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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-09-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Saturday, 13 September 2008 Issue No: 2995

CONTENTS

  • [01] Eurogroup says action needed to respond to int'l financial crisis
  • [02] Greek negotiator in FYROM name talks: Negotiation exclusively concerns the name issue
  • [03] New Nimetz ideas being evaluated, foreign ministry says
  • [04] Voulgarakis resigns, new merchant marine minister announced
  • [05] Gov't response to Papandreou criticism
  • [06] Party comments on Vatopedi monastery affair
  • [07] Balkan communist meeting in Thessaloniki
  • [08] Swedish Parliamentarians meet Ecumenical Patriarch
  • [09] Papandreou visits Thessaloniki International Fair
  • [10] Papandreou visits ANA-MPA pavilion
  • [11] Messinia prefect discusses Greek neutrino telescope bid
  • [12] Tourism minister on XL Group bankruptcy
  • [13] Building activity down 18.4 in Jan-June
  • [14] Turnover in information services up 7.2 pct in Q2
  • [15] Industrial import prices up 12.8 pct in July
  • [16] Increase in price of road tolls from Tuesday
  • [17] Greek stocks end 0.67 pct down
  • [18] ADEX closing report
  • [19] Greek bond market closing report
  • [20] Foreign Exchange rates: Saturday/Monday
  • [21] Events in memory of Asia Minor Greeks genocide
  • [22] Girl from Kos not missing child
  • [23] Antiquities smugglers caught
  • [24] Conference in Cairo on teaching of Greek language
  • [25] Heroin and cannabis trafficking ring dismantled
  • [26] Bank manager arrested for embezzling 1.2 million
  • [27] More illegal migrant arrests in E. Aegean
  • [28] Con'f on cultural heritage natural disasters
  • [29] Explosion at DEH power station in Perama
  • [30] Two arrested for arson
  • [31] WWII mortar shell found on beach
  • [32] HOC president Kyriakou testifies in doping investigation
  • [33] Fair on Saturday
  • [34] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [35] Government to refrain from statements on Cyprus talks
  • [36] FM: Turkish Cypriot leader should not have violated the agreement
  • [37] House President hopes for positive outcome in the direct talks Politics

  • [01] Eurogroup says action needed to respond to int'l financial crisis

    EU finance ministers on Friday agreed that the impact of an international financial crisis, which started almost a year ago, on Eurozone's economies was larger than originally estimated, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis told reporters, after a Eurogroup informal meeting in Nice.

    "It is clear that there are consequences both from an international credit crisis and an international inflation on all Eurozone countries, while there is also the impact on economic growth rates and on real economies of many Eurozone states," Alogoskoufis said, adding that economic growth had turned negative in large European economies in the second quarter of 2008.

    The Greek minister, in his intervention, underlined the need to ensure that all rules covering inflation must and will be implemented, along with all provisions included in a stability and growth plan to promoting reforms in the framework of the Lisbon strategy.

    Alogoskoufis said a fight against inflation was the responsibility of European Central Bank, which must continue to focus towards actions to reducing the inflation rate. He stressed that every Eurozone country, depending on its fiscal condition, growth rates, should take its own initiatives.

    "In Greece, our initiatives are included in the 2009 budget, with measures to support growth and lower incomes. Every country must take its own initiatives to restore confidence among European citizens that there is an adequate response to the crisis," he said.

    [02] Greek negotiator in FYROM name talks: Negotiation exclusively concerns the name issue

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    The UN-mediated negotiation in New York between Athens and Skopje concerns the FYROM name issue exclusively, and there is no issue of a 'Macedonian nationality', Greek negotiator Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis said in New York on Thursday night following a meeting with UN special envoy on the name issue, Matthew Nimetz.

    Earlier, Nimetz held a joint session with Vassilakis and the FYROM delegation comprising chief negotiator Amb. Nikola Dimitrov and Martin Proteger, after which Vassilakis said that the UN envoy "expressed his thoughts, which the government will study, and from there on we will see what will happen".

    Vassilakis told reporters that a new meeting would take place "at some time", adding that "I have nothing new to say to you at this stage" while, at his scheduled meeting later Thursday, he said that Nimetz would present "some preliminary observations".

    To a question whether Nimetz had proposed name solutions, Vassilakis said: "It is not an issue of whether he proposes names. Of course, he proposes certain options, but it is not only the name which is on the table, and Mr. Nimetz himself told you so. I want all this to be a package. Therefore, you cannot separate the name from the rest."

    Vassilakis also met on Thursday night with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    Speaking to reporters after his bilateral meeting with Nimetz, Vassilakis stressed that "the negotiation exclusively concerns the name, and there is no 'nationality' issue".

    Replying to press questions, Vassilakis said: "My initial, personal, reaction on the new ideas presented to us this morning (Thursday morning) by Mr. Nimets was that I stressed to him that he should consider the fact that Skopje's provocative attitude is something that must be taken into serious consideration, and that to date the Greek side has maintained a stance of 'wait and see', aspiring to finding an amicable solution".

    Vassilakis said he again took the opportunity to outline Greece's fundamental positions to Nimetz, as he had during the morning joint session with the FYROM negotiators.

    "I believe that he, (Nimetz) comprehended what I told him at the personal level (bilateral meeting). I have already verbally briefed our foreign minister (Dora Bakoyannis). We will examine the matter of the full text, and from there on we will see what will happen," Ambassador Vassilakis added.

    Stressing again that the negotiation exclusively concerns the name issue, and that there was no issue of a "Macedonian nationality", he said that "Skopje must comprehend and accept the fact that it represents only the part belonging to it. We in no instance accept that one part represents the whole".

    "Also, we cannot have a different name for every category of activity, and that one name must apply for all uses. If we want to find a solution, they (Skopje) must stop their provocative statements so that we may develop friendly relations, as neighbors should have," Vassilakis explained.

    Nimetz also had a bilateral meeting with Dimitriv and Proteger after the joint meeting.

    [03] New Nimetz ideas being evaluated, foreign ministry says

    The Greek foreign ministry will evaluate the ideas submitted by UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz and get back to him with the necessary comments, observations and proposals in the coming days, Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Friday. He had been asked to comment on a meeting arranged by Nimetz for the negotiators of the two sides in New York the previous day.

    "Greece is participating in the negotiating process underway for the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its known positions clear: that there should be a single composite name containing a geographic determinant for all," the spokesman added.

    The Greek negotiator was moving within this framework and would strictly adhere to these positions following instructions, he added.

    "We are in one more stage of a long and difficult negotiation and there is no excuse for any sort of hurry or rush to publicly state positions," Koumoutsakos said when asked to comment on the Nimetz proposals.

    The spokesman underlined, meanwhile, that Greece's constructive but determined stance on the issue had been tested and confirmed in the clearest way possible during the NATO summit at Bucharest and later in Brussels.

    Gov't spokesman reiterates position on 'name issue'

    A government spokesman on Friday merely echoed Thursday's comments in New York by Greece's negotiator in the ongoing FYROM "name dispute" talks, namely, that Athens' position is clear and standing with regards to the only issue up for discussion in UN-mediated negotiations.

    "What the (Greek) prime minister and foreign minister have said is crystal clear: that an effort is underway to find a mutually acceptable name with a geographic determinant for all uses," alternate spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters at a regular briefing.

    [04] Voulgarakis resigns, new merchant marine minister announced

    Merchant Marine & Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis resigned on Friday amid a political furore over his use of offshore companies to ostensibly reduce his tax load from real estate holdings and related transactions. Former justice minister Anastasis Papaligouras was named as his replacement.

    In his resignation letter to the prime minister, the veteran cadre of ruling New Democracy referred to "an orchestrated effort to slander him" and said that this was also affecting the government's image -- citing this as the reason for his decision to resign.

    He also thanked PM Costas Karamanlis for entrusting him with several ministerial posts since 2004.

    "Over the recent period the ND government's credibility has become a target, in order for conditions of political destabilisation to be imposed on the country. With a torrent of lies and mud aimed to create impressions, the cold-blooded termination of my political existence is being attempted, as well as a denigration of my honor and reputation. (Main opposition) PASOK is behind this unethical and slanderous strategy, again employing its old tactics in order to serve its petty partisan interests," he charged in his letter.

    Afterwards, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the premier had accepted the resignation and thanked Voulgarakis for his "significant political work" since 2004 at the public order, culture and merchant marine ministries.

    Among others, Roussopoulos cited Voulgarakis' effective work towards reforming and privatising the country's major ports.

    In comments on the resignation and the statements made about it, PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou said they failed to meet the expectations of the public and described them as "shameful", noting that the minister resigned "without accepting his responsibilities" and that Karamanlis had accepted the resignation while fully providing full coverage for his minister's actions.

    [05] Gov't response to Papandreou criticism

    Asked to comment on a statement reportedly made by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is "turning the country back 10 years", an alternate government spokesman responded that the comments were best directed elsewhere.

    "Obviously this is an issue that Mr. Papandreou should address to Mr. (Costas) Simitis," Evangelos Antonaros said, referring to former two-time prime minister Costas Simitis, Karamanlis' predecessor in the premier's post and Papandreou's predecessor at the helm of PASOK.

    "... Because Mr. Simitis was the prime minister of this country 10 years ago, while Mr. Papandreou was a leading member of that government," the spokesman added.

    "Mr. Papandreou obviously wants to forget these things, to erase them from his memory. The Greek people, however, have not forgotten the terrible state of things 10 years ago, under the governance of Mr. Simitis and minister Papandreou," Antonaros added.

    [06] Party comments on Vatopedi monastery affair

    The government came under fire from the political parties on Friday over its delayed reactions concerning the affair involving Vatopedi Monastery real estate transactions and the involvement of government ministers.

    According to main opposition PASOK National Council secretary Yiannis Ragoussis, the government's actions only served to convince the public that a systematic effort for a cover-up of the affair was underway.

    "An effort at a cover-up where we are once again seeing the assistance of senior public prosecutors of the country," Ragoussis added.

    Regarding the resignation of merchant marine minister George Voulgarakis, meanwhile, Ragoussis noted that PASOK now considered this an issue for the prime minister.

    "He has undertaken full responsibility. He now faces the judgement of the Greek people," he said.

    According to the head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group Alekos Alavanos, meanwhile, the situation concerning the Vatopedi Monastery had "reached breaking point" and Parliament could "no longer idly stand by and watch developments...like a sad extra of political life".

    He repeated a call for a Parliamentary investigative committee to look into the Vatopedi monastery affair, adding that otherwise the prime minister "will personally take responsibility for this huge political scandal".

    Alavanos further urged PASOK leader George Papandreou to withdraw the objections to creating such an investigative committee, voiced two days before in Parliament.

    [07] Balkan communist meeting in Thessaloniki

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) announced on Friday the holding of the 9th meeting of communist and workers' parties from Balkan countries in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

    According to a KKE press release, party delegations from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will be participating in the meeting, which is being held at KKE's initiative.

    The meeting will focus on "latest developments in the Caucasus, the intensification of antagonisms between great powers and its impact on the region, NATO occupation in the Balkans and NATO's expansion, the secession of Kosovo, workers' and immgrants' struggles and the initiatives taken by communist and other anti-imperialistic forces of the region," the press release added.

    [08] Swedish Parliamentarians meet Ecumenical Patriarch

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Swedish Parliamentary representatives, members of the Cultural Relations Committee, that is comprised of various parties, visited Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Friday and were briefed on the Patriarchate's position in Turkey and on problems it is facing.

    The Swedish deputies extended their respect to the Patriarch during the meeting and underlined their interest in religious freedoms and human rights. Earlier, they held contacts with Turkish Parliamentary officials in Ankara and Izmir.

    It is reminded that Sweden will be assuming the European Union's presidency in the second half of 2009.

    Financial News

    [09] Papandreou visits Thessaloniki International Fair

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou visited the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Friday afternoon and promised that his party would invest 5 percent of the GDP in education and 7 percent in education and research.

    "Greece has three main tools to proceed with a new growth model having competitiveness and prosperity: education, research and innovation and investments. Unfortunately, the government has downgraded all three of these tools. We promise to invest 5 percent of the GDP in education and 7 percent of the GDP in education and research to enable us to proceed with this new growth model," he said.

    Papandreou met with the directorates of the TIF and of HELEXPO which briefed him on the TIF's course.

    The PASOK leader also met with staff representatives of the TIF and of HELEXPO who did not conceal their disappointment over the fact that as of January 2009, Thessalo-niki will be "losing the premises" since the operation of an exhibition centre will begin in the region of Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens.

    The employees also expressed concern over the possibility of a change in the exhibitions' ownership status.

    After being briefed by the TIF's agencies, Papandreou visited the exhibitors' pavilions and concluded his visit at the pavilion of the Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA)

    Papandreou was accompanied on his visit and in his discussions by party officials Louka Katseli, Yiannis Mangriotis, Evi Christofilopoulou, Mihalis Chrysohoidis, Haris Kastanidis, D. Dolis and Eva Kaili.

    [10] Papandreou visits ANA-MPA pavilion

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou visited the pavilion of the Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA) at the 73rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Friday and offered his congratulations "for the very good work being accomplished" by the agency.

    Papandreou was briefed by the Macedonian Press Agency's general director, Spyros Kouzinopoulos, on the ANA-MPA's news bulletin in the Internet, the first in Greece, as well as on the rest of the services provided by the national news agency.

    The PASOK leader also examined with great interest the national news agency's album titled "Plin Athinon", with images and memories of the past "coming to life" through old post cards.

    [11] Messinia prefect discusses Greek neutrino telescope bid

    Messinia Prefect Dimitris Drakos on Friday met development ministry general secretary Philippos Tsalidis to discuss preparations for a Greek proposal to build a giant underwater neutrino telescope in waters off the town of Pylos, using funds from the European Commission.

    The bid is being prepared by the Institute of Astroparticle Physics NESTOR (Neutrino Extended Submarine Telescope with Oceanographic Research) based in Pylos and forms part of the National Observatory of Athens.

    Drakos noted that the file that would be submitted to the European Commission must "include certain elements that will establish the claim in terms of approval and in comparison with the proposals put forward by our competitors, who are the Italians and the French".

    He said that these included the prerequisites relating to the infrastructure Greece provided and that his talks at the ministry had focused on issues that must be included in the proposal and concerned chiefly the buildings and other spaces available in order to facilitate the creation of necessary infrastructure and the smooth running of the whole system.

    One factor that would help significantly in this direction was the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, due to its administrative structure and the large amount of equipment it possesses, the prefect added.

    The NESTOR institute is currently striving to secure EU approval for the installation of a planned international neutrino telescope measuring one cubic kilometre in deep waters off the coast of Pylos.

    The siting of the international neutrino telescope will come up for discussion at the next EU development ministers' council. Apart from Pylos in Greece, other contenders include deep sea sites off Toulon in France and Sicily in Italy but Greek scientists claim that Pylos has major advantages over both sites in terms of its natural features.

    [12] Tourism minister on XL Group bankruptcy

    Commenting on the bankruptcy of British tour operator XL Leisure Group in the UK, Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Friday said that the Greek government would take all steps needed to limit the repercussions for Greek tourism and, if necessary, provide assistance to stranded tourists unable to return home.

    "This unpleasant news for global tourism highlights the serious international economic crisis. Tourism, precisely because it is a sensitive branch of the economy, requires alertness and constant action," he said when asked to comment on the bankruptcy filed by Britain's third-largest tour operator.

    Spiliotopoulos added that, on learning the news, he had immediately contacted the appropriate services at the Greek National Tourism Board and his own ministry, giving instructions for their cooperation in order to avoid problems in the flow of visitors to and from the U.K.

    [13] Building activity down 18.4 in Jan-June

    Building activity dropped by 18.4 pct (in permits) and by 14.3 pct in volume in the January-June 2008 period, compared with the corresponding period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service, in a monthly report, said Attica (25.3 pct), Thessaly (24 pct) and Eastern Macedonia-Thrace (23.8 pct) suffered the biggest percentage declines (in permits), while southern Aegean was the only region to record an increase (5.5 pct) in the six-month period.

    [14] Turnover in information services up 7.2 pct in Q2

    The turnover index in the telecommunications and post services sector grew by 4.2 pct in the second quarter of 2008, compared with the corresponding period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service said the turnover index in information services grew 7.2 pct, while turnover in other business activities was up 17.3 percent in the April-June period.

    [15] Industrial import prices up 12.8 pct in July

    Industrial import prices jumped 12.8 pct in July, from increases of 2.6 pct and 3.8 pct in the same months in 2007 and 2006, respectively, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the industrial import price index was up 1.3 pct in July from June.

    [16] Increase in price of road tolls from Tuesday

    The increase in the price of road tolls at Elefsina, Zevgoliato and Patras will go into effect as of dawn on Tuesday.

    The new price will be the same in the three tolls and is determined at 2.80 euros for private cars, 1.90 euros for motorbikes and seven euros for trucks.

    [17] Greek stocks end 0.67 pct down

    Greek stocks ended moderately lower in the last trading session of a negative week in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday. The composite index ended 0.67 pct down at 3,110.57 points, reversing an initial advance. Turnover was 231.1 million euros, of which 14.9 million euros were block trades. Most sectors moved lower with the Commerce (3.48 pct), Media (2.41 pct) and Industrial Products (1.97 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Technolgoy (2.88 pct0 and Chemicals (0.69 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 0.47 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.15 pct down and the FTSE 80 index fell 1.19 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 167 to 63 with another 54 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.65%

    Industrials: -1.97%

    Commercial: -3.48%

    Construction: -0.25%

    Media: -2.41%

    Oil & Gas: -1.93%

    Personal & Household: -1.68%

    Raw Materials: -1.80%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.16%

    Technology: +2.88%

    Telecoms: -1.35%

    Banks: -0.30%

    Food & Beverages: -0.64%

    Health: -0.63%

    Utilities: -1.78%

    Chemicals: +0.69%

    Financial Services: -0.39%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and EFG Eurobank Ergasias.

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

    Alpha Bank: 15.80

    ATEbank: 2.18

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.76

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.78

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.66

    National Bank of Greece: 30.30

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 12.76

    Intralot: 7.48

    OPAP: 22.08

    OTE: 14.62

    Piraeus Bank: 16.32

    Titan Cement Company: 25.96

    [18] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover at 128.571 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.54 percent and the September contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 1.94 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 13,101 contracts, worth 112.614 million euros, with 33,648 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was two contracts worth 36,705 euros, with 11 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,229 contracts worth 15.419 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Intracom's contracts (2,382), followed by Marfin Investment Group (439), OTE (816), National Bank (2,204), Alpha Bank (513), Marfin Popular Bank (2,003), Cyprus Bank (451) and ATEbank (1,729).

    [19] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market jumped to 3.407 billion euros on Friday, of which 1.796 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 1.621 billion were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 981 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.72 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.84 pct and the German Bund 4.12 pct.

    In money markets, interest rates moved slightly higher. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.34 pct, the six-month rate 5.25 pct, the three-month 5.18 pct and the one-month rate 4.51 pct.

    [20] Foreign Exchange rates: Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.417

    Pound sterling 0.802

    Danish kroner 7.515

    Swedish kroner 9.593

    Japanese yen 152.12

    Swiss franc 1.612

    Norwegian kroner 8.181

    Canadian dollar 1.515

    Australian dollar 1.758

    General News

    [21] Events in memory of Asia Minor Greeks genocide

    Events in memory of September 14, the national memory day of the genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor by the Turkish state will be held on Sunday and on September 22 under the auspices of the Athens Prefecture.

    Sunday's programme includes a religious service at the Athens Cathedral at 9 in the morning, a service at the monument of national martyr Chrysostomos Smyrnis at 10:30 and the laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier at 11:30.

    The events will be concluded on September 22 at 20:00 with cultural events titled "Mikrasiatika" and dances and songs that will be held at the Dora Stratou theatre at the Philopapou hill.

    On the occasion of the anniversary, Athens Prefect Yannis Sgouros said that "The genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor by the Turkish state is an indisputable historical fact. In view of the memory of the thousands of Greeks who were murdered, we have the duty not to forget. Only in this way shall we safeguard historical memory and prevent similar crimes from being perpetrated in the future."

    [22] Girl from Kos not missing child

    A DNA examination of an eight-year-old girl from the island of Kos, for which there were suspicions that she might have been little Denise Pipitone, who had gone missing in Sicily on September 1, 2004, was completed on Friday afternoon.

    According to an announcement by the police, the examination of the genetical material showed that hereditary compatibility exists between the girl and the Albanian woman accompanying her and, therefore, they are mother and daughter. Consequently, the investigations concerning the girl from Sicily are continuing.

    Following the new development in the case, the indictment for the 29-year-old woman of foreign nationality, who has been charged with seizing a minor, will change.

    [23] Antiquities smugglers caught

    Police on Friday reported dismantling a ring of four people involved in the illegal trade of antiquities, found in possession of a priceless archaeological treasure trove.

    The ring was based in Serres and caught by the Thessaloniki Security antiquities smuggling department.

    Investigators were put on the trail of the group, comprised of three men aged 56, 69 and 74 years of age, respectively, and a woman aged 57, when its members began negotiations for the sale of two Byzantine icons and a cross for the sum of 5.5 million euros.

    According to police, however, the real value of the items was considerably less than the price the ring had asked for.

    During a search of the suspects' homes, hundreds of items dating from various historical eras were found, particularly items dating from the post-Byzantine and more recent eras.

    Archaeologists that examined the antiquities said that they fell under the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage act and were extremely impressed by some of the finds.

    The suspects initially claimed that they obtained the antiquities from relatives, while one claimed to be a collector who had obtained the items legally.

    [24] Conference in Cairo on teaching of Greek language

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    The Cairo Ambetios School and the office of the Coordinator of Education in Northern Africa and the Middle East is organizing the 2nd conference for the "learning and teaching of the Greek language in Arab speaking countries", in Cairo from November 23-24.

    The 1st conference was held in November, 2006.

    According to the organizers of the 2nd conference, emphasis will be given to the communication method, learning through the internet, teleconference and the particularities of the Arab speaking environment, in which is unfolding the process of the learning of the Greek language.

    The conference is directed to post-university graduates, teachers and researchers.

    [25] Heroin and cannabis trafficking ring dismantled

    The dismantling of a drug-trafficking ring foundin possession of large amounts of cannabis and heroin was announced by the Thessaloniki Police drugs squad on Friday.

    They said that 57 kilos of cannabis and eight kilos heroin were found during the bust, carried out by two traffic police men that pulled over a suspect private vehicle being driven by a 30-year-old Albanian national with a 26-year-old Georgian national as his co-passenger.

    During a search of the car they found two bags in the back seat containing 16 parcels of heroin, weighing 8.097 kilos in total, and 48 parcels of hashish weighing 49.965 kilos in total.

    A senior police officer said the two suspects had earlier picked up the drugs from a truck just outside the Thessaloniki town planning grid. They were taking them to a 24-year-old Albanian man later arrested at Iasmos, Rodopi that is believed to be the mastermind behind the ring.

    In a further search of a car belonging to the mother of the 26-year-old Albanian, police found another seven parcels of hashish weighing 6.988 kilos.

    Thessaloniki police also reported another drug-related arrest, this time at the city's 'Macedonia' airport, saying that they had intercepted a party of six young travellers, aged between 15 and 20, arriving on a flight from Amsterdam that had 15 hallucinogenic peyote cactuses in their luggage, in addition to small quantities of cannabis seeds, cannabis and other unidentified substances.

    [26] Bank manager arrested for embezzling 1.2 million

    A 58-year-old bank manager in charge of a branch belonging to a major Greek bank on a Greek island has been arrested on charges of fraud and embezzlement, police announced.

    The arrest was made on Thursday evening in Omonia, central Athens, by officers in the Attica Security Financial Crimes squad.

    A warrant for the man's arrested had been issued by a Kos examining magistrate after the bank reported that he had carried out a series of withdrawals from inactive or long-term savings accounts using fake payment orders. The amount that he took in this way exceeded 1.2 million euros and, according to police, was spent gambling in casinos.

    [27] More illegal migrant arrests in E. Aegean

    The coast guard arrested 20 illegal migrants and two traffickers late Thursday evening in a sea region north of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, a favorite "destination" of mostly Third World nationals attempting to reach Greece and the EU from Turkey.

    Indeed, the would-be migrants disembarked from the Turkish coast aboard an inflatable dinghy, which they subsequently destroyed after being spotted by a Greek patrol boat, the normal modus operandi in similar instances.

    In a separate incident on Thursday, another vessel loaded with 33 illegal migrants was spotted near the isle of Symi island in the Dodecanese chain. The illegals told authorities that they had assembled and disembarked from the opposite Turkish coast.

    [28] Con'f on cultural heritage natural disasters

    An international conference entitled "Monuments of Cultural Heritage and Natural Disasters" will take place on Wednesday at the War Museum in downtown Athens. The conference marks the end of the project PROOHF (Protect Our Heritage from Fire), which is part of the Interreg IIIB Archimed programme, co-financed by the European Union.

    [29] Explosion at DEH power station in Perama

    An explosion through an unspecified cause occurred on Friday afternoon at a power station of the Public Power Corporation (DEH), that is located in the shipyard zone in Perama, Piraeus.

    According to the Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy ministry, a 55-year-old electrician employed by the Piraeus Port Organisation (OLP) was slightly injured, who was working near the station at the time.

    The injured worker was taken initially to the Nikea State Hospital to be treated for burns and then to the Thriasio Hospital.

    [30] Two arrested for arson

    Two 28-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of arson and are to face a Halkida Public Prosecutor, authorities announced on Friday.

    They are accused of setting fires that broke out on September 7 (in three locations), on September 8 (four locations) and September 10 (two locations) and September 11 (two locations) in the Messapia municipality on the island of Evia.

    All fires were put out quickly before they spread.

    [31] WWII mortar shell found on beach

    Bomb disposal experts on Friday neutralised a WWII-era mortar shell discovered on a beach in Crete. The shell was found in the morning by a citizen on the Chryssi Akti beach, near Hania. Beachgoers were evacuated from the area until the shell was de-activated.

    Sports

    [32] HOC president Kyriakou testifies in doping investigation

    Hellenic Olympic Committee President Minos Kyriakou on Friday testified before first-instance court public prosecutor Costas Simitzoglou regarding cases of doping involving Greek athletes Tassos Gousis and Fani Halkia, who tested positive for banned substances at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

    "I testified about all I know concerning the doping case. The new bill [against doping] will be more effective. Doping does not need penalties but education. The ministers have told me that they want clean games," Kyriakou said after leaving the prosecutor's office.

    The two athletes and their coach will also be summoned to testify to the public prosecutor as suspects in the next few days.

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Fair on Saturday

    Fair weather with westerly winds and high temperatures for this time of the year are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 37C. Fair in Athens, with light winds and temperatures ranging from 23C to 36C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 20C to 32C.

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

    Negotiations on the Cyprus and FYROM name issues in New York, the Vatopedi monastery scandal and the beginning of the new school year dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis intervenes - He backs prime minister and 'scolds' ruling party New Democracy(ND) rebels".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Karamanlis unshakable despite the difficult political situation- Polls indicate ND leading by 1.5 percent over main opposition PASOK".

    AVGHI: "Government's manoeuvres on Vatopedi case after the massive reactions".

    AVRIANI: "Karamanlis takes daring political initiatives aiming at reversal of the scandal monghering climate".

    CHORA: "Karamanlis revokes all disgraceful contracts".

    ELEFTHEROS: "ND members' outburst over the lack of governance, the easy wealth and the lack of social sensitivity".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "100 million euros gift to Vatopedi alms box - Plethora of real estate bestowal contracts revealed".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "High ranking ND members to Merchant Marine Minister George Voulgarakis: Leave to save us".

    ESTIA: "Tax evasion will not be stamped out by the government's new measures".

    ETHNOS: "Report reveals the implication of three high ranking ND members in the Vatopedi scandal".

    KATHIMERINI: "Poll with many different messages: Economic policy and Voulgarakis case rattle ND- Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou's image is frail".

    LOGOS: "FinMin George Alogoskoufis freezes Vatopedi transactions", referring to the contracts for the controversial property exchanges with the State.

    NIKI: "Balancing on a tightrope- Karamanlis the recipient of multiple in-party slaps".

    TA NEA: "They chopped down 860 hectares of forestland in Vatopedi ".

    TO VIMA: "ND falls apart - New polls indicate rapid plunge in popularity".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Present and former governments are responsible for the mess in Education".

    VRADYNI: "New school year with 600 new school buildings".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [35] Government to refrain from statements on Cyprus talks

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said Friday the government would be observing the commitment to avoid statements that may affect the climate and the process of direct negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem and thus would not be commenting on remarks by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Stephanou expressed hope that Talat would do the same, adding that ''during this period we will be very careful,'' in order to maintain ''a good climate that will help the negotiations.''

    Asked if the government agreed with remarks by the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Cyprus Alexander Downer that Thursday's talks were productive and fruitful, Stephanou said Downer was clear and ''what he said reflects the truth.''

    Replying to other questions, Stephanou said President of the Republic Demetris Christofias would be informing the leaders of political parties in separate meetings about Thursday's negotiations.

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

    President Christofias and Talat entered substantive talks on September 11, aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement.

    [36] FM: Turkish Cypriot leader should not have violated the agreement

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has said that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat should not have violated the agreement reached between him and Cypriot President Demetris Christofias regarding their commitment to refrain from statements on the ongoing Cyprus talks.

    Kyprianou said it was "wrong" on the part of the Turkish Cypriot leader to have given a TV interview about the contents of the first substantive meeting he had on Thursday with President Christofias.

    "It was a wrong move by Talat to have given that interview, shortly after the talks. It is ironic that Talat, who had recently criticised President Christofias for making too many public statements, was the first to violate the agreement", the minister said.

    Kyprianou noted that the Greek Cypriot side will not follow suit. President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat held Thursday their first substantive meeting in the context of direct talks with the aim to reunify Cyprus, divided since 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of its northern third.

    Asked whether common ground has been reached during the negotiations, the foreign minister said it was too early to jump into conclusions.

    He noted that Thursday's meeting was the first substantive discussion, and added that more time will be needed to be able to judge the positions or the intentions of the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Replying to questions, Kyprianou said that according to the procedure agreed, discussion on one aspect of the Cyprus question will be concluded even if there are points of difference.

    He was commenting on a statement by the Turkish Cypriot leader that if no agreement is reached in governance and power sharing, then the leaders will not proceed to the next issue, which is properties.

    [37] House President hopes for positive outcome in the direct talks

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Marios Garoyian, House President, has expressed hope that the current process for the solution of the Cyprus problem will have a positive outcome.

    "This is our hope and our expectation. However, the Turkish stance and policy, especially as expressed recently, does not leave us room to be optimistic," he said and wished that "things will change on the negotiations' table."

    Speaking here Friday, after the swearing in ceremony of the new President of the Supreme Court at the Presidential Palace, Garoyian noted that the Greek Cypriot side is well prepared for the negotiations. "The Greek Cypriot side is trying to achieve the best positive outcome, based on the principles of its long-standing positions", he said.

    Replying to questions, Garoyian said that Cyprus President Demetris Christofias had briefed him about Thursday's first day of the direct talks, adding that soon the president will inform the political parties and the people. "He will decide on the most effective way to inform the political parties," he noted.

    "Our objective is to help the efforts towards solution of the Cyprus issue, on the basis of principles and on the basis of our positions in order to secure, to the greatest extent, the interests of the Greek Cypriots and of the people of Cyprus as a whole", Garoyian concluded.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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