|Sunday, 19 May 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-07-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 14 July 2007 Issue No: 2644
 PM Karamanlis addresses ND's new Central CommitteePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday opened his speech at the first session of the ruling New Democracy party's newly elected Central Committee by referring to the self-sacrifice shown by the men and women of the Fire Brigade, as attested by the recent tragic deaths of three firemen on Crete.
The prime minister stressed that all Greeks are thankful to them and are on their side, adding that the battle they give is a battle to ensure quality of life for all.
Karamanlis stated that "we suffer the consequences of climate change", adding that weather phenomena favor the outbreak of fires. The fight is tough but there is no other choice available but to continue fighting, he stressed.
Referring to the 7th ND party congress last weekend, he said that party positions were confirmed, while at the same time it also served as a starting point for a new dynamic course.
The prime minister expressed determination to move forward with reforms and changes and continue the effort aimed at dealing with the problems of society, stressing that in March 2004 the people opted for political change and the country entered an era of changes and reforms.
Karamanlis lashed out at main opposition PASOK without naming it, stressing that the people reject polarization practices while adding that it promises today what it was unable to do in the past, without offering an apology either for the deficits handed over to the current government or the stock market crime.
He stressed that the changes and reforms launched will continue with greater determination in the government's next four-year term, pointing out that the sweeping education sector reform will continue ensuring equal access opportunities for the young. The education reform will continue in the next four-year term, he stated, underlining that the revision of article 16 of the Constitution is imperative while adding that it was proposed by the main opposition as well.
Referring to the public sector, Karamanlis stated that the State is the great patient that was inherited, adding that solutions were found to lingering problems, the local government was reinforced, procedures were simplified, red-tape was tackled, while problems are not being swept under the carpet but on the contrary they are spotted and dealt with. "We are in the middle of an uphill course and we are preparing the major reform in the administrative structure", he stressed. On the issues of transparency in public sector transactions, he said that corruption will be combated, stressing that there will be no discounts in the effort.
Karamanlis also referred to the economic policy implemented by his government, stressing that the country has exited the excessive deficit procedure (EDP) and the growth rate achieved is among the highest in Eurozone. The absorption rate of community funds was increased while energy agreements of major national importance were signed turning Greece into an energy hub, he stressed.
The results of the policy followed are beginning to show and are acknowledged both by the European Union and international organizations, while a rise is recorded in tourist flow. Exports have increased, inflation is at its lowest point and foreign investors were becoming reacquainted with Greece, said Karamanlis. He stressed that in 2006 investments recorded a 70 percent rise compared to 2003 while unemployment dropped under 9 percent and employment rate rose to 61 percent.
The foundations for a strong economy were laid during the past 3.5 years, said the prime minister, to ensure a strong social state focusing on the individual, stressing that the social insurance problem will also be solved.
Karamanlis stressed that the vision of ecumenical Hellenism is a top priority adding that the draft law on the voting rights of overseas Greeks will be introduced to parliament in October, characterizing the move as national duty constituting a major step for the participation of the Greeks living abroad in domestic political developments.
In conclusion, he emphasized that the government will continue on the path of changes and reforms, stressing that there is no turning back for Greece.
Unanimous election of the seven MPs on ND Political Council
The seven MPs that will be members of the ruling New Democracy party's new Political Council were later unanimously elected by the party Central Committee.
No ballots were used because the number of candidates equaled the number of the seats available.
They are Prokopis Pavlopoulos, George Voulgarakis, Marietta Yannakou, Evangelos Meimarakis, Fani Palli-Petralia, Vyron Polydoras and Dimitris Sioufas.
An election is underway for the non parliamentarian members of the party's Political Council, with 10 candidates competing for 7 seats.
 Zagoritis re-elected as ND Central Committee SecretaryLefteris Zagoritis was re-elected as ruling New Democracy's Central Committee Secretary on Friday by 403 votes out of 525.
His opponent Theodoros Damianos received 87 votes, while there were also 35 blank and spoilt votes.
In the election for the seven members of ND's Political Council that do not have to be members of Parliament, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis came first with 310 votes, followed by Costas Kostoulas with 209 votes, Dimitris Panozachos with 191 votes, Sergios Tsiftis with 187 votes, Dimitris Kontos with 178 votes, Babis Maniatis with 177 votes and Fevronia Patrianakou with 112 votes, who was elected to the quota allowed for women.
 German Chancellor Merkel to visit Athens on July 20German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be on a one-day working visit to Athens on Friday, July 20 at the invitation of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, according to the German government spokesman.
Chancellor Merkel, accompanied by a few close advisers, will have talks with the prime minister.
She is also scheduled to address the German-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and later in the afternoon will meet with Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias before departing for Berlin.
 Koumoutsakos outlines positions on FYROM, Turkey and CyprusForeign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Friday noted that the text of a resolution concerning the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) adopted by the European Parliament on Thursday was "substantially improved on the original," while reiterating that it was not a binding legal document since final decisions were made by the EU council of ministers.
He said the improvements to the original version adopted by a European Parliament committee were the result of "coordinated action by all Greek MEPs" and that statements by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on the issue had referred to "a positive development compared to a bad start".
"We referred to a series of changes to the text that, I think we all agree, are moving in a more positive direction than the statements we had in the previous text," he added.
He also stressed that Greece, while having specific views on this issue, was not alone in holding these views.
"In the past years there is an international process under the auspices of the United Nations whose object is to find a mutually acceptable solution to the specific issue of the name. There is a UN process specifying that a mutually acceptable solution to the issue must be found. Greece participates constructively in this process and it is obvious that such a process is not required to simply decide what we will call another country," he stressed.
He also noted that there was specific mention of this process within the text of the EuroParliament resolution, while strenuously denying that Greece had waived its right to veto FYROM's accession to the EU or NATO.
Asked about the possible repercussions of the resolution, the spokesman reiterated that Greece has a "very specific policy based on a realistic assessment of the current diplomatic situation," which was outlined by the foreign minister on Thursday.
"The decision of the Greek government on this issue will be based on three criteria: on the implementation of policies of good neighbourliness by Skopje, without references and actions of an irredentist nature, FYROM's stance during the ongoing process at the UN and its performance on a series of criteria and conditions set by NATO," Koumoutsakos stressed.
He also pointed to Bakoyannis' statement that Greece would not accept "selective and patchy implementation of the interim agreement," noting that Greece could not be bound by some of the references in the Interim Agreement when other commitments in the same agreement were not being observed by FYROM.
Clarifying the foreign minister's statements regarding Turkey - especially the possibility that EU leaders might eventually decide to convert the current accession process for Turkey to one leading to a 'special relationship' instead of full EU membership - he stressed that this was just a reference to the currently negative climate within the EU to Turkey's bid and not Athens' preferred policy.
"The strategy being followed by Greece as regards Turkey's European course remains unchanged - in other words it follows the principle of 'full adaptation - full membership'. But at the same time, we cannot but take into account developments and signs within Europe," the spokesman said, stressing that the foreign ministry was simply doing its job in preparing for other outcomes that might arise at some time.
He again stressed that there was now a unanimous decision to continue the accession process for Turkey and that this would require another unanimous decision in order to change.
The spokesman was also asked about the refusal of Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to meet with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos after the cancellation of a friendly football match between the British and Turkish-Cypriot teams, saying he did not know "its true cause and true motives".
"Last March also there was a general impression that the agreement to start the Gambari process was almost final and the Turkish-Cypriot side backed out literally at the last minute," he pointed out.
 Koumoutsakos on solution for KosovoForeign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Friday stressed that the international community should cooperate in the effort to reach the best possible result on the issue of Kosovo, overcoming the lack of mobility recorded.
Responding to a question on the status of Kosovo, Koumoutsakos also said that for Greece, the best possible outcome will be a solution ensuring regional stability, adding that this is more likely to be achieved if the solution reached is the result of consensus and compromise between the two parties involved.
On whether the issue concerns Russia and the United States, Koumoutsakos stated that it concerns the entire international community and considering that the issue is before the UN Security Council it is only reasonable to concern all its member states.
 Papandreou launches all-out attack on governmentIn yet another stinging assault on the government on multiple levels, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday compared it to "a storm that is sweeping the country" and was trying to subjugate everything in its path, showing contempt for every democratic institution that stood in the way of its absolute control.
Speaking to PASOK's National Council, he accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of behaving autocratically and said that the premier had quickly belied the high hopes he had raised because of his youth and had refused every proposal for cooperation made by PASOK after the elections.
Enumerating a string of incidents that had dominated headlines in the past three years, such as cases of misuse of public funds, the mobile phone-tapping scandal, Pakistani abductions, the purchase of Turkey's Finansbank and questionable investments by Greek pension funds, he said these arose and were encouraged by government policies and practices.
Regarding the bonds affair, in particular, he strongly questioned a demand by JP Morgan that the details concerning the buyback of the bond from pension funds remain confidential, saying that it was "a new scandal within the scandal".
He also held the prime minister "deeply responsible, morally and politically" for the recent affair with tampered exam papers in Thessaloniki and said the government was attempting a cover-up on this issue by presenting it as an isolated incident.
At the end of the day, the New Democracy government that would be an "isolated incident," he added.
The recent privatisations of the Postal Savings Bank and the sale of more Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) shares were another issue that drew criticism, with Papandreou accusing the government or selling off state property "silently and at an undiminished rate" in order to cover shortfalls in the budget.
The country was at a crucial juncture, with a prime minister and a government in power that were incapable of governing and were instead indulging in trade-offs and communications gimmicks, setting up a pointless debate on the timing of the elections in a bid to postpone the hour of defeat, PASOK's leader concluded.
Turning to the events and changes within PASOK over the past three-plus years, he stressed that these would continue and underlined the commitment to transparency.
"We will guarantee that we will honour the people's mandate and implement another view of power," he said, while stressing that the rules of transparency would also apply to the way that those who exercised power were selected.
He spoke of "attacks against members of the Movement" in an indirect reference to charges of misuse of public funds levelled against a former head of the state's National Road-Building Fund appointed under PASOK, stressing that "we will not allow the collective integrity of the Movement and the democratic camp to be cast into doubt".
Papandreou noted that, as the elections approached, PASOK would increasingly come under fire for presenting an expensive programme for which there were inadequate funds.
"Funds can always be found when one wants to finance economic and social priorities," Papandreou said, citing the example of French President Nicholas Sarkozy and his stance at the recent ECOFIN Council in Europe, where he persuaded his EU member-states to give France additional time to meet fiscal targets.
He said the French President's stance was "patriotic for France" and urged the Greek prime minister to look to Sarkozy's example.
Athanassakis stresses participatory democracy, transparency
According to PASOK National Council Secretary Nikos Athanassakis, meanwhile, PASOK's vanguard in both its internal party process and as a government will be "open participatory democratic processes, transparency everywhere, transparency for everything, transparency for all."
 KKE leader visits Skaramangas ShipyardsCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a gathering of workers at the Skaramangas Shipyards on Friday, stressing that "privatised, the shipyards cannot survive in the long run."
Papariga said that "for there to be a sector, for there to be shipyards in Greece which serve and are, if you like, a basic sector in development, they must belong to the state."
She further said that the sector "will either express popular interests, or it will express the interests of the capitalists, of private individuals. No matter if a business is public, if state, government policy is on the side of private individuals, the public business will be rough and it will not develop as it should do."
Papariga further pointed out that the shipyards should also have the country's defence industry as a customer, but they should also join the rest of the trade sector as well.
Lastly, referring to the next general elections, the KKE leader said that the working class must send a message during the election struggle to both mainstream parties which "must sustain losses."
 SYN leader visits OTOE, fire-fighters union, notes problems with labour rightsVisiting the bank workers' union OTOE on Friday, Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos said that there were problems concerning labour rights in Greece and that the government had received a second caution from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in just a few months, once over its decision to force striking dock workers back to work with a conscription order and now over the bank workers social insurance measures.
Alavanos noted that the laws passed by the ruling New Democracy government on this issue in 2005 and 2006 essentially relieved banks, which represented the most profitable sector of the Greek economy, from the greater part of their obligations under collective agreements and transferred these to IKA.
He called on the government to implement the ILO's recommendations and cancel "these unconstitutional laws" and to protect the institution of collective agreements in the banking sector, pointing out that the unions did not have a corresponding employers' body with which to negotiate.
SYN's leader also criticised the government's performance overall, saying it was "without leadership, a government in disarray, which is plunging the entire country into chaos. Chaos with regard to labour rights, in relation to the right of every citizen to enjoy nature in his country, in relation to the unimpeachability of university entrance exams, in relation to safe travel on Greek public transport".
Earlier, Alavanos also met the Fire Brigade Officers Union and expressed his respect and appreciation for the work done by fire-fighters.
"A country is happy when it doesn't need heroes and, in this sense, we believe that the State must provide all the means that would ensure that human losses are nil and that the losses to the environment are few," he said.
SYN's leader said that permanent positions must be given to forest fire-fighters now hired with temporary contracts and that staff shortages must be covered, while he called for immediate provision to cover over-time pay for fire-fighters.
Finally, he called for a body that would coordinate all the various services involved in fighting forest fires, in particular, such as forest wardens, local government and civil protection agencies.
 Patriarch Bartholomew again stresses Patriarchate's ecumenical roleISTANBUL (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas)
Istanbul's Patriarchate has been ecumenical since the 6th century, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I reiterated on Friday while speaking to Turkish reporters.
He made the statement on his arrival at the 2nd World Conference of Orthodox Youth that is taking place in Istanbul under the aegis of the Patriarchate, while stressing that there was no "political expediency" hidden in the Patriarchate's ecumenical role.
The right of the Patriarchate based in Fanar to call itself ecumenical was disputed by a recent decision of the Turkish courts, which said that it could only claim to represent the tiny community of Greek Orthodox Christians that still reside in Turkey.
According to the traditions of the Orthodox Church, which is made up of a number of autonomous and independent patriarchates, the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul enjoys the status of the "first among equals" and enjoys a spiritual rather than administrative or political primacy among them.
 Greek budget deficit up by 716 million euros in Jan-MayGreek budget deficit rose to 4.346 billion euros in the January-May period, from 3.630 billion euros in the corresponding period last year, the Economy and Finance ministry said on Friday.
A ministry statement attributed the rise in the budget deficit by 716 million euros to non-regular revenues totaling 409 million euros in 2006 and lower performance of legal persons' tax income this year.
The ministry said regular budget revenues rose by 5.4 pct, while spending were up 6.3 percent. Primary spending rose 10.1 percent and interest spending were down by 4.5 percent. Finally, Public Investment Programme spending totaled 2.493 billion euros, while proceeds totaled 2.608 billion euros -up 55.3 pct from the January-May period last year.
 Greek Deputy FinMin says imperative to cut public debtIt is imperative to make every effort in further reducing deficits, Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Petros Doukas said on Friday, adding that the country's public debt remained at very high levels.
The country's public debt burdens a four-member Greek family with around 84,000 euros, while interest paid by the state totals around 10 billion euros annually, or 3,700 euros per four-member family each year, the Greek minister said.
Doukas said that government was also worried by the indebtness of the Greek economy, saying that the public debt totaled 235 billion euros, corporate debt at 94 billion and private debt (consumer and mortgage) totaled 84 billion euros.
 Greek FinMin praises role played by Eleftherios VenizelosGreek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Friday praised the role played by two great politicians in the country in leading Greece out of a group of underdeveloped countries and helped in tranforming it into a leader in the wider region.
Addressing an international conference on "Economic policy in small countries: Lessons from the experience of the 20th century," organised by the Economic University of Athens and the "Eleftherios Venizelos" Institute, the Greek minister said that "two politicians marked the country in the previous century: Eleftherios Venizelos and Constantine Karamanlis. The first in the first half of the century and the second in the second half. Both, through their foreign and economic policies helped the country in become a leader in the wider region".
Alogoskoufis said that Greece had forgotten for many years the legacy left by Eleftherios Venizelos, since after 1980 the country's politics focused on raising fiscal deficit and debt instead of creating a growth environment. The Greek minister said that Greece's per capital income was at 77.5 percent of EU-15 average in 1981. In 2000, it fell to 66.3 percent and remained below 1981 levels by 2003. He noted that only in the last three year's, the country has managed to surpass this level.
"Luckily, we have learned from mistakes made in the last 25 and we have returned to principles promoted by Eleftherios Venizelos. We are implementing a reform and fiscal consolidation programe to promote growth, employment and social cohesion," Alogoskoufis said adding that the program was based on gradual reduction of corporate taxes and income taxes.
 Company representatives meet on Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipelineSOFIA (ANA-MPA/BTA)
Representatives of Bulgarian, Russian and Greek shareholder companies have given legal advisers a week's time to propose the country of registration for the international company that will undertake the construction and exploitation of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, according to an announcement by the Bulgarian regional development and public works ministry.
The meeting between representatives of the three sides was held here on Thursday, according to the relevant announcement that was publicised on Friday.
The international company, according to the agreement concluded between Greece, Bulgaria and Russia on the construction and operation of the pipeline, must be based in a European Union member-state.
The participants in the meeting, the announcement said, examined three possible places for registration: Cyprus, Luxembourg and Holland.
The next meeting between representatives of the international company will be held in Athens on August 23, 2007.
 Marfin to buy 30 percent in VivartiaMarfin Investment Group (MIG) on Friday announced it will buy 30 percent of Vivartia at a price of 25 euros per share, in one of the biggest such agreements between listed companies in Greece.
In a joint statement, the two companies said MIG agreed to buy from Vivartia's main shareholders 30 percent of the company's equity capital at 25 euros per share. The transactions will take place in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday.
D. Daskalopoulos will remain as executive chairman of Vivartia with an equity stake of 5.1 percent, while S. Theodoropoulos will remain as chief executive with a stake of 1.3 pct. Andreas Vgenopoulos will be non-executive vice-chairman.
Commenting on the deal, Daskalopoulos said: "According to the demands of a globalized economy, in business activity what matters is size and a successful combination of vision, adequate management and capital strength. Today's agreement with MIG covers all these preconditions and marks a new period of intense growth for Vivartia which aims to become one of the leading companies of its kind in the world".
Vgenopoulos said: "I believe that our common vision with the management of Vivartia and the combination of skills and capital, creats the right preconditions to promote shareholders' interest for both companies".
Vivartia was founded in September 2006 after the merger between Delta Holdings, Delta Dairies, Chipita, Goody's and General Foods-Barba Stathis. Vivartia is the leader in the Greek food market with 26 production units and employing around 13,000 people. Its activities expand in 29 countries.
Marfin aims to become the biggest holding company in Southeastern Europe, to maximize its value and to systematically pay a high dividend to shareholders. It recently successfully completed a share capital increase plan raising 5.2 billion euros.
 Greece has low prices on tobacco, high prices on dairy productsGreece has the lowest prices on tobacco products in the European Union, although the country has high prices on dairy products (milk, cheeses) and eggs, a report by Eurostat said on Friday.
The EU executive's statistics agency said tobacco product prices in Greece reached 73 percent of average community prices last year, with Latvia at 28 pct and the UK at 205 percent.
Greek prices on cheese, milk and eggs reached 138 percent of the EU average, with 67 pct in Poland and 139 pct in Cyprus, while prices on bread and cereals were at 95 pct of the EU average in Greece with 41 pct in Bulgaria and 150 percent in Denmark. Greek prices on meat reached 91 pct of the EU average with 48 pct in Bulgaria and 149 pct in Denmark, while on alcohol drinks Greek prices totaled 109 pct of EU average with 69 pct in Bulgaria and 181 pct in Ireland.
Eurostat said price differences on food and non-alcohol drinks ranged from 142 pct of the EU average in Denmark and 125 pct in Ireland to 56 pct in Bulgaria and 64 pct in Lithuania.
 Greek stocks jump 1.66 percent on FridayGreek stocks surged to new 7-1/2 year highs on Friday, with the composite index rising 1.66 percent to end at 5,104.23 points and turnover a strong 556.36 million euros.
Sector indices moved higher, with the Food/Beverage (2.57 pct), Healthcare (2.47 pct) and Industrial Products (2.38 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while the Chemicals index (0.45 pct) was the only one to suffer losses.
The Big Cap index jumped 1.72 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.88 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 0.22 pct.
Imperio (19.23 pct), Iaso (9.85 pct) and Kri-Kri (9.84 pct) were top gainers, while Ideal (19.71 pct), Epilektos (4.07 pct) and Logismos (3.75 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 171 to 100 with another 37 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.37%
Personal & Household: +2.25%
Raw Materials: +1.83%
Travel & Leisure: +0.95%
Food & Beverages: +2.57%
Financial Services: +1.19%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 24.88
Public Power Corp (PPC): 22.78
HBC Coca Cola: 34.30
Hellenic Petroleum: 11.74
Emporiki Bank: 21.18
National Bank of Greece: 45.14
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 27.22
Titan Cement Company: 44.48
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market eased to 2.508 billion euros on Friday, of which 1.327 billion were buy orders and the remaining 1.181 billion euros were sell orders.
The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) remained the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 710 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.22 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.85 pct and the German Bund 4.63 percent.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved higher. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.08 percent, the two-day rate 4.08 pct, the one-month rate 4.10 pct and the 12-month rate rose to 4.59 pct from 4.53 pct on Thursday.
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices remained divided between a discount and a premium in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, while turnover was a steady 151.943 million euros.
The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.99 percent while the July contract on the FTSE 20 index at a premium of 0.56 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 8,191 contracts worth 110.171 million euros, with 41,911 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 826 contracts worth 27.483 million euros, with 1,574 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,340 contracts worth 14.268 million euros, with investment interest focusing on ATEbank's contracts (1,143), followed by Eurobank (327), PPC (553), National Bank (571), Alpha Bank (980), Intracom (675), Intralot (321), Postal Savings Bank (200) and Marfin Popular Bank (1,006).
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday-MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.389
Pound sterling 0.683
Danish kroner 7.501
Swedish kroner 9.229
Japanese yen 170.03
Swiss franc 1.671
Norwegian kroner 7.976
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.452
Australian dollar 1.600
 Gloomy assessment of damages caused by Larisa fire; fires in Halkidiki under controlOver 2,100 hectares of forest and scrub land, mainly pinewood, were destroyed by the recent fire in the municipalities of Aghia and Melivia in the prefecture of Larisa, central Greece while the damage caused is estimated to reach 5.5 million euros.
The local government will request financial support to proceed with the necessary interventions in the damaged areas and compensate the affected farmers and stockbreeders based on the findings of a special committee formed at the initiative of the Larisa Prefecture to record the devastation caused by the fire that killed two people. The local government intends to proceed immediately with the construction of anti-flooding projects to prevent damages caused by rainfall.
The Larisa Prefecture has already requested emergency funds of 1.5 million euros, while two days ago the interior ministry announced that the affected municipalities will receive emergency financial support of 300,000 euros.
Meanwhile, the two fires that were caused by lightning and broke out earlier in the morning in the region of Mount Athos in the Peninsula of Halkidiki, northern Greece, have been placed under control with the help of a firefighting helicopter.
Another fire in the region of Kallandra, Halkidiki which was also caused by lightning, is under control as well.
 Coral Sea senior officers to appear before investigating magistrate on MondayThe Croatian captain of the Bahamas-flagged freighter "Coral Sea", on which 51 kilos and 595 grams of cocaine were found on Thursday, as well as the Lithuanian second mate and the Filippino boatswain were brought before a public prosecutor in the coastal city of Egio, in the Peloponnese on Friday, and were given time to prepare their pleas before an investigating magistrate on Monday. All three are being kept in custody by port authorities in Egio. The value of the drugs seized is about five million euros.
The remaining 24 members of the crew were released after making their testimonies.
Port officials are continuing their investigations with the purpose of detecting both the senders and the recipients of the large quantity of cocaine, while it is believed that an international drug-trafficking ring is behind the affair.
The vessel had sailed from Ecuador with a crew of 27 foreigners and, before sailing into the port of Egio, it had left a port in Italy with a cargo of bananas. Its final destination was a port in Croatia.
In a related development, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis congratulated Harbour Authority chief Vice Admiral Ilias Sionidis, as well as the staff of the ministry's Security Department and of the Egio Harbour Corps that had participated with absolute success in detecting and confiscating the drugs.
The minister said that "the high sense of responsibility shown during the performing of their duties by the staff of the Harbour Authority has dealt yet another great blow against drug traffickers. Yesterday's (Thursday) success shows in practice the effective guarding and full shielding both of the main and regional ports of the country through the Harbour Authorities."
 Delphi Centre ancient drama conference explores role of womenThe European Cultural Centre of Delphi (ECCD) is organising a two-day conference this weekend at the eponymous site in mountainous central Greece focusing on the theme of "The Tragic Heroine as a Symbol in Modern Society", an event capping off the two-week-long 8th International Conference on Ancient Drama, which included numerous theatrical performances, roundtable discussions and presentations at the Centre by artists from around the world. Women's role in western and non-western society is the sub-theme of the series of events at the Delphi Centre, which lies just outside the boundaries of the renowned archaeological site of Delphi, considered by the ancient Greeks as the sacred "navel of the world" during antiquity.
The conference is co-sponsored by the Athens-based Research Center for Gender Equality (KEThI), with an international panel of distinguished speakers scheduled to speak over the weekend. The Delphi Centre's 8th International Conference on Ancient Drama will conclude on Sunday evening with a performance of Euripides' "Medea", direction and translation by Pilar Tavora, at the centre's Phrynichos outdoor odeon.
 'Ambassadors of the Environment' programme beginning in JulyThe "Ambassadors of the Environment" model programme on environmental training, games and ecological action for children will begin in July at the Grecotel Cape Sounio hotel, for the first time at a hotel in Europe, in cooperation with Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the famous sea researcher.
According to an announcement by Grecotel, the programme appeals to children aged between 4-7 and 8-12 that are staying at the Grecotel Cape Sounio and it is composed of 12 fascinating group activities both on sea and land, each lasting about three hours.
The activities will be carried out by specially trained associates of Jean-Michel Cousteau with the assistance of the most modern marine, laboratory and electronic equipment.
The well-known environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau has founded the non-profit making organisation called Ocean Futures Society, while its main slogan is "In protecting the oceans, you are protecting yourselves" and it is trying to train people all over the world to act responsibly to protect the seas and the environment.
 Fair on SaturdayFair weather is expected throughout the country, while strong northerly winds will prevail, particularly in the Aegean Sea. Temperatures in Athens ranging between 22C and 32C and in Thessaloniki from 19C to 31C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe government work course from now on as decided in the cabinet meeting, the major fire on Skiathos and the collision involving a Suburban (Proastiakos) Railway train were the main front-page items in Friday's dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Prime Minister to ministers: tackle the people's daily life problems".
APOGEVMATINI: "Pilgrimage to Tinos before departing for Miami - The Archbishop's attendant doctors decide unanimously to proceed with liver transplant operation".
AVGHI: "Twofold responsibility for the fire on Skiathos while the government is satisfied".
AVRIANI: "The civil servant sector status quo leads the state to dangerous disarray".
CHORA: "Proastiakos-Hellenic Railways freight train head-on collision - 56 injured in downtown Athens - Major tragedy prevented at the last minute".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "The PM urges his ministers to intensify efforts in Thursday's cabinet meeting".
ELEFTHEROS: "Suspicious fires burn down Greece - Arsonists want to destabilize the country".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The 600-euro heroes - Shocking testimonies by the colleagues of the three firemen who were burned alive".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Model State - Defenceless before the fires - Train collision in the centre of Athens".
ESTIA: "Real estate property taxation - Unacceptable extension of the existing status quo".
ETHNOS: "The State fell apart in 48 hours, Karamanlis suddenly discovers daily life".
KATHIMERINI: "Government and (main opposition) PASOK are being tested - Karamanlis, Papandreou, what do they say and think".
LOGOS: "Tough message to government ministers - Karamanlis: emphasis on the people's daily life".
NIKI: "Confession of failure - Karamanlis remembered the 2004 Daily Life Charter".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Popular movement independent from New Democracy and PASOK - (Greek Communist Party) KKE general secretary press conference in Thessaloniki".
TA NEA: "The state mechanism derailed again - Head-on collision involving the Proastiakos - Skiathos was burned down".
TO VIMA: "(The ancient Greek God of the winds) Aeolus is blamed for the fires - The government spotted the culprit".
VRADYNI: "PM Karamanlis orders ministers to be on the people's side - The government focuses on daily life problems".
 President appoints four new ministersNICOSIA (CNA/MPA)
President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos appointed on Friday four new ministers, after the resignation of four members of his Cabinet in the wake of the dissolution of the tri-party coalition due to AKEL's decision to run for the presidential elections with its own General Secretary Demetris Christofias as candidate.
President Papadopoulos appointed Maria Malahtou Papalli as Minister of Communications and Works, Costas Kadis as Minister of Health, Erato Kozakou Markoulli as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Christos Patsalides as Minister of the Interior.
According to an official press release, the new ministers will be sworn in on Monday at a special ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
On Wednesday, AKEL's ministers submitted their resignations to President Papadopoulos.
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