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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 1 October 2008 Issue No: 3010


  • [01] PM's assurances on economy
  • [02] PASOK criticises government's economic policy
  • [03] PM holds talks with Employment Minister Petralia
  • [04] PM formally announces Dailakis expulsion
  • [05] Roussopoulos comments on ruling party MP's expulsion
  • [06] Ministers back decision to expel Dailakis
  • [07] Expelled MP refuses to give up seat
  • [08] PASOK: ND MP ousted to protect ministers
  • [09] Papandreou holds talks with Bank of Greece governor
  • [10] President Papoulias receives U.S. envoy
  • [11] PASOK tables draft bill for Vatopedi, Lake Vistonida
  • [12] Alavanos addresses SYRIZA Parliamentary Group
  • [13] Media strike on Wednesday
  • [14] BoE urges commercial banks to cut lending growth rates
  • [15] Greek banking system stable, HBA head says
  • [16] Third phase of social security reform
  • [17] PASOK criticises pension fund mergers
  • [18] Kontos attends agriculture ministers' meeting in Brussels
  • [19] Transport minister on Olympic Airlines employees
  • [20] Public utilities to go on strike on October 8
  • [21] PASOK on DEH share price tumble
  • [22] MIG announces 5.0 bln euros share capital increase plan
  • [23] Meeting on EU funds for the Church held in Penteli Monastery
  • [24] FinMin addresses digital communications conference
  • [25] Roussopoulos addresses SEDEA Forum
  • [26] European 'Progress 2007-2013' Programme
  • [27] Greek retail sales volume down 2.0 pct in July
  • [28] Greek stocks end 0.55 pct higher
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Greek bond market closing report
  • [31] Foreign Exchange rates: Wednesday
  • [32] Four institutions beneficial to the public rewarded for their contributions
  • [33] New scientific knowledge project e-Knownet launched
  • [34] President Papoulias an Honourary Lecturer of Dimocritio University
  • [35] Foreign woman's murder solved
  • [36] Male bear found dead in western Macedonia, northwest Greece
  • [37] Cloud, local showers on Wednesday
  • [38] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [39] Cyprus President determined to succeed in solution effort
  • [40] Recognition of a second state in Cyprus is unacceptable, says President Christofias
  • [41] PACE President endorses Cyprus President‘s efforts for a settlement Politics

  • [01] PM's assurances on economy

    Prime minister Cosas Karamanlis stressed on Tuesday that the government, in cooperation with the country's central bank, the Bank of Greece (BoG), ensured and guaranteed the stability of the Greek banking system and was protecting the interests of the Greek citizens.

    Speaking after an Inner Cabinet meeting, whoch focused on the global economic crisis, Karamanlis said that the government, with determination, was taking care so that the crisis that has hit the global banking system would be tackled with the fewest possible repercussions for the Greek economy.

    Karamanlis assured that the Greek banking system was robust, secure, and capable of withstanding the shocks of the interna-tional crisis.

    [02] PASOK criticises government's economic policy

    Main opposition PASOK on Tuesday said that measures announced by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis earlier the same day had done nothing to alleviate the impact of the crisis on ordinary voters and their income.

    "Whether Mr. Karamanlis made statements about the international crisis or did not, it makes absolutely no difference," PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou said.

    The spokesman criticised the government's economic policy as a whole and stressed that the affair involving the structured bonds bought by social insurance funds had first been exposed by the main opposition.

    [03] PM holds talks with Employment Minister Petralia

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held talks with Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia at the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday afternoon.

    Petralia informed the prime minister that everything is ready for Wednesday's unification of social security funds.

    "As of tomorrow, the country and the social security system will have a new social security map," she said adding that the administrations are in their place, as is the staff.

    The minister pointed out that the smooth transition from the present situation to the unification of funds has been secured so that there will be no problem regarding benefits for the insured and services.

    "I believe that tomorrow we will all begin to work together on a healthy basis and I believe that it is a great success for the government that planned, enacted and is implementing the greatest reform that has taken place in the country over the past years, always for the benefit of the insured," she said.

    Replying to a question that "the climate is grave for the government" and whether elections will be taking place, Petralia said that "we have a great deal of work to do in the government, the task is ahead of us and in this international conjuncture we are preoccupied with our task and our task alone."

    Responding to another question on whether the government "can open fronts with 151 deputies," Petralia said that "the government has the majority in Parliament and the Greek people trust both Karamanlis and the government."

    [04] PM formally announces Dailakis expulsion

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday addressed a letter to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas and informed him of his decision to remove ruling New Democracy (ND) deputy Stavros Dailakis (Drama electoral district) from the party's Parliamentary Group, effective immediately.

    In comments he made to reporters, Dailakis stated that no request has been made by his party to resign his parliament seat adding, however, that he will do so if he is asked.

    In statements later on Tuesday, however, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos confirmed reports that Dailakis had been asked to resign his seat in Parliament by the ND Parliamentary group secretary Yiannis Tragakis but refused.

    Dailakis insisted that responsible for the developments inside the party are those close to the prime minister, adding that he is faithful to his party and will continue to support it with all his powers.

    The development comes after the Drama area MP's statements the previous evening, calling for the resignation of government spokesman and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos and Yannis Angelou, the director of the prime minister's political office.

    [05] Roussopoulos comments on ruling party MP's expulsion

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos fended off reporters' questions about the likelihood of early elections on Tuesday by stressing that the government still has the majority in Parliament, even after the expulsion of New Democracy MP for Drama Stavros Dailakis. He also confirmed reports that the MP has refused to give up his Parliamentary seat.

    "We have a responsibility toward the Greek people to handle the major problems, such as the international crisis, in the best possible way. This responsibility arises from the popular mandate that we will shoulder in full. This is what the prime minister is doing and what he will continue to do," Roussopoulos stressed.

    Asked whether a majority of 151, with a margin of just one vote, was sufficient for dealing with major problems, the spokesman repeated that "it is clear that the government has the majority in Parliament".

    Asked whether the expelled MP would continue to back ND's line in Parliament, Roussopoulos replied that this did not seem to be the case judging by the answers Dailakis had given:

    "He is outside ND's Parliamentary group," he stressed, while refusing to speculate on what the government would do if former minister Petros Tatoulis also took the same route.

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis removed Dailakis from the party's Parliamentary group on Tuesday, after the Drama MP's statements the previous evening calling for the resignation of government spokesman and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos and also Yannis Angelou, the director of the prime minister's political office.

    [06] Ministers back decision to expel Dailakis

    Government ministers on Tuesday backed a decision by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to expel Drama MP Stavros Dailakis from ruling New Democracy's (ND) Parliamentary group, saying the MP had violated the decision taken by the ND Central Committee on Friday. Shortly beforehand, it had been made known that Dailakis' had refused to give up his seat in Parliament.

    Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis stated after Tuesday's inner cabinet meeting that those disagreeing with the decisions of the majority should resign, stressing that the ND Central Committee decisions last week were approved unanimously and therefore, everybody had to comply with them. He also underlined that the government needs stability, consistency and a sense of responsibility to deal with major problems facing the country and expressed the view that all MPs will move in this direction.

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed that the government faces major and crucial problems, pointing out that the PM's decision at the Central Committee meeting was clear and had been violated by Dailakis.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias also referred to the Central Committee and underlined that preoccupation with internal party problems will have to stop because it obstructs the government's work.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis cited the Central Committee decisions and said that "personal strategies were unacceptable" given that the country was now faced with the challenge of a major global economic crisis. She stressed that the party's parliamentary group will support the government's efforts.

    [07] Expelled MP refuses to give up seat

    The MP expelled from ruling New Democracy on Tuesday has apparently refused to give up his seat in Parliament, according to reports.

    ND Parliamentary group secretary Yiannis Tragakis has contacted the now independent MP for Drama Stavros Dailakis, asking for his resignation but the latter has refused.

    [08] PASOK: ND MP ousted to protect ministers

    In a comment on the removal of ruling New Democracy MP for Drama Stavros Dailakis from the ruling party's Parliamentary Group on Tuesday, main opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had shown himself a hostage of internal problems within his party.

    "Mr. Karamanlis today sent a clear message: When ministers are exposed he covers up for them, when MPs expose they are removed," the spokesman said.

    He accused the prime minister of protecting "guilty ministers" at the Thessaloniki International Fair and then kicking out Dailakis.

    "The Greek people do not need a prime minister who covers up for law-breaking ministers and then expels anyone who dares say anything. Citizens do not want a prime minister that's busy dealing with his own problems instead of theirs," he added.

    [09] Papandreou holds talks with Bank of Greece governor

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou held talks on Tuesday with Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos, at his office in Parliament.

    "Our country and Greek society have been experiencing for some time a deep political crisis that concerns the economy, the institutions, transparency, the way of governance and the political system and which is being paid in full by the middle and low-income earners and the country's healthy production forces," the PASOK leader said afterwards.

    Papandreou said that the crisis "bears the signature" of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and "for this crisis the government is looking for, as always, an alibi for the failure of its policy, that is creating indignation among the people and reactions within the ND party."

    Referring to the international financial crisis, Papandreou said "this also is the result of specific conservative options that are leading to the submission of public interest to selfish profiteering and untransparent interests and to the accumulation of power and wealth without democratic control."

    The PASOK leader further said that there was a global demand now for greater transparency and new rules in markets. He stressed that as PASOK leader and president of the Socialist International (SI) he has proposed rules of transparency, control and supervision and policies for the protection of incomes and of the low-income earners.

    Lastly, Papandreou said that policies are necessary for a different growth model.

    [10] President Papoulias receives U.S. envoy

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received on Tuesday U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard.

    According to statements by the embassy's spokeswoman Carol Kalin, the two "exchanged views on the current international financial crisis, giving emphasis to its repercussions on poorer and weaker populations."

    In this context, Ambassador Speckhard handed over to President Papoulias a letter jointly signed by U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown following the FAO Rome World Summit on September 26 regarding the global food crisis and more particularly hunger in Africa, the spokeswoman added.

    [11] PASOK tables draft bill for Vatopedi, Lake Vistonida

    Main opposition PASOK MPs on Tuesday tabled a draft bill in Parliament to regulate the ownership of Lake Vistonida and lakeside properties, as well as the property exchanges between the Vatopedio Monastery on Mount Athos and the Greek State.

    [12] Alavanos addresses SYRIZA Parliamentary Group

    SYRIZA Parliamentary Group President Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday stated that the government has an "expiration date" and was "extremely dangerous for the country," in reference to the removal of New Democracy (ND) MP Dailakis from the ruling party's Parliamentary Group earlier the same day.

    Alavanos was addressing the SYRIZA Parliamentary Group, where he criticized the government's economic policy as outdated and said it was leading more and more people to poverty, while stressing the need for a "change of course" for the Greek economy to adopt a "new economic architecture" in which the state sector would play a major role.

    [13] Media strike on Wednesday

    Printed and electronic media journalists will hold a 24-hour nationwide strike on Wedneday in protest of the recently-passed social security law. No news items will be transmitted by the ANA-MPA from 5:00 a.m. Wednesday to 5:00 a.m. Thursday due to the strike. No news programs will be broadcast on public and private television and radio throughout the strike, which also includes newspapers, magazines, internet portals and all other media.

    Financial News

    [14] BoE urges commercial banks to cut lending growth rates

    Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos on Tuesday urged commercial banks to put a brake on lending, during a meeting with the managements of the six largest banks.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Provopoulos sounded reassuring over the impact from an international credit crisis on the Greek banking system, noting it remained healthy and stable. However, he urged banks' executives -and they accepted- to put lending into a lower gear, while he urged them to adopt stricter lending criteria and to deal with the future with less optimism. Provopoulos also urged depositors to remain calm and said there were no massive savings withdrawal phenomena in the country. He also said that bank executives should be careful not to spark panic to their customers. The Greek central banker foreacast that a US plan drafted by US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, if adopted without major changes, would contribute to bringing markets to stability.

    He said the Greek banking system was based on three pylons: first, more than 80 pct of lending was funded through saving deposits, second, Greek banks have limited exposure to "toxic" investments and third, Greek banks enjoyed strong capital base.

    Provopoulos, however, stressed that the central bank was alerted monitoring international developments to ensure stability of the domestic financial system.

    [15] Greek banking system stable, HBA head says

    Hellenic Bank Association on Tuesday reassured Greek citizens that there was no reason of concern over their deposits with Greek banks.

    Speaking to reporters, Christos Gortsos, secretary-general of the Association, said a credit crisis currently underway in the US was also hitting certain European Union states, but in other countries -including Greece- there was no crisis but a turmoil.

    The Greek banking system remains healthy and stable as showed in its profitable course this year, Gortsos said. He noted that Greek banks opted to base their profitability on organic growth both in Greece and in the wider Southeastern Europe, focusing on retail banking. Also, they did not invest on financial products, such as subprime mortgage loans which are the main cause of the current problem.

    Gortsos said the impact from an international crisis on the domestic market were indirect and did not related with the domestic banking system's core stability, but focused on higher interest rates in interbank markets.

    The Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), in a report published on Tuesday, noted that the Greek economy was not affected -at least by now- from an international credit crisis and noted that the Greek financial system was not threatened directly, extensively, from similar developments, since pressures on the Greek market were limited compared with foreign markets.

    IOBE noted that most Greek banks did not invest on risky securities, protecting themselves and the Greek economy, in general, from the current crisis. At the same time, the fact that Greek economy remained introverted offered more protection against the crisis. The report, however, stressed there was the risk of serious turbulence if neighbouring countries -with which Greece maintains significant economic relations- entered an economic recession.

    IOBE said the main challenge for Greek economy was to deal with chronic structural weaknesses, such as low competitiveness, weaknesses in the education system, an ineffective public sector, breach of competition and complexity of law. The current crisis needs a turn in economic policy to effectively deal with these problems, it noted.

    The report, estimated that economic growth in Greece would total 3.5 pct this year, compared with a forecast for an 1.3 pct growth rate in the Eurozone.

    [16] Third phase of social security reform

    The third phase of social security reform will begin on October 1, 2008, with the functioning of six new social security funds.

    Speaking after her meeting with the presidents of the new funds, Employment and Social Protection Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said that "as of tomorrow, a new era is beginning for our social security system, the system is functioning with unified administrations, it is modern, anti-bureaucratic and, above all, it is viable."

    The minister further said that "Greek women and men who are insured and pensioners can now feel sure of the future. We had our first meeting with the funds' 13 presidents today. As of tomorrow morning, the 133 social security funds and sectors will become 13. The presidents are ready with their boards to assume their duties as of tomorrow morning and indeed I am looking forward to very serious, impressive results. I wish to thank all, because I am sure that they will work in the best possible way."

    The six new funds are the Unified Self-Employed Social Security Fund, the Unified Social Security Fund for Mass Media Staff, the Auxiliary Private Sector Social Security Fund, the Social Security Fund for Bank and Public Utility Staff, the Fund for Security Forces Auxiliary Social Security and the Private Sector Welfare Fund.

    [17] PASOK criticises pension fund mergers

    Main opposition PASOK on Tuesday strongly criticised the government's reforms to the social insurance system, which go into effect as of Wednesday, saying that the planned fund mergers would sharply cut back the rights of those insured by them and also cast the system into chaos.

    Following a visit to two of the merged funds, the Private Sector Supplementary Insurance Fund and the Fund for the Insurance of Bank Staff and Public Utility Companies, party officials in charge of social insurance issues said they were met with a picture of "organisational parody, economic tragedy and insurance as a sham".

    They reported a dire situation, saying that the new merged funds lacked basic elements that were needed to work, such as forms and offices, while the boards of some had only been appointed on Monday.

    They also claimed a massive rise in the debts of these funds, warning that pensions could well go unpaid in coming months.

    [18] Kontos attends agriculture ministers' meeting in Brussels

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    Attending an EU agriculture ministers' council in Brussels on Tuesday, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos asked his EU counterparts not to exclude small Greek agricultural concerns from Community subsidies.

    He was taking part in negotiations concerning the EU's Common Agricultural Policy.

    The Greek minister also asked for continued support of the tobacco farming sector and for a simpler and more flexibile implementation of the uniform subsidy regime, as well as retaining a system for the transfer of special rights in the livestock breeding sector.

    Greece supported a European Commission measure for giving food aid to those without on very low incomes and asked that the list of foodstuffs also include olive oil. Kontos secured a large increase in the funds available for this measure in Greece, to 21 million euros from 13 million euros last year. The minister further supported the distribution of free fruits and vegetables in schools.

    In addition to attending the council, Kontos had a meeting with European Commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries Joe Borg and briefed him on the efforts being made by the Greek farm ministry and the Greek fishing industry to decide on a mutually acceptable, modern fishing policy that will protect fish reserves and support the income of Greek fishermen, in line with Community rules.

    Another issue raised by the minister during the meeting was the unfair competition that Greek fishing fleets were subjected to from the illegal fishing activity of craft from neighbouring countries.

    [19] Transport minister on Olympic Airlines employees

    The transformation plan for the Olympic Airlines company will be entering its implementation phase soon, while proclamations were published in three newspapers on Tuesday, calling on interested investors to express their initial interest by October 31 in the three companies, the flight work, ground service and the technical base.

    In parallel, the ratification of the relevant amendment is expected to be completed in Parliament by Friday and the legislative arrangement regarding the employees' future will follow. The total arrangement cost for employees amounts to one billion 166 million euros.

    Transport and Communications Minister Kostis Hatzidakis repeated his call to Olympic employees on Tuesday for a dialogue on all issues concerning them and for possible improvements to be made, while clarifying that the relevant amendment tabled in Parliament "concerns in essence only Olympic and not other public utilities as well, as is being claimed by some".

    Hatzidakis appeared optimistic that he will be having a meeting with pilots during the week, but added that there are many employees who are not on the same wave length as the majority of the trade unionists.

    The Transport minister also reiterated that the completion of Olympic's transition to the new formation has been set for the end of April.

    [20] Public utilities to go on strike on October 8

    Public utilities and transport services (Olympic Airlines, ports, OTE, DEH, ELTA, etc) will be holding a 24-hour strike on October 8, as well as organising a rally. On October 2 trade unionists from public utilities and the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) will be holding a meeting and a protest to Parliament.

    The strike action is to protest public utility privatisations, collective labour agreements and the amendment on the abolition of severance pay for public utility employees being dismissed.

    GSEE's Executive Committee will be setting on October 6 the dates of nationwide strike action that will be organised in cooperation with the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY).

    [21] PASOK on DEH share price tumble

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday commented on the 20 percent decline recorded in the Public Power Corporation SA (DEH) share value. He stressed that this development confirmed that PASOK had been right to criticise an "ill-considered and unjustifiable" move by DEH management to announce that the year-end economic results would be worse than those of the last six-month period.

    [22] MIG announces 5.0 bln euros share capital increase plan

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Tuesday said its board would seek shareholders' approval to a share capital increase plan, worth 5.0 billion euros, during an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting to be held October 27, 2008.

    Under the plan, MIG's board will seek shareholders' approval to a plan to raise its equity capital by 5,004,000,000 euros through the issuance of 834,000,000 new shares at an offering price of 6.0 euros per share. The new shares will be offered through a private placement to strategic or/and institutional investors.

    Speaking to reporters, MIG's executive vice-president Andreas Vgenopoulos said that the current environment of problems and uncertainties offered significant investment opportunities which are likely to increase in the short-term, both in numbers and extent. "With our strong liquidity and the additional liquidity from the share capital increase plan we seek to take advantage of these investment opportunities and to maximize shareholders' benefits," Vgenopoulos said adding that MIG will focus on the banking sector of Greece and Southeastern Europe. He stressed that MIG would seek friendly agreements.

    MIG completed a share capital increase plan, worth 5.2 billion euros in July 2007. The Group said it had changed its investment policy since October 2007 to defensive sectors such as food, healthcare, etc, while it carries no debt burden and its liquidity totaled 1.0 billion euros. Group companies have an additional 350 million euros in liquidity.

    [23] Meeting on EU funds for the Church held in Penteli Monastery

    Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, the members of the Holy Synod and the government's economic staff, headed by National Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, discussed issues concerning the management of EU funds destined for the Church, during a meeting held at the Penteli Monastery Inter-Orthodox Center, near Athens, onTuesday.

    Alogoskoufis commented to reporters afterwards that the meeting focused on the best preparation of the Church when claiming Community funds to be used for infrastructure projects.

    Responding to a question on the international economic situation, he said that developments as regards the bailout plan prepared by the US administration are unfavorable expressing, however, certainty that the United States will come up with a solution.

    Referring to Greece, he stated that there are no direct consequences as a result of the international financial crisis and that the country's banks are not exposed to risks, stressing that the government and the Bank of Greece were closely following the developments.

    [24] FinMin addresses digital communications conference

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, addressing the 10th annual Information and Digital Communications conference on Tuesday, said that digital Greece was becoming a reality step-by-step thanks to the government's efforts and the efforts and investments of the information and communications sector companies.

    Alogoskoufis reminded that the "Digital convergence" programme, having a budget amounting to two billion euros, is being implemented through the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA 2007-2013).

    In parallel, visual fibre infrastructures are being developed for the networks of the next generation and it is an important part that supplements the digital strategy framework.

    The Finance and Economy minister stressed that at present 12 out of 100 Greek citizens have access to the speedy Internet, while in 2004 the ratio was one in a thousand.

    Greece had ranked sixth worldwide in 2007 and first among the European Union countries in the annual growth rate of broadbandness, while in 2006 it had gained first place worldwide.

    The minister added that the government's aim for digital strategy is for citizens to facilitate their daily flow and release their creativity.

    [25] Roussopoulos addresses SEDEA Forum

    Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos addressed the Forum of the Association of Greek Market and Opinion Research Companies (SEDEA) on Tuesday, focusing on government efforts to regulate the sector.

    Speaking in the forum, Roussopoulos made a special reference to the law passed last year that clearly defined the rules used to regulate the conduct of public opinion surveys in a way that guarantees credibility, thus contributing to a higher quality democracy.

    "The law in question and the recent amendment, providing that public opinion surveys in election campaign periods will stop 24 hours before the voters go to the polls, help in promoting good professional and scientific practices," stressed Roussopoulos, adding that this way the sector is protected from opportunists and public opinion from a vicious circle of manipulation.

    [26] European 'Progress 2007-2013' Programme

    A campaign on "Difference - Against discrimination" is underway in 27 European Union countries in the framework of the "Progress 2007-2013" European Programme.

    Speaking at a press conference, Marianna Paraskeva from the General Department of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities said that the aim of the campaign is to inform citizens on their rights and obligations in accordance with European legislation against discrimination in the employment sector.

    Various events are taking place in the framework of the campaign, including a truck tour of 19 European cities (it will not pass through Greece) to inform citizens, and a journalism award regarding journalists from EU countries who will be competing for the best article on the issue of difference.

    Discrimination takes place due to racial or ethnic reasons and due to sexual orientation, religious orientation, disability and age.

    [27] Greek retail sales volume down 2.0 pct in July

    Retail sales volume fell by 2.0 percent in July, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the retail sales turnover index (in current prices) rose 1.6 pct in July from the same month in 2007.

    NSS attributed the 2.0 pct decline in the retail sales volume index to a 3.3 pct rise in department stores, a 5.2 pct rise in pharmaceutical-cosmetics, a 2.3 pct decline in supermarkets, a 7.2 pct drop in foodstores, beverage and tobacco, an 1.4 pct decline in clothing-footwear and a 0.8 pct fall in furniture-electrical appliances.

    [28] Greek stocks end 0.55 pct higher

    Greek stocks moved cautiously higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as the market found support from a steady performance by other international markets. The composite index rose 0.55 pct to end at 2,856.47 points, with turnover rising to 384.9 million euros, of which 10.1 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower, with the Financial Services (6.30 pct), Utilities (5.13 pct) and Technology (3.01 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Insurance (5.21 pct), Personal/Home Products (3.93 pct) and Industrial Products (2.88 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.87 pct, the FTSE 40 index fell 1.38 pct and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.91 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 159 to 81 with another 41 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -5.21%

    Industrials: -2.88%

    Commercial: -1.53%

    Construction: +0.92%

    Media: -1.78%

    Oil & Gas: +0.91%

    Personal & Household: -3.93%

    Raw Materials: -0.36%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.44%

    Technology: +3.01%

    Telecoms: +0.48%

    Banks: -0.13%

    Food & Beverages: +1.22%

    Health: +0.86%

    Utilities: +5.13%

    Chemicals: -0.95%

    Financial Services: +6.30%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 15.20

    ATEbank: 2.04

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.84

    HBC Coca Cola: 15.24

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.48

    National Bank of Greece: 28.00

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 12.70

    Intralot: 5.96

    OPAP: 21.62

    OTE: 12.62

    Piraeus Bank: 14.50

    Titan Cement Company: 23.20

    [29] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising to 147.741 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.42 percent. Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 16,836 contracts worth 129.959 million euros, with 28,171 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,195 contracts worth 17.599 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (3,142), followed by Marfin Investment Group (2,527), OTE (953), PPC (1,770), National Bank (2,401), Alpha Bank (981), GEK (1,766), Intralot (931) and Mytlineos (425).

    [30] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 465 million euros on Tuesday, of which 130 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 335 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 90 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds rose to 0.95 pct with the Greek bond yielding 4.93 pct and the German Bund 3.98 pct.

    [31] Foreign Exchange rates: Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.441

    Pound sterling 0.796

    Danish kroner 7.520

    Swedish kroner 9.872

    Japanese yen 151.67

    Swiss franc 1.59

    Norwegian kroner 8.399

    Canadian dollar 1.508

    Australian dollar 1.788

    General News

    [32] Four institutions beneficial to the public rewarded for their contributions

    Four public foundations were today awarded prizes by the Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Antonis Bezas for their extensive contributions to the education, culture and social welfare of the country.

    The foundations included the "Eugenides Foundation," the "Athanasiades Matalas Foundation," the "Vasileou Mela Foundation" for pre-school education and the "Baron Michael Tossizza Foundation."

    The award was given as part of a ceremony to nominate September 30 a day of honour to the memory of national benefactors. Bezas expressed gratitude of behalf of the Greek government and underlined the great service that the foundations do for the Greek people.

    Bezas emphasised the government's firm commitment to highlight the support, offers, gifts and donations the foundations give to the Greek public, as well as to provide them with a transparent and efficient system which will encourage others to follow their example.

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has therefore launched the following procedures:

    - The reform of the national code of bequests and the law of [succession, heritage].

    - Developing an ongoing relationship of trust and cooperation with the institutions operating and producing work beneficial to the public.

    - The reform of services which will supervise the national bequests with the computerisation and registration of all public property in order to allow better utilisation and greater visibility.

    With these procedures in place, Bezas said, there will be an end to the vague situation that has prevailed for many years with regard to national bequests and their usage.

    In the past, due to unclear legislation, the benefactions have remained inactive and have often only been realised only due to foreigners.

    [33] New scientific knowledge project e-Knownet launched

    The inaugural event of the new European project e-Knownet was held Tuesday at the Evgenidio Foundation museum in Athens.

    The project, titled "Research Laboratories - Trainers - Scientific Centers: Cooperation with the use of new information and communication technologies," aims to offer a network to facilitate the spread of scientific knowledge.

    It will work as a portal of dialogue between scientists throughout Europe and is set to be completed by December 2010. The network will also link members of the public with the scientific community, allowing for up-to-date education.

    The e-Knownet project will focus on photochemistry, a scientific field with various applications such as diagnostic and treatment methods in general medicine (cancer and skin diseases) and dentistry. It will also contain applications associated with daily life, such as cosmetics, eyeglasses that absorb UV radiation, and solar energy conversion.

    In the project is held under the auspices of the European Photochemistry Association, and includes participation from the Evgenidio Foundation, the National Network of Research and Technology (Greece), Freie University of Berlin - Center for Digital Systems, Competence Center e-Learning/Multimedia (Germany), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Francis Perrin Laboratory (France), and Universitat Pompeu Fabra / Observatori de la Comunicacio Cientifica (Spain).

    [34] President Papoulias an Honourary Lecturer of Dimocritio University

    President Karolos Papoulias will be proclaimed an Honourary Lecturer of the Dimocritio University of Thrace's Legal Faculty on Wednesday afternoon, during a special ceremony that will be held in the Main Auditorium on the University Grounds in the city of Komotini.

    The event will begin with addresses by the University's rector, Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and the Legal Faculty's president.

    The ceremony will come to an end with a speech by the President of the Republic on the "Basic principles of international cooperation."

    [35] Foreign woman's murder solved

    The murder of a 31-year old Bulgarian woman has been solved by Chalkidiki police, according to an announcement by the Central Macedonia Police department released on Tuesday.

    The woman was murdered last Thursday near Olynthos. According to police, the perpetrator is a 30-year old man, who confessed that he killed the woman because he was jealous. The assailant struck the woman with an iron pipe on the head, in front of his 17-year old nephew, and afterwards left for the island of Crete .

    Police also arrested the 17-year old, on charges of accessory to murder.

    [36] Male bear found dead in western Macedonia, northwest Greece

    An adult male bear was found dead in the region between Kozani and Ptolemaida on the foothills of Mt Askios, in western Macedonia, northwest Greece. The 12-year-old animal weighing roughly 200 kilos was discovered in a typical bear habitat by a rural police officer who contacted the environmental organization "Arcturos".

    According to the autopsy conducted, its death was caused by a shotgun.

    "Arcturos" has announced that the bear population size in Greece is roughly 200 individuals.

    Weather Forecast

    [37] Cloud, local showers on Wednesday

    Cloudy and showery weather with southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 26C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens, with 3-4 beaufort southerly winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 26C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 10C to 22C.

    [38] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The financial crisis in US and the rumbling in the European economy after the rejection of Paulson Proposal by the US Congress and the purported turmoil in ruling New Democracy (ND) dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government faced with the people's every day problems".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Crash in Europe - The global banking system is teetering".

    AVGHI: "The credit crisis typhoon crosses the Atlantic - Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) plunges 5.7 percent".

    AVRIANI: "FinMin George Alogouskoufis completely vindicated - Greece, due to tight and antipopular policy, appears it will remain unaffected by the fiscal disaster that is ravaging the US and Europe".

    CHORA: "The typhoon crossed the Atlantic and is sweeping across Europe ".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Karamanlis is looking for a reason to expel ND deputy Petros Tatoulis".

    ELEFTHEROS : "Government cadres press Karamanlis for benefits, followed by general elections".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: " Red alert in Europe - The Lehman 'virus' strikes - Panic prevails in Stock Markets".

    ESTIA: "Major concern over the economy - Is is not fortified against the crisis".

    ETHNOS : "US in shock, Europe in awe - The Congress overruled the 700 billion dollars plan" for the bailout of the US financial system proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson.

    KATHIMERINI: "Dramatic slump on Wall Street - The rejection of Paulson plan plunged Dow Jones 6.68 percent".

    LOGOS: "Storm over market - Major downturn in European Stock Markets".

    NIKI: "The fiscal crisis strikes in the heart of Europe heart - American cyclone shocks global economy".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The people won't make any sacrifices to plutocracy " .

    TA NEA: "The crash in the US knocks on our door - Six European banks collapsed on Monday".

    TO VIMA: "European countries preparing a 'buffer' for the crisis".

    VRADYNI: "SOS in Europe - The nightmare is knocking at our door".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [39] Cyprus President determined to succeed in solution effort


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has urged the UN to press on with an agreement that will abolish annual military exercises in and around Cyprus, adding that he also advocates the disengagement of forces, particularly in the Nicosia region.

    In his address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Tuesday, the President revealed that during his recent meeting in New York with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, he suggested that the UN chief promote an agreement to abolish the annual military exercises in and around Cyprus.

    Christofias said he has the political will needed to do whatever is necessary to solve the Cyprus problem, acknowledging that the procedure which has started will be difficult.

    Outlining his vision to transform the unitary state in Cyprus into a federation, he said the noble struggle he and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have waged in the 80s gives him hope that they can succeed in reaching an agreed solution that will serve the interests of Cypriots and not of foreigners.

    The president stressed that no solution is not a solution and warned that "we do not have the luxury to fail" in this latest peace effort, as the absence of a solution will probably lead to permanent partition.

    Christofias also said that Turkey must contribute to the process in a positive way, adding that he expects Ankara to rise to the occasion and fulfill its obligations to the Republic of Cyprus arising from its efforts to join the EU.

    Turkey refuses to recognise the legal government of the Republic of Cyprus, which joined the EU in May 2004, and has yet to open its ports and airports to Cypriot flagged vessels and aircraft, as demanded by the EU.

    In his address, President Christofias said it is an honour for him to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the first time since he was elected President, in February this year.

    He reiterated that the Republic of Cyprus is firmly committed to the principles and values of the Council of Europe and the European Union, fully appreciates the Council of Europe and recognises the unique role it plays in accomplishing the noble mission that has been assigned to it, adding that the Parliamentary Assembly constitutes the democratic means for promoting the basic principles of the Council of Europe.

    He expressed Cyprus' appreciation "for the active interest the Council of Europe has taken in safeguarding the human rights of Cypriots who have suffered as a result of the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of a large part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus by over 40 thousand well-armed Turkish troops" while the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus has only nine thousand soldiers.

    Furthermore, the president said "we deeply appreciate the valuable contribution that the European Court of Human Rights has made to the protection of human rights and basic freedoms of all Cypriots", stressing that the Court's judgments must be fully respected and the Committee of Ministers must act so that they are effectively implemented.

    President Christofias said that Wednesday, October 1st, marks "the anniversary of the creation of the independent Republic of Cyprus in 1960, the joint asset of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots".

    Despite the many difficulties the Cyprus Republic has been through in its history, President Christofias said "its reunification is our vision. A united Cyprus, a functional state with a federal structure where the human rights and freedoms of all Cypriots without exception will be respected, should be our common legacy to our children and grandchildren".

    Unfortunately, he added, "foreign interventions and wrong choices made by certain circles in both communities on the island from the first few years of independence, prevented the development of this homeland for the benefit of all Cypriots". Foreign interventions in Cyprus' internal affairs, he added, reached a peak with the military coup of the Greek junta and the Turkish invasion in July-August 1974.

    Christofias said that he has resisted and fought chauvinism and as fighters of the Popular Movement of Cyprus, "I fought alongside the present leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mehmet Ali Talat from the beginning of the '80s. This more than anything else gives me hope that we can succeed in finally reaching an agreed solution that will serve the interests of Cypriots and not those of any foreigners", the president remarked.

    He reassured that he remains "committed to the common vision that we worked out together with Mr Talat and his predecessor, the late Ozker

    Ozgur, during the '90s as leaders of AKEL and the Republican Turkish Party respectively", explaining that this vision "was expressed in joint decisions and public statements of both communities after meetings between delegations led by the two leaders".

    The vision entails a solution and reunification based on the relevant UN resolutions and the 1977 and 1979 High Level Agreements between the leaders of the two communities under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, he added.

    In his speech, President Christofias declared his faith in his "Cypriot identity that has evolved from centuries of living together and which we must foster and promote. I am a Greek Cypriot and proud of my roots and identity, but equally I fully respect Mr Talat's right to be different and proud of his roots and his identity".

    Referring to the "new intense effort to solve the Cyprus problem" which began on 3 September aimed at overcoming past deadlocks and achieving progress that will lead to the reunification of Cyprus under mutually agreed terms, and to the withdrawal of all foreign troops after 34 years of division and foreign occupation, President Christofias said the talks are taking place under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General in the framework of his Good Offices Mission.

    The UN Secretary-General's Good Offices Mission entails negotiations between the leaders of the two communities, of whose outcome all Cypriots shall have ownership, said Christofias, adding "the role of the Secretary-General and the international community is to provide help and support. Good Offices do not mean arbitration. Nor do they mean mediation" and noted that recent experience has shown that any imported plans that do not serve the interests of Cypriots, will be rejected by the Cypriot people.

    The framework for a solution outlined by the relevant resolutions foresees a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single identity, a single indivisible sovereignty and a single nationality, said Christofias, adding that federal institutions will embody the principle of political equality as laid out by the relevant UN resolutions.

    He also pointed out that a bizonal, bicommunal federation is the only agreed basis for a solution since 1977 and was recently reaffirmed by the leaders of the two communities, remarking that "this represents a compromise, in actual fact the only possible compromise, on whose foundations a new political arrangement can be built".

    President Christofias reassured the PACE that he has "the political will needed to do whatever is necessary to solve this problem" and that he is supported in this statement by his actions during the Popular Movement in Cyprus and the fact that he is a refugee himself.

    In his speech, the Cypriot President referred to certain specific suggestions he had made which "will improve the climate surrounding the negotiations and will increase their chances of succeeding".

    He said that during his "meeting with the UN Secretary-General in New York last week, I suggested that he promote an agreement to abolish the annual military exercises that are held each autumn in and around Cyprus. I refer specifically to the Nikiforos exercise, carried out by the Cyprus National Guard, and the Toros exercise, carried out by the Turkish military forces in Cyprus".

    In addition, "I propose that measures of military de-escalation also be agreed upon and implemented, such as the disengagement of forces, particularly in the Nicosia region, including the full demilitarisation of the old town of Nicosia within the Venetian walls, the designation of a Demilitarised Zone, and other measures", the president added.

    The president said that there is also the issue of the implementation of confidence building measures already agreed with Talat but unfortunately, ''they have yet to be implemented''.

    "We are fully aware that the procedure that has started will be difficult", Christofias said, pledging however that on his part "we will work as hard as we possibly can and spare no effort to ensure it has a successful outcome. We do not have the luxury to fail. No solution is not a solution, as some people claim. On the contrary, the lack of a solution, with the problem still pending, will probably lead to the permanent partition of the island, which is the worst possible outcome for both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots".

    President Christofias said "I believe that we can and that we must succeed", noting that "the will of the Cypriot people for a solution is essential". However, he added, "it is not in itself, sufficient. Turkey, too, must contribute to the process in a positive way. Turkey maintains over 40,000 troops and tens of thousands of colonists in Cyprus and can undoubtedly determine the outcome of the issues being discussed. We believe that the solution should and will benefit everyone. It will allow all Cypriots - Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots - to live and work together in an independent prosperous country within the family of the European Union, without the presence of foreign troops and illegal settlers, in conditions of safety and where everyone's identity and rights will be respected. It will also give an impetus to Turkey's efforts to join the European Union of which Cyprus is already a full member".

    Concluding, the president said "we expect that Turkey will rise to the occasion and fulfill its obligations to the Republic of Cyprus arising from its efforts to join the EU. In this way Turkey will contribute positively to the efforts to find a solution that will respect the basic principles of International Law, the principles and values of the European Union and of the European Convention on Human Rights".

    [40] Recognition of a second state in Cyprus is unacceptable, says President Christofias

    Cyprus is very small to be divided but it is large enough to fit the whole people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Latins and Armenians, President Christofias said pledging to do his outmost for the unity of Cyprus under a federal solution.

    Responding to questions by members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, after addressing the Assembly, Christofias said he would never accept the recognition of a second state in Cyprus. He also pointed out that the solution must not be imposed by foreigners, reiterating at the same time that without the assistance and positive positions by Turkey it will not be possible to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Responding to a question by British MP Edward O' Hara on the restoration of Famagusta town, Christofias said that if Turkey respects the UN resolution 550 on Famagusta and gives the possibility to the inhabitants of the town to return back "we are more than ready to restore the old city of Famagusta". Famagusta could become a place of common and peaceful living and of cultural, economic and other exchanges between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, he said.

    To a question by Turkish MP Mevlut Cavusoglu, Christofias also referred to the issue of the rotating presidency and said that this does not mean that for five years, the President will be Greek Cypriot and for the next five years, the President will be Turkish Cypriot, since political equality does not mean numerical equality.

    To a question by Cypriot MP Christos Pourgourides about the issue of raising the standards of living of Turkish Cypriots even higher and helping them integrate with the EU and the international community, Christofias recalled that the Republic of Cyprus has agreed with the EU for the allocation of 260 milllion Euros as an aid to the Turkish Cypriots. He added that apart from this, the Republic of Cyprus gives the opportunity to Turkish Cypriots to export and import products via ports and airports at the government controlled areas of the island.

    He also noted that seven thousand Turkish Cypriots daily pass to the free areas where they work together with the Greek Cypriots. "They get salaries which are doubling the salaries and benefits in the occupied area. All Turkish Cypriots compatriots have the right any time to visit the public health institutions of the Republic and enjoy treatment and pharmaceutical treatment as well."

    He also added that that in the last few years the income of the Turkish Cypriots is doubling. "Now, the per capita income of the Turkish Cypriots is 12000 dollars," Christofias said.

    "We are not of course fully satisfied with this. We want more for the Turkish Cypriot compatriots. However, there is an obstacle. That obstacle is the occupation. The obstacles are arising from the fact that the Turkish leadership unfortunately insists on the existence of a second state in Cyprus, which they want to upgrade and degrade the Republic of Cyprus. This is not possible to happen. According to the UN resolutions 541 and 550 there is no state in Cyprus except the legitimate state, the Republic of Cyprus and a one and legitimate government," Christofias noted.

    To a question by Polish Tadeusz Iwinski from Poland about the possible impact of the situation of Kosovo and the conflict in Caucasus on efforts to solve the Cyprus question, President Christofias stressed that "if we follow international legitimacy, if we follow principles of international law and the principles of the EU, the values of the EU, the principles and the values of this Council this must never happen. This must never happen also because the Republic of Cyprus is one, must be united and according to the treaties of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus and the Constitution secession, partition or unity with any other country is prohibited," he stressed.

    President Christofias also said that Cyprus did not agree with the secession of Kosovo "and of course we don't agree with the secession of any other country. This is our principle position and we are going to continue to follow this position."

    To a question by Baroness Knight of Collingtree from the UK on how soon he thinks efforts for a settlement will actually bear fruit, Christofias noted that solutions coming from outside in order to impose the will of others on the Cypriot people are not going to be accepted.

    "We are a small country, small in the number of people, but we have our dignity. We want to live in peace and free without solutions imposed from outside," he said.

    "I am against stagnation. I am in a hurry to solve the problem. But at the same time in order to solve the problem we have to turn back to our common language, the Cypriot language, the language of friends, the language of comrades with Mr. Talat," he said.

    He added that the key for the solution is not in Nicosia. Nicosia must do its outmost to come together to have common acceptable agreement but without the assistance and the positive positions of Turkey it will not be possible to solve the problem soon, he said.

    To a question by Irish MP Terry Leyden about the issue of properties, President Christofias said there is a principle to be accepted by both communities and Turkey: that the owners of the properties since 1964 when the clashes started, continue to be the real owners of the property. How are we going to overcome the difficulties is something we are going to negotiate.

    Christofias added that there is also another principle: To give to the owners the possibility of free choice either to return to their property, or receive compensation, or exchange the property with Turkish Cypriot property. These are the choices but it is a precondition to accept the principle that the owners are the owners, he said.

    To a question by Tiny Kox from the Netherlands on what the Assembly can do to support his mission to reunite Cyprus, Christofias said that the best way is to keep following the principles of the Council of Europe, the principles of the Convention of Human Rights and of course the principles of the UN and the international law.

    "Otherwise if for the sake of any interests or to avoid any contradictions we are going to upgrade a second entity, directly or indirectly this is a catastrophe," he said.

    He underlined that he himself, as a person who fanatically wants the reunification of the country, will never accept upgrading or existence of a second state in Cyprus.

    He asked the members of the Assembly to follow principles, saying that "this is the best way to help me and Mr. Talat, because Mehmet Ali must also understand that these are the principles, this is the international law, these are the values and the principles of the united Europe and of this country and both of us have to respect them in order to have a stable framework for the solution of the Cyprus problem."

    To a question by Turkish MP Mevlut Cavusoglu on the international cultural and sport activities of Turkish Cypriots, President Christofias said that the Turkish Cypriots have the possibility to promote cultural and sport activities. He recalled that the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation has already agreed with the Cypriot Football Federation to act under its umbrella and FIFA has agreed.

    However, there are obstacles and this is not possible because someone does not give the opportunity to the Turkish Cypriots to move forward towards this direction.

    To a question by Irish MP Patrick Green about the crossing points in Cyprus, Christofias recalled his agreement of March 21 to open the Ledra Street crossing. He said that despite the fact that the street has been opened, two other aspects of this agreement to restore some buildings at the area and to proceed with the disengagement of troops with the perspective to demilitarize the whole region of Nicosia have not been implemented.

    He also referred to their decision to open the Limnitis crossing in the northwest of the island, noting that there is stableness on this issue coming from the Turkish military forces. Christofias also said there are some other issues as that of the opening of the ghost city of Famagusta for his inhabitants, for which the UN has called in a resolution to which Turkey has not responded until now.

    "There are more possibilities for new confidence building measures which are going to make the life of both communities better," he said.

    To a question by Irish MP Cecilia Keanevey about history teaching in Cypriot schools, Christofias said that his government has committed itself in following and implementing a reform in education and has started to do so, noting that this reform includes the teaching of reconciliation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    To a question by Turkish Cypriot so called MP Mehmet Caglar, Christofias said that acceptance of a settlement of a bizonal, bicommunal federation was a historical concession by the Greek Cypriot side, adding that there is no room for a give and take on principles.

    To a question by French Jean-Guy Branger on the measures the Republic of Cyprus is taking against women trafficking, Christofias said that the Government is taking measures against trafficking adding that the Republic has decided to prohibit visas for so-called artists.

    [41] PACE President endorses Cyprus President‘s efforts for a settlement

    The President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Lluis Maria de Puig has endorsed efforts by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias to reach a settlement of the island's political problem.

    He also said he was pleased to welcome President Christofias to PACE and satisfied that today (Tuesday) the president would address the plenary.

    De Puig was speaking to the press after a meeting Tuesady morning with Christofias, who said that he had the opportunity during their very friendly discussion to analyse developments in the Cyprus problem.

    Christofias stressed that he had one vision, "the reunification of Cyprus, its people, its institutions, the economy and of course an end to the occupation and the colonisation of Cyprus."

    On Christofias' presence at the PACE, De Puig said this was a very special moment in the history of Cyprus and expressed hope that there will be a settlement to the long conflict between the two communities, as he said.

    He said that he recognises and encourages efforts by Christofias and thanked him for his efforts "in a moment when perhaps we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow (Wednesday) like you know we have here the President of the Turkish community of Cyprus but today it is a day of all of Cyprus," he concluded.

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since the beginning of September with a view to reach a settlement to the question of Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. Talat will make a statement before PACE on Wednesday morning before a discussion on a report by German Joachim Horster on the situation in Cyprus.

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