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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-09

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 9, 2006


  • [01] Premier Karamanlis: 'We're unwavering in implementing reforms policy'
  • [02] 71st Thessaloniki International Fair inaugurated by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis
  • [03] PM tours Thessaloniki Metro worksites, airport expansion project
  • [04] PASOK party spokesman criticizes PM's visits to various projects in Thessaloniki
  • [05] Gov't says effort to fight corruption paying off
  • [06] EOT chief received by Alexandria Patriarch
  • [07] Minister of state holds talks with Journalists Union of Macedonia and Thrace
  • [08] Europarliament approves Sifounakis report on conserving Europe's architectural/cultural heritage in rural and island regions
  • [09] EU official sees Greece meeting fiscal goal
  • [10] Fiscal restructuring satisfactory, FinMin tells Eurogroup
  • [11] Deputy FM Stylianidis meets board of Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece
  • [12] Greek, Chinese transport ministers to meet
  • [13] Sioufas on supervision of the Unified Agency for the Inspection of Foodstuff
  • [14] Northern industry seeks action in food sector
  • [15] Synaspismos leader meets with pensioners' groups
  • [16] GESASE farmers confederation comments on subsidization revision for cotton
  • [17] ANEK Lines to seek 100-mln-euro share capital increase plan
  • [18] Greek households spend more money on holidays
  • [19] Imports, exports record rise in July
  • [20] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise
  • [21] PM inaugurates new permanent exhibition at Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum
  • [22] Culture minister inaugurates Plastic Arts Panorama in Thessaloniki
  • [23] Albanian fugitive who escaped prison by helicopter nabbed
  • [24] PAOK Thessaloniki soccer supporters cause disturbances, damage shops and cars
  • [25] Restored Dali mosque handed over by Minister of Interior
  • [26] Cypriot President to attend ASEM Meeting and UN General Assembly

  • [01] Premier Karamanlis: 'We're unwavering in implementing reforms policy'

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis again emphasized wide-ranging reforms as the centerpiece of his government's policy in inaugurating the 71st Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) Friday evening, days after extending an open invitation for a "strategic investor" to takeover the national telecoms utility and following the successful sale of a major state-run bank over the summer.

    "In a world of insecurity and uncertainty, Greece is safeguarding a new course for stability, development and progress. We are facing, with boldness, the challenges arising around us, with progressive reforms and not with conservatism; with radical changes and not a stagnant management; with responsibility and not with cheap populism," he said from the podium of the TIF convention centre. At the same time, he flatly dismissed opposition criticism of the high-profile reforms.

    Moreover, days after a "mini summit" in Athens with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov to finalize the long-delayed construction of an oil pipeline connecting the Black Sea with the Aegean, Karamanlis referred to the creation of an "energy community" in SE Europe, noting that both the oil pipeline project as well as an under-construction natgas pipeline extended from Turkey reinforced regional cooperation and peace.

    As far as the former is concerned, Karamanlis said the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project is a "historic decision" that benefits all sides.

    Foreign affairs: In touching on foreign policy, Karamanlis reiterated that Athens desires good-neighborly relations with Turkey and favors the latter's harmonization with the EU's economic and political acquis, along with the Union's principles and values.

    "Its (Turkey) absolute compliance with its commitments towards Europe is necessary, however, as is the case with every candidate-state, in each step of its accession course. The progress, therefore, is dependent on Turkey itself," Karamanlis said.

    The premier noted that Greece is decisively promoting its interests, responsibly and seriously, amid an international climate of insecurity, "Greece stands out as a factor of stability in the wider region", he characteristically said.

    Turning even farther to the east, Karamanlis referred to Greece's positive role in the recent crisis in Lebanon, before focusing on the long-standing Cyprus issue, where he repeated that the goal is a "truly functional, viable European solution to be found as soon as possible".

    Additionally, he repeated standing Greek policy backing the European orientation of all the Balkan states, while referring to the creation of a unified financial, energy and trade zone throughout southeastern Europe.

    "That's why we are promoting the creation of a free trade zone that will include all of our northern neighbors. We're also promoting the construction of major road and rail axes," he added.

    Thessaloniki, Thrace: Returning to the domestic front and particularly to the area that hosts the TIF every year, Karamanlis outlined a series of ongoing projects and initiatives for the greater Thessaloniki area, following "15 years of unfulfilled promises," as he charged.

    Among others, the cited the completion of the entire Egnatia motorway project spanning the breadth of northern Greece by 2008, the Malliakos bypass on the main north-south highway as well as the commencement of two projects for metropolitan Thessaloniki that have been on the drawing boards for a decade and a half: a metro network and an underwater highway off the city's seawall.

    "Whatever we said will be done. Thessaloniki has passed from the words of the past to the works of the future," he told an audience in the hall convention centre.

    Meanwhile, Karamanlis also devoted a noteworthy part of his address to the development of the border Thrace province in the country's extreme northeast, saying that the government was particularly interested in all of the province's citizens.

    "We're developing a model and modern European minority policy; we're demonstrating in practice that Greece is a land of equality for all before the law."

    He concluded his address by saying:

    "Greece today is ensuring the conditions for a constant and balanced development based on the citizen; it is building an economy of opportunities guaranteeing a personal benefit for each and every citizen..." Karamanlis stressed.

    PASOK spokesman comments on prime minister's speech: Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, commenting on the speech by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during the inauguration of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Friday evening, said "every speech by Mr. Karamanlis is an attempt, an operation to deceive the Greek people."

    The PASOK spokesman added:"The page which Mr. Karamanlis says has turned, is a page backwards, towards conservatism and backwardness, towards customer logic and the violent redistribution of income in favor of the few and at the expense of the many."

    "His supposed reforms are a myth and when today he is compelled to baptize them as supposed progressive reforms, he shows exactly the need to hide his real policy. A policy in favor of the few and those affiliated to him, a policy at the expense of the many, a policy of social injustice, inequality and undermining of social cohesion," said Athanassakis, adding that "PASOK's vision and target for a just society is today a demand for the country and its people."

    Government spokesman: Responding to PASOK's criticism, Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that Thessaloniki, during the PASOK governance, was "only hearing big words while during New Democracy's, it witnesses at last the implementation of the great works."

    KKE, Synaspismos criticize PM's speech: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party criticized the speech made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during the inauguration of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Friday night.

    "The participation of our country in occupation armies in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kosovo and elsewhere, and in imperialist plans against peoples in general, for the Greek plutocracy to have a share of the prey is not a policy for peace, as the prime minister claimed, but aggressive and dangerous," KKE said in an announcement.

    "The criterion for the projects announced by the prime minister, even for the necessary ones which should have been done years ago, is not popular needs but the profits of capital. Working people will pay for them to be done and they will also pay to use them," it added.

    Panayiotis Lafazanis, member of the Coalition's Political Bureau responsible for economic and social policy, said that Karamanlis "with his speech at the inauguration of the TIF applied himself to a tactless effort of misleading, concealing and beautifying an extreme neo-liberal course that supports big business interests at the expense of society."

    He added that the prime minister "with great ease, christened Greece of Atlantism and of American priorities, of untransparent NATO armaments and of military missions that reach as far as Afghanistan, a factor of stability and cooperation in the region."

    [02] 71st Thessaloniki International Fair inaugurated by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The city of Thessaloniki, Macedonia, where Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis inaugurated at 8 p.m. on Friday the 71st Thessaloniki International Fair during a grand ceremony held in the packed conference centre ""I. Vellidis", is at the epicenter of the country's political, economic and business life since Friday.

    The Fair's inauguration took place in the presence of ministers, deputies from all the parties, representatives of producer classes, local clerics, military and consular authorities, while Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos read out a message by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    Speaking at the inauguration's ceremony, Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis made particular reference to the recent agreement for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, but also to the major infrastructure projects which are taking place in the city.

    On his part, the president of the Thessaloniki International Fair SA, Dimitris Bakatselos, in his speech emphasized the new prospects of development which are opening for Northern Greece, which, as he said, will signal the next enlargement of the European Union.

    [03] PM tours Thessaloniki Metro worksites, airport expansion project

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Thessaloniki was changing the page, as the major public works projects which had remained on paper only were now being materialized, prime minister Costas Karamanlis said Friday, as he toured two construction sites of the Thessaloniki Metro and Macedonia Airport runway expansion works.

    Karamanlis was briefed by environment, town planning and public works minister on progress in the timetable for completion of the projects and, speaking at Macedonia Airport, the premier stressed that the residents of Thessaloniki had for many years been hearing announcements of major projects which, however, had remained only on paper.

    New Democracy, he continued, had committed itself to changing page and to change the rhythms, and to turn the words into action. And this was what the entire government was doing, this was what the ministry was doing in the area of public works, Karamanlis said.

    He said the Metro, a long-standing the dream of the Thessaloniki residents and the largest public works project ever in Thessaloniki, with a budget that exceeded one billion euros, was today being realized and progressing. In a few years' time, when it was completed, it would be even better than the Athens Metro, the most modern Metro in Europe, the premier said.

    Also of great importance was the expansion project at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport, for reasons that were self-evident, for Thessaloniki's role in the future, Karamanlis said, adding that the project was proceeding at a rapid pace, and upon completion would render the airport international, capable of safely receiving all types of airplanes and overseas flights without intermediate stops.

    Also, he continued, the contract would be signed in the next few days for construction of the underwater artery, which would begin early next year. This major project, Karamanlis said, combined with the Metro, would ease the city's traffic problem and improve the environment.

    [04] PASOK party spokesman criticizes PM's visits to various projects in Thessaloniki

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis, commenting on Friday to visits made to various projects in Thessaloniki by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, said that "the only thing the New Democracy government has offered to each project in Thessaloniki is a delay".

    "The only thing that the government of ND has offered to each of the projects of Thessaloniki, while their moving ahead is positive, during the two and a half years of its governance is a delay of one and a half to two years," the spokesman said.

    "No project takes place by pressing a button and Mr. Karamanlis received planned, mature and auctioned projects with secure financing for him to be appearing today as supposedly the prime minister of projects," Athanasakis also said, adding that "despite the running of past days for the empty worksites that Mr. Karamanlis visited to be set up, this reality does not change."

    [05] Gov't says effort to fight corruption paying off

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The relevant public administration and interior minister on Friday emphasized that cases involving allegations of public sector corruption, which were investigated by the General Inspector for Public Administration, revealed a decrease of 9 percent in 2006 from the previous year.

    Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos made the statement from Thessaloniki, and ahead of Saturday's inauguration of the 71st Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), amid a resurgent debate and heated exchange between the government and the main opposition throughout the past week over efforts to fight corruption and graft in the cavernous Greek public sector.

    [06] EOT chief received by Alexandria Patriarch

    CAIRO, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    National Tourism Organization of Greece (EOT) president Dimitris Lampadarios reiterated the government's desire to support the institution of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa to Patriarch Theodoros II in Alexandria, who received the EOT official on Thursday night.

    Lampadarios also conveyed tourism development minister Fani Palli-Petralias' warm greetings to the Patriarch.

    The two men discussed the issue of reopening the Cairo Higher School of Tourism, whose campus is linked with the history of the Greek community in Cairo and belongs to the Patriarchate.

    It is noted that both Greece and Egypt have expressed the political volition for the reopening of the School, which is backed by the Greek community of Cairo.

    Lampadarios also met with members of the Greek communities in Cairo and Alexandria.

    [07] Minister of state holds talks with Journalists Union of Macedonia and Thrace

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos discussed problems facing the journalists of Macedonia and Thrace, as well as of the entire sector in Greece, in a meeting with the board of the Journalists Union of Macedonia and Thrace at the Union's offices in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday.

    The board stressed the need for the completion, as soon as possible, of the process of changing the contracts of journalists working for the Greek Radio and Television Corporation (ERT) into contracts of an indefinite duration and to prevent the creation of a new generation of contract journalists in every way.

    Roussopoulos said that "my intention is to have ERT reach as well a status of hirings and work that will be the same with all businesses", adding that the issue is complicated legally and its final solution, which he is processing with the ministry's legal service, is being delayed for this reason.

    [08] Europarliament approves Sifounakis report on conserving Europe's architectural/cultural heritage in rural and island regions

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The European Parliament on Thursday approved as an Action Plan a report by main opposition PASOK Eurodeputy Nikos Sifounakis on the protection of Europe's natural, architectural and cultural heritage in rural and island regions, which envisages the creation of a new institution for small traditional communities in Europe, equivalent to the Cultural Capital of Europe institution.

    Sifounakis, who chairs the Europarliament's Committee on Culture and Education, told a press conference at the EU offices in Athens on Friday that these settlements could organize cultural activities in accordance with the traditions of each region, thus increasing cooperation among the well-preserved traditional settlements in Europe, allowing them to highlight their local cultural uniqueness, while at the same time giving incentives to other traditional architectural communities in Europe to project their own unique characteristics.

    This could be partially implemented in the framework of long-term cooperation plans under the EU's 2007-2013 culture progam, with the establishment of a network of noteworthy small architectural communities with populations of up to 1,000 people.

    The report further calls for a new European legislative initiative according to which, following the model of the Cultural Capitals institution, a new institution would be established under which one or two small traditional communities in each member state would be selected each year where integrated actions would be taken throughout that year for the preservation and projection of the architectural and more general cultural heritage.

    The Crete-born Sifounakis, an Italian-educated architect and former Minister for the Aegean, further recommends that the seventh framework program for research 2007-2013 should finance actions to investigate new tools, techniques and methods for conservation of the various aspects of cultural heritage.

    Given that the EU programs in the sector of culture do not provide adequate funding, additional resources must be sought for the conservation of cultural heritage in other Community funding means, for example in the framework of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), in which improvement of the environment, landscape and quality of life in agricultural zones are today fundamental priorities, Sifounakis said.

    Also, the EU's Leader Plus initiative, which in the coming fiscal period will be incorporated into the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), should be utilized even further for the protection and projection of the rural architectural history and rural cultural heritage in general, as well as the initiatives Urgan 2 and Interreg 3, he added.

    [09] EU official sees Greece meeting fiscal goal

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greece is likely to reduce its fiscal deficit to below 3.0% of gross domestic product in 2006, meeting its target, the EU's monetary affairs commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, said on Friday.

    "According to messages I have received from Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, it seems very likely that correction of the excessive deficit will occur this year," Reuters news agency quoted Almunia as saying after a eurozone ministers' meeting in Helsinki.

    At the same time, some of the measures contained in Greece's budget are not structural, he reportedly added.

    Asked separately to comment on the commissioner's reference to the temporary measures, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said that the matter was up for discussion in October when the 2007 budget would be ready.

    "Mr Almunia was apparently referring to this year's budget," the minister noted.

    He also stated that he was satisfied with implementation of the 2006 budget on the basis of January-July data.

    [10] Fiscal restructuring satisfactory, FinMin tells Eurogroup

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Eurozone member-states should be allowed to revise their stability and growth plans in the middle of the year, while all Eurozone member-states should commit themselves to achieving their medium-term fiscal goals by 2012, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis told a Eurogroup meeting in Helsinki on Friday.

    The Greek minister said the course of a fiscal restructuring in Greece was satisfactory and that goals were achieved through a policy mix promoting both economic growth and employment.

    Alogoskoufis said the country's state budget was moving within targets for the year, while next year's budget would be fully compatible with a stability and growth plan.

    [11] Deputy FM Stylianidis meets board of Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis met in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday with the board of the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece which brought to the attention of the deputy minister issues regarding the strengthening of the economic and commercial offices, the extroversion of businesses, but also the granting of visas to commercial visitors.

    Stylianidis noted that the economic and commercial office in Thessaloniki "is being upgraded for the promotion of Northern Greece businesses in the region's broader market."

    "At the same time, we decided for the Business Development Department (which is being created in Athens) to serve every isolated business which seeks to develop outside the borders, in exports or investments, contributing to the solution of practical problems which it faces in the country which hosts it," the deputy foreign minister added.

    [12] Greek, Chinese transport ministers to meet

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis is to meet China's minister of overland and maritime transportation, Li Shenglin, in Athens on Monday following a recent meeting in Beijing on growth of the Eurasian network.

    The two officials are to sign a memorandum of cooperation on creating a transport network between Greece and China, the transport ministry said in a statement on Friday.

    [13] Sioufas on supervision of the Unified Agency for the Inspection of Foodstuff

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Development Minister Dimtris Sioufas said on Friday that the issue of the supervision of the Unified Agency for the Inspection of Foodstuff (EFET) "has been clearly solved, a matter in which three different ministries are involved."

    He said that "as a result, an 'adventure' which lasted five or six years, has 'closed' in the best possible way."

    "EFET is an agency of the development ministry and super-vises the sector of foodstuff from the stage of the first modification and afterwards," said Sioufas from Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on the occasion of the ceremony of the delivery of 85 new vehicle-mobile workshops, of which 33 will facilitate the supervisory work of EFET and the remaing 54 will be distributed to each of the country's prefectures.

    [14] Northern industry seeks action in food sector

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Association of Northern Greek Industry on Friday asked the government to take special measures favoring manufacturing in the farm sector and renewal of legislation including the Foodstuff and Beverage Code.

    The requests were made to Deputy Agriculture and Foods Minister Alexandros Kontos, who is visiting the northern port city of Thessaloniki for the start of an international trade fair and the prime minister's annual economic policy speech.

    [15] Synaspismos leader meets with pensioners' groups

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos on Friday met with the presidium of the confederation of pensioners’ groups, where he again reiterated his party’s support for hefty increases in pensions and bonuses, noting that if the current trend continues, "six out of 10 Greeks will receive a pension lower than 500 euros a month. This is a disgrace".

    [16] GESASE farmers confederation comments on subsidization revision for cotton

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The General Confederation of Greek Farmers Cooperatives GESASE on Friday called on the Agricultural Development ministry to convene an urgent meeting with the participation of all agencies involved in cotton production for a reconsideration of the country's position in the cotton sector, following a decision taken by the European Court that vindicated a Spanish claim concerning the revision of the status governing separate subsidies for cotton.

    These developments are creating "new tragic deadlocks for the income of cotton producers," said an announcement by GESASE, adding that "the situation must be reassessed and binding decisions must be taken with a sole target: Safeguarding and supporting the position of the Greek cotton producer."

    GESASE further said that it had already called on the Greek government since February 2005 to resort to the European Court together with Spain, so as to be able to intervene actively in the judicial process of annulling or amending the new Revision Regulation.

    [17] ANEK Lines to seek 100-mln-euro share capital increase plan

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    ANEK Lines, a Greek-listed coastal shipping line, on Friday said it planned to seek shareholders' approval to a plan for a share capital increase worth 100 million euros.

    The decision will be taken during an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting due to be announced soon.

    [18] Greek households spend more money on holidays

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek households are spending more for their holidays, the National Statistics Service said in a report on Friday.

    The report said that spending on vacations and holiday travels of at least three overnight stays accounted for 2.7 pct of total household budget. The statistics service said 49.6 percent of Greek households have spent money for their holidays, while 18.3 percent of Greek households said they owned a holiday home in 2005, up from 14.5 pct in 1999.

    The biggest part of holiday homes was found in the regions of Attica (20 pct), Cyclades (10.3 pct), Chalkidiki (6.3 pct), Korinthia (4.3 pct) and Thessaloniki (3.8 pct). A total of 34.1 pct of Greek households spent their holidays at their relatives or friends holiday homes, the report said.

    Greeks preferred their holiday homes for their vacations (25.3 pct), hotels (22.7 pct), rented rooms (14.3 pct), camp (2.2 pct) and rent home (0.7 pct).

    Central Macedonia (15 pct), southern Aegean (13.7 pct) and Attica (13 pct) were the main destination for vacations, while Attica (13 pct), Cyclades (10.4 pct), Chalkidiki (8.3 pct), Magnesia (4.2 pct) and Evia (3.8 pct) were the main regions both for vacations and holidays.

    [19] Imports, exports record rise in July

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The total value of imports rose by 12.5 percent in the month of July this year against July 2005, while the value of exports rose by 9.5 percent, according to figures released on Friday by Greece's national statistics service ESYE.

    According to ESYE, the total value of imports in July 2006 rose to 4,082.1 million euros, up 12.5 percent from 3,627.3 million euros in July 2005.

    The total value of exports in July 2006 rose to 1,403.7 million euros, up 9.5 percent from 1,282.3 million euros in July 2005.

    [20] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Athens share index closed at 3,903.96 points, showing a rise of 0.57%. Turnover was 182.7 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.57% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 1.11% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.51% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 206 to 55 with 48 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): PPC (11,944)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 168.0 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.08%

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 4.08 pct yield

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2016 (1.0 bln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.6 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.281

    [21] PM inaugurates new permanent exhibition at Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum

    9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis inaugurated the new permanent exhibition at the renovated Archaeological Museum in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday, stressing that the content of the Museum constitutes a "book of knowledge for its foreign visitors and of self awareness for the Greeks."

    Referring to the collections of archaeological findings from the Macedonian earth that are on display at the Museum, the prime minister termed them a "dynamic factor confirming our identity that stands peacefully, scientifically, firmly and confidently against the crude distortions of historical truth."

    Karamanlis, who was accompanied by his wife Natasha and Culture Minister George Voulgarakis, arrived at the Museum at 1 p.m. and proclaimed the official resumption of its operation, following three years of renovation work carried out.

    The culture minister referred in a brief address to the culture of Macedonia through time, that is highlighted through the findings on display at the Museum and to infrastructure work accomplished during the three-year period of work that had ended.

    Karamanlis and the members of his entourage were given a guided tour of the Museum's premises after the end of the inauguration ceremony that was attended by many ministers, Parliamentary deputies, the mayor of Thessaloniki and archaeologists.

    [22] Culture minister inaugurates Plastic Arts Panorama in Thessaloniki

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis inaugurated the "Plastic Arts Panorama in Greece of 2006" in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday.

    The Plastic Arts Panorama is organized by the State Museum of Modern Art in an operation to collect, register, file, evaluate and promote all plastic arts activities in Greece, as they occurred in individual exhibitions by artists in museums and private art premises in the country in the past year.

    The exhibition inaugurated on Friday will last until November 9 and includes more than 180 works by 87 artists, that were selected out of the plastic arts production and presentation by about 1,700 artists in about 700 exhibitions throughout Greece during the period between September 2005 and June 2006.

    Before the inauguration ceremony began, a group of anarchists, from among those who have taken over the building complex of the YFANET industry, assembled at the port in the place where the culture minister was due to arrive for the inauguration and attacked the building housing the branch of the State Museum of Modern Art with tomatoes and spray.

    [23] Albanian fugitive who escaped prison by helicopter nabbed

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    An Albanian fugitive, who escaped from the central Korydallos penitentiary in a Hollywood-style by helicopter together with notorious convict Vassilis Paleokostas, was apprehended early Friday in a rural area of Viotia prefecture, north of Athens, following an armed standoff with police.

    Alket Rizai, 32, along with a cousin, was located in a residence in the coastal village of Prodromos. Police special forces initially surrounded the house and blew open the front entrance just after daybreak, only to be confronted with a grenade-wielding suspect. Rizai eventually surrendered inside the residence.

    Besides the grenade, a handgun and a semi-automatic "Uzi" style assault rifle were confiscated. The other man was also arrested.

    Paleokostas, 40, and Rizai were spirited away by helicopter on June 4 from the courtyard of Korydallos, near Piraeus, in an escape reportedly masterminded by Paleokostas' brother, Nikos, who was also a fugitive.

    The hijacked pilot of the helicopter later dropped them off near a cemetery not far from the prison, where a pair of getaway motorcycles had been parked.

    Two accomplices had hired and then hijacked the sight-seeing helicopter from a southern Athens coastal suburb.

    Rizai, who had reportedly altered his appearance by dyeing his hair blond and wearing glasses, is due to face an Athens prosecutor on Saturday.

    Public order minister: In a later reaction to the news from Thessaloniki, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras praised the police for the operational success of the raid to nab the fugitive, noting that every precaution was taken to avoid bloodshed.

    [24] PAOK Thessaloniki soccer supporters cause disturbances, damage shops and cars

    THESSALONIKI, 9/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    PAOK Thessaloniki soccer club supporters caused disturbances outside the complex of the Thessaloniki International Fair, before and during the TIF's inauguration ceremony on Friday evening.

    The disturbances began when groups of PAOK supporters reached the western gate of TIF, with the purpose of their delegation handing over to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis a resolution with their demands. There, they were obstructed by a strong police force. During the disturbances, they destroyed TIF's gate and attacked police officers who responded with teargas.

    Tension was created in the region around the installations of TIF, as groups of youths set fire to garbage bins and caused damage to shops and cars.

    Police rounded up 11 suspects for their participation in the disturbances.

    [25] Restored Dali mosque handed over by Minister of Interior

    NICOSIA, 9/9/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Newly appointed Minister of Interior Neoklis Silikiotis and former Minister of Interior Andreas Christou handed over to the Municipal authority of Idalion (Dali) south of the capital Nicosia, the restored mosque of Ziyia Pasha.

    Restoration began in 2001 under an initiative of the Dali Municipal Authority and was completed in June this year. It's financing was undertaken by the Department for Administration of Turkish Cypriot Properties and the interior ministry.

    Speaking at the ceremony for the reopening of the Turkish Cypriot Mosque at Dali, Silikiotis said the ministry of interior for the last three years has made many efforts to restore the Turkish schools, cemeteries and mosques and that 860,000 CY pounds (one Cyprus pound equals to around two US dollars) were spent for this purpose.

    He said the government deems the religious monuments of each community as part of the joint heritage of the people of Cyprus.

    Silikiotis described the restoration of the mosque, as an important event which coincided with him undertaking the ministry of interior and said that former Minister of Interior Andreas Christou was ''the soul of this effort''.

    Replying, Christou said when a religious or cultural monument is restored, it brings out the coexistence of the two communities.

    Dali's Mayor Nikos Nikolaou expressed the wish that the mosque will help to further contacts between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and towards a Cyprus which will be free of occupation troops where all its inhabitants can live together peacefully.

    Present at the ceremony was Sheih Nazim Kibrisi with a number of his pupils, who expressed his gratitude for the restoration of the mosque.

    According to records the mosque was built in 1837 and took its name Ziyia Pasha Mosque after restoration in the Islamic year of 1279 (1862/63), in the name of Sultan Abdulazziz, by poet Ziyia Pasha, who served as administrator of Cyprus when Ali Pasha was Grand Vizier.

    A school was also built next to the mosque and dedicated to Sultan Abdulazziz.

    Ziyia Pasha also established a fund for the maintenance of the mosque and the school.

    The minaret was designed and constructed by building master Toulis Karakannas, who was an Evkaf employee, and the structure was repaired in 1891 and again in 1930.

    [26] Cypriot President to attend ASEM Meeting and UN General Assembly

    NICOSIA, 9/9/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos leaves Saturday for Helsinki, to participate in the 6th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

    From Finland, he will head for New York, to address the United Nations' General Assembly.

    An official press release says that President Papadopoulos will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas and Director of his Diplomatic Office Tasos Tzionis.

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