|Wednesday, 16 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 12 September 2007 Issue No: 2695
 SYRIZA party leader Alekos Alavanos addresses Athens rallyRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos addressed the party's main rally in a downtown Athens square on Tuesday evening, ahead of Sunday's general elections, stressing certainty that "we are experiencing the swan song of two-party rule."
Alavanos refered at length to the positions of the two mainstream parties, ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK, on a strong government enjoying a majority in Parliament.
"-They want a strong government so as to be able to break their election commitments, as all the governments have done until now.
"-They want a strong government so as to be able to dismantle labour rights, to dissolve the social security system, to place the market in the universities, to revise article 24.
"-They want a strong government so that they can term those who react minorities.
"-They want a strong government so that they can continue to favour banking profiteering and the looting of the public sector.
-They want a strong government so that they can have a weak society."
Alavanos said that a strong government "means a signature on a blank piece of paper so that they can promote whatever they want," adding that "in the past there was the extortion concerning the lost vote. Now that the vote for two-party rule is considered to be the most lost one, they found the extortion of the lack of governance."
Referring to relevant statements by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the SYRIZA party leader wondered "really, who is the prime minister threatening, when he is extorting that if he does not have a majority he will take the country to the polls again? Is it maybe the thousands of new hostage contract workers who he has left out of the (interior minister Prokopis) Pavlopoulos decree?".
Criticising the PASOK party as well, Alavanos said that for 3.5 years it had "watched with perplexity SYRIZA exercising opposition to the government in Parliament and in the streets."
Alavanos added that the main opposition party "is coming once again shortly before the elections and speaks generally and vaguely of progressive majorities and post-election cooperations."
"We shall continue to cooperate widely with the people of PASOK, with all those who we found ourselves with throughout the entire previous period, but we shall not cooperate with its leadership because we cannot support the policies that we fought against harshly throughout the entire previous period," he said.
Focusing as well on the recent wildfires and on the ecological problems facing the country, Alavanos criticised both big parties, saying that "they are ecologists of conferences and of receptions, ecologists of the camera, of the balcony and of political communication."
 PM Karamanlis calls for a stable government able to take fast decisionsPrime Minister and New Democracy (ND) party president Costas Karamanlis addressed an election rally in the city of Agrinio, western Greece, on Tuesday evening, calling for a stable government that can take speedy decisions and proceed with boldness and de cisiveness in the deep changes which the country needs.
"The citizens select positively, choose for a stable course towards the future, they ask of us to take Greece forward with unity and national unanimity. The supporters of polarization have remained by themselves," Karamanlis told his audience.
He also posed to his audience the question, "should we return to yesterday, to populism and insecurity, or we will insist on progress, development, responsibility and on reforms? My faith in the judgment of the citizens is unshakable. Society is mature. T he citizens judge, compare and choose." Karamanlis again asked, as he did at Iraklio, Crete, on Monday, "for us to put down the party banners, to hoist the symbol of unity, of history and of our culture."
"Hoist the symbol of our common struggles, the Greek flag. Our flag reminds that there are targets which exceed party dividing lines and that there are common targets, national targets. We can make these targets practice, if understanding prevails instea d of conflicts," Karamanlis emphasised.
Making an account of his party's governance, Karamanlis said that as of March 2004 "we had in front of us two roads: on the one hand populism and on the other responsibility. On one hand the hiding of the problems and on the other, the struggle for their solution. On one hand stagnation and decline and on the other, changes and reforms. We chose the difficult road. The road which leads with certainty and security to development and progress. We chose the policy of changes and of reforms."
The prime minister committed himself that all the "adjustments which the government has submitted for the abolition of injustices of the past will be voted immediately" and noted that these will be basic elements in the next budget, which will be implemen ted before the four-year period since March 2004 will be completed.
The ruling ND came to power after winning the March 2004 general elections.
Specifically, he said, "we are setting up a national social cohesion fund for the support of the poorer households, we are granting from early 2008 the subsidy for large families, we are increasing the unemployment subsidy and the farmers' pensions and a new salary is being voted in favor of the Armed Forces and the Security Corps."
Premier Karamanlis referred at length to the government's policy for the strengthening of the regions. He noted that within the national strategic framework, 80% of the national and EU funds are being promoted for the regions and underlined that "it is so mething which is happening for the first time and which radically changes the Greek regions. In the new period, fully implemented will be the greatest public works projects which the country has ever experienced: the Ionian highway, the Central Greece E65 motorway, the great motorways of the Peloponnese, the compeletion of the Egnatia Highway," in northern Greece.
 PASOK party leader Papandreou addresses rally in KozaniMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing a rally in Kozani in western Macedonia on Tuesday night, appealed to voters to vote for a "progressive, effective, capable and creative government" in Sunday's general elections in the count ry.
Papandreou insisted once again on appealing to voters of a leftist origin, saying that "Sunday's victory will be the victory of all the forces of democracy, progress and of the left."
Papandreou said that PASOK guarantees national revival, national consensus, the national awakening and the unity of the Greeks, as well as the rebuilding of all that the country has lost and, indeed, even better than it was before.
Responding to slogans shouted by the audience, the leader of PASOK stressed his differences from the way with which Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis ruled the country, placing emphasis on the phrase "I will not hide at the Maximos Mansion, I will always b e close to you."
Papandreou stressed that Sunday "is the time for the great decision and for the crucial vote. No vote must be lost, he said, adding that "a new contract with the people will be signed on Sunday and an end will be put to misery and decline and to those who wanted to take the country back to the past."
He then outlined what he called dilemmas in Sunday's elections that include:
"-A democratic and progressive party or a right wing and conservative party.
"-PASOK or New Democracy in government.
"-A PASOK government or poverty, a high cost of living, unemployment and insecurity.
"-A PASOK government or going back to middle ages labour conditions.
"-A PASOK government or an increase in VAT to 21 percent and an upsurge in the high cost of living.
-A PASOK government or the collapse of the social state and the dissolution of public education and of the National Health System."
"The reply to these dilemmas is one and only:a PASOK government, a government of a new change, of confidence, of hope and of prospects," he said.
 LA.OS leader holds press conference at TIFPopular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis addressed a press conference during his visit at the 72nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Tuesday, claiming that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis "will not oppose with a veto Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) accession to NATO and the European Union."
The prime minister, Karatzaferis said, "has not convinced on his intentions. I do not question his patriotism. I question his handlings," of the issue.
He termed as "blackmailing the dilemma 'majority party government or new elections' put forward by the prime minister," saying that there were no impasses in democracy.
Regarding main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Karatzaferis said the former had delayed "his finishing performace".
 Democratic Revival party leader addresses election rally in LarissaStelios Papathemelis, leader of the out-of-Parliament Democratic Revival party, made an address in the city of Larissa, in central Greece, on Tuesday evening outlining his party's steadfast positions on national, foreign policy, public administration and educational issues.
Papathemelis, who stressed that he is linked with the local agricultural population with bonds of friendship and relations of mutual trust, reiterated his conviction that his party will pass the election limit (a party has to garner at least 3 percent of votes nationwide to be able to enter Parliament) and it will be represented in Parliament.
 School year officially kicks off throughout GreeceSchools and school children momentarily stole the spotlight from the elections on Tuesday morning, as parents and youngsters throughout the country attended the blessings traditionally held on the first day of the school year and children received their n ew books.
Several political party leaders also put in an appearance at several schools, such as the visit paid by main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou to the 12th & 16th state school in Stavroupolis, Thessaloniki or the visit paid by Coalition of the R adical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos to the Nea Penteli high school.
Education minister Marietta Yannakou attended the blessing at Athens' 13th state primary school and wished teachers and pupils a good year, stressing that "school life is, as Kavafis said, a long journey, an adventure", adding that this adventure would be shared with their parents and teachers.
Schools in the fire-stricken Peloponnese also opened as normal on Tuesday, while according to the regional director for education in the Peloponnese Nikos Marabeas the unfilled staff positions were minimal and would be filled in the next few days.
The return to the classrooms also prompted a revival of labour disputes in the teaching profession, meanwhile, with nursery and primary school teachers holding a symbolic march toward Parliament on Tuesday to demand that two years of pre-school education be made mandatory. Nursery school teachers were also against the introduction of a longer school day that they said did not take into account the needs of pre-school children and their teachers.
The primary teachers' union DOE also held a press conference about the unfilled teaching positions at the start of the school year, noting that primary schools and kidnergartens were missing 4,000 regular staff and about 7,000 substitute teachers paid by the hour that were needed for the smooth running of extended-day schools. These shortages would lead to thousands of lost teaching hours, the union stressed.
The year also started with a protest - this time a musical one - at the Pylea Musical School in Thessaloniki where parents and children turned up bearing banners and drums to demand that the state sort out shortages in teaching staff and books.
 Education minister attends school-year opening in AthensEducation minister Marietta Yannakou attended the traditional blessing for the commencement of the new school year on Tuesday at Athens' 13th public grade school, and wished teachers and pupils a good year, stressing that "school life is, as Kavafis said, a long journey, an adventure", adding that this adventure would be shared with their parents and teachers.
She said the new school year was opening with optimism, adding that the education ministry was making every effort so that no pupil would be lacking in knowledge due to vacancies or deficiencies.
 PASOK leader attends school year opening in ThessalonikiMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou attended the blessing for the start of the new school year on Tuesday at the 12th and 16th public schools in Stavroupolis, Thessaloniki.
Papandreou wished the pupils and their teachers a "good and creative school year", and assured them that he would be at their side in their struggles for better conditions and prospects.
"Education is my top priority. The children are the most precious posession of the family and the country. The state must stand at their sides, give them a sense of security, and prospects and opportunities to allow them to keep their smiles, their beauty and their hopes," Papandreou said.
Later, he visted the PASOK local organisation in Stavroupolis and also spoke with residents and shopowners.
 KKE leader addresses secondary school teachersCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga addressed teachers of the 2nd Gymnasium-Lyceum in the Athens district of Galatsi, as the new school year kicked off throughout the country on Tuesday, voicing severe criticism of school book s.
"School books contain many irrational, anachronistic and anti-scientific ideas," she said, criticising at the same time "the methods of teaching emanating from these books."
"It is the so-called anglo-saxon system which is currently met with strong reaction even in the countries of its origin," she claimed.
Papariga told her audience that the new year will be more difficult "because the real value of their incomes is decreasing" and reiterated her party's proposal for a minimum salary of 1,700 euros in the sector.
She noted that if schools came under the authority of local government institutions (OTA), labour relations in the teachers' sector would change radically, and teachers would be hired by OTA.
 Alavanos attends school year opening in Nea Penteli, AthensCoalition of the Radical Left, SYRIZA, leader Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday reiterated his pledge to fight for Education while addressing students at the Nea Penteli High School on the first day of the new school year.
Alavanos stressed the need for students to become active in environment protection-related issues while urging them to maintain teamwork spirit.
Alavanos wished the students a good school year, stressing that his party will work hard to ensure that the sector of Education will be funded with 5 percent of the GDP, consolidate the state's obligation to offer 14-year education from the kindergarten t o secondary education, guarantee vocational training and dignified salaries for teaching personnel and teamwork spirit in education.
 ND spokesman accuses PASOK of 'rejecting political dialogue'Ruling New Democracy party spokesman Constantine Arvanitopoulos on Tuesday slammed main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou for his refusal to admit that the present government had taken any positive measures at all while in power, accusing him of " rejecting political dialogue".
According to Arvanitopoulos, Papandreou had been repeatedly asked to name one positive achievement of the present government and had failed to mention even one.
"This attempt to nullify and devalue the government's work, this disaster-mongering and acrimony, show a lack of positions, rejection of political dialogue but chiefly demonstrate PASOK's unreliability," he underlined.
The main opposition would be answered by Greek citizens who knew and were able to judge what the government had achieved over the past 3.5 years, the spokesman added.
He also went on to list 50 measures and achievements of the government since its election, starting with the reduction of the public deficit to 2.6 percent of GDP in 2006 from an estimated 7.9 percent of GDP in 2004 and the reduction of unemployment from 11.3 percent in the first trimester of 2004 to 7.7 percent in May 2007.
In addition, Arvanitopoulos pointed to progress in major public works like the doubling of the Athens metro, completion of the Egnatia highway within 2008, start of work on building a metro for Thessaloniki and the drawing up of the largest public works p rogramme in the history of the country with a budget of 17.6 billion euros, 80 percent of which was destined to be spent in Greek regions.
 Caretaker interior minister briefs President on election preparationsCaretaker interior minister Spyros Flogaitis on Tuesday called on President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, whom he briefed on progress in preparations for Sunday's general elections.
Flogaitis told reporters afterwards that preparations were progressing smoothly, adding that everything was being prepared properly, particularly in the fire-stricken regions, and expressed belief that elections would be carried out orderly, as demanded b y the Constitution and desired by the Greek people.
 PM confers with ND Europarliamentarians' headPrime minister Costas Karamanlis met Tuesday morning with the head of his ruling New Democracy (ND) party's Europarliamentarians Ioannis Varvitsiotis.
After the meeting, Varvitsiotis told waiting reporters that he was certain that ND would emerge the winner in Sunday's general elections.
"Having actively taken part in 14-15 elections, I see Monday finding us, with Costas Karamanlis, easily a majority government," Varvitsiotis said.
 PM meets with ND secretaryPrime minister Costas Karamanlis met Tuesday with his ruling New Democracy (ND) party's secretary Lefteris Zagoritis.
No statements were made after the meeting.
 Resolution proposes fewer MEPs per member-state after 2009BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Spinthourakis)
The number of MEPs representing most individual member-states in the European Parliament is set to be cut back after 2009 if a proposal tabled in the EuroParliament's Committee for Institutional Affairs on Tuesday is approved. Under the new rules, Greece will be represented by 22 instead of the current 24 MEPs, while Germany will lose three (96 instead of 99 today), France four (74 instead of 78) and Britain five (73 instead of 78).
In order to be adopted, the proposal must be adopted by the EuroParliament plenum and then unanimously by the EU member-states. The change follows the addition of Romania and Bulgaria to the now 27-member EU and seeks to keep the number of MEPs at 750 in total.
According to the proposal, no member-state will have more than 96 MEPs and none less than six.
This means that the smallest EU member-states such as Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Estonia will each have six MEPs in the European Parliament.
Based on the proposals, each German MEP will represent 858,729 people, each French MEP will represent 849,811 people, each British MEP 827,699 people, each Greek 505,682 people, each Cypriot MEP 127,667 people and each Maltese MEP 67,333 people.
 Public Real Estate Corp signs agreement with fire-ravaged ZacharoThe Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation, HPREC, on Tuesday announced that it was speeding up procedures for the sale and development of state-owned real estate within the limits of the fire-ravaged municipality of Zacharo in the Peloponnesian prefectu re of Ilia, taking under consideration the local community's wishes and needs.
The HPREC reached this decision within the framework of the policy adopted by the ministry of finance and economy following the recent disastrous fires in the country.
An agreement will be signed for investments in a 2,593,041.80 sqm-state-owned property while an additional 780 real estate properties in the wider region will also be exploited. The municipality of Zacharo will be the recipient of 75 percent of all result ing revenues while the investments made are expected to boost local tourism through the creation of high-quality tourist facilities and recreation grounds.
 3rd Business Forum in ThessalonikiIn 20 years' time "rush hours" and traffic congestion in the centres of big cities are expected to be a thing of the past, since fewer and fewer working people will be working with a specific timetable and by being present in their offices. Moreover, envi ronmental pollution will necessitate a decrease in travel in cars in the centres of cities.
This was stressed on Tuesday at the 3rd Business Forum of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in Thessaloniki by Richard Reeves, the owner of an international business research and consulting company, who has been termed by the "Guardian" newspaper as being "the greatest expert on labour environment issues in Europe."
According to Reeves, on a scale from 1 to 10, if the working man goes higher by even one level, as regards the satisfaction he derives from his work, this is tantamount to a salary increase of up to 50 percent, according to past research conducted in the United States.
 Visitors at 72nd TIF increase by 25 percent on 3rd dayThe number of visitors at the 72nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) increased by 25 percent, compared to last year, on the third day of its operation on Monday, 10 September, according to an announcement issued on Tuesday by the HELEXPO SA organising company.
Specifically, the number of visitors at the Fair on Monday amounted to 20,800 as against 16,631 last year.
Consequently, the upward trend registered over the first two days of the Fair (September 8-9), when it was visited by 51,428 people compared to 50,344 over the corresponding period last year, has continued.
 'Energon 2007' energy exhibition to be held in Thrace in NovemberThe Thessaloniki Chamber of Light Industry will take part in the first energy exhibition "ENERGON 2007", which will take place from November 8-11, at the International Exhibition Centre of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
Those interested in taking part in the exhibition must apply by September 21 at the latest.
The exhibits will concern conventional sources of energy (lignite, oil, anthrax, petroleum products) and renewable sources of energy (hydro-electric, Aeolian, geothermic, solar energy), natural gas, electricity, heating, refrigeration. air conditioning, s ecurity systems, electronic and electronic tools, machines and the production, conversion and transfer of energy.
 Dionysos Leisure unveils public offer to acquire remaining stake in RegencyDionysos Leisure Entertainment on Tuesday made a public offer to acquire the remaining 18.3839 percent of shares in Regency Entertainment SA (Hyatt) at a price of 11.92 euros per share.
Dionysos Leisure is owned by TBU-4 International SA, a company based in Luxembourg, indirectly owned by investments funds managed by BC Partners Limited, a UK-based private equity fund.
Regency Entertainment's equity capital totaled 30,240,000 euros, divided into 84 million nominal voting shares of a price of 0.36 euros per share. Dionysos owns directly 81.6161 percent in Regency.
 PASOK spokesman on VAT, tax policyMain opposition PASOK spokesman Yiannis Raggousis charged on Tuesday that the New Democracy (ND) government intended to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) if it won this Sunday's general elections.
"The government does not say that an increase of VAT is out of the question, because it obviously intends to increase it," he told reporters.
"[The] fiscal stability [claimed by the government] exists only in words and has nothing to do with real economy, otherwise the prime minister could have said last Thursday (during the political party leaders' televised debate) that he could predict what would occur in the Greek economy after one or two years," Raggousis added.
Referring to the ND's pledges concerning taxation on big properties, the PASOK spokesman asked: "What rationale for guaranteeing state budget revenues imposes the exemption of rich people from paying taxes?"
 Athens hotels report higher occupancy rates in JulyRoom occupancy rates in hotels located in the wider Athens area rose in July, official figures showed on Tuesday.
A report by the Association of Athens' Hoteliers said five-star hotels recorded an 1.6 pct increase in occupancy rates, three-star hotels were up 3.9 pct, four-star hotels rose 0.4 pct and two-star hotels rose 0.7 pct in July, compared with the same month last year.
The report said average occupancy rates rose 5.7 pct in July, average room price was up 5.5 pct and average revenue per available room jumped 11.6 percent over the same month, compared with other European capitals' hotels.
Average occupancy rates were better compared with Madrid, Rome, Vienna, Berlin and Munich, but lower compared with London, Amsterdam, Paris, Istanbul and Barcelona.
 Building activity down 5.6 pct in Jan-June, yr/yrBuilding activity fell by 3.0 percent in permits and by 5.6 pct in volume in the first six months of 2007, compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.
NSS said building activity, measured by permits, fell in most regions of the country, with the exception of Thessaly (up 1.0 pct), Epirus (up 0.5 pct), northern Aegean (up 2.8 pct) and Crete (up 3.8 pct).
Central Macedonia (14.1 pct) Ionian islands (7.9 pct), Peloponese (2.1 pct) and Attica (1.7 pct) recorded the biggest percentage declines.
 Centric Multimedia completes sale of 23-mln-euro bond issueCentric Multimedia on Tuesday announced the successful completion of the issuance and sale of a non-negotiable convertible bond loan worth 23 million euros, through a private placement.
The five-year bond loan comprises of 460 anonymous bonds worth 50,000 euros each at a convertible price of 2.48 euros per share. The bond issue carries an interest rate of Euribor plus 2.0 pct annually. Merit Securities acted as consultant and manager of the issue.
Meanwhile, SEE Sports Ltd (a Centric Multimedia subsidiary based in Malta) acquired Morna Investments (based in the Marshall islands) for 22.5 million euros. The purchase was fully covered by the proceeds of the bond issue. Morna Investments owns Flyer SA (based in Panama), a joint venture partner of Sporting BET plc.
 Greek stocks end 0.98 pct higher on TuesdayGreek stocks rebounded on Tuesday pushing the composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange at 4,838.51 points, up 0.98 percent. Turnover, however, remained a subdued 238.85 million euros.
Most sectors moved higher with the Utilities (2.91 pct), Food/Beverage (2.58 pct) and Telecommunications (0.78 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while the Insurance (1.13 pct), Media (0.89 pct) and Industrial Products (0.52 pct) suffer ed losses.
The Big Cap index rose 0.80 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.45 pct higher and the Small Cap index fell 0.33 pct.
Klonatex (10 pct), Galis (9.09 pct) and Tzirakian (9.09 pct) were top gainers, while Ideal (9.72 pct), ANEK (8.64 pct) and Athina ATE (6.59 pct) were top losers. Broadly, advancers slightly outnumbered decliners by 118 to 115 with another 65 issues unchan ged.
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market eased to 1.854 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 906 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 948 million were sell orders.
The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 435 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds rose to 0.35 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.46 pct and the Ger man Bund 4.09 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved higher. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.10 pct from 4.00 pct on Monday, the two-day rate rose to 4.20 pct from 4.00 pct, the one-month rate was 4.45 pct and the 12-month rate rose to 4.75 pct from 4.70 pct.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.18%
Personal & Household: +0.32%
Raw Materials: +0.27%
Travel & Leisure: +0.52%
Food & Beverages: +2.58%
Financial Services: +0.76%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 23.34
Public Power Corp (PPC): 22.50
HBC Coca Cola: 37.20
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.32
Emporiki Bank: 20.10
National Bank of Greece: 43.06
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 24.44
Titan Cement Company: 34.64
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices maintained their discounts in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with a turnover of 132.424 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.53 percent and the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.50 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 7,805 contracts worth 99.560 million euros, with 44,650 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 237 contracts worth 7.381 million euros, with 1,255 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts one equities totaled 15,055 contracts worth 25.482 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (2,653), followed by MIG (598), PPC (612), Piraeus Bank (576), National Bank (595), Alpha Ba nk (1,721), Intracom (1,875) and Motor Oil (892).
 Foreign Exchange Rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.393
Pound sterling 0.685
Danish kroner 7.506
Swedish kroner 9.394
Japanese yen 158.57
Swiss franc 1.653
Norwegian kroner 7.914
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.458
Australian dollar 1.684
 'Where is the art?' opens in AthensWith a fresh new look at the artistic process and the relationship between the artist and his public, the exhibition "Where is the art?" kicks off in and around Athens on Tuesday evening at 20:30 with the opening of a central exhibition at Myllerou 22 in Keramikos and the installation of artworks in public spaces throughout the city centre. Organisers have described it as an "interactive artistic experiment" and an "artistic adventure" that coincides with the 2007 Athens Biennial "Destroy Athens".
The aim of this experiment is to change the viewer's preconceptions about contemporary art that are linked with the way that art is presented as a finished product of the creative process in the environment of a "white cube" that is a museum or a gallery.
'Where is the art?' intends to present the entire creative process, revealing all its individual stages and the structures that determine it, exposing all the artists' tools (sketches, preliminary work and materials) to public view.
The 47 artists of different ethnic backgrounds that are taking part in the project will open their studios to the public and give viewers the chance to explore the spaces in which creative work takes place and art is ultimately born.
At the same time, finished artworks will be installed in public spaces which will inject the element of surprise into the relationship between art and its viewers or passers-by.
Also part of the project are the 'Bar Station' that opens from noon to midnight at Efpatridon 7 in Gazi on September 12-23 and film screenings on September 24-25 at the ReMap KM theatre on Iasonos Road, Keramikos.
The opening exhibition at Myllerou 22 will run until September 15, while from September 12 until September 23 the public will also be able to visit the open studios of some 47 artists based in central Athens from 17:00 until 21:00.
 Thessaloniki to sell Mytara painting to raise money for fire victimsThessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos on Tuesday announced that the municipality will hold an auction for the sale of a painting by artist Dimitris Mytaras with an estimated value above 15,000 euros in order to raise money for the victims of the re cent devastating fires in the Peloponnese and Evia.
The painting depicting St. Demetrius was donated to the municipality for this purpose by the artist himself.
The money raised by the auction will be paid into a special account set up by the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), where more than 2.5 million euros have already been collected.
 Illegal migrants intercepted off Samos islandTwenty five illegal migrants were arrested by coast guard officers in waters off Cape Praso on the southeast Aegean island of Samos on Tuesday.
A total of 18 males, 5 females and 2 infants from Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon were spotted on a small boat at dawn.
Coast guard officers rushed to their assistance and took them to Samos Hospital for precautionary medical tests before leading them to a special reception centre operating on the island.
 Three-year-old seriously injured by car in school playgroundA three-year-old girl was seriously injured on Tuesday when she was hit by a car driven by a teacher within a school playground in the 2nd Primary School of Chrysoupolis. The girl had accompanied her mother and elder brother, who were at the school for th e blessing ceremony held at the start of the school year.
The teacher had parked her car within the school playground and was asked to move it by the headmaster. In her attempt to remove the car she hit the little girl and then, according to witnesses, she abandoned it.
The child was initially taken to the Kavala Prefecture General Hospital where she was intubated and taken to the paediatric ward of Thessaloniki's Ippokration Hospital by ambulance. Doctors at Kavala hospital said she had suffered to her head and thorax.
The teacher responsible for the accident was arrested and charged with a hit-and-run, while she is due to appear before a first-instance court public prosecutor in accordance with the procedure for offenders caught in the act.
According to Chrysoupolis mayor Savvas Mihailidis, the teacher had arrived early and parked her car within the school playground, even though there was a large car park outside the school.
 Partly cloudy on WednesdayPartly cloudy weather with westerly, southwesterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Wednesday with wind velocity reaching 5-6 beaufort. Scattered showers in northeastern Greece in the morning. Temperatures will range between 10C and 31C. Mostl y fair with scattered cloud in the afternoon in Athens, with northwesterly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 17C to 30C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 25C.
 Papadopoulos: initiatives underway towards a solutionNICOSIA (CNA/MPA-ANA)
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said that already initiatives towards a political settlement have been undertaken.
He also said that the insistence of the UN Security Council and significant states to implement a UN-brokered agreement with the Turkish Cypriot community "will yield results.''
Speaking at a televised interview here Tuesday evening, the president called for unity, stressing that the only enemy is the Turkish occupation army.
"Unfortunately there was no positive outcome at my recent meeting with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community because the necessary political will to implement the agreement was not there. We shall not be disappointed, nor shall we relinquish our eff orts irrespective of the difficulties," he said.
The president said that he believed that the worst has been avoided when a UN-proposed solution plan (the Annan plan) was rejected.
"We have overcome the difficulties we had to face in the period following the referendum on the Annan plan through our initiatives," he said, adding that Turkey did not achieve its goal to have the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus recogni zed.
Cyprus, he went on to add in his opening remarks, has strengthened its status by joining the European Union and the forthcoming membership of the Euro zone will bring important economic and political benefits in Cyprus.
"We have managed to improve our finances, we have put our house in order, enlarge the social role of the state, strengthened social cohesion and promoted institutional changes. We are improving the quality of life for every citizen," he said.
Papadopoulos pointed out that not everything has been rectified nor is everything perfect but there have been many and significant steps towards progress.
"What we have achieved so far proves in practice that we can and shall achieve even more. We shall continue on our course, a sure path forward," he said.
Concluding his opening remarks, the president called on all citizens to stay away from fanaticism that divides people.
"History teaches us that division can only bring bad things to the country and to our struggle. We have to safeguard our unity as the most valuable basis of our struggle. There are no enemies among us. The enemy is one: the Turkish occupation army. The op ponents in the political arena and in elections are only political opponents with different positions and not enemies," he said.
Finally, he urged people to deal with all presidential candidates with due respect, saying that each candidate has something to propose.
"Everybody has something to offer to the country and their intention is to do just that. Citizens have to listen to the positions, proposals and arguments of the candidates and judge for themselves," he added.
 Cyprus-Malta to work together to combat illegal immigrationNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Talks between Cyprus and Malta on Tuesday focused on the need for joint action to deal with the increasing number of illegal immigrants that flood these two countries, which joined the European Union in May 2004.
"We have compared notes and experiences and talked about working together within the EU, as we face similar problems and illegal immigration is not a Cypriot or a Maltese problem but a European one," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and Home Affairs of Malta Tonio Borg said after a meeting with Interior Minister Christos Patsalides.
Borg said that European assistance on this matter should move from mere financial aid to something more concrete, pointing out that "burden sharing" is ultimately the real alternative to dealing with this problem.
He said he also discussed the FRONTEX operations in different areas in Europe, which help highlight the human tragedy of illegal immigration in central Mediterranean.
Some 600 persons die every year on Europe's doorstep trying to cross from Libya to Malta or Sicily, he added.
"We believe we should cooperate more within the EU at the political level to give a Mediterranean vision or dimension of things, which is extremely important in the same way that other regions give a Scandinavian or Balkan vision," he pointed out.
Interior Minister said Cyprus and Malta, being island states, share common concerns, in particular illegal immigration issues following EU accession.
"We have agreed to strengthen our cooperation within the EU to ensure that our problems, when it comes to illegal immigration, can be tackled through our own proposals and solution as well," he added.
The objective is to operate correctly and effectively within the EU, bearing always in mind the peculiarities of both countries, since both have become a magnet for illegal immigrants.
"I have explained that the most significant problem Cyprus is facing comes from the northern Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, when people try to cross into the southern government controlled part of the island," Patsalides said, adding that in this respect Nicosia is seeking support from Malta.
Earlier Tuesday the Maltese official was received by President Tassos Papadopoulos, with whom he also discussed immigration issues.
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