In Brief

SEBE Strike brings farm exports to a halt The Northern Greece Exporters Association (SEBE) yesterday warned of dire consequences of the continuing strike by Agriculture Ministry staff responsible for controls on exported and imported farm products and materials. «We are facing the danger of the demise of entire sectors and companies, not simply of ‘conventional’ losses which occur often,» it said in a press release. SEBE warned that the exportation and importation of farm products has come to a complete halt for several days now, resulting in canceled orders, activation of penalty clauses and loss of markets. «The problem is particularly acute for perishable products, for certain of which the entire season is in danger,» it added. Due to the strike, more than 80 large trucks carrying perishables were reported to have been immobilized at Kipoi customs post on the Greek-Turkish border yesterday, and more on the Turkish side at Ypsala. Angry drivers were said to be considering blockading Kipoi during the upcoming Clean Monday weekend, when dozens of northern Greece-based travel agencies have scheduled bus excursions to Turkey. Leftists protest against social security talks Left-wing trade unionists yesterday staged a rally outside the offices of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) in downtown Athens and a march to Parliament in protest against the government’s proposals for social security reform. They called for GSEE to withdraw from ongoing negotiations and for a 24-hour nationwide strike early next month. Rallies of the PAME front, which controls 10 of the 45 elected members of GSEE’s board, were also held in 45 provincial centers. The PAME members have withdrawn from the board, claiming «criminal responsibilities» on the leaders of the other groupings. Anti-GM fodder display On the occasion of World Consumers Day today, Greenpeace activists dressed as cows yesterday delivered three tons of non-genetically modified soya beans to Delta dairy industry’s factory in Tavros, saying that stricter controls on the use of modified crops in foodstuffs and animal feeds are immediately feasible. Forthnet telecoms Forthnet yesterday announced the launching of its telephone services to households, with charges between 15 and 20 percent cheaper than existing ones. Calls may be made anywhere by first dialing a special four-digit number, with no additional equipment needed. For details, telephone 0801-11-38888. Floating ATM Piraeus Bank has installed an ATM on Superfast IV ferry serving the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona route. The facility serves all debit or credit cards issued by Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus and Plus, according to a press release. Merrill Lynch downgrades NBG LONDON – Merrill Lynch said yesterday it had cut its long-term recommendation on National Bank of Greece to «buy» from «strong buy,» while retaining an intermediate-term «neutral» rating on the stock. (Reuters)

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