|Monday, 12 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-11-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 12 November 2013 Issue No: 4509
 Greece, European Investment Bank sign loan agreements in AthensThe importance of strengthening liquidity for Greek companies and the economy in general was the focus of the first meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) managing committee to take place in Athens, on Monday and Tuesday ahead of Greece's presidency of the EU in January 2014.
Greece signed loan agreements worth 550 million euros with EIB, represented by its president Werner Hoyer. The Greek side was represented by Ministers of Finance Yannis Stournaras, Interior Yiannis Michelakis, Development and Competitiveness Costis Hatzidakis and Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Michalis Chryssochoidis.
The loans will fund infrastructural projects like major highways, local and regional government projects, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). This brings the total funds provided by the EIB for 2013 to 1.5 billion euros, a doubling of the 2012 amounts, which came to 705 million euros, Stournaras said.
"Since 2009, in cyclically adjusted terms, the primary result of the general government has improved by 20 percent of the GDP," Stournaras said, noting that "no other country has achieved such an adjustment during peaceful times. But constant fiscal adjustment without any growth initiative means austerity, and this cannot continue. Half of Greeks have lost 35 percent of their income and it is very difficult to convince them that it is worth continuing this effort, without growth and hope showing. I am very happy because that is exactly what we are doing here today."
The minister noted that the EIB had begun "a significant flow of funding towards our country, starting in December 2012" and said that the acceleration of the funding to Greece meant that the country had climbed to the 8th position among EU member-states in terms of EIB funding activity.
Additional agreements were signed separately between EIB and Alpha Bank, the Loan and Consignment Fund, and the Pancretan Cooperative Bank. The Pancretan Bank, Stournaras clarified, signed a loan agreement that would create jobs for young people, in a programme first for Greece; cooperation with EIB would become closer once Greece assumes the EU presidency, he asserted.
Stournaras also said that Greece was planning a meeting of ministers of EU and Mediterranean countries on the sidelines of the informal Ecofin meeting in April, in the framework of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), begun in 2002 on economic cooperation and funding from the EIB.
Development Minister Hatzidakis called on EIB to participate as a shareholder in the Hellenic Investment Fund, as EIB already participated in its planning, and asked the bank to assume a more active role for the 2014-2020 funding period.
During its stay in Greece, the EIB board will meet with Greek cabinet members and visit sites of projects funded by the bank.
 Greek recovery to be based on investment surge, PM advisor saysThe Greek economy is at the gates of total rebound, Ioannis Mourmouras, a professor in Macedonia University and a financial advisor to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Monday.
Addressing a "Capital Vision" conference, organized by the German-Hellenic Chamber, professor Mourmouras expressed his optimism that the worst was in the past and that 2014 would be a year with good news.
Referring to the course from a deep recession to a sustainable growth, he noted this would be the result of a strong investment shock which will come from two sources: foreign direct investments and implementation of investments plans through a privatization programme (ports, airports, Helliniko, etc).
He also expressed his optimism over the course of Greek banks, saying that a new round of stress tests were no reason for concern because of the reserves held by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund and of the synergies achieved through bank mergers.
Professor Mourmouras said although international organi-zations estimated a return to growth in 2014 and achieving primary surpluses, Greece has no room for complacency and that efforts must continue to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
 PM Samaras to participate on Tuesday in second summit on European youthPARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will be travelling to Paris on Tuesday to participate in the second summit on tackling unemployment among young people in Europe. Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis will also be participating and is due in the French capital on Monday evening.
Invited to take part in the meeting at the presidential mansion are European heads of state and government, labour ministers, European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer.
The meeting is a continuation of the first summit that took place in Berlin on July 3.
According to the French presidency, Tuesday's conference will not substantially stray from the directions decided in Berlin and there is no intention of adding new programmes. The aim is to ascertain if all the means have been activated and the political will of all has been confirmed on achieving the targets in the next two years".
The Europeans had decided in Berlin to coordinate a complete arsenal of measures to tackle the problems of Europeans six million young unemployed.
 Venizelos addresses "Capital+Vision 2013" conferenceThe conditions, both domestic and international, which would allow for Greece's recovery and exit from the economic crisis were the main theme in a speech delivered Monday evening by government vice-president and PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos at the second ?Capital+Vision 2013? conference, held at a central Athens hotel.
Venizelos was a keynote speaker at a dinner hosted as part of the two-day conference (November 11 and 12), organised by the Greek-German Chamber of Industry Commerce and Commerce on the topic: "The long way to growth. The moral of the recession."
After referring extensively to the results that have been possible thanks to the sacrifices put in by the Greek citizens, Venizelos noted that Greece "has all the prerequisites to change the basis of the discussion," and this is why he was "exceptionally optimistic for the outcome of this negotiation" (i.e. with the troika of Greece's international creditors).
In addition, the PASOK leader noted that "we should let the society assimilate developments, while considering its endurance limit." He stressed that "one cannot exceed Greece's 'breaking point.'"
 Troika cancels Monday meeting with Admin. Reform ministerA Monday afternoon meeting between troika officials representing Greece's lenders and Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, scheduled to take place at 5:00 pm, was cancelled by the troika without explanation, the ministry announced.
Sources at the ministry said they were hard pressed to understand what intervened to change the troika's stance, given that the time of the meeting had been finalised on Sunday and cancelled on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. with no reasons given. They surmise that outstanding issues relating to economic matters in the overall negotiations with the government, as reflected by the lack of progress in the talks with the finance ministry, prompted the delay.
Officials at the finance ministry, meanwhile, blamed the heads of the troika for the delays and insisted that the government was "fully ready, with the fiscal figures better than ever before."
Administrative reform ministry officials said that the move raised questions concerning the troika's stance in the talks with the government, while the meeting between the representatives of the creditors and the finance minister on Tuesday may shed light on what comes next.
Mitsotakis' aides, on their part, said the ministry had "passed muster" in the planned evaluation by the troika since it has fulfilled everything that was agreed concerning the placement of 12,500 public-sector staff in a labour reserve pool and the dismissal of the 2,000 employees of the former public broadcaster ERT, as well as an assessment of structures and staff for 400,000 civil servants.
With respect to the second wave of layoffs into the labour reserve pool, the ministry said that this will be carried out with a small delay not exceeding one or two months, which is necessary in order for a proper assessment of services and staff to be carried out. The ministry and the government also consider that any staff laid off in the restructuring of state defence industries must also count toward the final tally of dismissals required by the troika, in addition to those of contract workers currently retaining their jobs by temporary court orders.
Regarding the overall negotiation with the government, however, administrative reform ministry officials predicted that this might drag on because troika officials are due to depart from Athens on Wednesday ahead of a Eurogroup meeting the following day and it is unknown when they will return.
Finance ministry officials are troubled by the deadlock during the talks with the troika on Sunday, where no substantial progress was made during a four-hour meeting with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and the time horizon for concluding the talks remaining unclear.
Stournaras is due to have two meetings with the troika chiefs on Tuesday (one at noon and one at 5:00 p.m.) while ministry officials noted that "we also have patience" and suggesting that the talks may continue until after Christmas.
Government sources also point out that the delay means that the Greek side will be forced to go ahead and table legislations for a new property tax and next year's budget without the troika's go-ahead, as well as a plan for restructuring the country's state defence industries.
 SYRIZA: Social minority government will soon be Parliamentary minority alsoEvaluating the results of its censure motion, which was rejected by the Greek Parliament in the early hours of Monday morning, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party stressed it was daily "gaining political and ideological dominance in society," and expressed certainty that "the social minority government will also be a Parliamentary minority soon".
Making an overall appraisal of the discussion in Parliament and the deputies' support for the government, SYRIZA highlighted the rebellion of PASOK MP Theodora Tzakri, noting that this was probably the first time ever that an MP had abandoned the goverment majority during a vote of confidence. It also stressed that none of the independent MPs had voted against the censure motion, as government circles had claimed before the vote.
Referring to latest developments, SYRIZA said that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras would find himself obliged to come to Parliament several times before the year was out and stresses that "the prime minister, who's hasn't been seen in Parliament for the past nine months, with his presence yesterday, revealed his true 'memorandum' face to the nation, as well as a complete dearth of arguments and proposals."
 Health Minister Georgiadis confirms that EOPYY doctors will not be laid offHealth Minister Adonis Georgiadis on Monday reassured Athens Medical Association (ISA) President Giorgos Patoulis that public health services provider EOPYY doctors will not be laid off.
According to Patoulis, the minister assured him that no EOPYY doctors will be laid off and pledged that the measure, concerning the removal of 1,200 medical doctors from EOPYY units, will not be put into effect.
As regards the state health system's overdue debts to medical doctors, the health minister stated that all overdue debts to Athens' medical doctors will be repaid by December 31.
 Doctors reactions to Health minister's statementsThere has been an angry reaction by the country's medical world to Monday's statements by Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis concerning the future of medical practitioners and the public health services provider EOPYY after the completion of the body's assessment.
Panhellenic Medical Association president Mihalis Vlastarakos said that it was "at least grievous for the minister not to realise that his today's (Monday) statements were confusing to doctors and patients in addition to creating the feeling of an unreliable leadership, with no programme and solely interested in the satisfaction of numbers as requested by the country's lenders."
Earlier in the day, Georgiadis had a meeting with doctors' representatives and had reassured that EOPYY doctors will not be laid off. However, Vlastarakos said that "a few hours after this explicit statement, we were surprised to see that he (Georgiadis) left open the likelihood of EOPYY doctors being laid off in the future following the assessment of the body's Health Units."
The Athens Medical Association (ISA) reiterated that it will not tolerate even a dismissal in the sector of health, while speaking of serious shortages, both in primary and secondary level health services.
 Shipping Minister Varvitsiotis on Rhodes for the search on board cargo ship carrying guns, ammunitionShipping & Aegean Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis arrived Monday on the south Aegean island of Rhodes where a search is underway since Sunday on board the cargo ship "Noor-M" following information that it was carrying guns and ammunition.
The vessel was led to the seaport of Rhodes on Friday and the investigation is expected to last for days.
According to Varvitsiotis, the ship definitely carries bullets and weapons even though many of the containers found on board have not been opened yet, adding that it has also been determined that it does not meet international safety rules.
The vessel was intercepted by the Greek Coastguard on Thursday night while sailing in eastern Aegean and according to conflicting information given by its crew, it was destined for Mediterranean countries currently in a state of war.
"The UN prohibits weapons and bullets from reaching those countries and meeting our international obligations, we have to hold the ship for as long as it takes," Varvitsiotis said.
 PASOK MP threatens to break ranks over property tax, in statements to Vima FMPASOK MP Mihalis Kassis on Monday threatened to shave the coalition government's slim majority yet further when the draft bill for a new property tax came to Parliament, telling the private radio station "Vima FM" that he was not giving carte blanche to anyone.
"I do not authorise anyone to bring the law on property the way it is in the plans, I do not authorise anyone to bring the law on [home foreclosure] auctions but also for the better operation of Parliament," he said.
Regarding the uniform property tax, he called for a assets register and taxation of each individual based on his property assets, "and not go to a head tax". He also underlined that the taxes should be raised from the 'haves' rather than the 'not-haves', saying that on no account will he support the bill as it stands at present and hinting that other MPs will also take the same view.
Asked what will happen if MPs vote against the measures, Kassis said the question should be directed at the ministry but supported the payment of property tax by farmers, even though he is elected in a rural area.
PASOK is the junior member of Greece's coalition government, which now has a majority of four after the expulsion of PASOK MP Theodora Tzakri early on Monday.
 SYRIZA MP Zoi Constantopoulou says she will file complaint over alleged police harassmentMain opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MP Zoi Constantopoulou on Monday visited Supreme Court Prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani in order to report that she had been the victim of police harassment last Saturday, outside the building used by the former ERT in Agia Paraskevi.
"We asked to find out whether the prosecuting authority had taken any action. The prosecutor told us that no action has been taken yet. Tomorrow we will return with a written report," Constantopoulou said after the meeting.
She had arrived accompanied by SYRIZA MPs Dimitris Stratoulis and Vassilis Hatzilambrou and Independent Greeks MP Rachel Makri, who confirmed Constantopoulou's claims as a eye-witness.
According to Constantopoulou, she had reported "immediately prosecutable crimes and misdemeanours" that had been committed and recorded, ascertained and public denounced.
 President Papoulias visits Paratroopers' Training SchoolRepublic President Karolos Papoulias on Monday visited the Paratroopers' Training School in Aspropirgos, greater Athens region, noting afterward that he was impressed with their tough, high-level training.
He said that the high standard of training and high morale of the special forces gives hope, noting that they serve as a deterrent against anyone threatening the country's territorial integrity.
President Papoulias was briefed on the paratroopers' activities, watched training activities, reviewed a direct action army company and toured an exhibition of special forces' items.
The president was accompanied by Alternate Defence Minister Fofi Gennimata and Deputy Defence Minister Athanassios Davakis.
 Athens University, NTUA staff vote to defy court order, continue strikeAdministrative staff at Athens University and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) on Monday voted to continue strike action, adopting their unions' proposal for another five-day strike this week in defiance of a Friday court ruling declaring their labour action abusive and illegal.
The decision makes it extremely unlikely that the examination period and classes at the two largest universities in the country will begin on Tuesday, while groups of students supporting their struggle continue to occupy some NTUA departments.
The administrative staff launched their long-term strike in protest against the government's plans to slash staffing levels at the two universities by including roughly half the workforce into the labour reserve schemes designed to downsize the public sector payroll cost and ultimately lay off some of the workforce.
The fate of the strike now will largely be determined by the decision reached by the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, which is due to hear a case for the suspension of the labour reserve measure in the next few days.
 OLME to hold education sector protest rally in Athens on November 14The federation of secondary education public school teachers OLME on Monday called on its members to join an education sector protest rally to take place at Propilea in downtown Athens on November 14. The demonstration will be held in the context of mobilizations against the public sector mobility measure affecting the sector of education and the law on the new lyceum (senior high school).
To facilitate teacher participation in the demonstration, OLME announced two-hour work stoppages for November 14, from 12:00 to 14:00 and from 14:00 to 16:00.
A protest demonstration will be held outside the ministry of education at 18:00 on the same day followed by an all-night vigil.
Secondary education public school teachers' trade unionists "condemned the government policy that holds hostage thousands of educators, who live in uncertainty and insecurity." They also demanded that all teachers affected by the labour reserve measure be allowed to return to their schools and all abolished education sectors be reinstated.
 Court vindicates fired Thessaloniki sanitation staff but does not order their return to workIn a ruling on Monday, an Athens first-instance court dealing in labour differences vindicated some 600 sanitation staff fired by the Thessaloniki municipality but did not order the municipality to hire them back.
The 600 municipal sanitation workers had been hired on the basis of repeatedly and consecutively renewed contracts and had sought to be returned to their jobs when dismissed on the grounds that they were effectively permanent employees, covering standing and constant needs.
While the court agreed with their arguments and found that the repeated renewal of their contracts essentially showed they covered permanent needs at the municipality, it did not make its ruling immediately enforceable or oblige the municipality to return them to their jobs.
 Manolis Glezos undergoes gallbladder operationVeteran leftist politician Manolis Glezos, an MP for main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), underwent a successful gallbladder operation at tht 251st Military Hospital, it was announced on Monday.
The operation was completed by noon, SYRIZA sources said, and the deputy will leave hospital in a few days.
 Embraer aircraft carried out sixteen airlifts of patients, organ transplantsThe two Embraer aircraft (EMB-209 and LEG-484) that are used by the armed forces in patient transportation missions and crew training, following permission granted by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, have performed a total of 16 airlifts of patients and organ transplants, it was announced on Monday.
The information for the period between August 2012 and August 2013 was included in a document forwarded to Parliament by Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos in response to a current question tabled by New Democracy (ND) MP Andreas Psiharis.
 Europe needs fiscal consolidation and growth actions, Staikouras saysNational governments and European authorities must have a common goal: supporting policies promoting sustainable growth, competitiveness, employment and social cohesion, along with efforts towards approving a commonly accepted, realistic, budget for 2014, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said in his intervention during an ECOFIN meeting on Monday.
According to a ministry announcement, the Greek minister said that these policies should focus on domestic growth sources such as education, research, innovation, new technologies and business activity, with respect to fiscal limitations and the need for fiscal discipline. "Only this combination of fiscal discipline, growth actions and structural reforms can lead Europe out of its current difficult situation offering prosperity to all European citizens," the Greek minister said.
This combination is particularly significant with national budgets, and mostly for Greece, a country which has achieved the biggest fiscal adjustment in Europe but has to deal with the deepest recession in history and the highest unemployment, particularly among young people, Staikouras noted, adding that European Union member-states must show real solidarity to resolve their members' big problems.
Commenting on the 2014 budget, Staikouras said that Greece supported the need to have a higher level of payments to avoid any shortfalls or delays in payments, supported adequate credits for research and innovation programmes, actions to support competitiveness, business activity, small- and medium-sized enterprises, youth employment and common technological initiatives. Greece also supported the adequate funding of policies to support the primary sector and cohesion, asylum and immigration actions and supported the intention to restructure administration spending by EU institutions.
 Deputy FM says Greece an attractive destination for direct investmentsDeputy Foreign Minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos on Monday addressed the Europe-Asia (ASEM) Ministerial Session in New Delhi, on the theme "Bridge to Partnership for Growth and Development", stressing that
"Greece remains a very attractive destination for direct foreign investments in such sectors as transport, shipping and shipyards, energy and tourism," Deputy Foreign Minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos said on Monday in an address to the Europe-Asia (ASEM) Ministerial Session in New Delhi, on the theme "Bridge to Partnership for Growth and Development."
Gerontopoulos further said given that the international economies are interdependent, the present economic crisis was not just European only and consequently required global handling.
The Deputy Minister said that Asia and Europe must continue to cooperate, placing greater emphasis on ASEM's economic pylon, with frequent meetings between economic experts, politicians and business leaders from both sides.
As he said, the common challenge for the two continents was safeguarding jobs and production economies, as well as sustainable growth that will revive economies, dealing with the social repercussions of the crisis.
He added that from the Greek point of view in particular, jobs and growth were structurally and unbreakably linked, and stressed that this linking was considered a top priority issue for the upcoming Greek presidency of the EU.
Gerontopoulos also said that the Greek government was implementing an ambitious fiscal adjustment programme to improve Greece's competitiveness and macroeconomic image, and had achieved great improvements in the areas of fiscal sustainability and competitiveness.
He explained that Greece's main aim was the return to economic growth and the main economic indicators were providing steadfast optimism for the next year.
At the beginning of his address, Gerontopoulos conveyed the condolences and solidarity of the Greek people to the Philippines and Vietnam over the disastrous typhoon Haiyan that hit the two countries.
 Greece needs to generate more national wealth, Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry president saysCentral Union of Chambers of Commerce and Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Constantinos Mihalos, addressing the CAPITAL + VISION conference on the theme of "The long course to growth, lessons from the recession", said that the 2014-2020 Partnership Relation Pact or new ESPA (the EU's National Strategic Reference Framework - NSRF) can and must be the motive force in the course of the Greek economy's transition from yesterday to tomorrow. This requires appropriate planning and implementation, without the mistakes and the shortcomings of the past, he noted.
Mihalos added that the utilisation of the funds of the new programme period must be based on clear targeting and the classification of needs.
He also said that it should be kept in mind that the funds of the new ESPA, although considerable, are fewer in relation to past programme periods. They were not enough to cover the entire investment effort that the country needs, he stressed.
This, according to Mihalos, means that there should be explicit strategic options and priorities, with the first one being enhancing competitiveness, extroversion and innovation.
Meaning what was necessary, as he said, was to begin generating more national wealth; to succeed in producing more, better, globally traded and competitive products and services; to increase the country's revenues, not through borrowing, but through investments and exports; and, to utilise the country's advantages, to create jobs and better incomes.
 US, Chinese companies interested in collaborating with Thracian companyTop officials from two high tech companies in the United States and China respectively are meeting with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Theodoros Karaoglou at 9:30 am on Tuesday, the ministry's press office announced on Monday.
Hilux and Sound Off (USA) president Mark Litke and Foxconn company marketing director Eric Cho are scheduled to meet with Karaoglou at the ministry in Thessaloniki to discuss their intention to collaborate with a Greek lighting fixtures company in Thrace.
The meeting will also be attended by the president and CEO of Dasteri SA, the company that is administering the two conglomerates' investment plan in Europe.
 Chinese firm SUMEC, Attica Finance sign joint investment agreement at interior ministryThe firms Attica Finance and the Chinese group SUMEC on Monday signed a deal for joint investments at the Greek interior ministry in Athens. The 200-million-euro agreement is for energy conservation projects relating to street lighting for Greek local authorities and energy-hungry public buildings. Of these, projects budgeted at 20 million euro can be implemented immediately.
The Chinese firm will provide the equipment and the necessary funding for the projects.
It was signed by Attica Finance CEO Alexandros Poularikos and SUMEC group president Cai Jibo, in the presence of Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis and the head of the municipalities' union Costas Askounis, among others.
 Foreign investors' participation in Greek market up in OctoberForeign investors were net buyers in the Athens Stock Exchange in October, with capital inflows surpassing outflows for the 12th consecutive month.
Foreign investors raised their participation in the capitalization of the Greek market to 48 pct in October, from 44.5 pct in September, an increase of 7.9 pct. However, foreign investor's participation was 30.2 pct (from 28.9 pct in the previous month) if the participation of Hellenic Financial Stability Fund was taken into account.
Greek investors' participation fell to 31.5 pct in October, from 34.7 pct in September.
Capital inflows by foreign investors totalled 926.29 million euros in the month, while Greek investors were net sellers, with capital outflows of 883.26 million. Foreign investors accounted for 60 pct of the market's turnover in October, up from 48 pct in September.
The value of transactions totaled 3.966 billion euros in October, up 199.6 pct from September and up 118.3 pct from October 2012. Daily average turnover was 180.27 million euros, up from 63.03 million in September and 78.99 million euros in October last year. The number of active investor codes totaled 40,633, up from 29,044 in September, while the market's capitalization totaled 63.04 billion euros at the end of October, from 51.94 billion euros in the previous month and 30.62 billion in October 2012.
 Retail stores in tourist-popular towns of Peloponnese to open SundaysRetail stores in tourism areas across the Peloponnese in southern Greece will open on Sundays all year round, while other areas are free to go by their own schedule, the Regional Authority of Peloponnese announced on Monday in agreement with the local traders associations.
However, stores in the city of Kalamata, one of the largest cities in the region and a popular tourism destination, will be excluded from the measure.
Stores in the Arcadia prefecture towns of Dimitsana, Astros, Vitina, Lagadia, Tiros and Levidi will be open on all Sundays, while in the prefecture of Laconia the decision will be in effect in the towns of Gythio, Areopoli and the entire region of Eastern Mani. In Monemvasia, stores will open on Sundays from April 1 until October 31.
In Argolida, the measure will be in effect in Nafplio, Mycenae, Tolos, Drepano, Porto Heli, Thermissia, Ermioni, Ancient Epidaurus and Asklipion from April 1 until October 31.
In the prefecture of Messinia, specifically in western Mani, Marathopoli, Kopanaki, Gialova, Ihalia and Finikounda stores will be open on all Sundays, while in Koroni the measure will be in effect from April 1 until September 30. In Petalidi, stores will open on the last Sunday of July and the first three Sundays in August. In Pilos, stores will open on Sundays from June 1 until September 30, while in Methoni the measure will be in effect in the months of June, July and August.
In Corinth, stores will be open on all Sundays if they are located in the ancient Corinth area, in Stimfalia, Feneo, Agii Theodori, Trikala, Karia and in the region of Evrostini-Rozenes.
In Loutraki, Perahora and Galataki stores will be open on Sundays from April 1 until October 31.
 EC approves modernization of public transport ticket system in AthensBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)
The European Commission on Monday approved a 29.5-million-euro investment financed by the EU Regional Development Fund to update the Athens public transport ticket system in Athens.
The project will be under the Athens Urban Transport Organization OASA auspices and will concern ticket issuing for the metro, trams and buses. It will introduce electronic "smart tickets" to replace conventional tickets, as well as, a modern ticket validation and passenger boarding system.
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn commented that the project is an important step toward the modernization of mass transport in Athens, improving commuting and is regarded as decisive in ensuring better quality of life for urban dwellers.
 Baupost Group holds 10.34 pct stake in Piraeus BankBaupost Group LLC holds a 10.34 pct equity stake in Piraeus Bank, through 16,580,037 voting rights which represent an equal number of common, nominal, voting shares (0.33 pct of voting rights in the bank) and the bank's warrants (representing 507,853,036 voting rights or 10.01 pct of total voting rights).
In a statement, Piraeus Bank said Baupost Group's equity stake in the bank totaled 524,433,073 shares.
Baupost Group LLC is a capital management company.
 Budget spending down 3.4 pct in Jan-SeptBudget spending by government ministries and agencies were better than expected in the January-September period, as they fell short by 1.2 billion euros, or 3.4 pct, from budget provisions, although three government ministries (Justice, Finance and Labor) continued to overshoot targets, Finance Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras said on Monday.
In a report, the Finance ministry said that from the five ministries which had reported spending overshooting in the six-month report, two ministries and agencies (Parliament and Interior ministry) achieved their targets in the nine-month period, while another two ministries managed to lower their spending.
In the Justice ministry, spending surpassed targets by 78.1 million euros, or by 21.2 pct, in the Finance ministry, spending overshot targets by 40.1 million euros, or by 8.3 pct, in the Labor ministry spending surpassed targets by 490.8 million euros, or by 5.0 pct (nine-month spending totaled 10.301 billion euros, up from a budget target of 9.810 billion euros), while regional authorities' spending surpassed budget targets by 586.6 million euros, or by 476.6 pct.
 Greek exports up 9.5 pct in Jan-OctGreek exports fell in October, but remained substantially up in the January-October period this year, compared with the corresponding periods in 2012, official figures showed on Monday.
A report by Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said that the value of import-arrivals totalled 4.016 billion euros in September, up 7.7 pct from the same month last year, while the value of export-deliveries totalled 2.390 billion euros, down 2.3 pct over the same period.
However, in the 10-month period from January to October, the value of exports grew 9.5 pct compared with the corresponding period in 2012, while the value of imports fell 0.1 pct.
 Premium production up 11 pct in SeptPremium production continued rising for the second consecutive month in September, official figures showed on Monday.
A report by the Association of Insurance Companies of Greece, said that premium production rose 11 pct in September, compared with the same month last year, after rising by 5.5 pct in August.
The report said that premium production fell by 10.1 pct in the January-September period, compared with the same period in 2012, with production in the life category falling by 16.2 pct and in the damage category falling by 5.2 pct.
 Eurobank Properties says profits down in Jan-SeptEurobank Properties on Monday said its net profits totalled 25.6 million euros in the January-September period, down from 28.6 million euros in the corresponding period last year.
The company, in a statement, said that leasing revenues fell 7.0 pct to 28 million euros in the nine-month period, while interest revenue fell 14 pct to 5.7 million euros. Financial expenses dropped 32 pct to 1.7 million euros and tax expenses rose 17 pct to 2.1 million euros.
Eurobank Properties said its cash reserves totalled 176 million euros at the end of September, from 161 million euros, while loans fell to 70 million euros from 83 million euros. The company's internal value fell to 10.27 euros per share, from 10.30 euros in December 31, 2012.
 Online road tax payment now availableThe 2014 road tax electronic platform ran by the General Secretariat of Information Systems is available online for car and motorcycle owners, it was announced on Monday.
Vehicle owners will be able to print a payment slip with the amount they owe and pay the tax at a bank.
A separate application will soon be available for the payment of the luxury tax imposed on large cars (over 1,929 cc).
 Building activity down 31.9 pct in Jan-AugPrivate building activity continued its free-fall in August, while a new large drop in new building permits offers a further deterioration for the future.
Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), in a report released on Monday, said that the size of the private building activity in the country totalled 1,073 building permits in August, down 10.7 pct compared with the same month last year, while the volume of building activity dropped 30.4 pct.
In the January-August period, building activity fell by 35.8 pct in permits and by 31.9 pct in volume, compared with the corresponding period in 2012.
 Greek stocks end slightly lowerGreek stocks ended slightly lower in the first trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index fell 0.26 pct to end at 1,165.99 points, after rising as much as 0.86 pct during the session. Turnover eased to 75.52 million euros.
The Large Cap index fell 0.57 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.08 pct higher. Ellaktor (5.31 pct), Terna Energy (4.02 pct), Korinth Pipeworks (3.16 pct) and Mytilineos (2.93 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Titan (5.33 pct), OPAP (3.70 pct), Viohalco (2.68 pct) and Eurobank Properties (2.11 pct) suffered losses. The Raw Materials (3.11 pct), Commerce (1.38 pct) and Telecoms (1.14 pct) sectors scored gains, while Travel (3.05 pct), Food (1.36 pct) and Constructions (1.10 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 76 to 66 with another 12 issues unchanged. Sato (17.78 pct), Hatzikraniotis (16.94 pct) and Geniki Bank (14.77 pct) were top gainers, while Boutaris (20 pct), Logismos (13.79 pct) and Progressive (12.58 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: Unchanged
Personal & Household: -0.61%
Raw Materials: +3.11%
Travel & Leisure: -3.05%
Food & Beverages: -1.36%
Financial Services: +0.62%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, Piraeus Bank, Titan, OTE and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.655
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.95
Coca Cola HBC: 21.24
Hellenic Petroleum: 9.50
National Bank of Greece: 4.30
Eurobank Properties : 8.81
Piraeus Bank: 1.44
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 6.42 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 6.32 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.16 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.74 pct. Turnover was a thin 6.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.53 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.44 pct, the six-month rate was 0.34 pct, the three-month rate was 0.224 pct and the one-month rate was 0.129 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe November contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.08 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover soaring to 48.369 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 21,127 contracts, worth 41.270 million euros, with 50,546 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,582 contracts worth 7.009 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (2,896), followed by National Bank (730), Alpha Bank (1,183), Piraeus Bank (1,737), MIG (820), PPC (636), OPAP (767), Mytilineos (1,066), Intralot (375), GEK (750) and Ellaktor (120).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.359
Pound sterling 0.850
Danish kroner 7.570
Swedish kroner 8.928
Japanese yen 134.85
Swiss franc 1.251
Norwegian kroner 8.329
Canadian dollar 1.423
Australian dollar 1.452
 Sierra Leone ship inspected for weapons and ammunition at RhodesPort and customs authorities of the island of Rhodes held an inspection of containers on the Sierra Leone-flagged freighter "Nour-M" on Monday under tight security measures, looking for weapons and ammunition.
The inspection was ordered by the authority investigating money laundering, terrorist financing and source of funds.
According to the ship's bill of lading, the eight-crew ship is carrying about 20,000 Kalashnikovs and bullets in 56 of a total of 59 containers.
Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and the head of the Coast Guard Dimitris Bandias are expected on the island on Monday, while the Shipping and Public Order Ministries are being kept constantly infomed on the course of investigations.
The port authority on the island of Kos, near Rhodes, were notified about the ship on Friday as it was sailing near the islet of Imia because of its unusual changes in its course.
The eight-member crew, who are foreigners, have been giving contradictory evidence about the ship's final destination.
 Corruption magistrate summons six dairy firm execs to answer to 'milk cartel' chargesThe Special Magistrate for Corruption has summoned executives of six of the country's major dairy firms to answer to criminal charges of forming a "milk cartel," it was announced on Monday. The charges are based on reports from livestock breeders that the companies banded together to push down milk prices paid to producers.
The charges are for criminal extortion, compounded by the threat of harm to the producers' business, and are brought against 10 senior executives, such as CEOs and managers, of the dairy firms Mevgal, Fage, Delta, Olympos, Nestle and Agno-Kolios in the years 2004-2006.
They are accused of exerting pressure and threatening dairy farmers with exclusion from all markets unless they sold their milk at very low prices. An investigation was launched based on complaints filed by dairy farmers, who confirmed that they had been forced to sell below a predetermined price ceiling.
The accused deny the charges against them and claim that their actions were legitimate in the context of free competition and the freedom to select suppliers of raw materials.
 Bestselling author Victoria Hislop attends promotion event for the city of ThessalonikiInternationally bestselling British author Victoria Hislop addressed an audience of foreign journalists and tour operators as a formal guest in the presentation of the City of Thessaloniki in the context of the "World Travel Market" international travel industry exhibition held in London on November 4-7.
The author of "The island" shared with the audience her experiences from her visits to Thessaloniki while researching for the novel "The Thread", which describes historical events that took place in the city since 1917.
"Thessaloniki has a soul. What is going on in this city is difficult to put into words," she said, highlighting its strong points like, its people, the sunset, the vast seafront and the local cuisine.
 National road Tempi Valley section shut down Tue., Wed. all dayThe Athens-Thessaloniki national road section at Tempi Valley will be shut down from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday for maintenance and repair work, authorities reminded the public on Monday.
The specific section is between Gyrtoni junction (366/477th km) to Stomion junction (390/700th km).
Alternative routes are as follows are as follows: for passenger cars, the eastern axis through the Larissa area coast; for trucks, the central axis through Elassona, and the western axis through the Mourgani and Grevena bridge.
Before 7:00 am and after 8:00 pm the road will be open.
 High winds cause minor disruption to ferry servicesHigh south-southeasterly winds reaching up to seven Beaufort at sea have disrupted some ferry services in the Saronic Gulf and the Ionian Sea, authorities reported on Monday.
Hydrofoils will not be running until 6:00 p.m. and the 3:30 p.m. ferry service to Aegina with the car-ferry "Agios Nektarios" has been postponed.
Also cancelled were car ferry services on the Igoumenitsa-Paxoi line in northwestern Greece and the Lixouri-Argostoli service for the Ionian island of Kefallonia.
 Basketball fans arrested in Athens after attacking police officersNine individuals, five of them minors, will appear before a prosecutor on Monday following their arrest in Athens' Peristeri district on Sunday afternoon during clashes with police that broke out after a basketball game between the 2nd Division local teams of Peristeri and Ionikos Nikeas.
According to police, a group of roughly 80 basketball fans carried out an unprovoked attack on the police forces present in the stadium and, after being forced out, they attacked them again using firebombs, stones, chunks of marble and other objects, injuring four police officers.
The defendants face charges for causing serious physical injury, violating the peace and violation of laws on possession of guns and explosives.
 Museum visitors and revenues up in July 2013The number of visitors to museums throughout Greece rose by 18.2 percent in July 2013 and revenues were up 14.7 percent, compared with the same month in 2012, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
In the first seven months of 2013 the number of visitors to museums rose by 17.2 percent and revenues increased by 12.4 percent compared with the correspondent period in 2012.
Visitors in the archaeological sites around the country also rose by 23.8 percent in July 2013 and revenues by 13.3 percent in comparison with July 2012. In the first seven months of 2013 the number of visitors in archaeological sites rose by 28.7 percent and revenues were up 19.5 percent in comparison with the same period in 2012.
 Rainy on TuesdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 9C and 22C. Rainy in Athens with southerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 15C and 19C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13C and 17C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Prime Minister Antonis "Samaras tries out role as main opposition" by PM's focus on SYRIZA leader
DIMOKRATIA: "Back in the troika's jaws again"
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "They voted 'yes'" (to new layoffs)
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Opportunities for an exit" for civil servant to-be pensioners
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Pension with a seven-year bonus"
ESTIA: "Vulgar operatic drama" in Parliament
ETHNOS: "Duels with jabs" during debate
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Censure motion voted down, but questions remain"
TA NEA: "Vote a breath of relief" for government
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