|Sunday, 22 July 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-30
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Ôhursday, 30 October 2008 Issue No: 3033
 PM chairs Inner Cabinet on int'l financial crisisThe Inner Cabinet met on Wednesday, chaired by prime minister Costas Kara-manlis, to discuss the international financial crisis, and was briefed by economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis on the latest developments.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Alogoskoufis said that "we have one of the severest financial crises, which impacts Europe and the other countries of the world", and noted that the repercussions in Greece were fewer than elsewhere, but warned that "we must be vigilant".
Alogoskoufis stressed that there must be no doubt that the government will take all measures necessary for boosting the growth of the economy and for tackling the problems of those most affected by the crisis, but in the framework of the country's fiscal abilities.
The government has already given proof of its intentions, the minister said, while he also criticised "those who submit proposals that lack seriousness", adding that "proposals are being heard which, if implemented, not only would not solve the problems but would create even bigger problems for the Greek citizens".
Such proposals could be not be treated seriously, he added.
 PASOK spokesman comments on Inner Cabinet meetingMain opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday commented on the Inner Cabinet meeting which was held in the morning.
"In all countries, exept Greece, the governments undertake initiatives for the confrontation of the consequences of the economic crisis," he said.
"Only the Greek government does not take any measure for the relief of the low income earners and the safeguarding of the real economy, but applies itself to assurances like 'do not worry, all will go well', while at the same time it criticises PASOK for the measures which it proposes," the spokesman added.
 Gov't defends actions in support of banking systemThe government on Wednesday emphasised that a state-sponsored package of measures to support the country's banking system was aimed to benefit of all Greeks and particularly those most in need, while a government spokesman rebuffed main opposition criticism, saying the programme was drafted with safe standards and had specific targets.
"These are times of responsibility, specific positions and not declarations," government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters during a regular press briefing, while he strongly criticised press reports for spreading unfounded rumours, as he said.
The spokesman also cited Employment and Social Protection Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, who recently said that the government was examining all aspects of the crisis.
Antonaros said a credit crisis was here, it was evolving and that the government was closely monitoring developments. Finally, he stressed that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis would actively participate in an extraordinary EU summit in Brussels.
 PASOK unveils five-point plan to support economyThe main opposition PASOK party on Wednesday unveiled a package of five proposals aimed at supporting the real economy and small- and medium-sized enterprises from the current global credit crisis.
The proposals were presented during a news conference by PASOK deputy Mihalis Chrysohoidis. Presenting the proposals, Chrysohoidis said limited liquidity conditions prevailing in the domestic market, because of an unjustified delay in beginning the 4th Community Support Framework (2008-2013), raised prospects of a further shrinking or disappearance of several small- and medium-sized enterprises. He also criticized the government's plan to offer financial support to the banking system, saying it offered public money to banks without ensuring adequate supervision on the system. He accused the plan of abusing state support and noted that the package did not envisage a special clause ensuring that the money would be distributed to the real economy.
The five-point proposals, drafted by PASOK party, envisaged abolishing so-called "gentlemen's pact" between the Economy ministry and banks. It also called for the state to buy a limited amount of banks shares along with establishing supervision of banks included in the program, setting up a funding mechanism for very small, small and medium-enterprises, and reducing the tax burden on SMEs and citizens.
 Bakoyannis: Nimetz proposal not acceptable as it standsThe new set of proposals presented by United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz was "not satisfactory as it stands," Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said on Wednesday. She made the statement while briefing Parliament's Standing Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs on the latest developments surrounding the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
"It is not satisfactory on a series of points, which are rejected, problematic or unclear. Only after the necessary clarifications and corrections could this document become a basis for achieving a solution," Bakoyannis said.
She also ruled out any negotiations outside the framework stipulated by UN Security Council resolutions: "To express an interest in encouraging and assisting negotiations is one thing, but it is quite another to attempt to directly or indirectly weaken or to undermine them."
At the same time, the minister sent a message of "friendship and cooperation" to the ordinary people of FYROM, pointing out that past cooperation had always benefited both sides - both Greek business people that had invested in the country and the local population, which had found employment at thousands of jobs created there by Greek enterprises.
"This cooperation acquires a new significance in these days of global economic crisis. This is of paramount interest to FYROM, which borders on and can strengthen its cooperation with a country - Greece - that belongs to the strong European group of Eurozone countries," she said.
Greece's foreign minister was strongly critical of the stance displayed by FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in his handling of the name dispute negotiations, accusing him of "deliberately cultivating a 19th-century-style nationalism and fabricating reasons to demonise Greece."
According to Bakoyannis, Gruevski "has consciously chosen intransigence over his country's and his people's European and Euro-Atlantic prospects, choosing instead to establish and strengthen his own personal policy for prevailing in the neighbouring country".
The minister additionally criticised the "self-contradictory messages and positions" expressed by the negotiators sent by Skopje to the talks, who according to Bakoyannis appeared to be working at cross purposes.
"While Greece participates with one negotiator, who is fully authorised, has clear instructions, enjoys the government's trust and has the necessary margins in which to maneuver, Skopje has two negotiators and now officially admits that one represents the country's president Branko Crvenkovski and the other Mr. Gruevski," she pointed out.
According to the minister, this "dual representation" did not contribute to the clarity of the talks and raised serious questions about whether the positions expressed by the other side could be considered binding and reliable.
"As long as these matters remain unresolved, they will have negative repercussions on the negotiating process," she stressed.
Bakoyannis warned, meanwhile, that Athens was not prepared to consider a "conditional" agreement with Skopje, while stressing that Greece would persevere with the process underway at the UN and sincerely desired to find a mutually acceptable solution.
"Greece is neither dragging its feet, nor in a hurry. We want the rules of the game to be made clear. We ask that Mr. Gruevski and his government desist from provocative behaviours," the minister said.
 Nimetz meets FYROM representativesNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
UN Secretary General's special envoy in the negotiations on the "name issue" of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Matthew Nimetz, on Wednesday met with the representatives of FYROM, Nikola Dimitrov and Martin Proteger.
No statements were made after the meeting which was held at Nimetz's office in Manhattan.
 PASOK on Olympic AirlinesThe positions of the main opposition PASOK party on the issue of the ailing Olympic Airlines company, in light of Thursday's discussion in Parliament on the package of measures for the airline's employees, were presented on Wednesday by the party's transport sector rapporteurs Nikos Sifounakis, Haris Tsiokas and Fotis Hatzimichalis.
They also replied to the 11 "myths", as Sifounakis said, of the government and the relevant transport minister "which they made up to cover up the truth regarding the sale of the national carrier."
According to PASOK's officials, the allegation by Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis that Olympic's accumulated losses by the end of the year would exceed 2.6 billion euros is not true.
The government, they added, "did not support and did not defend at the European Union and in European courts the decisions taken by Greek courts on debts, on the contrary it undermined the future, in Brussels, both in government and in the opposition."
They further stressed that Olympic had 48 aircraft in 2007, while in June 2008 they decreased to 38, meaning that 22,000 flights were not carried out and also meaning two million passengers less and a total loss of revenues amounting to 230 million euros.
 KKE's Papariga meets with Cyprus President ChristofiasNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga was received by Cyprus Republic President Demetris Christofias here on Wednesday with talks focusing on the Cyprus issue and other matters of mutual interest.
Commenting after the meeting, Papariga stressed that she expressed support to the work and efforts made by the Cypriot president for a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem.
"These are difficult times for a solution," she pointed out and added that the "Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots must live in peace in a bizonal federation forming a single state entity and international presence."
Papariga stressed, referring to President Christofias, that "the Cyprus issue is in safe hands" pointing out, however, that "the appropriate timing in terms of the international situation and a positive stance on behalf of the other side, are necessary in order to reach a solution."
Responding to a question on whether she will have contacts with the Turkish Cypriot political parties she said that "such contacts are much easier to be made by AKEL."
Earlier, Papariga, who is visiting Cyprus following an invitation by the ruling left-wing AKEL party, had also a meeting with AKEL affiliated Pancyprian Labour Federation's (PEO) general secretary Pampis Kyritsis.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are engaged in talks with a view to finding a negotiated settlement that will reunite the island republic.
 Coalition's Political Secretariat convenesThe Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology's (Synaspismos) Political Secretariat convened on Wednesday and discussed the crisis in the economy and the party's preparation for the Euroelections.
On the question of the Greek economy, the meeting assessed that "it might be faced with a recession soon," while it was added that "as the present setting is being shaped, it is necessary for measures to be taken immediately to protect loan holders, small depositors, the purchasing power of working people and the reserves of social security funds."
As regards the package of 28 billion for Greek banks, the Secretariat said that "it constitutes a scandalous act of supporting the cause of the present crisis, which is none other than the profiteering games of banks."
It was stressed that "the only solution from the deadlock of the neo-liberal obsession about free markets and the adoration of profit is the retaking of bank foundations by the state, with the criterion being the possibility of exercising policy in the monetary sector for the benefit of the citizens."
The Secretariat also pointed out that "the plan on the budget is out of touch with reality because, apart from its profoundly antipopular character, it is currently up in the air absolutely since it was prepared under other conditions."
 Synaspismos leader speaks about ecologyCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday night addressed an event on ecology in Aliveri, Evia, on the theme "Why we say no to coal", during which he expressed his party's complete opposition to the government's energy policy.
Tsipras said that the New Democracy (ND) government "continously announces the granting of licenses for the production of energy from lignite, plans new installations with imported coal, instead of proceeding in programmes for their gradual replacement."
"It is a government which believes that in this country there are second class citizens, who will shoulder once again in their lungs an ill conceived growth," he added.
 Vatopedi's Ephraim challenges Vistonida rulingThe abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, the recent target of much negative publicity over a series of suspect land deals and his suspiciously close ties with politicians that sparked a major scandal for the ruling party, on Wednesday addressed a letter to the three top officials of Greece's Supreme Court, in which he challenged a judicial decision awarding ownership of lands around Lake Vistonida to the state.
According to a letter sent by lawyers representing Abbot Ephraim, the decision to issue a ruling in favour of the State after a roughly four-year delay was "unacceptable" and the two sides should be allowed to once again bring their case to court.
The letter referred to a ruling that awarded ownership of Lake Vistonida and the lands surrounding it, with the exception of the islet Ada Buru, to the Greek State that was based on a final but originally suppressed court decision that should have been issued by a Rodopi court in 2003.
Ephraim's letter was sent to Supreme Court President Vassilis Nikopoulos, Supreme Court Deputy President Ioannis Papanikolaou and Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor George Sanidas.
The decision that the court's ruling should be issued after a four-years delay was taken by Papanikolaou in his capacity as inspector of courts, after conducting a disciplinary inquiry into the stalling of the case, which simply stopped when the State withdrew its claim.
According to Papanikolaou, the failure to issue a final ruling after the three judges trying the case had already convened and voted 2-1 in favour of the State was an irregularity, since the two sides no longer had the right to either reach an out-of-court settlement or withdraw their claim at that stage in the proceedings.
Ephraim challenged the validity of the decision to automatically issue the ruling, claiming that the case should be discussed before a court again. He further claimed that a court ruling finding in favour of a plaintiff that has withdrawn their case is "de jure null".
He suggested that the order to issue the ruling would not have been given if the result had been different, adding that this was a blow to the standing and moral authority of justice, laying it open to a charge of being manipulated.
 Credit expansion slowed slightly in SeptemberCredit expansion rate to enterprises and households slowed slightly in September, compared with the same month last year, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.
The central bank, in a monthly report, said credit growth eased to 19.7 pct in September, from 20.1 pct in August, with credit expansion to enterprises slowing to 22.7 pct in September, from 22.9 pct in August, totaling 1.961 billion euros. Credit expansion slowed mostly in the retail sector (21 pct in September, from 22.4 pct in August), manufacturing (16.2 pct and 17.3 pct, respectively) and other financial institutions (-4.6 pct in September, from 1.2 pct in August 2008). Credit expansion growth remained unchanged in agriculture (19.0 pct in September, 18.9 pct in August), and grew in tourism (28.1 pct and 27 pct, respectively) and shipping (26.1 pct and 21.5 pct, respectively).
Households' borrowing rose by 1.577 billion euros in September with the growth rate slowing to 16.4 pct, from 17.0 pct in August 2008. Mortgage loans rose by 882 million euros in September, with credit growth slowing slightly to 15.1 pct, from 15.5 pct in August. Consumer loans was almost unchanged with annual growth rate of 20.7 pct in September, form 20.6 pct in August, while credit card debt was unchanged at 11.7 pct in September, from 11.8 pct in August.
 FinMin meets Bank of Greece GovernorEconomy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis met on Wednesday with Bank of Greece Governor George Provo-poulos and Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Legas to determine the technical details for the implementation of the Draft Law:"The strengthening of the fluidity of the economy for the confrontation of the repercussions of the international fiscal crisis".
 MIG's Vgenopoulos criticism banking draft billGreek banker Andreas Vgenopoulos, the vice-president of the Athens-based and listed Marfin Investment Group (MIG), on Wednesday called the government's draft bill to ensure liquidity in the domestic banking system as "inadequate and unfair".
MIG has publicly stated that it will opt out of the package, which aims to guarantee liquidity of up to 28 billion euros for banks.
Speaking at a press conference to present MIG's charitable foundation, Vgenopoulos said the draft bill creates "massive questions and discrepancies" over the condition of the domestic banking system, "with negative repercussions that became visible over the recent period," he said, referring to share prices.
Vgenopoulos also charged that major shareholders of potentially threatened banks should be the first to contribute with their own capital.
"If there is no exit (from the crisis) then you look for potential partnerships with more powerful banks, something that is occurring internationally, before in the end taking cover under the state's umbrella," he said.
In his criticism, Vgenopoulos added that the major shareholders of Greek banks have a first and last name.
"That's who the banks should have turned to for an increase in capital, and not to the Greek taxpayer via the state budget," he added.
 Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative board meeting in AthensAthens on Wednesday hosted the opening of a two-day board meeting of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a high-powered group comprised of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations that aims to set a "global standard" for transparency in mining contracts between companies and governments.
Speaking after the conclusion of the first day, Robert Mosbacher Jr., the head of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), a US government agency, summarised the initiative's goal by saying that EITI wants all major international lending organisations, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) and the Asian Development Bank, for instance, to formulate international guidelines that mandate transparency in funded projects.
Mosbacher, himself a former energy industry executive appointed as OPIC CEO and president in 2005, said American and US-based companies are already under such transparency obligations, which he said aim squarely at tackling corruption in the developing world from major mining and exploration deals.
Conversely, Mosbacher acknowledged that China and Russia, two major international mining and exploration players, were not represented at the EITI board meeting, although he said contacts with the two sides are continuing.
 OA workers protest at Athens airportOlympic Airlines employees and trade unionists on Wednesday staged a protest at Athens' international airport, timed to coincide with the arrival of Transport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on a flight carried out by a private airline.
OA staff carried pickets protesting against plans to privatise Greece's national carrier and spray-painted protests on an aircraft belonging to OA's successor company Pantheon.
 OA strike on ThursdayAn umbrella union (OSPA) representing Olympic Airways (OA) employees on Wednesday announced a 24-hour strike for Thursday, a development likely to delay or cancel much of the carrier's daily flight programme.
Initially, the company said 48 flights, mostly domestic, will be cancelled. The union said the industrial action comes in protest to government plans to privatise the carrier, with a relevant debate beginning in Parliament on the same day.
 Athens metro strike on ThursdayThe Athens Metro will not be running throughout the day on Thursday, due to a 24-hour strike by metro employees seeking the signature of a collective labour agreement and other demands.
Other public transport services, such as buses, trolleys, tram and the ISAP electric railway will be operating as usual.
 Karamolegos sells 30-mln-euro bond loanKaramolegos on Wednesday announced the successful completion of the sale of a 30-mln-euro bond loan. The eight-year bond loan was fully covered by a private placement from Marfin Egnatia Bank and Investment Bank of Greece.
Karamolegos said it will use the proceeds of the bond issue to refinancing its long- and short-term debt and to completing the company's five-year investment program.
 Greek stocks soared 9.54 pct on WednesdayGreek stocks recorded one of their biggest one-day rebounds ever in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, as investors became aggressive buyers in the wake of strong gains in international markets. The composite index ended at 1,969.84 points, up 9.54 pct with turnover a moderate 325.1 million euros, of which 12.4 million euros were block trades.
All sectors scored gains, with the Telecoms (15.81 pct), Banks (12.32 pct), Raw Materials (11.57 pct), Financial Services (11.41 pct) and Healthcare (9.54 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.
The FTSE 20 index jumped 10.82 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 6.04 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index jumped 8.33 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 242 to 26 with another 21 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +8.33%
Personal & Household: +1.97%
Raw Materials: +11.57%
Travel & Leisure: +3.85%
Food & Beverages: +7.66%
Financial Services: +11.41%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OTE and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 11.46
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.20
HBC Coca Cola: 9.50
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.52
National Bank of Greece: 15.70
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.20
Bank of Piraeus: 9.70
Titan Cement Company: 13.36
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover shrinking to 76.834 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 2.0 pct. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 11,721 contracts worth 61.060 million euros, with 27,063 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 20,250 contracts worth 15.400 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,734), followed by Eurobank (1,150), Marfin Investment Group (1,384), OTE (2,122), PPC (1,104), GEK (1,562), Marfin Popular Bank (2,272) and Hellenic Postbank (1,059).
 Foreign Exchange rates: ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.287
Pound sterling 0.802
Danish kroner 7.51
Swedish kroner 9.983
Japanese yen 124.99
Swiss franc 1.481
Norwegian kroner 8.622
Canadian dollar 1.620
Australian dollar 1.982
 'Qadir' premieres at foreign ministry on WednesdayA message from Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was read out during a press conference on Wednesday to mark the official premiere of the awarded documentary "Qadir: An Afghan Odysseus," which tracks the nine-year journey of a young Afghan immigrant as he tries to make his life in Greece.
In her message, Bakoyannis hailed the final effort as "a programme of developmental cooperation that seeks to sensitise western societies to the problems of the developing world, to show understanding for difference and the importance of encouraging return through developmental activities."
Part-financed by the state-run broadcaster ERT and the Greek foreign ministry's International Developmental Cooperation Service, the film was screened at the ministry, in the presence of Afghan Deputy Culture Minister Omar Sultan.
The filming of the documentary, that received 1st Prize at the International Roma Fiction Festival, took place in Greece and Afghanistan. It was produced by Cinegram, while additional sponsors were the Greek Film Centre and Al Jazeera English.
In an overview of Greek developmental diplomacy over the last five years, the head of the service Theodoros Skylakakis pointed out that Greece had given more than 60 million euros to Afghanistan's reconstruction in that time, financing actions relating to emergency aid, health, education, preserving peace and culture.
 Transport minister on road safetyTransport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis, addressing the international conference of the International Car Federation Foundation on road safety in the city of Hania, on the island of Crete, on Wednesday stressed that the problem of road safety does not have a homeland, it is something that concerns all, it is an issue of humanity, it is an issue of the present and the future and requires joint handling, coordinated action and international cooperation.
According to data provided by the minister, invoking the World Health Organisation, 1,200,000 people are killed on roads all over the world every year, meaning that in practice there is a fatality every three minutes.
He also referred to a recent report prepared on behalf of the Union of Greek Insurance Companies which revealed, among other things, that seven out of 10 motorists admitted having ignored red traffic lights, 56.3 percent having overtaken another vehicle by entering an oncoming lane and 30 percent having driven under the influence of alcohol.
Hatzidakis stressed the importance placed by his ministry on road safety and on measures it has taken in this direction, noting that halving the number of fatalities on roads by 2010 is a feasible target, compared to 2000 when we had 2,013 fatalities.
 13th Int'l anti-corruption conference in AthensThe 13th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) is set to begin in Athens on Thursday with some 1,100 foreign delegates arriving in the city and a list of speakers that will include Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, foreign dignitaries, heads of non-governmental organisations and journalists. The conference will focus mainly on the ÔÝëïòöüñìáòÁñ÷Þöüñìáòcauses and consequences of corruption on peace and security, natural resources and energy markets, climate change, and sustainable globalisation.
According to IACC Council member Barry O' Keefe, who is among the speakers, corruption also played an important role in the recent financial crisis that is threatening to cause a global economic downturn.
"When you lie about money, you commit fraud, which is illegal and therefore punishable. Management executives of financial organisations knew that they were misleading and should be punished," he said.
The president of Transparency International Greece Costas Bakouris stressed that corruption was at the core of the major challenges facing the world, while the chairwoman of Transparency International Huguette Labelle noted that "corruption touches our lives directly and indirectly, causes violence, kills".
Organisers of the conference stressed the huge cost of corruption in developing countries and said that it flourished wherever there was a lack of accountability or a gap in legislation, citing examples like Slovenia, Latvia and Italy. Regarding Greece, they noted marginal progress but also that the indicators were borderline.
The conference, which will consist of 40 working groups, begins on Thursday and is set to end on November 2.
 Opinion poll results on expatriate GreeksFRANKFURT (ANA-MPA)
Conclusions of an unprecedented opinion poll on the Greek expatriate identity were presented in the SAE Europe regional convention held here last week, with the participation of 220 delegates from 20 European countries.
The poll was conducted by the Athens-based Kapa-Research firm between 2006 and 2008 on a sample of 15,000 ethnic Greeks living around the world
According to the poll, held under the auspices of the foreign ministry, Greeks who immigrated to America left in search of a better future, whereas Greeks who left the country and moved to Europe did so because of poverty. Most of the Greek immigrants came from the provinces of Macedonia, the Peloponnese, and Epirus, in the northwest.
Most marriages between expatriate Greeks are still held in a traditional manner, thus forming a link with the homeland, while one in three families speaks mostly Greek at home. Family ties are also very strong, with 7 in 10 Greeks having relatives abroad.
As regards language, the majority of expatriates believe that good Greek schools are impossible to exist abroad.
A majority of expatriate Greeks believe that they are more hardworking compared to residents in Greece. Entrepreneurship is also apparently higher among expatriates, whereas in Greece a large portion of respondents expressed a desire to work in the public sector.
Overall, Greeks abroad are in a better financial state, considering that only one in 10 say that they are on the verge of poverty, compared to 20 percent in Greece. Three in four have property in Greece but only one in three maintain that they are exploiting the property.
According to results, a large majority of Greek expatriates have high self-esteem, are hardworking and consider themselves responsible taxpayers. A vast majority said they were extremely proud to be Greek-Americans or Greek-Australians and nine in 10 said they wanted their children and themselves to preserve their Greek identity.
Conversely, most of the Greeks abroad expressed bitterness vis-à-vis the stance of the Greek state through the years.
In their overwhelming majority, respondents believe that they are integrated in their country of residence and that in the future they will be fully assimilated. Nationality, a good profession and a high-level education are regarded as the fundamental elements for their integration in the societies of their adopted countries, the opinion poll showed.
The work of the Orthodox Church is evaluated in positive light, generally speaking, and one in three ethnic Greeks sees the Church as the foundation for developing social relations.
A high percentage of the Greeks of the Diaspora watch Greek satellite TV; one in three reads Greek newspapers, while also one in three wants subtitled TV shows. The majority has a positive view of ERT, the Greek national broadcaster, while Greeks abroad are more familiar with the Internet than Greeks in Greece.
A detailed presentation of the opinion poll conclusions will be held in Athens on Nov. 28-29.
 European conference on missing childrenThe First European Conference on handling the problem of missing children began at noon on Wednesday with the inauguration of the united European line "116000" for missing minors by the President of the European Organisation for missing children, Margaret Barroso and with a message from Interior, Public Order and Decentralisatioin Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
The event is being held by the European "Missing Children Europe" Federation, the society "The Child's Smile" and the "Child Focus" organisation and it is under the auspices of the Interior ministry and the ambassador of Belgium in Greece Pierre Vaesen.
The Greek Police's Electronic Crime Service was honoured during the event for its "decisive contribution to the successful solving of crimes against children" with the presentation of commemorative plaques both by Barroso and the President of the Child's Smile society, C. Yiannopoulos.
In his message, which was read by the Greek Police Staff's chief, Stefanos Spotis, the Interior minister stressed that "violence against children, in whatever form it is manifested, constitutes the most extreme and repulsive form of violence and constitutes one of the gravest cases of violation of the Rights of Man" and consequently "its confrontation is a fundamental constitutional mandate."
 Vanished businessman returns home, investigation continuesA 59-year-old Thessaloniki businessman who had been missing since last Friday night and believed to be the victim of abduction returned home in the early hours of Wednesday and was well in health, police said Wednesday.
According to the Thessaloniki General Police Directorate, which was investigating the disappearance, the man returned home at 2:30 a.m. and was in good health.
The investigation was continuing, shrouded in secrecy.
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.
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.
 Panathinaikos loses 3-2 to Ergotelis in Super League matchPanathinaikos Athens suffered a shock 3-2 defeat by Ergotelis Crete at the Athens Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening, in a Super League soccer match that had been postponed several weeks ago.
Koutsianikoulis (47' and 51') and Budimir (62') scored the goals for Ergotelis and Gabriel (7') and Christodoulopoulos (53') for Panathinaikos.
Standings after seven weeks of play:
1. Olympiakos 16 points
2. PAOK 15
3. Xanthi 14
4. Ergotelis 12
5. Panathinaikos 11
6. Larissa 11
7. Panionios 11
8. AEK 10
9. Aris 9
10. Levadiakos 8
11. Panseraikos 7
12. Panthrakikos 7
13. Asteras 7
14. OFI 4
15. Iraklis 4
16. Thrasyvoulos 4
 Fair on ThursdayFair weather with southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 27C. Fair in Athens, with 3-5 beaufort southerly winds and temperatures ranging from 13C to 26C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 13C to 22C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe government's planned measures for the financially weaker brackets and the Inner Cabinet meeting on the international crisis dominated the front pages in Athens' dailies on Wednesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The goal is to protect pensioners and SMEs - Inner Cabinet to meet on Wednesday".
APOGEVMATINI: "Parliament president Dimitris Sioufas stresses that the crisis demands...uniting of forces".
AVRIANI: "Social package from Karamanlis - Fortifying the unemployed and low-pension earners the immediate priority".
CHORA: "Waltzing with the barons - Government's meetings with all the publishers".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Slowdown in commerce due to lack of money".
ELEFTHEROS: "Mitsotakis bomb against Karamanlis - He prefers strong PASOK government to the lack of governance".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The 'Hungarian miracle' turns into a nightmare - The model-economy on the brink of bankruptcy - Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey a 'devil's triangle' for Greek enterprises".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Aspirin for the crisis - Inner Cabinet today on protection of the workers".
ESTIA: "Uncertainty over the economy - Chain reactions in all sectors".
ETHNOS: "They're seeking life-raft in the crisis - Karamanlis playing on the backs of the unemployed".
TA NEA: "Home on auction for 1,849 euros debt - Auctions continuing despite the new law".
VRADYNI: "Big deals, with the unemployed as the hostages - Games of prevalence by economic giants, with dismissals the weapon".
 Papacostas announces decision to destroy SAM missilesNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Costas Papacostas, Cyprus Minister of Defence, has announced a government decision to destroy 324 portable anti-aircraft missiles, type 9M32M.
In his speech at a joint meeting of the Permanent Council and the Forum for Security Co-operation of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), that is taking place in Vienna, Papacostas said the government is determined to declare its commitment for the withdrawal of these missiles.
The government, he said, "acknowledges the threats from the uncontrolled production and the use of these anti-aircraft weapons, which in terrorists' hands can be used for terrorist activity. These weapons are capable of costing innocent lives and hampering peace and stability in the world".
According to an official press release, issued here Wednesday by the Ministry of Defence, Papacostas also pointed out that the missiles will be destroyed in accordance with international standards. In order to achieve that, the Republic of Cyprus has requested for specialised technical assistance from the OSCE, he added.
The Cypriot minister highlighted the efforts being made by the Republic of Cyprus towards peace and stability, saying these are based on the ongoing direct negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem and end the violent division of the island and the implementation of all the International Conventions, Agreements and Regulations that promote peace, stability and security.
Papacostas referred to a government decision to cancel the National Guard annual military drill 'Nikiforos', by saying that it was "a move aimed at maintaining the good climate at the ongoing direct negotiating process", between President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader.
In addition, Papacostas noted that the Republic of Cyprus is taking concrete measures to promote peace and stability, such as the safe destruction and storage of small weapons and ammunition, and the implementation of the Ottawa Treaty which provides for landmine clearance from the UN controlled buffer zone and the destruction of anti-personnel mines.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat began talks in early September to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country.
 EU cannot accept a country occupying part of an EU member, says Swedish MPNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Swedish Christian Democrat MP, former MEP, Lennart Sacredeus, believes that the European Union cannot accept as a member state a country which illegally occupies part of another sovereign country, an EU member state.
Sacredeis expressed this position during a meeting he had with House President Marios Garoyian, reiterating his intention to continue briefing the Swedish Parliament and the Swedish people with regard to the Cyprus problem and the ongoing breach of human rights on the island.
Turkey, a candidate country for EU membership, continues to occupy Cyprus' northern part since its troops invaded in 1974.
An official press release issued here Wednesday said that Garoyian briefed the Swedish MP on current developments in the Cyprus question and reaffirmed the will of the Greek Cypriot side to achieve an agreed bizonal, bicommunal federation, on the basis of international law, relevant EU resolutions, the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979 and EU principles and values.
Garoyian expressed his concern for the fact that Turkey, so far, has not shown the necessary will for a settlement in Cyprus, noting that "the key of the solution lies in Ankara, on which unfortunately the Turkish Cypriot community depends."
Sacredeus expressed the belief that the EU cannot accept as one of its members a country which illegally occupies part of another sovereign country, member of the EU and wished that the current process of negotiations bears fruit soon and leads to the settlement of the problem, on the basis of international law and respect of human rights.
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are engaged in direct talks with a view to finding a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
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