|Thursday, 14 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-22
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 22 October 2009 Issue No: 3329
 Gov't submits new deficit figureThe Greek government will submit its official figures for the country's fiscal deficit in 2008 and a projection for 2009 -- surpassing 7.0 pct and around 12.5 pct, respectively -- to the European Commission on Wednesday, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said the same day.
Speaking to reporters, Papaconstantinou said he will also send a letter to the EU's Executive explaining the actions taken for a reduction of the deficit over the last six months of the year, stressing that the Commission and an ECOFIN meeting would assess the condition of the Greek economy before the government submitted its updated stability and growth plan in January.
Based on all these criteria, an ECOFIN meeting in February or March will decide on whether to give Greece an adjustment period to cut its deficit. The minister also said he briefed his EU counterparts that the recession in the country was worse than initial estimates, with the country's GDP expected to shrink by 1.5 pct this year.
Papaconstantinou said he briefed EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia over the fact that the previous government was publishing "unrealistic data", as he charged, because of a worsening economy, a collapse of state revenues and excessive public spending. He acknowledged that this practice raised credibility problems and stressed that the new government would proceed with the establishment of an independent statistical service.
He also pledged that the government would cut the fiscal deficit to a single-digit figure, beginning from 2010, with the aim to bring it below 3.0 pct of GDP after three or four years.
"To achieve this we need bold changes," Papaconstantinou said, adding that the government plans to drastically change the tax system in the first three months of 2010.
He said the European Commission was "greatly concerned" over figures compiled by Greece, while Almunia underlined the need to combine fiscal consolidation with economic recovery measures. Papaconstantinou said this combination was fully compatible since it was redistributing income and cutting spending along with boosting investments.
Finally, he underlined that Brussels was focusing more on efforts to cut spending.
 Gov't blames ND for 'credibility deficit' at EUGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Wednesday accused the previous government of having seriously undermined Greece's credibility at the European Union by providing economic figures that were false and misleading. As a result, he noted, the new PASOK government had met with an "exceptionally negative reaction" during contacts with European officials, such as European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia and European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet.
"Some people should apologise to Greek political life and society for the massive credibility deficit that Greece now presents toward the European Union," Petalotis stressed.
The spokesman said that the terms being imposed by European Commission were "truly restrictive" but had not yet been made specific, though the reaction had been very negative.
Questioned about former finance minister George Papathanassiou, Petalotis said that "he presented figures to the EU that, as it turned out, were not true, with the result that we are now in the current situation."
PASOK's promises toward society and ordinary citizens, especially to vulnerable social groups, would be observed to the letter, based on our capability, he added.
Regarding the package of measures presented by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou at the EU, Petalotis said that the government will present the new Stability and Development programme within the coming weeks.
The spokesman said that there had been no EU decision regarding the economic stimulus package proposed by the government to "restart" the economy, adding that the government would be able to convince EU authorities of the country's credibility through initiatives like making the national statistics service independent.
 Gov't on STAGE vocational training programmeThe government spokesman on Wednesday reiterated the new government's "irrevocable decision" to end the EU and nationally-subsidised STAGE vocational training programmes for young adults in the public sector, calling the practice implemented by the previous government "illegal".
"The STAGE contracts will not be renewed," Giorgos Petalotis stressed, announcing a broad-based public debate on the issue with the participation of social partners, unions, representatives of STAGE trainees etc.
Petalotis also emphasised that the STAGE programme trainees have no legal right to claim permanent public sector employee status.
Finally, he stated that the STAGE programmes are viewed from a whole different perspective and that the necessary guarantees will be implemented in the private sector to ensure that they will play the role for which they were designed.
 Interior minister meets local authority staff union federationInterior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis on Wednesday met the union federation of local authority staff POE-OTA, who repeated calls for an end to the hiring of temporary staff on a 'project contract' basis.
According to POE-OTA president Themis Balasopoulos, the minister reiterated the government's promise to abolish the 'Stage' work experience programmes in the civil service and local government and to be sparing in the approval of 'project-based hiring' - where individuals are nominally contracted in order to carry out a specific body of work rather than as an employee - until the abolition of this system.
Ragoussis also announced that the government will not carry out a programme for the hiring of 20,000 unemployed prepared by Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) and the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) before the elections.
 Defense Minister Venizelos attends SEDM meetingSOFIA (ANA-MPA / B. Borisov)
Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed that "for decades, Greece has been steadfastly promoting all forms of cooperation among the SE European countries and, within this framework, defense cooperation is very important for stability and cooperation in the greater region."
Venizelos, who attended Wednesday the annual Southeast Europe Defence Ministerial (SEDM) conference in Sofia, pointed out that the stance adopted by Greece is to facilitate the prospects for accession into the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions for all countries in the region depending on their maturity and the course they follow or have to follow based on the international and European standards. "It is very important to watch this cooperation assume a tangible form and I am glad because I see that there is always room to develop further," Venizelos told ANA-MPA in response to a question on the key points of Greece's contribution to the SE Europe defense ministers' cooperation.
"On the sidelines of the summit I had the opportunity to speak with many of my counterparts, including the ministers of defense of Albania, Turkey and FYROM, and I wish to point out that the atmosphere was very constructive," he added.
Replying to a question by a foreign press agency correspondent as regards the challenges faced by Greece's 2010 defense budget in the wake of the consequences stemming from the global financial crisis, Venizelos expressed the government's intent to continue with the upgrading of the armed forces based on "rational and transparent" foundations.
He added that the efforts that need to be made and the unavoidable measures that will have to be adopted to cut the budget's deficit will not have a negative effect either on the operational readiness or the fighting potential of the armed forces.
ND Congress Organising Committee urges 'absolute neutrality' by party organisations towards all leadership candidates
The chairman of main opposition New Democracy's (ND) Extraordinary Congress Organising Committee, Dimitris Sioufas, has instructed all the party organisations to adopt a stance of "absolute neutrality" on the four candidates for the party leadership, in compliance with a unanimous decision taken by the Committee during its meeting on Tuesday evening.
"We are on course to the extraordinary Congress and to the election of the new leader," Sioufas said, adding that both the central and the regional bodies of the party have the obligation to function with democratic sensitivity and absolute neutrality towards each and every candidate.
He added that ND, in totally abiding by the party principles, will emerge stronger from the entire process, with unity and cohesion.
 No date yet for ND extraordinary congressThe chairman of main opposition New Democracy's (ND) organising committee for the party's upcoming extraordinary congress, Dimitris Sioufas, on Wednesday stated that no specific date has been set for the election of a new party leadership, adding however, that the process should be completed by Dec. 14.
The ND congress will be held on Nov. 7.
Outgoing ND leader Costas Karamanlis has accepted the agreement reached by the four official candidates for the party's leadership, according to which, the new president will be elected by the party members within a month following the Nov. 7 congress, Sioufas stated.
He also added that he has already clarified that changes are necessary to be made in the party's founding charter following the unanimous agreement of the four candidates. ND's central committee will undertake to introduce suggested amendments at the extraordinary congress for approval, thus clearing the way for the election of a new party leadership.
 KKE leader visits Skaramangas ShipyardsCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Wednesday visited the Hellenic Shipyards at Skaramangas, where she urged the workers to not to request of the government to pressure the Germans not to decrease activities at the shipyard but, rather, to "demand that the state undertakes Skaramangas as well as the country's entire shipbuilding and repair sector".
She said that a single, public agency should be created "that will oblige even the shipowners to assign projects to the shipyards, thus limiting their profits".
Papariga met with the shipyard's workers' union and also visited the Railcar Unit.
On the impact of the global financial crisis in Greece, Papariga said that three things should be demanded from the government.
First of all, that those who gained before the crisis should pay the price of the crisis. Second, those who gained during the crisis should pay the price of the crisis. And, third, an end must be put, here and now, to the immense cost of the armaments for offense, rather than defense, purposes.
She added that the above also pertained directly to the Shipyards, because "the workers who are at the razor's edge must not pay the price of the crisis", stressing that it was "unacceptable" that workers have remained unpaid for six months "because a bogus company was set up in the framework of privatisation" of the shipyard.
On the new developmental model introduced by the new government, Papariga said that investments were being made "where the profits are big", whereas the KKE's position consisted of a pro-people growth for Greece in which all the investments will not be channeled only to the sectors of tourism, shipping and green development.
 SYRIZA leader meets with laid-off OA contract employeesCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras warned that "a new labor Middle Ages" has been created in the recently privatised Olympic Air (OA), the former national carrier, in statements after a meeting on Tuesday evening with the Committee of laid-off OA contract employees.
"Recently, we had a fiesta at Athens International Airport. We had the fiesta of the new Olympic. But behind the festivities, the songs and the multi-colored balloons is a painful reality. 800 contract employees, many of whom have been working (at OA) for more than 10 years, have lost their jobs and are out on the street. Thousands of workers entering retirement are still waiting. Thousands of workers to be transferred are still waiting," Tsipras said.
He said that when state property is sold off, when strategic sectors of the economy pass into the hands of private concerns, unemployment rises and the labor Middle Ages becomes a reality for broader labor sectors.
 Greece must respect rules for granting asylum, EU's Barrot saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Jacques Barrot on Wednesday underlined that Greece must respect the rules for granting asylum, during a press conference on the Commission's new proposals for uniform European asylum procedures.
Replying to questions, Barrot noted that Greece must meet minimum standards concerning the granting of asylum to foreigners and pointed out that the country was not currently able to properly process asylum applications.
At the same time, he stressed that the migration burden was disproportionately heavy for some countries and that the EU had to show solidarity toward countries like Greece that were on the front line of the migration wave, pointing to the extra financial assistance received by Greece in order to train staff for processing asylum applications.
Barrot also announced plans to visit Turkey in the near future in order to boost cooperation in tackling illegal migration.
 Kastanidis visits the Supreme CourtJustice, Transparency and Human Rights Minister Haris Kastanidis paid a courtesy call on the Supreme Court leadership on Wednesday.
Responding to a question on the conditional release of former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos following a relevant decision by a German court of appeals, Kastanidis stated that the government has stated its intent to shed ample light on all cases that have preoccupied public life.
Kastanidis also referred to the "wrong moves" made in the process of the investigation that led to the specific rulings issued by the German Constitutional Court and subsequently to the latest court of appeals ruling on which a formal briefing is expected shortly by the Greek side.
Christoforakos is wanted by Greek judicial authorities over his alleged involvement in the Siemens bribery and kickbacks scandal.
 KEDKE to participate in dialogue on public administration reformThe board of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) has decided to participate in dialogue begun by the government on a new set of public administration reforms, during a meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting, chaired by KEDKE president and Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, decided that KEDKE will send representatives to the two committees that will be set up by the interior ministry for this purpose, one a committee of experts and the second to monitor the progress of the work. It also asked that a greater number of KEDKE representatives be assigned to the two committees.
 Droutsas meets foreign diplomats, OSCE vice-presidentAlternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Wednesday received the ambassadors of Poland, Australia and Croatia and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly Vice-President Petros Efthimiou.
The meetings focused on developments in the Cyprus issue, the Balkan "road map", the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), developments concerning Turkey and the imminent OSCE summit meeting.
In the meeting with Polish Ambassador Michal Klinger the alternate FM discussed preparations for the visit of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to Athens on Friday and accepted an invitation to visit Warsaw.
The meeting with Australian Ambassador Jeremy Roger Newman focused on bilateral issues considering that the two countries share the same views on international issues as well as on issues of Greek national interest.
Croatia's EU accession course was discussed in the meeting with Croatian Ambassador Vesna Cvjetkovic Kurelec, while issues concerning the 17th OSCE ministerial meeting, that will take place in Athens on Dec. 1-2 with the participation of 56 countries, dominated in the meeting with the OSCE vice-president.
 Gov't in contact with Thyssen Krupp over shipyardGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Wednesday said that the government was currently in contact with the German firm Thyssen Krupp in an effort to create a framework for resolving problems that have arisen with the Skaramangas Shipyards.
He expressed confidence that a solution will be found while noting that this was an issue "inherited" from the previous government, "which had done nothing for the past five and half years".
 Macedonian Airlines to begin operations in spring 2010Macedonian Airlines will begin operations by end-March, early April, Stavros Daliakas, general commercial manager of Olympic Air said on Wednesday.
The re-operation of Olympic Air's subsidiary was recently announced by MIG's chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos with the aim to covering the needs for more destinations in Olympic Air's flight schedule.
Speaking to reporters, Daliakas said Macedonian Airlines' plans to begin scheduled flights from Thessaloniki to Moscow, London, Paris, Amsterdam and a German city. The airline company was seeking to reach a partnership agreement with KLM for translatlantic flight connections.
Olympic Air is currently discussing with representatives of Northern Greece's business and travel communities in order to finalise its flight schedule. Daliakas said Olympic Air's winter flight program would be presented in October 25 with more flights per destination (eight flights to Thessaloniki). He said the seat occupancy rates were currently at 60 pct.
 Greek-Turkish biz con'f in AthensThe 11th Greek-Turkish Business Conference will take place in Athens on Feb. 4, 2010, hosted by the Greek-Turkish Athens Chamber of Commerce (ETEE) and the Greek-Turkish Business Cooperation Council (SETES) in cooperation with the Izmir Chamber and the Chambers of Aegean coastal cities.
The conference will focus on economic and business issues as well as on prospects for cooperation, while an exhibition of Greek and Turkish products, representing the ready-to-wear and footwear sectors, will also take place.
An estimated 300 Greek and 250 Turkish delegates are expected to attend the event.
 "A Greek noon in Beijing"The Greek Embassy in Beijing organised an event at the Summit Club of Beijing, during which more than 100 Chinese businessmen, foreign entrepreneurs, diplomats and opinion makers attended a presentation on Greece's achievements in the economy and on investment prospects.
There was also a presentation on the enhancement of bilateral political, cultural and tourism relations, and the new Greek government's new strategy for putting Greece back on the international scene.
The presentations were followed by a traditional Greek lunch, with wine and ouzo tasting, with the participation of a Chinese dance band and Chinese students/dancers performing Greek dances.
 New car registrations down 36.5 pct in SeptemberNew car registrations dropped 36.5 pct in September, compared with the same month last year, official figures showed on Wednesday, with the Greek market hit by a global economic crisis. A delayed start of a car withdrawal incentives program, by the previous government, also negatively affected car sales in September. New car registrations were down 19.8 pct in the January-September period, compared with the corresponding period last year.
Toyota led the market with 17,105 sales and a market share of 9.4 pct, followed by VW (14,877) and Opel (14,695) in the nine-month period. Opel was September's champion with 1,380 sales.
Alfa Romeo (104 pct), Audi (30 pct), Renault (48.6 pct), Lancia (11.6 pct) and Ferrari (92.3 pct) recorded the biggest percentage gains in the January-September period.
 Fuel, lubricants trading sector in red last yearFuel and lubricant commercial enterprises in Greece reported accumulated losses of 2.5 million euros in 2008, after profits of 100.2 million euros the previous year, a survey by the Insitute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) revealed on Wednesday.
The survey said oil product trading enterprises' sales totaled 12.738 billion euros in 2008, up from 10.048 billion in 2007, an increase of 26.8 pct, reflecting higher average oil product prices, while the volume of sales was up only 2.4 pct in the same year.
Gross profits fell to 636 million euros, from 685 million euros in 2007, with total cost of sold products rising 29.2 pct. The sector's fixed assets grew 10.2 pct in 2008, while circulating assets fell 9.5 pct over the same period. The survey said that long-term debt grew by 25.3 pct last year, while investments on safety and environment rose 42.8 pct
The number of petrol stations increased to 6,458 outlets in 2008, from 6,185 in 2007.
 Stocks end 1.30% downGreek stocks fell on profit taking selling in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with the composite index of the market ending at 2,855.07 points, off 1.30 pct. Turnover was a moderate 269.1 million euros, of which 7.6 million were block trades.
Most sectors moved down, with the Insurance (2.84 pct), Raw Materials (2.46 pct) and Financial Services (1.89 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Commerce (1.61 pct), Oil-Gas (0.86 pct) and Travel (0.86 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index fell 1.30 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.45 pct down and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.44 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 141 to 79 with another 52 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.86%
Personal & Household: -1.24%
Raw Materials: -2.46%
Travel & Leisure: +0.86%
Food & Beverages: -1.46%
Financial Services: -1.89%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Eurobank, OPAP and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 13.94
Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.86
HBC Coca Cola: 18.30
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.58
National Bank of Greece: 26.70
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 12.20
Bank of Piraeus: 12.95
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.65 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover at 89.361 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,020 contracts, worth 68.445 million euros, with 25,086 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,314 contracts worth 20.916 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,865), followed by Eurobank (1,054), OTE (1,643), Piraeus Bank (1,862), Alpha Bank (1,144), Hellenic Postbank (510) and ATEbank (638
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.504
Pound sterling 0.907
Danish kroner 7.502
Swedish kroner 10.398
Japanese yen 136.91
Swiss franc 1.523
Norwegian kroner 8.394
Canadian dollar 1.588
Australian dollar 1.630
 Ecumenical Patriarch in New OrleansEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived on Wednesday in New Orleans, on the first stop of his two-week visit to the US.
Bartholomew was welcomed at Louis Armstrong airport by Archbishop Demetrios of America and the Metropolitan of Atlanta Alexios, members of the local clergy and other officials.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, after expressing his appreciation for the reception he received, stressed: "We return to the city of New Orleans after four years, when we came in the winter of 2006 to share in the grief of the brave residents of New Orleans for the loss and pain caused by the Katrina hurricane, and manifest our support".
Bartholomew referred also to the Ecological Symposium entitled "The Great Mississippi River: Restoration of the balance". The symposium is organised by the organisation "Religion, Science and Environment" and will be held on board a riverboat sailing the Mississippi river over the next five days.
Also taking part in the symposium will be scientists, theologians, environmentalists, and representatives of the business world and the mass media.
 Athens mayor meets Rio de Janeiro counterpartAthens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis met on Wednesday with Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes with whom he signed a protocol of friendship and cooperation between the two cities on issues referring to tourism, culture and the environment.
Moreover, the establishment of two committee was decided, one in each municipality, which will deal with matters referring to the organisation of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Greece, organiser of the 2004 Olympic Games, will provide to Brazil its knowhow and experience in the organisation of the Games.
After the meeting, Paes thanked Kaklamanis for the cooperation and underlined the importance of the protocol.
Paes has also visited the city of London, which will host the 2012 Olympic Games.
 Parliament president meets Toronto MetropolitanParliament President Filippos Petsalnikos held a meeting with Toronto Metropolitan and Exarch of All Canada Sotirios on Wednesday in the presence of First vice president Grigoris Niotis.
Sotirios is a member of the delegation that will accompany the General Governor of Canada Michaelle Jean during her official visit to Greece on October 30.
Petsalnikos made special reference to the important role being performed by the Holy Metropolis of Toronto for Hellenism and expatriate Greeks, contributing to the preservation of the language, traditions and Greek culture.
He also reassured Sotirios that the Greek Parliament supports the efforts for promoting corridors of communication with Hellenism all over the world.
 Conference on UN's 64th anniversaryOn the occasion of the 64th Anniversary of the United Nations, a one-day conference will be organized on Friday at the Cultural Center of the University of Indianapolis, at the central Athens district of Plaka.
The conference is being held under the auspices of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Greece and the Athens Campus of the University of Indianapolis (UIndy Athens), in cooperation with the "Kazimierz Wielki" University of Bydgoszcz, University of Economy in Bygdoszcz, the Hellenic Society of International Law and International Relations and the Hellenic United Nations Association.
Polish and Greek University Professors and other dignitaries from the Academic and Diplomatic community will speak on various issues mainly regarding Greek-Polish relations in the broader historical, political, social and cultural international environment.
Opening salutations will be delivered by H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Mr. Michal Klinger and others.
 The Great Adventure at the Athens PlanetariumThe Athens Planetarium, the first planetarium in Greece, was founded in 1966 by the Eugenides Foundation, and is considered one of the best planetariums in the world.
In 2003, the Foundation established an innovative high-tech Digital Planetarium with a signature central dome that is 25 meters in diameter, has a surface area of 935 square meters, and an impressive 360 degree three-dimensional view.
The seats are equipped with an interactive unit that controls the display to ensure a maximum degree of comfort for each visitor, while real-time images allow the public to plan an active role.
Currently on show at the Planetarium is a new digital presentation titled "The Great Adventure", which is the second of a trilogy on the theme Man and Outer Space in the past, present and future.
 Police crack Nigerian woman's murder, arrest suspectA 36-year-old local man was arrested by Attica Police on Wednesday for the murder of a 27-year-old Nigerian woman found stabbed to death two days ago in the Athens district of Kypseli. Her body was found on the stairwell leading to the basement of an apartment building.
The suspect, who worked as a vendor, lived in the building's basement apartment and confessed to the crime after his arrest.
During questioning he told police that he had met the victim a year ago and that they had an intimate relationship. He maintained that he stabbed her in the neck with a kitchen knife, causing fatal injuries, during an argument that began in his apartment late on Sunday night when, according to his testimony, she criticized him over his job and the way he lived.
He testified that he dragged her body out of the apartment and left it on the stairwell and then started wandering about the streets in Kypseli, where he was later picked up police.
According to police, the same suspect had been arrested and sentenced in 2003 for attacking and injuring five women in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, using a screwdriver or a knife. He had been released on probation in 2006. An investigation is underway to determine if he was involved in other similar attacks.
 Illegal migrants intercepted off EviaThe Greek coast guard on Wednesday reported the discovery of 43 illegal immigrants lacking legal travel documents - 32 men and 11 women - on board the Austrian flag sailing yacht "Rainbow". The craft was intercepted while sailing in waters east of the island of Evia.
Authorities arrested the 43 migrants, as well as two Ukrainians serving as the vessel's crew, who were charged as immigrant traffickers.
The migrants were then transferred to the Istiaia Health Centre for precautionary medical examinations.
The coast guard has also announced the arrest of four illegal immigrants intercepted by authorities at the harbour of Mytilene and another four in the port of Patras.
 Clocks turn back one hour on SundayDaylight Saving Time in Greece and the rest of the EU in 2009 ends at 4 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, when clocks go back one hour to read 3 a.m.
The Daylight Saving Time or "summer time" measure is based on the 2000/84 European Parliament directive and the 10/1/2001 Council decision.
 Cloudy on ThursdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 6C and 26C. Cloudy in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 13C to 24C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 10C to 20C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe EU's warning over the deficit in the economy, the government's moves for the country to exit from the crisis and the upcoming election for a new leader in main opposition New Democracy (ND) dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Deadly hazard - Internet threatens thousands of people's mental health".
APOGEVMATINI: "German justice released from jail former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos".
AVGHI: "They are setting the scene for austerity - European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia and Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos give instructions to the government".
AVRIANI: "We have deceived the EU seven times in five years with false figures".
CHORA: "The leader will be elected only through an alliance, or else a split in ND is unavoidable - None of the candidates appear able to amass over 50 percent in the first round".
ELEFTHEROS: "Almunia: Someone is lying over the state of the economy - He wonders how the deficit grew from 6% to 12% of GDP in zero time".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "12 other EU countries' excessive deficits saved us from the firing squad".
ESTIA: "The entire truth about the deficit - Why the 2009 State Budget derailed".
ETHNOS: "Measures right now, or else we sink".
KATHIMERINI: "The EU will give us some extra time, with difficulty - Brussels furious over the skyrocketing deficit".
LOGOS: "Full steam ahead to fiscal surveillance by the EU - Additional borrowing is mandatory".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The capital must pay for the deficit and the debts, not the working classes".
TA NEA: "Clash between government and Brussels over the 2.5 billion euros for benefits".
TO VIMA: "Final warning for changes and reforms - Almunia's recommendations to FinMin George Papaconstantinou".
VRADYNI: "Crash landing - Brussels puts an end to the people's expectations".
 Leaders discuss external relations, says DownerNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and T/c leader Mehmet Ali Talat have discussed the issue of external relations in a meeting they had here on Wednesday, in the framework of the second round of UN-led negotiations, aimed to find a mutually accepted solution to the Cyprus problem.
Speaking after the meeting, Alexander Downer, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on the Cyprus issue, said that the two leaders had a tete-a-tete meeting for about an hour and then they had a discussion on the issue of external relations.
"Tomorrow (Thursday) they will be meeting again at 10 o'clock and the leaders will discuss the issue of property", he added.
Replying to a question, Downer said that the executive issue will be discussed again in the future and when the two leaders decide.
Asked if Christofias and Talat made progress on the executive, Downer noted that "they have been making steady progress".
Called to answer whether the executive issue will be discussed again in a possible third phase, the give and take phase of the negotiations, Downer said that "we should take one step at a time".
"At the moment we are going through the second phase, exploring a lot of different options for how to handle the different issues. It is a productive process and a lot of bridging proposals were put forward and they (two leaders) need time to think about these issues and discuss these issues", he concluded.
Christofias and Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008 with a view to solve the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
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