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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-08-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Saturday, 30 August 2008 Issue No: 2983


  • [01] PM briefed on OA, OSE restructuring
  • [02] Gov't: No recognition for breakaway Caucasus regions
  • [03] PASOK condemns unilateral recognition of Caucasus regions, cites Kosovo
  • [04] Athens dismisses, sharply reacts to latest provocation from FYROM
  • [05] FM spokesman on Cyprus solution efforts
  • [06] PASOK criticism over economy, tax policy
  • [07] KKE briefs DM on concern over Afghanistan
  • [08] Alavanos meets GSEBE con'f presidium
  • [09] LAOS party in Peloponese
  • [10] Marfin Investment Group says profits up 115.8 pct in H1
  • [11] Gov't on PPC's poor H1 showing
  • [12] Greek retail sales turnover index up 4.6 pct in June
  • [13] Greek PPI up 12.7 pct in July
  • [14] Selonda Group says turnover up 60 pct in H1
  • [15] Intralot reports significantly improved H1 results
  • [16] Greek stocks end 0.76 pct higher
  • [17] ADEX closing report
  • [18] Greek bond market closing report
  • [19] Foreign Exchange rates: Monday
  • [20] Exceptional find uncovered in Vergina
  • [21] NASA astrophysicist on new Grevena observatory
  • [22] Foreign nationals arrested for espionage, face deportation
  • [23] Themos Anastasiadis free on bail
  • [24] Foreign nationals clash in Athens
  • [25] Foreign national arrested in youth's gang rape
  • [26] Old mortar shell found in Florina prefecture
  • [27] Xanthi police arrest Bulgarian sought by Interpol
  • [28] IOC charges against coach Panagiotopoulos
  • [29] Fair on Saturday
  • [30] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [31] Garoyian: Ankara has to show willingness for a Cyprus solution
  • [32] Iacovou says Turkish Cypriot decision about pilgrims is provocative Politics

  • [01] PM briefed on OA, OSE restructuring

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was briefed on Friday by Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis over several ministry-related issues, particularly on restructuring of loss-making Hellenic Railways (OSE) and debt-ridden Olympic Airways (OA), both state-run enterprises.

    Afterwards, in statements to reporters, Hatzidakis merely reiterated that the Greek government, in consultation with the European Commission, aims to provide a long-term solution to OA by attracting reliable investors.

    Hatzidakis, a former Euro-MP who had tabled several questions regarding OA during previous PASOK governments, said the goal is an airline "without the debt and burdens of the past, which however, will retain the name and emblem of the company, with safeguards for the employees".

    He added that an end-of-the-year timeframe is still valid for creating a "clean and viable Olympic Airways".

    Additionally, the minister said he discussed the issue of upgrading various regional airports around the country, with specific announcements to be made next week.

    Finally, Hatzidakis said he briefed the premier on a timetable for restructuring OSE and the post office's overnight delivery unit.

    PASOK reaction

    On his part, main opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou charged that "it is known that for some time the government has been applying itself to the shrivelling and closure of Olympic Airlines and today Mr. Hatzidakis equated the concept of investing in a business with metaphysical practices."

    [02] Gov't: No recognition for breakaway Caucasus regions

    Greece on Friday reiterated that it would not recognize the breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, just as it had not recognized Kosovo independence, keeping in line with its steadfast policy of respect of the territorial integrity and independence of all countries.

    Greece was pursuing the difficult path of consistency in the fundamental and long-standing principles of foreign policy, of its membership in the EU, and in bilateral relations, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said during a regular press briefing, replying to questions on the stance that Greece will take at the extraordinary EU summit on Monday that will discuss developments in the Caucasus.

    He added that this difficult path becomes even more difficult in periods, such as the present, in which tensions and antagonisms are manifested in a new form.

    Greece's foreign policy pursued respect of territorial integrity and the independence of the states, and that was the basis on which Greece's position was founded in all instances.

    Based on that principle, which was long-standing and a cornerstone of Greek foreign policy, Greece did not recognize Kosovo independence, nor that of the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, he stressed.

    Asked to comment on a statement by Russian ambassador to Greece Andrei Vdovin on Thursday that Greece was not as strict regarding the recognition of Kosovo as it has been with that of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia, Koumoutsakos said he does not comment on statements by envoys accredited to Greece.

    Regarding Monday's extraordinary EU summit, Koumoutsakis said it would focus on the crisis in the Caucasus, with priority on implementation of the French EU Presidency's six-point plan, the provision of humanitarian aid to the victims of the clash, the prospect of a European presence in the region, and the broader framework of the EU's relations with Russia.

    On the prospect of EU sanctions on Russia, Koumoutsakos said that the French embassy has not confirmed the relevant rumors, and warned that "isolation is not a solution".

    On relations with NATO, Koumoutsakos reiterated the Greek position, stressing that "every opportunity given us by the instituted dialogue on the framework of the NATO-Russia Council must be utilized".

    He said the developments in the Caucasus would also be the focus of an informal EU foreign ministers' council on Thursday and Friday in the French city of Avignon.

    Asked whether the Cyprus issue, just as that of Kosovo or S. Ossetia and Abkhazia, could comprise a "suis generis" case, Koumoutsakos replied that he would not make comparisons of crises and international relations.

    "The fundamental issue, for us, is that the principle of territorial integrity of states is respected," he said.

    [03] PASOK condemns unilateral recognition of Caucasus regions, cites Kosovo

    Main opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou, referring on Friday to the European Union's urgently called summit on Monday to focus on the crisis in the Caucasus, said his party condemns the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, just as it condemned the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo's independence.

    "As far as PASOK is concerned, condemnation of such violations of International Law is explicit. The interests of our country are always safeguarded through International Law and respect for rules. Just as we condemned and are condemning the recognition of the unilateral proclamation of the independence of Kosovo, so do we condemn and are condemning the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," he said.

    [04] Athens dismisses, sharply reacts to latest provocation from FYROM

    A foreign ministry spokesman on Friday again touched on the most recent provocation emanating from the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), namely, this week's unanimous resolution by the latter's parliament to mandate state backing to so-called "Aegeans", what irredentist circles in the one-time Yugoslav republic call slavophones who fled Greece during the height of the Greek civil war (1946-49).

    Spokesman George Koumoutsakos underlined, during a regular press conference, that this development "epitomises the unproductive infatuation (by FYROM's current leadership) with a completely warped and extremely distortive rendering of the past."

    "At the same time, it is apparent that there is an inability to meet the challenges and needs of building a better future in this region. This, in fact, is apparent from the obstructive and undermining tactics that have been employed throughout the recent period by the leadership in the neighbouring country," Koumoutsakos said.

    In a related development, Greece's negotiator in the still resolved "name issue", Amb. Adamantios Vassilakis, on Thursday briefed the ambassadors of several countries on the latest developments in the dispute. Envoys from EU and NATO member-states, as well as the ambassadors from China and Russia were briefed by Vassilakis.

    [05] FM spokesman on Cyprus solution efforts

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos reaffirmed Greece's support for the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus for a solution to the Cyprus problem, replying to questions during a regular press briefing on Friday.

    Asked if he shared Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's view, voiced in a recent statement that if a solution was to arise, it would be in early 2009, Koumoutsakos noted that the main negotiation for a Cyprus solution under the auspices of the UN was due to begin in a few days (September 3), after much preparation.

    He assured that Greece, as always, stood at the side of the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus, and expressed hope for a "positive outcome of this new effort, because that would be to everyone's benefit".

    Koumoutsakos reiterated the fundamental Greek position for a just, viable and functional solution in the framework of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation that would result in a united Cyprus with a single international identity, a single sovereignty and a single nationality.

    He further expressed hope that Turkey, "which has a significant role", will encourage the Turkish Cypriot leadership to follow a path of constructive negotiation, so that there would be a positive outcome.

    Replying to another question, Koumoutsakos said that there could be no correlation between the situation in Georgia and the situation in Cyprus with the creation of the pseudo-state.

    "International crises and international issues are never absolutely the same. They do not have the same characteristics, the same degree of tension, and consequently I will not enter into a comparison of events and crises," Koumoutsakos said.

    He reiterated that Greek foreign policy pursued the fundamental principle of respect of the territorial integrity and independence of the states. Based on that principle, which was long-standing and a fundamenal element of the Greek foreign policy of all the Greek governments, Greece did not recognize Kosovo independence nor does it recognize the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    [06] PASOK criticism over economy, tax policy

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Friday charged that the government has placed society against it amid an economic crisis, "instead of supporting income and economic activity, it is imposing taxes".

    He also reiterated PASOK's call for the government to withdraw the economic measures it has announced.

    Papaconstantinou added that "this situation did not come as a surprise, but it is the result of the actions by the New Democracy party from the very first month of its governance in 2004."

    In another development, PASOK secretary Yiannis Ragoussis said "the citizens who voted for New Democracy are absolutely justified in being disappointed and in feeling betrayed. Greeks want to live in a fair society and not in a present-day Greece of arbitrariness and of a tax pogrom, in present-day Greece where the large real estate tax is being replaced by a tax that will be paid by all the Greeks for their property."

    [07] KKE briefs DM on concern over Afghanistan

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) briefed defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Friday of its deep concern over the situation in Afghanistan, and reiterated the party's firm demand for withdrawal of all Greek military forces active outside the country.

    KKE deputy and political bureau member Spyros Halvatzis, in a meeting with Meimarakis, said that his party was particularly worried as the peoples were paying the price of the escalation of the endo-imperialistic differences and antagonisms.

    He said that the minister shared the KKE's concerns, and had assured him that all the necessary measures were being taken for the health and physical well-being of all Greek soldiers.

    Halvatzis further said that the defence minister had ruled out the prospect of sending additional forces to Afghanistan.

    [08] Alavanos meets GSEBE con'f presidium

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos met on Friday with the directorate of the GSEBE confederation, saying afterwards that a "struggle against the (recently unveiled) tax bill is necessary."

    Alavanos appealed to SME owners, and even to those belonging to the New Democracy party, as he said, "who faced with innocence and credulity its so-called policy statements and call on them to take the great step and be present in the wave that is being created for a new policy in our country."

    [09] LAOS party in Peloponese

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis on Friday visited the wildfire-stricken region of Arcadia, in the central Peloponnese, and met with the mayor of the village of Falesia. Karatzaferis later travelled to the western port city of Patras.

    Financial News

    [10] Marfin Investment Group says profits up 115.8 pct in H1

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Friday said consolidated profits from continuous activities, after tax and minorities, totaled 210.1 million euros in the first half of 2008, from 99.3 million euros last year, for an increase of 115.8 percent, despite a difficult economic environment still affecting international money and capital markets.

    Parent results in the January-June period were burdened with a 59 million euros interest, a result of borrowing needs to buy a minority stake in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation. MIG said a significant decline in debt interest was expected to significantly change its results in the second half of the year.

    Commenting on the results, MIG's vice-chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos, said the group was optimistic over its performance both for 2008 and the future.

    [11] Gov't on PPC's poor H1 showing

    A government spokesman on Friday, replying to a question on whether responsibilities exist over first half 2008 losses of 115 million euros by state-run Public Power Corp. (PAC), referred to an unpleasant situation for state coffers but also pointed to skyrocketing fuel prices internationally.

    Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters that 50 percent of the fuel used by is based on hydrocarbons, oil and natural gas.

    "We are all aware what developments in the international market regarding fuel prices. They have also affected PPC," the spokesman said, while reminding that Greece still retains the cheapest electricity amongst the European Union's 27 member-states, in real prices, and the third cheapest in absolute euros.

    [12] Greek retail sales turnover index up 4.6 pct in June

    Greece's retail sales turnover index (current prices) rose by 4.6 pct in June, compared with the corresponding month last year, after an increase of 7.6 pct in June 2007, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service said the 4.6 pct increase in the index reflected a 5.6 pct rise in the food store index and a 3.8 pct increase in the other store index.

    The retail sales volume index (turnover in fixed prices) rose 0.7 pct in June, compared with the same month in 2007, after an increase of 4.5 pct in June 2007.

    [13] Greek PPI up 12.7 pct in July

    Greece's Producer's Price composite index (measuring both the domestic and external markets) jumped 12.7 pct in July, compared with the same month last year, after increases of 1.6 pct and 7.2 pct in July 2007 and July 2006, respectively, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service said the producer's price index was up 1.3 pct in July from June, after increases of 0.5 pct and 0.7 pct in July 2007 and July 2006, respectively.

    [14] Selonda Group says turnover up 60 pct in H1

    Selonda Group on Friday said consolidated turnover jumped 60 pct in the first half of the year to total 64 million euros, from 40 million euros in the corresponding period in 2007.

    The group said 29 pct of the increase reflected the integration of four companies to the group (Ehinades SA, Perseus SA, International Aqua Tech Ltd and Fjord Marin Turkey), along with an increase in export sales.

    Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) grew 28 pct to 12.4 million euros in the January-June period, from 9.7 million last year, while pre-tax profits totaled 3.9 million euros, down 45 pct from last year.

    Earnings after tax and minorities totaled 2.33 million euros, down 54.5 pct.

    [15] Intralot reports significantly improved H1 results

    Intralot on Friday reported a 44.5 percent increase in its consolidated turnover to 547.5 million euros in the first half of 2008 compared with the same period last year, and said pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings rose 5.1 pct to 126.7 million euros. Pre-tax profits rose 8.4 pct to 112.4 million euros, while after tax and minorities earnings rose 4.6 pct to 60.3 million euros.

    Parent turnover was 98.9 million euros in the January-June period, down 3.5 pct from last year, while pre-tax profits were 43.7 million euros and after tax profits were 36.3 million euros in the same period.

    Constantinos Antonopoulos, Intralot's chief executive, said the first half of 2008 was a very interesting period for the company since it managed to win a significant number of international tenders: in Madrid, Holland in the US and Turkey, while it acquired two companies in Slovakia and Italy.

    [16] Greek stocks end 0.76 pct higher

    Greek stocks moved higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, with the composite index of the market rising 0.76 pct to end at 3,292.69 points. Turnover was an improved 260.05 million euros, of which 10.9 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher with the Banks (2.21 pct), Media (1.83 pct) and Personal/Home Products (1.34 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecommunications (1.88 pct), Healthcare (1.86 pct), Constructions (0.97 pct) and Insurance (0.88 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.24 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.07 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index eased 0.61 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 111 to 104 with another 56 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.88%

    Industrials: +0.73%

    Commercial: +0.54%

    Construction: -0.97%

    Media: +1.83%

    Oil & Gas: -0.73%

    Personal & Household: +1.34%

    Raw Materials: +0.44%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.43%

    Technology: -0.03%

    Telecoms: -1.88%

    Banks: +2.21%

    Food & Beverages: -0.54%

    Health: -1.86%

    Utilities: +1.03%

    Chemicals: +0.07%

    Financial Services: +0.60%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and Piraeus Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 17.48

    ATEbank: 2.38

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 17.24

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.70

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.60

    National Bank of Greece: 30.30

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 13.80

    Intralot: 8.62

    OPAP: 24.00

    OTE: 14.62

    Piraeus Bank: 18.50

    Titan Cement Company: 25.38

    [17] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contracts ended around their fair price levels in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover remaining a low 73.408 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.15 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 6,414 contracts worth 57.988 million euros, with 34,098 open positions in the market, while no transactions were made in futures contracts on tbe Mid Cap index.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,610 contracts worth 14.177 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (1,979), followed by Eurobank (508), Marfin Investment Group (821), OTE (1,057), Hellenic Exchanges (649), Alpha Bank (942) and ATEbank (299).

    [18] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 874 million euros on Friday, of which 395 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 479 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 545 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds remained at 0.70 pct, with the Greek bond yielding 4.88 pct and the German Bund 4.18 pct.

    In money markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.33 pct, the six-month rate 5.16 pct, the three-month rate 4.96 pct and the one-month rate 4.51 pct.

    [19] Foreign Exchange rates: Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.474

    Pound sterling 0.805

    Danish kroner 7.463

    Swedish kroner 9.444

    Japanese yen 160.33

    Swiss franc 1.617

    Norwegian kroner 7.949

    Canadian dollar 1.552

    Australian dollar 1.707

    General News

    [20] Exceptional find uncovered in Vergina

    Archaeologists uncovered the most fascinating find to date in the archaeological site of Vergina, northern Greece, earlier this week, namely an immense cylindrical copper vessel inside of which was a slightly smaller, similar vessel, untouched by time, containing an oak wreath crafted in gold lying atop human bones, immersed in water amid roots, the Thessaloniki Aristotelion University announced on Friday.

    The find is considered exceptional, as the wreath is almost equal in quality and dimensions with those found in the Royal Tombs of the Great Tumulus (Megali Toumba), and the inner vessel containing the bones is unique.

    The vessel was found on Tuesday amid ancient rubble at the Temple dedicated to the goddess Efkleia by Philip II of Macedon's mother Queen Eurydice, in the deepest section of the long ongoing digs at Vergina, which are being conducted by the Thessaloniki Aristotelion University archaeologists and students of archaeology, uncovering a plethora of important artifacts.

    The outer vessel, which had developed a green patina due to oxidization, was initially spotted by a worker, who shouted out "Bomb!!". Aristotelion University archaeologists and restorers were immediately called in, and they undertook the transfer of the finds to a more proper, temperature and humidity controlled environment.

    Archaeologists told ANA-MPA that it would take some time to restore the precious wreath and two impressive vessels to their initial form, during which they would be undergoing studies and testing for identification of the materials and dating of the bones.

    Archaeologists are also called on to explain why such a complete find, befitting a tomb, was found outside the limits of the extensive cemetery of the royal necropolis.

    The director of the university's excavations at Vergina is Aristetelion archaeology professor Chryssoula Saatsoglou-Paliadeli, and the excavation is subsidized by the university's budget.

    [21] NASA astrophysicist on new Grevena observatory

    Distinguished University of Chicago astrophysicist and NASA scientific associate Thanasis Economou, a native of Grevena in northwest Greece, on Friday spoke to an audience in his hometown, where he praised the upcoming construction of a new state-of-the-art observatory on nearby Mt. Orliaka.

    The Grevena prefecture is contributing funds for the projects.

    "Our purpose is for children in our region and from all of Greece to access the telescope via the internet; to select the object they want, to make the suitable observations, to process the data on their personal computer, and the next day, for there to be a debate in class with their teacher. It is something original, which has not been done anywhere else.

    "Furthermore, it will be used by amateur astronomers around the world as well as professional astronomers from the universities of our country and abroad. Its positioning on Orliaka is one of the best in Europe, given that it has the least light pollution and the clearest sky," Economou said.

    [22] Foreign nationals arrested for espionage, face deportation

    Three Bulgarian nationals, including two military officers, were sentenced by an Alexandroupolis court on Thursday to 15 months imprisonment each and deportation, on charges of espionage at Greek military facilities in the Evros border region, northeastern Greece.

    The two military officers and their Bulgarian driver were spotted on Tuesday night by a conscript on guard duty at the military camp, as they were taking photographs of the military facility. The guard became suspicious after seeing that their car had Bulgarian licence plates, and informed his superiors.

    The three were tried under flagrante delicto procedures, and were being held at the police facility in Orestiada awaiting deportation.

    [23] Themos Anastasiadis free on bail

    TV personality and publisher Themos Anastasiadis was freed on bail on Friday with a guarantee of 300,000 euros and restrictive terms of his prohibition of leaving the country and appearing once a month at a police station, following his testimony to special public prosecutor Dimitris Iconomou.

    Anastasiadis testified for the felony of violation of the law regarding personal data, which concerns the processing and dissemination of the DVD of the case of former culture ministry Secretary Christos Zachopoulos.

    [24] Foreign nationals clash in Athens

    Serious incidents broke out between at least 150 foreign nationals from African countries in Geraniou, Menandrou and Sophokleous streets in downtown Athens on Friday afternoon, resulting in 11 foreign nationals and a policeman being injured and taken to hospital.

    According to the police, when they rushed to the scene of the clashes one of the foreign nationals attacked and injured a policeman in the arm with an axe. The policeman fired his weapon and injured the foreign national in the leg, while a Greek national passing by chance was slightly injured by a stray bullet.

    Police rounded up 49 people for questioning, while an investigation is under way to ascertain the cause of the clashes.

    [25] Foreign national arrested in youth's gang rape

    A 20-year-old Iraqi man was brought before a public prosecutor on Friday, after being arrested by police earlier in the day, on charges that he and nine other compatriots led a 13-year-old Albanian youth to a park in the working-class west Athens district of Egaleo on Thursday and gang raped him.

    [26] Old mortar shell found in Florina prefecture

    A stockbreeder found an old mortar shell in an agricultural region of the municipality of Filotas, in the northern prefecture of Florina, on Thursday morning. According to an announcement made on Friday by the Police Department of Western Macedonia, the stockbreeder notified the authorities and all the necessary precautions were taken for the shell's delivery and neutralisation.

    [27] Xanthi police arrest Bulgarian sought by Interpol

    Police from Xanthi, northeastern Greece, on Thursday evening arrested a 49-year-old national of Bulgaria, who was being sought by Interpol, it was disclosed on Friday.

    His arrest came following the gathering of reliable data regarding his criminal activities. The arrested man is charged by the Bulgarian authorities for the offences of rape and theft.

    Olympic Games

    [28] IOC charges against coach Panagiotopoulos

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday charged coach George Panagiotopoulos and at the same time made reference to the doping case regarding Greek track and field athletes Fani Halkia and Tassos Gousis.

    The IOC turned against coach Panagiotopoulos, because, as it claims, "the prestige and its fame was injured by his illegal behavior."

    The legal representative of the Committee, Alexandros Lykourezos, stated that "the IOC has the responsibility of hosting clean games and to safeguard the principles of the Olympic Games."

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Fair on Saturday

    Fair weather with northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 34C. Local cloud in Athens, with 3-4 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 20C to 32C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 31C.

    [30] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Thursday's clash in parliament between government and opposition over the economic measures tabled by the government, ratification of the South Stream natgas pipeline agreement and the crisis in the Caucasus were the main front-page items in Friday's dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organization) profits reach record 159.3 million euros in second-quarter 2008".

    APOGEVMATINI: "ND, PASOK, LAOS said 'yes' to Greece-Russian agreement for South Stream pipeline, KKE abstained, SYRIZA voted against".

    AVGHI: "Society rejects the tax 'raid' ".

    AVRIANI: "Bulgarian spies caught red-handed photographing military camps and security installations in Evros".

    CHORA: "The banks holding up in the crisis while DEH (Public Power Corporation-PPC) 'sank' (in first-half 2008) with 111.8 million euros in losses".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Government with...SME aspirations - It did not dare touch the capital, curb illicit trade and the black economy" in the package of measures it unveiled.

    ELEFTHEROS: "Heavy words exchanged in parliament - Alogoskoufis (economy and finance minister): Papandreou (main opposition PASOK leader) a defendor of the tax-evaders".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Europe-Moscow hard poker - The (EU) 27 meeting on Monday and threaten sanctions against Russie, which replies with '9intercontinental ballistic missile' (accusations that the West is escalating the tension through reinforcement of the NATO presence in the Back Sea)".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The milking of the 4 billion euros (from the new tax measures) enrages engineers, lawyers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, merchants, small industries".

    ESTIA: "Taxes on the suckers - The most unfair taxation system".

    ETHNOS: "Looting no. 2 with hidden taxes and traps - Second tranche of (tax) collection measures contained in Alogoskoufis bill".

    KATHIMERINI; "Acute political clash on the horizon over Alogoskoufis' measures".

    LOGOS: "Wave of reactions against the tax bill tabled in parliament".

    NIKI: "The biggest tax raiders - Karamanlis-Alogoskoufis destroyed the state coffers".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Health and the working classes before the firing squad - Unscientific method of diagnosis and treatment of illnesses being instituted".

    TA NEA: "Amercement no. 2 by Alogoskoufis for final settlement of accounts (for 7-year period encompassing fiscal years 2000-2006)".

    TO VIMA: "The 'death of the salesman' - SMEs warn of business closures - Organizations and federations up-in-arms over the new taxation".

    VRADYNI: "Pipeline of peace and cooperation - Parliament ratifies the South Stream agreement".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [31] Garoyian: Ankara has to show willingness for a Cyprus solution


    House of Representatives President Marios Garoyian said on Thursday that without Ankara's will for a solution to the Cyprus issue based on UN resolutions, the High level agreements, international and European law, the UN will fall short of a solution and will bear the brunt of another failure.

    In a speech at a gathering for those who fell in Turkish occupied Ashia village in 1974, Garoyian said the UN should therefore ensure that they turn their attention to Ankara to face with more determination and austerity Turkey's intransigence and secessionist plans.

    He said that for a solution to be achieved, Turkey must decide that it wants a solution, noting that so far there is no such indication.

    Garoyian warned that "under no circumstances we will accept a solution based on Turkish conditions," noting that "compromise is one thing, and submission to the conditions of the oppressor another."

    He underlined that the people of Cyprus cannot accept the oppressor's conditions by being intimidated that this might be the last chance for a solution therefore signing a suicidal solution. The international community, he added, "will make a ghastly mistake if it formulates its position and tactics on Cyprus on the basis of the messages it receives from those who accepted the Annan Plan."

    The Greek Cypriot side, said Garoyian, is waiting to see if the Turkish side will abandon its intransigent attitude and if it has the willingness to accept a solution, which will purely consist of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    If it continues to pursue a solution based on two states, then things will end up at a deadlock and the responsibility will lie solely with the Turkish side, he added.

    On the opening of Limnitis crossing point, Garoyian said "even on purely humanitarian issues such as the opening of Limnitis crossing, Turkey appears to be completely intransigent and negative."

    Instead of acting positively and contributing in creating a positive climate in view of the start of direct talks, "they reject every good will gesture and retract from previous commitments."

    It is clear, he added, that the Turkish occupation forces do not give the Turkish Cypriot leader any room to make any good will gestures.

    Therefore, he added, it is not possible to anticipate any progress since Turkey and the occupation forces dictate their orders, and virtually maintain the Turkish Cypriot community hostage.

    He called for unity, pledging that only this way the Greek Cypriot side will be able to maintain a powerful negotiating position.

    President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Talat decided to start full-fledged negotiations on September 3, with the aim to reach a ''mutually accepted solution to the Cyprus problem, which will safeguard the fundamental and legitimate rights and interests of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots'' and reunite the country, divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    [32] Iacovou says Turkish Cypriot decision about pilgrims is provocative


    The refusal of the Turkish Cypriot side to allow Greek Cypriot pilgrims access to a Turkish occupied church to pray has been described as a provocative decision by Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou, who subsequently walked out of a meeting on Friday with Ozdil Nami, advisor to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Iacovou cut the meeting short when the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun announced the Turkish Cypriot decision to refuse Kato Pyrgos village citizens permission to pass through Limnitis on an organised pilgrimage to Saint Mamas.

    In statements at the Presidential Palace, Iacovou said Zerihoun had informed him shortly after his arrival for the meeting that he had received a letter from the Turkish Cypriots saying that they would be denying Greek Cypriot pilgrims access to the Turkish occupied church of Saint Mamas to pray.

    He said ''this of course is sad news'' and described it as a ''provocative decision,'' adding that he decided he could not continue his scheduled meeting with Nami, made a detailed statement about the reasons he could not continue and walked out.

    Iacovou noted that Zerihoun asked to see him in private. ''I answered of course I am willing, whenever he likes, to discuss the issues emanating, not only from today's discussion, but that of the day before and the many others concerning the opening of the Limnitis crossing point,'' he added. Iacovou said the meeting might take place on Saturday.

    ''Mr. Nami was there when I arrived and indeed we began a preliminary discussion but Mr. Nami, I think sensing that he had to inform me of this development, stopped and informed me,'' he said.

    Asked if Nami explained the reasons of the decision, Iacovou said he did not but expressed hope that this would not affect the direct negotiations between the leaders of the two communities, scheduled to begin on September 3.

    Asked if this was a bad omen in view of the commencement of direct negotiations, Iacovou said ''we must keep calm.''

    ''I was very calm. I made a statement about the reasons I judged the discussion could not continue,'' he said, adding that he believed he made the right move. ''When they are ready to truly discuss, then we will see what we can do,'' Iacovou pointed out.

    Asked if the opening of the Limnitis crossing point would be discussed by the leaders, Iacovou said he did not rule out that possibility and that he informed the President about the incident immediately.

    Replying to questions, Iacovou said President Christofias commended him on his decision because it is not possible to carry out negotiations in such conditions.

    Earlier this month the government of the Republic gave its permission to hundreds of Turkish Cypriots to go to Kokkina area, on the northwest. Efforts to open a crossing point in the area, near

    Limnitis, to facilitate movement to and from the island's northern Turkish occupied areas have so far failed due to demands raised by the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    For the past 45 years, Greek Cypriot residents in the area of Limnitis have to travel to Paphos, on the western coast, and Limassol, on the south, in order to reach the capital Nicosia.

    Opening a crossing point at Limnitis would make this journey far shorter. In the recent past, several crossing points to and from the island's northern Turkish occupied areas have opened to facilitate the movement of people.

    The request for easy access to the Turkish occupied church of Saint Mamas, in occupied Morphou, came as President Christofias and Talat prepare to begin full-fledged negotiations in early September. At their meeting, in late July, the two community leaders decided to instruct their representatives to take up the issue of Limnitis/Yesilirmak and other crossings.

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