|Friday, 15 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-06-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 29 June 2009 Issue No: 3231
 PM at OSCE: Dialogue the most effective toolPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed that dialogue is the most effective and substantial tool for restoring confidence among states, in his opening address to an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers' meeting on the island of Corfu on Sunday, chaired by Greece, while he urged the OSCE members to "turn the crisis into an opportunity".
The vision of a united European continent has not become a reality yet for all of Europe, he noted. "We are on Odysseus' Corfu, but we still need a few more miles to reach Ithaca," Karamanlis said, stressing that "the OSCE ministers are here to renew their commitment for a new beginning, for a united, free and creative Europe".
Karamanlis spoke of complex and turbulent times, due to the global financial crisis, which he said drastically affected security and required deeper collaborations.
On behalf of the Greek chairmanship of the OSCE, Karamanlis noted that in the 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world has faced numerous challenges, "which indicates to us the volume of work that has yet to be done", while he also underlined the pressing problems of climate change and security, "which have spread anxiety throughout the world".
Karamanlis noted that the concept of 'crisis', in Chinese ideograms, is depicted with two elements denoting 'danger' and 'opportunity', stressing that the present crisis could also comprise an "opportunity for change".
In statements later to Greek state televisio, Karamanlis said that the 56-member OSCE was the most appropriate forum for a sincere appraisal on whether the goal that we have set for a united, free and peaceful Europe has been attained.
On the significance of the OSCE foreign ministers' meeting on Corfu, Karamanlis noted that it was a major success of Greece's foreign policy that all the other 55 OSCE member countries responded to Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis' (the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE for 2009) invitation, "and are here today to discuss openly, in a free and sincere dialogue, all the problems concerning Europe, and chiefly security matters".
Karamanlis also delivered a greeting to the NATO-Russia ministerial meeting that took place on Corfu on Saturday afternoon.
Meeting with Berlusconi, NATO chief
Karamanlis also had a 35-minute meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on the sidelines of the NATO-Russia ministerial meeting on Saturday afternoon on Corfu, during which the Italian premier invited his Greek counterpart to visit Rome.
The two premiers discussed issues on the conference's agenda, as well as the problem of illegal migration and ways of accelerating implementation of EU summit decisions, as well as the establishment of an EU coastguard.
They further discussed Greek-Italian cooperation in the energy sector, with the focus on the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline and the South Stream natgas pipeline.
Karamanlis also met with outgoing NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, accompanied by Bakoyannis.
 FM: Summit goal to enhance dialogue for resolution of new, old conflictsAthens' policy goal for the informal Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers' council in Corfu over the weekend was to enhance and strengthen mechanisms for step-by-step dialogue to deal with old and new conflicts, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, the summit's host, stressed at its conclusion on Sunday.
Bakoyannis, speaking at a press conference following the summit on the Ionian island, also emphasised that Greece's goal -- as the chair of the 2009 OSCE president -- is to consolidate Europe's security and prosperity, "in our neighbourhood, and all the way to Vancouver and Vladivostok."
"We are tabling a political volition to overcome the challenges of security we face, guided by the spirit of a comprehensive, cooperative and indivisible security," Bakoyannis said, while initially referring to a "Corfu process" for strengthening the OSCE mechanisms aimed at a step-by-step conflict resolution within the organisation's scope.
In response to other questions, the Greek FM accepted that the "journey" towards the OSCE ministerial summit in Athens next December will be "long", while she noted that the Greek diplomatic delegation in Vienna -- the OSCE's seat -- will explore ways to formulate a more "structured dialogue, with specific thematic sections, where the focus will be on dialogue and the ways to implement it."
According to reports from the Corfu summit, the top challenges needing resolution include Georgia, simmering conflicts in the Caucasus and the Transdneister, a pending agreement on conventional weapons, energy security and climate change.
New and emerging threats, moreover, include illegal immigration, terrorism and cyber-crime.
Asked about the increasingly menacing problem of illegal immigration, and particularly its effects on Greece, Bakoyannis said she discussed the matter with several attending foreign ministers, while adding that "closer cooperation is necessary between states in order to achieve re-admission protocols with countries that have not signed such agreements, as well as to implement agreements that have been signed."
In conclusion, the Greek minister underlined that "our partners trusted us; they backed our initiative to commence the "Corfu process". For two straight days we discussed Europe's security, something that demonstrates that there is a new wind guiding us towards making this dialogue more substantive ... the next step is to work harder to achieve an agreed-to text for Athens."
 OSCE meeting gets underwayThe OSCE informal meeting of foreign ministers began on Sunday morning on the Ionian island of Corfu, presided by Greece's FM Dora Bakoyannis, whose country holds the OSCE Chairmanship for 2009. The OSCE conference came on the heels of a NATO-Russia ministerial meeting on Saturday night, during which the two sides agreed to resume formal cooperation on a broad range of security issues in their first high-level meeting since the crisis in Georgia.
Addressing the opening session Sunday morning, Bakoyannis told her 55 OSCE colleagues that ethnic tension and unresolved differences burden the climate and create conditions that recycle the tensions and increase distrust.
"It is necessary, therefore, to renew the democratic procedures and to serve the common target, which is dialogue on European security," Bakoyannis stressed, adding that the Greek chairmanship committed itself to make every effort for the reopening of that process, which aims at achieving a collective commitment on the security issues over a 10-year horizon.
Noting that it would take time to bridge the differences, Bakoyannis recalled that it had taken 2,500 meetings and 660 proposals to reach the Helsinki Accord, adding that "in order, therefore, to rid ourselves of the chronic discriminations and clash rationales 35 years after Helsinki, systematic effort is required".
 OSCE FMs on European securityFinnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said he firmly supported the Greek OSCE chairmanship's approach that new structures are not necessary in the field of security and that the existing ones are sufficient but need to be renewed, and on the principles on which our commitment must be reaffirmed.
Replying to questions during a press conference regarding Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's proposal for the establishment of a Europe-wide security pact, Stubb noted that the OSCE had been founded due to the Cold War and that it is the authoritative organisation for security issues encompassing all three aspects: relations among the member countries on the basis of specific principals, economic and environmental cooperation, and linking security with human rights.
Stubb further spoke of a three-stage road map for the OSCE that began in Helsinki and continued on Corfu, while the next step will be in Athens (at the OSCE meeting marking the end of the Greek Chairmanship).
French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, in his own press conference, said that "we are too many to be able, through a discussion, to move forward".
He added, however, that there had been "ice" up to now due to the issue of Georgia, but "now we are discussing the issue".
"Mr. Lavrov (Russian foreign minister) is amongst us, and this is positive. The main idea is to continue working, so that in Athens we will move an inch forward," Kouchner said.
Cyprus foreign minister Markos Kyprianou called for reinforcement of the European security system, in statements to the press on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting.
Turning to the case of Cyprus, he said that "we, as a country, have suffered from the violation of our security", adding that "at this time a matter of has arisen of enhancing the existing institutions, which were created many years ago and have not been modernised".
Replying to questions, he said that "from the declaration of principals last year in Helsinki and the brainstorming taking place at this stage, we need to pass on to a stage of specific proposals".
 NATO chief, Karamanlis address alliance-Russia ministerial meeting on CorfuOutgoing NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stressed that the purpose of the NATO-Russia meeting was to "build together a viable and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area", in his opening address Saturday evening to the NATO-Russia Council, at foreign minister level, convened on the Greek island of Corfu.
Noting that Saturday's meeting followed a serious crisis, Scheffer described as "particularly significance the common decision" for the meeting, which he said would aspire to advancing the work of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) in the prospect of a military cooperation.
He said that the cooperation for peace is a process of strategic importance, stressing that the NATO-Russia cooperation is founded on the principles of the Rome Declaration and the common volition for a constructive and sincere dialogue.
Referring to the search for an architecture on security issues, Scheffer stressed that the meeting had the ability to contribute to stability in Europe, while he also thanked the Greek hosts of the meeting for the "pleasant environment and generous hospitality".
Scheffer, in his last public appearance as the NATO chief, turned over the podium to Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis, who stressed that the development of good relations between NATO and Russia "is of great importance", and welcomed all the foreign ministers attending, and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (who had just arrived in the conference hall), while he also expressed his conviction that the Corfu meeting would enable the NATO-Russia relationship to take steps forward.
Before the commencement of the meeting, Karamanlis, accompanied by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, had a private meeting with Scheffer.
Speaking to reporters, the Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin noted that Moscow's goal was an analysis of the state of the Russia-NATO relationship, as well as an appraisal of the conditions. "We want to see whether the conditions have ripened for a prospective commencement of the process of military cooperation," he said.
British foreign secretary David Miliband, in reply to a press question, noted that "it is important to understand that there are new threats in the area of security, and it is better to face them together with Russia, rather than without Russia".
NATO chief: 'Back to work'
NATO secretary general Scheffer encapsulated the outcome of Saturday's meeting of NATO-Russia foreign ministers on the Greek island of Corfu in the phrase 'back to work'.
Speaking to reporters after the conclusion of the first high-level meeting between the two sides since the crisis in the Caucasus, Scheffer said that there were still "fundamental differences" between the Alliance and Russia on the Caucasus issues, such as the territorial integrity of Georgia, but nevertheless an important development emerging from the Corfu meeting was agreement by the two sides that those differences were not a reason for discontinuation of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) talks on a broad range of security threats.
The two sides decided at the Corfu meeting to resume relations at political level, and agreed also to restart military contacts, which have been frozen since last August.
"There are still fundamental differences on Georgia, they have not evaporated...but NATO needs Russia and Russia needs NATO," the alliance chief said, adding that "we have restarted our relations at a political level, we have also agreed to restart the military to military contacts".
Replying to a press question, Scheffer noted that the list of matters for cooperation was "long", and stressed that Russian is an important factor in the region.
He also thanked Greece's foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis for her personal efforts for the success of the meeting.
US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said Saturday's NATO-Russia meeting and Sunday's OSCE ministerial meeting on Corfu provided a significant opportunity for dialogue on the major challenges faced by Europe, such as regional security, arms proliferation, terrorism, and economic matters, in an interview on Greek state television station NET.
He also noted the joint desire of Greece and the US for deepening relations between the two countries.
Steinberg said that the NATO and OSCE meetings on Corfu were an opportunity for advancing cooperation.
US President Barack Obama considers Greece a very important a very important partner of the US, with which the US has common interests and shares common values, for cooperation in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and proof of that desire was the resolution of current matters, such as completion of the process for Greece's inclusion in the US visa waiver program.
To a question on the increase in illegal migration, Steinberg said that he understands Greece's concerns both on the impact on security issues and on the human dimension of the problem. He said ways need to be found to tackle the problem at the source.
On Turkish overflights in the Aegean, he expressed concern over the escalation of tension, and said dialogue was necessary, adding that the efforts being made by the Greek side for a commitment on the party of Turkey to jointly find solutions were important.
On the Cyprus issue, he expressed satisfaction with the recent opening of the Limnitis crossing, calling it a very positive indication.
Regarding the FYROM name issue, he said that a resolution of the problem would be to everyone's benefit, adding that it would be in Greece's interest to see FYROM in NATO and the EU and become a prospering country.
On terrorism, Steinberg said that there was cooperation with Greece in that area, adding that such cooperation was necessary because terrorist was a threat for all citizens.
At a press conference after the conclusion of Saturday's informal NRC meeting, at foreign ministers level on Corfu, Steinberg spoke of a "rejuvenation" of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), a forum to which "we can discuss even the differences", in a press conference.
He said that discussions included Afghanistan, terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and Georgia, but not Iran, while he added that emphasis must be placed on multilateral diplomacy.
Steinberg noted that the differences concerned the issue of Georgia and NATO enlargement, adding that the NATO message to Russia was that Georgia's territorial integrity must be respected, and that stability in Georgia was also in the interests of Russia.
 Russian FM on NRCRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a return to the founding principals of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), in a press conference after the NATO-Russia ministerial meeting held Saturday afternoon on the island of Corfu, the first such high-level meeting since the crisis in the Caucasus.
He said that the NATO-Russia Council convened (at foreign minister level) after a long time, with positive results and a sincere exchange of views.
"We need to return to the founding principles of the NATO-Russia Council, especially on the indivisibility of European security," Lavrov said, adding that his views on the issue "coincide" with those of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (who also attended the Corfu meeting), who he called "one of the fathers of the NATO-Russia cooperation".
On Russia's decisions regarding recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Lavrov said that they were "irreversible", but added that the meeting had been useful in averting new clashes.
 Bakoyannis' Saturday meetings on the sidelinesFM Dora Bakoyannis met on Saturday with her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, shortly after his arrival on the island of Corfu for the informal NATO-Russia ministerial meeting.
"Problems are solved with dialogue, not with texts that have been drafted and are simply read out," Steinmeier observed in statements to the press after the meeting.
Bakoyannis expressed satisfaction over the fact that most of the OSCE member countries responded to the invitation for the Corfu meeting, noting that her desire was to have "an open and sincere discussion on the issues of security".
Steinmeier congratulated his Greek counterpart on her "courage in organising this meeting" which, however, "is necessary, as there are many open issues", referring indicatively to the NATO-Russia dialogue and also Russia's proposal for a "Europe-wide security architecture".
As for the difficulties in reaching understanding, Steinmeier recalled that "in order to reach Helsinki, 2,500 meetings preceded."
"In the present instance, we are at the second meeting," he added, stressing that the prospect of a security agreement "is very significant".
To a question on the procedure that will be followed for an agreement, Steinmeier said that he has been following the NATO-Russia Council for the past four years and considers it a "very interesting" process, but noted that "it is not easy for solutions to be found, especially when the states come with (prepared) texts, which they read out, and not with a disposition for dialogue".
In other words, he explained, the process is productive when there is a disposition for dialogue, and not prepared texts.
Immediately afterwards, Bakoyannis met with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, but no statements were after the meeting.
 Greek, Turkish FMs hold sidelines meetingBakoyannis had a first meeting with her new Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday on Corfu, on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting. Davutolgu reiterated his invitation to Bakoyannis to visit Ankara, which the Greek foreign minister accepted.
 Greece, US sign accordsBakoyannis and US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg spoke of a "new air" in Greece-US relations after a bilateral meeting, during which two accords were signed on the sidelines of a NATO-Russia ministerial meeting and an OSCE informal ministerial on Corfu.
Greece and the US signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a cooperation agreement on tackling serious crime, which pave the way to Greece's inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Program.
"There are just a few steps left, and some administrative actions, to complete this process," Steinberg said in joint statements with Bakoyannis after their meeting, adding that he expected completion of the process before the end of the year.
Based on reciprocity, the services of the Greek foreign ministry and the US state department drafted two texts that adopt high-level criteria and guarantees for the protection of personal data and adherence of legal procedures, Bakoyannis said, noting that the two accords comprised an essential step towards strengthening bilateral relations, particularly at the level of the Society of the Citizens.
She added that Greece and the US would work at a fast pace for completion of the process, and look forward to the positive effect that Greece's participation in the visa waiver program will have on economic cooperation between the two countries, tourism and contact between the two peoples.
On recent high-level exchanges of visits with the US, Bakoyannis said that they were proof of the "new air" blowing in Greek-US relations.
On Sunday's OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) meeting at foreign minister level, which is hosted by Greece as the 2009 chairman of the Organisation, Bakoyannis, who is the OSCE's Chairperson-in-Office, said that Corfu Process "marks a new beginning for the role of the OSCE, dialogue and European security".
"I see that there is a will to change page. The OSCE is the appropriate forum to continue the dialogue in the spirit of Helsinki. The informal Corfu meeting provides an excellent opportunity for this dialogue to be placed on solid foundations. Today, our partners manifested their confidence in the Greek Chairmanship and support of the Corfu Process. This gives us optimism for achieving a step forward for European security. United, we can ensure peace for Europe," Bakoyannis said.
Turning to Steinberg, who is taking part in the conference in place of US secretary of state Hilary Clinton due to illness, Bakoyannis wished Clinton a speedy recovery and added that "we are expecting her in December at the OSCE conference marking the end of the Greek Chairmanship, in order to continue what we began here today on Corfu".
Steinberg, in turn, spoke of a 'deepening of relations' between the two countries and placed the signing of the two accords in that conference, noting that the strategic cooperation between the two countries was being advanced.
He also commended the Greek Chairmanship of the OSCE and Bakoyannis' efforts on the issue of Georgia, adding that the OSCE was the appropriate forum for facing the modern-day challenges of terrorism and non-proliferation of weapons, as a practical step for the security and prosperity of the European citizens.
Steinberg noted that the meaning of the OSCE was encapsulated in collectivity, "that we all sit together at the same table", and that it embodied the vision of a united and free Europe.
The two sides discussed other bilateral issues, including finding ways for peace in the Balkans, how to help in achieving an agreement on Cyprus, and energy security in Europe, according to Steinberg.
 Papandreou holds high-level talks in SerbiaBelgrade (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)
Athens-Belgrade relations, Serbia's European course and the Serbian Socialist Party's accession to the Socialist International (SI) were the main topics on the agenda of Greek main opposition PASOK leader and SI president George Papandreou's talks in Belgrade on Saturday with Serbian president Boris Tadic and interior minister and Serbian government vice president Ivica Dacic.
Papandreou described the cooperation between Greece and Serbia as being of strategic importance, while the Serb officials noted Papandreou's efforts for normalisation of the situation in Serbia with the formulation of its first democratic government, as well as his support for their country's European course.
Tadic pointed out that the PASOK leader had been the first politician to visit Serbia after the democratic change, and he also supported the country's efforts to come closer to the European Union.
He characterised as a "very important fact" the very good relations between Greece and Serbia, since they were in the same geographical region of Europe, have common targets and face common challenges. Tadic further stressed that Serbia's strategic goal was accession to the EU, adding that Papandreou has always been willing and available to help in that effort.
Papandreou, in turn, noted the close ties of friendship and the cooperation between the sides in the effort for the democratisation and development of Serbia. This cooperation was of very great importance for Greece and also for the Balkans, he said, since the two countries could play an important role in the region. He further noted that the socialist political forces of the Balkans need to forge their own roadmap out of the impasses of the crisis.
The PASOK leader also said that very significant steps have been made in Serbia under the new government, adding that the EU does not have the luxury, or the right, to keep Serbia outside the European family. Serbia deserved accession and has proven it, Papandreou said, stressing that he supports today, and in the future, as the Greek government, will continue to back Serbia's accession course.
During Papandreou's meeting with Dacic, discussions focused on bilateral Greece-Serbia relations and also the issue of accession Serbian Socialist Party, which is headed by Dacic, to the Socialist International. A first discussion on this issue will take place within the SI over the next few days when the SI Council meets in Montenegro under Papandreou's chairmanship.
Papandreou also expressed gladness that there is finally stability in Serbia, and stressed the importance of Serbia having a presence in the EU.
 Papandreou to chair SI meeting in MontenegroBUDVA, Montenegro (ANA-MPA / V. Mourtis)
A Socialist International (SI) council meeting begins here on Monday, chaired by SI President and Greek main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.
Papandreou was expected to have a working dinner with SI's presidium on Sunday evening, focusing on the preparation of Monday's meeting.
The SI's presidency chose to convene its meeting in Montenegro "in order to send a message of support to the Balkans, and to the western Balkans in particular."
During Sunday's working dinner, Gerd Leipold, Greenpeace International Executive Director, was due to present to participants a text, under the form of a "non-paper", regarding relations between SI and the ecology movements.
The SI's council meeting gets underway on Monday morning with addresses by Papandreou, Montenegrin Prime Minister and leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists Milo Djukanovic and Montegrin Parliament President and leader of the Social Democratic Party Ranko Krivokapi , while issues to be discussed include the current international economic crisis, climate change, regional conflicts and illegal immigration.
 Opinion poll indicates voters want bolder PMNearly 67 percent of respondents want the prime minister to be bolder in the exercise of his duties, according to an opinion poll conducted by RASS, the results of which appeared in the weekly newspaper "To Paron" on Sunday.
More specifically, 66.8 percent of the respondents said that they considered Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to be lacking in daring in the governance of the country, against 28.7 percent that consider him daring.
Also, 55.3 percent of the respondents want the government to exhaust its four-year term in office, while 41.1 percent want early general elections.
To a question on what was to blame for the ruling New Democracy party's second-place showing in the recent European Parliament elections, 33.2 percent blamed it on lack of effectiveness by the government, 26.4 percent on the scandal talk, 26.4 percent on the attitude of the government's officials, and just 7.7 percent put the blame on the prime minister.
Further, Karamanlis continues to be the most suited for prime minister, with the preference of 45.4 percent of the respondents, against 36.4 percent who considered main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou as the most suited.
The opinion poll was conducted on a sampling of 2,001 households from June 22 to 26.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.420
Pound sterling 0.861
Danish kroner 7.506
Swedish kroner 11.047
Japanese yen 135.58
Swiss franc 1.539
Norwegian kroner 9.112
Canadian dollar 1.629
Australian dollar 1.759
 New arrest warrant for ex Siemens Hellas CEO ChristoforakosA new arrest warrant has been issued by an Athens special magistrate for former Siemens Hellas CEO Mihalis Christoforakos on several counts of fraud and complicity to commit fraud, in relation to the 2003 contract for the ultimately failed C4I security system, primarily acquired for use during the 2004 Olympic Games.
The warrant is expected to be elevated to a Europe-wide warrant on Monday and sent to relevant German authorities, which have already acted and detained Christoforakos in Munich on a previous Greek warrant citing charges of bribery and money laundering.
 Noted Greek cinema 'heavy' diesNoted Greek actor Spyros Kalogyrou, an archetypical "heavy" during the "golden era" of Greek cinema in the 1960s and early '70s, died on Sunday at the age of 87.
 College honours Theodorakis, Brademas and A. AthensÍoted Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, former New York University president and former US congressman John Brademas and Andrew Athens, former president of World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and the founder of the Hellenicare charity organisation, were bestowed honorary doctorates by the American College of Greece in Athens (Deree) during the school's commencement ceremony on Saturday evening.
Theodorakis, who was not able to attend the ceremony due to health reasons, expressed appreciation, in a message read out during the event, for the award, underlining also the contribution of the American people to the outcome of the two World Wars in Europe.
"U.S.A's leading role in all sectors of life is due mainly to industriousness and orderliness, to bold and free decision making processes, in one word to the American quality of thought and action which made that country so powerful and with such influence on a global scale, so as -- and in accordance with the theory of Harmony and Chaos -- to have the power to impose, with the turn of a switch, on all peoples either Harmony, which is Paradise, or the Chaos, which is Hell. That is why its responsibility towards world history is immense," Theodorakis added in his message.
"I am aware that frequently my critical stance vis-a-vis this country is considered by some as 'anti-Americanism'. However, the contrary holds true: my admiration is so great that I protest every time some people act in a blatantly anti-American manner in the name of America," the composer said.
On his part, Andrew Athens called on the audience to always "remember four values: Family, Homeland, Integrity and Service."
John Brademas said he was proud of his Greek descent and of his services rendered when Congressman.
 SAE Youth Network global initiative for return of Parthenon MarblesThe World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) Youth Network announced on Sunday that it was launching a global initiative for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
Youth Network coordinators, who attended a SAE presidium conference in Thessaloniki, announced the launch of three initiatives. Through the use of modern technology, the SAE youth will create an electronic petition that will be addressed not only to the young people of Greek descent, but also to the youth of the countries in which they live.
SAE Europe Youth Coordinator Costas Symeonidis told ANA-MPA that "we are proud of the newly-inaugurated New Acropolis Museum and all the good words that have been written about it in the international press" adding that the effort was being commenced in order to inform the youth around the world on the dimensions of the problem, so as to create a dynamic.
The first signatures will be turned over to the Museum in December, during a visit by the Coordinating Councils of the SAE Youth Networks after their meeting in Thessaloniki.
Also, simultaneous events will be organised in many cities around the world in December to inform the local societies on the campaign for the return of the Marbles.
 Four new flu cases bring total to 77 in GreeceFour new cases of the new flu virus A(H1N1) have been confirmed in Greece, bringing the total to 77, the National Centre for Health Operations (EKEPY) announced on Saturday.
The four new cases concern three women and a man, all of Greek origin, who recently arrived from abroad.
More specifically, a 65-year-old woman who arrived from Australia has tested positive for the new flu, while three more individuals who also tested positive -- two 19-year-old women and a 29-year-old man -- had arrived from the UK and had been in contact with a previously confirmed case.
Of the total 77 confirmed cases in Greece, 27 have fully recovered while the rest are undergoing treatment and, according to EKEPY, all cases are in mild form and there is no cause for concern.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old British woman who arrived on Saturday on the island of Crete was hospitalised at the Irakleion University Hospital with symptoms of the new flu, after heat-detection cameras at Nikos Kazantzakis Airport detected a high temperature. The woman was hospitalised in a special unit set up at the hospital, while samples taken from the patient have been forwarded to the Pasteur Institute in Athens for testing for the A(H1N1) strain.
 Handful of serious firebomb attacks reported over weekendTwo groups of unidentified perpetrators threw fire-bombs targeting an EThEL urban bus depot in the Aghios Dimitrios district of Athens and a riot police unit in downtown Athens in the early hours of Saturday in two separate incidents.
Additionally, unknown suspects -- usually identified as self-styled anarchist youths -- targeted two opinion poll firms in Athens, placing small camping gas cannisters in the entrance of office buildings hosting the two firms, Metron Analysis and Alco. The same method was used to target the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce's offices.
In the first instance, a group of 25 suspects atop motorcycles threw home-made firebombs at the bus depot, causing a fire that resulted in the destruction of five buses and serious damage to another three.
No group has claimed the attack.
About an hour later, another group of some 100 persons threw firebombs at a riot police unit in the Exarchia district.
 3 foreign nationals charged with possessing bogus billsThree Albanian nationals, 20, 21, and 33, were arrested on counterfeiting charges on Saturday after a total of 10,840 euros in bogus bills were found in their possession.
The trio was initially detained to verify their residency status by a police patrol.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe state of the economy and the Siemens bribes scandal dominated the front-page headlines in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "This is how they loot IKA (state social security foundation) - Document: 2 billion euros loss from 14 sources - Revelations in confidential study on tax evasion".
APOGEVMATINI: "Foreign 'executioner' in Revolutionaries Sect (urban terrorist group) - Links with common crime under the EL.AS (Greek Police) microscope".
AVGHI: "Orwellian state - Cameras everywhere and DNA testing for petty reasons".
AVRIANI: "Eight top PASOK (main opposition) and 2 top ND (ruling party) officials 'burned' - Christoforakos (fugitive Siemens Hellas former CEO who was recently arrested in Germany) opens the burning dossiers and gives names and accounts that received the kickbacks".
CHORA: "Tapes that burn - Representative of the Munich prosecutor's office speaks to Chora".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Letters from Germany".
ETHNOS: "1.9 billion euros 'aspirin' for the fiscal black hole but...coup de grace for the market with the tax-collecting measures".
KATHIMERINI: "Ankara: We refuse to become refugee camp - Turkish minister to Kathimerini: We will not apply the readmission protocol".
LOGOS: "Karamanlis' political options are drying up after the new economic measures".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Counter-attack against the anti-migration policy of ND, PASOK, LAOS, EU - Shared class cause of the Greek and foreign workers".
VIMA: "Karamanlis' quandaries and plans".
VRADYNI: "IKA: 20 percent discount on contributions - Payment of debts in 60 instalments".
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