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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-25

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

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

September 25, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] High-profile event in Athens on Sunday commemorates Int'l Day of Peace
  • [02] FM Bakoyannis addresses UN general assembly
  • [03] U.S. State Department official says U.S., Greek FMs have good contact
  • [04] FM Bakoyannis meets with FYROM counterpart
  • [05] FM Bakoyannis to meet with Annan
  • [06] Papandreou says gov't has 'completed its cycle'; sharp response by ministers
  • [07] No political responsibilities in 'Mevgal' case, finance minister says
  • [08] Coalition of the Left leader addresses party's youth festival
  • [09] Finance and economy minister to visit Frankfurt
  • [10] Greece more competitive in EU fresh fish exports sector
  • [11] Major 'leap' in economic cooperation between Greece and Bulgaria
  • [12] Macedonia-Thrace minister inaugurates industry exhibition
  • [13] Interior minister attends celebration in Tripoli
  • [14] Culture minister inaugurates Hellenic-American Academy school in Chicago
  • [15] New Archbishop of Crete Irineos enthroned
  • [16] Priceless icon recovered by police
  • [17] 2 Turks arrested in illegal immigration case
  • [18] Drama Short Film Festival concludes
  • [19] Greek Super League soccer results
  • [20] Voting process was smooth, acting head of Cyprus Church says
  • [21] Loeb secures 28th WRC victory in Cyprus Rally 2006

  • [01] High-profile event in Athens on Sunday commemorates Int'l Day of Peace

    ATHENS, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Presidency of the Republic hosted an event at the Athens Concert Hall on Sunday evening to mark International Day of Peace, which was commemorated on Sept. 21.

    The event was addressed by President of the Republic Karol’s Papoulis.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Defense Minister Evangels Meimarakis and Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou also spoke at the event.

    "It is with great joy that I welcome you to tonight's event, which is being held for only one reason: For an anti-war message to be heard loud and clear from a country that has given so many great battles and has given birth to astounding ideas for the issue of peace," Papoulias stressed.

    "It is a great honor for all of us, the presence here of activists for peace, such as Manolis Glezos and Mikis Theodorakis; personalities that symbolize the struggles and suffering of the Greek people for a peaceful and just world.

    "When we decided on this initiative, in cooperation with the Defense Ministry, which has its own particular symbolism, the war in Lebanon had not yet broken out," Papoulias said, adding: “The latest dramatic developments in the Middle East, which shook international public opinion, make even more urgent the need for the leaderships to awaken and for societies to mobilize..."

    On his part, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis noted that "the celebration of International Day of Peace underlines the obligation of every democratic state, and the obligation of every citizen, to actively participate in the continuous struggle for peace, because the embodiment of 'a great alliance for peace' is the only way for us to answer the challenges of the new era.

    "Greek thought gives broad content to the meaning of peace. It defines it not as an absence of clashes, but as a situation where justice prevails and produces concrete results for nations and peoples. On the basis of this definition, Greece follows, both in its relations with the neighbors and as an active member of international organizations, a stable strategy of peace and cooperation; a strategy that has as its foundation and prerequisite, absolute respect of international laws and treaties," the prime minister added.

    "This steadfast national strategy for peace, which unites Greeks regardless of ideology and party affiliation, is a one-way road for a country such as ours ... which has, in its recent historic past, paid a disproportionately high price in terms of blood in various wars, but also during the Civil War," Karamanlis said.

    The prime minister also referred to developments in Lebanon and regarding the Palestinian issue, adding: “The recent initiatives by the Greek presidency of the UN Security Council drew the appreciation of the council members, of our European partners and of involved countries in the Middle East question. The special session of Sept. 21 was a difficult wager for the presidency, which was finally won. It was a result of methodical and intensive work. It confirmed that Greece is a force for peace, a serious and trust-worthy partner and an interlocutor of broader acceptance. This is valuable diplomatic capital, which we daily strengthen and utilize even more."

    National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis noted that "with today's event, we send a message that Greece plays a leading role for peace in the broader region, which is of the highest value. Greek military forces not only constitute a guarantee but simultaneously also constitute a strong factor of peace and stability."

    The defense minister also referred to Athens’ immediate presence in the recent crisis in Lebanon with the transport of humanitarian aid, "a stance that showed, in practice, the readiness of our armed forces."

    Finally, Education Minister Yiannakou said “peace is directly linked with democratic values and human rights."

    A documentary entitled "Philanthropic Peace", by Maria Hatzimichali-Papaliou and music by Mikis Theodorakis, was also screened at the event.

    [02] FM Bakoyannis addresses UN general assembly

    NEW YORK, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis addressed on Friday midnight (Greek time) the United Nations 61st General Assembly focusing on the challenges of the 21st century, the Millenium Targets, developments regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East and in Iraq and Greek policy for the Balkans, the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations.

    The Greek foreign minister also referred to Greece's role in the international political scene and the issue of global terrorism.

    "Allow me to add my heartiest congratulations to you for being the third woman in the history of the United Nations to be elected President of the General Assembly, particularly at such a critical time in world affairs. Your election is an inspiration for women everywhere struggling to achieve equality and opportunity. You illustrate the truth that, as Plato wrote 2,400 years ago, any society that does not exploit the talents of its women is wasting half its resources," Bakoyannis said.

    "I wish also to congratulate and thank your predecessor, my friend and colleague, Jan Eliasson, for all he worked so hard to achieve during his term.

    "While we are recognizing service to the United Nations, we would be remiss if we did not extend our appreciation to Secretary General Kofi Annan. I want to express the appreciation of my government for all his efforts to maintain and strengthen the prestige and moral authority of the Organization.

    "I would also like to welcome Montenegro to the family of states, the Greek foreign minister said.

    "The 21st century began with huge challenges: poverty, wars, humanitarian crises, waves of refugees, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons, human trafficking, drugs, intercommunal violence, environmental downgrading, and natural disasters. What is necessary for us to confront these woes is for us to handle the deeply-rooted causes that have been developing for centuries. In order to achieve this, we must join our forces to mobilize the combined strength of our ideas, our resources and, above all, the humanity that we all share," she said.

    Referring to the issue of terrorism, the Greek foreign minister said that "it has become the most pressing problem of our times, that touches all of us, regardless of religion, race or gender. We must face this major danger collectively because nobody, no matter how powerful he is, can do it unilaterally. The most effective way for us to handle terrorism at its root is to promote tolerance, mutual acceptance, mutual understanding and, above all, development, the possibility for all to have access to the necessary commodities for their life.

    "The need for us to achieve the targets of the millennium within the time limits set by the heads of state and government during the summits of 2000 and 2005 is important. The targets include, of course, the crucial issue of us reaching the limit of 0.7 percent in development aid to countries facing serious economic difficulties. This target constitutes the key for us to achieve global cooperation on development and we are all determined to achieve this as soon as possible.

    "On their part, the developing countries need to pursue serious economic policies and reforms that promote development and create reliable and transparent institutions. Only through concentrated collective action do we have hope of remedying the imbalances and inequalities that lie at the root of many of the conflicts preoccupying the world today. Allow me to stress at this point that we must place Africa at the centre of our efforts," Bakoyannis noted.

    "The tensions in the Middle East demand equal attention. The Middle East is the region that will test the mettle of this Organization as a force for peace in the immediate future. If we fail in that test, all of us stand to pay a heavy price. During the past several months we all became witnesses to unforgettable images of suffering and destruction in this part of the world.

    "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the root of most problems in the region and it is obvious that it should be at the top of the list of our priorities if peace and stability are to return to the area. The Road Map offers the strategic plan for a solution based on the principle of land for peace, especially since basic elements of it are well known and generally accepted by the international community. The Road Map is in essence a performance-driven guide to a settlement based on all relevant Security Council Resolutions, including 242 and 338, the conclusions of the Madrid Conference and the Arab Summit in Beirut, and we must all make every effort to see that it is implemented.

    "On Lebanon, strict implementation of Resolution 1701 provides the blueprint for resolving the basic problems that led to the recent crisis. We understand the difficulties before us, but we must push ahead resolutely because determination and tenacity are essential to tackling long-standing issues in volatile regions.

    "The continued violence and instability in Iraq are a cause of great concern for all of us It is critical that every effort possible be made to bring order and unity to that troubled country. Deaths, especially of civilians, have reached terrifying levels with no end to the slaughter in sight. All who have any influence with the warring factions in Iraq must try to make them see what pain and suffering they have inflicted on their own people and what worse horrors they will unleash on their land if they continue to drift toward a devastating civil war.

    "Our own region, the Balkans, was once known as “history’s cauldron,” and we endured a century of bitter ethnic, religious and ideological conflicts up to very recent times. We are moving rapidly, however, to disown that label for the sake of our own peoples and the new Europe we are building. Some trouble spots remain, but we are trying to deal with them in a new spirit of cooperation and tolerance.

    "Kosovo is one issue that still needs attention. The status talks are underway and we hope that they will produce a viable settlement that will strengthen the security and stability of the entire region. Right now this appears difficult. To overcome the impasse will require patient and careful diplomacy. Our goal in reaching a viable, long term solution should not be compromised by setting an artificial deadline.

    "I deeply regret that the Cyprus problem remains unresolved. In the 32 years of the military occupation of one third of the territory of Cyprus by well over 40.000 Turkish troops, Greece has strongly supported all initiatives by the United Nations for the achievement of a comprehensive solution. We are committed to doing everything possible to achieve a just and viable solution, on the basis of the pertinent Security Council Resolutions and the EU principles and values. We strive for a bizonal, bicommunal federation, that will bring peace and prosperity on the island.

    "Our goal remains an agreed solution between the two communities, without arbitration and tight timetables, which will be approved subsequently by referenda. To these efforts we are prepared to lend our wholehearted support.

    "Greece’s foreign and security policy is based on the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and especially on the peaceful settlement of disputes and of good neighborly relations.

    "This basic framework is also reflected in my country’s continuing efforts to further improve relations with Turkey and to consolidate mutual understanding and cooperation. On our part, we are trying to overcome the remaining difficulties, continuing to take initiatives to widen and deepen cooperation in all fields so that the relationship with Turkey becomes a win-win situation for both countries. In this context, we are hopeful that Turkey will reciprocate for our countries to solidify good neighborly relations.

    "European integration is the bright promise visible on the horizon for the entire region of South Eastern Europe, a future which will encompass greater cooperation and interaction among all the countries in the area and heal the wounds of the past century at long last.

    "We live in a troubled world and the United Nations is always enmeshed in the worst of the troubles so that it sometimes seems that it is not accomplishing much. We must not forget, however, the conflicts it has resolved, the misery it has diminished, the suffering it has abated, the pain it has eased all over the world in its brief lifetime.

    "Man feeds on dreams of hope, Aeschylus wrote, and for men, women and children everywhere the United Nations remains the best hope there is," Bakoyannis concluded.

    [03] U.S. State Department official says U.S., Greek FMs have good contact

    WASHINGTON, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA - T. Ellis)

    U.S. State Department alternate spokesman Tom Casey on Friday stressed that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis are maintaining good contact. He was commenting on a recent dinner in New York between the two ladies and their counterparts from Canada and Australia.

    Casey said he was not aware of the content of discussions held during the dinner, but noted that "the secretary enjoys every opportunity she has to talk with some of her counterparts, including her Greek counterpart, of course."

    He reminded that Rice and Bakoyannis will be having a bilateral meeting in Washington next week, saying that "we look forward to the most official opportunity the secretary will be having to talk again with the Greek foreign minister next week."

    Lastly, commenting on the decision taken by the Erdogan government in Turkey not to proceed with the reopening of the Halki School of Theology, Casey reiterated that American concern over the specific issue is known and continues to be raised in discussions between U.S. and Turkish officials.

    [04] FM Bakoyannis meets with FYROM counterpart

    SKOPJE, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Antonio Milososki, held a half-hour acquaintance meeting on Friday, on the sidelines of the 61st session of the UN General Assembly, according to media reports here.

    Speaking after the meeting, Milososki said that despite the existence of a longstanding open issue concerning FYROM's name, bilateral relations are excellent at every level, in the economy, tourism, culture and security sector.

    He added that after municipal elections are held in Greece, on Oct. 15, the momentum of talks on the pending issue of the name, that are taking place under the auspices of the UN in New York, is expected to be intensified and with the mediation of the UN secretary general's special representative, Matthew Nimetz.

    [05] FM Bakoyannis to meet with Annan

    NEW YORK, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will continue her contacts at the United Nations headquarters this week on the sidelines of the 61st UN General Assembly and the beginning of Athens’ UN Security Council presidency.

    Bakoyannis will meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan here on Monday morning, with whom she is expected to discuss the situation in the Middle East (the Palestinian issue, Iraq and Iran's nuclear program), the future status of Kosovo and the Cyprus issue.

    The Greek foreign minister will also have bilateral talks with her counterparts from Lebanon, Guatemala, South Africa, Libya and Nigeria, while she will attend a luncheon given in her honor by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.

    She will depart for Washingtion in the afternoon (local time).

    On Friday, following her speech at the UN General Assembly, Bakoyannis presided at a meeting, within the framework of the Inter-Balkan Cooperation, which was held at the offices of the Greece’s permanent delegation. Also participating at this meeting was UN special mediator in negotiations for final status of Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, with whom she had a private meeting earlier.

    Bakoyannis also met with her counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Antonio Milososki. She will meet with the UN secretary general's special envoy for the FYROM name issue, Matthew Nimetz, on Thursday, after returning from Washington.

    [06] Papandreou says gov't has 'completed its cycle'; sharp response by ministers

    ATHENS, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Saturday addressed a party rally in the port city of Volos, eastern mainland Greece stressing that the Karamanlis government is "completing its cycle".

    Papandreou charged that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is leading the country backwards and is not capable of honoring the mandate given to him by the voters.

    The PASOK leader further cited the things that he would do differently, as he said, from the prime minister, saying he would not attempt to "manipulate" regional mass media or independent authorities. Additionally, he said he would not allow "uncontrolled oligopolies and cartels in the market."

    Referring to the political developments of the past few days, Papandreou said corruption scandals are linked to specific political decisions, practices and conceptions of the ruling New Democracy party.

    Commenting on proposals made by his party on combating corruption, the PASOK leader said "we are struggling for a society of values, for a model of development that will be based on education."

    Gov't reaction: Meanwhile, both the development minister and the deputy development minister responded to PASOK's corruption-related criticism over the weekend, with both men referring to "mud-slinging."

    "All those who mud-sling and use meaningless words are exposed, and it will not take long for them to understand this. Despite the fact that they were late to understand and to confess that they themselves are those who in 2000 and thereafter destroyed the country," Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said, in paraphrasing a controversial statement reportedly uttered by high-ranking PASOK cadre Theodoros Pangalos a few weeks ago to describe a PASOK government's performance from 2000 to March 2004.

    On his part, Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, responding to reporters' questions regarding the operation of cartels, especially in the domestic milk sector, said: "In accordance with Law 3373/2005, which was voted in principle by PASOK, the relevant agency for monitoring such cartels is the Competition Committee, and no one else.

    "From March 2004 to the present, the Competition Committee has imposed fines amounting to 28.5 million euros, and cases are still pending over which there are already recommendations for fines to the tune of 100 million euros. From 1995 to February 2004, the Competition Committee had imposed fines just 4.1 million euros. That means that in the two-and-a-half years since the New Democracy came to power, imposed fines increased seven fold, compared to all those imposed in the nine years of PASOK rule," Papathanassiou charged.

    Finally, in response to Papathanassiou's remarks, Vasso Papandreou, the head of PASOK's economy section, said the deputy minister, "instead of apologizing for himself and for the government is attempting, once again, to defame us."

    [07] No political responsibilities in 'Mevgal' case, finance minister says

    ATHENS, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, speaking in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Vima", said that there are no political responsibilities in the "Mevgal" case, or for Savvas Tsitouridis and Dimitris Sioufas.

    He added, however, that this issue must become a lesson for all of the government how to select its associates.

    "Sometimes, a rotten apple is not visible with the first glance. You have to taste it first," he said.

    Speaking in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Eleftheros Typos", Athens mayoral candidate and former health minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis does not play games with transparency issues.

    Referring to his work at the health ministry, Kaklamanis said that quite a few cases of corruption were detected and brought before the prosecuting authorities.

    [08] Coalition of the Left leader addresses party's youth festival

    ATHENS, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos addressed the party's youth festival at a central Athens square on Sunday evening, where he stressed that "the education front will determine political developments in our country."

    Alavanos described corruption as a "harsh reality", launching an attack against the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's overall policy, as he said.

    He also attacked the rival Communist Party of Greece (KKE), stating that "it should concern itself with ND, which is in government, and less with Synaspismos."

    In again touching on the education sector, he sternly defended Article 16, the constitutional ban on non-state universities and tertiary institutions in the country, which Synaspismos, KKE, some students' groups and the professors' union want to remain unchanged.

    Conversely, the government has been keen to fulfill a pre-election promise of allowing the establishment of private, non-profit universities in the east Mediterranean country, thus allowing potential college students more academic choices, increasing competition and the quality at the university level as a whole and repatriating numerous Greek professors and researchers now employed abroad, among others.

    Referring to the problem of corruption in the Greece, Alavanos said "the problem is not made up, it's a reality, and a harsh one at that, having pierced the entire system from top to bottom."

    ND secretary Lefteris Zagoritis visiting Cyprus - N. Frangopoulos

    Ruling New Democracy party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis addressed the General Assembly of the Pancyprian Federation of Greek Black Sea Societies here on Sunday, stressing that the Greek government is providing its undivided solidarity and support for the Black Sea Greeks.

    Zagoritis further said that the Black Sea Greeks are one of the most important parts of Hellenism, who contributed to the development of Greek culture all over the world.

    "The Greek government is fully aware of its debt towards the Black Sea Greeks," the secretary said and referred to the support policies that the Greek government is developing in the world, wherever Black Sea Greeks live.

    He also referred to the government's commitment to cooperate with the government of Cyprus to solve problems facing the Black Sea Greeks living in Cyprus.

    Zagoritis met with the Greek Ambassador in Cyprus, Dimitris Rallis, while on Monday he is due to meet Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, House of Representatives Speaker Demetris Christofias and Democratic Rally (DHSY) party leader Nikos Anastasiades.

    [09] Finance and economy minister to visit Frankfurt

    ATHENS, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis will leave for Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday to address an event organized by the Deutsche Bank.

    The event will be attended by the heads of major German and other European businesses that are active in Greece or are interested in investing in the Greek economy.

    Alogoskoufis is also scheduled to meet Deutsche Bank President Dr. Josef Ackermann during his visit.

    [10] Greece more competitive in EU fresh fish exports sector

    ATHENS, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greece enjoys the best competitive position regarding the fresh fish exports sector among European Union countries, compared to four other European Mediterranean countries, according to research carried out by professors from the Thessaloniki Aristotelian University and the University of Thessaly, who based their research on data provided by Eurostat.

    However, it was added, prices of this product are following a continuous downward trend, a factor affecting the competitiveness indicator.

    The report, titled "The competitiveness of fresh fish in the market of the EU", examines the degree of competitiveness of fresh fish exports from France, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

    [11] Major 'leap' in economic cooperation between Greece and Bulgaria

    SOFIA, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Bulgaria's expected accession to the European Union is functioning as a catalyst for Greek investors' interest in the Bulgarian market.

    During the first half of the current year, a real "leap" has taken place regarding Greek investments in this Balkan country, since they have exceeded 640 million euros, while in 2005 they had been limited to 181 million euros.

    In this way, Greece has consolidated its position as the second greatest investor in the neighboring country, with capital totaling 1 billion 365 million euros and an 11.5 percent share of total foreign investments made in Bulgaria.

    This information was provided for the ANA-MPA by the economic and commercial affairs adviser of the Greek embassy in Sofia, Dimitris Zomas.

    [12] Macedonia-Thrace minister inaugurates industry exhibition

    25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Kalantzis inaugurated the 14th Industry, Small Industry and Handicraft Exhibition of the Kavala Chamber of Commerce on Saturday night.

    Speaking during the event, the minister referred to the government's effort to achieve balanced development in the countryside, through the utilization of the comparative advantages of each region and the improvement of necessary infrastructures.

    Kalantzis, who received an honorary plaque for his contribution to the region's development, said that great efforts have been made in past years to enable the prefecture of Kavala to meet the difficult economic reality of the global economy.

    [13] Interior minister attends celebration in Tripoli

    25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos attended celebrations organized on Sunday in the city of Tripoli, in the Peloponnese, marking the 185th anniversary of the city's capture.

    "Today is a day of memory and a day of wariness. Memory because it reminds us of all those who made the tree of freedom to blossom with their sacrifice and wariness because, as Kolokotronis had said at the time and this always remains timely, firstly, we carry out great achievements when we focus our targets on great achievements and we do not divide our strength and, secondly, we carry out great achievements when we are united," the minister said.

    Pavlopoulos further pointed out that "whatever great and important thing we have achieved, we have achieved with unity and accord, while whatever we are ashamed of, we have achieved under conditions of disunity."

    [14] Culture minister inaugurates Hellenic-American Academy school in Chicago

    CHICAGO, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis inaugurated the school of the Hellenic-American Academy here on Saturday, in the presence of many members of the Greek American community, while offering 50,000 dollars on behalf of the Greek government.

    Voulgarakis said he was pleased and honored to be invited to inaugurate the building, stressing that for the Greeks "developing an establishment that will preserve Greek learning and knowledge is of great importance."

    He added that Greece's ties with the Greek communities abroad must remain workable and strong, adding that "our international position on the global firmament, the effectiveness of our foreign policy and the promotion of our national and cultural pursuits depend on you."

    The minister pointed out that the targets of the Hellenic-American Academy and of the school is noble and underlined that "you are a substantive and irreplaceable link between Greek conscience and the world community."

    [15] New Archbishop of Crete Irineos enthroned

    25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The new Archbishop of Crete Irineos was enthroned in the city of Iraklio on Sunday.

    "I have come to serve. I want nothing from you, I only want you. I want to be the friend, brother and father of all," the new Archbishop said.

    The enthronement ceremony took place at Aghios Minas church in the presence of Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis, honorary New Democracy party president and former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, Parliamentary deputies and local authorities.

    [16] Priceless icon recovered by police

    25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A priceless icon depicting the Virgin Mary that had been stolen 37 days ago from the Elona Monastery in the city of Leonidio, in the Peloponnese, was found by police on Saturday morning.

    A 28-year-old Romanian arrested on Thursday in the village of Falakro, also in the Peloponnese, admitted the theft and told police where he had hidden the icon, in a box he had wrapped in

    clothes and placed in an opening in a wall outside the Pantanasa Church in the same village.

    Greek Police chief Anastasios Dimoschakis arrived at the Arcadia Police Department at noon on Saturday and gave a press conference.

    "I am very proud to be in the pleasant position to announce that the Greek Police has solved the case of the theft of the icon of the Virgin Mary. Particularly for us, for the Greek Police, the finding of the icon and the arrest of the perpetrators was a wager of honor," the police chief said.

    The suspect has been living in Greece for seven years and his possible involvement in other offences in Greece and Romania will be examined.

    The desire of the police chief is for a small church to be built at the location where the icon was found, and a replica to be placed inside, at the expense of the police.

    [17] 2 Turks arrested in illegal immigration case

    25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Border guards in northern Greece arrested a 41-year-old Turkish national, who was carrying illegally a fellow countryman of his in his car, shortly after midnight on Saturday.

    The driver of the car had picked up his fellow countryman somewhere along the Greek-Turkish border with the purpose of bringing him into the country, with Italy being his final destination.

    The authorities confiscated the car and the two men's mobile phones and will bring them before prosecuting authorities.

    [18] Drama Short Film Festival concludes

    DRAMA, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Drama Short Film Festival ended on Saturday night, with awards given during the 12th international and 29th Greek competition were given during a ceremony which took place at the Municipal Odeon of Drama, in northeastern Greece.

    Present at the awards ceremony were representatives of local government, of Greek Radio and Television (ERT), of the Greek Cinema Centre and of the Union of Technicians of Cinema and Television.

    Sports

    [19] Greek Super League soccer results

    ATHENS, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Olympiakos Piraeus, last season's soccer champions, retained its position atop the Super League standings after five weeks of play by slipping by AEK Athens 1-0 over the weekend.

    In other action:

    Ergotelis Crete-OFI Crete 2-0

    Egaleo Athens-Kerkyra 2-1

    Apollon Kalamaria-Panionios Athens 1-1

    Atromitos Athens-Iraklis Thessaloniki 2-2

    Ionikos Piraeus-Larissa 1-2

    Xanthi-Aris Thessaloniki 1-1

    Panathinaikos Athens-PAOK Thessaloniki 2-1

    Standings after five weeks of play:

    Olympiakos 15 points

    Panathinaikos 12

    Larissa 9

    Egaleo 8

    Kerkyra 8

    Ergotelis 8

    PAOK 7

    Ionikos 7

    Aris 7

    AEK 6

    OFI 5

    Apollon 4

    Atromitos 3

    Iraklis 2

    Panionios 2

    Xanthi 2

    [20] Voting process was smooth, acting head of Cyprus Church says

    PAPHOS, 25/9/2006 (CAN/ANA-MPA)

    Bishop of Paphos Chrysostomos praised the people of Cyprus for voting in an orderly manner in Sunday's elections for the 1,400 special representatives in the first phase of the process to elect a new Archbishop for the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus.

    The Bishop of Paphos, who is acting Primate of the Church of Cyprus, said during a tour of polling stations this morning in Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca that the people were very excited, while the priests and local committees worked honestly and with dedication and gave their best for the elections.

    He said the percentage of people who voted in today's elections is around 50 percent, noting that it was low, but added that the rural areas will have a percentage of more than 60 percent which is the median average.

    [21] Loeb secures 28th WRC victory in Cyprus Rally 2006

    NICOSIA, 25/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Frenchman Sebastien Loeb continued to rewrite the history books by securing a record-breaking 28th WRC victory of his short career in the Cyprus Rally, round 12 of the 2006 FIA World Rally Championship, on Sunday.

    Partnered by Daniel Elena, Loeb moved ahead of arch rival Marcus Gronholm, from Finland, on the 14th sinuous gravel special stage in the Troodos foothills and the Paphos valleys and eventually reached the finish with a comfortable winning margin of 21.2 seconds.

    According to a press release, the victory, the Frenchman's eighth of the season, virtually assures him a third WRC title in Turkey in a few weeks time and maintains the Kronos Total Citroen Team's advantage over BP-Ford in the Manufacturers' series, albeit to a reduced advantage of just seven points, with four events still to run.

    ''Another great win for me,'' said Loeb. ''It was another difficult challenge here in Cyprus and Marcus pushed me very hard for two days.

    Now we can hopefully go to Turkey and confirm the championship,'' he added.


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