|Tuesday, 27 October 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-01-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>January 25, 2005
 Greek economy has to be extrovert, more competitive, FinMin says
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)"2005 will be a crucial year for the economy," Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday.
Speaking to foreign reporters, Alogoskoufis stressed that the government was working to boost the Greek economy's outgoing nature, to achieve fiscal balance, to reduce unemployment and to contain bureaucracy.
"We have taken significant initiatives," the Greek minister noted, reminding the recent development and tax laws, promoting privatizations, restoring fiscal imbalances and solving the issue of bank penalty rates.
Alogoskoufis stressed that the government's policy on fiscal adjustment envisaged measures to contain spending, to expand a tax base and to combat tax evasion. He reiterated the ministry's will not to impose any urgent measures. "Growth needs trust," he said adding that the problems of the economy would be dealt with through mild adjustment measures.
The Greek minister said that a law on "primary shareholder" in media was compatible with the country's Constitution and in line with the government's pre-election pledges.
The government was ready to contribute in solving a problem with bank's pension systems, Alogoskoufis said adding that a dialogue on the issue was in progress.
"There is no other road for the Greek economy but to be extrovert and to improve its competitiveness," he said.
Alogoskoufis said that the government would announce its 2005 incomes policy by the end of January and reiterated that pay rises would exceed the inflation rate, while pay rises to pensioners would exceed workers' pay increases.
"Our goal is to reduce the country's fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of Gross Domestic Product this year. This is an ambitious goal and demands significant efforts but we choose to proceed with mild adjustment measures," he said.
He added that if Greece failed to achieve this goal in 2005, it could still have one more year in 2006 to complete its effort.
 Greece advocates enlargement of UN Security Council, FM Molyviatis says
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Greece advocates UN reform and the enlargement of the UN Security Council so that it may respond to the new international framework and function effectively in favor of international justice and the preservation of world peace, foreign minister Petros Molyviatis said Monday.
Molyviatis made the statement after consecutive meetings with the ambassadors to Greece of Germany Albert Spiegel, Japan Toshio Mochizuki, India Arun Kumar Banerjee and Brazil Roberto de Abreu Cruz, for talks on the prospect of reform of the UN structure.
 Stylianidis meets with Ukraine's newly-elected President
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, in Kiev for the inauguration of Viktor Yuschenko, met with Ukraine's newly-elected President on Sunday.
During the meeting, Stylianidis - who represented Greece at the inauguration - conveyed to Yuschenko Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' and Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis' greetings and wishes. Stylianidis also underscored Greece's willingness to reinforce bilateral ties with Ukraine on all levels.
According to a statement issued by the Greek Foreign Ministry, a visit to Ukraine is being scheduled during 2005 for the formulation and implementation of joint actions on a political, cultural and economic level which will bring Greece and Ukraine closer. Additionally, Greece is also planning to send a commercial delegation in an effort to further strengthen bilateral, economic relations in the form of exports, investments and joint ventures.
On his part, Yuschenko emphasized that within the framework of privatizations, which he plans to launch promptly, an expression of interest from the Greek business community would be most welcome, according to the foreign ministry announcement.
 PM pledges to closely monitor problem-solving of matters concerning Greek community in Egypt
CAIRO 25/1/2005 (ANA/N.Katsikas)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis promised to personally follow the problem-solving process involved in handling matters concerning the Greek communities in Cairo and Alexandria in a letter he sent to the President of the Greek Community in Cairo Christos Kavalis on Monday.
In his letter, Karamanlis also emphasized that the issues he was briefed on during his official visit to Egypt last November, by the Greek communities of Cairo and Alexandria, have already been referred to the relevant agencies, adding that he will personally monitor developments "in order to ensure that they are addressed as quickly as possible."
Karamanlis described the Greeks of Egypt as the force of Hellenism that has managed to keep the values of Hellenism, the Greek language, Greek culture and Orthodoxy alive through the centuries. He congratulated Greeks in Egypt for their creative initiatives and activities.
Greek Ambassador to Egypt Panayiotis Vlassopoulos stressed that Karamanlis' visit to Egypt has already produced results for bilateral relations between the two countries, benefiting the Greek community in the process.
The issues presented by the Greeks in Alexandria and Cairo as needing to be addressed included Egyptian citizenship for 200 Greeks, strengthening the Greek education sector, additional staffing of Greek institutions and organizations, and health care for Greeks residing in Egypt.
 ND Deputy Elsa Papadimitriou elected vice president of Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy party Deputy Elsa Papadimitriou has been unanimously elected vice president of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly for the next three years.
Papadimitriou heads the Greek Parliamentary delegation at the Parliamentary assemblies of the Council of Europe and the Western European Union.
The Greek deputy will be participating as of Monday in the highest decision-making centre of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly.
Papadimitriou was also elected vice president of the Western European Union's Parliamentary Assembly six months ago.
 Coalition (SYN) party calls for national dialogue on replacing Stability Pact with new agreement
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party has proposed the start of national dialogue on replacing the EU Stability Pact with a new European agreement for sustainable development, social protection and employment, making nine proposals in this direction.
The proposals were put forward during a press conference on Monday by Panagiotis Lafazanis, responsible for economic and social policy within the party.
According to Lafazanis, a discussion on changing the Stability Pact has already begun within the Europe, from which the two main parties in Greece were conspicuously absent, especially since Greece was being asked to take tough action to reduce deficits on the basis of the Stability Pact.
The Coalition sees the Stability Pact as having a negative impact on growth, social protection, the environment and employment in Europe while being effectively unreliable and unenforceable, since more and more countries are failing to adhere to it.
Among the proposals it has put forward is the abolition of blanket limits on public deficit and public debt and their replacement by more composite criteria that would also take into account the size of GDP in relation to the EU average, the introduction of a 35-hour week throughout Europe and an increase in the Community budget to 5 per cent of the EU's GDP, so as to achieve economic and social convergence.
 Greek force in Afghanistan to be upgraded with medical unit
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said on Monday the decision to upgrade the Greek force in Afghanistan with a 30-bed medical unit was taken in support of international peace, security and stability in the region and to facilitate the restoration of a state of law in Afghanistan.
He said the unit will remain in Afghanistan for 18 months and 40 percent of its staff will be Greeks.
Replying to questioners, Antonaros also said this initiative (the total cost of which is estimated at six million euros) was taken following consultations with UN member-states on the basis of the practice created by Greece, since over the past two years Greece "has been participating in all efforts being made to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan with non-combatant forces."
 Greek Vice Admiral on official visit to Turkey
ISTANBUL 25/1/2005 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)Greek Navy Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Antonis Antoniadis arrived in Ankara on Monday as an official guest of his Turkish counterpart Ozden Ornek.
Speaking of the Greek vice admiral's visit, the Turkish daily "Milliyet" wrote: "The navy once again achieved a 'first' in Greek-Turkish relations."
According to the Turkish press, the two officials will discuss matters concerning the Aegean during their scheduled meeting on Tuesday.
 PASOK spokesman says party in favor of transparency on journalists issue
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, referring to the issue of journalists for which Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos has convened a meeting on Thursday, said on Monday the party's position on these issues is in favor of transparency.
Athanassakis reminded that PASOK had passed a law anticipating that the former press ministry is obliged to gather information on journalists employed in the public sector "without this in itself being something reproachable."
He further said that the raising of the whole issue and the way with which it was made an issue the next day is part of the government's practice of "diversion, disorientation, deceit."
Asked whether PASOK will abolish or change the law on the main shareholder when it comes to power again, Athanassakis said "whether this law will last until the end of the four-year period when elections will take place for us to find it and abolish it nobody knows."
 Athens mayor says government sent political message through main shareholder law
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis said on Monday the government, through the main shareholder law, sent a political message to public opinion that it does not walk side-by-side with vested interests, adding that the people applaud this.
She further said the government sets rules, as this is its role, and it has no friends or vendettas with businessmen and it is not entitled to have.
Commenting on the issue of farmers' protests, Bakoyannis said roads must not be closed, adding that farmers are right in protesting since no structural change has taken place in agricultural policy and the cost of production has increased excessively.
 ESHEA criticizes defense minister's decision to restrict journalists' access
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)The Executive Board of the Athens Journalists' Union (ESHEA) on Monday criticized the decision of the defense minister to limit journalists' access to the ministry's press room only, calling the decision "unprecedented."
According to the minister's decision, journalists will have access to the same parts of the ministry, provided the ministry's political leadership approves their request and only with an escort. ESHEA claims that the minister's decision "confirms its intentions of trying to blatantly control the information the Greek public receives."
Finally, ESHEA's executive board unanimously decided to continue omitting the names and images of the ministry's political leadership in all references made to them in the mass media and has scheduled other actions of protest to be held during the week.
 Deputy FM visits Patra in framework of European constitution event
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis visited Patra, western Greece, on Monday in the framework of an event on the issue of the "European constitution-Europe is forging ahead, Greece is gaining", organized all over the country by the foreign ministry for the purpose of acquainting citizens with the European constitution.
Replying to questions by journalists on ongoing Turkish provocations in the Aegean, Valinakis said "we want Greek citizens to feel safe because we are aware and we are monitoring these issues and we have a high sense of responsibility."
He went on to say that "I want to believe that these provocations belong to the past. They will gradually disappear, only that it is not simple for us to press a button and all the facts of the past to disappear."
Referring to the European constitution, Valinakis said "we believe that this is a great step forward, for a stronger and more effective Europe which will be able to speak to all the world with a single voice, while Greece also gains in this Europe which is moving ahead", adding that "this is our basic direction and we want this constitutional treaty to become the possession of as many Greeks as possible."
 PASOK President and Palli-Petralia discuss Olympic Truce
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou met with Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Monday and discussed matters related to the Olympic Truce.
Papandreou, Vice Chairman of the International Olympic Truce Centre, said that cooperation with the government will continue on this matter and added that revival of the Olympic Truce was a Greek initiative begun years ago which has met with very positive response from all over the world.
Palli-Petralia on her part said that the Olympic Games left behind an enormous legacy, part of which is the revival of the Olympic Truce, something begun by Papandreou, who played a leading and successful role in the matter.
The alternate culture minister added that not only had she and Papandreou agreed to continue the Olympic Truce project but to strengthen it as well.
 Second Parliamentary vice president calls for measures against heroin production in Afghanistan
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Second Parliamentary vice President Giorgos Sourlas has called for immediate activation on the part of Parliaments all over the world for measures to be taken against the production and trafficking of heroin in Afghanistan.
In a relevant letter addressed to the members of the inter-party committee for handling the problem of drugs, Sourlas notes that the production of opium in Afghanistan has increased from 185 tones in 2001 (when the Taliban were in power) to 4,500 tones in 2004 (two years after their downfall), while the opium economy, amounting to 2.8 billion dollars, now equals 60 percent of Afghanistan's GDP.
He added that all this is taking place at a time when U.S. and NATO military forces are in the country which amount to about 20,000, including 150 Greek soldiers.
 "2005 is a year of public works and growth," Greek minister says
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)The year 2005 is a year of public works and growth while 2004 was a year of institutional reforms and interventions, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to set ministry priorities for the current year, Souflias stressed that the ministry has already auctioned projects worth 1.7 billion euros, a sum expected to reach 2.5 billion euros in February and 5.0 billion euros by the end of 2005.
The Greek minister stressed that his ministry was, by far, the most successful government ministry in absorbing EU funds, with an absorption rate of 43.6 percent. He noted that the ministry was awarded a bonus of 500 million euros.
"We are working hard for the Fourth Community Support Framework. We will submit a draft law aimed to speed up building permit procedures by March and by May another draft law aimed to include new regions within town plans.
Souflias said his priority was to integrate EU directives and to avoid any new penalties from the European Union. He noted that the ministry planned to relocate to the Athens 2004 building, to put all its services under one roof and to proceed with a new operating regulation for the ministry.
 Greek delegation in Moscow for talks on Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline project
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Monday said that a Greek delegation, headed by Deputy Minister George Salagoudis, would visit Moscow on Tuesday, 25 January on an invitation by Russian Federation Energy Minister Victor Hristenko, to talks with representatives of the Russian and Bulgarian governments aimed to promote a Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline project.
The two-day talks, scheduled on January 26-27, will aim to prepare the signing of a political agreement on the project.
The Greek delegation will also include officials from the Development and Foreign ministries, Greek ambassador to Russian Federation Dimitris Paraskevopoulos and representatives of the DEP-Thrace SA consortium.
 Farmers line up their tractors in Tempi
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)A convoy of tractors was lined up along the Athens-Larissa-Thessaloniki national highway at Tempi on Monday afternoon, as cotton farmers throughout Thessaly slowly made their way to this point from Platykambos and Kileler. So far, however, farmers have not actually blocked the roads while negotiations with the government are still underway.
Talks with the government are continuing in order to avoid the final escalation of farmer protest action, which would be to block the road at Tempi, cutting north-south communications.
Traffic was nevertheless seriously impeded by the mass turnout of tractors slowly making their way up the national highway to the rally point in Tempi on Monday, occupying lanes in both directions.
The decision to line up tractors along the national road was taken by the Larissa Prefecture Coordinating Committee on Sunday night and in reaction to comments by Agricultural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos over the government's position on subsidies to cotton growers. The Committee is due to meet again on Monday afternoon to decide on a specific strategy for Tuesday if no progress is made in the talks.
Farm unionists said they expected around 400 tractors to line up along the national road on Monday.
Basiakos on Sunday reiterated that the government would not give in to demands to pay national subsidies to cotton growers and that he was committed to restructure the sector.
Farmers unions send gov't proposals on cotton crisis: Farmers unions submitted two proposals on resolving a crisis in the cotton sector, which were sent to the state's legal council for evaluation, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos said on Monday.
One of the proposals appeared to be incompatible with European Union law, and the other was totally incompatible with both EU and national law, the minister said.
In a separate development, the ruling New Democracy party's deputy section head for agricultural development, Maximos Harakopoulos, resigned from the post on Monday, citing reasons of conscience as the son of a farmer.
Harakopoulos said in a statement that the previous Panhellenic Socialist Movement government had employed "alchemy" to declare legally produced cotton non-sellable, but the current government appeared unwilling to find a solution.
He said he hoped his resignation would act as a "warning bell" for current policy.
Gov't seeking to protect agri-products, farmers' income: The government has worked to protect domestic agri-products and farmers' income since it took office nearly a year ago, and has refused to bow to pressure at home and abroad, Deputy Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Alexandros Kontos said on Monday.
Moves were taken including strict controls on imported cereals from third countries, sparking a barrage of protests from exporting countries and the European Union, Kontos said.
PASOK spokesman says farmers' income reduced dramatically in 2004: Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said on Monday the income of farmers has been reduced dramatically in 2004.
"It is common knowledge that the income of farmers has been reduced dramatically in 2004, a year characterized by a real collapse in prices for all farm products. Consumers, on the other hand, do not benefit. Those who only stand to gain are the big mediators. Following ND's election demagoguery for farmers, the country's agricultural world is now facing ND's mockery," he said.
Athanassakis said PASOK supports farmers' incomes and supports their protests, having at the same time declared the position that it does not favor extreme forms of protests which result in farmers confronting other professional classes.
Also referring to the interview by Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, the spokesman said "Mr. Alogoskoufis is continuing the tale of so-called mild adjustment at a time when the text on the official supervision of the Greek economy is being finalized."
 EU Luxembourg presidency to focus on development of countryside, Common Agricultural Policy financing and biological farming
BRUSSELS 25/1/2005 (ANA/M. Spinthourakis)The development of the countryside, the financing of Common agricultural Policy, biological farming, the safety of food and protection for public health are the main issues to be handled by the European Union's Luxembourg presidency, according to statements made at the Council of Agriculture and Fishery ministers here on Monday by the Council's President, Luxembourg Agriculture Minister Fernard Baudin.
Greece was represented at the Council by Deputy Agricultural Development and Foodstuffs Minister Alexandros Kontos.
As regards issues of Greek interest, Kontos addressed the Council on the situation currently prevailing in the maize market in the country and called for the taking of immediate measures.
He also stressed the need for measures to be taken in the sectors of hard grain, wine, potatoes and onions.
 EU's newcomers offer significant opportunities to Greek companies
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Greek export companies will find significant opportunities in the EU's newcomers, while efforts to boost Greek exports will focus on five sectors, clothing and fur, base metals, chemicals, textiles, food and beverage, a survey conducted by the Northern Greece Exporters' Union (SEBE) with the Macedonia University said on Monday.
The survey on "Applied research for creating indices to monitor Greece's export performance", showed that the clothing and fur sectors were recording a high degree of extroversion and were offered significant growth prospects in Bulgaria, France, Russia and Cyprus. Base metals (Spain, US and Poland), chemicals (UK, Germany, Italy and Cyprus), textiles (Italy, Bulgaria and UK), and food-beverage (UK, US, FYROM), were the other four sectors likely to benefit from an effort to boost Greek exports, the survey said. SEBE also said that six other industry sectors (medical precision equipment, electric machines, machinery, plastics and rubber products, fisheries and metal products) also had very favorable export prospects.
These six sectors have recorded very good performances in the last eight years. The five main export sectors, although they show good export performances in the difficult and demanding markets of eurozone, they lack in exports in the new EU member-states. SEBE said that these countries offered significant opportunities to Greek export companies.
 Greek central gov't debt represents 99% of total
BRUSSELS 25/1/2005 (ANA/V Demiris)Greece's central government debt represents 99% of total government debt with most member countries of the European Union showing a percentage of more than 80%, according to an EU-wide report by Eurostat, the bloc's statistical service.
The remaining 1.0% of total Greek government debt belongs to social insurance funds, with state and local government debt cited at zero, said the report on the structure of state debt in the bloc's members that was released recently.
Consolidated government debt in Greece as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) is 109.9%.
In addition, Greece finances 81% of its debt by issuing securities other than shares, with the remaining 19% in loans, and no currency and deposits as a financial instrument. The majority of member states finance more than 70% of their debt by issuing securities, Eurostat said.
At the end of 2003, the overall level of consolidated government debt was 63.3% of GDP for the EU-25. Among member states, debt levels varied widely from 5.3% of GDP in Estonia and 5.4% in Luxembourg; to 109.9% in Greece and 106.2% in Italy.
The low level of social security funds debt at less than or equal to 5% of total unconsolidated government debt was due to the fact that in some member states a part of this financing is undertaken through central government.
 Attica Publications expands in Italian radio business
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Attica Publications on Monday announced it was expanding its media activities in Italy with the set up of an Italian company Rock FM S.r.l.
The radio company was set up by its subsidiary International Radio Network Holding (IRNH). IRNH will hold a 90 percent equity stake in the radio company and Mondadori another 10 percent.
In a letter to the Athens Stock Exchange, Attica Publications said the move was part of a strategy aimed to expand activities in electronic media, particularly in Western Europe.
International Radio Network Holding is based in Luxembourg and participates in the Athens Radio Dee Jay.
The Italian shareholders of the new radio company was offered two local radio stations licenses in Milan (Rock FM and Radio Milano International). Rock FM S.r.l. is valued at 2.7 million euros.
 Coalition (SYN) leader, GSEE discuss 'major issues' for workers and unions
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alekos Alavanos and the presidency of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union organization, met at GSEE's offices in Athens on Monday for talks that they said focused on the "major issues occupying workers and unions at the present political junction".
Afterwards, GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos said unions were concerned over the rise in unemployment following a increase in lay-offs, the pressure of rising prices on incomes and an apparent slowdown in production in all areas as a result of the present policy for development, as well as the restructuring of banks and public utilities at the expense of state insurance funds and the government's failure to honor its pre-election pledges concerning public-sector contract staff.
He said that he has asked for SYN's support of union positions on these issues, which are to be put to the GSEE management on Friday.
Alavanos said he had agreed with the general drift of the unions' demands and promised to support GSEE in its efforts, stressing the need for joint action, joint and unifying initiatives by forces representing the workforce and the union movement, so as not to fragment the action and effectiveness of the movement.
 Greek inflation to jump at 4.0-4.1 pct in January, NSS says
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Greece's National Statistics Service on Monday said it expected the consumer price index to jump at 4.0-4.1 percent in January. NSS's officials told ANA that the inflation rate in the country would start the new year at 4.0-4.1 percent, up one percentage point from December and attributed this negative development to the fact that the sales period started in January 2004.
 Stocks rise, holding 2,900 pts
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Stocks finished higher in across-the-board buying to post a new three-year high, holding 2,900 points, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,912.70 points, posting a rise of 0.29%. Turnover was 147.2 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.12% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.32% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.48% up.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 146 to 136 with 73 remaining unchanged.
 European Commissioner talks about new technologies, receives award in Athens
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)European Commissioner responsible for the Information Society and Media Vivian Reding discussed new technologies and the progress Greece and Europe have made in the sector, during a special event organized in her honor in Athens on Monday.
Specifically, Reding said that it was imperative that Europe cover the distance separating it from the US in the new technologies sector.
Speaking of Greece, Reding noted the country's slow penetration rate of broadband technology, which stands at 0,3% vs. 8% for the EU, placing Greece in the last position among the 25 member-states. The European Commissioner, however, also pointed out that the Greek government has shown willingness to modernize the economy and is optimistic that there will be cooperation between Greece and the EU, which will contribute in the country's further progress in new technologies.
Reding also emphasized that Greek legislation is not in line with EU directives regarding telecommunications and explained that information and computer technology strengthens the economy in the following three ways: through investments, through technological progress and by increasing productivity.
"We are not proud of what has taken place in the Information Society," Secretary General of Research and Technology Ioannis Tsoukalas said, adding that although much time has been lost "with the government's cooperation with Ms. Reding things will improve."
Reding was also presented with an award from the Athanassios Botsis Foundation for the Promotion of Journalism, one of the co-organizers of Monday's event in her honor. The other organizers were the Greek branch of the European Journalists' Union, the IT company 3NET, and the Development Institute of Western Greece.
 Special UN General Assembly session convenes on 60th anniversary of Nazi concentration camp liberation
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)The 28th special UN General Assembly session is convening at the international organization's seat in New York on Monday on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps, according to a Greek foreign ministry announcement.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in a relevant announcement, has attached great importance to the anniversary since the UN was established at a time when the horror of concentration camps became known.
Greece, loyal to the principles of respect for human rights, the most important being the right to life and human dignity and to the need for peaceful coexistence between peoples, attributes great significance to this General Assembly session, the ministry's announcement said.
The country, also in its capacity as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, is making every effort for the consolidation of peace between countries, respect for human rights and the principle of the acceptance of diversity, it added.
 Hellenic Broadcasting auctions valuable items to raise funds for tsunami victims
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation began the auction of 46 valuable items on Monday evening, in a continued effort to raise funds for the victims of the tsunamis that hit southeast Asia on December 26, 2004.
The items have been on display at the Hotel Grande Bretagne in central Athens since Sunday.
Items include a manuscript by the Greek poet Kostis Palamas; an antique 1973 Skoda with which Greek car racer Minas Vourdoumpakis won numerous medals and trophies; a platinum ring with precious stones by Greek actress Maro Kontou; a unique platinum album of rock group Pink Floyd, etc.
 US Regional Council of Hellenic Education to be established
NEW YORK 25/1/2005 (ANA/P.Panayiotou)President of the Greek-American National Council Theodore Spyropoulos on Monday announced that a US Regional Council of Hellenic Education will be established in order to promote the Greek language, history and legacy.
The initiative, first proposed in November 2003, is being undertaken by a number of well-known figures in the Greek-American community in an effort to support and promote Greek education and culture.
Within this context, a special education fund for Greeks living in the US will also be set up in order to provide financial support to schools, organizations and initiatives promoting Greek education in the US. The fund will be managed by the Council's executive board.
 Athens mayor inaugurates first Foreign Nationals' Service Centre
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis on Monday inaugurated the first Foreign Nationals Service Centre, situated behind the municipality's Intercultural Centre in the Metaxourgio area in Athens.
The new centre is housed in a modern, custom-built space that covers a total of 400 sq. meters split on four levels. It is destined to process up to 80,000 residence permit applications a year. The Intercultural Centre to which it is attached will offer Greek classes to immigrants, as well as other educational and cultural activities.
In a brief address, Bakoyannis stressed that the municipality's policy for immigrants clearly targeted their integration into Greek society, through programs such as the new multi-lingual Athens radio station broadcasting in 12 languages.
 New ASCSA lecture theatre opens in Gennadius Library in Athens
Athens, 25/1/2005 (ANA)A new amphitheatre for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) was formally inaugurated on Monday in the east wing of the Gennadius Library at Souidias Street in Kolonaki.
The ASCSA was founded in 1881 and is the principal resource in Greece for American scholars conducting advanced research on the language, literature, art, history, archaeology, and philosophy of Greece and the Greek world from pre-Hellenic times to the present.
In recent years, the renovated east wing of the Gennadius Library has been equipped with new lecture theatres, seminar rooms, reading rooms and most recently, the new amphitheatre.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, who had laid the foundation stone in 1996. Also present was Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou, who stressed the need to revive interest in the Classics, which seemed to be losing ground to new technology, and hailed the important work done by ASCSA.
Monday's ceremony was also attended by United States Ambassador in Athens Charles Ries.
 Cyprus President to pay working visit to Greece
NICOSIA 25/1/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos leaves Tuesday for a working visit to Greece, during which he will hold talks with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and will have meetings with party leaders. He will also meet with Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has said that during President Papadopoulos' visit to Athens, at Karamanlis' invitation, the governments of Cyprus and Greece will review the current situation of the Cyprus problem and developments.
President Papadopoulos will leave Cyprus for Athens early in the afternoon and will hold consultations will Karamanlis later the same day. He will also have a meeting with Stephanopoulos.
On Wednesday morning he will hold separate talks with PASOK President George Papandreou, Greek Communist Party General Secretary Aleka
Papariga and President of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) Alekos Alavanos. He will leave Greece on same day.
The president will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou and Director of his diplomatic office Tasos Tzionis.
 Defense Ministry sets up Strategic Study Institute
NICOSIA 25/1/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Minister of Defense Kyriakos Mavronicolas announced on Monday the establishment of a Strategic Study Institute, which will carry out research for strategy and decision-making purposes on national security matters.
The Institute, the founding of which was recently decided by the Council of Ministers, will be the body through which the Ministry of Defense will cover its scientific research and analysis needs concerning issues of strategy, international relations, geopolitics and security, in cooperation with the Defense Analysis Institute of the Greek National Defense Ministry.
Mavronicolas told a press conference that the Institute would be under the Ministry of Defense and initially would comprise academics offering their services cost-free.
Christos Iacovou, who will be heading the academics, described the Institute as a think tank, which will assist the formation of strategic thought and decision-making on national security issues.
The minister of defense said the whole effort aimed at creating a modern strategic study institute, similar to those in other countries, including Greece.
He added that the aim of the Institute was to cover the real needs of the ministry of defense and the National Guard.
Taking into consideration Cyprus' participation in the European rapid reaction force, the ministry of defense ''must act in a contemporary spirit, through modern concepts,'' Mavronicolas said.
The minister noted that through the Institute, Cyprus would be able to be in touch and exchange views with other European institutes.
Iacovou said the Institute aimed at carrying out regular studies on issues concerning the Cyprus problem in its regional and international dimension.
The first scientific activity of the Institute is a seminar on January 27 concerning security in the Eastern Mediterranean, its challenges and prospects.