|Tuesday, 24 April 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-06-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 18 June 2009 Issue No: 3223
 PM in Brussels on Thurs. for EU CouncilGreek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be in Brussels on Thursday for the two-day proceedings of the European Council.
Shortly after his arrival in Brussels, the Greek PM will attend the European People's Party (EPP) meeting followed, later in the afternoon, by the first session of the European Council and a working dinner of participating heads of states and governments.
On Friday, Karamanlis will attend the second session of the European Council and afterwards he will give a press conference.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the prime minister was briefed by Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis on the ministry's initiatives.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Hatzidakis stressed that the government has decided to move ahead with quick, practical changes, affecting the every day lives of the citizen, adding that his ministry was in tune with the every day reality, but also the prospects of the economy, and was playing an important role.
The minister further noted the reduction in foodstuff prices achieved through a recent agreement with retailers, and initiatives in the fuels sector, adding that Greece ranked 8th among the EU member countries in cheap fuel.
Regarding the reinforcement of small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Hatzidakis said that 10,000 loans have been given to SMEs under the second stage of the TEMPME (Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Micro Enterprises) program, while the aim was to further advance the programme.
 Papandreou at PES meeting in Brussels on Thurs.Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou will travel to Brussels on Thursday to attend a Party of European Socialists (PES) meeting along with European socialist heads of government.
According to a PASOK spokesman, the agenda of talks will include three main issues, especially the candidacy of Jose Manuel Barroso.
"PASOK is against the re-election of Mr. Barroso and what he stands for, as well as in evaluating his previous term," party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said.
The second issue on the agenda will be the ongoing international economic crisis, and thirdly, the burning issue of illegal immigration into the EU will be examined.
The spokesman said PASOK will submit its recently unveiled eight proposals for dealing with the problem.
 FM, US envoy discuss informal OSCE ministers' meetingForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wednesday received US ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard ahead of an informal Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers' meeting on the Ionian island of Corfu later this month, hosted by the 2009 Greek OSCE chairmanship.
Speckhard confirmed that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the meeting's sessions and hold talks with Bakoyannis. The informal summit is set for June 27 and 28.
The US envoy also expressed his condolences to the government over the same-day killing of a police officer in central Athens, allegedly by members of a shadowy ultra-leftist urban terror group.
 FM spokesman on Corfu meetings, EU SummitForeign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Wednesday referred to the two high-level meetings that will be held on the Ionian island of Corfu later this month: the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) on June 27 and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial meeting on European security on June 28.
Speaking to members of the diplomatic press, Delavekouras pointed out that the high-level meetings were a success for the Greek Chair of the OSCE, which had from the first expressed its desire to bring all those playing a key role in European security around the same table.
"Over 50 countries have confirmed that they will be represented in ministerial level, including all EU and NATO member-states and Russia," the spokesman stated. Also among those attending will be the secretaries general of NATO and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), as well as EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, responsible for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy.
"Holding the meeting would have been unthinkable six months ago," Delavekouras stated to underline its significance, referring to the reservations expressed by many of the EU, NATO and OSCE countries in response to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's proposals on European security.
"Greece, through OSCE Chairperson FM Dora Bakoyannis, had expressed the will from the beginning to have the countries playing a key role in the issue of security seated around the same table on equal terms to hold a real discussion on European security," he stressed. Delavekouras also underlined that the Greek Chair has moved ahead with the meeting, while the participation of all the parties involved constitutes a success. "This summit lays the foundations of a lengthy dialogue," he stressed.
Referring to the European Council meeting in Brussels on June 18 and 19, which marks the end of the Czech EU Presidency, Delavekouras stated that the 27 EU partners will discuss the economic crisis, the appointment of the European Commission president, the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, climate change, illegal immigration and external relations issues. The EU Foreign Ministers' dinner will focus on developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the future of European security.
 Foreign ministry on illegal immigration, EU SummitForeign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Wed-nesday stated that the issue of illegal immigration had been raised by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis during the General Affairs Council held in preparation of the EU Summit meeting. He also stated that a number of discussions have already been held with the cooperation of Italy, Malta and Cyprus, which had led to the illegal migration issue being included in the EU Summit agenda.
"That in itself constitutes a success, as not all our partners share our concerns," he added. Delavekouras went on to say that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will request the adoption of specific measures, to be included in the European Council conclusions.
Referring to the interventions made by the foreign minister during the General Affairs Council, he stated that she called for "tangible solidarity within the EU on an issue that is mostly European and a fairer distribution of the burden between member-states, ensuring efficient and humane management of immigration flows."
The spokesman also stated that "we seek specific references to be included in the illegal immigrant readmission agreements and request the upgrading of the role of FRONTEX through the establishment of special branches in regions with particular problems aimed at improving its operational capability."
Greece has been firmly requesting that a bilateral agreement on illegal immigrant readmission be respected by Turkey, Delavekouras stated, adding that this is also an EU position discussed in the EU-Turkey Association Councils. As a result, Greece has blocked Chapter 24 since 2006. He also pointed out that an EU-Turkey immigrant readmission agreement is a lasting issue directly linked with Turkey's EU accession negotiations.
Delavekouras reminded that EU Commissioner Barrot had also raised the issue of such an agreement in a recent letter.
"We seek the adoption of a text of conclusions that will be as specific as possible including specific provisions," he stressed.
 Foreign ministry on inquiry over Karavellas telegramForeign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Wednesday denied that relations between Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and the foreign ministry's diplomatic corps had been strained after the flight abroad of Siemens' case suspect Christos Karavellas and revelations that the ministry had delayed in forwarding a warning telegram sent by the Greek embassy in Montevideo.
"There is absolutely no issue concerning cooperation, either with the minister or between diplomats. We are here and doing our job as usual," he told reporters in response to questions.
He also rejected suggestions that the affair had damaged the prestige of Greece's diplomatic service, adding that a meeting between Bakoyannis and the Diplomatic Employees Union on Wednesday was taking place in the context of the "communication that exists, regardless".
Delavekouras was replying to questions about the results of a formal internal inquiry concerning the Karavellas affair carried out by the ministry, which were announced on Tuesday. He refused to discuss this, however, referring journalists to the ministry's announcement on the issue.
According to the findings of the inquiry, a number of factors had contributed to the delay in forwarding the telegram from Montevideo to its proper recipient, which was the justice ministry. Problems were identified chiefly with a delay caused by the main recipient of the telegram and certain weaknesses in the system handling the foreign ministry's incoming electronic mail, for which the foreign ministry general secretary suggested immediate measures.
 Meeting with parties on migration issues postponedAlternate Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis, in charge of law enforcement and security issues, on Wednesday announced that a meeting with representatives of the political parties to discuss illegal migration will be postponed until the following week. He said this was decided as a "sign of minimal respect" for the police officer slain by terrorists in the Athens district of Patissia earlier the same morning.
The meeting, which will be chaired by Markoyiannakis, will now take place on the following Wednesday.
Referring to the police officer's murder, Markoyiannakis said that Greek society and the Greek people condemned the killing as a cowardly and murderous action.
The minister stressed that he and the police were doing everything in their power to discover those responsible and bring them to justice.
 Delavekouras on visits by Milososki, Turkish officialsForeign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Wednesday said that the Greek civil aviation authority, as an exception to Greece's normal policy, has been asked to allow a plane carrying the foreign minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Antonio Milososki to land in Greek airports, even if it bore the markings of the neighbouring country's airline MAT.
Greece generally refuses permission for MAT planes to land in Greek airports, objecting to the company's name "Macedonian Airlines" in what is a ramification of the ongoing name dispute between the two countries. The exception has been made so that Milososki can attend a meeting of foreign ministers in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member-states that is taking place on Corfu later in June.
The spokesman also stated that there was no confirmation of reports that either Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu intended to follow up a visit to the opening of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens with a tour of Thrace.
 SYRIZA secretariat rejects Alavanos resignationThe Radical Left Coalition's (SYRIZA) secretariat, following a long discussion on Wednesday, unanimously decided not to accept the resignation of Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos and to continue discussions on Monday.
Alavanos made a surprise announcement to members of SYRIZA and of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) when he revealed his intention to resign in the afternoon, both from the Parliamentary group's presidency and as an MP.
Pressure was exerted on Alavanos during the Secretariat's meeting not to insist on his decision and for discussion on SYRIZA's course in the wake of the recent lacklustre results in the Euro-elections.
 Papoulias to officially visit Syria in JunePresident of Republic Karolos Papoulias will pay an official visit to Syria from June 24 to June 27, following an invitation by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
 MIG announces order for eight Q400 aircraft for Olympic AirMarfin Investment Group (MIG) announced on Wednesday that a subsidiary has signed a firm order for eight Q400 aircraft, including 5 Q400 NextGen airliners, for Olympic Air, with options on an additional eight NextGen airliners. The order is estimated at 224 million US dollars, and delivery is expected to commence in July, ahead of the new airline's assumption of the formerly state-owned Olympiic Airlines' (OA) flight operations on October 1.
According to the MIG announcement:
Marfin Investment Group (MIG) hereby announces its subsidiary, has signed a firm order for eight Q400 aircraft, including five Q400 NextGen airliners, and has taken options on an additional eight Q400 NextGen airliners.
The value of the firm order contract is approximately $224 million US and could increase to $468 million US if the eight options are exercised.
The Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft will be operated under the Olympic Air brand name. The aircraft will be added to Olympic Air's fleet in the following months as their delivery is expected to commence in July. it is hereby reminded that the new airline, Olympic Air, will assume Olympic Airlines' flight operations from 1st October 2009.
"Our plan to build Olympic Air is executed consistently and intensely. Our aim from 1st October onwards is to present to our passengers a modern fleet, comprised of state-of-the-art aircraft, and a new airline offering high quality services", said MIG's President, Andreas Vgenopoulos.
"The Q400 airliners are an important part of Olympic's fleet replacement program intended to introduce state-of-the-art air transport technology in Greece's regions," said Antonis Simigdalas, Chief Executive Officer, Olympic Air. "The Q400 aircraft has gained an enviable reputation for its passenger comfort, speed, fuel economy, reduced environmental footprint and advanced technology. The Q400 NextGen aircraft's new interior offers passengers even greater comfort and we believe that it will introduce a new level of service in Greek regional networks."
 FING urges measures to boost industry competitivenessFederation of Industries of Northern Greece (FING) President Nikos Pentzos on Wednesday raised a number of issues linked to boosting the competitiveness of Greek manufacturing concerns in a meeting with Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis in Athens.
The federation's proposals were summarised in a memorandum presented to the minister, in which northern Greek industrialists stressed that manufacturing must be restored to a central place in government policy, given that the sector was the one hardest hit by the economic crisis and had a vital role in Greece's development.
Among their suggestions was the creation of a special service to implement programmes for industry, with a clear division of duties relating to the handling and application of programmes and the ministry's main mission, an equivalent of the loan guarantee fund for small businesses that will be exclusive to manufacturing concerns, irrespective of their size, and incentives for businesses to acquire know-how.
They also suggest a more flexible and efficient system for managing new investment laws, in order to make them more effective.
 MPs briefed on EU-funded enterprise programmesProjects corresponding to 45 percent of the Operational Programme "Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship" (EPAN II) will have been activated by next October, Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said in Parliament on Wednesday, while briefing the Standing Committee for Production and Trade on progress in carrying out EPAN II.
Regarding Operational Programme "Competitiveness" (EPAN I) funded under the 3rd Community Support Framework (2000-2006), the minister repeated that absorption of the 6.3 billion euros package would come to 107 percent, so that even if the European Commission removed some projects there would some margin so that asborption would not fall below 100 percent. Any amount exceeding this would be covered by national funds, he added.
"The issue, however, is not to simply record good absorption but make the best use and thus secure added value. This is what we are trying to do," Hatzidakis underlined.
The government came in for criticism from main opposition PASOK MPs on the committee, however, for the poor results of efforts to ensure liquidity for small and micro-businesses via the Small and Very Small Businesses Guarantee Fund (TEMPME), chiefly as a result of qualifying criteria that tended to exclude businesses that most needed its help.
The minister stressed that the fund had so far backed 22,600 investment plans, of which 21,000 involved micro-businesses, while the government had already decided to remove the condition of three years consecutive profitability from the pilot programme, so that more businesses could benefit from the second phase.
 Piraeus Port Organisation dividendThe dividend for the 2008 fiscal year of the Piraeus Port Organisation SA will amount to 0.07 euros per share, according to a decision taken by the shareholders' Regular General Assembly on June 17, 2009.
According to the announcement, the net payable amount of the dividend per share will be 0.063 euros, since the 10 percent tax corresponding to the dividend will be withheld.
The termination date has been set for August 6, 2009. As of this date, the company's shares will be negotiated at the Athens Stock Exchange, without the right to withdraw dividends.
 Thessaloniki chamber event on NSRF regional operation programmesThe Thessaloniki Chamber of Industry and Commerce will present the budget for a programme to support small and very small businesses, which is included in the Regional Operational Programmes taking place under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007-2013, during an event taking place on the evening of June 22 in the northern Greek port city.
The programme's total budget comes to 1.5 billion euros, and concerns businesses that are at least two years old and employ up to 50 people, having an average turnover in the past three years of between 50,000 euros and 10 million euros for manufacturing, 30,000 euros to 10 million euros in tourism and 30,000 euros to 10 million euros in commerce and services. These will qualify for subsidies ranging from 55 percent to 65 percent of their total investment, depending on the geographic zone they occupy.
 Public to spend 50 million on extending branch networkThe book, music and DVD retailer Public on Wednesday unveiled planned investments of 50 million euros, to be spent on extending its branch network in Greece and abroad.
Public's management said the company intends to open five new branches - one of them an e-commerce outlet - that will create 150 new jobs. Public opened a second branch in Cyprus a few days ago and new shops are planned in the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina, the port of Piraeus, and Varna in Bulgaria.
The e-commerce branch is expected to be ready in December this year, while another seven outlets are due to open in 2010, in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, the regional capitals Iraklio, Larissa, and Patras, Sofia and Burgas in Bulgaria and Larnaca in Cyprus.
 Aegean Airlines launches daily flight to IstanbulThe Greek airline company Aegean Airlines has added Istanbul to its new international destinations after Brussels, Berlin, Barcelona, Venice, Dusseldorf and a second daily flight to Paris.
The Athens-Istanbul daily flight will be effective from Sept. 9, 2009 departing from Athens at 14:00 and from Istanbul at 16:00.
Flights will be serviced by the 168-seater new AIRBUS A320.
 Employment minister meets Int'l Labour Bureau GMEmployment and Social Solidarity Minister Fani Palli-Petralia met in Geneva on Wednesday with the General Director of the International Labour Bureau Juan Somavia.
 Tourism turnover index down 4.1 pct in 1st quarter 2009The turnover index in the tourism sector fell by 4.1 pct in the first quarter of 2009, compared with the corresponding period in the previous year, after an increase of 4.8 pct in the first quarter of the 2008-2007 period, Greece's National Statistical Service said on Wednesday.
The service said the turnover index in the January-March period plunged 22.9 pct compared with the October-December 2008 period.
 Egnatia motorway remains blocked for second dayThe Egnatia Odos motorway remained blocked for a second day at the Panagia intersection, as some 400 workers employed by the construction firm stayed in place on Wednesday in demand of four months' back pay.
Egnatia, a major motorway traversing the north-northwestern part of the country, was blocked at the intersection in both directions -- towards both Grevena and Ioannina.
Member of the workers' board said to ANA-MPA that their mobilisations will continue until their demands are fulfilled. They also said that a delevation would go to the environment, town planning and public works ministry on Monday.
 Athens bourse sheds 5.68 pctThe Athens Stock Exchange continued a rapid downward slide for a second consecutive day on Wednesday, with the general share price index shedding 5.16 percent of its value over the course of the session to end at 2,162.34 points and turnover at 278.8 million euros, of which 4.8 million euros were block trades.
Individual sector indexes were all moving downward, with the biggest losses posted in Technology (8.82 percent), Foods & Beverages (7.50 percent), Health (7.13 percent), Raw Materials (7.12 percent) and Insurance (6.88 percent).
The FTSE/20 index ended 5.38 percent lower, the FTSE/40 index posted losses of 5.68 percent and the FTSE/80 closed 6.06 percent down.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 218 to 23 with another 23 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.92%
Personal & Household: -5.70%
Raw Materials: -7.12%
Travel & Leisure: -3.79%
Food & Beverages: -7.50%
Financial Services: -6.23%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Public Power Corporation (DEH) and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 7.98
Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.22
HBC Coca Cola: 13.51
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.27
National Bank of Greece: 17.60
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.40
Bank of Piraeus: 6.98
Titan Cement Company: 18.77
 ADEX Closing ReportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount 0.30 in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover rising to 228.340 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 33,660 contracts worth 184.40 million euros, with 27,083 open positions in the market.
Volume on futures contracts on equities totaled 50,156 contracts worth 40,944 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank contracts (8,683) with Eurobank (1,786), Hellenic Telecoms (4,119), PPC (5,087), Piraeus Bank (3,431) and Marfin Popular Bank (2,949).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.395
Pound sterling 0.859
Danish kroner 7.504
Swedish kroner 10.980
Japanese yen 134.35
Swiss franc 1.521
Norwegian kroner 8.989
Canadian dollar 1.592
Australian dollar 1.766
 Gunmen kill officer guarding terrorism trial witnessÇooded gunmen shot and killed a 41-year-old police counter-terrorism officer in central Athens at dawn on Wednesday, as he sat inside an unmarked police vehicle parked outside the apartment of a witness in an ongoing urban terrorism trial, a woman who had been in a witness protection programme since 2002.
The three gunmen, later identified with a shadowy terror gang blamed for at least two recent shooting attacks, riddled the police officer with bullets at 6:20 a.m. in the densely populated Athens district of Ano Patissia. They fled the scene on foot and escaped aboard two high-powered motorcycles, along with an accomplice.
During a press conference at police headquarters in the early afternoon, a spokesman said the "Revolutionaries Sect" was responsible for the deadly attack. The same group had been blamed for an attack on a Piraeus-area (Korydallos) police precinct in February 2009 and on a television station (Alter) the same month. No one was injured in either of the two February terrorist strikes.
According to later reports, at least 24 cartridges -- 9mm diameter -- were collected from the scene. Police spokesman Panagiotis Stathis said that ballistics tests carried out on the cartridges showed that two guns had been involved, with nine cartridges fired from a weapon also used in previous hits attributed to 'Revolutionaries Sect'.
The police spokesman also appealed to witnesses to come forward with any bit of information relating to the attack, however small.
The victim was identified as police sergeant Antonios Nektarios Savvas, married and the father of a young girl, who was serving in the counter-terrorism unit's operations division.
Savvas was guarding a key witness in the trial of several defendants accused of involvement with the now defunct "Revolutionary Popular Struggle" (ELA) urban guerrilla group, the ex-wife of one of the defendants.
He went on duty at 6 a.m., taking over from the two colleagues who completed an early morning shift outside the home of the woman. The latter had testified as a material witness at the ELA trial three days earlier.
The officer had gotten a cup of coffee and took his place in the driver's seat of the vehicle when, according to eyewitnesses, the gunmen approached the car and fired more than 20 rounds, fatally injuring him in the chest and head.
Local residents said they knew who the woman was, and saw police guarding her, while they also said she frequently circulated alone.
A local medical examiner said the officer suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his left side, including a wound to the head, from very close range. He said the victim died instantly. Savvas' service revolver was still in his belt, police said. A later autopsy report said there were 12 entry wounds on his body where bullets had hit the unlucky officer.
 Papandreou condolences to family of slain policemanMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou extended his condolences to the family of policeman Savvas Nektariou, who was slain in a terrorist attack at dawn on Wednesday.
"It is not the time nor the place for me to say more, but for the revival of this terrorist phenomenon, the opening of a new cycle of blood, the insecurity that every citizen in our country now feels, for all this there are responsibilities," he said, among other things, in his message.
 Tour of the permanent collections of the New Acropolis MuseumThe New Acropolis Museum, which will be officially inaugurated on Saturday, contains five Permanent Collections: The Acropolis Slopes, divided into sub-categories on The Settlement, and The Sanctuary; The Acropolis during the Archaic Period, with sub-categories on The Hekatompedon, The Ancient Temple, abd The Votives; The Parthenon, with sub-categories on The Monument, The Metopes, The Pediments, and The Frieze; Other Monuments of the Classical Acropolis, with sub-categories on The Propylaia, The Temple of Athena Nike, and The Erectheion; and Other Collections, with sub-categories on The Sanctuary of Artemis Vravronia, The Votives of the Classical and Hellenist Periods, and The Votives of the Roman Period. ANA-MPA takes its readers on a tour of the collections, in three parts, leading up to the official opening. The Museum opened its electronic gates (www.theacropolismuseum.gr) on Monday.
THE ACROPOLIS SLOPES
The first gallery of the Museum houses finds from the slopes of the Acropolis. The gallery's glass floor affords views to the excavation, while its upward slope alludes at the ascent to the Acropolis. In antiquity, the slopes of the Sacred Rock constituted the transition zone between the city and its most famous sanctuary. This was the area where official and popular cults, as well as large and small sanctuaries existed alongside private houses.
Among the sanctuaries, or at a slightly lower level, archaeological excavations brought to light parts of the urban fabric of ancient Athens and gave evidence of its almost uninterrupted settlement from the end of the Neolithic period (about 3000 BC) until late antiquity (6th century AD). Houses and workshops, roads and squares, wells and reservoirs, as well as thousands of objects left behind by the local people in antiquity all provide valuable insight into the past. Most finds are made of clay, as objects made of other perishable materials have been lost to us, while the most valuable objects have been looted. The finds include tableware and symposium vessels, cooking pots, perfume holders, cosmetics and jewelry containers, children's toys and others.
The slopes, caves and plateaus of the Acropolis hill were sacred to gods, heroes and nymphs. The south slope was home to two of the most important sanctuaries of the city, those of Dionysos Eleuthereus and Asklepios. It was also the site of several other temples, smaller in size, yet of great importance to the Athenians.
At a short distance from the Sanctuary of Asklepios was a small open-air temple dedicated to the Nymphe, who was the protector of marriage and wedding ceremonies. There, the Athenians dedicated the nuptial bath vases, as well as other votive offerings, such as perfume bottles, cosmetics and jewelry containers and symposium vases.
THE ACROPOLIS DURING THE ARCHAIC PERIOD
The period throughout the 7th century BC, until the end of the Persian Wars is called Archaic. This period is characterized by the development of the city-state and the development of democracy. It is also characterized by great achievements in the economy, art and intellectual life.
In the early 6th century BC, the cult of Athena Polias on the Acropolis continued to be pursued in her late-geometric temple. In 566 BC, the tyrant Peisistratos re-organized the Panathenaia, the greatest festival in honor of the Goddess. It is possible that at that time, for reasons of political propaganda, a large temple was erected at the site to be occupied later by the Parthenon. This temple is the Archaic Parthenon or Hekatompedon, dedicated to the military facet of Athena Parthenos, the patron divinity of the city.
The earliest building known on the Acropolis was the Hekatompedon or Hekatompedos neos - meaning 100 feet long, and comes from an inscription referring to the layout of the sanctuary. It is thought that the building was built on the site, later occupied by the Classical Parthenon. The fragments of poros architectural members and sculptures uncovered to the south and east of the Parthenon, reveal that the Hekatompedon was a Doric peripteral temple.
The lioness pediment is distinguished by its high-relief carving and its striking size. It depicts a lioness with an unusually bushy mane, rearing on its hind legs and tearing apart a calf. It is believed to have adorned the east pediment of the temple. Two compositions belong to the west pediment. The one to the left depicts Herakles on his right knee, wrestling with the Triton, a creature with a body of a man ending in the scaly tail of a sea monster. The group to the right is the Triple-Bodied Monster, a composite creature consisting of three male figures conjoined at the waist. Each figure holds an object in its left hand: the first has water, the second fire, and the third a bird (symbolizing air).
The Ancient Temple
The Gigantomachy pediment belongs to the decoration of the Old Temple of Athena. It has been argued that the Temple had an earlier building phase (570 BC), involving the poros sculptures that are now assigned to the Hekatompedon, while the marble sculptures were associated with a renovation by the sons of Peisistratos. It is possible, however, that the Temple was built and given its marble sculpted decoration in the last quarter of the 6th century BC. The compositions of the pediments consist of larger than life-size statues, carved in Parian marble, which are attributed to the workshop of an important Athenian sculptor, either Antenor or Endoios.
From the time of Peisistratos onwards, the site of the Acropolis began to fill with votive offerings, offered to the Goddess, both as tokens of respect and as marks of financial and artistic development. These important offerings were mostly statues meant to please the Goddess. The human form was at the core of artistic pursuit, and its depiction resulted in technique perfection.
On the Acropolis, statues and other expensive artefacts were commissioned by members of aristocratic families and wealthy professionals, manual workers, as well as women, such as washer women and bakers. Clay plaques depicted Athena either as Promachos, fully armed and resting one foot on a chariot, or as Ergane, seated and spinning.
 Ministry sponsors children's film dedicated to the ParthenonThe education ministry on Wednesday announced that it will debut a children's film dedicated to the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, entitled "The Parthenon and its Sculptures".
The film will be shown primarily within the New Acropolis Museum's main atrium, as the entire museum will officially be inaugurated on Saturday.
 Archbishop Ieronymos to visit Alexandria PatriarchateArchbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos will officially visit Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa on June 19-23.
According to the Church of Greece's Holy Synod, on Saturday Ieronymos will visit the Aghios (St.) Georgios Cathedral in Cairo and afterwards he will leave for Alexandria.
On Monday, the Archbishop and the members of his entourage will tour Alexandria's state-of-the-art library and the Aghios Savvas Monastery.
 Papoulias attends Bodosakis Awards ceremonyThe Bodosakis Award of Excellence ceremony was held at the Athens Academy on Wednesday, in the presence of President Karolos Papoulias. This year's award was given by the Foundation's Board to Biology and Biophysics professor of the Hopkins University, Evangelos Moudrianakis. The Bodosakis Award of Excellence, enacted in 2002, amounts to 150,000 euros.
 UNHCR event for World Refugee Day in AthensThe UN High Commission for Refugees on Wednesday held a press conference at its Athens offices to mark World Refugee Day on June 20. The event was addressed by UNHCR Good Will Ambassador George Dalaras, a popular Greek singer, who spoke out against indiscriminate opposition to illegal immigrants as a whole and urged people to think about "what we really want our state to be like".
Other speakers urged the media, in particular, to be more discriminating and to distinguish between economic immigrants and refugees, stressing that these were two distinct groups, while criticising the presidential decree dealing with asylum issues that will soon be signed, saying that it seriously undermined a fair examination of asylum applications.
They recommended a radical overhaul of the asylum process, which they said should gradually be transferred from the police to a new body having specially trained staff.
 Athens con'f on Byzantine studiesThe second annual City of Athens congress "Greece in the World: Byzantine Studies", will take place in the Greek capital on June 25, 26 and 27.
The three-day event is the second of a cycle of congresses with the overall title "Greece in the World" www.elladastonkosmo.gr which was inaugurated by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis.
The objective of this congresses, organised in collaboration by Athens' cultural organisation and the Athens Concert Hall, is the projection and outlining of scientific work that takes place all over the world on behalf of Greece.
 Bomb planted in car explodes, injures driverA small car bomb linked to the vehicle's ignition system exploded Wednesday morning in the district of Neo Iraklio, Athens when the owner, a 52-year-old woman, attempted to start her car and activated the device.
The woman, an economist employed as an accountant by a high-profile entrepreneur, was slightly injured in the leg and was rushed to "Agia Olga" Hospital to get first aid treatment.
The vehicle is being examined by bomb squad experts and according to police the attack is attributed to personal differences.
 Body of 93-year-old woman found gagged and tiedThe body of a 93-year-old woman was found tied and gagged on Tuesday evening at a village near Kalamata, southern Greece, police said on Wednesday.
The victim was found half naked with her hands and mouth tied with plastic tape in the ground floor of her home. The body was discovered after neighbours asked policemen on patrol to check the elderly woman's house because they hadn't seen her the past 24 hours.
A preliminary investigation is being conducted by Kalamata police.
 Boy drowns in cafeteria swimming poolA nine-year-old boy drowned in the swimming pool of a cafeteria in the southern Athens coastal suburb of Alimos on Wednesday evening.
According to authorities, the boy had gone to the establishment together with his 15-year-old sister for a dip in the pool and, evading her attention, drowned under unspecified conditions.
The cafeteria's lifeguards retrieved the youth from of the pool and tried to revive him, unsuccessfully, as it turned out.
Police arrested the owner of the cafeteria and the lifeguards.
 'Free beaches' concertThe prefecture of Eastern Attica and the Municipality of Anavyssos will be organising a concert, on the occasion of "Action day for free beaches", on the beach at Alykes Anavyssou on Sunday in the evening.
The prefecture of Eastern Attica, as well as many local municipalities and agencies have expressed disagreement with the closure of beaches by private firms.
 Cloudy, rainy on ThursdayCloudy weather and possible local showers, and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 35C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northeasterly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 22C to 33C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with local showers, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 26C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe latest wildfires in Attica, illegal migration and the reduction of the required military conscription term to nine months, dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The reduction of the military term to 9 months is a fact".
APOGEVMATINI: "Reforms in college entry exams".
AVGHI: "The 'social' Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) calls for cooperation".
AVRIANI: "Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis sending the 'rebels' into exile and preparing for general elections in September".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Piraeus port an illegal migrants' ghetto".
ELEFTHEROS: "Attica Security Police keeps files on police officers but not on the anti-establishmentarians".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government did not learn its lesson from the wildfires that ravaged Greece in 2007".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "ND MP Yannis Manolis playing hide and seek with Karamanlis".
ESTIA: "Manolis' stance is deplorable".
ETHNOS: "The latest reports on university entry exams' base passing grades".
KATHIMERINI: "National Bank of Greece suddenly decides share capital increase".
NIKI: "Government playing underhanded games with National Bank - They're sending the 'pillar' of the Greek economy into the profiteers' arms".
RIZOSPASTIS: "EU Council of Foreign Affairs - New imperialistic cries and anti-communist campaign".
TA NEA: "Manolis foresees new defeat (in general elections) and plans departure from ND - Flirting with......Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS).
TO VIMA: "Topples....not topples..topples...- Two ruling New Democracy MPs keeping Karamanlis hostage".
VRADYNI: " Tourism sector resisting the crisis - The Cassandras (doom-sayers) that forecast record high drop in tourists arrivals are being belied".
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