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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-09-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyclon Hellas reports lower H1 results
  • [02] Novel influenza death at Evangelismos
  • [03] PM announces early elections on October 4
  • [04] Mixed econ growth for '09

  • [01] Cyclon Hellas reports lower H1 results

    Cyclon Hellas on Thursday reported an 18-pct increase in its volume of fuel sales in the first half of the year, boosting its market share in the sector. Turnover totaled 171.3 million euros in the January-June period, down from 182.9 million euros last year, a decline of 6.0 pct.

    The company attributed its lower turnover to a decline in oil product prices and lower sales of lubricants as a result of an international economic recession.

    Parent pre-tax, interest and amortisation earnings (EBITDA) fell 21 pct to 2.833 million euros in the first six months of 2009, from 3.576 million euros last year, while consolidated turnover totaled 173 million euros (from 184.4 million euros last year) and EBITDA totaled 2.503 million euros.

    Net results showed a 163,000 loss, affected by the results of its subsidiary ELTEPE SA. Cyclon Hellas said it expects its results to improve in the second half of the year.

    [02] Novel influenza death at Evangelismos

    A 25-year-old man of Albanian origin died in an ICU at Evangelismos hospital in Athens on Thursday, as a result of contracting H1N1 novel influenza.

    A health ministry announcement said that the young man had a history of heart problems (hypertrophic myocardiopathy) and an implanted defibrillator. He had developed acute pneumonia that led to serious respiratory failure, multiple complications and multiple organ failure that caused his death.

    [03] PM announces early elections on October 4

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday officially announced the holding of early general elections on October 4 and the disbanding of Parliament on September 7, in statements following his meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias earlier the same day to inform him of his decision for a snap early election.

    On the Sunday of October 4, Greek citizens will be called to choose the prime minister that will guide them through the great economic challenges of the time and make crucial decisions for the country's future course, Karamanlis stressed.

    The premier said that he had outlined to President Papoulias his reasons for calling early elections just two years after the 2007 polls that had renewed his government's mandate, saying that it was an act of responsibility imposed by the country's best interests, in order to clear up the political scene.

    More specifically, Karamanlis said a fresh mandate was demanded by the challenges of coping with the global economic crisis, whose effects were now apparent in Greece and promised a difficult two years ahead. He cited 2010, in particular, as the crucial year for the economy.

    The stance of main opposition PASOK, particularly PASOK's stated intention to force early elections in March by refusing to cooperate in the election of the Greek president, also weighed heavily in his decision, Karamanlis added.

    According to the premier, dragging the country through six months of what was essentially an drawn-out pre-election period would have a catastrophic impact on the economy, since the policies for dealing with the crisis demanded a politically stable climate, not one of dominated by tension and election speculation.

    Karamanlis stressed that his original intention had been to use up his entire four-year term in order to implement the policies needed for coping with the crisis in the next two years, until September 2011, but that the country was now up against three major challenges: reducing public-sector spending, conducting a 'war' on tax evasion and carrying out imperative structural changes.

    He also underlined that the progress made under ND governments had largely shielded Greece from the worst effects of the crisis so far.

    "Now, however, difficult and bold decisions are required. What is needed is a government with a fresh mandate that will lead the country to a way out and to growth based on firm foundations. My decision for early elections is an act of responsibility," Karamanlis stated.

    The premier stressed that he could not allow the country to go through a six-month pre-election period simply in order to blame PASOK for forcing elections.

    "The citizens now have to choose between the difficult and the easy path," he noted, adding that the easy path looked pleasant but led nowhere except to more difficult problems and a heavier cost down the line.

    "It is now up to the citizens to choose the prime minister they want, so that he can more effectively face the crisis," the prime minister added, expressing faith in the voters' judgement.

    The pre-election period now officially begins next Monday in what promises to be a difficult campaign for the ruling party, which emerged severely bruised from the European Parliament polls in June and took a further battering during the destructive fires that swept through northeast Attica in August.

    Among preparations for the elections will be the meeting of a cross-party committee on Monday to decide how to allocate free broadcasting time between the political parties and other measures relating to the elections.

    It is also customary during an election period to replace the interior and justice ministers by caretaker ministers, as well as the government spokesman, while the leave of all civil servants and local government staff involved in election preparations is cancelled and recruitment to the public sector suspended.

    [04] Mixed econ growth for '09

    The Greek economy shrank by 0.3 pct in the second quarter this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2008, although it rose by 0.2 pct from the first quarter of 2009, the National Statistical Service announced on Thursday.

    The statistical service, in a report, said gross fixed capital investments dropped 16.5 pct in the April-June period, compared with the same period last year, with engineering equipment (32.8 pct) transport equipment (30.5 pct) and homes (23.3 pct) recording the biggest percentage declines in the three-month period. Other constructions (8.9 pct) and other investment products (5.9 pct) recorded increases.

    Total consumer spending in the country eased 0.9 pct in the second quarter, with public consumption rising 3.6 pct and private consumption down 2.0 pct. Exports of goods and services fell 10.9 pct in the period (goods down 16.1 pct and services down 7.5 pct, while imports of goods and services dropped 21.8 pct (goods down 21.1 pct and services off 24.7 pct).

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