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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-06-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 2 June 2009 Issue No: 3209


  • [01] PM Karamanlis visits Fire Brigade Operations Center: Well-prepared in means and staff for this summer
  • [02] PM: 'Victory the target of ND in June 7 Euroelections'
  • [03] Pavlopoulos reply to Papandreou over contract workers
  • [04] KKE SG calls on citizens to weaken EU, ND, PASOK
  • [05] Euro-elections press conference by SYN, SYRIZA
  • [06] Televised press conference by the leader of LAOS
  • [07] Interview with Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis
  • [08] Former FinMin addresses Constantine Karamanlis Democracy Institute event
  • [09] Political row over Siemens heightens; inquiry into suspect's flight
  • [10] Mitsotakis denies report
  • [11] Siemens case suspects before magistrate on Wednesday
  • [12] Health minister visits new Kavala General Hospital
  • [13] 'Citizens' Euro-parliament' in Athens
  • [14] Eurobank unveils investment, export initiatives
  • [15] Greek PMI rebounded to 46.1 points in May
  • [16] Tourist arrivals down 7.2% in Q1
  • [17] Stocks surge 3.85% on Mon.
  • [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [19] Transport minister presents public transport guide
  • [20] Event on the environment held in Athens
  • [21] Papoulias receives Arsakeio Tirana pupils
  • [22] Woman found killed in her home on Leros
  • [23] Man injured in courtroom escape bid
  • [24] Cloudy, rainy on Tuesday
  • [25] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Karamanlis visits Fire Brigade Operations Center: Well-prepared in means and staff for this summer

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday visited the Fire Brigade's opera-tions center in Halandri, north of Athens, where he was briefed on preparations for this year's high-risk fire period.

    Karamanlis said afterwards that the Fire Brigade was well-prepared, both with respect to means and staff, of carrying out its duty this summer.

    The significance of its mission was to protect the lives and properties of the citizens, environmental protection and protection of the country's forests, especially at a time when rapid climate change was giving rise to unforeseeable and exceptionally hazardous conditions.

    For this year's high-risk period, the prime minister noted that an additional 68 new fire engines and 45 auxiliary vehicles have been added to the Brigade's existing fleet of 1,500 fire engines, while a further 50 fire engines were to be taken delivery of soon.

    Regarding airborne means, Karamanlis noted that Greece has one of the largest airborne firefighting fleets internationally, adding that a tender for the leasing of 16 additional helicopters would soon be completed to enhance the fleet.

    With respect to personnel, the prime minister noted that the hiring process for 553 new firefighters has been completed, who have already been incorporated into the Fire Corps, while a class of 240 cadets entered the Fire Brigade School in mid-May, and 5,500 seasonal firefighters with vast experience in forest fires have been re-hired.

    Karamanlis further stressed the important role played by volunteer firefighters who, he explained, always hasten to help the Fire Brigade in its task. "We honor them and thank them, and we are encouraging them through local government programs," the premier added.

    He further thanked the Fire Brigade staff for their consistency and self-sacrifice, and assured them that the State will be at their side and will ensure the best possible conditions for their task.

    [02] PM: 'Victory the target of ND in June 7 Euroelections'

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking in an interview with the ALTER television channel on Monday evening, stressed that victory is the target of his ruling New Democracy party in the Euroelections on June 7.

    Karamanlis added that even on the day after the Euroelections the government will do its job, pointing out that the reformist effort will not change and that he himself considers the tackling of the national crisis as being an urgent priority and a national necessity.

    "This is a duty that may include a political cost as well, but I am prepared to take it. We are waging a struggle, we are heading for victory, I am giving and shall give everything. Regardless of the outcome, on the day after the government and the prime minister will do the job that they have to do at the level of handling the consequences of the crisis. This is the path of responsibility and contrasts with the irresponsibility that, unfortunately, those in the main opposition party are mainly following," the prime minister said.

    Replying to a question on new taxes, Karamanlis said that a reassessment of the situation will be made in June, noting that the main plan is not to impose new taxes because they can lead to recession sooner.

    "If, however, the picture is such that we must impose taxes, yes we shall impose them if necessary," he stressed.

    However, he underlined that emphasis will be placed on confronting tax evasion and structural changes, adding that almost every month all the evaluations made are reversed, even by international organisations and the European Union.

    Asked to comment, lastly, on the possibility of his departure from ND's leadership in the event of defeat in national elections, Karamanlis said "I do not pay attention to scenarios. Ever since I was a young man I have been struggling for the ideas that I am sharing with many others. This is what I am doing and shall continue to do. Leaving is not my intention."

    [03] Pavlopoulos reply to Papandreou over contract workers

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday accused main opposition PASOK's leader George Papandreou of making empty promises and forgetting his own party's chequered past in comments regarding employees hired with temporary work contracts in the public sector.

    "Mr. Papandreou, in the very sensitive issue of public-sector contract workers, 'forgets' his party's past and promises things that he knows cannot be done. First of all, Papandreou 'forgot' to explain the policies of PASOK governments on the issue of contract workers and especially the Reppas presidential decree that resulted in not a single indefinite work contract being signed and irrevocably exposed the country to the EU, as shown by the recent decision of the European Court of Justice. Also, Mr. Papandreou 'forgot' to give credit to the Karamanlis government presidential decree that converted some 33,000 temporary contracts to indefinite contracts," Pavlopoulos said.

    The minister also criticised Papandreou's reference to the point system for contract workers applying for permanent public-sector positions - noting that this was another issue that had been fully regulated by ND.

    He urged Papandreou to be more specific about the methods he intended to use in order to convert temporary contracts to permanent positions - methods that, as the minister pointed out, PASOK had failed to 'discover' when it was a government in 2004.

    [04] KKE SG calls on citizens to weaken EU, ND, PASOK

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a party rally in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Monday evening, calling on citizens to weaken with their votes the European Union, the New Democracy and PASOK parties and the liberal and socialdemocrat parties that "constituted the vehicles for the antipopular policy of the EU, its militarisation to pass through fire and steel."

    Referring to the two mainstream parties, ND and PASOK, she said that they have no substantive differences between them and added that "when the prime minister says that I shall forge ahead and I shall disregard the cost, he is sending a message to the plutocracy that he will continue unobstructed."

    Papariga said that KKE is experiencing a slanderous attack and noted that "we are accountable to the people, they can exercise criticism on us and face us with tough questions."

    KKE, she concluded, is calling for the votes of workers and employees, wage earners, small businessmen, poor farmers, the children of the labour, the popular and farmer family, the votes of those who feel betrayed by ND and PASOK.

    Papariga presented her party's positions on the environment in a press conference in Thessaloniki on Monday.

    She stressed that KKE is a 100 percent 'green' political party, does not engage in self-promotion, does not see the environment as another trend and does not use environmental issues for vote hunting purposes. She also accused the NGOs and the Ecologists-Greens of acting as if the environment were their own personal matter.

    She disagreed with the "green development" policy promoted by the two major parties and rejected the position that puts the blame for the environmental problems on the developmental model, adding that KKE rejects the Kyoto Protocol and "the one who pollutes should pay" dogma as being ineffective.

    Later in the evening (8:00 pm), Papariga will address a KKE rally at Aristotelous Square in downtown Thessaloniki.

    [05] Euro-elections press conference by SYN, SYRIZA

    Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYNASPISMOS) President Alexis Tsipras on Monday underlined that "the imminent European Parliament elections are crucial and decisive in nature as regards political developments" and "called for the abolition of the European Union Stability Pact."

    In a press conference, Tsipras stressed that the June 7 elections "are the first to be held after the economic crisis broke out and take place in an atmosphere characterized by fluidity," adding that there are two paths that can be followed "either face the crisis with society standing on its feet or having society leveled to the ground."

    Tsipras accused the two major political parties -- ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK -- of engaging in a "desperate effort to divert people's attention from the serious problems faced by the country."

    Panagiotis Lafazanis, the spokesman of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary groupof which SYN is the senior partner, accused ND and PASOK of reaching a consensus as regards the Lisbon Treaty.

    Lafazanis pointed out that SYRIZA wants the European Central Bank (ECB) to be subjected to political control, the radical reform of the European monetary policy and the immediate and substantive increase of the EU budget as well as its fundamental reorientation to exclusively serve productive investments, employment, social protection and sustainable development.

    [06] Televised press conference by the leader of LAOS

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis in a televised press conference on Monday referred to the goals of his party in the European Union in view of the June 7 Euro-elections.

    He stressed that the main goal of his party is to persuade Europe to define its borders in the Aegean Sea "adequately and in an exact manner" and subsequently to demand that Turkey lifts the casus belli, adding that Europe should deal with its defence issues.

    Karatzaferis also suggested a referendum on the European Constitution, stressing that the people should decide if the substitute of the EU constitution should be adopted.

    As regards the stability pact, he said that he is in favor of more flexible indexes and the restitution of the euro - US dollar exchange parity.

    Karatzaferis also stressed that "just a week away from the European Parliament elections and the two aged political parties (ruling New Democracy and PASOK) have said nothing yet as regards their positions on Europe."

    [07] Interview with Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis

    The ministry of defense is already prepared to recommend to the government council for foreign affairs and defence (KYSEA) to lower the ceilings in the defense programmes approved for the period until 2015, Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis stressed Monday in an interview with ANA-MPA.

    He pointed out that this move was necessary and contributes to the efforts made aimed at ensuring that the Greek economy will overcome the unfolding major international economic crisis with the less possible turbulence.

    The approval of spending cuts, the tidying up of the economy and the strict fiscal policy drawn up by the prime minister is a collective effort and the ministry of the defense has its own part in it, he underlined.

    "The general staffs in collaboration with the ministry's economic office work toward reaching the best possible solution aimed at balancing spending without compromising the effectiveness of the armed forces thus making our own contribution to the collective effort," Meimarakis said.

    The minister of defense also referred to the well-targeted measures taken by the government in support of low income earners, the unemployed and the young, aimed at preventing certain vulnerable categories of citizens from sinking in degradation.

    [08] Former FinMin addresses Constantine Karamanlis Democracy Institute event

    Former finance and economy minister George Alogoskoufis addressed an event held by the Constantine Karamanlis Democracy Institute on the upcoming Euroelections at a downtown Athens hotel on Monday evening, stressing that the present government is the only capable political force in the country to tackle the economic crisis, as well as the structural problems of the economy and of society.

    Alogoskoufis accused the main opposition PASOK party of leaving a legacy of huge structural weaknesses in the economy and society and criticised the policy applied by its governments.

    The former minister said the upcoming Euroelections are crucial and that through them "the only political force in the country that guarantees the present and the future of the Greek economy, of Greek society and the improvement of Greece's position in the European family must be rewarded. The New Democracy party of Costas Karamanlis."

    [09] Political row over Siemens heightens; inquiry into suspect's flight

    The foreign ministry on Monday announced that it will carry out an official internal inquiry under oath, by order of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and the ministry's general secretary Ambassador Aristides Agathokles, into the delays in processing a Montevideo Embassy telegram about Siemens' case suspect Christos Karavelas.

    Karavelas had on Friday failed to comply with a summons to appear before the examining magistrate investigating the case, when his lawyer appeared and said that his client was abroad.

    A justice ministry announcement issued on Monday clarified that an encoded message from the Greek embassy in Uruguay regarding Karavelas was brought to the justice ministry by a foreign ministry clerk on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 27, and not on Tuesday, May 26, as reported in the press.

    It stressed that the 48-hour delay thus reported in the press was "completely groundless".

    In comments on the latest developments in the Siemens case, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Monday stressed that there would be an inquiry into whether any civil servants were guilty of negligence for allowing Karavelas to leave the country and that neither the government nor ruling New Democracy (ND) had anything to fear.

    In terms of political responsibility, he urged reporters not to "change the essence of the issue" and pointed out that the contracts referred to in the case were all signed under former PASOK governments. At the same time, he accused the main opposition party of "resorting to tactics of mud-slinging" in order to slander its political opponents.

    "They are hushing up something very simple. That one of their own top officials, Mr. Theodoros Tsoukatos, has himself confessed to receiving one million German marks in illicit funds and depositing this in PASOK's coffers," Antonaros said, noting that PASOK had yet to carry out the audit of party funds it had pledged a year earlier.

    Regarding a report in the press regarding funds sent to the off-shore Liberian company Mayo, which was linked to ND interests under the 1990-1993 Mitsotakis government, the spokesman claimed the story was a fabrication and that the document cited by the newspaper in question did not exist.

    ND Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis also stressed in statements on Monday that the "only definite fact in the judicial investigation into the Siemens case is the one million marks that left Siemens' accounts and ended up in the coffers of PASOK, conveyed by Theodoros Tsoukatos."

    Referring to the claims regarding the Mayo firm and the links to former premier and current honorary president of ND Constantine Mitsotakis, Zagoritis again stressed that this was an attempt to "muddy the waters" given that the investigation was focused on a time when PASOK was in power.

    "Obviously, because some people are now frightened, they are attempting a diversion. They are attempting to revive an affair that justice has already investigated, condemning a chief official in PASOK as a slanderer and mud-slinger. This move, especially in a pre-election period, betrays panic," Zagoritis said.

    He went on to accuse PASOK and its leader George Papandreou of attempting to revive rejected practices of the past a few days before the European Parliament elections, showing that the so-called 'new' PASOK of George Papandreou was in no way changed.

    "Mr. Papandreou claims that he 'owes to no one'. He misremembers. He is wrong. He owes the citizens the truth. He must carry out his pledge to investigate where the money went. How the one million marks that went into PASOK coffers was spent," ND's secretary added.

    PASOK Secretary Yiannis Ragoussis, answering questions regarding the Siemens' case, stressed that in any country where the laws were upheld, the ministers whose negligence allowed two key suspects in the Siemens scandal to escape abroad would have resigned.

    "The ministers did not resign. Why hasn't the prime minister, who refused to set up a Parliamentary investigation into the Siemens case, done it for them," he added.

    [10] Mitsotakis denies report

    In statements on Monday, Mitsotakis himself strenuously denied the newspaper's claims as groundless, stressing that both the justice ministry and Greek justice had affirmed that there was no such document as that claimed in the article.

    "It is obvious that this affair is entirely fabricated for transparent reasons," Mitsotakis stressed, underlining that ND had not received any money from Siemens via the firm Mayo.

    He also asserted that relations between the German firm and the Greek government had been very bad at the time, because the Greek government had then refused to sign a contract for OTE in which Siemens had a 50 percent interest. That contract was later signed by PASOK, he added.

    [11] Siemens case suspects before magistrate on Wednesday

    The special examining magistrate in charge of the ongoing Siemens bribery investigation, Nikos Zagorianos, on Monday gave two suspects in the case an additional two days to prepare their defence, which they must now present to him on Wednesday.

    Former Siemens Greece executive Ilias Georgiou and former Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) executive Georgios Skarpelis, both of whom are currently being held in custody, appeared before the magistrate on Monday with their lawyers and said they had still not received the entire file related to the case, which is in the process of being photocopied by judicial officials.

    The suspects requested a lengthy extension of the deadline so that they could study the documents and that the warrants for their arrest issued on Friday be revoked. The magistrate declined to release them, however, and gave them until Wednesday to prepare their defence, in accordance with the deadline imposed in the case of persons in custody.

    Skarpelis' defence was also informed of an order issued by the Misdemeanours court justices council agreeing to the suspect's request to be given access to the entire case file, on the grounds that this was the only way he could effectively prepare his defence during the hearing before the magistrate, in accordance with the Constitution.

    The order rejects the defendant's requests to cancel the summons to appear before the magistrate, to cancel their act informing them of the charges and for the translation of documents in the case file, ruling that it was right to include documents supplied by a U.S. legal firm that carried out an internal inspection of the Siemens' parent company.

    Finally, it said a request for an expert assessment of the damage to OTE might be ordered during the course of the magistrate's investigation, if this was considered necessary.

    An appeal against the order issued by the justices' council has been lodged by Appeals Court Public Prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos, however, who has assigned the task to an Appeals Deputy Public Prosecutor.

    Greek judicial authorities have come under intense criticism for allowing two key suspects in the case, Mihalis Christoforakos and most recently former Siemens executive Christos Karavelas, to flee the country before the case came to trial. All four suspects are charged with bribery and money-laundering in connection with a 1997 deal between Siemens and the state telecom OTE.

    [12] Health minister visits new Kavala General Hospital

    Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos visited the ultramodern facilities of the new General Prefectural Hospital in the city of Kavala, northern Greece, at noon on Monday.

    Speaking in the presence of local authorities, the minister said that it is a qualitative leap of social culture for Kavala and the wider region in a very crucial moment "since the region is being faced with a growth perspective."

    Avramopouolos added that "it is a considerable infrastructure project budgeted at 62 million euros and has a capacity of 380 beds, that is coming to upgrade healthcare services provided in the wider region, since the gradual transfer of all the departments of the old hospital to the new installations is being scheduled."

    [13] 'Citizens' Euro-parliament' in Athens

    The migration issue, environmental protection and equal opportunities were among the issues that mostly dominated citizens' queries during the first six days of operation of a "Citizens' Euro-parliament", that has been set up at the Syntagma square metro station in central Athens.

    The initiative is a multimedia area where any citizen can send his own message for submission to a committee comprised of new MEPs. The Citizens' Euro-parliament is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. until June 6.

    Financial News

    [14] Eurobank unveils investment, export initiatives

    Eurobank on Monday unveiled five new initiatives designed to boost investments and the export orientation of the Greek economy, with the aim to facilitate a smoother exit from the international crisis and to jumpstart a growth cycle in the coming years.

    Presenting the initiatives, Eurobank chief executive Nikolaos Nanopoulos said the Greek banking system was unfairly criticized by part of the country's political world on an series of issues, such as alleged exposure to "toxic products" and facing risk - speculation that was proved inaccurate - or that it did not contribute to the strengthening of liquidity in the Greek economy, such as small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    Nanopoulos said this criticism was also unfair since more than 38,000 enterprises have received financing totaling more than 3.0 billion euros via the domestic banking system so far.

    Eurobank's five initiatives include: committing 1.5 billion euros to finance infrastructure projects and investments in renewable energy sources; better funding of the tourism industry; supporting a foreign exchange network for export companies; creating an internal investment capital of 30 million euros for minority equity participations in SMEs, and finally promotion of joint export actions in cooperation with state and corporate agencies.

    [15] Greek PMI rebounded to 46.1 points in May

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rebounded to 46.1 points in May, from 40.9 in April, to its highest level since October 2008. The PMI index recorded a significantly slower worsening of business activity in the manufacturing sector, although production levels fell for the eighth consecutive month in May, following a declining trend in new business.

    Incoming new orders eased slightly in the month, with demand falling both in the domestic and foreign markets, with some enterprises noting that adverse financial and economic conditions globally, as well as intense competition, were the main reasons for a decline in new orders.

    Employment and supply purchases fell significantly, although slower compared with April, with inventories falling drastically in May.

    The PMI measures business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while readings below 50 a shrinking sector.

    [16] Tourist arrivals down 7.2% in Q1

    The domestic tourism sector is apparently suffering from the effects of the ongoing global economic crisis, a report by the Institute for Touristic Research and Forecasts (ITEP) stated on Monday.

    The report said that based on available figures so far this year, Croatia (-21 pct) and Portugal (-22 pct) have suffered the sharpest decline in tourist arrivals, followed by Spain (11.9 pct) and Greece (7.3 pct). The crisis has also hit Turkey (-0.5 pct), a country with an annual average growth rate of more than 15 pct in the last few years.

    ITEP said Greece was affected more in tourism foreign exchange receipts (down 18.2 pct) in the first quarter of the year, although it predicted that this rate would improve in the four-month period from January to April helped by higher tourist arrivals during the Easter period.

    Greek airports (excluding Athens) recorded a 3.0-pct decline in arrivals in the January-April period, while the Athens International Airport reported a 9.8-pct drop in arrivals, for a total decline of 7.0 pct in the country. These figures showed that convention and business tourism in Athens and Thessaloniki was suffering more compared with the country's major travel destinations.

    The Dodecanese islands recorded an 18.5-pct increase in tourism arrivals in the first four months of 2009 (mainly Rhodes, up 26.4 pct), followed by Hania (+23 pct), although Santorini (-69.8 pct), Mykonos (-45.4 pct), Hios (-38.6 pct), Cephalonia (-26.7 pct), Kos (-20.7 pct) and Corfu (-19.7 pct) posted hefty decreases.

    [17] Stocks surge 3.85% on Mon.

    Greek stocks surged to new year highs at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, following a rally in other European markets. The composite index jumped 3.85 pct to end at 2,417.01 points, with turnover a strong 339.7 million euros, of which 27.8 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved upwards, with the Raw Materials (11.35 pct), Insurance (10.06 pct), Health (8.54 pct), Banks (5.56 pct) and Industrial Products (5.39 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 4.19 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 4.73 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.91 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 172 to 64 with another 30 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +10.06%

    Industrials: +5.39%

    Commercial: +4.65%

    Construction: +2.77%

    Media: +1.18%

    Oil & Gas: +3.60%

    Personal & Household: +3.97%

    Raw Materials: +11.35%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.69%

    Technology: +2.85%

    Telecoms: +0.96%

    Banks: +5.56%

    Food & Beverages: +3.18%

    Health: +8.54%

    Utilities: +0.23%

    Chemicals: +0.77%

    Financial Services: +3.03%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Bank of Cyprus, National Bank, Marfin Popular Bank and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 8.90

    ATEbank: 1.92

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 16.00

    HBC Coca Cola: 15.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.51

    National Bank of Greece: 20.70

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.90

    Intralot: 5.23

    OPAP: 22.40

    OTE: 11.58

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.50

    Titan Cement Company: 20.85

    [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.433

    Pound sterling 0.874

    Danish kroner 7.505

    Swedish kroner 10.681

    Japanese yen 135.9

    Swiss franc 1.526

    Norwegian kroner 8.880

    Canadian dollar 1.552

    Australian dollar 1.769

    General News

    [19] Transport minister presents public transport guide

    Transport and Communications Minister Evripidis Stylianidis presented a multilingual guide on Monday titled "I travel in Athens" that contains, among other things, the rights and obligations of passengers using public transport, as well as useful information for people relying on public transport in Athens.

    The initiative is part of the policy of the Transport ministry to make public transport more attractive, more modern, safer, more ecological and friendlier for the city's inhabitants.

    The guide, that will be available at central locations and stops in the capital, is presented in six languages: English, Russian, Albanian, Arabic, Chinese and Greek.

    "It is a form of the passengers' Rights Charter that includes, apart from the rights and the obligations, a plethora of useful information for the passenger, such as the various types of tickets that are provided for public transport and the corresponding prices applying to them, as well as the fine incurred by the failure to validate them," Stylianidis said.

    [20] Event on the environment held in Athens

    Director of the Office of the European Parliament in Greece George Kassimatis, the keynote speaker in a one-day conference on the environment held in The Mall department store in Athens on Monday, referred to the climate change problem and the groundbreaking actions undertaken by the European Union for the environment.

    He pointed out that over the next 50 years there will be serious climate-triggered consequences in all sectors of the economy and announced that an information system on the impact of the climate change will be set up by the year 2011, describing the next five years as crucial for environmental issues.

    [21] Papoulias receives Arsakeio Tirana pupils

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received elementary pupils from the Arsakeio School of Tirana, Albania at the presidential mansion in Athens on Monday, on the occasion of the International Children's Day (June 1).

    The 20 boys and girls were escorted by the school's headmistress and three teachers.

    The private Greek-Albanian school is operated in Tirana by the Greek Arsakeio Foundation, and the first school outside of Greece.

    [22] Woman found killed in her home on Leros

    Authorities on Monday reported that a 29-year-old woman from Bulgaria was found dead in her home in the village of Panteli on the Dodecanese Island of Leros in southeastern Aegean, where she lived and worked.

    Her body was discovered by her employer, who went to her house to look for her after she did not show up for work.

    The evidence indicates that she was strangled and an investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of death, while police have launched a manhunt for the arrest of her assailant or assailants.

    [23] Man injured in courtroom escape bid

    A 31-year-old Albanian national was injured on Monday when he attempted to escape custody by jumping out of a second-storey window in the Evelpidon court building. The man had been taken there in order to appear before an examining magistrate to answer charges of theft and minor drug offences.

    He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and is now being treated under guard.

    The man had been arrested in Ano Liosia after police searched and found small quantities of cannabis and 2.3 grammes of heroin on him. After inquiries, the police discovered that he was also riding a stolen motorbike and had snatched four purses in the Acharnon district in Athens.

    Weather Forecast

    [24] Cloudy, rainy on Tuesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather, and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 34C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with southwesterly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 17C to 34C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with possible local showers, with temperatures ranging from 16C to 29C.

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

    The Siemens case and the upcoming European Parliament elections were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "With (bogus) opinion polls and 'mud' against ND they're attempting to muddy the waters - Orgy of 'black propaganda' a week before the Europarliament Elections".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Karamanlis accelerates in the final stretch to the Euroelections - In Markopoulos on Friday, Egnatia Highway and Igoumenitsa on Saturday, and Lamia yesterday (Sunday)".

    AVRIANI: "The examining magistrate must summon the treasurers of the political parties - Who game them the 360 billion euros they spent in 18 election campaigns from 1974 to the present?".

    CHORA: "The routes of the black money deliveries from Austria to Greece - Chora continues its revelations on the Siemens scandal".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Blind man imprisoned for debt (1,000 euros) to IKA (Social Security Foundation) at a time when the scandals with the billions in bribes are 'running' at rally speed, and the suspects are fleeing abroad unhindered".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The Siemens 'gang' a company of 'illuminati' - Organised plan to keep the slush funds closed".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Escape due to irresponsibility", adding that "scandalous delays at the foreign and justice ministries in setting in motion the process for an international arrest warrant for former Siemens Hellas executive Christos Karavelas, despite information from the Uruguay authorities since May 23 (that Karavelas had attempted to deposit a large sum of money in that country)".

    ESTIA: "The danger of early general elections - What's at stake in Sunday's Europarliament elections".

    ETHNOS: "They gave him five days to leave - Siemens scandal: Foreign ministry in awkward position over the second escape".

    TA NEA: "They were concealing the Big Escape for 6 days - Bizarre delay by two ministries".

    VRADYNI: "Revving up for the finish to contain abstention - 5+1 days to the Euroelections, with low rate of rallying".

    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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