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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-24

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

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

Thursday, 24 September 2009 Issue No: 3305

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis warns Turkey to respect 2001 readmission agreement
  • [02] PASOK leader arrives in New York
  • [03] KKE leader addresses rally in Peristeri
  • [04] KKE leader visits shipbuilding zone
  • [05] Tsipras addresses rally in Halkida
  • [06] EcoGreens present policy platform
  • [07] Cross-party Elections Committee met focusing on procedural issues
  • [08] Bomb targets PASOK official's apartment, no injuries
  • [09] Ministry official objects to German criticism over asylum issues
  • [10] Communist parties urge Irish to reject Lisbon Treaty
  • [11] Turkish ambassador in Hania
  • [12] Eurobank sells 2.0%-stake in Hellenic Exchanges
  • [13] Strike action by Piraeus dockers
  • [14] Agrotech exhibition opens in Lamia
  • [15] Stocks reach 12-month high
  • [16] ADEX closing report
  • [17] Greek bond market closing report
  • [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [19] Interview: CGES exec supports switch to nuclear power by Greece
  • [20] Ancient Pelinna opens to visitors
  • [21] 'Omnibus for Direct Democracy' in Greece
  • [22] Education Minister Spiliotopoulos inaugurates school in Athens
  • [23] Gyzis painting stolen
  • [24] Terrorist safehouse discovered in Halandri
  • [25] Drugs, guns seized in Thessaloniki, Nea Kallikratia
  • [26] Turkish entrepreneurs visit Thessaloniki
  • [27] Rainy on Thursday
  • [28] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [29] Christofias discusses Cyprus and Turkey's EU course with Barroso
  • [30] UNSG optimistic over talks on Cyprus
  • [31] Garoyian calls on Downer to keep within limits of his mission Politics

  • [01] PM Karamanlis warns Turkey to respect 2001 readmission agreement

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing an election campaign rally in the northern city of Alexandroupoli on Wednesday evening, sent a message to neighbouring Turkey that "it is obliged to respect the readmission agreement reached in 2001 regarding illegal immigrants, to respond to the European Immigration and Asylum Pact and to cease to cover the modern-day slave drivers."

    Karamanlis also underlined Turkey's commitments on the issue of Cyprus, calling on it "to contribute in practice to a workable and viable solution, in the framework of UN resolutions," while on the question of Turkey's course to Europe, the prime minister said that his government's policy is condensed in four words: "Full compliance-full accession."

    He further said that "these few words determine with frankness our position. And something more: The status quo in the Aegean does not change and will not change neither with infringements and violations nor with whatever other provocations. Concessions on our sovereign rights are inconceivable. We will not back down and we will grant nothing."

    Referring, furthermore, to the "energy pipeline policy," the prime minister said that it is taking on the dimensions of a national issue and spoke of a policy which "we laid the foundations for with boldness and systematic effort. We achieved international energy agreements with huge (strategic, political and economic) benefits for our country."

    Karamanlis added that these agreements "include our country on the global energy map, they contribute to the upgrading of our relations with Russia and the neighbouring countries and bring investments, permanent revenues, new jobs."

    The prime minister said that two of these agreements are considerable achievements for the Evros prefecture, that is the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline and the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and, addressing the citizens of Evros, he noted that "for this pipeline, we assumed before you explicit and clear commitments: firstly, that the project will take place with the participation of the local authorities, the production and social forces of the region. Secondly, that it will be constructed and operated with absolute respect for the environment. Thirdly, that the annual transit revenues, about 35 million dollars a year will remain, in their entirety, here, in Thrace. A part of them will be going to the prefectures of Rodopi and Xanthi. Most, however, will be provided in your prefecture."

    Karamanlis, referring as he said to the allegations of the main opposition PASOK party leader about the agreement "that, supposedly, it only secures the interests of the Russian side," termed them absolutely aribitrary and added that "disputing (the agreement) harms the policy that places the interest of Greece above all. Whoever may be bothered. For this reason, the stance of the leader of PASOK is inconceivable and he owes all the citizens explicit answers."

    The prime minister termed the economy "the most pressing, the most urgent national issue" and added that "90 percent of the increase in the debt is due to interest and the expenditures for armaments that were left by the governments of PASOK. Therefore, they are wasting their time if they are looking for accomplices. They are not accusers. They are the accused."

    [02] PASOK leader arrives in New York

    Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou arrived in New York on Wednesday evening (Greek time) where he was sheduled to preside over a meeting of the SI.

    The PASOK leader is also sheduled to hold several meetings with foreign dignitaries during his stay in New York.

    [03] KKE leader addresses rally in Peristeri

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing a rally in the Athens district of Peristeri on Wednesday evening, called for the strengthening of the party's election ticket.

    "On Sunday night the capitalists must feel from a shiver to panic over the increase in KKE's election percentage," Papariga said.

    Papariga called for backing for KKE because "it is the only party that tells the people the truth, namely that either it will be with the monopolies or with the people, that the working classes will have to decide either for better days or find themselves with their backs against the wall."

    [04] KKE leader visits shipbuilding zone

    Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Wednesday called on the workers in Perama, an industrial district west of Piraeus, to "frighten" the two mainstream parties by voting for KKE, because as she said, "a vote for KKE is an elixir for the people and a poison for big capital".

    Papariga warned of the danger of a local shipyard's privatisation.

    Additionally, she charged that PASOK leader George Papandreou is being supported by large companies that believe his is capable of "misleading, deceiving and manipulating the people," adding that PASOK will continue the government's work.

    [05] Tsipras addresses rally in Halkida

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alexis Tsipras, addressing a rally in the city of Halkida in eastern Greece on Wednesday evening, expressed confidence that the people of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) are determined and optimistic.

    Tsipras said that "the day after the elections will find us stronger, more effective and, of course, more mature" for new struggles," while expressing concern over the increase in unemployment.

    The Coalition leader also said that we are not merely experiencing the failure of the government of the New Democracy party, we are experiencing the failure of an economic model, of an entire economic policy and philosophy.

    [06] EcoGreens present policy platform

    Presenting their policy platform on Wednesday, Greece's Ecologists-Greens stressed the need for "green" exit routes from the current economic crisis, presenting a vote for the Eco-Greens as a "vote of conscience" that would bring to Parliament much-needed environmentalist ideas.

    The party's platform underlined a target to create 100,000 'green' jobs and noted that "in conditions of austerity, we become doubly poor if the quality of our life depends chiefly on our purchasing power".

    In addition to outlining the party's environmental policy, the EcoGreens referred to the goal of creating an open society without exclusions and discrimination, stressing that the "lack of rights for immigrants seriously harms Greeks".

    The declaration ends with an appeal to voters not "to give another blank cheque" to one of the large parties.

    "We ask citizens for a vote of conscience in favour of the Ecologists-Greens, a vote that links their concern for the environment with immediate solutions for the economy, quality of life, rights and extending democracy," said party spokesman Nikos Chrysogelos.

    [07] Cross-party Elections Committee met focusing on procedural issues

    The Cross-party Elections Committee convened Wednesday in the interior ministry chaired by caretaker minister Spyridon Flogaitis with the participation of 17 of the 23 political parties and party coalitions running in the Oct. 4 general elections.

    Flogaitis stated afterwards that the meeting focused on issues concerning the voting process.

    The first meeting of the Cross-party Elections Committee had taken place two weeks ago with the participation of six of the political parties - namely, New Democracy (ND), PASOK, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), SYRIZA, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and Ecologist Greens that also attended Wednesday's meeting.

    [08] Bomb targets PASOK official's apartment, no injuries

    A home-made bomb caused a weak explosion outside the 4th-storey apartment of main opposition PASOK former minister Gerassimos Arsenis and his wife, PASOK officer on economic affairs Louka Katseli, shortly before noon on Wednesday, causing only material damage.

    The bomb, which exploded at 11:42 a.m., had been placed in the entrance hallway of the fourth floor of the apartment building in which the couple lives on Tsakalof street in the posh Athens district of Kolonaki.

    Twenty minutes earlier, at 11:22 a.m., an unidentified caller placed two calls, to Eleftherotypia newspaper and ALTER private radio station, warning of the bomb, which he said would explode at Katseli's office on Tsakalof street.

    A police counter-terrororism squad crew and bomb disposal experts investigating the incident were at the scene of the explosion.

    [09] Ministry official objects to German criticism over asylum issues

    The general secretary for public order at Greece's interior ministry Constantinos Bitsios on Wednesday replied sharply to criticism levelled against Greece's over its handling of asylum applications by Germany's Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble, accusing him of indulging in "cost-free displays of humanitarianism" from a vantage point of safety.

    "Instead of criticising from the sidelines, Germany could accept on its territory a number of immigrants that have illegally entered Greece and examine their applications for asylum there," he said.

    Bitsios was replying to comments attributed to Schauble in a report by the German newspaper Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeitung, in which he is reported to ask whether Greece had understood the problem of illegal migration.

    "If the Dublin II regulation had not been adopted - through which Germany conveniently solved its own problem at our expense - Greece would be able to handle the issue much more efficiently," Bitsios added. He was referring to regulations in Dublin II for the return of illegal immigrants found anywhere within the European Union to the country where their entry is first recorded.

    A large number of such migrants are thus necessarily deported back to Greece, which comprises the EU's external border in the Eastern Mediterranean and is thus one of the main points of entry to the EU for illegal migrants originating from Asia and eastern Europe.

    "It would be best, therefore, if instead of cost-free displays of humanitarianism, Germany actively contributed to formulating a uniform European policy on the issue of illegal migration and asylum," Bitsios said.

    [10] Communist parties urge Irish to reject Lisbon Treaty

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday joined another 26 communist and labor parties in Europe in issuing a joint appeal to Irish voters, calling them to again vote against the Lisbon Treaty.

    The joint appeal, issued in view of the Oct. 2 referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, also calls on EU states to display active solidarity to the people of Ireland.

    [11] Turkish ambassador in Hania

    ‘urkish ambassador to Greece Ahmet Oguz Celikkol met on Wednesday with the mayor of the Cretan port city of Hania, with talks focusing mostly on the tourism sector.

    Celikkol said Turkish tourists already visit the large island of Crete every year, while he expressed a hope that commerce ties and greater tourism exchanges will take place in the coming year.

    "The last time I visited Crete was 10 years ago and I thank the mayor for his time" he said.

    Hania Mayor Kyriakos Virvidakis said talks focused on facilitating an increase in tourism, particularly from Turkey to Crete.

    The Turkish envoy later visited the Eleftherios Venizelos Foundation.

    Financial News

    [12] Eurobank sells 2.0%-stake in Hellenic Exchanges

    Eurobank on Wednesday announced it has sold 1.3 million shares of Hellenic Exchanges SA, or 2.0 pct of the company's equity capital, to investors through a private placement at a price of 7.8 euros per share (a discount of 3.7 pct compared with Tuesday's closing share price).

    Following the transaction, Eurobank owns a 3.1-pct equity stake in Hellenic Exchanges. The bank said its stake was a strategic participation and that it does not intend to sell it.

    [13] Strike action by Piraeus dockers

    The commercial port of Piraeus will come to a halt for two 48-hour periods due to a strike called by the port workers' union as of October 1 and until the government resulting from the October 4 general elections receives a vote of confidence, because, as it said, "of the government's refusal to freeze the installation of Cosco".

    The dockers' federation called on employees at the port of Piraeus not to turn up for work on October 1-2 and October 5-6.

    The federation has also announced an abstention from work over the weekend of the elections, on October 3-4, while on October 6 the board will be convening to reconsider the situation concerning the continuation of strikes.

    [14] Agrotech exhibition opens in Lamia

    The new aspect of Greek agricultural production will be on display as of Wednesday and until this coming Sunday at the 1st Agrotech Farm Products Exhibition at the Exhibition Centre in the city of Lamia, central Greece.

    The exhibition, jointly organised by Thessaloniki based Helexpo and the Panhellenic Exhibition of Lamia, under the title of HELEXPEL, was inaugurated on Wednesday evening.

    The event, aimed at promoting products of Greek and international production and providing information on developments in technology, is being held with the participation of 176 exhibitors from Greece and 19 other countries.

    [15] Stocks reach 12-month high

    Stocks continued moving higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, pushing the composite index of the market to new 12-month highs. The index ended 1.81 pct up at 2,611.52 points with turnover an improved 343.3 million euros of which 42.8 million were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Banks (3.36 pct), Industrial Products (2.07 pct) and Media (1.94 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (2.57 pct), Food/Beverage (1.47 pct) and Financial Services (0.32 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 2.22 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.25 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.97 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 119 to 81 with another 58 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: unchanged

    Industrials: +2.07%

    Commercial: +0.84%

    Construction: +1.18%

    Media: +1.94%

    Oil & Gas: +0.01%

    Personal & Household: +0.86%

    Raw Materials: +1.78%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.99%

    Technology: +1.16%

    Telecoms: +1.71%

    Banks: +3.36%

    Food & Beverages: -1.47%

    Health: -2.57%

    Utilities: unchanged

    Chemicals: +1.37%

    Financial Services: -0.32%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Public Power Corp (PPC), Eurobank and Bank of Piraeus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 12.12

    ATEbank: 1.62

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.45

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.32

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.66

    National Bank of Greece: 23.80

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.43

    Intralot: 4.94

    OPAP: 17.21

    OTE: 11.33

    Bank of Piraeus: 11.93

    Titan: 23.98

    [16] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.62 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover rising to 72.410 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,279 contracts, worth 56.288 million euros, with 20,262 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaeled 14,778 contracts worth 16.122 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,818), followed by MIG (1,127), PPC (1,547), Marfin Popular Bank (1,652), Mytilineos (1,122), ATEbank (969), Alpha Bank (606) and OTE (783).

    [17] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled around 2.0 billion euros on Wednesday, with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrinking to 113 basis points. The Greek bond yielded 4.54 pct and the German Bund 3.41 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.

    [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.490

    Pound sterling 0.906

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.158

    Japanese yen 136.04

    Swiss franc 1.524

    Norwegian kroner 8.632

    Canadian dollar 1.592

    Australian dollar 1.704

    General News

    [19] Interview: CGES exec supports switch to nuclear power by Greece

    The time is ripe to reopen the public debate on the use of nuclear energy in Greece, according to the deputy executive director of the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) Dr. Leonidas Drollas in an exclusive interview with the ANA-MPA. The CGES was set up in London in 1990 by former Saudi oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani as an independent and objective source of information and analysis on energy issues.

    "Nuclear energy is a solution, especially for Greece," said Drollas, pointing out the various advantages favouring its use in Greece.

    "We have many uninhabited islands. Ones that are relatively large and possess all the advantages for the construction of a plant, since there is plentiful sea water to cool the reactors and, at the same time, they are far from inhabited areas," Drollas said.

    In addition, Drollas pointed out, using nuclear energy will enhance energy security for the country and assist efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions - a possible aspect of nuclear power that had already been touched on in a press release issued by the Public Power Corporation on July 17 regarding its investment programme, which had cited nuclear power as an alternative source of energy if carbon-based fuels were ruled out for environmental reasons.

    "Only natural gas is an immediate, easy solution but it has another problem: the country's dependence increases because the natural gas to Europe comes chiefly from Russia. This presents a strategic problem," Drollas asserted, pointing out that this made Europe vulnerable if Russia decided to form a cartel with Qatar and Iran in the future.

    The CGES executive said that such problems would not arise with nuclear fuels, citing a recent report issued by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development for Europe (OECD), which said that using nuclear power would not jeopardise energy security since there were many largely politically stable countries that produced uranium.

    Regarding the use of renewable energy sources, Drollas expressed the opinion that they might constitute a long-term solution but that consumers were not ready to face the increased cost of renewable energy sources.

    "The photovoltaics industry is not yet ready to bring to market units that are cheap enough for there to be a return on investment within a reasonable space of time. If the return occurs in 30 years, who will install photovoltaics in their home, investing 20,000 euros for an entire house? Sucb things need subsidies. What governments today have the sums to give such subsidies," Drollas asked.

    He also said that wind energy compared unfavourably to nuclear energy in terms of efficiency, with wind turbines working at 30 percent of capacity to a nuclear power plant's 93 percent. "In France, for example, which has many nuclear power plants, to produce 1GW electricity you would need to have a wind turbine at 100-metre intervals along all the entire French coastline on both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean," he said.

    Dr. Drollas went on to say that the public's fears regarding nuclear wastes were exaggerated because people were unaware of recent scientific progress that had made only a few such wastes radioactive. While conceding that there was a still a measurable risk from the use of nuclear power, he argued that this was far outweighed by the benefits.

    [20] Ancient Pelinna opens to visitors

    The ancient Pelinna archaeological site in western Thessaly, in Trikala prefecture, has opened to visitors following stepped up excavations and cleaning and restoration work.

    The 34th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities will feature guided tours of the site on Friday, destined chiefly for schools, including an educational program for primary and secondary school pupils, in observation of the annual European Cultural Heritage Days, which will be held on September 25-27, under the theme "Magic through the Ages", involving visits to museums, monyments and archaeological sites in 50 points throughout Greece.

    The project initially aims to clean and display the ancient wall on the site and calculate its course, while it ultimately plans to create an archaeological park with various educational, recreational and sports facilities centred around the ancient site.

    Ancient Pelina, or Pelinnaion, was situated on the left bank of the Pineios River in western Thessaly, between Trikki and Farkadona. The first ancient reference to the city that survives was in Pindar, who cited it as the home of the athlete Ippocles, who won a race in the Pythian Games held in 498 B.C. Ancient accounts and architectural remains yield information about the city mostly during and after the 4th century B.C.

    During the road works for widening of the Trikala-Larissa National Highway section from Farkadona to Megalochori, several shaft tombs of adults and children, with their skeletons, were discovered and recorded. The findings and the results of the excavations were presented at the 8th Symposium of Trikalinon Studies in November 2008) archaeologists Leonidas Chatziaggelakis, head of the Ephorate.

    The most important element was the discovery of a semicircular construction, which is likely to have been used as a burial space, as in the outer - convex side had been positioned a child's skull and a second adult skull. Around the area of the skulls the soil had been burned. Aso collected have been mainly mobile findings, such as ceramics and objects of daily use, as well as.

    According to the Greek historian and geographer Arrianos, Alexander the Great passed through Pelinnaion with his army in 335 B.C. in his incursion against the Thebans. the Pellina occupants followed the Macedonian army in all its operations up until 191 BC, when the Athamanians, led by Amyander, an aly of Antiochus took over the city, but it was later retaken by M'Acilius in the same year..

    According to Chatziaggelakis, Pellinaion was founded by Pelinnos, son of Oechalieas, from the town of Eurytus' town, Oechalia.

    [21] 'Omnibus for Direct Democracy' in Greece

    The notions of democracy and direct dialogue will be the "passengers" of the "Omnibus for Direct Democracy", a German initiative traveling through the SE Europe, in cooperation with local Goethe Institutes. In its 10-week journey the bus will visit 20 cities and cover a distance of 8,000 km, initiating debates on social and cultural issues.

    In Greece, the bus will visit Thessaloniki (Sept.24-26 and Oct. 15-18), the archaeological site of Delphi (Sept. 27-28), Athens (Sept. 29-Oct.10), Leptokaria (Oct. 10-11) and Alexandroupolis Oct. 20).

    The "Omnibus for Direct Democracy" is a citizens' initiative established 22 years ago based on an idea by artist Joseph Beuys and is dedicated to the introduction of popular referendums on all levels of government focusing of the future collaboration of the people as regards freedom and self-determination.

    The double-decker bus visits roughly 100 German cities annually, organising public debates on issues such as referendums, the education system, ecology, Europe and the economic system.

    [22] Education Minister Spiliotopoulos inaugurates school in Athens

    The newly built 3rd Lyceum School in Kifisia, Athens was inaugurated on Wednesday in the presence of Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos.

    The minister referred to the government's education policy pointing out that "in today's troubled times knowledge and human resourcefulness will be called to provide solutions that are realistic and applicable considering the current impasses." He also referred to the irreplaceable role of teachers stressing that they constitute the backbone of Education.

    [23] Gyzis painting stolen

    A painting by Nikolaos Gyzis entitled "Family" was reported stolen early Monday morning from a businessman's residence in the northern Athens suburb of Maroussi.

    The burglars broke into the businessman's 3rd floor appartment from a balcony door took the painting and dissapeared. The painting is valued at 200,000 euros.

    Police are investigating the case.

    [24] Terrorist safehouse discovered in Halandri

    The Anti-Terrorist Squad discovered a safehouse belonging to a terrorist group in the northern Athens suburb of Halandri on Wednesday afternoon and four people have been held for questioning.

    The safehouse is a single story building and, so far, explosives, pots and printed material have been found. It is believed that the findings are related to the organisation by the name of "Conspiracy of Nuclei of Fire-Nihilists Sect" and possibly with another one.

    The detainees are being interrogated by the Anti-Terrorist Squad, while the findings have been taken to the Crime Service for laboratory tests.

    According to police officers, the developments are related to the bomb attack that occurred in the morning at the home of main opposition PASOK official Louka Katseli and Gerasimos Arsenis in the Athens district of Kolonaki.

    [25] Drugs, guns seized in Thessaloniki, Nea Kallikratia

    A police raid in the Thessaloniki suburb of Panorama and in Nea Kallikratia, Chalkidiki Prefecture resulted to the arrest of a 31-year-old and the confiscation of guns and drugs, an police announcement said on Wednesday. His two alleged accomplices, aged 33 and 36, are still wanted.

    A search in two houses that belonged to the three suspects revealed 4,229.8 grams of cannabis, 1,340 grams of heroin, 205 grams of methadone, 7 narcotic pills, two Russian-made hand grenades, a pistol, a number of cartridges and a stun gun.

    [26] Turkish entrepreneurs visit Thessaloniki

    Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis on Wednesday received 22 entrepreneurs from Istanbul, in the northern Greece port city as part of a business delegation.

    The prefect accepted an invitation by Greek-Turkish Business Council President Selim Egeli, who headed the Turkish delegation, to visit Istanbul in the immediate future.

    Weather Forecast

    [27] Rainy on Thursday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 11C and 28C. Cloudy with possible showers in Athens, with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 27C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 14C to 25C.

    [28] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis's and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou's one-on-one TV debate on Tuesday evening dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The Prime Minister demolished the populist - Karamanlis' clear superiority in the debate".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Karamanlis cast down the gauntlet at George for a second debate - PM dominated in debate".

    AVGHI: "Naked princes - Karamanlis and Papandreou were exposed in the debate".

    AVRIANI: "The country is on the verge of bankruptcy and the two mainstream parties (ruling ND and main opposition PASOK) do not offer a reliable proposal against the crisis".

    CHORA: "PM won points but did not manage to recoup the losses".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Karamanlis' superiority on all levels".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Karamanlis' performance of defeat - He called for a second debate".

    ESTIA: "The difference was revealed - Karamanlis' superiority was clear.

    ETHNOS: "Finishing stroke for Karamanlis".

    KATHIMERINI: "The political parties' staffs assess the debate's result ".

    LOGOS: "Debate without a winner or loser".

    NIKI: "George appeared confident and ready to become prime minister".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga in Thrace: Put your trust now in the KKE".

    TA NEA: "George's clear victory in one-on-one debate - Karamanlis burned his last card".

    TO VIMA: "Debate revealed the winner of the general elections - Mr. Papandreou won the impressions".

    VRADYNI: "Debate: Civilised but without nerve".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [29] Christofias discusses Cyprus and Turkey's EU course with Barroso

    NEW YORK (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The Cyprus question and Turkey's EU accession course were discussed in a meeting here Tuesday between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, on the sidelines of a UN meeting on climate change.

    According to reliable sources, President Christofias briefed Barroso on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue and the prospects for a solution, as the EU prepares to assess Turkey's accession course in December.

    President Christofias also said, during the meeting, that the European Commission can significantly contribute to the efforts for a solution, by taking advantage of Turkey's evaluation and convincing Ankara to change its stance towards Cyprus.

    On the sidelines of the UN meeting on climate change, President Christofias had a friendly conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    President Christofias was to attend on Wednesday the official opening of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, to be addressed by the UN Secretary General and the Presidents of Brazil and the USA.

    President Christofias was to hold a series of bilateral meetings with various heads of state, including Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, the President of Bosnia Zeljko Komsic, the Lebanese President Michel Sulayman, the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and the President of Croatia Stjepan Mesic.

    On Wednesday evening, Christofias was to attend a dinner US President Barak Obama and his wife will host for the foreign leaders.

    [30] UNSG optimistic over talks on Cyprus

    UNITED NATIONS (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed optimism over talks held between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat with a view to solve the Cyprus question, noting that it was "very important for the two sides to seize the momentum now.''

    Referring to a meeting held here between Ban and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, a UNSG spokesperson said that ''on Cyprus, the SG said he appreciated Turkey's support to Alexander Downer's efforts and expressed optimism at the talks (42 discussions in the first round), noting that it was 'very important for the two sides to seize the momentum now'.''

    The spokesperson also noted that the SG thanked Turkey for its leadership on climate change and expressed his sympathies for the deadly impact of recent floods in Turkey.

    The SG welcomed recent steps toward the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, the spokesperson said.

    On Afghanistan, the SG indicated that he would consult Turkey shortly on that issue in general. The Middle East peace process and the unresolved humanitarian crisis in Gaza also came up as topics.

    Christofias and Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations, under UN auspices, since September 2008. Ban's special adviser on Cyprus

    Alexander Downer attends the talks, which aim at finding a mutually acceptable political settlement that will reunite the country under a federal roof, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    [31] Garoyian calls on Downer to keep within limits of his mission

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Acting President of the Republic, President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian called on the UN Secretary General's Adviser Representative on Cyprus Alexander Downer to keep within the limits of his mission.

    Commenting on remarks that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had expressed appreciation for Turkey's support towards Downer's efforts and optimism concerning direct talks in Cyprus, Garoyian said an effort is being made ''to pass the message that there is significant progress'' in the talks.

    ''Our assessment is that there has been minimal progress during the first round of the negotiations due to the Turkish intransigent and arid stance,'' he said, adding that ''in the issues of major importance there has been no shift on behalf of the Turkish side, on the contrary the proposals and recommendations Turkey has been submitting are proposals and recommendations that refer to a confederation and a solution of two states.''

    Asked why the UN Secretary General has been expressing optimism, Garoyian said ''there is an intense view and position in certain circles that wish to create this climate,'' noting that ''this is not unusual in negotiations and especially when everyone knows that in December Turkey will pass from an evaluation and examination as to whether or not it has fulfilled its obligations and met is commitments'' towards the EU.

    ''Some powerful players in the international system want to facilitate Turkey to pass the December assessment unpunished,'' he added.

    Garoyian said that ''if they want to see real progress in the Cyprus problem, they will have to turn their attention and pressure to Turkey.''

    To questions regarding Downer's role, Garoyian said ''Downer has a specific mandate and must meet the terms of his mission,'' adding that the UN official ''should be careful what he says and does, in order to remain credible.''

    ''I would like to send a message to Mr. Downer and all those involved and who wish to remain trustworthy, effective and serious. They should make sure they remain within the terms of their mission,'' Garoyian said.

    He added that President Christofias has already clarified that ''he does not accept arbitration of any form, either direct or indirect, and he does not accept strict deadlines or reasoning that presents the unlawful as lawful.''

    ''For this reason, Mr. Downer should remain within the terms of his mission, that is to facilitate the process'' of the talks, Garoyian pointed out.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island.

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