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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-11-07

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

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

November 7, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK party leader addresses Socialist International's Council in Chile
  • [02] Gov't spokesman touches on several issues during briefing
  • [03] Gov't on reported statement by US diplomat in Athens
  • [04] FM Bakoyannis to meet Romanian counterpart Wednesday
  • [05] Parliament president and Irish president discuss Turkey, Cyprus and future of European constitution
  • [06] Karamanlis meets with ND Parliament group sec't
  • [07] NATO 'Gordian Knot '06' drill begins in N. Greece
  • [08] Alavanos meets with French ambassador Delaye
  • [09] Coalition party leader doubts whether Saddam Hussein got a fair trial
  • [10] Former defense and public order minister Antonis Drosoyiannis dies
  • [11] OECD accepts Greek proposal to aid smaller firms
  • [12] EU seeks new reform to hit 2010 jobs goal
  • [13] Development minister briefs PM on Moscow-Sofia visit
  • [14] Tsitouridis talks with French counterpart Larcher in Paris
  • [15] Greece aims for all-year tourist season
  • [16] Deputy economy minister inaugurates Ampelonas customs post
  • [17] Panamanian officials brief minister over recent Canal referendum
  • [18] Northern firms welcome chance to sound out Bavaria
  • [19] Greek budget revenues up 8.5 pct in Jan-Oct
  • [20] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise
  • [21] Culture minister gives interview to Austrian television
  • [22] Minister tours Athens airport on first day of stricter EU-wide security measures
  • [23] New SAE president for US region
  • [24] Constantine Karamanlis Democracy Institute holds conference on educational reform
  • [25] High-profile Pakistani national arrested on Interpol warrant for migrant smuggling
  • [26] First CD by Thessaloniki State Orchestra
  • [27] Contract signed for creation of Greek Olympic Games Museum
  • [28] Cyprus and Malta can join EMU on January 1st, 2008, says Almunia
  • [29] French journalists illegally arrested by regime in occupied Cyprus released

  • [01] PASOK party leader addresses Socialist International's Council in Chile

    SANTIAGO, 7/11/2006 (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou addressed the International’s Council here on Monday, stressing that "citizens, and young people in particular, must be shown that the world can be changed and that globalization can be made fair, democratic and humane."

    The Socialist International's Council is convening in the capital of Chile on the theme of "From national to global governance - Priority for a secure future."

    Papandreou also discussed the problems and role of youth at international level in a meeting he had during an official dinner with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, from whom, as he said, he was informed that education problems in Chile are about the same as in Greece.

    Addressing the Council, PASOK's leader said that young people "see that possibilities exist for the eradication of poverty, but this continues to exist, the world can acquire wealth and eliminate diseases but they exist, that there are possibilities of cooperation in the energy sector as well, but the international community cannot even agree on the signing of protocols, such as that of Kyoto."

    Papandreou also focused on the domination of the economy and of the mass media, that are "concentrating more and more power and are influencing politics more and more."

    Young people see, Papandreou added, "that there are politicians who cannot evade this influence. They see more money being invested for weapons, while we can stop war. They also see walls being built that prevent freedom of movement between countries."

    "We must show that we can change this world, this is the target of the Socialist International, adding that such a change cannot take place locally or nationally alone, but there must be action at regional and international level," Papandreou noted.

    PASOK leader, SI president tours Chilean capital: Papandreou shortly after his arrival in Santiago, visited the site used by the former regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

    Papandreou toured the facilities where more than 5,000 Chileans were tortured in the 1973-1978 period, many of whom died either in the camp itself or elsewhere, while very few survived, among them current Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who had been imprisoned in the facility together with her mother.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Papandreou noted that Greece had also undergone a dictatorship, adding that both countries had struggled and were struggling for democracy and human rights. The site, he said, "reminds us of our debt to fight against such practices, against such barbarity, that of tortures", which he said still existed today.

    Commenting on a recent statement by US vice-president Dick Cheney, Papandreou stressed that "unfortunately, even today we see, in many parts of the world, the barbarity of tortures continuing, but even more so and even worse, we see it being condoned by politicians and democratic countries".

    Papandreou expressed the complete opposition of the Socialists to such practices, and their dedication to the struggles for human rights "in every corner of the world".

    The tortures facility, which used to be a villa belonging to the Italian family Grimaldi and is called Villa Grimaldi, has today been converted into a park called Peace Park and is visited daily by pupils learning the country's contemporary history.

    Bachelet hosted a dinner in honor of Papandreou and the other members of the SI presidency on Sunday night.

    [02] Gov't spokesman touches on several issues during briefing

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos fielded a wide variety of question on Monday during his regular press briefing, beginning with a response to the ubiquitous question of "early elections".

    "The prime minister over the recent period has twice publicly said that elections will take place in 2008," the spokesman said in response to the latest query and after a batch of related opinions in weekend papers.

    He also responded to a press question regarding speculation claiming displeasure by Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras over the issue of a bonus (8 percent yearly) for front-line police officers.

    Roussopoulos declined to comment on a question asking whether the minister had spoken with the premier over the issue, noting only that the government is implementing its promises "within the constraints of the economy".

    Meanwhile, asked about Greece's apparent improvement of its standing on a Transparency International ranking, Roussopoulos stressed that public administration has improved notably, referring among others, to the Citizens' Service Centers (KEP) opened around the country. He stated that the concept was a very positive measure instituted by the previous government that has been strengthened and expanded by the current government.

    He also cited Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas' initiatives to cut red tape, stressing that the number of documents necessary to establish a new company in Greece was reduced from 45 to about 20.

    Finally, Roussopoulos declined to comment on an initiative by a Thessaloniki-area prosecutor threatening to lift the asylum status of the city's universities during the upcoming Nov. 17 commemoration if vandalism is observed on the campuses, reiterating that he never comments on judicial rulings.

    [03] Gov't on reported statement by US diplomat in Athens

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government on Monday dismissed a purported comment by the US embassy's deputy chief of mission in Greece, published by an Athens daily over the weekend. The article cited a reported reference to a "Turkish minority" in western Thrace, instead of using the internationally recognized "Muslim minority".

    "Statements by diplomats and consuls do not transform or change reality. In Greece we have a modern European democracy where human rights are respected, with equality and equality before the law for all, and where we have no reason to fear whatever criticism. Let me remind you Community programs are underway specifically in Thrace to improve the living conditions of the area's residents," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said during his regular press briefing.

    The US diplomat's alleged comment was published by the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".

    [04] FM Bakoyannis to meet Romanian counterpart Wednesday

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will meet her Romanian counterpart Mihai Razvan Ungureanu on Wednesday at 11 am, a ministry announcement said on Monday.

    Issues relating to the improvement of bilateral relations especially after Romania's accession to the European Union on January 1 and regional issues such as Kosovo and the South-eastern European Stability Pact will be high on the agenda of the talks between the two ministers.

    The talks will be followed by statements to the press.

    [05] Parliament president and Irish president discuss Turkey, Cyprus and future of European constitution

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda and Irish President Mary McAleese on Monday discussed Turkey's European prospects, the issue of Cyprus and the future of the European constitution in the framework of the former's official visit to Ireland. A coincidence of views was ascertained on all three issues.

    On the issue of Turkey's European prospects, the two politicians agreed that Turkey must fulfill its commitments towards the European Union, the full implementation of the customs union with Cyprus in the near future and then the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus "without which Turkey's accession is inconceivable."

    As regards the issue of Cyprus, McAleese and Benaki-Psarouda agreed that "the maintenance of the last wall dividing a European capital, Nicosia, is unacceptable."

    At this point, the Irish president expressed support for the UN's efforts to resolve the problem.

    Focusing on the third issue, the two interlocutors stressed the need for a solution to be found "since the European constitution is essential for the EU's smooth functioning in the future."

    [06] Karamanlis meets with ND Parliament group sec't

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday received ruling New Democracy party Parliament group secretary Apostolos Stavrou for talks on the voting bloc’s future initiatives and strategies.

    After the meeting, Stavrou said he received guidelines on upgrading of the role of MPs and their substantive contribution to drawing up new draft bills.

    He also mentioned that MPs will launch a new round of tours across the country, particularly in prefectural capitals.

    Stavrou also said that the economy is on a good course, allowing for tax breaks, added social security bonus and increased farm pensions.

    [07] NATO 'Gordian Knot '06' drill begins in N. Greece

    7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A military exercise code-named Gordian Knot '06, under NATO auspices, opened Monday in northern Greece in the framework of a programmed training activity, under the responsibility of the NDC-GR (NATO Deployable Corps-Greece) headquarters.

    The drill, which runs through November 15, includes the partial deployment of the Headquarters at the Natsiou military camp in Eleftheroupolis, Kavala, while the rest of the NDC-GR will carry out exercises "in its peace-timel position" at the Pedio tou Areos camp in Thessaloniki.

    The program includes movement of Greek and Allied forces on land, sea and air with the use of appropriate means and vehicles, from Thessaloniki to the Kavala region and vice-versa.

    At the same time, the 33rd motorized brigade announced that on November 15, from 8:00 a.m to midnight, heavy artillery shooting will take place at the Askou-Profitis firing range in Lagada.

    [08] Alavanos meets with French ambassador Delaye

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos met here on Monday with French envoy in Greece Bruno Delaye for talks revolving around EU-Turkey relations and bilateral relations.

    Alavanos referred to a need for supporting national economies’ prospects, while Delaye said he met with Alavanos as part of his contacts with Greek political leaders. He added that the domestic political situation in the country and Europe’s integration were also discussed.

    [09] Coalition party leader doubts whether Saddam Hussein got a fair trial

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday expressed doubts whether Saddam Hussein got a fair trial, but clarified that his punishment must be exemplary and opposed his execution.

    "Saddam Hussein had existed as a dictator, a man whose hands were drenched in blood and for this reason his punishment, really, must be exemplary. However, we agree with Amnesty International that, indeed, in conditions of foreign occupation in Iraq, a questionable trial took place that cannot be considered a fair trial. We can also not accept, as a left-wing party, the sentence of death. We are against the death sentence in all cases, including that of Saddam Hussein."

    [10] Former defense and public order minister Antonis Drosoyiannis dies

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Antonis Drosoyiannis, a founder member of the main opposition PASOK party and minister during the Andreas Papandreou administrations, who had been elected a member of PASOK's first Central Committee and had served as defense and public order minister during the '80s, died on Sunday at the age of 84.

    President Karolos Papoulias said in a message of condolences that "Antonis Drosoyiannis devoted his life to the ideals of democracy, freedom, peace and national independence. He was a patriot and fighter who, with his political stance and consistency in his principles, contributed to the consolidation of democracy and stability."

    PASOK party leader George Papandreou said in a statement that "I was informed of the death of Antonis Drosoyiannis with great sadness. He was a brave patriot, a fighter for freedom and democracy," adding that "he played a leading role in the founding of PASOK and was elected a member of its first Central Committee, while serving in the governments of Andreas Papandreou at the national defense ministry and the public order ministry with consistency and responsibility and with public interest being his sole criterion. He was a noble and he always proved it whether he was serving in the military or in the ranks of the democratic line-up and of PASOK, either in Parliament as a deputy for Fthiotida or in the government as a close associate of Andreas Papandreou."

    [11] OECD accepts Greek proposal to aid smaller firms

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A Greek proposal to aid small and medium-sized enterprises has been accepted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Monday.

    Under the government proposal, a mechanism would be created to provide an information and cooperation link that would allow smaller firms (SMEs) to learn about access to global markets from multinationals, Sioufas told the opening of a three-day conference in Athens arranged by the OECD and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) with the development ministry.

    "Although small and medium-sized enterprises are less well equipped to make use of opportunities on an international level in comparison with large firms, they have tremendous potential. It has been estimated that if they employ all their resources for exports, they will achieve the same exports volume as large companies," he noted.

    "But an outward-looking approach is required to ensure their competitiveness and viability. That is why the Greek government proposed the mechanism, which has been accepted by the OECD's deputy general secretary," the minister reported.

    The conference aims to identify cost effective mechanisms to remove barriers to market-access, and promote internationalization of the enterprises. Best-practice support programs put in place by governments, at both national and local levels to assist in dealing with the impediments, will be reviewed.

    The conference is part of the OECD Bologna Process on SME and entrepreneurship policies. The Athens meeting follows an OECD ministerial conference on SMEs held in June 2004 in Istanbul, where ministers adopted a declaration pledging co-operative action in reducing barriers to access. The declaration also invited the OECD to identify ways in which barriers could be lifted, working with countries and international organizations.

    Key to the Athens meeting are the findings of an OECD-APEC study, which was based on two original surveys: one addressed to SMEs, and the other to SME policymakers in member economies.

    According to the study, the access problems fall into two main groups: internal impediments due to a firm itself and how it functions; and externals that stem mainly from complex and differing legal and administrative systems among countries, as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers.

    "An integrated policy is required that would aim at improving the business environment and strengthening competitiveness along with the ability of SMEs to expand in global markets," Sioufas told the meeting.

    "Required would be international rules and international harmonization in sectors such as product standardization, customs procedures, solvency certification for the companies and for transport, protection for intellectual property, and combating piracy and imitations," he underlined.

    Two parallel workshops will review internal and external barriers that hinder the internationalization of smaller companies, and an action plan will be adopted at the Athens conference.

    The meeting brings together participants from 44 economies that are members of the OECD and/or APEC; and from approximately 70 other economies taking part in the Bologna Process.

    Jointly organized with the OECD & APEC, at the invitation of the Greek authorities.

    The OECD Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship decided to undertake an activity on this topic in its 2005-06 work program. This activity is a joint project being undertaken jointly with the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) SME Working Group (SMEWG), building on a current APEC SMEWG project. In turn, the APEC SMEWG decided to strengthen its collaboration with OECD by agreeing to develop this common project on "Removing Barriers to SME Access to International Markets".

    The OECD and APEC launched two surveys in multiple languages (which finished on 31 July 2006) with a view of:

    Ascertaining SME perspectives of the barriers to international markets, and;

    Identifying best practice support programs put in place by governments to assist in dealing with these impediments.

    Jointly organized by the OECD & APEC, at the invitation of the Greek Authorities, this high-level international conference will present the results of the two surveys and to further pursue its objective of identifying innovative mechanisms to ease the barriers to SME internationalization.

    The Conference will start on the evening of Monday 6 November 2006 and end on the evening of Wednesday 8 November 2006, and will be officially opened by H.E. Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis.

    [12] EU seeks new reform to hit 2010 jobs goal

    BRUSSELS, 7/11/2006 (ANA-MPA/M Aroni)

    The employment situation in the EU continued to improve in 2005 despite a temporary slowdown in economic growth, according to Employment in Europe 2006, a report published by the European Union's executive Commission on Monday.

    "Reforms are producing results. Unemployment in the EU fell by almost half a percentage point to 8.7% from 9.1% in the previous year while employment growth almost doubled to 0.9%. Nevertheless, the Union continues to underperform both in terms of employment and productivity growth in relation to EU targets. A stronger drive to implement comprehensive reforms is a matter of urgency," the Commission said in a statement.

    The report highlights the fruits of targeted policies to attract and retain more women and older workers in employment, showing continued progress in the female and older peoples' (aged 55 -64) employment rates.

    “Despite the rise in the employment rates of women and older workers, progress towards the overall employment rate target of 70% is simply not fast enough,” Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, noted.

    “It is clear that reaching this requires more effort in most member states. Rigorous implementation of reforms in line with the European Employment Guidelines must be the order of the day," Spidla added.

    Progress, however, has not been uniform across the Member States. Strong differences persist in labor market outcomes, in particular between men and women, between EU nationals and non-EU nationals, and between regions.

    Greece: In Greece, employment among women as well as among older workers showed a rise, according to the report.

    Overall joblessness dropped to 9.8% in 2005 from 10.5% a year earlier, while employment rose by 0.7% against 2004 to total 60.1%.

    The unemployment total for women was 46.1%, up 4.4% over 2000-2005, with the total for older workers at 41.6%, showing a 2.6% increase between 2000 and 2005.

    Workers in Greece rank among those who work the longest hours per week in the EU at an average 40.1 hours, or 3.5 times more than the European average of 36.6 hours per week.

    Of Greeks, 65.1% are employed in services, 22.4% in industry, and 12.4% in agriculture, against EU averages of 67.7%, 27.5% and 4.9% respectively for the same categories.

    Along with Spain and Portugal, Greece is a country with a "Mediterranean employment system", which is characterized by low flexibility in the labor market and an inadequate level of social welfare, the Commission said.

    [13] Development minister briefs PM on Moscow-Sofia visit

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Development minister Dimitris Sioufas on Monday briefed prime minister Costas Karamanlis on the outcome of his recent visits to Moscow and Sofia, and explained to journalists after the meeting that the trip was an Athens initiative to advance the interstate agreement on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    The pipeline, Sioufas explained, is of strategic importance for conveying oil in the region and on to the markets of Europe and the US.

    He said that, during his visit, the volition of the three countries was reaffirmed, while the steps for materialization of the accord were also agreed.

    Sioufas further said that he briefed the premier on the world conference of SMEs taking place in the seaside town of Vouliagmeni, near Athens, adding that he will convey Karamanlis' greeting to the 500 delegates from 62 countries and 15 organizations taking part in the conference.

    He said the conference was an effort aimed at strengthening SMEs, eliminating obstacles and their incorporation into the international markets.

    Backing the SMEs was the volition of the government, given that they provide 7 in 10 jobs, Sioufas stressed.

    [14] Tsitouridis talks with French counterpart Larcher in Paris

    PARIS, 7/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Labor and Social Insurances Minister Savvas Tsitouridis met here on Monday with his French counterpart Gerard Larcher, with talks focusing on workplace-related issues and employment, all ahead of Tuesday's EU ministers' council in Brussels.

    Afterwards, both ministers said they agreed over the need to safeguard employees' health and safety in the workplace and to avoid promoting initiatives that damage Europe's social model.

    Tsitouridis will represent the Greek side in Brussels.

    [15] Greece aims for all-year tourist season

    LONDON, 7/11/2006 (ANA-MPA/L Tsirigotakis)

    Greece is seeking to become an all-year-round tourism destination by adding new forms of travel to its existing product, Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said on Monday.

    The key to future success of the sector also lay in accelerating investment by the private and public sectors in joint ventures, the minister told the opening ceremony for Greece's pavillion at the World Travel Market in London, a key sector trade fair.

    "Procedures for private investment need to be eased, and we have to solve all the bureaucratic problems more rapidly," she noted.

    A major slice of European Union funds for 2007-2013 would be employed to help tourism, travel and leisure activities, she reported.

    Under the country's development law, 460 investment requests had been received since April 2005, totaling 917 million euros, the minister added.

    [16] Deputy economy minister inaugurates Ampelonas customs post

    7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Antonis Bezas inaugurated the customs post of Ampelonas (Povla) in the prefecture of Thesprotia on the border with Albania on Monday. The customs post of Povla will function as an independent third class customs post.

    Speaking during the inauguration, Bezas said that with its operation, with the upgrading of the customs post at Igoumenitsa, the operation of an independent customs post at Mavromati and the impending creation of a new customs service in Igoumenitsa a great effort to restructure customs services in Thesprotia will be completed.

    The inauguration ceremony was attended by ministry officials, the local authorities and representatives of the Albanian authorities.

    [17] Panamanian officials brief minister over recent Canal referendum

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyannis met in Piraeus on Monday with the influential chairman of Panama's foreign relations committee, Hector Aleman, as well as the Central American nation's ambassador in Athens, Antonio F. Taqius, for talks expectedly focusing on maritime shipping issues.

    Among others, Aleman briefed Kefaloyannis over the results of a referendum in Panama to allow the widening of the Panama Canal, an issue of particular importance to Athens given the large fleet of Greek-owned merchant ships and tankers.

    [18] Northern firms welcome chance to sound out Bavaria

    7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Representatives of northern Greek companies on Monday sounded out alliances and trade ties in Munich on Monday at the start of a two-day trip in a delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis, who handles economic diplomacy for the government.

    "This initiative by the deputy minister has special significance for the northern Greek business world," the Thessaloniki-based Association of Northern Greek Industry said on Monday.

    "Arranging this specific delegation is a bold move as Greek companies are not facing the market of a lesser developed country than their own, for example in the Balkans, but rather the mature and demanding German market," the association said in a statement.

    In addition, the trip was an innovation for Greece in economic diplomacy as the delegation was arranged between two regions, not two countries; and the visit helped to reinforce policies of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for an outward-looking approach to business by firms in the region.

    The members of the delegation, whom Stylianidis met on Saturday in the northern port city of Thessaloniki for a preparatory meeting, represent around 30 companies, mainly based in the north, the foreign ministry noted.

    The firms, who held talks with Bavarian executives, are interested in forging trade and investment deals.

    Greek exports to Bavaria in the first half of 2006 were 225.5 million euros. Of the total, 46% of sales were finished products, and 35% foodstuffs, according to provisional ministry data.

    Bavarian exports to Greece in the same period totaled 609 million euros, with 75% in ready products and 12% in foods, the ministry's northern trade bureau said.

    Also on the agenda is a Greek-Bavarian business conference that Stylianidis will attend, and meetings with members of local government.

    [19] Greek budget revenues up 8.5 pct in Jan-Oct

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek budget revenues rose by 8.5 pct in the January-October period, slightly exceeding an annual budget target of 8.4 pct, to 39.432 billion euros, up from 36.333 billion euros in the corresponding period last year, the finance ministry said in a report on Monday.

    Tax revenues rose 6.9 pct in the 10-month period, up from a 6.6 pct budget provision, to 4.455 billion euros, while customs and tax agencies' revenues rose 8.7 pct (customs +11.2 pct and tax agencies +8.0 pct).

    VAT revenues rose 12.9 pct in the January-October period to 13.428 billion euros, exceeding a budget target for an increase of 7.2 pct.

    [20] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Athens share index closed at 4,210.14 points, showing a rise of 0.79%. Turnover was 306.5 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.75% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 0.40% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.23% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 163 to 92 with 56 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Alpha Bank (719)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 106.3 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.04 pct

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 4.04 pct yield

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2016 (765 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.0 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates

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

    U.S. dollar 1.280

    [21] Culture minister gives interview to Austrian television

    VIENNA, 7/11/2006 (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis gave an interview to state-run Austrian television, stressing the importance of the request for the return and reunification of the Parthenon Marbles that have been detached from their historic site and, consequently, this supreme monument and symbol of European spirit remains mutilated.

    In his interview, broadcast on Sunday night in the framework of a special Austrian television program on the return of cultural treasures to their country of origin, Voulgarakis referred to the "struggle made for the return of the Parthenon Marbles by the late Melina Mercouri" who, as he said, "awakened the international community on this major issue with her sensitivity, temperament and dynamism."

    According to the culture minister, Greece wants the return of the Parthenon Marbles for the restoration of a certain moral order in civilization that concerns all and not only the Greeks.

    The Austrian television program coincided in time with the recent tabling of a draft resolution at the UN General Assembly by Greece, titled "Return or restoration of cultural ownership in countries of origin."

    The draft resolution, tabled last Friday by Greece's permanent representative at the UN, ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, is expected to be ratified during the next few days with the support of over 80 member-states of the international organization.

    [22] Minister tours Athens airport on first day of stricter EU-wide security measures

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis on Monday toured Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport to observe, first hand, new EU-wide security measures in airports across the Union.

    Liapis toured the departure and hand luggage control areas and was briefed on the measures taken as part of an EU decision banning the carrying of most liquids by passengers aboard airliners.

    An increased number of airport personnel on duty during the first day of the latest and stricter measures apparently reduced the inconvenience for passengers, Liapis said.

    [23] New SAE president for US region

    7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Theodore Spyropoulos of Chicago was elected president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) for the United States region.

    Spyropoulos, who served for many years as president of the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) received 79 votes to 74 votes for International Coordinating Committee "Justice for Cyprus" (PSEKA) and PanCyprian Association of America President Philip Christopher.

    The newly elected 10-member regional council is made up of Aliki Andreou, Konstantinos Economides, Michalis Galanakis, Spyros Garyfallis, Konstantinos Karalekas, Panagiotis Karavitis, Efthalia Katos, Stella Kokoli, Nikolaos Kyritsis and Theodoros Laliotis.

    Voting procedures have been completed for the election of new regional councils in South America and Canada, Europe, Africa and the eastern European countries, in view of the SAE world conference set for Thessaloniki in December.

    [24] Constantine Karamanlis Democracy Institute holds conference on educational reform

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Constantine Karamanlis Democracy Institute held a conference on "The need for reforms in education" on Monday, while Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou defended the system of evaluation and, in general, the reforms that are anticipated in the new law on higher education.

    "It is very important that education develops into a lever of income redistribution and it is absolutely necessary that issues in which students have a say and scientific issues must be separated," she said.

    Yiannakou supported the idea of asylum as anticipated in the draft law of 1982 and pointed out that "deanery councils must have full responsibility."

    The minister also criticized many universities for failing to absorb funds provided for them and promised that "there will be a dramatic increase in funding with an honorable agreement between university foundations and the education ministry regarding evaluation, quality control and the social accountability of university foundations."

    [25] High-profile Pakistani national arrested on Interpol warrant for migrant smuggling

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A high-profile member of the local community of Pakistani guest workers in the Greek capital was apprehended on Monday on human trafficking charges listed in an Interpol arrest warrant.

    The suspect, identified as Javed Aslam, was arrested at his residence in the Kolonos district of Athens.

    Aslam gained name recognition in local press circles over the past year and a half by championing claims by a group of Pakistani men who allege that they were illegally detained and interrogated by intelligence cadres immediately following the London underground bombings in July 2005. He is also identified as a president of one of a handful of societies representing Pakistani migrants in Greece.

    The arrest warrant was issued at the request of Pakistani authorities, who accuse him acting as an "intermediary" in the illegal transport of Pakistanis to Greece and other EU territories

    [26] First CD by Thessaloniki State Orchestra

    7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Thessaloniki State Orchestra unveiled its first CD in its 47-year history on Monday.

    Entitled "Impressions for Saxophone and Orchestra", the CD was produced in cooperation with the British company Naxos, and is due to appear on store shelves in the United States, Australia, Europe and Asia. It includes two works by Mikis Theodorakis and also works by composers Nikos Skalkotas, Thodoros Antoniou, Minas Alexiadis, Vasilis Tenidis and Manos Hadjidakis.

    The Thessaloniki State Orchestra, currently comprising approximately 100 musicians, was founded in 1959 by composer Solon Michailidis, before coming under the state's control in 1969.

    [27] Contract signed for creation of Greek Olympic Games Museum

    ATHENS, 7/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A contract for the creation of a Greek Olympic Games Museum in Athens was signed at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on Monday.

    According to an announcement by the "Olympiaka Akinita" company, the technical details of the contract and of the project's implementation plan will be determined with a special legislative arrangement that will be tabled in Parliament by the culture minister.

    The Greek Olympic Games Museum will be housed in a section of the International Radio and Television Centre in the Athens suburb of Maroussi, next to the Athens Olympic Stadium.

    [28] Cyprus and Malta can join EMU on January 1st, 2008, says Almunia

    BRUSSELS, 7/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus and Malta according to the European Commission's Autumn 2006 economic forecasts can join the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) on January 1st, 2008, as they wish, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia has said.

    The Spanish Commissioner said the two countries fulfill the criteria for the accession in the eurozone adding that the governments of Cyprus and Malta should submit at the beginning of next year their applications for accession. In April the Commission and the European Central Bank will issue their decision.

    According to the procedure followed for Slovenia, which joins the on January 1st, 2007, the decisions for Cyprus and Malta can be taken at the ECOFIN Council in May or June 2007, and will later be confirmed by the European Council.

    According to the European Commission's Autumn 2006 forecasts for Cyprus, the country's economic activity remained strong in the first half of 2006. Real GDP growth in the first two quarters was 3.4% and 3.8% year on year, respectively. Growth is projected to further accelerate in the fourth quarter of the year and decelerate in the fourth quarter, which should lead to GDP growing at 3.8% over the whole year. Economic activity is being mainly driven by strong domestic demand.

    Although slightly decelerating compared with last year, private consumption remains healthy, supported by historically low interest rates and sustained credit expansion, as well as by continued employment and wage growth. In parallel, buoyant private investment in construction, particularly housing, as well as a rebound in equipment, is accelerating investment to a 5% growth rate.

    Overall, domestic demand is projected to contribute around 4 percentage points to GDP growth. This will be only slightly offset by the negative contribution of net exports. Reflecting weak re-export activity, which slowed down in the first six months of the year, exports of goods should almost stagnate compared with the past two years.

    Concurrently, despite the decline of tourism arrivals, revenue from tourism actually increased in the first 8 months in real terms, while export-oriented services are benefiting from the positive outlook in the main export markets. Total exports are now projected to grow at close to 6% in real terms. This is very close to the rate estimated for total imports, which should follow strong domestic demand and investment activity.

    GDP is projected to continue growing solidly at 3.8% in 2007 and 3.9% in 2008, driven by domestic demand which would contribute around 4 percentage points to growth.

    Investment should remain robust and continue growing by close 5% per year until 2008. In line with buoyant economic activity employment projected to keep growing at around 1 ½% per year until 2008.

    [29] French journalists illegally arrested by regime in occupied Cyprus released

    NICOSIA, 7/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    wo French journalists who had been abducted on Sunday by the illegal regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus, were released on Monday, after a so called military court ordered each of them to pay a fine of 305 Cyprus pounds (690 US dollars).

    Their illegal abduction has been condemned by the European Federation of Journalists, the Cyprus Journalist's Union and Turkish Cypriot journalists.

    German-French public channel ARTE reporter David Muntaner and cameraman Frederic Bak, both French nationals, were illegally arrested Sunday accused of filming a military zone area at the fenced off town of Varosha, occupied by the Turkish army.

    The court ruled that their cassette is confiscated, but their camera and their rented car are returned.

    The fine for their release was paid by the Turkish Cypriot journalist trade union Basin-Sen.

    The Cyprus Journalist Union protested the abduction of the French journalists and the violation of their right to press freedom.

    The Union made strong representations to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and informed the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

    The EFJ, Europe's largest journalists' group, issued a press release condemning the arrest of the two French journalists saying the arrests overshadowed plans by the Turkish authorities to reform press freedom laws.

    "On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan announced that he was prepared to amend laws limiting free speech. The same day in Northern Cyprus, however, the Turkish army arrested two French Journalists for allegedly violating the military restricted area by filming in the city of Varosha", the press release said.

    It added that the journalists were legally operating in Cyprus last week at the time of their arrest.

    "The EFJ welcomes Prime Minister Erdogan's new initiative," said EFJ Chair Arne Konig, "but these words are meaningless if authorities continue to harass and detain Cypriot and foreign journalists in the northern part of Cyprus."

    In August, the EFJ protested the arrest of two Greek Cypriot journalists who were arrested in similar conditions. Authorities claimed that they were filming at a banned military zone and their material was confiscated.

    The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, is divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of the island's territory.

    Turkey is aspiring to become a full EU member state.


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