|Sunday, 15 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-11-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 6 November 2007 Issue No: 2741
 Greek budget to be tabled to parliament November 20, FinMin saysThe Greek government will table next year's budget to parliament on November 20, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday.
Spearking to reporters, the Greek minister said the economy was moving according to the government's program, including growth rates and employment rates. Alogoskoufis noted that growth outlook was ensured for the next two-three years, both from activity in the private sector and large public sector projects. Com-menting on a fiscal consolidation effort, the Greek minister said things are always difficult but the consolidation effort will continue.
He reminded that it was Greece's legal commitment to continue efforts towards reducing its fiscal deficit by 0.5 percent of GDP annually. Alogoskoufis said next year's budget was drafted aiming to continue fiscal consolidation and strong growth rates. He aso said the 2008 budget will include implementation of a second phase of tax factors cut, completion of a Third Community Support Framework program and beginning of the Fourth Community Support Framework program.
The Greek minister said the government will table to parliament two draft legislations this month, one on the National Social Cohesion Fund and another on promoting the third phase of tax reform.
 FM Dora Bakoyannis outlines Greek foreign policy at LSELONDON (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis outlined Greek foreign policy positions on a wide range of issues during the annual address at the 'Eleftherios Venizelos' Chair of Contemporary Greek Studies Observatory of the London School of Economics (LSE) on Monday.
Bakoyannis, who is on a two-day working visit to London, said on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name that Greece went to the negotiating table under the auspices of the UN with a clear aim, a mutually acceptable, composite, solution.
The minister added that this reflects the letter and the spirit of the resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the 1995 Interim Agreement.
"We showed our good intention. Now, our friends in Skopje must also cover some distance," she further said.
No military alliance and no partnership relation, Bakoyannis stressed, can exist without mutual trust and relations of good neighbourliness.
"Skopje has one path to NATO and the European Union: the path of the mutually acceptable solution," she noted.
Speaking before an audience of professors and students, the British and Greek press and representatives of the Financial Times that jointly organised the event, the head of the Greek diplomacy underlined that the name issue is not one of a psychological or a sentimental nature, but an issue of relations of good neighbourliness.
"Macedonia is a broader geographical region of which more than 50 per cent belongs to Greece. Two-and-a-half millions Greeks , among them Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, feel proud of being Macedonians," Bakoyannis noted.
"The pan-macedonian theory, she added, which Skopje is attempting to fabricate in order to support its identity and its provocative acts constitutes an anachronism." She pointed out that FYROM is using the language of the 19th century and it wants to be understood in the 21st.
She also said that Greece has shown its good disposition repeatedly, with political and economic support for the neighbouring country, saying that Greek investments there exceed one billion euros.
Referring to Kosovo, Bakoyannis said that the region's stability concerns all. It is a European problem that must have a European solution. She added that a viable solution must not be put at risk for the sake of an arbitrarily predetermined timetable and warned that the game is being played in a multipartite fashion and every unilateral initiative could threaten longterm stability.
On the question of Serbia, she said that it is a country of vital importance for stability in the Balkans and that European prospects are the only vehicle with which this country will overcome the burdens of the past, expressing support for the signing of the Stability and Association Agreement with the EU.
As regards relations with Turkey, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece's support for its European orientation on condition that it will adjust to the EU's institutional, political and economic realities, saying that "there is no Europe a la carte."
Commenting on Turkey's military activity in the Aegean, she said that it remains a serious concern for Greece, while insisting on the implementation of religious freedoms as part of the EU acquis communautaire and expressed "disappointment" over Ankara's refusal to recognise the title of the Ecumenical Patriarch and to permit the reopening of the Halki School of Theology.
Referring to the issue of Cyprus, the minister said that Greece wants a just and viable solution, adding that partition is no option. On the finding of a solution, she said that what must be taken into joint consideration is the work accomplished by the UN, International Law, Security Council resolutions and the EU acquis communautaire.
Focusing next on the Middle East issue, Bakoyannis said that she looks forward with confidence to the present process of direct talks for the promotion of a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and to the upcoming Annapolis conference in the United States.
As regards Iran, she called on the EU to make mediation efforts to cover the rift separating the country from the international community, saying that "we cannot afford to fail."
Lastly, Bakoyannis spoke of the significance of climatic changes and their repercussions on the more sensitive regions and on categories of populations on the planet, stressing that it is an issue lying at the centre of Greek development policy and the Greek presidency, this year, of the Human Security Network.
The foreign minister's speech was delivered in honour of veteran Greek diplomat Vyron Theodoropoulos.
After meeting her British counterpart David Miliband on Tuesday and the joint statements that are expected to follow, Bakoyannis will be meeting with the British Committee for the Return of the Perthenon Marbles, while afterwards she will be leaving for Oxford to make an address at St. Antony's College on "Europe's message to the world."
 European Commission to adopt FYROM annual progress report, EU enlargement strategyBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
The annual progress report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the text on the European Union's enlargement strategy, that the European Commission will be adopting here on Tuesday, stress the need for "new efforts with a constructive approach to be made to find a mutually acceptable solution through negotiations under the auspices of the UN" on the issue of FYROM's name.
According to the text, titled "Enlargement Strategy and main challenges for 2007-2008", the finding of a solution to the name issue in the framework of the UN, based on Security Council resolutions 817/93 and 845/93, will contribute to regional cooperation and to relations of good neighbourliness.
It is also pointed out that "acts that could have a negative effect on relations of good neighbourliness must be avoided."
The pending name issue is included among the political criteria and in particular in the report's chapter titled "Regional issues and international commitments."
On its part, the progress report stresses that "relations between the two countries have been affected by the name issue" and it has been ascertained that "no progress has taken place in this framework."
According to the report, "the renaming of Skopje airport to Alexander the Great was considered a provocation in Greece, conflicting with the interim agreement of 1995."
 EU Commission's report on Turkey's progressBRUSSELS (ANA/MPA-M.Aroni)
The European Commission is expected to express its satisfaction on the manner in which Turkey resolved its "constitutional crisis" but also to underline the need for the neighbouring country to "renew" its efforts in promoting political reforms, in presenting its annual report on Turkey's progress on Tuesday.
According to a draft text on the Union's enlargement, which the ANA-MPA has at its disposal, the Commission underlines that Turkey in the past year "has overcome the constitutional crisis" and was led to "free and fair elections". "The President of the Republic was elected according to constitutional laws and democracy prevails in the relations between the State and the army," the draft text notes.
Nevertheless, the EU's executive body underlines that Turkey must renew without delay its efforts for political reforms and in particular freedom of expression, human rights and religious minority rights.
Moreover, the Commission refers analytically to the crucial and more general issue of the military's interference in political matters, which "continues to exercise significant influence".
Regarding Turkey's relations with Greece, the draft text refers to the importance of good neighbourly relations, noting however that the "casus belli threat against Greece remains valid on the part of Turkey". The Commission also notes the continuing violations of the Greek airspace in the Aegean by Turkish military aircraft and the fact that Athens proceeded to official demarches.
The draft report also notes that a Turkish Supreme Annullment Court decision on the Ecumenical Patriarcate could render more difficult the problems already faced by the Ecumenical Throne as regards the exercise of its rights defined in the European Treaty on Human Rights.
Regarding Turkey's relations with EU member Cyprus, the Commission reiterates that the former has not yet fulfilled its committments stemming form the Ankara Additional Protocol and that it had made no progress regarding the normalisation of its relations with Cyprus. Additionally, the draft text refers to the UN brokered July 8, 2006 Agreement, as "a preparatory stage for negotiations towards finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue."
 Gov't on projects in fire-ravaged regions, social security and election lawGovernment spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday referred to progress made in various reconstruction projects underway in wildfire-ravaged regions of southern Greece as well as to the topical issues of social security reforms and changes to the election law, during his regular press briefing.
Speaking to reporters, Roussopoulos announced that he will present progress of the works in the regions devastated by last summer's wildfires each Monday.
Citing a joint decision by the ministries of finance and rural development, he announced that a total of four million euros will be allocated for the purchase of animal feed and bee pollen, in support of local farmers, while studies conducted by 145 experts focusing on the regions destroyed by the fires will be completed soon.
He also referred to the progress made in the construction of soil erosion prevention projects and stressed that reforestation will be underway in Ilia and Achaia prefectures in the Peloponnese, adding that riverbeds are being cleaned to prevent flooding.
Regarding social insurance funding, he said the issue is being discussed within a relevant committee and called on all those interested to participate in the reform process. Moreover, he termed a recent Council of State decision allowing retirement after 25 years of work and added that it will be discussed in the responsible parliament committee.
The government spokesman commented that a draft election law will be tabled in Parliament, and if the debate shows that there is a need for change it will be done by the competent minister.
 Inner Cabinet to meet on Tues.The government spokesman on Monday announced that the Inner Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, will meet on Tuesday, whereas the premier will receive Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Wednesday following a request by the latter.
 PM to receive leader of Communist Party of Greece on WednesdayPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis is scheduled to meet Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga at 12:30 on Wednesday, according to an announcement issued by KKE.
It said the meeting had been requested by Papariga, who asked to be briefed on developments in the Balkan region.
 Papandreou addresses intellectuals and artistsMain opposition PASOK leader and candidate in the November 11 intra-party vote for the election of a leader George Papandreou addressed on Monday evening a meeting of intellectuals and artists who support his candidacy, at a central Athens hotel.
"This meeting should have taken place long ago as, looking beyond human contact, I need your presence, your thoughts, your criticism, creativeness and imagination," Papndreou told his audience.
Describing Greek society's "longstanding weaknesses" the main opposition leader said that there existed another path for the country "which deserves and can do better, on condition that it makes its revolution soon, otherwise it will be marginalised."
He said the battle he was waging at present and within PASOK "is a battle of ideas and not of persons, as the time has come to liberate ourselves from fatalism and lamentation."
He also assured his audience that it existed on his part a political will for cooperation and called on them to table their proposals "for the necessary organisational patterns".
 Papandreou expresses concern over events in PakistanSocialist International President and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday expressed grave concern over the "emergency rule" measures taken the previous day by Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf.
According to Papandreou, these measures "take the country further away from the road of democracy and of a state of law, stability and development".
He also stressed that there was an "urgent need for the government to act in accordance with the Constitution and to observe its promise to hold free and fair elections".
"The only convincing answer to extremism and extremist actions is respect for the Constitution and the state of law, as well as extending trust to the people and their ability to decide their future through free and fair elections," Papandreou emphasised.
 Leftist leader in Skopje for talks on Wed.Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos will depart for Skopje on Wednesday to meet top officials of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), noting that he will meet with the country's president and prime minister.
"We believe that neither of the two neighbors should become entrapped in extremist and nationalistic situations, no matter how difficult the problem may be," the veteran leftist leader said in Athens on Monday.
"Conversely, we can meet in the middle of the bridge, and that is why I believe that political dialogue over the current difficult political conditions is always useful," Alavanos said.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated issue, the SYRIZA leader called for the outright banning of private educational institutes in the country that cooperate with European universities, saying such a regime is in conflict with Article 16 of the Greek constitution - the controversial provision that allows only the state to establish and operate higher education institutions in the country.
 Greek armed forces chief completes visit to SerbiaGreek armed forces general staff chief (GEEThA) Gen. Dimitrios Grapsas completed a three-day visit to Serbia last week, following an invitation by his Serbian counterpart Lt-Gen. Zdravko Ponos, a GEEThA press release on Monday announced.
According to the press release, Greece and Serbia completed 20 partnership programmes in 2007, including the training of Serbian officers in various Greek military schools, whereas Greek Army special forces participated in training in Serbia.
Gen. Grapsas visited the military academy of Belgrade, the staff office for peacekeeping missions, the special forces' brigade's HQ as well as a military cemetery in the city Pirot where Greek officers and enlisted men in the WWI campaign are buried
 Turkish coast guard commander Erenolu to visit GreeceTurkish coast guard chief Can Erenolu will be on a formal visit to Greece until Wednesday at the invitation of his Greek counterpart, Hellenic Coast Guard Vice-Adm. Ilias Sionidis.
The Turkish coast guard commander will meet on Tuesday with Merchant Marine & Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis.
He will also meet with the Hellenic Navy brass and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in downtown Athens.
 Annual memorial service for George Papandreou on MondayThe annual memorial service for mid-20th century politician George Papandreou, the grandfather of present PASOK leader George Papandreou, was held at the Athens 1st cemetery on Monday with several of the most historic members of the main opposition party attending, as well as the family.
Speaking to reporters on the day after PASOK's National Conference, most of the veteran party members declared confidence that the party would remain united after the November 11 election for the party's leader.
 PM meets finance, marine and island policy ministersPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday had a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Marine and Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis. After the meeting, Voulgarakis noted the good level of cooperation between his ministry and the finance ministry and said that solutions to several issues had been found.
According to Voulgarakis, there was a lengthy discussion on the merger of the merchant marine and the former Aegean and Island Policy ministries into a single unit. This had included issues arising from the merging of their respective budgets, use of European funds and their absorption by a single body.
The minister noted that this was "a very big matter" that needed to be coordinated, adding that there had also been in-depth discussion about the developmental programme to be carried out by the merged ministry, which would include utilisation of all the islands, all issues related to town planning and building on islands in order to ensure a panoramic availability of the sea, the promotion and modernisation of island ports and harbours and their ability to contribute to the national economy.
Another issue touched on, according to the minister, was that of increasing staff at the ministry.
 Finmin and central bank governor discuss BoG financial resultsFinance Minister George Alogoskoufis met on Monday with Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas, who briefed him on the central bank's financial results.
After the meeting held at the finance ministry, Garganas stated that the Bank of Greece showed considerable profits in the January-September nine-month period.
Garganas also stated that bank shareholders will receive an increased dividend while a share capital increase is being prepared through the revaluation of the surplus value of the bank's real estate assets.
 Ratification of 2007-2013 programme period bill completedDeputy Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou, speaking on Monday at the relevant Parliamentary Committee during the discussion on the bill concerning the "management, control and implementation of interventions for the 2007-2013 programme period", said that the operational programmes will be signed in Brussels by the relevant Committee in their entirety on November 26, while eight out of the 13 have already been approved.
Papathanasiou further said that "at the same time with the signing, the activation of the process for the disbursement of the advance payment regarding the EU's contribution, amounting to 400 million euros, will begin."
The deputy minister added that "we are starting a national effort to absorb EU funds and we are also giving the private sector the possibility so that the 32 billion euros can reach 40 billion euros. In parallel, we are introducing a new strict regulatory framework."
 Tourist development minister, public works minister discuss tourist agenciesTourist Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos and Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Monday discussed a series of issues concerning tourist sector agencies and for which the two ministries are jointly responsible for resolving them.
Speaking after the meeting, Spiliotopoulos said that he had "substantive cooperation with the public works minister, which was held in an extremely good climate," while expressing confidence that "the same good cooperation will continue in the future as well, in the direction of a new conception on tourist development that will place emphasis on respect for the environment."
 Bank of Greece to pay increased dividend this yearThe Bank of Greece plans to pay increased dividend to its shareholders and to move with a share capital increase plan through the write down of its real estate property added value, Nikolaos Garganas, the bank's governor said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, the Greek central banker said he briefed the minister over Bank of Greece's financial situation and said its nine-month profits were very good.
 Greek cooperative banks' pre-tax profits up 33.58 pct in Jan-SepGreece's Cooperative Banks on Monday reported a 33.58-percent increase in their nine-month pre-tax profits to 44 million euros. The Union of Cooperative Banks of Greece, comprising 16 members, said assets totaled 3.059 billion euros, up 24 percent from the same period last year, while loans rose by 25 percent to 2.291 billion euros and deposits rose 23 percent to 2.054 billion euros.
The union said the number of cooperative banks' clients totaled 184,043 in the nine-month period this year, up from 172,800 in the corresponding period in 2006.
Panhellenic Bank reported a 33-percent increase its pre-tax profits to 5.3 million euros in the January-September period, with loans up 37 pct to 557 million euros and saving deposits up 22 pct to 700 million euros.
Panhellenic Bank operates a branch network of 180 units.
 Alapis Group says EBITDA 66.9 mln euros in Jan-SeptAlapis Group on Monday announced that its turnover totalled 222..8 million euros in the nine-month period from January to September this year, while pre-tax, interest and amortisation earnings (EBITDA) 66.9 million euros and after-tax and minorities earnings totalled 45.6 million euros.
Pro-forma consolidated sales totalled 253.1 million euros, while pro-forma EBITDA totalled 73.3 million euros and pro-forma consolidated after tax and minorities earnings totalled 49.9 million euros.
Alapis said turnover rose 7.0 percent in the third quarter, from the previous quarter, to 89.6 million euros, while EBITDA rose 4.0 pct to 27.7 million euros and after tax and minorities earnings rose 30 pct to 21.4 million euros.
The healthcare sector contributed 112.4 million euros in sales and 41.2 million euros in pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings, enjoying the highest profit margin in the group.
 ATEbank begins procedures to sell Rodopi Dairy SAATEbank, Greek Animal Feed Industry and the Thrace Cooperative Industrial Development Corporation plan to sell Rodopi SA, a milk industry based in Xanthi. The three companies hold a 97.12 percent in the dairy company and have already launched tender procedures. All interested parties must submit non-binding statements of interest by November 30 to Deloitte Business Solutions SA, the consultant to the sale.
Rodopi SA was founded in 1963.
 Greece donates hospital equipment to FYROMSKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Frangopoulos)
Greece on Monday donated hospital equipment to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) composed of four machines and an equal number of fully equipped ambulances to help meet health needs in the cities of Skopje, Tetovo and Bitola.
The amount of the donation reaches 300,000 euros and is part of the National Plan for Balkan Economic Reconstruction.
Health Minister Imer Selmani thanked the Greek government for the donation during a relevant ceremony held in Skopje on Monday.
"This act by the government of Greece proves that health knows no borders and that the modernisation of the health systems of the countries in the region secures quality health services for the population," Selmani said.
The head of Greece's Liaison Office in FYROM, Alexandra Papadopoulou, said that the donation constitutes another contribution by Greece towards handling the needs of FYROM, particularly in such a sensitive sector as is citizens' health.
 Greek bond yields down in OctoberGreek state bond yields fell in October, following a decline of yields in other Eurozone bond markets, the Bank of Greece said on Monday. In its monthly report on the market, the central bank said the 10-year and 15-year benchmark bonds recorded the biggest percentage decline in October (-12 basis points) to end at 4.53 pct and 4.77 pct, respectively, from 4.65 pct and 4.89 pct a month earlier.
The 30-year benchmark bond yielded 4.87 percent in October 31, 11 bps below a 4.98 pct return a month earlier, while the three-year bond yielded 4.20 pct in October from 4.25 pct in September. The average monthly yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds fell to 28 bps in October from 32 bps in September.
Benchmark bond prices rose by 14 bps (three-year bond) to 169 bps (30-year bond). Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 40.75 billion euros in October, from 34.35 billion in September and 52.64 billion in October 2006. Average daily turnover rose to 1.77 billion euros in October from 1.72 billion in the previous month, with the seven- and 10-year bonds accounting for 59 percent of total turnover. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 17.2 billion euros.
 Greek stocks end 0.71 pct lower on MondayGreek stocks fell in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, following a trend prevailing in other European markets. The composite index ended 0.71 pct lower at 5,246.56 points with turnover 611.48 million euros.
Most sectors ended lower with the exception of the Chemicals sector which ended 1.96 higher, while the Utilities (1.79 pct), Healtchare (1.36 pct), Commerce (1.35 pct) and Industrial Products (1.27 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
The Big Cap index fell 0.63 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 0.42 pct and the Small Cap index ended 1.72 pct down. Progressive (12.22 pct), Kreka (10.06 pct) and Nikas (9.14 pct) were top gainers, while Kyriakoulis (6.79 pct), Kanakis (6.25 pct) and ANEK (6.03 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 201 to 65 with another 33 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.10%
Personal & Household: -0.23%
Raw Materials: -1.13%
Travel & Leisure: -0.21%
Food & Beverages: -0.51%
Financial Services: -0.37%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Marfin Popular Bank, Alapis, National Bank and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 25.20
Public Power Corp (PPC): 26.50
HBC Coca Cola: 41.60
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.76
Emporiki Bank: 20.94
National Bank of Greece: 47.00
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 26.30
Titan Cement Company: 31.80
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended Monday's session with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange, with turnover a moderate 157.054 million euros. The December contract on the Big Cap index was traded at a discount of 1.32 percent, while the November contract on the Mid Cap index at a discount of 0.26 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 9,557 contracts, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 364 contracts. Volume in futures contract on equities totaled 4,742 contracts with investment interest focusing on PPC's contracts (814), followed by Marfin Investment Group (219), OTE (221), Marfin Popular Bank (742), Piraeus Bank (258), National Bank (333), Alpha Bank (505), Intracom (507) and ATEbank (220).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.464 billion euros on Monday, of which 599 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 865 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 770 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds rose to 0.30 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.48 pct and the German Bund 4.38 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.09 pct, the two-day rate fell to 4.06 pct from 4.09 pct on Friday, the one-month rate rose to 4.16 pct from 4.15 pct and the 12-month rate was 4.62 pct.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.460
Pound sterling 0.701
Danish kroner 7.513
Swedish kroner 9.332
Japanese yen 166.71
Swiss franc 1.682
Norwegian kroner 7.878
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.363
Australian dollar 1.589
 Police officers shot during attempted drug raid on CreteThree police officers participating in a drug raid were injured, one of them seriously, when they were fired upon by assault rifle-wielding gunmen on Monday outside the remote village of Zoniana, in Rethymno prefecture on the island of Crete.
The gunmen opened fire against a convoy of some 12 police jeeps dispatched to the region with the purpose of conducting a search to locate a major hashish stash.
One of the officers, a 25-year-old, suffered a serious neck wound and was rushed to the Irakleio Hospital, while the other two were slightly injured in the shoulder and face.
According to press reports, 75 police commandos were being flown to Crete aboard a military transport plane to join police units in the region.
The arrest of a 24-year-old Zoniana man last Friday in the city of Rethymno on drug trafficking charges apparently set in motion Monday's police operation to search the man's village home.
Previous attacks on police units in the very same region have been reported in the past.
 Satellite telecommunications readiness exercise beginsThe 2007 Readiness Exercise titled "Satellite Telecommunica-tions for Immediate Warning for Health after an Earthquake" has begun.
According to the exercise's scenario, a destructive earthquake measuring 6.8 points on the Richter scale caused extensive damage in the wider region of Iraklio, on the islands of Crete, as well as an explosion, a fire and a leak at a fuel dump at the Public Power Corporation.
It also involves agencies focusing their efforts on rescuing trapped injured people, extinguishing fires, combatting epidemics in time and avoiding environmental pollution caused by the possible leaking of fuel into the sea.
 Antiquities smuggler arrested in Amfipolis, SerresA 50-year-old man was arrested in town of Amfipolis, Serres in northern Greece on Monday and charged with illicit trade in antiquities after police came across a small archaeological treasure trove hidden in his home.
A police raid in the suspect's house revealed a number of Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman era bronze coins as well as other objects of lesser archaeological value.
 Woman arrested for bank fraudA 42-year-old woman in Thessaloniki faces felony charges that she defrauded banks of up to 185,000 euros using forged documents.
Over the past year, she managed to have consumer loans approved and credit cards issued in her name using stolen tax returns and forged birth certificates and identity cards.
The woman told police that two men, aged 39 and 47, supplied her with the forged documents and got a large part of the withdrawn sum.
Police found on her a total of 14,750 euros while all forged documents discovered in her apartment were seized.
An investigation is underway to determine if more people are involved in the case.
 Deer blamed for death of two workersTwo foreign workers were killed over the weekend on a Greek farm during an alleged attack by none other than a deer, with only sketchy details available on Monday.
According to initial reports, the unprecedented incident occurred in a fenced-in pen on a wild animal farm near the central Greek town of Thebes, with the two victims identified as Pakistani nationals.
When one man went missing in the 200-square-metre pen in the village of Melissohori on Friday afternoon, the other subse-quently went to locate the first man a day later on Saturday, reports state.
Authorities believe the culprit is a male deer inside the pen, as two female deers (does) were inside as well. Blood was reportedly found on the male deer's antlers.
The owner of the farm, a 56-year-old local man, was taken into custody for questioning, a customary procedure when a work-place fatality occurs.
 Group vandalises two banks in ExarhiaA gang of individuals believed to belong to Athens' anti-establishment circles attacked and vandalised two banks in the Exarhia district near central Athens on Monday around noon.
They broke windows and damaged cashpoint machines outside branches of Eurobank and National Bank of Greece (NBG) in the area before running off in various directions. Police are now searching the surrounding neighbourhoods for the culprits.
 Athens journalists' union joins two-minute European-wide work stoppageThe Athens journalists' union ESHEA has called on its members to participate in a symbolic two-minute work stoppage by journalists at all media throughout Europe, which lasted between 14:00 and 14:02 on Monday.
The slogan for the protest action is "Stand up for Journalism" and was joined by journalists' unions that are members of the international and European journliasts' federations.
According to ESHEA, journalists throughout Europe are raising their voice in protest against the "collapse of the quality of journalism under the pressure of relentless competition and commercialisation that exists within European media enterprises" and the degradation of work conditions through a systematic flouting of collective labour agreements seen throughout Europe.
Unions also protest against the imposition of informal work relations using the threat of joblessness or underemployment, as well as the erosion of professional integrity and press freedoms by political pressures that undermine the public's confidence in journalism.
 Philosophy symposium on BergsonThe Ioannina University's faculty of philosophy, in cooperation with the French embassy and the Athens-based French Institute, will organise an international symposium entitled "Bergson's Philosophy and its Inheritance", on Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The symposium is being held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of the French philosopher Henri Bergson's work 'Creative evolution', and its Greek translation which has been recently published by "Polis" editions.
 Earthquake in NafpaktosAn earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was registered at 10:10 on Monday night in the broader region of Nafpaktos, western Greece.
According to the Geodynamics Institute, the earthquake's epicentre was located 170 kilometres west-northwest of Athens, and more precisely in the sea region south of Nafpaktos. The seisme was felt apart from Nafpaktos, in Patra, Egio, Messologhi and other regions of the Achaia and Etoloakarnania prefectures.
 Showers, storms on TuesdayShowers and storms are forecast, particularly in the east and south of the country, with wind velocity reaching 4-7 beaufort. Temperatures in Athens ranging from 9C to 14C, and in Thessaloniki from 5C to 11C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe outcome of main opposition PASOK's three-day National Conference and the upcoming elections for the party's leadership on November 11 were the main front-page items in Monday's dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Everyone in a panic on the day after. PASOK conference ends".
APOGEVMATINI: "Extension for George [Papandreou] but until when? PASOK National Conference leans in favour of Papandreou".
AVRIANI: "[PASOK leadership candidate Evangelos] Venizelos blasts apart conspiracy of barons. They decided to support George for six months, pin another election defeat on him and then toss him onto the rubbish heap".
CHORA: "Men will also be able to retire fter 25 years work following Council of State decision for legal staff".
CITY PRESS: "Trends favour Papandreou. He dominated through his appearance at PASOK's National Conference".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "With a sibylline statement in favour of George Papandreou, Anna Diamantopoulou ...takes the match to the penalty shots".
ELEFTHEROS: "Confederation of 'captaincies' in PASOK in spite of the certain dominance of George Papandreou as demonstrated by the National Conference".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "November 11 will elect a president and...new leadership contenders".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Leaders' rift, clashes between contenders. Personal disputes dominated the conference".
ESTIA: "This is how the 'Macedonia' issue was compromised 12 years ago in New York". Article referring to the conditions under which the Interim Agreement between Athens and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was signed in 1995.
ETHNOS: "Baton now passed on to PASOK's grassroots. Six+1 days will judge the future of the democratic faction".
METROPOLIS: "Warring interests over rubble" (refers to chaotic handling of waste rubble generating by construction work in Greece)
TA NEA: "PASOK...wins the wager of unity in spite of hardline speeches".
VRADYNI: "New wage scale and rankings for police. The provisions of the bill being tabled in Parliament".
 Talat pursuing the creation of two states in Cyprus, says spokesmanNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has confirmed all that the Cypriot government has been saying for the creation of two states if the Annan Plan was approved by the people in the 2004 referendum, Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas said here Monday.
He reminded that the Cypriot government was strongly criticized at the time for the stance it had followed.
Commenting an interview which Talat gave to "Phileleftheros" newspaper and his references to the Annan Plan, Palmas said it is clear "that Mr. Talat is trying to evade the Gambari procedure, despite the fact that he had signed the July 8 agreement", noting that the Gambari procedure creates the preconditions for substantial dialogue to promote a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.
Palmas said Talat wants to detach himself from the July 8 Agreement because he is pursuing a confederal two-state solution, adding that the aim of the President of the Republic was to change the provisions of the Annan Plan in the direction that would secure its effectiveness, "therefore its viability and surely securing a federal solution. Since this did not happen and the only choice before us was the Annan Plan without changes, the result is known", he added.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
President Papadopoulos and Talat agreed on 8 July 2006, during a meeting in Nicosia in the presence of UN official 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 of the Cyprus problem.
 EP High-level Contact Group with T/C to visit CyprusNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The European Parliament High-level Contact Group for Relations with the Turkish-Cypriot community in the Northern part of the island (HLCG) is visiting Cyprus on 7-10 November 2007.
A press release issued by the Group said that it has a varied programme which on 8 November 2007 includes a visit to the Ledra Street cease-fire-line posts "and a photo-opportunity there together with the representatives of the two communities of Nicosia Mrs Mavrou and Mr Bulutogullari. This photo opportunity will take place first on the Greek-Cypriot side and then on the Turkish-Cypriot side of the cease-fire line."
In addition the HLCG will hold a press conference at Ledra Palace on Friday.
 EU prohibits exports of Cyprus meat and dairy productsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The European Commission has decided on Monday to prohibit the export of Cypriot meat and dairy products as well as the movement of animals in the Republic of Cyprus, following the confirmation of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease at two farms.
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Fotis Fotiou told the House Agriculture Committee that the EU has also banned the slaughter of animals.
Speaking during the meeting of the Committee which examined the latest developments, Fotiou announced a plan to support the animal breeders. The plan is expected to be tabled before the Cabinet on Wednesday for approval.
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