|Friday, 18 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-01-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 23 January 2008 Issue No: 2801
 Karamanlis: Greece desires improved relations with TurkeyANKARA (ANA-MPA - S. Papadopoulos.A.Panagopoulos)
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday underlined his government's desire for better relations between Greece and Turkey, during an interview given one day before the start of an official visit to Ankara to the Turkish news agency Anadolu.
"I will be the first Greek prime minister to visit Turkey after an interval of 48 years. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and I will have an opportunity to focus on Greek-Turkish relations and their future," he said.
Emphasising that the Greek government was doing everything in its power to improve relations, he also repeated Athens' support for Turkey's European prospects and said it was the right time to take action in order to boost bilateral ties.
During the interview, Karamanlis pointed to the great progress made in bilateral trade and investments and noted that the volume of trade between the two countries had risen to three billion dollars in 2007 from just 200 million dollars in 1999.
He also listed positive developments in tourist traffic between the two countries and the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline, which was the result of bilateral cooperation.
At the same time, he pointed to serious bilateral problems that were still outstanding and needed a resolution, such as finding a viable solution to the Cyprus issue based on a bi-communal, bizonal federation.
Regarding Turkey's prospects of joining the EU and the opposition voiced in some quarters of Europe, Karamanlis said the EU had an obligation to send a "clear message to all candidate-countries, including Turkey".
"Greece believes that, if Turkey fully complies with the EU acquis, then this will lead to its full accession," the Greek premier stressed.
He noted that Turkey had a long way to go before reaching this target, however, and expressed hope that it would succeed in meeting EU criteria.
"It must, also, settle its relations with Cyprus and recognise it," Karamanlis underlined.
Asked to state his message to the Turkish people during his visit, the Greek prime minister said his message was pristine and that Greece desires to fully restore its relations with Turkey:
"The two countries must make efforts to resolve their differences peacefully and on the basis of international law," he said, expressing hope that Turkey would respond to the "hand of friendship extended by Greece".
The Greek prime minister also said that the message he wants to send to Turkish public opinion with his visit to Ankara is related to the desire for work in the direction of "the prevalence of a complete order in our relations, to enable the two countries to be able to enter the orbit of development."
Karamanlis, who will be arriving in Ankara on Wednesday for official talks, stressed that "of course, neither am I deceiving myself nor do I have illusions. I am very well aware that this is a longterm timetable, which is difficult and tiring. Be as it may, we cannot allow the problems to continue forever and to multiply. Inertia is a morass and it is undoubtable that this will be harmful for both countries."
The prime minister also noted that with investments in peace and in prosperity, sources and opportunities can be secured for the two peoples, adding that "we believe that the time has come for us to pass from words to action to achieve a result, in accordance with international laws, International Law and the securing of a solution in a peaceful way. This is the challenge in our upcoming meeting."
 Ecumenical Patriarch on PM Karamanlis' visit to TurkeyISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Tuesday expressed his hope that Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to Turkey this week will provide an elixir for solving the venerable Patriarchate's problems.
"I hope that tomorrow's visit by Mr. Karamanlis, the prime minister of Greece, and the talks he will have with his Turkish counterpart Mr. Tayyip Recep Erdogan, will help towards resolving our problems," the Patriarch said, while placing the re-opening of the Theological School of Halki at the top of the problems faced by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate.
"Unfortunately, for the past 37 years this Palladium of Holy Letters, the cradle of education of our nation and Church, remains closed on order of the Turkish government, an order that I have always said is an unfair decision; an unfair order, which deprived the Patriarchate from the possibility of educating new cadres," Vartholomeos added.
Karamanlis begins a three-day official visit to Turkey and he is due to visit the Fanar on Thursday afternoon.
"The Mother Church must accomplish a great ecumenical mission, and it is not fair for it to be restricted in its beneficial efforts towards humanity," the Patriarch concluded.
 Karamanlis contacts Dutch PM over SerbiaGreek Prime Minister Costars Karamanlis on Tuesday spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Blackened on the phone regarding the latest developments in the Balkans, particularly the signature of a Stabilization and Association Process agreement between the European Union and Serbia that is still outstanding.
 Inner Cabinet approves revamped law enforcement policy pointsThe interior ministry's 2008-2010 law enforcement policy, based on the ministry's revamped structure, was approved during an Inner Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. An outline of the plan will be presented within the following 10 days.
Leaving the meeting, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos announced that following a police operation on Tuesday in the Mylopotamos district of Rethymno, Crete, six people are in custody in connection with the notorious Nov. 5, 2007 ambush of a police convoy.
Referring to relevant law enforcement policy, the minister said the priority is to retain a "socially sensitive" police force, as well as improved cooperation between police and local governments.
Pavlopoulos stated that the objective is to combat crime that affects social cohesion, such as drug trafficking, organized crime and urban terrorism, juvenile delinquency, illegal migration and computer crime.
 Education minister to tour EpirusEducation and Religious Affairs Minister Euripides Stylianidis is to carry out a three-day tour of Epirus in northwestern Greece beginning on Wednesday. During the visit to the region, the minister will visit schools and the worksites of new schools now under construction in the prefectures of Ioannina, Thesprotia and Preveza. These will include new kindergartens, primary schools and life-long learning centers.
Stylianidis will also distribute the personal computers promised by the government to all children that came top of their class in the first year of high-school during 2005-2006 at a special event to be held in the city of Ioannina on Thursday.
 Academics criticise government's education reformsOne year after the government passed a controversial framework law for reforming tertiary education, a group of academics forming an Observatory of Higher Education on Tuesday said the reforms had failed to deliver the hoped-for results.
Warning that the future of higher education was in jeopardy, they said in a press conference that the law had "plunged Greece's state universities into a degenerative immobility".
Originally in favor of dialogue in order to reform and upgrade Greece's universities, the Observatory said they were strongly displeased with the results of the reforms so far and asked for the issue of education reform to be re-examined.
Citing examples of the problems, they referred to the case of the University of Crete where "the interpretations of a financial inspector, auditor of the managerial decisions of the faculty Senate has become the nightmare of 30 professors."
Blaming the "endless inertia of all the political forces of the country," they called on their fellow academics and students to withstand what they called "institutionalized inertia".
As part of their efforts to upgrade dialogue on higher education, the members of the Observatory announced that they were holding a three-day international conference on March 27-29 to discuss quality in education, the relationship between universities and society, the economy and the productive sector, ways of making universities internationalized and outward-looking, as well as their management and financial administration.
 Gov't announces anti-drug policyThe first five-year national action plan against drug abuse ever drawn up in the country has been prepared by the ministry of health, government spokesman Thodoros Roussopoulos announced on Tuesday.
The proposed interventions include integration of the Organization Against Drugs, OKANA, detox units within the National Health System, ending a waiting list practice and the association of existing detox programs with methadone programs.
The action plan also provides for the planning and implementation of national drug prevention campaigns targeting younger generations, while in a short-term level the ESY drug substitute units will soon be integrated into the seven new methadone units and three new prevention centers in the wider Athens region.
Roussopoulos announced that according to figures provided by the interior ministry, drug violations remain high, even with a slight decline of 5.39 percent compared to last year.
Recorded drug-related violations reached 8,786, while 11,703 individuals faced drug charges and 1,716 were charged with drug trafficking.
Seized quantities of heroin and cocaine were up in 2007.
 Deputy foreign minister meets Nelson MandelaJOHANNESBURG (ANA-MPA - S. Aravopoulou)
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, currently on a visit to South Africa, on Tuesday met the long-time icon of the anti-Apartheid movement Nelson Mandela at the Institute bearing his name.
The 90-year-old Mandela expressed a great fondness for Greece and expressed his support for the country's "just demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles".
After the meeting, Kassimis said he felt greatly honored to be received by Mandela, whom he described as a historic personality in the recent history of Africa and the modern world.
"I thanked him for his support over all these years for all Greek issues, even the Olympic Games, when he had called on all the African countries to vote in favour of Greece's bid," the minister said.
He said his talks with Mandela had focused on the work underway - including by Mandela's own Greek lawyer Mr. Bizos - by the committees for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.
"He stressed that we have his absolute support and that on all occasions he speaks about Greece's right to re-acquire the Parthenon Marbles," Kassimis added.
 Deputy FM Kassimis visits JohannesburgJOHANNESBURG (ANA-MPA/S. Aravopoulou)
Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Tuesday was welcomed by the Greek community of Johannesburg.
Associations and organizations, churches and schools which comprise the largest Greek community in South Africa, from its foundation to date, had the opportunity for two days to feel closer to Greece and their bonds with it.
 Military cooperation agreement signed between Greece, Bosnia-HerzegovinaA military cooperation agreement between Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina was signed in Sarajevo on Tuesday by the defence ministers of the two countries, visiting Evangelos Meimarakis and Selmo Cikotic.
The agreement concerns cooperation between the two countries, among other things, in the sectors of training and the exchange of visits by officers.
"I firmly believe that with the new agreement which we have signed new foundations are being laid for the further deepening and enrichment of our cooperation in a wide spectrum of activities sectors of the defense ministries of our countries," the Greek defense minister said.
The signing of the agreement was preceded by a meeting between the two ministers, during which issues concerning regional cooperation, developments in the Balkans and bilateral relations were examined.
Meimarakis reiterated in a statement Greece's strong support for the efforts of Bosnia-Herzegovina to achieve accession to Euroatlantic structures because, as he said, this benefits stability and development in the region. He recalled the similar stance observed by Greece regarding the accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Cooperation between the defense ministries of countries in SE Europe (SEDM).
"The two countries share the common vision of the region of the Balkans becoming a place of security and stability, where development, progress and cooperation in an environment of relations of good neighborliness will prevail," he added.
Replying to a question on developments in Kosovo, Meimarakis reiterated Greece's position that "the solution must be the result of discussions and negotiations and must not appear to have been imposed. Therefore, we support the effort to enable a balanced solution to be found, that will also be viable, through internal dialogue and with mutual concessions."
The defence minister invited his counterpart from Bosnia-Herzegovina to pay an official visit to Greece, at a date that will be set through diplomatic channels.
Meimarakis also met with the Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic and the members of Bosnia-Herzegovina's presidency.
The Greek delegation returned to Athens on Tuesday evening.
 Another reporter testifies in Zachopoulos affairAnother local television reporter on Tuesday became the latest journalist to testify before an investigating magistrate probing the ongoing Zachopoulos extortion affair.
Dimitris Kampourakis, a co-host of a morning program on a private Athens television station (Mega), was called to testify after a local gossip tabloid claimed that the former was quoted as saying television staff members saw an infamous DVD featuring intimate moments between the former culture ministry general secretary and a one-time aide -- cited as the "instrument" in the alleged blackmailing affair.
Kampourakis reiterated that no one at the television station actually saw the DVD, while he said he will take legal action against the gossip tabloid.
 PASOK spokesman on Zachopoulos issueMain opposition PASOK party spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis commented on Tuesday on the issue of former culture ministry secretary general Christos Zachopoulos, saying that in this case the government "is only interested in one thing: in telling lies to the Greek people and preventing the revelation of the truth in every way."
PASOK's spokesman further accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of "stubbornly refusing" to adopt and primarily to enact the package of proposals by PASOK leader George Papandreou "on cracking down on corruption and protecting public funds."
Ragoussis also denied a scenario published in a Belgian newspaper (Soir), according to which a proposal exists in the ranks of the European socialists on placing Papandreou at the post of European Union foreign minister. The spokesman denied both the scenario and the possibility of the PASOK leader knowing something about it and even more so of having adopted or of adopting similar proposals.
"The sole concern of Mr. Papandreou is our country and how it will be able to rid itself of the decline to which it has been led to at the exclusive responsibility of the present government," Ragoussis said.
 UN envoy Nimetz meets FYROM presidentSKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Fragopoulos)
UN special envoy on the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Matthew Nimetz met here on Tuesday with FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski whom he briefed on Monday's round of talks in Ochrid between the representatives of Greece and FYROM.
To reporters' questions whether there is a timeframe for the finding of a solution to the pending name issue, Nimetz said, "timeframes are a horrible thing. However, I know that there are external realities, such as procedure for accession to NATO and others, which influence the procedure, we must be realists regarding these. I do not believe any one has set a timeframe."
 UN announcement on Ochrid meetingNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
The Office of the Spokeswoman of the UN Secretary-General in an announcement on Tuesday referred to the talks between Greek and Former Yugoslav of Macedonia (FYROM) representative, in Ochrid on Monday, on the latter country's name issue.
"It was an important meeting which was noteworthy because there was the first in which a foreign minister participated and the first which was held in the region."
The announcement also stressed that "the negotiations were characterized by the complete and open discussion and the will of the sides to listen with seriousness each other's positions. There was agreement for the maintenance of the impetus with the holding of the next meeting in a few weeks time in Greece."
 European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee on FYROMBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis/ V. Demiris) Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki reiterated his country's steadfast positions on the issue of finding a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of FYROM's final name, while addressing the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
Ruling New Democracy party Eurodeputy George Dimitrakopoulos said that "Mr. Milososki tried to magnify the proposal on the conclusion of a Friendship Treaty and on Confidence-Building Measures, trying in this way to divert the process which, as it is known, is focused on the finding of a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the name."
ND Eurodeputy Antonis Trakatellis requested information on interventions by the FYROM government in the problems of the pollution of drinking water and the handling of urban and industrial waste.
Lastly, main opposition PASOK party Eurodeputy Marilena Koppa stressed that "the issue of the name is not a bilateral issue between Greece and FYROM but an issue that concerns relations of good neighborliness in the framework of the EU and an international pending issue as described in the Interim Agreement between the two countries in 1995 to enable negotiations to resolve it to begin within the framework of the UN."
 European economy remains strong, Greek Fining saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MAP)
The European economy remains strong because of reforms implemented in the previous years and because of the success of a revised Stability and Growth Pact, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said here on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of EU Economy and Finance ministers in Brussels, the Greek minister noted that even in Europe there are signs that "we could have passed the peak of the current economic cycle, but that does not mean there is any reason to change economic policy in the Union".
Alogoskoufis said EU ministers agreed to pursue fiscal consolidation policies, particularly for member-states still above the medium-term goal.
A revised Stability and Growth Pact includes adequate provisions and rules to deal with any situation, while EU ministers also agreed to continue reforms based on the Lisbon strategy. Alogoskoufis said the EU would enter a new three-year reform cycle after the EU summit in March. "The conclusions of implementing the Lisbon strategy are positive for the European economy, with employment up, unemployment down and productivity rising, but many more needed to be done," he said.
The Greek minister said the most worrying element from international developments was the danger of imported inflation from rising oil prices, higher raw material and food prices.
Commenting on the Greek economy, Alogoskoufis said the country has very significant growth reserves this year and does not fear from an economic slowdown in the US. He underlined that Greece must ensure that imported inflation did not transform into a domestic problem.
 Social security reforms again discussed with business groupingEmployment and Social Insurances Fanny Palli-Petralia on Tuesday met with the board of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce, part of the ministry's continuing meetings with "social partners" regarding a high-profile government initiative to push through social security reforms.
In a brief comment after the meeting, the minister said the government cannot waste valuable time, and is obliged to proceed with reforms.
 Merchant Marine Minister Voulgarakis meets port workersMerchant Marine & Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday met with port workers who refused to accept his assurances regarding the maintenance of their labour rights after the granting to private transport companies of the container stations in Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports and extended their strike action.
The port workers decided to abstain from every overtime work and work on weekends throughout February and the holding of a 24-hour strike on January 30.
Meanwhile, during a press conference on Tuesday, the draft law which will be submitted in the coming days in Parliament and which concerns adjustments regarding the personnel of the Piraeus and Thessaloniki port authorities was presented.
Referring to the strike action by the port workers and to their negative positions to the government's plans for the modernization of the Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports, Voulgarakis stressed, "have no doubt that this draft law will soon become law of the state and the global operators will be an existing reality."
 Initiatives to upgrade Greek tourismTourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, addressing a press conference on Tuesday, outlined the activities scheduled for the current tourist period stressing that the qualitative upgrading of the Greek tourist product is a top priority for his ministry.
According to the minister, the goal for the new tourist year is mainly to narrow the gap existing between arrivals and tourist revenues and not so much a quantitative increase in tourist arrivals without a corresponding increase in revenues.
Spiliotopoulos further pointed out that the objective registration of the performances of Greek tourism, whose aim will be the explicit recording of tourist arrivals and exchange revenues, in cooperation with the Bank of Greece, will begin in 2008.
Moreover, the minister added that by the end of 2008 the registration of accommodation capacity in Greece will be completed, with simultaneous certification involving "stars" and "keys."
On the question of the ministry's initiatives to promote the Greek tourist product, the minister placed emphasis on its extroversion, noting that this year the Greek Tourist Organization (EOT) will participate in 125 international exhibitions (compared to 114 last year).
Greece's campaign abroad includes promotion in well-known international media (CNN, BBC World), while cooperation will begin with Travel Channel, Euronews, Eurosport, major news sites, prestige magazines, etc. He stressed that what is also of great importance is the agreement signed with Euroleague for the next four months during the European basketball championship matches. In the sector of investments, the total absorption of funds from the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) amounted to 86.6 percent in 2007.
Lastly, Spiliotopoulos will be leaving on Wednesday for Paris, where Greece is participating in the international "Spa and Wellness" exhibition. He will also chair a meeting of EOT's overseas bureau directors, which is taking place in the French capital.
 Cosmote announces new CEO for Cosmote RomaniaCosmote on Tuesday announced that Stefanos Theoharopoulos will replace Nikolaos Tsolos as chief executive of Cosmote Romania, after the latter announced he was leaving the company for personal reasons.
Theoharopoulos has been with the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) group since 2002, after a career in Germany (O2), the Netherlands (Dutchtone), Fujitsu Telecom Research Centre (UK) and in Greece (Ericsson Hellas, Vodafone Hellas).
 Building materials' price index up 4.8% in Dec., yr/yrThe new buildings' producer composite price index rose by 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared with the corresponding period in 2006, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.
The statistics service said the index was up 0.1 pct in the fourth quarter of 2007 from the third quarter of the same year.
The statistics service also announced that the building materials' price index rose by 4.8 pct in December, compared with the same month in 2006.
 Greek stocks end 1.18% down, Fed cut ignoredGreek stocks ended Tuesday's session down after sharp fluctuations throughout the session in the Athens Stock Exchange.
A decision by the US Federal Reserve to cut interest rates by 75 basis points offered some respite to stock markets, but failed to support a recovery of prices. The composite index ended 1.18 pct lower at 4,253.25 points with turnover a massive 941.5 million euros, of which 267.7 million were block trades.
All sector moved lower with the exception of the Utilities sectors which ended 3.43 pct higher. Chemicals (5.57 pct), Healthcare (4.55 pct), Financial Services (3.45 pct) and Personal/Home Products (3.41 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
The Big Cap index fell 1.05 pct, the Mid Cap index dropped 2.81 pct and the Small Cap index ended 1.95 pct lower. Akritas (9.36 pct), Athens Water (8.43 pct) and Kepenos Mills (7.07 pct) were top gainers, while ANEK (17.95 pct), Dromeas (17.71 pct) and Centric (17.55 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 221 to 50 with another 26 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.67%
Personal & Household: -3.41%
Raw Materials: -1.14%
Travel & Leisure: -0.82%
Food & Beverages: -0.31%
Financial Services: -3.45%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, National Bank, Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 21.52
Public Power Corp (PPC): 29.00
HBC Coca Cola: 27.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.00
National Bank of Greece: 39.60
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 18.80
Titan Cement Company: 30.36
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended with a premium in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising to 293.545 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a premium of 0.47 pct and the February contract on the FTSE 40 index at a premium of 0.16 pct.
Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 21,763 contracts worth 246.712 million euros, with 27,907 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 236 contracts worth 5.863 million euros with 439 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 23.222 contracts worth 34.110 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (3,480), followed by Eurobank (1,860), Marfin Investment Group (1,973), OTE (662), Piraeus Bank (959), National Bank (2,986), Alpha Bank (1,416), Intracom (1,872), Mytilineos (1,632), Postal Savings Bank (1,615) and ATEbank (1,128).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 620 million euros on Tuesday, amidst a mini-crash in international capital markets, of which 195 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 425 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 200 million euros, followed by the 24-year bond (75 million euros). The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds rose 0.41 pct, with the Greek bond yielding 4.33 pct and the German Bund 3.92 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.01 pct, the two-day rate 4.05 pct, the one-month rate 4.18 pct and the 12-month rate 4.27 pct.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.461
Pound sterling 0.748
Danish kroner 7.510
Swedish kroner 9.575
Japanese yen 155.36
Swiss franc 1.611
Norwegian kroner 8.108
Canadian dollar 1.507
Australian dollar 1.701
 Transport ministry committee for 'green' transportThe Greek transport ministry on Tuesday announced the creation of a permanent committee responsible for promoting solutions leading to more environmentally-friendly, "greener" modes of transport.
The committee will be made up of experts in the environmental field and will promote and carry out actions to conserve energy and the protect the natural environment from the impact of transport in Greece, using innovative ideas as well as ready-tested solutions already being used in European countries.
Its work will currently focus on three main areas: promoting the use of hybrid taxis and buses, informing the public on environmentally-sound applications and constructing cycle paths; ensuring the energy-efficiency of buildings occupied by the transport ministry and the public utility companies that it supervises through the installation of photovoltaic systems to cover their energy needs; promoting actions to inform the public on issues related to the environment and transport by organizing seminars, advertising campaigns and other methods.
On Wednesday, Transport Minister Costs Atsidakos will attend a public meeting held by the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASIS) in order to discuss a general plan for public transport in Attica in the next 15 years.
 President receives environment, cultural heritage protection SocietyPresident of the Republic Karol's Papoulis on Tuesday received a delegation of the Greek Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage, headed by its chairman of the board Costars Karris.
During the meeting, Karris presented Papoulis with the conclusions of a study on "The environmental conscience of the Greek", which will be presented in parliament on Wednesday.
The Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and the Cultural Heritage was founded in 1972.
It is a registered non profit organisation. The activities of the Society began in the early 1970s. These activities cover the whole of Greece and the Society draws on members from all over the country. The Secretariat is based in Athens. The Society not only has an office in Athens but also in Thessalonica where since 1990 a fully fledged branch with an Executive Committee has been functioning.
Its aim is to enhance the interest of the Greek citizen in the values of their cultural heritage and natural heritage and to sensitize them to the importance of maintaining the ecological balance and in participating actively in the protection of the environment.
To achieve it aims and implement its activities, the Society depends entirely on the voluntary contributions of the expertise, work and experience of its members and friends.
 Local gob's reps call on President PapoulisThe executive committee of the Local Union of Communities and Municipalities of Greece (EDNA), headed by EDNA president and Eagle mayor Dimities Kalogeropoulos, called on President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday.
Welcoming the TEDKNA delegation, Papoulias voiced his respect for the representatives of the local governments, noting that they were close to the people and their work directly affected the citizens.
He also acknowledged the problems and difficulties faced daily.
Kalogeropoulos, in turn, stressed that Attica prefecture, following the latest wildfires, was, from an environmental viewpoint, at "ground zero".
He further said that the town planning needed to be immediately advanced, and all types of unlicensed structures must be demolished so as to make room for green areas.
Kalogeropoulos also briefed Papoulias on matters concerning waste management, given that, as he stressed, a relevant EU deadline for Greece concerning the closure of dump sites expires in 2008.
 Greek Academy building inaugurated in HarareThe newly built Hellenic Academy complex has begun partial operation in Harare, Zimbabwe, opening its doors for 76 high school students attending the first grade.
A physics and chemistry lab is also available as well as a computer classroom and a library, while construction work continues until the entire project is completed.
The inauguration ceremony was held in the presence of Metropolitan Georgiou of Zimbabwe, the ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus and the president of the Greek community in Harare.
The Metropolitan conveyed the wishes of Patriarch Theodora's II of Alexandria and All Africa and thanked the Greek government, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus and Greek businessman Petros Kyriakidis for financing the project.
A total of 450 schoolchildren, 92 of them of Greek descent, are currently registered in the Greek Elementary School and 45 in the Greek Kindergarten School. The Greek language is taught in all three schools by teachers dispatched to Zimbabwe by the Greek ministry of education.
 Book launch on Sarkozy's ties with ThessalonicaThe launch of a book on French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his ties with the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki took place on Monday evening, hosted by the Kastaniotis publishing house.
The book "I, the grandson of a Greek - Nicolas Sarkozy's Thessaloniki" is written by Giorgos Anastasiadis, Leon Nar and Christos Raptis.
The launch was attended by Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, who pointed out that Sarkozy is a self-made young politician. He described him as visionary, spirited and charismatic, introducing a new model of democratic leader who dares to transcend dividing lines.
Speaking at the book launch, ruling party and opposition MPs referred to Sarkozy's ties with Thessaloniki, given that his mother was born to the Mallah family, one of the oldest Jewish families of the city.
 Greek law weak against cyber-crime, MPs informedThe Greek legal framework does not adequately protect the public against cyber-crimes, such as extortion or defamation over the Internet, and prevents the arrest of those disseminating child pornography. This was claimed on Tuesday by the head of the Attica police Electronic Crime Squad Emanuel Sfakianakis before Parliament's Research and Technology Committee.
Sfakianakis noted that the 1994 law currently in force permits access to phone records and conversations in order to investigate cases of homicide, blackmail, human-trafficking, organized crime and threats to national security. It does not, however, make any provision for the distribution of child pornography over the Internet by individuals unless they are part of a gang.
A 2005 presidential decree, meanwhile, calls for a previous order lifting confidentiality in order for companies providing Internet services to release confidential data from the analysis of electronic traces, so that "thousands of offences, both misdemeanors but also crimes, carried out over the Internet remain unsolved," Sfakianakis said.
He claimed his department was "hamstrung" in its efforts to prosecute child pornography and cases of extortion by people that deliberately defamated others via the Internet because of these privacy laws.
"We get dozens of complaints by enraged citizens that see their daughters exposed on the Internet by an ex-boyfriend after the end of an affair. We gets dozens of complaints every day - but I can do nothing. I can find the trace of the culprit but the law does not allow me to see who it is," Sfakianakis reported.
 Gang of robbers traced by police in TripoliPolice in Tripoli, southern Greece, have traced a gang of three young foreign nationals accused of committing a number of robberies since last December, preying on elderly women.
One of the culprits is already in custody while the remaining two are wanted by the authorities.
The three are accused of breaking into the houses of elderly women to rob them, using verbal and physical abuse.
 Six more detained by police in ZonianaAnother six people were brought in for questioning by the Greek police during another major operation on Tuesday in the mountainous region of Mylopotamos around Zoniana, in the Rethymno prefecture's highlands on Crete.
The police operation involving a large number of men was led by Deputy Chief of the Greek Police Stelios Syros.
The search was focused on the villages of Zoniana, Livadia and Perama in the region, while the six taken in for questioning will be interrogated by an examining magistrate, who will decide whether there are grounds for their arrest and prosecution.
Similar operations have also been carried out in Hania and Iraklio on Crete and are related to the ambush by gunmen on November 5 last year that led to the serious injury of special guard Stathis Lazaridis, who is still in hospital in Iraklio.
The combined operations have so far led to the arrest of 13 people, while another 12 have been brought in for questioning in connection with charges of drug-dealing, cultivating cannabis, prostitution rackets and dealing in arms.
 Illegal migrants intercepted in Samos portFive illegal immigrants were arrested on Monday night in the port of Samos, in the eastern Aegean, by the local coastguard.
The illegals, two men and three minors, told authorities they were ferried over to the island from the opposite Turkish coast.
Samos, one of the closest Greek isles to the Asia Minor coast, has long been a 'favorite' destination for migrant smugglers attempting to ferry mostly Third World illegal immigrants into the European Union via Greece.
 Annual Fourth of July celebration in Kastoria turns into local traditionWhile most of the country usually heads to the beaches during the summer holidays, the northwest lakeside city of Kastoria stands out with a Fourth of July fireworks display in honor of America's Independence Day.
Related festivities are held each year by local residents who had migrated to the United States and subsequently returned to their birthplace, but who never forgot their adopted homeland.
They are the first wave of emigrant Kastorians, most of them furriers and fur traders, who left in the 1950s and in the years that followed for the New World. A good number returned to Greece with their families after working for years in the fur industry, primarily in New York and New Jersey.
The preservation of American traditions, such as the celebration of Thanksgiving Day and Independence Day, is in large part due to the American women who arrived in the picturesque city with their locally born husbands.
The repatriation trend, begun in the 1970s, led, in fact, to the creation of a local Greek-American Association, which today numbers some 100 families.
 Rain, storms on WednesdayRainy and stormy weather with northerly, northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 7-8 beaufort. Snow in the mountainous regions. Temperatures will range between -1C and 17C. Rain in the afternoon in Athens, with northeasterly 6-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 6C to 15C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 3C to 7C.
 EU senior financial officials praise Cyprus smooth euro changeoverNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus' sound preparation which resulted in a smooth introduction of the euro as Cyprus legal tender as of January 1 was praised Monday by Euro area chief Jean Claude Juncker, European Central Bank Governor Jean Claude Trichet, as well as by Joaqin Almunia, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs.
Cyprus Finance Minister Michalis Sarris, who represented Cyprus in the eurogroup meeting, expressed his gratitude to Almunia, to Greece, Ireland and Malta for the assistance given to the Cypriot authorities in the framework of special agreements, as well as the previous EU presidencies (German and Portugal) which accompanied Cyprus during its final stages before the introduction of the euro.
Sarris also thanked the Cypriot people who gave the euro a positive welcome, while they were skeptical during the last months before the changeover.
''In a few days the euro became a widely used currency both by the consumers and businesses,'' Sarris said.
Regarding inflation, Sarris said that some increases were recorded in Cyprus in late 2007 and early 2008, which means inflation in the island during the rest of the year would be lower by comparison to the inflation in other countries, such as Slovenia.
However, he expressed concern over the global inflation tendencies mainly due to oil and grain prices as well as high growth rates in some countries such as China.
Greater caution in fiscal policy is needed, he added, expressing hope that the rising trend as regards prices will not spark salary and prices increases, which in turn will lead to the loss of competitiveness.
''It would be better to focus in tackling the inflation tendencies at the early stages than solving problems in the future,'' Sarris said.
The Cypriot finance minister also praised Europe's important reforms, which will help EU to face difficulties stemming from the subprime crisis in the US.
Regarding the Cypriot economy, Sarris said that Cyprus can achieve the projected target of 0.5% GDP fiscal surplus, because the planning was made on the basis of the 2006 growth rates and not the 2007 ''unusually high'' rates which exceeded 4 per cent.
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