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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-15

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

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

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 Issue No: 3021

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin briefs PM over developments in credit crisis
  • [02] Karamanlis in Brussels on Wednesday for EU summit
  • [03] Papoulias visits Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • [04] Athens sharply reacts to latest FYROM provocation
  • [05] Papandreou seeks Parliamentary probe into scandals
  • [06] KKE leader holds press conference on students problems
  • [07] SYRIZA leader: PM is 'out of touch' with reality
  • [08] Latest Vatopedi development causes judicial, political reverberations
  • [09] Unanimous election of Papadimitriou to the vice-presidency of IPU
  • [10] National Bank's head expects wave of M&A after crisis ends
  • [11] Employment minister on state of economy
  • [12] PASOK warns against carte blanche for banks
  • [13] Union announce Oct. 21 strike; port privatisation decision pending
  • [14] Greek stocks end 2.21 pct higher
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Greek bond market closing report
  • [17] Foreign Exchange rates: Tuesday
  • [18] Orthodox gathering on Apostle Paul in Rhodes
  • [19] State television presents Greece's Eurovision bid
  • [20] Deputy interior minister presents e-themis
  • [21] Illegal migrant arrests
  • [22] Study: Vast majority of residents in Greece satisfied with quality of housing
  • [23] Free seminars for immigrants on electronic computers
  • [24] Physician receives suspended sentence for leaving instrument in patient
  • [25] Antiquities smuggling charges filed against Thessaloniki men
  • [26] Drug arrests in Sparta and Tripolis
  • [27] Tram work stoppages on Thursday
  • [28] Strong earthquake jolts Evia.
  • [29] Patras man charged in child porn case
  • [30] Cloudy on Wednesday
  • [31] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [32] Christofias briefs Barroso on current Cyprus talks
  • [33] Cyprus President: Negotiations for a Cyprus settlement will be difficult
  • [34] Cyprus economy still intact from world crisis, says President Christofias
  • [35] House President backs decision to cancel military exercises Politics

  • [01] FinMin briefs PM over developments in credit crisis

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday was briefed by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis over developments in an international credit crisis and its impact on global economy.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Alogoskoufis said the Greek government has taken initiatives aimed at supporting the solvency of the Greek financial system and added: "We move forward with a plan to ensure that the credit crisis will have the minimum impact on Greek economy, growth, employment and citizens. Based on this plan and decisions taken by EU leaders recently, we will move forward in the coming days".

    The Greek minister stressed that developed countries were expected to witness a significant slowdown in economic growth, while developing economies will perform better.

    [02] Karamanlis in Brussels on Wednesday for EU summit

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will depart for Brussels on Wednesday in order to take part in the two-day European Council meeting.

    Following the end of the EU summit on Thursday, Karamanlis will head for Frankfurt and a meeting with the President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet.

    [03] Papoulias visits Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

    HANOI (ANA-MPA - S. Tzimas)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias continued his official visit to Vietnam on Tuesday with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh, leader of Vietnam's struggle for independence, was not at the Mausoleum during his visit, however, having been sent away for regular preservation and maintenance.

    Earlier, Papoulias had laid a wreath at the Vietnamese peoples' "national heroes and martyrs" monument and he is scheduled to visit the old imperial city Hue on Tuesday afternoon.

    A member of the president's delegation, Deputy Health Minister George Constantopoulos, at the same time paid a visit to a school in Hanoi for children victims of dioxin. This toxic powder was sprayed on Vietnamese forests and crops by U.S. forces during the war in Vietnam so that they would wither and not provide refuge for Vietnamese rebel troops.

    Thirty years later, the victims of the highly toxic dioxin are estimated to be as many as three million, among them 150,000 children that were born with motor or mental disabilities as a result of dioxin poisoning suffered by their parents.

    The repercussions of this particular method of war are predicted to plague the Vietnamese for several years to come, as scientists expect children with dioxin-linked problems to be born for at least two more generations.

    At a special ceremony held at the school, the Greek deputy minister presented the headmaster with 100 wheelchairs for children with special needs and the sum of 40,000 euros to cover some of the school's operating expenses.

    Also in the framework of the president's visit, a business forum was held on Tuesday morning at a hotel in Hanoi, where Greek investors in the delegation accompanying Papoulias met with Vietnamese business people and discussed potential areas of cooperation.

    The forum was addressed by Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas, one of the ministers accompanying the president, who outlined the advantages Greece offers to foreign investors seeking a base for their activities in southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

    [04] Athens sharply reacts to latest FYROM provocation

    Athens sharply reacted on Tuesday to the latest provocation and peculiar meddling in its internal affairs by its landlocked former Yugoslav republic neighbour to the north, with a foreign ministry spokesman calling on the leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to focus on improving democracy in that country instead of "distorting reality".

    Greece's stiff rebuke came after an announcement by the Skopje government commenting on the arrest of four local residents a day earlier near the city of Florina, northwest Greece, on charges of obstructing a military convoy.

    The arrests came during a protest by local residents against a military exercise at a designated firing range in the rural Meliti municipality, east of Florina, and specifically at the Lofous district, which lies a few kilometers south of the Greek-FYROM frontier. Florina is also the name of the prefecture.

    The four individuals were initially charged with obstructing traffic and resisting authority, among others -- all misdemeanors -- while another three individuals were sought by police in the incident.

    According to police authorities in the area, approximately 15 residents had set up a roadblock with a truck and a tractor on a country road leading to the firing range, thus obstructing the convoy, which consisted of four Greek Army armored vehicles and two military jeeps.

    A similar incident was recorded two weeks ago when another small group of local residents unsuccessfully tried to block a military exercise at the same firing range, which is situated in a remote expanse within Meliti municipality, and which has been in existence since the 1950s.

    The incident acquired a transnational factor, however, with the unprecedented statement out of Skopje, which expressed "concern" for the local protesters while at the same time identifying them as so-called "Macedonians", a continuation of a recent campaign by the Gruevski government over the past few months to uncover a "Macedonian minority" in the northwest part of the Greek province of Macedonia.

    In a sharply worded response to the Gruevski government announcement, Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos merely referred to yet another "provocative attempt to blatantly distort reality" vis-a-vis EU and NATO member-state Greece.

    "This conscientious attempt to cultivate a policy of nationalism and intolerance is irresponsible and could become dangerous. Mr. (Nikola) Gruevski (the FYROM prime minister) should finally realise that Greek citizens do not need self-appointed advocates, especially ones with obvious motives.

    "Instead, he (Gruevski) should focus his attention and efforts on improving the worsening, as judged by international organisations and observers, state of democracy in his country," spokesman George Koumoutsakos stated.

    The announcement was followed on Tuesday afternoon with a verbal protest made to the head of Greece's liaison office in Skopje by FYROM Deputy FM Zoran Petrov, ostensibly over the brief detention of four members of a television crew from Skopje earlier in the day.

    According to an ANA-MPA dispatch from Skopje, Greek diplomat Alexandra Papadopoulou responded that every country enjoys the inalienable right to check the identity of foreign nationals on its soil, especially ones shooting footage of military installations.

    "As such, the verbal note is a distortion of the truth and is rejected as groundless," she said.

    [05] Papandreou seeks Parliamentary probe into scandals

    The government should consent to Parliamentary probes and hearings on all issues of graft and scandal that have emerged in recent years, main opposition PASOK's president George Papandreou asserted on Tuesday. He made the statement in response to the latest developments surrounding the Vatopedi Monastery land exchange probe, after two prosecutors in charge of the investigation attempted to resign both from the case and their office.

    "The government is sinking under the weight of its actions while continuing efforts to cover up its responsibility. It has an obligation as Parliamentary majority to accept our proposals for the creation of committees of formal inquiry and investigation into every case of graft and scandal in recent years," he said.

    He also urged the government to make this its final act, "so that the country might go to elections of redemption," and not to elections resulting in a cover up.

    According to Papandreou, the country was in dire need of a responsible and reliable leadership that could lead it out of the biggest political crisis in recent years.

    "This is the demand of the people that we will respond to," he added.

    PASOK's leader then accused the government of "engineering the biggest coup in the justice system since the year's of the junta," in which its constant attempts to control and manipulate justice undermined all sense of democracy or the rule of law.

    He said his party honoured the two prosecutors that "refused the unacceptable intervention of the government agents, who sought to conceal unacceptable, untransparent, illegal actions".

    In addition, Papandreou accused members of the government of coordinated actions "seeking to loot the property of the Greek people".

    "If the government operated on the lines of the most basic democratic principles, the political leadership of all the ministries involved would have resigned long ago," PASOK's leader stressed.

    The government had been forced into a "disorderly retreat" by the resignation of the two prosecutors, he added, but was continuing to attempt hypocritical tactical manoeuvres and had not even withdrawn the "dictatorial" intervention that had led the prosecutors to resign.

    The two prosecutors, Ilias Kolioussis and Eleni Sotiropoulou, submitted their resignations on Tuesday after Appeals Court chief prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos instructed them to continue a probe into the monastery's land deals, even though they had earlier recommended that the case file be sent to Parliament after turning up evidence of possible involvement by ministers in the case. Later the same day, Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis announced that the resignations had not been accepted.

    [06] KKE leader holds press conference on students problems

    A message to young people to "take life into their own hands before they take everything away from us," was outlined by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga during a press conference on Tuesday at the Athens Technological Educational Institute (TEI).

    The press conference formed part of KKE's campaign to highlight the problems faced by TEI students. Papariga underlined that these were directly linked to the economic and political state of the country and outlined her party's proposals for improving TEIs.

    Among others, she said that her party opposed the direction of the Bologna Process, the recognition of private 'Liberal Studies Centres' as equal to Greek state universities and TEI, and the direct or indirect abolition of article 16 of the Greek Constitution, while supporting the right to a single state education system offering free and high-quality education, with measures to protect its graduates.

    In answer to a comment by Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis - who had spoken of a "fashion of school takeovers" - Papariga underlined that protests were not a fashion and accused the minister of trying to discredit and slander protest struggles and of trying to drive a wedge between young people, their parents and working people.

    [07] SYRIZA leader: PM is 'out of touch' with reality

    The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance's parliamentary group held an extroardinary meeting on Tuesday.

    Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos, in statements to the press earlier, said with respect to the global financial crisis that prime minister Costas Karamanlis was "out of touch" with reality, and expressed opposition to the measures for what he the SYRIZA leader called "free money to the bankers" announced by the government.

    [08] Latest Vatopedi development causes judicial, political reverberations

    A decision by two prosecutors assigned the politically charged Vatopedi Monastery land exchange probe to tender their resignations on Tuesday - and a subsequent announcement that the resignations will not be accepted - generated another round of political accusations and counter-accusations.

    In response to the news that prosecutors Ilias Kolioussis and Eleni Sotiropoulou had resigned, Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said their resignations would not be accepted.

    "Government decisions attest to its determination to protect the public interest," the justice minister stressed, pointing out that "since the Vatopedi affair came to light, it has been the government's clear intention to have an in-depth investigation into the case."

    "We are interested in the truth and nothing but the truth," Hatzigakis stressed, adding that "the resignations of the two prosecutors will not be accepted, and we call on them to re-consider and continue to perform their duties independently."

    In a related development, Supreme Court Prosecutor George Sanidas announced that he agreed with the decisions taken by Appeals Court chief prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos, and that the entire Vatopedi case file will be sent to Parliament once the probe was completed and any evidence pointing to liability by ministers had been found.

    He said Karoutsos had been correct when he instructed the two prosecutors in charge of the case - Kolioussis and Sotiropoulou - to continue their preliminary investigation.

    In their letters of resignation, the two prosecutors are reported to have said that the investigation turned up evidence pointing to the involvement of deputy ministers, and that the case should to be sent to Parliament for evaluation.

    On his part, Karoutsos said he had been verbally briefed by the two prosecutors of this conclusion.

    Furthermore, according to Sanidas, the signing of an administrative order by a minister signifies political responsibility but is not necessarily tantamount to criminal liability, which requires specific evidence to be supported.

    "Criminal liability does not arise automatically," he stressed.

    He said Karoutsos had instructed prosecutors to seek the opening of bank accounts belonging to all suspects involved in the case, including employees of the Hellenic Public Real Estate Co. and its board members.

    Political reactions

    On his part, a government spokesman on Tuesday dismissed any claims of "pressure" being exerted on the independent justice system, "(ruling) New Democracy, both as government and when it was the main opposition, respected and respects the judiciary's independence, whereas (main opposition) PASOK, depending on whether it believes [judicial conclusions] are in its interests or not, tries to belittle it."

    Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also accused PASOK of attempting to influence the justice system, in reference to demands by high-ranking PASOK MP Theodoros Pangalos that three ministers -- including Roussopoulos -- be summoned to a Parliament committee of inquiry.

    Meanwhile, a PASOK spokesman referred to direct involvement by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis vis--vis Tuesday's development, adding that the premier is judged by his actions.

    Spokesman George Papanconstantinou also charged that the Vatopedi affair does not only involve relevant ministers, but also the justice minister and the premier. Another PASOK cadre, MP Dinos Roblias, demanded that the prosecutors' resignation letters be made public.

    Asked about the Vatopedi affair, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said her party "has no illusions over what is called the 'justice system'. What is just is unjust because it is adapted to a policy that is unfair to the people ... in economic and political scandals there are judges that can tolerate interventions and others that cannot."

    Finally, a Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) deputy, Fotis Kouvelis, said the resignation of the two prosecutors creates a major political problem, "and the government's responsibility is huge".

    [09] Unanimous election of Papadimitriou to the vice-presidency of IPU

    GENEVA (ANA-MPA)

    Elsa Papadimitriou, Vice-President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Vice-President of the Greek Parliament, was unanimously elected here on Tuesday vice-president of the Union.

    Papadimitriou's election comes on the eve of the election of the new President of IPU, who will succeed for three years outgoing P.F. Casini, by the Executive Committee of the greatest Parliamentary Organisation in the world.

    Outgoing President Casini said that all Papadimitriou's colleagues look forward to dynamic initiatives and effective actions by her.

    Financial News

    [10] National Bank's head expects wave of M&A after crisis ends

    The Greek banking system was strong and resisted the international credit crisis, Takis Arapoglou, National Bank's chairman and chief executive, told reporters in New York on Monday.

    The Greek banker said the Greek banking system did not suffer any damages compared with what happened in other countries. Arapoglou said there was no indication that non-performing loans were rising and stressed that National Bank's business plan for the period 2007-2009 was not revised. He noted that competition was now transfered to capital adequacy, liquidity and portfolio quality and not to conquering additional market shares based on profitability.

    He said that the bank was normally continuing its lending operations to private customers, although he noted that the bank has "tightened its credit criteria" to safeguard its loan portfolio.

    Arapoglou stressed the credit crisis will result to a wave of mergers and acquisitions aimed to boosting revenues through lower operating costs. He noted that high interest rates in the interbank market will need time to return to low levels, a procedure depending on the time needed for markets to regain confidence.

    Foreign institutional investors maintained their positions in National Bank's equity capital (around 53 pct), Arapoglou said, adding that National Bank will have an advantage compared with other large European banks when the conditions in the banking system returned to normal.

    [11] Employment minister on state of economy

    Employment and Social Protection Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said on Tuesday, referring to the international credit crisis, that the Greek economy had great endurances.

    "The Greek economy has great endurances and this was proved with the decisions the government has taken and the entire package that will be announced later by the Inner Cabinet. As regards the real economy, it is certain that the international recession which is appearing will be related to the real economy and, therefore, to unemployment as well," the minister said.

    "As a country and as a government we are preparing ourselves with a series of measures that will concern the issues of employment, unemployment, the linking of training to the needs of the market. Already, as the National Statistical Service publicised, we have a decrease in unemployment in July to 7 percent. This means that we are in the right direction but, of course, in any case we are vigilant and we shall be taking our measures. I would say that we are already taking our measures because our target is for the international crisis not to harm every Greek citizen, every Greek working man," Petralia added.

    [12] PASOK warns against carte blanche for banks

    Main opposition PASOK economy rapporteur Louka Katseli on Wednesday said that Greek taxpayers should not be further burdened by a plan to support the financial and credit system.

    "The Greek taxpayers must in no way bare any extra burdens but, instead, they should gain an important 'stake' from the plan, one aiming at supporting the financial and credit system," Katseli said.

    According to the PASOK official, the global credit crisis "risks harming, in particularly, small and medium businesses and households, who see the faucet of financing closed by the banks, and the cost of borrowing increase tremendously, during a period in which they are feeling the burden of the government's dead-end economic policy."

    "We call on the government, which intends to announce measures aimed at reinforcing Greek banks' liquidity, to guarantee that it will not proceed with support towards private banking institutions in the form of a 'carte blanche' by Greek taxpayers," Katseli noted.

    [13] Union announce Oct. 21 strike; port privatisation decision pending

    Trade union leaders met in Athens Tuesday to coordinate action for an upcoming 24-hour strike announced for Oct. 21 by the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union group, and the civil servants' union ADEDY.

    The two trade union federations decided to call an industrial action in order to express their opposition to the 2009 state budget and to protest against high inflation, as they said.

    Meanwhile, a union representing port workers and stevedores will hold a four-hour work stoppage on Wednesday evening and a subsequent rally outside the Piraeus Port Authority building, where a board of directors meeting inside will, by all accounts, convene to award management of the Piraeus-area Neo Ikonio commercial port to the Chinese multinational Cosco.'

    Cosco was the highest bidder in a relevant international tender to private the port.

    [14] Greek stocks end 2.21 pct higher

    Greek stocks ended 2.21 percent higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, remaining on a recovery trend after European governments unveiled urgent measures to support the banking system on Monday. The composite index ended at 2,561.80 points, off the day's highs, with turnover rising to 278.9 million euros.

    Most sectors moved higher with the Industrial Products (5.89 pct), Chemicals (4.07 pct) and Banks (3.72 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Food/Beverage (3.28 pct), Insurance (1.98 pct) and Healthcare (1.77 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 2.69 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.92 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 3.32 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 206 to 45 with another 35 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.98%

    Industrials: +5.89%

    Commercial: +1.39%

    Construction: +0.09%

    Media: +2.38%

    Oil & Gas: +1.52%

    Personal & Household: +2.99%

    Raw Materials: +2.39%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.99%

    Technology: +1.86%

    Telecoms: +1.90%

    Banks: +3.72%

    Food & Beverages: -3.28%

    Health: -1.77%

    Utilities: +1.47%

    Chemicals: +4.07%

    Financial Services: +0.70%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 13.70

    ATEbank: 2.14

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.00

    HBC Coca Cola: 10.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.26

    National Bank of Greece: 25.00

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 12.40

    Intralot: 5.90

    OPAP: 20.44

    OTE: 10.70

    Bank of Piraeus: 11.90

    Titan Cement Company: 22.36

    [15] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover shrinking to 88.978 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.70 pct, with volume totaling 10,421 contracts worth 74.852 million euros, with 29,985 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,991 contracts worth 13.461 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (2,527), followed by OTE (840), PPC (1,076), Piraeus Bank (868), National Bank (1,860), Alpha Bank (869), Intralot (1,019) and Hellenic Postbank (666).

    [16] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year benchmark Greek and German bond shrank to 0.87 pct in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with turnover at 558 million euros, of which 383 million were buy orders and the remaining 175 million were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 95 million euros, while the 10-year Greek bond yielded 4.93 pct and the German Bund 4.06 pct.

    In money markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.35 pct, the six-month rate 5.29 pct, the three-month rate 5.23 pct and the one-month rate 4.93 pct.

    [17] Foreign Exchange rates: Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.386

    Pound sterling 0.787

    Danish kroner 7.512

    Swedish kroner 9.754

    Japanese yen 142.65

    Swiss franc 1.565

    Norwegian kroner 8.505

    Canadian dollar 1.577

    Australian dollar 1.921

    General News

    [18] Orthodox gathering on Apostle Paul in Rhodes

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will arrive on the Dodecannese island of Rhodes on Wednesday to participate in events celebrating Apostle Paul's Year. He will be accompanied by six prelates, 26 bishops, 19 archmandrites from all Orthodox Churches and a representative of Pope Benedict XVI.

    Metropilitan of Rhodes Kyrillos said in a press conference on Tuesday that the visit follows last week's Orthodox meeting in Istanbul. The prelates are expected to continue the sessions on Apostle Paul at a Rhodes central hotel.

    [19] State television presents Greece's Eurovision bid

    The Greek entry for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow this May, led by successful Greek pop singer Sakis Rouvas in his second stab at the hotly coveted title, was presented by the organisers at the Greek state broadcaster ERT on Tuesday.

    Rouvas said he looked forward to the work ahead and stressed that his past experience would be his greatest asset in this effort.

    According to ERT executive Johnny Kalimeris, the Greek entry was fully prepared and all the participants were "the best in their field".

    They include Fokas Evangelinos, who will supervise the set and choreography and the Greek competition to choose the song that will represent Greece in Moscow. Dimitris Kontopoulos will direct the three songs submitted for the competition and Dimitris Ledakis will be in charge of production.

    ERT public relations director Fotini Giannoulatou announced that the date for the competition to choose the Greek song to be sung by Rouvas had not yet been decided but, in addition to the audience vote, the decision would be partly made by the newly formed National Critics Committee, whose members have not yet been appointed.

    [20] Deputy interior minister presents e-themis

    Deputy Interior Minister Christos Zois on Tuesday stressed the importance of electronic governance while addressing a seminar at the ministry that presented the work done under the "e-themis" project.

    The project, whose full title is "Study and Development of a System for Automating the Management, Filing and Dissemination of Legislation to the Broader Public", is now in the final stages of completion and seeks to ensure full access to all Greek laws on the Internet.

    [21] Illegal migrant arrests

    Fifty nine illegal migrants without travel documents were arrested by the Coast Guard in the sea regions of the islands of Farmakonisi, Samos and Corfu while boat patrols have intensified near illegal migration "high risk" islands following orders by Coast Guard Chief Vice-Admiral Theodoros Rentzeperis.

    According to their testimonies, those arrested on the Aegean Sea islands of Farmakonisi and Samos had originated from the nearby Turkish coasts on board small boats, while the rest who had disembarked on the Ionian Sea island of Corfu came from neighboring Albania and had reached the sea region of Porto Afiona on board a speedboat that was seized by authorities.

    Based on official information from the ministry of merchant marine, a total of 10,659 illegal migrants and 173 traffickers were arrested by the Coast Guard between January and September 2008.

    During the same period, the Coast Guard arrested 289 individuals involved in 223 drug-trafficking cases and seized 182 kilos of processed and unprocessed cannabis, 39 hashish cigarettes, 64 kilos of hash oil, 25 kilos of heroin, 1.390 grams of cocaine and hundreds of narcotic pills.

    [22] Study: Vast majority of residents in Greece satisfied with quality of housing

    Figures provided by the National Statistical Service (NSS) on Monday show that 18.2 percent of household heads are very satisfied with the quality of the residence, while 68.9 percent said they are merely satisfied.

    Conversely, 12.9 percent of respondents said they are mostly dissatisfied with the quality of their domicile.

    Based on the study, 21.5 percent of those queried state that their residence is not spacious enough; 5.5 percent complain of inadequate electrical installations and 7.5 percent of inadequate plumbing.

    Also, 71.8 percent of respondents' residences have central heating, while 11 percent do not have a permanent heating system.

    [23] Free seminars for immigrants on electronic computers

    The Athens municipality's Intercultural Centre of the Aliens Department and Microsoft-Hellas announced during a press conference on Tuesday the operation of the "Unlimited Possibilities" Centre, with the participation of the ECDL Hellas Certification Agency. The programme's management has been assumed by the Greek Information Scientists Network (EDEP).

    The aim of the initiative is the providing of free educational seminars and certification in accordance with the ECDL model in the use of electronic computers for immigrants, offering them in essence new possibilities in the process of seeking employment, something that strengthens their cohesion with the wider social fabric in the long term.

    One of the first students of the programme outlined his initial experience of the seminars provided at the Centre, whose operation began on October 6.

    The Athens programme is expected to last until 2010 and it has been estimated that about 150 people will be trained.

    [24] Physician receives suspended sentence for leaving instrument in patient

    A gynecologist, accused of leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient during routine surgery more than two years ago, on Tuesday received a 12-month suspended sentence by a court in Serres, northern Greece, after being found guilty of negligence.

    Three of his assistants during the surgery, performed at the Serres Hospital in January 2005, were also found guilty (two intern physicians and a nurse) and received a 10-month sentence each.

    According to prosecution, the patient was rushed back to the hospital a week after being released following surgery due to acute abdominal pains. An X-ray revealed a 24-cm-long instrument, weighing 160 grams, in her abdomen, which was successfully removed.

    [25] Antiquities smuggling charges filed against Thessaloniki men

    Two Thessaloniki-area men, 44 and 41, were arrested Monday on antiquities smuggling charges, after allegedly attempting to sell various items for 400,000 in the Sindos industrial district, east of the city.

    A subsequent search of the suspects' residences by police reportedly turned up at least two ancient marbles busts, gold-plated leaves, bronze and silver rings, dozens of bronze artifacts, clay lanterns and ancient coins.

    Additionally, 19 stamps of various public entities -- prefectures, a local tax office and even vehicle inspection units -- along with forged certificates were also uncovered.

    [26] Drug arrests in Sparta and Tripolis

    Police, acting on a tip-off, arrested four people in Sparta, southern Greece, on drug charges after a search in two houses revealed quantities of hashish, heroin and cocaine as well as a large sum of money.

    In Tripolis, also in southern Greece, police arrested an individual for possession of 1,600 grams of hashish.

    [27] Tram work stoppages on Thursday

    Athens Trams drivers will hold a work stoppage on Thursday.

    Specifically, on Thursday, the employees have announced two work stoppages from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., seeking the satisfaction of insitutional and economic demands.

    [28] Strong earthquake jolts Evia.

    A strong earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale jolted Evia before dawn on Tuesday.

    The quake, recorded at 5:o6 am, struck in the sea region of the coastal town of Mantoudi, causing panic but no injuries.

    No damages were immediately reported.

    [29] Patras man charged in child porn case

    A 25-year-old student from Patras, western Greece, was arrested by the electronic crimes police unit on Tuesday on charges of possesing and distributing child pornography materials over the internet.

    According to information provided by Interpol, the suspect's electronic traces were allegedly found on a Swiss website supplying hardcore child pornography material to internet users in 78 countries. The suspect is accused of paying 500 euros to receive the sexually explicit material after contacting the website's operator, police said.

    Weather Forecast

    [30] Cloudy on Wednesday

    Cloudy weather with northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 7C and 27C. Fair in Athens, with 3-4 beaufort northwesterly winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 26C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 11C to 24C.

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

    The positive impact on markets after the Eurozone countries' summit decisions on the credit crisis and the US government's measures dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Spectacular rise in stockmarkets".

    APOGEVMATINI: The newspaper presents the Social Security Foundation (IKA) pension rates that will be applied in 2009.

    AVGHI: "1.5 trillion euros the value of the europackage of support".

    AVRIANI: "Unprecedent liquidity in Greek banks despite the international credit crisis".

    CHORA: "Fever over banks with mergers and acquisitions".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Ruling New Democracy party's organised supporters' severe scolding to ministers".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Leaderships take action with 1.3 trillion euros buffer".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: " 1.3 trillion euros support to banks- Markets take first deep breath - Farewell to 2010 Stability Pact".

    ESTIA: "Capitalism is not collapsing, it is being reformed, purified and getting better".

    ETHNOS : "They opened up the treasure chests - The State returns and saves Europe and America".

    KATHIMERINI: "Credit crisis ebbs - The European stockmarkets and Wall Street up 11 percent".

    LOGOS: "Breather for the international economy "

    NIKI: "As the government has no plan for the next day, the people fear worse days to come".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Working classes must speak up and react - European Union takes decisions on the administration of the crisis ".

    TA NEA: "The 'euro' reductions in bank interest rates a useless 'gift', as banks will recoup the losses with 'burning' interest on loans".

    TO VIMA: "The 'Brown model' resuscitated the international markets".

    VRADYNI: "Good start, but the road is long - International markets take deep breath after European countries' agreement".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [32] Christofias briefs Barroso on current Cyprus talks

    BRUSSELS (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    President of the European Commission Jose Mannuel Barroso met Tuesday in Brussels Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, to whom he expressed his full support for the ongoing efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    In statements to journalists after his meeting with Barosso, President Christofias said they agreed that Brussels would offer its expertise and know-how in issues concerning the implementation of the acquis communautaire in areas which will be under Turkish Cypriot administration in a federal reunited Cyprus, which is the goal of the current peace talks between Christofias and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

    ''I agreed with Mr Barroso that when the talks reach a point of progress and before we begin discussions on EU issues and the implementation of the acquis communautaire in the area which is now occupied by Turkish troops, we will ask for their expertise'', President Christofias said.

    He added that Protocol 10 of the EU Accession Treaty of the Republic of Cyprus offers the basis for that.

    ''The basis is Protocol 10. Cyprus has joined the EU (in 2004) and all its territory is part of the Union. The issue here is how to implement the acquis communautaire in the area which will be under Turkish Cypriot administration in the context of a federation'', he said.

    President Christofias said ''Barroso is genuinely interested and I believe that when we ask for assistance - and I would like this to be done together with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat - Barroso will have this help, this expertise, under his responsibility, regardless of which services will be involved'', President Christofias said.

    He added that Barroso expressed his full support for the ongoing process.

    ''I briefed him about developments'', President Christofias said, adding that Barroso has expressed ''his interest in the course of the talks and reiterated his support to the process''.

    President Christofias and Talat began direct negotiations in September this year with a view to find an agreed settlement that will reunite Cyprus, which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Christofias and Barroso also discussed the problems a severe drought has caused in Cyprus, including problems to the country's ecosystem and the economy.

    The president asked Barroso for his help in dealing with the problem of drought, and said that the EU could contribute to the creation of the necessary infrastructure to deal with the consequences of the continuous drought.

    ''Our ecosystem is in danger. A plan should be prepared to deal with the problem'', he said, adding that the help of the EU in this is needed.

    He noted that Cyprus is the first EU country which has come up with this request and expressed hope that the EU would respond positively.

    [33] Cyprus President: Negotiations for a Cyprus settlement will be difficult

    LARNACA (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias said here Tuesday that negotiations aiming at settling the Cyprus question will be difficult, adding that as the Greek Cypriot side's interlocutor he will defend the fundamental principles on which the settlement of the Cyprus problem will be based.

    In statements at Larnaca airport before leaving for Brussels, where he will attend the European Council to be held October 15-16, and responding to a question on direct negotiations on the Cyprus question, Christofias said that there can be no assessments about the possible results of this effort after only a few meetings between him and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    "A lot of meetings will take place because there are a lot of pending aspects of the Cyprus questions, which are difficult ones, due to Turkey's stance," he added.

    Christofias said that he will "defend the fundamental principles on which the settlement of the Cyprus question will be based, the rights of the people, to have a really united Cyprus, a federal Cyprus as provided by the High Level Agreements, with political equality, as has been defined by the UN."

    The Cypriot President said that a lot of discussions will have to take place so that all these are implemented and it is through these potential disagreements and different views that he hopes that they will reach a settlement that will serve the well-perceived interests of the Cyprus people and not of the foreigners.

    [34] Cyprus economy still intact from world crisis, says President Christofias

    LARNACA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has expressed the belief that global financial crisis would leave Cyprus economy intact.

    In statements Tuesday at Larnaca airport before his departure for Brussels to participate in the European Council, President Christofias expressed the wish "this crisis would not hit our country".

    "We feel, at the moment at least, intact" he noted and expressed the belief that "the global financial crisis would leave Cyprus completely intact".

    "Of course", he added, "there is also the real economy which is an issue EU must address, because economy does not mean sell and buy money. It also means industrial production, services as well as many other things".

    He stressed that "we will examine the possible indirect effects on our real economy as regards tourism, constructions and various other issues".

    "We have already decided with the Finance Minister to study these issues very specifically and without any panic", he pointed out.

    He stressed that "Cyprus should not panic about anything. We should address the possible situation calmly and without thoughtless moves as a result of panic".

    So far, under discussion in Cyprus is the possibility the global crisis to have an impact on the economy, which does not face any problem for the time being, he clarified.

    Referring to the issues the European Council will discuss, President Christofias said that the main issue is the "global financial crisis and the EU role in overcoming it".

    As he added, the fifteen member states of the Eurozone "have already taken some decisions and issued a declaration, which I think it will be the base for the decision of the European Council in relation to this issue".

    "The international financial market is being revived after this decision," he added.

    He also said, "The immigration issue will also be discussed, while a document has already been prepared by the ministers of interior at a previous meeting".

    [35] House President backs decision to cancel military exercises

    LIMASSOL (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian fully backed on Tuesday a decision by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias to cancel military exercises, code-named ''Nikiforos''.

    Garoyian said he had been informed about the decision by President Christofias himself, noting that this was not the first time such decisions had been taken during negotiations for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    ''It was a diplomatic move which had to be made at the specific circumstance, which received not only favourable comments but also the support of the international community,'' he said, adding that the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus are not negotiable.

    Garoyian pointed out that the military exercises of the Turkish occupation army are illegal because Turkey is illegally occupying part of the island, which is against international law and UN decisions and resolutions.

    Commenting on the Turkish side's decision to cancel its military exercises ''Taurus'', Garoyian said this did not mean an upgrading of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, adding that the essence was that the Turkish troops would not be carrying out their exercises.

    Referring to the ongoing talks between President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to find a Cyprus settlement, Garoyian said it was too early to extract any conclusions, noting however that the first signs from the Turkish side are disappointing because no moves have been made to make the dialogue more substantive.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Christofias and Talat have been engaged in talks since early September with a view to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite Cyprus.

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


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