|Tuesday, 10 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 8, 2004
 PM leaving for Thessaloniki on Thursday to address inauguration of Thessaloniki International Fair
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will leave for Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Thursday afternoon after completing his series of contacts in light of the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
Karamanlis will be addressing the inauguration of the TIF on Friday and the dinner being given in his honour by the TIF's administration on Saturday night.
President Karolos Papoulias expressed his wishes for the success of the TIF, while the finance and health ministers will be making proposals to the prime minister in the coming days on taking specific measures to relieve weaker social groups.
 Dep. FM Valinakis discusses EU issues with Spanish, Portuguese counterparts
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Wednesday met with his counterparts from Spain and Portugal, Alberto Navarro and Fernando Neves, respectively, for talks mostly focusing on European Union issues.
"We want the European Union to continue financing the efforts of less affluent countries, so they can reach a level of convergence," Valinakis later told reporters.
Moreover, the deputy FM said the financial burden from the recent EU expansion should be fairly divided between the Union's member-states, "so we don't reach the point where the poorer countries are funding the poorest".
All three deputy foreign ministers also focused on upcoming efforts by the so-called "group of 17" -- an initiative promoted by Spain, Portugal and Greece -- to support the Commission's proposals vis-a-vis the all-important 2007-2013 Community budget.
 PASOK leader meets with Swedish deputy FM
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou met Wednesday with visiting Swedish state sectretary to foreign affairs minister Laila Freivalds, Hans Dahlgren, who was a close associate of the country's slain leader Olof Palme.
During the meeting, the two men discussed the issue of reform of the United Nations, a discussion that has already commenced, given that Sweden is to assume the rotating presidency of the UN General Assembly this month for the 60th annual session.
They also discussed EU-Turkey relations, on which Papandreou outlined the PASOK party's positions, and the role of the EU in the Cyprus issue.
 Karamanlis-Putin meeting in N. Greece reportedly on Thurs.
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at a Halkidiki coastal resort, as the latter will arrive in Greece for a private visit to the nearby Orthodox monastic community of Mount Athos.
Karamanlis' meeting with Putin comes ahead of the Greek prime minister's presence this weekend in Thessaloniki for the inauguration of the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) -- the country's biggest annual trade exhibition and the venue for Greek premiers' customary "state-of-the-country" address.
According to a tentative schedule, both leaders will reportedly make statements to the press on Thursday evening following their meeting at the Porto Carras resort -- the site of a June 2003 EU Summit.
Although the release of the premier's official itinerary is pending, Karamanlis is expected to inaugurate the 70th TIF during an address on Friday evening at the exhibition's main convention centre.
On Saturday, the prime minister will tour TIF's exhibition grounds and pavilions, before meeting with local officials and entrepreneurs at a nearby hotel.
Moreover, Karamanlis will give a keynote address the same evening, where he is expected to outline the government's economic strategy for the coming year.
A day later, the Greek premier will hold a wide-ranging press conference at the main convention centre, also a customary event during prime ministers' visits to the annual TIF.
Other Parliament-represented political leaders will follow Karamanlis in the second week of the exhibition, beginning with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sept. 17; Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Sept. 14 and 15, and finally, Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Alekos Alavanos on Sept. 13 and 14.
 PM re-elected International Democratic Union vice president
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has been re-elected Vice President of the International Democratic Union (IDU).
Karamanlis received a letter addressed to him by the IDU's President, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, informing him of his unanimous re-election to the post of IDU vice president.
Howard said in his letter to the prime minister "I thank you for your contribution to the IDU in the capacity of its vice president. The Washington summit has re-elected you unanimously. The International Democratic Union will intensify its efforts towards promoting freedom and providing aid in countries where democracy and freedom are being threatened. Both your personal contribution and the assistance of your party make the achievement of these targets easier."
 Defence Minister meets with US visiting official
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Defence Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos discussed the Kosovo issue, as well as developments in Iraq and Afghanistan during his meeting with visiting US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Matthew Bryza on Wednesday.
Spiliotopoulos also took the opportunity to reiterate Greece's position regarding the Aegean.
On his part, Bryza, accompanied by US Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries, expressed satisfaction with Greek-US relations, describing the cooperation between the two countries as 'strategic.'
 PASOK steps up attack on gov't ahead of TIF
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK on Wednesday continued its attack on the government's economic policy, with a couple of top PASOK cadres charging that the economy minister is disinforming and misleading the public over whether the economy is ailing.
Moreover, PASOK deputy and former minister George Floridis charged that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was exercising a callous social policy. On her part, former minister Vasso Papandreou blamed the government for incompetence vis-a-vis the issue of a heating oil subsidy for low-income households.
Both PASOK cadres appeared at a press conference entitled "ND's big lies about the economy".
 Main opposition leader briefed on worker demands in meetings with trade union groups
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou was briefed on the demands and problems of the workforce during successive meetings with trade union and farmer associations on Wednesday.
According to the president of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) Christos Polyzogopoulos, who heads Greece's largest umbrella trade union organisation, GSEE's talks with Papandreou had focused on recent government measures that had, in effect, abolished the results of collective agreements, such as recent laws for the bank employees pension system, the law extending shop opening hours and another altering rules for overtime.
He stressed this had encouraged industry and employers to press for even more concessions, such as recent demands that foreign workers be allowed to work freely in northern Greece for just 75 euros a month and return home every evening.
Polyzogopoulos said the unions would seek to create a "social-political front to deal with fight against these views", while GSEE deputy president Alekos Kalyvis noted that a rally to be held in Thessaloniki would express the union's opposition to neoliberal policies by both the present and previous govern-ments.
Papandreou also met the head of the civil servants union ADEDY, Spyros Papaspyrou, who again briefed him on the union's demands in view of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), calling for a radical policy that would release the workforce from unrelenting austerity and public administration from domination by the political parties.
This was followed by meetings with the farmer unions PASE-GES and GESASE, which focused chiefly on farmer incomes and the low prices paid for agricultural produce, compared with prices paid by consumers, and the revised Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
 Gov't dismisses reports citing claims by farm unionist
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The government on Wednesday dismissed recent press reports -- featured in a handful of newspapers on the same day and in television newscasts the previous evening -- claiming that a ruling New Democracy-affiliated farm unionist aired charges of bribery by ministers' associates.
Farm unionist Thanassis Kokkinoulis, an influential ND cadre in the Larissa district of central Greece, nevertheless flatly denied that he made any such allegations, speaking during a series of broadcast interviews and in published comments in Wednesday's papers.
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, in fact, pointed to the denials by Kokkinoulis, while at the same time dismissing questions hinting at the prime minister's displeasure with Agriculture Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos.
 Evangelos Polyzos expelled from ND party's Parliamentary Group by PM's decision
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy party Pieria Parliamentary Deputy Evangelos Polyzos was expelled from the party's Parliamentary Group on Wednesday by a decision of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, as a result of statements he made earlier in the day on what had reportedly been said by the farmer and trade unionist Thanassis Kokkinoulis.
Replying to a question by the press in the morning, Polyzos had said that there are good and bad in all parties.
ND Parliamentary Group secretary Apostolos Stavrou telepho-ned to Polyzos in the afternoon, asking for an explanation on his statements.
Polyzos told Stavrou that his references had been distorted and that in no way did he mean to say that there are members of ND who are guilty of graft. During his discussion with the Parlia-mentary Group secretary Polyzos admitted that his statements were groundless.
 Health minister's amendment facilitates operation of pharmacies on remote islands
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Minister of Health and Social Solidarity Nikitas Kaklamanis submitted an amendment to Parliament on Wednesday that would facilitate the operation of pharmacies on remote islands.
According to Kaklamanis, opening a pharmacy on remote islands is quite difficult due to high operational costs.
To overcome these difficulties, Kaklamanis proposed that pharmaceutical unions in the Dodecanese and Chios be allowed to operate pharmacies on the islands of Tilos, Astypalea, Kastelorizo, Chalki, Lipsous, Psarra and Inousses. The pharmacies would be managed by pharmacists serving their military term in the region.
In the event that the union cannot open a pharmacy then any pharmacist in a neighbouring region, under specific conditions, will be able to operate one pharmacy on any of the aforementioned islands.
The amendment will be debated in Parliament next week.
25 state hospitals receive public health dept's seal of approval
The public health authorities of Athens Prefecture found the 25 state hospitals that they inspected in Attica on Wednesday to be in good standing in terms of hygiene.
Inspectors sent food samples from every hospital for lab analysis. Results are pending.
 Legislation protecting civil liberties also necessary in the fight against terrorism, PASOK MEP says
PARIS, 8/9/2005 (ANA/O.Tsipira)Main opposition PASOK MEP Stavros Lambrinidis on Wednesday said that legislation that will protect civil liberties as well as programmes that will deal with terrorism from a political and social perspective are also necessary in the fight against terrorism.
Lambrinidis' comments were made during the European Parliament's plenary session and in response to a proposal made by British Minister of State Charles Clark, who said the fight against terrorism should be based on international cooperation, effective police cooperation and modern technology.
Particularly in terms of monitoring people's communications (phone, e-mail), Lambrinidis said such a method posed a risk that people would censor themselves if they felt they were being watched. This in turn, would pose a threat to democracy, he said.
Addressing Clark, the PASOK MEP said: "Today, you proved to us that this data in all cases was very useful. You also showed us that in some cases the data was necessary. However, the [British EU] Presidency has not yet submitted a study that refers to all those cases wherein while data was useful it was not necessary. It would be useful if you could do this."
Lambrinidis stressed that the measures to be adopted should not just be useful but they should be necessary and in proportion to the problem they are trying to solve.
He said it was mandatory that an independent authority be established to ensure that neither private individuals nor government officials abuse the huge databases to which they have access.
 Lack of benefits for contract employees at Citizen Service Centres 'an embarrassment', SYN leader says
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) President Alekos Alavanos described the conditions under which contract employees work at Citizen Service Centres (KEP) as an embarrassing situation after his meeting with the employees' regional trade union representatives on Wednesday.
According to Alavanos, 3,000 individuals are "working as employees, consultants and clerks, without paid vacation; what's more, the women who work there are not entitled to maternity leave."
He called the situation "one of the worst, which unfortunately is able to go on due to the government's legislative measures."
Alavanos called on the government to keep its promise and resolve the issue.
 US gratitude for offer of assistance by Greece towards hurricane victims
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The US embassy in Athens on Wednesday issued a press release emphasising the US administration's and the American people's gratitude for the offer of assistance issued by the Greek government to the victims of hurricane "Katrina".
"As our country responds to one of the worst natural disasters in its history, we also want to express our heartfelt appreciation to the outpouring of support by the citizens and charitable institution of Greece," the embassy press release stated.
US officials here also noted that the embassy has received several inquiries regarding assistance and donations to the affected states and people, while reminding that the website www.usembassy.gr <http://www.usembassy.gr> features a list of relief organisations able to receive donations from the victims of the hurricane.
Finally, anyone seeking to locate family members from the affected region should contact the Hellenic Red Cross or the Greek embassy in Washington.
 Karamanlis conveys congratulations to Albania's Berisha over election win
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The government on Wednesday announced that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has conveyed his congratulations to Albanian politician and former prime minister Sali Berisha over his election victory in the neighboring country's recent general elections.
 President Papoulias sends message wishing French president a speedy recovery
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday sent a message to French President Jacques Chirac, wishing him a speedy recovery after a bout of ill health.
 Egyptian president thanks Christodoulos for message after Sharm El-Sheikh attack
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday sent a letter to Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, thanking him for his message of condolences on July 25, following the terrorist attack on the Sharm El-Sheikh resort that killed dozens of people.
 Archbishop of America Dimitrios holds talks with Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda
NEW YORK, 8/9/2005 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)Archbishop of America Dimitrios briefed Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda on the repercussions of the hurricane Katrina on the Greek American community during their talks at the headquarters of the Archdiocese in Manhattan.
According to the Archbishop, there has been no evidence so far of casualties among the Greek American community in the regions devastated by the killer hurricane.
Benaki arrived here on Tuesday to attend the 2nd World Conference of Parliament Presidents, whose sessions will begin on Wednesday night (Greek time) at the UN's headquarters.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos holds memorial service for victims of tragic events in Istanbul in September 1955
ISTANBUL, 8/9/2005 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Wednesday held a memorial service for the victims of the tragic events occurring here on the night of September 6, 1955, saying that the events marked the beginning of the uprooting of the Greek community in this city.
Speaking after the memorial service, Vartholomeos reminded that the events in 1955 were followed by deportations in 1964 and by many other events in the coming years.
He further said that many emigrated as a result of the events and their consequences and remembered "all those who had suffered that night and during the coming days, months and years when they were forced to live without the things they had obtained with toil and sacrifices or which they had inherited from their fathers," while adding that "it is a tragic anniversary of tragic events."
Vartholomeos also said "we hope and pray that relations between Greece and Turkey, and between all the neighbouring Balkan countries, and everywhere in the world, will be fraternal and harmonious and be relations of creative cooperation and of the joint handling of the many social and other problems of humanity which is entitled to expect correct guidance and fair administration from its leaders."
 Govt to gradually raise objective real estate values, FinMin says
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)A government decision to gradually raise objective real estate values over the next three years sparked a new round of political debate in the country.
Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday said the government planned to gradually raise objective real estate values over the next three years, and stressed that the government's policy aimed to restructure the home building sector and to combat tax evasion without burdening the economy and citizens.
The Greek minister said that final decisions over the issue would be announced in the next few months while he rejected press reports over recommendations made to the ministry's political leadership envisaging substantial increases in objective real estate values around the country. Alogoskoufis said the move was orchestrated by opposition party mechanisms in the ministry and noted he has ordered an administrative investigation on the issue.
Main opposition PASOK party deputy George Floridis accused the government of failure to prepare and introduce the necessary policies and said it was deliberately spreading rumours with the aim of multiplying its revenues.
 PASOK dismisses economy minister's comment over 'leadership crisis' in party
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)A main opposition PASOK spokesman on Wednesday rebuked earlier statements by Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, namely, that PASOK was facing a "leadership crisis".
"A leadership crisis at PASOK exists only in the minds of those that believe that can create this ... Scenaria and wishful thinking that will be disproved each and every day from reality," spokesman Nikos Athanassakis told reporters.
 Greek economy grew 3.7 pct in 2nd quarter
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The Greek economy grew by 3.7 percent in the second quarter of 2005, exceeding a 3.5 percent growth rate in the first quarter, official figures said on Wednesday.
A report by the National Statistics Service said that spending on final consumption rose by 3.6 percent in the April-June period, compared with the same period last year, exports were up 2.4 percent, while imports fell by 5.8 percent.
Investments dropped 4.5 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year.
 Greek budget revenues up 9.8 pct in August
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Greek budget revenues rose by 9.8 percent in August, compared with the same month last year, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.
A ministry report said that tax agencies' revenues rose 7.8 percent and customs' revenues were up 13.4 percent in August. The report also said that VAT revenues were up 2.3 percent. Ministry officials expect that this positive trend in revenues would continue in the coming months.
 Greek inflation eased to 3.7 pct in August, yr/yr
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Greek annual inflation fell to 3.7 percent in August from 3.9 percent in July, the National Statistics Service said on Wednesday.
NSS, in its monthly report, attributed the fall in the inflation rate to different dates of the summer sales period this year and in 2004.
The August figure reflected a 6.4 percent drop in clothing and footwear prices, and a 2.5 percent decline in durable goods and other household goods. Food and non-alcohol drinks prices rose by 1.3 percent, housing services rose 0.1 percent, transport prices rose 0.9 percent and telecommunication prices were up 1.1 percent in the same month.
The average inflation rate in the 12-month period from August 2004 to August 2005 was 3.3 percent, the statistics service said.
The harmonised consumer price index rose to 3.6 percent in August from 2.8 percent in the same month last year.
 Exports up, imports down
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Exports rose by 1.1% in July 2005 against the same month a year earlier, the Greek National Statistics Service (GNSS) said on Wednesday.
Imports fell by 3.5% in comparison with July 2004, the GNSS said in a monthly statement.
Commenting on a 7.3% increase in exports in the first half of 2005, the Organisation for the Promotion of Exports said the figure confirmed an outward-looking approach to business adopted by Greek companies, which has been encouraged by the government.
 Eurobarometer: Greeks consider unemployment, combating poverty as top priorities
Brussels, 8/9/2005 (ANA)A majority Greek citizens consider unemployment as the country's greatest problem, with 64 percent of respondents in a recent "Eurobarometer" poll placing joblessness in the east Mediterranean country at the top of a list of other problems.
The same figure, 64 percent, was given for combating poverty and social exclusion, whereas the EU "25" average was 44 percent.
The results were presented on Wednesday during a press conference by the EU Commission's information director in Athens and Eurobarometer representative, Ierotheos Papado-poulos.
In echoing recent local polls, the Eurobarometer study said 86 percent of respondents were unhappy with the Greek economy; employment (93 percent), and social benefits (75 percent).
 More than 158 tons of unfit imports banned, gov't steps up food inspections, deputy minister says
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Deputy Minister of Agricultural Development and Foods Alexandros Kontos said on Wednesday that more than 158 tons of imported products deemed unfit for consumption had been banned from the Greek market since the beginning of August.
Banned products included 17 tons of peanuts from China, 21.5 tons of frozen chickens from Argentina, 12.8 frozen lambs from New Zealand, 2.3 tons of beef-based products from the US, and others.
Kontos emphasised that the ministry is stepping up food inspections at the country's main points of entry, but within the marketplace as well, in order "to protect consumers' health, to ensure the quality of imported agricultural products and to boost Greek farmers' income."
 Athens light industry chamber mulls opening trade centre in China
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The Athens Chamber of Light Industry said on Wednesday that it was mulling opening a trade centre in China.
The idea followed a recent visit to Greece by business representatives from the Chinese city of Tianjin.
The centre would promote quality Greek products in China's market, which is gradually undergoing deregulation, and help to widen cooperation between companies in the two countries, the Athens chamber said in a statement.
 Finmin, stockbrokers agree to improve market practices
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and the Association of Athens Stock Exchange Members (SMEHA) on Wednesday announced an action plan to improve professional practices in the market and transparency.
Agreed by the minister and stock brokers' representatives were the following:
 Athens professional chamber welcomes gov't move to aid small firms
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The Athens Professional Chamber on Wednesday welcomed a move by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas granting eligibility to small retail and services firms for European Union funding.
The programmes to boost competitiveness are financed under the Third Community Support Framework.
 Greece, Cyprus to create joint bourse platform
NICOSIA, 8/9/2005 (ANA/A Viketos)The Greek and Cypriot bourses are to sign an agreement in the island republic's capital on September 16 to create a joint trading platform.
The head of the Cyprus Stock Exchange, Akis Kleanthous, said that the Cypriot market was committed to implementing its side of the project by December 31.
 Gov't announces measures to improve coastal shipping services
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Wednesday announced a package of 10 measures aimed to improve services in the domestic coastal shipping sector.
The measures include stricter penalties to coastal shipping companies or shipping brokers for failure to timely inform passengers over changes in their departure and arrival schedules, stricter inspections on vessels and in particular the vessels' hotel services and introduction of ISM Code (International Safety Management).
The measures also include a partial deregulation of shipping services in the ports of Kymi, Lavrio, Rafina, Elefsina and Piraeus, introducing a free fare programme for the population of remote islands and signing of five-year contracts to service remote islands with new-built vessels.
Kefaloyiannis also announced measures to improve harbour infrastructure facilities in Piraeus, Lavrio, Rafina, Kymi and Irakleio through a three-billion-euro loan signed with the European Investment Bank.
The Greek minister also said coastal shipping companies should have a charter of rights and obligation for passengers and updating a record of mechanical damages on each vessel. He said the ministry planned to introduce permanent positions of medical doctors aboard vessels.
 Greek yachting sector enjoys spectacular year in 2005
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The number of foreign yachts arriving in Greek ports and marinas this year was double compared with the same period in 2004, official figures said on Wednesday.
According to figures released by the Tourism ministry, a total of 1,101 yachts arrived in Greek harbours and marinas in the period from May to the end of August from 433 in the corresponding period last year, with Mykonos, Kefallonia, Rhodes and Piraeus reporting the biggest percentage increases up to 300 percent.
Tourism Deputy Minister Anastasios Liaskos said 2005 was one of the most successful years in the last 20 years for the Greek yachting sector while he reiterated the ministry's will to support sea tourism in the future.
Liaskos stressed that the Tourism ministry in cooperation with the Economy and Merchant Marine ministries were promoting measures aimed to strengthen the attractiveness of Greek marinas.
 ETHEL urban bus company drivers to observe five-hour work stoppage on Thursday
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)ETHEL urban bus company drivers will be observing a five-hour work stoppage on Thursday to attend the sector's general assembly. Consequently, the company's buses will be off the streets from between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and the public is advised to seek other means of transport during the above hours.
 OTE begins 10 pct equity placement in NYSE
NEW YORK, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The Greek government began a placement of a 10 percent equity stake in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to institutional investors in the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
The placement, announced by Economy and Finance ministry, envisages a designed offering of OTE shares in Greece and abroad. Four international and four Greek banks are coordinating the placement procedure.
 Stocks edge down in bid to consolidate
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Stocks finished lower with players buying into selected blue chips but selling other stocks, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 3,297.21 points, marking a decline of 0.07%. Turnover was 153.3 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalisation shares ended 0.03% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.20% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.03% down.
Equity Index Futures:
 Environmentalists, trade unionists and chemists urge gov't to support EU chemicals policy
Athens, 8/9/2005 (ANA)The global conservation organisation, WWF Hellas, the General Confederation of the Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the Association of Greek Chemists (EEX) joined forces on Wednesday to urge Greek Eurodeputies and the Greek ministers of the environment and development to support the European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) directive regarding dangerous chemicals, in Europarliament and the EU ministerial council.
During a joint press conference, the three groups presented information regarding the high toxicity of certain categories of chemicals that are widely used on a daily basis in households and in the workplace.
According to WWF, GSEE and EEX, the EU REACH directive, which has not yet been passed into law, is a unique opportunity to regulate such a crucial issue that involves public health and the protection of ecosystems.
The three groups claimed that the directive will also help the chemicals industry since it will create new markets for safe products, it will promote innovation and it will boost the public's trust in the industry.
According to the press conference organisers, sufficient information about 86% of approximately 2,500 chemicals has not been made available in order to determine the substances' potential risks.
"There are agencies that link implementation of the directive with a reduction of commercial competitiveness and thus a loss of jobs," GSEE Secretary for Ecology and the Environment Christina Theochari said.
"However, according to European studies this does not seem likely to occur. Employees themselves are in favour of a stringent directive that will protect their health at work and in their day-to-day life," she added.
On his part, EEX President Yiorgos Dimopoulos referred to the inadequacy of current legislation, while WWF Hellas Director Dimitris Karavallas said that his organisation would continue fighting for a directive that would safeguard citizens and the environment from chemical substances.
"The chemicals industry is greatly responsible for ensuring that the chemicals it manufactures and distributes are safe; however, politicians have the serious obligation to vote for the specific directive and to ensure its implementation," Karavallas said.
 Ancient Greek and Roman exhibit re-opens at Vienna's Museum of Art History
VIENNA, 8/9/2005 (ANA/D.Dimitrakoudis)The Vienna Museum of Art History re-opened one of its wings after a five-year refurbishment, displaying once again ancient Greek and Roman works of art.
Inaugurating the renovated wing, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel praised the valuable works - with new additions bringing the total to more than 2,500 objects - that will attract tens of thousands of visitors daily.
Speaking at the inauguration, which was attended by numerous Austrian political figures, officials and artists, Eleftherios Economou, Director of the Berlin-based Hellenic Culture Institute announced that 2007 will be the "Year of Greece" in Austria with a series of events that will feature not only ancient Greek and Byzantine art but also modern Greek art, including music, theatre and dance.
Finally, Economou characterised the promotion of Greek archaeology and Greece in general through the museum's collection as 'very important', in comments he made to the ANA.
 About 100 kg of heroin discovered in car, three foreigners arrested
Igoumenitsa, 8/9/2005 (ANA)About 100 kilos of heroin was discovered by traffic police in a car outside the port city of Igoumenitsa in northwestern Greece on Wednesday afternoon. It is one of the greatest hauls ever to be made on Greek soil and the value of the drugs runs into millions of euros.
Two Germans and an American have been arrested and are being interrogated by the drug squad in Igoumenitsa.
The case was revealed when traffic police stopped the car for a routine check and noticed the nervousness of the driver and the passengers. Sniffer dogs were brought to the car and the heroin was detected immediately.
The car was taken to the Igoumenitsa police department where it was dismantled and dozens of packets of heroin came to light. Police are still weighing the packets to ascertain the exact weight of the heroin which might exceed 100 kilos.
According to reports, the drugs were received in Turkey and were being taken to Igoumenitsa from where they would be taken to a port in Italy.
 Symi municipality to honour actors of popular Turkish TV seriesSYMI, 8/9/2005, (ANA)
The municipality of Symi will be honouring the actors of the popular Turkish TV series "The Borders of Love" (Turkish title "Yabanci Damat") during a special event to be held on Saturday, in parallel with other events scheduled to take place on this Dodecannese island.
The actors of the series, whose leading stars are Ozgur Cevik and Nehir Erdogan, will be staying on the island for several days to film the second part of the popular series.
The screening of the series, in which references are made to Symi, resulted in hundreds of Turkish tourists visiting the island in the past months.
 Greek side overcomes Kazakhstan for 2-1 win in World Cup qualifier
Alma Aty, 8/9/2005 (ANA)Greece defeated a spirited Kazakhstan side 2-1 on Wednesday afternoon during a group 2 World Cup qualifying match in Almaty, keeping alive its hope for qualifying for next year's world cup tournament in Germany.
Kazakhstan went ahead in the second half with Zhumaskaliyev in the 58th minute only to be equalised by Bolton's Stelios Giannakopoulos in the 78th minute, with AEK Athens' Nikos Lymberopoulos giving the Greek side the three points with a shot in the 90th minute.
 EU does not reach consensus on response to Turkey
BRUSSELS, 8/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)The European Union's 25 member states did not manage on Wednesday to agree on their response to Turkey's refusal to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, due to disagreements and the over all handling of the issue by the British Presidency.
The discussion in Brussels during the COREPER-level talks was notably short, while efforts focused mainly on the bilateral meetings of the Presidency and the several delegations, including a Cypriot one, which expressed objections regarding the content of a counter statement that is expected in response to a July statement by Ankara reiterating its stance on Cyprus.
During the discussion, the permanent representatives of Cyprus, Greece and France insisted on the necessity that the EU counter statement included the issue of the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus as well as Ankara's obligation to implement the protocol extending its Customs Union to the ten new EU member states.
Representatives from Sweden and Denmark focused on including a reference in the statement for the necessity of a Cyprus settlement in the framework of the UN.
According to diplomatic sources, the British Presidency did not include in the latest draft text the position of many countries for a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the Protocol.
Furthermore there was no clear timetable for this implemen-tation but rather a reference to re-examine the issue in 2006 and in case of non-compliance to send the issue to the mechanism of the Association Council, which is considered an extremely time consuming procedure.
There was also no reference to the issue of the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey even though Greece, Cyprus and France have asked for such a statement.
The Presidency has withdrawn from the draft the reference for a ''de jure normalisation of relations'' between Turkey and all EU member states, which existed in the text at the ministerial meeting in Newport, in order to discuss it on a bilateral level and move on to a final wording, which did not happen.
Concluding, the British Presidency announced that it will continue bilateral meetings and possibly call an extraordinary COREPER meeting within the week if it seems possible to reach consensus.
It is certain that the British hope for an agreement the soonest so that the examination of the Commission's proposal starts for the framework of Turkey's negotiations
Christofias to attend World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments NEW YORK,
8/9/2005 (CNA)Cyprus House President Demetris Christofias is in New York to attend the 2nd World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments, organised September 7-9 by the Inter-Parliamentary
Union (IPU) at the UN Headquarters.
The Conference will deal with the challenges of the 21st century and the role of the parliaments.
The conference aims at projecting to the UN an overall view, at the highest level, of the contribution of the parliaments globally to the enhancement of the multilateral system and the promotion of peace, security, democracy, human rights and development.|
Christofias was due toattend on Wednesday the inaugural ceremony and a reception hosted for participants by the President of the IPU Sergio Paez. He will also have a meeting with the President of Russian Duma Boris Gryzlof and during his stay in New York he will also meet with the presidents of parliaments of other countries. Christofias will address the Conference on September 8 at 1120 local time and will participate in discussions on the role of the parliaments as regards UN reinforcement.
On September 9, Christofias will be the main speaker at a gathering of overseas Cypriots in Astoria and on September 10 he will leave for Cyprus.
 EU-Turkey agreement on immigration necessary, says Cyprus
LARNACA, 8/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus Interior Minister Andreas Christou has said that Nicosia wants the European Union to conclude an agreement with Turkey on illegal immigration, to ensure that Ankara eliminates and controls the trafficking of immigrants through its territory.
He also said the government had achieved important changes in 2004 and 2005 with regard to combatting illegal immigration and dealing with asylum seekers.
Christou was speaking at Larnaca airport prior to departure for Britain for the Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, which will discuss the issues of immigration, illegal immigration and political asylum.
Responding to questions about illegal immigration in Cyprus, Christou said that ''we have achieved important things during 2004 and 2005,'' adding that despite this ''numbers continue to remain high''.
He reiterated that asylum seekers continue to pour into Cyprus' government controlled areas from the northern Turkish occupied part of the country.
''We want the EU to come to an agreement with Turkey, a candidate state, so that Ankara can eliminate and control the trafficking of these people through its territory,'' he said.
Replying to questions, Christou said that EU financial aid is given on asylum issues and on illegal immigration issues on a small scale.
Replying to another question, Christou said that the number of asylum seekers is not disproportionate to Cyprus' population in the sense that many people who apply for political asylum already live in Cyprus.
He explained that many of the applicants are students or employees and they suddenly decide to apply for asylum.
''They are obviously economic migrants who chose this method to extend their stay in Cyprus,'' he concluded.
 Czech official to visit Cyprus for talks
NICOSIA, 8/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for EU Affairs of the Czech Republic Vladimir Mueller arrives in Cyprus on Thursday for a working visit, during which he hold official talks at the Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During his three-day visit, Mueller will be received by Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou and on Friday he will hold talks with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Sotos Zackheos. He will also meet with President of the Standing Committee of the House or Representatives on European Affairs Nicos Kleanthous.
Before his departure on September 11, the Czech official will be toured around the coastal city of Paphos by Mayor Feidias Sarikas.