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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-09-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 16 September 2008 Issue No: 2997


  • [01] Party leaders on International Democracy Day
  • [02] PM confers with ND Sec't Zagoritis
  • [03] FM Bakoyannis at EU Foreign Ministers Council
  • [04] Bakoyannis sees little chance for name issue solution
  • [05] Gov't: Papandreou economic policy 'wishful thinking'
  • [06] PASOK reaction to gov't spokesman
  • [07] Hand-over of merchant marine ministry
  • [08] PASOK MP seeks probe into former minister's actions
  • [09] SYRIZA leader on monastery, church properties
  • [10] Former minister Skoularikis dead at 80
  • [11] FM Bakoyannis extends condolences to Russian counterpart
  • [12] President Papoulias proclaimed honorary citizen of Iraklio, Crete
  • [13] Greek FinMin dismisses reports of new heavy taxes
  • [14] PASOK spokesman on economy
  • [15] EU 'polluter pays' directive incorporated into Greek law
  • [16] Greek-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to hold event on Sept. 22
  • [17] Eurobank EFG names new head for investment, securities operations
  • [18] Credit conditions worsened in August
  • [19] Greek stocks end 3.78 pct down
  • [20] ADEX closing report
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] Foreign Exchange rates: Tuesday
  • [23] Tramline to Piraeus, extension of electric line north of Athens
  • [24] Cooler weather after unseasonably high temperatures
  • [25] Exhibition at New Acropolis Museum
  • [26] 37th Book Festival inaugurated
  • [27] Scientific conference on the Minoan Civilization Onassis Cultural Center
  • [28] Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens at the Dousiko Monastery
  • [29] Actor Stavros Paravas dies
  • [30] Tribute to John Modinos by national opera
  • [31] Former magistrate Bourboulia gets 34 months jail term
  • [32] Inauguration of first Greek school in Bucharest
  • [33] Wildfire breaks out in Afidnes
  • [34] Cloud, rain on Tuesday
  • [35] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [36] FM: Seriousness needed in direct negotiations
  • [37] Commission report says Cyprus talks will facilitate aid programme Politics

  • [01] Party leaders on International Democracy Day

    Party leaders stressed, on Monday evening, the need for further strengthening institutions against modern-day threats, during a special session held in Parliament on the occasion of International Democracy Day.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said that democracy "is an ideal which is internationally acknowledged and which is constantly being sought," while noting that "we must, and indeed on a daily basis, serve in practice the essence of democracy at all levels."

    The premier stressed that democracy's "consolidation, deepening and qualitative upgrading was and is a constant and endless pursuit, an endless and developing process" and added that "the responsibility for its development concerns all men and all women."

    Karamanlis further pointed out that "democracy cannot stand muzzling or unaccountability. It does not compromise with extremities, violence and pressures. It does not benefit from barren reaction, flattening and nihilism," while underlining that the citizens' daily problems must be addressed, solutions must be provided and the rights of those in greater need must be safeguarded.

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou said that democracy "is not in danger of tanks, but of the downgrading of institutions," adding that the new phenomena that are undermining insititutions are currently phenomena at an international level as well, with the dominant ones being the phenomena of the accumulation of great wealth by a few and strong and the accumulation of the mass media.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said that the struggle for democracy "is an inseparable element of the struggle against the power of monopolies, of imperialism at national level and in international relations," noting that "the stronger state and employer force gets at national level all the more stronger become war and force in international relations."

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group president Alekos Alavanos said on his part that democracy "means equality before the law".

    Democracy, he added, "means that the state should function beyond discriminations, without violations of individual rights, without racist mentalities."

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis focused on his part on what he called "weakness of having a balance between the three powers", that is the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas uderlined the "respon-sibility of all in reinforcing and upgrading the quality" of democratic institutions, noting also that the Parliament "is the place where politics are not anly being applied but also controlled."

    [02] PM confers with ND Sec't Zagoritis

    The ruling New Democracy party agenda and current issues were on the table in the meeting between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and ND secretary Lefteris Zagoritis on Monday.

    "The Greek people in their majority have confidence in PM Karamanlis and New Democracy, but this does not mean that we are not vigilant," Zagoritis stated.

    He also stressed that the prime minister is fully aware of the social discontent, and speaking in Thessaloniki last weekend within the framework of the International Trade Fair, he set the course for faster, more effective and decisive government work.

    Zagoritis expressed optimism that the climate will be reversed and reminded that it has been a year since the last election victory for ND.

    On the likelihood of early elections, Zagoritis pointed out that the country needs hard work and results when facing the people's problems and not early elections.

    "We work ceaselessly and the government work done in the past year is included in a 36-page-long text but the main opposition PASOK party did not care to make any comment about it," he stressed.

    [03] FM Bakoyannis at EU Foreign Ministers Council

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who represented Greece at the European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers, announced here on Monday Greece's intention to participate actively in the EU's decision to send observers to Georgia.

    Bakoyannis stressed that Greek diplomacy strongly supports the French Presidency's initiatives, noting that these initiatives have led the EU to having an extremely effective intervention in an international crisis.

    "We are absolutely aware that we are at the beginning of a very difficult path. We believe, however, that it is crucial that the European observers go to Georgia in the next month," she said, underlining the Greek side's intention to send in principle eight military cadres and two vehicles to Georgia and to place at the EU's disposal Greece's centre in Piraeus for facilitating maritime transportation.

    Bakoyannis also expressed satisfaction over the fact that the EU has succeeded so far in having a unified stance on the issue of Georgia, even if it is not possible, as she pointed out, for all the member-states to be satisfied entirely.

    Lastly, the foreign minister said that Greece, for reasons of principle, intends to support Serbia in its decision to resort to the Hague Court on the issue of Kosovo.

    "From the point of view of positions of principle, Greece cannot be opposed to one country resorting to the Hague Court," she said.

    [04] Bakoyannis sees little chance for name issue solution

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday said that she had little hope of a quick resolution to the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), given the stance expressed by the country's Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

    "The recent statements of Skopje's prime minister Nikola Gruevski do not permit particular optimism for a solution of the name issue," she said in a response to a question by a FYROM reporter shortly after the end of an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

    Bakoyannis said that Greece had received and was now considering the new proposals submitted by United Nations special envoy for the name dispute Matthew Nimetz, while it would state its positions in the next few days.

    The Greek foreign minister repeated that the negotiations underway at the UN were focused exclusively on the issue of FYROM's name and stressed that the country's leadership had to appreciate the need for greater seriousness during these negotiations if it genuinely desired a solution.

    [05] Gov't: Papandreou economic policy 'wishful thinking'

    The government on Monday sharply reacted to the weekend criticism by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, with the government spokesman charging that the "period of easy promises is long past".

    Speaking during a regular press briefing in Athens, spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos added that "repercussions from an international economic crisis and related problems are being dealt with by the government in practice, with reforms and not with wishful thinking, as Mr. Papandreou is doing."

    He also accused the PASOK leader of merely expressing vague and generalised positions on the economic front, while not realising that an international economic crisis exists.

    Specifically, in reference to Papandreou's promise of taxing offshore companies, Roussopoulos responded that the main opposition leader's statement is contradictory or is simply based on the logic of "wishful thinking".

    "PASOK president believes that he can create policy with generalised references and wishful thinking, but we're not living in past decades," the spokesman said.

    Finally, he said the voters will ultimately decide on PASOK's proposals, when queried over Papandreou's proposal for lifting the tax-free status of Church-held properties that are economically exploited.

    [06] PASOK reaction to gov't spokesman

    A main opposition PASOK party spokesman on Monday dismissed earlier criticism, by the government spokesman, over PASOK leader George Papandreou's address on Saturday and Sunday's across-the-board press conference, all held at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou took exception with government spokesman's remark that Papandreou is apparently not aware of an ongoing international economic crisis.

    "The international crisis is not the reason for the tax raid, or the reason that prices in Greece increase when they fall elsewhere, or the fact that the social state is demolished. It is (ruling) ND's fault and its specific strategic choices that lead to a reverse redistribution of wealth, taking from the many and giving to the few," Papaconstantinou said.

    Meanwhile, regarding a same-day announcement by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis regarding the "revocation" of applications signed by "PASOK ministers" for property transfers between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery, Papaconstantinou dismissed the insinuation, saying that former finance deputy minister Apostolos Fotiadis reversed a legal recommendation in 2003 "due to serious reservations over the ownership of these Vatopedi properties."

    The PASOK spokesman also said that it was today's government that opted to bypass a legal challenge over the property rights.

    [07] Hand-over of merchant marine ministry

    A hand-over ceremony at the merchant marine & island policy ministry took place on Monday morning in Piraeus, with outgoing minister George Voulgarakis handing over the post to Anastasis Papaligouras, who previously served as the justice minister.

    Voulgarakis referred to the work done by the ministry during his 12-month term in office, and commenting on accusations that led to his resignation, pointed out that the main principles in his political career are "managing the taxpayers' money with a sense of respect and being productive when serving in government offices he was entrusted with."

    The new minister in turn described his predecessor's term in office as successful, and underlined the groundbreaking reforms -- privatisations of the container and portions of commercial ports -- that got underway at the country's two major ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, pledging to continue the effort.

    Referring to the outgoing minister, Deputy Minister Panos Kammenos stated that Voulgarakis became the target of the fiercest media attack in recent years, underlining that the work done under his guidance was notable.

    [08] PASOK MP seeks probe into former minister's actions

    Main opposition PASOK MP for Aitoloakarnania Sofia Giannaka on Monday tabled a question for Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis in Parliament, asking whether he intended to immediately check the legality of actions carried out by former merchant marine minister George Voulgarakis in his transactions with banks.

    She also asked Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis whether he would check bodies and foundations that received grants and subsidies while Voulgarakis was head of the culture ministry.

    Voulgarakis resigned and was replaced at the merchant marine ministry by Anastasios Papaligouras on Monday, following revelations that he had set up offshore companies while in government in order to place his assets and reduce his tax burden by an estimated 20 percent.

    [09] SYRIZA leader on monastery, church properties

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday called for an immediate and full administrative and tax audit on the Mt. Athos monasteries, in statements to the press before a meeting of the alliance's parliamentary group.

    He further called for administrative audit and tansprarency on State properties.

    Alavanos also reiterted his proposal that a parliamentary fact-finding commission be set up to look into the Mt. Athos monastery of Vatopedi.

    He added that SYRIZA intended, within the week, to table a draft law in parliament that would abolish older laws exempting Mt. Athos from real estate taxes, and amendement of the law passed in 2004 under the PASOK government by virtue of which taxation of Church revenues was abolished, and called for abolition of a 2005 law passed under the New Democracy government under which monasteries and churches are exempt from taxes on properties that are rented out for commercial use.

    [10] Former minister Skoularikis dead at 80

    Former PASOK minister and former mayor of Ancient Olympia, Yannis Skoularikis, 80,was found dead in his car parked outside his home on Monday morning.

    Skoularikis, a career physician, was found in his car outside his home in Ancient Olympia by a neighbor, who alerted police.

    An autopsy will be performed later in the day to determine the exact cause of death.

    Papoulias offers condolences

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday offered his condolences for the death of former minister Yiannis Skoularikis, expressing his deepest sorrow to the late politician's family.

    "His struggles to establish democracy, his continual commitment to national efforts and his political morality marked his long career. A career of contributing to his country," Papoulias said.

    Parliament president sends condolences

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas on Monday sent a telegram of condolences to the family of Ioannis Skoularikis, the former minister, mayor and Parliamentary deputy found dead in his car earlier the same day.

    [11] FM Bakoyannis extends condolences to Russian counterpart

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis addressed on Monday a message of condolences to her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov over the airline tragedy that took place near the city of Perm, expressing her grief over the loss of 88 passengers.

    In her message, the foreign minister extended "profound condolences to the families of the victims and solidarity to the Russian people on behalf of the Greek people."

    [12] President Papoulias proclaimed honorary citizen of Iraklio, Crete

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was proclaimed honorary citizen of Iraklio, Crete, on Wednesday evening.

    "Crete is a place which, permit me to say this, was 'condemned' to always battle in the front line of national interests and national efforts. Giving battles to defend the triptych Freedom - Democracy - Justice," Papoulias said in his address to Iraklio Mayor Spyros Danellis, during his proclamation as honorary citizen at Iraklio Town Hall, in the presence of Deputy Defence Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis, Iraklio Prefect Vangelis Schinarakis, deputies and local officials.

    "The bravery of the Cretans is known by all and is monumental, not only for our country's history but for the whole of the world," he said.

    Financial News

    [13] Greek FinMin dismisses reports of new heavy taxes

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Monday dismissed press reports that the government was planning to impose heavy taxes and said that decisions on new taxes would be taken by a National Tax-evasion Council. "Our aim is to have a few, clear and fair taxes," the Greek minister said.

    Speaking to reporters, Alogoskoufis said government's plans to impose new taxes on living standards indicators were not focusing on low and medium incomes but on cases where wealth was concentrating without similar incomes.

    Alogoskoufis strongly criticized PASOK party leader, George Papandreou, for his economic measures announced during the Thessaloniki International Fair, saying he did not realize that an international financial crisis was in full swing testing the limits of global economy.

    The Greek minister, responding to questions over any new inspections by Eurostat over the country's fiscal deficit, said that even if there were revisions for 2007 these would be limited and would not result to any permanent or sustainable jump above the 3.0 pct of GDP limit envisaged by the EU Stability and Growth pact.

    He reiterated that the Greek government was adhering to a policy agreed in the EU for zero fiscal deficits by 2010, although he said that were was a pan-European scepticism over achieving this goal under the current economic circumstances.

    Alogoskoufis said that an ECOFIN council in Nice last weekend agreed that a financial crisis has not ended and that there were serious consequences for the European economy. The ministers also agreed on the need for a coordinated response to the international crisis, while they reiterated the independence of European Central Bank and supported its goal of anti-inflationary policy.

    Commenting on the Greek economy, Alogoskoufis said it resisted better than other European economies to the international crisis.

    [14] PASOK spokesman on economy

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou criticised the government's economic policy on Monday, in response to an interview by Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis on the outcome of the Ecofin Council.

    "It is the New Democracy party government, with Mr. Alogoskoufis as Economy minister, which exceeded the 3 percent deficit and placed the country under supervision, once for political reasons and now we are in danger of being placed (under supervision) for a second time for reasons of management incompetence," the spokesman said.

    Papaconstantinou said that while the major targets during PASOK's governance had been the country's accession to the EMU, the Olympic Games and the major projects, now "the national target is to avoid supervision" and raised the question "how can it be with an economy having a 2.5-3 percent growth rate the Economy minister is unable to close a budget."

    The spokesman further said that "money exists, it is a question of political options where will you take from and where will you give. In 1993 PASOK placed the economy in a right development circle, putting the country in the EMU, organising the Olympic Games, increasing public infrastructures and providing money for the social state. The PASOK government will do it again."

    [15] EU 'polluter pays' directive incorporated into Greek law

    Environment Minister George Souflias on Monday announced that a European Union directive for environmental liability will be incorporated into national legislation through a draft presidential decree now being prepared.

    "This is the 35th directive for the environment incorporated into our national legislation in the past four and a half years," Souflias added, stressing the "huge and painstaking body of legislative work" carried out by the ministry to harmonise Greek environmental laws with those of the EU.

    According to the minister, the country had now covered all lost ground and had no more outstanding obligations.

    "With directive 2004/35/EC for environmental liability that we are incorporating, we are fully organising our legislative framework for applying the 'polluter pays' principle, specifying procedures and measures both to enhance prevention and restore environmental damage," the minister said.

    Souflias clarified that environmental damage included direct or indirect damage to water resources, protected species, habitats and direct or indirection pollution of the soil, considered a serious threat for human health.

    Responsible for applying the directive are the environment ministry and regional authorities, while a Coordinating Bureau for Dealing with Environmental Damage will be set up at the environment ministry to help carry out the measures, assisted by a special advisory committee.

    Under the law, the ministry and regional authorities have powers to oblige any body that is a potential polluter to take precautionary measures against threatened environmental damage and to require such bodies to carry out necessary restitution measures when damage occurs.

    The ministry and regional authorities also have the power to take preventative and restorative action themselves and then bill those same bodies for the costs incurred.

    [16] Greek-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to hold event on Sept. 22

    The president of the biggest and best known international Fair of China, that of the Canton International Fair (DEK), will be welcomed by the Greek-Chinese Chamber of Commerce as official associate of DEK for Greece.

    At a special event which the Greek-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is organizing on September 18 at a central Athens hotel, DEK President Wang Junwen and the administrative cadres of the organizing company who will be accompanying him during his visit to Greece, will brief entrepreneurs and representatives of agencies on the new form of the Canton International Fair as well as other exhibitions which the China Foreign Trade Centre is organizing.

    [17] Eurobank EFG names new head for investment, securities operations

    Eurobank EFG on Monday said Constantinos Mitropoulos was appointed president of Eurobank EFG Telesis Finance and vice-president of EFG Eurobank Securities, from September 22, with a responsibility of covering the Investment Banking, Securities Operations and Private Finance sectors in Eurobank EFG Group.

    A bank statement said Costantinos Mitropoulos will be responsible for strategic planning and operations with the aim of further strenthening the Group's positions in capital markets, offering integrated services and products to international institutional, corporate and private, customers and enhancing the Group's presence in the wider Central and Southeastern Europe.

    [18] Credit conditions worsened in August

    Credit conditions worsened in August, with the value of bounced cheques jumping 59.33 percent, compared with the same month last year, official figures showed on Monday.

    A monthly report by Teresias, showed that bounced cheques fell 7.10 pct in August from July, to 97.7 million euros, while unpaid bills grew by 16.87 percent in August, compared with August 2007, to 13.6 million euros.

    [19] Greek stocks end 3.78 pct down

    Greek stocks plunged on Monday, following a crash in international markets after the news that Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. The composite index of the market dropped 3.78 pct, off the day's lows, to end at 2,993.05 points, with turnover rising to 370.5 million euros, of which 124.9 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved lower, with the Telecommunications (6.43 pct), Industrial Products (5.60 pct), Utilities (5.18 pct), Banks (4.93 pct), Technology (4.72 pct) and Raw Materials (4.64 pct) suffering losses. The FTSE 20 index ended 4.34 percent down, the FTSE 40 index fell 3.03 pct and the FTSE 80 index dropped 3.77 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 237 to 23 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -3.67%

    Industrials: -5.60%

    Commercial: -3.36%

    Construction: -4.60%

    Media: -2.42%

    Oil & Gas: -4.06%

    Personal & Household: -4.48%

    Raw Materials: -4.64%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.92%

    Technology: -4.72%

    Telecoms: -6.43%

    Banks: -4.93%

    Food & Beverages: -0.42%

    Health: -0.93%

    Utilities: -5.18%

    Chemicals: -2.35%

    Financial Services: -1.37%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and Piraeus Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 14.62

    ATEbank: 2.14

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.76

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.80

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.30

    National Bank of Greece: 29.00

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 12.28

    Intralot: 6.82

    OPAP: 22.20

    OTE: 13.68

    Piraeus Bank: 15.70

    Titan Cement Company: 24.66

    [20] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 193.550 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.31 percent and the September contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 1.93 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 19,588 contracts worth 160.221 million euros, with 33,692 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was six contracts worth 106,823 euros with 10 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 30,237 contracts worth 31.462 million euros, with investment interest focusing on MIG's contracts (4,888), followed by Eurobank (975), OTE (1,673), OPAP (1,965), National Bank (3,467), Alpha Bank (1,396), Intracom (1,872), Marfin Popular Bank (2,959), Intralot (1,067) and Hellenic Postbank (1,314).

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 546 million euros on Monday, of which 155 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 391 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 85 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds jumped to 0.81 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.83 pct and the German Bund 4.02 pct.

    In money markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.34 pct, the six-month rate 5.16 pct, the three-month rate 4.96 pct and the one-month rate 4.52 pct.

    [22] Foreign Exchange rates: Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.426

    Pound sterling 0.800

    Danish kroner 7.517

    Swedish kroner 9.628

    Japanese yen 151.07

    Swiss franc 1.603

    Norwegian kroner 8.248

    Canadian dollar 1.526

    Australian dollar 1.768

    General News

    [23] Tramline to Piraeus, extension of electric line north of Athens

    A short review of the measures taken by the transport ministry for "Green Transport" to reduce air pollution was conducted on Monday by Transport and Communications Minister Costas Hatzidakis.

    The report was conducted for European Mobility Week, which will run from Tuesday until Sept. 22, and involves 1,442 cities within the European Union. This year the theme is "Clean Air for All: A Dream or a Possible Reality?"

    The presentation by Hatzidakis focused on the extension of a tramline to Piraeus, expected to be completed in 2010 and the extension of the electric train line (ISAP) to Aghios Stefanos, north of Athens, with a completion date in 2013.

    Hatzidakis also referred to an increase in the early morning operation of the Athens metro and ISAP lines every Friday and Saturday.

    He also signed an interministerial proposal to supply 320 new buses with anti-pollution technology, as well as 200 natural gas buses with zero emissions.

    If the proposal is met, Greece will have the largest natural gas bus fleet in Europe.

    [24] Cooler weather after unseasonably high temperatures

    Cooler temperatures and storms, mostly in western and northern Greece, are forecast for the rest of the week beginning on Tuesday, while there is an increased likelihood of local showers in the central parts of the country after an extended period of high levels of humidity and unseasonably high temperatures across Greece.

    Strong storms are expected in western Greece and in western and central Macedonia in northern Greece, according to the National Meteorological Service (EMY).

    In the rest of the mainland and the Aegean Sea weather phenomena will be milder and with a tendency to ease off later in the evening.

    [25] Exhibition at New Acropolis Museum

    The Culture ministry will be organising the "Nostoi" exhibition at the New Acropolis Museum in the framework of the Italian President's visit to Athens.

    The exhibition includes the "Nostoi Capolavori Ritrovati" exhibition which was organised by the Presidency of the Italian Republic and was initially presented in Rome (Palazzo del Quirinale, December 2, 2007-March 30, 2008) and then at the Palazzo Poli a Fontana di Trevi and focused on 74 repatriated antiquities from various Museums in the United States.

    The exhibition will provide the public with the first taste of the joint effort between Italy and Greece on cracking down on the illegal trafficking of their cultural goods.

    The exhibition will be accompanied by a detailed scientific catalogue in both the Greek and English language.

    The inauguration will be taking place on Wednesday, September 24, at 10:30 a.m.

    [26] 37th Book Festival inaugurated

    The 37th Book Festival was inaugurated at Areopagitou Street, under the Acropolis, on Monday evening.

    228 pavilions and 300 publishers with a total of 50,000 books are hosted in the book exhibition.

    The Festival this year is dedicated to inter-culture and authors from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Norway, Poland and Finland were invited to participate.

    Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros inaugurated the Festival, while greetings were also delivered by main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) deputy Maria Damanaki and UNICEF president Lambros Kanellopoulos.

    [27] Scientific conference on the Minoan Civilization Onassis Cultural Center

    Distinguished scientists from the United States and Greece attended the Minoan World: Exploring the Land of the Labyrinth conference held at the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation "Onassis Cultural Center" in New York.

    The conference was held on the occasion of the exhibition "From the Land of Labyrinth: Minoan Crete 3000-1100 BC" that ended last weekend.

    [28] Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens at the Dousiko Monastery

    Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece visited the Holy Monastery of Dousiko in Trikala, central Greece, on Sunday on the occasion of the feast of St Vissarion, patron said of the Metropolis of Trikkis and Stagon and founder of the monastery.

    The historical monastery of Dousiko, with a considerable religious, social and national contribution, is known for its library and the St Vissarion holy relics kept there.

    [29] Actor Stavros Paravas dies

    Stavros Paravas, one of the most popular film actors in Greece, died Monday from heart failure.

    He was born in 1937 and his first appearance on the screen was in 1960 in the film "Christina".

    In the beginning of his career, he played mostly supporting roles in comedies but later on his repertoire changed and included performances in ancient Greek tragedies in the theatre of Epidaurus and collaborations with the National Theatre of Greece.

    [30] Tribute to John Modinos by national opera

    A tribute to the 50-year career of opera singer John Modinos will take place at the Olympia Theatre in Athens on Monday evening, organised by the National Opera. It includes the presentation of a biography on Modinos and a concert of popular arias performed by Tzeni Drivala, Philippos Modinos and Roxanne Cetali.

    An award-winning baritone with an illustrious international career as an opera singer, Modinos was also the first opera singer to become artistic director of the Greek national opera.

    [31] Former magistrate Bourboulia gets 34 months jail term

    An Athens court sentenced former magistrate Konstanina Bourboulia to 34 months imprisonment on Monday, after finding her guilty of violation of duty and a coverup of a reason for exemption.

    The charges concern the 2000-2002 period when Bourboulia had handled the case of the Stock Exchange as an investigating magistrate, as well as the fact that she did not report, as she was obliged to do, that she had an emotional relationship with a defendant's defence attorney.

    Bourboulia, who had initially been sentenced to three years and 10 months imprisonment, was acquitted of the charge of receiving gifts.

    [32] Inauguration of first Greek school in Bucharest


    Greek Ambassador to Romania George Poukamisas inaugurated on Monday the first Greek school in the Romanian capital.

    The name of the new school is "Athina".

    A kindergarten and three first classes of this primary school will operate and each year a new class will be added.

    It is a public school.

    [33] Wildfire breaks out in Afidnes

    A wild fire burning through pines and low vegetation was reported in the north Attica region of Afidnes on Monday afternoon.

    The fire broke out at around 16:00 in a gorge and was not threatening any inhabited areas.

    A force of 45 firemen, 15 fir engines, four fire-fighting planes and two helicopters was deployed to put out the fire.

    Weather Forecast

    [34] Cloud, rain on Tuesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather with southwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 15C and 30C. Cloudy in Athens, with light 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 30C. Cloud and possible rain in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 26C.

    [35] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou's press conference at th eThessaloniki International Fair (TIF), the Vatopedi monastery scandal and Merchant Marine Minister George Voulgarakis' resignation last Friday dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Yakety yak and vaguaries at George Papandeou's press conference".

    APOGEVMATINI: "PASOK members numb - They awaited opinion poll results indicating PASOK's lead and Papandreou's triumphant speech, but they left the press conference clouded by their leader's vague presence".

    AVRIANI: "George a tragedy at TIF - In two hours he lost whatever PASOK had gained through the scandal-mongering that has rattled the government".

    CHORA: "Vatopedi Abbott, Father Afraim, is a landmine for the governent and the political scene - Find a way to return the state's wealth immediately".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Papandreou promised lovely pro-working class measures without explaining how they will be implemented".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "800,000 euros coup de grace - New fine to be imposed by European Commission for the bad management in national aircarrier Olympic Airways between 2005-2007".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Papandreou introduced a new image - He attempts to link PASOK with society".

    ESTIA: "Ruling party New Democracy commits suicide - Irrational political mistakes".

    ETHNOS: "Papandreou called for immediate purification and early elections in order to exit from the political - financial crisis".

    TA NEA: "Papandreou sends message of reversals, including FinMin George Alogoskoufis' tax measures - George presents a social profile in Thessaloniki".

    VRADYNI: "Turnabout to the Left - Papandreou's speech had a clear Center-Left stamp".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [36] FM: Seriousness needed in direct negotiations


    Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has said that the Greek Cypriot side has to show seriousness in the process of direct negotiations for a settlement of the Cyprus question and expressed hope that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will follow suit.

    Kyprianou said that the Greek Cypriot side will speak at the negotiating table and will resist temptation to comment in public, by responding to Talat's remarks.

    Speaking before departure for Brussels Monday to attend the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), Kyprianou was asked to comment on public statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader, according to which Brussels view positively derogations regarding the acquis communautaire, in the context of a Cyprus solution.

    "I don't think that Talat has the authority to speak on behalf of the EU. If there is any development, Brussels themselves will announce it," Kyprianou said, and added that "I don't think that it is a good tactic to comment on whatever Talat says."

    Responding to another question, Kyprianou said that "if the Turkish Cypriot side wants to leak certain things selectively, we must not fall into the trap" of doing the same.

    "We must show seriousness. We will say what we have to say at the negotiating table," he stressed.

    Kyprianou said that the President of the Republic has already started to brief the leaderships of political parties on the direct negotiations.

    [37] Commission report says Cyprus talks will facilitate aid programme


    The decision of the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to enter full-fledged negotiations for a Cyprus settlement will create a positive framework for facilitating the implementation and the success of the EU aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, a European Commission report says.

    In the Second Annual Report 2007 on the implementation of Community assistance under Council Regulation (EC) No 389/2006 of 27 February 2006 establishing an instrument of financial support for encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community, covering the period from 1 March until 31 December 2007, the Commission says that, out of the overall allocation of 259 million euros, 240.15 million euros was allocated to the operational part of the aid programme.

    Key activities included developing and restructuring infrastructure, promoting social and economic development, fostering reconciliation, confidence building measures and support to civil society, bringing the Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU, and preparing the Turkish Cypriot community to introduce and implement the acquis communautaire.

    The report's conclusions regarding reaching a cruising speed in implementation note that ''preparatory measures in terms of preparing tender documents, as well as calls for proposal for grant schemes and works and service contracts were launched.''

    ''All direct agreements non entailing calls for proposals as mentioned in the Commission decisions were signed with UNDP and the Council of Europe with the exception of the History Teaching project, where the Council of Europe did not countersign,'' it says.

    Furthermore, it notes on consolidating the implementation mechanisms by recruiting additional staff and putting in place the required implementation procedures that ''due to the programme's specific nature and the context in which the Commission is operating, this has entailed tailor-made arrangements.''

    ''Implementation is and remains difficult because of the unique context within which the Commission is operating. Some of the challenges identified in the first annual report were encountered also during the course of 2007 and remain valid for the remainder of the implementation period,'' it says.

    Problems identified are the ''tight contracting deadlines and squeezing of the programme duration,'' as well as the property issue, in which the Commission notes that ''the considerable time required by the government of the Republic of Cyprus to provide information on private owners' names and the need to obtain consent has to be factored into an already very tight implementation schedule.''

    Other problems identified are the low absorption capacity by the beneficiary community and the ability of the two communities to cooperate successfully.

    ''The decision taken by the two leaders to start their full-fledged negotiations on 3 September 2008, under the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General, will create a positive framework for facilitating the implementation and the success of this aid programme,'' it concludes.

    The report has been communicated by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council.

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

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