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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-05-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>May 10, 2006
 Athens outlines its concerns to Iran's top nuclear negotiator
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani reiterated here on Tuesday that his country does not seek to develop nuclear weapons or include such weaponry in its defense dogma, following a one-hour meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and amid growing international pressure on Iran to allay even the faintest possibility of nuclear arms capability.
Larijani, who is also the secretary of Iran's powerful Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), arrived in Athens from Ankara, Turkey, where he held lengthy talks with Turkish leadership a day earlier.
On her part, Bakoyannis stressed that the European Union member-state -- which is currently a non-permanent member of the United Nations' Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency‚s (IAEA) board of governors -- backs both the IAEA and the Security Council's processes to defuse the ongoing crisis.
She nevertheless emphasized that "with necessary political volition a peaceful resolution will be found" and called on Iranian leadership to work with the international community towards the best interests of all peoples.
Larijani, conversely, again repeated Tehran's leitmotif of keeping the issue firmly away from the UNSC domain and instead resolving it within the IAEA framework, while repeating on several occasions that it would be a "mistake" to refer Iran‚s nuclear dossier to the Security Council and that Tehran wishes only to "peacefully exploit nuclear technology".
"We also believe that the Russian plan (for Iran's uranium enrichment program to take place at Russian facilities) can proceed, but more time is needed," he told reporters at the Greek foreign ministry, adding that some UNSC permanent members have more 'realistic' positions than others -- a reference to Washington -- and that hurriedness previously torpedoed the proposal.
The Greek FM responded that Athens welcomes the Russian proposal.
Bakoyannis nevertheless promptly emphasized what she called the Greek government's "sincere expression of its positions" during the meeting, positions revolving around the need for nuclear and WMD non-proliferation to insure a stable and secure world. She also said Athens shares the international community's concern over Iran's nuclear program and believes the UNSC and IAEA have a "crucial role" to play in the matter, while underlining that the Greek government is aligned with the positions of its partners.
Meanwhile, commenting in the wake of a surprise letter addressed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to US President George W. Bush -- where the former reportedly opined, among others, that democracy had failed worldwide -- Larijani told local and foreign reporters that he hails from a region "where many headaches have been caused by America over the past 20 years ... Russia and China have more realistic positions."
Gov‚t spokesman: Meanwhile, during his regular press briefing, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros echoed Bakoyannis‚ earlier statements, noting that Athens still believes there are great margins for a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the problem.
"Greece believes in the power of diplomacy, moderation and justice," he added.
Finally, Antonaros dismissed any notion of a "different" stance by the Greek government vis-a-vis Israel and Iran, respectively, saying that "what is important is to maintain peace and political stability in the wider region in which we belong. Greece participates on the Security Council, has increased responsibilities and will fulfill these responsibilities".
Main opposition leader meets with Iran's nuclear negotiator: Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou said he was in favor of a diplomatic and peaceful solution that would result from multilateral and meaningful negotiations and in accordance with international law in remarks he made to reporters after meeting with visiting Ali Larijani, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, in Athens on Tuesday.
Papandreou stressed that peace is achieved with respect towards international law and legitimacy, through friendship and cooperation between nations.
He added that this is the only possible way, suggesting to the involved parties to refrain from making provocative statements that only fuel tensions and heighten the crisis.
Papandreou reiterated that PASOK is opposed to "a new Iraq" but also voiced concerns regarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons, noting that they constitute a major threat.
Finally, he said that "we have to revive the peace movement" and added that he was in favor of reducing nuclear arms.
 Russian proposal still a possibility, Larijani says in Athens
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)A proposal to shift uranium enrichment for Iran's nuclear program to Russia was still a possibility, Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told reporters during a press conference held at the Iranian Embassy in Athens on Tuesday, following an earlier meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
The envoy also stressed that Iran's was seeking to develop nuclear power for civil uses only, considering nuclear weapons destructive for global security, and had no reason to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty.
Larijani underlined that Tehran had not rejected a Russian proposal for the co-production of enriched uranium on Russian soil but said that it needed more time to work on the legal, technical and commercial aspects.
He accused the international community, driven by United States pressure, of being too hasty in referring the issue to the UN Security Council and preventing an agreement with Russia.
"It's not too late to put the Iranian nuclear file in the right direction," Larijani said, arguing that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was the appropriate body to handle the file and that it had gone to UN Security Council prematurely.
According to the Iranian envoy, Iran was still at the stage of researching the uranium enrichment process and had not even constructed the necessary plant or started production of nuclear fuels.
Larijani underlined that Tehran did not want to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation Treaty but did wish to exercise the rights arising from international agreements.
"There must be a balance between the rights and obligations that arise from the Treaty. I don't think it is particularly just to observe the obligations but not have any of the rights that arise from this Treaty," he added.
The envoy also reiterated that Tehran will cooperate fully if the file is returned to the IAEA.
During the press conference, Larijani stressed the importance that Tehran attaches to Greece's position on the issue.
Larijani's surprise trip to Athens came hours after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany in New York to discuss a draft Security Council resolution admonishing Iran.
The talks failed to reach a breakthrough as China and Russia are reluctant to take a tough position toward Iran, as advocated by the United States, Britain, France and Germany.
 Valinakis participates in UN's SC meeting on Darfour
NEW YORK, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA/P.Panagiotou)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis represented Greece in the UN's Security Council special meeting on Darfur here on Tuesday.
Greece is a non-permanent member of the council.
Addressing the press, Valinakis hailed the decision taken, which "allows for peace to prevail in a long civil war...It is a message of peace which shows that humanity can find peaceful solutions."
Referring to the Iran crisis, Valinakis said that Greece as a UN SC member and an EU country supported, and was actively present in current negotiations and in continuous contact with its partners, "that a negotiated solution should be found, a peaceful solution, a political solution. We support the respect of UN resolutions and international treaties. We support all efforts towards finding diplomatic solutions and of course we are against the proliferation of nuclear weapons."
 Greece not elected to new Human Rights Council
NEW YORK, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA/P. Panagiotou)Greece and Portugal have not been elected to the new Human Rights Council, despite the fact that Greece, during Tuesday evening's vote at the UN General Assembly, exceeded the limit of 96 votes, which constitutes a prerequisite for election on the basis of the relevant decision of the UN General Assembly.
Greece's Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, replying to a question by ANA-MPA, stressed that countries which have been elected to the new council give significant economic contributions, noting that all the probable reasons of the result of the vote will be examined. He also hailed the creation of the new 47-member Human Rights Council, reiterating Greece's steadfast support of human rights worldwide.
 Pakistani PM Aziz due in Athens Sunday on official visit
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Pakistan's prime minister Shaukat Aziz is due in Athens on Sunday four a four-day official visit to Greece, at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis, it was announced on Tuesday.
Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that Aziz, during his May 14-17 visit here, will discuss bilateral issues and matters of wider regional and international interest.
Antonaros also said that Karamanlis was due to meet on Wednesday morning with visiting former French prime minister Lionel Jospin.
 FM Dora Bakoyannis addresses event marking 'Europe Day'
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, in the presence of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, on Tuesday evening honored "Europe Day" and the completion of 25 years since Greece's accession to the European Union.
In her speech, Bakoyannis noted "the enormous progress which has been made in Europe, which today is a continent of peace, cooperation, democracy and prosperity." She said "the magic ingredient which unites our continent is nothing else other than the common awareness, even subconsciously, for Europe as our common home." Bakoyannis also referred to "the challenges which united Europe today faces."
"The European Union today is called on to promote its economic growth and its competitiveness in the international system, to secure employment and prosperity of its citizens in parallel to its social cohesion, to acquire a single voice, credible and united in the world scene and mainly to again win the confidence of its citizens, meeting their needs and expectations, so that the deepening and the enlargement to proceed at the same time, not one against the other, but supplementing creatively one another," Bakoyannis noted.
Regarding the progress in Greece during its 25 years in the European Union, Foreign Minister Bakoyannis spoke of "delays which occurred in the past," but stressed that "the current government with its policy leaves these weaknesses behind and is preparing the country so as to be in the position to fully utilize the opportunities offered by the European integration and the new international environment."
Referring to Greece's role in European developments, the foreign minister reiterated the country's support to the European prospects of the Western Balkans and of Turkey, prospects which, as she said, "constitute the strongest guarantee for peace and stability in Southeast Europe."
Representing Austria's presidency of the European Union, Austrian Ambassador in Athens Herbert Kroell spoke of "an impressive progress which has been made in Greece from its accession to the European Union."
Present at the event were, among others, were Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda, main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) National Council Secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, National Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou, Tourism Development Minister Fanny Palli-Petralia, former prime minister and honorary president of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party Constantine Mitsotakis, Alternate Government Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, ND Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis and PASOK deputies Theodoros Pangalos, Vasso Papandreou and Anna Diamantopoulou.
The members of the Greek delegation which conducted the country's accession negotiations were honored during the event.
Greece celebrates Europe Day: Athens was one of 27 European capitals to celebrate Europe Day on Tuesday with a Cafe d'Europe event, an initiative launched by the Austrian EU presidency for the first time in 2006.
The Cafe d'Europe event in Athens took place at Cafe Ianos, featuring the following key speakers: Austria's Ambassador to Greece Herbert Kroll; Greek author Sotiris Dimitriou, who by contributing a narrative will be representing Greece in the book "Stories of Europe"; Thrassyvoulos Stamatopoulos, the foreign ministry's General Director for European affairs; and Ierotheos Papadopoulos, Director of the European Commission's Representation in Greece.
The aim of Cafe d'Europe is to provide a forum for discussion with the public and young people from all over Europe.
 Foreign minister attends dinner at Austrian Embassy
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Tuesday attended a dinner given in her honor by Austrian Ambassador to Athens Herbert Kr√∂ll at the Austrian Embassy.
The dinner was among events organized by the Austrian presidency of the European Union and was attended by the Athens ambassadors of all EU member-states, of soon-to-accede Romania and Bulgaria and EU candidate-states Turkey, Croatia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
 PM, FM to attend EU/LAC summit
VIENNA, 20/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will be representing Greece at the IV EU-Latin America/Caribbean summit organized by the Austrian EU Presidency and held in Vienna from May 11-13.
The heads of state and government of 60 countries of the European Union, including the acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania, and of Latin America and the Caribbean will be attending the summit, which will be held on May 12.
On May 11, participating countries' foreign ministers will be having a preparatory meeting, while on May 13 there will be a number of subregional meetings of individual countries and subregions of Latin America and the Caribbean with the European Union.
 Cabinet discusses defense ministry bill on armed forces property
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)In para 3, line 4 replaces ", while the public sector will contribute ‚¨330 million." with corrected ", while the public sector will also contribute funds to the two projects." Corrected version follows:
The inner cabinet met on Tuesday to discuss a draft bill prepared by the defense ministry for utilizing the property of the Greek Armed Forces, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis underlined that Armed Forces personnel face housing problems that the government has pledged to resolve and announced that the draft bill will be given out to the parties in a week.
During the meeting, Environment Minister George Souflias briefed the cabinet on two projects underway on the Ionia road and the Tripoli-Kalamata-Sparti road, for which temporary contractors had been selected. He said that the contractors would carry out the works and then hold the rights to their exploitation for 30 years", while the public sector will also contribute funds to the two projects.
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis also briefed the cabinet on her talks earlier on Tuesday morning with Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.
 Foreign ministry on Turkish exercise
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Tuesday stated that jurisdiction in terms of operational responsibility in case of search and rescue operations held inside the Athens FIR belongs to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Piraeus. He was responding to a question on a Turkish search and rescue exercise announced for Wednesday.
Koumoutsakos added that in the specific case the Greek side has declared the Turkish NOTAM on the exercise in question null and void.
"We are obviously watching the whole issue very closely,‚ he added.
 Legal Council of State submits report on AGB to government
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos, responsible for press and media issues, had received a report on the TV ratings firm AGB Nielsen Media Research carried out by the State's Legal Council, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said on Tuesday.
The report had been commissioned by Roussopoulos in early April after news reports that led to charges of fraud being filed against AGB for repeatedly publishing 'fixed' or improperly measured ratings.
The spokesman said that Roussopoulos had sent the report on to the appropriate services, advising them to take the action necessary on the basis of its findings.
He also stressed that the report did not assign "political" responsibility and that it was a purely legal text.
 Papandreou, Jospin say they support diplomatic solution to Iran crisis
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou and former French socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin in a joint press conference in Athens on Tuesday evening supported a diplomatic solution to the Iran crisis. They also stressed that Europe must shape its own autonomous political position, whether this coincides or not with the opinion of the United States.
Jospin noted that he "opposed anti-Americanism" which he views as being "equal to a confession of weakness" and that he was in favor of "a clear and objective stance towards the U.S."
On his part, Papandreou said "the aphorisms are not a way of political confrontation." He noted that as president of Socialist International (SI), he is "cooperating with the progressive forces in the U.S."
The joint press conference took place on the occasion of the presentation of Jospin's book "The world the way I see it."
 Main opposition accuses gov't of intervening in judiciary
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Main opposition PASOK has accused the government of 'blatant intervention' in the judiciary in a related question it submitted in Parliament on Tuesday.
Specifically, 15 PASOK MPs, headed by the party's Justice Coordinator Miltiadis Papaioannou, claimed -among other things- that Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras directly intervened in pending criminal cases.
According to the PASOK MPs, judges are experiencing "unprecedented climate of fear and insecurity with the government trying to take political advantage of the investigation into corrupt practices in the justice system."
 Coalition party satisfied with success of 4th European Social Forum
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party's Political Secretariat, in an announcement following its session on Tuesday, expressed its absolute satisfaction over the success of the 4th European Social Forum, held in Athens on May 4-7.
"Following proposals by cadres of the party and of youth, who participated in organising the Forum, the proposal for the party's Central Political Committee, due to be held on Saturday (May 13) was shaped through the discussion. The rich experiences, conclusions and the prospects of these movements, in which the Coalition party has participated from the beginning of their creation, will be assessed collectively at this meeting," the announcement said.
 Albania ratifies agreement with Greece on data protection
TIRANA, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Albanian Parliament's Laws Committee on Tuesday ratified an agreement with Greece regarding the protection of confidential data.
According to the agreement, both sides must prevent access to confidential information by unauthorized users, since failing to do so may have consequences on both countries' national security.
The agreement may very well pave the way for additional agreements between the two countries on the exchange of confidential information.
 Justice minister supports appointment of appeals court investigator for phone tapping issue
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras expressed support for the appointment of an appeals court investigator for the phone tapping affair, following his meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday.
"We always believed this to be a very positive development. We have no, but no objection. I wish to remind that Mr. Linos, whom I respect, has nothing to do nor has anybody else with this case. As you are aware, the issue of the appointment of an appeals court investigator has to do with the Appeals Court Judges Council, with the appeals court judges plenum. Nobody else is involved. I do not understand how important judicial functionaries are involved," the minister said in reply to a question.
Replying to another question whether he wanted the appointment of an appeals court investigator from the beginning, Papaligouras said "I believe that this development is certainly positive if it is ultimately decided by the Appeals Court Judges Council, which is the only body having authority."
The minister also said that the government is not addressing the phone tapping issue but justice is and added that he briefed the prime minister on basic legislative initiatives he has undertaken.
 KKE will not participate in social insurance dialogue
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has decided not to participate in the "so-called social dialogue on the social insurance issue that will begin tomorrow with the joint session between the Parliamentary Economic and Social Affairs Committees."
An announcement by the party's parliamentary group on Tuesday said that this dialogue is "clearly an excuse" and "is not taking place to widen the rights of working people but to schedule new negative changes such as a decrease in benefits, the extension of worktime, cutbacks in heavy-duty and unhygienic work and the privatization of social insurance."
KKE said that what is being aimed at with this "dialogue" is the "cultivation of complacency, consent and submission of working people."
The announcement said that KKE "has submitted an integrated proposal on social insurance since 2001, based on the needs of working class families."
 Deputy DM attends army air show
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos went to Megara Airport on Tuesday, where he watched the army's air division put on an air show.
After the show, Michaloliakos expressed satisfaction for the pilots' and technicians' high level of training and congratulated all those participating in Tuesday's event.
Michaloliakos also announced the measures the defense ministry intends to take in order to reinforce the army's air division.
These include upgrading the airports of Megara, Stefanovikio and Alexandria; meeting the army's operational demands; and improving living conditions.
 Protest planned at Souda to keep Greece out of conflict in Iran
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Anti-war activists on the island of Crete are planning a protest rally at the NATO and U.S. naval base in Souda on Sunday to demand that Greece does not become involved in the event of a military offensive against Iran and that the foreign bases on Souda be closed.
 Development minister completes official visit to Egypt
10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Tuesday completed his official visit to Egypt and expressed his great satisfaction over the presence of Greek enterprises both in Cairo and in Alexandria.
The Greek minister visited the facilities of paper industry "Flora" and food industry "Chipita", with both companies playing leading roles in the Egyptian market, and wished for a further expansion of their activities in the future.
"We look to the Greek community here in Alexandria and in Egypt and believe that it has a future in the country because bilateral relations in government level and between the two peoples are in the best level possible," Sioufas told an audience during a special event held at the Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Alexandria. The Greek minister, in his speech, said Greece was progressing very well and noted that the government cared about Hellenes abroad.
 Finance minister makes amendment for Naousa Textiles Industry employees
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Employees of the Naousa Textiles Industry will be provided with a state of special income backing, according to an amendment made by Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis to the initial amendment to a bill discussed in parliament on Tuesday.
This measure will also be extended to all prefectures in the country where the unemployment rate in the textiles sector in 2005 exceeded 20 percent.
Initially, the amendment anticipated early retirement for those out of work and who would have 7,500 work stamps by December 31, 2008.
Alogoskoufis pointed out that economic backing will be interrupted when an unemployed person finds work and that a joint ministerial decision will be issued which will rule that the unemployed joining the special income backing status will pay their insurance contributions themselves to complete the necessary number of years enabling them to obtain a regular pension.
 Gov't sets priority on tourism investment
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)The government has set priority on attracting tourism investment to Greece and boosting business activity in the sector, freed from red tape, Tourism Minister Fanny Palli-Petralia said on Tuesday.
"The maturity time for investments in Greece will converge with the European average, which is about 18 months, and that will happen with respect for the law and full transparency," Palli-Petralia told a news conference.
"Already we have 'unblocked' investment efforts that are linked to the development law and the (EU) Third Community Support Framework. Concerning the investment law, five-start hotels will be financed throughout Greece, except Athens and Thessaloniki," she noted.
The use of funding from the Fourth Community Support Framework was being planned in order to meet the needs of the tourism market. Immediate plans included creation of a reception centre for investment proposals and business plans at the tourism ministry.
The government had forged a long-term policy to tone up demand in the Greek tourism product, strengthen supply, and improve services.
"This long-term policy means that the tourism ministry will be the permanent home of sector policy, regardless of government, and, more importantly, regardless of political leaders," Palli-Petralia said.
In their final phase were bills on spa tourism and agrotourism; and a call centre was being created to answer visitors' queries in several languages.
 PASOK deputies want information from Bank of Greece governor on Turkish Finansbank buyout
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)A total of 20 Parliamentary deputies -19 from the main opposition PASOK party and independent deputy Andreas Andrianopoulos- have called for an appearance before the relevant Parliament Committee by Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas to provide information on the decision of the National Bank of Greece to buy out 46 percent of the Turkish bank Finansbank.
They also want a briefing on the same issue by the representatives of insurance funds participating in the National Bank's share capital.
In letters to the president of Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee, the deputies are interested in being informed whether the buyout will affect the structure of the country's banking system, as well as the National Bank's course.
 Intrasoft gets key EU project
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)The European Union's executive Commission has awarded a key information and communications project to a consortium led by Intrasoft International, a member of Athens-quoted Intracom Holdings.
The consortium, which won an international tender for the project, comprises Intrasoft International, Mostra Communication (Belgium), Reggiani (Italy), and Qwentes Kantor (Belgium), management said in a statement.
The 4-year contract, part of a larger project divided in 4 sections, aims to provide consulting support services to the Commission in planning, implementing and following up information and communication initiatives.
The project will cover the EU's 25 member states, countries participating in programs managed by the bloc's Directorate-General for Research and the Joint Research Centre, and countries applying for E.U. membership, the statement said.
The Intrasoft consortium was awarded the first and largest section of the contract, which is the creation of information products (written material and website content), budgeted at a maximum of 30,000,000 euros. Intrasoft's budget is 12,000,000 euros.
"This project enables Intrasoft International to further establish its presence in the areas of information and communication publishing, extending thus its expertise in content management, editorial activities and information dissemination for the European Commission," management said.
The company has been working with the Research Directorate-General within the framework of the Electronic Proposal Submission System (EPSS) since 2002.
 Greece unveils new consumer price index
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Greece's National Statistics Service on Tuesday unveiled a new consumer price index aimed to better reflect prices fluctuations in the country.
The new index was compiled in cooperation with the economy and development ministries, the Bank of Greece and representatives of employers' and workers' unions.
The new consumer price index will include 784 items, with 101 new additions and 42 strikes.
Prices will be collected in 24 prefectures and metropolitan regions around the country: Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Patra, Larissa, Irakleio, Kavala, Ioannina, Kalamata, Volos, Kozani, Komotini, Mytilene, Serres, Lamia, Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Grevena, Amfissa, Lefkada, Rhodes, Tripoli, Edessa, Messolonghi and Aghios Nikolaos.
The new index also includes changes in the trade weighing of main group factors, products and services, with lower trade weight for the food and beverage group, and higher for the alcohol and tobacco group.
The housing group also has less weight on the new index, with communications acquiring more status.
 New productive units of Greek interests, being created in Albania
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)New productive units of Greek interests, which will create about 500 new jobs, have been created in Albania with funding by the Greek Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans (ESOAB), according to data made available to ANA-MPA by the 1st Adviser of the Economic and Commercial Affairs Office of the Greek Embassy in Tirana, Panagiotis Zarangas.
The new productive units, of a total investment of 29.9 million euros and with a subsidy of about nine million euros by ESOAB, will mainly produce food and beverages, furniture and building materials. The units are based in various regions of Albania, mainly in Gijorakstr and Tirana.
The biggest investment, of a budget of 4.98 million euros, is that of Fresh C. Ltd., which is subsidized by ESOAB with 1.49 million euros, for the setting up of a unit for water bottling and the production of fruit juices.
On the basis of the distribution which has been made among the receiving countries of funds by ESOAB, Albania has received 49.89 million euros, of which 20 per cent have been allotted for private investments.
 Intralot signs 10-mln-euro contract in the Philippines
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Intralot on Tuesday announced the signing of a contract, worth 10 million euros, with Pacific On Line, the operator of PCSO (Philippines Charity Sweepstake Office) in South Philippines.
The seven year contract envisages the supply, installation and technical support of a main lottery management system "LOTOSTM O/S" and 900 terminals to support PCSO's six lottery games. The project is expected to begin this year.
Intralot signed a 10-year contract with PCSO in 2004 for the development of an online system to support a KINO game in the Philippines.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks nose down
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Athens share index closed at 4,304.73 points, showing a decline of 0.28%. Turnover was 524.6 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.28% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.15% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.11% down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 161 to 118 with 41 remaining unchanged.
Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers
Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.279
 President Papoulias attends celebrations marking end of WWII
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday attended the celebrations organized by Ioannina Prefecture at Hani Delvinakiou near the Greek-Albanian border, marking the anniversary of the end of World War II.
After the memorial service was conducted and after a speech delivered by Stavros Beratis, Delvinaki's Deputy Mayor, Papoulias placed a wreath at the monument dedicated to those who fought in the war.
Later on Tuesday, Papoulias was honored during a special ceremony held at Delvinaki Town Hall for his contribution during the Resistance and was declared honorary resident.
Papoulias then visited his birthplace, Pogoniani.
President Papoulias message on V-E Day: ‚Belief in the European idea and vision for a better and fairer world can lead the European Union to its essential destination, which is the creation of a people-centered and united Europe not just through the single currency or the flag, but through institutions, actions, social policies and common goals for tomorrow," President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said in a message on Tuesday on the occasion of the Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day).
He added that more than half a century after the historic initiative for the European unification and 15 years after the manufactured division of Europe, the challenges for the European Union are many and the concerns of the European citizens are legitimate.
President Papoulias underlined that ‚Europe still is a political and institutional innovation, a system of principles and values which is a model for the world community‚.
 Ceremony marking anniversary of end of WWII
10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)A wreath laying ceremony was held at the 3rd Army Corps monument in Thessaloniki on Tuesday on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the End of WWII, the anti-fascist victory and the Greek Resistance Movement against the Axis occupation.
Wreaths were laid in memory of the countless WWII victims by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Kalantzis, Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis, 3rd Army Corps Commander lieutenant-general Ioannis Zoukas and local officials.
The Macedonia-Thrace minister stated that "today we honor all those who fought and died for democracy, all those who fought against Fascism and Nazism, against all forms of totalitarianism".
The Thessaloniki Prefect stated that this event is held in honor of freedom, democracy, civilization as opposed to totalitarianism and darkness.
Service held at Athens Cathedral on anniversary of end of WW2: The Athens Prefecture held a service at the Athens Cathedral on Tuesday as part of celebrations marking the anniversary of the end of World War 2. The event was attended by Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Parliament's Vice President Yiannis Tragakis, Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros and former prime minister Ioannis Grivas. The service was followed by the laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In a related development, an announcement by the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party said, among other things, that "today, the defense of peace constitutes a top priority target for humanity which is faced with the 'long war' of the Bush government", adding that "the Greek people, with the great tradition of struggles against fascism and in favor of peace can contribute considerably to this movement and not allow any facility in the war from our country's territories."
 Liapis begins meetings on reform of Road Traffic Act (KOK)
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis on Tuesday launched public dialogue that will lead to the reform of the Road Traffic Act (KOK) by meeting with representatives of motorcyclists organizations, to whom he presented the government‚s positions and received their proposals.
The meeting is the first in a series of contacts planned by Liapis with all the various bodies involved.
After the meeting, the transport minister stated that the goal of the revision is to decriminalize penalties while increasing fines for dangerous traffic violations.
 Deputy foreign minister on visit to Mount Athos
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Tuesday began his first visit as minister to the monastic community on Mount Athos, also known as the Holy Mount, where he will stay overnight.
Kassimis arrived on the Athos peninsula on a coast guard boat at 11:00 on Tuesday and then went to the administrative capital of the semi-autonomous all-male community, Karyes, for the official reception ceremony.
Afterwards, the minister attended a meeting with abbots and representatives of the 20 monasteries on Mount Athos, where he was briefed on the problems faced by the community and announced that three acts regulating the approach of private water craft to the peninsula, the circulation zone for private vehicles on Mount Athos and air traffic would soon be published in the government gazette.
The acts seek to control the movements of visitors to the community using private means of transport in order to preserve its character as a place of religious contemplation.
Kassimis also promised to convey an invitation to Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to attend an exhibition of Mount Athos religious artifacts organized by the community in Thessaloniki, in collaboration with the city's municipality, on May 28.
Before departing on Wednesday morning, the minister will visit three of the monasteries on Mount Athos.
 Archbishop Christodoulos speaks on 'Church and Globalisation'
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Tuesday spoke at the third Clerical Congress on the theme "Church and Globalization - In front of a great challenge."
At the congress, which took place at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus, Archbishop Christodoulos spoke about the repercussions of globalization, the dangers and problems, making particular reference to its multi-cultural and spiritual dimension.
"Most probably, we have before us, the export of a model of life and its imposition on all the nations. Therefore, whoever does not want to play with words and the realities which these picture, would probably speak about the 'Americanization' of nations instead of globalization," Christodoulos said.
He posed the question:"To whom will the control of political life finally pass to. Who will control in a few years time our cultural production?"
Archbishop Christodoulos stressed that "the Church does not favor any subjugation, but liberation from the commitments of this world," adding that "however, every Orthodox Church, despite its ecumenical character, is the national Church."
The Archbishop underlined that the reaction of the Church to globalization "cannot be expressed with violence, neither with power." He said "we must convince those who must be careful not to surrender like sheep to the slaughter. The Church has this duty, making correct choices."
 Health minister to address symposium on father of 'pap test', Papanicolaou
NEW YORK, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA/P. Panagiotiou)Greece's Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will be a keynote speaker at a scientific symposium in New York on Thursday dedicated to George Papanicolaou, a Greek pioneer in cytology and early cancer detection, who was born in Kimi on the island of Evia.
The symposium will be held on Thursday, organized by the Greek Medical Association of New York, the Federation of Greek Associations, and the Panevian Association in cooperation with the New York Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical College.
The annual events honoring the Greek researcher, known for his development of the groundbreaking Papanicolaou test, now known as the Pap smear, which is used worldwide for the early detection and prevention of cervical cancer and other cytologic diseases of the female reproductive system, were held for the first time in 1996 at Cornell University Hospital, where a bust of Papanicolaou stands prominently.
The health minister is expected in New York on Tuesday evening, where he will inaugurate an exhibition of jewelry by Depy Chandris at the Dahesh Museum of Art, titled "Baroque References, Tomorrow's Visions".
During his stay in New York, the health minister will have contacts with leading medical authorities and members of the Greek American community. One of the issues expected to be discussed will be the US-Greek cooperation in the sector of medicine and scholarship criteria.
The same issues will be discussed at the next convention of the Greek Medical Association of New York, which is to take place in Athens on June 17-18.
 Verhofstadt's book on United States of Europe translated into Greek
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)The only option for the Old Continent is the idea of the united states of Europe. This is the main topic of Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt‚s book titled: The United States of Europe - Manifesto for a new Europe, which has been translated into Greek.
"It would be absurd to try to dominate over each other and continue to quarrel over which direction we should take while other continents will get ahead of us in full speed. We are faced with a single choice: either we do not change a thing and be left in the margins, or we regroup and actively participate in the world scene. I propose that we choose the United States of Europe", maintains Guy Verhofstadt.
The book presentation will be organized on Thursday, May 11 by Papazisis Publishing House. The book will be presented by main opposition PASOK parliament deputy and former European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, ruling party New Democracy Euro-deputy Giorgos Dimitrakopoulos, and Athens University professors Giorgos Papadimitriou and Panagiotis Ioakimidis. Journalist Antonis Papagiannidis will coordinate the discussion.
The introduction was written by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, and includes a commentary by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis. The book has been translation into Greek by Nikos Zartamopoulos.
 The Council of Europe on the Routes of the Olive Tree
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Council of Europe general secretary Maud de Boer-Buquicchio will award the ‚Major Cultural Route of the Council of Europe‚ title to the cultural itinerary ‚Routes of the Olive Tree‚ on May 13, 2006, carried out by the foundation of the same name and the Chamber of Commerce of Messenia, south Greece in cooperation with agencies from other Mediterranean and European countries.
The Routes of the Olive Tree is an internationally recognized innovative initiative and in 2003 was declared 2nd World Cultural Itinerary by UNESCO.
An International Forum on the European Cultural Routes, geo-policy tools for intercultural dialogue, sustainable development, cultural tourism and European integration will be held at the European Cultural Centre at Delphi on the occasion of the award ceremony. The events are under the auspices of the Greek Culture Ministry within the framework of the Olive Year 2006 and distinguished personalities from Greece, Europe and the Mediterranean countries are expected to attend.
 Crime and traffic accidents sharply decline in Greece this year
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Crime in Greece this year is much lower in comparison to previous years. According to statistical data released on Tuesday by the Public Order Ministry, for all the country and for Attica, 37 murders have been committed in Attica so far this year, a figure much lower in comparison to previous years.
In the first half of 2005, 132 murders were committed throughout the country, 111 in 2004 and 116 in 2003.
A significant reduction is also observed in robberies, rape, fraud and theft and even in violation of laws concerning weapons.
Traffic accidents are also fewer this year compared to the previous year. In the first four-month period of 2006 there were 4,555 traffic accidents, while during the corresponding period in 2005 there were 4,951 accidents. From traffic accidents that occurred this year, 361 cost the life of 399 people while last year there were 394 fatal accidents and 437 killed.
 Deputy culture minister honors American Olympic Games discus champions
ATHENS, 10/5/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy Culture Minister for Sports George Orfanos on Tuesday received American Olympic Games champions Alfred Erter (gold medalist on four consecutive occasions) and Mac Wilkins (gold medal in 1976, silver medal in 1984 and four-time world recordman).
The athletes were accompanied by the Ethnikos club President and past discus champion Antonis Kounadis and Greek Olympic Games medalists Stelios Miyiakis (president of the medalists' club) and Petros Galaktopoulos.
Orfanos honored the two American athletes by giving them plaques with a silver olive branch and said in a statement that "we had the opportunity to discuss how they achieved great successes and how they managed to stay at the top for so many years."
 Cypriot President committed to a bizonal, bicommunal federation solution
NICOSIA, 10/5/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has said he has always been in favor and remains committed to a solution of the Cyprus problem providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation, adding that this solution must be workable, functional and fair.
Speaking at a reception organized by the European Commission Representation in Cyprus and the European Parliament Office in Cyprus on Tuesday, President Papadopoulos said ''the EU has to play a role in whatever solution we find.''
He said the EU ''has to advise us and monitor that any arrangements to be met would be compatible with the acquis communitaire''.
''At the same time it is universally accepted, also accepted by us - maybe this is one of the few common points with our Turkish compatriots - that the Cyprus problem must remain under the umbrella of the United Nations. Neither EU nor any country wants the Cyprus problem to be removed from under the aegis of the UN into another forum'', President Papadopoulos added.
Commenting on an article in a newspaper saying that he rejects a federal solution of the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said ''I say firmly and again that the solution we are aiming at is a bizonal, bicommunal federation of Cyprus''.
Everything else, he noted, is just a lie aimed at serving other purposes from the reunification of Cyprus.
He also said that ''by our accession in the EU automatically the lawful citizens of Cyprus, T/C and G/C, are automatically citizens of Europe and we intend to see that both communities make use of the benefits which our accession to the EU provided and at the same time we must both comply with the obligations towards the EU''.
Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus Themis Themistocleous said ''the EU is associated with security: social security; security against terrorism and crime; security in health, living and environmental conditions; job security''.
He also said ''the EU is expected to harness globalization, bring solutions in terms of peace, democracy, living standards as well as research, innovation and economic performance''.
Head of the European Parliament Office in Cyprus Tasos Georgiou said it is unfortunate that the accession of Cyprus was not followed by the re-unification of the island so that all people of Cyprus, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots would jointly enjoy the benefits of accession in a unified country. However, he noted, I am convinced that this time will come soon.
Ambassador of Austria in Cyprus Eva Hager referred to a meeting of Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots young people earlier Tuesday and said they have the same questions about their future, the same wishes and expectations for their country.
The students met at a coffee shop in Nicosia and expressed their views about Europe. They also wrote stories about Europe, fifty of which will be issued later in an anthology book.
 Cypriot Spokesman says British following policy of discrimination
NICOSIA, 10/5/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Cypriot Government Spokesman George Lillikas, referring to the issue of the British authorities not granting an export license for weaponry belonging to the Republic of Cyprus, which is there for repair, spoke on Tuesday of ''a policy of discrimination on behalf of Great Britain against the Republic of Cyprus.''
Lillikas noted that ''we have armaments because we must defend our homeland, which is under occupation, and no country and especially a guarantor power can overlook this substantial difference.''
Asked about the representations of the Republic of Cyprus, Lillikas said ''they have had no results so far,'' adding that ''we will continue our representations because we view as unacceptable this prejudiced against us policy, which denies the right of the Republic of Cyprus to defend itself.''
The spokesman noted that ''the Republic of Cyprus never had a National Guard or armaments that could be threatening to any neighboring country.''
Asked about remarks from British sources that the specific piece of weaponry is not in the hands of the British authorities but of the company that has undertaken its repair, Lillikas said he did not believe the company had any interests in not fulfilling its obligations and carrying out a commercial transaction.
He added that Britain is linking its refusal to grant an export license to UN Security Council resolutions.
''If there is any sensitivity on behalf of Great Britain about the Security Council resolutions, there are binding Security Council resolutions concerning the withdrawal of Turkish troops and settlers from Cyprus, and which I would expect Great Britain would apply and, as a guarantor power, would meet its obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus,'' Lillikas noted.