|Saturday, 20 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 27 October 2009 Issue No: 3333
 PM Papandreou attends Thessaloniki anniversary events"Hellenism's great victory, that of the liberation of Thessaloniki, highlights and proves the timeless strength of our people, our country. The strength of Northern Greece, of Macedonia and Thrace," prime minister George Papandreou said in Thessaloniki on Monday, after a Doxology celebrating the feast day of the city's patron Saint Demetrios.
Three-day events opened in Thessaloniki on Monday marking the triple celebration of St. Demetrios' feast day, the 97th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule, and the October 28 OCHI Day national holiday.
"This strength proves that, with determination and unity, and serving values and principles, we attain goals and can change, and are changing, Greece," the premier added.
"Today, we are waging the battle for liberation from mentalities, perceptions and practices that have held us back many years. We are waging the battle for liberation of the creative and productive forces of the country. We are waging the battle for the liberation of politics from petty partisanship and intransparency. We are waging the battle for liberation of the citizen from insecurity, injustice, inequality," the premier continued.
"I am certain that we are united in this battle as well. This battle unites all us Greeks in a common effort to render Greece strong, capable, just and human. And, naturally, decisive in this battle is the role of the Periphery, of our Thrace, our Macedonia, our Thessaloniki," Papandreou concluded.
 Celebration for triple anniversary of ThessalonikiThe official celebration for Thessaloniki patron saint Demetrius, the 97th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule and and the October 28 OCHI Day, was held in the hall of ceremonies of the Aristotelio University of Thessaloniki in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
History and Archaeology department professor Ioannis Mourelos made an address on the theme "The feeling of power and the management of historical heritage."
The government was represented by Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos, while also present were representatives of parties and of foreign countries.
At the end of the event, the university's authorities hosted a reception for President Papoulias.
 Dep. Interior Minister Tzakri hosts luncheon in honour of President PapouliasThessaloniki-based Deputy Interior, Decentralization and e-Governance Minister Theodora Tzakri hosted a luncheon Monday in honor of Republic President Karolos Papoulias, held within the margins of the city's three-day celebrations. The event was attended by members of the state and local government.
 Messages for Oct. 28 national holidayEducation, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Monday sent a message to the country's schoolchildren on the occasion of the Oct. 28 national holiday, or "Ochi Day", which commemorates Greece's entry into WWII.
She underlined that Oct. 28 is "a day of celebration and national pride" for Greece, pointing out that "the Greeks fought not only for their land but also for the legacy of Greek history and culture."
A Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party announcement underlined in its message that "we honour with deep respect the 'Ochi' anniversary against fascism and war," adding that each era calls for different kinds of resistance.
 Alternate FM at EU General Affairs CouncilBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
The European Union's General Affairs Council is convening in Luxembourg on Monday and Tuesday, primarily to prepare the EU summit that will be taking place in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Greece's positions are being supported by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas.
Droutsas said in a statement that one of the summit's important issues will be tackling illegal immigration, stressing that Greece aims at promoting cooperation on this "European problem."
The minister added that on the same issue Greece desires the backing of Frontex with the shaping of joint action and procedures in the framework of a European asylum and immigration policy.
According to Droutsas, there must also be promotion of funding and the distribution of the cost among the member-states, and the reaching of European agreements on re-entry with third countries, such as Turkey and the implementation of existing bilateral agreements such as that concluded between Greece and Turkey in 2001.
The Council also discussed the issue of the EU's institutional reorganising in light of the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. The minister said on the issue that Greece would like Europe to acquire a strong voice in international developments.
Foreign relations issues were due to be discussed during a working dinner on Monday night. As regards the Balkans, Droutsas said that Greece's will is for it to become a protagonist in the region, particularly on the issue of these countries' EU accession course.
On the question of the situation in the Middle East, he said that Greece is aiming at "assuming a leading role once again", underlining the priority attributed by the government on traditional relations with the Arab world.
 All public-sector hiring suspended pending new lawsAll public-sector hiring scheduled for after the October 4 elections will be suspended until legislation for a new hiring system is passed by Parliament, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis said on Monday.
Among the changes planned is the abolition of the interview, the marks from which had contributed to a candidate's overall score, while additional weight will be given to degrees, post-graduate studies etc.
Ragoussis also stressed that the government intended to abolish the extra points awarded to candidates for various reasons, among them that of having prior experience for those hired through the 'Stage' system.
The minister said that the government also intended to abolish hiring of staff on a "project contract" basis, replacing these with contracts for a specific period of time that would be under the control of the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection.
Announcements of positions in the state sector will from now on use the new legislative framework, estimated to be in force by the end of November or early December, he added.
Ragoussis also informed reporters that the selection of ministry general secretaries is expected to be concluded next week, while the posts of the 13 regional authority general secretaries will be filled immediately.
 Draft law on fire-ravaged regions of east Attica unveiledA draft law unveiled by the ministry of environment, energy and climate change on Monday seeks to guarantee optimum protection against unauthorised construction and development in areas of east Attica prefecture ravaged by wildfires in August 2009.
The purpose of the draft legislation is to abolish what the government calls "forest-killing" regulations and to create infrastructure (forestry maps-forest registry) aimed at protecting ecosystems and state land.
The primary measures to be introduced by the proposed bill include a temporary suspension of all construction work, even in areas where building is allowed, and the establishment of a three-member committee on demolitions to eradicate the widespread phenomenon of unauthorised construction in burnt regions.
The draft law also provides the inclusion of all wildfire-ravaged land in the land registry (cadastre) process if not registered yet, and suspends implementation of current regulations for differentiating land as defined as forest from that of 'a forested area'.
The draft law's regulations refer to two time periods: the time until a burnt area is proclaimed destined for reforestation, followed by the period between declaring land destined for reforestation and the ratification of forest maps for the area in question.
Specifically, construction will be suspended in areas where building is currently allowed but are within a region considered under reforestation. The suspension will last until maps of forestland have been finalised.
Exempted from this ban are legally built structures and those with legitimate building licenses issued before the wildfires, following an inspection by the special committee.
A special committee on demolitions will be set up to eradicate the phenomenon of unauthorised building in burnt regions, with technical support from the Hellenic Mapping and Cadastral Organisation (OKXE). Moreover, land registry procedures will begin at once in the regions that have not been registered with OKXE yet and a forest map will be drawn up immediately.
The draft law also provides for the suspension of section 3, paragraph 1, article 1, of Law No 3208/2003 that defines the criteria based on which an area is characterized as a forest or forest land.
 Final draft for changes to ND charterThe chairman of main opposition New Democracy's Organisational Committee for the Extraordinary ND Conference of November 7, Dimitris Sioufas, on Monday announced that the committee had sent the final draft of proposed changes to the party's charter to outgoing party president Costas Karamanlis and the four candidates for ND's presidency.
The changes, which concern the way in which the party president is elected, must be submitted to ND's Central Committee for approval.
Sioufas clarified that the proposal he was presenting to the Central Committee was based entirely on the joint agreement reached by the four candidates during a meeting on October 16 and did not include proposals submitted later by the two candidates Dimitris Avramopoulos and Panagiotis Psomiadis regarding a revision of article 4 of the party's charter.
All four candidates were also sent a copy of the regulations for the November 7 conference, which would also be approved by the Central Committee.
"ND is proceeding in an organised fashion toward the November 7 conference and the elections to choose a new president in a way that ensures its unity and cohesion," Sioufas stressed.
 Antonis Samaras to tour northern GreeceMain opposition New Democracy (ND) candidate for the party's leadership Antonis Samaras will be making a tour of northern Greece on October 28-29 in the framework of his campaign.
On Wednesday, Samaras will be visiting Thessaloniki and attend celebrations marking the October 28 national anniversary and then visit Thessaloniki Prefect and rival in the ND presidential race Panayiotis Psomiadis.
On Thursday, Samaras will also be visiting the cities of Kavala and Serres.
 Greece must promote special forms of tourism, reportGreek tourism officials should focus on the development of special forms of tourism to help the industry improve its competitiveness, as well as upgrading its position on the global market by taking advantage of its comparative advantages, a report by the Institute for Touristic Research and Forecasts (ITEP) stated on Monday.
ITEP stressed that the Greek tourism sector must invest on a model enriching its touristic product, improving competitiveness and expanding the tourist season, stressing that special forms of tourism must be promoted to enjoy short and medium-term benefits.
Enriching the country's touristic product necessitates invest-ments in maritime tourism (cruises, yachting), a sector guaranteeing high returns, along with convention and trade fair tourism, as products of short and medium-term returns. So-called cultural tourism should also be promoted.
The report stressed that Greece should also seek promotion of sports tourism, taking advantage of modern sports facilities built during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
 Greece tops Eurozone rankings for price hikes, Eurostat reportsGreece remains the Eurozone's heavyweight champion for high prices, according to figures released by the European statistics agency Eurostat on Monday for the month of September 2009.
This found that the prices of basic and widely used consumer goods increased by 2.5 percent relative to September 2008.
Foodstuffs rose by 1.4 percent relative to 2008, making Greece the second most expensive country for food after Malta, while clothing and footwear rose by 2.9 percent relative to the previous year, the highest increase in the Eurozone.
While the overall rate of inflation eased to 0.7 percent in Greece, it remains one of the highest rates among Eurozone countries, where the average inflation is -0.3 percent.
Coupled with the fact that consumers have received almost zero wage increases in 2009, their spending power has been decreased even further and basic goods have now become more expensive.
 ND spokesman on stages issueMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman George Koumoutsakos, referring to the decision to abolish the "stages" programme, criticised the government on Monday of "insensitivity, vindictiveness, mass persecution, unemployment and of denying prospects for thousands of young people."
Koumoutsakos said that "on the issue of the 'stages' it is being confirmed that the deep partisan PASOK is coming back insensitive, vindictive, as it appeared in any case at its National Council meeting."
He went on to say that "it is a purely partisan decision, pushing thousands of young people in need to real 'labour middle ages'."
Koumoutsakos also said that the "labour middle ages" that these thousands of young people and their families are already experiencing is the result of the "revanchist middle ages" from which there has never been a "rennaissance" in PASOK.
 Professor Zanias new president of Economic Experts CorpsProfessor George Zanias has been appointed president of the Economic Experts Corps, by decision of Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.
Zanias is an economics porofessor at the Athens University of Economics and served for years as president of the International and European Economic Studies Department at the same university.
He is also a lecturer of the Oxford University and was an international expert for the European Committee at the World Bank and the UN.
 Trade deficit down 43.7% in Jan-AugGreece's trade deficit totaled 1.706 billion euros in August, significantly down from 3.139 billion euros in the corresponding month last year, a decline of 45.6 percent, the National Statistical Service said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, said the country's trade deficit fell 43.7 pct in the eight-month period from January to August 2009 to 16.277 billion euros, down from 28.903 billion euros in the same period in 2008.
 Stocks end 2.01% downGreek stocks ended sharply lower at the Athene Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index of the market losing 2.01 pct to end at 2,781.13 points. Turnover was a low 179.6 million euros, of which 6.9 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved downwards, with the exception of the Chemicals sector which ended 0.51 pct higher. Insurance (4.62 pct), Media (3.48 pct), Commerce (2.98 pct), Technology (2.98 pct) and Banks (2.78 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
The FTSE 20 index fell 2.22 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.95 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 1.52 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 159 to 45 with another 46 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.76%
Personal & Household: -1.58%
Raw Materials: -2.31%
Travel & Leisure: -0.51%
Food & Beverages: -2.19%
Financial Services: -1.62%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Marfin Popular Bank, OTE and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 13.90
Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.50
HBC Coca Cola: 17.98
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.30
National Bank of Greece: 25.58
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 11.55
Bank of Piraeus: 12.37
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.53 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking further to 54.590 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,868 contracts worth 43.591 million euros, with 24,853 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 10,951 contracts, worth 10.999 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (1,618), followed by Eurobank (616), MIG (622), OTE (833), Piraeus Bank (436), National Bank (1,366), Alpha Bank (699), GEK (841), Cyprus Bank (1,414) and Intralot (435).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.513
Pound sterling 0.926
Danish kroner 7.502
Swedish kroner 10.281
Japanese yen 139.19
Swiss franc 1.525
Norwegian kroner 8.392
Canadian dollar 1.599
Australian dollar 1.638
 Culture and tourism ministry priorities outlinedCulture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos underlined Monday that his top priority would be to organise the newly merged ministry of culture and tourism and the solutions that need to be given to lingering problems, while clarifying that he is the only one responsible for the culture sector.
On the strategy being followed for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, Geroulanos stressed that the efforts will continue. He also noted that the British Museum appeared to be concerned, since it had taken the trouble to distribute leaflets giving its positions called "why the Marbles must stay" (at the British Museum).
"Melina Mercouri (the late PASOK culture minister) was the one to first raise the issue and we continue the efforts," he said.
The minister underlined that the state-run media should play a leading role in the promotion of culture issues.
Geroulanos told reporters that the candidates for the post of the ministry general secretary have been narrowed down to four based on the CVs submitted online.
On the issue of the Thessaloniki Film Festival and the state awards, Geroulanos urged people in the film industry to recommend the right solutions.
He also stated that the portfolio of Deputy Minister Angeliki Gerekou has not been defined yet.
 Ecumenical Patriarch in NY on second leg of US visitNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived in New York on Sunday night (local time) from New Orleans, on the second leg of a visit to the US.
Immediately after their arrival, the Ecumenical Patriarch and his delegation went to the Greek Orthodox church of Saint Demetrios in Merrick, Long Island, where a Great Vespers was held, after which he spoke to a gathering of children and youths.
On Monday, the feast day of Saint Demetrios, Bartholomew will officiate a liturgy at the St. Demetrios Cathedral in Astoria, while on Monday night he will officiate at the 9th Annual Prayer service for the Orthodox employees of the UN, at the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in Manhattan.
On Tuesday, the Ecumenical Patriarch will meet and attend a luncheon with the Primates of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and other religious leaders in the US.
In the afternoon, the Ecumenical Patriarch will be bestowed an honorary doctorate in Law by Fordham University in recognition of his leadership in the fields of environmental responsibility and inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue.
On Wednesday, Bartholomew will meet with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters, after which he will meet with the religious and lay leaders of the Jewish community.
On Thursday the Ecumenical Patriarch will pay a one day visit to Atlanta where he will celebrate an Ecumenical Doxology at the Annunciation Cathedral of the Metropolis/
After his return to New York, he will attend on Friday a reception by the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) in Manhattan, which is staging a month-long exhibition (mid-October to mid-November) dedicated to Bartholomew and his initiatives on the environment.
On Friday night, Bartholomew will attend a gala musical celebration at the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in tribute to Archbishop Demetrios' 10th anniversary as Primate of America.
On the following day, the Ecumenical Patriarch will address a plenary of the Archdiocesan Council and meet with the National Board of the Philoptochos society. In the evening he will attend a banquet in his honor hosted by the Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with the guest speaker being the newly-enthroned Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan.
On Sunday, Bartholomew will preside at a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Demetrios at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, and will personally conduct the investiture of the new Archons of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle.
On Sunday night, the Ecumenical Patriarch will depart for Washington, on the third leg of his US visit, where he will have separate meetings with US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the Senate.
Biden and Clinton will both host dinners in honor of Bartholomew during his stay in Washington, while he will mark his 18th year as Ecumenical Patriarch in a Doxology service at the Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Annapolis, Maryland.
 PM Papandreou visits Prof. KriarasPrime Minister George Papandreou visited Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) professor emeritus Emmanuel Kriaras at his house Monday following the formal liturgy at St Demetrios Cathedral held earlier within the framework of the city's patron saint day celebrations.
Kriaras, who is 103 years old and a great Greek language scholar, was very moved by the prime minister's initiative. Their discussion focused on education issues.
Kriaras occupied the last honorary place on the PASOK party state deputy list in the Oct. 4 general elections.
 Niarchos Foundation to finance building of Alexandria Patriarchate's Church MuseumCAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)
The Niarchos Public Benefit Foundation has assumed the financing of the construction of the Church Museum and Ambry of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, it was announced on Monday.
The Patriarchate expressed its satisfaction with the development, since the facility will display the history of the Church of Alexandria since the time of its founder, the Apostle Mark the Evangelist, during the Ptolemaic era, the Christian years, up until the era and contribution of the Greeks of Egypt.
Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria on Monday signed the acceptance of the Foundation's donation.
 Government announces reward for wanted criminalsThe government on Monday announced a reward of 600,000 euros for information leading to the arrest of three individuals - 33-year-old Simeon Seisidis, his 28-year-old brother Marios Seisidis and 31-year-old Grigoris Tsironis - who are wanted in connection with cases of organised crime.
Citizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou signed a joint decision Monday promising the reward and full anonymity for informants that help authorities bring the three into custody, stressing that there are outstanding warrants for their arrest on criminal charges but also outstanding convictions against them.
The two ministers invited anyone having any specific information on the three to give this to the police. The reward will be given for any leads that help police locate and arrest the three fugitives, while those providing the leads will be assured their anonymity against all private citizens and also all other state authorities.
 High court prosecutor requests special magistrate for terror probeA Supreme Court prosecutor on Monday called for the appointment of a special appellate-level magistrate to investigate the high-profile case of four individuals arrested last month in the Athens district of Halandri on terrorism-related charges, as the suspects are allegedly linked to the "Conspiracy of Fire Cells" urban terror gang.
High court prosecutor Ioannis Tentes called on the head of the Athens Prosecutors' office to convene an appellate plenum needed for the special appointment.
Panagiotis Massouras, Harilaos Hatzimihelakis, Emmanouil Yiospas and Myrto Panteloglou, all in the 20s, have been slapped with various terror-related charges. Three remain in custody while Panteloglou was conditionally released on bail.
Tentes cited "the extreme nature and seriousness of the case" in basing his request.
 Foreign national arrested on drug chargesA Dutch woman, aged 24, was arrested at the customs station on the SE Aegean island of Kos after she was found in possession of 4,600 grams of heroin. The drugs were hidden in her suitcase, which had a false bottom.
During questioning she told police that she knew nothing about the drugs, maintaining that she had left her suitcase unattended at a friend's house in Istanbul.
The suspect arrived on the island of Kos from the nearby port city of Bodrum on the Turkish coasts on Sunday on board the passenger boat "Asim Kartan".
 Pollution in sea region of IerissosThe small Turkish-flag tanker Avnacioglu 1 has caused pollution of an unspecified extent in the sea region of Ierissos in Halkidiki, Macedonia.
The vessel has a crew of nine Turkish seamen, had sailed from a port in the neighbouring country and was waiting for instructions from the shipowning company on its destination.
According to Port Headquarters, initial evidence shows that the pollution was caused by a gash in its tanks.
Port vessels have sailed to the area, while the Turkish captain said that the tanker was carrying 46 tons of diesel.
 Rainy on TuesdayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 24C. Cloudy and rainy in Athens, with northerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 21C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 18C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe government's efforts to take the country out of the crisis and its decision not to renew the STAGE contracts in the public sector, and the campaigns of the candidates for the main opposition New Democracy leadership, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Dora's (Bakoyannis, former Foreign Minister and candidate for ND's leadership) seven proposals for a modern New Democracy".
APOGEVMATINI: "Supreme Court's decision on semi-enclosed balconies contravenes the Constitution".
AVRIANI: "Mrs Katseli (Economy Minister), oust all insurance companies' actuaries".
CHORA: "Former Culture Minister and candidate for ND leadership Antonis Samaras revs up the engines".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Ruling PASOK party's grass roots said 'no' to Prime Minister George Papandreou's favored candidate for the position of secretary of the party's Political Council, Socrates Xynidis, who was elected with 180 votes for, while 189 votes were either for the other candidate, blank ballots and abstentions".
ELEFTHEROS: "FinMin George Papaconstantinou's revelations on taxation and retirement age".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Party against George Papandreou's decision to separate the party from the state".
ESTIA: "Invigoration of economy wanted - The negative psychology must be reversed".
ETHNOS: "Government resorts to emergency plan to collect 10 billion euros - FinMin George Papaconstantinou's plan to curtail expenses and increase revenues in 2010".
TA NEA: " 24-hour family doctor - SOS package for everyday living".
VRADYNI: "Government in the dock - Stage contract employees respond to the government's callousness with lawsuits".
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