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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-06-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Wednesday, 10 June 2009 Issue No: 3216

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis chairs extraordinary Cabinet meeting after Euro-polls
  • [02] Papandreou on PASOK results
  • [03] PM received no message from elections, PASOK spokesman says
  • [04] LAOS party Parliamentary Group evaluates Euroelections result
  • [05] Press conference by new Greek MEPs
  • [06] EU health ministers probe new flu issue
  • [07] Army service down to nine months from August
  • [08] FinMin: Fiscal measures this month
  • [09] Subsidisation for olive oil producers
  • [10] Lesvos wins EU's EDEN award 2009 for Greece
  • [11] Transport and Communications SG holds talks with civil aviation pilots delegation
  • [12] New OA crew uniforms
  • [13] Inflation posts decline in May
  • [14] Greek industrial production index down 11.7 pct in April
  • [15] Greek exports down 20 pct in April
  • [16] AC replacement programme underway in Greece
  • [17] Greek bond yields significantly down in May
  • [18] Stocks end 2.22% down
  • [19] ADEX closing report
  • [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [21] GEO international symposium on Earth Observation Services opens in Athens
  • [22] Symposium on Orthodoxy and Innovation held in Copenhagen
  • [23] Karavelas' younger daughters before magistrate
  • [24] Crime incidents reported in Athens, Thessaloniki
  • [25] Contraband cigarettes seized in Piraeus
  • [26] Foreign nationals charged in burglary ring
  • [27] Migrant trafficking ring suspect arrested
  • [28] Cargo of raisins impounded at port of Piraeus
  • [29] Arrest in teen's slashing
  • [30] Traffic officer hits pedestrian while driving without licence
  • [31] 18th Nafplio Classical Music Festival
  • [32] New dates for McKennitt concerts in Greece
  • [33] Fair on Wednesday
  • [34] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [35] CoE urges Turkey to execute ECHR rulings regarding Cyprus
  • [36] Spokesman: ECJ decision strengthens positions of Greek Cypriot side
  • [37] Cyprus FM discusses Cyprus issue with his Russian counterpart
  • [38] Stolen Cypriot icons found and confiscated by Swiss police Politics

  • [01] PM Karamanlis chairs extraordinary Cabinet meeting after Euro-polls

    The government's choice and decision is to change "everything that disappoints the citizen and makes him bitter," prime minister Costas Karamanlis said on Tuesday, addressing an extraordinary Cabinet meeting.

    The premier called on all his ministers and deputy ministers to proceed more quickly and decisively with their actions and interventions, and stressed that he will personally systematically monitor the government's work in all sectors.

    Referring to the outcome of Sunday's European Parliament elections, Karamanlis said "that we are to blame for the electoral result, and it is we who must correct ourselves".

    "Whatever makes the citizens bitter must be changed," the premier said.

    He said that the government had received a strict warning and a resounding message in the Euroelections, but added that "we can respond...it is our obligation".

    "Responsibility is our non-negotiable choice," the prime minister stressed.

    He also ruled out the prospect of collaborations with other parties, and accused main opposition PASOK of irresponsibility in calling for early general elections, charging that "this is a pretext for escaping from the problems". Karamanlis called on his Cabinet for intensification of their efforts, aimed at greater efficiency of the government work.

    The premier also referred to the large percentage of abstention in Sunday's polls, describing it as "unprecedented" as nearly one in two citizens did not turn out to vote.

    He said that the fact that there was no direct political stake may have facilitated the unprecedented abstention, but nevertheless it was a 'message to the political system in its entirety", with the citizens manifesting their disappointment with basic aspects of political life, and stressed that "we must all look at our responsibilities".

    Karamanlis spoke of a slide of his ruling New Democracy (ND) party and a disruption of its relationship with society.

    "The message is quite serious and clear, the citizens demand solutions," the premier stressed.

    He also referred to dysfunctions in the state machine which, he said, discomfort the people, adding that the dysfunctions concern all the ministers and all the ministries, and all levels of the state-citizen relations.

    "I seek intensification of efforts by all of you, and call on you to be inexorable." Karamanlis told his ministers and deputy ministers.

    The prime minister further referred to "behaviors" of government officials that "violated the clear-cut principles" he himself had set out in March 2004, when ND took over the government.

    "As of today, we turn page," Karamanlis said, adding "each and every one of us assumes the responsibilities in his/her area of authority".

    He warned that the cause of the electoral result should not be sought elsewhere "but only in ourselves".

    "We were at fault, it is we who must correct ourselves. Whatever embitters the citizens must change, and we are determined to take whatever initiative is necessary," the premier stressed.

    Karamanlis noted, however, that the final outcome would not be judged by the result of the Euroelections, stressing that the most urgent national issue at hand was the global financial crisis, which he said concerns all the ministries and not only the economy and finance ministry.

    He instructed his ministers to personally oversee the timetables that have been set out for the production of government work, stressing that no delay would be forgiven.

    "We must see what needs to be changed, and change it," Karamanlis said.

    The premier further said that the government had been absolutely frank with the citizens ahead of the Europarliament elections, and the result was that the citizens "are our ally".

    He underlined the importance of further reduction of expenditure and streamlining the public sector, and the need for accelerating the dialogue on issues of transparency, noting that the government would discuss a relevant proposal put forward by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) on amendment of the law on the accountability of ministers. He also noted the need for the speedy solution of problems in the health sector and in social security.

    Karamanlis also said that there would be stricter penal treatment of hooded troublemakers, while the framework would also be changed referring to the anonymity of prepaid cell phones.

    He called for completion of the social security reform, and called on his ministers to base their actions on the triptych "responsibility, efficiency, national understanding", adding that the political parties should be kept abreast of the ministers' interventions, while he also invited the opposition parties to submit their own proposals for discussion.

    Karamanlis criticised the main opposition party for its persistence on demanding early elections "despite the fact that this demand has been rejected by the citizens".

    "While the main opposition party lended a referendum nature to the Euro-elections, half the voters did not show up to vote," Karamanlis noted, charging that it was irresponsibility for PASOK to be demanding early elections when it received fewer votes than it had in the previous electoral showdown, and the people rejected the referendum nature of the Euro-polls.

    ND, Karamanlis concluded, can renew its broad support by the citizens, adding that collaboration with other parties was inconceivable.

    [02] Papandreou on PASOK results

    "PASOK is convinced that it has a reliable proposal that can get the country out of the crisis and ensure a well-governed state," party leader George Papandreou stressed on Tuesday, addressing a meeting of the main opposition's economic council, which he chaired.

    He described a stance adopted by ruling New Democracy (ND) party vis--vis Euro-election results as "arrogant", underlining that "nothing will change", while stressing that "the only option available to the prime minister is to resort to superficial publicity stunts".

    He also attributed his party's victory in Sunday's European Parliament elections to proposals it presented and hard work, adding that PASOK linked the economic situation with the way the state operates, and what he charged were lawlessness and impunity.

    Referring to lackluster Euro-parliament results of Social Democrat political formations in Europe, he spoke of "European awkwardness, both institutional and political, toward developments."

    [03] PM received no message from elections, PASOK spokesman says

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis "has received no message" from last Sunday's Euroelections and "has not realised that his policies have been condemned by the Greek citizens."

    Asked whether the referendum character, given by PASOK and its leader George Papandreou, to Euroelections has been confirmed, the spokesman said that "it is clear and all the (party's) cadres agree on this that the government's policy has been condemned absolutely."

    On the question of whether PASOK's programme proposals have been approved, the spokesman said that "the political results are shaped by those who vote" and claimed that "the real abstention percentage is 36 percent."

    Commenting on the meeting of Eurogroup and Ecofin, Papaconstantinou said that "(EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin) Mr. Almunia announced what we should have heard from the (Greek) Economy minister, namely the Greek government's intention to take additional tax measures."

    PASOK's spokesman further said that "the target of decreasing the deficit to 3 percent by 2010 is unattainable and it cannot an must not happen because it will deepen the Greek economy's recession even more."

    He added that "in a period of zero development you do not do such adjustments, because you worsen the state of the average Greek family and of working people even more in this way."

    Lastly, Papaconstantinou said that PASOK will not support the candidacy of Jose Manuel Barroso for the European Commission presidency, "since it disagrees with what he believes in and, in any case, his first tenure was also a failure."

    [04] LAOS party Parliamentary Group evaluates Euroelections result

    The Parliamentary Group of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) convened on Tuesday and, according to a statementy by the party's spokesman Costas Aivaliotis, an assessment was made of the Euroelections result and of current political developments.

    LAOS garnered 7.15% of the vote and secured two seats.

    "The citizens' message is that the time of actions has come and not of words," Aivaliotis said.

    In another development, LAOS party leader George Karatzaferis will be giving a press conference on Wednesday.

    [05] Press conference by new Greek MEPs

    Concern about low voter turnout in the European Parliament elections throughout the EU and the unprecedented high rates of abstention in Greece dominated the first press conference given by the 22 newly elected Greek MEPs in the European Parliament Office in Athens on Tuesday. Another issue highlighted was the importance of cooperation between Greek MEPs, regardless of their political allegiances, in order to promote issues of Greek interest and solve the pressing illegal immigration problem.

    Head of the ruling New Democracy (ND) ticket Marietta Yiannakou underlined that voter abstention is a major political issue that constitutes a European phenomenon, which will have to be addressed within the framework of high-level EU bodies.

    George Papaconstantinou, who headed the main opposition PASOK party ballot, stressed that "developments in democracies are determined by those who vote," clarifying, however, that "voter abstention is an issue."

    On behalf of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Georgios Toussas underlined that the low turnout recorded was the result of the widespread disappointment among the people, which took the form of a protest against EU policy.

    Thanasis Plevris of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) agreed that those who vote determine developments.

    Head of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) ballot Nikos Hountis attributed the high abstention to ignorance and discontent.

    Michalis Tremopoulos, heading the Ecologists-Greens ticket, attributed the low turnout to incorrect information fed to the people, for which he blamed the political parties, and also a widespread sense among voters that the EU has no direct effect on people's lives.

    [06] EU health ministers probe new flu issue

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)

    European Union health ministers met in Luxembourg on Tuesday and assessed the situation concerning the issue of the new flu (H1N1), recent developments and further steps that must be taken. Greece was represented at the meeting by Deputy Health and Social Solidarity Minister Marios Salmas.

    Salmas gave an account of the ways with which the problem is being tackled in Greece and of the strengthening of measures of the national vigilance and readiness system in particular.

    The Council agreed to the examination of the parameters of a unified strategy on the production, licensing and sale of the relevant vaccine, based on the proposal submitted by the European Commission and the possible creation of a central reserve.

    Salmas supported the promotion of a unified strategy at European level, that will anticipate a focal approach to issues regarding production and licensing as soon as possible, in the safest and most effective way and through a central system.

    The Council also examined the possibility of common negotiating for an agreement with a pharmaceuticals industry for the procurement of vaccines for member-states, that have not yet concluded relevant separate agreements.

    [07] Army service down to nine months from August

    National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Tuesday revealed the government's plans to reduce mandatory military service for young men in the Greek Army by three months, so that it lasts nine months in total.

    Speaking during the day-time television programme "Proti Grammi" broadcast by the state channel NET, Meimarakis said the measure would go into effect for all those presenting themselves in August, while there would also be a shorter reductions for those that presented themselves for military service within 2009. Specifically, those who began their national military service last February will serve 11 months in total, while those that began in May will serve 10 months.

    Previously, the length of mandatory military service had been exactly one year.

    The minister also clarified that once the duration of national service in the Army was reduced to nine months, all conscripts will be posted in regional areas outside the capital.

    The length of military service in the Greek Navy and Air Force will continue to be one year, while Meimarakis said he was in favour of eventually phasing out the use of conscripts in the navy and air force in favour of professional troops.

    The minister said the reduction in military service was made possible by an increase in the number of professional troops, the use of information technology, the new layout of army bases and the gradual progress in setting up electronic security systems to guard military facilities.

    Financial News

    [08] FinMin: Fiscal measures this month

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Spinthourakis)

    The Greek government will unveil a package of measures this month aimed at cutting the country's fiscal deficit to 3.7 pct of GDP this year, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou here said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters after a closely watched ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, the Greek minister said the government, after making a comprehensive estimate of trends in state proceeds and of the inflation rate, would reach decisions necessary for achieving its fiscal goals for the year.

    Papathanassiou said the government will closely focus on public finances next year, with the aim of cutting the fiscal deficit to 3.0 pct through "structural measures", while he predicted that the European economy would recover in mid-2010.

    The Greek minister said the fact that practically all European countries have started looking to the "day after" the current economic recession is positive, especially on the need to cut state deficits resulting from the crisis. He noted that public deficits were still hefty in Europe and stressed that, according to EU Monetary Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, 12 Eurozone member-states will be included in excessive deficit procedures by next year.

    Commenting on Greece, Papathanassiou said state handouts to deal with the financial crisis were below other EU levels and that the challenge was to boost economic competitiveness so that the country can exit the crisis rapidly.

    He added that the European Commission has appreciated Athens' efforts towards fiscal consolidation.

    [09] Subsidisation for olive oil producers

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    The European Commission announced that as of Tuesday the subsidisation apparatus will be implemented for olive oil producers who are being affected by the decrease in olive oil prices and that mainly concerns the countries of southern Europe, such as Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.

    The subsidies concern the private stocking of virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, the Commission said in an announcement.

    The Commission had announced in May 25 that the European Union intends to support producers who are forced to keep in stock certain quantities of olive oil, either because demand in the market is inadequate, or because the producers themselves prefer to sell their olive oil at a later stage with prices that are possibly better than the current ones.

    The subsidisation that producers can have, through tendering, will concern stocks of up to 110,000 tons of virgin or extra virgin olive oil and for a period of 180 days.

    [10] Lesvos wins EU's EDEN award 2009 for Greece

    The island of Lesvos has been awarded the award for the top sustainable tourism destination in Greece for 2009 in the European Commission-sponsored program "European Destinations of Excellence" (EDEN), in which Greece's tourism development ministry is participating for the third consecutive year.

    The ministry submitted candidacies for 18 regions of Greece, which were evaluated by a relevant committee.

    The purpose of the annual EDEN competition is to highlight the values, diversity and common characteristics of European tourism destinations in which tourism development is sought in ways that ensure a social, cultural, financial and environmental balance.

    The theme of this year's competition is "tourism and Protected Areas".

    [11] Transport and Communications SG holds talks with civil aviation pilots delegation

    Transport and Communications ministry Secretary General Dimitris Platis said on Tuesday that the seven ministerial decisions relating to the Olympic Airlines' transition status to the new services and regarding the current company's entire staff will be ready by the 17th of the month.

    Platis was speaking after his meeting with a delegation of the Union of Civil Aviation Pilots.

    Platis also said that in the case of employees choosing to be transferred to other services and Organisations in the public sector, as was anticipated by the airline's privatisation plan, the relevant posts will be announced by the 20th of the month.

    [12] New OA crew uniforms

    The new Olympic Airways cabin crew uniforms will be designed by Celia and Nikos Krithariotis, the winners of an online competition that concluded on Monday, Marfin Investment Group (MIG) -- which purchased Greece's national carrier -- announced on Tuesday.

    A total of 94,168 users visited the website www.oafashion.gr and 43,925 chose between three proposals submitted by the Krithariotis fashion designers, P2 Group and the Akto art and design school.

    An online vote for the selection of a new logo for the air carrier will soon get underway, MIG added.

    [13] Inflation posts decline in May

    Inflation in Greece fell to a new low in May, falling to 0.5 percent from 1.0 percent in the preceding month of April, according to figures released on Tuesday by the National Statistics Bureau (ESYE).

    More specifically, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) posted a 0.5 percent increase in May 2009 year-on-year over May 2008, ESYE said.

    Also, the CPI posted a 0.2 percentage point increase in May 2009 over April 2009, against a 0.7 percent rise in May 2008 over April 2008.

    [14] Greek industrial production index down 11.7 pct in April

    Greece's Industrial Production composite index dropped 11.7 pct in April, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistical Service said on Tuesday.

    The statistics agency said the industrial production average index fell 8.7 pct in the January-April 2009 period, compared with the corresponding period in 2008. NSS attributed the 11.7 pct decline of the composite index in April to a 14.3 pct fall in manufacturing production, a 13.1 pct drop in mining production and a 2.9 pct decline in electricity production.

    [15] Greek exports down 20 pct in April

    The value of import-arrivals in Greece dropped 36.3 pct in April compared to the corresponding month last year, while the value of export-deliveries fell 20 pct over the same period, the National Statistical Service said on Tuesday.

    The statistics agency said the value of imports totaled 3.375 billion euros in April, from 5.294 billion in the same month in 2008, while the value of exports totaled 1.170 billion euros, from 1.463 billion euros over the same periods respectively.

    The statistics agency said the figures covered only the country's merchandise trade.

    [16] AC replacement programme underway in Greece

    A development ministry decision to subsidise part of the cost for the purchase of energy-saving air-conditioning units, replacing outdated and inefficient models, came into effect on Tuesday.

    The 15-million-euro programme, using European Community funds, concerns the replacement of old household air-conditioners.

    The measure aims for an annual energy conservation of 20.2 GWh, corresponding to savings of 2 million euros and up to 20,000 tons less carbon dioxide emissions.

    A total of roughly seven million air-conditioners are currently in operation in Greece, of which only half a million employ the "inverter" technology. The goal is lower pollutant emissions 4 pct by 2020, in addition to saving 20 pct in energy and meeting 20 pct of the country's energy needs via the use of renewable energy sources (RES), considering that air-conditioners fall under this category.

    [17] Greek bond yields significantly down in May

    Greek state bonds' yields fell significantly in the short end of the yield curve, while long-term bonds' yields rose in May, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday. The central bank, in a monthly report, said a continuous improvement in the investment climate resulted to a significant decline in the yield spread between the Greek and German state bonds.

    More analytically, the three-year benchmark Greek bond fell by 39 basis points to 3.09 pct at the end of May, from 3.48 pct a month earlier, while the 5-year benchmark bond's yield fell by 31 basis points to 4.23 pct from 4.54 pct over the same period. In the long end of the yield curve, the 30-year bond yield rose by 22 bps to 5.87 pct at the end of May and the 10-year bond yield rose 12 bps to 5.47 pct. The yield spread between the 30-year and three-year benchmark bonds rose to 278 bps from 217 bps in April, while the average monthly yield spread between the 10-year benchmark Greek and German bonds shrank to 179 bps in May from 232 bps in April.

    Short-term benchmark bonds' prices rose markedly with the three-year bond price rising to 103.2 at the end of May, from 102.2 a month earlier, while the 30-year bond price fell to 81.01 from 84.69 over the same period.

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 20.22 billion euros in May, from 12.31 billion euros in April and 30.21 billion euros in May 2008. Daily average turnover was 1.01 billion euros in May, from 616 million euros a month earlier. The 10- to 15-year bonds accounted for 55 pct of total turnover in the market, with the 10-year benchmark bond recording the highest monthly turnover (10.5 billion euros).

    [18] Stocks end 2.22% down

    Greek stocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, pushing the composite index of the market down 2.22 pct to end at 2,319.69 points. Turnover was a moderate 225.2 million euros, of which 8.2 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower, with the Media (5.12 pct), Utilities (4.44 pct) and Telecommunications (3.73 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Oils (0.40 pct) and Health (0.36 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 2.50 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.74 pct down and the FTSE 80 index dropped 2.58 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 173 to 58 with another 29 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.15%

    Industrials: -2.69%

    Commercial: -1.78%

    Construction: -0.61%

    Media: -5.12%

    Oil & Gas: +0.40%

    Personal & Household: -0.59%

    Raw Materials: -2.66%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.27%

    Technology: -1.00%

    Telecoms: -3.73%

    Banks: -2.43%

    Food & Beverages: -2.47%

    Health: +0.36%

    Utilities: -2.47%

    Chemicals: -2.69%

    Financial Services: -0.25%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 8.35

    ATEbank: 1.66

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.70

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.71

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.38

    National Bank of Greece: 19.12

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.10

    Intralot: 4.76

    OPAP: 20.88

    OTE: 11.88

    Bank of Piraeus: 7.48

    Titan Cement Company: 21.20

    [19] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.24 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 51.839 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,752 contracts, worth 40.163 million euros with 26,266 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 23,272 contract, worth 11.676 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Cyprus Bank's contracts (3,950), followed by Eurobank (418), OTE (3,135), PPC (827), Piraeus Bank (2,797), National Bank (2,388), Alpha Bank (1,284), Intracom (769), Marfin Popular Bank (3,158), Mytilineos (839), GEK (1,060).

    [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.407

    Pound sterling 0.870

    Danish kroner 7.505

    Swedish kroner 10.885

    Japanese yen 137.89

    Swiss franc 1.527

    Norwegian kroner 8.984

    Canadian dollar 1.552

    Australian dollar 1.771

    General News

    [21] GEO international symposium on Earth Observation Services opens in Athens

    A three-day international scientific symposium on the theme "Earth Observation Services for Monitoring the Environment and Protecting the General Public" is taking place at the University of Athens' main auditorium, running through Wednesday, co-organised by the Athens National Observatory, the Greek chapter of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the GEO General Secretariat based in Geneva, and the Mariopoulio-Kanagineio Foundation for Environmental Sciences.

    Taking part in the Symposium are 14 countries of the region -- Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Lebanon, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Turkey -- with two delegates each -- one scientist and one environment ministry official.

    The representatives of the Balkan and eastern Mediterranean countries will discuss issues of common interest regarding the observation of Earth and environmental protection.

    The GEO is an inter-governmental organisation comprising 77 member countries, the EU, the UN and 46 international organisations, whose purpose is to collect and organise all Earth observations globally into a single data base, the GEOSS (GEO System of Systems). so as to facilitate governments and scientific institutions in the precise evaluation and taking of appropriate decisions on the major environmental issues such as Natural Disasters, Earth and Desertification, Health, Energy, Climate, Water Resources, Meteorology, and Atmosphere, Ecosystems and Biodiversity.

    Attending the Symposium are GEO secretarial director Prof. Jose Achache, the head of Athens' National Observatory Prof. Christos Zerefos, Athens National and Kapodistrian University deputy-rector Prof. Demosthenes Assimakopoulos, European Environmental Agency (EEA) acting executive director Dr. Gordon McInnes, and a European Space Agency (ESA) official.

    [22] Symposium on Orthodoxy and Innovation held in Copenhagen

    A symposium titled "Orthodoxy and Innovation in the Greek-speaking world from Byzantium to the 21st century" was held at the University of Copenhagen on June 5-6. It was organised by the University's Modern Greek Studies Faculty.

    The symposium touched upon a theme which had limited research in cultural, social and religious studies. In academic circles, Orthodox Christianity, and in particular its Greek version, tends to be characterised as traditional and conservative. The symposium attempted to understand how the Orthodox Church and Orthodox theology have been, through innovation, a contributory cause of change in society and culture in different historic periods, and how Orthodoxy in Greece and among Greek communities had adapted to social change in innovative ways.

    The focus on Greek Orthodoxy was specific because Orthodoxy has always been characterised by a will to express "authentic" Christianity, an aspect even stronger in its Greek version due to the linguistic intimacy with Holy Scripture and the Church Fathers. However, the symposium featured contributions from a broad temporal span and a wide-ranging approach to the expressive forms and social domains of Orthodoxy.

    The symposium was held in honour of two learned professors, Sophia Scopetea (1946-2007), who gave many years of service to Modern Greek Studies at the University of Copenhagen, and the founder of Modern Greek Studies in Denmark, Sysse Engberg, on the occasion of her fortieth anniversary at the University of Copenhagen and her seventieth birthday.

    The symposium was financed, among others, by Greece's National Education and Religion Ministry and the Education and Culture Ministry of Cyprus.

    [23] Karavelas' younger daughters before magistrate

    The two younger daughters of fugitive from justice Christos Karavelas, a former Siemens executive who fled the country before he was due to testify as a suspect in an ongoing bribery and money-laundering investigation, visited the office of special examining magistrate Nikos Zagorianos on Tuesday, the final date for posting bail amounting to two million euros set by the magistrate.

    The visit was largely a formality, since Zagorianos has already agreed to take no further action against them until the Misdemeanours court justices' council has reached a decision on their appeal to have the amount of bail reduced. The two women, both in their early 20s, claim inability to raise the sum demanded because all of the family's accounts have been frozen by Greek authorities.

    In statements to reporters, they again stressed that they knew nothing absolutely nothing about their father's activities and that they were anxiously awaiting decisions for the release of their elder sister and mother, who have been remanded in custody. All Karavelas' family except his teenage son face charges of complicity in money-laundering, on the grounds that Karavelas transferred money from a Swiss bank account into joint bank accounts in Greece held with his wife, daughters and 17-year-old son.

    Karavelas is one of seven people charged with bribery and money-laundering over a 1997 contract between Siemens Greece and the formerly state-run telecom Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to digitalise its systems. He is also the second key suspect in the case to flee abroad to Germany, after former Siemens executive Mihalis Christoforakos, in hopes of benefiting from that country's more lenient laws for the offences he is charged with.

    Earlier on Tuesday, the public prosecutor handling the Siemens case also issued orders barring seven people linked to the ongoing investigation from leaving the country, among them business owners and stock brokers. The prosecutor's move concerns contracts signed between Siemens Greece and the formerly state-run telecom Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) for digitalising its phone centres and for the supply and installation of the C-4I security system.

    [24] Crime incidents reported in Athens, Thessaloniki

    A police manhunt ended with the arrest of a Polish national on Tuesday morning, after the man was shot in the leg during a pursuit. The suspect was arrested in the Votanikos district of Athens and was taken to a nearby hospital.

    According to reports, the suspect stole a vehicle from supermarket parking lot in the nearby Petralona district after threatening its owners with a gun. Shortly afterwards, he crashed the stolen car into a parked automobile and when its owner tried to stop him he was also threatened at gunpoint. Later, he robbed a pharmacy in the district of Kolonos, taking cash and various prescription drugs.

    A police manhunt was launched soon after, leading to his detection on Tuesday morning in Votanikos.

    Meanwhile, a bloody armed robbery was reported in the early morning hours at a gas station in Kaminia, Piraeus. Three hooded suspects made off with an undetermined amount of money after shooting and injuring in the leg an off-duty police officer who happened to be at the scene. .

    The officer was rushed to a hospital, while an investigation is underway to determine how he happened to be at the scene of the crime scene considering that he was on sick leave for the past two years.

    In a separate incident, a gas station in Pilea district north of Thessaloniki was the target of an armed robbery.

    Two unidentified individuals wearing motorcycle helmets made off with 200 euros they found in the gas station register after threatening the owner at gunpoint. The robbers fled atop a motorcycle.

    [25] Contraband cigarettes seized in Piraeus

    Authorities seized a large quantity of contraband cigarettes following an inspection at the Ikonio container terminal in Keratsini, at the port of Piraeus.

    A total of 180 cardboard boxes with 90,000 packs of illegally imported cigarettes were found hidden in the back of a container, amongst a legally registered cargo of ceramics from China.

    [26] Foreign nationals charged in burglary ring

    A trio of foreign nationals who allegedly broke into residences in the southern coastal districts of Athens was arrested by police on Tuesday.

    Authorities arrested a 32-year-old Italian man, a Croatian national, 53, and another man, 32, whose nationality was not listed. A preliminary investigation revealed that the suspects may have burglarised 57 residences.

    Police found and confiscated a handgun and three cartridges, electronic devices, mobile phones, burglars' tools and a large number of car keys, stolen goods and travel documents, presumably forged.

    [27] Migrant trafficking ring suspect arrested

    A 33-year-old Iraqi national allegedly involved in an international illegal migrants trafficking ring active in Greece and European countries was arrested on Tuesday within the framework of collaboration between Greek and Italian authorities.

    The suspect was apprehended pending a European arrest warrant, issued by Italian authorities.

    Police found in his possession and seized a Georgian passport that belongs to a third person, a PC, a bank deposit book, passport photographs of seven individuals and two mobile phones allegedly used in illegal dealings.

    Before facing extradition to Italy, the suspect will appear before a prosecutor in Athens.

    [28] Cargo of raisins impounded at port of Piraeus

    Forty-four tons of raisins from Pakistan were ruled as unfit for consumption by the Piraeus prefecture authorities this week, preventing the foodstuffs' import into the country. The raisins were imported in the form of 1,760 sacks and loaded onto two containers.

    The cargo remained impounded at the port of Piraeus' customs office.

    [29] Arrest in teen's slashing

    Two local men, 24 and 19, were arrested by police on Tuesday for a mugging last March that resulted in one teenage girl getting slashed in the face with a knife by one of the suspects.

    The incident occurred in the Aghios Dimitrios district of southern Athens, when two suspects attempted to take the purses and cell phones of two teenage girls. One fled, the other was assaulted during the mugging.

    [30] Traffic officer hits pedestrian while driving without licence

    A 33-year-old deputy sergeant in the traffic police was arrested for hitting a pedestrian while driving without a licence in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The woman had run over and seriously injured a 23-year-old man on Nikis Avenue in Thessaloniki.

    The victim, who suffered multiple fractures in his upper and lower limbs, was admitted and underwent surgery at the city's Papanikolaou General Hospital , where doctors say that he is now out of danger.

    During the investigation, it transpired that the 33-year-old did not have a driving licence and she was led before a Thessaloniki public prosecutor on Tuesday morning and charged with causing bodily harm through negligence and driving without a licence.

    She was then released pending trial, while an internal inquiry has been launched by Thessaloniki traffic police headquarters.

    [31] 18th Nafplio Classical Music Festival

    The 18th Nafplio Classical Music Festival will be taking place between June 19-28, in the eastern Peloponnese city.

    This year's Festival is dedicated to the Scandinavian countries and to their artists, while the Festival will be supervised by Greek pianist virtuoso Yiannis Vakarelis again this year.

    [32] New dates for McKennitt concerts in Greece

    Concerts by noted singer Loreena McKennitt concerts have been rescheduled, according to an announcement on Tuesday.

    The new dates are June 27 in Patras; June 28 in Thessaloniki, and finally, June 29 in Athens.

    The Canadian performer will begin her tour from Istanbul on June 13, before heading to Cyprus, Lebanon, Sicily and Greece.

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather, and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 15C and 37C. Fair in Athens, with northeasterly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 20C to 35C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 34C.

    [34] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The aftermath of the Euroelections and assessments on the results dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "(Main opposition) PASOK did not win, New Democracy (ruling party) lost - It is not difficult to reverse the political climate".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis makes his moves on the chessboard - He announces on Tuesday his first decisions at the Inner Cabinet meeting".

    AVGHI: "The specter of the Right and the extreme Right is looming over Europe - In Greece citizens voted for socialism".

    CHORA: "ND's hara-kiri - The newspaper lists ND's 'fatal mistakes' that led to the defeat".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Economic crisis, illegal migration, insecurity and Socialist parties' faulty handling showed, in the Euroelections, that Europe is turning the wheel more and more to the right".

    ELEFTHEROS: "ND MPs' and cadres' message after the defeat: Mr. Karamanlis throw out the dead weight".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Flurry of recommendations to ND leadership on overcoming the defeat".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Karamanlis in awkward position: He is looking at George Papandreou's back, and is dependant on Karatzaferis (Popular Orthodox Rally, LAOS, party leader).

    ESTIA: "ND paid for its statism - The Center-Left is on the rise only in Greece".

    ETHNOS: "Karamanlis in the corner, ND at the extremes - Pressure for reshuffle and...turn towards the Right".

    KATHIMERINI: "State and economy are awaiting solutions - Karamanlis is examining suggestions for changes in government's PR staff and the party".

    LOGOS: "Government seeking initiatives to reverse the climate".

    NIKI: "Recommends to Karamanlis for immediate reshuffle and general elections in autumn".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "All united and ready for struggle for social awakening and the working classes' counter-attack".

    TA NEA: "Karamanlis' dilemma after the elections: Taxes or (early) general elections".

    TO VIMA: "Either he changes or he sinks - Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis faces a dilemma- Extraordinary meeting of Inner Cabinet on Tuesday".

    VRADYNI: "Ballot's message to government: Embrace the citizens".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [35] CoE urges Turkey to execute ECHR rulings regarding Cyprus

    STRASBOURG (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has urged Turkey to execute without delay the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), concerning cases Greek Cypriots and the government of Cyprus have brought against Turkey.

    A press release issued Tuesday by the Committee says it concluded on 5 June 2009 its second special human rights meeting devoted to the supervision of the execution of the judgments of the ECHR.

    The ECHR judgments are Cyprus v. Turkey, Loizidou v. Turkey, Xenides - Arestis v. Turkey and Kakoulli, Isaak and Solomou v. Turkey.

    Based on the ECHR judgment on the Fourth Interstate Application of Cyprus vs Turkey, Turkey must without delay proceed with the investigation into the fate of those persons, who as a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion in Cyprus, were declared as missing.

    According to the Fourth Interstate Application of Cyprus vs Turkey ruling, (10 May 2001), Ankara is found guilty of continuous gross human rights violations in Cyprus.

    Turkey is also called upon to return the properties of Greek Cypriots Titina Loizidou and Myra Xenides Aresti, which are in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Turkey has paid Loizidou over one million dollars in compensation for the loss of use of her property in Turkish occupied Cyprus but still denies her access to her property.

    Moreover, Turkey is urged to pay Greek Cypriot refugee Xenides Aresti the damages ordered by the Court. The ECHR found Turkey guilty of violation of the applicant's right to enjoy peacefully her property in Turkish occupied Famagusta.

    The Committee of Ministers calls on Turkey to execute the judgment in the case of Isaak and Solomou who were murdered by Turks in the buffer zone in August 1996, during an anti-occupation rally.

    Turkey ranks first among the list of countries, which, according to the Committee of Ministers, show an unexplainable persistence on not complying with the final rulings of the ECHR.

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

    [36] Spokesman: ECJ decision strengthens positions of Greek Cypriot side

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Tuesday that the decision of the European Court of Justice on a property case strengthens the positions the Greek Cypriot side, as these are submitted at the UN-led peace talks.

    However, he pointed out that the Cyprus problem cannot be resolved by any other means than negotiations.

    Stephanou's remarks came after renewed objections in the island's northern Turkish-occupied areas that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat should abandon the UN-led direct negotiations with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, aiming at an agreed solution that would reunite the country.

    The ECJ ruled last April that a judgment by a Court in the Republic of Cyprus must be recognised and enforced by the other EU member states even if it concerns land situated in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus. The ruling refers to the Apostolides vs Orams case and came after a dispute had arisen before the Court of Appeal of England and Wales between Greek Cypriot refugee Meletis Apostolides and British couple David and Linda Orams, in relation to the recognition and enforcement of the judgment of the District Court of Nicosia. The Court of Appeal addressed itself to the Court of Justice requesting a preliminary ruling on the case.

    ''The ECJ decision is based on European law and on the facts in Cyprus as the EU sees these facts through Protocol 10: Cyprus entered the EU with the whole of its territory, the application of the acquis communautaire has been suspended in the northern Turkish occupied areas because the Cypriot government cannot exercise effective control on the northern part of Cyprus, occupied since the 1974 Turkish invasion,'' Stephanou said.

    Stephanou added that this decision is even more important because it highlights international and European law in case of disputed property, while ''strengthening the positions submitted by the Greek Cypriot side at the negotiating table.''

    ''There is no way that the Cyprus problem can be resolved other than through negotiations,'' Stephanou said.

    Stephanou said that the President of the Republic is working for a solution, on the basis of principles as these are outlined in the 1977-1979 High Level Agreements, UN resolutions and international and European law aiming at terminating the occupation and through a solution to reunify the country, its people and institutions under a bi-zonal bi-communal federation.

    Christofias and Talat began talks in September last year with a view to find a negotiated settlement to reunite Cyprus.

    [37] Cyprus FM discusses Cyprus issue with his Russian counterpart

    MOSCOW (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov have discussed the latest developments in Cyprus and reviewed the two countries' bilateral relations.

    According to a press release, issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov and Kyprianou held a telephone conversation, at the initiative of the Cypriot side.

    Russian Diplomatic sources confirmed UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Cyprus Alexander Downer visit to Moscow on June 15.

    Downer is scheduled to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov and foreign ministry's officials to discuss the Cyprus problem.

    A Russian government's representative has already said that the Cyprus issue has been classified among the "non arranged situations" in Europe during the last EU-Russia meeting, held in Habarovsk last May.

    [38] Stolen Cypriot icons found and confiscated by Swiss police

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Two stolen Cypriot icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary, from the chapel of St. Iacovos (14th century) in the Turkish occupied Cypriot village of Trikomo, have been found and confiscated by the Swiss police.

    According to the Office of Monuments and Art of the Church of Cyprus, the Swiss Police authorities conducted last month an investigation into buildings of Russian collector Alexander Khochinskiy, in Zurich, where they found and confiscated the two icons, painted by Meletios in 1620.

    In 2004 the Swiss state ratified the UNESCO agreements (1970) and the Hague Agreement. The agreements came into force in 2005 and their provisions prohibited the sale of stolen cultural treasures. This development is seen as crucial to the process of repatriating these icons and giving them back to the Cypriot Church, their legal owner and holder.

    The Office of Monuments and Art of the Church of Cyprus said that the so-called authorities of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime are using the chapel as a tourist office.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Hundreds of religious and archaeological artifacts have been stolen from the occupied areas, many of which have found their way in the black market. Some have been repatriated, others are still in the hands of illegal art dealers.

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