|Thursday, 14 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-11-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 5 November 2008 Issue No: 3038
 PM Karamanlis participates in CEPS discussion on EuropeBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, participating in the discussion on Europe organised on Tuesday by the Centre of European Political Studies (CEPS), in cooperation with the Constantine Karamanlis Foundation 10 years after the death of statesman Constantine Karamanlis, said that at the present economic conjuncture citizens, more than ever, are demanding from their leadership tangible proof and a socially responsible vision in tackling their problems.
Also participating in the discussion were European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Parliament President Hans Pettering, the general director of the Constantine Karamanlis Foundation and academic Constantine Svolopoulos and the President of the Greek Defence and Foreign Policy Foundation (ELIAMEP), Loukas Tsoukalis.
Focusing on the international economic crisis, Karamanlis said that the European Union must "dissolve with actions the citizens' insecurity over work, their concern over the survival of their business, their anxiety over their deposits and their loan commitments."
He went on to say that the only reliable response is that of Europe, as well as international cooperation and coordinated action. The prime minister also stressed the need for better coordination between monetary and fiscal policy and monetary supervision.
Karamanlis noted that the current international crisis could clearly show to Europeans the benefits of their participation in the European family and the consequences for isolated economies lying outside the security and perspective which is provided by the EU. Referring further to the benefits of countries participating in the eurozone, he said that the euro has provided protection and stability for the economies of these countries.
The Greek prime minister said that Greece's accession to the EU is due, to a considerable degree, to the political vision and determination of Constantine Karamanlis who saw the then European Economic Community as a guarantee for stability, democracy and growth.
He added that initially the majority of Greeks had viewed the EEC with great reservation, however, in very few years the Greek citizens, regardless of political positions, were among the most ardent supporters of the European idea because they experienced European solidarity in practice.
Karamanlis mentioned two examples of tangible European solidarity. The first, as he said, is "the way with which the European partners shared the pride felt by Greece in the summer of 2004, when the Olympic Games returned to their birthplace" and the second is tangible and substantive solidarity during the ordeal experienced by Greece with wildfires in the summer of 2007.
The Commission President said on his part that the European response to the economic crisis is an example of constructive cooperation between the European bodies: the Commission, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Central Bank.
Lastly, replying to a question on the issue of the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name, Karamanlis said that Greece supports the effort of its neighbouring countries and of all the Balkan countries to join NATO and the EU. He further said that in the framework of negotiations that have been taking place over the past 16 years on FYROM's name issue, under the auspices of the UN, Greece believes that a mutually acceptable solution must be found. He clarified that this means that the name must be composite, for all uses and have a clear orientation to avoid the raising of nationalist and irredentist issues. The prime minister concluded by saying that a real solution necessitates both sides taking the necessary steps.
 Bakoyannis at EU-Med meeting in MarseilleMARSEILLE (ANA-MPA - N. Melissova)
Foreign ministers of 43 countries attending a meeting in Marseille on Tuesday managed to hammer out a deal that will take the "Union for the Mediterranean" first proposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy one step further. The Spanish city of Barcelona was established as the base of operations for the new union, while the meeting succeeded in overcoming snags that had arisen until now, especially in relations between Israelis and Arabs.
"We took all the decisions that had remained pending since July in Paris. The object is to be effective, to all remain sitting around the same table and for all sides to be satisfied, both Arabs and Israelis, with European partners actively involved," Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said after the morning session.
The meeting also decided on an agenda of priority programmes for the EU-Med union, with emphasis on giving a boost to small and middle-sized businesses and to promote renewable energy sources and shipping.
Bakoyannis particularly welcomed planned action to support SMEs in light of the current economic crisis.
Referring to Greece's role within the Union of the Mediterranean, Bakoyannis stressed Athens' early support for the initiative launched by Sarkozy and noted that Greece had won a place in the organisation's five-member secretariat, which will be the main body in charge of organising projects and guiding funding.
She also stressed Athens' role, alongside that of Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Moratinos, in smoothing over the Arab-Israeli dispute that had threatened to scupper Tuesday's meeting. She noted that their intervention ended with an agreement that the Arab League should participate in the Union of the Mediterranean "at all levels".
The Greek foreign minister stressed her satisfaction with an outcome that she said "pleased everyone," adding that more forums for political dialogue were needed and the Union of the Mediterranean could act in this way.
While in Marseille, Bakoyannis met the Palestinian Authority's head of diplomacy Riyad Al-Malki on the sidelines of the foreign ministers' meeting and reaffirmed the good relations and close cooperation between the two sides.
 Papandreou stresses EU role in financial crisisBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - G. Milionis)
Europe was now called upon to play a major role in dealing with the current financial crisis, both on a European and international level, main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou said on Tuesday after a meeting here with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
"At a time of emergency needs and major economic crisis, it is necessary for the tools and policies that Europe has, such as the Stability Pact and the European Central Bank, to adapt to the needs of the time, so that they protect European citizens, employment and pensions, support small and middle-sized businesses, contribute to substantive and green development and the protection of the environment," he stressed.
Papandreou noted that Europe was also called to play an international role in dealing with the crisis, especially in view of possible developments in the United States, adding that this should "promote the progressive agenda on a global level".
 Papandreou meets Commissioner DimasBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/G.Milionis)
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou met here Tuesday with EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.
"Given the present economic crisis, we need a new driving force, a steam engine of development and this is green development," Papandreou told reporters after the meeting.
"Greece must not lose another opportunity, it must be at the head in this sector and by doing this it will secure prospects for development, jobs, quality, real competitiveness," the main opposition leader added.
He also said that he had identical views with Dimas "in this direction" and congratulated the Greek commissioner for his work achieved in protecting the environment on an international scale.
 Papandreou speaks to reporters after Brussels talksBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)
Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist Interna-tional (SI) President George Papandreou, speaking to reporters after his meetings with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas here on Tuesday, said that the energy and environment issues will be creating crises.
Papandreou stressed that political inflexibilities concerning the development of green and viable energy must be overcome and that there are examples of such countries as Denmark which, under worse climatic conditions, have proceeded in this direction, a fact confirming that Greece has great possibilities of developing new technologies and renewable energy sources that will make it a pioneer in this respect.
Referring to his discussion with Barroso, Papandreou said that it focused primarily on the role that the European Central Bank can play in supervision, transparency and employment support issues. He added that one should not fear John Meynard Keynes and support the economy with public investments.
Papandreou further said that the European Central Bank must not merely facilitate fluidity among banks, but it must contribute decisively to the funding of the real economy.
 Papandreou received by Metropolitan of AustriaVIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)
Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou visited the historic Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Vienna on Monday night, where he was received by Metropolitan Michael of Austria and Ecumenical Patriarchate Exarch for Hungary and Middle Europe.
Papandreou, as SI president, earlier chaired the first meeting of the SI-sponsored Stiglitz Committee that discussed the formulation of the world's progressive political forces' proposal for exit from the global financial crisis.
He was due to fly to Brussels on Tuesday, where he will meet with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, and also attend an extroardinary meeting of the European socialist parties' leaders on Wednesday.
 Deputy FM Doukas concludes visit to SerbiaDeputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Petros Doukas visited the Neboisa Tower in Belgrade on Tuesday, as part of his official visit to Serbia.
The Tower will be maintained and reopened with a donation from Greece, amounting to 1.5 million euros, to house a museum dedicated to pre-revolutionary visionary Rigas Fereos, who had been imprisoned there and murdered by strangulation by the Ottoman authorities in 1798.
Doukas was welcomed at the Tower by Serb Culture Minister Bradic.
The Greek deputy minister thanked the people and the government of Serbia for providing the Tower and referred in statements to the longlasting and inter-Balkan vision of Fereos for peace and democracy in the Balkans.
"Rigas Fereos was a champion of the idea of unity of the Balkan peoples. He believed in a free and democratic union of the Balkans, where all peoples would maintain their rights and would respect the rights of their neighbours," he said.
Doukas, who paid a two-day visit to Serbia, also had contacts in Belgrade with the ministers of Economy and Regional Development Mlajan Dinkic, Trade and Services Petar Skudric and Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic, with whom he discussed issues regarding bilateral relations.
Jeremic thanked the Greek official for "the steadfast support that Greece is offering to Serbia in the political and economic sector, as well as for its course towards the European Union."
Doukas's visit to Serbia was concluded with a lecture at the private Megatrend University titled "Ancient Greek philosophy and modern management", in which he elaborated on the "modern" views of the ancient Greeks and on how they are appearing in the modern-day era.
 Gov't on Vatopedi affair"The case is being investigated by a parliamentary inquiry committee, set up following a unanimous decision in Parlia-ment," government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated during a regular press briefing and when asked to comment on the interview given by Vatopedi Monastery Abbot Ephraim.
Antonaros also added that he never comments on any aspect of a case under judicial or parliamentary investigation.
 Roussopoulos speaks out after resignation, blasts accusationsFormer minister of state and ex-government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos spoke directly about the issues in which his name has been implicated, days after his resignation from the Cabinet, stressing in a television interview that he initially tendered his resignation a month and a half ago in order to "defend myself".
Roussopoulos said he had no knowledge of the details of the now controversial Vatopedi Monastery land claims, while he flatly denied any involvement whatsoever in the matter, stressing that his spiritual relationship is with the Orthodox Church and not with the specific monastery's abbot, Ephraim. Moreover, he charged that "political deviousness" was behind the implication of his name in the Vatopedi affair, aimed at his own political annihilation and at striking a blow against the Karamanlis government.
He also criticised as "unethical" a main opposition PASOK party's motion to establish a preliminary inquiry committee in Parliament on the affair, merely on the sole basis of four witnesses' depositions, of which three referred to visits by Xanthi area authorities to his office in 2004 and even a private visit by Ephraim to his home.
Roussopoulos further put blame on himself for the damage suffered by the government over the Vatopedi furor, claiming that over two months when he himself had been targeted as the "coordinator" of the affair, he had not been able to respond to the accusations, because "when you are the government spokesman, you are obliged to keep your distances".
In response to other accusations that he had "gotten rich" during his ministerial term, Roussopoulos clarified that two of the three residences listed in his 'source of assets' statement had been acquired from his personal income and that of his wife, Mara Zacharea, both well-known broadcast news personalities.
"I am open to any audit whatsoever by the institutional bodies of the state, and those who accuse me should do the same," he stressed.
As for Zacharea's professional activities and whether they were incompatible with the fact that she was the wife of the minister of state, Roussopoulos said his wife had no relationship with state or state advertisements, and elaborated that she had been a news reader, not a media owner.
"I maintained my institutional role, and my wife (maintained) her professional role," he said.
Roussopoulos further denied, as a "fairy tale", charges of a "Roussopoulos system" that dolled out state advertisements to the media at his will and kept the prime minister in isolation, explaining that the minister of state has no authority in the distribution of state advertisements, which is handled by the ministries, relevant bodies, and the advertising agencies they worked with.
As for the charges that he kept Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis "in isolation", Roussopoulos said:
"Can anyone possibly believe that the longest-serving leader of New Democracy, who has been through 'fire and brimstone', who was first elected as an MP in 1989, who is serving a second term as prime minister, can be placed in isolation by an associate? How does it arise that he does not perceive everything around him?"
"My conscience is absolutely clear," Roussopoulos continued, but conceded that he had part of the blame for the reversal of the climate for the government, which he attributed to his distancing from the mass media and long-hour occupation with his ministerial obligations and responsibilities.
On his part, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, replying to questions during a regular press briefing on Tuesday morning, said that what Roussopoulos stated in his letter of resignation, namely, that he was resigning in order to defend himself from unjustified attacks against him, were a "becoming action".
Roussopoulos made the comments during an interview on the private Athens television station Mega just after midnight Tuesday morning.
 PASOK spokesman on economy, Roussopoulos statementsMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papa-constantinou, commenting on Tuesday on the latest report by the IOBE institute which reflects, as he said, the Greeks' pessimism about the future, said "there is a party, New Democracy (ND), which creates debts for the Greeks when it is in power, increasing the deficit and the public debt."
Papaconstantinou said that according to the report's data, the economic climate index "fell to the lowest levels since 1990 and the consumer confidence index below the levels of 1993," adding that "they are phenomena that occur only when ND is in power."
Asked to comment on what former minister of state Theodoros Roussopoulos said in televised statements Monday night, Papaconstantinou said that the former minister has not answered many political questions on the Vatopedi case and on other issues.
He claimed that Roussopoulos has refused completely to assume any responsibility.
 Kassimis ends visit to BrazilBRASILIA (ANA-MPA - S. Aravopoulou)
Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Tuesday wrapped up a three-day visit to Brazil by meeting Brazilian Culture Minister Juca Ferreira and a senior foreign ministry official standing in for Brazil's foreign minister, who was abroad at the time.
The visit to Brazil is the first stop on a tour of Latin American countries to be carried out by Kassimis, who is in charge of expatriate issues, that will also include visits to Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.
The minister's meeting will also pave the way for a an official visit to Brazil in March 2009 by President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias.
On Monday night, meanwhile, Kassimis attended a reception organised by Greece's Ambassador to Brazil Antonis Nikolaidis for the local Greek community of Brasilia.
 Explosive device at entrance to DM Meimarakis's officeAn improvised explosive device, composed of four gas canisters and a small tank of oil, exploded at 17:15 at the entrance of Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis's office, on the fourth floor of the building located at the intersection of Solonos and Emmanuel Benaki streets in the Athens district of Exarchia and caused material damage to the entrance.
The assailants had placed the device outside the office's closed door, while the adjacent premises house his lawyer wife's office.
 DM Meimarakis condemns attack on his officeDefence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis condemned the bomb attack that occured at the entrance to his office in downtown Athens on Tuesday afternoon and stressed that such actions will not daunt him.
"Such moves not only do not daunt us, not only do they not impose the view of those choosing such forms of action but, on the contrary, they make us strong as steel," the minister said later in the day.
The attack on Meimarakis's office was condemned in statements by government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros and by main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou.
 Kammenos accused over land pegged for reforestationThe Ecologists-Greens party on Tuesday accused Deputy Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy Minister Panos Kammenos of having contested ownership a plot of land in Vari, eastern Attica that had been decreed due for reforestation since 1934 by the agriculture ministry. The claim put in by the minister and another 34 individuals claiming to have "unauthorised possession" was thrown out by the East Attica Expropriations Committee.
Under Greek law, people who use common land on a regular basis to farm or have buildings standing on it for at least a decade can apply to buy the land in question as "unauthorised possessors", provided it is not designated as forest or due for reforestation.
The Ecologists-Greens party questioned both the means by which Kammenos had come to have "possession" of the specific tract of land and also why he continued to pursue his claim when learning that it had been pegged for reforestation since 1934.
 Synaspismos leader Tsipras tours school complexCoalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday visited the large secondary school complex in the Grava district of Athens, where he talked with teachers and pupils. Later, Tsipras went to the Athens Town Hall and met with Athens municipality.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary head of the Radical Leftist Coalition (SYRIZA) Alekos Alavanos met with the presidium of the Federation of Insurance Companies of Greece.
Alavanos also tabled a question in Parliament towards Education Minister Evripides Stylianidis, calling the state to "close down" the private tertiary education institutes that lead to diplomas from affiliated universities in the European Union. He also called for respect for Article 16 of the Constitution, the unique provision that continues to ban all but state-run universities and colleges in the country.
 Democrats Abroad election night event in Athens 'sold out', GOP gathering reservedA decidedly skewed appearance characterised the rival US election day gatherings of the Republicans and Democrats Abroad on Tuesday evening in Athens, with the former bringing together barely 20 local supporters of the McCain-Palin ticket as opposed to a "sold-out" and raukus happening for roughly 500 Obama-Biden supporters.
The unabashed support in Greece for Sen. Barack Obama, mirroring and even exceeding other Europeans' preferences for the ongoing US presidential election, was evident in Athens, as a huge video screen showed images of the Illinois senator's campaign as a cover band played rock classics in one of the Greek capital's upscale hotels.
Asked to explain the huge support for the Democratic contender by Greek Americans and the Greek people in general, Republicans Abroad Greece chairwoman Katerina Papathanassiou dismissed a widely held belief in the east Mediterranean country that an Obama administration would be much closer to a handful of issues of particular Greek interest, including the now timely FYROM "name issue" issue.
"Sen. McCain, in fact, wrote a letter to President Bush about the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the reopening of the Halki school (in Turkey), and he's fully briefed on Greek issues. He didn't issue any specific paper on any country as he (McCain) believes in solving the issues with diplomacy," she said.
In his greeting at the separate gatherings, US ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard said it absolutely heartening to see the enthusiasm for the current US campaign in Greece being played out across the United States, where he cited the fact that up to 15 million new voters will cast their ballot in these elections.
Speckhard, hours before the first early exit polls are announced, also cited the fact that he is Washington top envoy in the birthplace of democracy, Greece.
 Greek economy more resistant to int'l crisis, FinMin saysThe Greek economy shows greater resistance to an unprecedented international financial crisis compared with other Eurozone countries, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, after an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, Alogoskoufis noted that prospects of a further expansion of the fiscal deficit were extremely limited that in that framework the government would exhaust all limits to protecting low income earners from the impact of the crisis.
The Greek minister said the global financial crisis affected the Greek economy, mainly because of low competitiveness and fiscal imbalances that were inherited from past governments. Alogoskoufis said a huge public debt was the weak spot of the economy that was limiting the range of fiscal policy in the country. He noted that the government was drafting a final budget plan, within the framework set by a pre-draft budget already tabled to Parliament.
Alogoskoufis said the government was implementing its reform program consistently and promoting a plan to boost liquidity in domestic markets, with the aim to lower lending interest rates and facilitate lending to enterprises and households. He stressed that the government hd an integrated plan to deal with the crisis and that developments so far showed that government policy was effective.
The Greek minister said government policy ensured the interests of citizens and of the country. "It is a policy of responsibility, a policy with prospects," he noted. He reiterated that Greece could not afford to deviate from a fiscal discipline effort, a policy together with high growth rates were the main barriers defending Greek citizens from the crisis, while he noted that European Commission's forecasts for the Greek economy confirmed its resistance.
 Greek economy not in excessive deficit condition, Almunia saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Spinthourakis)
The Greek economy was not in a condition of an excessive fiscal deficit, EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters after completion of a Eurogroup economy ministers' meeting in Brussels.
The EU's Monetary Affairs Commissioner, commenting on a European Commission's report showing that Greece's fiscal deficit exceeded 3.0 pct of GDP in 2007, said it was a temporary phenomenon that lasted only one year and noted the Commission was not going to begin excessive fiscal deficit procedures against the country. The EU's executive will draft a report for the monetary and economic commission of the EU-27 but it did not intend to recommend any action against Greece, Almunia said.
The EU Commissioner said a forecast that the Greek fiscal deficit will total 3.0 pct of GDP in 2010 was based on the assumption that the Greek state budget for the year will have the same directions as that of 2007. However, he added, the Commission was aware that state budgets' directions in member states changed from year to year, and stressed that the Commission was also changing its forecasts.
Both Almuni and Eurogroup's chairman, Jean-Claude Juncker, reiterated that an EU Stability and Growth Pact would not be abolished, or relaxed and stressed that the Pact itself envisages a more relaxed implementation of existing rules during times of economic hardships.
 Parliament on Olympic Airlines employeesParliament ratified in principle on Tuesday with 150 votes in favour and 134 against (out of a total of 284 voting deputies), and following a rollcall vote called for by the main opposition PASOK party, the draft law prepared by the Transport and Communications ministry on "social arrangements for the employees at the Olympic Airlines companies."
 SYRIZA on monetary crisisThe Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) made a number of proposals on how the economic crisis should be handled, in an announcement on Tuesday, while also criticising the government "over the mythical amount of 28 billion euros that it announced for the monetary crisis."
The announcement added that this "constitutes a great political and economic scandal and represents an unprecedented looting of taxed citizens in order to back bankers and bank capital."
The party proposes a series of "immediate, realistic and substantive" measures aimed at relieving the economy and society, the financially weaker classes in particular, the weakest categories of loan holders, the farmers and small and medium-size businesses, while "paving progressive paths to break out of the present crisis."
 Greek economic sentiment index fell to 18-year lows in OctoberEconomic sentiment index fell further in October, remaining in a downward trend for the eighth consecutive month, to 72.9 points, the lowest level since 1990, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Tuesday.
IOBE, in its monthly report, noted however that Greece was not the only country in Europe to report record low levels, with Luxembourg, Estonia, Spain and Hungary also reporting record low indexes.
The consumer confidence index fell markedly to -57 points in October, from -50 in September, sharply down compared with readings of -23 and -24 in the EU and the Eurozone, respe-ctively.
Greek consumers remained the most pessimistic in Europe, with Hungarians and Portugese consumers following through. Greek consumers expect their households' financial situation to deteriorate in the next 12 months, while they were also very pessimistic over their savings and very pessimistic over unemployment developments in the country.
A vast majority of Greeks (80 pct) said they did not plan to buy a car in the next 12 months, while only 5 pct said it was likely that they would buy a house during the same period.
 EIB in talks with Hutchison, Cosco to fund Greek ports projectsThe European Investment Bank (EIB) is holding separate negotiations with Hutchison and Cosco in order to seek out ways of funding their investments in the ports of Thessaloniki and Piraeus, Themis Kouvarakis, the bank's lending director told reporters in Luxembourg on Tuesday.
Kouvarakis said the essential part of negotiations between EIB and the future managers of the cargo terminals in Thessaloniki and Piraeus was not expected to begin before the start of 2009, after the Greek Parliament ratified the management contracts.
The European Investment Bank, the EU's investment arm, has signed a 100-mln-euro contract with the Thessaloniki Port Authorities to co-fund - by 50 pct -- a project to expand the port's sixth pier, a contract likely to be annulled since Hutchison's investment plan more than covers the value of the contract. The investment bank has also paid more than 100 million euros for works on a project to build a metro rail system in Thessaloniki. Kouvarakis said that under the plan, the metro system would be ready in 2012.
The European Investment Bank is seeking to expand its activities in Greece, Kouvarakis said, adding that its lending portfolio totaled 5.4 billion euros in the period 2003-2007 and expects to hand-our another 1.1 billion euros this year.
EIB has already signed partnership agreements with four Greek banks, in addition to the ones it is currently cooperating with (Piraeus Bank, Eurobank, Emporiki and PanCretan Bank) to act as intermediates in promoting its products.
 Alavanos meets insurance staff federationCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) chief Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday met the Federation of Insurance Associations of Greece (OASE) in Parliament. During the meeting, Alavanos praised members of the federation for having successfully averted the sale of Ethniki Insurance but noted that there remained the issue of ATE Insurance that was unresolved.
 Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum on November 19President Karolos Papoulias will attend the opening ceremony for the 2nd Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum at a downtown Athens hotel on November 19.
This was announced on Tuesday by the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Trade and Development, which added that the presence of the President of the Republic offers great importance to this economic event with regard to the development and strengthening of Arab-Hellenic economic relations.
The inauguration of the Forum will also be attended by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Development Minister Christos Folias. The Forum will be held under the auspices of the foreign affairs and development ministries.
 Large delegation of diplomats in Greece to north northern Aegean regionMore than two dozen senior foreign diplomats in Greece will participate in a business junket organised by the Invest in Greece (IiG) Agency this week in the northern Aegean region.
A total of 36 diplomats, including four ambassadors and 32 economic and commercial attaches, from 30 countries will participate in the visit to the island of Lesvos, where they will be briefed on the investment potential in the region's nine inhabited islands -- Lesvos, Lemnos, Aghios Efstratios, Hios, Inousses, Psara, Samos, Ikaria and Fourni.
A special emphasis will be on tourism, renewable energy sources and promotion of local products.
IiG is Greece's official investment promotion agency.
 Intracom IT Services buys Danish company for 4.5 mln eurosIntracom IT Services on Tuesday announced the completion of the purchase of Denmark's WM-data business solution compliance activities for 4.5 million euros, through its subsidiary in Denmark Intracom IT Services Denmark. With the purchase, Intracom IT Services acquired the rights of a ESKORT Compliance and Enforcement Solution, an integrated system supporting tax and custom authorities in more than 20 countries around the world.
 Greek stocks surge 5.24 pct on TuesdayGreek stocks jumped 5.24 percent higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday following a similar trend in other European markets, with the composite index of the market ending at 2,229.59 points. Turnover was a low 275.6 million euros, of which 18.4 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors ended higher with the exception of the Insurance sector which fell 2.13 percent. Technology (7.98 pct), Banks (7.27 pct), Travel (6.51 pct), Industrial Products (6.02 pct) and Food/Beverage (5.67 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.
The FTSE 20 index rose 5.91 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 4.44 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 5.45 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 225 to 38 with another 21 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.28%
Personal & Household: +2.36%
Raw Materials: +4.93%
Travel & Leisure: +6.51%
Food & Beverages: +2.57%
Financial Services: +3.17%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Alpha Bank and EFG Eurobank Ergasias.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 12.16
Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.46
HBC Coca Cola: 12.42
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.80
National Bank of Greece: 19.90
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.80
Bank of Piraeus: 10.60
Titan Cement Company: 13.90
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices saw their discount shrinking in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover a low 84.851 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.77 pct. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 11,924 contracts worth 69.290 million euros, with 28,539 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,775 contracts worth 14.832 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,967), followed by Eurobank (930), PPC (969), GEK (3,721), Marfin Popular Bank (2,172), Mytlineos (526) and Hellenic Postbank (1,992).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 400 million euros on Tuesday, of which 255 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 145 million were sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2011) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 50 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds fell to 156 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 5.35 percent and the German Bund 3.79 percent.
In interbank markets, interest rates eased further. The 12-month Euribor rate was 4.80 pct, the six-month rate was 4.75 pct, the three-month rate 4.70 pct and the one-month rate 4.36 pct.
 Foreign Exchange Rates: WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.292
Pound sterling 0.813
Danish kroner 7.502
Swedish kroner 9.977
Japanese yen 128.37
Swiss franc 1.506
Norwegian kroner 8.63
Canadian dollar 1.506
Australian dollar 1.870
 Ecumenical Patriarch visits PatrasA Patriarchal liturgy on Tuesday was held for the first time ever at the Aghios (St.) Andreas Cathedral in the western port city of Patras, on the occasion of a visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to the area, which marks the 100th anniversary of the church's construction.
Speaking after the mass, Bartholomew referred to the international financial crisis, stressing that people are being tormented due to the unprecedented economic problems, while he pointed out that a root cause is the fact that people have placed their trust in the power of money, instead of God.
Referring to the June 8 earthquake and devastating wildfires that destroyed the prefectures of Achaia and Ilia in August 2007, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed solidarity to the affected people.
 Papoulias meets with large families' associationPresident Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received a delegation of the Association of Large Families (ASPE) at the presidential mansion, on the occasion of the related commemoration day.
Speaking during the meeting, Papoulias stated that "large families in Greece represent confidence in the future, despite whatever difficulties, particularly during the tough economic times we are experiencing worldwide."
 Plan to raise submerged German WWII aircraft off CreteThe Hellenic Air Force will undertake to retrieve a WWII-era German fighter discovered from the bottom of the sea, off Hania on Crete, it was announced on Tuesday.
A mobile underwater salvage unit has arrived in the port city of Hania to examine the plane's wreckage, amongst the many WWII remnants discovered in the wider Maleme district, which hosted an important airstrip during the Nazi airborne invasion of Crete in May 1941.
The submerged aircraft, identified as a Messerschmitt Bf 109, is one of the 1,280 warplanes dispatched by the Luftwaffe to fight in the "Battle of Crete", and one of the 210 shot down by the Allies or disabled during the operation. A total of 4,465 German paratroopers were also killed during the invasion.
The specific aircraft was found lying upside down at the bottom of the sea, with a large part of it is covered by sand. Its propeller blade and wings are intact and despite the passing of 68 years its fuselage is in good condition. The plane's wheels are folded under its wings with its manufacturer's insignia still clearly visible. Most impressive is the fact that the engine's rubber collars remain unaffected, while certain aluminium parts of the fuselage are still shiny.
The goal is to have the plane exhibited with other WWII artifacts at an Air Force Museum in Maleme.
 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival opens on Nov. 14The 10-day-long 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival opens on Nov. 14, again reprising its role as a venue for most of the past year's Greek-language film productions, while a total of 14 foreign productions by "new" directors will be screened in the international competition section, including two local films.
Events held on the sidelines of the film festival include exhibitions, special screenings and appearances by noted film industry veterans who will be honoured for their work.
Award-winning Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, prolific Hollywood director Oliver Stone, who will unveil his new film "W", along with "radical" Japanese actor and director Takeshi Kitano, unconventional English director Terence Davies, noted Argentinean two-time Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla and Brazilian director Walter Salles are but a few of the "major names" expected to visit this year's festival
 Heroin found in downtown Athens hotel roomPolice on Tuesday discovered half a kilo of heroin during a raid in a downtown Athens hotel room.
According to police, lodger of the room was a Sudanese man who is wanted for charges of drug dealing.
 Cocaine found on streetTwo plastic packets containing 4.2 grams of cocaine were found on a street by police officers patrolling the port city of Hania, on Crete, late Monday night. Meanwhile, in a separate incident also in Hania, police arrested an individual when a search in his car revealed a pistol and 49 rounds inside a bag in the vehicle's luggage compartment.
 Migrant smuggler arrestA Greek truck driver was arrested in Egaleo, Athens, accused of smuggling illegal migrants.
A police search in his vehicle Monday revealed that a total of 16 illegal migrants were hiding behind a shipment of foodstuffs.
The sum of 1,000 euros found in his possession was seized and he is scheduled to appear before a prosecutor.
 Postman robbed, 16,000 euros takenA 57-year-old postman working for the Hellenic Post (EL.TA) was attacked and robbed while doing his rounds in rural Kandia near Nafplio on Tuesday.
The postman was on a motorcycle riding down the 7th kilometre of the Drepano-Kandia road when he was approached by unknown men in a car, who snatched his bag that contained 16,000 euros before speeding away.
The victim was taken to the KAT accident hospital in Athens to be treated for injuries sustained by falling off his bike.
 Panathinaikos beats Werder BremenPanathinaikos beat 3-0 Werder Bremen in a Champions League Group B match played at Weserstadion in Bremen on Tuesday night.
The goals were scored by Vangelis Mantzios 58, Giorgios Karagounis 70, Alexandros Tziolis 83.
 Cloudy on WednesdaySlightly cloudy weather with northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 9C and 26C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with 3-5 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 25C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 23C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe European Commission's report forecasting that Greece's ecomomy is more solid in relation with other eurozone countries despite the gloomy predictions indicating a slow-down in growth and cutbacks in benefits, and the US Presidential elections dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "According to EU Commision report the resistence of Greek economy is better".
APOGEVMATINI: "3.3 billion euros in benefits - Commissioner Almunia gave the green light to the government".
AVGHI: "The number of unemployed will reach 100,000 in 2010 ".
AVRIANI: "The anticipated victory of Obama in US elections signals ...the end of the Jewish domination - Everything changes in USA and we hope that it will be more democratic and humane".
CHORA: "Maximos mansion (government headquarters) freezes - The cries for change of government policy are multiplying".
ELEFTHEROS: "Civil servants' lump sum retirement benefit endangered - 600 million euros 'black hole' in their Welfare Fund".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Troops of unemployed - EU Commission: 60,000 dismissals in Greece - Government finds 1.2 billion euros 'pillow' for the low incomes".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "EU and banks put the Greek economy in a vise - Freeze in workers' benefits, enterprises tighten the belts".
ESTIA: "Dangerous political turnabout - Ruling party New Democracy gives up its ideology".
ETHNOS: "Wager of hope for the planet - In the last moments before the elections, Obama increases his lead over McCain".
KATHIMERINI: "The ablity for benefits is low due to debts, indicates Commission report that predicts recession in EU".
LOGOS: "The Ňuropean Commission foresees that the growth rate will slow down to 2.5 percent in 2009".
RIZOSPASTIS: "EU brazenly blackmails the people to pay for the credit crisis".
TA NEA: "Austerity and 50,000 dismissals - European Commission makes gloomy forecasts".
TO VIMA: "We will change the world, Obama declares - US elects new President today - The world hopes and agonizes about the outcome".
VRADYNI: "The Greek economy resists - Almunia vindicates the government's economic policy".
 Cyprus asking EU to exert pressure on Turkey for political settlementNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The government of Cyprus is asking the EU to exert pressure on Turkey so that it understands that it has to contribute and help efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Tuesday, adding that President of the Republic Demetris Christofias is making every effort within the EU to inform member states on the Cyprus problem and is underlining the need for the EU to work towards Turkey to contribute to the settlement of the problem.
Replying to questions on the role of the EU in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Stephanou said European support concerns firstly expertise and secondly the general help for a settlement.
''It is well known that we are working and asking the EU to exert pressure on Turkey so that it understands that it has to contribute and help efforts to solve the Cyprus problem,'' Stephanou said, adding that President of the Republic Demetris Christofias is making every effort within the EU to inform member states on the Cyprus problem and developments and at the same time ''underlines the need for the EU to work towards Turkey to contribute to the settlement of the problem.''
Replying to questions, Stephanou pointed out that Turkey must implement the Ankara Protocol and contribute towards a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem.
He added that the Republic of Cyprus was in favour of Turkey's accession to the EU as long as Turkey fulfills its obligations.
Asked if the government favours EU involvement in the process, Stephanou said the process is in the hands of the Cypriots.
He noted that the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, ''through their work and with respect and the promotion of what the two communities have agreed on regarding the basis of the solution, and with respect to relevant UN resolutions, should pave the way for a solution of the Cyprus problem which will terminate the occupation and reunite Cyprus.''
Stephanou also pointed out that the government would not accept arbitration, taking into consideration the developments in 2004.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 Spokesman says Greek Cypriot positions at Cyprus talks are reasonableNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Tuesday that the rate of progress at the negotiating table for a Cyprus settlement had nothing to do with the regularity of meetings, noting that the decisive element was what each side said at the talks.
Replying to questions, Stephanou explained that if the positions submitted at the talks between President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are reasonable and focus on a bizonal bicommunal federation, then progress could be made.
President Christofias and Talat will be meeting again on November 11, preceded by a meeting between the aides of the leaders of the two communities.
Stephanou assured that the Greek Cypriot side was submitting ''very reasonable'' positions, which ''serve the aim of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.''
He added that President Christofias would be visiting Moscow and Athens at the end of the month and that two meetings with Talat had been arranged in order to observe the agreement for a meeting a week.
Stephanou pointed out that President Christofias was not only a negotiator but also President of an EU and UN member state, and had to meet his obligations.
Replying to questions, Stephanou said the fact that the leaders of the two communities are still discussing governance, six meetings into the process, proves that ''the negotiations on the Cyprus problem will be difficult,'' adding that ''the solution of the Cyprus problem does not depend solely on the Greek Cypriot community'' but needs the cooperation of the Turkish Cypriot side.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
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