|Friday, 20 July 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-09-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 25 September 2008 Issue No: 3005
 PM confers with interior minister on progress in administrative reform, EU Immigration/Asylum PactPrime minister Costas Karamanlis met on Wednesday with interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, to discuss progress in the ongoing administrative reform, and to confer ahead of Thursday's EU Justice and Home Affairs Council (of justice and interior ministers) meeting at which decisions will be taken on a European Pact on Immigration and Asylum,. They also discussed the latest report by the NGO 'Transparency International'.
Regarding administrative reform, Pavlopoulos told reporters after the meeting that the the next round of deliberations would take place after the assembly of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), adding that the government was proceeding in cooperation with KEDKE<=, while matters concerning the local governments' finances were being discussed with the economy ministry.
Particularly regarding the role of FRONTEX (the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the EU), which was of great importance to Greece as the country was facing a large wave of illegal immigration, Pavlopoulos said that Thursday's decision would be decisive for many matters for Greece, whose contribution to the final stipulation of the text has been significant.
On the Transparency International report on corruption in 2008, Pavlopoulos said that, regarding Greece, problems exist, as did matters of mismanagement and corruption, but added that the fact that Greece was making progress could not be disputed, based on the report, which was released on Tuesday, contrary to the situation before 2004.
Pavlopoulos said it sufficed to compare Greece's rating in the report in 2003 with the rating in 2008 to realize that progress was being made. Greece, he added, was proceeding in the direction of transparency, which was acknowledged by everyone, and added that the government would continue and complete the effort.
 FM: FYROM talks to continue; Nimetz: UN mandate covers only name solutionNEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panayiotou)
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis emphasised here on Wednesday that Athens will continue negotiations on the thorny FYROM "name issue" under the UN auspices, following her scheduled meeting with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.
In his comments after the roughly 10-minute meeting, Nimetz again underlined that his mandate involves only a solution for the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the provisional name under which the landlocked former Yugoslav republic is still recognised by the United Nations.
Moreover, the veteran US diplomat also told waiting reporters outside Greece's permanent UN mission in Manhattan that the United Nations does not deal in issues dealing with "national identities".
Furthermore, Nimetz referred to a sincere "political volition" on the part of the Greek government for a mutually acceptable solution to the "name issue", whereas he responded to a press question by acknowledging that there are "different views" within FYROM.
In her statements, Bakoyannis said negotiations will continue on the substance of the issue with each country's negotiators next week or the week after that, as a date has not be finalised as yet.
"The Greek side again had the opportunity to clearly state its productive stance to the mediator, as well as its volition to find a mutually acceptable solution to Skopje name issue. I also had the opportunity to again fully and clearly detail Greece's positions to Mr. Nimetz."
Finally, Bakoyannis, who arrived here for a marathon round of meetings with high-ranking foreign dignitaries and diplomats on the sidelines of the 63rd UN General Assembly, again stressed that Athens desires a solution "without winners and losers".
 Nimetz statementsNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz, speaking after his meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wednesday on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name, said that he heard "a few comments" on the ideas that he had presented to the negotiators and stressed that "there is greater understanding for each position."
Nimetz pointed out that "we do not deal with national identities or with historical identities. We are dealing with the name of the country and in a negotiation we do not deal with the national or with other personal identities of peples."
The envoy further said that "there are still some issues that are important and there has been no solution for them. We shall work on them. One thing for which I was impressed was the determination of the Greek government to struggle to solve the issue in a possible time framework. Of course, nothing can be solved if both sides do not find an agreement that will cover both, but the feeling that I am receiving today from the Greek side is that the Greek government is ready to do something that will give a solution and which will be satisfactory."
Asked whether there is "suitable ground for progress," Nimetz said that "I think that there is serious consideration in both governments over the ideas that I have presented on their ideas and I think that we are at a very important stage in the talks. I am not disappointed."
Asked further whether he is cooperating with other governments as well over the issue, he said "I am speaking with other governments of UN member-states. I have spoken with the government of the United States. I do not share my ideas with them. I never give anybody the ideas that I present to the two sides. A number of countries and the government of the United States are very interested in this issue and I think that it is very important for the governments in Europe, the United States and elsewhere as well."
Lastly, as regards the next step, he said "I am in contact with the interlocutors."
 Greek FM Bakoyannis meets Cypriot President Christofias in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias in New York on Tuesday evening.
"Greece is not indifferent and is at our side," Christofias said after the meeting.
On her part, Bakoyannis said "the Cyprus problem is our first national issue."
"As you know, the cooperation between Greece and Cyprus is continuous. Our coordination is necessary. We are both in New York where our meetings must have a common and coordinated message in order for us to be more effective," Bakoyannis said.
 FM Bakoyannis meets with Archbishop DemetriosNEW YORK-(ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)
Issues concerning the Greek-American community were discussed in the meeting in New York on Tuesday evening between Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Archbishop Demetrios of America.
Bakoyannis, who is in New York for the 63rd UN General Assembly, referred to the work done by the Archbishop as "extremely important", pointing out that he expresses the Greek-American community in the best way.
The foreign minister thanked the Archbishop and the Greek-American community for their multifaceted contribution in keeping Hellenism alive and strong.
On his part, Archbishop Demetrios thanked the foreign minister for her visit stressing that she is a powerful and knowledgeable politician.
Also present at the meeting, which took place in the building of the Archdiocese in Manhattan, was Greek Consul General in New York Agi Balta.
 SI President Papandreou begins New York visitNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)
Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou is currently in New York to chair a SI Presidium meeting, which convenes at the seat of the United Nations, on the sidelines of the sessions of the 63rd UN General Assembly.
The members of the Presidium, 40 heads of state and governments and leaders of socialist, social-democratic and labor parties from all over the world, among them the presidents of Serbia, the Palestinian Authority, Pakistan, Iraq, Chile, the Chancellor of Austria and the prime minister of Bulgaria, will discuss the course of the Targets of the Millennium, which has been set by the UN, the world economic crisis, developments in the Caucasus, the Middle East and Bolivia.
Papandreou is also expected to have bilateral meetings with many members of the Presidium.
During his stay in the United States, Papandreou will meet with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, with whom he will have a working luncheon on Friday.
The Socialist International president will also take part at a Conference organized from 23-26 September by the Foundation of former U.S. president Bill Clinton, "World Initiative", on the theme of energy, climatic change, poverty and education in developing countries.
Furthermore, he will meet Archbishop of America Demetrios on Friday.
 Deputy FM Doukas meets with Italian counterpartDeputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas met here on Wednesday with his Italian counterpart Alfredo Mantica, who accompanying Italian President Giorgio Napolitano during his official visit to Greece.
Talks between the two ministers focused, according to a foreign ministry press release, on bilateral issues and cooperation in the energy sector, in particular.
They also discussed issues pertaining to the European Union's energy policy, in general, including aspects related to Kyodo Protocol commitments undertaken by the Union.
 Gov't on sentence against KefaloyannisGovernment spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Wednesday, speaking during his regular press briefing, responded to questions over a conviction handed down by a court against prime ministerial adviser and MP Yiannis Kefaloyannis.
Asked whether the government condemns the court verdict of a 12-month suspended sentence, Roussopoulos merely reiterated that "the government does not comment on judicial decisions."
 ND intersecretarial coordinating bodyRuling New Democracy (ND) party Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, speaking before Wednesday's meeting of the party's intersecretarial coordinating body, termed Friday's Central Committee meeting very important.
"We are aiming at the regrouping of forces at all levels with the purpose of working with greater determination and more effectively on the problems of citizens," he said.
Asked whether different positions can be expected, Zagoritis said that the cadres always express their views freely at the Central Committee and at the other bodies.
 PASOK sees 'complete impasse' due to government crisisThe political crisis and scandals that were rocking the ranks of ruling New Democracy and its government were leading the country to a total impasse, main opposition PASOK's National Council Secretary Yiannis Ragoussis stressed on Wednesday. He also left open the possibility of collaboration between PASOK and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).
"This situation cannot continue. The country is not being governed and the Greek people cannot continue to pay for the policies and dead-ends of this government. [Prime Minister Costas] Karamanlis can have as many reshuffles as he likes. But he cannot change the opinion that Greek citizens have for his government any more," Ragoussis stressed when asked if the government was going into a "counter-attack".
Regarding the possibility of forming an alliance with SYRIZA in the next elections after a proposal by its leader Alekos Alavanos for joint action, Ragoussis said that this was an issue that would arise time and again because there would be developments.
"Without a trace of arrogance or conceit, with respect for the progressive forces of the rest of the opposition, we deeply believe that PASOK's goal, the fully attainable goal of a majority victory for the Movement in the next national elections, is absolutely compatible with the goal of cooperation and joint action so that the country emerges from the impasse as soon as possible and hope returns to Greece's citizens as soon as possible," he said.
Questioned about a possible closer association between ND and the far-right Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, the PASOK official said this was not PASOK's concern.
"Our concern is the fact that the country is at a complete impasse. Greek citizens are outraged with a situation that cannot continue any longer," he underlined.
He also hinted at additional evidence soon to emerge that the scandal surrounding the land deals carried out by the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos also involved top government echelons and were a political problem.
 PASOK spokesman on current developmentsMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papa-constantinou said on Wednesday that the government "has taken a divorce from society".
"This government cannot solve the problems," he said, adding that "the country needs a change in course that cannot be done by the present government or by a reshuffled government with Costas Karamanlis."
Papaconstantinou also referred to "talk of a reshuffle", which he termed "reasonable" and added that "after so many failures the ministers of finance, development and of state should be replaced."
The spokesman further said that a "recycling of persons will not save this government and the country needs a change in course through a different policy, that will result from a different government."
 Greece signs agreement with Caribbean climate change centreNEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)
Greece has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
The MoU was signed on Tuesday night, on the eve of the UN High Level Meeting on the Millennium Goals, and concerns funding in the amount of ¬ 1 million per year over the next four years for actions aimed at adaptation to climate change. It was signed by the Foreign Ministry's Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Mr. Theodoros Skylakakis, and CCCCC Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie.
The CCCCC is based in Belmopan City, the capital of Belize, and is a regional agency that coordinates actions for confronting climate change in Caribbean Community countries.
According to the Greek foreign ministry, the coincidence of the signature of the MoU and the Millennium Goals meeting confirms Greece's firm will to deepen its cooperation with developing countries and contribute substantially to the international community's joint effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
This Memorandum provides for the funding of actions aimed at confronting the repercussions of climate change. The Caribbean is disproportionately hard hit by climate change because it consists mostly of small developing island states that are particularly vulnerable, as indicated by the recent catastrophic damage inflicted by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
 Environment Commissioner Dimas on climatic changesBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, replying to a question by the press shortly after his meeting here with Polish Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki, expressed confidence that the European Union will not back down on the commitments it has undertaken to combat climatic changes as a result of the fiscal crisis.
"We are experiencing a period of fiscal crisis. However, the crisis of climatic changes is permanent and it is threatening the planet. I hope that all the rest shall pass," Dimas said and stressed that the phenomenon of the planet's overheating must be tackled and it is not permissible that the targets should be changed because "a crisis has broken out this month or because some other one will break out in the next."
The European Commission had proposed a series of measures in January this year that will permit the European Union to decrease, by the year 2020, pollutant emissions by 20 percent compared to 1990 levels and, in parallel, renewable energy sources to amount to 20 percent of total consumption.
 Ecumenical Patriarch addresses Euro-Parliament plenary assemblyEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) addressed the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday within the framework of events marking the European Year of Inter-cultural Dialogue.
European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering welcoming the Ecumenical Patriarch, stating that "the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is based in Phanar in Istanbul, was established in the 4th century and is an important spiritual home for 300 million Orthodox Christians throughout the world," pointing out that Bartholomew was always a bright example of rapprochement and peace.
He also made a special reference to the Middle East, stressing that there is tension between the different communities and the European Parliament supports all efforts aimed at peaceful coexistence.
Pottering underlined that one of the fundamental values of the EU is the "inherent dignity of every human person", adding that in this respect religious freedom is central to human dignity characterizing the separation of church and state "as a guarantee for the freedom of action of church authorities in the administration of their own affairs and in their relationship with their flocks."
Addressing the European Parliament, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the intercultural dialogue, Europe, the issue of Turkey's EU accession, minorities and the actions undertaken by the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the protection of the environment.
He underlined the great importance of intercultural dialogue stressing that "is at the very root of what it means to be a human being, for no one culture of the human family encompasses every human person. Without such dialogue, the differences in the human family are reduced to objectifications of the "other" and lead to abuse, conflict, and persecution". He also added that "where the differences between us move us to encounter one another and where that encounter is based in dialogue, there is reciprocal understanding and appreciation - even love."
Referring to Europe he underlined that "the significance of the "European Project" cannot be underestimated. It is one of the hallmarks of the European Union that has succeeded in promoting mutual, peaceful and productive co-existence between nation states that less than seventy years ago were drenched in a bloody conflict that could have destroyed the legacy of Europe for the ages."
Making a special reference to Turkey, he said that "Europe should bring Turkey into its project and Turkey needs to foster intercultural dialogue and tolerance in order to be accepted into the European Project."
On minorities he said that "there must be respect for the rights of the minority within every majority. When and where the rights of the minority are observed, the society will for the most part be just and tolerant," adding that "societies that are built upon exclusion and repression cannot last".
Being dubbed the "Green Patriarch" for his deep interest in environmental issues, Bartholomew referred to the seven scientific symposia sponsored by the Ecumenical Patriarchate worldwide the first of which was held on the Aegean island of Patmos in 1995 saying that two more will be held at the Nile in Egypt and the Mississippi River in the United States.
Referring to Istanbul being the 2010 European Capital of Culture, he said that "we are experiencing great joy and enthusiasm as we are all preparing for its celebration as the European Capital of Culture in the year 2010," adding that "the City, which has a long history, was a crossroads for gatherings of people and served as a place of cohabitation of diverse religions and cultures."
Referring to the activities undertaken by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its contribution to peace he said: "We are prepared to partner with you in constructive dialogue In this spirit, our Patriarchate for the past twenty-five years has been cultivating and developing academic dialogues with Islam and Judaism In early November in Athens, we will have our twelfth stage dialogue with Islam."
He also added that the Patriarchate continues the theological dialogues with the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed Churches.
In October, at the invitation of the Pope, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will address the 12th General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos gives press conferenceBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos gave a press conference following his address at the European Parliament plenum on Wednesday, focusing on Turkey, Cyprus, the Halki School of Theology, problems facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarch's adherrence to dialogue between religions and cultures.
Replying to a question on what kind of a relation with the European Union would he see for Turkey and whether a previleged relation would be preferable, the Patriarch expressed his will for Turkey's accession to the EU as a "full member."
The Patriarch also expressed the wish "for negotiations to succeed fully to enable the political problem of Cyprus to be resolved which, unfortunately, has greatly harmed both the Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox minority in Istanbul."
Parliament President Hans Pettering said that from a legal point of view the island of Cyprus is an EU member-state in its entirety, despite the fact that we are aware that in essence it is only the Greek Cypriot part.
"We hope that there shall be a solution and Turkey will be obliged some day to open its ports and its airports for Cyprus. This has not yet been implemented and it remains an obstacle in relations between the EU and Turkey," he added.
As regards the problems facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Vartholomeos referred to the issue of the Borders Hostel at Prinkiponissos, for which the European Human Rights Court at Strasbourg has vindicated it unanimously.
He explained that pending issues still remain for 24 more foundations and provided that all legal action in the country will be exhausted, they will resort again to the European Human Rights Court.
Lastly, he referred to the Halki School of Theology, stressing that for Turkey, which desires to join the EU, it would be a "great advantage and honour to have the Centre of Orthodoxy on its soil."
 Pottering: Halki School a key issue in EU-Turkey relationsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - O. Tsipira)
Reopening the Theological School of Halki was a "necessary but not adequate precondition" for ensuring Turkey's accession to the European Union, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering said here on Wednesday.
The issue was raised in a question put to Pottering during a joint press conference in Brussels with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. The question was put by a Turkish journalist who referred to Turkey being "stigmatized" as a Muslim country in view of the imminent Euro-elections in 2009.
Pottering expressed surprise at the choice of word used, adding that anyone wishing to become an EU member should embrace its values and principles. He pointed out that mosques and places of worship for Muslims existed throughout the EU and stressed that shutting down a religious facility like the Theological School of Halki was "a step backwards".
"Demanding that it be reopened cannot be regarded as a stigmatization of Turkey," he stressed.
It does no credit to Turkey that it shut down the School of Halki in 1970 when it was open for decades before that, Pottering stressed, adding that Christians should be free to worship their God in Turkey just like Muslims do in the EU.
"I would have supported His Holiness on the issue of the School and the foundations even if I was not religious. It is an obvious and self-evident human right stemming from the right to property enjoyed in a free state," he commented.
The EP President concluded by suggesting that the Turkish government move faster in adopting EU principles, stressing that it would be contrary to its wish to become an EU member if it acted differently.
 Deputy Employment Minister Kalantzakou meets Archbishop of America DemetriosNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
On the occasion of her visit to New York to represent the government at an international conference which will be held on Thursday and Friday at New York University (NYU) on Ancient Messini, Deputy Employment and Social Protection Minister Sofia Kalantzakou met on Wednesday with Archbishop of America Demetrios.
She was accompanied by representatives of agencies of Messinia Prefecture.
After the meeting, Kalantzakou said that "the conference really shows the historic contribution of Ancient Messini, not only on Greek, but also on world civilization."
 Finmin comments on customs strike, credit crisisRolling strikes by Greek customs workers that had already led to fuel shortages were not justified by the facts, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis stressed on Wednesday.
"It is not possible for a group of well-paid public employees to attempt to hold the entire Greek economy and Greek society hostage because they want to manage the Special Account for the benefits that they receive themselves," he said during a briefing for Parliament correspondents.
He stressed that recent laws incorporating such special accounts into the state budget sought to ensure transparency in public finances and would in no way affect the payment of benefits established by law to civil servants.
The minister also commented on his plans to introduce presumptive taxation based on standard of living indicators, noting that certain claims appearing in the press were "figments of the writers' imagination".
"You will see, when we present these indicators, that they are absolutely reasonable. They will be linked to the cost of maintaining certain lifestyle elements and will bear no relation to the indicators of the past," Alogoskoufis underlined.
Their introduction would help prevent the "unacceptable phenomenon" of people living in luxury while declaring incomes close to the poverty line, he added.
Regarding Greece's response to the global credit crisis, he said that there would have to be some policy adjustments to help boost growth in the current uncertain climate but also to combat inflation, as well as measures to help those groups worst affected by the global upheaval.
At the same time, he stressed the need for consistency and adherence to fiscal discipline:
"If we do not show continuity, consistency and flexibility where needed, if we carry out a sudden shift in policy that is not consistent with the rules of European economic policy, then I am afraid that our country will be plunged into new adventures," he warned.
Regarding Greece's position at the informal Eurogroup and ECOFIN ministers' councils in Nice, Alogoskoufis said that he raised the issue of re-assessing the medium-term goal of achieving zero deficits by 2010, as decided in Berlin.
"We took this decision when conditions in the European economy seemed good. I raised the issue of re-assessing this limit - and had a positive response from some colleagues - in light of current facts, in conditions of a slowdown of the global economy and a possible recession of the European economy," he said, adding that no decision was taken on this issue and that it would be discussed again at the next council meetings.
 Thousands of vehicles stranded on Greek-FYROM border due to customs staff strikeThousands of trucks and cars were stranded at the Evzoni border post in Kilkis prefecture, on the Greek-FYROM frontier, due to a nationwide strike by Greek customs staff, as it entered its third day on Wednesday.
Drivers and passengers who were unaware of the strike have been stranded since Monday morning on the FYROM side of the border post, where triple lines have formed over several kilometers.
The situation was somewhat less congested on the Greek side of the border, where some 50 trucks were lined up. Tempers flared as many of the truck drivers, who are transporting perishable goods abroad, were appealing to customs staff to make an exception and clear their goods, and allow them through.
All the customs houses were not in service in Central and Western Macedonia, where shortages have already started appearing chiefly in fresh (perishable) products, while long lines have also formed outside liquid fuel stations, as imported fuels destined for the country's refineries are not being cleared through customs due to the strike.
In the port of Thessaloniki, only quantities of fuel destined for the Armed Forces, hospitals and public transport are being cleared, while the first shortages in fresh food products (mainly fish and meat) have started to make themselves felt, altough without substantially disrupting the smooth operation of the market. Also, most of the fuel stations in Thessaloniki were still open, with long lines forming for petrol.
 President Papoulias receives Bank of Greece GovernorPresident Karolos Papoulias received at the Presidential Mansion on Wednesday Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos.
In the dialogue which they had in front of the cameras and to a question on the international crisis, Provopoulos noted that this is in progress, underlining that "things are very difficult."
"The European governments are negative towards establishing a organization similar to the one the United States recently created in order to take the deficit loans from the banks," Provopoulos said. He added however that the European central banks are intervening each on their part. At the same time, he noted that the European Central Bank has forwarded capital to the market, in a period which lacks fluidity and the trust to the banking system has been shaken.
 Greek FDI inflows down 64 pct in 2007An global financial turmoil, currently underway, is expected to have a negative impact on foreign direct investmtns (FDIs), according to the World Investment Report 2008. First estimates for the current year show that total FDI flows will fall by 10 percent in 2008 to 1.6 trillion US dollars, compared with the previous year, with developing countries projected to show a relatively steady performance. UNCTAD's World Investment Prospects Survey for 2008-2010 also noted lower levels of optimism compared with the previous survey.
Foreign Direct Investments flows grew 30 pct in 2007 to 1.8 trillion US dollars, with inflows to developed countries totaling 1.2 trillion dollars. The US remained the biggest reception country, followed by the UK, France, Canada and Holland.
Greece recorded a decline in Foreign Direct Investment inflows last year to 1.918 billion euros, down around 64 pct form 2006, while FDI outflows rose 28 pct to 5.338 billion euros during the same period. The report, by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, also said that mergers and acquisitions in Greece totaled 6.6 billion US dollars. Greece ranks 37th in the global list based on FDI flows, while it ranks 126, in a total of 141 countries, based on inflow return terms.
 Europe unwilling to follow US model in credit crisis, Greek central banker saysEuropean governments are negative towards the prospect of following the US model in resolving the credit crisis, Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos emphasised on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President of Republic Karolos Papoulias, the Greek central banker said the international credit crisis was in full swing and underlined that things will be difficult.
"European governments are negative towards creating a similar organisation as the one in the United States, with the intent of buying non-performing loans from banks," Provopoulos said, adding that European central banks are intervening individually.
He noted that the European Central Bank has injected liquidity in the money market to restore confidence in the banking system.
 Nationwide four-day strike by judicial employees from September 29By decision of the Federation of Judicial Employees of Greece, the judicial employees will hold a four-day strike from September 29 to October 2 with institutional and economic demands.
At the same time, by decision of the Association of Athens Judicial Employees, Athens' judicial employees will abstain from their duties on Thursday for two hours (9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.)
 Piraeus Bank seeks to buy bank in RussiaPiraeus Bank is examining the purchase of several smaller banks in Russia, a bank statement read on Wednesday.
The Greek bank said it was examining the cases of smaller banks with a purchase cost of less than 100 million euros, with efficient management, ones that focus on business credit and enjoy satisfactory profitability and a strong savings deposit base.
Piraeus Bank said it will inform investors and Greek market authorities in a timely manner over any developments.
 Greek stocks end flat on WednesdayGreek stocks ended flat on Wednesday in the Athens Stock Exchange, as investors found little new incentives to change or open positions in the market. The composite index ended at 3,062.83 points, unchanged from Tuesday's closing. Turnover was an improved 330.1 million euros, of which 151.6 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved lower, with the Travel (3.34 pct), Personal/Home Products (1.48 pct), Media (1.27 pct) and Raw Materials (0.80 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Financial Services (6.75 pct), Insurance (2.31 pct), Chemicals (2.30 pct) and Technology (0.79 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index rose 0.42 pct, the FTSE 40 index eased 0.18 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.53 pct down. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 127 to 99 with another 49 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.63%
Personal & Household: -1.48%
Raw Materials: -0.80%
Travel & Leisure: -3.34%
Food & Beverages: -0.63%
Financial Services: +6.75%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Proton Bank, National Bank, Alpha Bank and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 15.00
Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.86
HBC Coca Cola: 16.56
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.86
National Bank of Greece: 30.46
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 13.00
Piraeus Bank: 15.86
Titan Cement Company: 25.26
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contracts ended near their fair prices in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover easing to 82.084 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.14 percent. Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 8,608 contracts worth 72.116 million euros, with 29,629 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,662 contracts worth 9.001 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (2,483), followed by Marfin Investment Group (1,175), PPC (306), National Bank (1,432), Intracom (274), Intralot (913) and ATEbank (245).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 885 million euros on Wednesday, of which 440 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 445 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 230 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds rose to 0.77 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.94 pct and the German Bund 4.17 pct.
In money markets, interest rates moved further up. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.46 pct, the six-month rate 5.27 pct, the three-month rate 5.06 pct and the one-month rate 4.90 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates: ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.480
Pound sterling 0.798
Danish kroner 7.519
Swedish kroner 9.720
Japanese yen 156.81
Swiss franc 1.607
Norwegian kroner 8.325
Canadian dollar 1.532
Australian dollar 1.769
 "Nostoi" exhibition opens at the new Acropolis MuseumHellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias and his visiting Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano inaugurated Wednesday the "Nostoi" Exhibition at the new Acropolis Museum in Athens and attended the placement of a Parthenon fragment on the Acropolis that was returned to Greece in the form of long-term loan.
The 0.35mx0.34m fragment (depicting part of the dress and right foot of ancient Greek goddess Artemis) was donated to Italy in 1816 by Lord Elgin and comes from Salinas Regional Museum of Archeology in Palermo, Sicily.
Speaking during the special ceremony, President Papoulias thanked his Italian counterpart for the "highly significant gesture" and expressed hope that the return of the Parthenon fragment "will signal the start of a healing process to the injury done to this monument by the removal of the Parthenon Marbles."
"Greece and Italy believe that the return of looted antiquities to their place of origin is possible, no matter how difficult," President Papoulias stressed.
The "Nostoi" Exhibition (meaning homecoming in Greek) will be open for the public for three months featuring 74 repatriated antiquities, the products of illicit excavations, kept until recently in museums in the United States.
 International award to Greek researcher for pioneering work in nanoelectronicsThis year's Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics will be awarded to Phaedon Avouris and Tony Heinz for their pioneering work on the electrical and optical properties of nanoscale carbon materials including carbon nanotubes.
The award, accompanied by a US$ 5,000 cash prize,, will be presented at the Julius Springer Forum on Applied Physics 2008 at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, on September 27. The Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics recognizes researchers who have made an outstanding and innovative contribution to the fields of applied physics. It has been awarded annually since 1998 by the Editors-in-Chief of the Springer journals Applied Physics A - Materials Science & Processing and Applied Physics B - Lasers and Optics.
Future electronics and optoelectronics will be based on carbon nanostructures. Avouris and Heinz's studies of the electronic properties of nanotubes and graphene aim at developing a future nanoelectronic technology with devices that will be vastly more compact, fast and energy efficient than the current silicon-based devices.
The optoelectronic studies aim at uniting and integrating this electronic technology with an optical technology based on the same materials. Their research will aid in the development of future high-speed electronics, communications systems, and sensors for diverse applications. Industries ranging from automobile, aviation, space and energy conversion/conservation to bionanotechnology and medicine are likely to benefit from their research.
Phaedon Avouris received his B.Sc. degree from Aristotle University in Greece and was awarded his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry at Michigan State University. He is currently an IBM Fellow and manager of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at IBM's Research Division at the Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY. He has also been an adjunct professor at Columbia University and the University of Illinois.
Tony Heinz earned his B.Sc. from Stanford University and his Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the David M. Rickey Professor in the Departments of Physics and Electrical Engineering at Columbia University, where he has been since 1995. Previous to this, he worked at IBM's Research Division at the Watson Research Center.
 Ticiano exhibition inauguratedPresident Karolos Papoulias and his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano jointly inaugurated the exhibition "From Ticiano to Pietro da Cortona" at the Museum of Cycladic Art on Wednesday afternoon and were then given a guided tour of the exhibition.
Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis said in his address that "few are aware that the Ticiano exhibition was the dream of a geat Greek woman, a visionary: Dolly Goulandris, which unfortunately she did not have time to see implemented."
He also underlined the "very fruitful cultural two days" that was had by the two sides of Greece and Italy, referring to the "Nosti" exhibition at the new Acropolis Museum.
 U.S. ambassador honors Greek scientists on IPCCThe U.S. Embassy in Athens on Wednesday announced that Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard invited leading Greek researchers to lunch at his residence on Tuesday, reinforcing the U.S. commitment to addressing global environmental issues.
Several of those present have previously been recognized for their contributions to the work of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
Among the Greek organizations represented at the lunch were the National Observatory of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, and the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage.
 International conference on Ancient Messini in New YorkAn international conference on Ancient Messini, southern Greece, gets underway at New York University (NYU) on Thursday.
The conference will be formally opened by Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Protection Sophia Kalantjakos representing the Greek government. The main speaker will be Prof. Petros Themelis.
 Blood bank not to blame for woman's HIV infectionBlood banks had been cleared of responsibility for the infection of an elderly 70-year-old woman on the island of Rhodes with the AIDS virus, the Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases said on Wednesday.
They said that follow-up checks on the blood she received and the eleven blood donors involved had found no trace of HIV at any stage of the donation or transfusion process.
Scientists refused to speculate on how the 70-year-old came to be infected but announced that the more sensitive molecular techniques for screening donated blood would start to be used in Greece from November, after a tender for necessary facilities was completed this month.
 WCCCI organises fundraising concert at Herod Atticus OdeonA concert at the Herod Atticus Odeon, beneath the Acropolis, was scheduled for Wednesday evening as part of efforts to raise funds for children living in high risk areas due to war, political instability, or economic and social hardship.
The event, organised by the World Centres of Compassion for Children International (WCCCI) and the Municipality of Athens, will be the first of five to be staged worldwide.
The proceeds will assist WCCCI in the creation of the first "City of Peace," a self-sufficient, ecologically conscious community to be built in the Basilicata region of Italy.
The land, initially designated as a nuclear waste dumping ground, will instead welcome children from war-torn areas into a peace-oriented city and provide them with housing, education and healthcare facilities.
"There will be people looking after the children who practise love and compassion," Betty Williams, founder and chairman of WCCCI and Nobel Peace Laureate, said at a press conference on Tuesday.
"We have secured 50 acres for building and one mile of Mediterranean coast," she said, adding: "there will be farms to teach the children how to grow plants and care for animals."
Williams added that Jaguar Sports will contribute recreation centres and the Albert Schweitzer Institute will provide a medical facility.
Performers Marios Frangoulis and Lara Fabian will headline the Athens concert.
 Border police officer foils ATM skimmer scamAn observant off-duty officer of the Greek border police on Wednesday helped foil a cashpoint machine scam and bring about the arrest of a suspected scammer.
The officer was about to withdraw money from a cashpoint in the centre of Ioannina, in northwestern Greece, when he noticed that a card-skimming device had been installed on the ATM. He then noticed a Romanian watching the ATM from a short distance away but the man fled when he was approached. A chase ensued and the suspect was eventually captured with the assistance of other police officers.
The Romanian was taken to Ioannina police headquarters, where he admitted to installing the card-skimmer under questioning. He was led before a public prosecutor and a search was launched to find his accomplices.
Card skimmers, disguised to look like a normal part of an ATM, can wirelessly transmit the card numbers of unsuspecting bank customers that use the ATM to carry out transactions. Their card details are then used to create clone cards that can be used to withdraw money from their bank accounts.
 Cloud, local showers on ThursdayCloudy and showery weather and northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 24C. Cloudy and showery weather in Athens, with 4 beaufort easterly winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 23C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 13C to 18C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis meeting in New York with UN mediator on the FYROM name issue Matthew Nimetz and FYROM president Cervenkovski, FinMin George Alogoskoufis commitments for economic recovery and the international banking crisis dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "According to the NGO 'Transparency International' Greece leads in corruption among the EU countries in 2008".
APOGEVMATINI: "Private high school teacher killed his wife and buried her in a park in the Athens suburb of Filothei".
AVGHI: "Privatisation in the midst of the fiscal crisis is a 'greenhouse' of scandals".
AVRIANI: "Greek banks and economy withstanding the crisis".
CHORA: "Meimarakis calls for unity in New Democracy".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Difficult week ahead for FM Dora Bakoyannis on administration of crucial national issues".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Nightmare in Europe over the contaminated milk from China - Red alert in EU countries over the imported milk".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Headlock in Maximos mansion (premier office)".
ESTIA: "The law of political deterioration is merciless".
ETHNOS: "Rendez-vous for government reshuffle".
KATHIMERINI: "Crucial meetings and decisions will be taken in New Democracy within the next 48 hours ".
LOGOS: "ND party members in search of a way out of the crisis".
NIKI: "Strife in ND, as Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis attemts to lift the party supporters' spirits".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Europarliament members' attack on Stalin indicates their fear in the face of the peoples' disappointment".
TA NEA: "Poverty rate escalates and puts Karamanlis in awkward position".
TO VIMA: "Rift in ruling New Democracy's right wing - ND's deputies meet with Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) members."
VRADYNI: "Breather for bank borrowers - Inner Cabinet gives 'thumbs up' to Alogoskoufis bill
 President Christofias assures UN of his will for a Cyprus settlementNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias assured the UN on Wednesday of his political will to do what is necessary to solve the Cyprus problem, noting that the role of the Cypriots is to agree on what they want and that he believed this could be achieved.
He pointed out that this was not enough for achieving a solution and that Turkey should contribute to the process in a positive way.
In a statement to the general debate of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, President Christofias said that ''the UN is important to the international community and it is particularly important to Cyprus,'' and welcomed the focus given this week to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and special needs for Africa.
''Cyprus is firmly committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and maintains an emphasis on Africa in its overseas development assistance projects. Our approach is to focus on a small number of countries concentrating our efforts on infrastructural development in the health and education sectors,'' he added.
President Christofias referred to the history of Cyprus, since its independence in 1960, noting that ''the Turkish invasion of 1974 was a major economic and human catastrophe.''
''But Cyprus survived. The will of the international community for Cyprus to survive is found in the plethora of Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions, regrettably most of them not implemented. But the moral support and resolute stance provided Cyprus with the sword and shield that has ensured that it has remained and will continue to remain an undivided independent country, with a single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international personality,'' he said.
The president pointed out that UN resolutions for Cyprus provide for a process of negotiations in the form of a Good Offices Mission of the Secretary General and very importantly, they define the legal political framework on which the discussions for the federal architecture of the Cyprus state will be built.
He added that ''both of these elements are crucial and our success in the new effort which is beginning now, I firmly believe, will depend on respecting these essential conditions.''
''As regards the process, Good Offices Mission of the Secretary General means negotiations in which the Cypriots themselves are the principal players. They are the owners of the process. The Cypriots themselves must build the state they envision for their society. The role of the Secretary General and of the international community is to assist and to support. Good Offices is not arbitration. It is not mediation. Recent experience has shown that any attempt to impose, even to import, non Cypriot inspired and improvised models will meet with rejection by the Cypriot people,'' he pointed out.
President Christofias said the relevant UN Security Council resolutions are also important for the new effort ''because they provide the legal political framework within which the effort must move,'' adding that ''this framework prescribes a bizonal, bicommunal federation with single international personality, single indivisible sovereignty and single citizenship.''
''The federal institutions will embody the principle of political equality as defined by relevant UN Security Council resolutions not as numerical equality but as effective participation of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in all organs of the federal state,'' he said.
He added that a bizonal, bicommunal federation has been the only mutually agreed basis dating back to 1977 and reaffirmed as recently as a few weeks ago, noting that ''it represents a compromise and indeed the only possible compromise on which a political arrangement can be built.''
Referring to the direct negotiations that began on September 3 between himself and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, under UN auspices, President Christofias said the aim is to overcome the impasses of the past and achieve progress that would lead to the reunification of Cyprus under mutually agreed terms and to the withdrawal of foreign troops after 34 years of division and foreign occupation.
He said that ''for this effort to succeed, what is needed is political will on the part of the Cypriots but also the positive engagement of other important players which for historical reasons have been part of the problem and need to become part of the solution.''
''For my part, I want to assure you from this podium that my political will to do what is necessary to solve the problem is firm and deep rooted. My origins are in the popular movement of Cyprus, which prides itself of a long history of struggles and indeed sacrifices in defence of friendship, cooperation and peaceful coexistence between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. On the other hand, I am one of those Cypriots that were deeply and directly affected by the foreign military invasion of 1974 because I myself and my family are internally displaced persons, refugees in our own country,'' he said.
President Christofias noted that ''the role of the Cypriots is to agree on what they want,'' adding that ''this we must try to achieve with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat, and I believe that we could achieve it.''
''But this is not enough for achieving a solution. Turkey should contribute to the process in a positive way. Turkey still maintains over 40,000 troops and tens of thousands of settlers in Cyprus and can, without doubt, determine the outcome of the issues under discussion. We believe that the solution should benefit everybody and will benefit everybody,'' he said.
He added that a solution ''would allow the Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to live together and work together in an independent prosperous country, within the family of the EU, without the presence of foreign armies and illegal colonists under conditions of security and respect for their identity and their rights.''
Concluding his statement, President Christofias said peace must prevail in the world and noted that ''the UN is an achievement of our fathers and a necessary tool for insuring a more stable, fair and prosperous world, and ultimately the UN is only as successful as we, the member states, allow it to be.''
 Belgium not in a hurry to see Turkey in EU, says MonfilsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Belgian Senator and Chairman of the Belgium-Cyprus Friendship Group at the Belgian Parliament Philippe Monfils said on Wednesday that his country was not in a hurry to see Turkey join the European Union, which he placed at least 13 years into the future.
Monfils expressed hope that direct talks between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus for a solution to the island's political problem are productive, noting that ''it is totally unnatural and unacceptable for Cyprus not to be able to enjoy the same recognition as the other EU member states by a country which aspires to join the EU, such as Turkey.''
The Belgian Senator was speaking through an interpreter after a meeting at the House of Representatives in Nicosia with members of the Cyprus-Belgium Friendship Group, who briefed him and the Belgian delegation on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.
Chairman of the Cyprus-Belgium Friendship Group at the House of Representatives Averof Neophytou said they discussed bilateral relations and the Cyprus problem, and ''we reiterated to a true friend of Cyprus the will of the Greek Cypriot community for a viable and functional solution, which will guarantee international law, and European principles and values.''
Neophytou said the Belgian delegation was very understanding and noted ''it is very useful to use the EU and our European partners in our effort to enlighten European public opinion and world opinion, and for the EU to act through its own interventions in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.''
Monfils noted that the Belgian Parliament recently adopted a resolution on Cyprus, making clear that any solution should be proposed by the Cypriots, ''without outside interventions, and by this I mean interventions from Turkey.''
''Belgium cannot see Turkey's immediate membership. We are talking about ten to twelve or even thirteen years and, in any case, Belgium is very careful and is in no hurry to see Turkey in the EU,'' he added.
He noted that the EU ability to absorb new members is being discussed in Europe and ''we do not want Europe to become a free trade country and if this happens we will have lost the idea of Europe, and many say, stop, we do not want any more in the EU.''
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey, which aspires to join the EU, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.
 Police believe they have captured largest hard drug gangNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The Cyprus Police believe they have captured the largest hard drug trafficking gang, according to Chief of Police Iacovos Papacostas.
Four persons, aged 30 to 64, were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday, and the Police confiscated 370 grams of heroin, in the Protaras-Ayia Napa area, on the east. The 30-year-old is believed to be the mastermind of the drug operation. All four suspects were remanded in custody for eight days by the Famagusta District Court.
Papacostas said the suspects were preparing to move to the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus to organise drug trafficking from there.
He noted that the Police have already cracked down on three other gangs, based in the Turkish occupied areas which were selling drugs in the government controlled areas of the Republic.
Papacostas said the Police were concerned that drug dealers had changed their methods and were now using elderly people to push drugs.
After a tip off, the Police stopped a vehicle in the Protaras-Ayia Napa area with a 30-year-old and a 64-year-old, both from villages of the free area of Famagusta. The 30-year-old escaped arrest, having thrown out of the car a bag containing 250 grams of heroin. The 64-year-old was arrested, having thrown precision scales out the car window.
The 30-year-old and the 35-year-old woman he was living with were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday at their home in Larnaca, where Police found 120 grams of brown powder, believed to be heroin.
The 35-year-old woman was arrested on the grounds of a previous report that she had accompanied the 30-year-old to the Turkish occupied areas to pick up a quantity of drugs. They are believed to have subsequently handed the heroin to a 59-year-old, who was also arrested, since there were reports that he transported the drugs to the government controlled areas of the Republic.
''We have strong evidence against all those involved. We hope that we will at last be able to take them to court and have them punished in an exemplary manner,'' Papacostas said, adding that unfortunately there cannot be any control over the Turkish occupied areas because the legal government of the Republic is prevented from exercising its jurisdiction in these areas by the continuous presence of the Turkish military, which occupies Cyprus' northern part.
He noted that recent cases prove that the ceasefire line is creating illegal immigration and drug trafficking problems, adding that the Police are closely watching certain areas.
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