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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-02-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 2 February 2009 Issue No: 3111


  • [01] Agriculture minister leaving for Brussels on Monday
  • [02] Crete's farmers set sail for Athens
  • [03] PM Karamanlis to meet with GSEE presidium
  • [04] FM: Greece to bring Olgac case to UN
  • [05] Interior minister on implementation of new election law, opposition reaction
  • [06] Poll shows strong lead for PASOK
  • [07] Roussopoulos on elections, Karamanlis
  • [08] PASOK: econ policy 'a recipe for disaster'
  • [09] PASOK announces changes at central level
  • [10] Tsipras interview on cooperation with PASOK
  • [11] Karatzaferis attacks government over crime, economy
  • [12] Dep. Interior minister on police issues, demonstrations
  • [13] Development minister on crisis
  • [14] OA tenders under evaluation
  • [15] EU Commissioner welcomes Obama pledges on environment
  • [16] Greek aid shipment to Gaza
  • [17] Memorial service for Christodoulos
  • [18] Heroin bust at Evros border crossing
  • [19] Illegal immigrants intercepted on Samos
  • [20] Burnt body found in Mesara village
  • [21] Super League soccer results
  • [22] Men's volleyball Cup Final postponed after incidents
  • [23] Rain on Monday morning
  • [24] The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance
  • [25] Garoyian: Government is taking all the necessary steps on the issue of the ship
  • [26] Kucuk: CMP keeps information confidential Politics

  • [01] Agriculture minister leaving for Brussels on Monday

    Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis will leave for Brussels on Monday to hold a series of contacts regarding compensation provided for farmers with the amount of 500 million euros.

    According to an announcement, Hatzigakis will be meeting with Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and with the Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel.

    Apart from the compensation issue, Hatzigakis and Boel will also be discussing a number of other issues, that include the implementation of the acquis communautaire concerning subsidies.

    In light of his departure, Hatzigakis thanked farmers for the understanding they showed in removing roadblocks and called on them once again to agree to an open dialogue that will be starting now on all the problems of Greek agriculture.

    Referring to various statements and claims made, the minister stressed again that the 500 million euros concern compensation for products harmed by bad weather conditions.

    [02] Crete's farmers set sail for Athens

    Farmers from Iraklio and Lasithi on Crete embarked on ferry boats bound for the port of Piraeus late on Sunday night, along with their tractors and pick-up trucks, determined to take their protest to the capital. The passenger ferries "Phaistos Pallas" and "Crete 1" set sail after a delay of roughly one and half hours from Iraklio, after the coast guard and local public prosecutor sought to determine whether it was legal to transport agricultural machinery and tractors on ordinary passenger ferries.

    Amid government appeals that they leave their tractors behind, farmers on Crete had earlier disbanded their five-day road block at Linoperamata and Platani and arranged to meet at the island's port the same evening.

    They plan to arrive in Athens on Monday morning for a protest demonstration outside the agricultural development and foods ministry, where they will also seek to have a meeting with the minister and present their demands.

    From Athens, Deputy Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis appealed to Iraklio farmers to abandon their plans to bring their tractors to Athens, warning that it would result in traffic gridlock that would turn all of Attica against them.

    "I have no right to say that someone does not have the right to make demands, but they must bear in mind, those that create these things, that they will cause a huge problem and bring the entire society of Attica prefecture against them. For this reason I am appealing that they come as individuals, as farmers, to protest and make demands but not with tractors, not cars, not agricultural vehicles," Markoyiannakis stressed.

    In northeastern Serres at the opposite end of Greece, meanwhile, the tractor roadblock at the Promahonas border crossing with Bulgaria was still going strong as it entered its 14th day, with farmers there determined not to give in. The border remained closed apart for one hour after 6:30 in the morning, when trucks carrying perishable products were allowed through.

    The Promahonas road block was one of the last bastions of the farmer protests apart from the one at Nikaia, on the Thessaloniki-Athens national highway near Larisa, where the farmers of Thessaly finally decided to suspend their mobilisation and depart during a meeting on Sunday afternoon.

    They announced that the road block would end in an organised fashion at 10:00 on Monday morning, and that they would meet against at anniversary of the Kileler uprising on March 15.

    With their departure, the farmers of Serres and Iraklio are the last that continue to reject the aid package offered by the government, on the grounds that the aid on offer is being unfairly distributed, while elsewhere around the country protesting farmers have dispersed and gone home.

    In comments on the aid package of 500 million euros that the government offered farmers to support their flagging incomes, which have been slashed by the collapse of global food prices, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis stressed in an interview with the newspaper "Eleftheros Typos" on Sunday that this was "fully compatible with existing Community regulations".

    "Those trying to undermine Greek positions in Brussels offer a bad service," he added, noting that main opposition PASOK was "the big loser of the agricultural mobilisations" and expressing satisfaction that the majority of farmers had trusted him and left the road blocks.

    The minister also dismissed claims that the compensation offered farmers was based on "geographic criteria", stressing that the only criteria had been the true extent of damage suffered by farmers.

    [03] PM Karamanlis to meet with GSEE presidium

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis is scheduled to meet on Monday with the presidium of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE).

    The premier chaired a meeting on Friday of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Economy, which discussed the updated three-year stability program that was submitted later in the day by Greece to the EU.

    Presenting the updated Stability and Growth program for the period 2008-2011 later, economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou stressed that Greece is one of the five Eurozone member-states to achieve a positive economic growth rate in 2009.

    He also said it was the government's plan to deal with a global crisis and exiting stronger than before. The main axes of the plan are supporting growth and employment, reducing deficits and supporting lower incomes.

    "The crisis has led to higher deficits, while there is also the problem with a high public debt that burdens the country," said, adding that the government was seeking to reduce the deficit, the debt and to curtail overspending in the wider public sector. "We will support vulnerable groups of the population and we will accelerate structural changes, promoting market deregulation and attracting investments," he told reporters.

    The Stability and Growth program envisages that the fiscal deficit would be 3.7 pct in 2008 and 2009, falling to 3.2 pct in 2010 and 2.6 pct in 2011. The economy is expected to grow by 1.1 pct this year, while employment is projected to grow by 0.2 pct this year and by 0.6 pct and 0.7 pct in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Unemployment is expected to grow from 7.5 pct in 2008 to 8.0 pct this year and to remain at this level by 2011, before starting to fall.

    The program also envisages lower budget revenues (by 2.5 billion euros compared with 2009 budget provisions) reflecting reduced proceeds from direct taxation (600 mln euros), lower revenues from indirect taxation (1.6 billion euros), reduced revenues from rescheduling of outstanding tax debt (220 mln) and higher tax returns (400 mln euros).

    The Greek economy is projected to grow by 1.1 pct this year, 1.6 pct in 2010 and 2.3 pct in 2011, according to the program which was submitted to the European Union.

    The program also envisages privatization revenues totaling at least 1.0 billion euros and that hirings in the public sector would be drastically limited.

    "We are witnessing an unprecedented international crisis. The government has the plan to deal with the crisis, to strengthen production and labour forces along with the competitiveness of Greek products and services. Greece can deal with the crisis and exit from it in a better and stronger position," Papathanassiou said.

    [04] FM: Greece to bring Olgac case to UN

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis said in a newspaper interview appearing on Saturday that in no instance would Greece limit itself to a verbal condemnation but would bring the issue before the UN and its Human Rights Council in Geneva, in reference to the recent admission by Turkish actor Attila Olgac of atrocities committed by Turkey during its 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

    Olgac recently admitted on Turkish television that he killed 10 Greek Cypriots, including a Greek Cypriot prisoner of war, during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

    [05] Interior minister on implementation of new election law, opposition reaction

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos called on the main opposition PASOK party to accept the speeding up of the implementation of the new election law, that will be applied in the elections that will be taking place after the next Parliamentary elections, to enable it to be valid from the next elections instead.

    Pavlopoulos said in a statement that the government's intention is both positive and sincere. He reminded that in February 2008, during the ratification of the new election law that gives an extra 10-seat bonus to the first party, he had stressed that a stable government is necessary in the present crucial conjuncture.

    The minister also reminded that he had stressed the need for all to agree and reiterated the same thing now, while adding that it depends on PASOK to help in this direction.

    The votes of 200 deputies in the 300-seat Parliament are required to enable the new law to go into force in the next elections.

    Similar statements had been made to the Sunday newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis" by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and ruling New Democracy party Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis.

    "Greece does not have the luxury in the difficult international economic and political conjuncture of facing the spectre of the lack of government, of instability and of liquidity. The political climate being shaped shows that with the existing election laws that are valid for the next elections, Parliamentary majorities will be marginal ones. The political forces must assess the political factors that are being created. I believe that the country needs a strong and effective government and Parliamentary majority," the foreign minister said.

    Bakoyannis also expressed support for the German system and for voting rights for overseas Greeks, as well as for the country's substantive regional reorganisation.

    Zagoritis said on his part that "our position is dictated by the need for a strong government, particularly in a period of international economic crisis. Political instability harms the economy, the country and all."

    The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party's press spokesman Kyriakos Velopoulos and the Eurodeputy of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) Dimitris Papadimoulis both strongly criticised the statement made by Pavlopoulos on the implementation of the election law in the next elections.

    [06] Poll shows strong lead for PASOK

    Main opposition PASOK has a strong lead over ruling New Democracy in voter preferences, according to the results of an opinion poll by ALCO that were published in the newspaper "Proto Thema" on Sunday.

    This gave PASOK a 4.1 percent lead over ND, with a total of 31.9 percent against 27.8 percent for the ruling party. Next in line were the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 7.5 percent, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) with 6.5 percent, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party with 4 percent and the Ecologists-Greens with 2.9 percent.

    Questioned about the farmers' mobilisations, 77.8 percent of those asked considered that farmers' demands werereasonable - as opposed to 12.9 percent that considered them unreasonable - but 65.3 percent believed that neither farmers nor any other group of individuals had a right to close roads.

    Asked whether PASOK should trigger general elections via the process for electing the President of the Republic (which requires a majority of 180-plus in Parliament), 51.9 percent replied 'no'.

    [07] Roussopoulos on elections, Karamanlis

    In an interview with the newspaper 'Realnews' published on Sunday, state deputy and former minister of state Theodoros Roussopoulos predicted that the government would be able to win the next elections, in spite of current difficulties, but advised against holding elections soon.

    "It would be best for the country if elections were avoided now," Roussopoulos said, noting that constant speculation about elections stripped politicians of credibility and created problems.

    He also said it was too early to be talking about a "post-Karamanlis" era, expressing opinion that ruling New Democracy risked becoming "diminished" if current prime minister Costas Karamanlis was no longer at its helm.

    In comments on the Vatopedi Monastery scandal and his resignation over the affair, Roussopoulos claimed that he was "an easy and obvious target, having a position within [the prime minister's offices] and having been a visitor of the Monastery".

    [08] PASOK: econ policy 'a recipe for disaster'

    With yet more criticism aimed at the government's economic policies, main opposition PASOK's political representative for economic issues Louka Katseli stressed in an interview appearing in the newspaper "Realnews" on Sunday that any stability or austerity programme targeting those that were weakest was a "recipe for disaster".

    "Those who fight PASOK's proposals are those who are nice and comfortable with untransparency, lack of meritocracy, graft and closed circles of power," she added.

    Katseli named the prime minister, Costas Karamanlis, as the one chiefly responsible for "the government's dead-end economic policies" and said that Greece was already "essentially under supervision" since international markets were "punishing" the country for its fiscal aberrations and its collapsed competitiveness.

    "Whether or not we are placed under European Union supervision in the strict sense of the term, in other words whether we are placed under the excessive deficit process, is a secondary issue," Katseli claimed.

    [09] PASOK announces changes at central level

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou has decided to change the way the party functions, at central level, party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said on Sunday. Announcing the changes, he stressed that they were taking place in order to prepare PASOK in light of its assumption of the country's governance.

    According to Papandreou's decision, six 'executive groupings' will be created, in which the party's leading members will participate in accordance with the duties and roles that they had so far and which they will be maintaining.

    The appointments made in the groupings follow the pattern: Political Council, Parliamentary Representatives and political Representatives and reflect the way in which the party's leader is thinking of using PASOK's members as part of a government, if the party wins the next elections.

    Every grouping will be responsible for formulating the party's proposals and priorities, monitoring and assessing government activities in the sector of its duties, highlighting government responsibilities and mistakes and promoting the party's proposals and priorities.

    Their sessions will also be open to senior party officials, such as the PASOK National Council secretary, the party's Parliamentary group secretary and the head of the PASOK president's political office, and MPs assigned to that sector.

    The six groupings are the following: Economy, Citizen-State-Local government, Social Policy, Education-Youth-Culture, Foreign Policy-Defence and Green Development-Environment.

    The economy grouping is expected to hold its first session on Monday under the chairmanship of Papandreou.

    Within the week, possibly on Thursday, Papandreou will be giving a press conference.

    [10] Tsipras interview on cooperation with PASOK

    Greek society needs a new direction and not just another government, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras said in an interview published by the newspaper "Eleftheros Typos" on Sunday, stressing his party's differences with main opposition PASOK.

    "PASOK is investing in the government's wear. It has not formulated a clear policy platform. And when it does, it usually presents more programme positions than are necessary. We spoke of a bordering area because it is true that we have found ourselves together with people from PASOK in social demands," he said.

    SYN's leader underlined that a Left that was not strongly connected with social movements would be a "powerless, neutralised left that did not worry anyone".

    The party's election tickets for the European elections would be decided in an open democratic manner by SYRIZA bodies and take into account all proposals, he added.

    [11] Karatzaferis attacks government over crime, economy

    Attending an event in Kalamata, southern Peloponnese, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on Sunday held a press conference in which he strongly criticised the government on all levels, especially its record in tackling rising crime levels and abductions.

    He also pointed to "the failure of the government's economic policies" and said the present government only remained in power because it lacked a powerful opposition.

    [12] Dep. Interior minister on police issues, demonstrations

    Deputy Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis stressed his conviction that the abductors of shipowner Pericles Panagopoulos will soon be led before Justice, in an interview appearing in the Sunday newspaper "To Vima".

    He said that police were working "systematically and with persistence" in order to solve the case.

    Commenting on a series of attacks by the urban guerrilla group "Revolutionary Struggle" and whether he feared more of the same, Markoyiannakis said that "a normal person could not know the mind of criminals" and it was natural that there should be constant concern.

    On the stance taken by police in dealing with incidents at demonstrations and whether there was a dogma of "zero tolerance", Markoyiannakis denied that this was the case.

    "The only dogma that exists is that for legality without exceptions, since society demands that there be law and order," he said.

    Financial News

    [13] Development minister on crisis

    The government's focus was on shielding the economy in this period of international crisis, boosting growth, and supporting the more vulnerable social groups, development minister Costis Hatzidakis said in a newspaper interview appearing on Saturday.

    Hatzidakis also said that high prices were not combated with "shows in the open-air produce markets" but through the proper operation of competition and enhancement of consumer awareness, adding, however, that wherever intervention was needed, the government would not be lenient with anyone.

    [14] OA tenders under evaluation

    The binding tenders submitted for the acquisition of national carrier Olympic Airways were in the process of being evaluated, as the deadline set out in the international tender for the three companies of the OA Group -- flights, ground service and technical back-up -- expired at midnight Friday.

    The tenders were being evaluated by the privatization consultants that have been appointed by the Greek State, who will inform the government, namely the Interministerial Committee on Denationalizations, on the details of the tenders, namely the price, the investment plans and the conditions set out by the bidders. A commissioner designated by the European Commission is also taking part in the evaluation procedure.

    The outcome of the tender is expected to be announced in the coming week.

    General News

    [15] EU Commissioner welcomes Obama pledges on environment

    Greek European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas welcomed pledges made by the new U.S. President Barack Obama regarding environmental issues in an interview published by the newspaper "Kathimerini" on Sunday, describing these as "positive".

    He underlined that the world will have to negotiate a difficult path in order to reach a new international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen, one that would replace the Kyoto Protocol, and that the U.S. would play a very important role.

    On the issue of reducing greenhouse gases, Dimas said that apart from the measures approved by the European Union for improving the energy efficiency of private cars "measures are required in order to deal with the ever-increasing emissions arising from the transport sector in general".

    [16] Greek aid shipment to Gaza

    A new shipment of humanitarian aid from Greece was sent to Gaza on Sunday, continuing the country's efforts to support the beleaguered Palestinian people, according to the Greek foreign ministry.

    A ministry announcement said that six containers containing 105-110 tonnes of aid left the port of Piraeus headed for the Gaza Strip. These contained food (flour, olive oil, pulses) bought by the foreign ministry and supplies such as food, medicine and medical supplies that were collected by the Church of Greece in collaboration with local authorities, private companies and associations.

    The transportation of the aid has been undertaken and paid for by the foreign ministry's Hellenic Aid organisation and it will be delivered to the appropriate United Nations bodies so that it can be taken and distributed in Gaza.

    Among those that assisted and contributed to the collection of the aid consignment were a number of non-governmental organisations, such as 'Pharmacists of the World' and 'Doctors of the Heart', companies such as Lavipharm, groups such as the Hania Pharmacists association or the Macedonia-Thrace journalists union, and a number of local authorities.

    [17] Memorial service for Christodoulos

    The annual memorial service for the late Archbishop Christodoulos was held at the Athens Cathedral on Sunday by his successor, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.

    The memorial service was attended by a number of high-ranking clerics and close associates of the late archbishop and several members of the ordinary public.

    [18] Heroin bust at Evros border crossing

    A Bulgarian couple were arrested by customs officials at the Kipoi border post in Evros on Sunday after 57.8 kilos of heroin were found hidden in their luxury car.

    The drugs were found by a trained sniffer dog, divided up into 100 packages and hidden in a special compartment between the back seats and the trunk. The couple aroused the suspicions of customs official because they seemed inexplicably jumpy, prompting officers to conduct a search with the aid of the specially-trained police dog Diego.

    The two Bulgarians initially claimed ignorance of the drugs and said they were headed for France. They were led before a public prosecutor in Alexandroupolis to be formally charged.

    [19] Illegal immigrants intercepted on Samos

    Authorities on the Aegean island of Samos have intercepted and arrested 25 illegal immigrants lacking valid travel documents, according to announcement by the merchant marine ministry.

    The illegal immigrants (21 men, three women and one minor) were sighted in the early hours of Saturday in waters off the island's Gatos headland. They claimed to have set off in an inflatable dinghy from the nearby Turkish coast, which they then scuppered on seeing the coast guard vessel, so that they fell into the water and were collected by the coast guard.

    They were taken to Samos general hospital for precautionary medical examinations, while an investigation was launched by the Samos coast guard.

    [20] Burnt body found in Mesara village

    The burnt body of an unidentified man was found on Sunday in the vicinity of the village Listaros in Mesara. The body is being examined by a coroner, while an investigation has been launched by the Greek police.


    [21] Super League soccer results

    Olympiakos Piraeus retained its commanding lead in the Greek Super League after beating AEK Athens 1-0 at the Athens Olympic Stadium over the weekend. PAOK Thessaloniki downed Ergotelis Crete 2-0 at Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki and Panathinaikos Athens edged Levadiakos Livadia 2-1 away and remained in second and third place in the standings respectively.

    In other action:

    OFI Crete-Larissa 1-2

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-Aris Thessaloniki 0-1

    Panionios Athens-Panthrakikos Komotini 3-0

    Panseraikos Serres-Thrasyvoulos Athens 1-0

    Xanthi-Asteras Tripoli 0-0

    Standings after 20 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiakos 51 points

    2. PAOK 40

    3. Panathinaikos 39

    4. AEK 34

    5. Larissa 30

    6. Panionios 28

    7. Aris 28

    8. Panthrakikos 25

    9. Xanthi 25

    10. Ergotelis 23

    11. Iraklis 22

    12. Levadiakos 22

    13. Asteras 21

    14. Panseraikos 15

    15. OFI 14

    16. Thrasyvoulos 13


    [22] Men's volleyball Cup Final postponed after incidents

    The men's volleyball Cup Final between Panathinaikos Athens and Olympiakos Piraeus, due to be played in the city of Patra in western Greece on Sunday evening, was postponed after incidents took place both outside and inside the indoor "D. Tofalos" stadium.

    According to a statement by the Federation president, the postponement of the match was decided during a special Federation Executive Committee meeting and the fate of the final will be decided on Monday.

    As regards the runup to the postponing of the match, the players of Olympiakos had taken their positions on the court, but the players of Panathinaikos had refused to come forward unless the stadium was evacuated of spectators.

    The police declared on their part that they would not undertake to evacuate the stadium without the help of Olympiakos's officials, who refused to agree to the evacuation and who promised that the match could be carried out smoothly with the presence of spectators.

    Police were called in to break up a brawl between groups of rival team supporters in the port city of Patras, who attacked each other with stones, clubs, iron bars and petrol bombs just before the start of semi-finals of the men's volleyball Greek Cup.

    The incidents broke out on Saturday evening in the grounds surrounding the indoor "D. Tofalos" stadium in the city, just before the start of the game between EA Patras and the Olympiakos, which was to be followed by a game between the teams of Iraklis and Panathinaikos.

    Police used teargas to disperse those involved, while two people were injured during the fighting and had to be taken to hospital.

    Weather forecast

    [23] Rain on Monday morning

    Rain and storms are forecast throughout Greece early on Monday, with conditions improving later in the day from west to east. Winds from easterly directions, between 4-7 beaufort and temperatures ranging from 0C - 18C. Wet in Athens, clearing up later in the day, and temperatures ranging from 8C to 16C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 6C to 9C.

    [24] The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance

    Political and economic developments, opinion polls, ongoing protests by farmers, an interview by former Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos and the Siemens case were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Panic over Siemens case. Upheaval within PASOK on the eve of revelations and detentions in custody.

    APOGEVMATINI: "Changes to public-sector salaries" (Forecasts attempts at radical changes to the public-sector salary system, in a government bid to restrain increases in wages, which represent 47 percent of the entire budget).

    AVGHI: "Fierce austerity and unemployment. Whiff of elections and promise of benefits against a backdrop of recession and economic crisis".

    AVRIANI: "Gangs of blackmailers in the guise of environmentalists. The same faces mysteriously keep appearing behind cases involving big financial stakes".

    CHORA: "New purse of 100 million euros. Attack of social policy by government".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The Cyprus Attila a war criminal. Let processes be launched to have him referred to the International Criminal Court at The Hague."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Everything about everything! [PM] Costas Karamanlis' five-month plan for the economy, opinion polls, elections".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Weapons blockade in Elefsina. A cargo of the substance CK22, which is used to construct missiles, impounded on its way to Iran".

    EPOCHI: "Unemployment swept under the rug".

    ETHNOS: "The noose tightens. Businesses, households without money. Shock figures from the Bank of Greece about the crisis".

    KATHIMERINI: "The public debt scares us but we still want benefits. Public Issue opinion poll reveals our contradictions as citizens".

    LOGOS: "Dialogue on the [nationwide university entrance] exam system a 'landscape in the mist'. What Babiniotis and Veremis propose for the exams".

    NIKI: "Planning in the sand. Tragic governmental mistakes leading the country to bankruptcy".

    PARON: "Overthrows from the prosecutions over Siemens, TOR-M1, Patriot, 'Hermes..." (Claims that major political upheaval, including 'overthrows' will follow as revelations unearthed by the investigation into the above cases are made public)

    PROTO THEMA: Runs story regarding a book by former finance minister George Alogoskoufis that is due out around Easter, in which he apparently claims that he proposed a much tougher stabilisation programme in 2007 that the premier turned down, fearing rebels within the ranks of his slim majority of 152 MPs in Parliament would topple the government.

    REALNEWS: "Without Karamanlis we will diminish". Message from Theodoros Roussopoulos to aspiring successors for ruling New Democracy's leadership.

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Two lines clash in the farmers' movement. The PASY line of struggle is in favour of the interests of small and medium-sized farmers".

    TO VIMA: "Balance of terror between the ballot box and Brussels. The planning and difficult dilemmas faced by Karamanlis".

    VRADYNI: "Free homes in all of Greece. Exclusive: ambitious programme by the Workers' Housing Organisation".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [25] Garoyian: Government is taking all the necessary steps on the issue of the ship


    The Government is taking all the necessary steps to overcome the issue of a Cypriot-flagged ship that has docked at Limassol Port, House President Marios Garoyian has said.

    It has been reported that the Russian-owned ship is carrying arms that originated from Iran. As a result, it was forced by an American military vessel to dock at Limassol Port.

    Speaking here on Sunday, Garoyian noted that the issue required patience and careful handlings.

    "For that reason, I would not like to say in detail what has to be done", he said, adding that "the less we talk about this issue in public, the better".

    "I know that the Government is making all the necessary moves. And not only the Government, but also several other people are trying to help in order the problem to be solved in the best possible way for Cyprus", he added.

    Speaking on the Cyprus issue, Garoyian stressed that the direct negotiation process between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, draw the attention of the international community.

    "The time for Turkey to prove whether it really wishes to find a solution to the Cyprus problem or not, has come", he pointed out, noting that "unfortunately, so far, the Turkish side has presented intransigent positions that aim at a two-state solution".

    The House President expressed the Greek Cypriot side's readiness for the historical compromise of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation solution.

    "We reject a confederation or a two-state solution", he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since early September 2008, with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    [26] Kucuk: CMP keeps information confidential


    Any information given to the UN Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in Cyprus is on voluntary basis, and as such the Committee is obliged to keep it confidential, Gulden Plumer Kucuk, the Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee has said.

    Speaking to CNA on Friday, and asked to comment on the information that she will contact Attila Olgac, the Turkish actor who confessed the killing of ten Greek Cypriots during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Kucuk referred to the announcement, issued by CMP last Tuesday.

    Kucuk also said that the Committee, during its last meeting on Thursday, has evaluated the information published in the media. "The information to the Committee is given on a voluntary basis, and we guarantee to keep this information confidential", she said.

    CMP, in an announcement issued on Tuesday following various media reports about events which happened in 1974 in Cyprus and which may concern the fate of missing persons, renewed its call to all those who can give information that could assist the effort of determining the fate of the missing, to approach the CMP.

    The CMP, a tri-partite committee with representatives from both communities and a UN-appointed member, has been involved in the exhumation and identification of remains of missing persons for years.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots have been missing since 1974 and nearly 500 Turkish Cypriots are missing either since the intercommunal fighting in the early 1960s or later on.

    To date, the remains of over 466 individuals have been exhumed while 110 have been identified and returned to the families concerned. More missing persons will be identified and their remains returned to their families early in the coming year.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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