|Monday, 21 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-02-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>February 5, 2005
 Greece pledges to promote Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Greece pledges that as a member of the European Union will use all its powers to establish a Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday.
Addressing a Ministerial Business and Development Conference for countries in the Mediterranean Basin, Alogoskoufis stressed that "the things that unite us are much more than the things that separate us," adding that economic growth was the most effective mean to achieve social cohesion and to neutralize tensions.
Establishing a peace climate has many positive, direct and indirect effects, the Greek minister said, "such as curbing defense spending and encouraging cross-border investments".
Alogoskoufis said that countries included in a Euro-Mediterranean Conference were showing favorable prospects, but also faced big challenges. "We must be in constant alert and close cooperation to make a better use of opportunities arising for the benefit of us all," he noted.
The Greek minister said it was important to encourage common initiatives to prevent fundamentalism and tensions and added that supporting economic and social reforms was the main choice of everyone in the region.
Foreign minister opens Mediterranean conference for development and business in Athens: Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Friday declared the start of the Ministerial Development and Business Conference for Countries in the Mediterranean Basin taking place in Athens, with the participation of 17 countries.
The minister stressed Greece's determination to develop economic and trade ties around the Mediterranean on stable foundations, saying that a trip by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Egypt in November was also part of this effort.
He said the conference would also help further a strategy for linking the Mediterranean with the Balkan and Black Sea regions, especially in the energy, transport, tourism, trade, and financial services.
Greek gov't urges for closer cooperation in Mediterranean region: Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Folias on Friday urged for closer business and economic cooperation in the Mediterranean region based on "healthy terms with no imbalances, exclusions and hegemonism".
Addressing a Ministerial Business and Development Conference for the countries in the Mediterranean Basin, the Greek minister stressed the country's strategic geopolitical position and the emphasis to be given in the sectors of transport, construction and services, while he underlined that tourism was a preferential action field.
Folias urged for the immediate energizing of all bilateral agreements and the abolition of trade hurdles, expanding sea transport between the region's big ports, promoting trade relations on a mutual benefit basis, increased Greek participation in international trade fairs in the Mediterranean, supporting business visits, establishing and expanding the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation to include new EU member-states.
Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Friday evening that Greece strongly supports the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Relation with the objective of creating by 2010 a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Zone.
The minister went on to say that Greece seeks and promotes a new economic, trade and investment opening towards the Mediterranean south, noting that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' recent visit to Egypt was in this framework.
Sioufas was speaking during the dinner of the Interministerial Development and Business Conference for the Countries of the Mediterranean Basin. He was speaking of behalf of Premier Costas Karamanlis. The prime minister was initially scheduled to address the dinner but was unable to attend it due to the death of his father Alecos.
"Our aim was and is for the creation of a new dynamic of cooperation between countries of the Mediterranean, in all the sectors of the economy, so that there may be a strengthening of bilateral and multilateral relations, an improvement of the general investment climate in the region and utilization of the new potentials from our country. We are working for the security and stability in our broader region, the strengthening of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. We support the European prospects of our neighbors. We firmly and straightforwardly seek, with our sights to tomorrow, the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations," Sioufas said.
Greece, the minister said, aims at developing into a modern international training, tourism, shipping, banking, trade and transit centre. Within this context, new policies are already being implemented which create the terms and prerequisites for the attraction of direct foreign investments and which strengthen the export orientation of Greek businesses, he said.
Deputy foreign minister stresses bilateral ties: In his address to the Ministerial Development and Business Conference for Countries in the Mediterranean Basin taking place in Athens on Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis asked the ministers and business people in the audience to boost bilateral relations on a political, financial, business and developmental level.
He also stressed Greece's comparative advantages for foreign investors, such as the newly acquired infrastructure built for the Olympic Games, an attractive developmental law, new and simpler tax laws for those setting up a new business venture and its strategic geographical positions as a crossroads between the East and West.
"From now on, our diplomats throughout our international network will be judged for their advancement in the service based on their performance in economic diplomacy," Stylianidis said, outlining Athens's goals for developing economic cooperation around the Mediterranean.
He also referred to the Greek government's goals to provide reliable information to on emerging markets via the electronic portal created by the foreign ministry and to boost business ties with target markets via organizing visits by business delegations, so as to reduce business risk through the signature of bilateral agreements.
Euro-Mediterranean Interministerial Development and Business Conference comes to a successful close: The Euro-Mediterranean Interministerial Development and Business Conference of the countries of the Mediterranean Basin, which was organized by the Foreign Ministry through its service of the International Development Cooperation with the cooperation of the Federation of Greek Industries and the European Centre of Public Law, came to a successful close on Friday.
During the first part of the sessions, government officials presented the advantages and potential of the national markets. During the second part, representatives of the European Union and of international financial organizations analyzed the new funding potential which is scheduled in the Mediterranean market for the support of business ventures. During the third part, businesspersons and institutional representatives of national markets voiced their experiences for the development of business, investments and trade ventures in the countries of the Mediterranean.
Announcing the conclusions of the conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis thanked the delegates for the great and high level of participation.
Taking part in the conference were representatives from all 17 countries of the Mediterranean Basin, of which seven were ministers and deputy ministers, ten representatives of prime ministers and governments, 30 ambassadors and economic attaches, 35 representatives of business communities, and representatives of the European Union and of the European Parliament.
Stylianidis said the new financial potential in the private sector is of particular interest, as analyzed by the vice-president of the European Investments Bank, the vice-president of the European Economic and Social Committee, the representative of the World Bank and the representative of the African Development Bank.
Seven Greek ministers and deputy ministers spoke, presenting the potential of post-Olympics Greece. Taking part were eleven Greek and foreign banks, 32 Greek and foreign chambers, 26 presidents and general secretaries of public utility companies, 200 Greek and foreign businesspersons, 32 high-ranking members of the Foreign Ministry and 60 representatives of the Greek and foreign press.
 EU Environment Commissioner urges for investments to curb environmental pollution in Mediterranean
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas on Friday said it was important that countries in the Mediterranean supported investment projects aimed to curb carbon dioxide emissions and combatting greenhouse effect in the region.
Speaking to ANA, on the sidelines of a Ministerial Business and Development Conference for countries in the Mediterranean Basin, the EU Commissioner said that this kind of investments could transfer technology and know-how to Mediterranean countries, while also create job positions and boost economic growth.
Dimas said it was a new form of investments, encouraged by the European Union, the European Investment Bank, World Bank and other international institutions.
He said that EU has already approved national action programs submitted by Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
 FM Molyviatis' schedule next week includes meetings with UN special rep in Kosovo Petersen, Serb president Tadic
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Foreign minister Petros Molyviatis is due to meet Monday in Athens with UN secretary general Kofi Annan's special representative in Kosovo, Soren Jessen-Petersen, for talks that will also be attended by deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis.
On Tuesday, Molyviatis will meet with Serbian president Boris Tadic, who will be in Athens for a conference on reinforcing business relations between Greece and Serbia-Montenegro.
On Wednesday, Molyviatis will go to the UN headquarters in Brussels for an extraordinary meeting of NATO member countries foreign ministers, with the participation of new US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
On Thursday, the foreign minister will meet with Cyprus House of Representatives speaker Dimitris Christofias, who will be on a visit to Athens.
 Deputy FM Skandalakis discusses SE Europe, eastern Med issues on sidelines of annual White House National Prayer Breakfast
WASHINGTON 5/2/2005 (ANA/T. Ellis)Greece's deputy foreign minister Panayotis Skandalakis met Wednesday in Washington D.C. with a White House National Security Council official responsible for European affairs, and with US senator Paul Sarbanes, on the sidelines of the 50th annual National Prayer Breakfast, and discussed developments in SE Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.
Skandalakis also had sideline meetings with politicians from Balkan countries.
Before arriving in the US capital, Skandalakis was in New York where he met with local US politicians and representatives of the Greek American community, with whom he exchanged views and proposals in light of the conversion of the executive law for upgrading the World Council for Hellenes Abroad (SAE).
Skandalakis further announced that he and Greece's education minister Marietta Yiannakou would be visiting the US in March, for talks on education and Greek-learning issues, which are high on the agenda of the Greek community in the US.
 List of state-employed journalist published by ESHEA six names 'short', government says
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Friday told reporters that the list of journalists working for the state sector in 2003 published by the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) had six fewer names than the list originally supplied by the government.
According to Antonaros, the list given to ESHEA by the government contained 1,500 names but the list published in the union's website contained just 1,044 names.
The list was given to ESHEA at the union's request by Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos and was based on lists of supplied to the ministry by state-sector bodies. Further additions to the list are expected to be made when state-run organizations that had failed to supply lists respond to a ministry request for the information.
The move followed a debate initiated by the government concerning corruption and breaches of professional ethics within the media, as well as journalists illegally occupying more than one position in the state sector.
 Ruling party secretary tours Kilkis, talks of relations between government, state and party
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy's Central Committee Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis toured the prefecture of Kilkis on Friday, where he spoke to local communities on the relations between the government, the party and the state.
He stressed that the party was in favor of differentiation between the party and the state but not of alienation between the party and the government.
"The state is one thing and the government another. The roles of state and government are distinct, as provided for by all institutions of Greek society," he said.
He said that ND was exhibiting a new political culture through its activities and actions, stressing that it was a party of "moderation, measure, understanding and consensus".
The party secretary also described ND as a party that was "close to the citizens, that listened to them and talked with them, and carried out its mission as the connecting link between society and government."
During his tour of Kilkis, Meimarakis will meet the Kilkis prefect, agricultural cooperatives, the local labor centre and take part in a meeting of party officials, mayors and social bodies. On Saturday he is due to meet the prefect of Pellas and prefecture mayors and to visit the Edessa Chamber of Industry and Commerce and attend a meeting of local ND officials.
 Foreign ministry spokesman Koumoutsakos winds up informational visit to London
LONDON 5/2/2005 (ANA/L. Tsirigotakis)Greece's foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Thursday wound up a two-day visit to London, where he was briefed on the institutional procedures followed by the UK's Foreign Office regarding communications and briefing of the press.
Koumoutsakos had a two-hour meeting with Foreign Office director of communications and the press office John Williams, and with the heads of the various departments dealing with information.
He also had a lengthy informational meeting with the manager of the Foreign Office website, noting that he was interested in improving the existing web page of the Greek foreign ministry and making it more journalistic in style.
Koumoutsakos further met with the Foreign Office director for SE Europe affairs Dominick Chilcott, with whom he discussed the situation in the Cyprus issue and the course of Greek-Turkish relations.
During his meeting with Williams, Koumoutsakos put forward his proposal for establishing an informal meeting of the press representatives of the EU member states' foreign ministries, which was "well received" by the British official, according to Koumoutsakos.
Speaking to Greek reporters, Koumoutsakos described his visit to London as "very useful and enlightening", adding that he would make similar visits to other major European capitals.
 Army General Staff chief Douvas to embark Sunday on visit to Rome at Italian counterpart's invitation
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)The Chief of Greece's Army General Staff (GES), Lieutenant General Nikolaos Douvas, on Sunday will begin a three-day visit to Rome at the invitation of his Italian counterpart Lt. Gen. Guilio Fraticelli, it was announced on Friday.
A GES announcement said that during his stay in Rome, Douvas would hold talks with Fraticelli on matters of mutual military interest and bilateral cooperation, and will be briefed on the Italian army's participation in peace missions.
 Syn's Alavanos reiterates support for Church, state separation
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)New Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Alekos Alavanos on Friday reiterated his party's position in favor of a distinct separation between Church and state, statements that come in the wake of an ongoing furor involving a bribery-for-parole probe and the alleged involvement of a handful of top clerics.
Alavanos referred to what he called an "incurable and malignant metastasis between state and Church". He also accused ruling ND and main opposition PASOK of backing the current regime out of fear of losing voters.
 Cost of Greek mobile hospital in Afghanistan estimated at 7 million euros
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)The cost of the mobile hospital that Greece has decided to dispatch to Afghanistan is estimated at seven million euros, deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis said Friday, responding to a question tabled in parliament by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP for Athens B' district Orestis Kolozov.
Valinakis said that the Greek government had decided to upgrade its contribution to the multinational force in Afghanistan with the dispatch of the medical/hospital unit.
He said the unit would have a capacity of 30 beds, would remain in Afghanistan for a period of 18 months, and 40 percent of its staff would be Greek personnel.
Valinakis noted that following UN resolution 1386/2001, Greece was participating in the multinational peace-keeping force in Afghanistan (ISAF) with units that were not taking part in military operations. The Greek contingent to Afghanistan comprised 126 people: an engineering unit of 122 people, two staff members at the ISAF headquarters, and two personnel at Kabul airport.
According to the deputy minister, the Greek presence was "exceptionally positive" as "we are contributing to the reconstruction of a devastated country, building roads and buildings with the engineering unit, providing healthcare with the mobile hospital, providing humanitarian assistance, and reconstruction of the Kabul Museum, etc.".
He noted that the situation in Afghanistan continued to be problematic, but less so than in the past. "The contribution of the international force was of timely importance for improvement of the situation", he said, adding that the cost of the Greek contingent to Afghanistan was 6.3 million euros, while the operation cost of the medical unit was estimated at 7 million euros.
Kolozov disputed the contribution of the multinational force to the democratization of Afghanistan, noting that the burqas (veils worn by women in public) remained, and claiming that the production of narcotics had increased 10-fold after the US intervention.
"Stop fooling us with the non-combatant status of the Greek forces. No army can function without the units we are sending, medical or engineering," Kolozov said, adding that "our participation in such missions is shameful...our troops must return immediately from Afghanistan and from other regions outside our borders," Kolozov said.
 Interior minister opens seminar on further training for public administration staff
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday delivered the opening address at a seminar entitled "New Ideas for Further Training in Public Administration" held in Athens, organized by the civil servants' union ADEDY and the National Centre for Public Administration and Self-Government (EKDDA).
Pavlopoulos stressed that public administration was a lever for the social and economic evolution of the state but only if its staff were supported by constant retraining and education, in accordance with their position and the needs of the service.
He stressed the need to turn the tables between public administration and government, giving the civil service the resources to become a support for governments that came and went rather than being 'under their thumb'.
"The further education and constant specialist training of [public administration's] personnel will ensure continuity, quality and effectiveness," he said, praising the implementation of a program agreement for staff training between the government and ADEDY.
According to officials from EKDDA, a rapid training program for staff in public administration will begin next month, based on demand and true training needs.
ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyros said the training program would be a radical break with the past and the familiar 'pathogeny' of public administration, with its vagaries and staff that lacked confidence and professional adequacy.
ADEDY's message in this case, which gave the opportunity for constant self-reform, was one of unity and cooperation for the common good of all, he added.
 Premier's father Alekos Karamanlis burial held in Serres
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Alekos Karamanlis, the father of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, was buried in his home town of Proti in Serres on Friday afternoon, in a funeral service attended by family, local inhabitants and close friends.
Alekos Karamanlis died early on Thursday at the age of 91, after battling against heart and respiratory problems for two weeks in Erythros Stavros Hospital in Athens.
Alekos Karamanlis was born on Christmas Day in 1913, one of the six children of schoolteacher George Karamanlis and his wife Fotini, nee Dologlou. He was the brother of late Greek statesman and ruling New Democracy founder Constantine Karamanlis, and of long-serving former MP Achilleas Karamanlis. In September 2004, he celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with Aliki Karamanlis, with whom he had two sons, 59-year-old George and the current prime minister, Costas, 48.
 Greece to participate in satellite program HELIOS-2
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)The Defense Ministries of Greece and France signed an agreement on Friday, whereby Greece will be the 11th country worldwide that will have access to military space observation satellites.
Specifically, according to an announcement issued by the Greek defense ministry, Greece will participate in the space observation satellite program HELIOS-2, as member of the European consortium BOC (Besoins Operationelles Communs).
Negotiations on this issue had begun in 1998 and were suspended in 2001. Negotiations were resumed when the ministry's new political leadership came into office last March, resulting in the signing of Friday's agreement.
The other countries which comprise the consortium are France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium.
Greece's financial contribution, as a member of the program, will amount to 2.5%, which is estimated to equal ¬ 80 million over the next 10 years.
 Foreign ministry adopts measures to reinforce Greek tourism
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)The Foreign Ministry is examining the possibility of increasing the number of visas issued to visitors to Greece, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, in comments he made on Friday after his meeting with Greek ambassadors to Moscow, Kiev, Ankara and Belgrade. Also attending the meeting was Deputy Minister of Tourism Development Anastasios Liaskos.
Valinakis had discussed the same issue with the Greek ambassadors to China, Russia and Turkey, in recent meetings.
Specifically, Valinakis said that the ministry has adopted the following measures:
1) Speeding up the process of issuing visas;
2) Issuing multiple-entry visas and extending the length of stay;
3) Eliminating the requirement of the candidate appearing in person for his/her visa, provided he/she is a 'good will' traveler (ie. trustworthy);
4) Improving consulates' infrastructure both in terms of buildings and technology, in order to improve the first impression a foreign visitor has of Greece; and
5) Creating a new kind of consulate, beginning with Greece's new General Consulate in Shanghai.
Liaskos thanked the foreign ministry and Valinakis for their efforts in promoting Greek tourism.
 Bond yields to rise mildly in 2005, National Bank reports
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Ten-year state bonds' returns will rise to 4.9 percent this year in the US and 4.1 percent in the Eurozone, a report by National Bank of Greece said on Friday.
The bank's forecast is lower compared with predictions by the majority of analysts over a rise of bond yields to 5.35 pct in the US and 4.25 pct in Eurozone in 2005. National Bank's analysts stressed in their report that bond yields rarely diverge for a big period of time from their long-term levels and expect a reverse of a recent upward trend in bond markets in both sides of the Atlantic.
Based on a forecast over a mild slowdown of economic growth in the US (3.6 pct in 2005 from 4.4 pct in 2004) and fall in the inflation rate to 2.4 pct in 2005 from 2.7 pct in 2004, National Bank expects US 10-year bond yields to rise to 4.9 percent by the end of the current year.
For the Eurozone, the bank's analysts, expect 10-year bond yields to rise to 4.1 pct by the end of the year, although they note that any further appreciation of the euro currency would cut growth rates and inflationary pressures in the EU-12.
The report expects that German state bond yields would be largely unchanged this year (at 3.6 pct).
 ASE closing report: market regains 2,900 mark
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Greek stocks ended Friday's session higher, pushing the composite index back above the 2,900 level in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The index rose 0.43 percent to end at 2,911.22 points. The index ended the week with a net loss of 1.45 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.31 percent; the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index jumped 1.39 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.95 percent up.
The Publications and Textiles sectors were the only ones to suffer losses (0.71 pct and 0.31 pct, respectively), while the Cement, Base Metals and IT sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (3.07 pct, 2.82 pct and 2.70 pct, respectively).
Turnover was a moderate 177.3 million euros.
In the broader market advancers led decliners by 218 to 79 with another 57 issues unchanged.
 ANA, MPA directors cite favorable conditions for unified press agency
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)The directors of the Athens News Agency (ANA), Greece's oldest and largest wire service provider, and the Thessaloniki-based Macedonian Press Agency (MPA) on Friday expressed their confidence that prospects are positive for the creation and operation of a unified national news agency born out of the merger of the two organizations.
Speaking during a brief ceremony at MPA's new offices in Thessaloniki, ANA General Director George Tambakopoulos said a new Macedonia news directorate will serve as the "spearhead" of the unified news agency's coverage in the Balkans, expatriate Hellenism, northern Greece and Thessaly.
On his part, MPA General Director Spyros Kouzinopoulos referred to his agency's 15-year presence and a variety of new services it is inaugurating.
 Judicial inquiry into alleged crooked judges to be assigned to Appeals court magistrate
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Dimitris Linos on Friday ordered the head of the Athens Appeals Court Public Prosecutors' department to convene the Appeals Court Justices Council, so that the judicial investigation into alleged corruption within the justice system can be assigned to an Appeals Court examining magistrate and the trials held at the Athens Appeals Court.
The move was made both because of the gravity of the cases and in order to speed up the judicial inquiry, Linos said.
This means that the case files will not be sent from the Supreme Court to the Athens First-Instance Court public prosecutors but directly to the Appeals Court examining magistrate that is assigned the case.
Linos has also asked for an assistant with the rank of Appeals Court public prosecutor to be given to Supreme Court Public Prosecutor G. Sanidas, who has been carrying out interrogations in the case.
CoS judges union objects to tapes in 'crooked justices' case as hearsay: In an announcement on Friday, the Council of State Justices Union expressed objections to the publication of the names of judges in connection with judicial corruption, on the basis of material obtained by monitoring conversations between third parties.
The judges involved were mentioned by name during a recorded conversation between arrested cleric Iakovos Yiossakis, who faces charges for embezzlement and antiquities-smuggling but is also implicated in a scandal involving crooked judges bribed to release drug dealers, and his lawyer. The tapes were obtained by investigative journalism programs and aired on television.
"It is self-evident that Justice must operate without bias in order to be able to carry out its mission in society. Every phenomenon that violates this principle must be controlled and fully investigated. Responsible investigative journalism plays a positive role in the public control of judicial operation," said an announcement on Friday by the union, whose members man the country's supreme administrative court.
At the same time, the announcement notes "bafflement" at "the publication of the names of citizens (judges) who are attributed reprehensible behavior, on the basis of material obtained through the surveillance of conversations between third parties".
 Cleric at the centre of judicial corruption furor arrested
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)A high-ranking and by all accounts controversial and litigious cleric linked with an unprecedented and ongoing investigation into a bribery-for-parole furor that has sent shock waves through the independent judiciary was arrested on Friday moments before he appeared before an investigating magistrate.
Iakovos Yiosakis, who holds the Orthodox Church ecclesiastical title of archimandrite, was arrested as he walked to the Piraeus courthouse early Thursday morning with his attorney.
Yiosakis' name has been linked repeatedly over the past three weeks to the judicial scandal -- exposed by noted TV investigative reporter Makis Triantafyllopoulos -- as well as to an adjudicated case of antiquities smuggling on the south Aegean island of Kythira
It was that reopened case along with charges of embezzlement of church funds that led to Yiosakis' subpoena last week. An arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday after his attorneys requested and received two consecutive 48-hour stays.
The cleric has been accused by Kythira residents of being the mastermind of a ring conducting illegal excavations at a medieval monastery on the island, and of smuggling precious Byzantine icons in mid 1990s, when he served at the Kythira parish.
Adding to Yiosakis' woes is the fact that his new attorney, Vassilis Taouxis, has been temporarily disbarred, as a one-month suspension from the bar association took effect on Jan. 24, 2005.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the Holy Synod late Thursday decided to call on the Metropolitan of Attica prefecture Panteleimon to provide explanations for his alleged ties with Yiosakis and tape-recorded comments he made about interventions in court cases.
According to reports, Panteleimon faces a six-month suspension from duties, while if found guilty by ecclesiastical organs he will not return to his Metropolitan throne.
 Education, culture ministers address seminar on gender equality in politics
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou on Friday stressed in her speech to a three-day seminar on equality between men and women in politics taking place in Athens that economic and mental independence were vital factors, without which gender equality could not exist.
The seminar entitled "From Theory to Practice: for equal cooperation of women and men in politics" will take place from February 3-5 at the Research Centre for Issues of Equality at the Athinais Centre.
The minister also underlined her concern at an increase in violence against women in Greece and an emerging trend among young women to give up their careers and turn toward consumerism and established values, saying that the media bore a large measure of responsibility.
She was also acutely critical of some school textbooks currently in use, such as the Religious Education book for the first year of high school, which she said blatantly violated principles of gender equality and appealed to women politicians to promote equality in their areas of influence.
Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia noted the widening gap between the sexes in the south of Europe and in Greece and stressed that equal participation of women in decision-making centers was a political priority, not a moral of philosophical issue.
She also underlined high unemployment among Greek women, which was currently twice that for men, and the fact that laws were not being implemented.
The seminar was also addressed by PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou, who said every Greek ministry should following the European directive for mainstreaming in support of gender equality and positive action for equality between the sexes.
 Unicef thanks 'Attiko Metro' for 61,023 euros collected for tsunami victims
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Unicef on Friday thanked Greek metro operators 'Attiko Metro (AMEL)' and their passengers for their assistance in collecting humanitarian aid for the child victims of the devastating tsunami and earthquake in Southeast Asia, announcing that 51,023 euros had been collected in the nine collection boxes placed at stations within the Athens metro system.
In addition to the above some, AMEL SA also donated a further 10,000 euros to the Unicef humanitarian aid program in the region.
The collection boxes had been placed in nine busy Athens metro stations from January 12 until January 26.
Unicef said the money will be used for both immediate relief of an estimated 1.5 million tsunami victims and for longer-term programs to help children in the afflicted countries. Further details can be obtained Ilias Lymberis at Unicef, at the numbers 210 7484184 and 6944 653799.
 Luxembourg's CNL hosts exhibit dedicated to Greek composer M. Theodorakis
BRUSSELS 5/2/2005 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis)"Mikis Theodorakis: Witness of our Era," is the exhibit which was inaugurated on Thursday at the National Centre for Literature (CNL) in Mersch, Luxembourg.
The exhibit, which will run until April 22, kicks off a series of events dedicated to the famous Greek composer, who turns 80 this year. Organized by Guy Wagner, friend and biographer of Theodorakis, the exhibit will showcase a wide selection of materials, such as the composer's manuscripts, sheet music, books, a digital database of Theodorakis' music, photographs, videotapes, press clips, etc. The audiovisual material in digital format is accessible to visitors of the exhibit and provides hours of information.
The exhibit is being held under the auspices of Luxembourg's Ministry of Culture and the Greek Embassy in Luxembourg. It will be held in Athens and Crete in the Summer and Fall of 2005.
 Two men charged in abduction ring comprised of ethnic Albanians
Athens, 5/2/2005 (ANA)Two Albanian nationals, 25 and 34 years of age, were arrested Friday on kidnapping and racketeering charges for their part in a kidnapping ring preying on other Albanians and demanding a ransom from victims' relatives.
Another five Albanian nationals are wanted in the case.
According to reports, a 48-year-old Albanian woman was kidnapped last week in east Attica, with assailants subsequently demanding 20,000 euros for her release.
A police sting operation netted the two suspects, while their alleged accomplices freed the woman unharmed.
An investigation and a search for the suspects s continuing, while the ransom money was recovered, police said.
The names of the suspects were not released.
 Cypriot government and EU Commission extend Green Line regulation
NICOSIA 5/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)The European Commission and the Cypriot government reached here Thursday a preliminary agreement extending the Green Line regulation on trade between the two communities of the island, a press release issued by the Commission's Representation in Cyprus says.
The Commission ''expects that through the agreement new initiatives will be taken by the business community to conclude trade deals,'' noting its satisfaction with the progress made with regard to the opening of two more crossing points in Zodia, west of Nicosia, and Ledras Street in the old town of capital Nicosia.
Both sides will now contact with the Luxembourg Presidency to further formalize the agreement.
Describing Thursday's meeting constructive, the Commission notes that ''both sides have agreed on a more flexible procedure to include products for such trade,'' adding that ''the regulatory framework has therefore become more conducive to daily business practice.''
According to the Commission, both wholly obtained goods and processed goods originating in the northern part of the island (Turkish-occupied areas) fall under the scope of this trade, while
''obstacles in the trade for agricultural products such as citrus will be removed.''
Furthermore, the ceilings for travelers crossing the Green Line will be increased, covering goods for personal use of a total value of 135 EURO could cross, one liter of spirits and forty cigarettes.
''The Commission expects that through the agreement new initiatives will be taken by the business community to conclude trade deals,'' the press release says, adding that a business portal under the Partnership for the Future Program to facilitate matching of business interests will soon be launched.
The Commission also noted with satisfaction the progress made towards the opening of two new crossing points, Astromeritis (Zodia) and Ledra Street, adding that Under the EU sponsored de-mining program for the Buffer Zone, mine clearing in the Astromeritis area will start soon.
''This is an important step towards the actual realization of this crossing point,'' the press release adds.
Cyprus says Green Line Regulation adequate: Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Friday that the EU Green Line Regulation, to facilitate trade between the two sides on the island, has rendered any other regulation on trade useless.
He also said the Green Line regulation can be implemented if the necessary good will on the part of the Turkish occupation regime is shown.
The spokesman said the Greek Cypriot side wanted to remove any pretext from the occupation regime for not using the Green Line Regulation, adding that so-called prime minister of the regime Mehmet Ali Talat must also accept the implementation of the regulation for the funding of the Turkish Cypriots and ''stop punishing the Turkish Cypriots to obtain political gains.''
Chrysostomides noted that ''the Cypriot government agreed with the European Commission yesterday to expand the list of goods and the value of personal belongings for free movement across the Green Line.''
He added that the Commission expressed satisfaction over ''the constructive manner in which the government's proposals were submitted.''
The spokesman pointed out however that ''the occupation regime is imposing restrictions on the Turkish Cypriots regarding the movement of goods and the utilization of the Regulation, while our side is showing good will and intention to help the Turkish Cypriots financially.''
''We want to remove any pretext from the occupation regime for the non-use of the Green Line Regulation. It is a challenge to the occupation regime and we hope it will allow the Turkish Cypriots to use the possibilities this Regulation provides them with,'' he added.
Asked if the proposed regulation for direct trade between the EU and the occupied areas would be scrapped after the expansion of the Green Line Regulation, Chrysostomides said the Green Line Regulation ''made any other regulation useless, in view of the facilities offered by the Green Line Regulation, as it has been expanded and can be implemented if the necessary good will and cooperation is shown on behalf of the occupation regime.''
Invited to say if there were any indications from the European Commission that efforts to pass the direct trade regulation would cease, Chrysostomides replied said there were not, adding that the government believed it was not necessary to promote that regulation, as ''the Green Line Regulation covers all the needs of the Turkish Cypriots.''
 Opposition party to visit Turkey, meet Erdogan
NICOSIA 5/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)A delegation of the main opposition Democratic Rally (DISY) party, chaired by its president Nicos Anastassiades, leaves next week for a visit to Turkey, from February 9-13, at the invitation of the ruling Justice and Development Part (AKP).
The delegation will meet AKP's leader and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on February 12 as well as Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on February 10 and the AKP leadership in Ankara on February 11, a statement issued by DISY said.
The delegation, which is made up of deputy chairman Averof Neofitou, vice president Socratis Hasikos and DISY's press spokesman Tassos Mitsopoulos, will visit the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and will be received by Patriarch Bartholomew to express its solidarity and support to its spiritual role.
Anastassiades will give speeches at the Middle East Technical University and the Cultural Centre in Istanbul.
"The visit is the first which includes high level political contacts and for this reason it has special political significance," the statement said.
Talks in Ankara will focus on relations between the two parties, in the light of AKP's acceptance as an observer to the European People's Party, the Cyprus problem following Cyprus' accession to the EU and the European Council decision last December to start accession negotiations with Turkey on October 3.