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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-01-12

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

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

January 12, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] The New Year is of decisive importance, PM says
  • [02] Greece congratulates Mahmoud Abbas on election as Palestinian president
  • [03] Turkish provocation off Imia islets: Athens points to EU candidate-country 'behavior'
  • [04] Eurodeputies Varvitsiotis, Lambrinidis on European constitution
  • [05] KYSEA names Vice Admiral Gousis as new Navy chief, retains Army and Airforce chiefs Douvas, Avlonitis
  • [06] Intra-party investigative committee fails to reach consensus on armaments issue
  • [07] Court rejects demand to sequester videotapes linked to alleged defense ministry scandal
  • [08] Main opposition leader says PASOK will vote against 'primary shareholder' bill
  • [09] New US ambassador Ries presents credentials to President Stephanopoulos
  • [10] ND Secretary Meimarakis discourages party members from participating in mobilizations
  • [11] Gov't seeking agreement with farmers over financial demands, government spokesman says
  • [12] Merchant Marine Minister Kefaloyiannis on official visit to Republic of Korea
  • [13] Salagoudis denies claims that Russia no longer interested in Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline
  • [14] ADEX annual report for 2004
  • [15] Unemployment down in Dec 2004 yr/yr
  • [16] CPMR political bureau to convene in Spain
  • [17] Greek super markets to raise prices next month
  • [18] Greek small-cap market attractive, Smith Barney says
  • [19] Stocks rise in late blue-chip buying
  • [20] National Archaeological Museum to re-open fully by April, deputy culture minister says
  • [21] Greek aid to tsunami victims keeps pouring in
  • [22] Greek American community in the U.S. makes donations for the tsunami-stricken regions of SE Asia
  • [23] PM Karamanlis' father reported in stable condition after hospitalization
  • [24] New Democracy MP Bernidaki-Aldus a guest speaker at Washington's American University
  • [25] Greece's Nikiforos Diamantouros re-elected as European Ombudsman
  • [26] No worries expressed over seismic activity in neighboring Turkey
  • [27] Two firebombings reported
  • [28] Noted trial attorney Lykourezos to run for presidency of pro football clubs' association
  • [29] Putin's statements on Cyprus noted, says Cyprus spokesman

  • [01] The New Year is of decisive importance, PM says

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    The New Year is particularly crucial and of decisive importance, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Tuesday.

    Addressing the first cabinet meeting of 2005, the Greek Premier stressed that the main axes of government strategy were clearly outlined in ND party's program.

    Karamanlis said it was necessary to invest in Education and Culture, to implement a new economic and development policy, to reinvent the state and stressed that the government's goal was to build the necessary strategic bases for the country to achieve the growth rates it deserved.

    Commenting on a fiscal audit of the economy, the Greek Premier said it was a difficult effort that needed to be done and to be successful. "Now is the time to ensure fiscal balance for the country," Karamanlis noted.

    He urged political forces and social partners to show self-restraint and said "it needed consensus, responsibility and self-restraint from all of us, government, politicians, social partners and productive forces."

    Karamanlis stressed that everyone should contribute to reducing spending, to effectively cut expenses and to achieve a more effective use of public assets.

    The prime minister underlined that the government needed to achieve its growth goal to deal with unemployment and to improve living quality in the country. "Our priority is productivity, quality and competitiveness," he said.

    The country needs to be more attractive to investments, the economy to become more export-oriented and to achieve a more effective use of community funds.

    Karamanlis said that the government would seek bold reforms and structural changes rapidly and noted that priority was to strengthen the country's regions. "There is no strong Greece without strong regions," he noted. The prime minister said that dealing with citizens' daily problems was the essence of politics, noting that unemployment, price increases, healthcare, education and state services to citizens were policy priorities. "We do not hide any problems, we highlight them and work for their solution in alliance with citizens," Karamanlis said.

    He also urged for a combat against corruption and combatting bureaucracy. Karamanlis said that after completing a round of talks with government ministers he would begin visits to each ministry and urged ministers to adhere to the government's program.

    Karamanlis said that the government has done "a very good work" so far and stressed that the government's candidate for the next President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, was a clear proof that the government acknowledged its responsibility towards Greek citizens and the country and its devotion to new ideas. "We bring a new political culture," Karamanlis said.

    [02] Greece congratulates Mahmoud Abbas on election as Palestinian president

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    A Greek foreign ministry announcement on Tuesday said that Greece warmly congratulated Mahmoud Abbas on his election to the foremost office of the Palestinian Authority.

    The announcement stressed that the "successful election process and Abbas' election marked a new start of efforts for peace in the Middle East".

    It also expressed hope that a "reactivation of the peace process will be an important and decisive step for a final settlement of the lengthy dispute between Palestinians and Israelis that will lead to the peaceful coexistence of the two peoples and the two states".

    [03] Turkish provocation off Imia islets: Athens points to EU candidate-country 'behavior'

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Athens reiterated on Tuesday that the latest provocation by neighboring Turkey's military -- again reported near the rocky Imia islets in the eastern Aegean -- has no relation to the stance a European Union candidate-state must follow vis-a-vis EU members.

    Moreover, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos also reminded that such provocations contravene the European principle of good-neighborly relations, "such behavior is watched and evaluated," he added.

    His response came after reports surfaced that two Turkish coast guard patrol boats approached the Imia islets and the surrounding waters earlier in the day during separate forays, at 10 and 11:30 a.m., respectively.

    According to press reports, the two Turkish craft left the area at around 1:50 p.m. and only after called on to depart by a Greek coast guard vessel.

    The tiny and uninhabited Imia isles, located near the better known island of Kalymnos, sparked the worst crisis in Greek-Turkish relations since 1974, after Turkey's military establishment and the then Ciller government disputed Greece's standing sovereignty over the two outcrops, and by extension, territorial waters and the continental shelf surrounding them.

    The latest maritime incident in the eastern Aegean has also reportedly caused increased attention by the national defense ministry due to the extended length of time the two craft remained in Greek waters as well as their skippers' initial refusal to leave the area once a Greek warship arrived -- the norm until recently.

    [04] Eurodeputies Varvitsiotis, Lambrinidis on European constitution

    PARIS 12/1/2005 (ANA/O.Tsipira)

    Greek Eurodeputies Ioannis Varvitsiotis of New Democracy and Stavros Lambrinidis of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party commented on the European Constitution during the Europarliament's plenary session held in Brussels on Tuesday.

    Specifically, Varvitsiotis posed the question of what follows should one member state fail to ratify the constitution. The New Democracy Eurodeputy noted that according to declarations regarding the constitution, if four-fifths of the EU member states have ratified the constitution and one or more member-states have not two years after the constitution has been signed, then the case must be referred to the European Council. "Unfortunately, this arrangement is the result of compromise and should have been clearer. Therefore, it is not enough for us to say that we fully support ratification of the constitution, but all governments and every one of us must work together to avoid such an unpleasant development in order for our continent to embark on a new era," he said.

    Lambrinidis, on his part, emphasized that while the European Constitution is not perfect, "it is superior - on all counts - to existing European treaties according to which we operate today, and on which we will have to continue to operate if the constitution is rejected."

    "All those opposed to this Constitution for reasons of supposed social sensitivity should examine whether existing treaties help the poor and underprivileged in Europe more than this Constitution does," Lambrinidis said.

    Furthermore, PASOK's Eurodeputy stressed that it is up to governments and Eurodeputies to ensure that laws of social importance adopted in the Constitution be applied, rather than simply being words on paper. He also noted that future EU policies should promote "a high standard for employment, education, social protection, health and environmental protection, gender equality and human rights protection."

    [05] KYSEA names Vice Admiral Gousis as new Navy chief, retains Army and Airforce chiefs Douvas, Avlonitis

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    The government council for foreign affairs and defense (KYSEA), chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis, on Tuesday promoted 1st deputy chief of the General Defense General Staff (GEETHA), Vice-Admiral Dimitrios Gousis, as the new chief of the Navy General Staff (GEN).

    The KYSEA also decided to retain Army General Staff (GES) chief Lt. Gen. Nikolaos Douvas and Airforce General Staff (GEA) chief Lt. Gen. George Avlonitis in their posts.

    In early December, the KYSEA had selected Vice Admiral Panayotis Hinofotis, up to now Fleet Commander, as the new GEETHA chief.

    The Council of Chiefs of the General Staffs will be convened after February 15 to fill in the vacancies in the posts up to now held by the two Vice Admirals.

    [06] Intra-party investigative committee fails to reach consensus on armaments issue

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    The intra-party, Parliamentary investigative committee, whose purpose is to investigate the procurement of Russian armaments systems by the Hellenic Air Force during the PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) government's tenure, failed to reach consensus on Tuesday on a joint summary.

    New Democracy deputy Andreas Lykourezos read the conclusions drafted by the ruling party, which according to PASOK MPs was no different than initial claims made by Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos.

    PASOK accused New Democracy of failing to assume its own responsibilities and trying to keep PASOK "politically hostage."

    According to the ruling party, the Greek state was burdened financially by the contracts signed with Russia for its TOR-M1 missile systems and with the US for the TPQ-37 radar systems. New Democracy also claims that the Greek state was also harmed by the way the procurements were handled and that the Presidential Decree regarding armaments contracts was violated as were the guidelines regarding bank guarantees.

    [07] Court rejects demand to sequester videotapes linked to alleged defense ministry scandal

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    An Athens First-Instance Court on Tuesday rejected a demand lodged by the former information director of the national defense ministry Tassos Gouriotis, asking for the sequestration of videotapes held by the Greek newspapers "Eleftherotypia" and "Avriani" in which he is allegedly seen consorting with a representative of the Russian firm that supplied the Greek armed forces with the contentious TOR M1 anti-missile system.

    The court found that there was no risk that the tapes will be tampered with by those currently in possession of the videotapes, since they had legal interest in keeping them safe until next March when the hearing concerning the case will be held.

    In statements to reporters, Gouriotis claimed that he was the object of a well-organized conspiracy and that he would abandon all legal action against the two newspapers, if the mastermind were named. Gouriotis has filed a libel suit against the papers, seeking damages of eight million euros.

    [08] Main opposition leader says PASOK will vote against 'primary shareholder' bill

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party will vote against the "primary shareholder" bill, since it believes that the bill will fail to address the issue of transparency, but in practice will fuel more corruption and less transparency, main opposition leader George Papandreou said on Tuesday following a meeting of the party's coordinating committee.

    On the issue of farmers' protests, PASOK's president said he understood their demands, but did not support extreme forms of protest.

    Asked about Turkey's behavior on Tuesday, whereby two Turkish coast guard patrol boats approached the Imia islets and the surrounding waters, Papandreou condemned Turkey's actions, noting however, that such provocations have increased in frequency in recent months.

    Papandreou also congratulated Mahmoud Abbas for being elected President of the Palestinian Authority and also congratulated Nikiforos Diamantouros on his re-election as European Ombudsman.

    [09] New US ambassador Ries presents credentials to President Stephanopoulos

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    The new US ambassador to Greece, Charles Ries, on Tuesday presented his credentials to President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos.

    Ries conveyed US president George Bush's greetings to Stephanopoulos and his family and, speaking in Greek, said that he looked forward to the reinforcement of the close relations between Greece and the US.

    The envoy also expressed his admiration for Greece, which he called a "wonderful country with a great history".

    President Stephanopoulos, in turn, wished the new ambassador a good stay, and success in his mission.

    Credentials were also presented to the President by the new ambassadors of China, Tian Xuejun; Burundi (headquartered in Geneva), Zacharie Gahutu; and the Fiji Islands (headquartered in Brussels) Ratu Seremaia Tuinasori Cavuilati.

    [10] ND Secretary Meimarakis discourages party members from participating in mobilizations

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis said on Tuesday night that members of the party should not be protagonists in extreme forms of mobilizations and in the blockade of roads.

    Meimarakis made the statements to reporters following a meeting he had with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    He further said that following his intervention, the ND's trade unionists in the agricultural sector agreed to seek a solution of the problems through dialogue and understanding, given that also the mobilizations are contrary to government policy.

    To a question whether the government will bring out the riot police to avert the blockade of roads, Meimarakis answered: "We will not follow the abominable forms which were followed by the (PASOK) government of (Costas) Simitis."

    To another question about the members and deputies of the ND who have differentiated themselves, he answered: "Maybe some have a different view on government policy, but they determine themselves, you cannot say that you back the New Democracy to come to government and afterwards you want to be a protagonist in extreme forms. The higher some are in the party hierarchy, all the more should they be careful in their public stance."

    In another point of his statements, he said that the institutional demands of the farmers will be satisfied, adding that in order to avert the blockades which members other parties are possibly doing, he will go to the areas of the mobilizations and discuss with them.

    Meimarakis stressed that the country must enter an orbit of growth, for things to be settled and assessed that there will be reactions because it will not suit some individuals, meaning, as he said, "those who found a snug berth in the past decade."

    His meeting with the prime minister focused on the party's course until Easter, the confrontation of daily matters and the tours in the provinces.

    [11] Gov't seeking agreement with farmers over financial demands, government spokesman says

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Tuesday stressed that there was ongoing dialogue between farmers and the agriculture ministry, and that ways of meeting their financial demands might well be found when the two sides agreed on a solution.

    The spokesman also stressed that the government had already done a great deal for farmers, such as the measures to alleviate the problems of cumulative penalty interest.

    At the same time, he reiterated that the government was not considering national subsidies for cotton, stressing that this would be tantamount to taking money from Greek taxpayers to give it to a small group of citizens.

    According to Antonaros this was illegal, while there were also questions regarding the accuracy and reliability of crop controls.

    Asked whether the prime minister intended to attend an EU agriculture ministers' council, as he had stated prior to the elections, the spokesman stressed that the government had already achieved a great deal without the premier's presence at the farm ministers' councils.

    Gov't seeks cotton farmers' proposals to mend rift: Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos on Tuesday asked cotton farmers to submit proposals on how their demands could be met.

    Basiakos told the Union of Larissa Farm Cooperatives the proposals should comply with national and European Union law, and should not burden taxpayers, especially people on low incomes.

    In addition, the deputy minister, Alexandros Kontos, is to meet cotton producers from Pella for talks on Monday.

    [12] Merchant Marine Minister Kefaloyiannis on official visit to Republic of Korea

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis is currently on an official visit to the Republic of Korea.

    The Republic of Korea at present constitutes the prevailing force in the shipbuilding sector and most of the Greek interest ships are built at its shipyards.

    Within the framework of his visit, the Greek minister, accompanied by Greek Ambassador to Seoul Constantine Drakakis, will meet with the Korean ministers of Shipping and Fishing, Keo-Don Oh, of Commerce, Industry and Energy, Lee Hee-Been and of Culture and Tourism, Chung Dong-Chea, with whom he will discuss the further development of cooperation between the two countries on issues such as the shipbuilding industry, shipping technology, tourism, shipping, fishing and commerce.

    On the occasion of his visit, Kefaloyiannis will attend the launching of the two newly built tankers, "Amazon Brilliance" and "Evros", which were built at the Busan shipyards.

    [13] Salagoudis denies claims that Russia no longer interested in Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Development Minister George Salagoudis in statements from Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Tuesday night, denied claims that the Russian side has withdrawn its interest for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    He stressed that Russia's Industry and Energy minister had sent him a letter with which he proposes a meeting in Russia in the second half of January to discuss details about the oil pipeline. Salagoudis added that he would reply positively on Wednesday to the Russian minister's proposal.

    The scenarios regarding the withdrawal of Russian interest was prompted by an interview of the executive director of the AMBO company, Gligor Taskovic, to the website "Balkan Analysis", which was republished on Tuesday in the majority of the Press of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    [14] ADEX annual report for 2004

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Turnover was stable in the Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) in December, with investors' interest focused on futures contracts and options linked with the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index.

    The daily average volume in December was almost unchanged from the previous three-month period (September-November), with volume totalling 16,266 contracts, down 0.1 percent from the previous three months.

    Volume in the futures contracts and options on the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose in December, with the daily average volume up 86 percent and 116 percent, respectively.

    Volume on equity futures contracts rose 44 percent in December, while futures contracts on the euro/US dollar rate also increased 17 percent over the same month.

    ADEX said its turnover accounted for 76 percent of turnover in the Athens Stock Exchange in 2004, up from 60 percent in the previous year, the fourth highest percentage in Europe, according to data released by FESE.

    Customers' transaction codes totalled 24,373 in December, with active codes totalling 2,328 or 9.55 percent of total (down from 10.15 pct in November).

    [15] Unemployment down in Dec 2004 yr/yr

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    The number of registered unemployed fell to 527,222 in December 2004 from 551,090 in the same month a year earlier, Deputy Labor Minister Yerassimos Yiakoumatos said on Tuesday.

    The jobless total in November 2004 was 528,912 against 529.191 in the same month of 2003, Yiakoumatos told a news conference.

    [16] CPMR political bureau to convene in Spain

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Serafeim Tsokas, Secretary General of the Prefecture of Crete and President of CPMR's (Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe) Islands Commission will travel to Santiago de Compostela in Spain on Thursday to participate in the conference held by CPMR's Political Bureau on Friday.

    The purpose of the conference is to translate the general directives adopted at CPMR's 32nd General Assembly, held in Norway in September 2004, into strategy for the first half of 2005.

    This year, 2005, is considered to be crucial regarding the EU's fiscal future and its effects on CPMR regions.

    The issues to be discussed during the conference include: - Maritime Europe - Fiscal prospects - Peripheries and globalization - Cooperation - Transport, competition, research, etc.

    Finally, CPMR vice presidents will also be appointed during the conference.

    [17] Greek super markets to raise prices next month

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Competition in the super market sector is functioning smoothly and price increases in the manufacturing sector are justified since companies cannot absorb labor and raw material costs, Pantelis Panteliadis, president of the Super Markets' Federation of Greece (SESME), said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Greece's Competition Commission to discuss a case of alleged price fixing practices by large super markets in the country, Panteliadis expressed his optimism over the outcome of the case saying it needed more time and several more meetings before the matter was cleared.

    He stressed that high taxation and low profitability were burdening product costs.

    Panteliadis said that SESME was satisfied with current shopping hours in the sector, as long as it was implemented throughout the country and noted that the federation was against any change in Sunday's holiday. SESME's vice-president Manolis Apostolou said that super markets would announce price increases next month.

    [18] Greek small-cap market attractive, Smith Barney says

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse's small-capitalization market is the third most attractive in Europe following Austria and Portugal, financial company Smith Barney of Citigroup said on Tuesday.

    On a European level, small capitalization shares in 2004 performed well, ending with earnings of 20% against returns of 10% for high-cap paper, the company said in a market report.

    [19] Stocks rise in late blue-chip buying

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher with players buying into high-capitalization paper late in the session, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,849.07 points, posting a rise of 0.80%. Turnover was 180.3 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.13% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.70% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.56% down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 217 to 80 with 58 remaining unchanged.

    [20] National Archaeological Museum to re-open fully by April, deputy culture minister says

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    The renovated second floor of Greece's National Archaeological Museum, currently closed for renovations, will open its doors to the public once again by April, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis announced on Tuesday after inspecting the building.

    In statements after touring the museum, Tatoulis said the ministry was confident that the top floor will be ready to receive visitors in the first months of 2005, in spite of the great delays in renovation work prior to March 2004.

    The museum was closed after suffering extensive damage in an earthquake that took place in Athens in September 1999. The work included repairs and a reorganization of the valuable exhibits on display.

    Among the museum's star exhibits are the Thera Murals, on display in a gallery covering 200 sq. meters whose floor is covered with a special industrial material reminiscent of the location where they were found in Santorini, while video monitors on the walls present the entire history of the excavations on the island.

    Tatoulis said the museum was currently working on proposals for utilizing and improving the museum's underground basement and for relocating its services to the building currently being used by the culture ministry on Bouboulinas Street, in order to save space "so that the culture ministry's entire academic community will work better."

    Work done on the building includes the installation of air-conditioning and a repair of the museum's wood-frame windows, which have now been equipped with double-glazing and a special sunlight filter. The brick interior walls have also been replaced by a special reinforced styrofoam that makes them 80 per cent lighter, while a special cathodic protection system has been installed, which uses a DC current to slow down corrosion of the reinforcing steel in the structure.

    [21] Greek aid to tsunami victims keeps pouring in

    GENEVA 12/1/2005 (ANA/N.Robin)

    "The Greek government has already committed 4 million in cash and services, while an additional allocation of 5.5 million in kind is forthcoming," Greece's Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Tassos Kriekoukis, said in a statement issued Tuesday. "Aid material is being collected by various non-government organizations, the Church of Greece, regional and local authorities and communities, together with private citizens. These efforts, coordinated by the Foreign Ministry, are expected to result in over 800 tons of aid in kind, such as tents, clothing, pharmaceuticals, food, etc.," the statement continued.

    The Greek public has also been eager to contribute to the relief effort, raising roughly 18 million in a telethon held last week. The major part of funds raised by the telethon, organized by the Hellenic Broadcasting Corp. (ERT) and the Foreign Ministry, will be devoted to the reconstruction of the affected areas.

    Furthermore, Greece is also offering the services of the Athens Multinational Sealift Coordination Centre (AMSCC) for the purpose of coordinating and monitoring emergency aid transport.

    Finally, according to the statement, humanitarian aid and development assistance will be channeled in the following way: "As multilateral aid, through the UN; as multilateral aid to be disbursed through the European Union; and as bilateral aid to the countries hit by the disaster."

    [22] Greek American community in the U.S. makes donations for the tsunami-stricken regions of SE Asia

    NEW YORK 12/1/2005 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    The Greek community in the United States is participating in the worldwide effort to send humanitarian aid to the countries of Southeast Asia which were struck by the earthquake and tsunamis on December 26.

    Students of Greek American schools responded with donations and through various other initiatives and accumulated a large sum of money to be sent to the children of the stricken regions.

    In all the Greek Orthodox churches in the U.S. last Sunday, funds were raised for the special bank account which was opened for this purpose, following a circular by Archbishop of America Demetrios.

    Similar efforts are being made by other Greek American organizations, such as the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the National Council and local federations, while some officials and entrepreneurs of the Greek American community have offered large sums of money, such as by Angelos Tsakopoulos from California who donated 100,000 dollars.

    [23] PM Karamanlis' father reported in stable condition after hospitalization

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis's father, Alekos, was reported Tuesday to be in stable condition after being rushed to hospital late at night when he was taken ill, doctors at Athens' Erythros Stavros (Red Cross) Hospital said.

    According to a medical report, Alekos Karamanlis' condition was stabilized, and he was hospitalized in the cardiology wing with respiratory insufficiency due to a pulmonary infection.

    Premier Karamanlis was being updated constantly on his father's condition by Alekos Karamanlis' attending physician, Erythros Stavros director Theodore Gounaris, who is the Karamanlis family doctor.

    The premier visited his father in hospital at 12:30, following meetings by the Cabinet and the KYSEA government council for foreign affairs and defense, staying about one and a half hours.

    [24] New Democracy MP Bernidaki-Aldus a guest speaker at Washington's American University

    WASHINGTON 12/1/2005 (ANA - A. Ellis)

    Greek MP Dr. Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldus, state deputy for ruling New Democracy, gave a lecture yesterday in Washington as a guest of the city's American University Law School.

    Bernidaki-Aldus spoke on the treatment of the disabled since the time of ancient Greece until contemporary times in America and will teach at a seminar in the same school on ancient Greek laws concerning the disabled.

    On Thursday, the MP will be speaking at the American-Hellenic Institute (AHI) in Washington on "Exchange of Values and Ideas between the United States and Greece".

    Earlier on Tuesday, Dr. Bernidaki-Aldus met with Greek-American democratic senator Paul Sarbanes and discussed bilateral relations and cultural and educational exchanges between Greece and the U.S., as well as practiced policies for people with special needs.

    [25] Greece's Nikiforos Diamantouros re-elected as European Ombudsman

    STRASBOURG 12/1/2005 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    Greek candidate Nikiforos Diamantouros was re-elected as European Ombudsman by a large majority of the European Parliament on Tuesday, with a total of 564 votes out of 643.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday evening sent a letter of congratulations to Professor Nikiforos Diamantouros on his re-election as European Ombudsman.

    [26] No worries expressed over seismic activity in neighboring Turkey

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Local seismologists appeared unworried on Tuesday over a 5.4 on the Richter scale earthquake that struck western Turkey, a tremor felt on many eastern Aegean islands.

    Scientists noted that quakes between 5 and 5.5 on the Richter scale are a frequent occurrence in the region.

    [27] Two firebombings reported

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    A makeshift firebomb comprised of dynamite exploded in the early morning hours of Wednesday outside an attorney's residence and under a vehicle in the upscale Kifissia district of northern Athens.

    According to reports, the unnamed attorney told police she had recently received threats from unknown suspects.

    Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, unknown suspects torched an outdoor camera in the Exarchia district of central Athens.

    Commenting on the attack later in the day, investigating police officers said it was probably linked to the attorney's professional activity as a financial consultant for Eurobank in charge of foreclosures of property from debtors.

    [28] Noted trial attorney Lykourezos to run for presidency of pro football clubs' association

    Athens, 12/1/2005 (ANA)

    Noted Athens trial lawyer and former New Democracy (ND) deputy Alexandros Lykourezos on Tuesday officially unveiled his long-rumored bid to become the next president of the professional football clubs' association (EPAE), a decision that comes just days after widespread hooliganism led to the cancellation of the Panionios Athens-Olympiakos Piraeus first division match.

    "My purpose and goal is not exclusively a victory in an election, but to win the effort at raising (the level of local) football, something that I believe can and must follow. There's no point for someone to simply win (the election)," he said.

    Lykourezos, by the far the most prominent individual ever to vie for the post, is reportedly backed by the ruling ND government as well as numerous pro clubs.

    He will face incumbent Thanassis Kanellopoulos, who reportedly is backed by Olympiakos' management as well as a mostly obscure candidate backed by controversial one-time EPAE chief Victoras Mitropoulos and his brother, Aegaleo Athens boss Thomas Mitropoulos.

    [29] Putin's statements on Cyprus noted, says Cyprus spokesman

    NICOSIA 12/1/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cypriot government noted Tuesday's statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Cyprus, Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here Tuesday in a written statement.

    Chysostomides' statement came in the wake of comments by Putin at a meeting with Turkish businessmen, during Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's official visit to Moscow.

    Putin had said that he supports the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem and noted that the termination of the so-called ''isolation'' of the Turkish Cypriot community is tied to the settlement of the problem.

    ''The Cypriot government is studying the statements made by the President of the Russian Federation on Cyprus'', the spokesman said, adding that the government notes Putin's remark that his country is ready to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.

    According to Chrysostomides, the government also notes Putin's statement that the termination of the so-called economic ''isolation'' of the Turkish Cypriot community will be solved within the framework of a comprehensive settlement.

    ''The diplomatic contacts between Cyprus and the Russian Federation on all levels are constant and Russia's positions on Cyprus are known,'' Chrysostomides adds, recalling Tuesday's statement by the Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos who had said that Russian positions on Cyprus are based on principles.

    Cyprus President: Russia's support to Cyprus is based on principles: Russia's support to Cyprus is based on principles, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Tuesday when asked about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Russia and Ankara's efforts to secure a change in Russia's long-standing stance on Cyprus.

    ''I think the support Russia gives us is based on principles and of course we will be briefed on this visit. I think Russia will continue to have the same position,'' Papadopoulos said.

    Meanwhile Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the government follows developments regarding Erdogan's visit to Russia, assuring that diplomatic contacts between Cyprus and Russia are excellent.

    ''All developments are followed, news are noted and verified. Diplomatic contacts with the Russian Federation are on an excellent level'', he added.


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