|Friday, 15 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-24
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 24 October 2009 Issue No: 3331
 Papandreou: 'Greece can become a model country'Greece can become a model country and state, Prime Minister George Papandreou stated in an address to ruling PASOK's National Council on Friday. At the same time, he stressed that achieving this required the forging of social alliances and the participation of ordinary citizens in order to succeed.
The prime minister announced that the government will soon launch an official process of dialogue and consultation with the "social partners" (employer groups and trade unions) in a bid to establish a broad consensus and alliance regarding the government's "road map" for reforms.
"The fundamental principle of the alliance will be the respect of each toward others and of all toward the social whole," Papandreou emphasised.
Regarding the role to be played by the PASOK party, Papandreou said that its job would be to "inspire, guide and control" the government.
He stressed that the roles of the party and government could and should be discrete, while at the same time complementing each other. He admitted, also, that relations between the party and past PASOK governments had not always been correct, in that the party had been sidelined and left inactive, or even become a tool in the hands of the state and those lusting after power.
"We want to give power to the citizens and civil society, not cronies," the premier underlined, adding that he would not allow this mistake to be repeated, nor convert the party into a go-between for transactions between the government and public administration.
Instead, he promised a party that remained "more active, more dynamic, a workshop for producing democracy and participation, a party that is open, broad and innovative".
Commenting on the results of the October 4 elections, Papandreou described the result as "our first and greatest conquest as Greeks" in that Greek citizens had overcome "pessimism and scepticism".
"The people did not give us a mandate to simply manage power or to change faces [in government] but asked for a change in the direction of the country and a radical change in the method of government," he stressed.
Papandreou also stressed the government's determination to carry out the promises made by the party before the elections, including the 100-day government programme, regardless of the pressures brought to bear by the European Union.
The premier promised to wage battles at the EU against what he called "prevailing neoliberal attitudes" and a belief that the weak should be made to pay for the economic crisis, repeating promises for measures to support low and middle incomes.
He stressed, however, that this support would be meaningless unless the government also put public finances in order, noting that these were now in a "unprecedented state".
The massive deficit created by the previous government was not inexplicable but had shot up due to practices like client politics, waste, lack of control and lack of transparency, the prime minister said. The government's task was to put an end to such practices, starting by the introdution of transparency at all levels.
Another priority in the effort to reform institutions would be measures to ensure political autonomy and end the dependence of the political system. Only a truly autonomous political system could put the interests of the many above the selfish ends of a few, the prime minister added.
Papandreou additionally emphasised the need to curb waste in the public sector, citing the reduction of the state fleet of vehicles or the use of police to guard political figures as examples.
The prime minister ended his speech by thanking the National Council's outgoing secretary Yiannis Ragoussis, now a member of the cabinet, and announcing his proposals for the new secretary and Political Council members, which would not include any members of the government.
 Socratis Xynidis new PASOK SecretaryThe ruling PASOK's National Council on Friday night elected Socratis Xynidis as the party's Secretary, replacing current Interior Minister Yiannis Raggoussis.
Xynidis received 180 votes (50 per cent plus).
 Greece, Poland share position on Turkey's EU prospectGreece and Poland share the same position regarding Turkey's European prospect, prime minister George Papandreou said on Friday after a meeting with his visiting Polish counterpart Donald Tusk, stressing that Ankara must fulfill its obligations set out by the EU.
Speaking at a joint press conference after their meeting, Tusk, in turn, said that Poland supports Turkey's ambitions and those of the western Balkan states to join the EU, but stressed that their European prospect must be founded on the European models.
"We will welcome the new members when the conditions are fulfilled," the Polish prime minister said.
Tusk, who arrived in Athens at noon on Friday for a lightning visit, said he was an aficionado of Greek history, adding that sometimes he regretted that he was not Greek.
The Polish premier also said it was an honor for him that he is the first foreign leader to be received in Athens by the newly-elected prime minister of Greece.
Tusk said that the eastern European partnership relationship and the energy initiatives in the Black Sea blended harmoniously with the energy initiative in the Mediterranean, and invited Greek entrepreneurs to invest in Poland.
Papandreou expressed pleasure over Tusk's visit and the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two counties.
He also announced that he has accepted an invitation by Tusk to visit Warsaw. Papandreou will be accompanied by a group of Greek businessmen and investors on the visit, during which a Greek-Polish economic chamber is expected to be established.
Papandreou further underlined the two countries' shared interest in cooperating in the field of fuel pipelines, and energy security and autonomy.
Both leaders expressed hope for a successful conclusion of the upcoming international UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (December 6-18), stressing the global importance of protection from climate change.
Tusk and the Polish delegation are due to depart on Friday afternoon for Warsaw.
 Venizelos at informal NATO defence ministers' meetingNational Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Friday presented Greece's positions on issues relating to NATO at the informal NATO defence ministers' meeting held in Bratislava, Slovakia.
On the issue of Afghanistan, Venizelos noted the participation of Greek troops with "restrictions" and said that the Alliance's main concern must be the security of personnel exposed to multiple dangers in that country. He also stressed the need to complete the election of a new president of Afghanistan in a second round of elections that was finally accepted by the two main candidates.
On the NATO budget for missions within and outside Europe, Venizelos noted that Greece was in a peculiar position in that was obliged for national reasons to have a very high defence budget - the second-highest as a proportion of GDP of any country bar the United States.
He referred to a need to link NATO planning for the availability and manageability of its forces with the equivalent national goals.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Venizelos met NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral James Stavridis and his counterparts from France, Germany and Spain.
 Government determined to tackle problems in immigration, road safetyDeputy minister for Protection of the Citizen Spyros Vouyias said Friday that the new government was determined to tackle the serious problems in the sectors of immigration, citizens' security and road safety, adding that "we will not sweep then under the carpet but face them", speaking during a meeting with the press.
On immigration, he said that on his recent visit to the island of Lesvos he had found a "tragic situation" that cannot continue, noting that hundreds of people were crammed into spaces not suitable for even 30, and facing huge problems in their everyday lives and health.
He said that prime minister George Papandreou would put the issue forward at the next EU summit, so that the EU will shoulder its responsibilities on the problem and mainly look at Turkey's role in it, adding that the relevant EU commissioner, accompanied by other EU officials, will be visiting Turkey next week for that purpose.
On road safety, he said that the EU instructions and the ministry's target was a reduction of traffic-related deaths by 100 each year. However, road deaths remained at 1,600 annually in Greece, despite a substantial improvement of the national road network, he said, noting however that most of those fatalities occurred either on provincial roads or in the cities.
 Ministry meeting on climate change with industry, environmental groupsEnvironment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Friday outlined the positions that Greece will support at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December at a special meeting held at the environment ministry with a number of economic and social bodies and organisations.
These included the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), one of the largest organisations of Greek employers, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), environmental groups like WWF Hellas and Greenpeace, and representatives of major energy producers in Greece, such as the Public Power Corporation (PPC), the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) and the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE).
Ministry officials and the various groups had an extended discussion and exchanged views on both Greece's positions on climate change and their repercussions on economic life in Greece.
The discussion focused on issues like meeting the energy and environmental terms of future agreements for climate change, ensuring the competitiveness of Greek enterprises and promoting the use of renewable energy sources and a green economy.
The minister promised to hold follow-up meetings with the various organisations, this time on a bilateral level, in order to prepare the required measures and detailed political actions on the issues discussed.
 Top State Dept. official discusses piracy issue with AthensInternational anti-piracy efforts, particularly off the troubled Horn of Africa, dominated US Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro's official talks in Athens this week, with the US diplomat being the first high-ranking Obama administration official to meet with new Papandreou government ministers following the Oct. 4 elections in Greece.
Shapiro arrived in the Greek capital on Thursday to attend the US Coast Guard's Amver Awards ceremony at a downtown Athens hotel, given the massive Greek-flagged and Greek-owned merchant fleet plying the world's seas.
Shapiro, who holds the political-military affairs portfolio at the State Department, met on Thursday with Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, Minister of Citizens' Protection Michalis Chrysohoidis and Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis. He also met with shipping sector owners and representatives.
Asked on Friday about his previous day's contacts, during a press briefing at the US embassy in Athens, Shapiro, a former senior adviser to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, cited Washington's promotion of the so-called "New York Declaration" aimed at fighting piracy off Somalia -- i.e. the NW Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden -- and protecting commercial shipping. He said the US administration briefed the new Greek government on the initiative and requested Athens' participation, given the strategic share of international shipping controlled by Greek interests.
In response to a press question, Shapiro clarified that there is no US administration position or view favouring armed security guards aboard vessels, noting that the New York Declaration emphasises "best management policies" to prevent piracy, such as increased deck look-outs, making sure ladders are raised, accelerating to avoid pirates' speedboats and even repelling boarders with high-pressure fire hoses.
Britain, Cyprus, Japan and Singapore are, besides the United States, signatories of the NY Declaration.
Moreover, although he said no specific request was made to the Greek government to increase its military presence in the contact group of nations whose vessels patrol the waters off the Somali coasts, he added that more contributions would be "helpful".
Shapiro said Washington's anti-piracy efforts have been upgraded as a direct result of the dramatic increase in incidents off Somalia, with particular mention made of the taking of a Chinese bulk carrier on Monday some 700 miles off the Somali mainland -- a development indicating pirates' reach into deep sea maritime lanes. The US official said the area off Somalia was a piracy "hotspot" and serves as a model of multilateral cooperation, thus being applicable elsewhere in anti-piracy operations.
Deviating from a strictly anti-piracy framework, Shapiro stated that Greece has a "direct stake" in efforts to stabilise Afghanistan and that's country's wider region, when asked about the growing spectre of illegal immigration.
Greece is increasingly on Europe's frontline vis-à-vis the illegal migration problem, with mostly Third World nationals using Turkish coasts to reach EU member-state Greece and the rest of the European Union.
 New justice ministry sec.gen. namedUniversity of Thrace lecturer and Areios Pagos (Greek Supreme Court) barrister George Dimitrainas has been named as the secretary general of the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, minister Haris Kastanidis announced on Friday.
A ministry announcement said that Dimitrainas' appointment was decided following an evaluation of all the candidacies for the post submitted after a public invitation for the submission of candidacies.
 Alternate FM hosts reception for Greek MEPsAlternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Friday hosted a working lunch at the Foreign Ministry for the 22 Greek MEPs elected to the European Parliament, within the framework of regular cooperation and briefings amongst the deputies and the minister.
After the meeting, Droutsas said Europarliament MPs praised the role that the latter serve for their home country in the EU body.
 Alternate FM issues message on UN's anniversaryThe founding of the United Nations, "this global institution of understanding and peace, constitutes a milestone for humanity and an achievement. It is a forum where all nations are equal between each other and before the law, considering reality honestly, through solidarity and mutual respect," Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said on Friday.
In a message issued on the 64th anniversry of the UN's foundation (Oct 24 1945), the Greek minister also pledged Greece's "strong support" for international cooperation, noting "we consider that unilateral interventions perpetuate problems, nourish violence and undermine peaceful coexistence."
 ND Central Committee to meet on October 31Main opposition New Democracy's Central Committee will convene on October 31 in order to consider a proposal to the upcoming Extraordinary Conference on November 7 to revise articles of the party's charter relating to the election of the party's president.
 Bakoyannis contacts fellow-candidates for ND presidencyFormer minister Dora Bakoyannis, one of the candidates for the leadership of main opposition New Democracy, on Friday sent a letter to her fellow candidates for the party's presidency, asking them to agree on terms for ensuring the proper conduct of their respective supporters in the period leading up to the party's elections.
She said such terms "should ensure the primary target that we have in common: the unity of the party and its speedy reorganisation."
Bakoyannis said the four candidates should have an "open line of communication" through which they could swiftly tackle "phenomena of misbehaviour" while stressing the need to avoid extremes, personal attacks and insulting expressions or remarks before the election.
"Above all, we must avoid tension and arguments between ND officials in the media. I believe that none of us would stoop to such practices. But that does not necessarily apply for every one of our supporters," she noted, urging that the four candidates agree to a common reaction in such cases.
Bakoyannis also sent a letter to Aris Spiliotopoulos in which she responded positively to his proposals for the future of the party, noting that she had already publicly supported many of the ideas he suggested.
 SYRIZA leader visits Skaramangas ShipyardsCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance leader Alexis Tsipras on Friday visited the Hellenic Shipyards at Skaramangas, where he demanded that the government "guarantee the workers' jobs and developmental prospects of the Shipyard".
He said the privatisation of the shipyard has proved to be a "total failure" and "resounding instance of waste of public money".
 Gov't to abolish 'Stage' hiring in state sectorThe government on Friday announced the abolition of all future 'Stage' work experience programmes in the civil service and broader public sector, following a ministers' meeting chaired by government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos.
Participants in the meeting included Minister of State Haris Pamboukis, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis, Labour Minister Andreas Loverdos, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and government spokesman George Petalotis.
The meeting decided that 'Stage' programmes could continue in the private sector, provided that the necessary guarantees were given and that they used mainly European Union funding.
Among guarantees cited by Pangalos was that the hiring of staff via a 'Stage' work experience programme would not be preceded by lay-offs in the same company, while he clarified that the same social insurance rules would apply for 'Stage' employees as everyone else.
The meeting also decided to annul all 'Stage' programmes announced after the declaration of general elections, on the grounds that they were illegal and an obvious attempt to garner additional votes, adding that no 'Stage' programmes would be renewed once they ended.
Pangalos announced the government's intention to create permanent jobs to cover standing and long-term needs of the public sector, adding that any immediate and real requirements for staff would be filled via employees hired on a temporary basis that were selected through the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP).
According to Loverdos, there were currently 23,000 people employed via stage programmes at present, while the number employed via stage programmes after elections were declared was unknown.
 Gov't on Stage, economy; ND replyGovernment spokesman Giorgos Petalotis blamed the previous government's "corrupt practices", as he charged, for the problem faced by the current government vis-à-vis the STAGE issue concerning the abolished vocational training programmes for young adults in the public sector.
Petalotis stated that the government's "election campaign pledges to put an end to the unacceptable 'hostage state' experienced by our young citizens and the commercialisation of hope still stand."
As regards the "safety valves" that will prevent the private sector from experiencing the same situation, he stated that the preconditions include limited duration and age limits as well as, mainly European Union funding.
Petalotis also stated that the STAGE issue is complex and clearly concerns the interior ministry, adding that the labor and social insurances ministry will be monitoring the and Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) will also be involved.
Called to comment on the Fitch Ratings decision to downgrade Greece's sovereign ratings, he stated that "there is a huge deficit in terms of credibility, for which the former government of New Democracy is responsible and with which we are being faced today."
In a later reaction, New Democracy spokesman George Koumoutsakos referred to "workplace revanchist dark ages", charging that the new PASOK government is firing thousands of employees due to its adherance to a petty political party mentality, "something that demonstrates that the deep partisan PASOK has not changed over the years, no matter how many leaderships have passed".
 Energy policy targets outlinedEnvironment, Energy and Climate Change deputy minister Yiannis Maniatis announced on Friday the abolition of institutional obstacles and distortions in the institutional framework governing the issue of permits for the construction of electricity production units powered by Renewable Energy Sources (RES), as well as initiatives to convince the local societies to become "allies, rather than opponents" to such investments.
Addressing a conference on the theme "Institutional framework, investment opportunities and innovation in the sector of electrical energy" organised by the Public Power Corporation (PPC) in Athens, Maniatis noted that the government's target was to increase the RES participation in the country's energy balance to at least 20 percent by the year 2020.
In addition to aeolic, photovoltaic and hydroelectric power units, the plan also includes offshore aeolic parks and geothermal units, Maniatis said, stressing that the country's energy mix will not include coal or nuclear units.
He noted that the investment plans for RES units that have already received licences or have been approved by the Energy Regulatory Authority are in excess of 1,000 and represent 9,000 MW. The deputy minister added that 90 percent of those concerned aeolic units, while the applications for photovoltaic units exceed 3,000 MW. Worthy of note, he continued, is that a plethora of applications (more than 7,000) concern small photovoltaic units, adding that their evaluation by the Authority will be completed soon.
Maniatis further stressed the plans to hook up the islands with the mainland network, which will benefit both the national economy and the islands of the Aegean themselves, which currently face energy problems.
The deputy minister outlined the targets of the new government's energy policy, which include energy supply security, optimisation of services, environmental protection, tackling energy poverty, improvement of the units' and the transport/distribution network's efficiency, and promotion of RES and energy conservation, which (RES) will be treated as a national energy resource comparable to lignite, aeolic and solar energy.
In that framework, measures for energy conservation by all consumers and households will be taken, especially during peak hours, through the utilisation of modern technology, Maniatis concluded.
 Rural Inclusion project opens in GreeceA new EU project on Friday inaugurated its activities in Greece and other four European countries, France, Ireland, Spain and Latvia, aimed at promoting innovative services by public administration in rural areas.
The project Rural Inclusion has the support of the Networking Research and Education (GRNET S.A.) which is activated both on national and international level focusing on the development and diffusion of e-services technologies. Its ultimate goal is to utilize to the fullest the options and opportunities offered in Greece.
Participating in the project, to be completed in May 2012, aside from GRNET SA, are the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH), the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), the Ellinogermaniki Agogi School and the Chamber of Commerce of Chios.
The 36-month-long Rural Inclusion project (June 2009 - May 2012) is implemented by a consortium of 14 partners from the 5 European countries and financed by the EU Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICTPSP).
 Messinia products' bazaar at Syntagma Square metro stationA three-day bazaar-exhibition of products from Messinia Prefecture, southern Greece, will be hosted by the Chamber of Messinia and the Cultural Organization "The Routes of the Olive Tree" at the Metro Syntagma Square Station on October 26-28.
The exhibition will be formally opened by Agricultural Development and Food Minister Katerina Batzeli on October 26.
 GAO cites 20.87 bln euro deficit for Jan-AugThe General Accounting Office on Friday announced that the state budget's deficit for the Jan-Aug period reached 20.877 billion euros, substantially higher than the 12.691 billion figure projected in the updated Stability Pact.
 Stocks end 0.93% upGreek stocks ended higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, with the composite index of the market gaining 0.96 pct to end at 2,838.13 points. Turnover was a lower 200.2 million euros, of which 10.9 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved upwards, with the Health (2.71 pct), Banks (1.69 pct) and Travel-Recreation (1.15 pct) posting the biggest percentage gains of the day, with Commerce (1.90 pct) and Constructions (1.46 pct) posting losses.
The FTSE 20 index gained 1.12 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.32 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index dropped 1.19 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 117 to 95 with another 52 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.16%
Personal & Household: -1.19%
Raw Materials: -0.05%
Travel & Leisure: +1.15%
Food & Beverages: +0.68%
Financial Services: +0.36%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Eurobank and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 14.20
Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.70
HBC Coca Cola: 18.40
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.42
National Bank of Greece: 26.42
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 12.00
Bank of Piraeus: 12.72
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount 1.03 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover easing to 58.910 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 6,412 contracts worth 48.259 million euros, with 25,411 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,794 contracts worth 10.651 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (1,152), followed by Eurobank (1,052), Alpha Bank (823), OTE (695), Mitylinaios (537), MIG (511) and Marfin Popular Bank (451).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market was 2.263 billion euros on Friday, of which 1.278 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 985 billion euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.733 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 135 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 4.68 pct and the German Bund 3.33 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.25 pct, the six-month rate 1.02 pct, the three-month rate 0.73 pct and the one-month rate 0.43 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.514
Pound sterling 0.924
Danish kroner 7.503
Swedish kroner 10.315
Japanese yen 139.07
Swiss franc 1.525
Norwegian kroner 8.394
Canadian dollar 1.593
Australian dollar 1.636
 Novel influenza vaccination in two phases in GreeceVaccination against the novel A-H1N1 influenza virus will be held in Greece in two phases, the national committee for tackling the disease announced on Friday.
The first phase will take place on Nov. 10-25. Priority for the vaccination will be given to those with long-term health problems - both children and adults - pregnant women in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of their pregnancy, particularly those with long-term illnesses during their pregnancy, like diabetes and people working in healthcare and with children under six months.
The second phase will take place in mid December. The vaccine will be administered to healthy individuals, men and women aged 15-40; the age group most likely to present health complications caused by the novel influenza. Healthy adults aged 40-50 will be next, followed by the 50-60 age group. The last to be vaccinated will be healthy children under the age of 15 and adults over the age of 65.
Those who will be vaccinated in November and December will receive only one shot of the vaccine while two shots will be administered to those in high risk groups namely, under the age of 10 and over the age of 60.
The national committee announced that a total of 3 million shots of the vaccine have been ordered from the companies Glaxo and Novartis of which 1.5 million will be available by the end of November while 2 million will be received in December.
The shots will be administered at health clinics, hospitals and other spaces made available by local prefectures including schools.
The national committee stated that based on the results stemming from its use until now it appears to be a safe vaccine, while as regards its side-effects they were described as mild including a pain in the arm that appears within the first 24 hours while recipients of one of the two vaccines run a small fever for one day.
The vaccine provides adequate protection in the first 10 days, while after three weeks high immunity levels are ensured.
 Athens mayor receives Vancouver counterpartÁthens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Friday received Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson at the Athens City Hall.
Deputy mayor for international relations Sophie Daskalaki-Mytilineou and Hellenic Canadian Congress of British Columbia chairman Demitrios Douzenis also attended the meeting.
The meeting took place within the context of Robertson's official visit to Greece as a member of a Canadian delegation that received the Olympic flame a day earlier, following a torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia for the 21st Winter Olympic Games of Vancouver.
 Renovated National Theatre opens its doorsThe renovated building of the National Theatre, in central Athens, was inaugurated on Friday night in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister George Papandreou, Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and other officials. Following the inauguration ceremony, the attendants watched the staging, by the theatre's Central Stage, of "Nowhere" by Dimitris Papaioannou.
 'The Art of Medicine in Greece and China' symposium opens in AthensA two-day symposium on "The Art of Medicine in Greece and China" opened in Athens on Friday, attended by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, and organised by the International Hippocratic Foundation of Kos (IHFK) and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
Co-organisers are the non-profit company Horizons-Actions, the non-profit environmental organisation Clean Greece, the non-profit company 2,500 years Hippocrates, the Greece-China Association and the Center for European-Chinese Studies and Development.
Horizons-Actions chairman Spyros Mercouris said that the President's presence at the symposium was indicative of Papoulias' great love for culture and civilisation and aided the development of broader understanding and cooperation between the two peoples.
In a greeting to the symposium, Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis noted that the people of Greece and China have developed close bonds of friendship, enhanced by their interaction as two successive Olympic Games hosts, adding that the symposium served to further the relations between the two countries and open up new roads for cooperation.
The head of the Chinese delegation, Chen Haosu, expressed enthusiasm over the excellent relations between the two countries, adding that those relations have in the past two years become of strategic importance to China.
 Greece honored at Belgrade book fairBELGRADE (ANA-MPA / N. Pelpas)
Greece will be the honored country at Belgrade's 54th International Book Fair to open on Monday.
The Greek pavilion will present 40 publishers and 12 authors whose books were published in 2009 in the Serbian language or/and have received special awards in Serbia, National Book Centre of Greece (EKEBI) Director Catherine Velissaris stated in a press conference here on Thursday.
The publications will include books on ancient Greece, poetry, children's books, scientific books, Greek books translated into Serbian, Greek language textbooks, dictionaries and books with religious content.
Parallel events will include the screening of films from the Belgrade Film Library on "Greek literature in cinema".
Serbia will be the honored country at the 9th Thessaloniki International Book Fair in 2012.
 China Radio's Greek websiteChina Radio International's (CRI) Greek website, already online, now provides Greek speakers information on China, participants at a press conference on Friday at the Athens 9.84 radio station said.
Cooperation between the Athens municipal radio station and CRI was launched in November 2007 when the Athens 9.84 chairman and an Athens International Radio (AIR) 104.4 delegation visited Beijing and met with CRI President Wang Gengnian.
Following an agreement with CRI, AIR 104.4 broadcasts a satellite programme each night online at <http://greek.cri.cn/> through a specially modified programme in the Chinese language to meet the needs of Chinese nationals living in foreign countries, including Greece. The endeavor was been positively received by the Chinese community in Greece and those learning the Chinese language.
 Makeshift bombs exlpode in ThessalonikiMakeshift bombs exploded in Thessaloniki on Friday afternoon, outside the offices of Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis, Protection of the Citizen Deputy Minister Spyros Vougias and ruling PASOK MP Chryssa Arapoglou.
Police are investigating into the icidents
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe resignation of Greek Police (ELAS) chief Vassilis Tsiatouras asked for and received by Citizens' Protection minister Michalis Chrysohoidis, the abolition of a legislative clause for stricter judicial handling of perpetrators of violence and vandalism when the perpetrators have concealed their faces (with hoods, etc.), the problem with the STAGE (EU subsidised work experience acquisition programs) employees following the government's decision not to renew STAGE contracts in the public sector, and the fiscal deficit were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Friday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Orgy of hirings of PASOK supporters".
APOGEVMATINI: "Government of novices - The lack of understanding among the ministers and the abolition of measures introduced by the preceding ND government create the first sentiments of disappointment among the people".
AVGHI: "Sweep in ELAS, not on the rights".
CHORA: "The modern-day Greek tragedy - The impasse in the economy leading to deep social crisis in Greece".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Chrysohoidis bowed to the pressure of the Left and 'beheaded' the police chief".
ELEFTHEROS: "In 2000, PASOK (the government at the time) had tenured the young STAGE employees, and another 3,000 who were in 'vocational training' programs in municipalities and prefectures".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The 'rule of law everywhere' policy line boomeranged against Chrysohoidis, who 'beheaded' the ELAS".
ESTIA: "Unreliable economic indicators - Inherent problem of the Greek economy".
ETHNOS: "George's (prime minister Papandreou) recommendations to his ministers: Fewer statements, more decisions and measures".
KATHIMERINI: "Negative evaluation of Greece - The international financial house Fitch downgraded Greece's credit ability from A to A-".
LOGOS: "The STAGE contracts create worry - New meeting today".
NIKI: "This is how the scam with the STAGE programs was set up".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The STAGE programs and all forms of flexible work must be abolished".
TA NEA: "Chrysohoidis' dual message to ELAS: I will not tolerate inner sanctums or police brutality".
TO VIMA: "Chrysohoidis sending them all away after the incident in Exarchia, and abolishing the 'hoods' clause".
VRADYNI: "The sharp rise in unemployment and upcoming harsh austerity measures threaten to create a social 'explosion'."
 Government protests illegal placement of buoysNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The government has protested moves by the Turkish occupation regime to place buoys, at sea, off the island's eastern coast, saying this was illegal.
The placement of buoys by the Turkish occupation army constitutes a violation of the status quo on the island, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said here Friday when invited to comment on press reports that buoys in the Kappari area, off the eastern coast, have been moved.
The spokesman explained that they have not been moved but have been there for some time now.
Stephanou said that "buoys have not been moved and we believe that this fuss about moving buoys should stop because it creates confusion and in the end it causes damage".
He stressed that "placing buoys, the actual presence of buoys constitute a violation of the status quo and the government has protested and made the necessary representations about the matter."
"We have also protested the replacement of some of these buoys", he said.
The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, is occupied by Turkish troops which hold 37% of its territory.
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