|Friday, 19 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 16, 2004
 Labor and social security rights of Olympic Airlines employees will be safeguarded, transport and communications minister saysAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis, speaking on Thursday after a meeting of the Interministerial Privatizations Committee held at the finance ministry under the chairmanship of Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, said that the labor and social security rights of the Olympic Airlines company's employees will be safeguarded.
Alogoskoufis said on his part that all the new factors were examined in the wake of the decision taken by the European Commission and the Interministerial Privatizations Committee took decisions which were announced by Liapis. The decisions are the following:
The labor and social security rights of the employees will be safeguarded and the government has already prepared an integrated plan. The decision taken by the European Commission will be studied in depth and it will be examined if and under which conditions the continuation of tendering for Olympic's privatization will be permitted.
The government continues to adhere to its position for the privatization of the company, provided it is possible in light of the new developments and, lastly, the Interministerial Privatizations Committee will convene again when a clear picture will have been created on the intentions of investors and the possibilities of Olympic's sale for final decisions to be taken.
 Gov't fends off criticism over OA, points to 1994-2004 period cited by BarrotAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The government on Thursday appeared unforgiving in its criticism of previous PASOK governments' actions vis-a-vis ailing national carrier Olympic Airways/Airlines (OA), less than 24 hours after the European Commission ordered OA to return upwards of 500 million euros to the Greek state.
In briefing reporters during his regular press conference, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos dismissed questions referring to the government's "haste" in resolving the OA quagmire and of "indirectly benefiting" the state-run company's competitors.
In reply, Roussopoulos cited a statement by then Prime Minister Costas Simitis in September 2004 during his address at the Thessaloniki International Fair, namely, that conditions were ripe for resolving the situation at OA.
The spokesman also pointed directly at statements, made a day earlier, by EU Commissioner Jacques Barrot, who spoke of "problems that began in 1994 and lasted until 2004".
"If, therefore, 10 years are not enough for a political decision to be taken, then obviously we have differing opinions over the concept of haste," Roussopoulos said.
He added that the entire OA issue could be debated in Parliament if one of the four parties in the legislature made such a request.
Furthermore, he echoed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' pledge over the weekend that OA employees will not be left without jobs.
Finally, Roussopoulos offered a detailed account of OA's losses in 2003, noting that Olympic Airways recorded damages of 388 million euros; a debt-free spin-off, Olympic Airlines, posted losses of 23 million euros within a span of 18 days, whereas Olympic's domestic arm recorded a 30-million-euro loss.
"In total, OA posted 441 million euros in damages in 2003. In other words, that figure translates into 1.5 million euros per day," Roussopoulos emphasized, while noting that cost-cutting management policies in 2004 cut losses by 100 million.
 Gov't will find best solution to OA debacle, ND Secretary assertsAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Secretary of ruling New Democracy's Central Committee Vangelis Meimarakis said he was confident the government would find the best possible solution for Olympic Airlines (OA), its employees and the Greek people, following the European Commission's ruling on Thursday that OA had received illegal state aid.
Meimarakis called the Commission ruling, which condemned "the practices and policies former PASOK governments followed all those years," as "unpleasant, yet inevitable."
He called on main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou to apologize to the Greek people.
Opposition calls for parliamentary transparency committee to examine OA chief's allegations: Opposition MPs called for the Parliamentary Institutions and Transparency Committee to examine allegations by Olympic Airlines President Petros Papageorgiou that vested interests are undermining the ailing state carrier.
The MPs, among them PASOK's Apostolos Kaklamanis, Evangelos Venizelos; KKE's (Communist Party of Greece) Liana Kanelli; and SYN's (Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology) Fotis Kouvelis, are calling for the committee to convene before the government proceeds with any decisions or announcements related to the fate of Olympic Airlines.
On Thursday, the European Commission ruled that Olympic Airlines had received illegal state aid.
 OA labor unionist denies report that OA employees aim to shut down airportsAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The head of an umbrella group representing Olympic Airways/Airlines (OA) employees on Thursday denied that labor unions have threatened to "close down" airports across Greece if the ailing national carrier is closed.
The European Commission on Wednesday issued a more-or-less expected ruling ordering OA to return upwards of 500 million euros back to Greek taxpayers -- money considered by the Commission as illegal direct and indirect subsidies granted to the company by successive Greek governments between 1994-2004.
OA union leader Manolis Patestos made the comment after meeting with main opposition PASOK secretary Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou.
Instead airport mobilizations, the unionist said OA employees want to "struggle together with passengers so that the company remains open ... we will support the passengers that support us..."
Among others, Patestos claimed that debt-ridden OA was being led to bankruptcy in order to "serve private interests" and that a "political decision" has already sealed the state-owned company's fate.
Finally, he said union reps will seek meetings with political party leaders.
On her part, the PASOK secretary blamed the government for the turn of events, citing "major responsibilities on the part of the ND government, 18 months now, due to its inaction and its lack of any substantive presence or negotiations in Brussels on this subject..."
She also said the government abandoned an operation plan for OA developed after 2003 by the then Simitis government.
Along those lines, she called on the government to take recourse to the European Court against the Commission ruling and "head to Brussels to discuss the matter with the Commission".
Pressed for details over her call for a "viable solution" to the OA issue, Xenogiannakopoulou said "it's not the time to discuss what this solution will entail, what's important is that this solution is viable, that it ensures the company's prospects and has a long-term prospect in tandem with safeguarding the rights of employees."
 PM discusses bilateral relations with Albanian counterpart
NEW YORK, 16/9/2005 (ANA - A. Panagopoulos)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held a meeting with his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha in a very good climate, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly here on Thursday and, according to government sources, the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and exchanged invitations to visit each other's country.
It was the prime minister's first meeting with Berisha, following his election to the premiership of the neighboring country.
Special reference was made during the meeting to the ethnic Greek minority and Berisha mentioned that his government includes a minister of Greek origin.
Karamanlis attended the UN General Assembly's sessions since the morning, while Deputy Foreign Ministers Evripidis Stylianidis and Yiannis Valinakis represented Greece at the General Assembly's roundtable discussion and at the informal Francophony session.
According to Greek diplomatic sources, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis might be meeting with the special mediator on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name Matthew Nimetz in the next few days.
The same sources said that Greece has expressed its positions on proposals made by Nimetz and will not discuss the possibility of a double name. They also added that no new initiative and no new proposal is expected at the moment on the part of the special mediator.
 Opposition blasts government's economic reform planAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Thursday sharply criticized a draft plan released by the finance ministry to achieve economic reform in 2005-2008.
"It is clear that (European Union) goals of employment and social cohesion are of no concern to this government," the party's economy spokeswoman, Vasso Papandreou, said in a statement.
"Indicative of the government's anti-people policy is a new intervention being planned in industrial relations - the abolition of minimum wages and collective labor contracts - and in workers' income - rises in public utility rates, public transport fares etc," Papandreou added.
In a separate statement, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology said that the reform program represented the country's total submission to big capital, support for excessive corporate earnings, and tax immunity for major corporations.
In addition, the plan fostered the dissolution of industrial relations in the public sector and allowed overly flexible labor relations in the private sector," the party's economic and social affairs spokesman, Panayiotis Lafazanis, said in a statement.
 COREPER to discuss reply to Turkey in emergency meeting Friday
BRUSSELS, 15/9/2005 (ANA/B.Demiris)The European Union's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) will be meeting here on Friday to resume discussions on the formulation of the Union's reply to Turkey over the latter's refusal to recognize the Cyprus Republic, an EU member state.
According to diplomatic sources, Britain's COREPER member decided to call the emergency meeting after negotiations with Cypriot officials earlier on Thursday.
The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. local time.
On July 29, Turkey signed the Association Agreement Protocol -- by virtue of which Turkey extended its customs union agreement with the EU to the 10 new member states, including Cyprus. It submitted a separate declaration stating that it refused to recognize the Cyprus Republic and that its ports and airports would remain closed to Cypriot ships and planes.
 Gov't says it has no knowledge on reports of new 'name issue' proposalAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Athens on Thursday denied any knowledge regarding press reports claiming that UN mediator Matthew Nimetz has announced his intention of submitting a new proposal aimed at solving the "name issue" between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
 Ecumenical patriarch stresses Greekness of Macedonia during visit to GiannitsaGiannitsa, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on Thursday stressed that Macedonia and its history are Greek, while speaking at the unveiling of a bust of King Philip II of Macedon at Giannitsa, where he was declared an honorary citizen.
Bartholomew said that the municipal and other authorities in the city had acted correctly by setting up a bust of Philip:
"The paternal and indisputable wealth of your identity is greatly envied by some, so that they insist on calling themselves descendants of the Greek Macedonians in a way that perverts history," he said.
The statement was seen as a reference to the Slav population of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Greece's northern border, which claims to be descended from the great Macedonian general of antiquity, Alexander the Great, and adopted the emblems of the ancient kingdom as its national flag. The claim is disputed by Greece, which has a large northern province named Macedonia that contains the city in which Alexander was born, as historically incorrect. Greece and FYROM also disagree about the latter's adoption of the name 'Macedonia'.
In his speech, Bartholomew said that Giannitsa "confirmed that the area was the unbroken continuity of Greek tradition" and stressed that traditions should not be scorned since "this is the gravestone of the existence of peoples".
Afterward, the Patriarch attended the inauguration of Giannitsa's new town hall, also attended by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsionis.
 Alexandria Patriarch pays courtesy call on parliament presidentAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and All Africa on Thursday paid a courtesy call on parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki.
According to a parliament announcement, Theodoros expressed his appreciation to Benaki for the Hellenic Parliament's wholehearted support for the Patriarchate.
He also briefed Benaki on the work being done by the Patriarchate throughout the entire African continent, as well as on progress in renovation works on the Patriarchate buildings in Cairo and Patriarchate in Alexandria, which the parliament president visited during her trip to Egypt last March.
 Dep. minister holds dinner in honor of visiting Alexandria PatriarchAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Deputy Foreign Minister Panagiotis Skandalakis on Thursday held a dinner in honor of visiting Patriarch Theodoros, of Alexandria and All Africa. Addressing the Patriarch, he stressed that the Greek foreign ministry sincerely desired to assist the Alexandria Patriarchate's work as much as possible.
Also present were Deputy Education Minister George Kalos, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis, Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas and the president of the Athens School of Medicine.
Patriarch Theodoros, who is in Greece to mark the first anniversary since his enthronement, said he hoped to establish a school for agriculture and medicine, so that African priest might contribute to daily needs.
 Education Minister meets with Alexandria PatriarchAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Education Minister Marietta Giannakou met with Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and All Africa on Thursday.
Giannakou said she was pleased to meet with the patriarch, who is also a personal friend.
 Turkey invites Pope Benedict XVI to carry out official visit in 2006
ISTANBUL, 16/9/2005 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has invited Pope Benedict XVI to carry out an official visit to Turkey in 2006, the Turkish foreign ministry announced on Thursday.
The ministry's announcement said the Pope had been invited to "see for himself the existing atmosphere in Turkey of understanding between cultures on the basis of respect for individual freedoms."
Earlier, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I had told the press that he had officially invited the new head of the Catholic Church to visit Istanbul and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar on November 30 this year, on the feast day of St. Andrew and the Ecumenical Throne.
Pope Benedict XVI had announced that he was preparing to reply to the invitation.
 Gov't comments on fixed-odds games wagerAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The government on Thursday reiterated that it will allow the gradual inclusion of Greek first division football matches on the state-run betting pools' popular fixed-odds game ("Pame Stoihima") while at the same time emphasizing that "incompatibility clauses" will be implemented.
The statements were made after a meeting by Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis and Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos.
 Visitors to Thessaloniki trade fair post 8% rise for the dayThessaloniki, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The number of visitors to Thessaloniki International Trade Fair rose by 8.0% the previous day compared to the same period last year, the event's organizer said on Thursday.
The daily increase was modest compared to a nearly 50% increase on Tuesday against the equivalent day of the exhibition in 2004, Helexpo said.
The figures cover trade visitors from Greece and abroad, the state-owned company said in a statement.
 Communist party leader visits 70th TIF, criticizes other partiesThessaloniki, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Visiting the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Thursday, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga was critical of all the other parties in Parliament, while she described the promise made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that Greece will make an economic recovery in 2008 after two years of sacrifices as 'a great lie'.
She also dismissed main opposition PASOK as "not worth a penny", pointing out that the present government was simply taking the policies of Simitis' government one step further.
Regarding the other left-wing party in Parliament, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, Papariga said it was equally responsible because it took the same tack as the two major parties and had greatly lowered its standards.
She called on voters to detach themselves from two main parties and lend strength to KKE, while noting that new political formations were likely and that KKE would look on these favorably and be ready to open talks with them.
She also blamed the other parties in Parliament for the problems of the national carrier Olympic Airlines, formerly Olympic Airways, and said she was in favor of keeping OA as the only airline in Greece.
 KKE leader Papariga visits ANA-MPA pavilion during tour of TIFThessaloniki, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga toured the 70th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair on Wednesday, during which she visited the joint Athens News Agency (ANA) and Macedonian Press Agency (MPA) pavilion.
Papariga, who was accompanied by party MP Angelos Tzekos, political bureau member Theodosis Constantinidis and TIF organizer HELEXPO general director K. Papaconstantinou, was greeted by MPA general director Spyros Kouzinopoulos, who briefed her on the activities and news services provided by the ANA and MPA, which are currently in the process of merger, as well as on the new services being prepared by the country's national news agency.
The KKE leader had the opportunity to visit the ANA and MPA websites, and showed great interest in the Balkan news service.
In statements to the ANA-MPA, which were broadcast live on television via webcast, Papariga said that despite the continuous efforts for better organization of the TIF, in recent years the problems faced by the Greek economy were reflected and the disproportionate development of different sectors was apparent, adding that this disproportionate growth "has many victims".
Commenting on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' address at the TIF inauguration, she said that Karamanlis had been "clear and frank...he said that he would discontent the people, and consequently he would please the few".
 Greece steps up economic diplomacy in Mediterranean areaThessaloniki, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Greece has stepped up its economic diplomacy in the Mediterranean countries, beyond activity in southeastern Europe, due to the planned creation of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade zone by 2010, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Thursday.
The island of Rhodes is to host a Euro-Mediterranean trade and industry convention in September 2006 including the European Union's 25 member states and 10 Mediterranean countries, Sioufas told a business forum on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.
The minister also noted that on October 25 a founding charter would be signed in Athens for creation of southeastern Europe's energy community.
In addition, a bill would shortly be given to parliament allowing deregulation of the electricity market in Greece, Sioufas added.
The forum was arranged by Helexpo and the Greek Foreign Trade Board under the aegis of the finance ministry.
 Evros prefectural council opposes Canadian gold mining/processing investment plan in Bulgaria for environmental reasonsAlexandroupoli, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The Evros prefectural council expressed its opposition, for environmental reasons, to the prospective installation of a gold mining and processing unit in the Krumovgrad region of neighboring Bulgaria by the Canada-based company Dundee Precious Metals, during an urgent meeting held late Wednesday night in Nea Orestiada.
Dundee has submitted an investment proposal with the Bulgarian authorities for the development of a new gold mine located on its exploration concession in Krumovgrad, southeastern Bulgaria.
The entire prefectural council expressed strong concern over the environmental repercussions entailed for Thrace and the wider Balkan region.
The investment proposal for the "Krumovgrad Gold Project" provides for the development of a gold mine and processing plant at the mine site, located at Ada Tepe, some 3 kilometers south of the town of Krumovgrad. The Evros prefectural council said that the prospective gold mining and processing could cause serious problems to the environment, as the Krumovgrad region borders with streams and tributaries that flow into the Ardas and Evros Rivers.
The prefectural council unanimously opposed the prospective operation of the unit, and decided to donate 100,000 euros to support the activities of Bulgarian environmental and local groups aimed at averting the development of the mining and processing unit at Krumovgrad.
A three-member committee comprising Evros Prefect Nikos Zambounidis and prefectural councilors Dimitris Mouzas and Christos Trellis was also designated to coordinate cooperation initiatives with the various Bulgarian and Turkish organizations opposing the development of the unit in the region.
It was further decided that all routes of recourse to the authoritative European bodies and courts would be exhausted for rejection of the investment plan.
According to the Introduction to the relevant Definitive Feasibility Study commissioned by Dundee, the project will extract high grade ore from an open pit mine at 850,000 tones per year, and treat it in a hybrid CIL process plant to produce gold/silver doré bullion. The operational life of the project is some six years, including processing stockpiled low grade ore at the end of the project.
 Main opposition MPs criticize government's refusal to give heating subsidyAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Forty-four MPs of main opposition PASOK on Thursday criticized the government's decision to refuse to hand out heating subsidies to low-income and other vulnerable groups this coming winter, in spite of soaring oil prices that are set to increase heating costs by 38 per cent.
In a question tabled in Parliament for Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, they pointed out that other European governments are seeking ways to support lower-income strata this coming winter and that the PASOK government of 2000-2001 had handed out heating subsidies ranging from 30,000 - 50,000 drachmas.
They also stressed that with oil prices approaching $70 a barrel, the Greek State had increased its income from taxation by hundreds of millions of euros and could thus afford to give some relief to the poorer citizens of the country.
The prime minister's refusal on "various pretexts" showed a "deeply conservative viewpoint and a complete lack of social sensitivity toward those who have the greatest need," they added.
 Trade between Greece, Turkey hit record high in 200416/9/2005, (ANA)
Trade between Greece and Turkey reached an all-time high in 2004 to total 1.7 billion US dollars against 1.3 billion in 2003 and 225.8 million in 1989, a Turkish official told the ANA-MPA in an interview.
The deputy general secretary of the Turkish Exports Promotion Centre, Beratie Oncu, said that her country's exports to Greece in 2004 rose by 27% against the previous year to total 1.1 billion US dollars; while Greek exports to the neighboring country totalled 594 million US dollars against 427 million in 2003.
In January-July 2005, the volume of trade between the two countries rose by 50 million US dollars versus a year earlier to total 997 million, Oncu said.
 Greek employment index up 2.4 percent in 2nd qtr, yr/yrAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Greek employment composite index rose by 2.4 percent in the second quarter of 2005 compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Thursday.
NSS, in its report, attributed the improved development to increases of 2.7 percent in the food store category and 2.1 percent in other retail stores. The employment index was up 1.4 percent in the April-June period from the previous quarter of 2005, reflecting a 1.1 percent increase in the food store category and a 1.8 percent increase in other stores.
 Building activity down 2.3 pct in volume in first halfAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Building activity fell by 4.4 percent (based on the number of permits) and by 2.3 percent (in volume) in the first six months of 2005 compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Thursday.
NSS, in its monthly report, said that building activity was down 2.2 percent and 14.5 percent (in permits and volume respectively) compared with the same month in 2004.
Private building activity fell by 1.4 percent in the Attica region (volume), and by 3.2 percent in the rest of the country. The Aegean (26.3 pct) and Epirus (24.2 pct) recorded the biggest percentage falls in June.
 Interamerican paid 108.6 mln euros in compensations in Jan-AugAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Interamerican, one of Greece's largest insurance groups, on Thursday announced that compensation payments to life insurance, contract maturity and healthcare costs totalled 108.6 million euros in the first eight months of 2005.
The company also paid 31.7 million euros in compensation to general insurance contract holders, of which 27.2 million euros covered the car insurance sector.
Interamerican said compensation payments in the life and healthcare sectors totalled 727.1 million euros in the period from 2000 to 2004, and 229.1 million euros in the general insurance sector.
 Brief traffic stoppages on Rio-Antirrio bridge as of September 20Athens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Brief traffic stoppages will begin on the Rio-Antirrio bridge, linking central Greece to the Peloponnese, as of Tuesday September 20 to enable work to be carried out on the bridge for an estimated period of about 10 weeks, in accordance with weather conditions prevailing during this period.
According to an announcement by the company responsible for the bridge, on September 20 "a traffic stoppage is expected at 7.30 a.m. which will last for about a quarter of an hour. Other stoppages of the same duration are expected, one or more times every day, mainly in the morning throughout the period of work. The total duration of work will differ in accordance with meteorological conditions and it is expected to be in the region of about 10 weeks."
The work is mainly aimed at further strengthening the bridge's protection from lightning.
 Greek stocks move higher on ThursdayAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Greek stocks ended higher on Thursday reflecting renewed buying interest for both small and high capitalization stocks in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The composite index rose 0.58 percent to end at 3,264.37 points with turnover an improved 209.8 million euros.
Sector indices gained ground with the IT Solutions (8.24 pct), Industrials (1.86 pct), Textiles (1.59 pct) and Mineral-Cement (1.27 pct) sectors scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day. The Publications (0.38 pct), IT (0.27 pct), Parallel (0.17 pct) and Bank (0.10 pct) indices suffered losses.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.46 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.28 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 1.08 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 151 to 109 with another 73 issues unchanged.
Equity Index Futures:
Foreign Exchange Rates: Friday
Reference buying rates per euro released
by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.232
 Maria Callas gala to kick off Thessaloniki Concert Hall winter programThessaloniki, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The customary gala in the memory of Maria Callas - who died on September 16 some 28 years ago - will kick off the winter program of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall on Friday. The annual gala in Callas' memory has inaugurated the concert hall's program for the past four years.
The lead during Friday's performance will be Italian soprano Mariella Devia, one of the foremost opera singers in the world, especially in the role of Lucia di Lammermoor that will close the evening.
In statements to the ANA, Devia said that singing in a gala was a way of paying homage and showing respect to a great performer like Callas. Performing without the accompanying props and costumes for each play was more difficult but also more interesting and a challenge, she added.
She will be accompanied by the Thessaloniki Municipal Symphony Orchestra conducted by Miltos Logiadis. The gala program will include arias from Vincenzo Bellini's 'Puritani', Gioacchino Rossini's "Tancredi", Jules Massenet's "Thaïs", Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucretia Borgia" and Bellini's "Lucia di Lammermoor".
The next scheduled performance at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall will be the premiere of the opera "Turandot" by Giacomo Puccini on November 11, with American soprano Jennifer Wilson as the Chinese princess.
 Greek movies hit New York theatres
NEW YORK, 16/9/2005 (ANA/P.Panagiotou)Theo Angelopoulos' latest film, the Weeping Meadow, the first in a planned trilogy, opened in New York on Thursday and is already receiving favorable reviews.
The New York Times called it "a beautiful and devastating meditation on war, history and loss."
Penny Panayotopoulou's "Hard Goodbyes: My Father" opens in New York theatres on Friday.
 Warlamis exhibit opens on the island of LesvosLesvos, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
An exhibit featuring the works of art of Efthymios Warlamis opened at the Public Theatre on the island of Lesvos on Wednesday evening.
The exhibit's central theme is the power of maternal love.
Present at the inauguration were Minister of the Aegean and Island Policy Aristotelis Pavlidis, the ministry's Secretary General Dimitris Kourkoumellis, Mayor of Lesvos Aris Hatzikomninos and others.
Warlamis was born in Greece but currently lives in Austria.
 Int'l Balkans conference held in KavalaKavala, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The second International Conference of Balkan Historical Studies kicked off in Kavala, northern Greece on Thursday, with the participation of more than 200 attendees from Greece and the Balkans.
Roughly 100 distinguished experts are expected to address the conference, among them two historians from Bulgaria who will present new data regarding Bulgaria's occupation of Kavala and the greater eastern Macedonian region between 1914-1916.
Secretary General of the Eastern Macedonia-Thrace Region Michalis Angelopoulos inaugurated the conference, while Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos also addressed the conference.
Angelopoulos said that Kavala's historical wealth has not been promoted enough, particularly in regards to St. Paul and the creation of the first Christian community on a European level.
The conference, organized by the Historical and Literary Archive of Kavala (ILAK), will run through September 18.
 Protestors block entry to alleged neo-Nazi venueLamia, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Roughly 200 protestors from various political parties and organizations on Thursday blocked the entrance to the Interstation camping ground in Lamia, the alleged venue for Hatewave 2005, a European far-right festival organized by the Greek group Golden Dawn.
Some of the protestors will remain stationed outside the camp all night, while others will patrol other camping grounds in the area.
Golden Dawn used Interstation for its festival last year and had allegedly made a deposit to the camp owners for this year's event. However, Interstation's owners reportedly returned the deposit giving in to local pressure from groups and individuals objecting to the event.
The event is scheduled to take place from September 16-18.
 Immigrant smuggler dumps 23 refugees in sea off LesvosLesvos, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The Harbor Corps was on the alert all day on Thursday to find and rescue 23 refugees of Algerian origin who had been dumped in the sea off the Aegean island of Lesvos by a Turkish immigrant smuggler.
At dawn a Mytilene Harbor vessel had spotted the boat carrying the refugees in the sea region south of the coastal town of Mytilene. In his effort to escape, the immigrant smuggler forced the refugees into the sea, let the boat run aground in shallow water and then headed inland.
Two boats and a Super Puma helicopter combing the area found 18 of the refugees struggling in the sea and arranged for their safe transfer, while the other five made their way to the shore by themselves.
A Turk was also arrested on shore, who is believed to be the immigrant smuggler. He has not yet admitted his guilt in the case, but port authorities are certain that he is the man who dumped the refugees in the sea.
 UNHCR delegation visits shelter on LesvosLesvos, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
A delegation of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday visited a shelter on the island of Lesvos to see how it operates and what conditions refugees encounter during their temporary stay.
Lesvos Prefect Pavlos Vogiatzis received the delegation, headed by Karen Farkas, representative of the UN Refugee Agency in Athens and Susan Park, senior legal adviser.
He briefed them on the center's operation and the initiatives taken by the prefecture in order to improve conditions and to address problems as they arise, since the shelter has to accommodate an increasing number of illegal immigrants seeking refuge.
The delegation also met with the chief of the island's coast guard as well as the police chief.
Farkas refused to comment "for the time being" on the conditions observed at the centre.
The shelter is operated by the Lesvos Prefecture in Pagani.
 Greek police break-up alleged e-banking theft ringAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Police on Thursday said two suspects, identified as ethnic Greeks from Russia, have been charged with stealing local and European depositors' bank codes in order to transfer money to accounts of accomplices in Russia.
The suspects, who were arrested last month and whose names were not released, are only described as a man and women, 37 and 22, respectively. Another couple, also ethnic Greeks reportedly living in Russia, is wanted in connection with the case.
Authorities said at least six wire transfers of cash were detected between Greece and Russia, although the total amount skimmed from bank customers has not been calculated.
Both suspects are due to face an Athens prosecutor, while Interpol was informed about the activity of alleged accomplices in Russia.
 Youngsters with disabilities meet with Secretary General of Western Macedonian RegionThessaloniki, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
Youngsters with disabilities visited Secretary General of the Western Macedonian Region Andreas Leoudis on Thursday within the context of the European Commission's "Youth" program.
One of the program's objectives is to evaluate museums' accessibility in the region by individuals with disabilities.
Based on these evaluations, changes will be made to ensure that people with disabilities can easily access the facilities, Leoudis said.
 Acropolis may keep lift for disabledAthens, 16/9/2005, (ANA)
The Culture Ministry decided that the lift currently providing people with disabilities access to the Acropolis can stay where it is provided that certain aesthetic and mechanical improvements be made.
The decision was made during a meeting held by Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis at the ministry on Thursday.
The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) has been charged with examining the issue.
According to a ministry statement, meeting attendees noted how greatly useful the lift proved during the Athens Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2004.
AEK Athens holds Zenit St. Petersburg to 0-0 draw in UEFA Cup match St. Petersburg, 16/9/2005
AEK Athens held Zenit St. Petersburg of Russia to a 0-0 draw in a UEFA Cup first round first leg match played at Petrovski stadium in this Russian city on Thursday. The second leg match will be played at the Athens Olympic stadium on September 29.
 PAOK Thessaloniki and Metalurg Donetsk draw 1-1 in UEFA Cup match
Thessaloniki, 16/9/2005 (ANA)PAOK Thessaloniki and Metalurg Donetsk of Ukraine drew 1-1 in a UEFA Cup first round first leg match played at Toumba stadium in Thessaloniki on Thursday night. Salpingidis scored for PAOK in the 25th minute but the Ukrainians drew level in the 67th minute with Sisenko. The second leg match will be played in Donetsk on September 29.
 Cyprus supports strengthening of UN Human Rights institutions
UNITED NATIONS, 16/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos pointed out here Thursday the need for the strengthening of the United Nations Human Rights institutions, expressing Cyprus' support for reform to the Security Council so as to reinforce its credibility and legitimacy.
In an intervention at the High Level Plenary Meeting of the UN-General Assembly, President Papadopoulos pointed out that the ''current UN human rights institutional framework faces considerable problems in the implementation of those norms and standards,'' adding that ''mainstreaming of human rights in the entire UN system has yet to be achieved."
''The respect and promotion of the human rights of all people and in particular of internally displaced persons, refugees and missing persons are of vital importance to Cyprus,'' the president said, adding that ''for these reasons we support the upgrading of the Commission on Human Rights to a Human Rights Council and the enhancement of the leadership role for the High Commissioner for Human Rights.''
Papadopoulos expressed the belief that ''the UN and the world community have an obligation and a responsibility to protect innocent populations against awful violations of human rights, such as
genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.''
Referring to the Security Council, the UN body for the maintenance of international peace and security, Papadopoulos noted that it ''should reinforce the fundamental obligation of member-states under the Charter to refrain from the threat or use of force and to avoid aggression.''
''The Republic of Cyprus, which has suffered from the use of force and foreign aggression and is still suffering from occupation,'' the president underlined, ''firmly believes that we need to reform the Security Council so as to reinforce its credibility and legitimacy, through, inter alia, the improvement of its working methods and decision making procedures. Securing efficiency in the implementation of its resolutions remains an absolute necessity.''
''In fact, our Organization will be as strong and effective as its membership wishes it or allows it to be,'' Papadopoulos noted.
Papadopoulos also said that the UN should be empowered to deal effectively with the changing nature of threats to collective security, such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and
transnational crime, while not forgetting the settlement of old disputes.
''Peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peace-building are vital activities for the strengthening of the Organization's capacity to promote collective security,''
Papadopoulos added, noting that ''the proposed Peace-building Commission will provide the long overdue answer to the need for post-conflict action.''
''Referring to the fight against terrorism, we fully agree with the Secretary-General's counter-terrorism strategy and its five pillars.
On disarmament and non-proliferation we offered our support to the relevant initiative of Norway and others,'' he added.
Cyprus president reiterates commitment
 to a Cyprus settlement
NEW YORK, 16/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos reiterated here on Thursday his genuine commitment to a Cyprus settlement, saying he fully supports a bizonal, bicommunal federation that must be viable and functional.
Addressing a gathering at the Foreign Policy Association here on Thursday, he also said that the UN is the only forum that can help solve the question of Cyprus, under its auspices, pointing out that it has the legitimacy to help towards this direction. In his remarks, the President made an extensive and detailed presentation of the situation in Cyprus, stressing in particular the core issues in which the Greek Cypriot side continues to have serious concerns and which must be addressed.
Asked if he believed the UN was in a position to help find a settlement, he said the UN is as strong and as efficient as the member states allow it to be or wish it to be.
''In our case it has not been like that, it did not have the overall support of all the countries involved in the Cyprus issue,'' he said, noting that he knows of no other forum that has the legitimacy to help resolve an international problem such as the Cyprus problem.
''Yes, I think the UN can help because they have outside evidence that they act independently and on the basis of principles,'' he added.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, he explained that the only reason the Turkish side is not seeking full international recognition of its break-away state in Turkish occupied Cyprus is because the Turkish Cypriots would lose their status as European Union citizens, which they now enjoy as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus that joined the EU in May last year, if another state is declared in Cyprus.
''Our aim is the reunification of Cyprus, that would unite the country, its society, its economy and institutions. This solution is provided by a bizonal, bicommunal federation, a true federation in
one federal state,'' he said, adding that such a federation made up of two states must have deadlock resolving machinery to ensure the functionality of the state.
He explained that as far as he was concerned, the core issue of the question of Cyprus boils down to one question, that relates to the ultimate goal.
''What is the aim? Ôo set up one state or a federation of two separate states that would cooperate with each other? We need a viable and functional state and we remain committeed to this objective,'' he stressed.
He said at a meeting Wednesday here with Turkey's premier he put this question to him. At this encounter, he added, both he and the premier outlined their views on the matter.
Papadopoulos said after the separate referenda in Cyprus in April 2004 on a UN solution plan the government has been working consistently and constantly with the UN to help launch a new initiative for a solution, which as he pointed out, must not be led to failure as this would be ''catastrophic.''
''Partition is an anathema for us,'' he said, adding that Cyprus' European Union accession can prove to be a catalyst towards reunification.
The president said Cyprus supports Turkey's European accession course provided that Ankara complies with its obligations towards the EU, which relate to EU principles and regulations.
''Turkey has not yet complied with its obligations, but we hope Ankara will meet these obligations'' set out in the December EU summit, he said.
Papadopoulos referred to measures the government applies to help cooperation between the island's two communities, and help boost the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots.
On US-Cyprus relations, he said these are ''excellent'' as both share common values and goals and recalled the firm support Cyprus offers the US in the fight against terrorism.
''We hope these ties will further improve,'' he added.
At the start of his remarks, Papadopoulos expressed regret for the victims of hurricane Katrina and the air crash in Greece in which 121 people were killed, most of them Cypriots.
''Our heart goes to the relatives of the victims,'' he said.
Present among the audience were Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis and Cyprus' Ambassador to the US Evripides Evriviades.
 Cyprus president signs International Convention on nuclear terrorism suppression
UNITED NATIONS, 16/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos signed here on Thursday the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
The signing took place at UN headquarters, here, where world leaders have gathered for the 2005 world summit and the 60th session of the UN General Assembly.
 Cypriot president meets unofficially with Turkish prime minister
NEW YORK, 15/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has had what he described as ''an unofficial meeting'' with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, here at the UN headquarters.
''I do not think that one should give more importance than one should to such chance meetings. Each one of us outlined his views,'' the president said, when asked about the content of his conversation.
Addressing a large gathering at the think tank, Foreign Policy Association, Papadopoulos said he had asked the prime minister about his objective as far as the question of Cyprus is concerned, and whether he aimed at setting up one state or a federation of two states cooperating between them.
The president refrained from elaborating on his encounter with Erdogan, said though that on Wednesday both found themselves in the same room, the premier approached him and they had a civilized conversation during which each outlined his views.
 UNSG intends to appoint Danish diplomat as his Special Representative for Cyprus
NICOSIA, 16/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)The UN Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Michael Moller (Denmark) as his Special Representative for Cyprus and Head of the UN
Peacekeeping Operation in Cyprus (UNFICYP), a press release issued by UNFICYP said.
According to the press release, Moller will replace Zbigniew Wlosowicz (Poland) who will complete his assignment on 30 November 2005.
The press release said Moller was appointed Acting Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary-General in March 2005 and is concurrently the Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, a position he has held since June 2001.
He began his career at the United Nations in 1979 with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where he served until 1984 in various positions as Program Officer, Legal Officer, Assistant to the Director of the Division of International Protection and Assistant Regional Representative.
Since then, he has served in a number of senior advisory positions in the United Nations Secretariat including, from 1997 to 2001, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs and, from 1995 to 1997, Senior Political Adviser to the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva.
Prior to that, from 1994 to 1995, he headed the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General. He joined the Department for Political and Security Council Affairs in 1988 as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General in the Centre Against Apartheid, and in 1992 served briefly as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General in the newly created Department of Political Affairs (DPA), before being appointed Deputy Director of the Americas Division of DPA.
From 1985 to 1987, he served as Inter-Agency Affairs Officer and Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General in the Office for Secretariat Services for Economic and Social Matters.
Moller's field assignments include Head of the United Nations Component in the Joint United Nations / Organization of American States International Civilian Mission to Haiti (MICIVIH) in 1993,
Head of the Sub-office for Southern Mexico in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from 1987 to 1988, and Political Adviser to the United Nations Military Inspection Team in Iran in 1985.
Moller, 52, completed a Masters Course in International Relations at Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelors degree in International Relations from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.