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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-02-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 10 February 2009 Issue No: 3118


  • [01] PM briefed by interior minister on mass media issues
  • [02] Bakoyannis holds talks with Albanian counterpart
  • [03] FM Bakoyannis holds talks with Albanian party representatives
  • [04] Gov't on internal party affairs, elections
  • [05] Econ crisis measures in motion, government says
  • [06] PASOK social policy com't meeting
  • [07] Education minister holds talks with university deans
  • [08] French diplomatic delegation visits Alexandroupoli mayor
  • [09] FinMin in Brussels for Eurogroup, ECOFIN meetings
  • [10] Greece lacks plan for exiting crisis, PASOK says
  • [11] Chinese publications promote Greece as leading tourism destination
  • [12] Industrial production index down 8.7% in Dec.
  • [13] Greek inflation eased to 1.8 pct in January
  • [14] Cost of borrowing slides in Dec.
  • [15] Building activity plunges 21.2% in Nov.
  • [16] Foreign investors' share in ASE at 48.02% in Jan
  • [17] Greek stocks end moderately up
  • [18] ADEX closing report
  • [19] Greek bond market closing report
  • [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [21] Angelopoulos' press conference on his new film 'The Dust of Time'
  • [22] 'Antigone' performed in ancient Greek at Brussels theatre
  • [23] MMCA to unveil 3D 'virtual' museum
  • [24] Ecumenical Patriarch congratulates Archbishop Ieronymos on first anniversary
  • [25] Interior minister on cremation centres
  • [26] Papoulias received new Greek Football Federation president
  • [27] Athens Municipal Council ratifies amendment on Alexandras Avenue reformation project
  • [28] "Samothaki" remains docked following accident
  • [29] Arrest for cocaine-smuggling at Athens airport
  • [30] Major drug arrest in Thessaloniki
  • [31] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [32] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [33] President: We will continue the process for a Cyprus solution Politics

  • [01] PM briefed by interior minister on mass media issues

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday was briefed by interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and new Deputy Minister for media affairs Costas Gioulekas regarding various issues.

    Pavlopoulos told reporters afterwards that he and Gioulekas briefed the premier on the further course of restructuring and operation of the new Secretariat for Communication and Information, which landed under the interior ministry's jurisdiction following the recent government reshuffle, as well as on the agencies recently transferred to the interior ministry's authority.

    The incorporation will help the ministry to better deal with problems concerning its infrastructure and staffing, as well as better organisation and operation of the ministry, Pavlopoulos said. He added that priority would be placed on completion of the procedure concerning the licensing of the electronic media.

    The issue of pending regulatory acts and completion of a precise radio and television frequency band is also forthcoming following many years of delays, Pavlopoulos noted.

    He said cited an emphasis on better supporting the provincial press, which would be immediately undertaken by Gioulekas, noting that the role of the regional mass media was extremely important at a time when problems in the provinces needed to be underscored, and given the government's target of greater regional development.

    Gioulekas, in turn, said the focus would be on both the central and provincial press, adding that visits would be made to the provinces for meetings with representatives of the local media.

    [02] Bakoyannis holds talks with Albanian counterpart

    TIRANA (ANA-MPA - N. Melissova)

    "Our neighbourhood must be a priority," stressed Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis during a visit to Tirana on Monday. The minister was visiting Albania in her capacity as chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), during a tour of western Balkan states. She urged Albania and the other countries of the region to make use of Greece's term as OSCE chair.

    "The OSCE is in a unique position to help the region's EuroAtlantic prospects," Bakoyannis underlined after a meeting with her Albanian counterpart Lulzim Basha, noting the contribution of OSCE missions to the step-by-step modernisation and democratisation of western Balkan states.

    Basha noted that the Greek chair had indicated the importance that it attaches to the western Balkans through Bakoyannis' visits to Belgrade and Pristina, where the OSCE also has missions.

    The OSCE's role in Albania will be particularly important in the coming period since the country is due to hold general elections in June. Basha conveyed to Bakoyannis his government's desire to cooperate with the OSCE in holding free and fair elections, adding that his country had invited the largest mission of OSCE observers that has ever come to Albania to monitor elections.

    The Greek minister also stressed the vital role of the OSCE mission in Albania, saying it had boosted political stability, adding that Albania would only gain through the presence of a strong OSCE mission that will cooperate closely with its government.

    The two sides also noted the progress in bilateral relations between Greece and Albania, with Basha describing Greece as a strategic political and economic partner. The two sides then signed an agreement for the operation of two cemeteries for Greek soldiers killed during the Greek-Italian war of 1940 on Albanian soil.

    Bakoyannis underlined the close economic ties between Greece and Albania, Greece's prominent position among foreign investors in Albania and noted that Greece will soon be ratifying the protocol for Albania's entry into NATO, while it had already ratified the EU-Albania Association and Stability Agreement.

    She noted that Greece supports more relaxed visa requirements to Albanians visiting the EU and continues to support Albania's EU prospects, believing that the western Balkans belong within the European family.

    The two ministers also pointed to the unique bond between the two countries arising from the ethnic Greek minority and the sizable community of Albanian immigrants in Greece, while Bakoyannis noted that the minority's future depended on "respect of human rights within the country".

    Bakoyannis also had meetings with Albanian President Bamir Topi, Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the chair of the Albanian Parliament Jozefina Topalli.

    She is due to meet with the main opposition leader and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama on Monday afternoon, in addition to representatives of other parties, while she is also due to visit the offices of the OSCE mission in Albania, before returning to Athens on Monday night.

    [03] FM Bakoyannis holds talks with Albanian party representatives

    TIRANA (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, in her capacity as OSCE chairperson, held talks here on Monday night with the representatives of most parties represented in Parliament, either within the government coalition whiuch includes eight parties, headed by the Democratic Party under Sali Berisha, or in the opposition that is represented in Parliament by five parties, headed by the Socialist Party under Eddy Rama, who is also the Mayor of Tirana. Talks focused on concerns regarding the holding of fair and free elections on June 28 for the election of the new Albanian government.

    Responding to these concerns, the foreign minister said that the targets for the holding of fair and free elections include: there being a cleanup through the electronic registration of double registrations, all voters being provided in time, particularly those not having passports, with identity cards to enable them to have one of the two documents with which they can vote. There should also be free access and movement to voting places, as well as free broadcasting by the mass media.

    The Albanian government, according to a statement by Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha at noon after meeting Bakoyannis, also called for a "longterm" mission by the OSCE/ODIHR, long before the holding of the elections, to check preparations, apart from the observers who will be supervising the election process itself.

    The ODIHR has the experience and know-how to give the picture that will prevail during the elections to the international community, the foreign minister said, stressing that if the elections are not held in a fair and free way this will have negative consequences for the country and, mainly, for its European perspective.

    The representatives of the parties also expressed concern over the recent ratification of a law that anticipates the opening of the "files" of public functionaries and their dismissal in the event that they had collaborated with the intelligence services of the previous regime.

    Shortly before leaving for Athens, Bakoyannis visited the Archbishop of Tirana, Dures and All Albania Anastasios, with whom she discussed issues preoccupying the Orthodox Church of Albania.

    [04] Gov't on internal party affairs, elections

    The government is focused on being productive and meeting its commitments, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed in the regular press briefing Monday, adding that its majority in parliament is an element of decisive importance.

    Antonaros also stated that any discussion on elections or candidate lists is premature.

    On election law, he stated that the government has nothing to discuss as regards any change in the relative legislation.

    On a statement by main opposition PASOK Secretary Yannis Ragousis regarding the likelihood of an alliance government including PASOK and ruling New Democracy (ND), he pointed out that such comments show clearly who is to blame for the election-mongering climate.

    [05] Econ crisis measures in motion, government says

    The government has set in motion all necessary measures for dealing with the repercussions of the global economic crisis, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated on Monday, clarifying that there are several stages between the announcement of a government plan and its actual implementation.

    Referring to the heating allowance, Antonaros stated that the government has met its commitment as regards the timing of the measure and those eligible will be receiving it soon.

    Responding to a question on whether a credit bank will be established for the loans of loss-making businesses, he commented that no such discussion has been made because the Greek banking system was not as exposed to toxic instruments as other countries. "Businesses meet their obligations," he said.

    On the foreclosures on private houses for loans of less than 20,000 euros, Antonaros stated that all violators of existing regulations will face sanctions.

    [06] PASOK social policy com't meeting

    Main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou, speaking before the party's social policy committee meeting on Monday, underlined that "poverty and inequality being experienced today is of unprecedented magnitude".

    He also accused the government of lacking a policy aimed at boosting employment, claiming that the national health system is on the verge of collapse.

    Papandreou said a restructuring of the social state is a central issue, stressing that the key points should be: dignified living conditions, the right to work, measures against poverty, establishment of a viable social insurance system and affordable healthcare for the average household.

    [07] Education minister holds talks with university deans

    Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos held talks on Monday night with the deans of the country's universities, in the framework of a government proposed dialogue on education.

    "I had the opportunity of exchanging views with all the deans of the country's universities. I believe that this meeting was extremely useful," Spiliotopoulos said after his talks.

    "They briefed me in as much detail as possible and an agreement was reached between us on two levels: Firstly, there should be a two-way dialogue, a dialogue of substantive communication and secondly there should be a mood between us on issues that can be settled at this moment and this to be achieved with goodwill from both sides. I believe that this meeting is the beginning of many more work meetings aimed at the best possible implementation of existing laws, as well as the correction of the frameworks in which the Greek universities function," the minister added.

    [08] French diplomatic delegation visits Alexandroupoli mayor

    A French diplomatic delegation headed by Ambassador Christophe Farnaud and including Thessaloniki Consul Christian Timonier and Marina Doulami, Deputy Consul in Alexandroupoli, visited Alexandroupoli Mayor George Alexandris for talks on the city's development prospects, also in light of overall developments in the energy sector (construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline) and to probe ways of further strengthening relations in such sectors as culture, education and tourism.

    The French ambassador said that it was the first time that he was visiting Thrace and Alexandroupoli and that he intends to contribute to the promotion of relations and contacts with the Greek countryside.

    In this framework, he thanked the mayor for the support he is giving to the Greek-French "Home of Antoinette" Society and stressed that it is important that there should be a dynamic relation with the municipality, reminding of historic ties and the strong French presence and contribution to the creation and development of Alexandroupoli since the 19th century.

    On his part, Alexandris provided an extensive briefing on the momentum that the city is now showing to utilise the cross-border element, on large-scale infrastructure projects being promoted, the International Goods Centre and the promotion of tourism in the region.

    Financial News

    [09] FinMin in Brussels for Eurogroup, ECOFIN meetings

    Economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou left on Monday for Brussels, where he will represent Greece at the Eurogroup Conference later in the day and a meeting of the EU's Ecofin ministers on Tuesday.

    Ahead of the Eurogroup conference, Papathanassiou will have separate meetings with European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet and EU commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas.

    [10] Greece lacks plan for exiting crisis, PASOK says

    Main opposition PASOK once again slammed the government's handling of economic issues on Monday, with party spokesman George Papaconstantinou saying that Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou would seek to persuade the ECOFIN council that Greece's "double deficits - in the state budget and competitiveness - were under control when they were not".

    "The worst thing - and that perceived by all Europe - is that our country under the present government has no exit plan for coping with the problems," the spokesman stressed.

    Replying to a question about the latest attempt to sell Olympic Airlines, specifically a letter sent to the prime minister by a ruling party MP, Papaconstantinou said that PASOK had "disagreed with the way that the government lowered OA's value".

    "There had been many efforts [to privatise OA] in the past, not successful ones, we bequeathed a process that was underway, which could have led to a solution that would have been beneficial for both the State and for the employees, but the government unfortunately chose to disregard this," he said.

    He repeated the party's position in favour of a solution involving a mix of private and state capital and collaboration with an international carrier, adding that he would not comment on announcements when there were no binding offers or framework of discussion.

    On the discussion about media licences and regional press issues held by the government, Papaconstantinou warned that the issue must be settled with transparency and without attempts to control the media.

    Finally, in comments on an opinion poll showing a positive response by the public to the government's proposals for educational reform, PASOK's spokesman noted that his party will take part in dialogue on reforming high schools but "would give no alibis" and that the party's own proposals "talk about a very different school".

    [11] Chinese publications promote Greece as leading tourism destination

    Special presentations over the recent period by a handful of Chinese publications promote Greece as a leading and secure global tourist destination, pointing out that despite last December's urban unrest in Athens, the country remains a very safe destination, combining high quality tourist services and good infrastructure.

    Special travel offers made available by Greek tour operators are also cited, described as particularly attractive amidst the ongoing global economic recession.

    A five-page spread in the February issue of Beauty and Travel Magazine underlines that despite whatever industrial actions, the east Mediterranean country remains a safe and affordable high-quality tourist destination.

    The sector magazine Wine in China dedicates 16 pages to the wines produced in northern Greece's Epirus and Macedonia provinces, including a presentation of townships with a tradition in wine-making. The tour begins in Epirus and continues to the historically renowned Pella district, to the Thessaloniki area and verdant Halkidiki prefecture.

    Thessaloniki is cited to as one of the safest Greek cities, endowed with a rich cultural tradition and numerous monuents.

    Shanghai Weekly, in a two-page article, describes Greece as a prime honeymoon and religious pilgrimage destination. The report highlights the excellent tourist infrastructure of several Aegean islands, suggesting as a must-see for Chinese visitors the islands of Santorini, Lesvos, Mykonos and Crete, as well as Mt. Athos, the all-male monastic community on a Halkidiki promontory.

    Finally, in the February issue of Bizmode magazine's Romantic Honeymoon Destinations section, Chinese couples planning to get married in the year of the Ox are exposed to a variety of Greek island destinations. Additionally, wedding ceremonies in Athens are detailed, with the magazine citing the fact that Athens is amongst the safest European cities, one that also combines great shopping with well-known archaeological sites and monuments.

    [12] Industrial production index down 8.7% in Dec.

    Greece's industrial production composite index dropped 8.7 pct in December 2009, compared with the same month in 2008, the National Statistics Service announced on Monday.

    The average industrial production index, in the 12-month period from January to December 2008, fell 3.7-pct compared with the previous 12-month period.

    The statistics service attributed a 8.7-pct decline in the industrial production index to a 9.3-pct drop in mining production, a 9.0-pct fall in manufacturing production and a 7.6-pct decline in the electricity-natural gas-water production index.

    The 3.7-pct decline in the average production index reflected a 4.3-pct fall in mining production, a 4.2-pct decline in manufacturing production and an 1.4-pct decline in the electricity-natural gas-water production index.

    [13] Greek inflation eased to 1.8 pct in January

    Greek inflation fell to 1.8 pct in January, from 2.0 pct in December 2008, the National Statistics Service said on Monday. The statistics service, in a report, attributed the decline in the consumer price index to a further fall in oil prices and the start of the winter sales period. The inflation rate was 3.9 pct in January 2008.

    The average inflation rate in the 12-month period from January 2008 to January 2009 was up 4.0 pct. The consumer price index eased 0.5 pct in January from December, reflecting a 7.2 pct drop in clothing and footwear prices, a 0.1 pct decline in housing prices, a 2.0 pct fall in durable goods, an 1.4 pct increase in fresh fruit and vegetables and a 0.3 pct rise in healthcare services.

    [14] Cost of borrowing slides in Dec.

    Énterest rates in the Greek banking market mostly fell in December 2008, the Bank of Greece announced on Monday. The central bank, in a report, said one-day saving deposits by households and non financial enterprises fell by 3-9 basis points in December 2008, while time deposits up to one year rose by 14 basis points and repos interest rates fell significantly by 56 basis points.

    Lending interest rates fell by 41 basis points - reflecting the technical effect of a securitisation of consumer loans with high interest rates. Excluding the securitisation the decline in the interest rate was just 15 basis points.

    [15] Building activity plunges 21.2% in Nov.

    Building activity plunged 21.2 pct in November, compared with the same month in 2007, measured by the number of permits, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.

    Building activity in the 11-month period from January to November 2008 -- both in the public and private sectors -- fell 16.2 pct compared with the same period in 2007. The statistical service said a total of 5,318 building permits were issued in November 2008, down from 6,746 in the same month in 2007.

    [16] Foreign investors' share in ASE at 48.02% in Jan

    Foreign investors' participation in the capitalisation of the Athens Stock Exchange was slightly higher in January, reaching 48.02 pct, from 47.8 pct in December, official figures showed on Monday.

    A report by the ASE showed that foreign investors' activity in the Greek market resulted to a 70.66 million euros capital outflow in January, reflecting outflows by foreign institutional (96.3 million euros) and off-shore companies (1.03 million euros).

    Greek investors were net buyers, with capital inflows totaling 64.67 million euros (mainly private investors 99.45 million euros).

    Foreign investors' participation in the capitalization of the market rose to 48.02 pct in January, reversing a declining trend which prevailed during most of last year. Foreign investors' participation in the market was 51.31 pct in January 2008. Greek investors held a 50.98-pct stake in the market's capitalisation.

    ASE's capitalization was 67 billion euros at the end of January, down from 69 billion euros a month earlier and 168.4 billion euros in January 2008. The market's capitalisation fell to its lowest since June 2003 at the end of January 2009.

    Turnover totaled 2.460 billion euros in January, off 8.9 pct from December 2008 and down 78 pct from January 2008. Average daily turnover was 123 million euros in the first month of 2009, down from 128.7 million in December and 519.8 million euros in January 2008.

    [17] Greek stocks end moderately up

    Greek stocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index rising 0.37 pct to end at 1,768.18 points. Turnover was a low 80.7 million euros, of which 2.2 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Raw Materials (3.33 pct), Healthcare (3.18 pct) and Constructions (3.13 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (1.88 pct), Banks (1.25 pct) and Utilities (1.09 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.04 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 0.94 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.18 pct up. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 115 to 84 with another 52 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.55%

    Industrials: +0.93%

    Commercial: +0.30%

    Construction: +3.13%

    Media: -1.88%

    Oil & Gas: +1.18%

    Personal & Household: -0.95%

    Raw Materials: +3.33%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.78%

    Technology: +0.42%

    Telecoms: +1.92%

    Banks: -1.25%

    Food & Beverages: +2.62%

    Health: +3.18%

    Utilities: -1.09%

    Chemicals: +1.01%

    Financial Services: -0.26%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and EFG Eurobank Ergasias.

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.78

    ATEbank: 1.22

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.96

    HBC Coca Cola: 11.20

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.80

    National Bank of Greece: 12.98

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.16

    Intralot: 3.46

    OPAP: 21.98

    OTE: 11.70

    Bank of Piraeus: 5.10

    Titan Cement Company: 13.06

    [18] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices continued trading at a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 24.230 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.70 pct, with volume of 4,344 contracts worth 19.355 million euros.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,935 contracts worth 4.875 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (1,711), followed by Eurobank (957), OTE (754), OPAP (427), Piraeus Bank (639), National Bank (1,278) and Marfin Popular Bank (402).

    [19] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds shrank further to 223 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 580 millin euros, of which 430 million were buy orders and the remaining 150 million euros were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 110 million euros, with the Greek bond yielding 5.64 pct and the German Bund 3.41 pct.

    Greek state securities' prices suffered heavy losses in January throughout the yield curve, with the exception of the three-year bond prices which ended significantly higher, the Bank of Greece said in its monthly report. Yield spreads against the German Bunds widened further, with the 10-year benchmark bond yielding 5.76 pct at the end of January, from 5.23 pct a month earlier. Bond prices fell between 162-366 basis points, with the 10-year bond price falling to 91.64 points in January 30, from 95.30 a month earlier.

    Turnover in the Greek bond market shrank to 5.45 billion euros in January from 12.08 billion euros in December and 43.73 billion euros in January 2008. Average daily turnover was 604 million euros, with investment interest focusing on the seven- and 10-year benchmark bonds which accounted for 38 pct of total turnover.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued falling. The 12-month Euribor rate was 2.19 pct, the six-month rate was 2.08 pct, the three-month rate was 2.0 pct and the one-month rate 1.68 pct.

    [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.311

    Pound sterling 0.877

    Danish kroner 7.511

    Swedish kroner 10.521

    Japanese yen 120.16

    Swiss franc 1.518

    Norwegian kroner 8.731

    Canadian dollar 1.609

    Australian dollar 1.941

    General News

    [21] Angelopoulos' press conference on his new film 'The Dust of Time'

    World renowned Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos gave a press conference at the "Megaron" Music Hall in Athens on Monday regarding the release of his new movie "The Dust of Time". This is to be screened in Greek cinema theaters on February 12, as well as in the Berlin International Film Festival.

    The official avant premiere will be held on Feb. 11 at the "Megaron" - where one of the scenes with the lead actor Willem Dafoe have been shot.

    "We live in a period of closed horizons. A landscape in the mist in a world that has no direction," Angelopoulos said in the press conference.

    "The Dust of Time" tells the story of a 50-year-old filmmaker, who films the story of his parents and their frustrated love during the Cold War, at the same time charting the course of the epic events that marked the second half of the 20th century.

    The cast also includes Irene Jacob, Michel Piccoli and Bruno Ganz.

    Angelopoulos' next film has the provisional title "Tomorrow" and will be the conclusion of the trilogy that opened with the "Weeping Meadow" (2004) and "The Dust of Time".

    [22] 'Antigone' performed in ancient Greek at Brussels theatre


    Sophocles' "Antigone" has been successfully staged since Feb. 3 at the La Comedie Claude Voltaire theatre here.

    The tragedy, which is performed in the original ancient text, is staged by the Greek "Theatrical Club" group and is directed by Spyros Vahoritis.

    The particularity of the work is that the famous ancient tragedy is performed in the authentic Sophoclean text, while actors reproduce the exact accent and rhythm of the ancient Greek language.

    The tragedy, produced under the auspices of the Greek embassy in Brussels, will be staged until Feb. 15.

    [23] MMCA to unveil 3D 'virtual' museum

    The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Thessaloniki on Monday announced the official launch next Saturday of its new 'virtual-reality museum', which will be accessible on the Internet. This is a new digital application that will allow visitors to view 3-D works of art, create their own exhibitions and be introduced to the "secrets" of art.

    Developed over the past seven months by the MMCA, in collaboration with the Topographical Engineering department at Thessaloniki University and the Electronic Engineering department at Cyprus University, the new application will be available for those visiting the MMCA website ( as of next week.

    Users will be able to view some 100 works in three dimensions that are owned by the MMCA but are not widely known to the broader public, as well as copies of works of art by famous artists, that they can then use create their own 'virtual exhibitions' and even share them with friends.

    The application will also feature an educational game that permits users to better understand how to look at and interpret a work of art.

    During its development, the MMCA had its new 'museum' rated by experts on IT systems and user-friendliness, experts on museums and a random sample of 30 visitors to the MMCA, incorporating their comments and observations in the final improvements.

    The project was funded by the Society of Information programme with 80,000 euros.

    [24] Ecumenical Patriarch congratulates Archbishop Ieronymos on first anniversary

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople on Monday sent a letter of congratulations to Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece on the occasion of the first anniversary of his election to the helm of the Church of Greece.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch also referred to the harmonious cooperation with the Church of Greece aimed at tackling the common problems faced by Orthodox Christianity.

    [25] Interior minister on cremation centres

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, speaking in Parliament on Monday on a relevant question raised by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Deputy Eva Mela, said that the presidentioal decree regulating preconditions for the creation of Cremation Centres is expected to be published in the Government Gazette by the end of February.

    Pavlopoulos said that the process for this unprecedented, as he termed it, institutional undertaking, is in its final stage and the presidential decree is expected to be signed by the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry by the end of the week and to be published in the Gazette by the end of the month.

    According to the presidential decree, the creation, maintenance and functioning of the Cremation Centres belongs to the jurisdiction of first and second stage local administration bodies.

    The cremation of the dead will be permitted 60 hours after the time of death, the licence will be issued by the mayor or the community leader and requires confirmation by a medical examiner before being issued. Also required is a statement by the deceased that he desired to be cremated and that is valid from eight years and over.

    [26] Papoulias received new Greek Football Federation president

    President of Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received the newly elected president of Greek Football Federation (EPO), Sophocles Pilavios, at the presidential mansion.

    In statements before the reporters, Papoulias told Pilavios that "the people expect a great deal of things from you, football without violence and a credible football championship. Moreover, you must also focus on amateur clubs."

    _From his part, Pilavios stressed that he is aware of the problems and has already began working on solutions.

    [27] Athens Municipal Council ratifies amendment on Alexandras Avenue reformation project

    The amendment of the specific plan for the second part of the Double Reformation project concerning a section of Alexandras Avenue, in the Athens district of Ambelokipi, was ratified with a majority vote during Monday's session of the Athens Municipal Council.

    Following the proposal's ratification, the process of defining the region of greenery in the Alexandras area with the creation of a park in the place where the Panathinaikos soccer stadium currently stands, will be speeded up.

    The plan will now be sent to the Evironment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry for the signing of the relevant ministerial decision and for the reformation project in the region to go ahead.

    The plan's amendment concens the defining of the area for greenery that will cover 34 stremmas (about 8 acres) and the layout, on the one hand, of the building to house the museum of the Panathinaikos club (150 square metres) and a municipal cafeteria (250 square metres) and, on the other, an underground parking lot.

    [28] "Samothaki" remains docked following accident

    The ferryboat "Samothraki" on Monday remained docked at the port of Chios, eastern Aegean, since an accident that happened on Sunday night as it was leaving the port.

    The ferryboat was serving the subsidised Chios-Lesvos-Limnos-Kavala line and had 38 passengers on board when it crashed into a pier upon departure, suffering dents above the waterline on the left side of its stern.

    The majority of its passengers chose to cash in their tickets and disembark on Chios. Only three passengers and 50 crew members remain on board.

    [29] Arrest for cocaine-smuggling at Athens airport

    Police on Monday announced the arrest of a man who had ingested nine packages of cocaine in an attempt to smuggle the drugs into Greece. The 33-year-old foreign national was intercepted at Athens international airport on Saturday by the drugs squad, coming off a flight from Barcelona.

    He admitted to having swallowed nine nylon packages, each containing 100g of cocaine, which were passing through his digestive system. He was then taken to Asklipio Hospital in Voula, where he stayed until the packages were expelled.

    The man was led before a public prosecutor on Monday.

    [30] Major drug arrest in Thessaloniki

    A foreign national was arrested in Thessaloniki on an arrest warrant against him issued by a prosecutor in Florina, northwestern Greece.

    The suspect is accused of operating a drug trafficking ring after five suspects were arrested in the Prespes Lake region of northwest Greece on Saturday.

    The five suspects were apprehended while allegedly trying to smuggle 162 kilos of cannabis into Greece.

    Weather Forecast

    [31] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy weather and northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 17C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northwesterly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 7C to 16C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 6C to 14C.

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

    The latest opinion polls indicating a main opposition PASOK lead over ruling New Democracy, the ongoing global financial crisis and new measures by banks were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "PASOK exercising opposition with (rigged) opinion polls, as the problems and international crisis reach Greece, too".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Deadly plunge - He threw himself off the Acropolis because he couldn't live with the fact that he had been burgled", referring to the suicide of a 55-year-old jeweler.

    AVRIANI: "Development ministry launches war against the multinationals' cartels - Hatzidakis (development minister) threatens mammoth fines on foreign companies that raise the prices of products for which the price of raw materials have plunged".

    CHORA: "Dances with the opinion polls - Nationwide stupor in the midst of the crisis".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Strong shock to the liberal party (referring to ruling ND) from the inter-ministerial clashes".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Eight in ten citizens demand: Change everything - The first opinion poll (conducted by MRB) on Education".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The economy has gotten out of their (government) control - The opinion polls do not give hope".

    ESTIA: "Political poker with elections - Blatant coercion by PASOK".

    ETHNOS: "The 'explosion' in unemployment a nightmare - Dramatic increase revealed by survey in all the Labor Centers".

    TA NEA: "(Credit) Card prohbition by the banks - 500,000 households 'in the red'."

    VRADYNI: "The battle of Brussels - The Eurogroup assessing Greece's revised stability program".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [33] President: We will continue the process for a Cyprus solution


    President of the Republic of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, stressed that the Greek Cypriot side is determined to continue the process which began last September with a view to reunite the country, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    Speaking Monday at an event organised by the Turkish occupied community of Kontea, President Christofias assured that "with persistence and consistency we are working to achieve a just solution of the Cyprus problem, for the benefit of all our people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots".

    "We are trying", he added, ''together with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, to determine the future of our country and reach a solution that will serve Cyprus, its people, and only its people, through a process without suffocating deadlines or arbitration".

    The president acknowledged that there will be difficulties and obstacles. However, he went on to stress: "we will not stop the process we have started. We are determined to continue and make our dream for reunification reality", he said.

    The Cypriot president reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side is working "sincerely and with political will, to reunify the country".

    "We work with the necessary flexibility, but always on the basis of principles, to create all those conditions which will lead to a mutually agreed solution", he continued.

    The solution, the president added, should restore human rights and fundamental freedoms, it must free Cyprus from the Turkish military ccupation, guarantee the right of return of all refugees to their homes and properties and be based on the relevant UN Security Council esolutions and the principles and values of the EU.

    Referring to the humanitarian issue of missing persons, he said that Cyprus will continue its struggle before all European and international institutions that can restore justice.

    "The relatives of missing persons have the right to be informed about the fate of their loved ones", he said, adding that Turkey "has to shed light on the dark side of the issue of missing persons".

    Negotiations began early September 2008 between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, with a view to find a political settlement in Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    Hundreds of Greek Cypriots have been missing since 1974 and nearly 500 Turkish Cypriots are missing since the intercommunal fighting in the early 1960s.

    The European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey guilty of human rights violations of the relatives of missing Greek Cypriots and has ordered Ankara to facilitate investigations into the fate of those still missing and supply information it may hold. Many missing Greek Cypriots were last seen alive in the hands of the Turkish military during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    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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