The spokesman also fielded questions concerning the sudden resignation on Monday by New Democracy MP for Piraeus Petros Mantouvalos, who quit ND's Parliamentary group but has not given up his seat in Parliament.
The move came in the wake of generalized climate of scandal and corruption in Greek politics that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, with the two main parties broad siding one other with cross-accusations of graft that have prompted intervention by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
Roussopoulos confirmed that the MP had acted on his own initiative and had not informed anyone of his decision, stressing that the government "respected his decision". Asked if the government would have "preferred" Mantouvalos to also give up his seat in Parliament, Roussopoulos said that this was a matter "of each individual MP".
Concerning the latest incident in the scandal saga, in which a woman was accused of attempting to bribe an aide of Deputy Employment Minister Gerassimos Giakoumatos, the spokesman stressed that it was not possible for the government to react to each incident in the same way.
"We must not get to the point where we accuse the deputy minister who reports an attempt at bribery to justice. That would be a complete distortion of reality. When we have reasonable grounds for suspicion, we act and react," Roussopoulos stressed.
Commenting on Giakoumatos' allegations that the incident may have been deliberately staged in order to frame him and his aides - following the discovery that the woman in question had been carrying a tape recorder and recording her conversations with the minister's staff - the spokesman noted that "well-meaning Greek housewives do not normally go around carrying tape recorders in order to record their conversations".
He also noted that the woman in question had also been implicated in other instances, and had claimed to have recorded her interactions with staff at the state employment organization OAED.
"This was the reason that I said on Saturday that the incident raised questions that would be answered once the case went to justice," he added.
The woman had apparently inserted an envelope containing ¬ 5,000 in a box of cakes she offered to the minister's staff, where she had gone to submit a job application for a family member.
Asked about the forced resignation of MP Evangelos Polyzos over a general statement that "corruption was found in all parties" - which journalists noted was later proved correct - Roussopoulos replied only that "accusations have to be specific, not general and vague".
With respect to the resignation of IKA deputy governor Nikos Gerassimou, Roussopoulos said that the resignation had been requested for "reasons for propriety" by the deputy minister involved, after which Gerassimou had himself contacted Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos to offer his resignation. Gerassimou had been accused of having dealings with a convicted drug dealer during a report by an investigative journalism program on television. He admitted that the man in question had been a former client of his lawyers' practice, but had denied all knowledge of the latter's illegal activities.
In the suit filed against a newspaper by finance ministry general secretary Constantinos Mihalos, meanwhile, the spokesman said that the ministry official had resorted to justice because there had been "an attack on his personality". The paper claimed that Mihalos had been criminally prosecuted while working as a stock broker in London during the early '80s, a charge which he categorically denied.
Asked to comment on the role of the media in the climate of scandal, Roussopoulos expressed reservations about so-called "revelations" that sought to create impressions or set up a sort of "tele-court", noting that such actions did not belong in ethical journalism.
"I won't refer to specific names, the citizens have eyes and ears. For example, the deputy minister that reported a bribery attempt almost found himself being accused by certain parties," he said.
Regarding a request for a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis by celebrity television reporter Makis Triantafyllopoulos, Roussopoulos said that "the premier receives many requests for meeting that he cannot grant".
PASOK spokesman on corruption, gov't spokesman responds: Main opposition PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis accused the government of "applying double standards when it comes to corruption" in comments he made on Monday.
Athanassakis said that New Democracy as main opposition party in the past strongly criticized "everyone" on issues of corruption; while as government "it finds itself confronted with corruption."
He accused the government of becoming "part of the problem" instead of providing solutions.
In response, Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos referred to PASOK's past "which Greek citizens have paid and are paying for dearly," referring to the Athens stock exchange bubble, the land registry, etc.
"A past during which no one ever resigned, when the government never took the initiative of referring suspicious matters to the courts," he said.
"It is therefore obvious why in this country we are not all the same," he concluded.
Syn's Alavanos calls for immediate measures to combat corruption
The leader of the Parliament-represented Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) on Monday called for immediate measures to combat what he said was a "toxic environment" of corruption and vested interests.
Speaking to employees of Geniki Bank, Synaspismos president Alekos Alavanos said "immediate measures" should also be taken for the broadcast media sector and vis-a-vis the "operation of major economic interests", as he noted.
In an unrelated development, Alavanos called for a probe into the circumstances surrounding the sale of Geniki Bank to a French concern just prior to the last general elections in March 2004.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said the bill on combatting money laundering - in line with community directives - would lead to significant improvements in dealing with the problem, since money laundering has been the main source of funding of terrorist and criminal acts.
The bill extends the definition of 'money laundering'; broadens the scope of individuals who are required to report suspicious transactions, such as lawyers; and reinforces the power and responsibilities of the committee charged with the prevention of money-laundering activities.
Alogoskoufis said the bill would be submitted to parliament soon. The Greek minister noted that a second bill aims to attract foreign investors in Greece.
Government Spokesman: Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that the bill aimed at combatting money laundering aims at bringing Greek legislation in line with EU directive 20091/97/EK.
Through this initiative, "the legislative, administrative and operational framework regarding money laundering is upgraded," he said.
Basiakos stressed that test results on samples taken from birds in Greece have so far been negative, adding that the Greek government will know more in a few days when the final results are in.
Should the final results also be negative then the government will lift the precautionary measures.
He added that Greece is ready to face any problems that may arise and to protect consumers, public health and the economy.
During the meeting of EU agriculture ministers, Basiakos also raised the issue of compensation for poulty breeders in order to support them financially following the negative impact created, such as a drop in consumption and poultry product prices.
Finally, the Greek minister also met privately with European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Marios Kyprianou and reviewed the latest developments.
"We completely agreed on the handling of the situation until now, both on the part of the European Commission as well as on the part of the Greek government, since all the measures and initiatives that have been adopted fall within the framework of the action plan that the European Union has approved," Basiakos said.
Deputy agricultural development minister
chairs meeting on Greek poultry sector
Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos chaired a meeting on Monday in an effort to support their Greek poultry sector. The conclusion reached during the meeting was that consumers can eat Greek poultry products with no fear for their health.
"We had a very interesting meeting with the representatives of consumers, the representatives of poultry businesses, the scientific community and the associates of the agricultural development and food ministry," Kontos said afterwards.
He added that they were given an analytical briefing on all action taken by the ministry concerning the latest crisis with the bird flu virus and that they were satisfied with the steps taken.
"It was also made absolutely clear that there is no problem for the health of consumers from consuming poultry products, since they are produced under excellent hygiene and safety conditions," the deputy minister further said.
He said the foreign ministry had responded immediately after receiving a letter from Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos that asked the Greek diplomatic service to emphasize to the governments of Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria that no instances of bird flu have been detected in Greece, days after a single and much-publicized suspected case tested negative for the dangerous H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus.
Stylianides said that the network of Greek Economic and Trade Affairs Bureaus throughout the world had been instructed to "aggressively" highlight that Greek poultry products were of certified health and quality, at a time when this was a major comparative advantage in international markets.
The Greek bird flu scare erupted last week after a single bird was found to have symptoms compatible with the early stages of avian flu. Preliminary tests carried out on a sample sent to the EU veterinary laboratories in Weybridge, Surrey, however, were negative for the bird flu virus. The EU is awaiting the results of a virological test due in the next few days to confirm the earlier negative result and lift a temporary ban on movements of poultry within the island prefecture of Chios.
Stylianidis made it clear that Greece will insist in Belgrade's participation during the taking of final decisions on Kosovo, stressing that Greece has made known with clarity to its friends and allies, in Europe, the United States and the UN, that no solution can be accepted that is not supported by Serbia-Montenegro.
Referring to the European prospects of Serbia-Montenegro, the deputy foreign minister said that "Greece fully supports the European prospects of Serbia-Montenegro, because we believe that it constitutes the only way for the maintenance of stability, peace and cooperation in the Balkans. For this reason, we believe that Serbia-Montenegro must participate in the European family, that it is ready and can act in the direction of stability in the region."
Stylianidis termed relations between the two countries very friendly, adding that "the strong friendship between the two governments, the two countries and the two peoples, the Serb and Greek people, constitute the most stable foundation for the building of the common future."
Announcing his resignation to reporters, Mantouvalos said that recent press reports concerning the MP were linked with "merciless" internal party clashes on a local level. He also claimed that there was an unseemly partisan attitude towards himself and stressed that he was not at fault in any way.
"This is nothing but organized sordidness that people recognize as such, and I will become more explicit if necessary," he added.
Mantouvalos said his decision was emotional rather than calculated, adding that he was very upset.
"I cannot become an impediment for the prime minister and the government in the slightest way, even if I am not at fault," he said.
The MP said he had not informed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in advance of this move, though adding that the premier and his close associates were aware of the problems that existed.
"I did not tell anyone," he reiterated, adding that he still would have resigned in the event that efforts had been made to avert his resignation.
Asked to comment on deposits valued at seven million drachma allegedly made by an associate of his into the account of a former judge, Mantouvalos said that the issue "does not concern me", adding that he did not know the judge and that the matter was a judicial issue.
He further said that the issue had nothing to do neither with a government reshuffle -- 'whenever such may take place' - nor with next year's local government elections.
Asked whether the case was linked with a prospective candidacy of his in the municipality of Piraeus, Mantouvalos said that he was not sought to stand in the municipality, and had not disturbed anyone. "Everything I have sought, I've attained," he added.
Later on Monday, Mantouvalos responded to an invitation for a meeting with ND parliamentary group secretary Apostolos Stavrou, in order to explain the reasons that led to his resignation. The MP is also due to officially inform Parliament's presidency of his resignation from ND's parliamentary group.
Main opposition PASOK on MP Mantouvalos' resignation, corruption: Main opposition PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis on Monday said that the resignation of ruling New Democracy party deputy for the 1st Piraeus voting district Petros Mantouvalos is an indication that the government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis are turning a blind eye to the problems in Piraeus.
Athanassakis said that Mantouvalos, who resigned from ND's parliamentary group on Monday but said he would retain his seat as an independent MP, used 'heavy terms' to characterize in-party rivalry, a fact that underlines an existing problem.
Athanassakis reiterated PASOK President George Papandreou's proposal aimed at ensuring transparency and combatting corruption, saying that "the government and Mr. Karamanlis insist on blatantly ignoring it."
Announcing his resignation to reporters, Mantouvalos said that recent press reports concerning the MP were linked to "merciless" internal party clashes on a local level. He also claimed that there was an unseemly partisan attitude towards himself and stressed that he was not at fault in any way.
"I cannot become an impediment for the prime minister and the government in the slightest way, even if I am not at fault," he said.
PASOK's Diamantopoulou on corruption: PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou accused ruling New Democracy of playing a leading role in degrading the country's political scene, in comments she made on the sidelines of a protest organized by the consumer group "Active Citizens against High Prices."
"The prime minister is unwilling and incapable of changing the political agenda and creating a political vision for the country," she said.
Asked to comment on the possibility of early elections, Diamantopoulou said: "Only the government can decide whether there will be early elections or not, but throughout Europe there are examples of governments who reach an impasse, such as ours."
A conference on the theme "The dead of the Greek-Italian war, October 1940-April 1941, was held at the War Museum on Monday evening in the presence of President the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
Addressing the event, Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos termed Greece a "pylon state" for security and stability in the wider region of southeastern Europe for the benefit of prosperity for the peoples of the region.
"Unilateral claims and arbitrary interpretations or the violation of rules of international law are not compatible with European standards and with the principles and values governing the international community today, while force or the threat of its use is condemned unequivocally by all," the minister said.
During the Greek-Italian war 13,936 officers and men were killed. A total of 7,976 of them were killed in the villages of Northern Epirus in Albania.
According to Constantopoulos, Greece appeared to be fighting a "rearguard action" in foreign policy instead of organizing a dynamic foreign policy to take advantage of opportunities made possible by the European framework and international developments.
On the domestic front, the former party leader pointed to the incessant scandal-mongering and cross-accusations of corruption, saying that "it is clear that the lack of an effective and reliable policy for dealing with problems of corruption and graft is keeping democracy hostage."
As long as this climate continued, politicians lost their autonomy and democracy was daily abused by "a vast and predominant state of kitsch," he added.
According to an announcement by POESY, the delegation underlined "the very heavy climate in the sector of information which is being shaped by the attacks that the journalistic world is receiving", while also referring to the "great responsibility of the mass media's ownership regarding the final product of information, without disregarding the responsibilities of those journalists who participate in this process with options that are not compatible with ethics."
President Papoulias, according to the announcement by POESY, "stressed this problem in the quality of information, pointing to issues of public opinion's disorientation from major national issues for which attention, responsible information and continuous sensitization of citizens are necessary."
The announcement further said that President Papoulias said the claims of the journalistic world on labor relations, observation of collective labor agreements and the sector's social insurance funds were justified, adding that labor peace is essential in the sector of the press and the electronic media.
The test opening of the new border crossing was held following agreement between the foreign ministries of Greece and Bulgaria and the relevant services, Harakidis told ANA-MPA.
"It is a historic moment," Harakidis said, explaining that the trial opening of the customs house was within the framework of the conference on "Cross Border cooperation and Implementation of the Lisbon Strategy" held on Thursday and Friday in Drama, and on Saturday in the Bulgarian town of Goce Delcev.
"Unfortunately, the modern history of wars, conflicts and the violation of international law confirms the need for the Organization's continued and strengthened provision of services on this primary level," he said.
"Humanity's inability to overcome national interests does not yet allow the UN to evolve into a modern organization dedicated to providing aid and dealing with modern, international social and natural challenges. September's Summit Meeting underscored the need for renewal, modernization and the immediate addressing of global problems," he added.
Referring to Greece, Papandreou said that the country respects and supports the regulations and decisions made by UN agencies.
"We hope that soon, with complete respect for resolutions related to Cyprus and through the provision of the Secretary General's services, an end will come to the justified struggle of our fellow Cypriots," he said.
"Greece celebrates this anniversary, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council during the period 2005-2006; a very significant accomplishment and a reward for Greece's efforts towards world peace, to which PASOK made the utmost contribution through the foreign policy exercised by its governments," he added.
Talks focused on issues of foreign and domestic policies.
Diamantopoulou criticized the mass media for not highlighting major issues concerning the country, such as the high cost of living, and for focusing their interest on other matters such as statements about corruption.
She said that the account of PASOK's work is positive, adding that a substantive reconsideration of its policy in the sectors of small and medium-size enterprises, farmers and working classes with low incomes is necessary.
Diamantopoulou further said that "we are now experiencing the grey side of politics, a morbid situation which is enjoying great publicity in news bulletins" and termed the situation a "mixture of resignations which knows no precedent" noting that the phenomenon is a profoundly political one.
Presenting the award to the Soviet Union's former and last president was George Tenet, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Tenet said that Gorbachev is distinguished for his courage and humaneness, adding that he is one of the most honest leaders in the world.
Upon receiving the award, Gorbachev said it was a great honor. He also said that Perestroika opened the way for freedom and democracy.
He made reference to the major challenges facing the world today, listing weapons of mass destruction, poverty and environmental issues as key.
Archbishop of America Demetrios conveyed the wishes of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos to Gorbachev.
In all cases, the 26 Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by Greek air force jets.
Sources said that five Turkish formations were armed.
Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos noted that the framework agreement foresees that eight Balkan countries along with the UN-administered province of Kosovo adhere to the EU's acquis communautaire in terms of power generation and natural gas, referring to a "unified energy market".
The Greek capital will serve as the seat of a regulators' council as well as for a ministers' council on electrical power issues. Istanbul, meanwhile, will serve as the headquarters for a natural gas council, with Sofia, Bulgaria hosting the technical committee and Vienna the countries' secretariat.
The agreement has attracted international attraction beyond the founding parties, as the United States, Canada, the World Bank and the EBRD are listed as donors. The entire project was heavily backed and originally proposed by Greece in 1996, during a period when current PASOK deputy Christos Papoutsis served as EU Commissioner for energy.
EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and British Secretary for Energy Alan Johnson, representing the British EU presidency, will sign the agreement on behalf of the European Union, whereas Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas will sign on behalf of Greece, one of five EU member-states participating in the pact, along with Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy.
Other ministers, representing Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, as well as the UN representative for Kosovo, will sign the agreement for their respective sides.
The agreement will be signed between five EU member countries, the British EU presidency, and nine Balkan states.
Sioufas told reporters after the meeting that the agreement will create new conditions in the region that will contribute to its growth, economy, peace and stability.
The accord will be signed Tuesday morning at the Saroglio Mansion, in a ceremony that will be attended by Karamanlis.
The meeting was scheduled on the occasion of the 21st International Tourist Exhibition Philoxenia, organized by Helexpo on November 3-6 under the auspices of the tourist development ministry and the Greek Tourist Organization (EOT).
An international conference on conference tourism will be held on November 5, in the framework of Philoxenia, as a considerable form of alternative tourism on whose development the country's tourist policy bases the extension of the tourist season throughout the year.
Rapporteurs at the conference on "Convention tourism: the great challenge" will be academics and representatives of convention centers and tourist agencies from Greece, the United States, Britain and other countries.
According to an announcement, Helexpo will be providing tickets at a discount for exhibitors and visitors of Philoxenia in cooperation with Olympic Airlines.
The meeting was held on the island of Poros and focused on the better coordination of efforts to promote Greece's tourism product.
InvestBulgaria Agency, the state agency for foreign investments in the country, -in a report last November- also showed a strong Greek presence in a sector which exports 75 percent of its production and employs more than 150,000 workers.
The report said that three Greek enterprises were among the 13 largest foreign investors in the sector, "Blue Point", "Kosmos Textile" and "Pangea". The other 10 enterprises included in the list are Germany's Alt Group, C&A and Rollman & Partners, UK's Coats, French Dewarvrin Group, Turkey's Maser Holding, Italy's Miroglio and Safil, Cyprus' Stambouli Enterprises and the international firm Sara Lee.
Bulgaria seems to resist pressures from Chinese textile imports in western markets, with Bulgarian exports down by 1.9 pct in the first half of 2005, a trend likely to be reversed in the second half of the year.
The value of exports of textiles and clothing totalled 823.7 million euros in the January-June period.
The bank, to be renamed to Piraeus Bank from the beginning of 2006, aims to double the number of its branch network to more than 40 by the end of next year and boost its consumer credit services in the local market.
Piraeus Bank's general manager for international activities, Yiannis Kyriakopoulos, said the Group's strategy was to establish a long-term presence in the local market and to raise its contribution to profitability from international activities to 25 percent in the next two years, from 15 percent currently. Piraeus Bank Group operates in nine countries around the world.
Kyriakopoulos said the group would also seek expansion in the US market, through its subsidiary Marathon Bank, -the only financial institution of Greek interests in America after the sale of Atlantic Bank of New York by National Bank of Greece.
Piraeus Bank acquired 89 percent of Egyptian Commercial Bank in July. The Egyptian bank has assets totalling 580 million euros, more than 600 staff and it is listed in the Cairo Stock Exchange.
According to a relevant announcement, the target of BenQ Hellas is to provide consumers with mobile telephone apparatuses of high technological specifications, aiming at gaining a large part of the consumer base.
BenQ Mobile, headquartered in the German city of Munich, is one of the three business departments of BenQ Corporation. Its revenues exceeded 5.6 billion euros in 2004 and it has over 7,000 employees all over the world.
The composite index rose 0.60 percent to end at 3,267.05 points, with turnover a moderate 154.5 million euros.
Sector indices scored gains, with the Telecommunications (2.73 pct), Wholesale (1.16 pct), Holdings (0.99 pct) and Parallel (0.92 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while IT Solutions (1.07 pct) and Textiles (0.14 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.52 pct, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.61 pct higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.43 percent up.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 184 to 100 with another 50 issues unchanged.
Bond Market Close: Buyers
Foreign Exchange Rates: Tuesday
Reference buying rates per euro released
by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.204
According to sources, 4 sacks of hashish weighing 41.250 kilos and a fifth sack containing six hand grenades and three detonators were spotted hidden in the area approximately one week ago, and the site was placed under surveillance, but no one appeared to pick up the drugs, thus the hashish was confiscated on Monday.
The Kastoria police were investigating the incident.
The program began in 2000 and refers to specific measures for dealing with unavoidable changes to the climate and the extreme weather phenomena that result.
It was created to help the EU meets the targets set in 1997 under the Kyoto Protocol, when the 15 EU member-states of that time undertook to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent up until the year 2012.
The program seeks optimum solutions for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and gases created by road transport and air travel. It also seeks to support research and development into new, environmentally-friendly technologies and to brief the general public on these targets.
Other speakers at the conference attended by some 450 participants, included UK Minister of State for Climate Change Elliot Morley, members of the European Parliament and representatives of private firms and non-governmental organizations.
Additionally, one man was found dead among the group. Three individuals, identified as crewmembers, were charged with migrant smuggling.
All of the passengers were men aged between roughly 18 and 35, while nationalities ranged from Egyptians to Indians to Iraqis. Initial and unconfirmed reports, moreover, state that the vessel disembarked from Egypt, with Italy appearing as the final destination.
On Monday, 147 out of the original group of 153 were being temporarily hosted at a municipal building in the village of Palaiohora. The entire group is expected to be transferred to the city of Hania later in the week.
In an unrelated but similar incident, 13 Afghan nationals were arrested on the eastern Aegean island of Samos on Monday morning after authorities spotted them walking along a roadway.
According to reports, illegal immigrants had been landed on the island by a migrant smuggler that ferried them over a narrow strait from the opposite Turkish coast.
All of the would-be migrants were taken to a reception centre on the island.
Bakoyannis referred to the significance of preserving Greek traditions and heritage and passing it unto younger generations in a speech she gave during the ceremony.
During her visit to Chicago, Bakoyannis met with the city's mayor Richard Daley with whom she discussed further strengthening of cooperation between the twin cities of Greece and the US.
On Monday evening she was due to arrive in Washington where she will meet with US government officials, Washington's mayor Anthony Williams and members of Congress.
The roughly 2,000 people who turned up for the concert had the opportunity to listen to Dalaras perform some of the best-known 'rebetika' songs as well as to see singers Sofia Papazoglou and Melina Aslanidou perform.
The greater part of the concert was dedicated to the music and songs of Vassilis Tsitsanis, with the remainder featuring the songs of Markos Vamvakaris, Theodoros Derveniotis, Apostolos Kaldaras and others.
Saturday's concert was the third in the Hellenic Music Festival series which is being held in Vienna throughout October.
The four-concert series has been organized by the Greek embassy in the Austrian capital.
Dionyssis Savvopoulos will be performing on October 27.
Silivridou-Pasalari was one of the foremost Greek painters of the 20th century, beginning her career as a child prodigy that produced her first sketches at the age of four. She was born in 1924.
She graduated with first-class honors from the Athens School of Fine Arts and also obtained degrees in architecture and teaching.
Between 1953 and 1996 she had 30 individual exhibitions in Greece and abroad, while she also participated in two Panhellenic and three international exhibitions.
Some of her works are currently on display at the National Gallery/Alexandros Soutzos Museum in Athens and other galleries throughout Greece.
In later life she became involved in local politics, being elected an Athens municipal councilor in 1993 on the ticket of Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.
She was married to journalist Christos Pasalaris and also had a son from a previous marriage, Michael Andronikos, and two grandchildren.
The exhibition, inaugurated by Macedonia and Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsionis on Monday night, contains rare manuscripts, letters, photographs, partitures, gramophone records, theatrical programs and personal belongings of the singer.
"The exhibition is a meeting with the culture and history of modern Greece. Our different acquaintance with the woman-symbol, the woman-legend, Sophia Vembo. Her spirit, songs and contribution to the motherland, which was of decisive significance, constitute for all of us a 'living' example of a splendid patriotic course and stance of life," the minister said.
Vembo, who was born in Gallipoli in eastern Thrace in 1910 and who died in 1978, began her artistic career in Thessaloniki in 1930, but it heightened with the outbreak of war in 1940.
She sang satirical and war songs and her voice became a "national" one which inspired Greek troops fighting on the front. After Nazi troops entered Athens in the spring of 1941 she left for the Middle East where she continued to sing for Greek and allied forces stationed there.
The exhibition will be open every day, with the exception of Monday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and over the weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 in the afternoon. Admission will be free.
The exhibition will contain 74 works from archaeological museums in the country, as well as findings from excavations carried out by foreign archaeological schools.
Exhibits include maps, photographs and various items, while the purpose of the exhibition is to substantiate the history, scientific and cultural activity in general of each of the 17 foreign archaeological foundations in Greece, from the first years of their operation in the 19th century to date.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book concerning Foreign Archaeological Foundations in Greece. The culture ministry will also be holding a conference on November 30 in the framework of the exhibition.
The icon of St. Demetrios, patron saint of Thessaloniki whose name day is celebrated on October 26, will be on loan at the Church of St. Demetrios for a month.
The icon, which dates back to the 13th Century, was transferred from Constantinople - before 1453 - to Italy, under unknown circumstances.
It is priceless, both because of its elaborate and detailed construction and because of its historical significance.
The new services incorporate all means of public transport used in the capital and Attica, including buses, trolleys, the ISAP electric railway, the Athens metro, the tram and the new suburban railway. It aims to create improve transport services connecting the Mesogeia area in east Attica with the centre of Athens.
Using a single ticket, passengers can now use the KTEL express buses between Koropi Station and Lavrio, Porto Rafti/Avlaki and the suburban railway from Koropi to Larissis Station and then change onto any means of public transport in the city centre.
A single ticket from Athens to Lavrio will cost ¬ 5.00 and a same-day return will cost ¬ 9.00, while the ticket from Athens to Porto Rafti and Avlaki will be ¬ 4.00 for a single, ¬ 7.00 for a return. The tickets will be valid for 1.5 hours after a passenger switches to a means of transport run by OASA, while the journey times on KTEL buses will not be taken into account. The tickets are not valid for the express buses to the airport and Saronida.
The official start of the new 'combined' services was declared on Monday by Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis, during a ceremony held in Lavrio. The minister also announced that the new system will soon be extended to west Attica as well, while the Athens metro will soon be stopping at suburban railway stations of Pallini, Kantza and Koropi.
Liapis also highlighted a service offered by OASA on its website <http://www.oasa.gr> to help passengers find the best route for reaching their destination by public transport.
The lecture is sponsored by the Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy as well as French ambassador to Greece Bruno Delaye.
Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, who chaired the meeting and is committee president, had signed a cooperation memorandum on behalf of the Greek government in July during her visit to Beijing.
The Greek-Chinese Committee is to convene for the first time on November 28 and 29.
Iraklis Thessaloniki - Atromitos Athens 2-0
Levadiakos Livadia - Kallithea Athens 1-0
Akratitos Athens - Panionios Athens 0-1
PAOK Thessaloniki - Ionikos Piraeus 6-1
OFI Crete - Olympiakos Piraeus 1-0
Egaleo Athens - Xanthi 3-2
AEK Athens - Panathinaikos Athens 3-0
Larissa - Apollon Kalamaria 4-1
(Played on Monday Oct. 24)
The point standings after seven weeks
Apollon Kalamaria 8
Commenting on information that the UN, urged by the US and Britain, will attempt to launch a process for Cyprus in an effort to extinguish any opportunity by the Cyprus Republic to react to Turkey's EU accession course, the spokesman noted that the SG had said that he would wait until after October 3rd 2005 to decide about his next steps.
Asked if the SG would risk beginning a process that would have limited prospects of success, the spokesman referred to UN Undersecretary General Sir Kieran Prendergast's report where he described the situation as it is and under which preconditions a process would start on the part of the UN, noting that the UN Secretary General's good offices mission are at the disposal of both sides, but they are not pursuing an effort which would not be well prepared.
''I have no information that the SG's policy has changed,'' the spokesman said.
The spokesman agreed that given the gap between sides a new initiative was not expected to begin soon, unless there was a change of stance by the Turkish side.
Invited to say if any contacts are under way to ascertain the ground between the two sides, the spokesman said that depends entirely on the SG, who has not announced any new contacts.
He said the government is continuously in contact with the SG though the Permanent Representative of the Republic in New York.
As regards the reinforcement of the occupying forces in Cyprus' Turkish occupied north, the spokesman said that this is a phenomenon repeated from time to time and that the Cyprus government makes representations and lodges complaints to the UN.
The goal of the Turkish side, he added, is to maintain the occupation and the EU must take this into consideration during Turkey's negotiations, that it insists on occupying European territory.
These violations are contrary to international law, create an unprecedented feeling of insecurity, concern and fear to the inhabitants of the island and jeopardize international aviation, Mavroyiannis noted in a letter to the UN SG dated October 17, calling on Turkey to terminate these violations immediately.
In his letter, which was circulated as a UN official document on October 21, Mavroyiannis also said that these violations deteriorate the already tensed situation in Cyprus, while undermining efforts to achieve an acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.
The position is expressed in a statement issued by the embassy on Monday where it denied reports in recent Greek Cypriot press articles which cited an article from the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, indicating that the U.S. intends to set up a NATO base in the Turkish north and is in favor of the permanent division of the island.
"There is simply no truth to this report. The U.S. Embassy remains firmly committed to the reunification of Cyprus through a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation, established by a negotiated agreement supported by majorities on both sides. This has been our position for more than thirty years and there has been no change", the embassy statement concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.
Speaking during a joint press conference with visiting Cyprus House President Demetris Christofias, after holding talks with him, Hrusovsky said the Cyprus problem is a very serious and complicated issue, adding that there is no other way but to reach a settlement on the basis of international law.
He said that any other efforts for a settlement that would make the problem more difficult must not be accepted.
Christofias expressed the Cypriot people's gratitude for Slovakia's stance of principles in the struggle against Turkish occupation and to settle the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions, international law and EU principles.
He said the Republic of Slovakia does not only make wishes and expresses positions ''but supports in practice these principles at all international fora where the Cyprus problem is discussed, either at the Council of Europe, the UN or the EU.''
Asked whether he believes that with the start of Turkey's accession negotiations, Ankara will change its stance on Cyprus, Hrusovsky said that this depends on Turkey and its domestic situation.
Turkey's most recent actions do not inspire much optimism as regards its policy on the Cyprus problem, he added.
He said the Cyprus problem is not Turkey's sole problem in becoming an EU member state.
''We are waiting for Turkey to be in a position to address her notable problems, concerns and suspicions over fundamental human rights in the country, to take concrete decisions to convince EU member states that it seriously takes into consideration its accession to the EU", he added.
As regards Slovakia's support to Cyprus, Christofias said that ''the Republic of Slovakia maintains a contingent in the UN peacekeeping force which amounts to the 1/4 of the force's personnel, at a time when there are efforts on the international arena to dissolve the force".
Christofias said that ''we deem that the EU has made a major compromise towards Turkey.''
''Turkey begins negotiations without having recognized an EU member state and stating that she is not going to implement the protocol of her customs union with the Republic of Cyprus,'' he added.
Christofias noted that this is a compromise of principles the EU has made.
''Cyprus, a very small and undefended country basically had to tolerate this compromise with the expectation that the EU will demand the recognition of the Cyprus Republic and the implementation of the protocol as preconditions for Turkey to move on with her European course,'' he added.
He said the most serious thing was for Turkey to change her stance and philosophy on the Cyprus question and move on to a good will policy that will respect international law principles, the UN resolutions and the EU principles to reach a compromising but just, viable and functional settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Christofias and Hrusovsky also discussed issues regarding the functioning of the EU, the union's political and economic situation and the situation following the rejection of the European Constitution by two EU members states.
The Slovakian official underlined that Christofias' visit reaffirmed the traditionally good relations between the two countries and their further enhancement in the future.
Christofias thanked Hrusovsky for the warm hospitality and the friendly climate during their meeting and invited him to visit Cyprus the soonest.