|Saturday, 8 August 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 8, 2006
 Greek, Dutch FMs discuss EU-Turkey ties, Lebanon
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday echoed standing Greek policy amid increased pressure on EU candidate-state Turkey to extend a customs union with the Union's 10 new member-states, a decision Ankara has flatly rejected in order to avoid extending the pact to EU member Cyprus.
Bakoyannis, who met with her visiting Dutch counterpart Bernard Bot here, also clarified that discussions on trade or customs regulations are independent of Turkey's standing commitments to the Union.
Both foreign ministers discussed the situation in Lebanon, while Bakoyannis briefed Bot over Athens' initiatives at the UN Security Council following the assumption of the body's rotating chair by Greece this month.
"The EU's significant participation in the international force to be deployed in Lebanon is a positive development for a Europe that wants to have a crucial role in international affairs," she said, adding: "It is very difficult if not impossible for stability and peace to exist in the Middle East without a solution to the Palestinian issue".
On his part, Bot said the course of Euro-Turkey relations depends on Ankara's compliance with its commitments to the EU, noting that "numerous opportunities" are available and that the next few months will determine the degree of such implementation.
He also referred to a "mutual trust" between the two sides, the Union and Turkey, and that the predominately Muslim country's European orientation is important to both as well.
In an unrelated development, Bakoyannis stressed that an investigation ordered by the Greek government failed to turn up any evidence whatsoever that CIA "rendition flights" were aided or facilitated on Greek territory.
 Deputy FM Yiannis Valinakis calls on Turkey to meet EU commitments
NICOSIA 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA/CNA)Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis addressed a message to Turkey from here on Thursday to meet the binding commitments it has undertaken towards the European Union, stressing that "the EU has its own logic and does not have the logic of an oriental bazaar."
Valinakis, who was received by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos at the Presidential Mansion in the evening, said that "for us, it is clear that Turkey has assumed binding commitments and it must meet them. The message to Turkey, therefore, is this. The EU has its own logic and does not have the logic of an oriental bazaar."
Referring to the issue of Cyprus, the Greek deputy foreign minister said that "our positions are known, that is, we want a viable, workable and just solution in the framework of European principles and values."
On the question of Turkey's accession negotiations, that was examined during the meeting at the Presidential Mansion together with the Cyprus issue, Valénakis said "we have the report by the European Commission ahead of us which must assess Turkey's progress or lack of progress in its course towards the EU."
Valénakis also said that his meeting with President Papadopoulos "falls within the framework of close cooperation existing between Athens and Nicosia, countries which are cooperating closely both on the Cyprus issue and on EU's enlargement."
Athens on Rehn comments regarding Turkey: Athens on Thursday acknowledged recent statements this week by EU Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn, who again called on candidate-state Turkey to fully extend a customs union with the Union to its 10 new members, including Cyprus. Rehn also referred to the unprecedented possibility of taking Turkey to the European Court for failing to fulfill its obligations.
"The only safe path for a smooth Turkish accession course is to implement its commitments to the EU," foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said, adding: "I do not understand how anyone would choose the cumbersome, dangerous and narrow path of non-compliance vis-Ã -vis EU principles and values," he said.
Koumoutsakos also reiterated that there is a common perception -- and not just as far as Athens is concerned -- that "reform fatigue" has gripped the Turkish government.
Asked about a date for a projected visit here by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, the spokesman said the exact date has not been set. Moreover, he said there was no new information concerning a possible visit by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Ankara.
 FM Bakoyannis to hold talks in Serbia, Kosovo next Thursday
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis will visit Belgrade and Pristina next Thursday, for talks with Serbian and Kosovo officials, before heading to Brussels the following day for the EU Council of Ministers' General Affairs meeting, and then on to New York for a UN General Assembly session.
Bakoyannis' visit to Serbia and Kosovo aims at on-the-spot briefing and an exchange of views on the developments in the region, in the context of Greece's presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of September, and ahead of a report to be submitted by UN special envoy Marti Ahtisaari, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos told a regular press briefing on Thursday.
Koumoutsakos also said that ambassador Christidis will represent Greece at the September 12 meeting between the Contact Group for the future status of Kosovo and the SE Cooperation member countries in Sofia.
Greece hopes that steps will be taken that will lead to a positive outcome and a solution acceptable to all the sides concerned, Koumoutsakos added.
 UNSC informal meeting on process of electing next UN Secretary General
NEW YORK, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The members of the United Nations Security Council, which is being chaired by Greece for the month of September, held an informal meeting Wednesday night (Greek time) at the office of Greece's permanent representation to the UN, to discuss the procedure for election of the new UN secretary general to succeed Kofi Annan, whose second term expires at the end of the year.
After the meeting, Greece's permanent representative to the UN, ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, briefed the president of the UN General Assembly on the outcome of the discussion, after which he made statements to the press.
"We had a very constructive discussion. We no have a fifth candidate, and perhaps a sixth, given that the relevant documents we received (for the sixth candidacy) must be reviewed," Vassilakis said.
"We decided to commence the process of straw polls (informal indicative votes), as in July, with the first to take place on September 14. Another straw ballot will perhaps be held at the end of the month. The target is 28," he said.
Replying to press questions, Vassilakis said that the vote on September 28 will also be a straw poll, but would follow a new meeting of the Security Council members.
 Athens to organize round-table discussion at UN regarding int'l peace cooperation
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The foreign ministry on Thursday announced that Greece, which holds the United Nations Security Council's rotating chairmanship, will organize a round-table discussion on Sept. 20 at the UN's headquarters revolving around the theme of "challenges faced in cooperation to maintain international peace and security", along the lines of the long-standing "Agenda for Peace" initiative supported by consecutive UN chiefs.
Additionally, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said the Arab League has formally requested the convening of the Security Council at the ministers' level to focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, a request that is being examined by the Greek UNSC presidency, he said.
 US: Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline will hopefully reduce cost pressure in oil marketplace
WASHINGTON, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The US supports the development of alternative sources of oil and gas, and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline will hope-fully reduce cost pressure in the oil marketplace, according to a written reply issued by the office of the US state department spokesman to a question posed at Wednesday's daily briefing regarding the agreement reached in Athens earlier in the week between prime minister Costas Karamanlis, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Georgian president Georgi Purvanov on the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.
"The United States supports the development of alternative sources of oil and gas and a market-based system that fosters competition between suppliers," the written statement said.
"The United States welcomes construction of multiple pipelines to provide a commercially viable and environmentally sound way to export Caspian oil and gas to the global market," the statement said, adding that "Burgas-Alexandroupoli can be an important component of this vision, as it demonstrates its commercial viability in a competitive market for export routes that can reduce the transit cost for Russian and Kazakh crude into the world market."
"By bringing increased quantities of oil onto the global oil market, Burgas-Alexandroupolis will benefit consumers, and hopefully reduce cost pressure in the oil marketplace," the statement concluded.
 PM Karamanlis to inaugurate 17th TIF on Friday evening
8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Prime minister Costas Karamanlis will officially inaugurate the 17th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Friday evening, and address the formal dinner on Saturday night, while at noon Sunday he will hold the traditional prime ministerial press conference.
On Friday morning, Karamanlis will visit two Thessaloniki Metro construction sites, and also tour the expansion works at the city's Macedonia Airport.
Shortly after noon on Friday, Karamanlis will inaugurate the renovated Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, and open the 71st TIF at the Vellidis Conference Centre at 8:00 in the evening.
On Saturday morning, the premier is scheduled to visit the TIF administration building and tour the international trade fair's pavilions before meeting with local producer representatives, while he will address the official dinner to be hosted in his honor on Saturday night.
Karamanlis will wind up his visit on Sunday with a press conference at 1:00 p.m.
The prime minister is due to leave later for Helsinki for the EU-Asia summit, with the return to Athens scheduled for Monday night.
 PM addresses event for pupils distinguishing themselves in Larissa prefecture
8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis praised and handed over orders for the procurement of electronic computers on Thursday afternoon to 330 pupils who distinguished themselves in their studies in the Larissa prefecture, in central Greece, in the framework of an event organized by secondary education.
The visit to Larissa by the prime minister was non scheduled and was combined with his visit to Thessaloniki, Macedonia, for the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
Karamanlis focused in his address on the issue of the pupils, linking their success in the examinations to that of the national basketball team and commented that "when we focus on a target with all our strength, then we can achieve it." He added that the government's target is to support this effort as best as it can.
The prime minister stressed that the event is part of a wider program for rewarding a total of 8,300 junior high school pupils of the past year who distinguished themselves. An action that is being established this year and will be repeated every year with the awarding of 3,500 computers for the top pupils in the first grade of the junior high school.
Karamanlis revealed that about 3,000 computers will be given free to pupils, informatics laboratories will be backed with computers and teachers will be trained in the use of new technology and will be given the ability to teach lessons with new software, while the networks of 5,000 schools will be upgraded and broadband rapid internet links will be developed with the prospect of covering all the schools in the country soon.
Commenting on the prime minister's presence in Larissa, main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis spoke of "another lie and another deception."
Athanasakis said that the government and the prime minister had promised before the elections and had said "we commit ourselves to secure 150 thousand electronic computers for pupils and students."
The spokesman further said that "the essence is that out of the 150 thousand electronic computers of the pre-election commitment, personally by Mr. Karamanlis on 11/2/2004, 8,200 are being given."
 ND leading PASOK by 4 pts, ups popularity, in latest VPRC opinion poll
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The ruling New Democracy party (ND) was leading by four percentage points over main opposition PASOK party, just one month before the October 15 local government elections, in a monthly opinion poll conducted by VPRC on behalf of SKAI private radio and television station, the results of which were released on Thursday.
To a question on presumption of victory (which party the respondent believes will emerge victorious in next month's municipal/prefectural elections, regardless of personal political affiliation), ND was leading with 63 percent, up 7 percentage points from the previous poll, while PASOK had shed 8 percentage points and was down to 15 percent, according to the respondents' replies.
Regarding intented vote, both ND and PASOK increased their percentages, while the difference between the two mainstream parties remained at 4 percentage points, with ND leading with 42.5 percent, followed by PASOK with 38.5 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 8 percent, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) with 4.5 percent, and the Popular Orthodox Rally party (LAOS) with 4 percent.
To a question on who was the most competent for prime minister, current premier and ND leader Costas Karamanlis upped his proportion by 3 percentage points, and PASOK leader George Papandreou upped his proportion by 1 percentage point.
On Greece-Russia economic cooperation, 66 percent of the respondents had a positive view.
The opinion poll was conducted on September 1-2 on a sampling of 950 people of voting age nationwide.
 Gov't on controversial British legal decision involving stolen land in occupied Cyprus
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The government on Thursday referred to a controversial judgment handed down by a London court a day earlier in a legal battle between a British couple and a dispossessed Greek Cypriot landowner, referring to a "midway stage in the entire judicial process".
The couple won a legal battle to deflect rulings by courts in the internationally recognized part of Cyprus declaring a holiday villa they built in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus as illegal, as the land belongs to the Greek-Cypriot plaintiff.
A Nicosia court last year ordered David and Linda Orams to compensate Meletios Apostolides, the owner of the land.
The case attracted international attention as the Oramâ€™s attorney is Cherrie Booth, the wife of British PM Tony Blair.
 Greek Eurodeputies address European Parliament plenum on passenger information
STRASBOURG, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Ruling New Democracy party Eurodeputy Ioannis Varvitsiotis, addressing the European Parliament plenum on Thursday during the discussion on the conclusion of an agreement between the European Union and the United States on the use of information from the registers of passengers traveling to the United States, stressed that an effort must be made "to limit the information that might be requested to the absolutely necessary and with the clear exception of sensitive personal data."
He added that if a solution is not found by September 30 then more than 100,000 European passengers a week will be in danger of not being able to travel to the United States.
Varvitsiotis further pointed out that it is self-evident that "the common target is safeguarding public security."
Main opposition PASOK party Eurodeputy Stavros Lambrinidis stressed the seriousness with which the issues of terrorism and fundamental rights must be handled and raised a number of questions regarding an informal meeting of ministers held in London.
"Can someone inform us what this informal meeting between some ministers from member-states in London in the middle of the summer was. With what jurisdiction did it take place. Who convened this meeting. Who legitimized those willing who participated to issue press releases afterwards, supposedly with the new European necessary measures," he said.
 PASOK party spokesman comments on forest fires and European Parliament discussion
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis on Thursday accused the government of failing to control the situation during the forest fires in Halkidiki and Mani, stressing that "today, at the European Parliament, the Eurodeputies of New Democracy tried to block the European Union from visiting Greece and checking how the fire extinguishing apparatus operated."
Athanasakis added that "the issue started from ND, from its deputy Mr. Hadjidakis who submitted an amendment to the Parliament's resolution on fires in Europe, because Greece alone did not have a problem, in which he called on the Parliament's directorate to send a fact-finding delegation to Spain to see whether firefighting services in Spain operated well."
The spokesman said that a change was ultimately made and it was proposed that countries should not be named but the wording 'the most hit regions' should remain and the visit will be taking place, evidently to Greece as well, which is among the most hit regions and to other countries.
 KKE MPs request briefing by FM
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Two Communist Party (KKE) deputies on Thursday requested the immediate convening of Parliament's national defence and foreign policy committee so that members may be briefed by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis regarding the situation in the Middle East and Athens' involvement in developments.
KKE MPs Orestis Kolozov and Yianna Kanelli made the request.
 Lebanese envoy thanks Kozani for medicinal aid
8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Lebanese ambassador in Athens William Habib on Wednesday sent a warm letter of appreciation to Kozani prefect Iordanis Andreadis for the dispatch of medicinal and pharmaceutical supplies to the war-torn country by the Kozani prefectural government.
In his letter, Ambassador Habib stressed that, with this initiative, the Kozani prefectural government contributed directly to the relief of the suffering of the Lebanese people, and supported his country in these difficult moments.
 Olympic Airlines resumes flights to Beirut as of Monday
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Olympic Airlines (OA) announced on Thursday that it would resume its regular flights to and from Beirut as of Monday, September 11.
The OA announcement follows the Israeli government's decision to lift the embargo imposed on flights to and from Beirut.
OA's first flight to the Lebanese capital will take place in the early hours of Monday, the announcement said.
 FinMin to participate in Eurogroup, ECOFIN meetings in Helsinki
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis will participate the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings in Helsinki, September 8 and 9, before returning to Greece to participate at the inauguration ceremonies of this year's 71st Thessaloniki International Fair.
Eurogroup's agenda includes discussion on European Commission's intermediate economic report, discussing Germanyâ€™s excessive budget deficit, and the Eurozone's positions ahead of a Group of Seven meeting and the annual meetings of IMF and World Bank in Singapore this month.
The ECOFIN's agenda includes discussion of measures to deal with rising international oil prices, the European Commission's new proposals over drafting a European Action Plan to save energy, improving ECOFIN's work methods, and discussing the consequences of globalization on European economies.
 Gov't to help spur business in north
8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Thursday that the government would help to encourage business in the northern port city of Thessaloniki and northern Greece overall.
"This is to implement the prime minister's target of making the city a centre of enterprise, research, technology and innovation," Sioufas told business officials in Thessaloniki ahead of an international trade fair that opens on Friday and the premier's annual economic policy speech on Saturday.
Also taking part were Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis and Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou.
Development minister meets industries and exports unions in Thessaloniki: Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas stressed that the government is promoting the determination of business forces in northern Greece to strengthen the extroversion of the region's businesses, in meetings he had on Thursday afternoon with the boards of the Associations of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE), the Exports of Northern Greece (SEBE) and the Textiles and Readymade Clothes Businesses (SEPEE).
Competitiveness and the "survival" of Greek businesses in the clothing, textiles, footwear and leather sectors were some of the main issues discussed by the minister and the SEBEE board.
Sioufas said in a statement that "we are continuing support for the sectors with the special program amounting to 43 million euros for the further modernization of the sector."
 PASOK party criticizes government's economic policy
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The main opposition PASOK party criticized the government's economic policy and requested the intervention of justice during a press conference organized on Thursday by the party's Economy and Political Council chief Vasso Papandreou, Economy coordinator Petros Efthymiou and Economy and Economics rapporteur Andreas Makrypidis.
Papandreou accused the government of beautifying data concerning the economy in light of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and of concealing real economic data, while reiterating PASOK's criticism on the "unequal distribution of tax burdens at the expense of working people and pensioners and for backing the lack of transparency".
Referring to the sale of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), she said it was a question of selling public property to cover deficits.
The finance and economy ministry responded to the criticism by stressing that "the government is steadfastly bent on the implementation of reforms to strengthen the competitiveness of the economy. The main opposition party has lost its orientation and is wandering between zero and nothing."
 Unions fear economic slowdown
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The country's largest trade union umbrella group, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), said on Thursday that it feared an economic slowdown.
A slowdown in growth would also bring a major delay in achieving a real alignment of Greece's economy with the European Union average, the head of the GSEE, Yiannis Panagopoulos, told a news conference in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.
Panagopoulos was presenting an annual report on the economy produced by the Labour Institute, which belongs to GSEE and the ADEDY civil servants' union.
"We are seeing an unprecedented wave of price hikes after the (summer) holidays. This is not only due to oil prices, but also to the government's pricing policy for goods and services," Panagopoulos added.
 Development minister visits American Farm School
8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Development minister Dimitris Sioufas on Thursday expressed his conviction that the American Farm School in Thessaloniki can comprise a significant component of the government's vision to render Thessaloniki a hub in research, technology and innovation.
With the development of an Innovation Zone in Thessaloniki -- the draft legislation for which was approved last week by the Inner Cabinet -- and an Innovation Pole for Central Macedonia, he said, the American Agricultural School, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) and the National Central for Technological Development (EKETA) could play a fundamental role in achieving the government's goal, Sioufas told reporters after a tour of the School's facilities.
He said that the School's activities "honor Thessaloniki, Greece, and the countryâ€™s agricultural world", and urged the School's president William McGrew to continue his efforts with the same passion.
McGrew, in turn, stressed the School's excellent cooperation with the state, and expressed certainty that this cooperation would be expanded.
Sioufas was accompanied by deputy minister Yannis Papathanasiou and Macedonia-Thrace ministry secretary general Loukas Ananikas.
 Iranian, Thai officials visit Athens Chamber
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The head of the Tehran Chamber of Trade and Industry, Mohammad Nahavandian, and the Iranian ambassador in Athens, Mehdi Mohtashami, visited the equivalent Athens chamber last week for talks on economic ties between the two countries and spurring cooperation, officials said on Thursday.
In addition, a Thai business delegation visited the Athens Chamber of Trade and Industry headed by Sompong Amornvivat from the country's commerce ministry for talks on bilateral ties, including double taxation. Accompanying him was Thailand's ambassador in Athens, Chatchawed Chartsu-wan.
 Olympic Properties calls new tenders
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Hellenic Olympic Properties SA said on Thursday that tenders would be called for financial and technical consultants to prepare a future tender in which conversion of a Tae Kwon Do centre used in the Athens 2004 Olympics into a conference centre will be on the auction block.
Friday's tenders for consultants will be called by the general secretariat for Olympic property use.
Commercial management of what will become the Athens Metropolitan Conference Centre is to be awarded in a separate concession tender.
 Piraeus Bank Bulgaria plans bond issue, portfolio restructuring
8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Piraeus Bank Bulgaria, a member of Piraeus Bank Group, plans the issuance of a 30 million lev (15 million euros) bond loan, according to Bulgarian press reports.
The bank plans to issue additional bond loans worth 70 million lev in the next five years. The board will seek shareholders' approval to the plan during a scheduled general shareholders' meeting in October 18.
Piraeus Bank Bulgaria also plans a restructuring of its lending portfolio by 2008 focusing more on small- and medium-sized enterprises. Its credit exposure was largely covered by large enterprises (75 pct) with only 17 pct for SMEs and 8.0 pct for retail credit. The bank will seek to gain market share in mortgage loans raising its total share to 10 percent of the market by 2008. Piraeus Bank Bulgaria operates a network of 100 branches around the country.
 Industrial production up 1.4 pct in July, yr/yr
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Greece's industrial production composite index rose 1.4 percent in July compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Thursday.
NSS, in its report, attributed the increase to a 6.9 percent rise in the mining production index, a 3.4 percent increase in the manufacturing production index and a 7.8 percent fall in the electricity-natural gas-water production index over the same period.
The average industrial production index rose 0.9 percent in the seven month period from January to July, after a 2.5 percent decline in the same period last year.
 Int'l tourism forum on Rhodes
8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)An international tourism forum on competitiveness through sustainable development for Mediterranean holiday destinations will be held on the island of Rhodes on November 10-11, organizers said on Thursday.
The event arranged by the Dodecanese Island Chamber of Commerce is to be held under the aegis of UNEP's division of technology, industry and economics.
 ASE to extend trading hours from Oct. 2
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) will extend its trading hours by one hour daily, starting on Monday Oct. 2, ASE president Spyros Kapralos said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, Kapralos said the session opening will be 10:30 am (8:30 GMT) instead of 11:30 am currently. The small- and medium-sized capitalization stocks will trade from 10:30 to 12:00 and from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., while from Sept. 18, the Depository will take over the management of a supplementary fund before returning around 53 million euros to securities firms on Oct. 18.
Kapralos said ASE was interested in attracting new "dynamic companies" in the market and announced a two-day major road show in London for Greek enterprises.
The road show will include more than 500 presentations to around 80 international funds, along with another 30 enterprises of large capitalization not included in the FTSE 20 index.
Kapralos said five securities firms based in Cyprus have applied to become remote members in the Athens Stock Exchange, while he noted that a pilot operation of a common trading platform between ASE and the Cyprus Stock Exchange would be completed next Monday.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Athens share index closed at 3,881.93 points, showing a decline of 0.86%. Turnover was 197.8 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.03% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 0.68% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.43% down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 188 to 68 with 45 remaining unchanged.
Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.15 pct
Foreign Exchange Rates
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.283
 NYU establishes Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professorship
NEW YORK, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Democracy is without doubt today a very fashionable word, and it appears that there is no country that has not adopted it, or at least claims to apply some form of democratic governance, but this does not mean, however, that true understanding or international consensus exists as the full meaning of the term, Hellenic Parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki said Wednesday, in an address at New York University (NYU) during an event celebrating the establishment of a Democracy Seat titled Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professorship.
"A return to the roots, to the historical beginning and birth of democracy in ancient Greece, could truly help," she added.
Psarouda-Benaki said that the parliament of Greece and NYU had worked closely over the past two years to find ways to initiate a broader dialogue on the history and theory of democracy, and decided to establish a global professorship.
She also welcomed the selection of Cambridge University professor Paul Cartledge, who will be the first to hold the title, and will have the professorship for two years, and expressed certainty that his presence at NYU will give rise to substantive and fascinating discussions with professors and students, inside and outside the lecture halls, on the nature of democracy in the past and the present.
The parliament president referred at length to modern Greece's experience in democratic institutions and the ordeal it underwent during the seven-year military dictatorship.
Greece, she noted, last year celebrated the 30th anniversary of its first Constitution since the restoration of democracy in 1974.
 Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki gives press conference in New York
NEW YORK, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, speaking during a press conference at the Greek Press and Information Office here on Thursday referred to the new undertaking of the Greek Parliament with the creation of a Democracy Seat at New York University titled Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professorship.
Benaki stressed that the event on the previous night celebrating the establishment of the Seat, with the address by professor Paul Cartledge, was "indicative and representative" of the work that will be accomplished "promoting Greece and our culture."
Replying to press questions, she said that Greek Parliament will contribute to this effort, offering 50,000 dollars a year from its budget.
"The agreement is for two years for us to see how it will go and a third year might possibly be covered. The Seat is part of the Greek Studies and History sector and is aimed at having greater appeal to people, particularly to people who will be playing a role in the future in shaping public opinion," she added.
Replying to a question on whether there is consideration for Parliament to go ahead with other such cooperation with university establishments, Benaki said "I cannot predict the future because it is an experiment. We shall watch how it will develop and we shall see accordingly how there can be an interest in something different."
 PM to re-open renovated archaeological museum in Thessaloniki ahead of TIF
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will inaugurate Thessaloniki's renovated Archaeological Museum on Friday, as the premier arrives in the northern port city to inaugurate the annual Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and to deliver the customary state-of-the-economy address on the first weekend of the trade exhibition, Greece's largest.
The opening of the important 2,200-square-metre museum follows three years of renovation works.
 'City Break Expo', 'Euro-Cities Tourism' events in Athens next June
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)The international tourism exhibition "City Break Expo 2007" has been finalized for next June, in tandem with the annual European Cities Tourism conference to be held at the Zappeion Hall here, with local sponsors including the City of Athens' tourism and economic development organization and the tourism development ministry.
Minister Fani Palli-Petralia and Athens Mayor Theodoros Bechrakis detailed the twin events during a press conference on Thursday, underlining the importance of promoting the Greek capital as a tourist destination amongst major international cities.
 Tourism minister receives British mountaineer suffering from cancer
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Thursday received British mountaineer Helena Brierly who intends to climb up the peak of Mount Olympus, in central Greece.
Brierly, who suffers from cancer, has already climbed up the Alps and the Himalayas.
"Helena Brierly, with her effort gives us an example and a message of optimism, faith and love for life. She will climb up the Olympus something which constitutes a vow and a great vision for her. The fact is of particular importance as she is suffering from a serious case of cancer," Petralia noted.
On her part the British mountaineer said that she was given a "marvelous chance to give hope to people fighting against cancer."
"I am determined to succeed," she added.
 Isidoros Kouvelos elected head of Greek Beijing Olympic Games mission
ATHENS, 8/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)Isidoros Kouvelos, the first vice president of the Greek Olympic Committee (EOE) was elected head of Greece's mission at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, during a plenum meeting held on Thursday.
He received 13 out of 24 votes cast, as against 10 for Thomas Mentesidis, while one ballot was blank.
Ioannis Vassiliadis, the president of the Olympic Preparation Committee, was unanimously elected alternate head of mission.
Mihalis Fysentzidis was also appointed as the head of mission for the Greek team that will participate in the "Summer Olympic European Youth Days" that will take place in Belgrade, Serbia, in July 2007.
Lastly, the EOE plenum decided unanimously, following a relevant request, to provide 10,000 euros for the Olympic Committee of Lebanon to help it complete its sports programs in difficult times in light of the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games.
 Spokesman says court ruling in Orams case does not legalize property occupation
NICOSIA, 8/9/2006 (CNA/ANA/MPA)Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said on Thursday that the ruling of the English High Court in the case Orams v. Apostolides does not legalize in any way the illegal purchasing and occupying of Greek Cypriot property in the Turkish occupied areas and does not lift the illegality of the occupation of these properties.
''On the contrary, it certifies that the illegally occupied Greek Cypriot property belongs to its legitimate inhabitants and that any purchaser or exploiter of this property is violating another's ownership,'' he added.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Pashiardis said the European Court of Justice will have the last word on the issue, adding that irrespectively of the High Court's ruling, ''it is the inalienable right of every Cypriot citizen to assert his illegally occupied property.''
Pashiardis said ''the violation of another's property has consequences in the short term and even the long term.''
He furthermore warned that those occupying or intending to purchase Greek Cypriot property in the areas under Turkish occupation are committing a crime and are not in any way covered by the British court's ruling.
Pashiardis dismissed Turkish Cypriot allegations that personal efforts in the property issue could hinder efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, noting that ''the prospects of a Cyprus settlement are not affected by the exercising of personal rights but by the lack of good will and political will for a solution.''
The government spokesman pointed out that it was not the Greek Cypriot side that lacked this political will.
The High Court said on Wednesday it could not enforce the ruling of the Nicosia District Court in November 2004 which had ordered Robert and Linda Orams to return the land, in the Turkish occupied part of the island, on which the couple had built a house. The land belongs to Meletis Apostolides, a Greek Cypriot refugee from Lapithos. The Cypriot Court had also ordered the Orams to pay compensation to Apostolides for the loss of use of his property.
It also ruled that Protocol 10 of the Accession Treaty has ''no effect in relation to matters which relate to the area'' controlled by the occupation regime and that ''this prevents Apostolides relying on it to seek to enforce the judgments which he has obtained in the Cypriot court.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third.