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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-08-03

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

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

Wednesday, 3 August 2016 Issue No: 5220

CONTENTS

  • [01] ECB's lack of tools against crises a 'major shortcoming of the Eurozone,' Greek President says
  • [02] Abolition of guarantees, withdrawal of occupation army in Cyprus central in resolving issue, says FM Kotzias
  • [03] Citizen Protection Minister declares state of emergency in fire-stricken Limni
  • [04] ND leader Mitsotakis to visit fire-stricken areas in Evia
  • [05] Pappas: Tender on TV licenses proceeding on schedule; auction in August
  • [06] Government submits bill to support renewable energy sources
  • [07] Disapproval for acts disturbing religious peace 'self-evident', justice and education ministers say
  • [08] Refugee crisis discussed between Athens mayor, IRC head
  • [09] Symi mayor rejects reports a Turkish flag was raised on the island
  • [10] Investment for Thriasio rail freight terminal will create thousands of jobs, says minister
  • [11] S&P upgrades Greece's four systemic lenders
  • [12] Interest rate spread up slightly in June
  • [13] Intercontinental International makes debut in ASE, first listing in two years for main market
  • [14] Greek stocks end sharply lower
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Reported new arrivals of refugees and migrants on Chios and Lesvos exceed 115 on Tuesday
  • [17] Court hands down life sentences in 'Noor One' drug ship case, releases five pending appeal
  • [18] 38th River Party festival in Nestorio, Kastoria begins on Wednesday
  • [19] Lower temperatures and some showers on Wednesday Politics

  • [01] ECB's lack of tools against crises a 'major shortcoming of the Eurozone,' Greek President says

    The European Central Bank lacks the necessary tools to deal effectively with the debt crisis and the banking crisis and this is one of the major shortcomings in the Eurozone, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Tuesday, in a meeting with Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras.

    The ECB's President Mario Draghi was "a man that has proven that he defends the Eurozone and the euro," Pavlopoulos said, adding that Greece must align itself "with the states that will contribute so that the ECB is able to rise to the occasion, having the appropriate means. Even if this requires a change in its charter."

    Stournaras, while briefing the president, noted that develop-ments for Greece were now more positive than a short while ago and that the ECB was a "pillar of stability in Europe".

    "We would like, the members of the ECB board, for governments through fiscal policy but also through reforms to also contribute, all those that are able, of course, and have what we call the 'fiscal margin' to do so," he added.

    [02] Abolition of guarantees, withdrawal of occupation army in Cyprus central in resolving issue, says FM Kotzias

    It has been shown again that the abolition of the guarantees in Cyprus and the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation forces are basic conditions for resolving the Cyprus issue, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Tuesday, following reports that the leadership and officers of the occupation army on the island were involved in the attempted coup in Turkey.

    "The information coming to light regarding the involvement of the leadership and officers of the occupation forces in Cyprus in the attempted coup in Turkey confirm and bolster, even further, our longstanding position that the elimination of the anachronistic system of guarantees and the withdrawal of the occupation forces are fundamental conditions for the resolution of the Cyprus issue, as the need for their removal from Cyprus is being demonstrated once again," the minister stated.

    [03] Citizen Protection Minister declares state of emergency in fire-stricken Limni

    Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in the fire-stricken areas of northern Evia, in order to speed up the flow of compensation for damages. The three-day fire that started on Saturday and wasn't fully under control until late on Monday burned thousands of hectares in swathes of pine forest around the town of Limni.

    Limni Mayor Christos Kalyviotis on Tuesday thanked the minister for swiftly meeting the residents' demand to declare a state of emergency in the area, which will mean the drawing up of special plans to address the problems and enlist the entire state machinery, while bypassing lengthy bureaucratic procedures normally used for the release of funds.

    In a report late on Tuesday, the fire brigade said the fire was fully contained and under control, with no active fronts throughout the day and all flare-ups put out when they rekindled. Fire-fighting forces, including 60 fire engines and 300 fire men, will remain on hand for the next few days to ensure it is fully extinguished.

    [04] ND leader Mitsotakis to visit fire-stricken areas in Evia

    New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will visit the fire-stricken areas in northern Evia (Limni, Katounia, Moni Galataki) on Wednesday, where he will be briefed about the extent of the damage from representatives of the local fire department and other officials.

    In the afternoon, Mitsotakis will visit the new hospital in Halkida.

    [05] Pappas: Tender on TV licenses proceeding on schedule; auction in August

    The tender launched by the government for the awarding of TV licenses to broadcasters is progressing according to schedule and the auction is expected to be held in August, State Minister Nikos Pappas said on Tuesday in an interview to private radio station "Sto Kokkino".

    "The tender is progressing according to schedule. We're in the phase where we complete the pre-selection is being completed, the participants - those who have submitted their file - have exercised their right to submit complaints against other bidders," Pappas said.

    "It seems there are a fairly small number of complaints and now, according to the specified procedure, the complaint committee should decide as quickly as possible in order to send invitations and announce the final list of participants in the tender," he added.

    He also said the committee decision is expected before August 15 and the auction will be held within the same month.

    [06] Government submits bill to support renewable energy sources

    Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis submitted to parliament on Tuesday a draft bill on a new framework to support renewable energy sources.

    Discussion on the bill will start at the relevant committees on Wednesday and will be voted at the plenum on Thursday with a fast-track procedure.

    [07] Disapproval for acts disturbing religious peace 'self-evident', justice and education ministers say

    Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos and Education Minister Nikos Filis issued a joint announcement noting that their "self-evident" disapproval of acts that disturb religious peace, such as the recent incident when activists barged into a Sunday service in a Thessaloniki church to protest.

    "Religious freedom is protected by the Constitution. Religious peace and calm and the unobstructed exercise of worship of the predominant in Greece Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ, and of other religious, are fundamental guaranteed values in our country. The disapproval of actions that disturb this peace is self-evident, specially when the appropriate law enforcement agencies have been mobilised to do their duty," the two ministers said.

    "In the face of the obvious, we consider clarifications unnecessary and perhaps even impermissible on the eve of a trial," the two ministers added, while noting their "expectation" that similar phenomena will not be repeated.

    [08] Refugee crisis discussed between Athens mayor, IRC head

    The refugee crisis and initiatives to promote integration and education of refugees were discussed between Athens Mayor George Kaminis and the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) David Miliband in Athens on Tuesday.

    Kaminis informed Miliband about the policies implemented by the municipality to manage the refugee issue, which includes providing temporary shelter in apartments, adopting actions for integration and the management of the accommodation center in Eleonas, which Miliband described as exemplary.

    The two officials also discussed ways to support the local economy in the capital's neighbourhoods with a program distributing pre-paid cards.

    [09] Symi mayor rejects reports a Turkish flag was raised on the island

    The mayor of the small island of Symi, in the southeastern Aegean, rejected categorically on Tuesday online media reports alleging that unknown individuals had raised a Turkish flag on the island, saying it is "nonsense".

    According to the reports, the Turkish flag was raised along with a Greek one on a pole at a small bay on July 31. The flag was spotted by a local inhabitant who pulled down the foreign flag and alerted the coast guard.

    Mayor Eleftherios Papakalodoukas attributed the rumours to attempts to hit tourism on the island.

    Financial News

    [10] Investment for Thriasio rail freight terminal will create thousands of jobs, says minister

    Greece received a single bid to build and run a new rail freight terminal in Thriasio, near Athens, which will create thousands of jobs and turn Greece into an international hub, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Christos Spirtzis said on Tuesday, following the expiration of the tender deadline.

    The bid was submitted by ETVA, a subsidiary of Piraeus Bank which develops and manages industrial parks, and Goldair, a Greek cargo and logistics services company.

    "After 12 years of inactivity, problems and delays, but also two unsuccessful tenders in 2006 and 2009, the creation of the freight center in Thriasio is a reality," the minister said.

    Spirtzis also said the investment, worth more than 250 million euros, will create some 3,000 jobs over 10 years, improve services, cut transport and product cost and boost competitiveness and economic development.

    [11] S&P upgrades Greece's four systemic lenders

    Ratings agency Standard & Poor's upgraded on Tuesday its ratings on four Greek banks after Athens partly relaxed capital controls it imposed last June.

    S&P lifted the credit ratings Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank to "CCC+" from "SD" (selective default), with a stable outlook.

    Last month, the Greek government announced a series of measures which eased capital controls, including an increase in cash withdrawals and allowing new cash deposits to be withdrawn without any restrictions.

    "We view the lifting of this ban as a significant relaxation, as it could allow for cash deposits to be brought back into the banking system, raising confidence in the Greek banking sector," S&P said. "We expect some minor deposit inflows in the coming months," it added.

    [12] Interest rate spread up slightly in June

    The interest rate spread between loan and deposit rates increased to 4.45 pct in June, from 4.41 pct the previous month, with the average interest rate on new deposits remaining almost unchanged, while the one on loans increased in the month, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.

    The central bank, in a monthly report, said that the overall weighted average interest rate on all new deposits stood at 0.42 pct, almost unchanged from the previous month. In particular, the average interest rate on overnight deposits placed by households remained almost unchanged at 0.12 pct. The average interest rate on overnight deposits placed by non-financial corporations remained unchanged at 0.21 pct. The average interest rate on deposits placed by households with an agreed maturity of up to one year remained almost unchanged at 0.86 pct.

    The overall weighted average interest rate on all new loans to households and corporations increased by 3 basis points from the previous month to 4.87 pct.

    More specifically, the average interest rate on consumer loans without a defined maturity decreased by 11 basis points to 14.48 pct. The average interest rate on consumer loans at a floating1 rate increased by 65 basis points to 7.64 pct.

    The average interest rate on corporate loans without a defined maturity decreased by 4 basis points to 5.82 pct. In more detail, the overall weighted average interest rate on the outstanding amounts of all deposits stood at 0.41 pct, almost unchanged compared with the previous month. The corresponding rate on loans decreased by 4 basis points to 4.90 pct.

    In particular, the average interest rate on the outstanding amounts of deposits placed by households with an agreed maturity of up to 2 years decreased by 4 basis points to 0.89 pct.

    [13] Intercontinental International makes debut in ASE, first listing in two years for main market

    Intercontinental International AEEAP made its debut in the main market of the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday with the listing of 10,500,000 common nominal shares, the first listing in the main market after two years.

    The company completed a share capital increase scheme in cash, becoming the first company to be listed in the market through a private placement. National Securities acted as advisor to the listing.

    Panagiotis Aristides Halikias, chairman of Intercontinental International, rung the opening bell of the session.

    Socrates Lazaridis, chief executive of the Athens Stock Exchange, welcomed the new listing and wished that the company would be able to exploit the "our international market for its further growth and to offer one more choice to investors. It is the first listing after two years, taking advantage of a new regulatory framework compatible with international practice. In an international and constantly changing environment we welcome the effort of Intercontinental Internaitonal and wish its efforts to become a starting point for further exploiting the main role of the stock market, draining capital by companies of all sizes".

    Halikias said: "We did not expect to be the biggest but we planned to the the best. Today, the company is listed in the Athens Stock Exchange with the biggest annual yield from any other real estate investment company in Greece".

    [14] Greek stocks end sharply lower

    Greek stocks ended sharply lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, hit by a negative climate prevailing in other European markets with bank shares suffered heavily on growing concern about the credibility of stress tests results. The bank index dropped 8.84 pct pushing the composite index of the market 3.15 pct lower to end at 551.64 points.

    The Large cap index fell 3.77 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.15 pct lower. Turnover was an improved 44.673 million euros in volume of 86,006,264 shares.

    Jumbo (0.65 pct) was the only blue chip stock to end higher, while Piraeus Bank (12.33 pct), Eurobank (11.16 pct), National Bank (10.05 pct), Alpha Bank (6.29 pct) and Folli Follie (6.10 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Among market sectors, Personal Products (0.56 pct) was the only one to end higher, while Banks (8.84 pct), Commerce (6.10 pct) and Raw Materials (4.07 pct) suffered losses. National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 61 to 26 with another 13 issues unchanged. G.E.Demetriou (16.67 pct), Hatzikraniotis (15 pct) and Sato (12 pct) were top gainers, while Kreka (19.79 pct), Piraeus Bank (12.33 pct) and Attica Bank (11.94 pct) were top losers.

    [15] ADEX closing report

    The August contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.15 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,902 contracts with 5,510 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 63,380 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (25,531), followed by Alpha Bank (8,145), Piraeus Bank (17,258), Eurobank (9,823), MIG (1,183), OTE (383), PPC (334), OPAP (257), Mytilineos (135), Folli Follie (64), Viohalco (37), Hellenic Petroleum (48), Motor Oil (31) and GEK (23).

    General News

    [16] Reported new arrivals of refugees and migrants on Chios and Lesvos exceed 115 on Tuesday

    The reported arrivals of refugees and migrants alighting on the islands of Chios and Lesvos, near the coast of Turkey, reached 115 on Tuesday.

    Authorities on Chios said 38 came ashore near the municipality's camp in Souda and 17 were found at Oinousses, where they were taken by a Turkish boat.

    More than 60 alighted at various points on the shores of Lesvos before 9:00 in the morning, with 15 collected at dawn from the beach at Skala Sykamias, another 16 spotted off the coast near Mytilene airport and 32 off Cape Korakas on the northeast coast of the island. One Turkish migrant smuggler was arrested.

    Authorities said a total of 90 individuals, 34 near Lesvos and 56 near Chios, were rescued in two operations from Monday to Tuesday morning while no refugees had arrived on the island of Samos.

    Based on the latest count on Tuesday, there are 3,583 people trapped in hotspots and municipality camps in Lesvos, in accordance with the EU-Turkey agreement, with another 2,654 on Chios and 1,035 on Samos for a total of 7,272 migrants and refugees on the northern Aegean islands.

    The numbers in the island hotspots and camps greatly exceed their capacity, while others are staying in the grounds around the Chios castle and in abandoned houses and farm buildings and some spend the night in public spaces. Among the last are unaccompanied minors and adults from Africa and Pakistan that have become trapped on the islands without any real prospect of leaving and, according to local police, "have developed exceptionally delinquent behaviour," becoming involved in fake document peddling or engaging in thefts, burglaries and robberies.

    The latest figures released by the government's Refugee Crisis Management Coordinating Body report a total 57,207 migrants and refugees throughout the country on Tuesday, with 109 new arrivals on the islands and a total of 9,508 individuals on the islands of the eastern Aegean.

    An estimated 22,353 are in accommodation in northern Greece, 2,343 in central Greece and 252 in southern Greece. There are 10,103 migrants and refugees in organised reception facilities in Attica and 3,070 in the informal camp at Elliniko, with another 7,428 in facilities managed by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and 2,150 living outside reception facilities.

    Meanwhile, a Mytilene court on Tuesday temporarily suspended an order for the deportation of a Syrian refugee whose asylum application was denied at a secondary level. The suspension will stand until September 27, when the petition to suspend deportation will be heard in court. The order to deport the Syrian man, the first to be denied asylum, was published on June 1.

    The court's ruling on Tuesday was welcomed by the Greek Council for Refugees, which has undertaken the Syrian's representation in court, especially in light of recent developments in Turkey.

    [17] Court hands down life sentences in 'Noor One' drug ship case, releases five pending appeal

    A Piraeus Criminal Appeals Court on Tuesday handed down sentences of life imprisonment and fines for five of the 13 main defendants found guilty for the 2.1 tonnes of heroin discovered in the "Noor One" freighter. The ship was intercepted while en route from the United Arab Emirates to Elefsina in June 2014.

    In spite of the contrary recommendation of the public prosecutor in the case, the court ordered the release of five defendants found guilty of lesser charges in the case, suspending the execution of their sentences until their case was tried by a higher-level court. All five were released with restrictions, such as a requirement to report to a police station at regular intervals.

    The stiffest sentence was for 59-year-old shipping broker "Captain George" who was found guilty of transporting drugs and sentenced to life imprisonment plus nine years, as well as a fine of 600,000 euros. A 42-year-old ship owner found guilty of the same offence, who was alleged to be actively involved in transporting the massive drug haul, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus eight years, with a fine of 300,000 euros.

    The same prison sentence with a fine of 200,000 euros each was handed down for three men of Turkish descent arrested in a warehouse in Koropi where a large part of the confiscated drugs were found. A fourth man, also of Turkish descent, was found guilty as a simple accomplice in the transportation of drugs and was sentenced to eight years, suspended pending appeal.

    Similarly, the ship owner's driver and aide was given a 10-year sentence, suspending pending appeal, while the man allegedly involved with renting the Koropi warehouse was sentenced to 18 years with an 80,000 euro fine.

    A sentence of 16 years in jail and a fine of 60,000 euros was handed down to an Iranian man that "escorted" the heroin shipment at sea, while three Greek business people found guilty of being accomplices and variously linked to the ownership, leasing and commercial exploitation of the "Noor One" were sentenced to eight and 10 years, respectively. All three were released and their sentence suspended pending appeal, with the requirement that they report to a police station every 15 days. For one of the three, a former football club official, the court also imposed a fine of 40,000 euros.

    The Turkish owner of the truck intercepted in Piraeus port was sentenced to eight years in prison.

    Eighteen of the 32 defendants on trial for the "Noor One" case have been acquitted.

    The public prosecutor in the case had advised against the suspension of the sentences, emphasising the extremely large quantity of drugs involved, in terms of both Greek and European standards. She noted that the 2.1 kilos of heroin confiscated were of very high purity and would have been cut to produce at least eight tonnes for sale on the street, a quantity that would have certainly led to the deaths of thousands if not intercepted.

    [18] 38th River Party festival in Nestorio, Kastoria begins on Wednesday

    The 38th River Party - Greece's longest running outdoor camping and music festival - opens its gates on the banks of the Aliakmonas River on Wednesday in Nestorio, Kastoria. The festival spans five days, from August 3-7, featuring Greek and foreign bands, riverside games, exploration and hiking in the forests of Grammos.

    The festival line-up features some of the biggest names in Greek music and the Swiss band Kadebostany from abroad. The beautiful location and rich programme of activities mades the River Party a must-do destination for the summer, with more than 50,000 visitors each year.

    The programme for this year includes:

    03/08/2016

    Youth Stage @ Into the Jungle

    16:30 : Young bands that you chose! Into the Jungle

    16:50 : Starwound Forestage

    18:30 : GAD. feat. Nadia Boule Forestage

    20:00 Stelios Salvador (Mora sti Fotia) Riverside

    21:30 : Gadjo Dilo Riverside

    23:00 : Thanassis Papakonstantinou, Matoula Zamani Tequila stage

    01:00 : Thodoris Triantafillou, Echonomist

    04/08/2016

    Youth Stage @ Into the Jungle

    16:45 : Young bands that you chose! Into the Jungle

    17:40 : Orestis Dados Forestage

    18:30 : Koza Mostra Forestage

    20:00 : Alkinoos Ioannidis Riverside

    21:30 : Yiannis Aggelakas Riverside

    23:00 : Sokratis Malamas Tequila stage

    01:00 :TBA

    05/08/2016

    Youth Stage @ Into the Jungle

    16:30 : Young bands that you chose! Into the Jungle

    16:50 : Les Au Revoir Into the Jungle

    17:40 : Maria Papageorgiou Forestage

    18.30 : Fotini Velesiotou Forestage

    20:00 : Philippos Pliatsikas Riverside

    21:30 : Locomondo Riverside

    23:15 : Maraveyas Ilegal Tequila stage

    01:30 : TBA

    06/08/2016

    Youth Stage @ Into the Jungle

    16:30 : Young bands that you chose!! Into the Jungle

    16:50 : Liebe Forestage

    18:30 : BLE Forestage

    20:00 : Onirama Riverside

    21:30 : V.I.C. (Villagers of Ioannina City) Riverside

    23:00 : Γιάννης Χαρούλης Tequila stage

    01:30 : TBA

    07/08/2016

    Youth Stage @ Into the Jungle

    16:30 : Young bands that you chose!! Into the Jungle

    16:50 : Marsyas Riverside

    17:30 : COLOR PARTY! Forestage

    18:30 : Ευρυδίκη Forestage

    20:00 : Melissess Riverside

    21:30 : Michalis Hatzigiannis, Vicky Karatzoglou Riverside

    23:15 : Kadebostany Tequila stage

    01:00 Xenia Ghali

    Fire on Attiki Odos side road under control, fire brigade reports

    A small fire that broke out in dry grasses next to an Attiki Odos side road near the Koropi exit was reported under control late on Tuesday. A team of 15 firemen and five vehicles were sent to put out the blaze.

    Weather forecast

    [19] Lower temperatures and some showers on Wednesday

    A slight drop in temperatures, with stiff breezes of 4-6 Beaufort and brief showers and storms on higher ground are forecast in Greece on Wednesday. Gathering cloud and later rain in the northeast, with temperatures from 22C to 36C. Generally sunny with clouds and showers on higher ground from the afternoon in western and central Greece, and temperatures between 23-36C. Sunny on the Aegean islands and Crete, with temperatures between 24C and 34C. Sunny in Attica, with possible rain on higher ground later in the day and temperatures 25-36C. Scattered cloud and later rain in Thessaloniki, with temperatures 24-35C.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 210 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 210 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: MICHALIS PSILOS


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