|Thursday, 19 July 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 19 September 2009 Issue No: 3301
 Papandreou addresses rally in IoanninaMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing a party rally in the northern city of Ioannina on Friday evening, invited Greeks "to mobilise in order to enable Greece to leave decline behind and to enter the path of creation, development and hope" while terming this course a "course of national recovery."
Papandreou also appealed to voters of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party who "were disappointed by the government over the past six years."
The PASOK leader referred twice during his address to President Karolos Papoulias, who is from this region, saying that he remembered the era when, being a student in the '70s, he used to visit the encumbent President of the Republic in Ioannina.
"We do not have a passion for power and for the chairs, but a passion for Greece which is awakening to change the course of the country," he further said.
Papandreou accused the government as being the one to blame for the "inexistant state" today, a state that "is consciously indifferent about the economic and social cost of its choices and the only cost that preoccupied it was the political one."
He went on to say that the path which the country has before it, and which he is proposing, is not easy but it is strewn with social justice, hope and optimism, while stressing that two diammetrically different policies are clashing in these elections.
Lastly, Papandreou referred to the measures that his government will take, if it wins the elections, during the first 100 days, measures which, as he said, "will tackle the problems of the big debt which it shall inherit from the New Democracy party, of recession, market immobility and low growth rates."
 PM Karamanlis addresses rally in MegaraPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed a party rally in the city of Megara, western Attica, on Friday evening, urging citizens to participate in the October 4 general elections and stressing that "no one must be absent on October 4."
Focusing on the main opposition PASOK party, Karamanlis said that it "is distorting things and creating false images".
"They are applying themselves to vagueness, they are sharing out bounced promises, they are proposing dangerous recipes," the prime minister said and added that when PASOK's leader "limits himself to general references, the citizens must not wonder about what he is saying but about what he is concealing."
Karamanlis stressed that the "dilemma for all is if one shall proceed with confidence and a clear plan or leave the country to the dangers of irresponsibility and the absence of any plan."
The prime minister reminded that in 1981 the debt was below 2 billion euros and the PASOK governments delivered it one hundred times higher in 2004. He stressed that unemployment is currently at lower levels than those in 2004 and that "PASOK cannot pass by it, of course it is not in its interest, but it is the truth."
He also pointed out that no one can forget that until the crisis broke out there had been improvement in all the economic indexes, a stable decrease in unemployment and tangible results in the economy and in society.
He mentioned that all that time PASOK was reacting with "a no to everything and was acting as if it did not see any crisis, claiming that everything was a pretext and an alibi of the government."
Karamanlis also said that all the necessary measures must be taken now and not tomorrow and the country must not be allowed to become trapped in adventures.
"If we believe that difficult situations are handled with pleasant recipes, the consequences will be hard for all to bear," he noted.
Karamanlis referred in detail to all the public projects that the government has promoted and planned in western Attica. He also noted that arrangements concerning university asylum will change so that this institution will not be identified with illegality, arbitrariness and crime, addingthat a few dozen people cannot block streets every day and promised that this state of affairs will not continue.
Lastly, Karamanlis stressed that the government respects the rights of immigrants who are employed legally in the country and is seeking their social incorporation.
"No, however, to the uncontrolled waves of illegal immigration, no to the modern day slave drivers," he concluded.
 PM in Aetoloakarnania on SaturdayPrime minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis will tour towns in Aetoloakarnania prefecture on Saturday, in the campaign for the October 4 general elections.
Karamanlis will tour the Ionia Motorway, the Kalydona bridge currently under construction near Evinochori, the marina under construction in Messolongi, where he will address a gathering, and the Achiron Xyromeros dam.
On Saturday night, the prime minister will address a campaign rally in Ioannina.
 KKE leader at Democritus research centerCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Friday visited the Democritus national research center, where she said that the Greek people's preparedness for resistance to the Lisbon strategy and the Almunia (EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs) program will be judged in the October 4 general elections, adding that "the plutocracy wants (main opposition) PASOK to win, but at the same time it doesn't want ND's (ruling New Democracy) wings to be fully clipped".
She said that the "argument" between ND and PASOK was over a freeze of salaries (ND) or crumbs for salary increases (PASOK), whereas the KKE "advocates a different level of encounter, a counter-attack for a break from the prevalent policy".
Papariga warned that the people must not fall into the "trap" of the debate on the fiscal debt and the deficits, which she said was an attempt to disorient the people, and falling into that trap would mean that the working people relinquish their rights and bargain instead for the amount of money they will lose".
She called on the popular strata to manifest their displeasure with their vote, and urged them "to not succumb to the dangerous, extreme and obscene blackmail of 'you leave ND and go (cast your vote for) to PASOK, and then you leave PASOK and go back to ND'."
 SYRIZA unveils list of state deputy candidatesThe Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party alliance on Friday unveiled its list of candidates for the state deputy seats in Parliament. At the head of the list (and with the highest chance of becoming an MP) is journalist Vassilis Moulopoulos, while the last 'honorary' position on the list has been given to veteran left-wing politician Yiannis Banias.
Second and third places on the party's list of 12 have been given to actress Katia Gerou and academic Alkis Rigos, respectively.
In the previous general election of 2007, SYRIZA had elected just one state deputy to Parliament based on its percentage of the vote but pundits question whether it is likely to improve on this in 2009, since its image has been seriously wounded by a recent leadership dispute between its various component members.
In a press conference to announce its state deputy ticket, SYRIZA member Yiannis Banias and the party's MEP Nikos Hountis also called for a reduction in military spending in order to divert money to social policy.
Banias, in particular, disputed figures presented by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis claiming that defence spending had been reduced and said that defence spending had actually increased by 4.2 percent in 2009.
 LAOS leader Karatzaferis visits Varvakios market in AthensPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) ëåáäåñ George Karatzaferis likened the situation of the Varvakios meat market in Athens with the situation the rest of Greece is in, during a visit on Friday.
Karatzaferis stressed that "if there are no customers in this oasis of affordable prices one can only imagine what the situation is in the rest of Greece," underlining that "wealth redistribution is necessary in the country."
Karatzaferis also visited stores in the City Hall region.
 28 parties petition to take part in Oct. 4 general electionsA total 28 political parties and coalitions have submitted petitions to the Areios Pagos (Greek supreme court) for participation in the October 4 general elections in Greece as the deadline expired on Friday.
The supreme court will now examine the petitions for compliance with the relevant laws, and announce which of the parties/coalitions are eligible to contest the elections.
 Journalists oppose terms for party leader debateIn an announcement on Friday, journalists taking part in a televised debate between the political party leaders questioned the new terms decided by the parties and demanded further dialogue for changes that they said would allow them to do a proper job.
"The procedure, as it has been set down, makes the presence of journalists redundant. The terms are worse than those that applied for the televised debate [for the European elections] last May that we had all complained about. The parties themselves have, in any case, also voiced complaints about the process with stern and dismissive language," debate coordinator Maria Houkli announced from a prepared statement, after a meeting between the journalists taking part.
Their demands included the ability to ask questions freely, to have adequate time to put their questions and the right to demand clarifications from the party leaders addressed.
"We are asking for dialogue, even within the day, so as to determine the framework for holding the debate in good time and so our presence will be useful," they added.
 FM in hopsitalForeign minister Dora Bakoyannis was admitted on Friday to the Henri Dunant (Erikos Dyinan, in Greek) hospital with symptoms of pneumonia, where she will undergo tests and treatment.
Her scheduled program of meetings over the next 24 hours has been cancelled.
 French Immigration minister visits SamosFrench Immigration Minister Eric Besson visited the Italian vessel of Frontex and the model immigrants reception centre on the eastern Aegean island of Samos on Friday, accompanied by Greek Caretaker Interior Minister Spyros Flogaitis, for a briefing on the situation prevailing in this eastern part of Europe, in light of the meeting to be held on Monday between European Union interior ministers on justice and domestic issues.
Speaking after his contacts with the crew of the Italian ship and with agencies involved in the issue of illegal immigration, the French minister said that Greece is confirming its good name regarding hospitality issues.
In Brussels on Monday, the French side will be voicing what it ascertained during its visit to Samos, the point closer to Asia, and which is also causing the problem, meaning the increasing illegal entry of foreigners from the depths of Asia from the Turkish coast.
 OPAP chief turns down IMF appointment after 'political exploitation' by PASOKGreek state lottery operator OPAP chairman and CEO Christos Hadjiemmanuil announced on Friday that he has rejected his appointment to the post of Alternate Executive Director of the Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in a letter of reply to Greece's Capital Market Commission after his appointment "became immediately an object of acute political exploitation".
Hadjiemmanuil was named to replace Miranda Xafa, who served on the IMF board as the representative for Greece, Italy and Portugal. Xafa also served as chief economic advisor to then New Democracy (ND) prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis in 1991-93.
Main opposition PASOK officer for economic affairs Louka Katseli had stated on Thursday that "on the eve of (the October 4 general) elections, the ND government has decided to go ahead with the replacement of Greece's representative to the IMF, Ms. Miranda Xafa" with Hadjiemmanuil, adding that "this decision does is not binding on the next government". Katseli also charged that "actions such as these simply indicate the panic of the outgoing government".
In a letter to Capital Market Commission chairman Anastasios Gavriilidis, Hadjiemmanuil noted that: "By decision 41382 of the Minister of Economy and Finance dated August 27th, 2009, I was appointed Deputy Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, replacing Mrs Miranda Xafa, effective as of September 28th, 2009."
"As we are currently in the middle of the pre election period and the announcement of the decision in question became immediately an object of acute political exploitation, I would like to inform you that under the current circumstances I am unable to accept the appointment" Hadjiemmanuil concluded in his terse letter.
Commenting on later statements by PASOK press spokesman George Papconstantinou on the appointment, Hadjiemmanuil said that former had used "extremely offensive" characterisations of him and of his appointment.
Responding to Papaconstantinou point by point, Hadjiemmanuil said that the proposal that he represent Greece at the IMF had been made at a time when no one imagined that this mission would begin in the midst of the pre-election period.
Second, on innuendos by Papaconstantinou that he was "close" to top-ranking ND officials, Hadjiemmanuil replied: "I would like to remind him (Papaconstantinou) that I made a career, by myself, in the international environment. I was a professor at one of the top universities in the world, the London School of Economics, which in fact he (Papaconstantinou) himself also selected for his Doctor's thesis. Also, my specialisation is totally relevant with the activities of the IMF."
Thirdly, regarding Papaconstantinou's reservations "as to whether I am capable 'of representing Greece's interests abroad', the IMF itself has twice in the past (2003 and 2004) honored me, the first time by selecting me as a specialised consultant on matters of banking crises, and the second time in asking me to serve on a permanent basis," Hadjiemmanuil continued, stressing that, instead of taking up the IMF on its offer, he had opted to return to Greece and take on a technocratic post in the Greek state.
Hadjiemmanuil further noted that he has also and continues to provide his services gratis to the United Nations (consultative committee of the UNDP's Regional Center for Public Administration Reform).
Fourth, he said that Papaconstantinou rather derogatorily described him as the "chairman of a state monopoly", and countered: "The truth, however, is that I have always acted in line with the criteria of a transparent and open market. I have made an unceasing effort for the reorganisation and de-politicalisation of OPAP S.A. and the cementing of a modern corporate mentality. During my tenure, an end was put to the abject system of occasional employment. Agreement was reached with the OPAP agents for the rationalisation and modernisation of the network. The company became for the first time competitive in the international arena, and waged a successful legal battle at European level for protection of the national monopoly."
In actuality, Hadjiemmanuil continued, "the only thing I am being faulted for is my political leanings", charging that, "apparently, in Mr. Papaconstantinou's view, 'worthy people and technocrats' exist only in his own party".
"This is a medieval mentality, even when expressed with a modern-day profile," Hadjiemmanuil charged.
He said that every sensible and sane Greek comprehends that Greece's representation abroad, either at political level or, in this case, at technocratic level, needs to be founded on consensus and unanimity. But when the spokesman of the main opposition party directly, and so acrimoniously, questions a selection and states that the party intends to reverse it, if possible, even if that would be detrimental to the country's image, it is apparent that those conditions are cancelled, Hadjiemmanuil said.
"For this reason, I state that I will not accept my appointment," he concluded, and thanked economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou for recommending him for the post, expressing "regret that I cannot take up his invitation".
 Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce holds contacts in ThessalonikiThe Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce organised a series of meetings for the members of its Administrative Committee and its Committees in northern Greece in Thessaloniki, Mascedonia, on Friday.
The members of the Committees met with the new American diplomatic officials, Catherine Kay, the new US General Consul in Thessaloniki, and David McNeill, the new US Embassy Commercial Attache. The meeting focused on issues concerning the development of bilateral trade relations and ways of promoting entrepreneurship in Northern Greece.
The members of the Committees also met with Athens B' constituency deputy and main opposition PASOK party rapporteur for Development issues, Mihalis Chrysohoidis, for talks on general development policy issues.
 Tourism revenues down 15.5 pct in Jan-JulyGreece's all-important tourism foreign exchange revenues fell 15.5 pct in the seven-month period from January to July 2009, compared with the corresponding period last year, the Bank of Greece announced on Friday.
The central bank, in its monthly report, said tourism revenues fell to 5.0 billion euros in the January-July period from 5.9 billion euros last year. The Bank of Greece, however, said the country's current accounts deficit fell by 23 percent to 16.614 billion euros in the first seven months of 2009, reflecting mainly a large decline in the trade deficit.
On the other hand, the services' and the current transfers' surpluses shrank significantly, while the incomes' deficit fell slightly. The country's trade deficit fell by 8.539 billion euros in the January-July period, reflecting a 4.938 billion euros decline in the trade deficit of goods (excluding fuel and ships). Excluding fuel and ships, imports fell by 25.5 pct while exports fell by 17.0 pct.
The services' surplus fell by 2.987 billion euros, reflecting lower net receipts from transport and travel services. The incomes' deficit fell by 278 million euros reflecting lower payments on interest, dividends and profits, while the current transfers' surplus fell by 886 million euros.
The capital transfers' surplus shrank to 1.256 billion euros, from 2.585 billion euros last year, while the financial transactions' balance showed a net inflow of 1.8 billion euros. Portfolio investments showed a net inflow of 23.7 billion euros.
 Industrial turnover index down 27.8% in JulyGreece's composite turnover index in the industrial sector dropped by 27.8 pct in July, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistical Service said on Friday.
The statistics agency attributed the sharp decline to a 34.8 pct fall in the mining turnover index and a 27.7 pct fall in the manufacturing turnover index.
The new orders index dropped 33.7 pct in July, after an increase of 11.0 pct recorded in July 2008.
 Stocks end moderately upGreek stocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, with the composite index rising 0.31 pct to end at 2,555.37 points. Turnover was a moderate 201.1 million euros of which 22.5 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved upwards, with the Health (2.97 pct), Industrial Products (1.36 pct) and Food/Beverage (1.27 pc) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Commerce (1.19 pct), Travel (0.39 pct) and Oil (0.33 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index rose 0.30 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.95 pct up and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.51 pct higher. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 101 to 90 with another 65 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.33%
Personal & Household: +0.69%
Raw Materials: +0.27%
Travel & Leisure: -0.39%
Food & Beverages: +1.27%
Financial Services: +0.20%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Bank of Piraeus.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 11.49
Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.03
HBC Coca Cola: 17.30
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.58
National Bank of Greece: 22.45
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.45
Bank of Piraeus: 11.56
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market soared to 3.002 billion euros on Friday, of which 1.776 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 1.226 billion were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 2.471 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 116 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 4.52 pct and the German Bund 3.36 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.25 pct, the six-month rate 1.03 pct, the three-month rate 0.76 pct and the one-month rate 0.45 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.482
Pound sterling 0.907
Danish kroner 7.500
Swedish kroner 10.193
Japanese yen 135.24
Swiss franc 1.526
Norwegian kroner 8.710
Canadian dollar 1.587
Australian dollar 1.706
 Ecumenical Patriarch launches visit to Elassona and TripolisEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew launched a four-day visit to Elassona in the Prefecture of Larissa, central Greece, on Friday following an invitation by its Metropolitan Bishop.
Bartholomew arrived on board the prime minister's jet that landed at a military airport near Larissa, where he was received by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, Metropolitans Ignatios of Larissa and Vassilios of Elassona, Deputy Interior Minister Christos Zois representing the government, and local authorities.
The Ecumenical Patriarch departed for Elassona by car and on his way to the city made a short stop at the Municipality of Giannoulis and the historic community of Tsaritsani where he was warmly received by the people.
Bartholomew is scheduled to visit monasteries and sacred places of worship, while on Sunday he will officiate in a Patriarchal Holy Liturgy at St Demetrios Cathedral in Elassona.
On Monday, he will visit Tripolis in the Prefecture of Arcadia, southern Greece, before returning to the Phanar in Istanbul on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
The Ecumenical Patriarch will be accompanied by Metropolitans John of Pergamum and Apostolos of Moschonisia, and Bishop Theodoritos of Nazianzos.
 Athens Mayor meets Romanian counterpartAthens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis met Friday morning with his Romanian counterpart Dr Sorin Mircea Oprescu as part of an official visit to Bucharest for the celebration of the 550th anniversary of the city's foundation, according to an announcement.
"During their meeting, Nikitas Kaklamanis and Dr Sorin Mircea Oprescu exchanged views and agreed on the need for closer cooperation between the two cities in fields including Culture, Tourism and the Environment," the announcement said.
"Having thanked his Romanian counterpart for the invitation, Mayor Kaklamanis emphasized the significance of collaboration aimed at promoting tourism development in both cities and environmental protection in the wider Balkans.
"Within the context of Mayor Kaklamanis' initiative to promote and reinforce Inter-city Diplomacy, Nikitas Kaklamanis briefed his Romanian counterpart on meetings he has had with the Mayors of Paris, Barcelona and Berlin, with regards this specific issue. For his part, the Bucharest Mayor conveyed his wish for Athens and Bucharest to strengthen their ties and collaborate further on cultural matters," the announcement concluded.
 European Territorial Cooperation Programme "Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013" opening eventThe roughly 56-million-euro European Territorial Cooperation Programme "Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013" is close to being implemented following an event held on the Aegean island of Chios on Friday during which it was announced that the first invitation for the tabling of relevant proposals will be made public shortly.
The programme involves community support for the regions of Samos, Lesbos, Chios, Dodecanese, Heraklion, Lasithi, Rethymno and Chania on Greece, as well as the whole territory of Cyprus.
The total budget of the programme is 55,742,404 euros, 80 pct of which (44,593,923 euros) come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the remaining 11,148, 481 euros from national funding.
The European Territorial Cooperation programmes focus on cross-border cooperation as well as on cooperation between states and regions under the precondition that the partner-states will reach an agreement on all planning and materialization stages.
 New exhibitions in Thessaloniki's Archaeological MuseumTwo exhibitions recreating daily life in Roman Era Thessaloniki will open on Sunday in the city's Archaeological Museum.
The first exhibition under the title "Field, house, garden, place", copied from an inscription on a sarcophagus (stone coffin), will be hosted outdoors in the grounds surrounding the museum and present an affluent urban house and a cemetery dated back to the city's golden era (2nd-4th century AD).
The first section of the exhibition features two distinctive forms of marble tombs. A total of 75 sarcophaguses and shrines are positioned across a road, as was the case in antiquity, while the inscriptions on the monuments offer important information to the visitors on life in the city.
The second section of the exhibition hosts a replica of an affluent urban house. The rooms are decorated with fragments of authentic mosaic floors unearthed in the city.
The "Glass World" exhibition will open indoors on Sunday and will run until the end of 2010. A wide spectrum of glass objects from Macedonia, Thrace and north Thessaly dated between the 14th century BC and 4th century AD will be on display in the museum.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, in cooperation with the Association Internationale pour l'Histoire du Verre (AIHV), will host an international congress on the history of glass at the Museum of Byzantine Civilization on Sept. 21-25.
 Archaeologists contest Acropolis Museum board appointmentsThe Association of Greek Archaeologists on Friday announced that it had initiated legal action to annul the appointments made by the culture ministry in May, when it chose the board of directors for the new Acropolis Museum.
The association has resorted to the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, and asked that the ministerial decision for the appointments be revoked on the grounds that four of its members fail to meet criteria established by a 2008 law on the museum's operation. It has also challenged the legality of assigning the museum's management to a public-sector legal entity when article 24 of the Constitution requires that this be the sole responsibility of the culture museum.
According to archaeologists, the four people chosen are not properly qualified "since no one knows of any exceptional contribution by them to the arts, letters or sciences" and they therefore lack the "acknowledged prestige" that the law stipulates is required for their appointment.
It named the four members whose appointment it contests as Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, Olympic Utilisation General Secretary Costas Bouras, civil engineer Nikolaos Damalitis and architect Katerina Paraschi.
 Software Freedom Day eventsHundreds of teams of computer programmers and users in roughly 90 countries, Greece among them, will join their voices on Saturday, September 19 demanding free and open source software within the framework of Software Freedom Day (SFD), a global celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).
The Greek Free/Open Source Software Society (GFOSS) non-profit organisation was founded in 2008 by 25 Greek universities, research centres, Higher Technological Educational Institutes (ATEI) and the Greek Research and Technology Network (GRNET).
The scheduled events are aimed at informing the public on the benefits stemming from the use of FOSS in education, business and at home.
"Celebrating freedom on the internet" events are being held for the past 18 years since the creation of the Linux computer operating system.
Linux is a generic term referring to Unix-like computer operating systems based on the Linux kernel. Their development is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software collaboration; typically all the underlying source code can be used, freely modified, and redistributed by anyone under the terms of the general public license GNU GPL and other free software licenses. Linux is predominantly known for its use in servers, although it can be installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, ranging from embedded devices and mobile phones to supercomputers.
 Man hospitalised after fall from buildingA young man of unknown identity, aged between 25 and 30 years old, was admitted into Evangelismos Hospital in critical condition on Friday after a fall from the first floor of the hotel "Iniochos" on the corners of Verantzerou and Sokratous Streets in Omonia.
The young man suffered serious injuries to the head, a broken rib and other injuries as a result of the fall and is now in an intensive care unit.
The case is being investigated by police from the Omonia police station, who have yet to determined the cause of his fall and said they were looking into all possibilities. Among others, they have yet to explain why the man was in the building at all, since the hotel is not in operation.
 Man caught for using highway traffic island as cannabis farmPolice on Friday reported the arrest of a 35-year-old man from Pieria for using the traffic island of the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway at N. Ephesus to grow cannabis. They said the man was caught when he arrived in his car to tend his "farm" at the 443rd kilometre of the highway, where they found 42 fully-grown cannabis plants ranging from 1.5 to 1.8 metres high.
In a later search in the man's home, they also found 24 pills for medicines requiring a doctor's prescription and dried cannabis leaves weighing 7.3 grammes.
The cannabis plants were uprooted and confiscated, as were the pills and the suspect's car. The man will appear before a Katerini Misdemeanours' Court public prosecutor.
 Greece beats Turkey in EurobasketKATOWICE (ANA-MPA)
The Greek national basketball team beat Turkey 76-74 for the Eurobasket championship after extra time on Friday and qualified for the semifinals. Greece will be playing against world champion Spain for the semifinals on Saturday.
The 10-minute intervals had the following results: 14-17, 26-29, 46-47, 65-65 (full time) and 74-76 after extra time.
 Construction permit issued for Panathinaikos sports complexA long-awaited construction permit for the new stadium and sports complex to be built by Athens' Panathinaikos club was issued on Friday after the city of Athens submitted all necessary documents, the ministry of environment, town planning and public works announced.
Minister George Souflias stated that this is an "important day for Greek sports and Panathinaikos," adding that a major step closer toward the regeneration project in the Votanikos district and Alexandras Avenue is also being made."
The 40,000-seat stadium, owned by the Athens football club Panathinaikos, will be built in the currently rundown Votanikos district, near Omonia square, an ambitious project expected to significantly upgrade the inner city neighbourhood.
On his part, Áthens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis welcomed the ministry's issuance of a building permit for the Panathinaikos sports stadium in Votanikos, citing what he called the result of persistent and long-running efforts on the part of the municipality, the largest and most populous in Greece.
"The City of Athens considers the issuance of the building permit for the stadium another important step in the Votanikos and Alexandras Avenue twin urban regeneration project, which encompasses some 7 percent of the city's total area and is expected to serve as a catalyst for development in the wider Elaionas and Ambelokipi areas," Kaklamanis, a former high-profile minister, said in a statement.
 Rainy on SaturdayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 29C. Cloudy and rainy in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 17C to 27C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 24C.
 The Friday edition of Athens dailies at a glanceThe parties' campaigns ahead of the October 4 general elections and the leaders' TV debate set for 21 Sept, and MIG (new owner of Olympic Airlines) vice president Andreas Vgenopoulos' innuendos against Aegean Airlines on flight itineraries' distribution, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' headlines.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Monday's debate among the leaders of the six man parties contesting the elections...One of the same...".
APOGEVMATINI: "Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou's statement on Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline annoyed Moscow".
AVGHI: "Enough with the unemployment figures - Official report puts unemployment to 8.9 percent in the second quarter of 2009".
AVRIANI: "The party is over in air transportation - Vgenopoulos warning in all directions for a clean agenda and healthy competition among airlines".
ELEFTHRI ORA: "Vgenopoulos points at Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis as being behind an irregular assignment of a flight itinerary to Aegean Airlines".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Voters' 'flow' to PASOK freezes ND".
ESTIA: "Institutions are being breached ".
ETHNOS: "Opinion poll foresees crushing defeat for Karamanlis in elections".
KATHIMERINI: "PASOK leads steadily in opinion polls".
LOGOS: "Hard bargaining over the Karamanlis-Papandreou one-on-one debate (on Tuesday)".
NIKI: "41 percent, George (Papandreou) full speed ahead for self-sufficient government".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Socially senseless state at ND's, PASOK's responsibility".
TO VIMA: "Successors ready! The succession race has begun in ruling New Democracy".
VRADYNI: "Papandreou afraid to confront Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in one-on-one TV debate".
 National Council: Turkey will not have an unhindered EU courseNICOSIA (CNAéANA-MPA)
Cyprus' National Council, the top advisory body to the President of the Republic on the handling of the Cyprus question, has said that Turkey will not be able to continue its European course unhindered without any sanctions if it does not fulfill its obligations towards the EU and its member states, including those concerning the Republic of Cyprus and the Cyprus problem.
The National Council concluded on Friday a four-day meeting, during which it discussed developments on the Cyprus issue and the stance of Cyprus during the assessment of Turkey's EU course in December by the European Council.
In a press release issued after the meeting, read out by Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, the Council reaffirmed its insistence in finding a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions on Cyprus and the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979 for a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality, as provided by UN Security Council resolutions. The settlement must achieve the unity of the territory, the people, the institutions and the economy.
It also said that the settlement must abide by international law, the European principles and values, the acquis communautaire, as well as the international conventions for human rights.
The National Council noted that the united Republic of Cyprus must have a single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship, and must constitute an evolution of the Republic of Cyprus. The settlement must provide for the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops and settlers, and the ultimate goal must be Cyprus' demilitarization with the withdrawal of the British Bases.
According to the press release, a census must take place before the settlement of the Cyprus problem, by a reliable international organisation. The National Council supports the position and the efforts which President of the Republic Demetris Christofias is making in the negotiating process, for the urgent need for a census, and for recording the ownership and the use of land. It also supports efforts by the President of Cyprus to pursue a moratorium on the illegal use of properties that belong to refugees and the attribution of the so-called citizenship of the puppet regime in the areas under Turkish occupation.
The National Council stressed that there must be restoration of the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus, noting that there can be no guarantors or guarantees for the united Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state.
"The restoration of the fundamental freedoms and the human rights of all Cypriots, including the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties, is also a necessary precondition for a settlement. The illegal constructions on Greek Cypriot properties belonging to refugees undermines the implementation of this principle and creates a new fait accompli, which aims at securing political gains in the framework of the discussion for a comprehensive settlement," the National Council noted, stressing the need for the restoration and respect of the four freedoms and for ruling out any permanent derogations from the acquis communautaire.
The National Council said that the settlement of the Cyprus problem must be achieved through an agreement between the leaders of the two sides and not be imposed from outside. "Only such an agreement can be referred to a referendum. There can be no form of arbitration or imposition of deadlines," it added.
Furthermore, the National Council rejects any form of settlement that will legalize the status quo or will constitute a two-state settlement.
The Council decided to set up an advisory subcommittee with the participation of the political parties with a view to work on positions and proposals that will help the President of Cyprus at the negotiating process.
With regard to EU-Turkish relations, the Council discussed the strategy that the Republic of Cyprus will follow in view of the evaluation of Turkey's EU course in December. According to the press release, the aim is to use the milestone of December with a view to promote the settlement of the Cyprus question.
"Turkey has undertaken obligations towards the EU and its member states, which concern inter alia the Republic of Cyprus and the Cyprus question, and with which it must comply, otherwise Turkey will not be able to continue unhindered, without sanctions in its accession course," the Council said.
It noted that on the basis of the positions of Cyprus with regard to the EU-Turkish issues, Cypriot political parties and the Parliament will undertake certain roles, with a view to use the December milestone, Europe and other countries which can play their own role.
Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and keeps its ports and airports closed to Cypriot vessels and aircraft.
President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008 with a view to reach a settlement of the question of Cyprus, divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.
 ECHR delivered final verdict on missing persons case against TurkeyNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has delivered its final judgment in the case of ''Varnava and Others V. Turkey'', relating to eighteen Greek Cypriots, nine of whom are missing persons since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
In its judgment, the Court said Turkey is guilty of "the continuing violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of Turkey's failure to effectively investigate the fate of the nine men who disappeared in 1974".
The Court announced that there was a violation of Article 3, noting that the treatment to which the relatives of the missing persons were subjected "could only be categorised as inhuman treatment".
According to the judgment, there was also "a continuing violation of Article 5 in respect of Eleftherios Thoma and Savvas Hadjipanteli".
Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court awarded the applicants 12,000 euros per application in respect of non-pecuniary damage and 8,000 euros for costs and expenses.
In 1990, nine individual applications against Turkey were submitted before the ECHR concerning the following missing persons: Andreas Varnava, Andreas Loizides, Philippos Constantinou, Demetris Theocharides, Panicos Charalambous, Eleftherios Thoma, Savvas Hadjipantelis - his remains were identified - Savvas Apostolides and Leondis Demetriou Sarmas.
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