|Saturday, 24 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 27 October 2008 Issue No: 3030
 PM Karamanlis meets with Qatari counterpart in DohaDoha (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)
The potential for development of bilateral relations between Greece and Qatar was at the focus Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis' talks in Doha on Sunday with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and prime minister and foreign affairs minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir Al Thani.
In statements after the meeting, at the beginning of a two-day official visit to Qatar, Karamanlis referred to the present international conjuncture in which the global economies were facing the heavy repercussions of the international credit crisis, which was proving to be of unpredictable intensity and duration.
He added that the governments have the duty to invest in strategic planning, which could shore up the national economies against the dangers and to release their developmental potential after the crisis.
The Greek government, he continued, has set out two chief targets: to fortify the households and businesses against the impact of the continuing crisis through a series of effective measures, and to accelerate the implementation of any reforms necessary for the structural reformation of the national economy, while at the same time enhancing cooperation with the country's international partners.
Turning to bilateral econoic relations with Qatar, Karamanlis particularly noted the "very encouraging" prospects opening up.
A broad spectrum of prospects were examined during the meeting, with emphasis on investments in the sectors of energy, transports, shipping and construction.
To a question on the ailing national carrier Olympic Airways (OA), Karamanlis said investments were discussed in many sectors, adding that Qatar Airways was among the hopeful investors in OA, while the Qatari prime minister simply said that the matter had been touched on during their meeting.
Later, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Qatari counterpart signed a dual taxation avoidance agreement, while deputy foreign minister Petros Doukas signed a cooperation agreement in health and medical sciences.
In the morning, Karamanlis inaugurated a meeting of the Greek-Qatari Business Forum.
In a brief greeting, Karamanlis said that his visit to Qatar underlined the importance placed by Greece on further strengthening of their bilateral relations, and aspired to greater development of economic cooperation.
He noted that Qatar was among the countries with the largest economic growth and high per capital income, whereas Greece was the steam engine of the economy of Southeast Europe.
In a reference to the international financial crisis, Karamanlis stressed that the governments must not look on passively, but rather encourage investments and advance growth. He noted that his visit to Qatar served that purpose, by enhancing the investment prospects of both countries.
He further said that the Greek government has taken all the measures necessary to face the crisis, and was closely monitoring the situation in order to react immediately if necessary.
 Premier attends opening of Greek embassy in DohaDOHA (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis attended on Sunday evening the inauguration of the Greek Embassy in Qatar underlining the development of relations between the two countries.
In a brief address during the event also attended by many expatriates, Karamanlis, who is paying a state visit to Qatar, said that the opening of a Greek embassy in Doha and of a corresponding Qatari embassy in Athens opened a new chapter in bilateral relations and was a proof of the two countries' volition to further develop their cooperation.
"The entire world and Greece are facing today the repercussions of the global economic crisis. A serious crisis, and we are all obliged to limit its repercussions on the real economy and especially in the sectors of growth and employment," Karamanlis also noted.
 DM sends message of peaceful coexistence in SE EuropeDefence minister Evangelos Meimarakis sent a message of peaceful coexistence among the peoples of Southeast Europe, in conditions of stability and security, and with good neighborhood relations, in statements to the press after events in Thessaloniki marking the 96th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule, and the feast day of the city's patron Saint Demetrios.
Meimarakis placed particular emphasis on the fact that this year, for the first time, defence ministers and deputy ministers would be attending the military parade (on Tuesday) marking the anniversary of the October 28 national holiday.
He said the presence of the defence ministers in Thessaloniki to attend the main military parade was a message to all the citizens of the region that the times of turbulence were in the past, "those pages that were written don't change, and we honor all those fighters in history", but, at the same time, "we are sending a message that we want to live in this region peacefully, and we want stability, security and good attitude and rules of good neighborhood amongst us all in order to be able to proceed with the growth necessar".
"And at the same time we are sending a message to all the others that we, at regional level, can reach understanding amongst ourselves, discuss with each other and can, despite the different assessments and views, overcome these issues and find the climate of confidence and the solutions necessary in order to move forward with our eyes turned to the future," Meimarakis continued.
The minister said that although the older generations may have some reservations about this visit, "it is equally a fact that the younger generations, with their eyes to the future, see it as positive", adding that this was why "we must look at the future of the Balkans not with the Balkan perception and attitude of the past, but with the European perception, the European advancement, with our eyes turned to the future".
"Wirh these thoughts, we will welcome all the official guests on Tuesday to send a message of peace, fraternity and understanding to this region," Meimarakis concluded.
The defence ministers of Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and deputy defence ministers of Bulgaria, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia and Croatia have accepted Meimarakis' invitation to attend the October 28 parade in Thessaloniki and other anniversary events.
Meimarakis will hold a luncheon in honor of his guests on Monday, while in the afternoon the foreign dignitaries will meet with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
 Deputy FM at ASEM summit in BeijingThe 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) concluded on Saturday in Beijing, with deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis representing Greece.
The need to overcome the national reservations and to confront the global financial crisis in the framework of international cooperation was the focus of the discussions, Valinakis told reporters after the session.
The ASEM mnisters also discussed the environment and climate change, with Valinakis stressing Greece's position that steps of progress needed to be taken soon in that area, through exploitation of renewable energy sources, among other measures.
The ASEM further discussed confrontation of natural disasters and the inter-cultural dialogue, in order to create bridges for broader rapprochement among the countries of Asia and Europe.
 President Papoulias attends Thessaloniki liberation ceremonyThe official celebration of the 96th anniversary of the city of Thessaloniki's liberation from Ottoman rule, of the city's Patron Saint Demetrios and the war in 1940 was held in the Hall of Ceremonies of the Aristorelio University on Sunday night, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the government were represented by Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Margaritis Tzimas and the Parliament President by Deputy Apostolos Tzitzikostas.
Also present were Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Deputy Agricultural Development and Food Minister Constantine Kiltidis, Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos, Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis and Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos
 Thessaloniki liberation anniversaryPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday attended official celebrations marking the 96th anniversary of Thessaloniki's liberation from Ottoman rule, and the feast day of the city's patron Saint Demetrios.
The celebrations commenced with a doxology, after which national defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis, who represented the government, noted that the anniversary "reminds us of one of the most glorious pages or our history".
Main opposition PASOK MP Haris Katanidis said that the anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki posed an opportunity to think again of the need for liberation of the people's expectations, in other words the advent of a better future for the citizens and the country, while fellow PASOK MP Yiannis Magriotis said that the citizens demand change, and an exit from the crisis to which ruling New Democracy government's policy was leading.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis stressed that this was a great day for Thessaloniki and Macedonia, adding that 'we must all take care to safeguard the grandness of this celebration in the future".
 Memorial service for Greek troops at El AlameinEL ALAMEIN (ANA-MPA - N. Katsikas)
The 66th anniversary since the Battle of El Alamein in 1942 and the Greeks killed there in the battles against the Axis forces were honoured in a ceremony held here on Saturday, in the presence of the ambassadors of Greece, Cyprus and New Zealand.
Particularly moving was the presence of the sole surviving Greek combatant in the battle, 88-year-old Vassilis Sarris, who was surrounded by representatives of the veterans unions and three branches of the Armed Forces.
At the Greek cemetery of El Alamein, a memorial service was read out by Nitria Bishop Nikodimos and the head cleric of the Armed Forces Gen. Father George Apostolakidis.
Then the names of the 91 Greeks, officers, NCOs and men, killed in El Alamein between August and December 1942 was read out, after which officials laid wreaths at the memorial - including one sent by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and placed by Commodore Ioannis Zotos in the presence of a detachment of Evzones from the Presidential Guard.
 Souflias released from hospital after fainting spellEnvironment, town planning and public works minister George Souflias was released on Sunday from the Alexandroupolis University Hospital, where he was rushed on Thursday afternoon after a fainting spell while on a hike in the National Forest in Dadia, Soufli.
While in hospital, Souflias underwent a thorough medical check-up, and was found to be in good shape.
 Foreign Exchange rates: MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.269
Pound sterling 0.812
Danish kroner 7.516
Swedish kroner 10.061
Japanese yen 118.34
Swiss franc 1.468
Norwegian kroner 8.870
Canadian dollar 1.612
Australian dollar 2.067
 Light earth tremor 50 km north of AthensA light earth tremor measuring 4.4 points on the Richter scale occurred at 7:20 on Sunday evening.
Its epicentre was located in the Southern Evoikos Sea, near the town of Amarynthos in southern Evia, 50 kilometres north of Athens. No damage was reported.
 Three injured after asylum seekers gather outside Attica Aliens DepartmentThree people were injured on Sunday after over 3,000 foreign nationals had gathered early in the morning outside the Attica Aliens Department in Petrou Ralli street in Athens to submit applications for asylum in the country.
According to the Police, while the relevant service had begun to receive the applications the assembled people, in order to obtain better positions, surged towards the police forces that had taken measures at the location and as a result they had to push them back to prevent them from storming the building.
Three of the foreign nationals were injured during the incident and were taken to hospital and departed later after being given first aid.
 Police arrest family burglar ringAttica Security on Saturday announced the arrest of a family of gypsies that used its own children, aged 11 to 16 years of age, in order to carry out dozens of burglaries and robberies throughout Athens.
Police said they arrested the father, aged 49, and four children aged 11, 14 and 16, respectively. They are also seeking another four people belonging to the same family that are suspected members of the ring.
During the preliminary examination, it transpired that the children would watch the houses and, once they saw the residents leave, would then break into the doors using burglary tools and steal anything of value that they found inside.
So far, police have ascertained that the group was responsible for 73 burglaries in the Athens area and they are continuing to investigate. The suspects were all led before a public prosecutor to be charged.
In a related case, meanwhile, burglary victims are visiting the SE Attica Security headquarters daily to see whether their belongings were among the loot found and confiscated in the possession of a pair of Serbs that are also suspected members of an organised gang of robbers, operating mainly in the Ilioupolis and Glyfada areas.
 Mountaineers rescued, return unharmedA group of 14 mountaineers that became trapped at 2,300 metres while climbing Mount Olympus, among them some that were underage, returned home safe and sound on Saturday after they were brought down by a rescue team.
At around 2:30 on Saturday, four members of the Greek Rescue Team managed to approach the group and assist their descent, especially through two difficult passes.
The group had earlier been in constant radio contact with the rescue team, something that greatly assisted in their location and rescue.
Also taking part in the rescue operation were groups from the EMAK special unit for disaster management and the Litohoro fire brigade. Weather conditions were good for most of the operation and only started to deteriorate in the last few hours.
 Thessaloniki bank branch firebombedA branch of Piraeus Bank in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki was the target of an attack with a petrol bomb shortly after midnight on Saturday. The attack, carried out by a gang of five or seven individuals, set off alarms in the area and caused material damage but no injuries.
 Child porn, cybercrime lead to 18-year-old's arrestPolice on Saturday announced the arrest of an 18-year-old man from Trikala for possession of child pornography and for posting photographs and other personal data of a former lover, a 20-year-old woman, on the Internet.
The young man was arrested by the Thessaloniki electronic crimes department, working in collaboration with local police in Trikala, following a complaint lodged by the 20-year-old. A search of his house and computer then revealed the child pornography stored on his hard disc and banned offensive weapons like brass knuckles and a telescopic baton.
An investigation is under way but police believe that 18-year-old did not produce the pornographic material himself but downloaded it onto his computer from the Internet.
 Police seeking suspected immigrant traffickerPolice on Saturday said they were on the trail of a man that attempted to smuggle 40 illegal immigrants into Greece on the back of a truck in broad daylight.
They said the suspect, who was spotted travelling along the Egnatia highway near the Makri junction on Friday morning, was not known in the Evros region. He was sighted and followed by Feres border police who wanted to inspect the truck.
After about one kilometre, the driver of the truck apparently realised that he was being followed, stopped the vehicle and escaped on foot.
Searching the truck, police found 40 foreign nationals that had entered Greece illegally. The truck was confiscated and the immigrants will appear before an Alexandroupolis court, while the driver is being sought.
 Super League soccer resultsOlympiakos Piraeus retained its lead in the Super League despite losing 1-0 from Aris Thessaloniki away over the weekend. AEK Athens drew away 3-3 with Super League newcomer Thrasyvoulos Athens, although going into the lead 3-0 at halftime, and Panathinaikos Athens drew 2-2 at the Athens Olympic Stadium with Iraklis Thessaloniki, equalising in injury time and narrowly escaping defeat.
In other action:
Larissa-Panthrakikos Komotini 1-2
Asteras Tripoli-OFI Crete 2-2
PAOK Thessaloniki-Levadiakos Livadia 3-1
Xanthi-Panseraikos Serres 2-1
Ergotelis Crete-Panionios Athens 2-5
Standings after seven weeks of play:
1. Olympiakos 16 points
2. PAOK 15
3. Xanthi 14
4. Panionios 11
5. Panathinaikos 11
6. Larissa 11
7. AEK 10
8. Aris 9
9. Ergotelis 9
10. Levadiakos 8
11. Panseraikos 7
12. Panthrakikos 7
13. Asteras 7
14. OFI 4
15. Iraklis 4
16. Thrasyvoulos 4
NOTE: Panathinaikos and Ergotelis each have a game less.
 Cloudy on MondayCloudy weather with northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 7C and 22C. Cloudy in Athens, with 3-5 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 13C to 21C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 10C to 18C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe economy, the Vatopedi affair and political developments dominated the front pages of Athens' Sunday newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The felony has been prepared by some in PASOK since 1999 - Explosive revelation on Ephraim's (Vatopedi Monastery abbot) scandal".
APOGEVMATINI: "Trench against the crisis - Programe for reinforcement of SMEs of over 34 billion euros".
AVGHI: "The recession is here - No light at the end of the tunnel".
AVRIANI: "The Megistis Lavras monastery 'grabbed' half of the island of Skyros, using the same tricks as Ephraim".
CHORA: "The banks' secrets - How to salvage your money".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The economy in the Intensive Care Unit - After the collapse of stockmarkets and banks, recession invades the European markets".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz speaks about the financial crisis and warns: Measures for all, or chaos".
ETHNOS: "Vatopedi scandal: What the prosecutors don't know - The big truth about the huge scam".
KATHIMERINI: "Government lacking daring, in midst of crisis - Control of the political developments becomes difficult".
LOGOS: "The 'morning after' Roussopoulos' resignation - Karamanlis' aim is to ameliorate the crisis".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Call on the people for counter-attack".
TO VIMA: "Crash and elections - Elections by spring the only outlet - Red alert on the economy, recession threatens Greece - Government unable to tackle the crisis".
VRADYNI: "Calculate the new pensions - What will change in all the Funds as of the New Year".
 China supports Cyprus fully, says PresidentNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
China as a permanent member of the UN Security Council will continue to support Cyprus, on the basis of principles, until the country's political problem is resolved, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has assured President Demetris Christofias.
Speaking Sunday on his return from Beijing, where he attended the 7th ASEM Summit (Asia-Europe forum), President Christofias said the meeting with the Chinese Vice President was another expression of the "already very friendly relations with China."
Replying to questions about the Cyprus problem, he pointed out that extreme positions in favor of one or the other view in relation to the question of Cyprus are unnecessary, adding that "we need to keep our cool and show a lot of self-restraint to be able to deal with this kind of situation successfully."
Asked if a solution is feasible by May next year, he said he is trying to find a solution as soon as possible and recalled remarks by the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat that with good will from both communities, a solution could be reached by December this year.
Replying to a question about his meetings in Beijing, President Christofias said that everybody welcomes the initiatives undertaken by the President of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot side, adding that after his election to the Presidency -in February this year- the dialogue between the two communities was reinvigorated and hopes for a solution were rekindled.
"We will continue to undertake initiatives, to show the same good will in the hope that they (international community) will address themselves to Turkey so that it will understand that it has an obligation and it is in its own interests to allow Cypriots to work out a solution by themselves," he said.
Christofias and Talat are engaged in direct talks to find a mutually agreed solution that will reunite Cyprus, which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
 President Christofias: solution must serve all CypriotsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The solution of the Cyprus problem must allow all Cypriots to live and work together in an independent and prosperous country within the European Union, without the presence of foreign troops and illegal settlers, in conditions of security where everyone's origin will be respected, President Demetris Christofias has stressed, in his address at Seventh Asia-Europe
Meeting in Beijing during a session on ''Deepening Dialogue Among Civilisations''.
He said that since 1974, the cultural heritage of Cyprus in the northern part of the island, which remains under Turkish military occupation, has been severely damaged.
"Despite the systematic efforts of the Republic of Cyprus to restore and preserve its religious and cultural heritage, the occupation authorities refuse to allow us access to carry out the necessary restoration work in the occupied areas" the president added.
"We strongly believe that it is our duty as well as the duty of the international community to do its utmost in order to convince Turkey to allow the restoration of the cultural heritage in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus. After all, this heritage belongs not just to the Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, this heritage belongs to the whole humanity," he pointed out.
Referring to the latest negotiating process which started on September 3, President Christofias said that aims to overcome the impasses of the past and achieve a process that would lead to the reunification of Cyprus. "The kind of the solution we agreed on must not only take into account our history and international legality. It must also take into account what kind of a society we want to offer to our children," he added.
The two main communities of Cyprus,, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, as well as the other three religious groups, Maronites, Armenians and Latins, have lived in peace and cooperation with each other for hundreds of years, inter-spread across the island, until the forceful partition of our homeland in the wake of the Turkish invasion of 1974, he said, stressing that despite the 34-year-old division, the people of Cyprus have never stopped striving to reunify their country.
President Christofias stressed that a fundamental aspect of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process is the deepening of dialogue among civilisations. "In these turbulent times, it is impossible to overstate its significance and the importance of our common efforts for increased exchanges and deeper understanding between different peoples and cultures," he said.
"The 21st century must become the century of peace. It is a vision we can fulfill for the sake of present and future generations". In these efforts, religious leaders, more than anyone else, have a decisive role to play by bringing forward the value of our common humanity which unites peoples and cultures, he noted.
"Diversity has to be seen as an enrichment of our societies, rather than a source of conflict," he said.
The president recalled that as a contribution to the worldwide efforts for reconciliation and dialogue among cultures and religions, Cyprus hosted together with Malaysia the Second ASEM Interfaith Dialogue in September 2006. This had as a result the Larnaca Action Plan, which set up guidelines for the implementation of the Bali Declaration, the president said.
He underlined that the year 2008 was designated as the European Year of intercultural Dialogues. A series of events throughout the year were organised in different parts of Cyprus that aimed to foster the promotion of intercultural exchanges, knowledge and understanding.
"We could examine the expansion of this endeavor to include the whole of ASEM Partners in the near future.,"the President of the Cyprus Republic concluded.
 Solution is one way road for both communities, says House PresidentNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
House President Marios Garoyian said Sunday that a just, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem "is a one way road" for both communities on the island.
Speaking at a memorial service in Paphos, Garoyian said the Greek Cypriot side has the good will and the desire to work for an agreed solution, noting however that there are no corresponding indications on the part of the Turkish side.
He noted that if Turkey insists on pursuing a ''two state solution or confederation", if it maintains its view on establishing a new state in Cyprus (virgin birth) and continues to ignore UN decisions and principles, the high level agreements of 1977 and
1979, and EU principles and values, then the current process of direct talks will lead to deadlock, stressing that in such a case the responsibility will lie on the Turkish side.
"For this reason we call one more time on the UN, the EU and the international community to address themselves to Ankara so that it abandons its intransigence and its divisive goals and contribute positively towards a just, functional and viable solution," he said.
The House President warned that the Greek Cypriot side will not accept Turkey's terms for a solution, noting that a political settlement must secure the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops from Cyprus, end illegal immigration and reunite the people, the economy and the institutions of the country.
"If a real opportunity for a just, viable and functional solution emerges at the current negotiating process, this should not be lost. However, we would be making a grave historical error if we were to accept the notion of the last chance for a settlement," he concluded.
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in talks since early September this year, with a view at finding a negotiated settlement that will reunite Cyprus, which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
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