|Wednesday, 23 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 27, 2005
 U.S. ambassador speaks of strategic cooperation, increased investments and improvement of image of Greece and the U.S. among American and Greek public opinion
WASHINGTON, 27/9/2005 (ANA - T. Ellis)U.S. Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries, speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Centre here, referred to benefits emanating from the strategic relation between Greece and the United States and to the strengthening of trade cooperation between the two countries, since reforms being carried out in the Greek economy make it more attractive for investments.
Ries praised Greece's position regarding Turkey's course towards the European Union and termed 2006 a "historic year" for the Balkans. The ambassador added that in the case of Greece and the U.S. strategic cooperation means that increased requirements now exist.
Ries went on to underline the success in hosting the Olympic Games, stressing that Greece received an excellent "grade 10", apart from promoting a positive image of Greece abroad, strengthened the self-confidence of the Greeks and their ability to achieve great targets.
He reiterated Washington's satisfaction over the arrest and conviction of "a considerable part" of the "N17" organization and said Greece's role in the Security Council is very constructive and underlined the contribution of the Greek EU presidency in the spring of 2003 when relations between the U.S. and the European Union were going through a crisis.
Referring to Iraq, he said that despite the universal opposition of the Greek people to the war, Greece was the first country to contribute financially, while providing facilities for the transfer of weaponry. He also stressed the presence and operation of a Greek medical unit in Afghanistan.
The U.S. ambassador further spoke of the positive and effective stance adopted by Greek diplomacy in the handling of the issue of the beginning of accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey since, as he said, Athens has reached, the correct in Washington's view, conclusion that the European course of Ankara strengthens prospects of a solution to the issue of Cyprus.
Despite the fact that 70 percent of the Greek people are extremely skeptical over the prospect of Turkey's accession to the EU, both the government of the PASOK party and that of the New Democracy party see the strategic benefits for Greece and support it strongly.
The ambassador said that Washington was pleased to hear the announcement by Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis on the creation of a Training Centre for security issues, through which Greece will convey the great experience it obtained during preparations to host the Olympic Games. He also stressed the importance of Greece's participation in control operations in the Mediterranean in the framework of which a special marine operations centre will be created in Crete.
Ries placed emphasis on the progress of the Greek economy, underlining the positive impact created by reforms being attempted and assessed that they will attract investing interest. In the framework of commercial, as well as defense cooperation, he expressed satisfaction over the decision recently taken by Athens to strengthen the Greek air force with F-16 fighter planes.
After admitting that for many years Greece was considered a difficult environment for investments, he noted that this picture is changing now. He termed Greece "our natural partner" in southeastern Europe and added that Greece is developing into an investments corridor towards the Balkans.
He described 2006 as a "historic year" for the Balkans, since the final status for Kosovo is expected to be decided, while regarding the difference between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter's name, he reiterated Washington's support for mediation by Matthew Nimetz, stressing that the U.S. will implement whatever solution is jointly decided by the two sides.
Following an eight-month period of service in Athens, the American diplomat assessed that the problematic picture created of the U.S. among Greek public opinion, and vice versa of Greece in the U.S., has started to change recently for the benefit of both.
Lastly, Ries thanked Greece for aid it offered for the relief of victims of the hurricane Katrina which struck the United States recently.
 Ecstatic Greeks celebrate national team's gold in European basketball championship
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Ecstatic Greeks throughout the country were celebrating on the streets into the early morning hours Monday over their national team's clinching of the 34th European men's basketball championship, defeating former champion Germany 78-62 in the final late Sunday in Belgrade, bringing the Eurobasket cup to Greece for the second time in 18 years.
Messages of congratulations poured in throughout the night from the country's state and political leadership, as Greeks throughout the country, in Cyprus, and in Greek communities abroad paraded through the streets honking car horns, waving Greek flags and setting off fireworks, celebrating the repeat of the men's national basketball team's 1987 triumph. Greece also reached the final in 1989.
Team coach Panayotis Yiannakis, who was a star player in the 1987 national team that put Greek basketball at the top of Europe for the first time in its history, told ANA immediately after the final that he couldn't believe what was happening, that he felt as if he were dreaming.
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias sent his warmest congratulations to the national basketball team for its conquest of the European championship, "which filled all of Greece with joy and pride".
Prime minister and culture minister Costas Karamanlis, in his message, said that one year after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the Greek national soccer team's clinching of the European soccer championship, the national basketball team "which 18 years ago made all the Greeks proud, has once again reached the highest peak of Europe".
Sports have once again proven itself to be a great national capital which was everyone's duty to safeguard and reinforce even more, the prime minister said.
Parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki sent warm congratulations for the team's "triumph that fills us with enthusiasm and emotion".
"You deservedly attained the European top and gave our country another great international sport distinction, making the Greeks proud. We celebrate your great success with you," she said.
Alternate culture minister Fani Palli-Petralia congratulated the team and their coach, saying that "the Greek spirit has spoken once again".
She said the team players had "faith, determination and cool-headedness", and thus "the dream became reality".
Deputy culture minister for sports George Orfanos, who flew to Belgrade on Sunday to cheer on the Greek team at the final, said that "Greece's children have lifted us into the sky", and congratulated the players, their coach, the Greek sports federation and all those who helped the team reach the top.
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou sent his heartfelt congratulations, noting that when Greece displays confidence in its strength, believes in its dream, is founded on principles and values and the collective effort of individual talents, and has the backing of the people, it always succeeds.
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos congratulated the players and the team's technical leadership for their excellent effort, adding that it was the obligation of the State to take advantage of this success in order to develop a mass sports movement and not allow the further commercialization and hooliganism that kill sport.
FIBA Europe president George Vassilakopoulos, former long-time president of the Greek Basketball Federation, said that Sunday night's triumph was "the biggest moment in my athletic career".
"As the Greek president of FIBA Europe I had the honor of presenting the cup to the Greek team. It was a good beginning for this team, but we will not stop there. These boys can repeat this feat and do even better," he said in a statement to ANA.
 Cypriot leadership congratulates Greece over Eurobasket victory
NICOSIA, 27/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Monday sent a message to Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis congratulating the Greek national team for clinching the 34th European men's basketball championship Sunday night.
Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides expressed the hope that the victories will continue adding that this was a "period of continued victories for Greek teams at various levels".
Cyprus House President Demetris Christofias sent congratulatory messages to Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Anna Psarouda Benakis for the Greek victory.
In his message, he said "I convey you my warm congratulations for the national team's achievement in winning the European Basketball championship. The team's great victory was based on the authentic talent of the Greek basketball players and the team spirit they had exhibited throughout the championship and due to the excellent instruction of the team's technical leadership led by Panagiotis Yiannakis".
Christofias said that Greece's victories in basketball, football and other sports show the talent and depth of Greek sports and promote the country internationally, making all Greeks proud. "This great victory has brought Greece again to the top of European basketball and made all Greeks proud", he added.
Cypriot politicians have sent congratulatory messages to Greek leaders and politicians.
 Deputy FM Skandalakis visits Tbilisi
TBILISI, 27/9/2005 (ANA/G. Milionis)Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis, visiting the Federation of Greek Societies of Georgia, which he is visiting officially, on Monday emphasized that the priorities of the Greek state are focused on speeding up the issuing of special identity cards for expatriates and on how youth of Greek origin will stay in its birthplace.
Skandalakis said that the special purpose of his visit here is to be briefed and to have an on-the-spot evaluation of the situation prevailing for ethnic Greeks in the region of Calka.
Earlier, Skandalakis signed the renewal of the contract amounting to 35,000 euros for the dean of the University of Tbilisi's Institute of Classic, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Rismag Gorteziani, while the contract was also signed by Greece's Ambassador to Georgia Konstantina Mavroskelidou. As a result of the contract, the Greek language is taught at 17 schools in 12 different regions in Georgia where infrastructures exist.
Greek minister briefed on ethnic Greek issues during visit to Georgia: Deputy Foreign Minister for expatriate affairs Panagiotis Skandalakis, who is currently on a two-day visit to Georgia, was briefed on issues affecting Georgia's ethnic Greek communities by his Georgian counterpart Konstantine Kavtaradze on Monday. They also discussed affairs concerning repatriated Greeks from Georgia and Georgia's prospects of joining the EU and NATO.
After the meeting, Skandalakis stressed Athens' support for Georgia's territorial integrity and said that the only way to resolve the problems was through dialogue, not through violence.
He said they had also discussed the situation of ethnic Greeks in Calka, and underlined the need for cooperation to ensure that their presence in Georgia was both safer and more constructive.
"The Greeks of Calka are moving away and have to be supported to remain in their homes," he added.
The Greek communities in Calka had been the target of racist violence earlier in the year, which had resulted in at least one death.
 Athens mayor making official visit to Beijing
BEIJING, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyiannis, currently on an official visit to Beijing at the invitation of its Mayor Wang Qishan, held talks with him on Monday focusing on the Athens Olympic Games.
The common elements of the two peoples, culture and history on the one hand and the Olympic Games on the other, were discussed during the meeting, while Wang requested information on the heritage left for Athens and Greece by what he termed an Olympiad reminiscent of a dream.
"We are the two most ancient civilizations in the world and we are linked by a great deal. The Chinese look upon us with great love and friendship and they will support us in every effort," Bakoyiannis said.
The mayor of Beijing, referring to difficulties facing his city in light of the Olympic Games to be held there in 2008, focused on its ever-increasing population and to the continuous differentiation of its structure.
On Tuesday, Bakoyiannis will be meeting China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and will be visiting the city's Olympic Games installations.
 Greece contributes to UN Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus,
NICOSIA, 27/9/2005 (ANA)The Greek government, responding to a call by the UN fact-finding committee on the missing persons in Cyprus from the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the island, has decided to contribute financially to the efforts being made to investigate the fate of the missing persons, it was announced on Monday.
Greece will donate 80,000 euros (50,000 Cyprus pounds) to the effort at the initial stage.
The government's response to the appeal for reinforcement of the Committee on the Missing Persons in Cyprus was mandated by the expressed volition of the country to actively support the task of seeking the missing persons, which was an outstanding humanitarian task on which Greece was naturally greatly sensitive to, a foreign ministry announcement said.
It added that this effort should have the support of all the sides involved, in a spirit of good will and cooperation.
It was also necessary that the investigations taking place, in the framework of the Committee, be accompanied by parallel actions and measures by the Turkish government, which should be taken in the direction of Turkey's compliance with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the Cyprus Republic's fourth inter-state recourse vis-a-vis Turkey, the announcement added.
 Health minister unveils new services for handicapped people
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)At least 100,000 people are declaring themselves as handicapped, receiving financial help from the state without being eligible, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, Kaklamanis introduced a new system of evaluating and registering handicapped people in the country. The new system, to be introduced from 2006, was approved by the World Health Organization and ensures that non-eligible people will not be able to receive state help.
The Greek minister said the government was not seeking to unfairly treat those really in need of state care and help, although he stressed that the ministry could no longer accept to pay around 100,000 non-eligible people with state financial help.
Kaklamanis said the ministry has a number of "black lists" with regions showing unusually high numbers of handicapped people, such as Piraeus, Aetoloakarnania and the Dodecanese.
Health Deputy Minister George Konstantopoulos said the new system would give more emphasis on improving living conditions for handicapped people and not on the causes of the patient's health problem. He also said the system would be far more time-saving and easier for citizens.
 PASOK preparing "alternative path" for local government, main opposition leader says
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday said his party was preparing an "alternative path" for local government. Papandreou was speaking shortly before the party's Election Procedures Committee convened for a meeting.
"Our goal is to provide a new proposal for local government," he said, while stressing that there was also an "alternative path" for PASOK, one of radical change that showed respect for people and valued citizens.
Papandreou said that the candidates for municipal and prefecture elections would be chosen for ability and integrity, through a process of consultation with society and procedures that were fully democratic and transparent.
He also stressed that an effort would be made to choose young people that would be able to cope with the rapid changes that will be involved.
The party's elections committee will decide on the procedures by which PASOK will assess and choose candidates, while PASOK's National Council will convene on Friday and Saturday to decide the political framework for local government.
 President Karolos Papoulias to visit Ioannina on Wednesday
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)President Karolos Papoulias will pay a two-day official visit to Ioannina and Thesprotia on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday morning he will be inaugurating the "Lorentzos Mavilis" army camp at Kalpaki and will be given a guided tour of its facilities.
According to the program, the Greek flag will be delivered to President Papoulias who will in turn give it to the commander of the 8th division, while the hoisting of the flag and the reading of the order of the day will follow.
On Friday, President Papoulias will visit Paramythia and attend a memorial service at Saint Donatos Cathedral for 49 people executed by the German occupation forces.
He will also be proclaimed an honorary citizen of the town during a ceremony to be held in the town hall.
 Government spokesman refers to assassination of Parliamentary Deputy Pavlos Bakoyiannis
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, referring on Monday to the 16th anniversary of the assassination of Parliamentary Deputy Pavlos Bakoyiannis by the 'November 17' terrorist group, said Bakoyiannis' "vision and struggle for democracy, national unity and consensus among political forces always remains opportune."
Roussopoulos said that the assassination of Bakoyiannis showed that "terrorism, instead of silencing responsible and bold voices multiplies their intensity and appeal" and so "democracy becomes stronger despite the cowardly attacks against it", adding that we have already proceeded along the path of national unity which "as Bakoyiannis proclaimed is an achievement of all the Greeks, of all the political forces."
In a related development, the name of Pavlos Bakoyiannis will be given to the main hall of ceremonies at the public order ministry.
Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis took the decision in honor of Bakoyiannis' "great political deposit and as a minimum token of honor for his sacrifice", according to a relevant announcement by the minister.
 Ecumenical Patriarch addresses inter-religious symposium in Hatay, Turkey
ISTANBUL, 27/9/2005 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on Monday addressed an inter-religious symposium dubbed "Meeting of Civilizations" that is taking place in Hatay, a region of Antioch in Turkey.
"In dialogue with our Muslim and Jewish brothers, we try to create common values by highlighting the elements in common rather than our differences," the Patriarch said in his speech. He also underlined that religions should on no account be behind terrorist actions.
"We continue our activities without any doubts regarding all we do on this issue," he added.
The symposium was also addressed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who rejected theories about a "clash of civilizations" and said that all cultures rallied around common ideals.
"We must say no to conflict but yes to the alliance of cultures," he added.
The symposium will continue over the next five days, with 10 successive meetings.
 Greek fiscal deficit at 6.6 pct of GDP in 2004, Eurostat
BRUSSELS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Greece recorded the highest fiscal deficit in the EU with 6.6 percent of GDP in 2004, Eurostat said on Monday.
The EU executive's statistics agency said Hungary (-5.4%), Malta (-5.1%), and Cyprus (-4.1%), followed with the highest fiscal deficits, while another eight member states recorded a government deficit over or equal to 3% of GDP: Poland (-3.9%), Germany (-3.7%), France (-3.6%), Italy (-3.2%), Slovakia (-3.1%), the United Kingdom (-3.1%), the Czech Republic (-3.0%) and Portugal (-3.0%). Six member states continued to register a government surplus in 2004: Denmark (+2.3%), Finland (+2.1%), Estonia (+1.7%), Sweden (+1.6%), Ireland (+1.4%) and Belgium (+0.0%). In all, sixteen member states recorded an improved public balance relative to GDP, while eight registered a worsening.
In 2004, the lowest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Estonia (5.5%), Luxembourg (6.6%), Latvia (14.7%) and Lithuania (19.6%). Eight Member States had a government debt ratio higher than 60% of GDP in 2004, the same as in 2003: Greece (109.3%), Italy (106.5%), Belgium (95.7%), Malta (75.9%), Cyprus (72.0%), Germany (66.4%), France (65.1%) and Austria (64.3%).
In 2004, government expenditure in the euro-zone was equivalent to 48.1% of GDP, and government revenue to 45.4%. The figures for the EU25 were 47.6% and 45.0% respectively. Between 2003 and 2004 both government expenditure and government revenue decreased relative to GDP in the euro-zone and EU25.
However, Eurostat said it has reservations on the quality of the data for the Czech Republic, Greece and Portugal and that a clarification of these issues allowing Eurostat to withdraw these reservations is being actively sought in a dialogue with the national statistical authorities.
More generally, Eurostat intends, as soon as possible, to clarify for all Member States the rules on securitization operations in the ESA 95 Manual on government deficit and debt. This is due to the fact that problems of interpretation of existing rules have recently appeared, especially as regards the provision of guarantees and the transfer of risk and benefits by government. Rulings may lead to a change in the data for some Member States in the March 2006 notification.
Greek fiscal data not final, Commission says: The European Commission is not ready yet to offer a final evaluation of Greece's fiscal deficit in 2004, an EU spokeswoman said on Monday.
Amelia Torres, a spokeswoman for EU Monetary Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, speaking to reporters, acknowledged Greek authorities' initiatives to review the country's fiscal figures and to establish a fiscal discipline and stressed that the Commission's figures were not final since more details needed to be clarified over the new few weeks or even months, a development that could lead to either an upgrading or downgrading of the country's fiscal condition.
Main opposition sees economic austerity ahead: The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement on Monday forecast that the public would experience government-ordained economic austerity in coming years.
"A surge in the 2004 deficit coupled with an inability to implement the 2005 budget unfortunately points to very tough days for the public in coming years," the party said in a statement.
PASOK was responding to data released earlier in the day by Eurostat showing an upward revision of Greece's fiscal deficit and public debt for 2004.
"Eurostat's figures on (ruling) New Democracy's fiscal management are revealing. Despite nine months of negotiation by the finance minister, the 2004 deficit is 6.6% of GDP against 6.1% stated by the government, and a new revision cannot be ruled out," the statement said.
 Finance minister visits New York Stock Exchange
NEW YORK, 27/9/2005 (ANA /P. Panagiotou)Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis visited the New York Stock Exchange on Monday and received a warm welcome by the Chairman and CEO of the NYSE John Thain.
Welcoming Alogoskoufis, Thain expressed the hope that there will be more Greek companies whose shares will be negotiated in Wall Street's daily transactions.
On his part, Alogoskoufis referred to the "successful privatization" of the National Bank of Greece and of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), two businesses which are participating in the NYSE's transactions.
On Tuesday, Alogoskoufis will be giving an interview to the American "Bloomberg" television network, while in the afternoon he will be addressing Yale University's Greek Studies Program.
 PM discusses changes in view of 4th CSF with Pavlopoulos, US visit with Sioufas
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday had a meeting with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos to discuss the envisaged creation of five major administrative regions that will divide up the country and handle a significant proportion of funds from the 4th Community Support Framework.
Pavlopoulos said the 13 existing regional authorities would not be affected by the change, while the detailed plan will be unveiled for public discussion in about a fortnight. He also noted that local government should have a greater role in the management of EU funds.
The premier then met Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas to prepare for the minister's trip to the United States on Tuesday.
Both ministers also congratulated the Greek men's basketball team on their victory in the European basketball championship on Sunday, with Sioufas saying that Greece "deserved to win," while Pavlopoulos stressed that it was an example that great things are achieved through collective effort.
 Athens-Corinth suburban railway line launched by transport minister Liapis
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)The suburban railway line linking Athens with Corinth was officially inaugurated and opened to the public on Monday by transport and communications minister Michalis Liapis.
Beginning Tuesday, and for the duration of a week, commuting on the new line will be free of charge, so as to enable the public to get to know "this new, modern, comfortable, speedy and safe means of transportation", Liapis announced.
The minister said that the plans were to complete the entire suburban railway network from Halkis running all the way to Kiato within the next two years, noting that, in addition to providing better transport, the suburban railway would also contribute to the economic and tourism development of the region.
The route from terminal to terminal takes approximately one hour.
The Athens-Corinth line will run every hour, with the first train departing Corinth for Athens at 8:13 a.m. and for Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport at 7:08 a.m. The last train will depart for Athens at 8:13 p.m., and for the airport at 5:08 p.m.
Conversely, the first train from Athens for Corinth will depart at 6:06 a.m., and the last one at 6:06 p.m., while the first train from the airport for Corinth will depart at 7:05 a.m. and the last one at 7:05 p.m.
The tickets for the Athens-Corinth and Corinth-Athens routes will cost six (6) euros, while for the route Corinth-Airport and Airport-Corinth they will cost eight (8) euros.
The intermediate stops along the route, at the initial stage, are Nea Peramos, Megara, Kineta, and Aghioi Theodoroi, while stations at Ano Liossia, Thriassio, Magoula and Zephyri will be added on towards the end of 2006.
Also, a passenger boarding the suburban railway at Corinth may transfer, at the Neratziotissa station, to the ISAP train line or the Athens Metro.
The new Corinth-Athens route covers a total distance of 88 kilometers, with a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour.
Construction of the line cost 475 million euros, and was carried out by the OSE (Hellenic Railways Organization) subsidiary ERGOSE.
 Greece seeks to promote sea, sports tourism
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)The Greek government is seeking to promote sea tourism, Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis, Avramopoulos said his ministry was promoting a series of measures aimed to promote sea tourism such as sea cruises and a more efficient use of marinas around the country. The Greek minister said sea tourism was a new, very significant, chapter for Greek tourism.
Kefaloyiannis stressed that plans to expand the country's network of marinas was supported by 3.0 billion euros financial protocol recently signed between the Greek government and the European Investment Bank.
Meanwhile, Tourism Deputy Minister Anastasios Liaskos, addressing the 17th Pan-European Sports Conference in Athens, said the Greek government was promoting measures aimed to boost sports tourism in the country.
Greece successfully held the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Its national soccer team won the European Championship in Portugal last year, while its national basketball team won the European Championship in Belgrade on Sunday.
 Merchant marine minister sends message for World Maritime Day as sailors march in Piraeus
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Monday issued a message to Greek seamen to mark World Maritime Day on September 29, even as seamen in Piraeus marched in protest against the government and ship owners.
Kefaloyiannis said that the theme of the holiday for this year, which focused on international shipping and its role in world trade, paid homage to shipping's valuable role in the global economy where it provided the most effective, environmentally-friendly and safe means of transporting cargo.
He stressed that 90 per cent of global trade was conducted via the seas, with Greek shipping accounting for a proportionately massive 25 per cent share through some 3,800 Greek-owned ships that had a total 160 million dwt.
Kefaloyiannis underlined the valuable contribution of Greek seamen and assured them of the ministry's support in their "difficult work" through constant cooperation and contact. He also stressed Greece's support for the efforts of the International Maritime Organization to make world shipping "safe, of high quality and friendly toward the environment".
Meanwhile, seamen organized by the PAME trade union movement affiliated to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) held a rally in Piraeus on Monday and then marched to the offices of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS), where the boards of the UGS and the London-based "Committee" - representing Greek shipowners based in London - were in a meeting.
The protestors shouted messages against ship-owners and the government, while their representatives presented the resolutions of the rally to UGS president Nikos Efthymiou and Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee president Epaminondas Empirikos.
 Record Greek business delegation in Russia Sept 27-30
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Greece is sending a business delegation to Russia on Tuesday, the largest it has ever sent abroad, Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis said on Monday.
""This demonstrates the strong will of the Greek government to rekindle its ties with Russia, making use of very good relations between the two countries' governments, and a very good cultural link between the two peoples," Stylianidis, head of the delegation, said in a statement.
The purpose of the trip to Russia is to boost exports, spur the creation of joint ventures, attract Russian investors, and sign a political protocol to implement targets set by Karamanlis and Russian President Vladimir Putin in increasingly frequent meetings. A ministerial committee from the two countries is due to meet in Moscow.
A senior official handling economic ties between Greece and Russia, Spyros Georgiles, has said that a key issue for Athens is the avoidance of double taxation. If Moscow signs an agreement, it will pave the way for a shipping pact. Other major sectors to be promoted are energy - especially natural gas - tourism, transport and agriculture.
Playing a key role in the delegation, whose visit ends on September 30, will be northern Greek company representatives.
Among officials accompanying Stylianidis will be Agricultural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos and Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias. Other members of the delegation are parliamentary deputies, senior officials from eight ministries, and the heads of major trade groups.
Invested Greek capital in Russia totals $69.2 million, according to the foreign ministry.
 Tourists visiting Greece this year expected to increase by 8 percent
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Arrivals by air in Greece in September, particularly in the country's two biggest tourist attractions, Crete and the Dodecannese islands, have increased sharply, while the number of foreign tourists visiting Greece this year is expected to increase by over 8 percent.
According to an announcement by the Tourist Research and Predictions Institute (ITEP), data concerning Crete (Iraklio airport) are "amazing" since the increase exceeds 60 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2004. Precise data for Rhodes are not available, but the increase is in the region of the two-digit margin.
ITEP praises the current tourist campaign by the Tourist Development ministry, stressing that the "We're Staying in Greece" program was greatly successful among Greeks, preventing a considerable number of potential tourists from seeking recreation abroad.
ITEP adds that strong promotion and advertising produces positive results, at least in the short term. However, in the medium and long term this will only be possible with a parallel upgrading of the quality and variety of services provided.
 PASOK party delegation holds talks with labor union directorate
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)A delegation of the main opposition PASOK party comprised of Eleni Christofilopoulou and Tonia Antoniou held talks with the directorate of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) on Monday, focusing on issues concerning development, investments, employment and dismissals.
According to an announcement by GSEE "particular attention was paid to the problem being created in Greek society and the economy as a result of the country's deindustrialization, the emigration of businesses and the mass dismissals of working people. A phenomenon requiring immediate and integrated handling by all of the political forces of the country."
 Program to support women in work presented in Thessaloniki
THESSALONIKI, 27/9/2005 (ANA)The Women in Network (W.IN.NET) program - a European inter-regional project designed to support the entry of women into the workforce - was presented in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Monday at the Ergani Centre.
Thessaloniki Professional Chamber vice-president Stivi Siozopoulou also announced a new service that will begin on October 5 in collaboration with the Ergani Centre to provide information on professional issues to female members of the chamber, which will operate every Wednesday.
Ergani Centre vice-president Popi Sourmaidou outlined the work of the project "Women Dynamics", which aims to provide career advice to 941 unemployed and working women in the central Macedonia region, saying that 400 women had participated in the first phase and would soon start entering the job market.
Siozopoulou also spoke about the poor representation of women in the Greek labor force generally, pointing out that women only accounted for 13 per cent of employers in Greece and 34.7 per cent of the employees, while 64 per cent of women were unemployed.
She stressed the very low representation of women in the higher echelons of trade union organizations, which was restricted to about 5 per cent.
 Greek exporters to take part in Johannesburg trade fair
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Greek building companies will take part in MAT-Construct 2005, an international sector trade fair to be held in Johannesburg on November 29-December 2.
The Association of Northern Greek Exporters is handling participation by domestic firms.
The trade fair aims to promote investment by arranging contact between firms in South Africa and the rest of the world.
 Travel firms want to see free competition in Greek air transport
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises said on Monday that it wanted to see free competition in the Greek airline market and less outmoded state control in a message for World Tourism Day that focused on ailing Olympic Airlines.
"The country needs finally to be freed from residual notions of a globally outmoded state interventionism," the trade group said in a statement.
"Olympic Airlines, beyond the staggering amounts that it has cost the country, has brought even greater damage as it has poisoned free competition, systematically undermining any private initiative, also employing illegitimate means to do so," the statement said.
 Coalition party leader opposes OPAP privatization, urges support of amateur sport
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday spoke out against the privatization of the state-controlled betting agency OPAP and called for more facilities to support the development of amateur athletes.
Alavanos was speaking after a meeting with the presidency of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) that focused on the state of Greek football and the national men's basketball team victory in the European Championship.
SYN's leader described OPAP as "the goose that lays the golden eggs" and could offer a great deal of revenue to Greek sport, saying it was a shame for it to be privatized.
 Greek cargo shipping shows steady H1 growth
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Greek cargo shipowners said on Monday that the sector showed steady growth in the first half of 2005 in a favorable but fluctuating charter market and ongoing fleet renewal.
The heads of the Union of Greek Shipowners and Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee in London said at a meeting held in Piraeus that Greek shipping had been at the forefront of the global and European Union scene for more than two decades.
As a leading player, Greek shipping had played a key role in shaping healthy conditions for the operation of maritime transportation, and, as the strongest sector in national output, it had supported the economy with net inflows. Highs posted in 2004 were anticipated to hold in 2005, the two trade groups said.
Matters that needed tackling in the sector were a lack of competitiveness of the Greek flag; and vocational training, which may be aided by an upcoming government bill, they said.
 Development minister to USA for technology forum
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas leaves for the USA on Tuesday to take part in a symposium on development and technology in Chicago.
Accompanying Sioufas to the conference arranged by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad is a ministry delegation including the ministry's secretary general for development, Nikos Stefanou.
 Greek stocks jump 1.47 pct on Monday
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Greek stocks jumped 1.47 percent on Monday with investors maintaining the upper hand in the market encouraged by a positive climate in international markets.
The composite index in the Athens Stock Exchange ended at 3,298.82 points, up 1.47 percent, with turnover an improved 257 million euros, reflecting increased interest in blue chip stocks.
Most sector indices ended higher, with the Insurance (4.67 pct), Banks (2.48 pct), Telecommunications (2.30 pct), Textiles (1.66 pct) and IT (1.52 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day. The Food-Beverage (1.05 pct), Constructions (0.78 pct) and Mineral-Cement (0.42 pct) sectors suffered losses.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 1.82 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.15 percent up and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.54 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 177 to 101 with another 58 issues unchanged.
Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers
Foreign Exchange Rates: Tuesday
Reference buying rates per euro released
by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.212
 Culture ministry says Santorini accident caused by 'mistaken technical choices'
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)The Greek culture ministry on Monday said that a fatal accident at the Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini, in which a Briton was killed and six others were injured when a steel roof collapsed, was the result of "mistaken technical choices". Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis stressed that there was no political responsibility, since the ministry was not involved in the execution of the project.
Tatoulis expressed the ministry's deep sorrow for the death but underlined that the collapse was an "extreme event".
He said that a fact-finding committee had been set up to find out the exact causes of the accident, which was also being investigated by Greek justice.
The minister pointed out that the project had been assigned to the Archaeological Society by the previous government and also hinted that several mistakes had been made by the previous government but refused to go into details.
Tatoulis noted that the original agreement for the project had provided for the archaeological site to remain open, and that it had been opened with restrictions concerning staff, routes and opening hours from the end of April until September 30.
Commenting on Tatoulis' statements, main opposition PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos said the government's stance in holding the Archaeological Society responsible was "politically cowardice" and urged the ministry to "take on their responsibilities and ensure an unbiased investigation into the event, so that responsibility might be attributed".
Three engineers from the consortium that designed and built the roof that collapsed will face charges, as will two engineers working for the state's archaeological service.
Seriously injured were two tourists from the USA, two from Slovakia, and one from Germany. A British woman identified as a friend of the UK national was released from Santorini medical centre on Saturday after suffering injuries and shock; and a Greek visitor sustained light injuries.
The roof was built by a consortium whose members were J&P Ioannou Paraskevaidis (Greece), Avax Group, Gnomon, and Impregilo SpA. The group, which won an international tender in 1999, also supplied detailed engineering for the project on the basis of an existing preliminary study.
 Events marking 'Days of Greco-Russian Friendship' continuing on Limnos
LIMNOS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Events marking the "Days of Greco-Russian Friendship" are continuing on the Aegean island of Limnos, while a memorial service was held at a cathedral in the town of Myrina on Sunday in memory of the 500 Cossacks buried in the village of Portianou.
An official Russian delegation was also present and the Lesvos Prefecture organized a reception in its honor on Sunday night where gifts were exchanged.
Lesvos Prefect Pavlos Voyiadzis referred in his address to the ties existing between the two countries and to joint efforts during difficult times and great historic events, as well as to the common Orthodox tradition.
Tuesday, the last day of the events, includes a visit to the Cossack Cemetery at Portianou, where an official ceremony will be held, and in the evening a concert will be given by Russian artists for the inhabitants of Myrina at the "Maroula" theatre.
The events are being attended by Russian Ambassador to Greece Andrei Vdovin, Bishop Alexiy as the representative of the Moscow Patriarch, Russian Parliamentary Deputies Aleksandr Fomenko and Ivan Viktor and the Russian Embassy's deputy consul Sergei Toricyn.
 Italian ambassador hosts reception for producer Zeffirelli following premiere of 'I Pagliacci' at Herod Atticus Theatre
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Italy's ambassador in Athens Gian Paolo Cavarai on Sunday hosted a reception in honor of celebrated Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, following the successful premiere of Zeffirelli's elaborate production of Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci" at the open-air Herod Atticus Theatre at the foot of the Acropolis, in the director's first-ever work in Athens.
The reception was attended by the Italian cast of the production, as well as many prominent names from the Greek entertainment community, British theatrical writer Martin Sherman from London, renowned designer Gabriele De Vecchi from Milan, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Athens' national Gallery director Marina Lambraki-Plaka, and Italian businessmen active in Greece.
"The Language of Reflections", an exhibition of creations in silver by Gabriele De Vecchi, scion of the respected Italian silversmith family, opens Monday night at the Nees Morfes Gallery in Athens, organized by prominent Greek gold jeweler Manthos Pentheroudakis.
The exhibition will be inaugurated by Ambassador Cavarai.
 Social Policy Institute presents book on 'Social Portrait of Greece'
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)A book by the National Social Research Center's (EKKE) Social Policy Institute titled "The Social Portrait of Greece 2003-2004" was presented at the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) on Monday.
EKKE President Yiannis Sakelis said the book aspires to become an implement in analyzing social phenomena and, consequently, in exercising social policy.
The issues analyzed during the presentation concerned poverty, the aging population, marriage, fertility, immigrants, the labor market, education and health.
In another development, a conference organized by the National Social Economy Network at the Zappeion Mansion on the social economy's prospects of developing in Greece stressed the need of supporting and strengthening the country's "social economy", a sector which was non-existent until 10 years ago.
It was stressed that the stumbling block for its expansion mainly concerns the lack of a favorable institutional framework which will provide the "social businessman" with incentives.
 We are experiencing deep humanitarian crisis, Greek UNICEF Committee president says
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Greek UNICEF Committee President Lambros Kanellopoulos said on Monday "we are experiencing a deep humanitarian crisis, we are living on a planet where mortality, starvation and social exclusion are a daily phenomenon".
Speaking at a meeting organized by the Federation of Book Publishers in cooperation with UNICEF on the occasion of the book exhibition in Athens titled "The book: A means of combatting poverty", Kanellopoulos called on progressive humanity to "stop watching with apathy and to resist the demands and the hypocritical statements of the International Monetary Fund, the G-8 and the World Bank".
Kanellopoulos pointed out that the book saves lives, dissolves prejudices and opens new paths of communication which is essential in an era in which huge sections of the population on the earth live in conditions of poverty.
Mentioning certain figures to back his statement, he said 40 percent of children in the Third World live with less than a dollar a day, one out of three children do not attend school, 1.2 billion children do not know how to write and, of course, thousands of children die every day because they lack elementary medical attention.
 Albanian immigrant smugglers apprehended in Thessaloniki
THESSALONIKI, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Three Albanian nationals aged 23, 27, and 24 years old, respectively, have been arrested on charges of immigrant smuggling by the Thessaloniki police. The three are accused of facilitating the entry of illegal immigrants into Greece via the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over an unguarded section of the Greece-FYROM border.
They face charges for assisting 31 Albanians enter the country in this way, five of them minors.
According to the charges, they initially concealed the immigrants in a Thessaloniki apartment and then arranged to have them transported to various regions of Greece. Police apprehended 26 of the immigrants at a train station in Leptokarya Pierias as they were traveling to Athens by train, while another three were caught at a train station in Thessaloniki.
They had been equipped with fake visas and had paid between 1,200-1,800 euros for their passage into Greece.
 First division football results, standings
ATHENS, 27/9/2005 (ANA)Results of the first division football matches
played over the weekend and Monday:
Olympiakos Piraeus - Akratitos Athens 2-0
Panathinaikos - Panionios Athens 3-0
Larissa - AEK Athens 0-1
Xanthi Levadiakos 1-0
Ionikos Piraeus - Kallithea Athens 2-1
OFI Crete - Iraklis Thessaloniki 0-1
PAÏÊ Thessaloniki - Agaleo Piraeus 2-0
Apollon Kalamaria - Atromitos Athens 1-2 (26/09)
The standings after four games:
Apollon Kalamaria 4
Akratitos Athens 4
Iraklis Thessaloniki 4
 Barrot: Turkey's EU talks cannot end if free transport of goods not resolved
LIMASSOL, 27/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)European Commission Vice President and EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot told Turkey on Monday that its accession negotiations cannot be concluded with the EU unless the problem of free transport of goods is resolved.
Barrot was speaking during a press conference with Cypriot Communications and Works Minister Haris Thrasou on the sidelines of the "Maritime Cyprus 2005" Shipping conference in the southern coastal town of Limassol. The conference, which ends on 28 September, is entitled "Shipping: What lies ahead? A Three Piece Puzzle".
Thrasou told reporters that Barrot assured him the Commission will do everything possible to lift Turkey's restrictive measures against Cypriot flagged ships.
"It is obvious that negotiations which will open with Turkey cannot be concluded unless the problem of free transport of goods is resolved,'' Barrot said.
Barrot noted, "there are many chapters which will not open if Turkey does not accept the free movement of goods in the (entire) customs union".
The French commissioner made clear that Turkey was running out of options, and said "personally, I think the chapter on transport, which means free movement of goods, can't be opened unless there is a change on the part of the government of Turkey".
On 29th July Turkey signed a protocol extending a customs union agreement with the EU to its ten new EU states including Cyprus, but simultaneously issued a declaration stressing that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.
An EU counterstatement issued on 21 September says Turkey's declaration has no legal effect on its obligations, calls on Ankara to fully implement the protocol, creates a mechanism to monitor its implementation in 2006, notes that Turkey will have consequences if it does not fully implement it, makes clear that the EU recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus, and points out the importance of Turkey recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and the necessity to normalize Turkey's relations with all EU member states the soonest possible.
Barrot said that when Turkey' negotiations with the EU begin, the EU will find a way to take some measures against Turkey if there is no solution to the problem.
Invited to comment on US intention to begin direct flights to the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus and the intention of European countries to establish trade relations with the regime in the occupied north, Barrot said that all countries must help in finding a solution and the other member states should not prevent this effort.
He said there is willingness on the part of the EU to find a solution, however initiatives such as these do not help efforts for a solution, nor they are being welcomed.
Expressing his condolences for the crash of the Helios Airways Boeing on 14 August near Athens which resulted with the death of 121 persons, mostly Cypriots, Barrot said that by the end of the year the EU will send to Cyprus experts to evaluate the way in which the Cypriot services are operating.
''This visit will not aim at imposing sanctions but to see how the EU can offer technical assistance to Cyprus'', Barrot added.
On the issue of flight safety, he said the European Parliament is preparing a document, which will safeguard common criteria among member states, which will estimate the security of various airlines both for Europe and third countries.
The Cypriot minister of communications said that he informed Barrot on the measures which the government of Cyprus has taken regarding Turkey's restrictive measures against Cypriot ships.
He said he called on Barrot to exert strong pressure towards the Turkish side ''to lift these unacceptable measures", adding that "Barrot promised to make every possible effort on the part of the Commission to lift the restrictive measures against Cypriot shipping".
Thrasou also said that Cyprus supports a new package of measures for maritime safety, noting "our prime concern is to safeguard maritime, strengthen safety and protection of the environment".
Referring to the removal of the Cypriot registry from the Paris MOU ''black list'', Thrasou said this development ''has strengthened the trust of international maritime towards Cypriot flagged ships and has contributed decisively in the further development of the Cypriot registry".
 Violation of Turkey's obligations concerns EU, says Cypriot spokesman
NICOSIA, 27/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Turkey's obligation to implement the customs union protocol is a collective obligation against the EU and the violation of its obligations does not concern solely Cyprus, said Monday Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides.
Invited to comment on statements made by Turkey's Minister of State, responsible for Cyprus affairs, Abdullatif Sener that his country will not open airports or ports to Cyprus, the spokesman underlined that there is a clear provision in the EU counterstatement to Turkey's declaration that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, that Turkey is obliged to implement its customs union and its non-implementation will affect its accession negotiations.
Invited to comment on Ankara's efforts for the Turkish National Assembly to ratify the protocol together with the Turkish declaration, the Cypriot spokesman expressed the hope that Turkey will not do so, because it would be another "violation of its international obligations".
The counterstatement is articulate as far as the EU's intentions are concerned, the spokesman said, adding, "any violation of the obligations undertaken by a state, either based on the government's actions or any other internal action that will prevent the implementation of the international agreement, means violation of international obligations".
 President of European Parliament to visit Cyprus
NICOSIA, 27/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell Fontelles will visit Cyprus 3-9 October, 2005.
According to the preliminary program of his visit here, Borrell will be received by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and will meet with President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias. He will also hold meetings, among others, with Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou and political leaders.
Borrell, who will be accompanied by a ten member delegation, arrives to Cyprus on October 3rd. On Tuesday he will be received by President Papadopoulos.
He will also meet with House President Christofias and hold a meeting with the Chairman of the House Standing Committee on European Affairs Nicos Kleanthous, Committee Members and Cypriot Members of the European Parliament.
On Tuesday afternoon he will address the House of Representatives. On Wednesday he will meet with Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cyprus Zbigniew Wlosowicz and visit the UN Buffer Zone.
On Thursday, 6 October, Borrell will hold a series of separate meetings with left wing party AKEL Parliamentary Representative Nicos Katsourides, President of the opposition Democratic Rally Party Nicos Anastasiades, Deputy Chairman of ruling Democratic Party Nicos Kleanthous and Chairman of the Social Democratic Movement EDEK Yiannakis Omirou.
He will also meet with Foreign Minister Iacovou and hold a press conference for both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot media.
President of the European Parliament leaves Cyprus Sunday, 9 October, 2005.