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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-06-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 26 June 2007 Issue No: 2628


  • [01] Karamanlis refers to full normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations as a 'primary goal'
  • [02] FM Bakoyannis meets with Turkish counterpart
  • [03] PM Karamanlis announces Greece's participation in new South Stream gas pipeline
  • [04] BSEC summit focuses on possibilities of organisation's future activities
  • [05] PM meets with Ecumenical Patriarch ahead of BSEC anniversary summit
  • [06] PASOK leader comments on Egnatia tour in Alexandroupolis
  • [07] Gov't on PM's statements concerning 3-child families
  • [08] Papariga calls for 35-hour working week at FAGE workers' rally
  • [09] Gov't declines comment on Karatzaferis veto statement; reply to Gul
  • [10] Greece lauds Russia-Italy natgas pipeline project
  • [11] New job openings and workers' housing projects announced by employment deputy minister
  • [12] Adjustability the key word for future of labour, employment ministry secretary says
  • [13] Deputy development minister addresses Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry event
  • [14] Spidla response on retirement age difference for men, women
  • [15] Eurobank announces 1.2-bln-euro share capital increase plan
  • [16] Exports increase during first months of 2007
  • [17] Allianz Hellas said merger plan to go ahead
  • [18] Greek trade deficit up 11.4 pct in April, yr/yr
  • [19] Intrakat signs 2.37-mln-euro contract in Romania
  • [20] Marfin Egnatia Bank begins operations July 2
  • [21] Elgeka to pay out 0.03-euro per share dividend
  • [22] Athens-Seoul direct flights to be launched in January
  • [23] Greek stocks end 0.72 pct lower
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] Greek bond market closing report
  • [26] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [27] Heatwave expected to peak on Tuesday
  • [28] High temperatures claim three elderly people in Greece, Cyprus
  • [29] State services to close early on Tuesday, Wednesday due to heat
  • [30] Archbishop Christodoulos making satisfactory recovery, doctors say
  • [31] Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos visits
  • [32] Repeat trial of former DEKA board begins on Monday
  • [33] Papoulias' message for International Day Against Drug Abuse
  • [34] Health, public order ministers issue messages on World Day Against Drugs
  • [35] Indictment filed in bond affair, full criminal investigation begins
  • [36] President Papoulias bestows commissions on military academy graduates
  • [37] President Karolos Papoulias receives Bar Association coordinating committee presidents
  • [38] SYN leader Alavanos demands free access to all beaches, more greenspace
  • [39] Placido Domingo honored by City of Athens
  • [40] Thessaloniki has natural earthquake protection
  • [41] Illegal migrants intercepted on Lesvos
  • [42] Light earthquake in Serres
  • [43] Foreign national arrested on drug charges
  • [44] Cyprus will not accept Turkish efforts to control the region
  • [45] Gryzlov assures Russia will continue to support Cyprus settlement
  • [46] Cyprus protests air space violations by Turkey Politics

  • [01] Karamanlis refers to full normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations as a 'primary goal'

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / S. Goutzanis)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had a one-hour meeting here with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation (BSEC) summit meeting, held to mark the 15th anniversary of the entity's founding.

    Karamanlis said wished his Turkish counterpart success in the imminent elections in Turkey.

    In terms of complicated bilateral relations, Karamanlis stressed that a total normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations still constitutes a primary objective. The Greek prime minister stated that other talks touched on likely positive consequences stemming from previously agreed confidence building measures (CBMs), while he again underlined that all actions in contrivance with international law or ones that can possible cause tensions should be avoided.

    Moreover, and referring to the Cyprus issue Karamanlis emphasised that a comprehensive, fair and viable solution based on UN and EU resolutions would contribute to the wider region's stability and growth.

    In terms of EU-Turkey relations, Karamanlis reiterated Greece's firm support for Ankara's European prospects under the condition that all of the Union's prerequisites be met. "I also again told Mr. Erdogan that Greece supports the continuing reforms process and efforts by the Turkish government."

    Additionally, Karamanlis referred to progress made in bilateral relations, particularly in the sectors of trade, transports, tourism and energy.

    He also thanked his counterpart for the hospitality by the Turkish side and praised the impeccable hosting of the BSEC summit, terming it as a successful institution that enjoys the interest of both Athens and Ankara.


    On his part, the Turkish prime minister stated that he had a very good discussion with his Greek counterpart on issues concerning the European Union and Greece's support towards Turkey's EU accession efforts.

    He also thanked Karamanlis for Greece's support to Turkey's European course, adding that they also referred to the opening of the chapters in Turkey's EU accession process.

    "We support a fair and lasting solution in Cyprus", Erdogan said, stressing that the following period will be more productive.

    In a related development, Karamanlis is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later on Monday afternoon in Istanbul.

    [02] FM Bakoyannis meets with Turkish counterpart

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/S.Goutzanis)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met here on Monday with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul with talks focusing on bilateral relations and Turkey's internal politcal developments.

    The meeting was held on the sidelines of a Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation (BSEC) summit, held to mark the 15th anniversary of the organisation's founding.

    Turkey's European course was also discussed during the meeting, with Bakoyannis reiterating Greece's support to the neighbouring country's efforts to enter the European Union, on the conditions that it (Turkey) has to fulfil.

    The question of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was discussed together with the issue of the Theological School of Halki, which remains closed for several decades, within Turkey's European obligations which must be met, as the whole issue is not a bilateral one. The problem of Irak was also touched by the two ministers.

    Bakoyannis also held meetings with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Slovakia and Albania.

    [03] PM Karamanlis announces Greece's participation in new South Stream gas pipeline

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced Greece's participation in the construction of the new South Stream natural gas pipeline, linking Russia with Europe through Greece, after meeting here on Monday with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.

    Karamanlis said that the pipeline will strengthen energy security and the diversity of natural gas corridors to the European Union. Greece examined the issue with Russia, Bulgaria and Italy and is ready for the project to go ahead, he added.

    "The benefit for all the countries of Europe will be considerable. The pipeline, together with the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline, will make Greece an international energy hub, not only for oil and electric power, but for natural gas as well," Karamanlis said.

    Karamanlis also referred to the excellent climate existing in relations and in cooperation between Greece and Russia and stressed that what has been agreed on the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline is moving ahead.

    On his part, President Putin stressed his satisfaction over the level of bilateral relations and pointed out that the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline is going ahead.

    He further said that Bulgaria's interest in the natural gas pipeline has been confirmed. He also added that the participation of Greece in the natural gas pipeline as well will give the project extra importance and from which benefits will be obtained for the countries participating and for other countries.

    The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation's (BSEC) summit, held here to mark its 15th anniversary, and focused on Greek-Russian relations. The two leaders expressed their satisfaction over being able to meet each other again.

    At the start of the meeting, Karamanlis said that the frequent meetings certify the good level of relations between the two countries and referred to the recent presence of President Putin in Athens when the agreement on the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipleline was signed. He further said that it was the tangible result of the effort, while the project is forging ahead.

    The Greek prime minister further said that Monday's meeting is an opportunity to discuss cooperation in all sectors, on all issues that have been scheduled, as well as on new ones.

    President Putin said on his part that he felt great satisfaction on seeing the prime minister again, adding that they will have the opportunity to ascertain that previous understandings are being implemented gradually and that progress also exists both on day-to-day and on major issues.

    He further noted that all sides agreed on the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and now is the time to proceed with the implementation of other phases as well.

    Lastly, he said that it is an opportunity to discuss other issues that are related to the future prospects of the two countries.

    [04] BSEC summit focuses on possibilities of organisation's future activities

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    The possibilities of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation's (BSEC) future activities, as well as the organisation's reforming, were examined here on Monday by the leaders of BSEC member-states.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis congratulated the Turkish presidency for its excellent organising and hospitality and said that the participation of European Union representatives is very important in the framework of the organisation's reforming.

    Karamanlis further said that the BSEC is the "most powerful but institutionally unfairly treated organisation" and noted that Greece, being a member of the OECD's development aid committee, has secured that the BSEC will be a recipient organisation.

    He went on to say that two million euros will be provided from the Greek budget over the next four years to boost the proposals of Greek agencies that desire to activate themselves in BSEC countries.

    He stressed that the construction of a road network in Black Sea countries was decided, adding that Greece's role is important since the EGNATIA holds the project's technical secretariat.

    Karamanlis also spoke of port linking projects, including those of Thessaloniki, Kavala and Alexandroupoli.

    Lastly, he said that the upgrading of the road network to an electrical network that will provide the possibility for electric energy being exchanged between BSEC member-states is a target.

    [05] PM meets with Ecumenical Patriarch ahead of BSEC anniversary summit

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate must carry out its work without obstacles, particularly obstacles that are counter to human rights, Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis stressed on Monday just before entering into a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Patriarchate at Phanar, in Istanbul.

    Karamanlis also said that respect of human and individual rights was a precondition for Turkey's European course, adding that "support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is our duty".

    The Greek prime minister, who arrived in Istanbul on Sunday night, was received by the Ecumenical Patriarch in the morning, shortly before the opening of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organisation (BSEC) summit meeting in the Turkish capital marking the 15th anniversary of the forum's founding.

    Karamanlis also said that the challenges of the times intensified the need for major contribution by the Church.

    Vartholomeos, in turn, explained that Turkey was hindering the Ecumenical Patriarchate from carrying out its mission while, in an indirect response to statements by Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul to an Athens daily that were published on Sunday, concerning "legal obstacles", he said: "Let them eliminate the legal obstacles. If the political volition exists, they can do it. It is not possible that the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not have its own Theological School".

    In an interview with the Sunday edition of "Kathimerini" newspaper, to a question on the Chalki School of Theology, Gul said that the Turkish government was seeking ways to overcome the legal stumbling blocks so as to ensure the reopening of the Seminary "within the terms of our Constitution and the secular educational system".

    The Ecumenical Patriarch also thanked Karamanlis for his support to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, adding that "you are the guarantor of the nation's unity", and noting that he was following both Karamanlis' and foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis', as well as the entire government's, activities abroad as well as domestically.

    Vartholomeos further expressed hope that Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece will overcome the current crisis in his health and return to his duties, adding that "the Archbishop is a powerful personality".


    Karamanlis is also slated to meet with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at noon on Monday, after which he will attend a luncheon hosted by the Turkish prime minister for the heads of state and government and foreign ministers of the BSEC member countries.

    The Greek premier is due to address the summit, which marks the 15th anniversary of the BSEC's founding, during the afternoon session, while on Monday evening he will attend a dinner hosted by the Turkish President, followed by a night-time sail on the Bosphorus.

    Karamanlis is accompanied by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, minister of state Theodoros Roussopoulos, and deputy foreign minister Evrypides Stylianidis.

    Bakoyannis will also have a private meeting with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Presidents of Albania and the Ukraine are heading their countries' delegations to the 15th Anniversary Summit, the slogan of which is "Setting Sail for New Horizons", while representatives of the European Commission, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation are attending the summit as observers.

    [06] PASOK leader comments on Egnatia tour in Alexandroupolis

    Departing on Monday from the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis, after a four-day tour along the length of the Egnatia Highway, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said the tour had left him optimistic.

    "Hope is reborn," he told reporters in a brief statement before departing for Athens. According to PASOK's leader, he had seen the "smile return to the Greek citizen, up against the unreliability and decadence of the New Democracy government".

    He also appeared optimistic about the next political developments, predicting that "a reversal, hope and a certain new victory" were on their way at the next elections.

    Papandreou ended his tour on a high note late on Sunday night with a large rally at Didimotichos, the last stop on his journey.

    Commenting on the rally, he said that it had highlighted the "electorate's indignation with the policies of New Democracy" while at the same time showing "hope and security with PASOK".

    The country needed a "new trust" because it has "lost faith in itself," he added, noting that self-confidence would return with PASOK.

    Public works minister comments

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias, commenting on statements by main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou during his tour of the Egnatia motorway in northern Greece, said on Monday that it is inconceivable for him to claim that he toured the entire course without visiting any workshops.

    In a relevant announcement, Souflias said that "the public works ministry was at his disposal to give him a guided tour of some of the 46 workshops existing along the Egnatia Motorway today."

    He added that, however, Papandreou "chose to go to the Grevena bridge only, that has been completed in essence, and half of which had been constructed by the PASOK government and the other half by the current government."

    "Mr. Papandreou did not even visit one of the nearby workshops at Arachthos, Metsovo, Panagia, Perasma tis Arkoudas, where great projects are underway and he would admire the capabilities of Greek construction companies there as well," it added.

    Souflias further noted that it appears that Papandreou's associates "preferred to avoid this picture. In addition, unfortunately, PASOK attempted to appropriate the Egnatia project with inaccuracies, implementing the principle of 'ours are ours and yours are ours'."

    [07] Gov't on PM's statements concerning 3-child families

    "Announcements made by the prime minister on Sunday concerning a minimum national pension and the three-children benefit prove that the government is proceeding with the gradual fulfillment of all its commitments," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed on Monday during his regular press briefing.

    Antonaros made the comment in response to main opposition PASOK statements alleging that announcements were "lifted" out of its own policy programme.

    He also said the government has adopted a number of measures to equalise benefits for three-child families with larger families, while mentioning that the country's economic condition -- when the current government took over in 2007 -- did not allow for the adoption of immediate measures.

    In a related matter, Antonaros said he will not follow main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou's "extreme conspiracy scenarios".

    He made the statement in reply to a press question citing a quip by Papandreou a day earlier, who cited a break-in at the offices of an attorney representing the Greek Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) in a lawsuit related to the ongoing bonds affair.

    [08] Papariga calls for 35-hour working week at FAGE workers' rally

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga emphasised the need for steady employment and decent working conditions while addressing a rally staged by workers at the FAGE dairy industry, reiterating her party's position in favour of a 35-hour working week, free state education and free health care.

    Commenting on the positions of the two main parties, meanwhile, she said that ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK had started to make promises for handouts in view of the next elections, which will take place by March 2008 at the latest.

    She also stressed that the pledges being made by the two parties were the most insignificant in any pre-electoral period and so paltry that they were positively insulting:

    "I would say that the handouts promised by ND and PASOK were 'small ads' handouts," she added, while noting that the two parties were unlikely to come through even with these limited promises.

    Referring to the announcements by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis about establishing a minimum "National Pension", she pointed out that this was a measure also promised by PASOK's programme.

    "I address those who are younger. Do you know what a national pension policy means? It means that the number of those who will not have a right to a pension will increase. They will work for 30 years but they will not have the necessary insurance contribution stamps and the pension that they are eligible for will be very small. So the government says: I will establish a pension of 450-500 euros for everyone. In this way they push all pensions downward. And they will do this to the younger age groups," she stressed.

    [09] Gov't declines comment on Karatzaferis veto statement; reply to Gul

    The government on Monday declined comment on an eyebrow-raising statement by the leader of the out-of-Parliament Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party a day earlier, who said he'll not run in the next elections if Athens vetoes the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) accession to either NATO or any future EU membership bid.

    LA.OS president and founder George Karatzaferis, a current European Parliament deputy and a former MP in ruling New Democracy party, on Sunday promised keep LA.OS off the ballots in the next general elections in Greece -- normally set for March -- if the government exercises a veto against FYROM over the still pending 'name issue'.

    Reaction to Gul statements

    Meanwhile, in an unrelated issue, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros again underlined that "every country's rights are foreseen by international law and international agreements, while Greece's position is defined by this framework, in which the Greek government effectively defends all of the country's national interests."

    Antonaros made the comment in reply to a press question citing recent statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who referred over the weekend to "Turkey's legal and vital interests" in the Aegean, as emanating from the Madrid Agreement.

    Financial News

    [10] Greece lauds Russia-Italy natgas pipeline project

    The Greek government on Monday expressed its satisfaction over an agreement between the Russian energy giant Gazprom and Italian multinational Eni to build a natural gas pipeline between Russia and Italy, with the relevant minister saying Athens was positive towards any moves aimed to ensure energy security in the region and in Europe in general.

    Speaking to reporters, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said "we have been informed by our counterpart ministers from Russia and Italy over the South Stream natural gas pipeline project ... Both Greece and the European Union view this project as a positive development towards offering alternative routes of natural gas supplies to Europe".

    "Greece and Italy are working closely on a large project, along with Turkey and Caspian states, to build an underwater natural gas project supported by the European Union, scheduled to begin construction in 2008," Sioufas said, while again pointing to Greece's emergence as an energy hub in the wider region.

    [11] New job openings and workers' housing projects announced by employment deputy minister

    Deputy Minister of Employment Gerasimos Yakoumatos announced tens of hirings in local government positions and the construction of workers' housing projects, speaking in the city of Kalamata, southern Greece on Monday, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new 7-million-euro building housing the local Trade Union Center.

    Yakoumatos announced part-time job openings in local government, 80 in the Messinia Prefecture and 250 in its municipalities.

    He also announced the construction of new workers' housing projects in Kalamata and Messini.

    [12] Adjustability the key word for future of labour, employment ministry secretary says

    Employment and social protection ministry secretary general Dimitris Kontos said on Monday that the wager on development and employment in the country can only be won with an increase in skills and knowledge and even of those who have a stable job and are not unemployed.

    Kontos was speaking on the sidelines of the two-day conference organised in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, by the European Vocational Training Development Centre (CEDEFOP) on the issue of "Vocational orientation for the development of the labour force."

    The secretary general said that "adjustability is the key word for the future of labour in our country," adding that "production restructurings necessitate changes in the production process and, therefore, in the labour environment as well."

    The conference will come to an end on Tuesday afternoon. The reason for its holding is the impending issuing of a study by Cedefop on vocational orientation in the workplace.

    [13] Deputy development minister addresses Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry event

    Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou, addressing an event organised on Monday by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) on "Backing small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) for competitiveness in sectors of the third stage of trade and services", said that the proclamation of the 4th cycle of subsidies for SMEs in the trade and services sectors is proceeding and through which 500 million euros will be provided with the subsidisation rate amounting up to 60 percent.

    The joint ministerial decision on the 4th cycle that will be signed by Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis and Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, as the deputy minister said, is adjusted to the new European regional subsidies map.

    [14] Spidla response on retirement age difference for men, women

    The European Commission is studying Greek authorities' response on the issue of parity in pension ages for men and women before deciding whether it will bring a case before the European Court, EU Commissioner Vladimir Spidla said in response to a tabled question by Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) Euro-deputy Dimitris Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL).

    Papadimoulis' question concerned the harmonisation of retirement ages for male and female personnel in public administration and the armed forces.

    Based on previous responses by Spidla, the pension system in effect for civil servants and military personnel in Greece is may be in violation of Article 141 regarding salary equality for men and women.

    [15] Eurobank announces 1.2-bln-euro share capital increase plan

    Eurobank's board on Monday said it would seek shareholders' approval in a share capital increase plan worth 1.2 billion euros, with a rights issue.

    A bank statement said the money to be raised will be used to fund focused acquisitions outside Greece and to achieve a more rapid growth of activities, mainly abroad. Eurobank said it aimed at further strengthening its presence in New Europe and Eastern Mediterranean, both in countries with established activities, or new markets with great growth prospects and noted that foreign activities, mainly loans, growth was larger than expected in the first six months of 2007.

    EFG Group, Eurobank EFG main shareholder with a 41.2 pct equity stake, has confirmed it would use its right in the forthcoming share capital increase plan.

    Eurobank said it also planned to review upwards it growth targets in New Europe for 2008 and after. The bank expects profits from New European activities to total more than 60 million euros this year, reaching more than 260 million euros by 2009.

    Eurobank said a shareholders' meeting will be held soon so that a share capital increase plan would be completed by September 2007.

    [16] Exports increase during first months of 2007

    The speedy increase in the country's exports has continued during the first months of 2007. According to existing assessments for the month of April as well, exports throughout all of 2007 will near or reach 19 billion euros or 26 billion dollars.

    This was stressed in a brief analysis by the Exports Research and Studies Centre (KEEM) of the Panhellenic Exporters Federation on exports performances during the first quarter of the year.

    According to the temporarty data of the National Statistical Service of Greece (ESYE) for the first quarter of 2007, the value of exports increased by 14.2 percent compared to the corresponding quarter in 2006, amounting to 4,426.5 million euros from 3,875.8 million euros. If the value of exports is assessed in dollars, the increase reached 24.5 percent (5,801.4 million dollars).

    Despite the new increase in exports, the rate of increase in imports remained at about the same levels (13.8 percent). Consequently, the trade deficit was widened by 13.6 percent and imports amounted to 14,076 million euros from 12,369.9 million euros in the first quarter of 2006. The exports of goods covered 31 percent of expenditures for the importation of goods.

    [17] Allianz Hellas said merger plan to go ahead

    Greece's Private Insurance Commission on Monday gave the green light to a proposed merger between Allianz General Insurance and Allianz Life Insurance, both subsidiaries of Allianz Group in Greece.

    Under the merger plan, the new company will be named Allianz Hellas Insurance SA.

    Commenting on the Greek authorities' decision, P. Papanikolaou, Allianz Hellas' chief executive officer, said the merger plan would be completed within scheduled time with the aim to expand activities and the company's size and share in the market.

    Allianz will invest 22 million euros to build its own offices in Athens.

    [18] Greek trade deficit up 11.4 pct in April, yr/yr

    The Greek trade deficit rose by 11.4 pct in April to 2.61 billion euros, from 2.343 billion euros in the corresponding month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that excluding fuels the country's trade deficit was up 24.3 pct or by 442.3 million euros in April.

    The value of exports totaled 1.366 billion euros in April, from 1.202 billion euros in April 2006, for an increase of 13.7 pct, while excluding fuels exports rose by 11.2 pct.

    The value of imports grew by 12.2 pct to 3.976 billion euros in April, from 3.545 billion euros in April 2006, while excluding fuels imports grew by 19.5 pct.

    The statistics service said that the trade deficit grew by 12.8 pct in the January-April period to 11.478 billion euros, from 10.179 billion euros in the corresponding period last year. Excluding fuels, the trade deficit was up 25.9 pct.

    Exports rose 14.2 pct in the first four months of the year to 5.798 billion euros, while excluding fuels exports grew by 13.8 pct.

    Imports rose by 13.2 pct to 17.276 billion euros, while excluding fuels imports grew by 21.4 pct.

    [19] Intrakat signs 2.37-mln-euro contract in Romania

    Intrakat on Monday announced the signing of a contract -worth 2.37 million euros- with Argo Rom Plastics SA, a subsidiary of Argo SA in Romania, for the construction of a new factory building in Bucarest.

    The company said the contract was part of its strategic planning to expand activities abroad through its subsidiaries in the Balkans.

    [20] Marfin Egnatia Bank begins operations July 2

    Egnatia Bank, Marfin Bank and Laiki Bank (Hellas) on Monday announced that merger procedures between them will be completed by June 30, with the new bank, Marfin Egnatia Bank, beginning operations as of July 2.

    The three banks said that following the merger, all savings deposit accounts by customers will be automatically transferred to Marfin Egnatia Bank.

    The bank also announced a temporary suspension of customer service systems from Friday 29 June afternoon until the morning of Monday 2 July.

    [21] Elgeka to pay out 0.03-euro per share dividend

    An Elgeka SA annual general shareholders' meeting on Monday approved a board plan to pay out a 0.03-euro per share dividend to shareholders and a share buy-back plan.

    The buy back plan envisages the purchase of up to 10 percent of its outstanding equity capital. The share buy back programe will be covered in the period from July 9, 2007 until June 25, 2008 at a maximum price of 6 euros and a minimum price of 2 euros per share.

    [22] Athens-Seoul direct flights to be launched in January

    Direct flights between Greece and S. Korea will be inaugurated in January 2008, following a memorandum signed Monday in Seoul between visiting Greek transport and communications minister Michalis Liapis and Korean construction and transportation minister Lee Yong-sup.

    There will be three weekly flights, which will be carried out by the Korean airline Korean Air, representatives of which are due in Athens for the final details.

    The Athens-Seoul direct flight is expected to substantially increase the tourism flow between the two countries and boost their trade and economic ties.

    During their meeting, the two ministers also discussed issues related to rail transports, and decided to set up a joint committee of experts to further examine such issues as modern circulation and traffic management systems, telecoms systems, Internet, etc.

    Liapis also met separately with the chairman of the Greek-S. Korea parliamentary friendship committee Maeng Hyung-Kyu, and Archbishop Sotirios of S. Korea.

    [23] Greek stocks end 0.72 pct lower

    Greek stocks lost ground in the first trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index fell 0.72 pct to end at 4,815.10 points with turnover a heavy 465.1 million euros of which 212.1 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors ended lower with the exception of Personal/Home Products (0.15 pct) and Financial Services (0.14 pct) which scored gains. Food/Beverage (2.10 pct), Utilities (1.67 pct) and Technology (1.53 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The Big Cap index eased 0.63 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.62 pct lower and the Small Cap index rose 0.43 pct.

    AEGEK (16 pct), Eltrak (16 pct) and Epilektos (14.46 pct) were top gainers, whillle Marfin Investment Group (17.08 pct), CPI (9.49 pct) and Galis (9.30 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 173 to 92 with another 41 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.45%

    Industrials: -0.24%

    Commercial: -1.33%

    Construction: -0.86%

    Media: -0.67%

    Oil & Gas: -0.62%

    Personal & Household: +0.15%

    Raw Materials: -1.03%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.77%

    Technology: -1.53%

    Telecoms: -0.71%

    Banks: -0.37%

    Food & Beverages: -2.10%

    Health: -0.99%

    Utilities: -1.67%

    Chemicals: -0.99%

    Financial Services: +0.14%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 23.72

    ATEbank: 3.80

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 20.76

    HBC Coca Cola: 32.02

    Hellenic Petroleum: 11.76

    Emporiki Bank: 21.12

    National Bank of Greece: 41.40

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 25.50

    Intralot: 23.96

    Cosmote: 21.90

    OPAP: 26.30

    OTE: 22.28

    Titan Cement Company: 42.30

    [24] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 75.105 million euros.

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.72 pct and on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.47 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 4,370 contracts worth 55.581 million euros, with 35,085 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 343 contracts worth 10.780 million euros with 1,285 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 4,291 contracts worth 8.743 million euros, with investment interest focusing on PPC's contracts (964), followed by Eurobank (361), PPC (251), Marfin Popular Bank (272), National Bank (546), Alpha Bank (417), Intracom (143) and Intralot (143).

    [25] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 2.614 billion euros on Monday, of which 1.474 billion euros were buy orders and 1.14 billion euros were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 904 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 0.21 pct with the Greek bond yielding 4.83 pct and the German Bund 4.62 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were largely unchanged. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.07 pct, the two-day rate was 4.07 pct, the one-month rate 4.11 pct and the 12-month rate fell to 4.50 pct from 4.53 pct on Friday.

    [26] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.356

    Pound sterling 0.678

    Danish kroner 7.502

    Swedish kroner 9.319

    Japanese yen 167.54

    Swiss franc 1.667

    Norwegian kroner 8.068

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.453

    Australian dollar 1.597

    General News

    [27] Heatwave expected to peak on Tuesday

    Tuesday is expected to be the hottest day of the heatwave currently affecting Greece, according to forecasts by the National Meteorological Service (EMY), while high temperatures will continue until Thursday, when temperatures will begin gradually dropping to more normal temperatures for the season. Public Power Corporation (PPC) officials have appealed for rational use of electricity to avoid.

    On Sunday, temperatures reached 43 C in many parts of the country, while the highest temperatures were recorded in Elefsina, with the thermometer climbing to 46 C, followed by Kalamata, with 45 C, and Greeks throughout the country flocked for respite to the beaches.

    Electricity consumption in the capital and other large cities was expected to rise sharply on Monday, following the return of thousands of residents who had "escaped" to the countryside over the weekend, particularly due to increased use of air conditioners.

    Power failures were also noted Sunday in the Attica prefecture, in the areas of Faliron, Kallithea, Tzitzifies, Peristeri, Petroupolis, Haidari and Kamatero, while shortages were also recorded in several areas of Thessaloniki.

    The Athens and Piraeus municipalities have announced that a number of air-conditioned municipal buildings will be open to the public until the evening hours to provide relief from the heat, and also the Peace and Friendship Stadium, while the health ministry has activated the Perseus Plan, placing all hospitals throughout the country and the EKAB ambulance service on alert.

    High-risk groups, including the elderly and people with health problems, have been asked to avoid circulation if possible, while a four-digit telephone line -- 1570 -- is available for emergency situations.

    [28] High temperatures claim three elderly people in Greece, Cyprus

    Three elderly people have died as a result of the heatwave in Greece and Cyprus in the past few days, according to reports on Monday.

    One of them was a 77-year-old man from Farsala, central Greece who died in Larisa hospital on Sunday after developing a very high temperature, following exposure to the sun the previous day. He was diagnosed as suffering from heatstroke.

    Doctors also attributed the death on Monday of an 85-year-old woman in Achaia to the high temperatures. The woman was taken to the Akrata Health Centre on Sunday night suffering from heart problems and confusion and from there transferred to Aigio Hospital, where she died on the following morning.

    Heatstroke was named as cause of death for 72-year-old Giannoula Leonidou on nearby Cyprus, who died after being admitted to Limassol Hospital in a coma. A paramedic that brought the woman in said her body temperature was so high that it was impossible to measure using an electronic thermometer.

    Though the crew managed to lower her body temperatures to 41 degrees Celsius, doctors failed in attempts to resuscitate her and the woman died.

    [29] State services to close early on Tuesday, Wednesday due to heat

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday announced that all state services would close at noon on Tuesday and Wednesday because of a heatwave that is set to continue for the next two days at least, according to the weather service.

    In an urgent circular, Pavlopoulos ordered all civil servants to leave work early in order to conserve electric power, while asking that staff make sure that all lights and air-conditioning units are turned off.

    Exempted from the order are "sensitive" services, such as hospitals, local government facilities that must remain open in order to give the public a place of refuge from the intense heat and all other services involved in the state response to the high temperatures.

    The minister advised members of the public to carry out necessary transactions with state services in the morning, to avoid unnecessary travel in their car and to conserve electricity.

    Pavlopoulos made the announcement after a meeting with the head of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, Panagiotis Fourlas, to discuss the heatwave. Afterwards, Fourlas repeated the appeal to conserve electricity and noted that the system was set up so that there was someone on standby to help those in need 24 hours in the day. He also stressed the need to show sensitivity and assist the more vulnerable members of society at this time.

    [30] Archbishop Christodoulos making satisfactory recovery, doctors say

    Doctors treating Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who underwent surgery to remove a growth in his large intestine about two weeks ago, on Monday announced that the archbishop was making good progress and that improvement to his bowel function was satisfactory.

    A medical council held at Aretaion Hospital, where Christodoulos is being treated, on Monday decided that he could be transferred from the ICU to an ordinary hospital room the next day. Among those visiting the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in hospital on Monday were several clerics and representatives of the Armed Forces, while at 18:00 he is to receive a visit from Cyprus Archbishop Chrystostomos.

    [31] Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos visits

    Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II visited Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos at the Areteio hospital in Athens on Monday evening.

    Speaking on leaving the hospital, Archbishop Chrysostomos said that Archbishop Christodoulos has not lost his sense of humour which, as he said, greatly helps an improvement in his health.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos remembered the recent trip to Cyprus by Archbishop Christodulos, who showed both resilience and vigour, stressing that "he made a speech at the end of a tiring day and when he finished, while we were all very tired, he brought another piece of paper out of his pocket and continued with a second speech."

    [32] Repeat trial of former DEKA board begins on Monday

    Seven former board members of the Public Securities Company (DEKA) appeared before a three-member criminal appeals court in Athens on Monday for a repeat trial on charges of breach of faith compounded by laws on embezzlement of public funds.

    The trial is set to continue on Wednesday, while during Monday's proceedings the Greek State and DEKA said they would take part in the trial as parties that had filed a civil suit related to the case, prompting protests from the defence.

    The defence of the seven accused said that the civil suits should not be allowed, especially the Public Sector since the Supreme Court had not cancelled that part of the previous decision that barred counsellors representing the state.

    They also argued that DEKA's lawyers should be expelled, again citing the Supreme Court ruling, according to which the party directly harmed as a result of DEKA's activities was the Greek state.

    The defence additionally objected to DEKA's representation by private lawyers rather than the Legal Council of State.

    The prosecutor on the bench Ilias Koliousis said the arguments of the defence were "legally valid" and asked that the objections be sustained.

    The court said it would give its ruling on Wednesday.

    The seven are accused of using DEKA funds from March until April 2000 to purchase large quantities of blue-chip stocks in largely state-controlled enterprises, such as the National Bank of Greece (NBG), Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and others, in order to drive up the Athens stock market in the run-up to the 2000 general elections, incurring significant losses for DEKA when share prices on the Greek bourse later slumped.

    An appeals court ruling one year ago had allowed the accused to walk away from the charges by converting them to misdemeanours, for which the statute of limitations had expired, on the grounds that DEKA was a societe anonyme company with legal autonomy from the state.

    This decision was later reversed by the Supreme Court, however, which found it was based on a misinterpretation and wrongly applied statutes concerning embezzlement of state assets, since DEKA's property was simultaneously the property of the Greek State.

    The initial indictment referred to losses of millions of euros in DEKA assets due to transactions carried out ahead of the April 2000 elections.

    Main opposition PASOK had narrowly defeated New Democracy in that election, forming another government under Costas Simitis.

    The repeat trial was originally scheduled to begin in October 2006 but had been postponed several times on various grounds.

    [33] Papoulias' message for International Day Against Drug Abuse

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday issued a message for International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is observed each year on June 26.

    In his message, he urged all to "once again note the seriousness and extent of the drug problem. Let us identify omissions and attribute responsibility and let us seek the measures that must be adopted to deal with a problem that is taking on ever more explosive dimensions," he said.

    "Let us not rest on easy verbal expressions of support, understanding and solidarity but go one step further," he added.

    Papoulias stressed that he was certain that drug trafficking could be stamped out and that the patients could receive the social care they deserved.

    "Users are not criminals, they are sick. They do not need punishment but treatment and welfare for their reintegration. The drug problem does not belong to the fringes; it is at the centre of social reality. It is next to us, concerns us all, tomorrow it could be our child that is dependent on some lethal substance," Papoulias stressed.

    The president also declared himself certain that Greek society possessed the maturity to deal with the battle against drugs with sincerity and courage.

    "We are interested in the causes that give rise to the problem more than its symptoms," he concluded.

    [34] Health, public order ministers issue messages on World Day Against Drugs

    Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras issued messages on Monday on the significance of World Day Against Drugs.

    Avramopoulos said in his message that "the international community honours the struggle against addiction and drug substances. The struggle against addiction to drugs concerns us all. It primarily concerns the user and the protection of his basic rights in life. It concerns the Greek family, the social cohesion of the country and the protection of our production fabric."

    Polydoras said on his part that "the international day against drugs requires circumspection and a critical thought on the causes of a problem that is threatening the most active and dynamic part of our society, youth. Above all, however, it requires decisions and policies."

    [35] Indictment filed in bond affair, full criminal investigation begins

    The head of Athens' appellate prosecutor's office on Monday filed nine felony charges and one misdemeanor charge against an undetermined number of unnamed individuals allegedly involved in illegal transactions related to state-run pension funds' assets and investments.

    The indictment, in the wake of a necessary recommendation by the plenum of appellate justices due to the gravity of an ongoing investigation into the matter, also follows an initial investigation by two appellate prosecutors, which was submitted to the head of the prosecutor's office, George Koliokostas, last Tuesday.

    No names were released at this point in the judicial process, with the next step being the transfer of the indictment and initial prosecutors' findings to a second pair of high-ranking prosecutors, who will, in turn, will begin a full criminal investigation.

    Charges include fraud, complicity to commit fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and racketeering, among others.

    The latest twist in the cash stems from a more than three-month-old affair and accompanying political furor regarding the purchase of a questionable structured bond, worth 280 million euros, by the civil servants' supplementary fund.

    The probe involves the period 1999-2007.

    [36] President Papoulias bestows commissions on military academy graduates

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday bestowed commisions on 284 graduates of the Hellenic Military Academy, with a symbolic presentation of swords, during a special ceremony held at the Academy campus in Vari, in Attiki prefecture, southern Greece.

    Among the second lieutenant graduate officers were 30 Greek Cypriots, 4 Armenians, 2 Syrians, one from Jordan, a Romanian, a Georgian, a Namibian, one from Mali and one from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    The President was accompanied by Deputy Minister of National Defense Vasilis Michaloliakos. The ceremony was attended by Hellenic Parliament vice-president George Sourlas, the leadership of the Hellenic Armed Forces, as well as relatives and friends of the graduate officers.

    [37] President Karolos Papoulias receives Bar Association coordinating committee presidents

    President Karolos Papoulias on Monday received the presidents of the Greek Bar Associations' coordinating committee who briefed him on the longstanding issues preoccupying justice.

    President Papoulias told the coordinating committee "you are a cool breeze, particularly in your interventions on issues of interest to Greek society," according to an announcement by the committee.

    The issues brought to the attention of President Papoulias include serious shortages in material and technical infrastructures, shortages in judges and judicial employees, the inadequacy and slackness of certain judges and the imposition of exorbitant sentences, particularly on sensitive categories of citizens.

    [38] SYN leader Alavanos demands free access to all beaches, more greenspace

    The leader of the Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology party Alekos Alavanos on Monday repeated demands for free and unobstructed access to all beaches and expansion of greenspaces during a meeting with the board of TEDKNA, the local union of municipalities and communities in Attica.

    SYN's leader also referred to the "economic strangulation of local government" noting that it was denied funds even though it had numerous obligations toward society, including the help at home programmes, work for the elderly, childcare and several other functions.

    [39] Placido Domingo honored by City of Athens

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis will present the City of Athens Medal to world-renowned tenor Plácido Domingo during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.

    [40] Thessaloniki has natural earthquake protection

    The argillaceous composition of the subsoil underneath the city of Thessaloniki serves as a safety net in the event of earthquakes, absorbing the force of tremors and thus protecting the city from major natural disasters such as in the case of the last catastrophic earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale that hit the region back in June 1978.

    According to studies presented at the 4th International Conference on Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering that opened in Thessaloniki on Monday, the argillaceous subsoil layer on which the city is built is up to 250 meters thick. In the 1978 earthquake a total of 16,500 buildings suffered damages and the collapse of just one apartment building was the result of construction errors.

    Roughly 500 scientific studies will be presented during the course of the four-day conference held with the participation of tens of delegates from 45 countries.

    [41] Illegal migrants intercepted on Lesvos

    A total of 24 illegal immigrants and two alleged migrant smugglers were arrested by coast guard officials on the large eastern Aegean island of Lesvos in the early morning hours on Monday.

    Fifteen illegals, all men, were intercepted in the first instance after authorities spotted the group, along with the alleged 22-year-old smuggler, in a six-and-a-half-metre wooden boat.

    The second group of nine illegals and a reputed smuggler were nabbed off the Tsonia beach region after trying to reach the island with a speedboat.

    Lesvos has long been a favorite route for illegal immigrants and smugglers attempting to reach Greece and the rest of the European Union from the adjacent Turkish coast.

    [42] Light earthquake in Serres

    A light earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale was recorded in Serres prefecture on Monday morning.

    The trembler was recorded at 7:14 a.m., at a distance of 80 kilometres north-northeast of Thessaloniki, with its epicentre near Amfipolis.

    [43] Foreign national arrested on drug charges

    A 32-year-old foreign national was arrested in the town of Alexandria in the prefecture of Imathia, north Greece, after police found in his car a total of 30 kilos of hashish.

    Police searched the car and discovered the drug haul acting on a tip-off.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [44] Cyprus will not accept Turkish efforts to control the region


    Cypriot Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said on Monday that Cyprus would never accept Turkey's behaviour to act as a regional policeman and would never give up its rights emanating from international law.

    Asked what stance Cyprus would maintain in view of new chapters being opened in Turkey's EU accession course, in the light of threats by the Turkish National Security Council against Cyprus, Palmas said ''we are evaluating each chapter separately and, depending on the chapter and its content, we determine our stance.''

    ''However, it is clear that the stance and the behaviour of the National Security Council of Turkey reflect once again the attitude and the expansionist disposition and aspiration of Turkey in the region,'' he added.

    Palmas pointed out that Turkey is threatening not only Cyprus but also the Kurds in northern Iraq and is trying to become a gendarme in the region.

    ''We will never settle for such reasoning and such an attitude and we will not give up our rights as these emanate from international law,'' he stressed.

    Replying to questions, Palmas said ''we judge and evaluate Turkey by its stance and behaviour towards the EU, chapter by chapter, and according to which stance and behaviour it has, we adopt a stance as the Republic of Cyprus.''

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Ankara refuses to recognize the legal government of the Republic of Cyprus.

    [45] Gryzlov assures Russia will continue to support Cyprus settlement


    Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Boris Gryzlov assured on Monday that Russia would continue to support a solution of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of UN Security Council decisions and resolutions.

    Gryzlov, who is currently visiting Cyprus, met with House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias. Speaking after the meeting, they both said they found common positions on the Cyprus problem and the international political situation.

    Speaking through an interpreter, Gryzlov said ''we will continue to support the positions we have supported so far, which are positions for a Cyprus settlement based on UN Security Council decisions and resolutions.''

    Referring to bilateral relations, the Russian official noted that ''there is always room for improvement, despite the very high level of bilateral ties,'' adding that ''unfortunately for the past couple of years there is an immobility regarding commercial exchanges.''

    On the issue of visas required for Russians visiting Cyprus, Gryzlov said there is a way to solve the problem and that one should not rely solely on the EU to find a way out but ''our Cypriots friends can push things.''

    Christofias said during their meeting ''we reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to principles, the principles of international law, the principles of the UN, on the Cyprus problem and the international political situation.''

    He furthermore expressed gratitude for Russia's support to the struggle of the Cypriot people at the UN and other international organisations.

    Christofias said he was satisfied with the level of relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation and expressed the common wish to strengthen these ties.

    Furthermore he said he was happy that Russia has developed over the past few years and was gradually restoring the balance, which was necessary for peace and security.

    Gryzlov was received this morning by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.

    The Russian official was due to depart from Cyprus on Monday evening.

    [46] Cyprus protests air space violations by Turkey


    Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis, in a letter to the UN Secretary General protested the new violations of international air traffic regulations and the national airspace of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkish military aircrafts recorded from 6 April to 31 May 2007.

    In his letter, which was circulated as a General Assembly document, Mavroyiannis notes that these violations ''blatantly endanger the safety of international civil aviation and contravene international law and air traffic regulations.''

    He also noted that these violations ''put at stake the peace and stability of the region,'' calling for ''their immediate cessation.''

    ''The government of Turkey should heed the call of the international community, abide by the Charter of the UN and respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, thus contributing to the creation of the required conditions for the achievement of a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem,'' Mavroyiannis concludes.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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