|Sunday, 15 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-11-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 8 November 2007 Issue No: 2743
 PM Karamanlis confers with KEDKE chief on illegal migration, waste managementPrime minister Costas Karamanlis met Wednesday with Athens mayor and president of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) Nikitas Kaklamanis, with whom he discussed matters pertaining to illegal migration, waste management in the Attica prefecture, and the Panathinaikos Football Club's new soccer stadium.
Kaklamanis told reporters afterwards that he briefed the prime minister on the impending changes in the Panathinaikos stadium project, noting that the Panathinaikos FC, in a letter, has accepted to fully assume the costs of construction of the stadium, and as such the existing agreement will be amended.
"When we are ready, we will make public the details and present it also to the City Council. It is a good development with respect to acceleration of the project," Kaklamanis said.
He said he also called on the prime minister for acceleration of the procedures for the two new waste management facilities in Keratea and Grammatikos, with a recycling plant as well as further processing.
The Athens mayor said that one must not be complacent that the problem has been solved because an interim facility has been created or the main facility at Fylis was proceeding, noting that there was a suspension of execution (of the project) for 2-3 years.
"This is the reality, and I am obliged to present it and ask the government, but also the political parties, to back the existing regional planning that was passed during Vasso Papandreou's term (as minister of the environment, town planning and public works in the preceding PASOK government) and to not succumb to the reactions by some local societies," Kaklamanis said, adding that Karamanlis agreed with him fully and had no objection when the matter had been presented to him in the past by the mayor of Athens.
Kaklamanis also broached the issue of illegal migration, and called for national consensus. He said he asked the prime minister to put the issue forward at European level, aiming at a common migration policy with emphasis on countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain which were the main entry gates for illegal immigrants. He also called for increased funds to boost guarding of the entry points.
The mayor further sounded "a warning bell" domestically, "far removed from extreme positions and exacerbations", and expressed fear in the event that measures were not taken for civil incorporation of the legal migrants in Greece as well as measures for violators.
He said that the picture of Athens -- where he noted the problem was more acute given thatn 60-65 percent of the migrants in Greece live -- was not good, and reminded that the Municipal Police was not armed and could not make arrests, resulting in their disregard by violators.
Kaklamanis stressed that he did not want the city to reach the point of resembling Paris, or other European cities "which, in all other respects, we admire".
He said the issue must be looked into comprehensively, with sensitivity and a firm policy, and called for national consensus "with moderation and without racist outbursts", warning that "if we don't do something, it's a bomb that will explode one day". He added that this was not the job of the municipalities, but of the government to take measures.
 PM to meet foreign minister on ThursdayPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis will have a meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday morning, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced.
 FM Bakoyannis, Serb, German counterparts discuss Kosovo, FYROMBERLIN (ANA-MPA/P. Stangos)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held consecutive meetings here on Wednesday with her Serb and German counterparts, Vuk Jeremic and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, focusing mainly on the handling of the Kosovo crisis in light of December 10, that has been set as the final date for negotiations between Serbs and Kosovars and the looming deadlock, while on the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) it was made clear, according to statements by Steinmeier, that as long as the issue remains pending there is no question of the neighboring country being invited for accession to NATO.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Bakoyannis and replying to a question on whether he considers it expedient, given Greece's disagreement, for NATO to extend an invitation to FYROM now for accession to the alliance, the German minister said: "In NATO, decisions concerning new members are taken unanimously. This will not change in this case as well. We have taken into consideration that the dispute over the name constitutes an important issue for Greece, on whose solution Greece depends its consent on the accession (of FYROM) to NATO. For the other member-states of NATO nothing else remains than to take this into consideration and hope and contribute to enable the talks that have begun to lead to a solution."
Bakoyannis said in a statement regarding Kosovo that she encouraged her Serb counterpart to have Serbia send "positive messages", underlining in parallel that "Greece does not believe in tight timetables" and expressed confidence that an extension of a few days or even of a month can be given for the negotiations between Serbs and Kosovars if on December 10, that has been set as the final date, some light for a consensual solution appears at the end of the tunnel.
"We have to live together in the Balkans," she said.
Jeremic expressed a similar view in talks he had with Steinmeier, saying that "hasty solutions and unilateral attempts are not indicated and cannot bear fruit."
The German foreign minister insisted, on his part, on the need for a solution to be found by December 10 because otherwise, as he said, the region will be threatened with destabilisation.
Replying to questions on the issue of FYROM, Bakoyannis said that "we are seeking to find a solution that will permit both countries to live together in both joint alliances and the common European home," while referring to the prospect of FYROM's accession to NATO, she said that "an alliance based on relations of bad neighborliness cannot exist."
Lastly, Bakoyannis aaid that "instability in the region can result from failure to resolve pending issues. Greece is in the front line of those countries that are trying to find real solutions. I believe that the possibilities exist, from the time that political will exists, as well as political courage by the political leaderships of the countries in the region. Greece has proved this. We are expecting a similar attitude from our neighbours as well."
 KKE leader: FYROM name could contain 'Macedonia' in "exclusively geographical context"Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Wednesday called on the government to "disengage" itself from the Council of Political Party Leaders decision of 1992 and agree with FYROM on a name for the neighboring country containing the word "Macedonia" in an exclusively geographical context, in statements to the press after a 45-minute meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis.
Papariga said she put forward three matters during her meeting with the prime minister.
The first matter was that: Any name agreed for FYROM could contain the word "Macedonia" in an exclusively geographical context, at the same time safeguarding Greece from any irredentist intent on the part of Skopje, noting that "there is nothing in our country that FYROM can set claim to".
The second matter was that: 2007 has many differences with respect to 1992, since 1992 was the beginning of the drama in the Balkans, while today the EU and the US have established themselves in the region, and so has Russia, with its interventions on the pipelines.
The government, she continued, must clarify its position and take a stance against Kosovo independence, because possible independence of Kosovo could lead to destabilization.
She also stressed that the creation of a "second US protectorate in the region" must be averted, warning that in such an eventuality, and because lack of a delineated border between Kosovo and FYROM "could lead to (the creation of) a second Albanian state".
Regarding the Greek business presence in Skopje, Papariga said that the companies were not bridges of friendship, but "go there for profit". The bridge of friendship is the peoples, she said, and described the Kosovo issue as critical also for Greek-FYROM relations.
The third matter, the KKE leader continued, was that she called on the government to react immediately to statements by Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki "who said we should go into Skopje and take land".
Also, Papariga said, the KKE rejects the "chauvinistic propaganda of LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally party) and the cosmopolitan theories of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left party)".
Replying to press questions, Papariga said that her party was not recommending any specific name. The KKE, she explained, was purely in favour of a geographical determination in FYROM's name.
To another question on provocations by FYROM such as the renaming of the Skopje airport into "Alexander the Great Airport", Papariga said that such matters should be "left to the historians, because such issues cannot enter into the diplomatic relations between countries".
Regarding the prospects for solution being found to the FYROM name issue, the KKE leader said that "things don't appear to be easy", adding that the FYROM leadership "is not even discussing" the problem, and "has strong backing".
 SYN/SYRIZA leader holds talks with Skopje governmentSKOPJE (ANA-MPA - N. Frangopoulos)
Alekos Alavanos, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party in Parliament and also of its main constituent member, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN), on Wednesday had a series of meetings with the state and political leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) during a visit to that country, which he said were conducted in a "warm and friendly climate".
Alavanos was received by FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in the presence of the country's foreign minister Antonio Milososki, as well as by FYROM's President Branko Crvenkovski, the leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Union (SDSM) party Igor Ivanovski and the president of the Socialist Party Ljubisa Ivanov-Zingo.
Their talks focused on bilateral issues, regional issues and the dispute between Greece and FYROM over the latter's name.
After the meetings, Alavanos said that the aim of his talks in Skopje had been to underline the need for broader dialogue that would lead to a resolution of this dispute. He stressed that disagreements and different views between the two sides should not be an obstacle to discussion.
Milososki said that emotions had to calm down and that "greater realism" was needed, so tht the two countries could work together in friendship and overcome the problems that exist. He underlined that Greece was his country's nearest and foremost neighbour and that FYROM expected help from Greece in achieving what Greece had succeeded in doing decades before, which was to join EuroAtlantic structures.
He added that meetings like that with Alavanos on Wednesday help develop a climate of mutual understanding.
 SYRIZA leader gives press conference in wake of FYROM visitRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos gave a press conference at "Macedonia" airport in Thessaloniki on Wednesday, on his return from a visit to the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), expressing support for political dialogue between Greece and FYROM on all issues.
"It was a very interesting visit and I believe it is a very useful move for our country," he said, adding that "I think that we must realize at last that not having political contacts with the neighbors betrays a backward mentality for the political life of Greece."
Alavanos further said that SYRIZA will assume specific initiatives for the simplification of the visa granting process for citizens of FYROM, it will raise the issue of the pollution of the Axios River in Parliament and it will organize, in the first half of 2008, a conference of leftist forces of the Balkans in Thessaloniki, in which corresponding parties from FYROM will participate.
He went on to say that he will brief the Greek government on his meetings in Skopje, either the National Foreign Policy Council, or Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
Responding to a reporter's question on Skopje's intransigence in Greek-FYROM UN-brokered talks for the finding of a mutually acceptable solution on the landlocked republic's name issue, Alavanos claimed that "the messages of intransigence, at least in the last days, are stronger on the part of Greece rather than on the part of our neighbors. When the government spokesman comes out saying 'I have not seen and I have not heard' statements made personalities of public life, and I am referring to statements by the Thessaloniki Metropolitan, you understand what sort of messages are being sent to the neighboring republic."
Lastly, he said that the Coalition's steadfast position is the finding of a solution with a mutually acceptable name that can also include the geographical term "Macedonia," but added that, however, a discussion is necessary from then on because one can also find other paths through discussions.
 Papandreou begins tour of Crete in final stretch to party leadership electionMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday began a tour of the island of Crete.
"We are here in Crete, the great island of democracy which is going through a difficult time as it is facing phenomena of regression, parasitism, 'protection' and clientellist interests" to which "an end must be put both here and all over Greece," Papandreou said shortly after his arrival in Heraklion.
PASOK, he added, was also waging its own battle "against the phenomena of regression, a battle for an autonomous party, free from dependencies and far removed from clientellist interests, one that genuinely expresses the democratic people", referring to Sunday's internal party election for a new leader.
" In this battle, the people of Crete are not simply supporters, but are also waging the battle not only for November 11 (Sunday's election) but also for November 12, for a new beginning for PASOK and a new hope for Greece," the incumbent Papandreou added.
Papandreou called for mass participation in the election for the PASOK presidency, which he described as a "feast of democracy" for a new beginning that will bring changes, "for the Greece that we desire".
 Ierapetra visitMain opposition PASOK party President George Papandreou on Wednesday stressed that PASOK changes in order to change Greece while addressing farmers at Stomio Ierapetra, in the prefecture of Lasithi, a region described as the country's biggest fruit and vegetable producer.
During the visit held within his two-day tour of Crete, Papandreou had the opportunity to be briefed by young farmers on the region's problems that mainly concerning the limited water resources necessary for irrigation purposes.
Papandreou commented that funds do not reach the farmers and blamed the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization, ELGA, for inadequate management, while alleging that power mechanisms operate contrary to public interest.
Papandreou repeated his call for mass participation in the election of the new PASOK president on November 11.
 Papandreou visits injured police officerThe 28-year-old special guard injured in the head when a police force was fired upon by unidentified gunmen during Monday's drug raid conducted in the Zoniana village region, Rethymno Prefecture on Crete, is still in the Heraklion University Hospital ICU. His condition is characterized as critical but stable.
Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou, who is on a tour of the island, visited the injured officer at the hospital and expressed support to his family. In comments he made afterwards to reporters, Papandreou stated that this is difficult time for the family of the young officer, who became a father just 20 days ago.
 Papandreou visits senior citizen center in LasithiThe winners from the battle of values being waged in PASOK will be the people and society, main opposition party president George Papandreou said Wednesday during a visit to the Senior Citizen Center (KAPI) in Neapolis, Lasithi Prefecture, within the framework of his two-day tour of Crete.
Papandreou was briefed by the Neapolis mayor on the severe financial problems of the municipality and the fact that municipal employees will be left unpaid over Christmas.
He stressed that retirees should be active citizens, adding that based on his party's program all social welfare structures will be placed under the jurisdiction of the local government. He stated that PASOK should represent hope and change and called for mass participation in the election of the new PASOK president on November 11.
The PASOK leader addressed a rally of supporters in Iraklion in the evening.
 Venizelos visits Thiva, Livadia and LamiaPASOK leadership candidate Evangelos Venizelos, a high-ranking MP and former minister of the main opposition party that is the main rival to its current leader George Papandreou in the upcoming internal elections to take place on Sunday, continued his campaign on Wednesday by visiting large urban centres in central Greece, such as Thiva and Livadia.
During statements in Livadia, Venizelos attributed the current climate of tension within the main opposition party to the "wager of the elections" and he also appealed to friends and members of PASOK to come out in force to take part in the internal elections on Sunday.
He also repeated an earlier statement that "the true message of the elections is whether PASOK will create the conditions for a victorious result or whether it will suffer a strategic defeat".
In comments on the police operation at Zoniana in Iraklio on Crete, Venizelos noted that this was not an issue that could be solved with a one-off police raid with live televised coverage and stressed that the problems were "known and long-term".
Earlier on Wednesday, Venizelos stopped at a drug rehabilitation centre in Thiva, where he also met with the local mayor and local authority staff and the prefect of Viotia to discuss the region's environmental problems, especially pollution in the Asopos River.
On Wednesday afternoon he met PASOK's prefectural committee in Lamia and addressed an open meeting in the city.
 PASOK must find lost identity again, Skandalidis saysPASOK party leadership contender in Sunday's elections Costas Skandalidis, addressing supporters in a rally in Athens on Wednesday night, said that PASOK must remain at the focal point of the political system as a unified and big majority wave, while stressing the need for it to "find its lost identity again".
Skandalidis stressed support for "an alliance of new, dynamic and productive strata of society with the weaker classes and the strata on the population that are being marginalised by developments."
Laslty, he said that the party must join forces with the citizens in a "Confidence Contract" that will safeguard the right to prosperity for all and for each person separately.
 Greece and Montenegro sign military cooperation memorandumGreece and Montenegro signed a memorandum of bilateral military cooperation in Podgorica on Wednesday, during a visit by Greek National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.
The memorandum signed expresses the common desire of the two countries for peace, security, progress, economic development and improvement in the quality of life of citizens in the broader region of southeast Europe, through good understanding and cooperation, according to a Greek defence ministry's press release.
Meimarakis, apart from talks held with his Montegrin counter-part Boro Vucinic, also met the country's President Filip Vujanovic.
The memorandum refers to cooperation between the two countries' armed forces in peaceful missions and Greece's contribution to the restructuring of Montenegro''s army. In parallel with the opening, as of October 1, of a school of Greek language, Montenegrin miltary staff will be able to receive training in Greek establishments.
During his talks, Meimarakis also expressed Greece's support for the country's efforts to join Euro-Atlantic structures.
 Deputy defence minister visits 115 squadron in HaniaDeputy Defence Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis on Wednesday visited the 115 squadron in Hania, on the island of Crete, and had the opportunity of flying with a formation of three F-16 block 52 plus aircraft.
The flight lasted for 50 minutes and the three aircraft flew over the island of Karpathos. They also carried out a low flight over Crete, a mock attack on the radar at Zeros and an interception flight over the town of Tymbaki.
Speaking afterwards, Plakiotakis said that he ascertained the high professionalism and readiness of the Air Force.
 Conference on restriction and abolition of conventional weaponsGENEVA (ANA-MPA)
The conference of member-states of the Convention on the restriction and abolition of Conventional weapons, that are very harmful or have a purely inhuman character, was to begin here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of the Greek Permanent Representative at International Organisations.
The main issues that are expected to preoccupy about 110 national delegations are the adoption of a compliance apparatus to measures of conventional disarmament, as well as the forbidding of the use of cluster munitions, particularly when the lives of non-combattants are at risk.
Greece assumed the presidency of the Conference with a unanimous vote, following a proposal by the group of Western countries.
Sessions will be lasting for a week.
 ANNOUNCEMENT TO ANA-MPA SUBSCRIBERSOn Thursday, 08 November 2007 between 8:30 and 9:30 in the morning, all ANA-MPA networks will be off-line in order to carry out a system upgrade. The ANA-MPA would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.
 PM Karamanlis briefed by employment ministerPrime minister Costas Karamanlis was briefed on Wednesday by employment minister Vassilis Magginas on developments concerning the reform of the social insurance system and the relevant dialogue.
Magginas said after the meeting that they also discussed the next stages of the dialogue and the next unities.
"The government is open to proposals and positions from the political forces as well as the social partners," Magginas said.
"The dialogue is a deeply democratic process. It is open," he said, adding that "naturally, it is not obligatory, and participants may take part or depart as they see fit".
Questioned on the duration of the dialogue, Magginas said that there was no deadline and would continue until all the issues were dealt with.
 FinMin, KEDKE reach tentative agreement on payment of state debt to local governmentsThe State will pay off its bebt to the Local Governments with 3-year, 5-year and 10-year bonds, according to an agreement reached Wednesday during a meeting between national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis and a delegation of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), headed by the union's president, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kaklamanis said that the public sector debt to local government for the period up to 2003 stood at 1.5 billion euros, according to calculations by KEDKE and the State General Accounting Office, while the debt for the period 2004-2007 was tentatively estimated at another one billion euros.
Kaklamanis said that a follow-up meeting to seal a final decision would take place after the minister's return from the US.
Alogoskoufis leaves later Wednesday for New York, heading a ministry delegation, to attend the 9th Annual Capital Link Forum on "Investment and Business Opportunities in Greece Today", and is due to return to Athens next week.
KEDKE is seeking an explicit reference in the foreword of the draft 2008 budget regarding the payment of the public sector debt to local government.
Kaklamanis said that, with regard to promises and commitments, some solutions were being "routed", adding, however, that "we had heard various promises in the past".
Questioned whether Alogoskoufis asked something specific from the delegation, Kaklamanis said that the minister asked that credible budgets and balance sheets be drawn up in all the municipalities.
 Labour confederation on social security system fundingGeneral Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Yiannis Panagopoulos said on Wednesday that "the government proposal on funding for the Social Security System (SKA) constitutes direct mockery."
The proposal "on the one hand doesn't even provide the enacted commitments which it did not cover during its own tenure and, on the other, it does not even give the social security contributions of the working people that it has withheld illegally," he said, adding that "this is also a legal offence since it constitutes embezzlement."
Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) President Dimitris Daskalopoulos, referring to the funding of the social security system, said that "the state has the absolute responsibility and obligation to observe what it promises and, even more so, what it enacts itself. At this point, SEB supports and aligns itself with GSEE."
 Greek employers' union head on pension reform dialogueThe head of Greece's largest employers' union on Wednesday urged for a dialogue on the pension system in two levels in order to avoid reaching a dead-end or postponing the conversation.
Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Hellenic Industries, recommended the beginning of a dialogue between political parties and a separate dialogue procedure with trade unions to reach convergence and developing common proposals.
Commenting on a spike in oil prices, Daskalopoulos said it was a global phenomenon that runs out of control and noted that the reaction of the Greek economy with the help of the strong euro currency and Greek enterprises' behavior was mild. He added it was very likely to experience higher inflation in 2008.
Daskalopoulos also said changes were needed in real retirement ages, and noted that this was even more significant that setting a retirement age at 65 years.
 PAME organises protes rally on social security issueThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated PAME trade union organized a rally followed by a march to the House of Parliament on Wednesday evening, protesting against the government's proposed dialogue on the social security issue.
George Perros, member of PAME's executive secretariat, told participants that his union "condemns the social dialogue which is being used by the government as an instrument for abolishing social security rights."
Also present at the protest rally was KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga.
 Bill raising salaries for armed forces, police and fire brigade tabled in ParliamentThe economy and finance ministry on Wednesday announced that a draft bill that would raise salaries for officers in the armed forces, Greek police, fire brigade and coast guard has been tabled in Parliament.
Under the bill, the basic wage for a second lieutenant, on which all other salaries are based, is raised from 795 euros to 860 euros. There is also an 8.2 percent increase to various hazard pay bonuses paid to armed forces and special forces personnel.
 Alogoskoufis and Livadas to attend investment forum in NYNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Greek National Economy Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis will be in New York on November 7-10, heading a finance ministry delegation, to attend the 9th Annual Capital Link Forum on "Investment and Business Opportunities in Greece Today".
Alogoskoufis will open the trading session on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Thursday while on Friday he will be the keynote speaker at the forum, which will also be addressed by General Secretary of Information Panos Livadas.
 Athens can become global travel destination, minister saysGreek Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Wednesday expressed his confidence that Athens could become one of the most competitive travel destinations globally, attracting city break tourism. Addressing the annual assembly of the Athens Hoteliers' Union, the Greek minister noted that urban tourism is one of the most rapidly growing sectors globally, particularly among European cities following September 11 and urged everyone involved in the tourism industry to work hard to achieve this goal.
Spiliotopoulos said Athens was an affordable travel destination, compared with Paris (he said that cost was 105 pct up) and Turkey (+49 pct), and underlined that hotel prices were attractive in the Greek capital.
Athens Mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis said the municipality unveiled a program of actions designed to facilitate tourists arriving in Athens and said that the official city website was competing with that of London, offering full information, while urged hotels and enterprises to work closer with municipal authorities.
Yiannis Tsakiris, president of the Athens Hoteliers' Union, said 2006 was a relatively successful year for Athens tourism, with overnight stays up 10 pct, while hotel prices rose by 2.6 pct, below a 4-5 pct increase of hotels' operating cost. Tsakiris reiterated the need for Athens to acquire its own conference center and noted that according to ICCA figures, Greece ranked 19th in the global conference tourism market, of which 50 percent organized in Athens.
Tourist arrivals to Athens grew 19.5 pct in the first quarter of the year, with tourist arrivals in the second quarter easing slightly in growth rates. Athens hotels occupancy rates fell in September compared with the same month last year.
 First Panhellenic Energy Exhibition opening in KomotiniThe 1st Panhellenic Energy Exhibition "Energon 2007" will be opening its gates in the northern city of Komotini, northern Greece, at 6 on Thursday evening.
The exhibition will be held under the organizational responsibility of the Thessaloniki International Fair SA and will last until November 11. A total of 50 exhibitors will be participating, out of which 37 directly and 13 indirectly.
"Energon 2007" will be held under the auspices of the Development ministry and of the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and will be inaugurated by Deputy Development Minister Stavros Kalafatis.
 Onassis Foundation announces creation of financing Onassis AwardLONDON (ANA-MPA/L. Tsirigotakis)
The lord mayor of the City of London announced officially on Wednesday the creation of an Onassis Award for three sectors, financing, shipping and commerce.
"Aristotle Onassis was known as the greatest expert in the City of London, in shipping, financing and commerce. It is, therefore, very important that Aristotle Onassis will be linked with the City of London in this way now," the lord mayor said.
The relevant announcement was made at the "Mansion House," the mansion of the official residence of the lord mayor of the City of London. The lord mayor mentioned in his address that the person who inspired the creation of the Onassis Award is the professor and vice rector of the university of the City of London Costas Grammenos.
The Onassis Award will be given every two years with a financial award of 250,000 dollars. The first specific Onassis Award will be given next year and will concern financing.
Onassis Foundation President Antonis Papadimitriou on his part said that the new Onassis award would be "the Nobel Prize in the sectors of shipping, financing and commerce, which are not covered by the official Nobel Prize."
 Greek budget revenues up 7.8 pct in OctoberGreek budget revenues rose 7.8 percent in October, exceeding a 5.5 percent annual growth rates envisaged by the budget, the Finance ministry said on Wednesday.
Budget revenues were up 6.2 pct in the 10-month period from January to October, also exceeding this year's budget target for a growth rate of 5.5 pct. Tax and custom agencies reported an 11.5 percent increase in revenues in October, while VAT revenues rose by 8.6 percent.
 A-B Vasilopoulos reports sharply improved nine-month resultsA-B Vasilopoulos on Wednesday reported a 13.5 pct increase in its consolidated turnover in the nine-month period from January to September to 838.5 million euros, from 738.8 million in the corresponding period last year. Consolidated pre-tax profits jumped to 30.6 million euros in the nine-month period from 16.5 million euros last year, while consolidated after tax profits soared to 22.5 million euros from 10.4 million euros over the same periods, respectively.
The Greek supermarket group said it launched a new unit in Athens in the third quarter of 2007 and three new AB Shop and Go shops -through its franchising network- in the cities of Arta, Rhodes and Kalamata in the same period. The Group operates a network of 154 shops around the country.
 Second International Fashion Week beginning on ThursdayThe 2nd International Fashion Week, "Athens Xcclusive Designers Week: (AXDW), will open on November 8 and last until November 10 with the participation of Greek and foreign designers.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the member of the board and the administrative committee of the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece, Antonis Kouidis, said that the annual exports of the Greek fashion industry exceed two billion euros, something which shows that the extroversion of Greek fashion is on a path of development.
New collections for the spring and summer of 2008 will be presented during the event, while a charitable bazaar will be taking place on Saturday evening in cooperation with the charitable organisation "Make a wish."
 Foreign investors' participation in ASE rose to 52.71 pct in OctoberForeign investors raised their participation the Greek stock market to 52.71 percent in October, from 51.80 pct in September, official figures showed on Wednesday.
Foreign investors raised their participation in the Big Cap index (FTSE/ASE 20) to 58.73 pct in October from 57.60 pct in the previous month, in the Mid Cap index (FTSE/ASE 40) to 47.58 pct from 42.99 pct and in the Small Cap index (FTSE/ASE 80) to 24.36 pct from 22.58 pct.
Net capital investments inflows in the Athens Stock Exchange totaled 287.48 million euros in October, with the number of foreign investment capital inflows totaling 5.463 billion euros so far this year. Greek investors were net sellers in October with outflows totaling 157.88 million euros.
Turnover totaled 11.836 billion euros in October, up 24.9 pct from September (9.487 billion euros) and up 65.7 pct from October 2007 (7.142 billion euros). Average daily turnover reached 514.62 million euros, on a monthly basis and 467.86 million euros on an annual basis.
Active investor codes totaled 105,394 in October, up 9.2 pct from September. The Greek market's capitalisation was 201.996 billion euros at the end of October, the highest in the last eight years.
 Businessman remanded in custody for major stock market fraudBusinessman Tryfon Apostolopoulos was remanded in custody after his appearance before an appeals court examining magistrate on Wednesday to answer charges of fraud at the expense of stock market investors and legalising income from illegal activities.
The charges concern a case of stock manipulation in 1999-2000, according to which Apostolopoulos sought to gain illegal gains by falsely presenting virtual trade in Sigalas stocks as real to the investing public.
This led to a sharp increase in the price of the share and the transactions carried out, many of which involved offshore companies and could not be traced, were in the region of 16 billion drachmas. Also involved in the case is the former examining magistrate Constantina Bourboulia, who faces charges of corruption and trial-rigging.
 Greek stocks eased 0.08 pct on WednesdayGreek stocks eased slightly in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, following a decline in other European markets. The composite index ended 0.08 pct lower at 5,305.79 points, after hitting new year-highs (5,346.04 points) during the session. Turnover was a strong 424.5 million euros, of which 74.8 million were block trades.
Most sectors ended lower, with the Financial Services (1.98 pct), Media (1.56 pct), Technology (1.19 pct) and Healthcare (1.03 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Chemicals (1.17 pct), Food/Beverage (1.04 pct) and Oil (0.77 pct) scored gains.
The Big Cap index eased 0.09 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.63 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 0.92 pct. Rilken (12.77 pct), Boutaris (8.96 pct) and Viosol (6.67 pct) were top gainers, while Desmos (8.82 pct), ANEK (8.44 pct) and Klonatex (6.25 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 170 to 82 with another 49 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.77%
Personal & Household: -0.12%
Raw Materials: -0.45%
Travel & Leisure: -0.21%
Food & Beverages: +1.04%
Financial Services: -1.98%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Marfin Popular Bank, Piraeus Bank and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 25.64
Public Power Corp (PPC): 26.90
HBC Coca Cola: 42.80
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.92
Emporiki Bank: 21.00
National Bank of Greece: 47.44
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 26.70
Titan Cement Company: 33.76
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.735 billion euros on Wednesday, of which 900 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 835 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 600 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds rose slightly to 0.305 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.46 pct and the German Bund 4.15 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were largely unchanged. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.08 pct, the two-day rate rose to 4.08 pct from 4.06 pct on Tuesday, the one-month rate was 4.16 pct and the 12-month rate eased to 4.61 pct from 4.62 pct.
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices ended mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover rising to 209.924 million euros. The December contract on the Big Cap index was traded at a discount of 1.05 pct, while the November contract on the Mid Cap index at a premium of 0.50 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 11,743 contracts, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 672 contracts. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 6,305 contracts with investment interest focusing on PPC's contracts (624), followed by Eurobank (201), Marfin Investment Group (386), Marfin Popular Bank (474), Piraeus Bank (473), National Bank (412), Alpha Bank (638), Intracom (541) and Sidenor (512).
 Foreign Exchange Rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.484
Pound sterling 0.705
Danish kroner 7.513
Swedish kroner 9.327
Japanese yen 167.4
Swiss franc 1.672
Norwegian kroner 7.828
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.346
Australian dollar 1.582
 Special forces launch raid in Zoniana, detain 25More than 25 suspects were detained during the course of raid begun early on Wednesday morning by special forces police in the lawless village of Zoniana in the highlands of Iraklio on Crete. They were held for a variety of offences, including illegal possession of weapons, explosives and small quantities of drugs.
A major operation that involved the participation of 75 heavily armed and armoured special forces (EKAM) police got underway at 7:15. These descended on the village assisted by local police, bringing the total number of officers participating in the raid to 130.
During the course of the operation, police set up road blocks and conducted house-to-house searches to look for drugs and weaponry, as well as evidence that would lead them to the identity of the gunmen that ambushed a police convoy conducting a drug raid on Monday, in which three police officers were shot and injured, with one of them left in critical condition.
They were also assisted by sniffer dogs, two helicopters flying overhead and special forces police stationed on the slopes around the village and the foothills of Mount Psiloreitis, while the operation was coordinated by the chief of police and the southern Greece police inspector.
In an official announcement, police asked journalists and TV crews stay out of the village in order to preserve a calm climate during the raid, requesting the cooperation and understanding of the media.
Very few residents were out and about during the morning, with most preferring to stay home. All roads leading into and out of the village were guarded and every vehicle or person going through these road blocks was thoroughly checked.
Initially, the search was concentrated on three houses linked to a young man arrested in connection with drugs offences in Iraklio last Friday. These were followed by searches in farms, sheds, houses and shops in which small quantities of drugs were found. Also found and confiscated were a number of weapons and ammunition, though the quantity has not yet been announced.
Meanwhile, the search for hashish plantations in the wider area of mountainous Mylopotamos is still continuing.
Earlier this week, the government vowed to crack down in order to restore law and order in Zoniana, where drug barons have been allowed to operate with relative impunity for several years.
Commenting on the operation, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias stated that the government is determined to solve the problem in the region of Zoniana, stressing that "the state has to return to Zoniana and Zoniana to the state."
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that the problem in Zoniana was a "reality" that the State was handling it with the proper bodies, namely the Greek police.
Regarding the presence of TV crews and journalists at the raid, the spokesman rejected suggestions that the State had encouraged a media presence on the scene, pointing out that the media were free to go or stay away as they pleased.
Roussopoulos was also asked to comment on why the operation was carried out two days after the shooting on the police convoy, so that the culprits would have a chance to cover their tracks. The spokesman simply noted that a large number had been detained as suspects and pointed to last week's arrest of a suspected leader of a group of outlaws.
To questions about the village's exclusion from the Kapodistrias laws for municipal mergers, Roussopoulos admitted that the area had lacked a properly founded administration and that this was one of the problems that had arisen with the first 'Kapodistrias' law.
He strongly rejected rumours, however, that outlaw elements in the village had enjoyed political protection at a high level.
"I do not believe there is an MP in the Greek Parliament that does the things that you mentioned earlier in these accusations," Roussopoulos underlined, while rejecting the entire line of inquiry as "lacking seriousness".
 Illegal immigrants intercepted near Hania, CreteA group of 87 illegal immigrants, mostly of Arab origin, have been detained at a hotel in Kavros Apokaronou in Hania, on the island of Crete, since Wednesday afternoon.
The immigrants were intercepted on board a fishing boat with Egyptian markings, which was sighted sailing south of Hania in the region of Sfakia by local residents that called in the coast guard.
The illegals were picked up soon afterwards as they were disembarking onto a nearby beach and taken to the Sfakia municipal surgery for emergency first aid, and from there to the Vamos health centre to be treated for symptoms of dehydration and lack of food.
The group was comprised entirely of men aged 18 to 27 years old and their final destination appears to have been a port in Italy. The coast guard is also seeking the immigrant smugglers that arranged for their transportation to Crete.
 Measures against illegal operation of nightclubsA legal framework is being sponsored by the interior ministry and the prefecture and municipality of Athens providing that all nightclubs operating illegally (without operating licences) will have their business licenses revoked.
In a meeting held Wednesday at the interior ministry, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros and Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis agreed on the implementation of relative regulations by the end of the year.
The proposed measures against the illegal operation of nightclubs include the imposition of 200,000-euro fines on nightclub managers and owners of nightclub real estate with the provision that in case of a relapse the initially imposed fines will be doubled.
The Athens mayor commented that it is humiliating for the state to be unable to shut down businesses that operate without a license, adding that all necessary legislation is ready and waiting for parliament approval.
 Culture minister Liapis inspects projects in AthensCulture Minister Michalis Liapis visited the Byzantine Museum, Aristotle's Lyceum and Athens Conservatory and the surrounding areas on Wednesday to inspect projects currently underway, while announcing the prospect of creating a "culture and recreation park" in the area.
Liapis referred to near future plans to revamp Aristotle's Lyceum and the Athens Conservatory, adding that the Byzantine and Christian Museum projects are expected to be completed within a year.
 Parliament president visits Athens Bar AssociationParliament President Dimitris Sioufas visited the Athens Bar Association offices on Wednesday acknowledging the social service offered by the oldest scientific association in the country, which celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Addressing Sioufas, Athens Bar Association president Dimitris Paxinos commented that it is the first time a parliament president has taken the initiative to honor the association, recognizing its contribution to legal science, society and the country.
 Vicky Leandros announces benefit concert on November 13 in AthensInternationally-acclaimed Greek singer Vicky Leandros on Wednesday announced that she will give a benefit concert at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Mousikis) on November 13 in order to raise funds for the alcohol and drug dependency rehabilitation centre "I Epistrofi" (The Return).
In a press conference on Wednesday, Leandros underlined the importance of providing support for people trying to overcome a dependency on drugs or alcohol, as well as their parents and partners.
Leandros is president of Mentor, an international foundation against drug abuse, and has received an invitation from the Pope in recognition of her work in this area, in addition to several honorary awards.
The concert will be held at the Friends of Music Hall next Tuesday at 20:30, with Greek singer George Dalaras as a guest performer.
 Alkinoos Ioannidis to sing in Greek-American school fundraiserNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Popular singer Alkinoos Ioannidis will give a concert at the NYU auditorium in New York on Friday, participating in the fund raising effort in support of the cultural programs of the Holy Trinity Cathedral School in Manhattan.
In a press conference in New York, the Cypriot-born singer expressed joy and anticipation for the music event held in collaboration with the school choir which is made up of children of different nationalities that will sing in Greek.
 US Embassy and consular section to be closed on MondayThe U.S. Embassy in Athens and its Consular Section, the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki and all U.S. Government offices in Greece will be closed on Monday, November 12, 2007, in observance of Veterans' Day, a U.S. national holiday.
 Mexican Embassy opens up special relief account for Tabasco flood victimsThe Mexican Embassy to Greece has opened up a special bank account for donations that will help the relief effort following what has been described as one of the worst natural disasters in the country's history.
"Mexico is presently suffering from one of the worst natural catastrophes in the history of the country, in the state of Tabasco, facing the Gulf of Mexico. The flooding that resulted from heavy rains and consequently from rivers that burst their banks, have covered about 80 percent of Tabasco's territory, where more than 800,000 people have been rendered homeless," an embassy announcement said on Wednesday.
"The government of Mexico, through its Embassy in Greece, would like to express thanks for all the support that has been received in relation to this tragedy,' the announcement said, adding that those who wished to make a monetary contribution could do so through a special bank account set up by the Embassy at CitiBank, special account number 05 07 12 79 16.
 Cyprus considers Commission's report on Turkey significantNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The government has described the European Commission's progress report on Turkey as significant, since it recognises that a UN-brokered agreement in July last year, between the island's two communities, will prepare the ground for negotiations aiming at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Replying to questions after a Council of Ministers meeting, Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas said the fact that the Commission expresses anticipation regarding Turkey's support towards the resumption of talks, on the basis of the July 8 agreement, leads to the conclusion that this clear obligation of Turkey still remains a requirement.
He added that ''it is once again confirmed that the July agreement is the only agreement before us to help create conditions for progress in the Cyprus problem'' and that the EU, along with the UN, shares this opinion.
Palmas said it was important that the report criticises the Turkish military role in the country's politics and in issues such as the Cyprus problem.
He noted that the government would be studying the report and would send its opinion to the EU.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali 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.
 President Papadopoulos announces support measures for stockbreedersNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The Council of Ministers approved on Wednesday a package of measures, with immediate effect, in support of stockbreeders, whose farms have been affected by the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).
Announcing the measures after a cabinet meeting, President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos said they include compensation of 110 Cyprus pounds for each animal killed and compensation for loss of income for a period of six months, at 75 pounds for each animal. The president said that if necessary, the six month period will be extended.
The measures also include compensation for animal food supplies which will have to be destroyed.
The government will also cover expenses for the reactivation of the affected farmers, including any additional cost for the purchase of livestock.
President Papadopoulos said that the measures will be implemented within the next few days.
"Tackling this problem necessitates strict measures. We all understand the sorrow and devastation of the affected stockbreeders, whose livestock will have to be killed. The problem we face is serious but the government will support the animal breeders," the president said.
On Wednesday the European Commission described Cyprus as a "high risk zone" following the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease, adding that appropriate measures are in place to deal with the situation.
The Commission also said that the local Cypriot cheese, halloumi, does not come under the restrictions imposed on Cyprus because of the outbreak, and can be exported.
The Cyprus pound - euro conversion rate is set at 0,585274.
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