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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-13

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

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

Tuesday, 13 October 2009 Issue No: 3321

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou visit to coastal Olympic facilities
  • [02] PM Papandreou confers with cabinet members
  • [03] Government spokesman holds first briefing
  • [04] Interior minister meets ADEDY union leadership
  • [05] EU health ministers convene in Luxembourg
  • [06] Bakoyannis announces ND leadership candidacy
  • [07] Sioufas holds talks with Avramopoulos, Samaras
  • [08] Tsipras resigns from Athens municipal council
  • [09] President Papoulias meets with Kazakh Senate chairman Tokayev
  • [10] Austrian Chancellor Faymann exclusive interview
  • [11] German Constitutional Court blocks Christoforakos's extradition to Greece
  • [12] Abducted Greek volunteer appeals to Pakistan for his release
  • [13] Government spokesman on public deficit, other issues
  • [14] Katseli meets with representatives of EEE, OLP, PNO
  • [15] Loverdos meets Multicollection staff
  • [16] Finance ministry to hold bond action Tuesday
  • [17] Greek stocks soar by 2.82 pct
  • [18] ADEX closing report
  • [19] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [20] Liberation of Athens remembered at event on Acropolis - Greetings by PM Papandreou and Athens Mayor Kaklamanis
  • [21] World's first fatty tissue stem cell transplant into lung of pulmonary fibrosis patient carried out in Alexandroupolis
  • [22] Lesvos Petrified Forest receives EDEN award
  • [23] Manmade lake at Aliakmon River gorge
  • [24] Int'l symposium on water resources in Athens
  • [25] Homemade explosive device discovered outside bank
  • [26] Two arrests for forced panhandling in Thessaloniki
  • [27] Drinking water in many Thessaloniki schools unsafe, study shows
  • [28] Thirteen winners in the 1st Tango Marathon in Thessaloniki
  • [29] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [30] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [31] Christofias and Papandreou to discuss Turkey's evaluation by the EU, says FM
  • [32] Russian Foreign Minister to visit Cyprus Politics

  • [01] Papandreou visit to coastal Olympic facilities

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday visited the former Olympic facilities at the site of old airport at Helliniko and the Tae Kwon Do stadium in Paleo Faliro, stressing his determination to turn these into facilities and parks for the use of the general public.

    "We are determined to change things and make use of this huge investment of the Greek people so as to liberate Attica, open the sea front and create areas of recreation, culture, sports and greenspace, places where citizens can feel that their lives have been improved on a daily basis and that create opportunities for participation, development, education and culture for all, he said.

    Papandreou carried out the visit with visiting Spanish architect Josep Acebillo, Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili.

    In statements to the press, the prime minister noted that there was huge potential that remained untapped and could be used to give to local residents and the Greek people what he considered "self-evident rights".

    On his part, Acebillo noted that all cities throughout the world shared the same problems but that each had to find its own special solutions.

    "Many people believe that I am here because it may be possible to use my experience in Barcelona. It is not possible to use this," he said, adding that the solutions for Greek cities should be found by Greeks, who had a deeper knowledge of their country.

    The Spanish architect said that he had visited only to advise the prime minister and his team, to exchange ideas and to listen.

    He also pointed out that in an age of globalisation, all cities had to partake of the new technologies and adopt a way of building dictated by these technologies, adding that he was working on the basis of these plans in London, Barcelona and other cities.

    After the visits to the Olympic facilities on the coast, Papandreou and the rest of the party accompanying went to the hills of Galatsi, from where the Spanish architect might have a panoramic view of the entire city.

    [02] PM Papandreou confers with cabinet members

    A meeting between Prime Minister George Papandreou and cabinet ministers, in light of the government's preparations for its policy statements and for the coordination of the ministers' daily work, came to an end on Monday evening.

    The meeting was attended by the members of the cabinet, the vice president of the government, the ministerial council's secretary general and PASOK's two Parliamentary representatives.

    [03] Government spokesman holds first briefing

    Greek voters had given PASOK "a clear and strong mandate" to form a government in the October 4 elections and this government would work along specific lines, government spokesman George Petalotis said on Monday during his first regular press briefing.

    He promised reporters that he would strive to inform them in an "accessible" manner, that was based on reality.

    Outlining the general directions of government policy, he said these were to overturn pathogenic phenomena in public administration and the state, a full and substantive improvement of public assets, to build a solid relationship of trust between citizens and the state in order to promote government policies, lots of work and an end to the country's "international isolation".

    "The taking over of the foreign ministry by the prime minister himself signals this practice and this viewpoint," Petalotis told reporters, pointing to the upcoming visit by Prime Minister George Papandreou to Cyprus and his decision to participate in the informal meeting of Southeastern European Cooperation Process (SEECP) foreign ministers in Istanbul.

    The government has already begun work in order to meet its commitments, the spokesman said, adding that "consensus and social criticism was required".

    The remainder of the prime minister's week would be almost entirely taken up with Parliamentary activities, Petalotis announced, culminating with the debate on the government's policy platform that would be voted on at midnight on Sunday.

    [04] Interior minister meets ADEDY union leadership

    Interior, Decentralisation and e-Government Minister Yiannis Ragoussis on Monday had a meeting with the presidency of the civil servants' union ADEDY, led by the union's president Spyros Papaspyros who briefed the minister on problems faced by public-sector employees.

    Papaspyros referred to the issue of meritocracy within the civil service, stressing that there must be a stop to the practice whereby the parties winning elections treated the public sector as 'spoils of war'. He called for the hiring of public sector staff exclusively through the Supreme Council of Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP), and the creation of an 'internal' ASEP for evaluations and promotions of executives within the ranks public administration.

    He urged the government to trust the human resources in the civil service in tackling what he called the "major challenge of modernising public administration and raising its efficiency," but warned that, otherwise, ADEDY was ready to mobilise its members for strike action, which was the only way that they could press for a modern and efficient civil service.

    [05] EU health ministers convene in Luxembourg

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    European Union health ministers held a special conference in Luxembourg on Monday, focusing on the handling of the H1N1 flu A pandemy. Greece's positions were presented by Health and Social Solidarity Minister Mariliza Xenoyiana-kopoulou.

    An account of the situation was made during the conference and conclusions were adopted based on a relevant announcement by the European Commission.

    The Council's conclusions anticipate, among other things, the boosting of action both on the part of member-states and on the part of the European Commission, regarding the availability of vaccines, information and communication with citizens and global cooperation on tackling the disease.

    Xenoyianakopoulou said in a statement that the new Greek government and Prime Minister George Papandreou himself place priority on the issues of citizens' health and the flu pandemy in particular.

    [06] Bakoyannis announces ND leadership candidacy

    Dora Bakoyannis announced her candidacy for the leadership of the New Democracy (ND) party on Monday, clarifying that she will seek her election both by the special conference on November 7 and the party's members with any irreproachable charter procedure.

    Bakoyannis promised to do her best for ND's speediest political recovery possible and called on the party's members and friends to support her with their confidence in this new start.

    She further said that her priority will be the shaping of an alternative governmental proposal with ideas and solutions to face the problems of the Greeks and stressed the need for ND to become a majority and modern European party of the entire centre-right and pointed out that the party has no need for a new ideology.

    "This (the ideology) is clear, it is modern social liberalism which, however, we must defend with consistency and steadfastness with courage and self-confidence," she said.

    Bakoyannis stressed that the party's unity is a top priority for her and that "at this moment no one is superfluous for the party. In tomorrow's ND there shall be no systems and personal apparatuses."

    [07] Sioufas holds talks with Avramopoulos, Samaras

    In a New Democracy (ND) meeting, Organisational Conference Committee chairman Dimitris Sioufas met on Monday afternoon with two candidates for the party's presidency, Antonis Samaras and Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    Speaking after the meeting, Avramopoulos said that "an initiative taken by Mr. Sioufas is under way with the purpose of finding a mutual understanding framework. We hope that we shall reach this result."

    Samaras said on his part that the election of a leader by the party's rank and file with a ballot box serves the party's unity, gives the leader prestige and is the only pure solution. He added that Sioufas's inititiative is continuing for the finding of a framework for the rank and file's participation in the election of a leader.

    [08] Tsipras resigns from Athens municipal council

    Coalition of the Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader and president of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party Alexis Tsipras on Monday resigned as a municipal councillor in central Athens, in a letter sent to Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis.

    Tsipras said his election as an MP for Athens made it impossible to fulfill his duties as a councillor in the city.

    [09] President Papoulias meets with Kazakh Senate chairman Tokayev

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias met with Kazakh Senate Chairman, Vice Speaker of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Presidential Mansion in Athens earlier on Monday.

    President Papoulias stressed welcoming Tokayev that he played and continues to play an important role in his country which "lays at the center of a region of extreme strategic importance for all". The Greek President stated that he follows closely developments in Kazakhstan and the wider region, adding that he is aware of recent achievements.

    On his part, Tokayev stated that his meeting with President Papoulias is a "privilege" for him, adding that he is very known and loved in his country. He referred to the very good bilateral cooperation in the political and economic sectors and pointed out that the volume of trade transactions in 2008 reached 520 million dollars.

    [10] Austrian Chancellor Faymann exclusive interview

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Federal Chancellor of Austria, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) Werner Faymann has underlined his respect for Prime Minister George Papandreou and the importance of PASOK's recent election victory for the Europe's social democrats, during an exclusive interview to the ANA-MPA on Monday.

    The Austrian Chancellor expressed his heartfelt congratulations to PASOK and Papandreou on their "great victory" and stressed that this result proved that elections can be won even in economically tough times by adopting a policy that focuses on social equality.

    Chancellor Faymann expressed great respect toward Prime Minister Papandreou, pointing out that Greece's premier was distinguished for his constructive stance and his support for dialogue and rapprochement.

    Faymann said that he was looking forward to meeting Papandreou at the next European Council in Brussels at the end of October, where social democratic heads of governments will also meet to discuss how to best coordinate social-democratic policy on European level.

    "This is deemed very important considering that the imminent challenges will only be met through European cooperation in view of the ongoing economic and financial crisis," he stressed.

    Chancellor Faymann pointed out that during the military junta in Greece the then Socialist Party of Austria was a fervent supporter of the restoration of democracy and freedom in the country, underlining the friendship forged then between George Papandreou's father, the late prime minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou, and the then Chancellor of Austria Bruno Kreisky.

    Referring to the "friendly and good relations shared by Austria and Greece that go a long way back," he stressed that roughly 700,000 Austrian tourists visit Greece annually while Austria, Vienna in particular, is becoming a popular tourist destination for the Greeks.

    The Austrian Chancellor stated that bilateral economic relations have evolved positively in recent years, adding that they have the potential to develop further, while pointing out, that new prospects of cooperation will emerge.

    He referred extensively to the economy, stressing characteristically that the international economic and financial architecture should undergo radical reform to achieve sustainable development, fairer working conditions and a more responsible attitude toward natural resources.

    Chancellor Faymann added that the key to global economic reform should be a reassessment of the relations between states and markets, adding that now was the right time for such reforms.

    He pointed out that this was a goal he shares with the Greek prime minister and noted that Papandreou had chaired the first session of the Stiglitz Commission held in Vienna last year and had made similar proposals.

    [11] German Constitutional Court blocks Christoforakos's extradition to Greece

    The German Constitutional Court did not allow once again on Monday the extradition of former Siemens Hellas strongman Mihalis Christoforakos to Greece, who is being prosecuted for corruption, according to an AFP dispatch from Berlin.

    Christoforakos's extradition to Greece had been decided by the Munich appeals court and had been annulled afterwards by the German Constitutional Court on grounds that the appeals court's ruling had not adequate backing.

    The constitutional judges announced that the Munich Supreme Court had violated Christoforakos's right to be protected from the extradition process and that the decision for his extradition took place with confusion.

    Another procedure for Christoforakos's extradition to Greece had started in Bavaria, which the Constitutional Court also rejected.

    [12] Abducted Greek volunteer appeals to Pakistan for his release

    Abducted Greek volunteer Athanassios Lerounis has made a dramatic appeal to Pakistan's government to arrange his release and safe return to Greece, in a hand-written letter dated October 2, according to reports in local newspapers.

    Lerounis, a Greek volunteer working with the Kalash tribe near the Pakistani border, was abducted by masked Taliban on September 8, during an attack on his home in a local village.

    The hand-written note in English bears his signature and says that his life is in danger unless Pakistani authorities accept the terms set by his abductors for his release - namely a ransom of 20,000 dollars and the release of three Taliban leaders held in Pakistan.

    According to the local "Chitral Times", a delegation of local Muslim leaders from the Mumuret Valley has twice visited the region of Nuristan in neighbouring Afghanistan, where Lerounis is being held hostage, in order to negotiate the Greek volunteer's release but has so far returned empty handed.

    During the last visit, it brought back three letters written by Lerounis: one to Pakistan's government, one to the Greek ambassador in the country and one to the non-governmental organisation "Greek Volunteers" that he worked for until he was kidnapped.

    A third attempt to meet the kidnappers in being arranged but it is unknown when this will take place.

    In his letters to the ambassador and the NGO, Lerounis said that he was in good health, at least at the time they were written, and that he was being held by the Taliban who had informed him of their terms for his release.

    He also noted his work as a volunteer among the Kalash since 1995, saying that he had participated in projects benefiting poor Pakistanis and that the Pakistani Embassy in Athens was well acquainted with the activities of the Greek Volunteers in Pakistan.

    Financial News

    [13] Government spokesman on public deficit, other issues

    Government spokesman George Petalotis on Monday noted that Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos's briefing of the new government "was on the country's public deficit's trend to reach 12 percent of GDP."

    He was commenting on the recent announcement by Provopoulos that the public deficit looked set to rise to 12 percent of GDP by the end of this year.

    The spokesman described current cooperation with Provopoulos as "excellent" and said that the government was taking stock of the real situation in order to decide on economic policy.

    He declined to set a figure on future government borrowing, however, saying it was not possible to speak on those terms at this time.

    Questioned about taxation issues, Petalotis referred to the existing pre-election pledges by PASOK, particularly on the replacement of the uniform property tax ETAK with the 'Large Property Tax' that he said would be passed by a draft bill.

    The spokesman also denied that there had been any contact between Prime Minister George Papandreou and Cyprus President Demetris Christofias after Papandreou's visit to Istanbul.

    Regarding the dock workers' strike in Piraeus, Petalotis denied that PASOK's pre-election stance had contributed to this and said the government's only course would be to "try and resolve the differences in the best way".

    He repeated the government's intention to try and renegotiate the agreement for the container terminals with the Chinese company COSCO in order to put an end to the problem while respecting the rights of the workforce.

    Questioned about the government's decision to invite applications by candidates for the posts of regional and general secretaries over the Internet, the spokesman pointed out that this was not a competition carried out on the terms of the Supreme Council of Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) but simply an invitation to express interest.

    He said that the number of prospective applicants was large and might be announced on Tuesday. Regarding the selection process, he said that "all factors will be considered" in order to select the most able candidates.

    The entire process would be judged by its result, or the persons actually selected, he added.

    Finally, on the issue of the Vatopedi monastery land swaps, he said the government would take all measures required to ensure that state property was returned from people it did not belong to.

    [14] Katseli meets with representatives of EEE, OLP, PNO

    Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli met Monday with representatives of the Greek Shipowners Union (EEE), the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) board of directors.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Katseli stressed that the shipping sector is spearheading Greece's international presence, pointing out that the seaport of Piraeus will be promoted into a shipping hub, coastal shipping services will be upgraded, more incentives will be given to sector professionals, and shipping diplomacy will be boosted by assuming an active role in international shipping organizations.

    Referring to the COSCO agreement and the ongoing strike action by 1,500 dockworkers at the Port of Piraeus, Katseli stated that the outstanding issues will be settled through dialogue. She underlined that an agreement has been reached with COSCO affiliate SEP S.A. to proceed with substantive dialogue immediately and its conclusions will have a retrospective effect beginning Oct. 1, 2009.

    In the five-hour meeting Katseli was briefed on the problems faced by the shipping sector, the country's seaports and the seamen who have already expressed their opposition to the break up of the mercantile marine, Aegean and island policy ministry and its merger with other government ministries.

    The Greek Shipowners Union (EEE) board outlined the problems of the shipping sector, while the OLP representatives handed over to the minister the files with the COSCO 35-year-long contract. A memorandum with the problems faced by the roughly 20,000 Greek seamen was also presented to the minister by the PNO delegation.

    [15] Loverdos meets Multicollection staff

    Labour and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday had a meeting with the staff union of the Piraeus Bank subsidiary Multicollection, to discuss problems that they face after the company ceased operating.

    [16] Finance ministry to hold bond action Tuesday

    The finance ministry will carry out an auction of 26-week and 52-week interest-bearing bonds on Tuesday, open to banks and institutional investors as the main negotiators of government bills.

    The bonds will also be made available to natural persons with tax-free yields on condition that they are kept until they mature.

    Natural persons can obtain the bonds through a public subscription at any bank or brokerage, up to a maximum sum of 15,000 euros for each private person.

    Subscription opens from Monday until Wednesday, continuing until Friday, October 23 for unlimited amounts at a price set by banks and brokerages.

    The finance ministry also announced a new issue of 13-week interest-bearing bonds on October 20.

    [17] Greek stocks soar by 2.82 pct

    Greek stocks soared in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index of the market rising by 2.82 pct to end at 2,830.78 points. Turnover was 350.7 million euros, of which 8.3 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved upwards, with the Insurance (8.57 pct), Health (7.44 pct), Banks (4.15), Financial Services (4.13 pct), Industrial (4.08 pct) and Technology (3.94 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index moved up 3.26 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 3.79 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 4.58 pct higher. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 190 to 45 with another 37 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +8.57%

    Industrials: +4.08%

    Commercial: +2.74%

    Construction: +1.11%

    Media: Unchanged

    Oil & Gas: +1.66%

    Personal & Household: +1.09%

    Raw Materials: +3.73%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.38%

    Technology: +3.94%

    Telecoms: +1.55%

    Banks: +4.15%

    Food & Beverages: +1.61%

    Health: +7.44%

    Utilities: +1.80%

    Chemicals: +2.14%

    Financial Services: +4.13%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, DEH, Bank of Cyprus and Marfin Popular Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 13.31

    ATEbank: 2.36

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.40

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.15

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.58

    National Bank of Greece: 26.20

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 11.39

    Intralot: 5.04

    OPAP: 18.60

    OTE: 12.44

    Bank of Piraeus: 12.79

    Titan: 25.00

    [18] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount 0.30 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover reaching 70.511 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 6.481 contracts worth 48.282 million euros, with 24,109 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 27,879 contracts worth 22.229 million euros with investment interest focusing on ATEbank's contracts (4,927) followed by PPC (2,905), MIG (2,805), Intracom (2,664), Hellenic Postbank (2,241), Bank of Cyprus (1,500), OTE (1,440) and Marfin Popular Bank (1,432).

    [19] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.488

    Pound sterling 0.940

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 10.380

    Japanese yen 134.05

    Swiss franc 1.529

    Norwegian kroner 8.394

    Canadian dollar 1.537

    Australian dollar 1.641

    General News

    [20] Liberation of Athens remembered at event on Acropolis - Greetings by PM Papandreou and Athens Mayor Kaklamanis

    Prime minister George Papandreou stressed that, when the Greeks are united in a cause, they achieve their goals, in a greeting on the Acropolis during an event marking the 65th anniversary of Athens' liberation from the occupation forces.

    "Today we celebrate a special moment in history. We are here to honor to those who fought for Athens' liberation, to pay tribute those who waged an uneven but victorious battle. We are here to draw strength and inspiration," the premier said.

    Papandreou further noted that history is written by the everyday people, adding that "the national memory teaches us that when the Greeks are united in struggle, they attain their goals", and stressed that "today, too like then, we can create a better Greece of justice, equality, security and rule of law, and win the future we deserve".

    The premier also noted that it was a George Papandreou (his grandfather, as then prime minister) who had the honor of raising the Greek flag on the Acropolis.

    Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, in his own greeting to the event, said that October 12 is a "day of collective historical memory", stressing that the pact of freedom was written with struggles and blood, and adding that "it is our duty to remember with respect and reverence the struggle of those who perished from nazism, fascism, hunger and execution".

    "It is our duty to remember that freedom is won through constant battles, and preserved by the constant vigilance of us all," Kaklamanis added.

    Afterwards, the prime minister laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    [21] World's first fatty tissue stem cell transplant into lung of pulmonary fibrosis patient carried out in Alexandroupolis

    A pioneer transplant of stem cells from fatty tissue to the lung of a 65-year-old patient suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, the world's first such operation, took place at the Alexandroupolis University Hospital's Pulmonary Clinic with a bronchoscopy procedure and only local anaesthesia, and required just 10 minutes.

    The patient, who had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis 2 1/2 years ago, underwent liposuction three months ago at a private hospital in Athens in order to isolate stem cells from the fatty tissue removed. Following a required quality check by the National Research Foundation's Primordial Cells Bank, a portion of the stem cells was administered to the patient intravenously. Three months after the first administration, the patient's condition had stabilised, while a marginal improvement was also recorded, Thrace's Democritus University pulmonology professor Dr. Demosthenes Bouros told ANA-MPA.

    Prof. Bouros added that, in order to achieve better results, the patient was administered the stem cells a second time on October 8, again via bronchoscopy, this time directly into the patient's lung.

    He explained that the first administration was carried out intravenously because that was the only known procedure at that time. But the surgeons at the Alexandroupolis University Hospital decided to conduct the second administration directly into lung, for the first time in the world, in order to achieve better results.

    The patient left for his home in Athens after the second procedure, and the results of the surgery were expected over the next six months.

    Some five million people worldwide are afflicted with pulmonary fibrosis, the prognosis for which is death within 3-5 years, similar to that for lung cancer. Patients die either from the disease itself, which causes respiratory deficiency and failure, or from related complications such as pulmonary hypertension, bacterial infections and lung cancer.

    The cause of the disease, which causes progressive scarring of lung tissue, is unknown, although risk factors include smoking, gastroesophageal reflux, various viral infections, and exposure to chemical substances, dust, and heavy metals.

    [22] Lesvos Petrified Forest receives EDEN award

    The 'Petrified Forest of Lesvos" on the Greek island of Lesvos was among 22 European destinations selected for the 2009 'European Destinations of Excellence" or EDEN network awards, that were handed out by the European Commission during a ceremony held in Brussels.

    The ceremony was held to coincide European Day of Tourism last week.

    Lesvos local authorities set up a special pavilion to promote the Petrified Forest and other attractions on the island, which was visited by European Commission Vice-President Guenter Verheugen last Friday.

    [23] Manmade lake at Aliakmon River gorge

    A manmade lake will be created at an altitude of 900 meters on the foothills of Mt Grammos in the heart of Aliakmon River Gorge, one of the most beautiful spots in Greece that is located in the northwest of the country. The very important project is being promoted by the municipality of Nestorio and the Prefecture of Kastoria.

    The 54-million-euro project, estimated to be completed in 5 years, will meet the region's needs for irrigation, electricity production and drinking water, while it will boost mountain and alternative tourism in the area.

    The studies for the construction of irrigation networks and a hydroelectric plant are estimated at roughly 70 million euros.

    [24] Int'l symposium on water resources in Athens

    An international symposium on water resources titled "Sustainable Development and Water: A global challenge for local action" will be held at Athens' Megaron Music Hall on Oct. 22-23 at the initiative of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) Council for Sustainable Development.

    The initiative is placed within the framework of SEV's strategy aimed at highlighting major and interlinked issues concerning a viable future for all.

    The symposium will attend scientists and experts from Europe, Australia, the United States, World Bank and the United Nations specializing on sustainable management of water resources on international and local level.

    [25] Homemade explosive device discovered outside bank

    A homemade explosive device was discovered outside a National Bank of Greece branch in the district of Toumpa, eastern Thessaloniki on Monday morning and was destroyed by police bomb disposal experts.

    The makeshift device was made of four gas canisters and was planted behind the bank.

    [26] Two arrests for forced panhandling in Thessaloniki

    Two Bulgarian nationals, aged 39 and 53, were arrested in the district of Harilaou, eastern Thessaloniki, accused of allegedly forcing a 53-year-old, also a Bulgarian, to panhandle.

    The two had "bought" the man in Bulgaria for the sum of 500 euros and brought him to Thessaloniki where, together with another Bulgarian, they were forced to panhandle.

    The suspects are accused of taking away all the money they collected offering them shelter and food in return.

    [27] Drinking water in many Thessaloniki schools unsafe, study shows

    Children in the primary schools of at least seven outlying municipalities of Thessaloniki are drinking water tainted by high levels of arsenic, nitrate ions and manganese, according to studies carried out by departments in the Thessaloniki university School of Medicine, it was announced on Monday.

    The findings of the study will be presented at the 3rd Panhellenic Conference on "Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy Sources: Seeking solutions for the Greek Environment" that will take place in Thessaloniki on October 15-17.

    The study tested samples of tap water collected from 32 schools in the municipalities of Halastra, Axios, Ehedoros, Lagada, Thermaikos, Agios Athanassios and Vasilika and in all cases the water originated from bore wells dug within the municipality or nearby.

    The results showed that levels of arsenic were higher than 10 g/l in five schools, concentrations of manganese higher than 50 g/l in eight schools and nitrate ion concentrations higher than 50 mg/l in two schools in Lagada.

    [28] Thirteen winners in the 1st Tango Marathon in Thessaloniki

    Thirty dancers of Argentine tango unfolded their talent enchanting an audience of roughly 90 people during the six-hour 1st Tango Marathon with thirteen of them finishing the competition held over the weekend in Thessaloniki.

    UNESCO has recently declared tango as part of the world's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity underlining that the dance "embodies and encourages diversity and cultural dialogue."

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Rainy on Tuesday

    Rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 5-9 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 6C and 26C. Showery in Athens, with southwesterly 5-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 24C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 21C.

    [30] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The new government's first actions, the in-party conflict in main opposition New Democracy(ND) ahead of the party's extraordinary Congress for the election of a new leader, and the Economy Ministry's and Bank of Greece's report indicating a major fiscal deficit, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    APOGEVMATINI: "Prime Minister George Papandreou's and former prime Minister and outgoing ND leader Costas Karamanlis' last 'battle' in parliament on October 16-18".

    AVRIANI: "Chaos prevails in ND - Several dauphins, opinions, tendencies ahead of ND's extraordinary Congress".

    CHORA: "ND in danger of splitting up".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "George Papandreou and LAOS leader George Karatzaferis are the ones who gain from the chaos in ND".

    ELEFTHEROS: "The disagreement among ND's leadership candidates brings chaos in ND".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Hard bargaining - ND's congress on November 7 will resolve the differences among the candidates".

    ESTIA: "ND humiliating itself - Unbelievable turmoil over the new leader's election".

    ETHNOS: "The contenders for ND's helm cross swords".

    TA NEA: "They (government) annulled the law on pensions and retirement ages".

    VRADYNI: "Hours of responsibility for all of you - Karamanlis and the leadership candidates must fulfill the people's expectations and the seriousness of the case".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [31] Christofias and Papandreou to discuss Turkey's evaluation by the EU, says FM

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will discuss in depth the issue of Turkey's evaluation by the EU in December and Greece and Cyprus stance towards that evaluation, during Papandreou's visit to Cyprus next week, Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has said.

    Speaking after a meeting he held here Monday with Vasileios Papaioannou, Greek Ambassador in Nicosia, Kyprianou said that Turkey's evaluation by the EU is the main issue of concern of the Cyprus government as well as the government of Greece. "It will be the main issue to be discussed with the Greek Prime Minister next Monday", he added.

    The foreign ministry has begun the implementation of a strategy decided by the National Council towards Turkey's accession course, Kyprianou said, noting that Cyprus' position towards Turkey's EU orientation suggests that all the EU candidate countries should fulfill their obligations towards the EU and its member states. If not, there should be consequences, he added.

    "The punishment of Turkey is not our goal", he said, underlining however that if Ankara continues not to comply, there will be sanctions.

    Commenting on recent statements made by EU officials, Kyprianou stressed that those who wish to help Turkey, should not appeal to the direct negotiation process between the two leaders in Cyprus.

    "Contrarily, if they really wish to help the process, bearing in mind that the biggest obstacle to the negotiations is the Turkish stance, they should send a clear message to Turkey to comply with its obligations and especially those concern the solution of the Cyprus problem, by keeping a more constructive stance", Kyprianou stressed.

    In addition, Kyprianou underlined that a common European decision on Turkey's EU course is the government's goal. If there is no consensus between the EU member states, the Republic of Cyprus is examining the possibility to block a number of the negotiation chapters, unilaterally or jointly with other member states.

    The Cypriot foreign minister also held Monday a meeting with a delegation from the Slovakian House of Representatives. The delegation comprises the Chairman and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs.

    Kyprianou expressed the appreciation of the Republic of Cyprus towards the Slovakian government and the Parliament for their support towards Cyprus.

    The National Council, the top advisory body to the President of the Republic on the handling of the Cyprus question, comprises parliamentary political parties. In a four-day meeting last month, the National Council reached a decision on the stance of Cyprus during the assessment of Turkey's EU course in December by the European Council.

    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.

    [32] Russian Foreign Minister to visit Cyprus

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov will visit Cyprus on November 3 and 4.

    Permanent Secretary of the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nicholaos Emiliou has visited Moscow recently to prepare Lavrov's visit.

    Emiliou said Lavrov's visit will take place during a very interesting time, during the second round of talks to solve the Cyprus problem and in view of Turkey's evaluation by the EU in December.

    In statements to CNA, Emiliou said that during his meetings in Moscow the excellent level of relations between the two countries was reaffirmed, along with their common views on all international issues.

    Replying to questions, Emiliou said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Titov and other officials he met with voiced Lavrov's remarks that Russia would not be recognising the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    ''We are receiving assurances that the policy of Russia will remain unchanged,'' Emiliou said.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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