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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

September 19, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin: Strong growth of Greek economy will continue, enterprises urged to boost outwardness
  • [02] FM Bakoyannis and Turkish counterpart agree to discuss on a new package of CBMs
  • [03] "Turkey is obliged to recognize Cyprus", FM says at start of UN, US talks
  • [04] Turkish PM Erdogan says 'a new period has started' in Greek-Turkish relations
  • [05] President Papoulias begins state visit, meets German counterpart in Berlin
  • [06] Papoulias refers to EU prospects, Turkey at official dinner in Berlin
  • [07] Gov't rejects 'political responsibility' for Adamopoulos appointment
  • [08] Former Competition Committee general director held in custody after testifying
  • [09] Premier confers with interior minister
  • [10] KKE leader on corruption
  • [11] Public order minister awards police for capturing Paleokostas and Rizaj
  • [12] Serb premier meets Thessaloniki mayor during unofficial visit to Greece
  • [13] Albanian European Integration Ministry delegation to visit Ioannina
  • [14] Deputy FM addresses Greek-Americans of New Jersey
  • [15] U.S. ambassador visits Samos
  • [16] National Bank of Greece, Finansbank CEOs' statements in Singapore
  • [17] EU approves financial support to Aegean island farmers
  • [18] Record number of trade visitors at 71st TIF
  • [19] Greek construction firms working on 50 pct of infrastructure projects in FYROM
  • [20] Greek economic sentiment index up in July
  • [21] Athens hotels report significantly higher occupancy rates in July
  • [22] Imaco to publish "Maxim" magazine to Turkey
  • [23] Greek stocks end 0.57 pct down on Monday
  • [24] Consumers say they trust doctors, have no confidence to politicians, GfK report
  • [25] 'Greek Autumn in Vienna' events
  • [26] Athens Archbishop meets Czech Lands and Slovakia Metropolitan
  • [27] Mt. Olympus attracts thousands of visitors each year
  • [28] Hagiography exhibition in Corinth, southwest Greece
  • [29] Exhibition of 16th-19th century Greek costume at Benaki Museum
  • [30] Painting exhibition on Mount Athos at Thessaloniki Municipal Gallery
  • [31] Two illegal immigrants injured in landmine explosion at Evros
  • [32] Anti-racism festival in Chania
  • [33] Greek superleague results
  • [34] President Papadopoulos continues contacts in US

  • [01] FinMin: Strong growth of Greek economy will continue, enterprises urged to boost outwardness

    SINGAPORE, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The strong growth of the Greek economy will continue over the coming years, national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis anticipated on Monday, speaking on the sidelines of the annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank conferences being held in Singapore. He also urged Greek enterprises to further burst their outwardness, taking advantage of participation opportunities in World Bank projects.

    Alogoskoufis said that the rate of growth of the Greek economy could potentially be revised to a level above the 3.8 percent predicted in the state budget, due to the fact that interest rates in Greece remained at historically low levels, despite the increases announced by the European Central Bank.

    Greece also benefited from the recovery of the European economy, Alogoskoufis added.

    Regarding inflation, Alogoskoufis noted the concern of the finance ministers of the countries attending the conference over the upward pressures caused by the high oil prices internationally.

    He said that 3.2 percent remained the targeted inflation rate for Greece in 2006, as predicted in the budget, and stressed that, in every instance, the data that will arise over the next few months, until the end of the year, would be evaluated.

    On the European economy, Alogoskoufis said that all forecasts indicated that the current recovery would continue. He conveyed the concern that existed, however, over the prospect of the planned increase in VAT in Germany by 3 percentage points as of January 1, 2007 will result in a reduction in consumption in that country, which he said was the steam engine of the European economy.

    Regarding the inflationary repercussions created in the economies by the high price of oil, the determination of the central banks' governors for confronting them was expressed during the IMF conference.

    Alogoskoufis further said that finance ministers were reserved on the prospect of a further decline of the real estate market in the US, which would have significant repercussions on the US economy and, by extension, on the global economy.

    The Greek economy and finance minister also urged Greek enterprises to further boost their outwardness, taking advantage of the opportunities for participation in World Bank projects.

    He said the goal was to increase the participation of Greek companies in World Bank projects, estimated at 20 billion dollars on an annual basis.

    In recent years, due to the initiatives undertaken, the participation of Greek firms in World Bank projects has risen substantially, jumping to 24.5 million dollars in 2005 from just one million dollars in 2003 and 2004, Alogoskoufis noted.

    He said among the new initiatives being undertaken for better briefing and preparation of Greek enterprises regarding the terms and conditions for participation in the international tenders for World Bank projects was the organization of a seminar for consulting firms.

    In light of the World Bank conference, he said, specialized information would appear on the ministry's website to provide information to the private sector on the World Bank's system of procurements, while a specialized electronic bulletin was being prepared that would provide information on running tenders, instructions, and other useful information.

    The ministry would also organize, in cooperation with the World Bank, a conference on liberalization of the network and infrastructures markets in SE Europe, with the central message of "Greece as a model of development in SE Europe", he said.

    Finally, the pilot project Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) was also being advanced, which provides for the creation of a network of contacts of the Greek commerce and industry chambers and organizations such as the Hellenic Exports Promotion Organization (HEPO) and the Exports Council with corresponding chambers and organizations in Africa through use of the GDLN teleconferencing infrastructure.

    The project was being carried out by the World Bank, with funding from the ministry.

    [02] FM Bakoyannis and Turkish counterpart agree to discuss on a new package of CBMs

    NEW YORK, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met here on Monday with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. The two ministers, who are in New York to attend the UN's 61st General Assembly sessions, reviewed bilateral relations and Turkey's EU accession talks.

    In statements to the press after the meeting, which took place at the offices of the Greek Permanent Delegation to the UN, the two ministers said they would have the chance to discuss on a new package of confidence building measures between the two countries during Gul's visit to Athens in October.

    According to a Greek diplomatic source, Bakoyannis urged her interlocutor for Turkey to go ahead at a faster pace with its reforms program, calling at the same time on Ankara to implement its obligations towards the European Union by opening its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and civil planes.

    "With Mr. Gul we have discussed the course of our bilateral relations. We have ascertained that the Confidence Building Measures which we had signed in Istanbul in May, were productive and have been implemented correctly," Bakoyannis told reporters.

    "In light of Mr. Gul's forthcoming visit to Athens in October, we will prepare new CBMs. Apart from that, we had a broader discussion on Euro-Turkish relations and Turkey's course recently," she added.

    On his part, Gul said that it was "a very good meeting", noting that when he visits Athens they will discuss a new package of CBMs.

    The date of Gul's visit to Athens has not yet been fixed, but it is believed that it will take place soon after the local government election in Greece on October 15.

    [03] "Turkey is obliged to recognize Cyprus", FM says at start of UN, US talks

    NEW YORK, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greece's foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday commenced a series of contacts on the sidelines of the UN's 61st General Assembly and in the framework of Greece's presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of September.

    In an interview with the Associated Press news agency, Bakoyannis reiterated that Greece wants Turkey to become a full member of the European Union, but stressed that Turkey was obliged to recognize EU member Cyprus if it wanted to join the 25 nation bloc.

    Bakoyannis will also meet with the foreign ministers and representatives of several UN member countries during her stay in New York, before heading next week to Washington for talks with US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and other US government officials, as well as members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

    On Tuesday, Bakoyannis will attend a coordination meeting of the EU foreign ministers, before addressing the inauguration of an exhibition titled "Encomium to the Olive", which she will inaugurate together with UN secretary general Kofi Annan at the UN's headquarters, which will run for the entire month as part of a series of parallel events throughout Greece's presidency of the UN Security Council. The exhibition was first presented during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and is organized by the Athens Academy's Archive Centre for Folklore.

    She will also attend receptions hosted by Annan and US president Bush for the heads of the foreign delegations to the UN General Assembly.

    On Wednesday, Bakoyannis will chair a thematic meeting of the Security Council with regional organizations, being organized at the initiative of the Greek Security Council presidency, and will later host a luncheon for the Security Council members.

    On Thursday, Bakoyannis will take part in a NATO foreign ministers' meeting, while afterwards she will address a World Leadership Forum luncheon in her honor organized by the Foreign Policy Association on the theme "Greek foreign policy at the beginning of the 21st century", while she will also attend a dinner hosted by the French foreign minister for the member countries of the International Francophony Organization.

    On Tuesday, September 26, Bakoyannis will go to Washington for meetings with Rice, other US government officials, and members of the US Senate and House of Representatives.

    AP interview: "Greece wants Turkey to become a full member of the European Union, but Ankara is obliged to recognize Cyprus if it wishes to become an EU member," Bakoyannis said in an interview with the Associated Press, stressing that, as all the countries that look to acceding the 25-member EU, Turkey too must fulfill the accession conditions, which include respect of human rights and religious freedoms, good relations with neighboring countries, and unobstructed Customs Union.

    Bakoyannis underlined that it had come as a surprise to a lot of people around the world that Greece's foreign policy was so clear-cut in its support of Turkey's European aspirations, adding "The truth is that, for Greece, it is of vital importance that it borders with a European Turkey, that it borders with a European democracy, and it is for this reason that we are clearly in favor of supporting Turkey's accession to the EU".

    The Greek foreign minister warned, however, that this did not entail "unconditional support".

    "What we truly desire is Turkey's conversion into a European democracy, which means that the conditions are in force as for any other European candidate country," she said, stressing that "these conditions, or criteria, were not invented for Turkey...they are European criteria that are in effect for every EU applicant country".

    "I hope that Turkey understands this and will fulfill the specific obligations, which it has accepted," Bakoyannis added.

    On the Cyprus issue, Bakoyannis said that political volition was required for resumption of the UN-brokered talks, aimed at the reunification of Cyprus.

    Asked how such a political volition for the resumption of negotiations could be achieved, Bakoyannis said that both sides were looking to the future, and were aware that Nicosia could not remain divided, as it is today.

    For the Turkish Cypriots, it was indeed very important that a solution be found and that they could live as citizens of the EU, Bakoyannis said. "And this is the goal. This is what we want. Naturally, Ankara must also agree, because you mustn't forget that Ankara maintains 40,000 soldiers on the island, and no solution can be viable so long as the occupation in Cyprus continues," she warned.

    [04] Turkish PM Erdogan says 'a new period has started' in Greek-Turkish relations

    ISTANBUL, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the annual assembly of the "Federation of 'Turks' (Muslims) of Western Thrace," in Istanbul over the weekend, where he made a broad review on Greek-Turkish relations.

    "Our relations with the Prime Minister of Greece (Costas Karamanlis) are very good. However, he does not conduct an official visit to our country. Whenever we meet, I tell him:'Costas, you still have not made an official visit. I came twice (to Greece). You, however, do not come'," said Erdogan who referred to the "important changes which have occurred" in Greek-Turkish relations.

    "A new period has started in relations with Greece," said Erdogan, who reminded that the works are continuing for the construction of a gas pipeline which will link Greece and Turkey and in continuation, Europe.

    The Turkish prime minister said that since his party came to power, Greek-Turkish relations developed both economically and politically and many things had been overcome. "The future will be better," said Erdogan and assured those who originate from Western Thrace that in their own matters there will also be progress. "We will not forget you," he said, stressing that "certain extreme circles may appear and cause 'anti-Turkish' hostility. There are also such circles here," he said.

    Erdogan underlined that the Muslims of Western Thrace "should as Greek citizens know the Greek language well, in parallel with the Turkish one, and to offer good education to their children and contribute positively and seriously in relations with Greece."

    The Turkish prime minister said that "Greece, as a member-state of the European Union, should respect the principles of the EU", adding that the Muslim minority's foundations should be respected.

    [05] President Papoulias begins state visit, meets German counterpart in Berlin

    BERLIN, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Turkey's accession to the European Union was among the subjects dominating talks between Greece's President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and German President Horst Koehler in Berlin on Monday, the first day of a five-day official visit by the Greek president to Germany.

    In statements afterward, Koehler said that Turkey's accession would be judged "with the passage of time and depending on circumstances".

    At the same time, the German president expressed conviction that further enlargement for the EU was "feasible" and called for "patience and persistence in placing demands with respect to the ability of accession of other countries also, for example the western Balkans".

    With regard to the accession prospects of Romania and Bulgaria, in particular, the German president said that these were countries that formed part of Europe and should find their place within the Union.

    On the question of German war reparations to Greece, Koehler said that Germany had an active policy of reconciliation and understanding toward the victims that suffered Nazi barbarity and expressed support for initiatives that promoted closer ties between the Greek and German people.

    During their talks, Papoulias emphasized the need for a more active stabilizing role by the EU in major international problems, such as the ongoing crises in the Middle East or Kosovo.

    "The fact that Germany overcomes the problems of the past and contributes militarily to the peacekeeping force that will be deployed in Lebanon means a great deal for the presence of Europe on the international scene," Koehler noted.

    The German president also said that a unified voice by Europe on major international issues was achievable.

    Immediately after the meeting, Papoulias laid a wreath at Germany's central monument to the victims of war and violent regimes.

    He then had a meeting with the president of the German Federal Parliament, or Bundestag, Norbert Lammert and was shown around the Parliament building.

    [06] Papoulias refers to EU prospects, Turkey at official dinner in Berlin

    BERLIN, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The European Union and its integration prospects, economic growth with a humane face and the challenges that the Union is called upon to face, were the focus of Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias' speech at the official dinner hosted by his German counterpart Horst Koehler in Berlin on Monday evening, first day of his five-day official visit to Germany.

    Concerning Turkey's EU accession course, President Papoulias reiterated that Greece "supports the strategy of further enlargement, without, however, regarding it as a mechanical procedure or a procedure which obeys to geostrategic or other logics and not to inflexible European principles and values which we constructed through extremely painful historical procedures."

    Papoulias noted that the European Union "can neither be absent nor silent, when crises arise such as that of Lebanon."

    Regarding in particular the prospects of Romania's and Bulgaria's accession to the EU, the Greek President of the Republic noted that "their incorporation in the Union will strengthen stability in the Balkans and in Europe as a whole, while a corresponding positive result will also be the accession of the Western Balkans, when the relevant procedures are fulfilled."

    Papoulias further expressed his conviction that Germany's presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2007 "will contribute in the upgrading of the European dialogue and will work for a Europe with a worldwide mission and humane face, for a model Europe of social cohesion, solidarity and growth, for a superforce Europe of humaneness and sensitivity."

    On Tuesday, President Papoulias will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and with leaders of the opposition, while he will also meet the mayor of Berlin.

    Papoulias is accompanied by National Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou and Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis.

    [07] Gov't rejects 'political responsibility' for Adamopoulos appointment

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government on Monday rejected that there was a question of political responsibility over the appointment of Panagiotis Adamopoulos, who was removed as general director of the Competition Commission following accusations of corruption that led to his being remanded in custody over the weekend.

    "Political responsibility occurs in the case of a cover-up not a revelation," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said in response to reporters' questions.

    What was important was the government's political will to punish transgressors, which in this case was absolutely clear-cut and unequivocal, Roussopoulos stressed.

    "Whoever descends to similar illegal actions will be answered by the law," he added.

    Asked whether Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was personally acquainted with Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos, another of the three men accused in connection with the MEVGAL blackmail scandal, Roussopoulos said that Karamanlis had relations with all New Democracy party officials in Thessaloniki in his capacity as an MP.

    The spokesman was also questioned regarding the knock-on effects of the scandal - including opposition claims of irregularities in a committee assessing bids in an OPAP tender or press speculation of "backdated revelations" by the government - stressing that there was absolutely no question of "offsetting" scandals against each another.

    With respect to statements made by Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis regarding the affair and his well-documented links with one of the accused, the spokesman merely noted that Psomiadis was "elected by the people and communicated with the public on a daily basis", while he rejected suggestions that Psomiadis might be acting on orders given by the prime minister.

    Erstwhile Competition Commission general director Adamopoulos was the third of the three men accused of conspiring to blackmail the northern Greek dairy industry MEVGAL to be remanded in custody when he appeared before an examining magistrate on Sunday.

    The merchant Constantinos Konstantinidis and the customs broker Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos, both prominent and active members of the ruling New Democracy party in Thessaloniki, had also been remanded in custody on Saturday and Friday, respectively.

    They are charged with attempting to extract a bribe of €2.5 million from the dairy company using the threat of a much larger fine imposed by the Competition Commission through its investigation of an alleged dairy-sector cartel.

    In his testimony, Adamopoulos denied the bribery charge, saying that he had asked Konstantinidis to come into contact with MEVGAL in order to persuade the company to cooperate with the Commission's cartel investigation.

    [08] Former Competition Committee general director held in custody after testifying

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Former Competition Committee general director Panayiotis Adamopoulos, a defendant in the Mevgal case, was held in custody after testifying before an investigating magistrate on Monday.

    According to his lawyers, who delivered a 30-page memorandum to the magistrate, Adamopoulos denied charges and claimed that he selected Constantine Konstantinidis to come into contact with Mevgal so that the company would cooperate with the Committee and provide evidence on the cartel case being examined.

    Adamopoulos also claimed that he knew nothing about the proposal by the president of Mevgal about a gift, a version that is supported by Konstantinidis.

    Both the merchant Constantine Konstantinidis and customs clearance agent Panayiotis Anagnostopoulos will also be held in custody in the same case.

    The magistrate is expected to summon officials and the former legal adviser of Mevgal, as well as members of the Competition Committee to testify in the coming days.

    [09] Premier confers with interior minister

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government's emblem is "everything in the light, and zero tolerance to corruption", interior, public administration and decentralization minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said Monday, after a meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Replying to press questions after the meeting on whether additional measures would be taken to combat corruption and shield the state, Pavlopoulos said it was important that inspections be intensified, adding that the citizens had confidence in the state and institutions such as the Public Administration Inspectors Corps and were submitting complaints.

    He stressed the importance of the citizens' contribution by notifying the authorities of incidents of corruption, adding that the contribution of the press was also welcome in uncovering such phenomena.

    Pavlopoulos said he and the prime mnister discussed matters concerning the preparation for next months municipal and prefecture elections, noting the need for informing the citizens on their participation, but also on procedural matters concerning the holding of the local government elections.

    The elections, he said, were an important event, and must be conducted in an impeccable manner.

    [10] KKE leader on corruption

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The workers’ everyday life was deteriorating despite the high productivity and business profits recorded, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga said Monday, during a visit to the Larco, general mining and metallurgical company.

    On the corruption problem, she stated in reply to press questions that political power translates into state-government-businessmen and it should not be surprising when links between political figures and businessmen are revealed.

    [11] Public order minister awards police for capturing Paleokostas and Rizaj

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras on Monday handed out awards to the police departments and officers involved in the capture of escaped convict Alket Rizaj and fugitive Nikos Paleokostas, the most wanted man in Greece, during a special ceremony held at the ministry.

    The minister stressed that the two arrests were major successes for the police force and that the awards reflected the "moral satisfaction felt by the entire police force and Greek society".

    Alket Rizaj, 32, was the Albanian inmate that staged a spectacular jailbreak by helicopter from Korydallos prison with notorious convict Vassilis Paleokostas, Nikos Paleokostas' brother. He was tracked down and arrested by police in Viotia on September 8.

    Police believe the jailbreak was masterminded by Nikos Paleokostas, who was arrested in Livadia last Wednesday and is wanted for numerous criminal offences, including the abduction of a businessman for ransom and several armed bank robberies.

    [12] Serb premier meets Thessaloniki mayor during unofficial visit to Greece

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Serb Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica had a meeting on Monday with Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, during an unofficial visit to Greece.

    Kostunica has been in Greece since Saturday, spending the weekend at the Orthodox monastic community on the Mount Athos peninsula, where he visited the Orthodox Serb Hilandari monastery. It was his fourth visit to the Holy Mount, which he last visited in November 2005.

    During talks with the monks, the Serb premier said that the Hilandari Monastery and Kosovo are "the two holy sites of the Serbs".

    In statements to Serb reporters, meanwhile, he stressed that there was "no better place than Hilandari to repeat that Kosovo is the heart of Serbia" and that it had to remain a component part of Serbia.

    He was also briefed by the monks, most of whom are of Serb descent, of restoration work carried out on the monastery since a destructive fire in March 2004, due to be completed in about six years and estimated to cost around €20 million.

    Kostunica pledged €1.0 million a year from the Serb government budget for the restoration work.

    During his meeting with Thessaloniki's mayor, they discussed an exhibition of watercolors by Serb artists depicting Mount Athos that opens on Monday night at the Thessaloniki Municipal Gallery as part of the city's "Demetria Festival".

    Papageorgopoulos also briefed Kostunica on the activities of the Balkan Cities Network and other organizations to cement ties with Balkan peoples.

    [13] Albanian European Integration Ministry delegation to visit Ioannina

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A delegation of the Albanian European Integration Ministry headed by deputy minister Albert Gajo and general secretary Arben Kashau will visit the city of Ioannina, northwest Greece, on Wednesday and meet with prefect Alekos Kahrimanis.

    The goal of the visit is to discuss cooperation prospects with local government in the prefectures of Ioannina and Thesprotia, northwest Greece, within the framework of the Greek-Albanian border relations’ program.

    [14] Deputy FM addresses Greek-Americans of New Jersey

    NEW YORK, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, who is currently in the United States, addressed a greeting during Sunday's celebration of the Hoisting of the Holy Cross and the blessing of the waters at a Greek Orthodox Church of the Metropolis of New Jersey.

    "You are the best ambassadors of the Greek spirit and of Greek creativity in this country of opportunities," he said.

    In the presence of thousands of Greek-Americans, Valinakis stressed that "we are also particularly happy if we can contribute in the bridging of the great geographical, but so short in our thought, distance between America and Greece."

    Present at the event was also Democratic Senator of New Jersey, Robert Menendez, with whom Valinakis had a brief discussion on issues concerning Hellenism.

    [15] U.S. ambassador visits Samos

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    United States Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries on Monday visited the Aegean island of Samos and met the island's local government officials.

    During his visit, which was described as 'ceremonial', the U.S. envoy was briefed on a resolution condemning the war in the Middle East passed by Samos' prefecture council.

    Ries is scheduled to visit the island of Chios on Tuesday.

    [16] National Bank of Greece, Finansbank CEOs' statements in Singapore

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign institutional investors from the Middle East and the Far East displayed strong interest in participating in the National Bank of Greece share capital, NBG Chairman and CEO Takis Arapoglou said Monday, after the meetings he had with foreign funds representatives on the sidelines of the annual International Monetary Fund and World Bank conferences in Singapore.

    The participation of investors from the Middle East and the Far East is down to zero and the Turkish Finansbank buyout agreement constitutes an incentive for their participation in the National Bank of Greece share capital, given that its international presence is being considerably strengthened, Arapoglou said.

    Foreign institutional investors’ participation in the National Bank of Greece share capital has risen from 17 percent to 45 percent during the past two years.

    Finansbank chairman's statements: Speaking to Greek journalists, Turkish Finansbank Chairman Husnu Ozyegin stressed that the Finansbank buyout price paid by the National Bank of Greece was the right one based on its particularly promising growth prospects.

    Finansbank is the most profitable bank in Turkey with the rise in deposits reaching 100 percent in the first half of the year, underlined Ozyegin, pointing out that the agreement for the bank’s buyout by the National Bank of Greece constitutes an opportunity for the further development of bilateral business relations.

    [17] EU approves financial support to Aegean island farmers

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    European Union Farm ministers on Monday approved a series of measures aimed to support farming in Aegean islands. The measures were recommended by Greek Agriculture Minister Evangelos Basiakos and were drafted in cooperation with local organizations and representatives of Aegean islands.

    Under the measure, Greek farmers in the region would be offered annual financial subsidies from the EU budget to support traditional farm production and to ensure the supply of islands with food and livestock feed.

    Financial support will be given to traditional olive oil tree growers, honey, vineyards, potatoes, potato seed, mastich, Skopelos plums, beans, fava beans, Santorini tomato, etc.

    [18] Record number of trade visitors at 71st TIF

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A record number of trade visitors was recorded at the 71st Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), in the framework of which the establishment of seven new exhibitions as of 2007 was announced, as well as the opening of 11 delegation offices for HELEXPO S.A. in an equal number of countries in 2006.

    According to an announcement by HELEXPO on Monday, the 71st TIF completed its 10-day operation with the doubling of its trade visitors (to 12,406) compared to last year, although a total of 261,067 people passed through its gates (private individuals and trade visitors).

    HELEXPO's new delegation offices will be opened, at a first stage, in Russia, Lithuania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany and Cyprus, while Romania, Serbia, Poland and China will follow by the end of 2006.

    TIF S.A. holding second exhibition in Poland: The Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) S.A. is holding its second exhibition drive in Poland as of September 16, organizing the participation of 25 Greek businesses in the international foodstuffs and beverages exhibition "Polagra Food 2006" in the city of Poznan.

    The Greek pavilion, covering an area of 350 square meters, was inaugurated on September 16 by the vice president of the Polish government and Agriculture Minister Andrei Leber, in the presence of the Greek diplomatic authorities in Poland.

    The exhibition will last until September 20 and will provide the Greek businesses with the opportunity for contacts with their foreign counterparts. The Greek pavilion includes, among others, the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ionian Islands Region, the Corinth Chamber of Commerce and the Prefecture Administration of Lesvos, presenting traditional Greek products such as olive oil, wine and dairy produce.

    Polagra-Food garnered 1,400 participations from 40 countries this year. Last year, TIF had organized the biggest Greek participation in the past five years in Poland, making its debut in the Polish exhibition market.

    The next exhibition activity by TIF S.A. abroad will be taking place in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with its second participation in the international iron ore-building materials "Tehnoma" exhibition between October 17-21.

    [19] Greek construction firms working on 50 pct of infrastructure projects in FYROM

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek construction companies' activities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are accounting for 50 percent of the total value of infrastructure projects in the neighboring country after Terna SA won a tender for the construction of a ring-road network in Skopje, according to market statistics released by the Economic and Trade Affairs department of the Greek embassy in Skopje.

    The report said road and other infrastructure projects in FYROM, financed by international organizations, were attracting strong interest by Greek construction companies, while it added there were great prospects for future activities in the fields of building, hydro-electric dams and other infrastructure projects.

    FYROM authorities are planning a review of an existing regulatory framework, paving the way for more infrastructure projects in the country.

    [20] Greek economic sentiment index up in July

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The economic sentiment index rose to 106.1 points in July from 105.6 in June, the highest reading in several years, the Institute of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Monday.

    IOBE, in its regular report, attributed the improvement in the index to a more positive business climate in the services and construction sectors and an increase in the retail index. On the other hand, the business expectations' index in manufacturing fell slightly, while the consumer confidence index eased in July.

    The index of business expectations in the manufacturing sector fell to 103.8 points in July from 107.7 in June, but still above a 90.5-point reading in July 2005. The decline reflected lower predictions for production and orders in the months ahead.

    The business expectations index in the construction sector rose to 106.9 points in July from 102.9 in June, the index in the retail sector fell to 119 points from 122.2 over the same period, respectively, while the index in the services sector rose to 113.3 points in July form 111.1 in June.

    The consumers' confidence index eased to -33 points in July from -31 in June, reflecting a more pessimistic view over economic prospects in the country and in Greek households. Greek households were more pessimistic over their financial situation in the next 12 months.

    [21] Athens hotels report significantly higher occupancy rates in July

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Athens hotels on Monday reported significant increases in their occupancy rates in July, reaffirming positive trends in tourist arrivals in the country this year.

    A monthly report by the Federation of Attica Hoteliers said occupancy rates rose 20 percent in five-star hotels to 64.18 pct in July from 53.49 pct last year. Occupancy rates jumped 29 pct in four-star hotels to 57.36 pct (44.47 pct in July 2005), 12.5 pct in three-star hotels to 74.76 pct (66.45 pct) and 18 pct in two-star hotels to 51.52 pct (43.47 pct).

    The Federation, in its report, expressed its members concern over damages from last month's devastating fires that hit Chalkidiki and Lakonia regions and urged for the set up of an organization with the task of resolving problems facing the country's tourist product.

    [22] Imaco to publish "Maxim" magazine to Turkey

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Imaco, a Greek-listed publishing group, on Monday said it has reached an agreement with Vatan Imaco (in which it owns a 50 percent equity stake) and Dennis Publishing Ltd to publish men's lifestyle magazine "Maxim" in Turkey.

    The "Maxim" magazine is published in 40 countries around the world, and Greece. The first issue is expected to circulate in spring 2007. Vatan Imaco publishes the "InStyle" magazine in Turkey.

    [23] Greek stocks end 0.57 pct down on Monday

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek stocks ended lower on Monday pushing the composite index 0.57 pct down to end at 3,883.75 points in the Athens Stock Exchange. Turnover was a low 181.5 million euros.

    Most sector indices ended lower with the Media (1.40 pct), Insurance (1.32 pct) and Utilities (1.16 pct) indexes suffering the heaviest percentage losses while the Personal and Home Products (1.17 pct), Raw Materials (0.35 pct) and Healthcare (0.20 pct) scored the biggest gains of the day.

    The Blue Cap index fell 0.74 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.52 pct lower and the Small Cap index eased 0.35 pct.

    Klonatex (+20 pct), Naoussa Spin Mills (+18.2 pct) were top gains while Attica Publications (-8.57 pct), Desmos (-6.45 pct) and Ikona-Ihos (-5.41 pct) suffered big losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 150 to 94 with another 62 issues unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (355)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 78.645 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.14 pct

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 4.14 pct yield

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2016 (900 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.454 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.266

    [24] Consumers say they trust doctors, have no confidence to politicians, GfK report

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Citizens in Europe and the US are showing more confidence in doctors, teachers and professors, while they show less confidence to politicians, company executives and journalists, according to a report by GfK.

    The report, compiled by GfK Custom Research Worldwide in 19 countries this year, showed that Greeks showed more confidence to teachers and professors (68 pct), doctors (66 pct), military officials (61 pct), police officers (43 pct), clerics (36 pct), journalists (33 pct) lawyers (27 pct), managers (26 pct) and politicians (8.0 pct).

    On an international level, on a scale of one to four, politicians received an average 1.7, the lowest confidence level worldwide, followed by executives and journalists with an average 2.2 for each group. Doctors, teachers and professors recorded the highest marks (3.1), followed by military officials (2.9), police officers (2.8), clerics (2.7) and lawyers (2.5).

    Only 17 pct of respondents said they trusted political leaders (10 pct in Germany and 8.0 pct in Greece and Italy). Politicians in Denmark and Sweden marked the highest levels, around 33 pct, while in the US the rate reached 25 percent.

    Company executives and journalists also enjoyed low grades in consumer confidence, with Germans showing less trust to their bosses than in any other country (82 pct). Executives enjoyed more confidence in Denmark (more than 50 pct). Doctors and lawyers enjoyed high marks in consumer confidence (82 pct), with Sweden and Finland recording the highest grades. Around 91 pct of Turks said they trusted the military, while in Russia the rate was less than 50 pct.

    In Greece, two-thirds of respondents said they did not trust the church.

    [25] 'Greek Autumn in Vienna' events

    VIENNA, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The "Greek Road Festival", with which started last Saturday a series of Greek events entitled "Greek Autumn in Vienna", was an enormous success, according to the organizers. The events have been held for the second consecutive year in the Austrian capital and take place from mid-September until the end of November.

    The "Greek Autumn in Vienna" is aimed at presenting the various aspects of modern Greek culture in Vienna and includes exhibitions, musical and dance performances, lectures, literature nights, the projection of films and Greek music concerts. Within the framework of the events, there will also be a projection of Greek products in the Austrian market.

    [26] Athens Archbishop meets Czech Lands and Slovakia Metropolitan

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Athens Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Monday received a formal visit from Czech Lands and Slovakia Metropolitan Christopher.

    During the meeting, Christodoulos urged the metropolitan to continue his efforts to revive the Czech and Slovak church, which he said was struggling in a difficult environment and showing constant signs of growth.

    [27] Mt. Olympus attracts thousands of visitors each year

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece and home of the Olympian Gods of Greek mythology, attracts over 250,000 visitors each year and an estimated 20,000 of them are mountain climbers, according to figures released on Monday.

    The Greeks and the Germans are the most fanatic mountain climbers, while the most careless and risk-taking are the Czechs, according to the Greek Rescue Team. Both visitation and reported accidents have risen sharply during the past few years. Back in 1955, a total of 350 people climbed Mt. Olympus annually but now this number corresponds to weekend visitors. Most accidents occur on mountain paths when people are not very careful, thinking that they run no risk because of the low altitude.

    According to the Greek Rescue Team, the mountain with the highest number of accidents after Olympus is Pindos, northwestern Greece, where a large number of hunters become lost.

    [28] Hagiography exhibition in Corinth, southwest Greece

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    An exhibition with works of hagiographer Vlasis Tsotsonis will be inaugurated on September 23 in the municipal library of Corinth, southwest Greece.

    The 30-day long exhibition will be representative of the artist’s work.

    Vlasis Tsotsonis was born in Velo, Corinth in 1951 and is regarded as one of the most important representatives of contemporary hagiography, while he is also the creator of major works in the most significant centers of the Christian Orthodox faith in Jerusalem, Meteora and elsewhere.

    [29] Exhibition of 16th-19th century Greek costume at Benaki Museum

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    An exhibition of etchings depicting Greek costumes from the 16th until the early 20th century will be inaugurated on Monday night at the Benaki Museum in Athens, at the museum's new building.

    The exhibition is entitled "Greek Dress - Printed sources of the 16th-19th century from the I. D. Koilalou collection" and is comprised of 220 prints derived from books published in Europe by foreign travelers visiting Greece during those centuries.

    [30] Painting exhibition on Mount Athos at Thessaloniki Municipal Gallery

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    An exhibition of 78 watercolors of the Holy Mount - especially the Serb-built Hilandari monastery in the Orthodox monastic community of Mount Athos - by 26 Serb painters will be on show at the Thessaloniki Municipal Gallery from Monday.

    The exhibition is entitled "Journey to the Mount" and will be inaugurated on Monday night by a senior Serb government official who will fill in for Serb Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, who was unexpectedly called away after a three-day trip to Mount Athos and Thessaloniki.

    [31] Two illegal immigrants injured in landmine explosion at Evros

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Two Iranian illegal immigrants were injured at noon on Monday by a landmine explosion, while attempting to pass from Turkey to Greece. They had entered a fenced minefield in the region of Nea Vyssa, at Evros prefecture.

    The explosion occurred at 12:10 p.m. Army officers and landmine-disposal experts sped to the minefield to pick up the two injured men and transported them to Didymoticho hospital.

    The minefield, where the explosion occurred, has notices with phosphoric placards written in Greek and English and has a double fence.

    The two illegal immigrants, along with another seven of their compatriots, who were not injured, said that they thought the fence was a border line between Greece and Turkey and thus proceeded.

    A week ago, at the same minefield, two illegal immigrants of Kurdish origin, lost their lives.

    [32] Anti-racism festival in Chania

    19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A two-day anti-racism festival was held during the weekend in Chania, Crete. People of different ages and races with distinct cultures, customs and traditions got together to manifest their opposition to racism and send a message of brotherhood.

    Music groups from Syria, Bulgaria, and Albania, Greek rock bands and traditional dance and music troupes from Kurdistan performed in the 1st festival against racism.

    According to the conclusions of a study on racism and education in Greece presented during the festival, a total of 16 cross-cultural education schools and 322 reception classes are currently in operation, but faced staffing and funding problems, while incidents of xenophobia have been recorded among parents and teachers.

    Soccer

    [33] Greek superleague results

    ATHENS, 19/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Olympiakos Piraeus, last season's champions, retained its position atop the superleague standings after four weeks of play after beating OFI Crete 2-1 away on Sunday.

    In other action:

    Aris Thessaloniki - Ionikos Piraeus 1-0

    PAOK Thessaloniki - Ergotelis Crete 1-0

    Kerkyra - Atromitos Athens 1-0

    Larissa - Egaleo Athens 2-2

    Apollon Kalamaria " Xanthi 2-0

    Panionios Athens - Panathinaikos Athens 0-1

    AEK Athens - Iraklis Thessaloniki 3-0

    Standings after four weeks

    of play:

    Olympiakos 12 points

    Panathinaikos 9

    Kerkyra 8

    Ionikos 7

    PAOK 7

    AEK 6

    Aris 6

    Larissa 6

    Ergotelis 5

    OFI 5

    Egaleo 5

    Apollon 3

    Atromitos 2

    Iraklis 1

    Xanthi 1

    Panionios 1

    [34] President Papadopoulos continues contacts in US

    NEW YORK, 19/9/2006 (CNA/ANA/MPA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos was to attend a working dinner with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on Monday, during which he would brief them on developments in the Cyprus problem.

    President Papadopoulos, who is in New York to address the UN General Assembly, had a series of meetings on Sunday with UN officials, with whom he discussed ''the various aspects of the Cyprus problem.''

    He refrained from listing the names of the officials he met but pointed out that he saw ''those dealing with the problem of Cyprus and the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the development plans and other political aspects.''

    Asked if there was any development in the issue of the technical committees after these contacts, President Papadopoulos said he would be seeing the UN Secretary General again and will have the opportunity to recapitulate what has been said with other associates.

    President Papadopoulos said that he met with Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyiannis on Sunday, as part of the regular exchange of views they have on future developments.

    On Sunday, President Papadopoulos also met with a delegation of Cypriots living in the US, with whom he discussed the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and exchanged views on ways to promote the Cyprus question in the US.

    He thanked the Cypriots living in the US ''for their efforts in a country that needs a lot of work to make our positions understood'' and expressed certainty that ''they will keep up the good and effective work they are doing.''

    President Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on July 8th 2006, during a meeting in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari, to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    Following the agreement, senior aides of the two leaders in Cyprus, Tasos Tzionis and Rasit Pertev, began meetings in the office of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller in the UN-controlled buffer zone to work out the modalities for the implementation of the July agreement.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


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