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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-18

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

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

Saturday, 18 October 2008 Issue No: 3024

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM, ECB's Trichet on credit crisis, eurozone economies
  • [02] PM's visit to Trichet 'communications trick' PASOK says
  • [03] PASOK agrees with investigation committee on Vatopedi
  • [04] Culture minister on Vatopedi land deal involving monument site
  • [05] KKE on Vatopedi Monastery affair
  • [06] Justice minister on PASOK lawsuit
  • [07] Papandreou meets with visiting Serbian First Deputy PM Dacic
  • [08] Plane despatched to bring President back from Vietnam after airbus malfunction
  • [09] Commission: EU will react if US does not expand visa waiver program
  • [10] FM on establishment of diplomatic ties between Syria and Lebanon
  • [11] Gov't: Bank support measures not 'carte blanche'
  • [12] Greek industries urge urgent implementation of gov't reforms
  • [13] Trade deficit down 1.6 bln euros in Jan-July
  • [14] Farm import prices up 15.2% in Aug.
  • [15] Altec Telecoms to file for bankruptcy
  • [16] "Kosmima exhibition" in Thessaloniki
  • [17] Greek stocks plunged 6.11 pct on Friday
  • [18] ADEX closing report
  • [19] Greek bond market closing report
  • [20] Foreign Exchange rates: Saturday/Monday
  • [21] Alexandria event on Alexander the Great
  • [22] Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis event in Seoul
  • [23] Education Minister Stylianidis visits Crete
  • [24] Austria awards Greek officers in EURO 2008 Football Championship
  • [25] Greek language teaching for immigrants
  • [26] Illegals intercepted in 4 separate instances off Lesvos
  • [27] Police arrests in Thessaloniki
  • [28] Cloudy and showery on Saturday
  • [29] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [30] Positions reconfirmed during Christofias-Brown meeting
  • [31] Cyprus government satisfied with Obama statements, but specific actions required
  • [32] Cyprus House President to visit Greece Politics

  • [01] PM, ECB's Trichet on credit crisis, eurozone economies

    The continuing turmoil on the credit markets and the current state of global as well as the euro zone and Greek economies were at the focus of discussions on Friday between Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean-Claude Trichet and Vice-President Loukas Papademos in Frankfurt.

    In statements to the press afterwards, Karamanlis stressed that developments in the international were unprecedented in the post-war period, adding that the major credit crisis coincided with the sub-prime crisis in the US, both in tandem with the rise in global inflation, a dangerous combination for most of the countries of the world.

    Karamanlis also stressed that the impact of the credit crisis had spread to Europe through the interdependence in today's world, resulting in the liquidity problems on both the European interbank market and in the operation of European banks.

    The premier expressed satisfaction, however, with the concerted and decisive way in which the EU leadership has acted in the past few days.

    "We adopted a broad plan, which contains a series of measures, the goal of which is to restore the citizens' and investors' confidence in the banking system," he said, noting that the plan guarantees the liquidity of the banks so that they may continue to carry out their role. "These measures have already brought results, as the interest rates on the interbank market have started to decline," he elaborated.

    Regarding the role of the ECB, Karamanlis described it as "particularly positive', noting that "from the very first moment, under the guidance of its president, Mr. Trichet, it provided substantial liquidity to the banking system".

    He said the European Central Bank had displayed full comprehension of its wider role in the course of the European economy, and expressed his conviction that the ECB, in cooperation with the EU governments, would continue to contribute decisively to improvement of the standard of living of Europe and its citizens.

    Karamanlis further said that he briefed Trichet on the decisions taken by the Greek government, and particularly the legislation of a minimum guarantee on deposits, as well as on its political commitment for full guarantee of the savings of depositors in banks operating in Greece.

    He also briefed the ECB chief on the programme for fortifying the Greek credit system which, the premier stressed, provides the necessary guarantees for the medium-term borrowing of the credit institutions, but stressed, however, the strict conditions and continuous monitoring by the State of all banks entering the credibility restoration program.

    Karamanlis told Trichet that the weaker social strata needed to be helped, and noted that the governor of the Bank of Greece, George Provopoulos, who accompanied the premier to the meeting, was in constant contact with the ECB.

    Mutual briefing in such crisis instances was absolutely necessary, as developments were progressing rapidly and allowed for not one hour of delay, Karamanlis said, and expressed his conviction that the good cooperation between the Greek side and Trichet and Papademos would continue.

    Also present at the meeting were foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis as well as Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos.

    [02] PM's visit to Trichet 'communications trick' PASOK says

    A visit by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) Jean-Claude Trichet was on Friday dismissed as a "communications trick using the credit crisis," by main opposition PASOK.

    PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou pointed out that Karamanlis was the only European Union leader to visit Trichet and outline the support package for the banking system.

    He also urged the government to reconsider the 28 billion euros package for the support of the banking system and to link this with the real economy, to withdraw the latest tax measures and introduce a new draft budget that accepted PASOK proposals for a solidarity benefit, heating benefit and the return of VAT to farmers.

    [03] PASOK agrees with investigation committee on Vatopedi

    Main opposition PASOK on Friday said that it would vote in favour of ruling New Democracy's proposal for a Parliamentary investigation committee to look into the Vatopedi Monastery land deals but insisted on the need for a Preliminary Examination Committee as well.

    PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou stressed that PASOK would vote in favour of both because "we are not afraid of anything, we want things fully cleared up and will give alibis to no one."

    He also urged the other opposition parties and ruling New Democracy MPs to support PASOK's proposal so that the offences to be investigated would not go unpunished.

    A similar announcement was made earlier on Friday in Parliament by PASOK Parliamentary spokesman Evangelos Venizelos, who also stressed the need for a Preliminary Examination Committee that could examine the case before the present Parliamentary session ended, after which all acts committed up until the year 2007 would be effectively statute-barred.

    "PASOK wants the issue examined fully and in depth. But the investigation of acts before 2004 is essentially political. We want everything checked. We will gladly vote for ND's proposal calling for the formation of Investigation Committee," Venizelos said. At the same time, he urged ND to attend next Friday's session when PASOK's proposal will be debated in Parliament and not walk out in fear of a rebellion by back benchers in the secret ballot.

    According to Venizelos, PASOK would like the two committees to operate concurrently "so that they can act in a coordinated way and speedily attribute responsibilities."

    [04] Culture minister on Vatopedi land deal involving monument site

    Responding to charges from main opposition PASOK, Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis clarified in Parliament on Friday that the law for the protection of archaeological sites does not currently allow the ministry to intervene in exchanges of land on which there are listed monuments, except when the owners attempt a change of land use or to alter the monument in some way.

    Liapis was replying to accusations that his ministry had failed to take action to prevent a land exchange between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery, in which state-owned land containing an archaeological site was traded with land of disputed ownership.

    The minister said that laws passed by PASOK governments in 2002 provided protection to monuments regardless of ownership and transferred any restrictions arising from their protected status after their sale.

    "The law punishes the sale of monuments without approval, not the sale of real estate on which the monuments stand, as is the case in this instance," he added.

    He also rejected opposition arguments that the above case was an exception to this rule, since it involved the exchange of state-owned land that contained a monument.

    "You cannot have a la carte laws, with different things applying for the public sector and different things for private individuals. If you think that the archaeological service should intervene in every property sale, table your proposal and let the citizens know," he said.

    [05] KKE on Vatopedi Monastery affair

    A statement issued by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Friday condemned what it called efforts by ruling New Democracy (ND), main opposition PASOK and the mass media to "entrap the major Vatopedi Monastery scandal in a dilemma of Parliamentary investigation committee versus preliminary examination committee."

    According to a KKE statement, the communist party has quickly pointed at the political character of the scandal and political responsibility on behalf of the governments of ND and PASOK, adding that it has stated that it will support parliamentary procedures that can contribute to bringing all aspects of the case into light.

    [06] Justice minister on PASOK lawsuit

    "Legally, politically and institutionally is an unsound move," commented Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis referring to the lawsuit submitted by main opposition PASOK party against Supreme Court Prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas and Appellate Court Chief Prosecutor Kiriakos Karoutsos.

    Hatzigakis added that the lawsuit submitted constitutes a "clear intimidation effort targeting the judiciary" which reflects PASOK's view that "Justice should be to the service of political parties". "PASOK seeks to create impressions using cheap means and attempts to engage in unethical manipulation of Justice by undermining one of the foundations of Democracy, the independent judiciary," he stressed.

    [07] Papandreou meets with visiting Serbian First Deputy PM Dacic

    Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou met with visiting Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic on Friday.

    Papandreou underlined from the Benaki Museum in Athens, where the meeting took place, that the SI has contributed to the establishment of a new government in Serbia, characterizing its direction as "clear cut" and stressing that it is an "alliance government" with a European, democratic and social-democratic orientation.

    Papandreou stated that the Serbian government will have "considerable success" in its EU accession effort and stressed that PASOK will firmly support this endeavor, pointing out that this will benefit Serbia and the wider Balkan region.

    Papandreou and Dacic discussed Balkan issues, the international financial crisis and the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) accession course into the Socialist International.

    [08] Plane despatched to bring President back from Vietnam after airbus malfunction

    Da Nang (ANA-MPA/S. Tzimas)

    An Olympic Airways (OA) airplane has been despatched from Athens to Da Nang to bring back Greek president Karolos Papoulias and a 180-member delegation back to the Greek capital, after an OA A-340 airbus flight that was due to depart Da Nang for the return, via Hanoi, was aborted before lift-off when the pilot cabin's instrument panel indicated a malfunction in one of the plane's four engines.

    The OA Boeing 737, which was due to reach Da Nang at approximately 7:00 p.m. local time (3:00 p.m. Greek time), was also carrying parts necessary for repair of the airbus.

    Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet, with whom Papoulias held talks on Monday at the start of his four-day state visit to Vietnam, was due to arrive in Da Nang from Hanoi at noon for a second meeting with the Greek president, taking advantage of the delay.

    OA technicians on board the airbus were carrying out the repairs.

    [09] Commission: EU will react if US does not expand visa waiver program

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    The European Commission is ready to take punitive measures against the United States if Washington fails to meets its commitment to include other EU nations in the so-called "Visa Waiver Program" until the end of the year, a spokesman for EU Commissioner Jacques Barrot said here on Friday.

    In response to a press question during a regular briefing, spokesman Michele Cercone emphasised that there is a clear commitment on the part of the outgoing Bush administration to include other EU states in the program.

    "We are waiting for the United States to fulfill this commitment," he said, warning that the Union would consider reprisals, such as mandating the issuance of visas for holders of US diplomatic passports.

    Cercone said the Union does not want to see this situation drag on, as US citizens travel freely on the European continent while Europeans need visas to enter the United States.

    In reference to Greece, the only member of the previous EU-15 not included on the visa waiver program, the spokesman said he could not forejudge any decision by the Bush administration before it is announced.

    However, he said that if Greece remains outside the waiver program then the Commission will examine Athens' reaction.

    Widespread media speculation in Greece over the past month claims that the Bush administration reneged on promises to include the east Mediterranean EU and NATO member-state in the visa waiver program, with a foreign ministry spokesman touching on the matter only days ago.

    Spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Wednesday repeated that "the Greek side expresses a hope that this will not be an irreversible decision."

    Asked whether Greece's exclusion from the visa waiver program qualifies as some sort of "retribution" by the outgoing Bush administration for certain aspects of the Greek foreign policy, Koumoutsakos echoed Greek leadership's previous statements, namely, "Greece neither comprehends nor accepts the application of pressure tactics between allies."

    [10] FM on establishment of diplomatic ties between Syria and Lebanon

    Greece hailed on Friday the establishment of diplomatic ties between Syria and Lebanon as "an important positive development".

    According to a foreign ministry press release, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said:

    "Greece hails the establishment of diplomatic ties between Syria and Lebanon. This decision constitutes an important positive development for the normalisation of relations between the two countries, as well as for the stability in the region.

    "Greece, along with its partners in the European Union, will continue to actively support and with consistency the efforts for the further improvement of Syrian-Lebanese relations and the restoration of a climate of mutual trust, to the benefit of peace, cooperation and prosperity of the two peoples, with which it maintains strong historic bonds of friendship."

    Financial News

    [11] Gov't: Bank support measures not 'carte blanche'

    "The state does not support banks and bankers but the entire banking system," Deputy Economy Minister Yannis Papathanasiou stressed on Friday, during an address in Parliament.

    Responding to a current question by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos over a resurgent state's presence in the financial sector, Papathanasiou said recently announced measures aim to boost liquidity in the domestic banking system, in order to problems with competitiveness and interest rate hikes.

    The deputy minister also underlined that the measures are not in the form of a "carte blanche", adding that banks wishing to make use of favorable terms must first accept the state's terms and veto power, while they will also have to slash senior executives' remuneration.

    On his part, Alavanos suggested that local banks that cannot withstand the pressure of the international credit crisis should be nationalised, if such a move will benefit the economy.

    He also stated that the 28 billion euros earmarked for support of the banking system accounts for more than funds earmarked for Greece in the 4th CSF.

    [12] Greek industries urge urgent implementation of gov't reforms

    The Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) on Friday urged for the urgent implementation of all government measures to deal with the effects of an international credit crisis, in order for the economy to rebound.

    In a statement, SEB said any delay in implementing the government's reforms would risk leading the real economy into a deep recession, with immeasurable consequences for growth, employment, the national debt and the country's future.

    The Federation noted that the domestic market was already suffering from a lack of liquidity, with banks reluctant to lend each other, thus turning squeezing funding to thousands of businesses.

    It also stressed that the Greek banking system's wise attitude, to avoid so-called "toxic" bonds, safeguarded both the system and the Greek economy from the most violent effects of the global credit crisis.

    [13] Trade deficit down 1.6 bln euros in Jan-July

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    Greece's trade deficit totaled 21.4 billion euros in the January-July period this year, down by 1.6 billion euros compared with the corresponding period in 2007, Eurostat said on Friday.

    The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said Greek exports totaled 10.1 billion euros in the seven-month period, while imports totaled 31.5 billion euros, with exports up 2.0 pct and imports down 4.0 pct compared with the same period last eyar.

    Eurostat said Germany (116.9 bln) and the Netherlands (25.5 bln) recorded the biggest trade surplus in the EU-27, while the UK (72.7 bln), Spain (58.1 bln), France (37.2 bln) and Greece (21.4 bln) the biggest trade deficits.

    Eurozone recorded a trade shortfall of 9.3 billion euros with the rest of the world, while the EU-27 a trade deficit of 27.2 billion euros.

    [14] Farm import prices up 15.2% in Aug.

    Greek farm import prices jumped 15.2 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, while the farm export price index rose by 7.7 percent in the same month, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said energy/oils (28.9 pct), fertilizers (42.1 pct), stock feed (19.2 pct) recorded the biggest percentage increase in the import price index, while seeds (38 pct), industrial plants (21.4 pct) and wine (9.5 pct) the biggest percentage increases in the export price index.

    [15] Altec Telecoms to file for bankruptcy

    Altec Telecoms announced in a press release on Friday that it would file for bankruptcy later in the day due to "risk of financial inability", in accordance with Article 3, Paragraph 2 of the Bankruptcy Code.

    Altec also announced, however, that it intended to submit to the bankruptcy court, within the legal deadlines, a draft plan for reorganization of the company aimed at salvaging and streamlining ALTEC and its better exploitation.

    [16] "Kosmima exhibition" in Thessaloniki

    The 23rd "Kosmima" exhibition opens at the International Exhibition centre in Thessaloniki, northern Greece on Friday.

    The exhibition, which is a meeting point for the friends of jewelry and gems, will run through October 20.

    A total of 189 exhibitors from 13 countries are participating in "Kosmima", during which extraordinary pieces and ultra modern gold silver craft machinery from Europe, Asia,and America will be dispayed.

    The awards ceremony will take place on Sunday at 1:00 in the afternoon.

    [17] Greek stocks plunged 6.11 pct on Friday

    Greek stocks suffered another heavy blow in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, in sharp contrast with a positive climate in other European markets. The composite index plunged 6.11 pct to end at 2,117.41 points, reversing an early 3.48 pct gain. Turnover was a strong 373.8 million euros, of which 10.6 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved lower, with the exception of the Food/Beverage sector which ended 3.44 pct higher. Banks (10.07 pct), Healthcare (9.30 pct), Constructions (8.11 pct) and Industrial Products (6.07 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index dropped 7.40 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 4.71 pct down and the FTSE 80 index eased 3.33 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 217 to 28 with another 37 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.80%

    Industrials: -6.07%

    Commercial: -3.01%

    Construction: -8.11%

    Media: -2.79%

    Oil & Gas: -2.04%

    Personal & Household: -0.38%

    Raw Materials: -4.47%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.12%

    Technology: -3.49%

    Telecoms: -1.61%

    Banks: -10.07%

    Food & Beverages: +3.44%

    Health: -9.30%

    Utilities: -4.17%

    Chemicals: -1.06%

    Financial Services: -5.07%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 9.96

    ATEbank: 1.86

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.14

    HBC Coca Cola: 9.86

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.38

    National Bank of Greece: 17.80

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.54

    Intralot: 4.30

    OPAP: 19.20

    OTE: 9.80

    Bank of Piraeus: 9.62

    Titan Cement Company: 15.98

    [18] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover rising to 133.190 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.11 pct, while volume totaled 19,496 contracts worth 115.454 million euros, with 29,841 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 16,244 contracts worth 16.742 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,479), followed by Eurobank (779), Marfin Investment Group (827), OTE (986), Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (507), Alpha Bank (1,074), Marfin Popular Bank (1,448), Ellaktor (1,089) and Intralot (927).

    [19] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank significantly to 0.71 pct in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Friday, with turnover at 909 million euros, of which 420 million were buy orders and the remaining 489 million were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 676 million euros, with the Greek bond yielding 4.85 pct and the German Bund 4.04 pct.

    In money markets, interbank rates moved further down. The 12-month Euribor rate fell to 5.20 pct, the six-month rate 5.11 pct, the three-month rate 5.04 pct and the one-month rate 4.90 pct.

    [20] Foreign Exchange rates: Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.351

    Pound sterling 0.781

    Danish kroner 7.511

    Swedish kroner 10.099

    Japanese yen 136.65

    Swiss franc 1.533

    Norwegian kroner 8.966

    Canadian dollar 1.606

    Australian dollar 1.977

    General News

    [21] Alexandria event on Alexander the Great

    ALEXANDRIA (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    The life and times of Alexandrer the Great was presented on Thursday night at the Alexandria Library (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), during a lecture by writer/director Nikos Sofianos, who has devoted decades to a step-by-step cinematographical documentation of the great Macedon general's course throughout the entire geographical region, from Pella to the Indies, to Alexandria and the Orient.

    The lecture, held at the Library's conference center in cooperation with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), is part of an initiative by SAE president Stefanos Tamvakis to inform the world public on the life of Alexander the Great, not only the Greeks abroad, but more so the local societies and peoples in the far reaches of the Macedon leader's sojourn.

    The Alexandria-descended Tamvakis, addressing the event, said that "for us Alexandrians, Alexander the Great is not just an important figure who changed the course of history, but something much deeper, which accompanies us from the day we are born, and gives us courage, strength and pride".

    In today's world, where even that which is self-evident becomes the object of political and historical distortions, "our duty is, with level-headedness and patience, and systematically, to convey the knowledge about the Greek general from our Macedonia, who with his human-wide and multi-cultural pollicy, was the first to spread and convey Hellenis and its values to all corners of the world".

    [22] Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis event in Seoul

    In commemoration of the International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis' 20th anniversary this year, the group unveiled its own website www.amis-kazantzaki.gr and the first-ever conference on Kazantzakis ever held in Korea.

    The foundation, established in Geneva on Dec.14, 1988, created the website with the purpose of offering information to the public on the life and works of the renowned 20th century Greek writer, along with a bibliography, copies of studies by Kazantzakis scholars and activities undertaken by the foundation.

    A conference entitled "Life and Work of Nikos Kazantzakis" will be held in Seoul, South Korea on Oct. 30 in cooperation with the embassy of Greece and a number of local universities, including Hankuk University.

    Meanwhile, on Nov. 27, a special event will be held in the University of Geneva, where Eleni Kazantzaki and a handful of the writer's admirers founded the society in 1988.

    The Jean-Gabriel Eynard Greek-Swiss Association, the Greek Association of Geneva, and the local ethnic Greek community will be among those who will pay tribute to Kazantzakis, during a literary event held under the auspices of the Greek general consulate.

    Finally, the individuals and institutions that have offered their assistance to the Friends of Kazantzakis through the past 20 years will be honored in a formal event to be held in Athens on Dec. 10.

    Among the honorees will be the foreign ministries of France and Greece, the Greek Press Offices abroad, former Cypriot minister of culture and education Klairi Angelidou.

    [23] Education Minister Stylianidis visits Crete

    National Education and Religious Affairs Minister Evripidis Stylianidis on Friday visited Rethymno, Crete.

    After visiting a newly built primary school and kindergarten, he said that the Education Ministry has secured credits totalling 32 million euros which concern 37 projects for the prefecture of Rethymno.

    The minister announced that there will be a special financing of one million euros of the local and prefectural administration for the preservation of buildings or the upgrading of historic schools and the building of eight new kindergartens which will fully cover the needs of the prefecture.

    [24] Austria awards Greek officers in EURO 2008 Football Championship

    Austrian Ambassador to Greece Michael Linhart has delivered to Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos award certificates for Greek officers who had assisted Austria during the EURO 2008 European Football Championship.

    According to an Austrian embassy press release, "the EURO 2008 ended in June after three exciting and eventful weeks of many friendly encounters, providing enthusiastic fans with interesting matches and numerous cultural events. It was a nation uniting football festival in the heart of Europe and for the first time such an event had been organised with Austria's neighbouring country, Switzerland.

    "At least 2.4 million fans attended the matches without any serious incidents taking place. The assistance of 12 Greek officers was an invaluable contribution to the succes of the games," the press release said.

    The Austrian Ambassador thanked Pavlopoulos "for the Greek officers' exceptional support and expressed the hope that successful cooperation will be continued in many other fields."

    [25] Greek language teaching for immigrants

    The Education ministry's Special Management Service has announced a new invitation for the submission of proposals in the framework of the beginning of the new period of the Operational Programme "Education and Lifelong Learning 2007-2013."

    The ministry announced the invitation on "Education for immigrants in the Greek language, Greek history and Greek culture" to the Adults Continuous Education Institute of the General Lifelong Learning Secretariat.

    In this context, actions are financed regarding the training of immigrants in the Greek language, history and culture that leads to the acquisition of the A2 level Greek Language Certificate that is essential, according to Greek legislation, for immigrants to be included in the longterm residence status.

    These actions are budgeted at 6,900,000 euros and appeal to all immigrants, citizens of the European Union and third country nationals from the age of 16 and above without any discrimination and regardless of their labour status with the purpose of achieving the immigrants' active social accession.

    [26] Illegals intercepted in 4 separate instances off Lesvos

    A total of 80 illegal immigrants were intercepted by the Greek coast guard over the past 24 hours (Thursday-Friday) off the large eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, including 13 minors.

    In all four instances, authorities said the illegals, all of whom were identified as hailing from Third World countries, had disembarked from the opposite Turkish coast.

    In one instance, off a sea region known as "Tomaronissia", a 34-year-old man amongst the illegals was charged as a migrant smuggler, as he piloted the wooden craft loaded with 21 individuals.

    In the other three instances, the separate groups of illegal migrants destroyed the inflatable dinghies transporting them upon sighting Greek territory, a more-or-less "modus operandi" used to prevent Greek authorities from forcing their craft back into Turkish waters.

    [27] Police arrests in Thessaloniki

    Three people, a Greek woman and two Albanian men, were arrested in Thessaloniki accused of having turned their apartment into a drug packaging lab. Police found and seized roughly 50 kilos of hashish, 80 grams of cocaine and a packaging device.

    In a separate raid in Thessaloniki, police seized an array of weapons, most of them used in martial arts, discovered in one of the tens of stores selling Chinese goods in the western part of the city and arrested its owner, a 36-year-old Chinese woman. Police seized 2,350 air guns, 317 collectible weapons like swords and fencing foils, 107 shooting lenses, 143 folding sticks and 95 wood and iron truncheons.

    Also in Thessaloniki, a 33-year-old Bulgarian national was arrested accused of using forged bank ATM cash cards. The Bulgarian and his accomplice, who managed to flee, were spotted outside a bank while attempting to make a cash withdrawal and two police officers were injured in the process of arresting them. Police found and seized 37 card clones.

    Weather Forecast:

    [28] Cloudy and showery on Saturday

    Cloudy and showery weather with northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 25C. Cloudy with possible showers in Athens, with 2-3 beaufort light winds and temperatures ranging from 12C to 25C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 21C.

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

    The rumors of a government reshuffle after the developments on the Vatopedi monastery case dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' interview in Brussels: "No early general elections, government reshuffle is my prerogative".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Enigma over the reshuffle - Karamanlis ruled out early general elections but left open the possiblility of a reshuffle".

    AVGHI: "Karamanlis sends from Brussels a cover-up order before the setting up of a parliamentary fact-finding commission on the Vatopedi case".

    AVRIANI: "The culprits who milked billions from the Athens Stock Exchange are now the 'angels of catharsis'."

    CHORA: "Trapped in Vatopedi monastery Abbot Ephrem's web".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The Prime Minister has made up his mind on the reshuffle".

    ELEFTHEROS: " Maximos mansion (government headquarters) fears that ruling party New Democracy rebels may vote in favor of main opposition PASOK party proposal for the establishment of a preliminary probe committee".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The Vatopedi monastery scandal quiz leads to a reshuffle".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The prosecutors on Vatopedi case persist, against the pressures, on their resignations".

    ESTIA: "A change of policy is mandatory - Economy threatened by recession".

    ETHNOS: "All are not guilty until the reshuffle - Karamanlis appeared abashed in Brussels".

    KATHIMERINI: "The votes in parliament are an ordeal for the government".

    LOGOS: "General elections are out of the question, but the possibility of a reshuffle exists".

    NIKI: "Sly manipulation to save themselves under the fear of fact-finding commission and ND's rebels".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The European dead-end path is an enemy for the public interests".

    TA NEA: "Prosecutors in Vatopedi case charge they are undergoing strong pressures".

    TO VIMA: "Ministers' and deputy ministers' chairs are teetering - Karamanlis intimated at government reshuffle".

    VRADYNI: "Everything is open except general elections - Karamanlis, in Brussels, triggered political developments scenarios".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [30] Positions reconfirmed during Christofias-Brown meeting

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The meeting between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias' with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave the latter the chance to reconfirm Britain's policy on the Cyprus issue, said here Friday Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou.

    Invited to comment on the president's meeting in Brussels with Brown, on the sidelines of the European Council, Stephanou said "Britain's positions on Cyprus are known and they are being articulated in a clear manner in the memorandum of understanding between Great Britain and the Republic of Cyprus which was signed during President Christofias' visit to London and the positions are very right because they underline the need for reunification of Cyprus within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation".

    Stephanou added that the two men's meeting gave the president the chance to inform Brown on the latest developments on Cyprus as well as "efforts to solve the Cyprus issue. At the same time it was an opportunity for Mr. Brown to reconfirm Britain's positions on the Cyprus issue", he concluded.

    [31] Cyprus government satisfied with Obama statements, but specific actions required

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The government expressed here Friday satisfaction with statements made by US Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama, however, the Cyprus issue cannot be solved with mere statements but with specific deeds.

    Asked if the government is satisfied with Obama's statements, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou told reporters that "statements contain certain elements which can be true, that is, in Cyprus there is occupation, and a solution should be based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation".

    "These statements surely satisfy us", said Stephanou, adding that "from there on, however, the Cyprus problem cannot be solved with statements alone but with specific actions and specific positions which must be based on the prospects for a solution and serve the interests of the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, a solution that must end the occupation and reunite Cyprus, the people, the economy and the country's institutions", he concluded.

    In a statement earlier this week, a spokesman of Obama notes, among other things, that "as president, Barack Obama will show U.S. leadership in seeking to negotiate a political settlement on Cyprus. He believes strongly that Cyprus should remain a single, sovereign country in which each of the two communities on the island is able to exercise substantial political authority within a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation".

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    [32] Cyprus House President to visit Greece

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus House President Marios Garoyian departs Saturdy for Athens where he will address on Monday, October 20, a special ceremony at the Athens University to mark the 48th anniversary of the independence of Cyprus from British colonial rule.

    The ceremony is organised by the University of Athens, the Embassy of Cyprus to Greece and the Federation of Cypriot Organisations in Greece (OKOE) and the Union of Cypriots in Greece.

    On Monday, Garoyian will also meet his Greek counterpart Dimitris Sioufas and he will address an event for the launching of ''Cyta Hellas'' a Cyprus Telecommunications Authority associate company, at the Athens' Concert Hall.

    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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