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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-12-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 16 December 2008 Issue No: 3073


  • [01] Greek leaders attend Papadopoulos' funeral
  • [02] PM signs book of condolences at Cypriot foreign ministry
  • [03] Papandreou meets Christofias on Cyprus
  • [04] President fitted with pacemaker
  • [05] Vatopedi affair fact-finding commission submits report
  • [06] Government spokesman: report clearcut on issue of criminal liability
  • [07] Protests over teen's killing continue on Monday
  • [08] Government on rioting and protests
  • [09] Attorney seeks release of officers held over teen killing
  • [10] Greek Eurodeputies on disturbances in country
  • [11] Immigration cooperation memorandum signed at Interior ministry
  • [12] Turkish academics launch signature collection campaign apologizing to Armenians
  • [13] Finance ministry rejects 'alarmist' reports on economy
  • [14] Bank of Greece governor on structural reforms
  • [15] Development minister holds talks with Qatar ambassador
  • [16] Tourist development minister on latest developments in Athens
  • [17] Hi-Tech sector meeting held in Patras
  • [18] Greek stocks tumble 1.99% lower
  • [19] ADEX closing report
  • [20] Greek bond market closing report
  • [21] Foreign Exchange rates: Tuesday
  • [22] Athens to relight Christmas Tree on Tuesday
  • [23] Eurostat figures on population increase
  • [24] Ecumenical Patriarch inaugurates church on Asian coast of Bosphorus
  • [25] 70 years of Greek Radio' exhibition
  • [26] Protests continue with take-overs of radio stations
  • [27] Black and white Greek comedy screenings in the HFC-Alexandria Branch
  • [28] Bloody armed robbery in Athens
  • [29] Illegal migrants arrested in Igoumenitsa, Samos
  • [30] Two dead bodies found in field in Corinth
  • [31] Anti-racist rally planned in central Athens on Saturday
  • [32] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [33] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [34] Former President Papadopoulos laid to rest
  • [35] President Christofias: Papadopoulos served his homeland with devotion
  • [36] Lyssarides: Papadopoulos will remain alive in our memory Politics

  • [01] Greek leaders attend Papadopoulos' funeral

    Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Dimitris Rallis laid a wreath on behalf of Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias during the funeral of former Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos in Nicosia on Monday. Papadopoulos died on Friday after losing a battle with lung cancer.

    Wreaths were also laid in person by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, both of whom attended the funeral in Cyprus. A wreath was laid on behalf of the Greek Parliament by Parliament 1st Vice-President George Sourlas.

    New Democracy Party (ND) General Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis laid a wreaths on behalf of the ruling party, while European Parliament 1st Vice-President Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou represented the European Parliament and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis laid a wreath on behalf of his own party.

    A wreath was also laid on behalf of the ANA-MPA, extending sincere condolences to the wife and children of the deceased.

    [02] PM signs book of condolences at Cypriot foreign ministry

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis and foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, in Cyprus for the funeral of former Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos, on Monday signed the Book of Condolences that has been opened at the Cypriot foreign ministry.

    Karamanlis wrote that "Tassos Papadopoulos was an out-standing personality of Cypriot Hellenism, which he served with passion and devotion", adding that "our relations had been excellent, with the only aim being a just, comprehensive, agreed solution to the Cyprus issue'.

    [03] Papandreou meets Christofias on Cyprus

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on Monday received main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, who is in Cyprus for the funeral of Cyprus' former president Tassos Papadopoulos.

    The meeting at the Presidential Building lasted for nearly an hour and no statements were made afterwards.

    [04] President fitted with pacemaker

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was fitted with a pacemaker in emergency surgery carried out at Attiko Hospital in Athens on Monday.

    A hospital announcement said the president had come in for a scheduled check-up, during which doctors discovered an asymptomatic heart irregularity and decided to implant a pacemaker.

    The president was in excellent condition following the operation, the announcement added.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was briefed on the state of the president's health in Nicosia, where he was attending the funeral of the late former president of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, and wished him a speedy recovery, the government said.

    Soon after the operation, main opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou also expressed his best wishes for the president's speedy recovery and revealed that PASOK President George Papandreou had contacted Papoulias from Cyprus, where he was also attending Papadopoulos' funeral.

    [05] Vatopedi affair fact-finding commission submits report

    The parliamentary fact-finding commission on the land swaps between the Vatopedi Monastery and the State on Monday submitted the report of its findings to house president Dimitris Sioufas.

    The report, which had been passed by the majority party MP members on the commission, also contained as annexes the individual reports compiled by the opposition parties.

    The majority report attributes political responsibilities to former PASOK government (now the main opposition party) ministers George Drys and Apostolos Fotiadis over their signatures that acknowledge proprietorship of Lake Vistonida to the Monastery, and political accountability to the relevant New Democracy ministers for the procedures followed by their subordinates in the administration of the transactions, which the report says should have been conducted with greater attention and more in-depth research by the ministers.

    Main opposition PASOK, in its own report, concludes that the finance ministry's contention with the Monastery in 2003 counterbalances any accountability there may be on the parts of Drys and Fotiadis, and attributes political accountability -- which requires further investigation for possible criminal accountability by a parliamentary preliminary investigation committee -- to ND ministers Theodoros Rousspoulos, George Voulgarakis, Evangelos Bassiakos, Petros Doukas and Alexandros Kontos. More general political accountability is attributed to George Alogoskoufis, Vassilis Magginas, Antonis Bezas and Costas Kiltidis.

    The other opposition parties' reports stress the need for setting up a new parliamentary committee (preliminary investigation committee) to seek out criminal accountability on the part of ND ministers -- but do not name specific ministers -- while they also attribute political accountability to both the mainstream parties (ND and PASOK) in the handling of the affair.

    Addressing the positions of the opposition parties that further investigation of the role of ND ministers for possible criminal accountability is necessary, Commission president Christos Markogiannakis spoke of "inconsistent behaviour", given that none of the parties requested extension of the fact-finding commission's proceedings.

    Markogiannakis also said that ND "had the guts to acknowledge its own political responsibilities, something that has not been done up to the present, in contrast to PASOK, which fully absolves its own ministers".

    [06] Government spokesman: report clearcut on issue of criminal liability

    Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed in response to questions on Monday that the committee's report unambiguously finds that there were no criminal liabilities for the politicians involved.

    "The report clearly and beyond any doubt ascertains the lack, the non-existence, of criminal liability," he said, adding that a Parliamentary Preliminary Examination Committee would be formed only in the case that criminal liabilities were suspected.

    He rejected suggestions by reporters that there might have been a cover up of criminal responsibilities in the affair.

    [07] Protests over teen's killing continue on Monday

    Young people and high school students continued protests over the shooting of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos in Attica and other areas of Greece on Monday, more than a week after the incident in Exarhia that cost the unlucky teenager his life.

    A demonstration was held outside the education ministry in Maroussi by schools in the well-to-do northern suburbs of Athens, carrying on until late in the afternoon, while a crowd of high school students gathered outside the Greek Police general headquarters on Alexandras Avenue shouting slogans and occasionally lobbing stones and other objects against riot police ranged across the road. The road was closed off, disrupting traffic all around.

    Protests were also held at several points along the length of Messogion Avenue, especially outside the national defence and the former public order ministries, as well as in the Korydallos and Peristeri areas.

    Students are planning a campaign to sensitise public opinion by circulating flyers, while further protest rallies are planning in the centre of Athens on Thursday.

    Demonstrations and protests continued outside Athens as well, in cities around the country. Groups of young protestors took over the municipal radio station in the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina - where a group of youths had earlier attacked the offices of the local newspaper 'Proina Nea - and put out their own broadcast with their positions.

    Students at the Aegean University also took over the state radio station ERA Aigaio on Lesvos from 10:00 in the morning until shortly after 1:00 and put out their own programme regarding the events since the death of Grigoropoulos. They then attempted to take over three local radio stations and succeeded in broadcasting the programme they had prepared from Astra radio.

    Another protest rally by young people was held in the city of Hania on the island of Crete, while several high schools in the region were not working due to student sit-ins or boycotts.

    Schools in Thessaloniki are also planning to continue protest action after a meeting held by student body representation committees on Sunday, including a march at noon on Tuesday and picketing roads on Wednesday.

    On Thursday at noon, they are organising a concert by school bands at the Venizelos statue in the city.

    In a press conference on Monday, meanwhile, a coordinating body for the protests by Thessaloniki schools stressed that the violence seen at marches and rallies "was nothing to do with the student movement" and condemned violence by both police and the notorious "hooded youths" that have wreaked havoc in Athens and other Greek cities over the past week.

    Alexis Grigoropoulos, 15, fell dead with a bullet through his heart following an altercation between a group of youths and two police special guards in Exarhia on Saturday night, in which one of the two officers fired his gun. The officer later claimed that he had fired warning shots in the air but eye-witness accounts seemed to contradict his version of events.

    [08] Government on rioting and protests

    In comments on the ongoing reaction by high schools and young people around the country, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Monday stressed that the government had adopted a clearcut position on the death of the 15-year-old. The investigation regarding his death was now in the hands of justice, he added.

    "All those responsible will suffer the consequences. The prime minister has said this. I don't understand why you insist on ignoring him. We have a clearcut position condemning violence, wherever it originates," the spokesman stressed.

    The spokesman was unable to answer questions related to the long delay in issuing the ballistics report on the boy's shooting, however, apart to express his confidence that the experts carrying out the ballistic examination were doing their job well.

    Clarifying a comment made by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis that the riots which rocked Greece over the past week were something the government "had expected to occur eventually", Antonaros said the minister's statement was part of a much more complex analysis of the events.

    "Mrs. Bakoyannis made a detailed presentation of her positions, in which she explained some things that the prime minister referred to on Friday," he said, adding that the international financial crisis had caused upheaval throughout the world and that its repercussions in Greece were mild in comparison to those in other countries but nevertheless existed.

    [09] Attorney seeks release of officers held over teen killing

    The attorney of the two special guards accused of the shooting death of a teenager in Exarchia, Athens a week ago - an incident that sparked the widespread and ongoing rioting in Greece - has requested their release from jail on the grounds that they have no criminal record and a permanent residence. The two were remanded in custody after being charged with murder and illegal weapons use.

    Meanwhile, eye-witnesses are being called to testify by the examining magistrate appointed to the case.

    Earlier, students had staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Athens court building, while roughly 30 protesters still remain in the area in support of 4 individuals who testify before an examining magistrate. They are accused of felonies and misdemeanors for their participation in last week's rioting.

    [10] Greek Eurodeputies on disturbances in country

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)

    Greek Eurodeputies raised the issue of the disturbances that have taken place in Greece, while speaking on Monday during an off-the-agenda discussion at the European Parliament Plenum.

    Ruling New Democracy party Parliamentary Group chief Ioannis Varvitsiotis said that "I fear that we are before a phenomenon that is in danger of taking on uncontrollable dimensions and not in Greece alone," and, referring to the reasons for this, added that "the younger generation sees its future as being obscure with insuperable deadlocks."

    ND Eurodeputy Maria Kassiotou Panayiotopoulou said that in the face of this violence "we must present the culture of love, solidarity and the support of man by man."

    PASOK party Eurodeputy Maria Matsouka said that "what is being disputed by young people is the dominant model of inhuman development which is dismantling the welfare state, that is turning the state of law into a gendarme state."

    PASOK Eurodeputy Maria Eleni Koppa said that "the citizens' outburst is the result of inequalities that are increasing incessantly, it is the result of a neo-liberal policy by which all the more poor, marginalised and excluded are being created, resulting in social cohesion being in danger and us being led to extreme phenomena such as these that we are experiencing."

    [11] Immigration cooperation memorandum signed at Interior ministry

    A Memorandum of Cooperation on the creation of a supportive structure for the International Immigration and Development Forum was signed at the Interior ministry on Monday between the Forum's Presidency and the International Immigration Organisation.

    The Memorandum was signed by the Filippino Deputy Foreign Minister for Immigration Labour issues, Esteban Konejos, and the International Immigration Organisation's General Director William Swing.

    A formal ceremony will be taking place on Tuesday for the delivery of the 3rd International Immigration and Development Forum's Presidency from the Philippines to Greece, in the auditorium of the General Communications Secretariat-General Information Secretariat in the Athens district of Kallithea.

    [12] Turkish academics launch signature collection campaign apologizing to Armenians

    ANKARA (ANA-MPA / A. Ambatzis)

    An online signature collection campaign was launched Monday by Turkish academics in support of a text apologizing to Armenians for the 1915 "events" (Armenian genocide).

    The text the Turkish people are being called to sign is posted on the website "".

    The initiative belongs to university professors Baskin Oran, Cengiz Aktar, Ahmet Insel and Ali Bayramoglu and the campaign, which is expected to last one year, has the support of 275 Turkish intellectuals.

    Financial News

    [13] Finance ministry rejects 'alarmist' reports on economy

    The Greek finance ministry on Monday rejected reports in the press regarding the state of the Greek economy as alarmist, stressing that Greece had in the past four years carried out the most extensive fiscal adjustment in the eurozone.

    Commenting on reports regarding rising interest rates on Greek bonds, the ministry stressed that the "alarmism surrounding the Greek economy bears no relation to reality" and pointed to recent reductions in the public deficit, public debt, high growth rates and falling unemployment.

    It also pointed out that the increase in interest rate margins for bonds was not restricted to Greece alone and was a result of the global financial crisis and the pressures on international stock markets.

    Greece was affected as a result of the high public debt accumulated in the past and due to recent events, it added.

    The announcement ended by stressing that the Greek State was able to cover its need for funds as normal and would continue to do so in the future, while having made major progress and remaining steadfastly dedicated to a policy of fiscal adjustment and reform.

    [14] Bank of Greece governor on structural reforms

    The Economic and Industrial Research Foundation (IOBE) organised an event on Monday during which two new IOBE activities were inaugurated.

    The first concerns the enactment of the "IOBE Excellence" award that will be given to people providing considerable services to the Greek economy with their overall activity.

    The second concerns the establishment of a new annual event at which a distinguished personality from Greece or abroad will be appealing to an audience on current or structural problems of the Greek and the international economy.

    Addressing Monday's firsty session, Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos stressed the need for an extensive framework of structural reforms, mainly in the wider public sector, pointing out that for as long as the structural element of our monetary issues is tottering "the confidence of investors and of markets in the prospects of our economy will be restored with difficulty."

    Provopoulos also underlined that the Greek banks are remaining healthy and strong basically and their fundamental indexes are satisfactory.

    [15] Development minister holds talks with Qatar ambassador

    Development Minister Christos Folias met on Monday with the Ambassador of Qatar, Hamad Al Misnad. According to a relative announcement, the meeting was held in a very good climate, confirming the excellent level of cooperation between the minister and the ambassador.

    Folias and Misnad agreed to invest even more in strengthening cooperation between Greece and Qatar in the energy and entrepreneurship sectors with aim of the investments environment in the two countries favouring cooperation between businesses of the two friendly countries.

    [16] Tourist development minister on latest developments in Athens

    Tourist Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos held talks on Monday with tourism bodies on the occasion of the latest events taking place in Athens.

    Bodies involved in tourist affairs spoke of a considerable blow for tourism in Athens, stressing that Athens is empty of tourists.

    Listening to their views, the minister noted that what has been dealt a blow at the moment is the image of a safe Athens, as it had been created during the Olympic Games.

    Spiliotopoulos spoke of unprecedented events in the history of Athens, adding that these events will soon be a parenthesis and that Greek society will safeguard what Greece has gained with toil, "the image of a safe country."

    On their part, the Athens hoteliers stressed that cancellations of hotel bookings during this period have exceeded 80 percent and asked for the minister's support.

    [17] Hi-Tech sector meeting held in Patras

    The Hi-Tech Innovators' Meeting 2008 hosted by the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board - HEPO in Patras attracted the interest of tens of businesses active in the sectors of information technology, software, research and advanced technology.

    A total of 340 scheduled business meetings were held within the framework of the event last Friday, organized under the auspices of the ministry of economy and finance.

    The meeting was attended 35 Greek firms and 45 repre-sentatives of companies from Egypt, Bulgaria, France, Germany, India, Spain, Israel, Italy, Cyprus, Malta, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.

    [18] Greek stocks tumble 1.99% lower

    Greek stocks ended sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, tumbling well below the 1,800 mark. The composite index of the market ended 1.99 pct down to finish at 1,774.28 points, with turnover a low 93.6 million euros, of which 5.3 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower, with Commercial (1.93 pct), Chemicals (1.20 pct) and Personal-Household (0.15 pct) posting the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel & Leisure (-6.28 pct), Oil & Gas (-2.38 pct) and Financial Services (-2.29 pct) posted the biggest losses.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 2.01 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 2.70 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index ended marginally up by 0.31 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 119 to 97 with another 48 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.90%

    Industrials: -0.57%

    Commercial: +1.93%

    Construction: unchanged

    Media: -1.40%

    Oil & Gas: -2.38%

    Personal & Household: +0.15%

    Raw Materials: +0.05%

    Travel & Leisure: -6.28%

    Technology: -0.28%

    Telecoms: unchanged

    Banks: -1.76%

    Food & Beverages: -0.53%

    Health: -5.16%

    Utilities: -0.68%

    Chemicals: +1.20%

    Financial Services: -2.29%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 6.02

    ATEbank: 1.44

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 10.74

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.54

    National Bank of Greece: 13.10

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.72

    Intralot: 2.88

    OPAP: 20.04

    OTE: 12.50

    Bank of Piraeus: 6.00

    Titan Cement Company: 13.42

    [19] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover increasing to 61.585 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.93 pct, while the volume was 10,817 contracts worth 49.643 million euros, with 29,548 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,418 contracts worth 11.596 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,218), followed by Marfin Popular Bank (1,979), Intralot (1,432), PPC (1,354), Eurobank (1,166), Hellenic Post Bank (1,017) and Bank of Cyprus (1,017).

    [20] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market increased to 576 million euros on Monday, of which 155 million were buy orders and the remaining 421 million euros were sell orders.

    The 3-year benchmark bond (March 20, 2011) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 246 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 2,2 per cent, with the Greek bond yielding 5.47 pct and the German Bund 3.27 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 3.43 pct, the six-month rate 3.33 pct, the three-month rate 3.24 pct and the one-month rate 2.95 pct.

    [21] Foreign Exchange rates: Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.361

    Pound sterling 0.906

    Danish kroner 7.509

    Swedish kroner 10.951

    Japanese yen 123.4

    Swiss franc 1.591

    Norwegian kroner 9.396

    Canadian dollar 1.668

    Australian dollar 2.040

    General News

    [22] Athens to relight Christmas Tree on Tuesday

    The Athens municipal authority on Monday announced that its Christmas and New Year festivities will commence on Tuesday with the lighting of the city's Christmas tree at Syntagma Square at 19:30. The festivities programme had been suspended due to recent tragic events.

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis assured all Athens citizens that the festive events will take place in order to help the city get back into its normal rhythm, with the municipality fighting a battle against the clock to repair the damage and rebuild the festive scene at Syntagma Square from scratch.

    The mayor invited all Athens residents to attend the launch of the Christmas programme and thus convey the message that "Athens will live on and celebrate Christmas".

    The Athens Philharmonic Orchestra will play, accompanied by the Spyros Lambrou Children's Choir until the moment Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis gives the signal for the lighting of the Christmas tree and illumination of the city with festive lights.

    Fireworks will light up Athens skies, marking the start of the celebration that the city promises will reach "even the smallest city neighbourhood".

    The City of Athens Music Ensembles Big Band will then stage a concert at the square.

    For three full weeks Syntagma Square will be transformed into a festive scene with special structures, games and the "Magic Carousel". Individuals of all ages will have the opportunity to enjoy a series of music and art events featuring classic and jazz melodies, Christmas songs from around the world, Byzantine hymns, ethnic music and traditional dances, to take place on a specially-built stage.

    The Municipality's young friends can expect plenty of surprises and a range of educational and entertainment activities.

    [23] Eurostat figures on population increase

    Immigrants will account for 88 percent of the population increase of Greece during 2008, according to an estimate released by the European statistics agency Eurostat on Monday. The population's natural increase due to births minus deaths accounts for only 12 percent.

    According to Eurostat estimates, the country's population on January 1, 2009 will have reached 11.262 million, an increase of 4.3 per 1,000 residents relative to the previous year.

    The overall estimated population of all 27 EU countries is expected to reach half a billion, with the EU population increasing by 4.4 per 1,000 residents. Of this increase, 75 percent is attributed to the arrival of immigrants from non-EU countries and 25 percent due to natural population increase.

    The Greek birth rate during 2008 was 9.8 per 1,000 residents, lower than the EU average of 10.8 per 1,000 residents. The mortality rate was 9.3 per 1,000 residents, compared with 9.7 per 1,000 residents in the 27 EU member states.

    The natural rate of increase of the population in Greece was 0.5 per 1,000 residents (compared to 1.1 per 1,000 residents in the EU27) while the immigration rate was 3.8 per 1,000 residents (3.3 per 1,000 in EU27).

    The EU countries with the highest natural rate of increase were Ireland, France, Luxembourg and Cyprus, while in eight member-states there was a negative rate of increase, which was most marked in Bulgaria, Latvia, Hungary and Lithuania.

    SAE holds meetings with local authorities in Thessaloniki; street renaming in honor of expatriate Greeks.

    The Board members of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) had meetings with the minister of Macedonia-Thrace and local government authorities in Thessaloniki on Monday, while they also attended a street renaming ceremony in honor of expatriate Greeks.

    Issues concerning cooperation between SAE and the ministry of Macedonia-Thrace were discussed in the meeting with minister Margaritis Tzimas.

    SAE President Stefanos Tamvakis expressed the organization's appreciation for the interest expressed in the establishment of the digital archives "Ark of Hellenism" aimed at preserving the history of Greeks abroad. The organization's cultural and sports activities will be funded by the ministry, according to Tzimas, noting that the ministry has already supported 12 Greek expatriate events held in Germany this year.

    Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis referred to the joint actions undertaken by the prefecture and SAE focusing on the hospitality programmes for Greek expatriate children and the 2nd annual Expatriate Woman event to be held in March 2009 highlighting the work of Greek expatriate women. He also praised the SAE USA Regional Coordinator for the initiative "Plant your Roots in Greece" that has led to large-scale tree plantings in the wider Thessaloniki region.

    A street, next to the SAE offices in Thessaloniki, was renamed "Hellenes Abroad Street" in honor of the Greek expatriates. A special ceremony was held Monday in the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, local government authorities, the SAE Board and the seven SAE Youth Network Coordinators.

    [24] Ecumenical Patriarch inaugurates church on Asian coast of Bosphorus

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I inaugurated the recently restored St Constantine and Helene Pasabahce Church on the Asian coast of the Bosphorus.

    "This is our earthly homeland, our roots are here, our history, the graves of our ancestors and our hearts and here we will stay," the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed speaking during the inauguration ceremony.

    [25] 70 years of Greek Radio' exhibition

    An exhibition celebrating the "70 years of the Greek Radio" was inaugurated on Monday evening at the Zappion Mansion in Athens.

    People who distinguished themselves on the radio attended the event.

    The exhibition was inaugurated by government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, since Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who was due to inaugurate it, was unable to attend on account of special engagements.

    The exhibition, which will last until 31/1/2009, will be visited by 77 schools from all over Greece.

    [26] Protests continue with take-overs of radio stations

    A group of University of the Aegean students briefly occupied the public-run "ERA-Aegean" radio station in Mytilini, on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesvos, on Monday demanding to be permitted to broadcast a program produced by them on the recent violent incidents.

    The occupation ended following an intervention by the Peloponnese, Epirus and Islands Journalists' Union.

    A short while later the same group of students staged similar take-overs of the Radio Aeolos, KISS FM and ASTRA local music radio stations, and finally succeeded in broadcasting their program from ASTRA.

    A similar demonstration was reported on Monday in the Sikies City Hall in Thessaloniki, which was occupied by National Theater of Northern Greece students in protest of the police shooting death of the teen 10 days ago.

    The protesters assured the municipal authorities that their protest will be peaceful and called on local people to participate in a rally on Monday afternoon to discuss the latest developments.

    Further, a group of protestors staged a take-over of the Municipal Radio Station in Ioannina. After sending away the station's staff, the protestors were themselves broadcasting their positions.

    Also in Ioannina, a group of young demonstrators vandalized the offices of the local newspaper Proina Nea (Morning News) in the early morning hours.

    [27] Black and white Greek comedy screenings in the HFC-Alexandria Branch

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    Greek comedy movies in black and white produced in the 50s and 60s, which occupy a significant place in the history of Greek cinema, will be screened with English subtitles at the Hellenic Foundation for Culture - Alexandria Branch beginning on December 15.

    The screenings will take place on Mondays and continue until February 2009.

    [28] Bloody armed robbery in Athens

    Two people were injured, the victim and one of the assailants, during an exchange of gunfire that occured in the process of an armed robbery targeting an auto mechanic in Agii Anargiri district in Athens on Monday.

    The victim was attacked by three armed individuals who attempted to snatch a bag he was carrying containing 10,000 euros. When he resisted he was shot at and injured in the abdomen while one of the assailants, an Albanian national, also suffered a bullet wound in the chest area. His two accomplices managed to flee with the money.

    Both gunshot victims are hospitalized in a stable condition.

    [29] Illegal migrants arrested in Igoumenitsa, Samos

    Authorities on Monday reported the arrest of 54 illegal migrants concealed in a specially modified hidden compartment inside a truck scheduled to board a ferry to Italy. The immigrants were caught by port authority officers at Igoumenitsa, northwest Greece, who also arrested the 28-year-old driver of the truck.

    In a separate incident, 67 illegal migrants who had set off from the Turkish coasts were arrested in seas near the southeastern Aegean island of Samos.

    [30] Two dead bodies found in field in Corinth

    Authorities on Monday reported the discovery of two unidentified dead bodies in a vineyard in the region of Ancient Corinth, lying about three metres from a rural road. The bodies are of a man and a women of African origin, aged between 25 and 30.

    The woman shows signs of receiving blows to the head, while the two victims are wearing clothes but no shoes.

    A coroner and police forensics team have been sent to the scene to examine the two bodies and the surrounding site, while an investigation is being carried out by Corinth police.

    [31] Anti-racist rally planned in central Athens on Saturday

    An anti-racist rally is being planned for Saturday at 3:00 p.m. outside the gates of the Athens Polytechnic by the Committee Against the European Union Immigration and Asylum Pact. There will be an "anti-racist camp" and photography exhibition in the same area on Thursday and Friday.

    Weather Forecast

    [32] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy and showery weather and southeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 4C and 21C. Cloudy in Athens with possibility of local showers, with easterly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 9C to 19C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 9C to 14C.

    [33] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The ongoing students' mobilizations over the shooting death of a 15-year-old teen by police, the latest opinion polls, and the situation in the economy were the main front-page items in Monday's dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Every party with its own report (on the Vatopedi Monastery-State land transactions affair) - The reports to be submitted today to the parliament president (Dimitris Sioufas)".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Double (holiday) bonus as of today to 300,000 unemployed - OAED (state-run Manpower Employment Organization) materializes the prime minister's announcement (for relief measures for the vulnerable population groups that were most hard-hit by the effects of the global financial crisis)".

    AVRIANI: "Break the 'para-state' of the hooded troublemakers, jail the looters and...take the hoods off the informers recruited by the foreign services".

    CHORA: "Europe derides Karamanlis and his government - Barrage of caustic press articles against Greece".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Karamanlis running out of his hideout - The premier fearful after the unprecedented decline in the opinion polls".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Political accountability 'locked in' under the shadow of the opnion polls - ND's report points to 2+4 ministers".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Listen to their rage - Call by the rectors of six universities on the State".

    ESTIA: "The economy will not withstand if normality is not restored".

    ETHNOS: "The baton passes to the 700 euros generation (G700) - Dramatic appeal to the President of the Republic".

    TA NEA: "Burning testimonies by new witnesses - 'I'll show you' he (the special guard whose bullet killed the 15-year-old teen) said, and pointed his revolver".

    VRADYNI: "Three thorns for the government - Immediate need for assumption of initiatives by Karamanlis".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [34] Former President Papadopoulos laid to rest


    Former President of the Republic of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, who passed away on December 12th, was laid to rest Monday.

    The funeral took place at state expense in the Saint Sophia Church in Nicosia, in the presence of the President of the Republic Demetris Christofias, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian, Greek Foreign Minister Dora

    Bakoyannis, Members of the Cypriot Cabinet, leaders of Cypriot and Greek political parties, Members of the Parliament, Mayors, the leadership of the National Guard and the Police, ambassadors, other officials, his family and friends.

    The funeral service was officiated by the head of the Cyprus Orthodox Church Archbishop Chrysostomos II in the packed Saint Sophia Church in Nicosia.

    The late President's coffin was covered with the flags of the Republic of Cyprus and the Hellenic Republic and white flowers.

    Honorary President of the Social Democrats Movement EDEK Vassos Lyssarides read the funeral oration. President Christofias, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian, Christodoulos Pashiardis on behalf of the friends of the deceased and Anastasia Papadopoulou on behalf of his family read valedictory speeches.

    Wreaths were laid by President Christofias, Greek Ambassador Demetrios Rallis on behalf of Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, House President Marios Garoyian, First Vice President of the European Parliament Rodi Kratsa Tsagaropoulou, leaders of Cypriot and Greek political parties, the family, organizations, and others.

    Tassos Papadopoulos was buried at the cemetery in Deftera village, near Nicosia, as a guard of honour of the National Guard played the national anthem.

    Present at the cemetery where among others, the House President, Ministers, the Honoray President of EDEK, other officials, his family and many people who gathered there to bid him farewell.

    [35] President Christofias: Papadopoulos served his homeland with devotion

    Former President of the Republic of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, served his homeland with devotion and was in the vanguard of the difficult political life of Cyprus, which he did not abandon until his death, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias said in his valedictory speech at the funeral of Tassos Papadopoulos.

    President Christofias said that the late President "served Cyprus and its people with devotion and passion and was characterized by his persistence on and resolve in his beliefs, his well founded arguments and the sincerity of his positions, which he fought to put into effect."

    "He never hesitated to express his views, irrespective of what the public opinion and the majority supported", a visibly moved Christofias continued, as he addressed mourners at Saint Sofia church.

    In a somber and very emotional atmosphere, President Christofias said that "despite this, he was a politician characterized by credibility, he enjoyed respect and broad appreciation, because our society knows how to appreciate and distinguish patriots who serve society with consistency".

    "Cypriot society appreciates politicians who have strong opinions which they defend without calculating any political cost, appreciates those politicians, who defend their views with passion without however exceeding the limits of ethical behaviour, decency and political culture", he added.

    "In this category of political men, Tassos Papadopoulos has a distinguished place", President Christofias noted.

    "Our respect and recognition for all he has offered to our homeland and our people, for all his struggles and his political actions, will accompany him during his long journey", President Christofias said.

    "Each one writes his own history. And Tassos Papadopoulos wrote a history full of action and struggle. A history, which is closely linked to the liberation struggle of our people and the eventful life of the Republic of Cyprus", he continued.

    President Christofias recalled that during the anti-colonial struggle against British rule, in the mid 50s, Archbishop Makarios III detected the abilities and knowledge of the then young Tassos Papadopoulos and later selected him to participate in the first Cabinet of the Republic of Cyprus.

    "Since then, Tassos Papadopoulos was in the vanguard of a hard political arena, which he did not abandon, until his death", he said.

    The Cypriot President said that Tassos Papadopoulos had a profound knowledge of the Cyprus problem and its parameters.

    But he said that his contribution to other areas of the society was equally important.

    "The continuous preoccupation with the Cyprus issue possibly overshadows what he has offered in the economic and social affairs of our country, which is equally important", he noted.

    President Christofias referred to his "sincere, very human, harmonious and exemplary cooperation" with Tassos Papadopoulos.

    He said their relations were characterised by respect for one another and added that their cooperation "became friendship when as President of the House of Representatives I cooperated with him but also later on when with our support he was elected President of the Republic".

    The Cypriot President said that "Tassos Papadopoulos leaves behind him a great contribution to the people of Cyprus and a broad recognition and respect of friends and political opponents".

    "Now he can begin his long journey, having a clear conscience that he carried out in full the duty and debt to his homeland and to our people", President Christofias concluded.

    [36] Lyssarides: Papadopoulos will remain alive in our memory

    Tassos Papadopoulos has died but he will remain alive in the memory of the people of Cyprus, Honorary President of the Social Democrats Movement EDEK Vassos Lyssarides said in his funeral oration during former Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos' funeral.

    Lyssarides assured that "our struggle will continue", adding that "history will highlight Tassos Papadopoulos' role as that of a President who rejected unacceptable solution plans and effectively reversed the negative climate which was created by the justified "No" of our people (to the Annan plan)."

    Lyssarides said that Papadopoulos has been a great personality who graced the political life of Cyprus and who made history for Cyprus, "the President who, remaining attached to the people's mandate, rejected plans which aimed at destroying our people, reiterated a firm no and passed the threshold of eternity."

    Lyssarides said that Cyprus mourns a respectable politician and Hellenism participates in this mourning for his loss, noting the presence of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou and Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannsi at the funeral.

    As Lyssarides noted this painful event "gives us the chance to send jointly the message that we will refuse plans which have been rejected by the people and which emerge with new names. We shall oppose Turkey‘s a la carte European course, as Ankara demands non compliance with its European obligations and we shall object to giving any legal status to rights of custodian to anybody, we shall also reject military presence and a virgin birth of two states in Cyprus."

    Lyssarides recalled Papadopoulos' words in April 2004, before the referenda on a UN-brokered solution plan (the Annan plan) when he said that on assuming his duties as President he inherited an internationally recognized state and he was not going to hand to the future generations ''a community'' without a say internationally and in search of a guardian. The late Papadopoulos position that the Annan plan did not lift the de facto division but legalized it was explicit, he also recalled.

    Lyssarides referred to Tassos Papadopoulos' political activity since he was very young when he participated in the struggle against the British colonialism and later on when he became a minister when President Makarios assumed the presidency of the Republic of Cyprus after the country gained its independence in 1960.

    Lyssarides said that Papadopoulos' struggle during his five-year term in office as President of the Republic of Cyprus (2003-2008) did not concern the survival of the Greek Cypriots alone but also the Turkish Cypriots in the their path without guardians.

    He noted that Papadopoulos remained true to his national background and a fervent supported of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.

    The messages, he added, are explicit: "we respect the rights of all peoples and groups, but we demand respect for our rights as well."

    The Cyprus settlement must be in line with international law and the acquis communautaire and ensure the unity of the state, the terirtory, the economy, the institutions and will free the country from any custodians and foreign military presence, safeguarding the fundamental freedoms and the human rights of all the citizens, including the right of all refugees to return to the ancestral homes and properties, he said.

    Lyssarides pledged that "we will not deviate from this course" adding that "your call to reject unacceptable plans will now be heard even louder."

    In April 2004, a UN-proposed solution plan (Annan plan) was put to simultaneous referenda in both communities. The overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriot community rejected the plan, saying it did not serve the interests of the country, nor did it meet the fundamental concerns of the Greek Cypriot community. The Turkish Cypriot community approved the referendum by a majority.

    Papadopoulos has called on the people of Cyprus to reject the Annan plan saying that it did not lead to the reunification of the island nor did it serve the interests of the country.

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