|Monday, 12 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-11-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 20 November 2013 Issue No: 4516
 Development minister holds meeting with Task Force head"The Greek government recorded impressive progress in a year and a half," Task Force head for Greece Horst Reichenbach said after the end of a meeting with Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Tuesday evening.
Reichenbach said that the Greek government faced deeply rooted problems "knowing however that this is not the end of the path and that more structural changes will be necessary for the country to return to growth and employment to be boosted."
Apart from positive comments, however, the Task Force head also exercised criticism on the tax administration sector, stressing that quite a few steps must still be taken for more progress to be recorded "and that is the area the troika experts and the Task Force will place emphasis."
As far as motorway projects are concerned, Reichenbach stressed that procedures to restart works will be completed by the end of the year. In addition, he pointed out that taking advantage of an OECD report on the Greek economy there would be an improvement in the real economy and a benefit for consumers.
Referring to the OECD report, Hatzidakis said "we know that there can be reactions. Our direction is to forge ahead. All these obstacles have made the Greek market more expensive than what the objective circumstances justify."
 Troika to meet Administrative Reform minister on Wednesday morningA meeting between the Administrative Reform ministry's leadership and the representatives of the EC-ECB-IMF troika of lenders has been rescheduled for 9:30 on Wednesday morning.
A positive climate had prevailed during the last meeting between the troika and minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, following the fulfillment of the prior actions by the Administrative Reform ministry, but the next meeting was postponed at the troika's request, without further explanations.
The troika during Wednesday's meeting is expected to acknowledge that the Administrative Reform ministry has fulfilled its obligations for the current evaluation period, since the first wave of suspensions in the public service has been completed with 12,500 civil servants and the staffing plans for 400,000 employees have been implemented following the evaluation of entities at ministries and public sector agencies, while the 2,000 layoffs have also been made (by closing down the public broadcaster ERT).
 OECD revises its forecasts for Greece upwardPARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Tuesday revised upwards its estimates for Greece, forecasting a 0.4 pct recession in 2014 and an 1.8 pct growth rate in 2015.
In its economic outlook report, the Paris-based organization said that although its estimate for a recession in 2014 still remained, the 0.4 pct recession rate was significantly lower compared with its previous estimate (-1.2 pct), and noted that the Greek economy was expected to return to positive territory gradually on a quarterly basis to reach 1.8 pct in 2015.
This estimate, however, is based on the precondition that competitiveness, exports and investments will increase over this period.
The OECD noted that a continuation of efforts towards fiscal restructuring and banks' low balance sheets will limit domestic demand, while unemployment will remain at very high levels and inflation will remain in negative territory.
It recommended however that a fiscal restructuring effort must continue as scheduled because of the high level of public debt, while it did not exclude the need for a new lightening of the debt burden in order to safeguard sustainability of public finances.
The Organization also recommended a restructuring in banks' balance sheets. The report noted that reforms made so far in product markets were expected to improve competitiveness in prices and redistribution of funds to activities with international orientation, even if additional reforms were necessary.
Finally, a more efficient and more fair tax system was a precondition for development and social inclusion, it said.
OECD said the Greek budget deficit will fall to 2.4 pct of GDP in 2013, to 2.2 pct in 2014 and to 1.4 pct of GDP in 2015. The Greek economy will shrink by 3.5 pct in 2013, and shrink by 0.4 pct in 2014 while it will grow by 1.8 pct in 2015.
The unemployment rate will rise to 27.2 pct this year, falling slightly to 27.1 pct in 2014 and to 26.6 pct in 2015. The country's fiscal balance will remain negative: -2.4 this year, -2.2 in 2014 and -1.4 in 2015.
 Deputy FM says Greek EU presidency will be successful in spite of the economic crisisBERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)
The Greek presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2014 will be successful in spite of the economic crisis, deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas told an interview with German News Agency (dpa) on Tuesday.
"It shall be a European, not a Greek presidency, in close cooperation with all the institutions of the EU," Kourkoulas said, assuring of political stability in the country.
A top priority of the Greek presidency would be to take measures to boost growth and reduce unemployment, he explained, stressing that no stability programme could succeed without growth.
On the question of the primary surplus that Greece has achieved for the first time in years, he said that "now, however, measures must be taken at European and national level to enable growth to take place again," and added that the creation of jobs is very important, particularly for the countries of the European South.
Immigration, "both legal and illegal," will also be an important concern, since according to the deputy Foreign minister, Europe needs an effective policy for such a critical matter for Southern Europe nations.
 Samaras pays tribute to Cyprus' CleridesPrime Minister Antonis Samaras laid a wreath by the coffin of former president of the Cyprus Republic Glafcos Clerides, who died aged 94 and was buried in Nicosia on Tuesday.
"Hellenism honours Glafcos Clerides, a fine political man, who indissolubly linked his name with recent Cypriot history," Samaras noted at the end of the funeral, adding that he was a person who "courageously faced all problems and created prospects."
Samaras spoke highly of Clerides, saying "he had the gift of insight and the virtue of realism." He concluded that Cyprus has always been a responsibility and obligation of Greece.
The Greek premier was accompanied to Cyprus by government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis, Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou and party leaders.
Prior to the funeral, Samaras met with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.
 Tsipras returns criticims of Venizelos on 'invitation to PASOK deputy defection'Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras made fun of PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos' criticism of SYRIZA, by saying "we treat Venizelos' statements as everyone else does, as a joke that tries to cover up huge anxiety and embarrassment".
In the second part of his interview to Avghi newspaper, published on Tuesday, Tsipras particularly criticised Venizelos over the latter's statements that SYRIZA has issued a call to PASOK deputies to defect from their party.
Among other issues, Tsipras reiterated his call for an examination committee on submarines contracts and pledged to contribute all his powers to create a larger, multi-faceted and unifying movement in which "all the other forces of the Left" will be welcomed.
 "No preconditions for cooperation with the government or SYRIZA," DIM.AR's Kouvelis saysOpposition Democratic Left (DIM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Tuesday referred to the option of alliance governments saying that "they shouldn't be a general and vague concept, but instead they should be based on a policy agreement that will meet the needs of society," noting that "alliance governments are not an end in themselves if no such preconditions are present".
Speaking during the presentation of a draft law on the financing of political parties, Kouvelis said that his party disagrees with the government policy and the positions of main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and therefore, there are no preconditions for a policy agreement with either of them. "If they will emerge in the future we will make a decision then," he said.
Kouvelis underlined that DIM.AR's Parliamentary group will vote down the state budget that will be presented by the government, noting that the government remains stable in Parliament for as long as it has the majority.
In response to the talk about defection after SYRIZA's leader urged PASOK MPs to vote down the government-sponsored draft bills, Kouvelis said that the intervention was wrong but at the same time it shouldn't interpreted as an invitation to defection.
He also ruled out election cooperation between DIM.AR and other political parties saying that his party will have its own presence in the elections.
Kouvelis said that DIM.AR wants cooperation with democratic socialism, political ecology, European Social-Democracy and the radical centrist forces. He noted that results so far are positive and announced that an extensive debate on the issue will take place in the party congress.
Speaking during a press conference for the presentation of DIM.AR's draft bill on transparency in the financing of the political parties, the so-called "political money", Kouvelis said that his party's initiative is aimed at safeguarding political autonomy and political party equality considering that the political system has dysfunctions and needs to be reformed to become more democratic.
He said that the salaries of the MPs should be adjusted to the country's economic situation and pledged that he will suggest the abolition of the government minister accountability law so that MPs who break the law will be led before justice.
 'Act as if you are the government,' SYRIZA's Tsipras urges party's MPsMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras addressed his party's Parliamentary group on Tuesday and urged MPs to act as if they were the government, while noting that the country's government is collapsing and political developments could be rapid.
He appeared very optimistic as regards SYRIZA's influence within society, hinting that this fact creates problems for the government.
Tsipras urged MPs to show solidarity with each other and noted that SYRIZA's image and unity are very important, saying characteristically that "we are at war".
He said that the government is in confusion and that SYRIZA will condemn the government policies in Parliament. According to sources, it was also agreed that SYRIZA will ask for roll-call voting in Parliament.
Referring to the defection controversy, he pointed out that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was responsble for bringing down the New Democracy government of 1993.
He lashed out at the mass media, the banking system and memorandum supporters in general, saying that "they form a Stalinist-like block" and outlined ways in which it can be handled.
Tsipras said that roll-call voting in parliament, the state budget, the home foreclosures and the measures the government will announce are major hurdles that the government may well be unable to clear. He also claimed that the government is at a dead end and has huge cohesion problems.
 EU defence industries cannot be rivals, Alternate Defence Minister Gennimata saysAlternate Defence Minister Fofi Gennimata underlined that the defence industries of the EU member-states should meet the needs of European defence by forming a support network through partnerships and effective cooperation on EU and regional levels.
Addressing the proceedings of the European Defence Agency (EDA) board and the EU Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, she underlined that the EU industries cannot be rivals, considering that they serve common policies.
Gennimata said that small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU member-states, active in the sectors of defence and security, should be reinforced, noting that the Greek EU Presidency will implement the goals that will be set in December's European Council.
The alternate defence minister also signed a document on Greece's intention to participate in an unmanned aircraft systems programme in the context of the EU member-states' military cooperation.
 Lifting foreclosure auctions ban could be 'second Asia Minor disaster', justice estimatesLifting the current ban on foreclosure auctions of first residences could have an impact comparable to the disastrous Asia Minor campaign of 1922, which led to an exchange of populations and flooded Greece with refugees, a senior justice told the radio station Real FM on Tuesday.
"It will be a second Asia Minor disaster," said public prosecutor Vassilis Floridis, a former president of the independent authority for public contracts.
"What no one understands today, is that the people at risk of losing their homes are not losing them under normal circumstances but in a state of global crisis. Therefore, this thing will have a mass effect. We are not talking about someone that bought a house, miscalculated and lost it," Floridis pointed out.
"We are talking about mass auctions. If this happens - which I don't believe, because I see that the prime minister and the government and chiefly the MPs are refusing to pass such laws - for me this will mean a second Asia Minor disaster," he said.
 UoA rector Pelegrinis calls for suspension of employee mobility measureUniversity of Athens (UoA) rector Theodossis Pelegrinis on Tuesday called for the immediate suspension of the labour reserve measure, urging the ministry of education to "put his obsessions aside" and let the UoA reopen so that the semester will not be lost. "The academic community as a whole has repeatedly stated its firm decision for an open public university," he said.
He charged that the government-announced list with the names of university administrative staff, affected by the public sector employee mobility programme, was "out of touch with reality" and cautioned the authorities responsible that there could be "legal consequences and even criminal liability".
Pelegrinis called for the immediate suspension of the labour reserve measure and requested dialogue between the academic community and the ministry of education that will lead to the operation of the higher education institutions.
"In a university there are no winners or losers, education belongs to the nation. I apologize on behalf of the academic community in our university to the students and their families for the inconvenience caused as a result of the impasse into which our institution has been led. I have to say, however, that certain individuals, using illegitimate means, seek to downgrade public education and the University of Athens. This is an issue that concerns the Greek people as a whole and not just the UoA's management," he said.
 University administrative staff talk to ANA-MPA about strike actionIn statements to the ANA-MPA webTV service about their ongoing strikes, administrative staff from the University of Athens and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) on Tuesday accused the education ministry of acting "arbitrarily" and laying off staff without first conducting a proper assessment.
Administrative staff at the two universities have been striking in protest against their inclusion in a labour mobility scheme, with the education ministry posting the names of some 700 employees due to be either suspended or included in the labour mobility scheme on the internet on Monday night. The staff unions contest the validity of the process by which staff members were given points, saying this had not been cross-checked by the ministry.
Talking to ANA-MPA, Tertiary Education Administrative Staff Federation board member Zacharias Trigazis denied that any evaluation of staff had been carried out and noted that the selection was based entirely on the self-reported credentials of staff participating in a census, without any cross-checking.
Replying to accusations that the strike was responsible for a lost first semester in the current academic year, with students "held hostage" by the labour dispute, Trigazis said that staff are prepared to discuss the "day after" with all agencies involved and would make every effort to make up for the lost time but stressed that if the measures go ahead, "it will be a university that is unable to operate and everyone understands this".
"We are also interested in something else: that for the kids who were students and those admitted this year, there should be a second and third semester in which they can have decent studies and not a demolished state university," he said.
According to staff, differences with the ministry were acute and the university senate had appealed to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras or government Vice-President Evangelos Venizelos to find a way out of the deadlock that has arisen "so that there can be at least a form of dialogue".
Athens University employee Thodoros Hatzipavlou stressed that the planned changes would leave the university acutely short-staffed and unable to function.
"The ministry at this time is pushing 498 people into the mobility scheme, in addition to 200 people that are suspended from duty, out of a total of 1,316 employees. If we also subtract those to be detached to other services, that leaves 500 people to run the university, which makes it impossible," he said.
 KKE party on university administrative staff layoffs, strikesThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Tuesday, stressed that "the administrative employees' just struggle against the layoffs and government authoritarianism must become a part of an overall struggle by working people and youth for the reversal of the policy of the government and the EU that turns the university into an S.A. company, makes it inaccessible to the children of working-class families and subjecting its operation fully to the needs of capital".
 Parliamentary Ethics Committee recommends lifting immunity of ANEL leader KemmenosThe Parliament's Ethics Committee on Tuesday recommended to the Plenum that parliamentary immunity of Independent Greeks (ANEL) party leader Panos Kammenos be lifted. The Committee convened in a second session to take a decision on the relevant prosecutor request.
Kammenos is being accused of urging locals in northeastern area of Halkidiki on to lynch the mayor of Aristotelis Christos Pachtas. The decision was taken with eight positive votes, while ANEL deputy, a Committee member, Maria Kollia-Tsaroucha cast a "blank" vote.
In addition, the Committee rejected an appeal for the lifting of the immunity of Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis, who was being accused by Panos Kammenos of "slander".
 Examining magistrates summon three Perama attack defendants to testify in GD criminal organization caseThe examining magistrates handling the ultra-right Golden Dawn (GD) criminal organisation case on Tuesday summoned three individuals to testify, all defendants in the assault against Communist Party of Greece (KKE) members who were allegedly attacked in Perama by GD members.
The three defendants, who have already testified in relation to attempted murder charges, will also testify in connection to the criminal organisation case.
The examining magistrates are also considering evidence on the actions of a GD MP who allegedly worked as nightclub bouncer.
The three GD MPs, whose Parliamentary immunity has been removed to face charges for allegedly setting up and joining a criminal organization, will testify on November 25 before special examining magistrates Ioanna Klappa and Maria Dimitropoulou.
Another individual was also called to testify after being identified via an investigation of the telephone records of those involved in the Pavlos Fyssas murder case and after crosschecking evidence collected from testimonies of witnesses.
 Arrests for 9.2 bln in state debts by end September, Parliament toldPolice records for 2013 show a a total of 2,267 arrests by the end of September for debts to the state and other tax offences amounting to roughly 9.2 billion euros, Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias reported in a document sent to Parliament on Tuesday.
The total debts of those arrested came to 9,226,765,454.33 euros, while in a further 365 cases of outstanding state debt handled by the Greek Police no arrests were made because a settlement for the payment of the debts had been previously agreed.
The figures were sent to Parliament in reply to a question tabled by independent MP Nikos Nikolopoulos.
 Greek current account balance shows 2.6-bln-euro surplus in Jan-SeptGreece's current account balance showed a surplus of 2.6 billion euros in the January-September period, against a deficit of 2.8 billion euros in the same period of 2012, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.
In a report, the central bank attributed this development primarily to a significant decline in the trade deficit (down by 2.8 billion) and, secondarily, to increases in the current transfers and services surpluses (up by 2.1 billion and 1.3 billion, respectively). By contrast, the income account deficit increased.
In more detail, the contraction of the trade deficit is largely attributable to the considerably reduced import bill (by 6.3 percent) and, secondarily, to a 4.7 pct rise in export receipts. Apart from oil product exports, which account for the bulk of this increase, the contribution of the sectors of foods and beverages, minerals, and non-metallic mineral products was also significant. The decline in imports resulted mainly from lower oil imports.
Greece's current account balance showed a surplus of 964 million euros in September, up by 69 million year-on-year, as a result of a rise in the services surplus which offset negative developments in the other balances.
The trade deficit excluding oil and ships increased, on account of a markedly higher import bill and flat export receipts. Furthermore, oil export receipts decreased, but less than the corresponding import bill; as a result, the oil trade deficit narrowed. Owing to these developments, the total trade deficit in September 2013 rose by 130 million euros.
The improvement in the travel balance was the most significant positive development of this month, as a result of higher tourist receipts (up by 17.3 pct, reflecting a 17.5 pct increase in non-residents' arrivals).
An increase in the services surplus is mainly due to higher net travel receipts and the improved "other" services balance, which offset a contraction in net transport receipts. In more detail, travel spending in Greece by non-residents grew by 14.4 pct year-on-year, at the same time, travel spending by residents abroad fell by 3.9 pct.
The income account deficit rose by 796 million euros year-on-year, mainly due to higher net interest, dividend and profit payments.
Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of 3.7 billion euros, up by 2.1 billion year-on-year. This development is mainly due to higher general government net transfer receipts.
In the January-September period, non-residents' direct investment in Greece showed a net inflow of 234 million, whereas residents' direct investment abroad showed a net inflow (disinvestment) of 709 million.
Under portfolio investment, a net outflow of 7.5 billion euros was recorded, mainly due to a drop in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills. This was partly offset by inflows due to non-residents' purchases of shares of Greek firms and a decline in residents' investment in foreign bonds, Treasury bills and shares.
Under "other" investment, a net inflow of 2.3 billion was recorded. This is chiefly attributable to a 27.8 billion increase in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents, as well as to a 16.1 billion decline in resident institutional investors' deposit and repo holdings abroad. These developments were partly offset by a 40.9 billion euros decrease in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece.
At the end of September, Greece's reserve assets stood at 4.6 billion euros, compared with 5.9 billion euros at end-September 2012.
 Deputy FM invites South African companies to invest in GreeceGreek deputy Foreign minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos invited South African businesspeople to make investments in Greece, during a Johannesburg congress which he declared open on Tuesday. The event is being organised by the Greek section of the HIP Alliance, an association of powerful South African entrepreneurs, including Greeks, Italians and Portuguese.
"Greece is a major gateway for doing business in Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East, and has valuable experience and expertise," Gerontopoulos told participants.
He invited South African companies to explore the significant investment opportunities in Greece, "in areas such as renewable energy, communication technology, pharmaceuticals, engineering, energy, shipping, tourism and real estate."
At the same time, he called on them to participate in Greece's Privatization Program and the Program for the Development of Public Assets.
After attending the event, Gerontopoulos met with HIP Alliance officials, as well as representatives of Greek Communities in the Johannesburg area, with discussion focusing on their concerns.
 European enterprises want stable tax system, surveyGreece, Poland and Portugal present the biggest challenges and the most difficulties in their tax systems for businesses, a survey by Deloitte said on Tuesday.
The survey, based on the views of tax department heads from around 1,000 enterprises in Europe, showed that enterprises' top priority was a stable tax legislation.
The survey showed that Holland and the UK presented the most favourable tax system in supporting investments, although in a general classification Luxembourg and Switzerland were at the top, presenting the best tax environment. On the other hand, large economies such as Italy and Russia are considered to have a tax system which discourages investments.
The survey showed that the factors creating tax uncertainty were often changes in legislation, retrospective changes in legislation, unclear, contradicting directions by tax authorities, and a weak regulatory system or an insufficient tax legal system, while factors making a tax system more favourable are simplicity of regulations, stability and predictability of the future and tax cuts.
 Greek banks cut lending from ECB, ELA in OctoberGreek banks further cut their dependence on central bank liquidity mechanisms in October to 70.36 billion euros, from 72.78 billion euros in September, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.
In a report, the central bank said that Greek banks' lending from the European Central Bank fell to 62.5 billion euros in October, from 63.82 billion the previous month, while lending from the Bank of Greece's Emergency Lending Assistance mechanism (ELA) dropped to 7.86 billion euros from 8.96 billion euros over the same periods, respectively.
This development mainly reflects a continued deleveraging effort by Greek banks, with a further reduction of lending, while savings failed to record a recovery.
 Minister signs decision to upgrade Elefsina industrial park facilitiesEnvironment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis signed a Joint Ministerial Decision giving the go-ahead to improvements and urban planning at the Elefsina industrial park, used by 35 businesses, the Central Association of Chambers said on Tuesday.
In a letter, the Chamber said that its president Constantine Michalos had requested the intervention of Maniatis in the signing of the decision, which was being delayed at the ministry despite the approval of the ministry's own leadership.
According to the letter, the businesses had been legally established at the park since 1965. "These businesses, among which are two multinationals in strategic talks with the prime minister, have been established at the park - which lacks even basic infrastructure - without being able to legally upgrade the facilities by expansion, and have self-funded their properties the last 17 years in order to protect the environment and carry out their businesses unimpeded," Michalos said.
The companies submitted a formal investment proposal in March 2010 that was approved in January 2011, it added.
 Cooperation agreement between tourism ministry, Hellenic Chambers UnionTourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni and Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UHC) President Constantinos Mihalos on Tuesday agreed on establishing bilateral cooperation through a joint committee and by holding regular meetings.
The UHC president also presented a memo to the tourism minister with the UHC proposals aimed at improving the output of the Greek tourism product, to benefit society and entrepreneurship.
 Private clinics protest over EOPYY healthcare provider's clawback decisionThe Association of Hellenic Clinics on Tuesday protested strongly against a 40 pct 'clawback' of their fees decided by the management of Greece's social security health service provider EOPYY, saying it would seek vindication through the courts against decisions that "annihilate private clinics".
In an announcement, the association notes that the decision for the 40 pct clawback comes hard on a decision for a 20 pct forced rebate for 2013 debts to private clinics and was "entirely arbitrary, unilateral and autocratic". It says the decision leads private clinics to certain financial disaster, since they will be forced to accept a retrospective discount to their services amounting to 60 pct.
It warned that the repercussions will be suffered by those insured by EOPYY, who will be called to pay the price for "EOPYY's criminal incompetence" and the 25,000 employees at the clinics, who will find themselves facing the nightmare of joblessness "due to the unfair and unreasonable decisions of third parties".
The association said it now awaits the Council of State's ruling on November 26 on its application to have the clawback decision revoked.
 Papoutsanis reports higher nine-month resultsPapoutsanis ABEE on Tuesday said its consolidated turnover rose 14 pct in the January-September period to 12.6 million euros, from 11.0 million euros in the corresponding period in 2012.
The company said that around 39 pct of its turnover were exports. Gross profits totalled 3.1 million euros in the nine-month period, up from 1.8 million euros in the same period last year, while gross profit margin was 24.8 pct from 16.4 pct, reflecting higher sales, cutting industrial spending and maximizing product mixture.
Operating expenses grew to 2.7 million euros, due to higher marketing spending. Pre-tax earnings totalled 220,000 euros, after a loss of 50,000 euros last year. After tax earnings totalled 160,000 euros, from a loss of 250,000 euros in 2012 and EBITDA jumped 48 pct to 1.6 million euros.
 PASEGES farmers federation considering protest actionThe Panhellenic Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) is considering taking industrial action to protest taxation of farmers' and stockbreeders' production means, it was announced on Tuesday evening.
A broad meeting was held at its headquarters in Athens with the participation of its representatives, as well as Agricultural Cooperatives Unions and provincial agricultural unions, focusing on the coordination of actions for protest action to be organised in Athens.
An organising committee was set up, which PASEGES said was already going ahead with further actions to bring together producers all over the country, scheduling meetings of an informative nature in various regions in the country.
 Industrial turnover index down 8.0 pct in SeptThe turnover composite index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) dropped by 8.0 pct in September, compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 3.9 pct recorded in September 2012, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.
The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to a 16 pct decline in the mining turnover index and a 7.9 pct decline in the manufacturing turnover index.
The domestic turnover index fell 6.4 pct in September, while the external market turnover index dropped 10.9 pct in the month.
 Industrial new orders down 0.9 pct in SeptThe new orders index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) fell 0.9 pct in September, after an 11 pct decline recorded in September 2012, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.
The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to a 4.8 pct decline in the domestic market new orders' index and an 1.6 pct increase in the external market index.
 Quest Holdings returns to profitabilityQuest Holdings SA on Tuesday said it returned to profitability in the nine-month period from January to September this year, with after tax and minorities earnings totaling 482,000 euros, from a loss of 1,917 million euros in the same period in 2012.
Consolidated sales rose 3.4 pct to 209.7 million euros, from 202.8 million euros last year, while consolidated EBITDA jumped to 8.754 million euros from 7.188 million euros over the same periods, respectively. Net cash reserves totaled 16.8 million euros, down from 17.9 million euros at the end of 2012.
Parent revenues fell to 2.553 million euros from 3.207 million euros last year, EBITDA rose to 378,000 euros and pre-tax losses rose to 109,000 euros from 18,000 euros in 2012.
Info Quest Technologies reported a 4.0 pct increase in sales to 73.2 million euros. EBITDA was a positive 1.404 million euros, from a loss of 905,000 euros last year and after tax earnings totaled 525,000 euros, after a loss of 1.399 million euros in 2012. iSquare (distributor of Apple in Greece and Cyprus) said its sales fell 6.0 pct to 33.4 million euros, EBITDA totaled 1.017 million euros (from 1.434 million euros last year), while after tax profits totaled 613,000 euros, from 846,000 euros in 2012.
UniSystems said its sales rose 10 pct to 47.7 million euros, EBITDA eased to 2.471 million euros and after tax profits totaled 1.217 million euros from a loss of 1.105 million euros last year.
ACS Courier said its sales rose 2.0 pct to 53.8 million euros, EBITDA jumped to 2.302 million euros and after tax profits rose to 1.061 million euros.
Quest Energy said its sales rose to 4.4 million euros, from 4.2 million euros in 2012, EBITDA fell to 1.677 million euros from 2.532 million euros.
 Metka/GE joint venture signs new contract in AlgeriaMetka SA on Tuesday announced the signing of a new contract with Societe Algerienne de Production de l' Electricite (SPE Spa) in a joint venture with General Electric. It is the fourth large project undertaken by Metka in Algeria, proof of the company's commitment to further expand its activities in the most significant and more rapidly growing markets.
The new project includes the study, supply, construction and operation of an open-cycle electricity power station using three turbines and dual fuel (natural gas and diesel oil), of a total power of 590.726 MW. The contract is worth around 372 million euros, with Metka accounting for 47 pct of the budget. The project is expected to be ready in 16.5 months.
SPE is part of Sonelgaz group -the largest electricity provider in Algeria.
 ETEM reports lower nine-month resultsETEM SA on Tuesday reported a 17 pct decline in consolidated sales in the January-September period to 61.9 million euros, from 74.6 million euros in the same period last year, while parent sales dropped 35.4 pct to 20.3 million euros.
The group said consolidated sales' decline slowed in the third quarter of the year, with a drop of 17 pct from a decline of 21 pct in the six-month period. Consolidated EBITDA showed a profit of 100,000 euros, unchanged from 2012 levels, while after tax and minorities results showed a loss of 7.9? million euros, from a loss of 7.1 million euros last year. Finally, consolidated losses per share totaled 0.2624 euros, from a loss of 0.2336 euros in 2012.
Parent EBITDA showed a loss of 2.0 million euros in the nine-month period, from a loss of 800,000 euros last year, while after tax results showed a loss of 6.5 million euros, or 0.2158 euros per share, from a loss of 5.2 million euros or 0.1749 euros per share in 2012.
 Jumbo to buy logistics facility for 10.7 million eurosJumbo SA, a Greek-listed toy and household goods retailer, on Tuesday announced the signing of a pre-agreement with Voyatzoglou Systems for the purchase of the company's logistics facilities in Inofyta, Viotia, for 10,750,000 euros.
Jumbo said it was seeking to expand its logistics facilities and noted that the signing of a final agreement was expected to be completed by the end of February 2014, following completion of all necessary controls.
 Greek stocks end slightly higherGreek stocks moved cautiously higher on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index of the market failing to break above the 1,150 level for the second consecutive session. The index rose 0.33 pct to end at 1,145.09 points, after rising as much as 1,151,10 points during the session.
Turnover fell to 69.91 million euros. The Large Cap index rose 0.41 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 0.24 pct. Titan (4.48 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (2.13 pct), PPC (2.0 pct), Metka (1.57 pct) and Athens Water (1.24 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while GEK Terna (2.37 pct), Eurobank Properties (2.25 pct) and Motor Oil (1.68 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
The Construction (2.03 pct), Utilities (1.59 pct) and Food (0.93 pct) sectors scored gains, while Health (1.68 pct), Technology (0.73 pct) and Travel (0.49 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 76 to 60 with another 28 issues unchanged. Voyatzoglou (27.22 pct), Dionic (16.53 pct) and Hatzikraniotis (15.63 pct) were top gainers, while Geniki Bank (19.42 pct), Spider (18.60 pct) and Logismos (17.50 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.54%
Personal & Household: +0.93%
Raw Materials: -0.04%
Travel & Leisure: -0.49%
Food & Beverages: +0.93%
Financial Services: +0.61%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Piraeus Bank, OPAP, OTE and National Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.64
Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.20
Coca Cola HBC: 21.26
Hellenic Petroleum: 9.09
National Bank of Greece: 4.05
Eurobank Properties : 8.70
Piraeus Bank: 1.39
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 6.79 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 6.81 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 8.50 pct and the German Bund 1.71 pct. Turnover was an improved 13 million euros, of which 6.0 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 7.0 million euros were sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate eased to 0.496 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.416 pct, the six-month rate was 0.319 pct, the three-month rate was 0.218 pct and the one-month rate rose to 0.124 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.69 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover remaining a low 14.129 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,599 contracts worth 10.709 million euros, with 50,549 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 5,805 contracts worth 3.420 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (1,069), followed by Alpha Bank (382), Piraeus Bank (889), OTE (639), PPC (830), OPAP (245), Mytilineos (381), Hellenic Petroleum (137), Jumbo (173), GEK (262) and Titan (102).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.370
Pound sterling 0.851
Danish kroner 7.570
Swedish kroner 9.095
Japanese yen 136.91
Swiss franc 1.251
Norwegian kroner 8.351
Canadian dollar 1.430
Australian dollar 1.455
 Rethink Athens: Architect Alfredo Brillembourg collecting 101 ideas for a better cityThali, a typical Indian cuisine meal, consists of different foods with a variety of flavours and colours, where diversity is created during serving by blending different combinations of materials and quantities for everyone to choose.
Award-winning architect Alfredo Brillembourg, a professor at ETH Zurich, envisions the architectural equivalent, with an urban table surrounded by architects, researchers, organisations and citizens, each offering their own "thali" of ideas and creativity as the raw material in the mix toward the final goal, which is to create a different Athens. Brillembourg, in collaboration with the Onassis Cultural Centre, is in talks to apply a research and architectural design programme for Athens called "Reactivate Athens/101 ideas".
The founder of "Urban-Think Tank" (U-TT), a scientific group dedicated to generating new ideas in order to address the problems of modern cities, Brillembourg along with his team have received the Golden Lion award at the 2012 Venice Film Festival for suggesting the solution of reclaiming the unfinished Tower of David in Caracas, Venezuela, which had been taken over by squatters.
"Urban-Think Tank" has proposed and implemented innovative solutions to address large urban problems, like the use of terraces in Sao Paolo as public space, ski lifts to connect the centre with poorer areas of Caracas and a renewal of Utrecht's industrial zone, though the creation of a cultural park.
After their work in Caracas, Sao Paolo and other cities, Brillembourg and his team are pairing up with the Onassis Cultural Centre for the "Reactivate Athens" programme, aiming to produce 101 ideas to deal with problems in the centre of Athens.
"Through these 101 ideas, we want to suggest the best ideas and promote them online. We must come up with the most suitable recipes to redevelop the city and dream a little more," said Brillembourg at an event held in Athens on Monday.
He also clarified that the architecture of the 21st century does not only focus on the shape of the buildings, but also needs differentiation and variety. "We do not believe that the value of a city is limited to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or its capital. Architects must listen to their voice," added Brillembourg.
As for Athens, he noticed that the city is fragmented into ghettos of the rich and poor and the building of a bridge between them is a challenge. "We wish to find Athens' dynamic, to listen to the voice of different groups, to collaborate with the citizens and form sustainable and realistic solutions."
The first stage of the programme began with the inauguration of the "Reactivate Athens" lab on Tuesday in Athinas and Lykourgos street in Omonia, downtown Athens. "This space is a new centre in the city that awaits us citizens to talk about our life, chart the actual problems of the city as we experience them, but also suggest solutions and ideas," said Antonis Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Cultural Centre. The lab will be open for citizen meetings Monday to Friday, from 12.00-16.00.
Athens Mayor George Kaminis emphasized that "the residents of Athens must have the ability to speak, undertake initiatives to improve their everyday lives and listen to professional propositions and ideas for the city's improvement."
The projects are part of the "Rethink Athens" programme and the intervention for the centre's reconstruction, focusing on the pedestrianisation of Panepistimiou street.
 Greek ski centres ready to open their gatesThe first snowflakes fell at the Bora-Kaimakatsalan ski resort in Pella, "welcoming" winter. At an altitude of 2,090 metres, the temperature has fallen to -0.5 degrees Celsius.
Greek ski centres are feverishly preparing for the winter season, hoping that the weather will be on their side, the mountains will soon be clothed in "white" and the economic crisis will not stand hindrance in attracting tourists.
Works will have been completed by the end of November, and ski centres are expected to be ready to open their gates in mid-December.
"Ski centres are primarily anxious for snow. We also anxious whether the economic crisis will affect us" the president of the ski centres Christos Pappas told ANA-MPA.
"We are making a concerted effort through low prices, offers and cheap accommodation to do our best for visitors," he added.
 Excavations for Thessaloniki Metro over seven years have yielded 104,000 objects, archaeologist saysThe results of seven years' worth of excavations for a Metro in Greece's largest northern city include over 104,000 artefacts of various materials including glass and silver, according to a lecture by the director of the 9th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities of Thessaloniki, Despina Makropoulou, at the city's Archaeological Museum on Monday night.
Makropoulou gave an overview of the finds from four future station locations of the Thessaloniki Metro that include objects dated to Roman and Byzantine times, and she described the unearthed parts of a major Roman roadway, which preserve the grooves of carriage wheels on its much-travelled route.
Archaeologists located the major throughway of antiquity, the Decumanus Maximus, in the juncture of the present-day Egnatia Road with Agia Sofias Street. Modern Egnatia follows, with a minor northerly diversion, the main, or "decumanus", street (running east to west), about 7.80 meters wide, and today's Venizelou Street follows the cardo, or perpendicular street, which runs north to south and was about 4.50 metres wide.
The uncovered sections of the throughway were laid in marble slabs and set off by stone curbs. Excavations also revealed remains of a slabstone square with a water fountain for pedestrians, dated to between the 4th and 6th centuries AD.
The street served as a major shopping centre from Roman to the Byzantine era, with a series of stores built there and storefronts facing the traffic.
The Metro excavations reveal that the city was inhabited throughout the centuries, from ancient cemeteries to Muslim tombs and inns during the Ottoman era. Thessaloniki city suffered a series of earthquakes in the 6th and 9th centuries AD that destroyed it and eventually led to the major way's cover-up by later Ottoman settlements with narrow streets, from the 10th century on.
 Child abuse reported to "Smile of a Child" charity up 66 pctThe children's charity "Smile of a Child" on Tuesday announced that since the beginning of the year it has received a total of 1,151 child abuse reports, representing a 66 pct increase compared with 2012. Of these, 41 pct involved small children under the age of six.
Charity president Kostas Giannopoulos told ANA-MPA that the situation is horrible, underlining that "as we speak 45 children are in public hospitals because there are no appropriate shelters for victims of abuse. We should mobilize. No child should suffer the horror of abuse. We call on the state to create the appropriate infrastructure."
According to statistical figures presented in a press conference, the "Smile of a Child" received 596 reports of serious child abuse from January to October, the majority of them (98 pct) made anonymously.
The reports concerning physical abuse (45 pct) increased 83 pct compared with 2012, while another 45 pct concerned instances of child neglect and abandonment (up 55 pct) as a result of the parents' drug addiction.
Also, 4 pct of the reports concerned sexual abuse of small children, a percentage that does not correspond to the actual dimensions of the problem, psychological/emotional abuse 4 pct, 1 pct prostitution of minors and 1 pct panhandling.
In 213 of the 596 cases, the child abuse was committed by both parents (36 pct), in 228 cases (38 pct) the abuser was the mother, while in 110 cases (18.5 pct) it was the father.
The "Smile of a Child" handled a total of 137 cases involving 227 children.
A symbolic walkathon, organized at Pedion tou Areos in downtown Athens by the "Smile of a Child", was held with the participation of public vocational training school IEK students who had red tears drawn on their cheeks and wore white t-shirts with the message "Child Abuse. Why don't you react?" in an effort to raise public awareness. The event marked the November 19 World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.
 Stavros Niarchos Foundation to continue funding school meals programmeThe Stavros Niarchos Foundation on Tuesday announced a new donation to the programme DiaTrofi promoting healthy diet in state schools for the 2013-2014 academic year. The programme is aimed at children from socially and economically disadvantaged areas of the country that are hardest hit by the crisis.
The foundation will donate 16 million euros to the programme in total, covering both its pilot phase in April-June 2012 and the two subsequent school years 2012-2013 and 2013-2104. It started in 206 schools throughout Greece, of which roughly half are in Attica. Since its start in 2012, it has distributed 3,198,271 meals, 3,249,504 pieces of fruit and 1,665,909 cartons of milk, as well as 200,000 cartons of yoghurt and honey. This year, it will provide assistance to 50,000 students at more than 300 schools and the number of meals will be doubled to exceed six million.
The programme has the dual aim of providing students with at least one healthy free meal a day and also train children in the principles of healthy eating. According to the head of the Prolepsis Institute that runs the programme, Prof. Athina Linou, the crisis has greatly affected families and many are unable to cover their dietary needs, with food insecurity exceeding 60 percent of households in some areas.
"Children are the first victims of the crisis," she underlined.
 Counter-terrorism squad to investigate Ippokratios Politia arms cacheThe investigation into an arms cache containing weapons and ammunition found at the Ippokratios Politia has been assigned to the counter-terrorism squad, it was announced on Tuesday.
The arms cache was discovered by a foreign national last Saturday, who found a plastic barrel carefully buried in a local wood and notified the police.
The barrel contained four Kalashnikov military rifles, 10 hand grenades and 752 cartridges of various calibres.
According to the police, the ballistic examination carried out on the four Kalashnikovs revealed that they have not been used in any terrorist or other act.
However, the counter-terrorism squad has taken over the investigation of the case because the manner in which the weapons were stored shows that they were intended for use, leaving open the possibility that they were placed there by members of an urban guerrilla group, though this has not yet been confirmed.
 NTUA civil engineers' school reopensNational Technical University students decided on Tuesday to reopen the civil engineer's school and to make up for the missed September exams, as well as start classes immediately. The civil engineers' school had been under occupation by students.
In addition, other students general meetings have been scheduled for other NTUA school departments.
 Tripolis-Kalamata motorway to close Wed., Thurs. for worksThe Tripoli-Kalamata motorway will shut down on Wednesday between the interchange of Paradissia and Tsakonas in both directions due to technical works.
The traffic will be interrupted in the particular section from Wednesday 16.00 until Thursday 13.00.
Vehicle going to and from Kalamata will be diverted to the old Tripoli-Kalamata national road.
 Police on migrant's death in Agios Panteleimonas police stationIn an announcement on Tuesday concerning a 46-year-old migrant that died in Agios Panteleimonas police station the previous day, Greek Police said the man's sudden death may have been caused by severe stress, due to an earlier attempted robbery at his shop.
The Bangladeshi national apparently lost his senses while describing the incident to police who had just arrested the culprit. He was rushed to nearby Elpis hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.
The man, who owned a small grocery shop in central Athens was the victim of an attempted robbery by a 28-year-old Afghan national, who entered the shop at 12:30 p.m. on Monday and demanded that the owner hand over packets of cigarettes. The victim refused, shut the shop blinds and called the police instead.
Officers from Agios Panteleimonas police station came and arrested the culprit, bringing the suspect and the shop owner back to the station to file a report. While there, the Bangladeshi suddenly fainted and fell to the floor and was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
The station has filed charges of attempted robbery against the 28-year-old Afghan and is conducting a preliminary inquiry into the victim's sudden death, including an autopsy.
 Three men sentenced to imprisonment for the abduction of Russian businessmanThree men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms by a Thessaloniki Criminal Court on Tuesday, after being found guilty of the abduction of a Russian businessman, his spouse and their son, last summer in the northeastern Greek holiday resort of Chalkidiki. Prison sentences of 25, 20 and five years were imposed on the ring leader and his accomplices, with two of them led to prison while the third one was released pending appeal, after posting bail of 5000 euros.
The abduction occurred in July 2012 when the 52-year-old Russian businessman was met at Thessaloniki's airport by the 43-year-old leader of the kidnappers. Instead of driving him to a hotel in Moudania where his wife and son were staying, the kidnapper took his victim, along with his wife and son, to a duplex apartment in Nea Skioni rented by one of his accomplices, where they were sedated and held captive.
The kidnappers demanded a ransom of 5 million euros to release the businessman and his family, as well as stealing 3000 euros and a credit card from their victim, with which they attemted to withdraw money from the bank.
The family's adventure ended when the 52-year-old businessman managed to escape from his kidnappers and alert other holiday makers who called the police. The 43 year old and his accomplices were arrested but denied all charges, claiming to have financial differences with the businessman.
 Patras: Two arrested for drug smuggling at portPatras port authority officers on Tuesday located eight kilos of cocaine in a truck and arrested the two men for drug possession.
After searching the truck with the help of a trained sniffer dog, the port authority officers found in the side walls of the cabin, above the passenger's seat and behind cupboards, nine packets that contained more than eight kilos of cocaine as well as five plastic packets, containing about half a kilo of hashish.
The 36 year-old truck driver and the 26 year-old passenger were arrested. Investigations are in progress for the arrest of other people involved in the case.
 Three ATMs damaged by arsonists in northern suburbsThree ATM bank cash machines were damaged by arsonists early on Tuesday morning in the northern suburbs.
In Lykovrissi, a Eurobank ATM was attacked soon after 02:00 and seriously damaged; flammable liquid and a cloth wick were discovered at the site.
A Millennium ATM and another of Piraeus Bank, both on Eleftheriou Venizelou street in Melissia, were attacked an hour later.
Police is investigating.
 Minor quake near TrikalaA minor earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale was recorded at 10.16 on Tuesday in Trikala, central Greece.
According to Thessaloniki Aristotelion University's Seismological Station, the quake's epicentre was 15km east, northeast of the city of Trikala.
No damages were reported.
 Greek national soccer team qualifies for Brazil World Cup finalsThe Greek national soccer team drew 1-1 with Romania in Bucharest on Tuesday evening and qualified for the World Cup to be held in Brazil in the summer. Greece had won the first match 3-1 last Friday. Mitroglou scored for Greece (23'), while Romania equalised with an own goal by Torosidis (55'). The groups for the World Cup finals will be drawn on December 6 in the city of Baia.
 PM Samaras congratulates Greece's national soccer team for qualifying for the World CupPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday evening congratulated in a dispatch Greece's national soccer team players and coach Fernando Santos for qualifying for the World Cup to be held in Brazil in the summer. The Greek team drew 1-1 in the playoff with Romania in Bucharest, after winning last week's first match in Athens 3-1.
 Rainy on WednesdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 9C and 22C. Rainy in Athens with southerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 15C and 21C. Local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 11C and 17C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Statements of loyalty.
DIMOKRATIA: Cuts in lumpsums and auxiliary pensions.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Panic at Maximos Mansion (government's headquarters).
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Disgustful list with 1,793 names.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The last 9,313 positions in public sector for 2013.
ESTIA: Middle class crushed.
ETHNOS: Extreme polarisation in Universities.
IMERISSIA: Greek listed companies seek new financing ways (corporate bonds).
KATHIMERINI: Impasse in Athens University and Metsovio Polytechnic.
LOGOS: Impasse in Universities.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Companies raise through bonds 4 billion euro funds.
RIZOSPASTIS: 'Fiscal' or 'restructuring', new antipopular measures...on the horizon!
TA NEA: The protectors can't find defectors.
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