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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-12-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 12 December 2008 Issue No: 3070


  • [01] PM Karamanlis attends the EPP summit meeting
  • [02] Teen death discussed in Parliament
  • [03] Slain teen's family seeks on-site ballistic investigation
  • [04] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Ieronymos express concern over rioting
  • [05] Rioters target police stations
  • [06] Piraeus court gives suspended 12-month jail sentence to demonstrator
  • [07] Protests in Manhattan, Italy over teen's death
  • [08] Papaconstantinou: PASOK can guarantee a new course
  • [09] Papandreou meets with Athens merchants' unions
  • [10] KKE leader meets Athens mayor, hospital doctors
  • [11] Alavanos addresses press conference in Patra
  • [12] Bill on municipal police restructuring
  • [13] Vatopedi probe report due Monday
  • [14] Consular Corps of Greece elects new board
  • [15] Athens eyes measures for shopowners, hotels
  • [16] Central Union of Chambers of Commerce
  • [17] Annual IOBE report on entrepreneurship in Greece
  • [18] Greece third among foreign investors in Bulgaria
  • [19] Unemployment falls to 7.4 pct yr/yr in September
  • [20] Greek stocks holding steady
  • [21] ADEX closing report
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates: Friday
  • [24] Education minister on World Day of the Child
  • [25] Acropolis archaelogical site closed on Thursday and Friday
  • [26] Three arrested on drug charges
  • [27] Euro sports ministers con'f in Athens
  • [28] Rain on Friday
  • [29] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [30] Draft resolution for renewal of UNFICYP mandate circulated
  • [31] UNSG's Special Adviser: We must maintain the momentum at the talks

  • [01] PM Karamanlis attends the EPP summit meeting

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis underlined here on Thursday during a European People's Party (EPP) Summit, convened to focus on global financial crisis, that the European economy is faced with a slowdown that entails consequences for all countries.

    In statements made after the meeting, he pointed out that a collective response is necessary through the coordination of national strategies and interventions, adding that the priority is to help the most vulnerable social groups and preserve a developmental momentum as much as possible while protecting job positions.

    The EU commitments on environmental policies aimed at dealing with the global climate change, the Lisbon Treaty ratification issue and the EPP preparations in view of the Euro-elections in June 2009 were also examined, the prime minister said.


    [02] Teen death discussed in Parliament

    "Nothing justifies the line of defence adopted by the man whose actions led to the death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos," Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said, speaking in Parliament on Thursday.

    Pavlopoulos condemned the "murderous act" and expressed faith that "justice will be served", responding to questions by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Spyros Halvatzis and Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group Leader Alekos Alavanos on the police shooting death of the 15-year-old in central Athens over the weekend.

    "Isolated incidents, no matter how heinous, cannot mar the image of police acting within the framework of legality," the interior minister said, adding that "it is our duty to condemn all those who take advantage of crimes or errors committed by police to turn against society as a whole the enemies of democracy will not remain under a hood for much longer. We show no tolerance and never will."

    KKE MP Halvatzis said expressions of police arbitrariness are not isolated incidents. Referring to the hooded youths, he said many of those participating in the recent rioting were not students.

    SYRIZA's Alavanos said his party "fights against the system's injustice" and "condemns violence". He also called on government and MPs to "show understanding of the thousands of students across Greece, who have expressed their rage for the loss of a peer and the repression they are experiencing".

    "Responsibility for the teen's death is in the prime minister's hands," he said, adding that the government cannot remain in power.

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) George Karatzaferis, referring to press claims according to which a SYRIZA MP is said to support terrorism, called on Alavanos to deny the report.

    MPs held a minute of silence in memory of Alexis Grigoropoulos.

    [03] Slain teen's family seeks on-site ballistic investigation

    The family of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos plans to lodge a request for a ballistic investigation and inspection of the site where the teenager was shot and killed. This was revealed on Thursday by one of the lawyers representing the family, Dimitris Tsovolas.

    In his statement, Tsovolas was scathing about the memorandum submitted to the examining magistrate the previous day by the police officer charged with murder for the shooting incident, particularly the references to the dead schoolboy's character and a claim he had been expelled from school that was later denied by the school itself.

    "They are continuing to shoot at Alexis and, sadly, not in an honourable way, provoking society. The family and ourselves ask that his memory be respected and that seriousness be shown. I think that at there should have been an apology, even if only for form's sake. Unfortunately, they followed another route," he said.

    The lawyer had earlier that morning informed the examining magistrate that the family of the slain boy wished to file a civil suit in the case and be present at the trial of the two officers accused in connection with his death.

    Authorities have yet to officially announce the results of the ballistic investigation on the bullet that killed the 15-year-old nor confirmed claims made on Wednesday by the lawyer representing the accused, who said that the initial findings pointed to it having ricocheted before hitting the boy.

    The shooting of the boy by the two officers on Saturday night sparked five days of non-stop rioting, demonstrations and violence throughout Greece, that left the country and its government reeling. Youths donning the anarchist 'uniform' of hoods and masks ran rampage through the streets and clashed with police, embarking on an unprecedented spree of destruction, burning and looting that has caused hundreds of millions of euros in damages, according to initial estimates.

    [04] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Ieronymos express concern over rioting

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has returned to Istanbul from Moscow where he and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece officiated over the funeral service for Patriarch Alexiy II of Moscow and All Russia.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch expressed regret for the recent rioting in Greece and wished for peace and calm.

    Regret and concern for the recent violent incidents was also expressed by Archbishop Ieronymos, who is expected to return to Athens later on Thursday.

    [05] Rioters target police stations

    Rioters attacked a handful of police stations throughout Athens on Thursday as sporadic violence continued for the sixth day over the death of a teen in a police shooting on the weekend.

    Protestors threw stones, overturned police vehicles and smashed windows, causing damages to at least six police precincts.

    Earlier on Thursday, protestors clashed with riot police outside the Korydallos prison facilities, western Athens, where the two officers charged with the shooting death of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos last Saturday, were due to be transferred pending trial.

    Meanwhile, authorities have charged three local residents and two foreign nationals with participation in the violent incidents in the central Athens district of Exarcheia. They are remanded in custody pending trial.

    [06] Piraeus court gives suspended 12-month jail sentence to demonstrator

    One of two 20-year-old persons arrested outside the Piraeus Police Department during Tuesday's disturbances was handed down a 12-month jail sentence with a three-yaer suspension by a Piraeus court on Thursday.

    Charges filed against the 20-year-old student were causing extensive damage and attempted bodily injury against at least four policemen. After the sentence was announced, the defendant lodged an appeal and was released.

    [07] Protests in Manhattan, Italy over teen's death

    The Communist Party of Italy and the CGL Syndicate along with college students clubs organised a protest outside the Greek embassy in Rome on Wednesday demanding an in-depth investigation of the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos. Similar protests were held outside the Greek consulate in Naples.

    Another rally took place outside the Greek consulate in Manhattan on Wednesday. Protestors held a black flag and expressed their solidarity to Greek demonstration against police violence, as they said.

    [08] Papaconstantinou: PASOK can guarantee a new course

    The country needs an immediate change of course that PASOK was ready and able to guarantee, said the main opposition party's spokesman George Papaconstantinou in an interview with the ANA-MPA on Thursday. He stressed that that elections should not long delay because the country was currently "ungoverned".

    "We are the bearers of the only alternative, ambitious but also realistic plan for governing the country," he said, adding that PASOK could lead Greece to "a new page of progress".

    Noting that the present government's inability to impose order in Greece was now the top story in all the world media, Papaconstantinou asserted that it lacked the prestige needed to defend the country's interests abroad, making early elections imperative.

    He also underlined, however, that all the investigations into scandals that have rocked public opinion will be completed in order to ensure that culpability by politicians was not concealed or covered up.

    Regarding the violence and rioting that have rocked the country in the past few days, Papaconstantinou spoke of a "double failure" by police.

    "The foremost criminal act in the annals of the post-junta era has been the cold-blooded taking of a child's life by those forces dedicated to the protection of human life. Following this there was chaos. The government displayed provocative zeal where it should not have and unprecedented incompetence where lives and properties were truly at risk. There is blatant political responsibility for this string of failures," the spokesman underlined.

    Papaconstantinou denied, however, that there was a "general problem of violence" in Greece and pointed out that the vast majority of protestors had demonstrated and expressed their anger at the boy's killed peacefully.

    "What we do have is an especially strong atmosphere of anxiety and pessimism - even I would venture to say despair - about the future. And New Democracy's responsibility for this climate is decisive. Because it cut short the hopes of a people that were lauded by the international community during the 2004 Olympic Games. Then we had hope and faith that we could succeed. Now, not only is the opportunity lost, but the country slid very quickly into the worst sort of phenomena of corruption, abuse of authority, lawlessness and, finally, economic crisis," he said.

    On the topic of the economic crisis, the spokesman said that the biggest threat to the Greek economy was the present government.

    "It took an economy that was at its strongest point in decades and managed to have us relegated once again to the second division of countries in the EU," Papaconstantinou said, blasting the government for policies that redistributed wealth in favour of the wealthy and undermined the country's developmental prospects, particularly the sharp reduction in public investments.

    [09] Papandreou meets with Athens merchants' unions

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou stressed on Thursday that "the last few days we are experiencing the absence of a well-governed country, a country of justice that is able to protect human life, property and citizens' rights," speaking during a meeting with merchants' associations in Athens.

    "Violence over recent days has stricken merchants and that is the reason we are here today, to support them in their effort to reopen their stores and to search-out for a light in the tunnel before the holidays," he noted, adding that the future is not created via violence but with dialogue, democracy and humanity and with a government that respects citizens' dignity."

    [10] KKE leader meets Athens mayor, hospital doctors

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga held talks on Thursday with Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis saying afterwards that her party will support the mayor's measures, particularly those for small professionals who have suffered damage during riots over the past days.

    Papariga said that there are also small shops in downtown Athens that are in need of special care and added that "exemption from municipal dues would be a positive measure, while it would also be positive if the same applied to DEH (the Public Power Corporation) as well."

    She further said that when the assessment of damage is completed, her party will make an evaluation of what belongs to the municipality of Athens and what the government must provide in this direction.

    Papariga also met with the Federation of Unions of Hospital Doctors of Greece and underlined KKE's interest in the doctors' labour relations.

    She said that her party is greatly interested in the status of labour relations that is being applied in general, as well as for doctors and medical staff.

    Papariga pointed out that her party's greatest concern is that there should be no window towards the rearrangement of working time, "which as one is aware of is a strategic goal in Greece as well and in Europe in general."

    [11] Alavanos addresses press conference in Patra

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alekos Alavanos, speaking during a press conference in the city of Patra, western Greece, on Thursday, said that his party stood by the side of youth, it was receiving its message and would not leave it alone.

    Focusing on the issue of youth, Alavanos said "let us look at its problems and not to look at it as a consumer of mobile phones."

    As regards the party's policy, he said that "our aim is neither shop windows, nor cars, nor the property of businessmen, nor the public sector that we consider collective property that must be protected" and added that "we are categoricaly opposed to blind violence and our aim is to oppose the insensitivity of the system towards youth."

    He also accused the government of "baring tremendous responsibilities for the way it treats youth."

    [12] Bill on municipal police restructuring

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, addressing the Parliament Plenum on Thursday, said that publicity produced by the hooded man should not be exploited in Parliament for the sake of opposition games.

    The House was debating on a bill regarding the restructuring of municipal police.

    "Let us respect grief, let us condemn the troublemakers, let us be united at last, we have other opportunities for opposition," he said.

    Main popposition PASOK party Parliamentary representative Evangelos Venizelos said that "in essence, the government, represented by the prime minister himself, is implementing a logic that is very close to the logic of Hatziavatis: 'they will beat us, they will sweat, they will catch cold, they will get pneumonia and they will die' and we shall remain beaten up, humiliated but the holders of power."

    Pavlopoulos said in turn that Venizelos "is telling us that parents, pupils, (the Teachers unions) DOE, OLME, did not go to grieve over the death of Alexis, but that they found the opportunity to demonstrate objection to the economic policy of the government. Is this PASOK's assessment?" adding that "I thought that they came out to grieve over the death of a child who was lost due to the lack of wisdom of a policeman who expressly violated the rules of the police corps."

    Achilleas Kantartzis said on the part of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) that the mainstream parties desire a coverup of the real events since the one side spoke of a circumstantial event and the other as if authoritarianism appeared yesterday, as if it was not the heightening of an entire course over the past 15 years (electronic filing, terror law, Euroterror law, Schengen Treaty, new suppression bodies and the right of even private policemen to use a gun).

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary representative Fotis Kouvelis referred to KKE's leadership, stressing that "KKE said that we are caressing the ears of the hooded men, but I think that some others are caressing their complacency and certainties that do not exist and they do not exist because all this which is being recorded as mobility, as reaction by young people is for us the adding up of anger, suffocation that is the result of the neo-liberal conservative policy. And those who are not making this ascertainment have great responsibilities."

    As regards the bill, Pavlopoulos withdrew article 30 that concerned "arrangements concerning the service state of former deputies."

    [13] Vatopedi probe report due Monday

    Ń parliamentary investigating committee report on the ongoing Vatopedi scandal probe is expected to be submitted on Monday Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas.

    Discussion in Parliament over the report has been set for on Tuesday. Discussion on the 2009 state budget is due to start in Parliament on Wednesday, concluding on Dec. 21, Sioufas said.

    [14] Consular Corps of Greece elects new board

    The Consular Corps of Greece has elected a new board to represent them for the next three years, during a general meeting held on December 5.

    According to a list released on Thursday, the new board will be comprised of the following members:

    Nikolaos Margaropoulos, honorary consul of the Philippines, as chairman

    Beyza Untuna, General Consul of Turkey, as 1st vice-chairman

    Prof. Ioannis Mourmouris, honorary consul of Venezuela, 2nd vice-chairman

    David Paul Irey, vice consul - U.S. Embassy, general secretary

    Odil Saidikramov, General Consul of Uzbekistan, member

    Didier Maze, Consul - Embassy of France, member

    Leonidas Kouidis, Honorary Consul of Colombia, member

    Dr. Panagiotis Koutsikos, Honorary Consul of El Salvador, member

    Georgios Lagopanagiotopoulos, Honorary Consul of Luxembourg, member

    Nikolaos Vernikos, Honorary Consul of Mexico, member

    The Consular Corps was founded in 1972 and is made up of diplomats and honorary consuls that are stationed in Greece.

    Financial News

    [15] Athens eyes measures for shopowners, hotels

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Thursday announced measures for the immediate relief of business-owners whose stores were damaged following recent violence in the Greek capital.

    Kaklamanis stressed the need to slash "red tape" in efforts to support business-owners, especially ahead of the holiday season and in tight economic times. During its Monday session, the Athens City Council is due to discuss ways of facilitating entrepreneurs whose stops were vandalised towards making the necessary repairs without the time-consuming permit proce-dure. The city's mayor is expected to push for a municipal fee exemption for the shops requiring repair work.

    The municipal council will also discuss ways to repair vandalised building facades. A municipality report on total damages to city buildings is due in the coming days. Kaklamanis also called for a December sojourn tax exemption applying for hotels operating within the city limits.

    Finally, the municipality emphasised that it will proceed with scheduled holiday festivities.

    [16] Central Union of Chambers of Commerce

    The President of the Central Union of Chambers of Commerce of Greece, G. Kasimatis, expressed his satisfaction on Thursday over the measures approved by the Inner Cabinet and that were announced by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wed-nesday.

    "Such destruction must be prevented in the future and the state must function pre-emptively for the protection of the legitimate rights to life and property of Greek citizens," Kasimatis said, adding that the package of measures is healing the wounds of businesses that were damaged all over Greece and are relieving their employees and merchants.

    [17] Annual IOBE report on entrepreneurship in Greece

    The Entrepreneurship in Greece 2006-2007 annual report, prepared by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), shows an improvement in a number of qualitative characteristics while, at the same time, pointing to a decline in primary entrepreneurship indices.

    According to the report, more than 1.3 million people are involved in business activities in Greece, while roughly 900,000 are planning to enter the business sector in the next three years.

    The IOBE report is the fifth issued within the framework of its participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research programme.

    The early stage entrepreneurship, GEM's basic index, records a considerable decline in 2007 - the lowest ever - which affects both prospective and new entrepreneurs. Specifically, in 2007, 5.71 percent of the 18-64 age-group in Greece (roughly 388,000 people) was at the early stages of launching a business activity (including the self-employed) compared to 7.9 percent in 2006.

    [18] Greece third among foreign investors in Bulgaria


    Greece is in third place among foreign investors in Bulgaria, after Austria and The Netherlands, with an overall invested capital of 2.148 billion euros, according to interim data for 2008 released on Thursday by the Bulgarian National Statistics Institute.

    In the first nine months of 2008, Greek direct investments rose by 13.6 percent to 316.2 millin euros, against 278.3 million euros in the corresponding period in 2007.

    [19] Unemployment falls to 7.4 pct yr/yr in September

    The unemployment rated dropped to 7.4 percent in September 2008 from 8.3 percent in the corresponding month of 2007, according to figures released on Thursday by the national statistics service ESYE.

    In a comparison by periphery, the highest unemployment rates were posted in Epirus (10.4 percent), Thessaly (10.3 percent), western Macedonia (9.4 percent) and central Macedonia (8.4 percent). The rates in other peripheries were 7.6 percent in eastern Macedonia-Thrace, 3.3 percent in the Ionian islands, 8.2 percent in western Greece, 7.0 percent each in south-central mainland (Sterea) Greece and Attica, 6.7 percent in the Peloponese, 4.2 percent in the northern Aegean, 4.6 percent in the southern Aegean, and 4.7 percent in Crete.

    Unemployment was more widespread among women, at 10.7 percent against 5.1 percent among men.

    By age group, unemployment was more widespread among the youth in the 15-24 year-old age bracket with 24.3 percent, and young people in the 25-34 year age bracket with 10 percent, followed by 5.4 percent in the 35-44 age bracket, 4.0 percent in the 45-54 age bracket, and 3.4 perceit in the 55-64 age bracket, while no unemployment was recorded in the 65-74 age bracket.

    Finally, ESYE said that the total number of employed in September 2008 was estimated at 4,550,911 persons, with the number of unemployed at 363,869 persons, while the inactive population stood at 4,325,644 persons.

    [20] Greek stocks holding steady

    Greek stocks ended marginally higher on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index rising a scant 0.03 pct to end at 1,833.68 points. Turnover was a low 152.7 million euros, of which 26.9 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower, with Insurance (3.47 pct), Raw Materials (2.95 pct) and Construction (2.89 pct) posting the biggest gains of the day, while Foods and Beverages (3.93 pct), Health (3.70 pct) and Personal - Household (1.51 pct) recorded the greatest losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.18 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.09 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rising 0.31 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 96 to 95 with another 59 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +3.47%

    Industrials: +0.32%

    Commercial: +1.54%

    Construction: +2.89%

    Media: -0.64%

    Oil & Gas: +2.20%

    Personal & Household: -1.51%

    Raw Materials: +2.95%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.04%

    Technology: -0.32%

    Telecoms: unchanged

    Banks: +0.09%

    Food & Beverages: -3.93%

    Health: -3.70%

    Utilities: +1.07%

    Chemicals: -1.43%

    Financial Services: -0.33%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Rokas, OTE and OPAP.

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

    Alpha Bank: 6.20

    ATEbank: 1.46

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.62

    HBC Coca Cola: 10.92

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.70

    National Bank of Greece: 13.48

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 6.02

    Intralot: 3.10

    OPAP: 21.24

    OTE: 12.76

    Bank of Piraeus: 6.28

    Titan Cement Company: 13.60

    [21] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover easing to 30.722 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.20 pct, while the volume was 4,809 contracts worth 22.361 million euros, with 29,242 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,467 contracts worth 8.115 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (2,373) followed by National Bank (1,660), GEK (1,626), Mytilineos (1,439), Post Office Bank (776) and Marfin Popular Bank (772).

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market increased to 617 million euros on Thursday, of which 145 million were buy orders and the remaining 472 million euros were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 117 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 1,96 per cent, with the Greek bond yielding 5.18 pct and the German Bund 3.22 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 3.51 pct, the six-month rate 3.41 pct, the three-month rate 3.32 pct and the one-month rate 3.02 pct.

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates: Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.332

    Pound sterling 0.894

    Danish kroner 7.509

    Swedish kroner 10.664

    Japanese yen 121.64

    Swiss franc 1.586

    Norwegian kroner 9.280

    Canadian dollar 1.651

    Australian dollar 2.004

    General News

    [24] Education minister on World Day of the Child

    In a message on the December 11 observance of World Day of the Child, education minister Evrypides Stylianidis said that the observance day "sounds the warning bell of our obligation to the children to provide them with love, warmth, care and protection, a hand that will hold them tightly and firmly and will guide them to feeling safe and moving to the future".

    But even today, when laws and conventions consolidate the Rights of the Child, unfortunately noe of the above are self-evident for all the children of the planet, Stylianidis said, noting that throughout the planet children were every day the innocent victims of human exploitation and a despairing indifference to them.

    He said that humanitarian organizations present data that bears undisputable witness to the harsh reality faced by small children at all levels, stressing that deprivation of fundamental living needs, family and school violence, abandonment, oppression, forced heavy labor were only a few of the forms of abjection that children are subjected to.

    "When the adult world is unable to protect the children of the world in its arms, then we lose our humanity, we lose our dignity," the minister continued.

    On the occasion of World Day of the Child, he said, "it is the duty of all of us adults to ponder that only one day dedicated to the child does not suffice, that every day the child must prevail in our thoughts, our hearts, our attitude on life and our behavior towards the child".

    [25] Acropolis archaelogical site closed on Thursday and Friday

    The archaeological site of the Acropolis and the Culture Ministry's main services will remain closed on Thursday and Friday following a decision of National Union of Culture Ministry's employees to continue their strike for the 7th and 8th consequent days.

    The Culture Ministry employees demand that the government materialize it's commitment to establish a special benefit for cultural education.

    [26] Three arrested on drug charges

    Police in Katerini, Pieria Prefecture northern Greece, arrested three people who attempted to sell 20 kilos and 547 grams of hashish to undercover officers for the sum of 26,000 euros.

    A foreign national also involved in the drug transaction fled arrest and is wanted by police. An international warrant is pending against him issued at the request of authorities in Albania, where he has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for drug trafficking.


    [27] Euro sports ministers con'f in Athens

    An EU sports ministers' conference began on Wednesday in a seaside resort southeast of Athens, expected to focus on the subject of "new ethical challenges in sports: From the latest in genetic doping to online gambling."

    The conference, which is co-organised by the Council of Europe's Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) and the Greek government, also aims to insure the financial autonomy of international sports organisations, such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the European sports NGO (ENGSO) and others.

    Participants will consider updating the CoE's 2001 Code of sports ethics and other ways to address ethics challenges, from match fixing and online betting to corruption and doping via gene manipulation. A planned resolution on sports autonomy would examine the increasing complexity of sports systems and ways to preserve the autonomy of the sports movement. A growing economic dimension in sport can bring financial autonomy, but could entail risks from sponsors, investors and gamblers.

    Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Greek Sports Deputy Minister Yannis Ioannidis and UEFA president Michel Platini will give a press conference on Friday.

    The conference will also elect the European member of the WADA Executive Committee.

    Weather Forecast

    [28] Rain on Friday

    Cloudy and showery weather and southeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 5-10 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 18C. Cloudy and showery in Athens, with southeasterly 6-8 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 5C to 17C. Same in Thessaloniki and snowfall in mountainous regions, with temperatures ranging from 5C to 12C.

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

    The aftermath of the clashes that broke out in Athens and other major cities sparked by the shooting death of a 15 year old teen by a police officer and the government's relief measures for business that were damaged during the riots dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Leftist groups respond to Coalition of the Left (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos' call and rig revival of the 1973 Metsovion Polytechnic uprising against the junta".

    APOGEVMATINI: "10,000 euros immediate compensation to enterprises that were damaged - Prime Minister announced 7-measure relief package".

    AVGHI: "The rally on Thursday in Athens was massive and peaceful - It's high time for Karamanlis to be fired".

    AVRIANI: "No more tolerance to hooded individuals' groups - People are fed up with government's impassivity, opposition parties' irresponsibility and police's incompetence - Take immediate measure or else resign".

    CHORA: "Police officer adds fuel to the fire - Not a single apology for the boy's death".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "It is imperative to restore the social tranquility and ......A 'mad' prime minister is wanted to accomplish it".

    ELEFTHEROS : "Citizens against SYRIZA's punks - People throughout the country chased off the hooded individuals' groups".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Generation of rage's cry of agony: The society that you have created is not part of our dreams".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Students-pupils in the frontline - People packed the squares - Condemnation of police violence".

    ESTIA: "Grave dent in the economy - The total damage is incalculable".

    ETHNOS: "Police officer's (who shot the 15 year old teen) written deposition adds fuel to the fire".

    KATHIMERINI: "De-escalation of the tension - Government's eight-measure relief package for the ravaged enterprises".

    LOGOS: "Massive participation in Wednesday's nationwide strike - The area around the Athens Metsovio Polytechnic turned into a battlefield ".

    NIKI: "Second shot against Alexi - Gunman's (police officer) deposition was provocative".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Thousands of people demonstrated with PAME (KKE-affiliated Panhellenic Workers' Front) on Wednesday throughout the the country".

    TA NEA: "The police officer and his lawyer are taking shots at Alexi even after his death - Police officer's provocative deposition".

    TO VIMA: "Crisis in Maximos mansion (goverment headquarters) - The government collapsing from the inside- Karamanlis' inertia is unexplicable".

    VRADYNI: "10,000 euros lump sum compensation to the ravaged - Immediated relief measures for shop owners and employees".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [30] Draft resolution for renewal of UNFICYP mandate circulated


    The United Nations Security Council's draft resolution for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was circulated on Wednesday in New York at the United Nations' headquarters.

    According to diplomatic sources, the draft resolution fills the gaps regarding the basis of the solution of the Cyprus problem, noted in the recent UN Secretary General's report.

    The same sources said that the draft resolution supports a solution of the Cyprus problem based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, according to the relevant UNSC resolutions.

    The final resolution is expected to be adopted Friday or Monday.

    The draft resolutions is as follows:

    ''The Security Council,

    Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 28 November 2008 (S/2008/744) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus,

    Noting that the Government of Cyprus is agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions on the island it is necessary to keep the United Nations Peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 15 December 2008,

    Echoing the Secretary-General's firm belief that the responsibility for finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, stressing that there now exists an unprecedented opportunity to make decisive progress, and reaffirming the primary role of the United Nations in assisting the parties to bring the Cyprus conflict and division of the island to a comprehensive and durable settlement,

    Welcoming the launch of fully fledged negotiations on 3 September 2008, the progress made so far, and the leaders' joint statements,

    Emphasising the importance of all parties engaging fully, flexibly and constructively in those negotiations, in order to make decisive progress towards a comprehensive settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions,

    Encouraging continued momentum in negotiations and the maintenance of goodwill and trust, looking forward to substantive progress and the full exploitation of the current opportunity, commending the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders for the political leadership they have shown so far, and welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of further development and progress,

    Welcoming the announcement of confidence building measures and the cancellation of military exercises, and looking forward to the implementation of these measures and agreement on and implementation of further steps to build trust between the communities,

    Reaffirming the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, reiterating its welcome for the opening of the Ledra Street crossing, encouraging the opening by mutual agreement of other crossing points, and noting in this context the commitment in the leaders' joint statements to pursue the opening of the Liminitis/Yesilirmak crossing point,

    Convinced of the many important benefits for all Cypriots that would flow from a comprehensive and durable Cyprus settlement, and encouraging both sides clearly to explain these benefits, as well as the need for flexibility in order to secure them, to both communities well in advance of any eventual referenda,

    Highlighting the supportive role the international community will continue to play in helping the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to exploit fully the current opportunity,

    Taking note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island and along the Green Line remains generally stable, welcoming the decrease in the overall number of incidents involving the two sides and urging both sides to avoid any action, including restrictions on UNFICYP‘s movements, which could lead to an increase in tension, undermine the good progress achieved so far, or damage the goodwill on the island,

    Recalling the Secretary-General's firm belief that the situation in the buffer zone would be improved if both sides accepted the 1989 aide memoire used by the United Nations,

    Welcoming the progress made in proceeding with demining activities, echoing the Secretary's General's call for the remaining minefields to be cleared, and noting with concern that funding is urgently required by the Mine Action Centre beyond 2008 to allow this work to continue beyond that period,

    Welcoming the progress and continuation of the important activities of the Committee on Missing Persons, and trusting that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities,

    Agreeing that an active and flourishing civil society is essential to the political process, welcoming all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events including, inter alia, on the part of all United Nations bodies on the island, and urging the two sides to promote the active engagement of civil society and the encouragement of cooperation between economic and commercial bodies and to remove all obstacles to such contacts,

    Reaffirming the importance of the Secretary-General continuing to keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review while continuing to take into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and reverting to the Council with recommendations as appropriate for further adjustments to UNFICYP's mandate, force levels and concept of operation as soon as warranted,

    Welcoming the appointment of Alexander Downer as the Secretary-General's Special Advisor with a mandate to assist the parties in the conduct of fully-fledged negotiations aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement,

    Echoing also the Secretary-General's gratitude to the Government of Cyprus and the Government of Greece for their voluntary contributions to the funding of UNFICYP, and his request for further voluntary contributions from other countries and organizations,

    Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations,

    1. Welcomes the analysis of developments on the ground over the last six months in the Secretary-General's report, in accordance with hismandate;

    2. Welcomes also the launch of fully fledged negotiations on 3 September 2008, and the prospect of a comprehensive and durable settlement that this has created;

    3. Urges full exploitation of this opportunity, including by intensifying the momentum of negotiations, preserving the current atmosphere of trust and goodwill, and engaging in the process in a constructive and open manner;

    4. Welcomes the announcement on confidence-building measures and the cancellation of military exercises, and looks forward to these measures being fully implemented as well as to agreement on further such steps, including the possible opening of other crossing points, as mentioned in the leaders' joint statements;

    5. Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;

    6. Expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 June 2009;

    7. Calls on both sides to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting UNFICYP‘s mandate, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues;

    8. Calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000;

    9. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 June 2009 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary;

    10. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by UNFICYP to implement the Secretary-General's zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action including the conduct of pre-deployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;

    11. Decides to remain seized of the matter''.

    [31] UNSG's Special Adviser: We must maintain the momentum at the talks


    UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, said Thursday that the process, which began between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus with the aim to reach a Cyprus solution, must maintain the appropriate momentum.

    Downer, who will attend Tuesday's meeting of the leaders of the two communities in the framework of the direct negotiations, expressed the view that a good and successful outcome can be achieved at the talks, noting that the solution of the Cyprus problem needs time.

    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Tukrish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, have been meeting since early September to find a mutually agreed solution that will reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    In statements on his arrival in Cyprus, Downer said that ''I have always said that it needs to be a momentum in the negotiations, so I hope that over the next couple of weeks between now and Christmas there will be good momentum bringing us to the Christmas break and into next year''.

    ''The important thing is that it (the process) maintains appropriate momentum'', he added.

    Asked whether he is satisfied with the statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Brussels, Downer said that the important thing is to know that the negotiations will not move ahead in a straight line.

    "There will be difficult issues that will move more slowly and there will be easier issues that will be more quickly. We should not underestimate how difficult it is to put together a constitution. This is a very - very challenging task, it s a very big task and is an ambitious task and it is a worthy and important ambition", he said.

    Downer noted that the important thing is that the negotiations are ''maintaining ambition".

    He said that sometimes, negotiations will "move faster than other times, depending on the issues that are being dealt with and depending on the circumstances of the time".

    "The important thing is to keep the negotiations moving forward. But I think it is still moving forward okay", he continued.

    Asked how he believes the Cyprus problem can be solved when Talat refers to "virgin birth" of the Cyprus Republic, Downer noted that "inevitably at this stage of the negotiations you will get people saying different things at different times".

    "What ultimately is going to be important is what happens in the negotiating room and that is not just between the leaders of course, but the representatives and the officials", he added.

    The UNSG's Special Adviser said that "ultimately what is going to be important is the test of this process".

    "The test of this process is going to be the result and I think they can achieve a good result, they can achieve a successful result. But you can not underestimate the size of the task. This is a very difficult and a very big task", he added.

    Downer pointed out that the Cyprus issue is going to take time to be solved.

    "There is a long history of the Cyprus problem going back many years and to think that it can be solved very quickly it seems to be an expectation that some people have had and is not realistic. Of course is going to take time", he said.

    The former Australian foreign minister talked about the importance of patience and understanding during the process.

    "People need to exercise on one hand a degree of patience and understanding but on the other recognize that everybody needs to recognize that the process needs to have momentum", he concluded.

    On Thursday, Downer was to have a working lunch with Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou. He will also have a working dinner with Ozdil Nami, the Turkish Cypriot leader's adviser on Friday, and will meet both Iacovou and Nami on Friday morning

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