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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

November 11, 2006


  • [01] Erechtheum fragment returned to Greece
  • [02] Cyprus Parliament urges UK to seek Parthenon Marbles return
  • [03] Roussopoulos on rulings for judges, contract worker salaries
  • [04] President briefed by justice minister
  • [05] Papandreou on social policy at ISTAME
  • [06] PASOK official comments on remarks by Turkish National Defense General Staff chief
  • [07] Deputy FM Kassimis visits Tampa
  • [08] President Papoulias to visit Vathi, Samos
  • [09] Deputy DM Yiannis Lambropoulos pays two-day visit to Ioannina
  • [10] FinMin, public order minister agree over 'hazardous pay' for law enforcement
  • [11] PASOK party spokesman comments on issue of police bonus
  • [12] Tourism minister arriving in Antalya on Saturday for 2nd Greek-Turkish ministerial meeting
  • [13] Black Sea Cooperation moves nearer to EU
  • [14] Kazakhstan oil may reach Greece
  • [15] Gov’t announces 15 pct tax on certain categories of banks' reserves
  • [16] PM meets with Credit Agricole Group chairman
  • [17] Greek, Cyprus farm ministers hold talks
  • [18] Greek representation at US Council on Competitiveness anniversary event
  • [19] KEDKE head on contract worker ruling
  • [20] Interior ministry replies to Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece on contract workers issue
  • [21] Low Internet use in Greek households cited by Eurostat
  • [22] Hellenic Sugar cuts production, turns 2 units into bio-ethanol plants
  • [23] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise
  • [24] Papageorgopoulos on the BALCINET mayors' summit
  • [25] Antiracist protest outside Cyprus consulate in Thessaloniki
  • [26] Change of leadership at Hellenic Canadian Congress
  • [27] International Conference on the History and Culture of Thessaly
  • [28] File on Schinoussa artifacts send to prosecutor's office
  • [29] Turkish embassy car torched in Pangrati
  • [30] Cyprus President received by the Pope
  • [31] Pope expresses regret to Cypriot president for destruction of heritage
  • [32] Cypriot President says EU accession not a la carte
  • [33] Finnish Ambassador: efforts for compromise to continue unabated
  • [34] No discount on EU principles, says Acting President

  • [01] Erechtheum fragment returned to Greece

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

    A fragment of the Erechtheum, or Erechtheion, a small temple on the north side of the Athens Acropolis, has been returned to Greece after more than 100 years and is now on display in the old Acropolis Museum.

    The fragment, a piece of the Ionic temple's elaborately carved architrave (the beam of masonry resting on the columns of Greek temples), was formally handed over to Culture Minister George Voulgarakis on Friday morning by retired gymnastics teacher Birgit Wiger Angner from Sweden, during a ceremony held on the Athens Acropolis.

    Angnar had inherited the fragment in 1972 from her father, who was given it as a gift by his brother, naval officer Henning Lund, following a trip to Athens in 1895.

    Accepting the fragment, Voulgarakis stressed the great symbolic significance of its return and underlined that retrieving even the least fragment of the Parthenon and the other buildings on the Athens Acropolis was valuable for Greece.

    "Mrs Wiger Angner's decision to make this extremely important gesture is linked to the worldwide effort being made for the return of cultural artifacts to their countries of origin. It is chiefly, however, linked with the promotion of the request for the return and reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures (Elgin Marbles)," the minister pointed out.

    Voulgarakis said the small piece of marble comes from one of the 28 segments of the Erechtheum's architrave. Three of these are now held at the British Museum, one is at the Munich sculpture gallery, ten complete segments are on the monument itself and another three have been reconstructed from fragments.

    "Your gesture offers international public opinion one more stimulus to sensitize it to the fate of a unique monument of international cultural heritage, the Parthenon and the surrounding Athens Acropolis," he told Wiger Anger as he presented her with an honorary plaque on behalf of the Greek State, adding that it was also a message to museums abroad to respond to their moral obligation for the cultural cohesion of united Europe.

    Visibly moved, Wiger Angner recounted how she was led to her decision after hearing about the effort for the return of the Parthenon Marbles through a seminar held in Sweden in May 2003 by the Stockholm Mediterranean Museum to mark the foundation of a Swedish committee for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. After contacting the committee and the museum, she eventually handed over the fragment in her possession to the Stockholm Museum in 2005, which made arrangements for its official return to Greece.

    Urging museums that still have sculptured sections of the Parthenon to follow her example, Wiger Angner expressing hope that the British Museum, which is currently in possession of the most significant surviving sections of the Parthenon's sculptured frieze, would do so in the future.

    [02] Cyprus Parliament urges UK to seek Parthenon Marbles return

    NISOCIA, 11/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    In a resolution passed on Friday, the Cyprus House of Representatives urged the U.K. government to put pressure on the British Museum to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    The Cypriot Parliament said it was "joining its voice with those of the Parliaments of other countries and the European Parliament" to demand the sculptures' return and reunification with the scarred monument.

    It also called on all countries, particularly European states, to support Greece's efforts for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, noting that it was a move that could mark the beginning for the return of "other cultural monuments to the states to which they belong".

    [03] Roussopoulos on rulings for judges, contract worker salaries

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

    Commenting on two very different decisions taken by courts concerning salaries for contract workers and the judiciary, respectively, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the first was in accordance with the law and that the second was a "delicate legal issue" that would be examined by the appropriate ministries.

    The spokesman also stressed that the government was following a strict fiscal policy and that a series of pay rises was not among its intentions.

    He was referring to sharply contrasting decisions taken by the Greek Court of Audit, on the one hand, and a special court for settling issues relating to salaries for the judiciary, on the other hand, which received a lot of negative publicity.

    In the first decision, the court ruled that temporary public-sector staff that had failed to qualify for permanent positions under government measures passed two years earlier could not now apply for permanent jobs and should be taken off the payroll, while the second accepted a judge's suit seeking a pay increase of over 250,000 euros in the past five years.

    Roussopoulos noted that, in the first case, the law had from the start foreseen the number of contract renewals required to qualify for a permanent position, while those taking the jobs had known that they were signing a contract for a specific, limited period. He stressed that the government had taken an "honest approach" to contract workers that had not been taken by its predecessor.

    With respect to the salary court ruling, he said the government respected justice and did not comment on court decisions but cited a statement made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in a discussion on revising the Constitution, who said that incomes policy could not be determined by court decisions.

    "Money is hard to come by and an effort is being made by the government and by Greek citizens to deal with the problems of the economy," he stressed.

    Asked whether the salary court's decision would be carried out, he said that this would be examined by the ministries involved, while he also underlined that the government had no intention of increasing the salaries of MPs.

    In its preliminary ruling on Wednesday, a special court for issues concerning judicial salaries accepted a suit filed by Administrative Courts appeals judge Georgia Pavlopoulou, who sought a salary increase of 250,240.87 euros for the years 2000-2005 and compensation of 5,000 euros for failure to increase her salary over that time.

    Justifying its decision, the court found that the salaries of higher court presidents in Greece (Supreme Court, Council of State and Audit Council) had to be equivalent with the salary earned by the president of the Telecommunications Com-mission, citing relevant articles in the Greek Constitution which stipulate that the income of judges must be clearly distinguished and higher than those of functionaries or employees in the other two branches of government, "without exception or deviation".

    The case was referred to an Athens Administrative First-Instance Court, which has the task of deciding the amount of Pavlopoulou's salary increase.

    [04] President briefed by justice minister

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

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday met with Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras, days after a special tribunal responsible for setting judicial officials' remuneration ruled in favor of hefty pay hikes for judges, prosecutors and the heads of independent regulatory agencies.

    The decision, following mostly negative comments by practically the entire political spectrum, was also discussed during the meeting, as Papaligouras said any future solution lies in constitutional revision.

    "The government will deal with the issue as it should, with an institutional initiative within the framework of constitutional revision," he said after the meeting with the president.

    Other issues within the minister's portfolio were discussed.

    [05] Papandreou on social policy at ISTAME

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

    PASOK's policy for welfare wanted to enable recipients to actively participate in society and not just subsist on benefits on its margins, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou told a meeting organized by the Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME) - Andreas Papandreou on Friday.

    The working meeting on the theme "New challenges for social policy - assessing the international experience" was organized by ISTAME in collaboration with PASOK's social issues sector. Participants included personalities from Sweden.

    According to Papandreou, both PASOK and Socialist International (of which he is currently president) are trying to evaluate the best practices in social policy through an exchange of experiences, so as to "make use of the great wealth of knowledge and experience that exists in the global progressive community".

    He also noted that, despite continuing weaknesses in its structures, Greek investment in social policy had made significant strides in recent years.

    "We want to have an answer to the easy logic that calls for a reduction in taxes but which essentially reduces the state's power to play an important role in social policy. We have a proposal regarding tax policy that looks more toward the developmental aspect and the ability to help even private companies to invest in employment and development," Papandreou said.

    He stressed that PASOK wanted to look at welfare not only through the prism of social solidarity but also in relation to sustainable development.

    PASOK's leader finally announced plans for the creation of a "committee of personalities, on a global level, for our proposal as a socialist, social-democrat, and labor family regarding a viable society".

    He closed his address by suggesting a series of areas where experiences in social policy might be exchanged.

    [06] PASOK official comments on remarks by Turkish National Defense General Staff chief

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

    Main opposition PASOK party foreign policy sector chief, Christos Papoutsis, commented on Friday on remarks made on Greek-Turkish relations by Turkish National Defense General Staff chief Yasar Buyukanit, saying that "every initiative for the easing of tension is welcome."

    Papoutsis added that provided that "it is part of a steadfast decision by the Turkish political leadership on the final abandoning of disputing our sovereign rights and, of course, the lifting of casus belli."

    According to an ANA-MPA dispatch from Ankara, Buyukanit had said, referring to contacts in Athens last week, "our goal is to isolate the climate of tension."

    Also commenting on the climate prevailing during his contacts in Athens, the Turkish general said "the interest of the Greek people was very strong. The reaction of the people in the street was very positive and this pleased me in particular."

    Buyukanit said that confidence building measures were discussed during his contacts and that "we shall be talking once again next week, during the meeting of NATO's Military Committee in Brussels."

    Lastly, the Turkish general said "we shall try and, if we do not succeed, we shall remain at the present spot. We shall not go further back."

    [07] Deputy FM Kassimis visits Tampa

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

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis visited Tampa, Florida, on Thursday within the framework of his United States’ tour and met with representatives of the 160,000-member strong Greek American community in this southern state.

    Kassimis stated that among the priorities of the Greek State is to boost the teaching of the Greek language and announced that a new teaching program will be offered next March on the internet. He also added that a joint effort will be made aimed at increasing the number of young Greek Americans who will be hosted in Greece by the Greeks Abroad General Secretariat.

    The deputy foreign minister met with University of South Florida representatives and afterwards, visited Tarpon Springs where he had contacts with Greek American community representatives.

    Kassimis departed on Friday for Chicago, the next stop on his tour of the United States.

    [08] President Papoulias to visit Vathi, Samos

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

    Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias will visit Vathi on the Aegean island of Samos on Sunday to attend events commemorating the 94th anniversary of the island’s union with Greece.

    President Papoulias met on Friday with visiting Cypriot Agriculture Minister Fotios Fotiou. The Cypriot minister referred to the cooperation agreements signed with the Greek Agricultural Development and Food Minister and to the meeting he had with Deputy Environment Minister Stavros Kalogiannis.

    [09] Deputy DM Yiannis Lambropoulos pays two-day visit to Ioannina

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

    Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Lambropoulos had the opportunity of watching a tactical unit exercise on eradicating an asymmetrical threat in the region supervised by the 8th infantry division in the framework of his two-day visit to Ioannina, northern Greece, that was concluded on Friday.

    Lambropoulos was accompanied by Army General Staff chief Dimitrios Grapsas.

    The exercise was part of the framework of reserves' training and 2,500 recruits took part in it.

    Lambropoulos expressed his absolute satisfaction over the high level of training and operational readiness of armed forces cadres and reserves, saying that "the sense of duty to the motherland and its history, as well as the morale characterizing them, constitute a model for the young people of our country."

    [10] FinMin, public order minister agree over 'hazardous pay' for law enforcement

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

    The government on Friday announced that that it will fix a special "hazardous pay" bonus to eligible law enforcement personnel, firefighters and military officers at 8 percent of the salary of a second lieutenant in the army, beginning in 2008.

    The announcement came after a closely watched meeting here between Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, given that the latter publicly and vociferously championed the increased remuneration package over the past week.

    The compromise also came amid speculation over Polydoras' intentions in case the bonus was not allocated, mostly to eligible police officers.

    "With today's decision the government's promise to reverse an injustice against civil servants is implemented ... Other demands were also considered in a positive spirit, some of which were accepted, others, due to fiscal restrictions, were not," Alogoskoufis said told reporters.

    On his part, Polydoras said a demand dating back 15 years has been met by the government, while thanking the FinMin for the cooperation the two ministries enjoyed -- a statement aimed to defuse heightened speculation in the press of late claiming acrimonious exchanges between the two ministries and even guesswork that the public order minister would tender his resignation.

    "I want to state that throughout these past few days and even months, as I considered the meaning of this resolute promotion of the ministry's requests, I was in no way isolated from the (government's) economic policy and from a social conscience ... I referred to outstanding issues that, if judged within a cost-benefit analysis, had to be met: minimum cost, maximum social and administrative benefit," he said.

    Until 2008, the bonus will be paid out in four installments, which Alogoskoufis said now averages to about 28 euros a month.

    [11] PASOK party spokesman comments on issue of police bonus

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

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis, commenting on Friday on the issue of a bonus being given to police, said "we saw unbelievable scenes of ministerial trade unionism and ultimately, as it was proved, of a so-called dispute, turning today into the exchange of public congratulations on both sides and ultimately the substantive denial of the expectations of the police from the commitments of (ruling) New Democracy, when it was in the opposition, the government and the prime minister personally."

    Athanasakis said that the prime minister "is merely watching, without taking part, his ministers trying to deceive each other and all of them together trying to deceive the Greek people."

    [12] Tourism minister arriving in Antalya on Saturday for 2nd Greek-Turkish ministerial meeting

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

    Tourist Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia will arrive in Antalya, Turkey, on Saturday to attend the 2nd Greek-Turkish ministerial meeting aimed at developing cooperation between the two countries in the sector of tourism. The minister will also attend the 7th Greek-Turkish business forum.

    Petralia is being accompanied in Antalya by the ministry's general secretary Maria Yanniri, Greek Tourist Organization (EOT) secretary general Athanasios Economou, businessmen and representatives of tourist agencies.

    On August 17, the tourist development minister had met with Turkish Tourism Minister Attila Koc in Mytilene and afterwards they visited Ayvalik. She had said at the time that their meeting was the starting point for closer cooperation between the two countries through tourism and that the increase in the tourist wave from one to the other side of the Aegean would have multiple benefits for both peoples.

    [13] Black Sea Cooperation moves nearer to EU

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

    The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) has established closer links with the European Union due to moves by its rotating Greek presidency, Deputy Foreign Minister Euripidis Stylianidis said on Friday.

    "BSEC's Greek presidency was dynamic, with its main aim being closer ties with the EU. Due to the presidency's moves, the climate changed in the EU, which has now taken a positive view of institutional rapprochement with Black Sea countries on a par with the Euro-Mediterranean area," Stylianidis said.

    He was introducing the first annual lecture at the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), which was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organization to provide independent research and training. The Athens-based centre is affiliated to BSEC, also serving as its think-tank.

    Addressing the ICBSS, Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, secretary general of BSEC PERMIS, noted the need for statutory reform of the organization to improve operations.

    Istanbul-based BSEC began operations in 1999, launched by eleven countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. With the entry of Serbia and Montenegro in April 2004, the organization’s member states increased to twelve.

    [14] Kazakhstan oil may reach Greece

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

    Oil from Kazakhstan as well as Russia may reach Greece through a pipeline due to be built by Athens, Moscow and Sofia.

    "Politically, the way is open on the part of Kazakhstan and Russia for an inflow of Kazakh oil in the planned Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline," the Asian republic's ambassador in Athens, Almas Hamzayev, told the ANA-MPA.

    The issue had been raised during a visit to Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, by Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis in July.

    "Since then, consultations have been held with Russia, and, politically, the green light has been given for Kazakh oil to flow in the pipeline that will mainly be fed from Russia," Hamzayev reported.

    At the same time, a decision has yet to be taken on percentages, he said.

    So far, Russia is seeking 51% with Greece and Bulgaria sharing the remaining 49%.

    "There is a new dynamic in (Kazakh) relations between Greece and my country, which is part of Eurasia and a major oil producer," noted the ambassador, who is also accredited in Rome.

    [15] Gov’t announces 15 pct tax on certain categories of banks' reserves

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

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Friday tabled to Parliament a draft bill on taxing banks' reserve capital by up to 15 percent.

    The draft legislation envisages the imposition of a 15 percent tax on reverses resulting from non-taxed earnings and a 15 percent tax on reverses resulting from specially-taxed income

    The draft bill excludes tax-exempt reserves resulting from stock share value under a corporate transformation, or revaluation of fixed assets' value.

    The Economy ministry expects the measure would add around 200 million euros to the state budget annually.

    [16] PM meets with Credit Agricole Group chairman

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

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Friday with the visiting chairman of the Paris-based Credit Agricole Group, Rene Carron, for talks that were also attended by national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis.

    During the meeting, the French banking group's plans for the development and expansion of the Athens-based Emporiki Bank, were discussed, as well as plans for strengthening its competitiveness.

    Credit Agricole acquired a 71.97 percent controlling majority stake in Athens-quoted Emporiki Bank of Greece S.A. in August.

    [17] Greek, Cyprus farm ministers hold talks

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

    Greece and Cyprus on Friday signed a programmatic agreement for the farm sector covering the 2006-2008 period, following talks here between Agriculture Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos and his Cypriot counterpart Fotis Fotiou.

    Bilateral issues and better coordination within the EU’s relevant work groups was also discussed.

    [18] Greek representation at US Council on Competitiveness anniversary event

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

    Greece's special secretary for competitiveness, Spyros Efstathopoulos, and INSEAD professor and member of the National Competition and Development Council's committee of experts Spyros Makrydakis, will be representing development minister Dimitris Sioufas at an event marking the 20th anniversary of the US Council on Competitiveness in Washington next week.

    Sioufas was invited to the Nov. 13-14 anniversary event by Council on Competitiveness president Deborah Wince-Smith. The theme of the two-day event will be "Imagination, Vision, Innovation, Influence".

    The visit is taking place in the context of the collaboration between the US and Greek competition councils, which was initiated during Wince-Smith's visit to Athens in return of a visit by the development minister to Washington.

    [19] KEDKE head on contract worker ruling

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

    Commenting on a Court of Audit ruling that barred large numbers of temporary contract workers from converting their public-sector jobs to permanent positions, Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE) president Paris Koukoulopoulos on Friday said that the decision "indirectly but clearly left the government exposed".

    "Presidential Decree 164/2004 vindicated a small number of contract workers and this is the real problem. The contract workers were never 250,000 and those that must be vindicated are not just 25,000. The only solution is to expand the criteria of [the presidential decree] and this must happen directly and swiftly. KEDKE is undertaking an initiative in precisely this direction," an announcement read.

    The Court of Audit found that contract workers who did not qualify for permanent positions under the terms of the presidential decree could not now apply to have their positions made permanent and that they should be taken off the payroll.

    [20] Interior ministry replies to Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece on contract workers issue

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

    The interior, public administration and decentralization ministry replied on Friday to an announcement made earlier in the day, on the issue of contract workers, by the President of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), asking him what his position had been on the issue in 2003.

    "What had been the position and which initiative KEDKE President Paris Koukoulopoulos had taken on the issue of contract workers in 2003 when, with the presidential decree of Reppas-Skandalidis, not even one contract had been changed into one of an indefinite duration."

    The ministry further said that "with an announcement today and when, in accordance with the announcement by the Staff Selection Council (ASEP), the contracts of 32,924 contract workers have been turned into an indefinite duration, the President of KEDKE Mr. Koukoulopoulos believes that 'presidential decree 164/2004 vindicated a small number of contract workers and that this is the real problem' and announces that 'KEDKE is taking an initiative in precisely this direction.'"

    The ministry also queried which initiative, corresponding to the one announced on Friday, had Koukoulopoulos taken at the time to handle the problem in the direction of amending presidential decree 81/2003.

    [21] Low Internet use in Greek households cited by Eurostat

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

    Greece recorded a negative first-place showing in terms of percentage of EU households with internet access in the first quarter of 2006, posting a 23-percent figure, whereas the Netherlands (80%), Denmark (79%), Sweden (77%) and Luxembourg (70%) were on the opposite end of the spectrum, according to Eurostat here on Friday.

    Slovakia (27%), Hungary (32%), Lithuania and Portugal (both 35%) were just ahead of Greece on the bottom end of the survey.

    More disheartening was the fact that only 4 percent of households in Greece had a broadband connection, with the second lowest figure, Slovakia at 11 percent, more than double the Greek average.

    The EU executive’s statistical office said 52 percent of households had access to the internet during the first quarter of 2006, compared to 48% during the first quarter of 2005, and 32% had a broadband connection, compared to 23% in 2005.

    At the beginning of 2006, 94% of enterprises with at least 10 persons employed had access to the internet (91% at the beginning of 2005), and 75% of enterprises had a broadband connection (63% in 2005). In the first quarter of 2006, 47% of individuals1 in the EU25 used the internet regularly.

    In the first quarter of 2006, the highest proportions of households with internet access were recorded in the Netherlands (80%), Denmark (79%), Sweden (77%) and Luxembourg (70%). The lowest levels were registered in Greece (23%), Slovakia (27%), Hungary (32%), Lithuania and Portugal (both 35%).

    At the beginning of 2006, the highest proportions of enterprises with internet access were recorded in Finland (99%), Denmark and Austria (both 98%) and the Netherlands (97%). Only in Latvia (80%), Cyprus (86%), Lithuania (88%) and Poland (89%) were fewer than 90% of enterprises connected to the internet.

    Broadband offers a much faster connection to the internet, and offers the potential of changing the way the internet is used. The proportion of households with a broadband connection in 2006 was highest in the Netherlands (66%), Denmark (63%), Finland (53%) and Sweden (51%), and lowest in Greece (4%), Slovakia (11%), Cyprus (12%) and Ireland (13%). Amongst enterprises the highest levels of broadband connections were recorded in Sweden and Finland (both 89%), Spain (87%) and France (86%), and the lowest in Poland (46%), Cyprus (55%), Lithuania (57%) and Latvia (59%).

    In the first quarter of 2006, the highest proportions of individuals regularly using the internet were recorded in Sweden (80%), Denmark (78%), the Netherlands (76%) and Finland (71%), and the lowest in Greece (23%), Cyprus (29%), Italy and Portugal (both 31%).

    At EU25 level a higher proportion of men than women used the internet regularly (51% of men compared with 43% of women), and this was true for all Member States, although in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland the gap was only one or two percentage points. In Luxembourg the gap was 21 percentage points (men 76%, women 55%).

    While nearly three quarters of individuals in the EU25 aged 16 to 24 (73%), and more than half of those aged 25 to 54 (54%), used the internet regularly, only a fifth of those aged 55 to 74 (20%) did so. While the gap in regular use between Member States ranged from one to two for 16-24 year olds (47% in Greece to 96% in the Netherlands) and one to three for 25-54 year olds (27% in Greece to 89% in Sweden), it reached one to fourteen for 55-74 year olds (4% in Greece to 56% in Denmark and Sweden).

    The entire Eurostat news release can be found at the website:

    [22] Hellenic Sugar cuts production, turns 2 units into bio-ethanol plants

    11/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Hellenic Sugar Industry's shareholders on Friday agreed on a plan to withdraw 50.1 pct of the country's sugar production quota (around 157,000 tons) and to transform its two plants in Larissa and Xanthi into bio-ethanol production units.

    Hellenic Sugar Industry chairman Thanassis Kaissis did not exclude a possibility of turning a third plant (probably the one based in Plati, Imathia prefecture) into a bio-ethanol unit as well, while he reiterated that no units would be closed unless the change-over plan is be tested before.

    Nikolaos Kezos, representing state-run ATEBank (the main shareholders), said all five plants would end up closing in 2007 unless measures were taken, while he stressed that Hellenic Sugar Industry would continue its autonomous course, although he did not exclude the entry of a strategic partner into the bio-ethanol production at a later stage.

    Hellenic Sugar will complete the withdrawal of its production quota (valued at 86 million euros) in two trenches, July 2008 and March 2009. The Greek government will receive 78 million euros via restructuring supports, to be offered to sugar beet producers.

    Furthermore, a report by the German firm IPRO said the two transformed units could operate with pre-tax profits of 22.95 million euros in the period 2008-09 and 35.23 million euros in the period 2009-10, with a capacity of around 200,000 cubic metres and 300,000 cubic meters of bio-ethanol over the two periods, respectively.

    Kaissis said the transformation costs would total 180 million euros.

    Hellenic Sugar Industry's shareholders approved a share capital increase plan worth 4,471,117 euros through a two-for-10 share issue to shareholders.

    [23] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise

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

    The Athens share index closed at 4,260.72 points, showing a rise of 1.08%. Turnover was 593.9 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.08% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 0.59% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.10% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 158 to 90 with 63 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): ELTEH (1263)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 138.1 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 3.98 pct

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 3.98 pct yield

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2016 (865 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.3 bln euros

    [24] Papageorgopoulos on the BALCINET mayors' summit

    11/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Thessaloniki mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos on Friday referred to the conclusions of the 6th Balkan Cities Network, BALCINET, Mayors Summit held in Ankara, Turkey and particularly to the network’s decision to launch cooperation with the Association of SE European News Agencies (ABNA).

    Papageorgopoulos stated that the BALCINET cooperation with ABNA was decided after a proposal by Macedonian Press Agency general director Spyros Kouzinopoulos which was met with the approval of all major Balkan city mayors.

    He also referred to the cooperation with ANA-MPA and the publication of a trimonthly e-news bulletin received by all Balkan countries.

    [25] Antiracist protest outside Cyprus consulate in Thessaloniki

    11/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Greek division of the Youth Against Racism in Europe organization held a protest outside the Cyprus consulate in Thessaloniki on Friday calling for an end to the deportations of Kurdish refugees from Cyprus.

    The demand concerns Syrian nationals of Kurdish origin who demonstrated last May in Cyprus asking for political asylum.

    The international division of the organization is holding similar protests in 30 European cities.

    [26] Change of leadership at Hellenic Canadian Congress

    11/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The new president of the Hellenic Canadian Congress, a Greek Canadian community organization, is notary public and honorary ambassador of Oman Dimitris Manolakos. according to the election results held in Ottawa, Canada.

    The new board of directors is made up of Vaso Vahla (vice-president), Antonis Antoniadis (secretary and managing vice-president), Dimitris Koufogiorgas (treasurer and managing vice-president), Jerry Sklavounos (public relations), Sotiris Antipas (social and financial affairs), Seta Pappas (women’s issues), Irene Panagopoulou (youth issues), Theodoros Halatsis (vice-president for Quebec), Chris Geronikolos (vice-president for Ontario), George Bonnis (vice-president for British Columbia).

    Manolakos stated after his election that the lobby’s operation in Ottawa will be redefined as the 250,000-member strong Greek Canadian community can influence the decision making centers.

    [27] International Conference on the History and Culture of Thessaly

    11/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The three-day 1st International Conference on the History and Culture of Thessaly, organized by the Region of Thessaly under the auspices of the Culture Ministry, opened in Larisa on November 9 with the participation of many Greek and foreign scientists.

    The conference objective is to present an assessment of the historical and cultural wealth of Thessaly and project the elements that endured through the ages marking the main activities that defined and continue to define the region’s history and culture.

    Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos stated within the framework of the conference that the culture sector will receive the record sum of 820 million euros in the period between 2007 and 2013.

    [28] File on Schinoussa artifacts send to prosecutor's office

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

    Police on Friday conveyed a voluminous case file to the prosecutor's office over a large cache of unregistered antiquities discovered in a luxury villa on the tiny Cyclades isle of Schinoussa last April, as the latter is now responsible for pressing any charges in the matter.

    Authorities were able to question the apparent owner, Despina Papadimitriou, of the holiday home and another upscale residence in Athens where other artifacts were found, only last week. Additionally, her two adult children, Alexandros and Aggeliki, were questioned on Wednesday.

    All three reportedly denied any involvement in antiquity smuggling or illegal excavations, claiming the artifacts were left as an inheritance by Papadimitriou's late brother, shipowner Christos Mihailidis, who died in Italy in 1999. Papadimitriou's third child, Dimitris, has not been questioned, as he lives permanently in London and cites health reasons preventing him from coming to Greece, according to reports.

    Authorities in Athens, meanwhile, said the case has not closed, with investigations continuing around the world to locate and return antiquities.

    All of the artifacts have been boxed and transferred to the National Archaeological Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum, both in Athens.

    Between them, the museums received some 27 ancient artifacts and a total of 15 boxes, including the headless marble torso of a statue of Aphrodite that archaeologists hope is a Roman-era copy of a famous statue by ancient sculptor Praxiteles.

    [29] Turkish embassy car torched in Pangrati

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

    A Turkish embassy car was torched early Friday as it was parked on a street in the Pangrati residential district of Athens, police said.

    The fire caused minor material damage to the car.

    [30] Cyprus President received by the Pope

    CITY OF VATICAN, 11/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Pope Benedict XVI granted an audience to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos at the Vatican City on Friday.

    Initially the two had a private conversation and were subsequently joined by their respective delegations.

    Papadopoulos offered the Pope a 19th century icon named "Mother of God", whose value lies in the fact that Christ is depicted standing next to Virgin Mary.

    The president also offered the Pope a photo album about the destruction of Cyprus' cultural heritage in the northern Turkish occupied areas of the island.

    The photos depict Greek Orthodox churches that have been pillaged or destroyed following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and destroyed Maronite or Catholic churches.

    The president briefed the Pope about the current situation in occupied Cyprus with regard to the country's cultural heritage.

    Pope Benedict VXI offered Papadopoulos the Coins of the Pontificate.

    President Papadopoulos returns home on Saturday.

    [31] Pope expresses regret to Cypriot president for destruction of heritage

    NISOCIA, 11/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    President Papadopoulos said that Pope Benedict XVI expressed great sorrow over the destruction of the church heritage in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    He said the Pope felt great sorrow when he was told of the destruction.

    ''He was surprised. He felt great sorrow, which he expressed to me in private and when he was looking at the series of photographs I had given him. He assured that one of his main aims was to promote as much as he could freedom of religion and the right of citizens to follow any religion they want anywhere they want, with respect to church and religious monuments. This was clear,'' President Papadopoulos said in remarks on Friday evening.

    Asked if he had invited the Pontiff to visit Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said he had, adding that Pope Benedict XVI had said he intended to visit the Holy Lands when the circum-stances allow for such a visit, without saying when that would be.

    ''I told him we would consider it a great honor if on his way to the Holy Lands he visited Cyprus. He said this was a very interesting proposal and he would have it in mind,'' President Papadopoulos said.

    [32] Cypriot President says EU accession not a la carte

    ROME, 11/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos pointed out on Friday evening that joining the European Union was not a menu one chooses a la carte so, if Turkey really wanted to accede to the EU, it must comply with the acquis communautaire or not join at all.

    Speaking at a press conference in Rome, President Papadopoulos said ''we have supported the application of Turkey to the EU on one important consideration, that Turkey, like every other applicant state, should comply with the acquis communautaire and the obligations it has towards the EU and the Republic of Cyprus.''

    ''Every country has to comply and convince both the Commission and the Council of its compliance with the principles on which the EU has been founded and to give clear proof that these rights will be upheld and respected,'' the president noted.

    He said he did ''not think any country wants the termination of the negotiating process of Turkey and neither do we.''

    ''We have proven our support to Turkey's orientation towards the EU by not objecting to Turkey becoming a candidate and in not objecting to Turkey commencing negotiations,'' he added.

    President Papadopoulos pointed out that ''if Turkey fails to comply, the whole negotiating process will suffer.''

    ''We are in continuous contact with the member states as to how far we can go without disrupting the accession process but at the same time being very careful not to give the message that negotiations continue although Turkey defies its obligations,'' he noted.

    President Papadopoulos said ''joining the EU is not a menu you choose a la carte'' and explained that ''the moment you submit an application you subscribe to what is called a negotiating framework and you say that you comply with any decision taken by the EU before your own accession, that is part of the acquis communautaire.''

    ''So, if Turkey really wants to accede to the EU, it must comply. It is either that or it does not join,'' President Papadopoulos said.

    Speaking to Cypriot journalists, he said that from the contacts the government has had with various countries, ''we see a common belief that Turkey cannot ignore its obligations or not respect them and continue its accession negotiations unbothered.''

    ''This is certain. Now the sanctions that can be imposed and which the EU or all the countries will want to impose vary from country to country depending on the special interests of each country, the special ties, the general policy and of course we are not in a position to impose our position,'' he added.

    [33] Finnish Ambassador: efforts for compromise to continue unabated

    NISOCIA, 11/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The European Union Finnish presidency intends to exhaust all possible avenues in order to achieve a compromise on ideas it has floated among the three interested parties, with regard to Cyprus and Turkey, hopefully before the upcoming EU summit in mid December.

    In an interview with CNA, the Finnish Ambassador to Cyprus Risto Pipponen has indicated that something in writing could be presented to the parties, if a compromise is on the cards.

    He stressed however that progress towards a compromise deal depends on the parties involved - the government of Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot community and Turkey - and not on the presidency, and the parties are to take the responsibility of any possible failure.

    Ambassador Ripponen also believes that progress on one part of the Finnish proposals, which he described as "realistic", relating to direct trade between Cyprus' northern Turkish occupied areas and the EU would help progress on the other (Turkey's obligations under an EU protocol affecting Cyprus too) , noting at the same time that these two parts are clearly separate issues.

    He said that consultations have been going on for quite some time now and continue with all the parties and a set of ideas has been presented orally to them.

    "These ideas have two separate parts, one to continue implementation of the conclusions of the Council of April 26, 2004, called trade between the northern part of Cyprus and the EU and the second relates to Turkey's obligations under the additional protocol of the Ankara Agreement," he explained.

    Noting that these are "clearly separate issues", he pointed out that "if we can make progress on one, that would help make progress on the other one, we would rather talk about two parallel processes."

    The objective is to find a compromise as soon as possible, he added.

    [34] No discount on EU principles, says Acting President

    NISOCIA, 11/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus supports Turkey's European accession course but it is not prepared to accept any discount on European principles, for the sake of avoiding "a train crash" between Ankara and Brussels, Acting President and House President Demetris Christofias said here Friday.

    "As long as Turkey does not recognize Cyprus, an EU member, and as long as it does not open its ports and airports to our ships and aircraft and normalize relations with us, it cannot expect to have a smooth course towards membership," he said addressing a seminar of the association of former parliamentarians in Europe, on "Europe, the Mediterranean and the fight against international terrorism".

    He pointed out that Turkey's compliance with its EU obligations is a matter that concerns first and foremost Brussels and it is not linked in any way with the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, which is a direct result of the continuing Turkish occupation of the island's northern part.

    "Remarks by the Turkish leadership prove that its ultimate goal is to score political gains for the Turkish Cypriot regime and not to help the Turkish Cypriots develop economically," he added.

    He condemned terrorism as a means to settle any dispute, saying that state terrorism against people, under the guise of legality for the sake of security, is equally unacceptable.

    Christofias said that political, economic and social injustice and inequality must be dealt with and poverty, hunger and unemployment must be uprooted if there is a will to fight effectively terrorism.

    "Cyprus maintains very good relations with the countries of the Middle East and as such it can contribute towards a dialogue between them and the EU and the international community," he pointed out.

    Nuala Fennell, president of the European Association of former parliamentarians said that everybody knows the face of terrorism and stressed that no country can fight this battle alone.

    "Today's seminar reflects the decisiveness of the peace loving people to work very hard to solve this very complex and serious problem," she said.

    Alexis Galanos, former House President and president of the Cyprus Association of former parliamentarians said that it was imperative to demand implementation of democratic values, such as one man one vote.

    "We have a duty to respect each other, tolerate each other to allow democracy to be expressed in the freedom of the people," he concluded.

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