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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-11-08

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

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

November 8, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] Socialist International adopts 'viable globalization' term
  • [02] Deputy FM Stylianidis and Bavarian deputy PM discuss bilateral and European issues
  • [03] Foreign minister to meet Romanian counterpart on Wednesday
  • [04] DM to pay official visit to Serbia, comments on Kosovo
  • [05] Gov't to allow citizenship for ethnic Greeks of Albania
  • [06] Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos visits Albania
  • [07] Gov't spokesman refers to 'management deficit' at universities
  • [08] Gov't on pay hike for police, minister's stance
  • [09] PASOK spokesman comments on economy, education and police bonus
  • [10] Deputy foreign minister visits San Francisco Greek community
  • [11] KKE delegation in Lisbon communist meeting
  • [12] New Israeli ambassador to Greece presents credentials
  • [13] Parliament ratifies bill on creation of Islamic Mosque in Athens
  • [14] FinMin: Fiscal efforts to continue; cites positive Commission report
  • [15] Greece could exit excessive deficit procedures in spring, Almunia
  • [16] Greece backs EU-wide rule for working hours
  • [17] Northern Greek firms welcome outcome of Bavaria trip
  • [18] Tourism minister in talks with Expedia
  • [19] Greece takes part in Global Village trade fair
  • [20] Greek banking system to continue rapid growth, report
  • [21] Greek cooperative banks reports significantly improved nine-month results
  • [22] Foreign investors' participation in Greek blue chip index rose above 50 pct in October
  • [23] European stock markets sign new code of conduct to boost transparency and lower costs
  • [24] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise
  • [25] 6th Mobius Digital Creation Competition comes to an end
  • [26] Air Force to put on five-day celebration in honor of patron saint
  • [27] Joint Greek-Turkish exercise on handling natural disasters
  • [28] Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda congratulates new Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos
  • [29] Greek engineering students to take part in collegiate Formula design/race competition
  • [30] Cross-border cooperation for protection of brown bear discussed
  • [31] Rare Armenian manuscripts to be loaned to Greece
  • [32] Cyprus and Croatia see room to improve bilateral relations
  • [33] Lillikas: We will judge Turkey based on its EU accession progress

  • [01] Socialist International adopts 'viable globalization' term

    SANTIAGO, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The Socialist International (SI) will adopt the term "viable globalization", while its Council decided here to create a special committee to examine ways with which people will be able to live under better conditions in a globalize economy and society.

    Socialist International President and main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou said during his address on Tuesday's SI Council session that issues which the Socialist International will be promoting to achieve viable globalization include the democratization of international organizations, the establishment of more democratic procedures in taking and checking decisions, achieving a greater balance between developed and developing countries, equality in access to new technologies and the handling of such phenomena as organized crime or huge health problems.

    Papandreou said that handling this last issue is a great necessity which, as he said, will be the main issue at the Socialist International’s conference that will be taking place in about a year's time.

    He also referred to the initiative he has undertaken in the Middle East which, as he said, will be continued and expressed the SI's full support for the Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

    Commenting on the conviction of Saddam Hussein, Papandreou said that the socialists believed justice should be served, but they were opposed to the death penalty.

    The president of PASOK called for the greater participation of women in the Socialist International and called on parties that are its members to have a greater participation in the organization's procedures.

    Papandreou has had many bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Socialist International's Council, including meetings with Costa Rican President, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Oscar Arias, former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, Women's Socialist International President Pia Locatelli, the niece of assassinated Chilean president author Isabelle Allende, a delegation of the Turkish Cypriot Republican Party and Turkish Republican Party President Deniz Baykal.

    Papandreou also attended a reception on Monday night that was given in honor of the Council's members by the country's President Michelle Bachelet, who welcomed him with the Greek greeting "kalispera" (good evening) and informed him that from searching she has carried out so far she believes that she has a Greek origin on the part of her mother and wishes to visit Greece to continue her searching.

    [02] Deputy FM Stylianidis and Bavarian deputy PM discuss bilateral and European issues

    MUNICH, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis discussed bilateral and European issues, as well as such matters as Turkey's European course, with Bavarian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Gunter Beckstein on Tuesday. Stylianidis also met with the state's European Affairs Minister Emilia Mueller.

    Referring to relations between Europe and Turkey, the interior minister said that it was agreed that negotiations must not come to an end, but there should be no discounts in Turkey's evaluation, while reiterating the position of the Christian Democrat Party, to which he belongs, saying that in the party "we have a general reservation on the accession of Turkey and we support a privileged relationship with the EU."

    The Greek delegation was greatly moved when it visited the grave of Constantine Karatheodoris, one of the greatest mathematicians in the world, according to mathematician and researcher of his work, N. Lygeros, who was present at the religious service held at the cemetery in Munich. The ceremony was the first honor given by the Greek authorities, 56 years after the death of the man who was Albert Einstein's teacher.

    Speaking before the gravestone that has the form of a Greek pillar, on which his name and those of his wife and son were inscribed, Stylianidis referred at length to the personality of Karatheodoris.

    [03] Foreign minister to meet Romanian counterpart on Wednesday

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is to meet her Romanian counterpart Mihai Razvan Ungureanu on Wednesday morning in Athens. Ungureanu is visiting Athens at her invitation.

    They are expected to discuss progress in bilateral political and economic relations with emphasis on potential for cooperation after Romania's accession to the EU in a Community frame-work.

    They will also discuss regional issues - such as the situation in Kosovo, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact and the stability pact for SE Europe - and international affairs like the crisis in the Middle East.

    The Romanian minister will also attend a working dinner with Bakoyannis and meet Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [04] DM to pay official visit to Serbia, comments on Kosovo

    8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis departs on Wednesday for Belgrade to begin an official visit to Serbia, the ministry announced on Tuesday.

    Meimarakis is scheduled to meet with his Serbian counterpart, Defense Minister Zoran Stankovic, for talks on matters related to military and technical defense cooperation between the two countries.

    He will also meet separately with Serb President Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, and with Patriarch Pavle of Serbia.

    Meanwhile, in statements to the Tanjug news agency on Tuesday, Meimarakis reiterated Greece's support for a permanent and viable solution in Kosovo.

    The minister echoed Athens' position of avoiding any "imposed solution" in the region and observed that the process for a settlement of Kosovo's status has entered a sensitive phase, while adding that today's uncertainty should not continue because it could have a negative impact on stability throughout the Balkans.

    "For the sake of security and stability both sides should work for a mutual compromise," he stressed, while expressing a hope that negotiations will follow a positive course and lead to the right conditions for a permanent and viable.

    He also referred to EU's support for Kosovo institutions to be established after the status question is settled.

    [05] Gov't to allow citizenship for ethnic Greeks of Albania

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Registered members of the ethnic Greek minority of southern Albania will be able to qualify for Greek citizenship under certain conditions, according to a decision reached at an Inner Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

    The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos reminded that the delay in settling the long-standing issue emanated from a previous lack of guarantees by the Albanian state regarding the property and political rights of eligible ethnic Greeks in case of dual citizenship.

    He explained that the decision to naturalize eligible and registered members of the ethnic Greek minority follows revisions to the Albanian constitution and after negotiations with Tirana. Naturalization procedures can start immediately, depending on when an individual was registered by the Greek state as a member of the ethnic Greek minority, he said.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis underlined that the government was responding to a long-standing demand by members of the minority, while pointing out that there was broad-based agreement amongst Greek political forces on the issue.

    She also underlined that the Albanian constitution now guarantees its citizens the right to hold a dual nationality, whereas Albania is taking steps to harmonize its legal frame-work with the European acquis and to fulfill EU criteria.

    Earlier, the prime minister held a separate meeting with Environment, Land Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias.

    Decision positive, PASOK spokesman says: Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said on Tuesday that the government's decision to grant Greek nationality to expatriates from Northern Epirus was "positive."

    "We shall await the special announcements that Mr. Pavlopoulos spoke of so that we can see how this decision is specialized," the spokesman said, adding that "the implementation of the decision must be simple and take place with transparency, without obstacles being added for expatriates and, of course, it must take place without partisan games."

    Athanasakis noted that for this decision "the previous PASOK government had worked a great deal, it was an issue that had to be resolved (and) PASOK had submitted an amendment in July 2005, that had not been accepted by the government at the time, while it had also submitted a relevant draft law in December 2005."

    He further said that PASOK leader George Papandreou had repeatedly raised the issue, as was the case during his latest meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

    [06] Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos visits Albania

    TIRANA (ANA-MPA/I. Pacho)

    Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met here on Tuesday with his Albanian counterpart Maxim Cikuli and it was decided that the Greek health and social solidarity ministry will shoulder the expenses for the establishment of a blood dialysis unit in the city of Korce and will provide aid for the hospital in Gjirokaster.

    The twinning of the Athens Laiko Hospital and the Tirana University Hospital was also decided during the meeting, as well as strengthening cooperation between Greece and Albania in the health sector.

    The Albanian health minister thanked Avramopoulos for medical care provided by the Greek government, both for Albanians living and working in Greece and for those resorting to Greek hospitals for medical reasons.

    Avramopoulos and Cikuli then visited Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and briefed him on the texts of bilateral agreements being prepared in the health sector.

    The Greek minister's visit to Albania was concluded with a meeting with the Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios.

    [07] Gov't spokesman refers to 'management deficit' at universities

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government on Tuesday was again queried over its education policy, with spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos emphasizing that a "management deficit" at the country’s higher education institutions is clearly visible in the inability of some schools to absorb funds.

    "A different type of operation is needed to give universities the ability to better absorb funding," he said during his regular press briefing and in a response to questions over the education minister’s statements a day earlier.

    "The government believes that funding should increase for education. If it did not believe this then the increases over the past two years would not have exceeded the increases made by the previous government in six years," he said.

    During an address on Monday, Minister Marietta Yiannakou criticized university administrations for failing to absorb funds provided to them, while promising 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 social accountability on the part of universities."

    [08] Gov't on pay hike for police, minister's stance

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government on Tuesday again commented on the issue of a "hazardous pay" bonus for front-line police officers, as the matter mostly dominated local political coverage this week, at least, due to Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras' forceful and public support for the allowance.

    "All government ministers equally try to solve problems within their scope of responsibility. There are no good or bad ministers ... the finance and economy ministry cooperates with other ministries," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said in response to a bevy of questions during a regular press briefing.

    [09] PASOK spokesman comments on economy, education and police bonus

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis commented on Tuesday on the state of the economy and education, as well as the question of police being given a special bonus. He made his statements on the occasion of an announcement made on the same day by Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis and predictions made on the Greek economy by the European Commission.

    "What they are telling us from the government, regardless of how the story of predictions and reports is appearing, is that its economic policy will not change. It will continue to be an economic policy at the expense of the many and it will continue to compress the labor classes. It is a policy that downgrades the state of the middle classes and only favors the few and friends," Athanasakis said.

    PASOK's spokesman also rejected all that had been stated on Tuesday by the government spokesman regarding education expenditures, stressing that Theodoros Roussopoulos "insists on stating that expenditures for education have been increased during the period of New Democracy governments from 2004 onwards" and pointing out that "expenditures for education, as a percentage of the GDP, are decreasing every year with the ND government" and that "comparisons being made are not made with absolute figures but with percentages of the GDP."

    Lastly, on the question of a special bonus being provided for the police, Athanasakis said that "for as long as the serial between the trade unionist public order minister and the economy minister on how much and what will be given continues, the level of the unreliability of the ND government is merely highlighted."

    Gov't spokesman: Replying to Athanasakis, Government Spokesman Roussopoulos made the following statement:"The government, as is also certified by the European Commission, is following a course that secures fiscal stability and strong and balanced development. Meaning, the reliable foundations for a fairer distribution of wealth produced."

    [10] Deputy foreign minister visits San Francisco Greek community

    SAN FRANCISCO, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The Greek government will emphasize support for the teaching of Greek abroad over the next two years, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis pledged during a visit to San Francisco this week, before his departure for Houston on Monday.

    He made the promise during a welcome party put on by the city's thriving Greek community, numbering an estimated 110,000 Greek-Americans that are both well-educated and prosperous.

    The city was his first stop on a tour of the U.S. and Canada that began on Sunday.

    Kassimis noted that Greeks living abroad appeared keen to keep in contact with Greece and Greek traditions and liked to feel that Greece showed an interest in them.

    "You should be proud of Greece as we are proud of you," he said in his address to the gathering, stressing that Greece had come a long way since the days when their grandparents were emigrating in the hope of finding a better life abroad.

    The following day, the minister was shown around the Agia Triada parish Greek school and briefed on after-school Greek classes available to the Greek community's children, as well as groups learning traditional Greek dances and the annual Greek festival organized by the Greek Orthodox Church in the city.

    [11] KKE delegation in Lisbon communist meeting

    8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga will be heading a delegation at the 8th International Meeting of Communist Parties to be held in Lisbon on November 10-12.

    In the meeting, which will be attended by 70 communist and workers' parties, the "dangers and the possibilities in the present international situation", "imperialist strategy and the energy problem" and "the peoples' struggles and the prospects for socialism", will be debated.

    [12] New Israeli ambassador to Greece presents credentials

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received the credentials of Israel's new ambassador to Greece, Ali Yahya, a distinguished member of Israel's Arab community.

    According to a press release issued by the Israeli embassy in Athens, Yahya, a Muslim described as one of the highest-ranking officials of Arab origin in the State of Israel, was born in Israel in 1947.

    An educator by profession, Yahya served as Israel's ambassador to Finland (1995-1999) and as coordinator of the Israeli foreign ministry's special project divisions for the Middle East and the Mideast Peace Process. He has also served as the head of Israel's liaison office in Qatar and at the country's UN delegation.

    Additionally, the new Israeli envoy previously headed the Ulpan Akiva Institute, a language immersion program focusing on the study of Hebrew and Arabic for visitors and high-ranking officials to the Jewish state, while he has worked as an Arab language and culture instructor at the University of Tel Aviv, Hebrew University, the Israeli Senior Police College, Israel's High Army Academy and the Foreign Ministry Cadet Training Program, according to the embassy.

    Awards include the Knesset Speaker's Prize, the Histradrut (Israeli Labor Union) Prize for Co-existence, the prestigious Israeli Prize and recognition by the US Senate for the “Promotion of Peace through Language and Literature.”

    The new Israeli ambassador is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and English.

    Yahya replaces Amb. Ram Aviram in the post.

    [13] Parliament ratifies bill on creation of Islamic Mosque in Athens

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A Parliament plenum on Tuesday ratified the bill concerning the creation of an Islamic Mosque in Athens. All the sides in Parliament expressed support for the bill in principle, but opposition party deputies criticized individual articles contained in the bill.

    Education and Religion Minister Marietta Yiannakou called on all sides to vote in favor of the bill and not to insist with their reservations so that "another 20 years will not be necessary" for the creation of the mosque, in the district of Eleonas in Athens, ever since the building of a mosque in the Athens suburb of Pallini had been planned.

    [14] FinMin: Fiscal efforts to continue; cites positive Commission report

    BRUSSELS, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the results of the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings here regarding the course of the Greek economy.

    Speaking to reporters after an ECOFIN meeting, the minister said the European Commission's autumn forecasts were particularly positive, as they acknowledged significant growth dynamism for the Greek economy accompanied by a major increase in investments, higher employment and lower un-employment.

    Alogoskoufis noted that the Commission's report also acknowledged a significant fiscal effort made over the last two years, pushing the country's fiscal deficits below 3.0 percent of GDP this year and over the next two years.

    The Greek minister, however, underlined that fiscal efforts were not complete, adding: "we are in the crucial last stage of reducing deficits below 3.0 pct in 2006. This does not mean the end of our fiscal effort as we have a duty under a Stability and Growth Pact to present balanced or slightly surplus budgets as soon as possible."

    "Greece still has major fiscal problems, such as a high public debt, and for this reason it should continue its fiscal restructuring effort, although at a slower pace, to achieve fiscal stabilization," he said.

    He also stressed that efforts should focus on reforms and improving competitiveness.

    [15] Greece could exit excessive deficit procedures in spring, Almunia

    BRUSSELS, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    If European Commission’s latest forecasts for the course of the Greek economy in 2006 were to be confirmed by spring 2007, then the EU’s executive -on the occasion of publishing its spring economic forecasts- would recommend that Greece exits an excessive deficit procedure, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joacqin Almunia said in Brussels.

    Speaking to reporters, after a Eurogroup meeting late on Monday, Almunia said the European Commission was awaiting the verification of Greece’s revised GDP figures by Eurostat before approving the new Greek GDP figures.

    Government on EU Commission's report on Greek economy: Greece still has some distance to travel before it corrects its fiscal problems, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos told reporters on Tuesday, while commenting on the European Commission's autumn forecasts for the economy.

    "No one doubted that the country's deficit had unfortunately reached 7%. With much struggle by Greek citizens, the government managed to correct the problem. The observations of the European Commission regarding the course of the Greek economy show that we are moving in the right direction but we still have a way to go. We are near the end of the road but we have before us one more crucial effort that will yield its results within 2007," he said.

    [16] Greece backs EU-wide rule for working hours

    BRUSSELS, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Greece backs the adoption of a European Union ruling that would set maximum working hours throughout the 25-nation bloc.

    Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis told a meeting of his peers in the Belgian capital that Greece is opposed to exempting states from a ruling on the maximum working week, in agreement with other south European states, as contravention of the European model of social values.

    The United Kingdom and many eastern European countries believe that maximum working time should result as an agreement negotiated between an employer and employee.

    Ministers fail to agree: The EU's employment ministers were unable to agree on the EU's directive for the maximum working week, and opt-out clauses, a move that Tsitouridis welcomed.

    Deflected were efforts by the British-led bloc to define the maximum working week in a way that would fail to ensure the health and safety of workers, the minister noted.

    Opposing opt-out clauses were France, Cyprus, Italy and Spain, who collectively blocked a compromise proposed by the EU's Finnish presidency.

    [17] Northern Greek firms welcome outcome of Bavaria trip

    MUNICH, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA/N Melisova)

    Representatives of northern Greek companies on Tuesday welcomed the outcome of a visit to Munich, Germany to sound out alliances and trade ties in a delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis, who handles economic diplomacy for the government.

    The Greek executives held 124 meetings in Bavaria, Germany's wealthiest state, with German executives in which interest was expressed in areas including solar energy, construction materials, especially aluminium products, and foodstuffs, Stylianidis said.

    The firms should make use of a strong ethnic Greek presence in Bavaria totaling about 60,000 people, he urged.

    Stylianidis also met the managing director of the Aldi supermarket chain, who said the company was interested in investing in Greece and in selling Greek products in its stores.

    He also held talks with Bavaria's deputy premier and interior minister, Gunter Beckstein, and the state's minister for European affairs, Emilia Mueller, with the two sides pledging to encourage investment, boost trade, and exchange know-how in order to increase competitiveness.

    On Monday, the Thessaloniki-based Association of Northern Greek Industry noted that the visit by Stylianidis and the roughly 30 executives accompanying him had special significance for the northern Greek business world.

    "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 addition, the trip was an innovation for Greece in economic diplomacy as the delegation was arranged between regions rather than 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.

    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.

    [18] Tourism minister in talks with Expedia

    LONDON, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Visiting Greek Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Tuesday held top-level talks with Expedia Inc., parent of some of the world's leading travel firms.

    "The reason we would like Expedia to cooperate with Greece is that there are massive opportunities in Greek tourism," David Roche, chairman of Expedia, told reporters.

    The minister reported that the groundwork had been laid for a second meeting with Roche, this time in Athens in 10 days time.

    "Cooperation with Expedia is very constructive for the future of Greek tourism," Petralia noted.

    The meetings were held on the sidelines of the World Travel Market in the UK capital, where the minister inaugurated Greece's pavilion.

    Expedia is the largest online travel agency in the world, the third largest travel company in the US, and the fourth largest travel company in the world.

    [19] Greece takes part in Global Village trade fair

    8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    For the first time, Greece will have a pavilion at the Global Village trade fair, to be held in Dubai on December 13-February 9.

    Meliti LLC, a member of the Melith group, is handling the pavilion.

    About 50 countries are to take part in the annual event.

    [20] Greek banking system to continue rapid growth, report

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The domestic banking system will continue growing rapidly, and at a speedier rate compared with most Euro zone member-states, a report by Eurobank stated on Tuesday.

    The listed bank, in its annual report on the Greek banking system, said mortgage loans would grow by an annual rate of 25 percent this year, exceeding a 9.5-pct growth rate in the Euro zone, and by 22 percent in 2007 --compared with a 10.5-pct forecast in the Euro zone.

    Consumer loans are expected to grow by 20.5 pct this year (4.0 pct in the Euro zone) and by 19.5 pct in 2007 (4.5 pct in the EU-12). Corporate borrowing is projected at 11 pct in 2006 (10 pct in the Euro zone) and by 10 pct in 2007 (9.0 pct in the Euro zone). Growth rates are climbing to 14 pct and 13 pct for 2006 and 2007, respectively, in the issuance of corporate bond loans was included.

    Eurobank's analysts expect the Greek economy to grow by 3.9 pct this year and 3.5 pct in 2007, while stressing that the domestic banking system has significant growth prospects, being the least mature system in the Euro zone with total asset per GDP unit at 158 percent, compared with a 296-pct figure in the Euro zone.

    The report underlined that a heavy consolidation in the banking system was necessary to create strong banking groups capable of competing with international banks and able to play a role in the wider region. The domestic banking system has further growth prospects in credit expansion, since bank loans account for 90 percent of savings deposits, compared with 113 pct in the Euro zone.

    The report stressed that any risks to the banking system could stem from high credit expansion growth rates burdening the quality of loan portfolios, adding that the key was to expand activities.

    [21] Greek cooperative banks reports significantly improved nine-month results

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek cooperative banks reported significantly improved figures in the nine-month period from January to September this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2005.

    Nikos Myrtakis, the president of the Association of Cooperative Banks, presenting the nine-month results said assets totaled 2.474 billion euros (up 22 pct), deposits rose 22 pct to 2.054 billion euros, loans increased 19 percent to 1.836 billion euros, pre-tax profits totaled 34.5 million euros (up 18 pct) and equity capital rose 12 percent to 307.2 million euros.

    Commenting on the figures, Myrtakis said they showed the very good performance of cooperative banks and noted that the banks' members rose to 172,080.

    Panhellenic Bank SA, the central bank of the Association, also reported sharply improved figures in the January-September period, with assets up 53 pct to 664 million euros, loans rising 61 pct to 407 million euros, deposits growing 53 pct to 573 million euros and pre-tax profits up 53 pct to 4.0 million euros.

    The Association of Cooperative Banks and Panhellenic Bank operate a branch network of 165 units around the country.

    [22] Foreign investors' participation in Greek blue chip index rose above 50 pct in October

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign investors raised their participation in the Athens Stock Exchange in October, with their share in the FTSE/ATHEX 20 index rising to 50.74 percent from 48.41 percent in September, surpassing the 50 percent level for the first time ever, official figures showed on Tuesday.

    Foreign investors' participation in the FTSE/ATHEX Small Cap 80 index rose to 16.16 percent in October, from 16.57 pct in September, while participation in the FTSE/ATHEX Mid Cap 40 index eased to 41.25 percent from 48.06 pct over the same period. Both declines reflected changes in the composition of the two indexes in October. Foreign investors raised their participation in the FTSE 140 index to 46.86 pct in October from 46.30 pct in September.

    Foreign investors were positive in their transactions across the board in October, resulting to a total inflow of investment capital of 3.731 billion euros so far this year.

    Turnover in the Athens Stock Exchange totaled 7.142 billion euros in October, up 30 percent from September, while the average daily turnover rose 24 percent to 324.6 million euros from 260.83 million euros over the same periods, respectively.

    The Greek market's capitalization totaled 148.808 billion euros in October, up 5.7 pct from the previous month.

    [23] European stock markets sign new code of conduct to boost transparency and lower costs

    8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    European stock markets, clearing houses and the European Commission on Tuesday signed a Code of Conduct for Clearing & Settlement aimed at improving transparency in stock market transactions.

    The code, signed in Brussels at the presence of EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, is the result of negotiations between the European Commission and FESE (the federation of European stock exchanges), EACH (the association of clearing houses) and ECSDA (the association of depository firms).

    The code covers: 1) price transparency: all trading platforms and clearing & settlement houses are obliged to publish their pricing policy by the end of the year and to cooperate with the European Commission on drafting a price comparability system, 2) access and operation: all trading platforms and clearing & settlement houses will be obliged from June 30, 2007 to facilitate access and the signing of cooperation agreements with other EU organizations, 3) separation of services and accounting: from January 1, 2008 stock markets and clearing houses will have to publish pricing of all services offered, 4) supervision of implementing the code.

    The Code of Conduct for Clearing & Settlement was signed by the largest European stock markets, such as London Stock Exchange, Borsa Italiana, Deutsche Borse, Euronext, OMX, SWX, Virt-X, Euroclear, Iberclear, LCH-Clearnet and Eurex Clearing.

    Spyros Kapralos, the chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange, speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony said: "The Greek stock market with today's signature is fully harmonized with new developments in the European Union. We will follow the course towards restructuring pricing services, lowering costs and boosting transparency for investors and market participants with not discounts in quality and safety of services."

    [24] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Athens share index closed at 4,221.62 points, showing a rise of 0.27%. Turnover was 302.7 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.38% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 0.37% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.04% down.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 130 to 123 with 59 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (1661)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 120.1 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.00 pct

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 4.00 pct yield

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

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.6 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates

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

    U.S. dollar 1.285

    [25] 6th Mobius Digital Creation Competition comes to an end

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The 6th Mobius Digital Creation Competition came to an end on Tuesday with the awards ceremony which took place at the French Institute in Athens. The Mobius Francophony award was given for the first time this year, at the initiative of the French embassy in Greece. The award was received by the special secretary of the Information Society, Vassilis Asimakopoulos, from the director of the French Institute Alain Faure.

    The remaining awards were given as follows:The Mobius "Culture" award went to the project Acropolis of Athens by the Cyberview company. The award was received by Eleftherios Xydas from the president of the Greek Mobius committee, professor Mihalis Meimaris.

    In the "Education" category, the project given an award was the "History and Archaeology of Cyprus: From the Neolithic to the Roman Period", by the Cybertechnics company. The award was received by Iasonas Foukalas and Spyros Anthis from Information secretary general Margarita Papada-Heimona.

    The "Fiction" award was given to the project "Kalamiotou 2" by the Mamai group of the Athens University. The award was received by the students Alekos Douros and Katerina Clark from the president of the Audiovisual Media Institute Rodolfos Moronis.

    In addition, a Special Award and a Special Commendation were given. The Special Mobius Award was given to the Foundation of Greater Hellenism for its overall contribution to digital creation. The award was received by the president of the Foundation, Lazaros Efremoglou from the alternate president of the Athens University's Communication and Mass Media faculty, Stelios Papathanasopoulos.

    The Special Commendation was given to the project "Bees" by Costas Koutsoukos. It was received on behalf of the creator by Mr. Georgakopoulos from the Managing Director of the Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency, Nikolas Voulelis.

    The awards ceremony was attended by the president of Mobius, Ghislaine Azemard.

    The competition was organized by the Laboratory of New Technologies in Communication, Education and the Mass Media of the Athens University's Communication and Mass Media faculty, with professor Mihalis Meimaris in charge, and with the support of the Culture Ministry, the General Communication Secretariat-General Information Secretariat and the Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency.

    [26] Air Force to put on five-day celebration in honor of patron saint

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Greek Air Force is organizing a five-day celebration on 8-12 November in honor of its patron saint, the Archangel Michael, on the theme "The Air Force in World War II".

    The events will begin on Wednesday at 11:00 at the Dekeleia air force base in the presence of the political and military leadership of the national defense ministry.

    The Air Force Museum housed in the 'Leros' hangar on the base will display mementos of World War II, while the surrounding area has been adapted to recreate conditions at that time.

    Also on Wednesday, Air Force planes will fly to remote towns and islands.

    The program of events will include memorial services and the laying of wreaths on the Monument for Fallen Airmen in Georgitsi, Laconia and the islands of Agios Efstratios and Ikaria. Aircraft will be transferred to enrich static exhibitions at air force units, while the Greek Post Offices in Athens and Thessaloniki will stamp all letters with a special ring that will bear the logo "8-12 November Air Force Celebration".

    Lastly, airstrips throughout the country will be open to the public from 9:00 in the morning until 17:00 in the afternoon except on November 8, when they open after 14:30.

    [27] Joint Greek-Turkish exercise on handling natural disasters

    ISTANBUL, 8/11/2006 (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    The first joint Greek-Turkish exercise aimed at handling natural disasters began in Ankara on Monday. A 15-member Greek search and rescue team is participating in the exercise.

    The exercise's scenario calls for the tackling of an earthquake in Ankara, measuring 7.7 points on the Richter scale.

    According to the scenario, following an appeal by the Turkish foreign ministry, the Greek search and rescue team comes to Ankara and cooperates with the corresponding Turkish military's forces responsible for handling natural disasters.

    The decision on the joint exercise had been taken last June during the visit paid to Turkey by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, where she had held talks with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.

    The exercise will last until November 10.

    [28] Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda congratulates new Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda addressed a letter of congratulations to newly-elected Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    "Please accept my sincere congratulations and my warm wishes, may God give you health, a long life and support in your noble mission, for the benefit of the Church of Cyprus and your Orthodox following," the letter wrote.

    [29] Greek engineering students to take part in collegiate Formula design/race competition

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A team of eight students of the Thessaloniki Aristotelion Polytechnic University's Engineering Department, with the assistance of Professor Athanassios Michailidis, are revving their engines for the 2007 International Formula competition of the International Society of Automotive Engineers' (SAE) Collegiate Design Series -- based in the US with divisions in many parts of the world -- which is traditionally held in September.

    The annual event, held every September, is a competition exclusively for university students who conceive, design and fabricate the small formula-style racing cars with which they compete.

    Aristotelion Univ. students Ioanna Aslanidou, Vangelis Bitsanis, Lefteris Kozas. Elias Bosdas, George Simos, Dimitris Perperidis, George Pappas and Elias Nasiopoulos will be competing in the 2007 Formula SAE competition this coming September, and say they are aiming at the top, the "pole position".

    The venture began as an effort by the eight engineering students to do "something more than what is taking place in the School, a practical application of all we are learning in the lecture halls and workshops," Pappas told ANA-MPA, adding that the team has devoted every last second of spare time left over from the heavy itinerary of their demanding School to this time-consuming project.

    The Formula SAE is a series of small single seated car racing competitions for students attending engineering schools or young engineering graduates, which are carried out in various parts of the world, and the Aristotelion students chose to run in the race to take place in Italy.

    The Formula SAE competition is for SAE student members to conceive, design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style racing cars. The restrictions on the car frame and engine are limited so that the knowledge, creativity, and imagination of the students are challenged. The cars are built with a team effort over a period of about one year and are taken to the annual competition for judging and comparison with appro-ximately 120 other vehicles from colleges and universities throughout the world. The end result is a great experience for young engineers in a meaningful engineering project as well as the opportunity of working in a dedicated team effort, according to the organizers.

    The Aristotelion students stressed that the event is a competition, and not simply a race, given that the participants must throughout the entire preliminary process submit documentation on the gradual construction of their car to the organizing committee.

    They explained that there are several stages of assessment, with separate judging procedures for design, cost, construction, and performance in actual racing.

    At the present stage, the preliminary study has been completed and the competing students are in the process of designing all the components of the car, before going on to the production stage.

    A precious tool in the entire effort is the PC, since all the stages before the construction phase are carried out electronically, "in what we call virtual reality," according to Prof. Michailidis.

    In fact, the Aristotelion team's webspage on the university website (www.formula-sae.meng.auth.gr) will be available in the next few days to enable all those interested in the project to follow the students' progress step by step.

    Naturally, such a venture, in addition to zeal, innovative ideas and time, also requires money and, for the time being, funding has been forthcoming from the Engineering Department itself, which has wholeheartedly embraced the team's effort.

    The organizers have placed a ceiling of 25,000 euros on the cost of construction of the car, namely parts, Michailidis explained, adding that the sum quoted does not, however, include the cost of design or other practical expenses such as the team's participation in the Italy event, and consequently sponsors will need to be sought out at a later stage.

    Michailidis said that although the students' goal was the fruition of their venture, the real success, however, in the Engineering Department's view, "is not the construction of a very good car per se, but the fact that we have properly trained young engineers who built that very good car".

    The students themselves stressed the importance of the teamwork involved, explaining that each member of the team was working independently on his/her part of the project, but each part individually was just one of the cogs needed for the "engine" itself to work.

    [30] Cross-border cooperation for protection of brown bear discussed

    8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A meeting in the northwestern prefecture of Florina, with the participation of experts from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and FYROM, will focus on further strengthening cross-border cooperation for the protection of the brown bear in SE Europe.

    The Greek side will be represented by Arcturos, a local NGO concentrating on saving the brown bear and its habitats in Greece.

    Overall, a network of some 20 organizations has been set up in the Balkans to protect the remaining brown bear population through the exchange of know-how and experience, within the framework of Interreg community program.

    It is estimated that a total of 2,700-3,000 brown bears live in the Balkans, although the number drops down between 1,440-1,830 if the brown bear population in Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, FYROM and Bosnia-Herzegovina is not taken into account because of inadequate information.

    Poaching and accidental deaths caused by poison traps used for wolves are the main threats for the brown bear.

    According to available figures, the brown bear population in Albania numbers 250 animals and dropping, while in Bulgaria they are estimated to number more than 750, with the biggest threat being poaching.

    In Greece the population estimated is between 110-130, although the human factor plays a major role in the decline of the population given the fact that an average of 10-12 animals are lost each year. However, the reappearance of the brown bear in certain regions, like Mt. Pieria and Mt. Olympus in the spring of 2004, is optimistic.

    There are no official figures on the brown bear population in FYROM but their number is estimated at between 160-200 animals, while the number of brown bears living in Romania dropped to 6,533 in 1997 from 7,780 in 1989.

    [31] Rare Armenian manuscripts to be loaned to Greece

    ATHENS, 8/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Armenia's prestigious Matenadaran manuscripts archive is to loan rare translations of Greek texts from classical antiquity for the use of Greek scholars, under a deal struck on Tuesday between Greek Parliament vice-president George Sourlas and his visiting Armenian counterpart Vahan Hovanesian.

    According to an announcement issued by Parliament, these will include texts written by the ancient philosopher Plato, for which the original Greek text has been lost.

    [32] Cyprus and Croatia see room to improve bilateral relations

    ZAGREB, 8/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Croatian President Stjepan Mesic said on Tuesday, after official talks in Zagreb with his Cypriot counterpart Tassos Papadopoulos, that they agreed there was plenty of room for the further improvement of bilateral relations, noting that the establishment and expansion of a legal framework for cooperation was a prerequisite in this direction.

    Mesic also said that some EU countries were trying to link Croatia's accession with that of Turkey, and pointed out that this was unnecessary since each country would be judged on its own merits.

    President Papadopoulos assured that Cyprus will always support the European Council decision that each country must be judged by its own performance and that as an EU member, Cyprus will help Croatia in these accession negotiations both with support in the working committees as well as by providing whatever experience it has had in its own accession negotiations.

    Speaking through an interpreter, Mesic said they openly discussed bilateral relations, as well as regional and world problems. He noted that this was the first official visit of a Cypriot president to Croatia, adding that bilateral relations have been developing only in recent years.

    The Croatian president said his Cypriot counterpart invited him to visit Cyprus and that he accepted the invitation, noting that Croatia attaches ''special importance'' to its relations with Cyprus, as a Mediterranean country and a member of the EU.

    ''We agreed that there is plenty of room for the further improvement of bilateral relations. The establishment and expansion of a legal framework for cooperation is certainly a prerequisite for this improvement,'' he added.

    Mesic said he was confident that Tuesday's meeting would ''serve as a motivation for many exchanges of visits as well as of information on all state levels.''

    He noted that the interest of Cypriot companies in making business with Croatia was ''particularly encouraging'' and said ''we mutually welcome the need to activate the potential for cooperation in the tourist sector, ship building, maritime affairs as well as in the building industry, and also to develop cultural and scientific cooperation, as well as cooperation in education.''

    Mesic added that ''there is a great potential for cooperation in the field of joint sea exploration, where Croatia has made some major breakthroughs.''

    The Croatian president said that they also exchanged views on cooperation in the region and the strategic goals of Croatia, as well as international issues such as ''terrorism and crisis spots, where again our views coincide.''

    ''We both confirmed our wish to jointly work on getting other countries closer together and through our closer relations to give our contribution to new relations in Europe,'' he added.

    President Papadopoulos said ''we want this meeting to be the starting point to further increase and develop the relations between Cyprus and Croatia in all fields.''

    He said they discussed regional problems and the strategic policies of Croatia, and that he also explained the Cypriot positions on the EU accession course of both Croatia and Turkey.

    President Papadopoulos assured that Cyprus will continue to support Croatia's EU accession course.

    ''The Republic of Cyprus is already a member of the EU and I have expressed my wish and policy that Cyprus will help Croatia in these accession negotiations both with our support in the working committees as well as by providing whatever experience we have had in our own accession negotiations,'' he added.

    Asked if any EU countries were trying to link Croatia's accession negotiations with those of Turkey, Mesic said there were such countries, which he did not wish to name, but noted that there was no need for such a connection since ''each country has its own way, each country starts its own negotiations and each country fulfills those standards that are valid in the EU.''

    Replying to a question about Cyprus' position on the linking of the accession course of Croatia and Turkey, President Papadopoulos said there were already European Council decisions that each candidate would be ''judged on its own merits and according to its own progress in meeting the benchmarks and the other requirements of the accession negotiations.''

    ''We have supported and will always support the European Council decision which says that each country must be judged by its own performance,'' he assured.

    Mesic said that during their private meeting they discussed bilateral relations and strategic goals, noting that Croatia's strategic goal was to accede to the European Union.

    The Croatian president decorated his Cypriot counterpart with the Grand Order of King Tomislav with Sash and Grand Star for his contribution to and assistance in Croatia's EU accession course.

    President Papadopoulos said Croatia is a friendly country and that bilateral relations are excellent, expressing hope that they could be further improved.

    He said Cyprus strongly supports Croatia's accession to the EU and the Union's enlargement in general, and expressed certainty that under Mesic's guidance the people of Croatia could join the EU.

    President Papadopoulos decorated Mesic with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III.

    Following the decoration ceremony, the two presidents and their delegations held official talks, on the conclusion of which Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Photis Photiou and Croatian Minister of Culture Bozo Biskupic signed a bilateral agreement on cultural cooperation, in the presence of the two presidents.

    On President Papadopoulos' arrival at the Mesic's office, an official red carpet welcoming ceremony was held, with a military band playing the national hymns of the two countries and the inspection of a guard of honor, followed by the introduction of the delegations of the two presidents.

    President Papadopoulos also met Tuesday with the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Vladimir Seks.

    [33] Lillikas: We will judge Turkey based on its EU accession progress

    NICOSIA, 8/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas said that the government of Cyprus will judge Turkey's European course based on the degree of fulfilling the EU obligations it under-took by expressing its wish to become a full EU member state.

    "The Republic of Cyprus will judge Turkey not based on the ideas set out by the Finnish EU Presidency or any other future ideas that may be put on the table, but will judge Turkey based on the degree of fulfilling the EU obligations it undertook", Lillikas told reporters on Tuesday.

    Asked whether Cyprus would continue to block the opening of new EU-Turkey negotiating chapters Lillikas said that "this policy is valid until the conclusion of the discussions for Turkey's assessment", adding that already the opening of three negotiating chapters has been suspended.

    "We will evaluate our policy again after the conclusion of Turkey's assessment", he continued.

    Lillikas noted that until now, Turkey has given no signs as to the fulfillment of its EU obligations. He reminded that the Finnish EU Presidency has invited Cyprus and Turkey for negotiations 5-6 November in Helsinki but the meeting never occurred since Turkey refused to participate.

    Furthermore he said that the EU is focusing now on assessing Turkey's EU bid and not on solving the Cyprus problem.

    "The EU will not deal now with the Cyprus problem, it will assess Turkey's EU course. This is the essence and this should be the essence of all discussions that will follow the issuing of the European Commission's progress report on Turkey", the minister said.

    Commenting on the same issue, Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes said that the government would welcome the fulfillment of the EU obligations by Turkey, so that Ankara averts a negative criticism by the European Commission.

    He added though that "given the so far negative and provocative stance of Turkey, the Republic of Cyprus has no other alternative but to react so that Turkey meets its European obligations".

    "We have the obligation to assert our rights and what we deem as correct. We do not wish to isolate ourselves, but at the same time we can not accept that Turkey continues its accession negotiations despite the fact that it does not fulfill basic obligations", he noted.

    Pashiardes said that Ankara's stance left no room open for the European Commission to avoid a negative criticism in its assessment regarding Turkey's EU progress.

    He added that it is up to the EU-25 to decide on the measures against Turkey, in case Ankara does not fulfill its obligations until the upcoming European Council in December.

    The spokesman said that the government of Cyprus does not object any EU suggestion to provide Turkey with the time needed to meet its EU obligations.

    ''But surely we object any facilitations that would allow Turkey to avoid the fulfillment of its obligations", he concluded.

    Cyprus, an EU member state since May 2004, is divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of its territory.

    Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and refuses to open its ports and airports to Cypriot vessel and aircraft.

    The European Commission's progress report on Turkey will be issued on Wednesday.


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