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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-01-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 9 January 2008 Issue No: 2789


  • [01] Gov't eyes clamp down on profiteering, following Inner Cabinet meeting
  • [02] Stylianidis meets UK higher education minister
  • [03] Gov't on Zachopoulos affair
  • [04] PASOK leader to chair meeting of leading party members
  • [05] Exclusive interview with Council of State President George Panagiotopoulos
  • [06] Parliament President sends condolences to family of Alekos Mihailidis
  • [07] Government responds over girl's drug death
  • [08] Gov't: EU funds absorption rate at 75.18% in 2007
  • [09] FinMin at National Social Cohesion Fund Parliamentary debate
  • [10] Merchant marine minister holds talks with Piraeus Prefect
  • [11] Piraeus prefect opposes port privatisation plan
  • [12] SYRIZA leader meets with port employees
  • [13] Employment minister receives LA.OS leader
  • [14] PASOK blames government for runaway prices
  • [15] Eurobank Properties buys real estate management firm for 5.35 million euros
  • [16] Greek insurance firms need to adopt int'l accounting standards, PwC report
  • [17] Airline passenger complaints up in 2007, Greek agency says
  • [18] Commercial Value buys Proton Insurance for 17.8 million euros
  • [19] Construction of broadband fibre optics network in city of Rhodes
  • [20] 2nd International Tourism & Property Show in Athens, Feb 22-24
  • [21] Greek stocks end 0.70% higher on Tues.
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday
  • [25] Greeks abroad back Penteli reforestation
  • [26] Protest over alleged land-grabbing by Mt Athos monasteries
  • [27] Antiquities smuggling arrests in Larissa
  • [28] More migrant arrests on Samos
  • [29] Partly cloudy on Wednesday
  • [30] President Papadopoulos comments on ECHR decision to reject Cyprus' request
  • [31] Cyprus reaffirms its support to the creation of Palestinian state
  • [32] Acting Head of EC Representation in Cyprus appointed Politics

  • [01] Gov't eyes clamp down on profiteering, following Inner Cabinet meeting

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis chaired an Inner Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that focused on international economic developments and their possible repercussions on the Greek economy, a meeting that was also attended by Development Minister Christos Folias, who warned afterwards that the government was determined to clamp down on profiteering in domestic markets.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis stressed that the Greek economy, in the year ahead, has heightened developmental prospects, which he attributed, to a great degree, to reforms carried out in preceding years, "which will ensure the country's growth and a further reduction of unemployment".

    Alogoskoufis noted that the government has taken specific initiatives to boost the financially weaker classes, along with the country's further growth, and to increase employment.

    Asked whether spiralling prices pose a threat to the economy, Alogoskoufis noted that repercussions of skyrocketing oil prices and hikes in food prices and raw materials world-wide were discussed during the Inner Cabinet meeting, adding that, "to date, repercussions have been manageable, but the government and the relevant mechanisms are in constant vigilance so as to confront any re-evaluations".

    Folias, in turn, noted that the "imported inflation, due to oil, grains and milk, obviously influences prices".

    Folias warned that "anyone who believes that, from here on, they can engage in profiteering, they would do well to revise their views, because we are determined to clamp down on them".

    [02] Stylianidis meets UK higher education minister

    LONDON (ANA-MPA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Greece's Education and Religious Affairs Minister Evripides Stylianidis held talks here on Tuesday with the UK's minister for higher education Bill Rammell while attending an international ministerial conference focusing on the use of technology in education.

    In statements after the meeting, Stylianidis said they discussed the exchange of know-how and systematic cooperation in the quality assessment of universities and other tertiary education institutes, a process that is now beginning in Greece.

    A second issue raised was that of cooperation between assessment and certification authorities, so that Greece might obtain a picture of the quality of each higher education institute in Britain that currently has a franchise operation based in Greece.

    "In view of a legislative act to regulate the chaotic field of 'free studies' centres, we are interested in finding out from the British State which of the universities that created adjuncts with this structure in Greece have the required quality and approval of the British State. We are operating within the framework of article 16 and of European law. As education ministry, however, we want to set down clear-cut rules for controlling quality in these structures that provide educational services prior to universities," the minister noted.

    [03] Gov't on Zachopoulos affair

    Ôhe government on Tuesday was again called on to comment on the ongoing Zachopoulos affair revolving around charges that a one-time culture ministry employee attempted to blackmail the recently resigned ministry general secretary, Christos Zachopoulos, with videotaped material of an intimate nature.

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said he did not know whether Yiannis Adrianos, the head of the prime minister's press office, had been summoned by a relevant prosecutor again to provide information on the case.

    The spokesman also clarified that Adrianos, obviously, will provide a statement if summoned. The premier's aide turned over a DVD to prosecutors in late December with images related to the case, and following Zachopoulos' fall from his fourth-storey apartment - what authorities called a suicide attempt.

    Roussopoulos, speaking at a normal press briefing, then referred to previous answers concerning the existence of more DVDs, and whether Adrianos -- a career journalist -- will again invoke confidentiality of sources in declining to name the individual who provided him with the infamous DVD.


    On his part, PASOK spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis dismissed the "confidentiality of sources" defence invoked by Adrianos, while referring to "a systematic attempt to conceal the truth is in process."

    The PASOK spokesman also charged that the prime minister ordered Adrianos not to reveal his sources.

    Asked whether PASOK accepts a proposal, made by 22 ruling New Democracy MPs, to call all the individuals - including a handful of top PASOK cadres -- that served as culture ministers from 1996 onwards to appear before a Parliament committee investigating ministry-related developments and contracts, Ragoussis said "it requires tremendous political audacity to ask PASOK's ex-ministers to be submitted to parliamentary examination when everyone in Greece knows that they have nothing to do with the Zachopoulos affair."

    Asked if main opposition PASOK would "order" former minister and recent leadership contender Evangelos Venizelos to answer questions regarding his tenure as culture minister, Ragoussis replied "there is no need to instruct Venizelos or any other PASOK official; this is self-evident".

    PASOK has demanded that culture ministers after 2004, when ND assumed power, including PM Costas Karamanlis, appear before the committee.

    [04] PASOK leader to chair meeting of leading party members

    PASOK leader George Papandreou will chair a meeting of leading party members in his office in Parliament at noon on Wednesday.

    The meeting will focus on pending issues existing at the Parliamentary Institutions and Transparency Committee. A discussion will also be held on the possibility of the party making new moves at Parliamentary level concerning the case of former culture ministry secretary general Christos Zachopoulos.

    [05] Exclusive interview with Council of State President George Panagiotopoulos

    A Constitutional Court, by its own nature, will have an effect not only on the Council of State (supreme administrative court) but also on the rest of the Courts of Justice in the country, Council of State President Geprge Panagiotopoulos said in an exclusive interview with ANA-MPA.

    He pointed out that all courts have the right to rule on the constitutionality of a specific legal provision adding, that two factors will determine whether the establishment of a Constitutional Court is necessary: namely, its jurisdiction and its composition.

    The fact that there is a backlog of cases pending trial is due to the large number of cases that are brought to court, said Panagiotopoulos, stressing that roughly 2,000-2,500 cases are outstanding each year and therefore, over a period of ten years their number will eventually rise to approximately 25,000. On December 31, 2006 the pending cases in the Council of State were roughly 30,000, he noted.

    Limiting the number of cases that are brought before the Council of State after being tried in lower administrative courts -- which makes the process more expensive -- could be the solution to the problem, he pointed out.

    Concerning allegations on Areios Paghos (Greek supreme court) sessions that were held via teleconference, Panagiotopoulos commented that a quorum is necessary for the Council of State to rule on a case, otherwise it must adjourn for another date.

    He maintained that there is no interdependence between the political leadership and supreme courts, despite the fact that the Supreme Court heads are appointed by the Inner Cabinet.

    The president of the Council of State also stressed that the separation of powers is guaranteed by the Constitution, preventing any form of interference in exercising their duties.

    "Regardless of whether judges are approached for the purpose of issuing a favorable ruling, they should always do their duty and this is the case as far as the Council of State is concerned", he stressed.

    [06] Parliament President sends condolences to family of Alekos Mihailidis

    Greek Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas addressed a message of condolences to the family of Alekos Mihailidis, expressing his great sorrow over the loss of the former foreign minister and former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus.

    [07] Government responds over girl's drug death

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday stressed that a series of measures to stem the use of illegal drugs had been taken by the ministries involved during the past years, which had reinforced and supported existing state actions against narcotics. He was responding to questions concerning the death of a 14-year-old girl in Ptolemaida, northern Greece, due to cocaine use.

    The struggle against drug abuse was not just a job for the government but for all society and political forces, he added.

    "In any case, we all express our horror at the death of anyone, and much more so of a child, through drugs," the spokesman said, noting that the police had already arrested the drug dealer responsible for supplying the girl the fatal dose.

    Financial News

    [08] Gov't: EU funds absorption rate at 75.18% in 2007

    The Greek government's absorption rate of EU funds reached 75.18 percent at the end of 2007, up from 58 percent in 2006, Deputy Economy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, Papathanasiou stressed that there was no loss of community funds from the 3rd Community Support Framework programme in 2007.

    He also noted that absorption rates of sector operational programmes and regional operational programmes were 74.25 percent and 77.38 percent in 2007, respectively, up from 57.7 pct and 58.5 pct in 2006.

    Papathanasiou said the absorption rate of EU funds was just 23 percent in March 2004, when the ND government took over.

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, speaking to reporters, said that higher absorption rates confirmed the efficiency of government policies with EU funds.

    [09] FinMin at National Social Cohesion Fund Parliamentary debate

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday during the debate on the creation of a National Social Cohesion Fund, called on social partners to show "social responsibility" during the process of collective labour negotiations, while warning of "us being led to a vicious circle of inflation."

    Alogoskoufis said that the Greek economy has great growth reserves that will provide the economy with a considerable impetus shortly, but warned that 2008 will be a crucial year also due to "uncertainties" in the global economy.

    The minister further pointed to a slowdown in the American economy and to increases in oil prices worldwide, as well as to increases in the prices of raw materials and foodstuffs, while stressing that price increases internationally must not turn into permanent inflation.

    [10] Merchant marine minister holds talks with Piraeus Prefect

    Merchant Marine and Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis held talks on Tuesday with Piraeus Prefect Yiannis Mihas whom, according to a relevant announcement, he briefed on the National Ports Development Plan.

    Voulgarakis presented the main elements of government policy on delivering part of the activities of the Piraeus Port Authority and the Thessaloniki Port Authority to international managers, stressing that the development of ports is a one-way path.

    [11] Piraeus prefect opposes port privatisation plan

    The prefect of Piraeus, Yiannis Mihas on Tuesday expressed his opposition to government plans to privatize the cargo terminal of the Piraeus Port Organization, during a meeting with Merchant Marine Minister George Voulgarakis.

    During the meeting the Greek minister briefed the prefect of Piraeus over a decision to privatize the cargo terminal, while Mihas presented the prefecture's plan to create a zone of innovation, enterpreunship and culture in the area, in cooperation with the municipality of Piraeus and the Piraeus Port Organization.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Mihas expressed his satisfaction over the meeting and noted that the port of Piraeus should maintain its public character. He said that the prefecture supported port workers' views and will stand beside them in their strike actions.

    Meanwhile, the Association of Retail Sales Enterprises (SELPE), in an announcement to the press on Tuesday said that if the government was not ready and determined to proceed with a privatization of the country's two largest ports, it would be best not to begin any procedure. "The Greek economy cannot afford the troubles suffered in winter 2006, when the government failed to promote a previous plan to privatize the ports," SELPE said, adding that it agreed with the privatization plan and urged the government to complete a social dialogue with all interested parties.

    [12] SYRIZA leader meets with port employees

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday met with the Federation of Port Employees of Greece (OMYLE), after which he accused the government of "selling off everything".

    Alavanos said that although the country's ports were profitable enterprises, "the government is proceeding to their sale, to their sell-out", but "not in order to relieve the state budget".

    The SYRIZA leader further criticized the government on its proposed reforms in the social security system.

    [13] Employment minister receives LA.OS leader

    Employment and Social Insurance ̀inister Fanny Palli-Petralia on Tuesday received Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) founder and leader George Karatzaferis in Athens.

    After the meeting, the new minister stated that all constructive viewpoints are welcome regarding the contentious issue of social security reform, while adding that the government is entering in the "final stretch" towards tabling proposals for reforms of the country's creaky pension system, "(reforms) that will serve public interest and satisfy Greek society, both of today and tomorrow."

    On his part, Karatzaferis, a former New Democracy deputy and until recently a Euro-MP that split from today's ruling party a few years ago to form his own political vehicle, called on the government to be straightforward, and to present a reform package that also supports low-income pensioners.

    [14] PASOK blames government for runaway prices

    Main opposition PASOK on Tuesday blamed the government and its "erratic" policies for a rapid rise in prices on the Greek market in recent years. PASOK's 'shadow' development minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis said that ruling New Democracy's spell in government brought about "absolutely negative results in terms of restraining prices on the market and protecting the income of citizens". The MP and former minister was responding to the statements made by members of the government after Tuesday's meeting of the inner cabinet.

    He also pointed out that the government was constantly trying to shift responsibility for rising prices on others rather than itself, most recently blaming consumers themselves for failing to show restraint and overspending.

    According to Chrysohoidis, Greece was now among the three most pessimistic countries in the EU, had one of the highest inflation rates in the Eurozone and Athens had in 2007 climbed 30 places in the rankings for the most expensive big cities in the world.

    [15] Eurobank Properties buys real estate management firm for 5.35 million euros

    Eurobank Properties on Tuesday announced the acquisition of Kalampokis Tours & Cargo SA, a real estate management company, for 5.35 million euros.

    In a statement, Eurobank Properties said the acquired company owned a large tract of property in the district of Schimatari, Viotia prefecture north of Athens, which is currently leased by state agencies and organisations.

    Nikolaos Galetas, the general manager of Eurobank Properties, said the investment was fully covered with money raised from a share capital increase plan completed in December 2007, and was part of a strategy to expand activities through selective investments in the commercial real estate market.

    [16] Greek insurance firms need to adopt int'l accounting standards, PwC report

    The majority of insurance companies operating in Greece continue publishing their financial results based on GAAP instead of the International Standards for Financial Information, a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) stated on Tuesday.

    Presenting the report, partner Nikos Papadopoulos, who covers the Greek insurance sector, said this trend made it more difficult to promote transparency and comparability of financial results.

    PwC's report said insurance analysts from Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia identified significant gaps in information, and noted that this "adequacy gap" was particularly intense in countries that failed to use international accounting standards.

    [17] Airline passenger complaints up in 2007, Greek agency says

    Complaints against airline carriers filed in Greece for violations of EU regulations vis-à-vis passenger rights were up five-fold in 2007 compared to 2006, and mainly involved "unjustifiable" flight cancellations and delays, overbooking as well as loss of luggage or damage.

    According to the Civil Aviation Authority, a total of 546 complaints were filed in 2007 compared to 110 in 2006. A settlement in favor of the passenger was reached in 414 cases, 75 percent, while the rest of the cases are still under investigation. Fines were imposed on non-complying airlines.

    Based on EU regulations all commercial airlines are obliged to pay compensation and offer assistance (hotel accommodations, meals, etc) in case of unjustifiable flight cancellations or delays or luggage loss and damage. The size of the fine depends on the flight mileage.

    [18] Commercial Value buys Proton Insurance for 17.8 million euros

    Commercial Value on Tuesday announced the signing of a contract, worth 17.8 million euros, for the acquisition of 91.29 pct of shares in Proton Insurance, from Proton Bank SA.

    Proton Insurance recorded a premium turnover of around 40 million euros last year. The deal is subject to approval from competition authorities.

    Fitch, the international credit rating company, said it was awarding Commercial Value with a BB rating, with positive expectations.

    Dimitris Vidalis, Commercial Value's chief executive, said the company was steadily growing and would continue growing further in the future.

    [19] Construction of broadband fibre optics network in city of Rhodes

    The construction of a metropolitan broadband fiber optics network in the city of Rhodes, on the eponymous Dodecanese holiday island, begins on Wednesday.

    The new broadband infrastructure is expected to boost market deregulation, competitiveness and upgrade health service, education and commercial applications.

    [20] 2nd International Tourism & Property Show in Athens, Feb 22-24

    The 2nd International Tourism and Property Show will be held in Athens, February 22-24, at the Hellenikon Olympic sport facilities. This year's show will bring together enterprises from the construction, tourism, financial institutions, insurance, real estate management, commercial property, investment, property funds, architectural-engineering, decoration and equipment sectors.

    The Tourism and Property Show 2008 will also attract public sector enterprises. Real Travel SA, the organiser of the show said the show aimed at becoming a fundamental communication hub for the tourism and property industries.

    [21] Greek stocks end 0.70% higher on Tues.

    Greek stocks rebounded on Tuesday following a recovery of prices on international markets.

    The composite index at the Athens Stock Exchange rose 0.70 percent to end at 5,143.93 points with turnover a strong 421.8 million euros, of which 62.5 million were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Oil (3.23 pct), Food/Beverage (1.44 pct), Banks (1.15 pct) and Utilities (0.99 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Chemicals (2.20 pct), Constructions (1.74 pct) and Industrial Products (1.35 pct) suffered losses.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.81 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.06 pct lower and the Small Cap index ended 0.82 pct down. Minoan Lines (7.02 pct), Fintexport (5.0 pct) and ANEK (4.88 pct) were top gainers, while Spyrou (8.80 pct) and Mathios (7.20 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 150 to 98 with another 46 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.85%

    Industrials: -1.35%

    Commercial: -0.88%

    Construction: -1.74%

    Media: -0.76%

    Oil & Gas: +3.23%

    Personal & Household: -0.28%

    Raw Materials: -1.04%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.25%

    Technology: -0.40%

    Telecoms: -0.03%

    Banks: +1.15%

    Food & Beverages: +1.44%

    Health: -0.51%

    Utilities: +0.99%

    Chemicals: -2.20%

    Financial Services: +0.56%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Marfin Investment Group and Eurobank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 25.08

    ATEbank: 4.00

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 36.18

    HBC Coca Cola: 32.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 11.96

    National Bank of Greece: 47.40

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 22.78

    Intralot: 13.56

    OPAP: 27.14

    OTE: 24.96

    Titan Cement Company: 30.92

    [22] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover a low 119.097 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.33 pct and the January contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.35 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totalled 6,470 contracts worth 87.858 million euros, with 25,233 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 293 contracts worth 8.993 million euros with 675 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totalled 6,241 contracts worth 12.578 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (1,407), followed by Eurobank (362), Marfin Investment Group (244), OPAP (301), National Bank (1,407), Intracom (738), Marfin Popular Bank (1,029) and ATEbank (754).

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totalled 2.106 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 1.258 billion were buy orders and the remaining 848 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 684 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year benchmark Greek and German bonds rose to 0.36 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.48 pct and the German Bund 4.12 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.16 pct from 4.14 pct on Monday, the two-day rate rose to 4.19 pct from 4.14 pct, the one-month rate was 4.22 pct and the 12-month rate 4.68 pct.

    [24] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.482

    Pound sterling 0.750

    Danish kroner 7.508

    Swedish kroner 9.455

    Japanese yen 162.5

    Swiss franc 1.655

    Norwegian kroner 7.952

    Canadian dollar 1.484

    Australian dollar 1.684

    General News

    [25] Greeks abroad back Penteli reforestation

    The replanting of burnt pine forests on historic Mount Penteli in Attica is to begin this Sunday in a reforestation drive backed mainly by Greek-American and Cypriot business people based abroad. Among their number is easyGroup's founder and chairman, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who was knighted in 2006 for his services to entrepreneurship.

    The initiative to reforest areas of Athens stricken by last summer's destructive fires was launched last summer with the support of locally-based journalists, embassy staff and many others that joined their efforts with those of the Agricultural Development Ministry and the Attica Reforestation Directorate.

    It gained new impetus with the support of the Greek diaspora organization "Plant your Roots in Greece" and the "Independent Reforestation Movement" formed last year. The first phase of reforestation will begin on Mount Penteli at the location Kokkinara, which is on the borders of New Penteli and Kefalari.

    Taking part in Sunday's tree-planting drive will be Deputy Agriculture Minister Constantine Kiltidis and representatives of the two organizations with volunteers from Greece, local mayors and municipal councilors and senior staff from the British Embassy in Athens.

    "Plant Your Roots in Greece" is a non-profit foundation established in Chicago in 1991 that now operates with the support of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and the Hellenic American National Council and has been very active in Greece since 1999. It is planning a second round of tree plantings during 2008 at the archaeological park in Dion, Pieria and at Cassandra in Halkidiki, which was swept by huge destructive fires in 2006.

    The organization has also launched a campaign to raise money for the restitution of Mount Taygetus, also ravaged in last summer's fires and one of the most important ecosystems in the country.

    Mount Penteli in Athens was chosen as the starting point for these reforestation drives because of its symbolic importance as the source of the marble that built the Parthenon and its importance for the environment in Athens.

    [26] Protest over alleged land-grabbing by Mt Athos monasteries

    Residents of the prefecture of Halkidiki, northern Greece, held a protest on Tuesday against Mount Athos monasteries that have allegedly encroached on public land and forests, as well as some private properties.

    The demonstrators, seeking the annulment of all notary public acts conducted so far that concern a total of 8,230 hectares, gathered at the borders of the Halkidiki Prefecture with the monastic community.

    As part of the protest, a small group of women entered the territory of the monastic community where all women have been barred for 900 years. They said this was a symbolic act of retaliation to the monasteries' refusal to show respect for private property.

    The long-drawn-out court battle on the issue, which stretches back over the last quarter century, has resurfaced on the occasion of a court hearing in Thessaloniki scheduled for January 14, in which the Mt Athos monastery of Koutloumousiou claims a total of 450 hectares of public land.

    [27] Antiquities smuggling arrests in Larissa

    Three people, members of the same family, were arrested in Larissa, central Greece, on illegal trade of antiquities charges this week following a complaint by the archeological service concerning an extensive excavation at the site of an ancient tomb -- in the Kranon region.

    Police were led to the three suspects after spotting an excavator, allegedly used in the illegal dig, in their farm house. A number of ancient coins and artifacts were recovered in a storage shed, according to reports.

    [28] More migrant arrests on Samos

    Five illegal immigrants, all males, were intercepted on Monday evening at the port of Samos by the coast guard, as authorities continued stepped up patrols on the eastern Aegean island, a "favorite destination" for mostly Third World nationals attempting to cross into Greece and the European Union from Turkey.

    None of the detainees possessed travel documents, reports state.

    According to the illegals, they arrived on the Greek isle from the opposite Turkish coast aboard an inflatable dinghy, which was destroyed as soon as they reached the coast.

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Partly cloudy on Wednesday

    Partly cloudy weather with northerly, northeasterly winds are forecast in all parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 5-6 beaufort. Possibility of scattered showers. Temperatures will range between -1C and 15C. Overcast in Athens, with northeasterly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 7C to 13C. Possibility of rain in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 1C to 8C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [30] President Papadopoulos comments on ECHR decision to reject Cyprus' request


    The Cyprus government's actions are in line with Attorney General's advice and if an amendment of the Law is required then the government will proceed to it, President Papadopoulos said on Tuesday.

    President Papadopoulos was referring to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to reject the government's request to intervene in the case of Greek Cypriot Michael Tymvios vs Turkey, pending before the ECHR.

    Papadopoulos said that Tymvios' case is specific and it does not mean that the human rights' law is now being questioned.

    "The Court said that the dispute is between Mike Tymvios and Turkey and that the Republic of Cyprus is not involved. Every court has the competency, and there are the two parties involved in the case that can intervene and in extraordinary cases, if the Court deems that a more general issue is affected, it may accept interventions by Governments, which are not involved in the case," Papadopoulos added.

    Referring to the decision of ECHR to hear the cases of 36 Greek Cypriots, President Papadopoulos described it as a very positive development since the Court has not accepted the so-called compensation committee, which was set up illegally in the occupied areas.

    Tymvios had submitted an appeal against Turkey before the ECHR for the loss of his property in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since the invasion of 1974. Later on he withdrew his appeal and the Court is now expected to proceed with an amicable settlement between the two sides.

    [31] Cyprus reaffirms its support to the creation of Palestinian state


    Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis reaffirmed Cyprus' support to the creation of Palestinian state that would exist side by side with the state of Israel in conditions of peace and security.

    Marcoullis, who is paying a two-day working visit to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, met on Monday in Amman with the Authority's Foreign Minister Riad Al-Malki, who briefed her on the situation in the Palestinian territories.

    He expressed the Palestinian Authority's concern on the possible repercussions to the efforts to create the right climate in the negotiations for the settlement of the Palestinian problem, created by the expansion of the Israeli settlements and the issue of Security in the West Bank.

    Al-Malki also reaffirmed the excellent level of the relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the Palestinian people, which is founded on the historical ties of friendship and solidarity between the two peoples. He also expressed the Authority's gratitude for the financial assistance totaling two million dollars pledged by Cyprus during the donors Conference in Paris last December.

    On her part, Marcoullis assured her collocutor of Cyprus' firm support towards the Palestinians in their struggle to establish a Palestinian state, living side by side with the state of Israel in conditions of peace and security.

    She also briefed Al-Malki on the current situation in Cyprus, making special reference to aspects of the Cyprus problem, which resemble with those of the Palestinian question.

    Marcoullis and Al-Malki also agreed to establish in Cyprus a team of experts which will soon visit the Palestinian territories, with the purpose of finding ways for best possible utilization of the financial assistance provided by Cyprus in the development of the Palestinian territories' infrastructure and of the human resources, through scholarships to be granted mainly in the fields of public administration and tourism.

    Marcoullis will travel to Ramallah, where she will be received by the Palestinian President Mahmound Abbas and the Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

    [32] Acting Head of EC Representation in Cyprus appointed


    As of 1st of January 2008 Klimentini Diakomanoli-Papadaki is Acting Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus.

    A European Commission press release said Diakomanoli-Papadaki is a permanent Commission official and has a legal background.

    Her previous posts in the European Commission include Directorate General of Environment and Directorate General of Research in Brussels, where she assumed the task of press officer.

    She was appointed in the EC Representation in Cyprus on 1st January 2005.

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