|Monday, 11 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-03-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 14 March 2009 Issue No: 3145
 Defence minister at EU ministers' councilNational Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Friday expressed Athens' support for EU-NATO cooperation, while addressing the last day of an informal EU defence ministers' council held in Prague.
"We support cooperation between the two organisations, but based on full respect for the existing institutional framework and the principles of independence and autonomy of the processes and decision-making for the two organisations," he said.
The minister also recognised that the UN had a leading role and responsibility for preserving international peace and security.
"We support cooperation between the EU and UN in the area of handling crises, which is particularly important for international stability," he noted.
Regarding a common strategy by the EU and Africa, he said it was "an important step toward security and development on the African continent".
The council meeting focused on strategic cooperation between the EU and the United Nations, NATO and the African Union.
 PM Karamanlis briefed by justice ministerPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Friday with Justice Minister Nikos Dendias at the Maximos Mansion (government headquarters) in Athens.
After the meeting, Dendias said he briefed the premier on several reforms affecting the country's correctional system, noting that details will be announced at a press conference next week.
 PM receives former president SartzetakisPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday received former president of republic Christos Sartzetakis at his Maximos Mansion office. No statements were made after the meeting.
 PM to visit Agrinio on SaturdayPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis will visit the city of Agrinio in western Greece on Saturday. The prime minister is due to inspect the progress of road works creating a by-pass around the city, the split-level junction at Rigani (which is part of the Ionian highway) and will speak with members of the local business community at the city's chamber of commerce and industry.
He is also due to visit the site of the new Agrinio General Hospital, which is now under construction and address the first regional conference of ruling New Democracy's youth party ONNED.
 Gov't, mayor condemn latest vandalism by self-styled 'anti-state' youthsGovernment spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Friday again condemned all acts of violence and any actions that lead to the damage of private property, speaking hours after a group of self-styled anarchists vandalised stores and banks in a fashionable central Athens district.
The spokesman reminded that Deputy Interior Minister Christos Markoyannakis, responsible for public order issues, has announced in Parliament the establishment of a unit to better deal with the problem of troublemakers in the centre of the capital.
He added that the government and society as a whole are determined not to allow a handful of individuals to obstruct daily life in the city and to damage the property of innocent people.
In a separate and even more scathing statement, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis referred to the "... destructive mania perpetrated not only by the 'known unknowns' but also known hooded individuals.
"The government is obliged to promptly and effectively protect the city's history and citizens' properties through the use of tough measures which translate the phrase 'in a democracy each individual can say what they like, but cannot do whatever they like' into action.
Kaklamanis also charged that the same perpetrators recently attacked and vandalised city hall and are the same individuals behind much of the street violence during December's riots in central Athens.
 PASOK on foreign policy, LA.OSMain opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou commented on Thrusday's off-the-agenda debate on foreign policy, where he reiterated that PASOK has repeatedly warned the prime minister that the government cannot simply be a spectator in Europe.
Using as an example the VAT reduction in certain products, announced recently in the ECOFIN meeting, Papaconstantinou said it was the result of efforts made by smaller EU countries, like Portugal and Cyprus, adding that the prime minister's pledge, made in 2004 concerning farm machinery VAT reduction, hasn't materialised yet.
On foreign debt, Papaconstantinou accused the prime minister of intentionally misleading public opinion by putting the blame on past PASOK governments.
Referring to the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis, he stated that his address in Parliament essentially confirmed the former's collaboration with ruling New Democracy (ND).
 Papandreou to meet ECB leadershipMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou is scheduled to meet the president and vice-president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet and Loukas Papademos, at the bank's base in Frankfurt on Monday for a working dinner.
According to PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou, Papandreou will be visiting Frankfurt in his capacity as Socialist International president, in order to present the proposals of SI and PASOK for "a new European economic architecture, for a progressive exit from the crisis and [to discuss] the role of all international organisations and the European Central Bank."
Papandreou is also due to speak at an open political rally in the city of Veria, northern Greece on Sunday.
 FM Bakoyannis addresses ND party event in ThessalonikiForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, addressing a ruling New Democracy party event in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday, criticised those who are making promises unsparingly during the present difficult time that the crisis is dealing a blow at Greek households of proving that they have learnt nothing from their mistakes, that they are not providing solutions but are undermining the future.
"We will not be swayed along this slippery path of populism, irresponsibility and demagoguery," she said, adding that "we are in a state of constant vigilance. We are working to enable us to exit from the crisis with the minimum consequences possible."
Bakoyannis accused the main opposition PASOK party of "deadlocked populism" and said that all it does is to call for elections, not because it really wants them but in order to conceal the indigence of its proposals.
She further said that in order to tackle the crisis, the government is implementing a plan based on backing the country's growth momentum, on monetary restructuring and on supporting the financially weaker.
Also focusing on foreign policy, Bakoyannis said that the ND government is enhancing Greece's position in the international environment, strengthening its voice and boosting its prestige and influence.
Bakoyannis will be touring the northern Pella prefecture on Saturday and in the evening she will be addressing a party event in the city of Edessa.
 PASOK spokesman on Papandreou-Simitis meetingMain opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Friday described the a previous day's closely watched meeting between party leader George Papandreou and former premier Costas Simitis -- his predecessor at PASOK's helm -- as "positive and constructive, one that allowed us to overcome (past) problems and move forward."
He said the meeting touched on European policy issues and the economy.
Papaconstantinou said Simitis underlined that the country needed a new course and that he will join the efforts aimed at ensuring PASOK's victory in the next elections.
He also underlined, in response to press questions, that Simitis is not PASOK's honorary president, while saying the two men enjoyed good relations and a common goal.
 SYRIZA walks after minister's no-show in ParliamentThe Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group on Friday walked out of Parliament in protest at the failure of Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou to attend the session in order to answer a question tabled by SYRIZA on the protection of borrowers.
The party refused to accept explanations from Deputy Finance Minister Athanassios Bouras, who was sent in the minister's place to represent the finance ministry. SYRIZA MP Panagiotis Lafazanis stressed that Papathanassiou had been "promptly informed that his presence was absolutely vital and crucial" but had chosen to ignore the opposition.
"He could have informed us that he was unable to come, so that we could move the question to another day," Lafazanis insisted, while stressing that the SYRIZA's in no way reflected any lack of respect for Bouras himself.
SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos underlined, meanwhile, that the questions his party intended to put concerned a range of issues that "were beyond the brief of a deputy minister to answer," and stresed that SYRIZA was obliged to walk out of the proceedings.
 Tsipras press conference on CreteCoalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alexis Tsipras, who is currently touring Crete, on Friday opined that "Greece is facing a crisis where those who for a long period have been making sacrifices are again called on to pay."
Tsipras forecast higher unemployment and underlined the tragic situation, as he said, of small-to-medium-sized businesses.
He reiterated that the leftist party's programme proposes "alternative solutions" for an exit from the crisis, and referred to upcoming European Parliament elections, which he termed as an "opportunity to send a message for a mandatory change of course in our country".
 Education minister addresses TEI presidentsEducation Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos described as "extremely fruitful" the meeting of the presidents of the tertiary-level Technological Educational Institutes (TEI), held in the city of Patras on Friday.
In comments afterwards, Spiliotopoulos underlined the importance of a dialogue launched between the Technological Educational Institutes and the tertiary education institutions pointing out that this is a welcomed sense of unity.
He stated that there is will for collective work, adding that the common concerns are much more than the differences expressed.
Minor incidents were recorded outside the hotel where the meeting was held, when protesters demanding a meeting with the minister attempted breakthrough a police barrier.
 Athens' response to UN reportGENEVA (ANA-MPA)
Greece's permanent representative to United Nations on Friday responded in detail to a handful of findings listed in recent report by an independent UN expert on minority issues focusing on the EU and NATO member-state, taking the opportunity to again reiterate Athens' standing positions.
Amb. Frangiskos Verros, speaking before the UN's Human Rights Council, first thanked the UN expert, Gay McDougall, for opening the way "to a frank and constructive dialogue on a number of issues concerning the implementation of human rights standards towards minorities (in Greece)", as he noted.
In reference to the Muslim minority in the extreme northeast Greek province of Thrace, Verros reminded that the Greek government "respects the right of every person to self-identify. However, such self-identification should neither be arbitrary nor at the expense of the right of self-identification of other groups."
He was commenting on claims, mostly put forth by successive Turkish governments, to identify the entire Muslim minority as "Turkish", instead of the internationally recognised "Muslim minority" as foreseen in the landmark 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which refers to a Greek minority in Turkey and a Muslim minority in Greece.
"It is a fact that the Muslim minority in Thrace consists of three distinct groups, those of Turkish, Pomak and Roma (gypsy) origin. Each group has its own distinct spoken language and cultural traditions, which are fully respected. Thus, any attempt to identify the entire Muslim minority in Thrace as 'Turkish' is unacceptable, not only for political reasons, but also because it does not objectively reflect the actual composition of the whole minority," he said, speaking in Geneva.
Verros also charged that any effort by the "Turkish-origin component" of the minority to impose its own cultural characteristics and traditions on the Pomak and Roma communities contravenes modern human rights standards vis-à-vis minority protection.
Moreover, he defended the appointments of muftis, Muslim quasi-judicial officials, as conducted in an absolutely transparent manner, while calling efforts to organise "elections" by certain individuals in the province illegal, pointing to, among others, the exclusion of women and most of the minority's members.
Additionally, he said the Greek government will study possible readjustments with regards to the current and partial application of Sharia law (domestic unions, inheritance etc.) for members of the Muslim minority in Thrace, noting that "Greece takes seriously into account the need to strengthen the substantive review and control by domestic courts of the conformity of muftis' decisions with the Greek constitution and international human rights treaties."
In a separate issue, Verros outlined Greece's categorical and unwavering opposition to any recognition of a "distinct or linguistic minority in Greece by the name 'Macedonian', since the name Macedonian is used in the cultural/regional sense by Greek Macedonians living in the region," Verros' reference to the province of Macedonia, Greece's largest, which more closely approximates to geographical and historical Macedonia.
"Thus, the term 'Macedonian' to denote such an identity in Greece not only fails to respect Hellenic cultural heritage and the identify of 2.5 million Greek Macedonians living there, but also threatens to create a serious confusion or even a potential clash over identities in the whole region," he said, adding:
"Greece believes that references in the report to the name 'Macedonian' to denote an ethnic 'minority' living in the Greek region (province) of Macedonia or a 'language' spoken in this region should have been avoided. These references should not be interpreted as implying a determination that such a minority or language exists in Greece, but claims emanating from the individuals concerned ... Let me add that the political party ("Rainbow" or "Ouranio Toxo"), which claims to represent the so-called 'Macedonian minority', obtained in the Greek parliamentary elections of 1996 a very small number of votes, which further decreased to 1,139 votes in the 2000 elections," Verros said, in reference to the last time the specific political formation stood in national elections.
In concluding, he emphasised that all Greek citizens are free to manifest their traditions and culture, saying festivities and cultural events are regularly held in the Florina region of northwest Greece, where the tiny political party is headquarters.
 U.S. urges 'vigilance' when visiting GreeceWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA - A. Ellis)
A warning to U.S. citizens about risks from terrorist activity but also demonstrations taking place in Greece has been posted in the U.S. State Department website providing "Country specific information" for Americans travelling abroad.
The information on the website was updated on Thursday and urges Americans to "remain vigilant," exercise caution and avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place in major urban centres, including tourist attractions like Syntagma Square in central Athens, or Aristotelous Square in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.
In its section on 'Safety and Security', the website noted the U.S. government's concern about a heightened terrorist threat against U.S. citizens and interests abroad and that Greece's long coastline, many islands and open borders with other Schengen Agreement countries increase the chance that "terrorists might try to exploit Greece's borders" to enter and exit anonymously.
It also noted increasing activity by domestic terrorist organisations, such as 'Revolutionary Struggle' and "Sect of Revolutionaries", in the last three years and suggested a link with the now dismantled and neutralised terrorist group November 17.
"Recent actions indicate that the perpetrators are indiscriminate. The risk of 'being in the wrong place at the wrong time' in the event of a terrorist action is a concern for residents and visitors," the website stated.
There was also a reference to the wave of violent demonstrations in central areas sparked by the killing of a 15-year-old by a policeman in December 2008.
"When there are demonstrations, visitors should be aware of and avoid places where demonstrators frequently congregate, such as the Polytechnic University area, Exarchia, Omonia, and Syntagma Squares in Athens, and Aristotle Square in Thessaloniki. The Omonia and Exarchia areas of Athens are at particular risk for crime and politically-motivated violence; U.S. Embassy personnel and their families have been urged strongly to avoid these areas between 9 pm and dawn," the site advised, adding that university campuses are "exploited as refuges by anarchists and those involved in crime and Greek police are generally prohibited from entering their premises".
There have been no civilian deaths or injuries as a result of terrorist activities in Greece since the jailing of November 17, which was responsible for 23 deaths over a career spanning roughly quarter of century - though one potentially lethal 50-kilo car bomb failed to explode. The wave of youth violence in December and at other times has similarly not resulted in any deaths or serious injuries among demonstrators or passers-by, though there was extensive vandalism and physical damage to businesses, banks, cars and buildings.
Unlike travel warnings and travel alerts, which are higher-level warnings only issued for countries facing serious problems, the U.S. State Department provides 'Country Specific Information' for every country in the world. This includes practical information, such as the location of the U.S. Embassy and consulates in that country, as well as unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties.
 PASOK: We need public safety policyCommenting on the U.S. government's travel advice, main opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that he could not condemn the U.S. State Department for urging U.S. citizens to avoid visiting certain areas of Athens.
"Before we protest or condemn, it would be good if we ensured that we have a policy for public safety. It would have been better if the world had not seen the images that it has been seeing from Athens over the past four months," the spokesman said.
The government's failure to ensure this had resulted in these "extremely unpleasant travel instructions, which offend me as a Greek," the spokesman added.
Papaconstantinou referred to Thursday's tragic death of a young woman shop assistant during an armed robbery targeting her workplace, citing this as an example of disintegration in law and order.
"In the country, we have an explosive mixture of heightened crime, simultaneous to the revival of terrorist phenomena, that create a deep sense of insecurity in Greek citizens," he stated.
 Goulekas interview with ANA-MPADeputy Interior Minister Costas Gioulekas, who holds the media portfolio, appeared optimistic that the government will soon rebound in opinion polls, while at the same time he criticised main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou for what he called a negative stance toward the prime minister's invitation for consensus on the global economic crisis.
Gioulekas referred to opinion polls, according to which, 70 pct of respondents want political parties to reach a consensus in order to exit the crisis, pointing out that efforts by the government toward this end were once again met with rejection, "populist practices and demagoguery".
He stressed that the government plan to exit the crisis is more than enough, adding that additional measures for the financially weaker segments of society will be taken if it is deemed necessary.
On the likelihood of early general elections, Gioulekas underlined that the issue has been closed in the most categorical manner by the prime minister himself.
He also dismissed any notion of a "political rapprochement" with the Parliament-represented Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS).
 ADRION CAX 2009 exercise in Athens this monthAn Adriatic-Ionian Initiative computer-assisted exercise (CAX ADRION 2009) will take place on March 16-20 in Athens, at the National Defence Simulation Training Centre.
The exercise is being organised by the Greek Navy General Staff, with the participation of military staff from Greece, Italy, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia, the countries that form the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative.
The aim of the exercise is to upgrade cooperation and improve knowledge on processes followed by the countries taking part, via training using simulated scenarios.
 Italian ambassador visits Ionian islandsItalian ambassador to Athens Gianpaolo Scarante toured several of the Ionian islands this week, meeting on Corfu with local authorities, including the rector of the Ionian University and other local business and local government leaders.
He also met with the Metropolitan of Corfu as well as with the Catholic Archbishop of Corfu, Cephallonia and Zakynthos.
 Employment minister addresses IKA branch directorsEmployment and Social Solidarity Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, addressing the directors of Social Security Foundation (IKA) branch offices on Friday, assessed that its overall state is good regarding both revenues and benefits being provided, adding that its image as it is being presented by the mass media is flagrantly unfair.
Petralia further said that under the conditions of the international crisis, IKA's role is changing and that the country's biggest social security agency is no longer a mere social security fund but it is turning into a base of security and a source of hope for millions of pensioners and working people.
The minister called on the foundation's officials to take care with contributions and to crack down on contribution evasion, that she termed a crime against society in its entirety.
 Amendment for culture ministry temp employeesThe government on Friday tabled an amendment to overcome the problem of delayed payment to culture ministry contract employees assigned to various archaeological sites around the country, while at the same time extending their contracts for another year.
The ministry made clear, however, that the latter contracts would not be recongnised as indefinite.
A controversial industrial action that kept the Acropolis closed for several days over the past week generated, among others, the displeasure of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, who noted that while he "absolutely understands the protests of contract workers, their demands and struggles ... for me it is inconceivable for the sacred hill of the Acropolis to be closed. I would say that there are other forms of action to attain their demands, not the blocking off of a world cultural site."
 Ellaktor-led consortium to build cargo center in ThriasioGAIAOSE SA on Friday announced that a consortium of Ellaktor SA-Goldair Cargo SA-TEOTEC SA-Hellenic Logistics Transport SA has won a tender for the construction of a cargo and logistics center in Thriasio, western Attica.
Under the terms of the offer, GAIAOSE SA will receive an annual guaranteed sum of 1,400,000 euros, a sum rising to 2,730,000 by the year 2013 with the completion of the cargo center.
GAIAOSE's annual proceeds will cover at least 10.6 pct of the cargo center's annual turnover, while GAIAOSE will also be offered a 15 pct equity stake in the company to build the project.
GAIAOSE said its proceeds from the 30-year concession contract will total 112,000,000 (in current prices). The cargo and logistics center in Thriasio is a pioneer project for Greece. It will cover an area of 240,000 sq.m. with impecable road links, access to the port of N.Ikonio and the railway network. The project is included in government-sponsored projects between public and private sector companies, while investments will exceed 150,000,000 euros.
 Epsilon Net reports improved '08 resultsEpsilon Net on Friday reported a 14.2-pct increase in its turnover a 16.5-pct rise in after-tax profits in 2008. The company, listed in the Alternative Market of the Athens Stock Exchange, said turnover totaled 8.82 million euros and after-tax profits totaled 1.69 million euros.
Epsilon Net is included in the 500 most dynamic enterprises in Europe in the last four years, according to Europe's Growth Plus Top 500 list.
 Turnover in telecoms services down 3.0 pct in Q4The turnover index in telecommunications and post services fell by 3.0 pct in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with the corresponding period in 2007, the National Statistical Service said on Friday.
The turnover index in the information technology sector dropped 9.3 pct in the October-December period, while the turnover index in other service of other business activities fell by 2.2 pct during the same period.
 F.G.Europe reports lower 2008 salesF.G.Europe on Friday reported a 6.42-pct decline in its 2008 sales to 144.56 million euros, reflecting lower sales of mobile telephony and home appliances.
The group's revenues from energy activities totaled 1.611 million euros last year, from 268,000 euros in 2007, for an increase of 501 pct, reflecting the launch of operations of a wind power park in April 2008.
Gross profits grew by 17.47 pct to 46.12 million euros, reflecting lower costs, while net pre-tax profits rose 9.96 pct to 20.42 pct. Net after-tax and minorities earnings rose 10.88 pct to 14.67 million euros in 2008.
 Greek stocks end 0.24% higherGreek stocks ended moderately higher during the last trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday. The composite index rose 0.24 pct to end at 1,557.77 points, with turnover a low 99.4 million euros, of which 5.1 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved up, with the Personal/Home Products (2.63 pct), Health (1.65 pct), Food/Beverage (1.55 pct) and Utilities (1.44 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (1.82 pct), Travel (1.25 pct) and Financial Services (1.20 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index eased 0.20 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.31 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.06 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 130 to 72 with another 56 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.63%
Personal & Household: +2.63%
Raw Materials: +0.22%
Travel & Leisure: -1.25%
Food & Beverages: +1.55%
Financial Services: -1.20%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, OPAP and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.16
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.40
HBC Coca Cola: 10.04
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.30
National Bank of Greece: 10.06
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.76
Bank of Piraeus: 4.16
Titan Cement Company: 14.56
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover rising to 53.027 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.56 pct, with volume of 10,353 contracts worth 40.127 million euros, and 33,128 open positions in the market.
Volume on futures contracts on equities totaled 26,984 contracts worth 12.900 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (6,922), followed by Eurobank (1,437), OTE (1,373), National Bank (4,349), Piraeus Bank (1,420), Alpha Bank (1,050), GEK (1,111), Ellaktor (1,724) and Cyprus Bank (1,944).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 405 million euros on Friday, of which 255 million euros 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 105 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year benchmark Greek and German bonds eased to 299 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 6.06 pct and the German Bund 3.07 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates fell further. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.92 pct, the six-month rate was 1.78 pct, the three-month rate 1.64 pct and the one-month rate 1.24 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.300
Pound sterling 0.929
Danish kroner 7.513
Swedish kroner 11.191
Japanese yen 128.05
Swiss franc 1.548
Norwegian kroner 8.893
Canadian dollar 1.654
Australian dollar 1.974
 President Papoulias inaugurates tribute exhibition on Mikis TheodorakisThe exhibition "Mikis Theodorakis: composer-politician-thinker" was inaugurated on Thursday in the Hellenic Parliament Foundation by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias in the presence of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas and MPs.
The tribute exhibition on Theodorakis features photographs, score sheets, manuscripts, publications, music records as well as audio-visual documents that belong to private collections, the Parliament Library, and the Benaki Museum among others.
Referring to the world renowned music composer, Sioufas stressed that Theodorakis has become a living legend enjoying international recognition.
The honoree attended the event accompanied by his family and singer Maria Farantouri who has performed most of his songs.
 Patriarchate on return of Serres monastery manuscriptsISTANBUL (ANA-MPA)
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I reiterated his support towards the efforts of a historical society in the northeast Greek city of Serres for return of manuscripts stolen from a local monastery.
The manuscripts were traced in 1990 to Bulgaria during an international conference.
The Ecumenical Patriarch commented on the issue during the visit of members of the Serres Historical Study and Research Society (EMEIS) to the Fanar district seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Bartholomew raised the issue during his visit to Sofia, when he received assurances by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov that the manuscripts will soon be returned to their rightful owners.
 Robber's bullet IDed as fatal during shootingThe bullet that killed a 32-year-old saleswoman on Thursday at a mobile telephone and electronics outlet in the east Athens district of Vyronas, during an armed robbery, was traced to a 9mm handgun allegedly used by a 23-year-old robber.
According to an autopsy, the bullet that went through the victim's chest did not belong to a 38mm service revolver of an off-duty police officer who was present during the robbery, and who opened fire against the assailant, identified as an Albanian national.
Video footage from the store's CCTV camera also confirmed the autopsy results, showing that the victim fell on the floor injured as the off-duty officer had his back turned toward her while wrestling with the assailant.
Following the autopsy results, the 38-year-old officer, who was held in custody, is expected to be released.
The suspect is hospitalised in stable condition with three bullet-induced injuries to the chest area. An accomplice is wanted by police.
The woman, shot during the robbery, died as a result of her injuries soon after being rushed to a nearby hospital on Thursday afternoon.
 Fugitive bank robber arrestedA robber involved in a robbery occurring at a bank branch office in Piraeus at noon on Friday, who had taken refuge in old IKA warehouses in the district of Renti and who threatened police with a hand grenade, was finally arrested shortly after 7 p.m., and after a police negotiator persuaded him to give up.
The suspect was taken to the police security headquarters and will be brought before a public prosecutor on Saturday morning.
According to initial reports resulting from the negotiator's talks with him, it appears that the man is from a former Soviet Union country, while the weapon he used was a fake, although the grenade was real.
 Policeman shoots cafeteria owner over 'personal differences'A police officer on Friday shot and injured a cafeteria owner in the busy tourist district of Plaka, over a personal dispute.
The incident occurred shortly after 1:30 in the afternoon, inside the "Plaka Cafe" on Adrianos Street.
The injured man was rushed to a private clinic in Faliro by his son, where he was hospitalised with a bullet wound in the shoulder and was pronounced out of danger. The police officer gave himself up four hours later at the Attica Security headquarters, where a preliminary inquiry was launched.
 Vandals attack banks stores in KolonakiA group of hooded vandals, reportedly self-styled anarchists, attacked on Friday several storefronts belonging to banks as well as parked cars in the upscale Athens district of Kolonaki. According to reports, the suspects appeared suddenly, throwing stones, pieces of wood and other objects. Minor damages were reported.
 Satellite dish brings broadband to PomaksTransport and Communications Minister Evripidis Stylianidis on Friday inaugurated a new Hellas Sat satellite dish in the mountains of Komotini that will provide broadband internet to the remote Pomak villages of the region.
The satellite dish forms part of a pilot programme that seeks to close the "digital gap" between urban centres and remote regional areas. This will give residents in the village of Kehrou, Rodopi to broadband services such as telemedecine, e-government, libraries, universities and others.
Stylianidis said the programme was jointly funded by the European Union and national funds and carried out by Hellas Sat and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), envisaging the installation of 1,300 satellite dishes in remote mountain regions and islands.
 Hundreds of dead fish washed up on Thessaloniki coastHundreds of dead fish were washed up on the shores of Nea Paralia in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, along the Thermaikos Gulf coast near the Makedonia Pallas Hotel, on Friday afternoon.
According to the Thessaloniki coast guard, the fish belong to a species of grey mullet (which are generally tolerant of impure waters) and samples of the dead fish and the water have been taken for analysis by the State General Chemical Laboratory.
 Vessel collides with tug in Thessaloniki portThe cargo ship "Marina" collided on Friday with the tugboat "Pantanassa" during the former's entrance into the port of Thessaloniki.
Local port authorities are still determining the reasons behind the maritime accident.
All crew members aboard both vessels were safe, while no leaks were reported.
 Fair on SaturdayFair weather and northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -1C and 17C. Fair in Athens, with northwesterly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 5C to 16C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 4C to 13C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe clash betweeen government and main opposition PASOK on Thursday in parliament during an off the agenda debate on foreign policy, the high rates of uneployment in Europe and the rise in crime dominated the headlines on Friday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Crime is out of control - Bloody robbery with victim a 30-year old saleswoman" who was killed in crossfire between police and robbers.
APOGEVMATINI: "With a sweeping majority of 528 votes, the European parliamanent calls on Turkey with Resolution: Take back the Casus belli in the Aegean Sea".
AVGHI: "800,000 unemployed in Greece - Forecast of an additional of 4.5 million unemployed in Europe in 2009".
AVRIANI: "MIG vice president Andreas Vgenopoulos is buying out the state's debt to save the country from the huge interests of our American and European allies".
CHORA: "Scenes of Chicago in Athens - Bloody robbery in Vyronas with victim a 32 year old woman".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis called George Papandreou and Foreign Minster Dora Bakoyannis US 'buddies' in the off the agenda debate in parliament on foreign policy".
ELEFTHEROS: "Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis refused Karatzaferis' help - He ruled out the possibility of a cooperation with LAOS".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Smart test for Lyceum (grades 10-12)".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "80,000 layoffs in the last three months - The government is unable to react and the worst is yet to come".
ESTIA: "Hypocrisy over Olympic Airways - PASOK's current stance is deplorable".
ETHNOS: "Jungle, with stray bullets - The citizens at the mercy of robbers and police".
KATHIMERINI: "The country's security is suffering in the face of the rise in terrorism and crime".
LOGOS: "The political thermometer hit high digits on Thursday in parliament, with no substanstial results".
NIKI: "Unemployement on the rise - Workers losing their jobs every day".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Off the agenda debate in parliament: Popular foreign policy to counter imperialism".
TA NEA: "Desperate criminals, incompetent police - Rage over the massacre in the Athens suburb of Vyronas with victim a 32 year old employee".
TO VIMA: "Peace prevails in PASOK, war raging in the parties of the Right and Left".
VRADYNI: "Enviroment and Town Planning Minister George Souflias on the fineon illegally closed-in balconies new tax: They are not being legalised, the issue is being settled (with a fine that will be paid every year)".
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