|Friday, 15 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-08-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 21 August 2008 Issue No: 2975
 FM briefs Inner Cabinet on crisis in GeorgiaForeign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wendesay briefed the Inner Cabinet on the crisis in the Caucasus, following an emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels that she attended the previous day, and stressed afterwards that the crisis was preoccupying all the European and NATO governments and the entire world.
Bakoyannis said that great caution, cool-headedness and responsibility was needed, so that there could be a substantive ceasefire and a return to the status quo ante, with the simultanous commencement of a dialogue of substanced aimed at a long-term solution to the problem.
The foreign minister further said that she has already sent a leeter to parliament to brief the House's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on all the latest developments.
 FM: Reunification of Cyprus a matter of utmost priority of Greek foreign policyNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)
The reunification of Cyprus in a fair, viable and functional way, on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, is a matter of utmost priority of Greece's foreign policy, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis reaffirmed in a message read out at the opening session on Tuesday of the 22nd joint Conference of the Central Council of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) and the Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA).
In her message, Bakoyannis stressed the Greek government's full support of the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus and its President, Demetris Christofias, for substantive and constructive inter-communal talks aimed at finding common ground so that comprehensive negotiations could begin for a Cyprus solution.
"The goal is to reinforce the dynamic of the talks, so as to lead to the preparation of a solution based on the UN Security Council resolutions and on the European principles and values, which would be acceptable," Bakoyannis message said.
"The vision of all of us is finding a solution that will allow the entire Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, to enjoy the benefits of the country's membership in the European Union, and to jointly pursue a future of security, cooperation and development. A future in a free, reunited federal Cyprus with a single sovereignty, a single nationality and a single international identity, securing its single and substantial participation in the international scene as a factor of stability and peace," Bakoyannis' message concluded.
In a message by Hellenic Parliament president Dimitris Sioufas to the conference, which was read out by chairman of the Greek parliament's Special Standing Committee on Overseas Hellenism Nikos Tsiartsonis, Sioufas expressed hope that the next POMAK/PSEKA conference would take place in a reunited Cyprus and that direct negotiations between the leaders of the two communities, to begin on September 3, would lead to a democratic, European, functional and viable settlement the soonest possible.
Addressing the conference, Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Kassimis expressed the support of the Greek government to President Christofias' efforts to achieve a settlement of the Cyprus problem, noting that ''overseas Cypriots are an important and select section of Hellenism, fighting for the rights of the island.''
''We want to rebuild the model of peaceful cohabitation in a shaken international society. This is the vision of President Christofias, which we support,'' he said, adding that soon there would be joint actions by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and the organisations of overseas Cypriots.
In an address read out to the conference, President of SAE Stefanos Tamvakis said the Council would continue to support POMAK and PSEKA, as well as Cyprus and the people of the island, since ''the issues of national importance for Hellenism are a field of cooperation and joint action, and our role must be clear and constructive.''
He added that SAE and Hellenism all over the world stand by Cypriot Hellenism and support the responsible policies of the leaderships of both Cyprus and Greece.
President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have agreed to begin direct talks on September 3, aimed at finding a mutually acceptable settlement. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island republic.
 Nimetz due in Greece on FridayThe UN secretary general's special envoy on the FYROM name issue, Matthew Nimetz, will visit FYROM and Greece later in the week, the UN announced on Wednesday.
More specifically, Nimetz will hold talks in the FYROM capital, Skopje, on Thursday, and in Thessaloniki on Friday.
 Papandreou to visit IliaMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou will visit the prefecture of Ilia, in the western Peloponnese, on Thursday, keeping a promise to wildfire victims last year regarding economic aid of 1.2 million euros, an amount corresponding to a third of the election contribution to PASOK from the state budget, party spokesman George Papa-constantinou said on Wednesday.
PASOK is seeking a practical way of distributing the amount so as to serve transparency and the needs of the wildfire sufferers, the spokesman said.
This move is also linked to a reconstruction plan for wildfire-stricken regions that PASOK tabled in the form of a bill and that will be discussed by Parliament's second summer session committee, according to Papaconstantinou, who added that the party is expecting the government to adopt this plan.
 PASOK on humanitarian mission to GazaMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papa-constantinou on Wednesday extended his best wishes for the success of a Greek humanitarian mission heading to Gaza to express its solidarity with the distribution of pharmaceuticals and to remind the international community of the Palestinian issue. He added that the party's human rights and solidarity sector also contributed to the collection of the aid.
 Minister: Tourism sector unaffected by eco crisisTourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Wednesday briefed the Inner Cabinet on tourism-related issues, stressing that figures up to now indicate a 3-percent increase in the sector whereas related revenue has increased by 8.5 percent in the first half of 2008.
Spiliotopoulos said the Greek tourism sector has so far resisted negative repercussions from the current international economic crisis, while the sector retains the potential to develop in the following years. He also stressed that the sector must be prepared to face a recession if and when this occurs in the traditional markets, especially by penetrating into new rising markets.
 Development Minister on free market and fuel pricesDevelopment Minister Christos Folias said on Wednesday that a free market means free competition that benefits the Greek consumer, "and this is the target", replying to press questions regarding the fuels market after an Inner Cabinet meeting chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis.
Folias also stressed that a clear political volition exists to achieve free competition, making use of every available institiutional possibility, adding that implementation of the price ceilings on fuel recently imposed by his ministry and the Competition Commission's deliberations on the fuel market were focused in this direction.
Everyone must abide by the rules of competition, Folias said, warning that "where there is no accountability, there is lawlessness".
"For that reason, we are determined to put an end to situations and practices that dishonor the Greek market " he added.
"No one can be above the law," the Development Minister stressed.
 Finance minister approves additional credit for pupil transportation expendituresFinance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis has approved additional credit amounting to 10 million euros in the Regular Budget for 2008 to cover expenditures regarding the transportation of pupils.
According to an announcement by the Finance ministry, the total expenditures contained in the 2008 budget will amount to 106 million euros, together with the additional credit.
The average cost for the transportation of a pupil, according to contracts signed by prefectural administrations, amounted to 830 euros over the 2007-8 school period, an amount that is much higher than what has been set by the existing Joint Ministerial Decision .
 Greek stocks down by 0.41 pct WednesdayGreek stocks dropped in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The composite index of the market ended the day with losses at 3,312.55 points, 0.41 percent down, with turnover amounting to 163.5 million euros. Most sectors moved lower, with the greatest increase recorded by Food and Drinks (+1.54 pct), Telecommunications (+1.00 pct) and Fiscal Services (+0.91 pct). The FTSE 20 index decreased by 0.46 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.73 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index increased by 0.75 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 100 to 97 with another 68 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.65%
Personal & Household: -1.00%
Raw Materials: -0.63%
Travel & Leisure: -1.13%
Food & Beverages: +1.54%
Financial Services: +0.91%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Hellenic Telecom-munications Organisation (OTE), National Bank, Piraeus Bank and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 17.60
Public Power Corp (PPC): 18.40
HBC Coca Cola: 17.90
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.54
National Bank of Greece: 29.72
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 14.50
Piraeus Bank: 17.34
Titan Cement Company: 25.34
 Foreign Exchange rates: ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.476
Pound sterling 0.794
Danish kroner 7.473
Swedish kroner 9.408
Japanese yen 162.54
Swiss franc 1.620
Norwegian kroner 7.971
Canadian dollar 1.567
Australian dollar 1.695
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended with a premium in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover 55,528 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a premium of 0.33 pct and the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 1.93 pct.
Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 5,194 contracts worth 47,171 million euros with 33,484 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was worth 19,900 million euros with 9 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 5,141 contracts worth 8.015 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank (953), Bank of Piraeus (588), Marfin Popular Bank (407), Atebank (353), Alpha Bank (330), Coca Cola (237), EXAE (194), Public Power Corporation (147) and OPAP (107).
 Ecumenical Patriarch begins visit to Mount AthosEcumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos (Bartholomew I) arrived in Thessaloniki on Wednesday to begin a five-day visit to the nearby semi-autonomous monastic community of Mount Athos, where he will attend the 500th-anniversary celebrations of a local monastery.
After his arrival in Thessaloniki, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his joy for again returning to Greece and the land of Macedonia, adding that he was praying for the war victims in Caucasus and for peace to prevail in the area and worldwide.
Vartholomeos was received by the local authorities, including Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas, and Archbishop of Thessaloniki Anthimos, among other Metropolitans.
 Greece at 'The Other Film Festival'MELBOURNE (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)
Director Antonis Rellas' short film "Waves of the Aegean" will represent Greece at this year's 'The Other Film Festival', to take place September 3-7 in Melbourne.
The 60-minute film will be screened on Thursday (September 4) at the Melbourne Museum's The Age Theatre.
The Other Film Festival, a biennial event, screens contempo-rary cinema mad by, with or about people with a disability. This year's fest will feature tens of films and documentaries from all over the world.
It is Australia's only international disability film festival, and is renowned for excellence in filmmaking, highly accessible cinema and the passionate exchange of ideas, according to the organizers, who also announced that the 2008 festival will be fully competitive with cash prizes, including a 5,000 Australian dollar prize for Best Film.
According organizers, the festival "promotes the passionate exchange of ideas by offering a gloriously diverse line-up of films that explore the many facets of disability with humor, verve and drama, and invites interaction with audience members via a range of guest speakers and lively forums".
The 2008 line-up includes more than 35 films to be shown over 20 sessions, "in an environment that promotes accessibility for every audience member", featuring ground-breaking short films, documentaries and animations from all corners of the globe.
Rellas, who has been invited by the organizers to attend the Festival, will speak after the screening of his Waves of the Aegean on subjects ranging from disability, sports and cinema production to human rights.
The Athens-born director (1971) has a degree in programming/analysis (1989) and is also a graduate of the Stavrakos Film School (1993) with a diploma in directing. In 1993 he was involved in a road accident in which he lost his left leg and the motion capability of his left hand. He worked in a major private TV network in Greece from 1990-2005, and considers the national broadcast of his first television program on disability in 1994 as the highlight of his career in the media sector.
His made his first short film, titled "The Nail" in 1992, followed by the documentary films "I'm Alive" in 1997, "Waves of the Aegean" in 2005 and "Kalisti Thira" in 2006.
Rellas has also made commercials, music videos, experimental videos and digital animations for theatrical and musical shows.
He is further involved in the organization of the annual Documentary Festival on Disability "EMOTION PICTURE".
 Interior ministry on 'Help at Home' programmeThe Interior ministry issued an announcement on Wednesday, in response to a statement by the main opposition PASOK party's spokesman George Papaconstantinou regarding the "Help at Home" Programme, stressing that the continuation of the social care structures by the government has been secured and that a large number of people involved in these programmes are employed with a labour status of indefinite duration.
"PASOK is concerned about the 'Help at Home' Programme belatedly and in vain. It is currently calling on the government to do all those things that PASOK had not done in government. Is PASOK not aware that the continuation of the Social Care Structures has been secured? Is PASOK not aware that a large number of people involved in these Programmes are already employed with a labour status of indefinite duration thanks to presidential decree 164/2004 by the New Democracy government?" the announcement said.
"PASOK must feel certain that the government will carry out its duty in full, this time as well, both towards the benefitting citizens and the employees. PASOK must simply apologise to them, even now, for the way with which it treated them," it added.
 Justice minister on Pavlidis caseJustice Minister Sotiris Hadzigakis, asked in Parliament on Wednesday about the case of New Democracy party Deputy and former minister Aristotelis Pavlidis, spoke of the unprecedented maneating of political colleagues of theirs, both deputies and former ministers with the purpose of gaining a few seconds of publicity.
The minister clarified that "with the existence of both himself and of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis absolute light shall be shed by Justice."
He pointed out that "I would not like to refer to certain groundless and unsubstantiated statements by certain low and medium-ranking cadres, primarily of the PASOK party, who are applying themselves lately to the unprecedented maneating of political colleagues of theirs, both deputies and former ministers with the purpose of gaining a few seconds of publicity."
Hatzigakis also stressed that "I wish to reiterate that the whole process of the 'Pavlidis case' has been absolutely lawful."
 Wildfire in Inoi under controlA wildfire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in the Inoi district, northern Attica perfecture, has reportedly been brought under control.
A major firefighing force assisted by two fire-fighting aircraft and two helicopters are taking part in the operation. The blaze has burned forestland and olive trees, according to reports.
 Elderly Swiss tourist missing in CreteA 72-year-old Swiss tourist was declared missing as of Tuesday afternoon in the Paleochora region of Crete. The tourist, who was on vacation with his wife and son, stayed at a camping site in Paleochora and in the afternoon went for a jog.
His wife called police when the time passed and the man did not return to the camp site.
Emergency rescue units have been called together with a sniffer dog to take part in the operation.
 Fair on ThursdayFair weather with northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 38C. Fair in Athens, with 4-5 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 25C to 35C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 22C to 34C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceTuesday's emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels to discuss the situation in Georgia, the performances of Greek athletes at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and support measures for three-children families were the main front-page items in Wednesday's dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Hiring of 7,436 (tenured) teachers, by decision of economy deputy minister Nikos Legas".
APOGEVMATINI:"9,800 hirings (in the wider public sector) in autumn - The distribution of the positions by specialization and agency".
AVGHI: "Words, but without measures, against doping, as the chiefs of the various bodies mutually absolve each other on TV".
AVRIANI: "Benefit to 141,000 three-child families - Prime minister's platform commitment being materialized".
CHORA: "Rift in NATO over Georgia - Paris, Rome, Bonn, Athens lower Condoleezza's (US secretary of state Rice) tone".
ELEFTHEROS: "Celebrations for 141,400 three-child families - ND's pre-election pledges becoming action thanks to Dimitris Avrampoulos' (health and social solidarity minister) efforts".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Competition Commission wakes up - The files on the unjustified high prices in supermarkets taken out of the desk drawers".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The three charges in which possible implication of (ND MP and former merchant marine minister Aristotelis) Pavlidis is being investigated".
ESTIA: "Dysfunctions in the government - Ministers disagree with and mutually undermine each other".
ETHNOS: "53 million euros 'gift' to profiteers - Price hikes in 50 products in the space of only four months (costing consumers an additional 53 million euros from their incomes)".
KATHIMERINI: "Unlawfulness keeping fuel prices high - The ceiling (imposed by the development ministry on fuel prices in several parts of the country where excessively high prices were recorded) not being implemented".
LOGOS: "Benefits to three-child families - Payment of benefit announced by health minister".
NIKI: "Attempt to muzzle the opposition - Unprecedented intimidation operation by government".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Dangers for the peoples, with the guilt of the Greek government - New enlargement of NATO the aim".
TA NEA: "Documentation of the lies - Karamanlis, Hatzigakis (justice minister) in awkward position" in the Pavlidis case.
TO VIMA: "The 'czar' (of the economy) under fire, but not retreating - Rough August for (economy and finance minister George) Alogoskoufis".
VRADYNI: "9,316 hirings of teachers and salaried soldiers (not individuals serving their compulsory conscription) -- Immediate appointments to fill the needs".
 Spokesman: President to negotiate with consistencyNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/CNA)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias will go to talks, aimed at reuniting Cyprus, with consistency and with firm positions of principle, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said here Wednesday.
''Our positions are very well known. The President will proceed to the negotiations, on September 3, with consistency and with firm positions of principle, displaying at the same time determination and flexibility," Stephanou said.
The Spokesman added that President Christofias "will make every effort to reach a solution that will end Turkey's occupation and the illegal influx of Turkish settlers. The solution must reunite Cyprus, its territory, its people, its economy and should restore human rights and fundamental principles. These are the goals, and with these in mind, the President will go to the negotiations."
"The principles of international and European law as well as UN resolutions on Cyprus constitute a weapon in our hands. President Christofias will continue the struggle for a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible, based on those principles," he said.
Stephanou was invited by the press to comment on a statement by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat that the Greek Cypriot side wants to ''secure something" before the start of direct negotiations.
Talat was referring to the Greek Cypriot side's position that the Turkish occupied area of Morphou must be returned to Greek Cypriot administration in the context of a solution.
''We do not want to negotiate on air, nor do we wish to preempt the negotiations which will begin between the leaders of the two communities," he said, noting that the government and President Christofias have been very careful as far as public statements are concerned and are trying to maintain a good climate ahead of the negotiations.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 FM: solution should serve the interests of Cyprus, not Turkey'sNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/CNA)
The solution of the Cyprus problem should serve the interests of the people of Cyprus and not Turkey's interests, Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou stressed here on Wednesday.
Addressing overseas Cypriots on recent developments, the Foreign Minister said that although not much progress has been achieved at preparatory talks between teams of experts from the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, President Demetris Christofias has decided to engage in direct negotiations with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, to reunify Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.
Kyprianou was speaking at the 22nd meeting of the Central Boards of PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus) and POMAK (World Federation of Overseas Cypriots), as well as the 4th World Conference of NEPOMAK (World Federation of Young Overseas Cypriots), currently underway in Nicosia.
He said that the international community should encourage Turkey to adopt a positive stance on the Cyprus issue.
The Foreign Minister added that "the solution should serve the interests of Cypriots and not of Turkey. The foreign powers should encourage Turkey to display a positive stance on the Cyprus issue."
He noted that Turkey talks about "two states in Cyprus."
"Of course, Turkey's stance will be judged when negotiations begin," he said, referring to the direct negotiations which will start September 3rd, between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader.
''Turkish Cypriots should be given the chance to negotiate freely and Ankara must support a solution that will reunify the island," he continued.
Kyprianou said that Turkey, which since 1974 holds 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus "should follow a clear stance and support a solution for one state in Cyprus."
He said that the basis of a solution will be a bicommunal, bizonal federation, as agreed in the High Level Agreement of 1977, noting that this solution is a compromise for the Greek Cypriot side.
Kyprianou added that the Greek Cypriot side wants to reach a mutually agreed solution with the Turkish Cypriot side, and not a solution that will be imposed on Cypriots.
"We want an agreed solution and not an imposed one, a solution that will serve the interests of both sides, who will in the end have to live with that solution. But this does not mean that Turkey is absolved of responsibility," he said.
Commenting on Turkish and Turkish Cypriot statements that occupied Morphou town will not be returned to the Greek Cypriots as part of a solution, he said that ''our basic principles have been expressed many times and should not surprise anyone, nor should they be considered by the other side as a negative act."
He noted that although such discussions should not be held in public, especially ahead of the start of direct negotiations, ''all solution plans provided that urban areas and areas around them with a great number of Greek Cypriot inhabitants - refugees, should be returned to Greek Cypriot administration.'' This, he pointed out, "has always been the position of the Greek Cypriot side and should not surprise anyone, when expressed in public."
Earlier Wednesday, Kyprianou held a meeting with Greece's Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis.
In statements after the meeting, Kyprianou said that if Turkey wishes to join the European Union, it should first adopt a positive stance at the negotiations on Cyprus and normalise its relations with Nicosia.
He added that Turkey will not be able to become a full EU member state, unless it contributes to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Referring to his meeting with the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister, Kyprianou said they discussed "practical ways of cooperation and coordination of efforts to support overseas Cypriots."
He also thanked the government and the people of Greece for their steadfast and continuous support to the struggle of the people of Cyprus for justice.
In his statements, Kassimis reiterated the "full support of the Greek Prime Minister, the Greek Foreign Minister and the whole country to the initiatives of President Christofias to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem."
He added that he discussed with the Cypriot Foreign Minister practical ways to help coordinate efforts to strengthen the Greek and Cypriot Diaspora, with emphasis on language, culture, education and joint action in the Middle East and Africa.
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