|Monday, 18 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 19 October 2009 Issue No: 3326
 Government receives vote of confidence in ParliamentThe Greek Parliament gave, in the early hours of Monday, a vote of confidence to the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou following a three-day debate in the 300-member House. Voting in favour of the government's policy statement were the 160 deputies of the ruling PASOK party, while the 140 deputies of the four opposition parties -New Democracy (ND), Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) and Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) - voted against.
 PM Papandreou calls for 'participation and responsibility'Prime Minister George Papandreou asked for "the participation and responsibility of all Greeks" to give a new impetus to the country.
Speaking in Parliament on Sunday night at the end of the three-day debate on the government's policy statement and shortly before his government received a vote of confidence, the premier called on Greeks to be consistent with their tax statements, otherwise the country would go bankrupt.
Papandreou responded to the essence of criticism directed at him from the Right and Left during the discussion on the government's policy statement, while urging all the political trends to agree to "participation and responsibility."
The prime minister presented his positions on the "derailment of the Greek economy," saying that the New Democracy (ND) party, in light of the crisis, did not take any measures to boost the real economy, as other countries did, meaning with the use of state intervention and the Keynesian economic theory, but decreased public investments and helped the banks without supporting small and medium-size businesses, resulting in some of the former imposing even worse terms.
The outcome of all this, he added, was the drying up of the market, while in parallel the government was borrowing, "doubling the debt in just 6 years."
Papandreou further noted "money was not the problem, but where did the money go. Will our problems be solved with the 500 million euros that we secured from wage earners and pensioners. You want the most vulnerable classes of society to pay for the international recession for the favouritism of the past years. The problem is not whether we are unpleasant, but for who. Hundreds of new committees and services were created with boards having huge remuneration, resulting in an annual burden for the state amounting to 230 million euros."
Papandreou referred to the stance of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on a "programme opposition" and agreed with many of its views, reminding that being the President of the Socialist International he has harshly criticised the international monetary system.
As regards the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), he said that "it has announced so many mobilisations that it has not done over the past five years," adding that "there are also those who easily level and paint everything black. Some see the government as being bound by big capital, others discern conspiracies, commitments and the compromising of national interests. Both these theories lead to extremism, dissension, they create phobia instead of boldness and frankness. In reply to these I say simply: This government, the PASOK government does not owe to anyone."
Papandrerou concluded his address by saying that "we can, we do not lack anything," adding that when the Greek sees an honourable effort he will contribute decisively provided that "we believe in ourselves."
 Karamanlis promises 'constructive' oppositionMain opposition New Democracy president Costas Karamanlis promised that his party will be a "constructive" main opposition and support measures taken by the new PASOK government that were moving "in the right direction", even when these were not popular with voters. He was speaking in Parliament on Saturday, in reply to the policy statement unveiled by Prime Minister George Papandreou.
"Whatever happens, in any case, ND will not exercise a nihilist opposition, even though it faced such opposition as a government," he said.
He also wished the new government every success in its work, noting that the challenges were many and major.
"A fundamental condition for the common goals is the unity and unanimity of all Greeks in putting the country's interests first," Karamanlis stressed.
ND's president, who has announced his intention to resign from the party's leadership after a crushing defeat in the October 4 elections and begun the process for electing a new party leader, underlined the need to continue tough measures and use the positive results of his own term in government that he said had been "stalled" by the crisis that had highlighted the weaknesses.
He also criticised what he called the new government's "ambivalent" policy on major organisations like Olympic Air, the Greek railways, trans-European networks and ports, saying that these were striking a blow at the country's ability to attract investment.
"The government cannot give in to special-interest minorities that ignore national interests," he stressed.
 KKE: PASOK to continue ND policyCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga expressed complete opposition to the entire range of policies announced by the government in Parliament, stressing that these would be "business as usual" and continue the conservative policies of New Democracy. She was speaking during the debate on Saturday evening on the government policy statement presented by Prime Minister George Papandreou.
"You have not said that you will abolish any of ND's laws against the people. You speak only for change and reform. There is a new 'page' but no change in policy. The main direction will be to put pressure on the people. We will contribute so that these policies are not carried out," KKE's leader underlined.
Papariga particularly highlighted Papandreou's lack of reference to the talks with European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia regarding Greece's economy, saying that the programme demanded by the Commissioner "will finally demolish the rights gained by workers".
"We disagree with the entire productive model announced by the prime minister, not only because it is capitalist but because it leads to a model where the country will be even more dependent and vulnerable to crises," she added.
 LAOS will act as main oppositionAccusing New Democracy's leadership of giving the present government a 'leg-up' into power, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis said that his own right-wing nationalists would attempt to 'take up the slack'. Even though LAOS was not the main opposition, it would strive to act as one "for the good of the country", he told Parliament on Saturday during the debate on the government's policy statements.
Comparing Prime Minister George Papandreou to "the ugly duckling that turned into a swan," Karatzaferis accused ND leader and former premier Costas Karamanlis of "being the fairy that transformed him".
He promised to mount a tough opposition that "would not be as sweet as that of Karamanlis" and to be a harsh critic of the government, not because it was his party's institutional role but because "the circumstances demand this".
Karatzaferis also blasted the policies announced by Papandreou and accused the premier of believing that he would impress by "presenting a Hollywood-style government".
"Personally, I believe we are heading toward a thriller," LAOS's leader added, while criticising the premier for devoting minimal time to 'national' issues during his hour-long speech.
 Tsipras: U-turn from pre-election pledgesPASOK has already started telling people to 'lower the bar' of their expectations, which it had itself created prior to the elections, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras said during his first-ever address in Parliament. He was speaking on behalf of the left-wing party alliance during Saturday's debate on the policy statement announcement by the government and Prime Minister George Papandreou.
"Where New Democracy spoke of an 'audit', you speak of a 'record'. The citizens, working people, young people that are being suffocated by the current economic conditions voted you into power in order to change things. Not to continue the same policy as the previous New Democracy government," Tsipras stressed.
He cited the negotiations for the sale of the Piraeus container terminal to COSCO as the first symptom of a government U-turn from policies announced prior to the elections.
Tsipras also dismissed the economic policy announced by the government as "wholly unsatisfactory" saying it lacked clear positions and answers on what it intended to do.
 Economy minister outlines ministry's targetsEconomy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli, speaking in Parliament on Sunday during the debate on the government's policy statements, stressed that the targets set by her ministry are widening the production base and the taking of a series of measures, on a short-term basis to rekindle the economy and for an exit from the crisis and, in the middle term, for the economy's production reconstruction that will create new jobs and improve the citizen's living standards.
Katseli revealed the tabling of five bills during the first 100 days that had also been announced by PASOK's president in September at the Thessaloniki International Fair on the economy's immediate revival.
First, the bill on the immediate restoration of liquidity in the market with the freezing of loan commitments for a year and the possibility of refinancing outstanding debts, as well as changes in the "Tiresias" programme.
The second bill is for the protection of loan holders from overindebtedness with the introduction of an arrangement on paying off of their debts based on their income and assets.
The third concerns "the protection of consumers from the illegal and abusive practices of banks," with the establishment of the principle of responsible loaning and forbidding compound interest. At the same time, a new procurements regulation will be determined and the establishment of electronic tests. The Competition Committee will be backed and an Anti-Monopoly Authority will be enacted.
The fourth concerns the simplification of procedures for the founding, licensing and operating of new businesses.
Lastly, the fifth bill will anticipate the founding and operating of industrial and business regions. At the same time, the National Strategic Reference Framework 2007-13 will be utlised with a series of measures and initiatives.
 FinMin Papaconstantinou addresses ParliamentFinance Minister George Papaconstantinou, speaking in Parliament on Sunday, said that he would invoke clear accounts in talks in Brussels on Monday that "will be the new government's first seal in regaining confidence that has been lost." He added "difficult negotiating will begin in Brussels, where the worst thorn is suspicion and the unreliability that Greece has reached on the international scene."
Papaconstantinou underlined that in the elections the citizens said clearly who is to blame, adding that they must also be aware of the starting point for what is to come.
"Data is irritating since, how could one describe the collapse in revenues that had been budgeted at over 65 billion euros this year and which will ultimately reach 50 billion," he wondered.
According to Papaconstantinou, "such a decrease cannot be justified by the crisis, nor the soaring of expenditures from 75 billion to 80 billion, nor the total public deficit that from 5 billion, as it had been anticipated, exceeded 30 billion in the end."
"This is the situation without subterfuge, without lies, without beautifying, but without an alibi as well for us to break our promises," he stressed.
The minister promised that the government will observe its commitments in full "because an economy in recession, with a drop in GDP between 1-2 percent this year, needs restarting."
 Interior minister refers to new electoral lawInterior, Decentralisation and Electronic Governance Minister Yiannis Rangoussis, speaking in Parliament on Sunday, underlined the "government's determination to implement a comprehensive and integrated plan to lay the foundations for an autonomous political system that will function with transparency and accountability" and pointed out that "the starting point is the radical change in the way of electing the country's political leadership."
Rangoussis also announced the implementation of a new electoral law that combines one-seat and multi-seat wide regions, as an adjustment to Greek developments of the German model. He said that the widest possible consensus of all political forces will be sought to enable the elections to be held with the new system in 2013.
Regarding local government elections, the minister announced the abolition of the existing electoral system with the 42 percent precondition, as well as the "right to participate in elections for local administration for second generation immigrants and for immigrants in possession of longterm residence permits and have completed five years."
 Labour, Health ministers address ParliamentLabour and Social Solidarity Minister Andreas Loverdos, speaking in Parliament on Sunday, said the government was called on to face a dramatic situation and to succeed in its tasks.
Loverdos said that unemployment increased to 9.6 percent (15.5 percent if the part-time employed are also included) and the unemployed increased in the past year by 37 percent.
The minister further said that the new government is committed to the gradual increase of the unemployment benefit to enable it to reach 70 percent of the basic salary, the reformation of the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) and the radical revision of the existing legal framework governing flexible forms of employment.
Health and Social Solidarity Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannako-poulou also referred in Parliament to the government's policy for a strong and modern National Health System and reiterated the prime minister's commitments on supporting and boosting its public nature.
Xenoyiannakopoulou stressed the need for "the breaking of the vicious circle of untransparency and extravagance prevailing in the public health sector," she acknowledged that there are no magic recipes, spoke of the need for trust and a social alliance and called on all people employed in the health sector to contribute to these efforts.
"Our basic orientation is the citizen first. Our aim is a health system that will respect him, meet his needs and create a feeling of security for him," the minister underlined.
 Alternate FM Droutsas addresses ParliamentAlternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, speaking in Parliament on Saturday night during the debate on the government's policy statements, determined the country's foreign policy with the phrase "Greece's return to the front line, strengthening our country's position, its promotion to an active and reliable power that is prepared to seek its interests constitutes our aim and vision."
Droutsas further said "the government has the intention of changing many things in the country, not our national aims on which we agree, we shall change the way that foreign policy is exercised."
The minister also said that the government's intention is also to see that the "country exercises once again active and multilevel diplomacy, to become once again an agency of initiatives, to play a leading role as a power of security, development and stability."
Droutsas went on to say that "national issues are at a critical juncture. However, we have no dilemmas. Greece will stand by Cyprus and its people, not only in words but also in deeds. In the European family, there is no room for occupation armies. We seek a just, viable and functional solution. Cyprus has the right to a future without being held hostage and without self-imposed protectors."
On the question of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), he stressed that a clear precondition for a start to the country's negotiations is "solving the issue of the name" and reiterated Greece's "red line."
Referring to Turkey, Droutsas said that "the support Athens affords to Ankara's European accession course has never been a blank cheque" and added that Turkey has to meet fully all its obligations towards the EU and all member states and on the basis of this, it will be assessed in December.
 DM Venizelos promises drastic curbing of defence expendituresDefence Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking in Parliament on Sunday, promised the drastic curbing of defence expenditures, the abolition of interviews in tests for the Army, Air Force and Navy, nine-month military service for soldiers and full transparency.
"There shall be no slipping in defending our national interests," the minister said, adding that "we desire and seek the avoidance of tensions in the wider region and we respect confidence-building measures agreed. However, we reject the blatant violation of international law that takes on the form of the threat of war or the use of force."
Venizelos emphasised the unified defence doctrine between Greece and Cyprus and cooperation between two independent and sovereign European Union member-states.
He further spoke of "the utilisation of the regional and international correlation of forces to enable tangible results regarding our national interests" and noted that "Greece has a full sense of the significance of Greek-US relations in the sector of security and defence" and stressed the need for a new strategic doctrine and a new structure for the NATO alliance.
Lastly, referring to armaments programmes, Venizelos spoke of a "heavy cloud of suspicion that poisons public life frequently and that the government is not prepared to tolerate."
 Citizen Protection minister says new anti-crime policy plan being preparedCitizen Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, speaking in Parliament on Sunday, stressed that "enough is enough with hooligans and vandals who smash up the city, property and jobs. But, on the other hand, we shall not tolerate illegal police violence and high-handedness," while revealing that the new plan on anti-crime policy will be ready by the end of November.
The minister said that the country is facing a new reality in the security sector since "an atmosphere of lawlessness is prevailing that is creating a feeling of insecurity for citizens and accusations concerning the absence of the state."
Chrysohoidis stressed that "we want police who will be friendly towards the citizen, as well as effective" and revealed that from the beginning of the new year the Neighbourhood Policeman will be returning, as well as patrols, both on foot and in vehicles.
 Environment minister cites four priority areas for policyExpanding on the policies for green development and environmental protection announced by the prime minister, Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Sunday stressed that their success demanded a "broad alliance of citizens that transcends party lines".
She said her ministry's policy fell into roughly four priority areas, listing these as preparation for the climate change conference in Copenhagen in December, promoting use of renewable energy sources and energy conservation, ensuring the protection of forests and protected areas and regenerating Greece's much-abused urban spaces by curbing the excesses of unauthorised development.
On renewable energy sources, she said Greece's goal was to meet the target of covering 20 percent of its energy needs from RES, beginning with the start of public dialogue in November on a complete reorganisation of the regulatory framework for licensing RES units, building the required infrastructure, improving the special spatial planning framework for RES, promoting large-scale installations and carrying out research.
Among the first government actions announced by the minister was the signature of a deal for an undersea cable linking Evia to Attica, the closure of petroleum facilities on islands, linking the Cyclades group with the mainland, a review of the previous government's proposal for energy efficiency in new buildings and a programme to enhance energy efficiency in buildings and urban areas that might generate jobs and work hours for the domestic construction sector.
Birbili announced the immediate start of work to map forests as part of the Land Register, announcing that a draft bill will be tabled within the week for the protection of burnt forest in Attica from illegal development. She said this would also suspend article 1 in a 2003 law (3208) on forests and replace this with article 3 of law 998 passed in 1979, while also restoring the fines and penalties envisaged under law 1892 of 1990 for those illegally occupying lanf in forests.
On urban regeneration and town planning, the minister announced plans to continue a 'unification project' of central Athens landmarks, tear down billboards, invite new proposals for developing the sea front, create new pedestrian, cycle and low-traffic routes, in addition to revising the regulatory plan for Athens in order to restrict the building of new roads and establishment of new sections of the city.
Other plans cited by Birbili were legislation allowing older building unfit for use to be torn down and replaced by parks and open spaces, a complete overhaul of the system for granting building permits in order to end what she called the "guilty relationship" between citizens that broke the law and the state that allowed them in order to "seek funds from illegality".
On the issue of waste management, the minister said she would examine the issue of recycling "from scratch" in order to legislate plans to reduce waste on a national and regional level.
 Exclusive Interview with Cyprus President on Papandreou visitNICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias described an upcoming official visit to Cyprus by Greece's new prime minister George Papandreou as "extremely important", during an exclusive interview with the ANA-MPA released on Sunday.
"His visit will give us an opportunity to talk at length and coordinate our actions with regard to the crucial issues that face us at this time," Christofias noted, adding that the agenda for their talks was likely to take in Turkey's European accession progress, in light of a strategic goal to use this as a way of promoting a solution of the Cyprus issue.
Cyprus' president also expressed confidence that Greece and Cyprus would "continue the excellent cooperation that existed under the government of Costas Karamanlis" under the new government of George Papandreou, adding that the meeting would be an opportunity to examine these relations and improve them even further.
"Greece is Cyprus' main support in its struggle to achieve a solution that will end the occupation and reunite the territory, the people, the institutions and the economy in the framework of a bizonal, bi-communal federation," he said.
In light of the upcoming crucial developments on this issue, the two governments would work even harder, with full cooperation and coordination, in order to exploit all opportunities that arise for achieving their goals and defending the vital interests of their countries, Christofias added.
Regarding the progress of his talks with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on solving the Cyprus issue, Christofias said that the progress was slower than he had hoped but not negligible.
"A year into the negotiations and with the completion of the first round, there was some relative progress that did not match our expectations, since despite the fact that on some issues we have achieved convergence, there are other issues on which we have major differences. The negotiations have, of course, now entered a second and decisive round, during which we are called to use the work done in the first round and find more convergences that will lead to an agreement on the various aspects of the Cyprus issue in order to open the way for a solution. I continue to believe that the prospects of arriving at a solution still exist," he said.
Expressing hope that the proposals of the Turkish-Cypriot side would be more constructive and more flexible during the second round, Cyprus' president also noted that Nicosia expected Turkey to actively assist in this direction, in accordance with recommendations made by the European Commission's progress report on Turkey's accession bid.
On the proposal for an 'interim agreement' for issues relating to the Cyprus issue, Christofias rejected the idea as "counter-productive" in the context of finding a comprehensive solution, saying that it would divert the two sides from their goal and further delay the process.
"As you know, our fundamental principle in these negotiations is that 'nothing is considered agreed unless there is agreement on all issues'. This is a guarantee that there will be no backing down but also allows us to seek solutions for more difficult issues, with mutual compromises. Given this, we cannot accept the reasoning of an 'interim agreement'," the Cyprus president stressed.
 ND Organising Committee president on election processNew Democracy party Organising Committee President Dimitris Sioufas announced over the weekend that ballot boxes will be set up all over the country on December 6 for the election of the party's president.
Sioufas stressed that an agreement was reached between the four contenders for the party's presidency.
He further said that the vote will be open, voting offices will be created throught the country, where ballot boxes will be set up and members will be coming to confirm their identity, while citizens will also have the possibility of submitting applications at that time to become members.
Sioufas also said that certain charter changes will have to take place to enable the vote to be carried out that the party's Central Committee will be proposing and that will be convening a week before the special congress set for November 7.
Sioufas revealed that apart from the four candidacies for the presidency submitted to date, others will also be able to submit their candidacy by Thursday, October 22, that will be accompanied by 50 signatures of congress members.
Party leader Costas Karamanlis has accepted the proposal to stay at his post until the process for the election of a new president is completed.
 Former defence minister on ND party developmentsFormer defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis said on Saturday, referring to the election of the main opposition New Democracy party's new leader, that the political agreement on the election by the rank and file, in order to comply with the Charter, should be ratified by the Central Committee and the party leader should remain a guarantor until the day that the new leader is elected.
Meimarakis added that "we reached today's decision that satisfies all because the Charter is being implemented. We showed that a democratic party, a big family can overcome its disagreements."
He further said that ND is changing the image that was not doing it justice and is showing that it is finding its pace once again.
 Dock workers suspend strikeWorkers at the commercial port of Piraeus decided to suspend their strike on Saturday, following a meeting held with Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli.
Unionists considered the proposals made by the minister positive and strike action that began on October 1 was suspended. Consequently, the port will function as normal as of Sunday.
In statements afterward, Katseli hailed the decision and the port's return to normal operation from Monday, thanking all the parties involved for their cooperation and contribution to finding a solution acceptable to all.
"I look to a continued constructive cooperation between the ministry and the workers and in this spirit asked the trade union bodies to submit their proposals for the dialogue underway between the Piraeus Port Organisation (OLP) and the container terminal operators on the issues of the concession agreement," she said.
The minister added that the positive outcome proved "that with substantive dialogue, a spirit of cooperation, constant effort and determination, we can solve even the most complex problems in ways beneficial to the public interest."
The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, referring to developments in the port of Piraeus, said that 10 days have barely passed since the new government came to power and the state is falling apart in vital sectors of the economy.
"All are hoping for investments to enable us to rid ourselves of the crisis. However, with what is happening, who will want to invest in Greece. Some are counting on unrest, harming every prospect of the nation," it added.
Also referring to the government's handling of the economy, the party stressed that "words on balconies before the elections cannot stop the economy's downhill course. Only the tight decrease in expenditures, the increase in productivity at all cost and the seeking of capital beyond borrowing leave some margin for a temporary exit from the crisis."
 CoS rules that industrial plants only legal in specifically designated areasThe 5th Chamber of the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, has issued a ruling that industrial facilities can only be established in areas expressly designated for this purpose but not in areas where the specific use is simply not expressly forbidden.
The court ruling found that industry, which by its nature involves disturbance for residential areas and the environment, can only be established in areas set aside for this use in advance based on articles 24 and 106 of the Constitution. As a result, it was not legal to set up any industrial plant or workshop in an area not designated as suitable by an administrative act, such as a minister's decree or prefect's order.
Excepted from this rule, the CoS added, were traditional, low-impact activities linked to the traditional agricultural of a region or the livestock breeding or forestry of an area.
The ruling was issued after residents of Amarynthos in Evia filed a complaint regarding a local oil press situated 40 metres from the residential areas, asking the court to stop its operation.
The oil press is considered a small-scale and low-impact industrial concern and as such legally allowed to operate within a zone of 700 metres around towns and settlements having between 2001 and 10,000 residents, even if there is no specific planning provision for this activity.
The case was considered important enough to refer to a seven-member panel of the 5th Chamber for a final decision.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.498
Pound sterling 0.919
Danish kroner 7.503
Swedish kroner 10.473
Japanese yen 136.68
Swiss franc 1.530
Norwegian kroner 8.416
Canadian dollar 1.558
Australian dollar 1.634
 Weak tremor felt near ThessalonikiA weak earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale was recorded in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki at 14:57, with an epicentre just 15 kilometres west of the city.
 Passer-by shot in incident between foreign nationalsA 50-year-old passer-by was accidentally shot in the leg during an altercation between Kurds and Albanians on Alexandras Avenue, near the Pedion tou Areos park, police announced on Sunday.
A police announcement said that two Kurds in a car got into an argument with an Albanian on a motorbike, whom they attempted to shoot but missed. The bullet hit the 50-year-old man walking on the pavement, hitting him in the back of the thigh.
The injured man was taken to hospital, where doctors declared him out of danger, while the two shooters were pursued and arrested in Patission Street by a police patrol that heard the shot and gave chase.
Also found on the scene was an abandoned motorbike belonging to an Albanian national. According to an investigation carried out by the Kypseli police station, the incident was triggered by rivalry over a woman.
 Three injured in incident in Omonia SquareThree people were injured, one of whom seriously, in an incident occurring between foreign nationals near Omonia Square in downtown Athens at about 20:20 on Sunday.
A Palestinian quarrelled with another foreign national from Bangladesh for an unspecified reason and shot him with a pistol and injured him in the leg.
A second Palestinian witnessed the scene from the balcony of an apartment and when the gunman saw him he shot and injured him seriously in the head.
The gunman then fled the scene but a short distance away he injured an Afghan national with a knife, who probably tried to stop him.
The perpetrator is being sought by police, while the injured people were rushed to hospital.
 Super League resultsPanathinaikos Athens drew 2-2 away with Kavala over the weekend to remain atop the Greek Super League standings, together with Olympiacos Piraeus who achieved a comfortable 3-0 victory at home over Asteras Tripoli, while AEK Athens beat Panthrakikos 3-2 at home.
In other action:
Ergotelis Crete-Aris Thessaloniki 0-0
PAOK Thessaloniki-PAS Yiannina 2-0
Atromitos Athens-Levadiakos Livadia 3-0
Iraklis Thessaloniki-Panionios Athens 0-2
Standings after seven weeks of play:
1. Panathinaikos 19 points
2. Olympiacos 19
3. Aris 12
4. Ergotelis 12
5. PAOK 12
6. Asteras 11
7. Kavala 11
8. AEK 10
9. PAS Yiannina 9
10. Panionios 8
11. Iraklis 7
12. Xanthi 7
13. Larissa 6
14. Atromitos 5
15. Levadiakos 4
16. Panthrakikos 1
 Rainy on MondayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 26C. Cloudy in Athens, with southerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 13C to 23C. Cloudy and rainy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 13C to 19C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe debate on the government's policy statement in Parliament, the process for electing a new president for main opposition New Democracy and the strike by dockworkers opposed to the privatisation of the container terminal at Piraeus port were the main front page items in Sunday's newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "PASOK sinking in the Port!"
APOGEVMATINI: "Citizens judge the candidate presidents. Nationwide survey by Pulse RC for Apogevmatini".
AVGHI: "Vote of confidence from [European Commissioner for monetary affairs Joaquin] Almunia.
AVRIANI: "Election of ND's leader through an open vote".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Overcoming [the problems] in the hands of the four [candidates for ND leadership]".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Landing in Brussels. The first 'crash test' for the government. George Papaconstantinou at ECOFIN tomorrow to seek extension for reducing deficit".
EPOCHI: "Plan to trim expectations".
ETHNOS: "The draft bill for hiring young people in the private sector. A bulwark against unemployment with new 'stage' and contributions bonus".
KATHIMERINI: "Manifesto for a new centre-right".
LOGOS: "The five areas of government priorities".
NIKI: "Diving into the deep end. Vote of confidence at midnight, then hard work straight away".
PARON: "Defeat for Dora [Bakoyannis] at the ballot box".
PROTO THEMA: "Hiring at state enterprises also from ASEP [Supreme Council of Civil Personnel Selection]. Everything changing in hiring.
RIZOSPASTIS: "All the people's ammunition to the counter-attack on plutocracy".
REAL NEWS: "Major reversals in social insurance and labour issues. Everything changing!"
TO ARTHRO TIS KYRIAKIS: "Serious accusations about Papandreou's environment. Pamboukis tells 'To Arthro': 'I was not COSCO's lawyer'."
TO VIMA: "Great expectations. The problems, the policy, the solutions. PASOK government to get vote of confidence at midnight".
VRADYNI: "The pledges forgotten by the government. All the changes to salaries, pensions, taxes".
 Spokesman: We act in line with UN resolutionsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The government has rejected criticism from the Turkish Cypriot side that at the current UN-led peace talks it operates outside the framework laid down by UN resolutions on Cyprus.
"The Greek Cypriot side operates on the basis of UN resolutions, during the ongoing peace talks, and nobody can question that," Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has stressed, in response to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's claims that the Greek Cypriot side does not adhere to the UN framework.
The spokesman called on the Turkish Cypriot side to act in the same manner, if it wishes to find a negotiated settlement in Cyprus, to reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
He explained that the UN describe the Cyprus solution in their resolutions, which are the guiding principles for the UN, noting that many resolutions state that the Cyprus solution will be a bizonal bicommunal federation, with political equality as defined by UN resolutions, in a federal state with a single sovereignty, one citizenship and one international personality.
This, he said, "has been agreed and reaffirmed by the leaders of the two communities before the talks began" in September 2008 and both sides are called to operate within this context and table their proposal on this basis.
"We urge anybody to assess whether our positions fall within this context. We are convinced that they are. Let everybody evaluate the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side too, to see if they are also in line with this," the spokesman said.
Asked to comment on Talat's remarks suggesting that Greek Cypriot refugees will not be given back their properties, now under Turkish occupation, Stephanou pointed out that the two community leaders have agreed during the first round of negotiations that those who owned property in 1964 - four years after the Republic of Cyprus was established when intercommu-nal fighting began - are the actual owners of such property and not the current occupants.
"We have agreed on this in principle, and from then on disagreements have emerged. Having agreed on this, we have to find ways and means to ensure that the owners are given back their property. This is what we are seeking and we shall discuss this issue," he added.
The spokesman also said that if Talat's comments have been correctly attributed to him, then they create a climate which is not helpful to the negotiating process.
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Talat have been engaged in talks since September last year. Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. Peace talks have entered their second phase with a view to finding a solution that will reunite the country under a federal roof.
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