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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Saturday, 26 September 2009 Issue No: 3307


  • [01] PM calls on voters to reject "those who negate truth'
  • [02] PASOK leader says country must change course
  • [03] Papandreou interview with 'La Repubblica'
  • [04] Tsipras in Ioannina
  • [05] Karatzaferis visits Kastellorizo
  • [06] EcoGreens party meets PPC management, briefed on planning
  • [07] Greece responds to FYROM allegations at UN
  • [08] DM Meimarakis speaks to ANA-MPA
  • [09] Bakoyannis, MIG file counter-lawsuits
  • [10] Bakoyannis counter sues
  • [11] Credit expansion growth slows further in Aug.
  • [12] Syrian business women visit Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
  • [13] Selman to issue 31.5-mln-euro bond loan
  • [14] Pension funds' assets up 65.8% in 2004-2009
  • [15] Trade deficit down 40.5% in July
  • [16] Stocks end 0.09% up
  • [17] ADEX closing report
  • [18] Greek bond market closing report
  • [19] Foreign Exchange rates -Saturday/Monday
  • [20] Four terrorist suspects indicted
  • [21] PASOK headquarters attacked by youngsters
  • [22] Bank robbers shoot and injure minor and father in escape attempt
  • [23] Police officer arrested for drug possession, theft, forgery
  • [24] Police arrest heroin smuggler in Thesprotia
  • [25] Foreign nationals arrested in Edessa on credit card fraud
  • [26] Youths from Albania, Bulgaria, fYRoM visit Axios
  • [27] Mother charged in newborn's death
  • [28] Woman arrested attempting to supply detainee with heroin
  • [29] WWII bombs found in Elefsina
  • [30] Spartathon ultra-marathon sets out from Athens on Friday
  • [31] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [32] President receives assurances over Russia's stance on Cyprus
  • [33] Allegations against Downer totally false, says UN Politics

  • [01] PM calls on voters to reject "those who negate truth'

    Prime Minister and New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis addressed an election campaign rally in Kozani, western Macedonia, on Friday evening calling on voters to "question all those who doubt your intelligence, reject all those that are negating the truth" and added that the main opposition PASOK party "conceals its real intentions and fears that it might displease the citizens."

    The ruling ND party, he said, "tells the truth to the people and has a plan with which it can lead the country to a better tomorrow.'

    The prime minister strongly criticised PASOK leader George Papandreou on the latter's position on national issues saying that, as foreign minister in the years 1999-2004, he (Papandreou) had declared that in exploratory talks with neighbouring Turkey the issue of grey zones would not be discussed while the then prime minister said that the issue was finally included in these talks.

    "I question nobody's patriotism but they cannot question our's," the prime minister noted.

    Regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline project, Karamanlis termed Papandreou's declarations on the issue as "curious insinuations" and wondered whether "the conceal" something.

    Referring to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) 'name issue', premier Karamanlis said "we put clear red lines and we do not backtrack. We proved that in Bucharest, we showed boldness and credibility which cannot be questioned by anybody."

    On the economy, Karamanlis charged that "PASOK's pleasant words will bring about an unbearable cost," saying that the main opposition party "is contradicting itself, does not tell the truth, conceals its real intentions and the only thing it is interested in is how not to be unpleasent to citizens."

    [02] PASOK leader says country must change course

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou addressed an election campaign rally in Iraklio, on the island of Crete, on Friday evening calling on all Greek voters that "want the country to change course" to vote for his party.

    Papandreou said "gallops do not win elections" adding "the battle must be waged by all until the last minute."

    "It is time to leave behind, once and and for all, all that has led the country to decay, corruption, fear and to margin. It is time to put the country on the track of progress, justice and growth," the PASOK leader said.

    Papandreou promised to "make the first step in this course" by assuming the task of "fighting against all those established interests that put obstacles to the new course of the country, whatever the cost might be."

    "I commit myself to be at the front of this great effort and hand over to our children a better Greece than the one we inherited," he emphasised.

    The main opposition leader asked for "a vote of confidence and a strong mandate for absolute parliamentary majority, in order to fully implement the PASOK programme which guarantees the country's new course."

    Referring to the first 100 days of his government, if his party wins the elections, Papandreou conceded that Grrece "will not change in 100 days but what the PASOK programme can do is give the country the time it needs to react, to take a breath, to exit from the intensive care unit, in order to be able to make the next step."

    "An indispensable condition for this step," he added, "is the establishment of a well-governed state which will stand by the side of citizens."

    [03] Papandreou interview with 'La Repubblica'

    ROME (ANA-MPA / Th. Andreadis-Singelakis)

    The formula for economic recovery is fairer taxation, greater salaries and pensions, as well as effective measures against tax evasion, main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou underlined in an interview published by the mass Italian daily "La Repubblica".

    "Spending figures will be made public and attention will focus on 'green' economy for the creation of new job positions", he added.

    When asked what socialism means for him, Papandreou responded that it is all about "giving more power to the people and keeping them informed, thus helping them make decisions. It also means social justice and a new relation with the environment."

    Papandreou added that PASOK is one of the few Socialist parties that won in the recent Euro-elections and stressed that "only those who know how to democratise and make globalisation fairer are winning."

    [04] Tsipras in Ioannina

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras outlined his party's policy for SMEs during his visit to the northwestern city of Ioannina on Friday.

    The leftist party's proposals include "substantive and considerable" state-guaranteed financing of small and medium size businesses without unjustified delays, greater state control of the domestic banking system through a renationalised National Bank and what he called a special purpose bank established for SMEs to support the real economy.

    [05] Karatzaferis visits Kastellorizo

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) President George Karatzaferis visited the small SE Aegean isles of Ro and Kastelorizo on Friday.

    Karatzaferis laid a wreath at the "Lady of Ro" monument, while in Kastelorizo he met with local residents.

    The LA.OS president later departed for the Cyclades island of Syros, where he will give a press conference later in the afternoon.

    [06] EcoGreens party meets PPC management, briefed on planning

    Public Power Corporation (PPC) chairman Takis Athanasso-oulos and a team of top PPC executives on Friday met a delegation from the Ecologists-Greens party led by the head of the EcoGreens election campaign Nikos Chrysogelos. The meeting focused on the PPC's role in the context of a new energy policy for Greece.

    Accompanying Chrysogelos were the party officials responsible for climate, energy and transport policy, Tassos Krommydas and Constantinos Katopis.

    PPC's management presented the company's strategic plan and outlined activities to restore the soil around lignite mines and hydroelectric power stations.

    EcoGreens officials, on their part, stressed the absolute necessity of a shift to using 'green' energy in order to avoid large-scale environmental and economic repercussions. They expressed satisfaction with the detailed briefing given them by the power utility and the fact that environmental parameters had been included in the company's planning.

    After the meeting, Chrysogelos stated that Greece needed a comprehensive strategy for energy that extended until 2030-50 and would incorporate strategies to protect the climate.

    In the meantime, a seminar organised by the Ecologists-Greens on "Forest protection as a national priority" was held in the centre of Athens on Friday, forming part of the party's campaign for Greece's policy on forest preservation begun in March 2008. This calls for a change in existing policies in order to fully protect Greek forests from degradation.

    Party officials also announced that the EcoGreens will forgo the traditional pre-election rally in favour of an open discussion to be held this coming Sunday evening at Cafe Higgs in Kotzia Square, where party candidates Nikos Chrysogelos and Yianna Kontouli will respond to questions, concerns and suggestions made by movements of citizens, non-governmental organisations, bloggers and members of the public. The central slogan of the event will be "others gather powers, we gather ideas".

    [07] Greece responds to FYROM allegations at UN

    UNITED NATIONS (ANA-MPA/.Panayiotou)

    Greece's Permanent Represenative at the United Nations Anastassis Mitsialis, on Friday evening responded to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) president's allegations regarding his country's 'name issue' in a speech he made at the UN general assembly earlier in the day.

    Mitsialis's response was expected to circulate at the UN headquarters as an official document.

    [08] DM Meimarakis speaks to ANA-MPA

    Greek citizens will finally opt for the ruling New Democracy (ND) party in the October 4 general elections, "because they are mature and becsuse we have a work to show on which they can compare and judge", Defense Minister Evangelis Meimarakis told the ANA-MPA in an exclusive interview on Friday.

    Meimarakis expressed optimism over the election result adding that "those who are certain over a comfortable (main opposition) PASOK victory will be surprised."

    Financial News

    [09] Bakoyannis, MIG file counter-lawsuits

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Friday announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, seeking three million euros in compensation for "moral damage" incurred as a result of what the company claims is "defamation of and insult to the company's character".

    MIG added that it will donate the money, if successful, to its non-profit Marfin Foundation for its public benefit work.

    "All we, executives and employees, at MIG have put in honest and hard work for many years in order to create the biggest Greek business Group, and we are proud of that. We will not allow anyone to dispute that pride, regardless of the cost," a MIG announcement read.

    [10] Bakoyannis counter sues

    In a later development in the afternoon, Bakoyannis counter-sued the company and its chief operating officer, Andreas Vgenopoulos, for defamation of character and slander.

    The Greek FM's lawsuit demands three million euros in compensation, while a press release added that if successful she will donate the money to the City of Athens' foundation for the homeless

    [11] Credit expansion growth slows further in Aug.

    Credit expansion slowed further in August to 6.0 pct, after a 6.6-pct growth rate reported in July, as both enterprises and households cut their borrowing, the Bank of Greece announced on Friday.

    New loans to enterprises totaled 804 million euros in August, for an annual growth rate of 7.3 pct, down from 7.9 pct in July and an 18.7 pct growth rate in December 2008. Lending to households totaled 108 million euros in August, for an annual growth rate of 4.7 pct, down from 5.2 pct in July.

    The central bank, in a report, said mortgage loans to households totaled 42 million euros for an annual growth rate of 4.8 pct in August, down from 5.2 pct in July, while the remaining 91 million euros were consumer loans. Their annual growth rate fell to 4.8 pct in August from 5.8 pct in July.

    [12] Syrian business women visit Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

    A women's business delegation from Syria on Friday visited the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development. The business delegation was organised by the Centre for European Constitutional Law with supervision by the Greek foreign ministry and Hellenic Aid.

    In talks during the visit, the chamber expressed a desire to cooperate with Syrian business women, who they said represented a community concerned with the contribution of women to economic growth.

    The two sides also discussed details of an upcoming visit by a Greek business delegation to the Syrian chamber of commerce.

    [13] Selman to issue 31.5-mln-euro bond loan

    Selman SA on Friday announced the signing of an agreement to issue a 31.5-mln-euro bond loan, which will be fully covered by Piraeus Bank, National Bank, Alpha bank, Geniki Bank, Emporiki Bank and EFG Eurobank Ergasias.

    The company said it will use the new money to refinance its existing short-term debt (totaling 23.5 million euros) and raising its working capital by 8.0 million euros. Selman said the new bond issue completed a restructuring plan of its debt.

    [14] Pension funds' assets up 65.8% in 2004-2009

    Greek pension funds' assets totaled 36.2 billion euros, from 21.8 billion euros in 2004, an increase of 65.8 pct, Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said on Friday.

    Speaking to reporters, the minister said these numbers alone highlighted the proper management and the success of a social insurance reform programe implemented by the government.

    [15] Trade deficit down 40.5% in July

    Greece's trade deficit totaled 2.393 billion euros in July, down from 4.022 billion euros in July 2008, a decline of 40.5 percent, the National Statistical Service announced on Friday.

    The statistics agency, in a monthly report, said the value of import-arrivals in the country dropped 34.4 pct in July, while the value of export-deliveries fell 19.2 pct compared with the corresponding period last year.

    The trade deficit in the January-July period totaled 14.554 billion euros, from 25.764 billion euros in the same period in 2008, for a decline of 43.5 percent.

    The value of exports fell 36.4 pct while exports fell 18.6 pct over the same period.

    [16] Stocks end 0.09% up

    Stocks edged higher during the last trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange, with the composite index of the market rising 0.09 pct to end at 2,611.56 points. Turnover was 272.8 million euros, of which 47.3 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Chemicals (4.21 pct), Health (2.74 pct) and Utilities (2.32 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (2.71 pct), Commerce (1.50 pct) and Industrial Products (1.09 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.13 pct, the FTSE 40 index eased 0.14 pct and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.77 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 130 to 62 with another 63 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +1.24%

    Industrials: -1.09%

    Commercial: -1.50%

    Construction: +0.67%

    Media: -2.71%

    Oil & Gas: +1.51%

    Personal & Household: +0.12%

    Raw Materials: -1.04%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.66%

    Technology: +0.41%

    Telecoms: unchanged

    Banks: -0.12%

    Food & Beverages: +1.28%

    Health: +2.74%

    Utilities: +2.32%

    Chemicals: +4.21%

    Financial Services: -0.17%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Marfin Popular Bank, MIG and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 12.16

    ATEbank: 1.58

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.20

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.69

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.82

    National Bank of Greece: 23.30

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.39

    Intralot: 5.06

    OPAP: 17.25

    OTE: 11.35

    Bank of Piraeus: 11.75

    Titan: 24.38

    [17] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.72 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover shrinking to 60.921 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,206 contracts worth 49.205 million euros, with 21,001 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,110 contracts worth 11.717 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (8,072), followed by MIG (4,015), OTE (637), Piraeus Bank (751), National Bank (1,142), Alpha Bank (523), Cyprus Bank (417) and Eurobank (507).

    [18] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled around 2.0 billion euros on Friday, with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widening to 121 basis points. The Greek bond yielded 4.48 pct and the German Bund 3.27 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 pct, the six-month rate 1.02 pct, the three-month rate 0.74 pct and the one-month rate 0.44 pct.

    [19] Foreign Exchange rates -Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.478

    Pound sterling 0.926

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.235

    Japanese yen 133.65

    Swiss franc 1.523

    Norwegian kroner 8.57

    Canadian dollar 1.616

    Australian dollar 1.708

    General News

    [20] Four terrorist suspects indicted

    Indictments on three counts of felony and four counts of misdemeanors were handed down on Friday by the public prosecutor for four persons, aged 20 and 21, who were arrested on Wednesday night on charges of participation in a terrorist organisation, and their names were released, under the provisions of the counter-terrorism law.

    The four, three men and a woman, were arrested by the police counter-terrorism squad Wednesday night after the discovery earlier in the afternoon of a safehouse belonging to a terrorist group in the northern Athens suburb of Halandri.

    During a raid on the safehouse, police arrested the 21-year old tenant, the owner's 20-year-old son and a 20-year-old woman, and a fourth person was arrested in related investigations in Galatsi, while a fifth person brought in for questioning from the Galatsi investigation was released.

    The four detainees, identified as Haralambos Hatzimichelakis, Emmanuil Yiospas, Myrto Pangeloglou and Panayiotis Masouras, appeared early Friday morning before prosecutor Eleni Raikou.

    The charges include participation in a criminal organisation, procurement and possession of explosive materials, two counts of causing explosions and thus endangering human lives, grand larceny, violation of the law on explosives, flares and fire-crackers, and procurement and possession of narcotic substances for own use.

    The charge of causing an explosion endangering lives refers to bomb attacks at the home of former deputy Public Order minister Panayiotis Hinofotis, on July 12, at the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace, on September 2 and on Wednesday (Sept. 23) at the entrance of the fourth-floor apartment of main opposition PASOK former minister Gerassimos Arsenis and his wife, PASOK officer on economic affairs Louka Katseli in Kolonaki.

    The case file will be assigned to an examining magistrate, to whom the detainees will give testimony on Tuesday, after seeking on Friday an extension in order to prepare their testimonies

    The examining magistrate is also expected to issue arrest warrants for another six individuals, including an Albanian national, as Raikou has already consented to the warrants, effectively rendering the six as "wanted".

    [21] PASOK headquarters attacked by youngsters

    A group of youngsters attacked on Friday evening both the old and the new headquarters of the main opposition PASOK in central Athens.

    The youngsters used molotov bombs and stones, causing only damages to two cars parked nearby, and were dispersed after police intervention.

    [22] Bank robbers shoot and injure minor and father in escape attempt

    Two gunmen shot and injured a man and his primary school daughter in the Kallithea district of Athens on Friday morning while fleeing after robbing a bank.

    The gunmen held up a Eurobank branch shortly after 8:00 a.m., taking an as yet undetermined sum of money, but were chased while trying to escape.

    The bank robbers opened fire, firing four shots in the air for intimidation, and then attempted, at gunpoint, to hijack the man's car, who was taking his young daughter to a nearby primary school.

    The father, fearing for his daughter's safety, resisted, and the robbers opened fire on them, injuring the man in the hand and the schoolgirl in the abdominal region. The father and daughter were rushed to hospital, where the father was released after first aid treatment. The young girl was transferred to the Athens' Children's Hospital, where she is hospitalised in a non-life threatening condition.

    The bank robbers then immoblised another car at gunpoint and fled. The car was later found abandoned in the nearby district of Neos Kosmos.

    Police have launched a manhunt to track down and arrest the armed robbers.

    [23] Police officer arrested for drug possession, theft, forgery

    A 22-year-old police officer was arrested in Athens by Police Internal Affairs accused of drug possession, theft and certificate forgery.

    A search in his house on Thursday revealed cannabis seeds and 15 narcotic pills as well as an identity card, a driver's license and a special pass ticket all allegedly forged by the police officer.

    [24] Police arrest heroin smuggler in Thesprotia

    Police in the prefecture of Thesprotia on Friday reported the arrest of an Albanian national, who was caught in the region of Filiata with a package containing 254 grammes of heroin that he had just smuggled over the Greek-Albanian border.

    The man will be led before a Thesprotia public prosecutor.

    [25] Foreign nationals arrested in Edessa on credit card fraud

    Three citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) were arrested by police in the northern city of Edessa on Friday on credit card and ID fraud charges.

    The suspects, all males, were allegedly supplied with six stolen credit cards and the fake IDs in Skopje, using them in Edessa to purchase roughly 6,000 euros worth of petrol, cigarettes and mobile phones.

    According to police, the suspects intended to travel by plane to Germany via Thessaloniki.

    [26] Youths from Albania, Bulgaria, fYRoM visit Axios

    Young people, aged 15-25, from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and fYRoM visited the Thessaloniki-area municipality of Axios, within the framework of the European programme "Youth in Action".

    Common problems, namely, environmental pollution, inadequate waste disposal sites, river pollution, uncontrolled hunting in protected areas as well as soil and water pollution by pesticides, were cited.

    A total of 10 youths from the municipality of Sofia, 10 from the municipalities of Sarande and Gjirokaster and nine from the municipality of Skopje arrived in Thessaloniki on Sept. 20 for a series of contacts with young people active on environmental issues in the region of Axios. They also visited the Axios River Delta and were briefed on the cultivation of shellfish and rice.

    In Thessaloniki, they had the opportunity to visit archaeological museums and sites and meet with local authorities.

    [27] Mother charged in newborn's death

    The unprecedented killing of a newborn infant by the girl's 30-year-old mother in a maternity ward was reported on Friday in Evros prefecture, extreme northeast Greece.

    The infant's body was found in the basement of the Alexandroupolis on Thursday just 48 hours after the girl's birth. The infant's disoriented mother was later located in one of the facility's restrooms.

    An autopsy on the infant girl ruled that stabbing with a very sharp instrument, believed to be an IV needle, was the cause of death.

    The mother had given birth by C-section two days earlier and around noon on Thursday she and the infant disappeared from the hospital's maternity ward. Police were notified and a search began by hospital personnel.

    [28] Woman arrested attempting to supply detainee with heroin

    A 43-year-old woman was arrested in the Haidari Police Station, Athens, on Thursday when she attempted to supply a 42-year-old male detainee she was visiting with 0.9 grams of heroin. The woman was spotted by police officers and was arrested.

    [29] WWII bombs found in Elefsina

    Eight Air Force bombs dated back to WWII were discovered in the vicinity of Elefsina, near Piraeus, on Thursday during earthworks conducted by the ministry of environment, town planning and public works.

    The bombs will be collected by Greek army experts and be transported to the Avlona Army Camp.


    [30] Spartathon ultra-marathon sets out from Athens on Friday

    The 27th annual Spartathlon ultra-marathon race sets out from Athens on Friday, with 350 athletes from 33 countries taking part, who are slated to begin crossing the finish line on Saturday morning in front of the statue of Leonidas in Sparta. The reward for the athletes' super-human effort is a "cotinos", a wreath made of wild olive tree branches and water from the Evrotas River from the hands of a young Spartan woman.

    The Spartathlon is a historic ultra-distance foot race that takes place in September of every year in Greece. It is one of the most difficult and satisfying ultra distance races in the world because of its unique history and background.

    The race retraces the route of Pheidippides, whom the Athenian generals sent to Sparta to seek reinforcement for their sparse forces in order to confront the "Asian tide" (incursion), according to the historian Herodotus on the 490 BC Battle of Marathon.

    For 26 consecutive years, the Spartathlon athletes have followed the route John Foden and his team defined in 1982 when they experimented in running from Athens to Sparta. It is based on Herodotus' description of the Athenian 'Imerodromou' or messenger who arrived in Sparta the day after he departed from Athens and also on well known historical events of that time. It has, therefore, been considered the nearest route to that which Pheidippides must have followed.

    The battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., one of the most famous battles in world history, constituted a landmark and a starting point in the history of civilization. The triumph of the genius of Miltiades and the self-denial of his soldiers made the hordes of Persians flee and rescued Athens and Hellenism from the utmost danger of subjugation to the barbarian invaders. The effects of the victory at Marathon continue to influence the present. It was the first victory against the planned domination of "Asianization" over Europe and an event with momentous significance. Because of this victory, Athens was able to achieve a great deal and bequeath the benefits of its knowledge, arts and virtue to mankind.

    Briefly, Miltiades' messenger Pheidippides started out of Athens on the ancient Iera Odos, or "sacred road," up to Elefsis. From there he followed Skyronia Odos, a military road on the slopes of the Gerania Mountains, and travelled through Isthmia, Examilia and Ancient Corinth. He went on to Ancient Nemea, thus avoiding the Epicratea of Argos, as it wasn't in alliance with Athens, and he continued along the mountains between Argolida and Arcadia. He climbed the Parthenio Mountain (1200 meters), where he encountered the God Pan. Descending the mountain, he continued in the direction of historical Tegea, one of the locations mentioned by Herodotus in his account about Pheidippides. He proceeded south toward Sparta. Upon his arrival in Sparta, he completed 1,140 "stadia" (with one 'stadio' equalling the length of one stadium), totalling 246 kilometers.

    In 1879 the English poet Robert Browning wrote the stirring poem 'Pheidepeides'. It is said that the poem so inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin and other founders of the modern Olympic Games that they were prompted to create a foot race of 42 km which would be named the Marathon.

    "Archons of Athens, topped by the tettix, see, I return!

    See, 'tis myself here standing alive, no spectre that speaks!

    Crowned with the myrtle, did you command me, Athens and you,

    "Run, Pheidippides, run and race, reach Sparta for aid!

    Persia has come, we are here, where is She?" Your command I obeyed,

    Ran and raced: like stubble, some field which a fire runs through,

    Was the space between city and city: two days, two nights did I burn

    Over the hills, under the dales, down pits and up peaks."

    Two and a half thousand years after that historical battle, a sports event, inseparably related to it, was born in Greece. The Spartathlon is inseparably linked with the Olympic ideals of friendship. peace, selflessness and fraternity.

    The ultra-distance runners will be greeted by Spartans at the entrance to the city, while a lavish ceremony in honor of the winners will be held in the center of Sparta on Saturday evening.

    [31] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Arrests of suspected terrorists following the discovery of a safehouse in the northern Athens suburb of Halandri, and the political parties' preparations ahead of the October 4 general elections, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Police dismantle terrorism beginning with 'Conspiracy of Fire Cells' group".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The four arrested suspected terrorists are 'poor little rich kids'."

    AVGHI: "SYRIZA rallies its supporters".

    AVRIANI: "(Prospect of) Self-sufficient government on the razor's edge".

    CHORA: "New York, New York - Who Papandreou met with during his lightning visit to the UN (where he chaired a presidium meeting of Socialist International)".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Avin's (Motor Oil) acquisition of Shell's petrol station network and fuel storage facilities in Greece an oasis for the market, which is plagued by lay-offs and shut downs".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis exposed on his statements referring to the STAGE programme".

    ESTIA: "Why state revenues are collapsing -The increase in taxes was a major mistake".

    ETHNOS: «Time-delayed arrested - Police spotted them in August but arrested them a few days before the general elections".

    KATHIMERINI: "According to Police the four arrestees are members of the 'Conspiracy of Fire Cells' terrorist group".

    LOGOS: "Police 'touch' the new terrorists' generation".

    NIKI: "George Papandreou brings back hope to the people".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Make things difficult for ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK in the general elections by voting for the KKE".

    TA NEA: "Government leaves behind a huge deficit".

    TO VIMA: "ND Government leaves behind it empty state coffers - The economy's bomb exploded in the government's hands".

    VRADYNI: " 'Green guards' (PASOK 'bullies') return! - PASOK cadres blackmailing and bullying upsets society".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [32] President receives assurances over Russia's stance on Cyprus


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has said he received assurances from Russian Minister of oreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov that Russia fully supports Cyprus' positions in the effort to find a negotiated settlement.

    Speaking after a meeting with Lavrov on Thursday in New York, President Christofias said the result of the meeting was very positive and noted they agreed that Lavrov would visit Cyprus in November to continue discussions.

    ''Russia unreservedly supports the implementation of principles in a solution of the Cyprus problem, and supports UN resolutions,'' he said, adding that Cyprus and Russia ''share common views on the Cyprus problem.''

    He also said ''not even an iota has changed in the policy of the Russian Federation in the Cyprus problem and our cooperation will continue and will be enhanced even more, not only regarding the Cyprus question and the problems of the region but at the same time our cooperation in the economic, technological, tourist and commercial sectors and in all sectors we have signed agreements in.''

    President Christofias said the Russia-Cyprus joint committee will be convening to plan further moves.

    He also said Lavrov thanked him for Cyprus' stance on the latest UN General Assembly resolution concerning Georgia.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led peace talks are underway to find a solution, to reunite the country.

    President Christofias continues meetings in New York

    President Christofias continued his meetings in New York, on the sidelines of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly.

    The president had a short discussion with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. According to diplomatic sources, during their meeting at the UN, the British diplomat asked the president if there is progress in his talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    President Christofias said that, just as he had told Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan, in order for progress to be achieved, Talat must be encouraged to change his positions on many fundamental aspects of the Cyprus issue.

    Miliband also met Talat who is in New York.

    Within the framework of his contacts at the General Assembly, President Christofias held meetings with Serbian President Boris Tadic, Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thami of Qatar.

    President Christofias told reporters that the Sheikh was very cordial and reconfirmed the friendship and friendly relations between the twocountries. "He has stressed he is a friend of Cyprus and will continue to be interested in the Cyprus issue and a multifaceted cooperation with Cyprus".

    He expressed the hope Qatar will continue with investments in Cyprus. The president said the Emir will pay a visit to Cyprus next year, in response to a visit which Christofias has extended to Al-Thami. He also thanked him for his interest in the Cyprus issue.

    Regarding his meeting with Serbian President Tadic, President Christofias said he briefed him on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue. He also said that recently, Tadic was in Cyprus and Christofias had the chance to dine with him at his holiday residence at Kellaki village where the two had the chance for a discussion.

    President Christofias said they agreed on an exchange of various ministers and in October, the Serbian Prime Minister will visit Cyprus. "Our ties have always been relations of mutual solidarity", the president remarked, adding that the Cypriot stance on Kosovo is known and the Serbian stance as far as the Republic of Cyprus is concerned is a position of principle and has been consistent.

    President Christofias, accompanied by First Lady Elsi, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, Cyprus' Ambassador in Washington Andreas Kakouris and Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Minas Hadzimihael, paid a visit to Archbishop of America Demetrios.

    Present at the meeting was the President of the Cyprus Federation of America and member of the Archbishopric Council Panicos Papanicolaou.

    The half-hour meeting covered the Cyprus issue and the president informed the Archbishop on the latest developments.

    In his remarks, the church leader described President Christofias as a "fighter who travels the world to promote a solution to the Cyprus issue, a problem that should not really exist. It is a shame that this problem exists. It is not merely a problem of one or two states, it is a stigma for humanity that it tolerates such a completely unacceptable situation", he added.

    Archbishop Demetrios said Christofias is fighting against circumstances which are very hard "but will not give up in the struggle for justice, freedom, equality and the prospect of all people in Cyprus to leave in peace and to live their lives just as God intended".

    He thanked the president for the seminars which are organized annually in Cyprus for around 20 teachers of Greek Archbishopric schools of America.

    In his remarks, President Christofias said the Archbishop is also a fighter in the struggle to free Cyprus.

    "He is a person who really believes in the teachings of Christ and in justice, fights for justice and I am sure that we will have him in Cyprus soon to bless the solution of the Cyprus issue".

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led peace talks are underway to find a solution, to reunite the country.

    [33] Allegations against Downer totally false, says UN


    The United Nations in Cyprus has described here Friday as "totally false" allegations that Special Adviser to the Secretary General, Alexander Downer, has business interests in Turkey and that these interests constitute a conflict of interest.

    A statement by the UN Cyprus Spokesperson, Jose Diaz, said that "allegations that the Special Adviser to the Secretary General, Alexander Downer, has business interests in Turkey and that these interests constitute a conflict of interest are totally falseÖ.

    It said that "Mr Downer has no business interests in either Turkey or Greece and has never in his life conducted any business with or in either of those countries".

    The statement said Downer "is a partner in the consultancy firm Bespoke Approach which primarily operates in Australia but also works in China and Indonesia".

    The American private equity firm KKR is a client of Bespoke Approach but the partner who deals with this account "who is not Mr Downer advises KKR solely on Australian matters".

    Concluding, the statement underlines that "at no time has Bespoke Approach been involved with any issues in relation to Turkey".

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Downer, former Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, as his special adviser on the Cyprus problem. Downer is noted in the diplomatic circles for his work as a highly distinguished diplomat and mediator, with a long list of contacts and influence to international organisations. He has close ties with Washington and during his time as Australia's Foreign Minister, he was the closest ally to the US and the UK.

    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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