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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-21

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

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

Wednesday, 21 October 2009 Issue No: 3328

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin briefs ECOFIN on Greek econ situation; 'concerns' aired by Almunia
  • [02] EU expresses concern over developments in Greek economy
  • [03] Reuniting Cyprus the only solution, Papandreou stresses
  • [04] PM Papandreou meets with Archbishop Chrysostomos
  • [05] PM completes official visit to Cyprus
  • [06] ND Congress to amend Charter provisions on election of party leader
  • [07] Minister pledges action to curb police brutality toward migrants
  • [08] Justice Minister visits Council of State
  • [09] BoG tables Interim Report on Monetary Policy
  • [10] EU farm ministers convene in Luxembourg
  • [11] Greece raises 1.95 bln. euros from 13-week state bill auction
  • [12] Russian officials on Burgas-Alexandroupolis project
  • [13] Industrial new orders index down 29.9% in Aug.
  • [14] Greek stocks end 0.98 pct higher
  • [15] Greek bond market closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [17] New permanent exhibition at Volos Archaeological Museum
  • [18] Greece theme country at Belgrade International Book Exhibition
  • [19] Clash between foreign nationals in central Athens; illegals discovered in truck
  • [20] Urgent investigation into infant deaths at maternity ward
  • [21] Rio de Janeiro mayor in Athens on Wed.
  • [22] Military transport plane forced to land in Thessaloniki
  • [23] Cloudy on Wednesday
  • [24] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] FinMin briefs ECOFIN on Greek econ situation; 'concerns' aired by Almunia

    BRUSSELS / LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA)

    The Greek government's priority is to draft a medium-term programme that will help the economy exit the ongoing crisis and put the east Mediterranean country's public finances in order, Economy Minister George Papaconstantinou said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters after a closely watched ECOFIN meeting in Luxembourg, Papaconstantinou stressed that after private meetings with European Central Bank President Jean Claude Trichet and EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia on Monday evening, he briefed a Eurogroup meeting over developments in the Greek economy.

    The minister noted a significant worsening in many sectors of the Greek economy and mostly an expected shrinking of the GDP by 1.5 pct this year, a recorded 20-pct decrease in investments, a 15-pct decline in tourism and a 20-pct drop in shipping revenue.

    Papaconstantinou also told his Eurozone counterparts that the country's fiscal deficit would reach 12.5 pct of GDP this year and attributed this large deviation of fiscal data to three reasons: a negative economic conjecture; overestimating revenues, excessive public spending and a collapse of tax collection mechanisms and, finally, what he called the "hiding" of significant figures.

    The minister said he presented to his Eurogroup and ECOFIN counterparts a long-term programme of economic restructuring and deficit cutting in a period of three to four years. He pledged that with the introduction of necessary measures, Greece's fiscal deficit would fall to single-digit numbers in 2010, at least by three percentage points.

    Papaconstantinou said the government's intention was to support vulnerable groups of the population, supporting jobs for young people and securing funds for investments in education and "green development". He said the government's measures to support the economy were necessary and fully compatible with a restructuring programme, expected to be submitted with the European Commission over the next few days.

    He stressed that an additional borrowing was necessary to cover specific needs, such as pension and wages payment by the end of the year.

    Papaconstantinou said the Greek government will submit an updated three-year stability and growth programme to Brussels in January and announced that actions will be taken to ensure the independence and restructuring of the National Statistical Service.

    [02] EU expresses concern over developments in Greek economy

    Nevertheless, the EU on Monday expressed its "concerns" over the condition of the Greek economy. Speaking to reporters after a Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg, Juncker, Almunia and Trichet expressed their concerns over developments in the Greek economy and over a complete - as they stressed - rejection of all statistics presented by the previous government.

    Commenting on a Greek request for more time to bring its fiscal deficit to 3.0 pct of GDP, the trio said the matter would be discussed in an EU summit in December.

    Almunia, in a written statement issued after a meeting with Papaconstantinou, said a pledge by Athens to cut its fiscal deficit below 3.0 pct of GDP by 2010 was no longer feasible, a development partly reflecting a worsening trend of the economy.

    Almunia expressed his deep concern over "significant new statistical deviations" and stressed that adoption of an ambitious fiscal consolidation programme for the coming years, accompanied by a structural reforms programme to boost economic competitiveness, was a top priority for Greece.

    [03] Reuniting Cyprus the only solution, Papandreou stresses

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA - G. Milionis)

    Greece and Cyprus' government will accept nothing less than the full reunification of the island as a solution to the Cyprus issue, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed in his address to a special session of the unicameral Cyprus House of Representatives on Tuesday.

    "I want to be clear in every direction. There is no alternative solution to that of reuniting the island. Greece, and the Greek Cypriots, do not accept partition," he underlined.

    The solution that will reunite the island will lead to the Cyprus Republic becoming a functional and viable bizonal and bi-communal federation, in which the two communities enjoy political equality, as laid out in the resolutions of the UN Security Council, Papandreou said.

    The catalyst and guarantee for this would be the rules of the European Community, applied throughout the territory of Cyprus under the process defined in Protocol 10 of Cyprus' Act of Accession to the EU, the Greek premier added.

    Papandreou stressed that the standing goal of Greek foreign policy was to avert a legalisation of the repercussions of Turkey's invasion and occupation of Cyprus in 1974 and to finally overturn these. This goal coexisted with a steadfast goal of striving to usher in a new era of cooperation in relations with Turkey, he added.

    "Our dedication to ensuring the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Cypriots to move freely, the restoration and acquisition of property and to settle throughout the territory of their country is unchanged," he said, noting that these steadfast goals can and should be achieved peacefully, in the framework of a comprehensive and agreed solution to the Cyprus issue.

    On relations with Turkey and the European Union, the Greek premier said that Greece would insist that Turkey meet all requirements and obligations agreed within the EU by December, when its progress toward accession will be evaluated by the European Council.

    "It is Greece's strategic choice to actively support the European orientation of Turkey and all our other neighbours in South Eastern Europe," Papandreou pointed out.

    He stressed that for Turkey to fulfill its treaty obligations towards the EU regarding Cyprus would be the strongest proof that Turkey was truly changing as part of the process of its candidacy. Noting that this would allow the opening of eight chapters in the accession talks that were currently frozen because of Ankara's refusal to do the obvious, Papandreou said that this would have a positive impact on efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue.

    He went on to express the Greek government's full support for the direct negotiations between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat under the aegis of the UN Secretary General, noting that it was a method of solving the Cyprus issue chosen by Cyprus and agreed to by Greece.

    The Greek prime minister underlined that Greece was more than just a spectator of this effort, however, but had undertaken initiatives in the framework of the extremely close cooperation and consultation between the Greek and Cypriot governments.

    Among these initiatives was to highlight the need at the EU for a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus issue and to point out that this was vital to EU interests, in order to prevent the Cyprus issue from re-emerging in a new form that might affect the function of the EU.

    Greece will also approach Turkey, he added, not to negotiate on the international problem of Cyprus but "because I sincerely believe that Ankara has every reason and the capacity to allow and encourage Mr. Talat to negotiate a mutually beneficial solution."

    Papandreou underlined Turkey's obligation to give the Cypriot people freedom and accept that a fundamental condition for solving the Cyprus issue was its acceptance of Cyprus' sovereignty and independence.

    Regarding the talks underway between the two communities, the Greek premier said that Turkey had to understand that their aim was not to abolish but further develop the Cyprus Republic, a member of the UN and the EU, in a way that would ensure its continuity, its territorial rights, its ability to meet its European and international obligations, and the functioning and fundamental powers of its central federal government.

    Such a solution had to find a balance between the need for Turkish-Cypriots to effectively participate in the federal government and the administration of their own federal area and the inescapable fact that the two communities were not at all equal in numbers.

    Papandreou urged Turkey to review its positions on security, stressing that military might was not the way to establish relations in the "European neighbourhood", and also called on Ankara to assist in resolving other aspects of the Cyprus problem, such as property issues between the two communities.

    "I believe that the affair of the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for reuniting their common homeland can and must be vindicated for the good of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, the surrounding regions and of Europe," Greece's premier concluded, expressing confidence in the universal support of Greece's political parties for this effort.

    [04] PM Papandreou meets with Archbishop Chrysostomos

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA / A. Viketos)

    Prime Minister George Papandreou met Tuesday with Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus before returning to Greece in the early afternoon, after wrapping up his official visit to Cyprus.

    Papandreou assured the Archbishop that the Greek government will actively support Cyprus and Chrysostomos stressed that they had "agreed to stay in contact and work toward the same direction for the Nation."

    The prime minister asked the Archbishop to brief him on the state of the churches and the desecration of the cultural heritage in the occupied north of Cyprus and the Archbishop stressed that the Church of Cyprus is preparing to bring Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights.

    Papandreou also had separate meetings with the presidents of the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons and Undeclared Prisoners of War and the Committee of Occupied Municipalities of Cyprus.

    The Greek PM was requested to make the issue of the missing persons a priority, while it was pointed out to him that the process of exhumation and identification of human remains is only part of the investigation and is not a complete process in itself.

    [05] PM completes official visit to Cyprus

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA)

    Prime Minister George Papandreou had a brief meeting with Cyprus House of Representatives President Marios Garoyian here on Tuesday morning before completing his official visit to the island republic later in the afternoon.

    The meeting took place in the presence of President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, before the special session of the House of Representatives, held on the occasion of Papandreou's visit.

    Papandreou underlined that his visit would hopefully give an impetus to relations between Cyprus and Greece, to the Cyprus problem and to relations within the EU, while, on his part, Garoyian stressed that Turkey must abandon its unyielding stance in order to pave the way for the solution of the Cyprus problem and the reunification of the country.

    Garoyian said that in order to achieve Cyprus' reunification, Turkey must abandon the hard-line and unyielding stance it has been following for years, and realise that it is in its own benefit to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions and EU principles. "But what discourages us is the tolerance shown by many toward Turkey's stance. While at tête-à-tête meetings they agree that Ankara has not fulfilled any of its obligations and does not contribute in a substantive manner to the solution of the Cyprus problem, when the time comes to assess Ankara, they use different pretexts to avoid responsibilities," he remarked.

    He continued saying that Cyprus' role, in collaboration with Greece and other countries, is to ensure that Turkey fulfills its obligations.

    Papandreou said that everybody should assume their share of responsibilities, including the EU, the UN and Turkey.

    Replying, Garoyian noted that for 35 years now, neither the EU nor the UN has succeeded in exerting the necessary pressure on Ankara. He continued saying that they have created the framework for the solution of the Cyprus problem but they have not made any substantive moves.

    The House President reassured that the Republic of Cyprus has the patience, strength and will to do the right thing and expressed Nicosia's gratitude towards Athens for its contribution to Cyprus' accession to the EU, saying that Greece is Cyprus' main advocate.

    Papandreou expressed Greece's gratitude, saying "you have also supported us in difficult times and we thank you for that".

    Later, Papandreou addressed a special session of the House of Representatives, in the presence of Cypriot President Demetris Christofias.

    [06] ND Congress to amend Charter provisions on election of party leader

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis announced on Tuesday an alteration of the nature of the extraordinary ND Congress he has called for November 7, which will now deal with an amendment of the provisions of the party Charter regarding the election of the party leader.

    Former prime minister Karamanlis, who resigned from the ND leadership after the then ruling party's defeat in the October 4 general elections, had initially called the extraordinary Congress for the purpose of electing a new leader, at which time he intended to step down.

    Under the current Charter, the party leader is elected by the Congress delegates (or 'electors).

    Following increasing calls for election of the ND leader by the party's rank and file -- a position that has been endorsed by the four candidates for the leadership -- Karamanlis altered the nature of the extraordinary Congress, and has agreed to extend his tenure at the party's helm until the end of the process of amendment of the Charter and election of the new party leader. The new leader must be elected by December 14.

    The extraordinary Congress Organising Committee, chaired by Dimitris Sioufas, will convene on Tuesday afternoon.

    [07] Minister pledges action to curb police brutality toward migrants

    Citizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis on Tuesday announced plans to transfer the processing of asylum applications from the police to the interior ministry, as well as a swathe of measures responding to complaints of police brutality in the treatment of foreign migrants.

    Among these he cited support by social workers and psychologists for police stations in sensitive areas, the hiring of migrants at police stations to act as intermediaries between police and jailed foreigners, the hiring of second-generation immigrants for civilian posts within police departments, a Special Complaints Office set up in collaboration with the state ombudsman and the punishment of police officers "harbouring fascist elements".

    The minister made the announcement during a meeting on Tuesday with representatives of the group "Movement United Against Racism and the Fascist Threat", who reported police mistreatment and brutality toward foreign nationals when they were arrested and detained at police jails.

    Chrysohoidis said that relieving police from processing asylum applications was a "symbolic gesture" given that Greece should have particular sensitivity to asylum issues, adding that the measure will be discussed by the Cabinet.

    During the meeting, members of the group raised four issues concerning alleged police abuses. One concerned the death of a Pakistani where an autopsy carried out by the group did not uphold the findings of one carried out by police concerning the cause of death but found evidence of maltreatment such as cuts, burns and bruises. The second related to the abductions of 28 Pakistanis that has "stalled" at the public prosecutor's office, while its victims have been variously "punished" through the removal of their passports or had been denied re-entry into Greece to join their families. A third issue was the overall treatment of migrants and the actions of the Frontex agency, while lastly they cited police cooperation with ultra-right-wing militants such as the 'Golden Dawn' party and the lack of police reaction to the abuses of such militants in the Agios Panteleimonas district.

    Chrysohoidis said that he had already requested the assistance of the Supreme Court in resolving the first issue raised by the group, preferring this over an internal inquiry, while noting that the Pakistani abductions were an issue for Greek justice. On police links with fascist organisations, the minister said that any police officer found to be collaborating with 'Golden Dawn' or similar groups would be sent home.

    [08] Justice Minister visits Council of State

    Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Minister Haris Kastanidis paid a courtesy call on the Council of State Tuesday, the country's supreme administrative court, meeting with President Panagiotis Pikrammenos before attending a meeting with the court's vice-presidents.

    Exiting the office of the CoS president, Kastanidis said the "meetings with the leaderships of the country's supreme courts were held at his own initiative to declare, not just in a symbolic way but in the real context, the government's faith in the independence of justice; independence that will be protected in every way."

    Kastanidis added that he was briefed on the problems faced by the CoS in the administration of justice, pointing out that the leaderships of the high courts and unions of justices and prosecutors will be steady and useful advisors in formulating solutions and upgrading Justice.

    Financial News

    [09] BoG tables Interim Report on Monetary Policy

    The government must put a brake on excessive deficits and accelerate structural reforms, Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos recommended in his interim report on monetary policy tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

    The central bank, in its interim report, recommended the implementation of a realistic policy to return the country to fiscal discipline, cutting its structural fiscal deficit by 5.0 pct in the next two years (2010-2011) and a gradual reduction of the deficit by 1.5-2.0 pct annually later.

    Fiscal consolidation must be based mainly on cutting public spending and not on rising revenues. More analytically, the central bank recommended that fiscal consolidation must cover spending by two-thirds and revenues by one-third. Efforts to combating tax evasion should focus on a reorganisation of the tax collect mechanism, which could result to lower tax rates in the country.

    Provopoulos stressed that by cutting public overspending, the public sector could save 1.2-2.2 pct annually, or more than 30 billion euros over a decade and expressed his concern over the high "twin" deficits in the country (fiscal and external payments balance), noting that countries facing this combination of deficits and debts were in great danger of suffering a harder and slower exit from the economic crisis with a prolonged period of low growth rates. The central banker said it was urgent that a medium-term plan must be adopted including bold but necessary reforms.

    The central bank forecasts that Greek GDP would shrink by 1.0 pct this year, or more, resulting to a 1.5 pct cut in employment and a jump in the unemployment rate to 9.0 pct. The inflation rate was projected at 1.0-1.3 pct, while the country's current accounts deficit would fall to 11.0 pct of GDP.

    The Bank of Greece recommends a rapid implementation of structural reforms to boost the economy's production capacity and employment. Structural reforms should focus on steadily improving productivity and competitiveness, raising employment levels and creating the preconditions for a permanent and final restructuring of public finances, facilitating creation of new enterprises, strengthening exports, attracting foreign direct investments and creating job positions in the private sector. Also, reforms must effectively support a long-term sustainable growth, respecting and protecting the environment and strengthening social cohesion.

    Structural policies should focus on a restructuring of the public sector and the improvement of its effectiveness, supporting the productive base through investments. The central bank's report stressed that actions were needed to create the necessary conditions for the start-up of new enterprises or expanding existing ones. Finally, the central bank recommended bold steps towards reforming the country's pension system as the country was about to face an acute structural problem from an ageing population in the long-term.

    [10] EU farm ministers convene in Luxembourg

    LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA)

    Greek Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Katerina Batzeli outlined Athens' positions regarding the fisheries sector, during a marathon session of EU farm and fisheries ministers here.

    Following negotiations, Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel agreed that small-scale coastal fishing should not be burdened with additional commitments that would result from the new regulation, without substantive offset benefits.

    In addition, the use of new technologies and data confirmation systems will not be compulsory.

    [11] Greece raises 1.95 bln. euros from 13-week state bill auction

    Greece on Tuesday successfully completed the auction of 13-week state bills, raising 1.95 billion euros from the market. An announcement by Greece's Public Debt Management Organisation said that the issue was 4.7 pct oversubscribed. The bills yield 0.35 pct, significantly down from a 0.52 pct yield of a previous auction held in July 21.

    [12] Russian officials on Burgas-Alexandroupolis project

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA / T. Avgerinos)

    A number of Russian companies have expressed interest in participating in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, according to statements made by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin while in Italy, Russian media report.

    The oil company Rosneft, the pipeline construction company Transneft, the shipping company Sovcomflot and most likely the oil company Lukoil have already expressed interest, the Russian government gazette "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" writes, underlining that the pipeline issue is expected to be settled in the immediate future.

    Mikhail Barkov, deputy president of Transneft, a company that plays a coordinating role in the pipeline affair on behalf of the Russian side, has stated that participants in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline will discuss altering the financial plans for the construction of the project, maintaining that the agreement on the implementation of the project was signed before the global financial crisis, Moscow-based Vedomosti business daily reported.

    [13] Industrial new orders index down 29.9% in Aug.

    The new orders index in the industrial sector (measuring both domestic and external markets) dropped 29.9 pct in August, compared with the corresponding period last year, after a decline of 7.5 pct recorded in August 2008, the National Statistical Service announced on Tuesday.

    The statistical service, in a report, attributed the sharp drop of the index to a 32.4-pct fall in the capital goods' orders index, a 33.5-pct drop in the intermediate goods' orders index and an 11.3-pct fall in the durable goods' orders index. The non-durable goods orders index fell 13.4 pct.

    The service also said that the domestic new orders index fell 18.4 pct and the external market new orders index dropped 44.1 pct in August.

    The statistics service announced that the turnover index in the industrial sector dropped 25 pct in August, after an increase of 12.4 pct recorded in the same month last year.

    [14] Greek stocks end 0.98 pct higher

    Greek stocks ended moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index of the market rising 0.98 pct to end at 2,892.82 points. Turnover fell to 292.7 million euros, of which 38.6 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Industrial Products (3.37 pct), Commerce (2.63 pct), Insurance (2.33 pct) and Raw Materials (2.27 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (1.38 pct), Chemicals (1.28 pct) and Food/Beverage (1.03 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.08 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.48 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index jumped 1.69 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 118 to 90 with another 62 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.33%

    Industrials: +3.37%

    Commercial: +2.63%

    Construction: -0.56%

    Media: -0.89%

    Oil & Gas: +1.20%

    Personal & Household: +0.62%

    Raw Materials: +2.27%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.00%

    Technology: +0.86%

    Telecoms: +1.11%

    Banks: +1.40%

    Food & Beverages: -1.03%

    Health: -1.38%

    Utilities: +1.15%

    Chemicals: -1.28%

    Financial Services: -0.18%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Eurobank, OTE and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 14.12

    ATEbank: 2.05

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.07

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.61

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.41

    National Bank of Greece: 27.00

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 12.61

    Intralot: 4.90

    OPAP: 17.90

    OTE: 12.71

    Bank of Piraeus: 13.30

    Titan: 25.55

    [15] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market jumped to 3.422 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 1.927 billion were buy orders and the remaining 1.495 billion were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 3.055 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 134 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 4.58 pct and the German Bund 3.25 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate rose to 1.25 pct, the six-month rate 1.02 pct, the three-month rate fell to 0.73 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.42 pct.

    [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.509

    Pound sterling 0.918

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 10.452

    Japanese yen 136.61

    Swiss franc 1.524

    Norwegian kroner 8.389

    Canadian dollar 1.556

    Australian dollar 1.625

    General News

    [17] New permanent exhibition at Volos Archaeological Museum

    The evolution of the Thessaly town of Volos, on the coast of the Pagasitic Gulf, from the Mycenaean era to the Roman era, is presented in a new permanent exhibition inaugurated in the new wing of the Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum of Volos, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

    The Museum was built in 1909 with a donation by Alexis Athanassakis from the Pelion village of Portaria. The initial purpose of the neoclassical building was to house the remarkable Hellenistic Period Demetrias painted steles that were unearthed in digs under Apostolos Arvanitopoulos, the first Thessaly Ephor of Antiquities.

    The Museum then added antiquities from all over Thessaly to its collection.

    The Museum houses many exquisite finds from the early 20th century and modern-day archaeological excavations in Thessaly, including jewelry, household utensils and agricultural tools from the Neolithic settlements of Dimini and Sesklo, clay statuettes and a variety of artifacts from the Geometric period, figurines, statues and rare jointed statuettes from the Classical era, rare steles and relief work from the Hellenist period in which the color is uncommonly well-preserved, relief work from the Early Christian and Byzantine periods, and tombs transported in their entirety from the archaeological sites where they were discovered, including human skeletons and offerings placed around it.

    Just outside the museum are some interesting reconstructions of the Neolithic houses at Dimini and Sesklo, where the remains of the oldest acropolis in Greece (6000 BC) stand.

    The Museum has further launched an educational program for primary school pupils on the theme "Neolithic culture: Once upon a time in Sesklo and Dimini".

    Periodical exhibitions are exhibited in the Museum's two main halls, while the Angelos Bastis collection of Neolithic artifacts from all over Thessaly, which has been donated to the Museum, is also on display. There is also an exhibition of the Museum's new acquisitions from recent excavations in the regions of Magnesia and Karditsa.

    The new permanent exhibition focuses on artifacts from the ancient cities of Iolcos (home of the mythological hero Jason, who sailed with the Argonauts to Colchis in quest of the Golden Fleece on the ship Argo), Feres (Pagasae) and Demetrias (established by Demetrios Poliorcetes, King of Macedonia)

    [18] Greece theme country at Belgrade International Book Exhibition

    Greece's national pavilion is ready for the Belgrade International Book Exhibition, one of the biggest cultural events in the Balkans, from October 26 to November 1, where Greece will be the theme country this year.

    Last year, Greece was the theme country in China and this year in Belgrade, at an exhibition that is visited by about 200,000 people.

    Serbia is the sixth country in which a considerable number of translated Greek books circulate, following England, Italy, Spain and Germany, with interest focusing mainly on ancient Greek literature, poetry, novels and Orthodoxy.

    The criterion for the writers' selection was for their books to have circulated in 2009, in the Serb language or to have been given an award in Serbia.

    In 2012, Serbia will be the theme country in the 9th Thessaloniki International Book Exhibition.

    [19] Clash between foreign nationals in central Athens; illegals discovered in truck

    Police arrested two foreigners-- an Iranian national, 34, and a Palestinian, 27 -- after the pair who allegedly injured another four foreign nationals during a clash between rival gangs in central Athens' Omonia Square. The melee was reported two days ago.

    In a separate incident, eight illegal migrants, all Afghans, were discovered locked inside a refrigerator truck on board the Greek-flagged ferryboat "Cruise Europa" while en route from the port of Patras in western Greece to Igoumenitsa in the extreme northwest. The ship's final destination was the Italian port of Ancona in the Adriatic.

    The stowaways were discovered by the ship's crew when the former started banging on the vehicle's walls for help due to a lack of oxygen. The truck's driver and a female passenger, both Greek nationals, were arrested.

    [20] Urgent investigation into infant deaths at maternity ward

    An Athens First Instance Court chief prosecutor on Tuesday ordered an urgent preliminary investigation to determine what caused the deaths of four infants at Alexandra Maternity Hospital.

    The investigation will determine if there is evidence of criminal liability and proceed with necessary indictments.

    A few days ago, a number of infants born in the specific hospital became ill with a hospital-acquired infection caused by the serratia bacteria, resulting in four deaths.

    [21] Rio de Janeiro mayor in Athens on Wed.

    Áthens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis will receive Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes on Wednesday morning at City Hall.

    Paes will be accompanied by Brazilian ambassador to Greece Affonso Emilio de Alencastro Massot and a delegation from Rio de Janeiro, selected recently to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

    Kaklamanis and Paes are scheduled to sign a protocol of friendship and cooperation between the two eponymous cities.

    [22] Military transport plane forced to land in Thessaloniki

    A military transport plane that set off from Germany had to make a forced landing at 'Macedonia' airport in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Tuesday afternoon, after developing mechanical problems.

    The aircraft was originally bound for the town of Paphos on Cyprus and was carrying 17 people, in addition to military supplies.

    During the flight, the pilot said that his instruments indicated a problem and that he had chosen to land the plane at Thessaloniki.

    The landing occurred without problems and all the passengers were safe and well. The plane will remain at the airport until the fault is repaired.

    Weather Forecast

    [23] Cloudy on Wednesday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 7C and 25C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 12C to 23C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 21C.

    [24] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    EU pressure on Athens for immediate measures to curtail the fiscal deficit, the government's efforts to find a way for tenuring STAGE (EU subsidised work experience acquisition programs) employees in the public sector, ongoing speculation on the succession to the main opposition New Democracy (ND) leadership, and President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias' acceptance of his nomination for re-election, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The employed under the STAGE program that have completed two years on the job will remain in the public sector".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The entire plan for the new public administration reform: 350 municipalities in Greece"

    AVGHI: "There is room for flexibility......European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Joaquin Almunia and ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet are showing understanding out of necessity towards the 'transgressors' and deny the government of an alibi for instituting harsh measures".

    AVRIANI: "Tough battle for the succession in New Democracy - Opinion polls indicate former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis' prevalence".

    CHORA: "A Farewell to Arms - Karamanlis gives advice and instructions to the candidates for the party's leadership".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Interior, Economy and Employment Ministries in search of a formula to tenure the STAGE program employees in the public sector".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "40,000 STAGE jobs under the microscope - Employment Ministry begins taking inventory".

    ESTIA: "How former prime minister Costas Karamanlis' stance is explained - Why he 'offered' full authority to PASOK".

    ETHNOS: "Social security funds and Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) will resort to borrowing in order to pay pensions and benefits".

    KATHIMERINI: "Stern warning from Brussels over the unreliability of the Greek government's reports on the country's deficit".

    LOGOS: "Papoulias says 'yes' to a second term - Case closed".

    NIKI: "Brussels votes for George (Papandreou) - The climate in Europe on Greece changes".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "People must launch counter-attack against the anti-social policy".

    TA NEA: "Brussels sends ultimatum: Game over for Greece - Europe demands harsh measures right now".

    TO VIMA: "Almunia and Trichet give breather to government - What Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou discussed regarding the deficit at the Eurogroup meeting".

    VRADYNI: "Semi-enclosed balconies to be legalised".

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