|Sunday, 18 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-28
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>ďuesday, 28 October 2008 Issue No: 3031
 Greek PM ends visit to QatarDOHA (ANA-MPA - S. Goutzanis)
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday paid a visit to the worksites of two Greek construction companies participating in the construction of major infrastructure projects in Qatar.
Aktor is the head of a consortium that has undertaken to complete the project, worth an estimated 1.2 billion dollars and employing about 150 Greek and Cypriot workers.
The company is also involved in works costing 4.3 billion euros on the Arab peninsula that employ about 200 Greek engineers. The company has a long-standing presence in Qatar, which is a base for expansion to Asia and Africa.
After the briefing, the prime minister and his delegation left for Athens.
 Government spokesman on international financial crisisGovernment spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, replying to press questions on the international financial crisis during a regular press briefing on Monday, said that the government was constantly monitoring the developments from the outset, adding that the prime minister and economy minister have made many interventions.
"The crisis is continuing. It concerns the international credit system, and has direct impact on the Greeks," Antonaros continued, adding that the measures taken by the Greek government aimed chiefly at ensuring liquidity so that the SMEs and the citizens could confront any problems arising.
The government was looking at the situation with the proper seriousness and attention, and was studying all its aspects, the spokesman concluded.
 Inner cabinet to meet WednesdayThe inner cabinet will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said on Monday.
Asked to comment on criticism expressed by ruling New Democracy MP over the ruling party's absence from Parliament during last Friday's debate on a Vatopedi inquiry requested by PASOK, the spokesman replied that "the government's arguments leave no questions unanswered for every Greek citizen with good faith".
 President Papoulias addresses Officers Club in ThessalonikiPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday night addressed the Officers Club in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on the occasion of the anniversary of the October 28 national holiday.
"Democratisation, the economic improvement and social cohesion is the big bet of the Balkans and the prerequisite for an equal European course. It can be won through inspired and independent leaderships with strategic planning, awareness of the historic experience and activation of all the democratic forces of their citizens," Papoulias underlined during a dinner hosted in his honour by the commander of the 3rd Army Corps, Lieutenant-General Stylianos Nasis.
At the same time, he said that "however, the Balkan countries should believe that they must advance to the European road without discounts and anachronisms. It is necessary and imperative for steps to be made forward leaving behind historical falsifications which harmed the Balkan peoples and benefitted suzerains and big interests."
Referring to developments in the Balkans, he noted that "today, the process of transition of the Balkans into a region of peace and cooperation has entered a new framework, the European one. A region, until very recently, particularly disturbed, has henceforth all the prospects to develop into a Zone of Peace and Prosperity, which will be characterised by democracy, the respect of human rights, the state of law, solidarity, equality, principles and values, which in short, also constitute the 'tough nucleus' of Europe which we are building," the President added.
Papoulias praised the initiative of National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis to invite defence and deputy defence ministers from countries of Southeast Europe in Thessaloniki who on Tuesday will be all attending the military parade marking "Ochi Day".
The foreign ministers and deputy ministers were present at the dinner and Papoulias stressed that "it is an invitation which signals and opens a new chapter in our countries' relations. It is the categoric order of the peoples for peaceful co-existence and cooperation."
 President Papoulias meets DM Meimarakis and ministers from SE EuropePresident Karolos Papoulias met in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Monday with Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, who accompanied the visiting defence ministers of Bosnia Herzegovina Selmo Sikotic and of Montenegro Boro Vicinic, as well as the deputy defence ministers of Bulgaria Spas Yanev Panchev, Albania Petrit Karabina, Serbia Dusan Spasojevic and Croatia Gordan Cacic.
The ministers and deputy ministers are in Thessaloniki at the invitation of Meimarakis and for the first time they will be watching the military parade that will be taking place on Tuesday along Megas Alexandros motorway on the occasion of the October 28 national anniversary.
Turkish Defence Minister Vecedi Gonul was absent from the meeting, since he has not yet arrived in the city. The Defence Minister of Cyprus Costas Papacostas is also in Thessaloniki to watch the parade as well.
Meimarakis said during the meeting that President Papoulias, when he was foreign minister, had paved the way for cooperation for peace, security and relations of good neighbourliness in southeastern Europe.
The minister termed him a "pioneer" and a "visionary" and, addressing the President, said "today we are implementing the vision that you had, your difficult path."
Meimarakis observed that minorities exist in the countries of southeastern Europe that are not pleased with the meeting, but underlined that the ministers and deputy ministers express the official will of their governments to cooperate at a crossroads of cultures and religions that might have led to tensions in the past but that are leading to new opportunities today.
The Greek defence minister hosted a luncheon at a coastal fish restaurant at noon in honour of the ministers and deputy ministers, at which Cyprus Defence Minister Costas Papacostas was also present.
 Papandreou message for Oct. 28 national holidayIn a message for the October 28 national holiday, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday said that the Greek 'no' in 1940 was "a resounding NO to fascism, totalitarianism, autocracy and hypocrisy" that symbolised the struggle for people to go above and beyond their ability in order to protect their sense of worth, values, freedom and self-respect.
"Sixty-eight years later, we honour the fighters of the National Resistance, pay them the deserved homage and once again remember the values for which they fought: freedom, independence, democracy, dignity and humanity," Papandreou said, adding that people were now called to put those ideals into practice in the face of the moral, economic and political crisis now facing the country.
"We are called on to say a resounding NO to defeatism, insecurity, fear of the new, inefficiency, unfair social policies, autocracy, hypocrisy, corruption and lies," he added.
Papandreou noted that Greeks were now seeking a reliable and responsible leadership to reverse the ills of the political system and build a society based on cohesion and justice, that would lead the a sustainable development, saying that PASOK "will continue the struggle to meet this historic debt."
 Papandreou in Thessaloniki on TuesdayMain opposition PASOK President George Papandreou is expected in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Tuesday, to attend the military parade in the city to celebrate the October 28 national holiday.
On Thursday, Papandreou is due to speak at an ISTAME seminar in Athens on cartels, while on Friday he will address Parliament during an off-the-agenda debate on the economy.
 Education minister's message for October 28 holidayEducation Minister Evripidis Stylianidis on Monday issued a message for young people to mark the October 28 national holiday, or OXI day, when Greece celebrates its defiance of the Axis powers at the start of WWII and its entry into the war.
Urging young people to "espouse in their daily lives the same fighting spirit, insistence on justice and freedom that inspired the heroes of 1940," Stylianidis also warned against falling into the trap of "ravings of national grandeur and empty nationalist slogans" and adjusting the valuable legacy of the past to the needs and demands of the complex reality of the present, adding that "laggards are withdrawn from the historic scene and all those that only look backwards collapse".
"In an age when we have chosen to responsibly link our future with that of a strong United Europe, the memory of the heroic events of 1940 does not seek to perpetuate national hatreds and racial enmities. On the contrary, it declares our unswerving intention to work hard to deepen and broaden European cooperation, having as our ideal a strong Greece in a European Society of peoples marked by growth, cohesion, progress and solidarity," he said.
 Valinakis at Asia-Europe MeetingDeputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis represented Greece at the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 7) held in Beijing, which focused mainly on ways to overcome the global financial crisis through international cooperation. The meeting was held on October 24-25.
In statements regarding the meeting, Valinakis stressed that Asian countries would play a very important role in helping deal with the crisis, adding that a global forum on the crisis was scheduled to take place in Washington on November 15.
 Agreement for Cyprus to join AMSCCDefence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis and his Cypriot counterpart Costas Papacostas met in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Monday and signed an agreement for Cyprus's participation in the Athens Multinational Sealift Coordination Centre (AMSCC)
 KKE leader visits Attiko HospitalCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday paid a visit to Attiko Hospital in Athens, during which she described the chronic staff shortages there as inexcusable.
"For years now a hospital has opened and has no staff. It is a scandal of major proportions," she stressed, adding timing of ASEP examinations for public sector staff were not an explanation.
"The hospital should have been fully staffed from the time that it opened. Not just to have the full complement of staff but also staff working decent hours, that enable it to offer specialist services in treatment and research. We cannot return to the time-tables of the past using the ASEP examinations as an excuse," she stressed.
Commenting on measures taken by the government in response to the financial crisis, she stressed that these were a helping hand for industrialists, ship owners and bankers. "Essentially, they are giving a boost to those factors that will bring a new cyclic crisis in the next years," she added.
She called for measures to increase wages and pensions and protect working class families exposed to loans.
 Deputy FM reveives foreign envoysDeputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis met on Monday with new Spanish Ambassador to Greece Miguel Fuertes on the occasion of the latter's taking office.
Kassimis also received on Monday Russian and Australian Ambassadors Andrei Vdovin and J.R. Newman.
 Protest rally by Greek-Americans in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
A protest rally by Greek-Americans was organised on Monday outside the offices of the permanent representation of the United States at the United Nations with the main slogan "The protection of the human rights of Greece in Skopje (FYROM)."
About 50 people took part in the rally which was organised by the Cyprus Action Network of America, with the support of the Panmacedonian Union of America, the Federation of Greek Associations of New York, the Centre of Macedonian Studies, the Greek Union of America, the Brotherhood of Mani and the Panthracian Union of America "Orfeas".
The rally was addressed by the president of the Action Network, Nikos Taneris, supporting that "this peaceful protest has as its objective for the world to be informed about the infringement of the rights of Greeks in Skopje."
Taneris stated that the Network has already conducted two protests outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, in July 2007 and of 2008 "to remind of the barbaric invasion by Turkish troops in Cyprus."
 SEV agreement with Qatar Chamber of Commerce and IndustryThe Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday signed a cooperation protocol in the presence of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The agreement was signed at a business forum held in Qatar during Karamanlis' visit in order to promote bilateral economic relations.
SEV and Qatar's Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced plans to set up a Greece-Qatar Business Council.
Signing of behalf of SEV, the federation's vice-president Thanasis Lavidas referred to the difficult conditions created by the international financial crisis and said that business communities could provide the answer through a dynamic increase in investment and commercial activity in foreign markets. He called on Greek businesses to turn their attention to markets that were resisting the crisis and still growing rapidly, like those of Qatar.
According to figures cited by Qatar officials, the local economy has grown rapidly in recent years, by up to 20 percent from 2003-2007, due to its large reserves of oil and natural gas that generate 60 percent of the country's GDP and 90 percent of its exports. It is also a favourable environment for foreign investment and imports, with a particularly dynamic construction sector comparable to that of Dubai and driven by ambitious infrastructure projects.
 Greece, Lebanon sign memorandun of cooperation in energyGreece and Lebanon on Monday signed a memorandum of cooperation in the energy sector, as part of a Greek government strategy to expand economic cooperation with other Mediterranean countries, in the framework of a "Union for the Mediterranean" policy promoted by the French EU presidency.
The memorandum was signed between Greek Development Minister Christos Folias and Lebanon's Energy and Water Minister Alain Tabourian, during the first day of the Greek minister's official visit to the country.
According to the memorandum, the two sides acknowledge the pivotal significance of energy to develop their economies and the neccessity of promoting clean forms of energy, Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Saving. The deal covers exchange of know-how, encouraging investments and business initiatives, planning and implementation of joint energy projects and programs in both countries and in the wider region. Under the memorandum, Greece and Lebanon will set up a joint commission to promote this policy, with the first meeting schelded two months after the parliament ratifies the memorandum.
The Greek minister was also accepted by Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The Lebanese Premier thanked Greece for its steady and constant support for his country, while Mr Folias reiterated Greece's steady position in favour of a united and peaceful Lebanon.
Folias also met with Economy and Commerce Minister Mohammad Safadi and discussed issues of mutual interest, such as consumer protection, food safety, fuel quality control, packaging, trade and business cooperations.
 Gov't to unveil package of measures to protect jobsThe Greek government is examining an integraded package of interventions aimed at strengthening job positions during this crucial conjucture, Employment and Social Protection Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister said: "In cooperation with social partners and with the speed imposed by this difficult situation, we will soon unveil our final proposal and specific measures, making more effective a protection network and social fraternity based on efforts to boost employment and supporting the most vulnerable of our citizens, those in unemployment".
 Alternate PASOK spokeswoman on economyMain opposition PASOK party alternate spokeswoman Maria Karaklioumi said on Monday that the government was "unable to lead the country out of the unfavourable predicament."
"We are already experiencing in Greece the consequences of this crisis due to the government's political options. What the Greek citizen is experiencing today bears the signature of the New Democracy party," she said.
Karaklioumi further said that "the government has chosen to serve banks exclusively" and mentioned that households will pay 7.5 billion more in taxes and that while "28 billion euros have been found for the relief of banks, for the boosting of the Fund Against Poverty, although just 100 million euros have been listed in the budget, not even one euro has been given so far."
She also stressed that PASOK has chosen "support for working people, pensioners and small and medium-level businessmen" and said about the budget that "we are calling for a complete revision so that it will adjust to the needs of the Greek citizen."
 MIG appoints global coordinators/bookrunners of new share capital increaseThe Board of Directors of Marfin Investment Group (the "Company") on Monday announced the appointment of Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch and Morgan Stanley as Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners, and UBS Limited as a Joint Bookunner in its proposed share capital increase of 5 billion euros.
CrÚdit Agricole Cheuvreux, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Ltd and Investment Bank of Greece have been appointed to act as co-lead managers in the proposed transaction.
The decision for the new, major share capital increase was announced by the Board of Directors on September 30.
Previously, MIG successfully completed a share capital increase of Č 5.2 billion euros in July 2007.
MIG executive vice-chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos had noted that with the Group's exisiting cash resources, coupled with the proceeds of the share capital increase underway, MIG was ideally placed to take advantage of the investment opportunities arising, aiming to maximize returns for its shareholders.
He added that MIG's new investment strategy will primarily focus on the financial sector in Greece and the wider Southeast Europe region "whereby in the consolidation round which will follow we can act as the partner of choice for counterparties in friendly transactions".
 Greek exports up 2.0 pct in January-AugustGreek exports rose in the first eight months of 2008, despite a significant drop in August, the National Statistics Service said on Monday. In a monthly report, the statistics service said Greek exports fell 10.2 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, while imports were down 11.3 pct in the same period.
Greek exports, however, grew 2.0 pct in the January-August period, to 11.3 billion euros, compared with the corresponding period in 2007, while imports fell 2.3 pct in the eight-month period to 33.9 billion euros. Inter-community imports rose 7.9 pct, while imports from third countries fell 17.1 pct. The statistics service said the country's deficit fell by 4.3 pct to 22.6 billion euros.
Revenues from the export of services rose 14 pct to 23.9 billion euros, according to figures released by the Bank of Greece.
 Paradias re-elected UIPI presidentHellenic Property Owners' Federation (POMIDA) president, Athens lawyer Stratos Paradias, has been re-elected to a second four-year term as president of the international union of property owners (Union Internationale de la Propriete Immobiliere-UIPI), it was announced on Monday.
Paradias was unanimously re-elected by the representatives of the national federations of property owners of the international organization's 24 European member countries.
Paradias, the first Greek president of UIPI, has served in the past as a member of the international federation's board since 1984, alternate secretary general since 1986, and secretary general from 1999-2004.
The UIPI was founded in 1923 in Paris, and is now headuartered in Brussels.
 Emporiki Bank sells 425-mln-euro bond loan to foreign fundsEmporiki Bank on Monday said its subsidiary Emporiki Group Finance Plc, successfully sold to foreign funds a bond loan worth 425 million euros. The bond loan has a maturity date of October 10, 2012 and carries an interest rate of three-month Euribor plus 139 basis points. Calyon acted as underwriter of the issue.
 Alapis buys Gerolymatos AEBE for 199 million eurosAlapis ABEE on Monday announced it has reached an agreement for the purchase of a 48.67 pct equity stake in Gerolymatos AEBE, a Greek pharmaceutical and cosmetics company, with the option of acquiring another 50.66 pct in the company for 198,666,667 euros. Following completion of the deal, Alapis will own 99.33 pct in Gerolymatos' equity capital. Gerolymatos distributes and produces a wide range of healthcare and cosmectis products, while it also provides logistics and facon services. Its sales totaled 225.7 million euros in 2007, EBITDA was 26.6 million euros and pre-tax profits totaling 15.2 million euros.
 Greek trade deficit down 11.8 pct in AugustGreece's trade deficit fell by 11.8 pct in August to 2.3 billion euros, from 2.6 billion in the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.
Excluding oils, the trade deficit fell by 8.6 pct, with the value of import-arrivals in the eight-month period from January to August falling 2.3 pct, while excluding oils the value of imports rose 4.7 pct. The value of import-arrivals in August fell 11.3 pct compared with August 2007.
Export-deliveries rose 2.0 pct in the eight month period this year, compared with 2007, while excluding oils exports were up 5.0 pct. The value of exports fell 19.2 pct in August.
 Greek stocks jumped 4.04 pct on MondayGreek stocks rebounded strongly in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, despite a negative climate in other European markets. The composite index of the market jumped 4.04 pct to end at 1,798.24 points, reversing an early sharp drop to 1,642.56 points. Turnover was a strong 423.4 million euros, of which 200.1 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved higher, with the Food/Beverage (9.32 pct), Banks (8.93 pct), Insurance (7.01 pct) and Industrial Products (4.68 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (3.05 pct), Telecoms (2.81 pct) and Media (1.30 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index rose 4.77 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 4.84 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 2.80 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 147 to 100 with another 36 issues unchanged.
 ASE closing report 2The composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange managed to rebound on Monday, after suffering a 19.19 pct loss in the previous three sessions. National Bank's shares led the recovery with a 13.64 pct gain, followed by Intralot (12.99 pct), Cyprus Bank (11.98 pct), Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (10.50 pct) and Piraeus Bank (10.15 pct), while OPAP (4.89 pct), OTE (2.81 pct) and PPC (2.42 pct) suffered losses.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Insurance: 2,560.33 +7.01%
Industrial Products and Services: 2,658.50 +4.68%
Commerce: 2,884.78 +0.61%
Constructions: 2,112.48 +4.03%
Media: 2,960.36 -1.30%
Oil and Natural Gas: 2,021.05 +0.49%
Personal/Home Products: 2,610.32 +2.69%
Raw Materials: 2,306.46 +4.00%
Travel: 3,171.20 -3.05%
Technology: 972.32 +3.14%
Telecoms: 2,471.81 -2.81%
Banks: 2,326.48 +8.93%
Food/Beverage: 2,982.27 +9.32%
Healthcare: 6,459.14 +0.99%
Utilities: 2,644.37 -1.10%
Chemicals: 6,800 +4.15%
Financial Services: 4,665.56 +3.63%
Vovos (26.69 pct), Sarandis (16.81 pct), Sprider (13.98 pct), Sciens (13.16 pct) and Pasal (10.57 pct) were top gainers, while Alapis, National Bank, Alpha Bank and Marfin Popular Bank were the most heavily traded stocks of the day.
The Greek market's capitalization totaled 69.634 billion euros.
Shares in the FTSE 20 index ended as follows:
ALPHA BANK: 10.30
COCA COLA HELLENIC BOTTLING: 8.84
HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 5.08
NATIONAL BANK: 13.50
CYPRUS BANK: 3.74
HELLENIC POSTBANK: 4.64
MOTOR OIL: 7.00
PIRAEUS BANK: 8.90
MARFIN POPULAR BANK: 2.23
MARFIN INVESTMENT GROUP: 2.70
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 78.690 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.81 pct, reversing an intra-day premium, with volume totaling 14,466 contracts worth 66.317 million euros, with 26,127 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,776 contracts worth 12.098 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,610), followed by Eurobank (1,113), Marfin Investment Group (1,381), Alpha Bank (1,147), Marfin Popular Bank (3,172), Hellaktor (1,707) and Hellenic Postbank (1,875).
 Foreign Exchange rates: TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.256
Pound sterling 0.812
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 10.176
Japanese yen 116.68
Swiss franc 1.455
Norwegian kroner 8.885
Canadian dollar 1.609
Australian dollar 2.055
 President inaugurates Gerovassiliou Wine MuseumPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday inaugurated the Gerovassiliou Wine Museum at the family vineyard of Evangelos Gerovassiliou in Epanomi, Thessaloniki, during his visit to the northern Greek city for the three-day celebrations of its patron saint Dimitrios, the city's liberation and Tuesday's anniversary of Greece's defiance of the Axis powers at the start of WWII.
The museum was created by the wine-maker to showcase various objects that he began collecting in 1976 that are related to wine production in all its stages, from ancient times until the present day. It is now regarded one of the greatest collections of its kind in the world.
One wing of the museum has been devoted to a display of more than 2,000 bottle openers and corkscrews that date from the Middle Ages until contemporary times, a chamber exploring the social, economic and symbolic significance of wine through the ages and others related to its storage and preservation.
 President visits Noisis centrePresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday paid a visit to the Centre for Dissemination of Sciences and Technology Museum Noisis, where he was shown around by the institutions president Ioannis Antonopoulos.
The tour included a demonstration of the museum's digital planetarium, with a screening of the documentary 'The wonders of the Universe' and a visit to the Creativity Centre for teaching young children, followed by a ride on the "Virtual Reality Simulator" that allows visitors to "travel" through endless space or back in time using 3-D image and movement on six axes.
The president was also briefed on the capability of the "Cosmotheatre", a 300-seat cinema theatre with the largest screen in Greece that can project films of scientific and education interest in 3-D.
 FM Bakoyannis to give press conference on occasion of documentaryForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will be giving a press conference on Wednesday, October 29, on the occasion of the official premiere of the documentary "Qadir: An Afghan Odysseus," in the presence of Afghan Deputy Culture Minister Omar Sultan, at the foreign ministry.
The documentary, whose production was jointly financed by Hellenic Aid, highlights Greece as a modern country for the admission, social accession and education of immigrants and refugees. It aims at promoting the significance of a double positive approach: of the country of admission towards the immigrant-refugee and of himself towards the country of admission.
The filming of the documentary, that received 1st Prize at the International Roma Fiction Festival, took place in Greece and Afghanistan.
 Greece theme country in 54th Belgrade book festivalBELGRADE (ANA-MPA/N. Pelpas)
Greece will be the theme country at the 54th book festival which will be taking place here in October 2009. The ambassador of Japan (the theme country at this year's festival) delivered the "open book" to the Greek ambassador in Serbia during the 53rd festival's closing ceremony.
Greek Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos thanked the book festival's administration and the Serb Culture ministry, pointing out that "this distinction will contribute to the development of the cultural relations of the two countries that are lagging behind compared to political and economic relations."
Panagopoulos added that "when a book opens, a new world opens" and expressed confidence that the historical bonds between the two peoples will also be expressed in the sector of culture.
The Belgrade book festival is one of the greatest cultural events in Serbia. This year's 53rd festival was visited by 147,000 people.
 Alexandria Patriarch visits Benghazi Greek schoolsCAIRO (ANA-MPA - N. Katsikas)
Alexandria and All Africa Patriarch Theodoros on Monday visited Greek schools in the city of Benghazi in Libya, where he began a visit last Wednesday.
The Patriarch had arrived in the city on Saturday at the head of a delegation and was shown around the site of ancient Apollonia on Sunday.
 Earthquake measuring 4.0 on Richter scale near EviaAn earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale was recorded at 15:42 on Monday afternoon, with an epicentre in the southern Evian Gulf about 47 kilometres north of Athens.
The quake was felt in Halkida and northern areas of Athens and considered part of the seismic sequence following Sunday's 4.5 Ricther quake in the same area.
 Albanian injured in workplace accidentA 41-year-old Albanian labourer was seriously injured when he fell from a height of seven metres during the demolition of a tobacco drier in Kallifoni, Karditsa on Monday morning. An inquiry into the accident is being carried out by the Karditsa police.
 Thessaloniki police investigating disappearance of businessmanThessaloniki police are investigating the disappearance of a 59-year-old local businessman who has been missing since Friday night and is believed to be possibly the victim of abduction.
The police are officially dealing with the case as a disappearance, but the investigation, which is shrouded in secrecy, is also examining the possibility of abduction, following a message purportedly received by the businessman's son on his cell phone demanding that the family amass the sum of 400,000 euros in ransom money for the man's release.
Police are investigating the car dealer's business environment and dealings.
The businessman went missing on Friday night after he left his car dealership in central Thessaloniki, but never arrived home in Oreokastro, causing his family to worry and finally seek the assistance of the police after their own search for the man proved fruitless.
 Fair on TuesdayFair weather with northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 24C. Fair in Athens, with 3-4 beaufort variable winds and temperatures ranging from 12C to 23C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 11C to 21C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe international financial crisis and its impact, and the employment ministry's plan for fortifying the financially weaker classes dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Monday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Source of wealth statements for state functionaries - For all those participating in Procurements Committees etc. in recent years".
APOGEVMATINI: "Six measures for unemployed, pensioners and low-salary earners - The government responds to the crisis with support for the financially weaker classes".
AVRIANI: "Justice must intervene on the green (color identified with main opposition PASOK) 'Vatopedi' (the Megisti Lavra monastery) on Skyros - Guilty silence by PASOK over MP Papageorgiou, who was the monastery's lawyer when the big...looting (of southern Skyros)... took place".
CHORA: "Vultures attacking the economy's carcass - On the road to poverty, uncertainty and (early) elections without a compass".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "According to sources in Doha, Qatar (where prime minister Costas Karamanlis is on an official visit), the national air carrier (Olympic Airways) will pass into the hands of the emir, and the 'bleeding' of the Greek state will stop".
ELEFTHEROS: "Papoulias calls the politicians to alert - Serious intervention on the 'crisis of the century' and its impact on Greek society".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Four landmines on incomes, market - The crisis brings: cutbacks in expenditure for staple goods, freeze in car sales, reduction in real estate prices - Nightmare scenarios of increase in unemployment in Greece".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Banks to cut home and business loan extension by half in 2009 - Repercussions of the crisis".
ESTIA: "Insert of the newspapers October 27, 1940 edition - The eve of the historic 'Ochi'."
ETHNOS: "Do something because we're sinking - Dramatic SOS by employees, businessmen over the crisis".
TA NEA: "45-day SOS package - 18 billion euros 'injection' sought - Full speed ahead for new reduction of interest rates".
VRADYNI: "Uncertainty, Insecurity, Turbulence - The European citizens now facing the repercussions of the crisis".
 Australia strongly supports efforts for Cyprus settlementNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith assured on Monday that his country strongly supports the process for a Cyprus settlement and direct negotiations between the leaders of the two communities, adding that a solution would be in the interests of Cyprus, Europe and the international community.
Speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with his Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou, Smith said Australia has a good bilateral relationship with Turkey and, whilst it cannot tell Turkey what attitude it should adopt, it could discuss with Turkey its attitude and view regarding the Cyprus problem.
Kyprianou said he explained to Smith the great importance that international support has for Cyprus, so that the Turkish side is committed to a bizonal bicommunal federation solution, with a single sovereignty, a single international identity and a single citizenship, adding that, whilst the talks are being held between the two communities in Cyprus, the key continues to be in Ankara and that is why Cyprus is asking friendly countries, which have a good relationship with Turkey, to exert their influence.
Smith said ''Australia and Cyprus have a longstanding warm and friendly relationship,'' adding that ''this is largely a result of Australia having a very strong and very active Cypriot community.''
He noted that Australia strongly supports the process for a Cyprus settlement and that Australia has had officers in the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). ''Currently we have 15 police officers assisting the peace process,'' he added.
Smith said Cyprus and Australia have a very good bilateral relationship and referred to Cyprus' role as an EU member.
He noted that soon he would be signing an Australia-EU partnership framework agreement with his French counterpart, which will see Australia becoming ''much more engaged and involved in Europe, and Cyprus has been very supportive of Australia in this respect.''
Smith pointed out that ''as a single entity, the EU is the largest single capital overseas investor in Australia, so this is important, not only in an historical sense, but also in a trade, economic and investment sense.''
He furthermore referred to the invitation he extended to Kyprianou to visit Australia, noting that ''it has too long since there has been an Australian Foreign Minister in Cyprus and it has been too long since there has been a Cypriot Foreign Minister in Australia.''
''This is the first occasion of a visit by an Australian Foreign Minister to Cyprus since 1994 and so I am very pleased that we have broken that drought,'' he said.
Replying to questions, Smith said ''we very strongly support the UN sponsored peace process and we very strongly support the joint declaration made by the two leaders on May 23, which set the scene for the current negotiations.''
''Whilst it is a matter between the two leaders, the two communities to agree about the outcome, Australia's role is to say to Cyprus that we strongly support the peace process, we strongly support the UN resolutions, we strongly support the sentiment with which the two leaders have embarked upon this reinvigorated process, and we play our part, not just by making a contribution to the peacekeeping force, but also play our part in the international community, arguing that it is Cyprus' interests for the issue to be resolved, it is Europe's interests for the issue to be resolved, and it is in the international community's interests for the issue to be resolved,'' he said.
Smith pointed out that ''it is certainly in Australia's interests because of the large Cypriot community that we have in Australia, who are intensely interested in progress.''
He added that ''Australia has a good bilateral relationship with Turkey and whilst it is not our role to tell Turkey what attitude it should adopt, certainly as part of our bilateral relationship we will discuss with Turkey its attitude and view to this issue.''
Smith noted that ''in the end the resolution will only be a long term enduring resolution if it is agreed to by the two communities.''
Kyprianou said Australia is ''a friendly country to the Republic of Cyprus since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus.''
He added that he briefed Smith on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the direct negotiations, noting that the Australian Minister would be informed in detail on the talks by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.
''I explained the great importance that international support has for Cyprus, so that the other side is committed to a bizonal bicommunal federation solution, with a single sovereignty, a single international identity and a single citizenship,'' Kyprianou said.
He added that the talks are being held between the two communities in Cyprus but ''the key continues to be in Ankara and that is why we are asking friendly countries, which have a good relationship with Turkey, to exert their influence.''
Referring to bilateral relations, he said they are ''excellent,'' adding that ''there are about 100,000 Cypriots living in Australia.''
''The Minister informed me on the development of relations between the EU and Australia, which we warmly and intensely support and at each opportunity encourage the EU to make even bigger openings towards Australia,'' he said.
Kyprianou also said he accepted an invitation to visit Australia to continue talks with Smith and meet with the Cypriot community there.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Cyprus President Demetris Christofias is engaged in direct talks with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country.
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