the weekend and turn cities into ovens.

    People are advised to avoid sunlight, seek shady places, prefer light-coloured clothes, avoid strenuous manual labour, drink plenty of fluids, preferably water and fruit juice, avoid alcohol, eat light meals that will mainly include fruit and vegetables and have frequent showers.

    [29] Deputy Minister of Sports on the Agios Kosmas beach issue

    The government is waiting for the State Legal Council's ruling on the legitimacy of the contracts signed on the exploitation of the Agios Kosmas beach, commented Deputy Minister of Sports Giorgos Orphanos speaking in Parliament on Monday.

    Replying to a current question tabled by Coalition of the Left (SYN) president Alekos Alavanos regarding the mobilizations of the mayor of Hellinikon in Athens calling for free access to beaches for the public, Orphanos stated that the necessary steps will be made if the contracts are found to lack legal basis.

    Orphanos also condemned the removal of the fences blocking public access to the seafront area saying characteristically that the practice of taking the law into one's own hands does not have a positive effect.

    [30] Archbishop Demetrios receives honorary degree from Fordham University, to visit Cyprus July 2-6

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)

    Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios America has received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Fordham University founded in 1841, it was announced on Monday.

    The degree ceremony took place on June 14 in conjunction with the 4th Annual Orthodoxy in America Lecture held at the university.

    Addressing the Archbishop, Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, said that Demetrios is "one of the great religious leaders of our time, a man of understanding, graciousness and transparent holiness . . . the perfect role model."

    Archbishop Demetrios expressed his joy and humility in receiving the Honorary Degree, stressing that the world needs mercy and justice, and adding that it is unthinkable for the Christians, who make up roughly 33 percent of global population, to be unable to avert phenomena of insanity, hatred and violence.

    Meanwhile, the Archbishop is scheduled to visit Cyprus for a second time on July 2-6 at the invitation of Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos to inaugurate a training seminar for Greek origin educators that will take place at the University of Cyprus under his auspices.

    Archbishop Demetrios will also attend an award ceremony in honor of Greek-American veteran politicians, former US House Representative John Brademas (D-IN) and former US Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), who played a leading role in Washington in support of Cyprus' rights and particularly in the implementation of a military embargo on Turkey after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

    [31] Children's Museum of Manhattan interactive exhibition on ancient Greece

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    The interactive exhibition "Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece", is currently on display at the Children's Museum of Manhattan in New York, providing the opportunity to visitors to take a journey through the world of ancient Greece.

    The exhibition, organised in cooperation with the Greek culture ministry, five New York universities and state agencies and with the financial support of Greek and US institutions, is divided into four themes: the Greek Gods; growing up and education in ancient Greece; Homer's Odyssey; and Discover Greece.

    Children are invited to climb inside a 12 foot tall Trojan Horse before stepping into Homer's great epic poem, The Odyssey, where they will journey through rocky caves and over open seas, escape the crawl-through Cyclops Cave and sing like Sirens in the Sirens Karaoke Cove. The young visitors will have to be prepared to face on-screen dilemmas as their choices will be tracked along the way and a personalized on-screen Hero Record can be emailed to them.

    They can also learn how gods and mortals interacted and take an on-screen personality quiz to determine which mythological character they are most like.

    The children can visit the gymnasium (school) and oikos (home), explore the importance of athletic competition, become familiar with the ancient Greek alphabet by translating messages from Greek to English, learn about the heroism of ancient Greek women in myth and daily life, and compete with the goddess Athena in a virtual weaving contest.

    They can further visit the Temple of Zeus at Olympia and assist in the reconstruction of a 3-D temple, learn about column construction, sculptures, and the giant statue of Zeus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), while they can explore actual samples of ancient Greek artifacts: painted pottery, coins, votives, drinking cups, loom weights, arrowheads and sling bullets.

    A replica of ancient Greece's version of the computer, the Antikythera Mechanism, a complex interlocking-gear-driven artifact used by ancient navigators to calculate astronomical positions, is also on display. It was discovered in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, southern Greece, and has been dated to about 150-100 BC.

    [32] Turkish teen convicted of migrant smuggling

    A Turkish teenager, 17, on Monday was the latest suspect convicted by a court on Samos for migrant smuggling. The underage foreign national was intercepted on Saturday by coast guard officers at the very moment he was unloading 10 illegal immigrants on a remote Samos beach, according to reports.

    The teen was sentenced to three years in prison and deportation.

    Sports

    [33] Greece, China sign second cooperation protocol in sports sector

    Greece and the People's Republic of China on Monday signed a protocol for cooperation in the sports sector ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, with Deputy Minister George Orfanos and Beijing Olympic Games Organising Committee (BOCOG) executive president Liu Peng.

    "China will succeed in the hosting of the Olympic Games. We see progress in all the projects ... The Olympic Games of moderation in Athens will be equal to those of Beijing. Let me sincerely wish you the best of success," Orfanos said from the Chinese capital, noting that a new round of cooperation in the sector is inaugurated between the two nations.

    On his part, Liu Peng noted that Monday's protocol comes after a previous one signed in 2005 in Athens.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [34] Key to Cyprus solution is in Ankara, says President Papadopoulos

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The key to the political settlement in Cyprus lies in Ankara, President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed here Monday, adding that anybody who has seriously dealt with the question of Cyprus can ascertain this.

    "I do not think there are many people in Cyprus who do not recognise that Ankara was and still remains the key to a solution in Cyprus," the president said, responding to questions after he had signed the book of condolences at the embassy of Austria for the late Kurt Waldheim.

    Anybody who has dealt with the question of Cyprus in a serious manner and who has studied the problem can ascertain this and see that there is tangible proof of this reality, he pointed out.

    Asked how this can be overcome, President Papadopoulos replied that "we believe that Ankara should become interested in solving the Cyprus problem, just as the Turkish Cypriots should."

    "It is known, however, that the Turkish Cypriots cannot decide on anything without Ankara's prior approval. We have had examples of this only recently and we have also experienced this in the past", he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third.

    [35] Cyprus FM: Archbishop's visit to the Holy See very successful

    LARNACA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Yiorgos Lillikas has described as "very successful" a visit by the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II to the Holy See.

    "The Archbishop, quite rightly, has raised issues not only of Cypriot interest but also of interest to Christianity and Europe," he said, commenting on a joint declaration the Pope and Chrysostomos issued on Saturday expressing their will to have a more active role for world peace and inter-religious dialogue.

    Lillikas expressed the view that "such approaches can serve Cyprus' interests because they allow us to have allies in our efforts to protect our cultural heritage and our churches in Turkish-occupied Cyprus."

    This, he pointed out, can also help to promote positions which serve Cyprus' reunification and co-existence between the island's two communities.

    Lillikas was speaking to the press before his departure for Luxembourg to attend the European Union General Affairs and External Relations Council.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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