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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-11-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

November 17, 2006


  • [01] Athens replies to Gul's 'blackmail' statements
  • [02] No need for early elections, reforms to continue, PM Karamanlis tells Reuters
  • [03] Foreign ministry regarding U.S. position on minorities, U.S.-Greek relations
  • [04] PM confers with interior minister
  • [05] Bakoyannis to accompany PM on trip to London, visits Russia
  • [06] Gov't on issue involving sub, tank contracts
  • [07] Deputy FM Kassimis visits New York
  • [08] Deputy FM Kassimis to visit Toronto and Montreal on November 19-23
  • [09] Greek, Turkish National Defense General Staff chiefs meet on sidelines of NATO Military Committee session
  • [10] NATO electronic means warfare exercise completed with success
  • [11] Parliament budget ratified unanimously
  • [12] Education minister briefs Parliament on violence in schools
  • [13] President Karolos Papoulias comments in message on Polytechnic uprising
  • [14] Message marking 88th anniversary of KKE's founding
  • [15] Greek inflation unchanged at 3.1 pct in October, Eurostat
  • [16] Sioufas addresses Organic Products and Services exhibition
  • [17] Development minister inaugurates PPC's new Plant 5 at Lavrio
  • [18] PASOK criticizes government on Barroso's letter of reply on 3rd CSF
  • [19] Fiscal budget target feasible, bank says
  • [20] OTE sells Armenian operator
  • [21] Port of Piraeus tenders container terminal
  • [22] "Cyprus Airways" links Thessaloniki with Paris
  • [23] Greece, Serbia business council to meet
  • [24] 'Philoxenia Tourism Awards' presented in Thessaloniki
  • [25] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise
  • [26] Cases of HIV increase in Greece
  • [27] PM Karamanlis inaugurates painting exhibition by Yiannis Moralis
  • [28] 47th Thessaloniki Film Festival beginning on Friday night
  • [29] Spokesman: Talat's statements leave no prospects for Finnish efforts to succeed
  • [30] Eurocontrol concerned about illegal airport in occupied Cyprus

  • [01] Athens replies to Gul's 'blackmail' statements

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Turkey has undertaken specific commitments and contractual obligations which it will have to meet to the fullest extent in order to continue its European course, stressed alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Thursday.

    The comment was made in response to statements about alleged “European blackmail” made by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Wednesday.

    “Turkey will not give in to European blackmail on Cyprus and will not proceed with customs union for as long as the international isolation of northern Cyprus continues”, Gul had said during his visit to the Turkish-occupied sections of Nicosia to attend events for the 23rd anniversary since the creation of the Turkish-Cypriot pseudo-state, which is recognized only by Ankara.

    The Greek foreign ministry, meanwhile, dismissed Gul's statements and stressed that the EU did not blackmail candidate-countries but had clear terms and policies regarding enlargement that were based on a specific rationale.

    The conditions set for candidate-countries had to be satisfied, he added.

    Asked what the Greek side hoped would be achieved during an upcoming visit by Gul on December 7-8, the spokesman said that it was too soon to give a specific answer but that Athens was expecting to make decisions that will further enrich existing Confidence-Building Measures.

    Regarding the Finnish EU presidency's proposal for a regulation that would allow direct trade with the occupied sections of Cyprus in the north and lift the impasse over customs union with Turkey, Koumoutsakos said it was hard to be optimistic when a proposal for an informal meeting by the sides involved in Helsinki proved impossible to arrange.

    He said the Finnish presidency had asked for additional time to continue its efforts and that the EU member-states believed this effort will have concluded before the EU General Affairs Council on December 11.

    Athens' goal was that the effort will have been completed before the Council, the spokesman added.

    [02] No need for early elections, reforms to continue, PM Karamanlis tells Reuters

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that he saw no need for early elections and vowed to stick with economic reforms.

    According to the agency, Karamanlis's government has reined in bulging budget deficits and overseen the euro zone's fastest growing economy, stirring speculation he might call snap polls to capitalize on Greece's strong performance.

    "I don't see any reason for early elections," the 50-year-old leader told Reuters, saying his government would probably finish its full term, which ends in March 2008.

    He reiterated that Greece could see its economy expand by over 4 percent this year and bring its budget deficit well within the European Union's ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product for the first time since joining the euro.

    Karamanlis said Greece had made strides in his 2-1/2 years in power but could not let up on the reform drive.

    "It takes a lot of care and attention to stay on course and to avoid loopholes, such as putting the economy in an electoral cycle, or to step back from the necessary reforms. On this policy we insist and we continue insisting," he said.

    Karamanlis vowed to pursue the government's privatization drive. Greece expects to raise 1.7 billion euros ($2.18 billion) next year from selloffs, aiming mainly to pay down public debt -- second highest in the euro zone after Italy's as a percentage of GDP.

    The country's largest telecoms company OTE tops the 2007 privatization agenda. The state has said it wants to sell part of its 38 percent stake, preferably to a European peer that would participate in the management.

    "OTE needs to be privatized, which means a larger part of it in private hands," Karamanlis said.

    Also on the list is troubled Olympic Airlines, under EU fire over state handouts and closely watched by European airlines eager for more room in the crowded sector.

    Karamanlis said investors were interested in the airline.

    "We've made good progress in terms of private interest to acquire Olympic, but there are still some serious legal issues to be clarified with the European Commission," he said. "What is important to know is that there is interest in buying Olympic."

    [03] Foreign ministry regarding U.S. position on minorities, U.S.-Greek relations

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    "Greece is aware of the views of the United States on the specific issue because they have made their positions public," Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Thursday when asked to comment on the latest statements made by U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack regarding minorities in Greece.

    Koumoutsakos did not, however, confirm McCormack's assertion that this was among issues raised during a visit by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to the U.S. in late September.

    Regarding Greek-U.S. relations in general, Koumoutsakos said that these had now entered a "period of maturity" and were the relations of two allied countries that cooperated within international bodies and could have convergent or divergent views. He stressed, however, that these were not harmful for Greek interests since these were adequately protected by Greek foreign policy, which was in accordance with international law, the principles of democracy and respect for human rights.

    In a press briefing on Wednesday, McCormack said that the "U.S. definition of minorities is different from the definition used by Greece and some other European states".

    The U.S. State Department spokesman also noted that "Greece has a strong record of integrating migrant workers" and said that the U.S. and Greece will continue working together to pursue common interests in the region and beyond.

    "Our relationship with Greece has never been better," McCormack added.

    He had been asked to comment on positions expressed by the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission in Athens, Thomas Countryman, who said in an interview with a local reporter that Greece was being "inconsistent" by not recognizing sections of the Moslem minority in northern Greece as Turkish, while describing the Lausanne Treaty on which the Greek position is based as a "milestone" but "not the last word in international law", indicating that it had been to some extent superseded by later treaties, such as the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.

    [04] PM confers with interior minister

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Administrative reform and dialogue with the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE), and the Greek National Union of Prefectural Local Authorities ( ENAE) will continue in view of the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) memorandum, according to a decision reached at a meeting on Thursday between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

    Pavlopoulos told reporters afterwards that the next meeting with KEDKE and ENAE will be held in December before the voting on the 2007 state budget, while he refused to comment on the contract workers issue.

    On the rumors that arose after Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias’ absence from Tuesday's Cabinet meeting on the state budget, Pavlopoulos responded that Souflias had "a health problem and nothing more".

    Pavlopoulos, responding to a question on whether he was satisfied with the funds earmarked in the draft 2007 state budget for the interior ministry, said that cooperation with the finance minister was excellent.

    [05] Bakoyannis to accompany PM on trip to London, visits Russia

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will accompany Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on a trip to London on November 20-21, the foreign ministry announced on Thursday. While in the UK, Bakoyannis is scheduled to meet British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and a working dinner with Minister for Europe Geoff Hoon.

    Bakoyannis' next stop will be Russia on November 22-23 for talks with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov and other officials, including a meeting in Saint Petersburg with Governor Valentina Matviyenko.

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said the agenda for Bakoyannis' talks in Moscow and Saint Petersburg included bilateral relations with Russia, bilateral economic ties and the entire range of EU-Russia relations, with Greece a firm supporter of EU-Russia cooperation, in addition to energy issues.

    On November 28-29, the foreign minister is scheduled to take part in the NATO summit taking place in Riga, Latvia.

    [06] Gov't on issue involving sub, tank contracts

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government appeared adamant on Thursday, a day after a cascade of local press reports cited the national defense ministry's refusal to accept delivery of a new submarine unless its specifications are met, as well as unrelated preliminary negotiations over a batch of Leopard II main battle tanks ordered by the army.

    "These are orders and contracts made by the previous government, and the current government is, appropriately, checking the absolute fulfillment of conditions in the relevant contracts," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said in response to numerous questions during his regular press briefing.

    Antonaros also clarified that the issues involving the submarine and the tanks are separate, "there is the issue of the submarine, where negotiations were held that did not generate desired results, therefore, the government's position still stands, namely, that it will not accept delivery of the submarine unless operational and technical specifications are fulfilled".

    The spokesman said the case involving the MBTs is in the "preliminary stages, tests are underway that have not been completed."

    The submarine in question, the "Papanikolis" (named after a celebrated WWII Greek submarine) was constructed at the HDW shipyards in Kiel, Germany. The latter is part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which emerged following a merger between ThyssenKrupp Werften and HDW. The marine systems division is a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Technologies.

    Another two submarines in the Papanikolis class (type 214) are being constructed at the Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas (west of Athens), an industrial complex that is part of the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems group.

    [07] Deputy FM Kassimis visits New York

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, responsible for issues concerning expatriate Greeks, on Wednesday gave a press conference in New York, the fifth stop of his tour of the United States, stressing that among the immediate priorities of the Greek State is to boost the teaching of the Greek language to 3rd and 4th generation Greek Americans, while also providing them with more opportunities to visit Greece.

    He later met with Archbishop Dimitrios of America and briefed him on his US visit. The two men also discussed joint actions by the Greek State and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, while the Archbishop underlined the importance of visits made by Greek State officials handling expatriate Greek issues.

    Kassimis also had the opportunity to visit two Greek community schools in Flushing and Astoria in New York, home to approximately 500,000 Greek Americans, and referring to the Greek community schools during his meeting with the Archbishop praised the work they do.

    [08] Deputy FM Kassimis to visit Toronto and Montreal on November 19-23

    17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, responsible for issues concerning expatriate Greeks, will visit the Greek communities in Toronto and Montreal in Canada on November 19-23 within the framework of his North America tour.

    The deputy foreign minister will arrive in Toronto on November 19 and meet with Greek community representatives as well as federal and local politicians. On November 20, he will visit the Holy Metropolis of Canada and attend a dinner given by the SAE-Canada Coordinating Committee, while he will also meet with Greek Canadian mass media and visit the Greek Studies Department at York University.

    Kassimis is scheduled to arrive in Montreal on November 21 but his formal visit will begin on November 22. He is to meet with the presidents of the Greek communities in Montreal and Laval, while he will also visit Greek community schools and attend an open reception held by the general consulate and the Greek Community in Montreal.

    On Thursday, Kassimis will meet with local politicians and representatives of McGill University, Universite de Montreal and Concordia University to be briefed on the McGill University Modern Greek Studies Inter-University Center and Greek Language Department issue.

    [09] Greek, Turkish National Defense General Staff chiefs meet on sidelines of NATO Military Committee session

    17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The National Defense General Staff chiefs of Greece and Turkey, Admiral Panayiotis Hinofotis and General Yasar Buyukanit, met briefly on Thursday on the sidelines of NATO's Military Committee session, at the level of National Defense General Staff chiefs, in Brussels.

    According to the Greek National Defense General Staff, the meeting focused on a discussion on "the procedure for processing the military details of the issues probed" during their recent meeting in Athens on increasing mutual trust and understanding, "provided that they are agreed upon by the foreign ministries of the two countries."

    General Buyukanit paid an official visit to Greece two weeks ago.

    [10] NATO electronic means warfare exercise completed with success

    17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A NATO electronic means warfare exercise codenamed "Trial Spartan Hammer 2006-TSH06" was carried out with absolute success at the military airport of Andravida and in the northwestern Peloponnese.

    Speaking at Andravida airport on Thursday, Assistant NATO Secretary General Marshal Bilinski said that "we were pleased with the splendid work done by Greece and these results will be presented at the NATO summit in Riga."

    He said that new means were used for the first time, as well as new methods and practices, adding that new scenarios for confronting terrorists were examined and that "terrorists must be afraid of us."

    In addition, he said that NATO is focusing in what is being recorded in Afghanistan and pointed out that an organized plan must exist to handle asymmetrical threats, while one of the exercise's scenarios included an attack by terrorists using remote-controlled weapons.

    The purpose of the exercise was to test the ability of NATO countries to collect and process electronic emission data of weaponry systems, such as radar emissions, with the purpose of supporting electronic warfare operations.

    The exercise was carried out between November 9-15 with the participation of staff and equipment from 12 countries (England, France, Germany, Greece, the United States, Italy, Canada, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland). About 1,500 people participated in it.

    [11] Parliament budget ratified unanimously

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Parliament's budget was ratified unanimously during a Parliamentary session on Thursday. Most speakers focused on defending the role of deputies against criticism from the media, as well as the downgrading they experience from the parties themselves.

    [12] Education minister briefs Parliament on violence in schools

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Violent behavior occurred in all schools, whether public or private, Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou told Parliament's committee for educational matters on Thursday, in comments on incidents where children had been abused by their peers.

    "Aggressive and violent behavior occurs in all schools, regardless of the economic and social status of the parents," Yiannakou said.

    Listing programs designed to increase awareness among teachers regarding phenomena of violence, she nevertheless noted that these were likely to have minimal effect because of weaknesses in schools, families and the media.

    "No matter how expert a teacher and however many psychologists you place in schools, the current family environment (one-parent families, lack of an extended family etc) does not allow adequate handling of the problem," the minister claimed.

    She also called on the media to establish a code of conduct regarding the way such cases were presented.

    "Whether we like it or not, children today watch a lot of television. Greek television is very interesting, lively and varied but does not help in handling such problems," she added.

    Speakers for main opposition PASOK linked the phenomena of violence to a loosening of family ties with parents, who did not impose limits and values on their children due to guilt. An MP for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said that violence in schools could not be seen in isolation from social phenomena, while the head of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party Alekos Alavanos urged that a proposed ban on mobile phones in schools be instead replaced with their use for educational purposes.

    [13] President Karolos Papoulias comments in message on Polytechnic uprising

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    President Karolos Papoulias, in a message on Thursday on the anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising on November 17 1973, said that the Polytechnic "is the symbol of the brightest side of modern-day Greece and the silence of respect and of the recognition of a contribution that remains amazing even today suits best the protagonists of the uprising."

    President Papoulias said that the message of the uprising lasts through time, adding that "every year on such days the Greek people have the moral obligation to honor the insurgents of '73 and the possibility to ponder, be inspired and wonder whether bread, education and freedom are sufficient for all."

    The president further said that "the same slogan is always heard in manifestations for the anniversary:'The Polytechnic lives'. And it must live in the thoughts of every active citizen, every democrat and every fighter who gives a struggle for his personal dignity and, at the same time, for the welfare of all of society."

    Lastly, President Papoulias noted that the message of the anniversary "is certainly one that teaches, particularly for the younger generation, it teaches a way of thought and of life. It teaches a position towards things. It teaches internal reaction to injustice, egocentrism and the deification of material."

    Deputy education minister lays wreath at Athens Polytechnic memorial: Deputy Education Minister Spyros Taliadouros laid a wreath at the Athens Polytechnic memorial on Thursday, paying tribute to the students' uprising, representing the government and the ruling New Democracy party.

    "We honor the struggles of the Greeks for freedom and democracy. This anniversary reminds all of us that democracy is not self-evident. A continuous effort is necessary with adherence to the principles of measure and respect for the different view, for progress, social justice and the prosperity of our country," Taliadouros said afterwards.

    Athenians of all ages have been visiting the Polytechnic since Thursday morning leaving a flower at the memorial.

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) was represented with the laying of a wreath by its Deputy President Alekos Kalyvis, while a delegation of the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) also laid a wreath.

    Main opposition PASOK party Secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, heading a party delegation, laid a wreath and stated afterwards that "the message of the Polytechnic is strong and opportune today. It signals, towards a class-oriented and authoritarian policy that is harming young people and social cohesion, the continuous struggle for the deepening of democracy and social solidarity. It signals the struggle of the new generation for the upgrading of education, for a fair society of values, without discrimination, with equal rights and opportunities for all."

    Friday is the last day of the three-day celebrations and as of Thursday night downtown Athens, particularly locations where university faculties are to be found, will be closely guarded. Over 5,000 police will be guarding Athens until the usual march to the U.S. embassy in Athens will be over, while 1,500 will be provided to guard in Thessaloniki, the country's second biggest city.

    The main event is expected to come to an end at 2 p.m. and then the march to the embassy will begin.

    PASOK party leader issues message on anniversary of Polytechnic uprising: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Thursday issued a message on the anniversary of the uprising at the Athens Polytechnic on November 17, 1973, stressing that the "Greek people honor the fighters who gave their lives in the struggle against the dictatorship and today, 33 years later, Greek women and men can feel proud of the country's course since, with the messages of the November uprising as a guide, great goals have been achieved."

    Papandreou further said that a "strong democracy was established with the struggles and sacrifices of the people and Greece was led from the sidelines to the centre of developments in Europe and the international stage."

    Lastly, he stressed that PASOK, "together with the Greek people, will always be in the front line of the effort to confront the challenges of the new era to which it has led the country."

    [14] Message marking 88th anniversary of KKE's founding

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), on the occasion of the 88th anniversary of the founding of the party, underlined in a message on Thursday "the need for there to be a stronger clash with the ideology of the parties of capital and of opportunism, apart from the organized popular struggle."

    The message by the KKE's Central Committee further notes:"The developments in our country and in the world confirm that socialism is necessary and timely. The worldwide back turn which came as a result of the victory of the counter revolution (1989-1991), is temporary. The new era which opened and was sealed by the great October socialist revolution in Russia (1917), was and remains an era of transition from capitalism to socialism."

    "The social contradictions of capitalism remain and deepen. Imperialism is its last stage. The social explosions, which are increasing throughout the world are an omen of the great revolutions which, by necessity will be born, for the wheel of history and social progress to proceed."

    [15] Greek inflation unchanged at 3.1 pct in October, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS, 17/11/2006 (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)

    Greek annual inflation was unchanged at 3.1 pct in October, Eurostat said on Thursdsay. The EU executive's statistics office, in a report, said Eurozone's inflation rate eased to 1.6 pct in October from 1.7 pct in September and 2.5 pct in October 2005. In the EU-25, the inflation rate fell to 1.8 pct from 1.9 pct in September and 2.4 pct in October 2005.

    Luxembourg (0.6 pct), the Czech Republic (0.8 pct) and Finland (0.9 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates in October, while Hungary (6.3 pct), Latvia (5.6 pct) and Estonia (3.8 pct) recorded the highest inflation rates in the month.

    Eurostat said the consumer price index rose in four member-states in October, it fell in 16 and was unchanged in five member-states.

    [16] Sioufas addresses Organic Products and Services exhibition

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greece can increase competitiveness and produce organically grown foods with a high added value by taking advantage of the agricultural sector’s knowledge and quality, stressed Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Thursday.

    The minister was speaking at the opening of the 9th Exhibition of Organic Products and Services - ECOFESTIVAL 2006 organized by the Inspection and Certification Organization of Organic Products.

    Sioufas stressed that the public is concerned about water pollution and the destruction of natural resources and sensitive eco-systems, while consumers are adopting a more environment-friendly stance by preferring organic products. In addition, the fear of genetically modified foods makes consumers willing to pay more for quality products and offer economic backing to the organic products’ sector, he added.

    Sioufas concluded that several initiatives and incentives offered by the new legislation on development and the development ministry sponsored “Competitiveness” Program are aimed at offering further support to the specific sector.

    [17] Development minister inaugurates PPC's new Plant 5 at Lavrio

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Thursday inaugurated the Public Power Corporation's (PPC) new Plant 5 of 385 MW at Lavrio, eastern Attica, which contributes to the strengthening and modernization of Greece's electricity power potential.

    In his speech, Sioufas referred to the multi-sided efforts which were made by the relevant ministries, state services, the PPC's board and employees, and local agencies in order for the new ultra-modern plant to become a reality.

    PPC board president Constantine Kyriakopoulos noted that the Public Power Corporation is proceeding with firm and methodical steps on the road of modernization.

    PPC director Dimitris Maniatakis referred to the new strategic multi-sided growth which the corporation is following, with emphasis on new investments for modernization and expansion.

    [18] PASOK criticizes government on Barroso's letter of reply on 3rd CSF

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said on Thursday that "the government is attempting to soften the negative impressions over the cutback of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) by 1.7 billion euros, as a solution of desperation to reduce the danger of loss of Community funds."

    Athanassakis was responding to a letter of reply on Tuesday by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis regarding Greece's request for an additional year in which to absorb funds from the 3rd CSF.

    Barroso's letter counter-proposed a series of measures to be recorded in a "memorandum of understanding", which call for a revision of Greek programs, joint funding by the Commission of uncompleted programs until the year 2008 and others.

    According to Barroso, the measures listed would bring a total benefit of some 2.7 billion euros to Greece with respect to its Community contribution, which in general lines would be equivalent to an additional year of implementation of the 3rd CSF, while they will also assist in the speedier absorption during the remaining years until the end of 2008.

    "1.7 billion euros less in the 3rd CSF mean thousands of jobs less or the equivalent for the building of 17 hospitals," Athanassakis said.

    [19] Fiscal budget target feasible, bank says

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government's budgetary target of lowering the fiscal deficit to 2.4% of gross domestic product in 2007 is feasible if a major effort is made to curb tax evasion and contain primary spending, Eurobank EFG said in a market report released on Thursday.

    Attaining a reduction in 2006 of the general government deficit to 2.6% of GDP is expected to help bring Greece out of a European Union excessive deficit process in the first half of next year, said the quarterly report entitled Greece: Macro Monitor.

    [20] OTE sells Armenian operator

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Athens-quoted Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA (OTE), a full-service telecommunications provider, announced on Thursday that it had completed the sale of its 90% stake in Armenia Telephone Company CJSC (Armentel) to Vimpel-Communications.

    The sale price for the stake in the Armenian telecoms operator was Euro 342 million, implying an enterprise value of Euro 420 million for 100% of the company, including estimated net financial debt, tax liabilities and other liabilities of approximately Euro 40 million.

    HSBC Bank plc was the financial adviser to OTE in the sale.

    [21] Port of Piraeus tenders container terminal

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Athens-quoted Piraeus Port Authority on Thursday announced that it would hold an international tender for a concession to the facility's container terminal.

    The first phase of the tender covers expressions of interest and pre-selection, the firm said in a statement.

    Management of the state-owned authority wants to further develop, expand and modernize the terminal's existing infrastructure and superstructure in terms of planning, financing, construction and maintenance.

    Under the concession, the winner of the tender will operate and exploit the terminal for 25 years with an option for a further five years.

    The total area for concession is the existing port space, projects under development, and future projects covering 1,000,000 sq.m. and including existing buildings, equipments, IT systems etc., the statement said.

    [22] "Cyprus Airways" links Thessaloniki with Paris

    17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    “Cyprus Airways” will operate direct flights from Thessaloniki to Paris and back twice a week, on Tuesdays and Sundays, beginning on November 28, while a third flight serving the same destination is scheduled for Thursdays and will be launched in April 2007. In addition, the airline will inaugurate after December 8 two more routes, Iraklion-Rhodes-Iraklio and Rhodes-Larnaca-Rhodes scheduled for Fridays and Sundays.

    “Cyprus Airways” senior executives stated in a press conference in Thessaloniki on Wednesday that the company’s objective is to contribute to the rise of tourist flow to Thessaloniki and the wider region in northern Greece.

    “Cyprus Airways” serves 28 destinations in Europe, Middle East and the Persian Gulf with scheduled flights and in 2005 alone it transported a total of 1,588,000 passengers. Meanwhile, “Eurocypria” airline, a member of the Cyprus Airways Group that operates mainly charter flights from European destinations to Cyprus, transported approximately 560,000 passengers last year.

    “Cyprus Airways” cooperates with a number of airline companies, KLM, Alitalia, Gulf Air, Syrianair, Aeroflot, LOT, EL-AL, SN Brussels, Olympic Airlines (Athens-Larnaca and Thessaloniki-Larnaca flights), Royal Jordanian and Aerosvit Airlines.

    [23] Greece, Serbia business council to meet

    17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Greece-Serbia Business Council will be held in Belgrade on November 23-24.

    As part of the meeting, the Federation of Greek Industry are to sign an agreement with Serbia's employers trade group.

    Topics for debate will include opportunities for smaller firms to trade and forge alliances, and the planned, phased construction of a European-network road to link the northern port city of Thessaloniki to Salzburg in Austria.

    [24] 'Philoxenia Tourism Awards' presented in Thessaloniki

    17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The "Philoxenia Tourism Awards", which were established this year by HELEXPO, within the framework of the 22nd Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition, were presented in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Thursday evening by Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia and Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis.

    Among the winners of the Greek tourism awards were:

    - Halkidiki, best coastal destination

    - Pilio, best mountainous countryside destination

    - Thessaloniki, best urban destination

    - Santorini, most romantic destination

    - Mykonos, best destination for entertainment

    - Porto Katsiki, Lefkada, most beautiful beech

    - Zagorohoria, most beautiful traditional settlement

    - Parnassos, best ski centre

    - Italy, best tourist destination abroad

    - Hyatt Regency in Thessaloniki, best city hotel

    - Porto Carras Grand Resort in Halkidi, best holiday resort hotel

    - Hotel Spa Montana at Karpenisi, Evritania, best mountainous or countryside hotel

    - Grande Bretagne hotel in Athens, most luxurious hotel

    [25] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Athens share index closed at 4,331.09 points, showing a rise of 0.11%. Turnover was 348.3 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalisation shares ended 0.07% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 0.22% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.86% down.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (870)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 310.1 million euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates

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

    U.S. dollar 1.290

    [26] Cases of HIV increase in Greece

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Cases of AID's HIV has increased in Greece, according to data released on Thursday by the Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases.

    The new infections for 2006 are expected to range arithmetically at the same or at higher levels in comparison to last year.

    The main transmission seems to be from homosexuality, while the ages registered are between 25 and 44 years old.

    Up until October 31, 485 new cases were declared for 2006, of which 80.6 per cent were men and 19.4 per cent women.

    [27] PM Karamanlis inaugurates painting exhibition by Yiannis Moralis

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his wife Natasha on Thursday inaugurated a painting exhibition by Yiannis Moralis at the Zouboulaki Gallery in central Athens.

    "The work which we have the opportunity to admire is added to the evidence of the very great artistic value of Yiannis Moralis," said the prime minister, adding that "it does not only concern an exceptional Greek creator, but indisputably also one of the major and superb persons of our culture."

    [28] 47th Thessaloniki Film Festival beginning on Friday night

    ATHENS, 17/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The organizers of this year's 47th Thessaloniki Film Festival, due to begin on Friday night at the "Olympion" cinema, are adopting a phrase by French historian and film critic Andre Bazin (founder and publisher of the "Cahiers du Cinema") who considers cinema as "an open window to the world" as its "slogan."

    The Festival will be inaugurated at 9.30 p.m. by culture ministry secretary general Christos Zahopoulos, while addresses will be made by Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Kalantzis, Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos and the Festival's director Despina Mouzaki.

    Angelos Frantzis will be responsible for directing the opening ceremony, while actors Athina Maximou and George Pyrpasopoulos will be the presenters.

    The latest film by Stephen Frears "The Queen". The of 97 minutes film, refers to the death of Princess Diana and the reactions of Queen Elizabeth II. Frear's film amazed the public in Venice, where it received the FIPRESCI award for Frear's directorship, the Golden Osella award for the best scenario by Peter Morgan, as well as the award for the best performance by a woman for Elen Miret, will be screened after the opening ceremony.

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis is expected to arrive in Thessaloniki on Sunday afternoon to welcome President Karolos Papoulias at the Festival.

    Apart from the series of screenings (for the competition part, the Greek part and a series of dedications), the Festival's events include visual art exhibitions, lectures by film directors and people of the cinema, concerts, etc.

    The leading official guest will be German film director Wim Wenders, who is expected in Thessaloniki on November 20.

    [29] Spokesman: Talat's statements leave no prospects for Finnish efforts to succeed

    NICOSIA, 17/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's address during Wednesday's provocative celebrations for the unilateral declaration of the puppet regime in the Turkish-occupied areas indicates clearly that there are slim prospects for the Finnish EU presidency's initiative to avert a crisis between the EU -Turkey relations to succeed, Cyprus Government Spokesman said here Thursday.

    Replying to questions, Pashiardis said that no one can speak of a stalemate in the Finnish efforts yet, as Finnish officials continue efforts to promote their proposals in view of the December EU Summit.

    ''It is better that we all work, both us and Turkey, if it desires to do so, for the effort's success,'' he added.

    Pashiardis said that in case the Finnish efforts fail, the government would ''gladly accept'' the responsibility for its insistence that the fenced-off city of Varosha should be returned to its legal inhabitants.

    Invited to comment on the meetings of American officials in Brussels for Turkey's EU bid, Pashiardis said that the Americans desire for a smooth and uninterrupted Turkish EU course is well-known.

    ''Our side also desires a smooth Turkish EU bid but that is up to Turkey itself and not us. It is Turkey's responsibility to fully comply with the obligations and commitments it assumed towards the EU and the Republic of Cyprus to secure that its EU course will be smooth and uninterrupted,'' the spokesman added.

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

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

    Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol, by opening its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels and aircraft.

    The Finnish presidency is trying to avert any possible derailment of Turkey's EU accession course, following Ankara's refusal to meet its EU obligations and Cyprus' position that Turkey must do exactly that before accession negotiations are allowed to move further on.

    [30] Eurocontrol concerned about illegal airport in occupied Cyprus

    NICOSIA 17/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The existence of the illegally operating airport in Turkish-occupied Cyprus creates problems in air safety, notes Eurocontrol, calling for an international meeting to take place in order to end practices applied by Turkey and the illegal airport authorities.

    In statements to CNA Thursday, on the sidelines of an International Seminar on air safety, Eurocontrol Deputy Director of ATM Strategies, Lex

    Hendriks, stressed that the airline industry and the pilots express concern over the existence of the illegal airport (Ercan), which confuses pilots and threatens air safety.

    "I am a pilot myself and very often I fly through this region. The airline industry and the pilots are very concerned about the inadequate interfaces between Cyprus and its northern neighbour Turkey, because of the introduction of an ATC service (in occupied Cyprus) that is not recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)", he said.

    The Eurocontrol official said that no matter how politically sensitive this issue is, it must be resolved since "it is a potentially unsafe situation".

    ''We cannot leave this hanging, it has to be resolved, it is a potentially unsafe situation and I know it is politically very sensitive but we should address it and resolve it'', Hendriks told a seminar on air safety Thursday.

    Answering questions by CNA, he explained that Turkey requests from all aircraft flying from Turkey to the airspace of Cyprus to call the illegal airport in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus for further instructions.

    Most pilots, he said, are well aware of the situation with the illegal airport and ask for instructions from the internationally recognized airport of Larnaca, but there are others who do not know enough about the situation.

    "It is very unsafe to have two different radios in Cyprus", he warned.

    Hendriks called for "an international seminar to take place on the highest level so that a solution is found to stop Turkey's and Ercan's practices".

    He told CNA that the whole situation is causing great concern among pilots.

    Answering a question, Hendriks said that although Turkey refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, the issue needs to be addressed, since air traffic in Cyprus will increase year by year.

    Since 1974 the Republic of Cyprus is divided by Turkish troops, which occupy one third of the island's territory.

    Turkey, a country aspiring to enter the EU, is refusing to recognize Cyprus.

    In November 1983 Turkey proclaimed a self-styled regime in the northern occupied areas, which only Ankara recognizes.

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