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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-01-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 14 January 2008 Issue No: 2793
 PM Karamanlis ends India visit in JaipurNEW DELHI (ANA-MPA - S. Goutzanis)
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis ended a three-day official visit to India on Sunday by visiting the sights around the city of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan state.
Accompanied by his wife Natasha, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her husband Isidoros Kouvelos, Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos and other members of the Greek delegation, the prime minister visited Jaipur's City Palace, formerly the home of the local maharajah, and had the opportunity to view various forms of Indian artwork.
The delegation then called on the famous Amber Fort built on the summit of a hill, which also served as a palace in the 16th century, where they witnessed performances of traditional Indian music and dancing by a group attempting to revive ancient Indian music forms.
Their final stop was Jaipur's Bazaar, where the prime minister's party was given a tour before their departure for Athens.
On Saturday, the prime minister and his entourage went to Agra and visited the Taj Mahal which is known as one of the wonders of the modern world.
Karamanlis, and his entourage were given a tour of this impressive and beautiful monument.
Karamanlis showed keen interest and took photographs with the government members and journalists who are accompanying him.
 Poll records 10-point slide for two main partiesThe ruling New Democracy party and main opposition PASOK have both suffered a 10-point slide in voter preference according to an opinion poll by RASS published on Sunday in the Athens newspaper "To Paron".
ND is still 2.5 points ahead of PASOK in voter preference with 31.7 percent, while the main opposition is backed by just 29.2 percent of those responding to the opinion poll. Smaller parties have gained in popularity, with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) backed by 7.9 percent, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) by 7.7 percent, and the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) by 4.8 percent. For the first time, meanwhile, the Ecologists-Green party has marginally overshot the 2.0 percent mark in voter preference, with 2.1 percent.
In replies to the same opinion poll, 73 percent of those asked said that the government's line of "zero tolerance" for corruption had not been observed in practice, 49.5 percent believed that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had taken the wrong stance on the Zachopoulos affair and 65 percent said that Karamanlis had "got the message" regarding the way that he chose his aides and associates. According to 47 percent, the media devoted too much time to the Zachopoulos affair.
In foreign affairs issue, 66.4 percent said that Karamanlis should visit Turkey and 47.1 percent said they would prefer the re-election of Tassos Papadopoulos as Cyprus' president.
 Report exposes irregularities by Thessaloniki Cultural Capital 1997A report exposing serious irregularities, large-scale budget overshoots and bad book-keeping by the Thessaloniki Cultural Capital 1997 organization was delivered to the culture ministry during the summer but has yet to be forwarded to justice, according to an article in the Sunday newspaper "Eleftheros Typos tis Kyriakis".
According to the newspaper, the report concerns the period from August 31, 1993 until August 31, 2004 and extends into the years 2005-6, while it has only now come to light because of the hearings of former culture ministers now underway before Parliament's Educational Affairs Committee.
 Greece and Cyprus to sign agreement on education issuesNICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos)
Cyprus' Education Minister Akis Kleanthous is due to visit Greece on Sunday afternoon in order to sign a bilateral agreement for the mutual recognition of university degrees between the two countries and other issues related to education.
In talks with his Greek counterpart Evripides Stylianides, Kleanthous is also expected to discuss the university entrance examination system and the number of seats allocated to Greek and Cypriot students at Greek and Cypriot universities, respectively.
 Tourism minister visits TripoliTourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos was proclaimed honorary citizen of Dimitsana, during his visit on Saturday to the historic city of Tripoli.
The minister stated that he was greatly moved by the honor "which gives me courage to proceed even further in the country's tourism growth."
Spiliotopoulos said he was in the region "because Dimitsana aims at attracting tourists, given that it is a pole of tourism activity."
The minister also noted that tourism was not affected in the Peloponnese due to the wildfires in the region last August.
 KKE's Papariga at Rosa Luxemburg marchBERLIN (ANA-MPA - P. Stangos)
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga and a KKE delegation on Sunday took part in a memorial march marking the anniversary of the murders of Communist activists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Berlin.
According to German authorities, this year's march had one of the smallest turnouts since 1990, with the number of participants barely exceeding 5,000. Organisers placed the figure closer to 10,000 but this is still a far cry from the record 100,000 that took part in the memorial march in the first years of German unification.
Luxemburg and Liebknecht became symbols of the democratic socialists and Marxists after they were killed in the unsuccessful Berlin revolution of January 1919.
During her visit to Berlin, Papariga addressed the 13th International Meeting in memory of Rosa Luxemburg on Saturday, organised by the Junge Welt daily newspaper and an event hosted by the German Communist Party on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
Later on Sunday, Papariga is to speak at a gathering of Berlin's Greek community.
 SAE regional assembly to be held in Alexandria in OctoberALEXANDRIA (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)
The 2nd Regional Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) for Africa/Near and Middle East, will be held in Alexandria, Cairo, in October.
The issue was discussed on Sunday between SAE Africa/Near and Middle East coordinator Haris Gouvelis and SAE president Stefanos Tamvakis.
During the 2nd Regional Assembly of the SAE for Africa/Near and Middle East, all the countries of these regions where Hellenism exists will participate.
The 1st Assembly was held last October in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Gouvelis is expected to be received in Cairo on Monday by Alexandria Patriarch Theodoros II.
 Winter sales begin on TuesdayWinter sales are due to begin next Tuesday on January 15 and will last until February 28. A list of advice to consumers to help them avoid the pitfalls of the sales period has been published by the Consumer Protection Centre (KEPKA), informing them of their rights.
KEPKA stresses that retailers are obliged to take back and change goods bought in the sales that are faulty, unless the consumer was aware that the item was offered at a discount because of the specific defect.
It also stresses that shops are obliged to display the prices before and after the sales discount and the percentage of the discount for the items on sale.
Consumers are advised to be wary of shop-front displays advertising discounts because they don't always apply to all the goods on sale. KEPKA additionally advises a visit to shops to scout out prices before the sales begin in order to make sure that the items on sale are really a bargain.
For more information and to report problems or "fake" discounts, consumers can contact KEPKA at the number 2310 233-333 between 9:00 and 14:30 for members and 12:30-14:30 for non-members.
Shop owners are also warned that any promotional activities in the period before the sales are punishable by law, including the advertising of special offers through flyers or letters. They must also ensure that both the old and new prices for the items on sale are clearly displayed and that the discounts advertised are correct. Retailers may incur heavy administrative fines for misleading sale signs, which are paid first and can only be contested afterward.
 Lawyers to go on strike on January 17Lawyers throughout Greece will go on a nationwide strike on January 17 within the framework of their action against the social security system.
The decision was taken on Saturday by the Bar Associations coordinating committee.
If until January 18 the Employment and Social Protection Ministry does not give answers to the matters concerning the lawyers, then the coordinating meeting has decided to convene anew on January 19 so as to plan on further strikes.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.491
Pound sterling 0.761
Danish kroner 7.506
Swedish kroner 9.473
Japanese yen 162.47
Swiss franc 1.644
Norwegian kroner 7.881
Canadian dollar 1.520
Australian dollar 1.667
 Underground explosion spreads panic in OmoniaAn underground explosion in the sewer mains that blew off five manhole covers on Sokratous Street spread panic in central Athens around Omonoia Square on Sunday morning, though no one was injured. The explosion occurred at around 10:00 and is believed to have been triggered accidentally by electricity board workers doing maintenance work.
One of the five manholes covers blown into the air hit a passing car carrying a couple but no one was hurt, while there was damage to another two cars and shop windows.
Police said that a Public Power Corporation (PPC) maintenance crew was carrying out underground repairs on Kotopouli Street at around the time of the explosion and that they are now investigating a possible link with the explosion.
According to their initial estimates, a short circuit in the PPC's underground cables may have caused a spark in pockets of gas that often accumulate in sewers and triggered the explosion.
In the meantime, the Omonia police station has launched a preliminary inquiry and informed the public prosecutor, while the area has been closed to traffic. The exact causes of the explosion will be investigated by a team of experts.
Apart from a maintenance crew from the PPC, authorities have also called in an Athens Water and Sewage Company (EYDAP) team to repair a burst water main and a crew from the public gas company, which checked for possible gas leaks but found none.
 Foreign national convicted of immigrant smugglingA court in Xanthi has sentenced a 44-year-old Swedish national to 14 years and one month in prison - which translates into 10 years in jail - and a fine of 75,000 euros after finding him guilty of smuggling 13 illegal immigrants of Iranian and Iraqi origin into Greece.
The accused was arrested on January 9 and was originally of Iranian origin himself but is now based in Stockholm.
The man was caught while driving a private car with German number plates along the Xanthi-Kavala national highway and was acting as a lookout, giving advance warning of police blockades along the route to the driver of a truck - also with German number plates - following behind him and carrying the immigrants.
 Soccer fan imprisoned after arrestA 31-year-old fan of Skoda Xanthi arrested during a game with AEK earlier this week was incarcerated in Komotini prison on Sunday, after authorities found that there was an outstanding sentence of 15 months in prison for violations of sports laws against him.
The man had been arrested during the first half of the match for the Greek Cup for abuse and threatening behavior against police.
 Foreign detainee's suicide bid foiled by policeAn attempted suicide by a 27-year-old detainee from Bangladesh was foiled by officers at the Nea Erythrea police station in northern Athens on Saturday. The man attempted to hang himself using a length of cloth strung over the door of the holding cell but was seen, cut down and taken to hospital for treatment.
 Contraband cigarette smugglers arrestedIgoumenitsa police in northwest Greece, on Friday night arrested a 29-year-old foreign driver and his 64-year-old co-driver for transporting 1,071 packets of contraband cigarettes.
The car, which was to be loaded on a ship destined for abroad, was impounded, while the port authority is carrying out investigations.
 Arrests of illegal immigrants in Patras, Lesvos, KosA total of eleven illegal immigrants were arrested in Patras, Lesvos and Kos on Friday and Saturday.
According to a Merchant Marine & Island Policy Ministry press release on Saturday, the Patras Port Authority on Friday arrested a trafficker, aged 32 and his co-driver aged 37, four transporting four illegal immigrants.
The Lesvos Port Authority also arrested five illegal immigrants in the sea region 1.5 nautical miles off the island on Friday night.
Early Saturday, a crew of a patrol boat arrested two illegal immigrants in the sea region of the island of Kos. The arrested claimed they had crossed over from Turkey in an inflatable dinghy.
 SportsAEK is leading the Greek Super League soccer championship after thrashing Veria 5-1 on Saturday. Second placed Olympiakos drew 1-1 with arch-rivals Panathinaikos on Sunday.
Panathinaikos is third and Asteras, which drew 1-1 with Larissa away, is fourth.
Greek Super League soccer matches played over the weekend:
Panionios Athens - Aris Thessaloniki 0-3
Levadiakos Livadia - Atromitos Athens 2-1
Apollon Kalamaria - OFI Crete 1-1
AEK Athens - Veria 5-1
Olympiakos Piraeus - Panathinaikos Athens 1-1
Larissa - Asteras Tripoli 1-1
Ergotelis Crete - Iraklis Thessaloniki 1-0
PAOK Thessaloniki - Xanthi 0-1
Standings after 16 weeks of play:
AEK 36 points
 Rain, storms on MondayRain and storms with snow at high altitudes are forecast throughout the country on Monday. Winds from mainly southerly directions, 5-6 Beaufort, rising up to 7-8 Beaufort in the Aegean. Temperatures ranging from a minimum of -2C in the north and a maximum of 17C on Crete. Overcast and showery in Athens with southerly 5-6 Beaufort winds and temperatures between 6C and 15C. Same in Thessaloniki with snow on high ground, southeasterly winds of 3-5 Beaufort and temperatures ranging from 2C to 7C.
 Foreign Minister says Turkey's policy to meet Cypriot determinationLARNACA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Marcoullis said on Sunday that a solution of the Cyprus problem should aim at the reunification of the island and its people in a bizonal bicommunal federation, noting that if Turkey continued to promote division and secession it would inevitably face the determination of the people of Cyprus and the international community.
Speaking at Larnaca Airport before departing for Kuwait and referring to the recent visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to New York, Marcoullis said ''it is no secret that Turkey is trying to create a climate of mobility for after the presidential elections,'' due to take place in February.
''We want mobility, we want a solution, we would have liked this period until the presidential elections to have been used to prepare negotiations,'' she added.
Marcoullis noted that an initiative for a Cyprus settlement should be ''within the right framework, without mediation, without tight deadlines, and must of course aim at the reunification of the island, the reunification of the people of Cyprus, in a state that will be federal, bicommunal and bizonal.''
She added that this form of settlement was reflected in UN resolutions and EU decisions, noting that it appeared that the Turkish side was promoting other options.
''Over the past year, Turkey, through all its officials at the highest level, is promoting a solution of two separate states,'' she explained, adding that ''if Turkey continues this policy for division and secession, it will certainly face the determination of the people of Cyprus and the international community.''
Replying to questions, Marcoullis said she believed there would soon be a favourable result in the issue of the illegal sea routes between Syria and the closed port of Famagusta.
''Our view is that, although we have no official notification that the route has been terminated, through contacts I have with Syrian officials and the reassurances we have received from time to time, it appears that over the past month there have been no routes,'' she added.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
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