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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-11-03

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

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

Tuesday, 3 November 2009 Issue No: 3339

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Papandreou confers with EU Ombudsman
  • [02] PM Papandreou meets with Archbishop Ieronymos
  • [03] Gov't on changes in the State structure
  • [04] Aggressive foreign policy being developed
  • [05] Avramopoulos withdraws from ND race
  • [06] Tsipras meets police unions
  • [07] Alternate FM meets with ambassadors
  • [08] Panaretos assuming political coordination of 'open governance'
  • [09] Greek Eurodeputies brief reporters
  • [10] Ecumenical Patriarch begins four-day official visit to Washington
  • [11] Greek economy to shrink by 1.3% in '09, Eurobank report
  • [12] Draft budget to be tabled this week, gov't says
  • [13] Finance minister meets with ADEDY representatives
  • [14] Greek enterprises willing to pay extra contribution, Federation says
  • [15] Piraues port workers begin 48-hour strike
  • [16] Gov't abolishes car scrapping plan
  • [17] Cosmote acquires Romania's Zapp
  • [18] Ex-minister: funds available for buildings' energy upgrading programme
  • [19] 11th Greek ICT Forum on November 4-5
  • [20] Greek PMI slightly down in Oct.
  • [21] Stocks end 1.49% down
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [25] Int'l Conference of Greek Linguistics held at Chicago University
  • [26] Forum focuses on migration, both regional and int'l
  • [27] Int'l "anti-forum" of migration and antiracist movements
  • [28] Large sums taken in heists throughout Greece on Monday
  • [29] Environment minister-Athens mayor meeting
  • [30] Air Force reports 7 mild cases of H1N1 among personnel
  • [31] Anthrax infections amongst livestock recorded in Axios region
  • [32] Lalaounis jewellery workshop burglarized in Athens
  • [33] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [35] President Christofias on UN-led peace talks Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou confers with EU Ombudsman

    Prime minister George Papandreou stressed his government's determination to confront every established perception and practice that was an obstacle to the implementation of the rule of law and a just state that protects the rights of its citizens, speaking to the press on Monday after a meeting with European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros.

    Papandreou praised Diamandouros', a former Greek Ombudsman, both in Greece and Europe, adding that they exchanged views on how to better protect citizens' rights in Greece and Europe.

    Diamandouros, in turn, said that the premier used "the same key-words that I use", adding that he briefed Papandreou on the institution of European Ombudsman as well as on the efforts made over the past six years to promote the rights of the Greek citizens as citizens of Europe.

    The Ombudsman further said that he was oriented towards advancing the just state and greater rule of law at European level, while he also noted his "excellent" cooperation with Greek Ombudsman George Kaminis, stressing "he in Greece, and I in the EU".

    [02] PM Papandreou meets with Archbishop Ieronymos

    Prime minister George Papandreou met on Monday with Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, and told reporters afterwards that they had an in-depth exchange of views given that the government is "commencing a major effort to cement a society of values, a well-governed state, a just state, that places the human being at the core".

    In light of that goal, the premier continued "we have many common efforts to share with the Church".

    "Our target is to upgrade the Greek society and give prospect to our cooperation in the sectors of welfare, poverty and migrants," Papandreou added.

    He said that he and the Archbishop exchanged views on a number of matters concerning Church-State relations "so that through our distinct roles we will be able to face them seriously and efficiently".

    "We agreed to set up ad hoc committees so that, in a positive spirit, we will be able to proceed with the important Church-State cooperation," the premier concluded.

    The Archbishop, in turn, congratulated Papandreou on his election and wished him every success in his task.

    "We discussed many issues, I heard the prime minister's views and he heard my views," Ieronymos said, adding that he will convey the discussion to the Standing Holy Synod "and I believe that this spirit of cooperation, particularly in matters of welfare, will be embraced by the Synod".

    "Through this discussion and in a spirit of cooperation, I believe that we will proceed with the solution of many matters," the Archbishop concluded.

    [03] Gov't on changes in the State structure

    Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis stated Monday that the structure of the State will change based on a new organizational chart that is being prepared, adding that "we see everyday that the State, which was handed over to us as a government, is based on an obsolete developmental model and is plagued by very bad management."

    Petalotis stated that the change started from the government itself through the abolition of old ministries and the establishment of new ones as well as through jurisdiction redistribution.

    He said that according to the organizational chart currently in the works, each government ministry will undertake the responsibility of balancing its own internal operation, having as an ultimate goal the issuance of independent financial statements by each administrative State unit.

    [04] Aggressive foreign policy being developed

    Prime minister George Papandreou, who also holds the foreign ministry portfolio, is developing an aggressive foreign policy through his presence as well as the presence of a new dynamc government, the government spokesman, George Petalotis, said on Monday, in reply to a question on the premier's meeting over the weekend in London with British prime minister Gordon Brown.

    [05] Avramopoulos withdraws from ND race

    Former Athens mayor and minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday announced that he was bowing out of the race to succeed main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis at the party's helm, saying he does not want to be part of any "crisis" in the party amid the ongoing election process.

    Avramopoulos' decision now leaves three candidates: former ministers Dora Bakoyannis and Antonis Samaras and current Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.

    In qualifying his decision, he again reiterated his proposal for allowing "friends" and "supporters" of the party, beyond registered rank-and-file members, the right to vote for a new ND president.

    [06] Tsipras meets police unions

    The time was ripe for organisational changes within the police force, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras said on Monday, during a meeting with trade union organisations representing members of the Greek police force.

    Tsipras called for reforms to the structure, organisation, operation and direction of the Greek Police, noting that these changes were also supported by police unions.

    On their part, unionists stressed the need to end "experimentation" on the way the police functioned, calling for the formation of a cross-party committee to discuss and decide on a long-term model for how the police should operate and evolve.

    [07] Alternate FM meets with ambassadors

    Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas had separate meetings on Monday with the ambassadors of Bulgaria, Armenia, Turkey and the Ukraine.

    Although they were courtesy visits with the new alternate minister, the meetings were nevertheless described as indicative of the common desire for the development of good relations between Greece and those countries.

    The meeting with the Bulgarian envoy came just days after prime minister and foreign minister George Papandreou's discussion with Bulgarian premier in Brussels last week on the sidelines of an extraordinary EU summit. It is noted that it has been decided to open a new border crossing between the two countries.

    Droutsas; meeting with the Turkish envoy comes shortly after Papandreou's trip to Istanbul for a conference of the SE Europe foreign ministers, and ahead of a visit to Athens later in the week by the Turkish state minister who heads the country's accession negotiations with the EU.

    All the discussions also focused on the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which Greece currently chairs. Greece's chairmanship of the 56-member organisation will wind up with a meeting of the OSCE foreign ministers in Athens in December.

    [08] Panaretos assuming political coordination of 'open governance'

    By decision of Prime Minister George Papandreou Deputy Education Minister Yiannis Panaretos has been assigned the responsibility of the political coordination of the "open governance".

    Panaretos's new duties coincide with the "second phase" of the relevant process that began with the open process for the posts of General and Special Secretaries.

    The second phase, will Panaretos will supervise, begins on Monday and concerns "sectors of interest that will be announced analytically in the coming days."

    [09] Greek Eurodeputies brief reporters

    The Greek Eurodeputies referred to issues to be examined by the new Parliamentary period at the European Parliament, during an open meeting with reporters on Monday.

    During a press luncheon organised by the European Parliament's office for Greece, the Greek Eurodeputues briefed reporters on a series of issues regarding, among other things, the Lisbon Treaty, the political priorities of the European Parliament's new period, economic growth, energy security, farming matters, transport and institutional issues.

    The meeting was not attended by the Eurodeputies of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party.

    The need for communication was stressed to enable European Parliament issues concerning, in a wider sense but also more direct in many cases, European citizens' daily life to be better known.

    [10] Ecumenical Patriarch begins four-day official visit to Washington

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA - A. Ellis)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Monday began a four-day official visit to Washington by meeting Turkey's Ambassador in Washington Nabi Sensoy, followed by a reception given in his honour by the Greek Ambassador in Washington Vassilis Kaskarelis.

    On Monday afternoon, Bartholomew is to celebrate the 18th anniversary since his enthronement as Ecumenical Patriarch at the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Annapolis, Maryland.

    Tuesday marks the most important day of his tour of the United States, since he is scheduled to meet U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. The Patriarch is also booked to speak at Georgetown university and then attend a dinner given in his honour by the Turkish ambassador.

    On Wednesday, Bartholomew will address the Brookings Foundation and attend a dinner given in his honour by the two houses of the U.S. Congress, which will be followed by a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    On Wednesday afternoon, the Patriarch will have a private meeting with U.S. Vice-president Joe Biden at the vice-president's official residence, where there will be another reception given by the vice-presidential couple.

    His visit to Washington will be concluded on Thursday will a reception and official dinner given in the Patriarch's honour by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department.

    Financial News

    [11] Greek economy to shrink by 1.3% in '09, Eurobank report

    The Greek economy is expected to shrink by 1.3 pct this year, after a growth rate of 2.0 pct in 2008, Eurobank analysts said in a report published on Monday.

    Eurobank's quarterly economic analysis bulletin, based on the bank's estimates, said that domestic demand would have a negative contribution to real GDP growth rate, reflecting a significant slowdown of domestic consumption spending and a further shrinking of investments in houses and machinery equipment. Exports of services were also projected to be negatively affected by a decline in shipping revenues and tourism foreign exchange inflows.

    The report stressed that GDP decline in Greece was expected to be significantly lower compared with an average decline of GDP in the Eurozone, around -- 4.2 pct in 2009 -- reflecting largely some cyclical and structural characteristics of the Greek economy which initially helped the country from external pressures after the financial crisis erupted in September 2008. These problems are a relatively low dependence of the country from exports, a continuing rise of real incomes and community fund inflows.

    Eurobank analysts said chronic structural problems were expected to act as a brake to growth in the medium-term in an international economic environment characterized by high uncertainty and a credit squeeze in international capital markets.

    The report expects the Greek economy to shrink by 0.5 pct in 2010.

    The report stressed that for Greece to returning to sustainable growth rates in the medium-term it would need a change in its growth model through bold reforms with a long-term goal combined with the minimum possible fiscal impact.

    [12] Draft budget to be tabled this week, gov't says

    The government will table the draft budget by the end of the week, along with a draft bill concerning an Extraordinary Solidarity Benefit, government spokesman George Petalotis said on Monday in response to questions concerning the government's plans on taxes.

    "We have pledged to give a breather to the lower and middle strata of society through a redistribution of the tax burden. This is what we are carrying out and what will be apparent from the legislation unveiled within the week," he stressed.

    On questions relating to labour law, Petalotis noted that the government's efforts were aimed in the direction of "correcting injustice in labour relations by doing anything that was within the framework of legality but also of administering justice on a social level".

    Regarding a committee set up by Labour Minister Andreas Loverdos to examine the practice of "renting" employees, Petalotis noted that the aim of such committees was to revise these flexible forms of employment in order to benefit workers and the momentum of the market.

    He said that the government would launch a public debate based on the recommendations of this committee and then make its decision based on the results.

    [13] Finance minister meets with ADEDY representatives

    Finance minister George Papaconstantinou met on Monday with representatives of the civil servant unions' umbrella federation ADEDY, who asked that the cost of life, and not only the inflation rate, be taken into consideration by the government in deciding the civil service salary increases for the coming year.

    Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) president Spyros Papaspyros told reporters after the meeting that the discussion focused on incomes policy, while he also said that ADEDY rejects an increase in the retirement age for women in the public sector, because this would convert the social insurance (social security) system from a 'social' institution' into a 'professional' institution.

    Papaspyros said that the minister told them the ADEDY delegation, regarding the issue of equation of the retirement ages for men and women in the public sector, that he has not yet completed his briefing on the matter, but that when this was done the issue would be put to a dialogue with ADEDY.

    [14] Greek enterprises willing to pay extra contribution, Federation says

    The Greek business community is fully aware that the country's economy was in a state of emergency and was willing to contribute with an extra tax contribution to efforts to achieve a fiscal consolidation, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting of the Federation's general council, in the presence of Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou, Daskalopoulos said the key was to exit this economic dead-end, combating tax evasion, put the state's finance in order and ensuring economic growth.

    The Federation presented six axis for all necessary reforms in the state, the economy and the society, which envisaged a restructuring of the state and establishing a new relation between the state and citizens based on mutual confidence.

    Combatting corruption, adopting a new model of sustainable growth, ensuring social cohesion, upgrading the public services of education and health and supporting business activity in the country.

    Daskalopoulos said that exploding fiscal deficits and declining production were real dangers for the country and noted that a recent cut in the country's credit rating signaled the risk of downgrading the country's future. "What is important is to have real justice in distributing burdens from the implementation of measures, along with the state giving the first example by drastically cutting its non-productive activities and overspending," he noted.

    [15] Piraues port workers begin 48-hour strike

    Dock workers at the port of Piraeus on Monday announced the start of a 48-hour strike demanding that China's Cosco Pacific should not take over management of the country's largest port.

    Piraeus Port Authority's dock workers staged a 17-day strike protesting against the contract but had threatened to resume strike mobilizations if their demends were not met.

    The government expressed its concern over the strike decision. Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Luca Katseli said it was difficult for her to understand the legal basis of dock workers' decision after the government pledged to begin a dialogue with the Chinese company over renegotiating parts of the contract.

    [16] Gov't abolishes car scrapping plan

    ‘he Greek government on Monday said it was abolishing a car scrapping scheme introduced by the previous government a few days before the Oct. 4 elections in the country.

    Speaking to reporters, Finance Minister George Papacon-stantinou said the "green vehicle rebate" scheme had no environmental meaning and it did not strengthened the Greek economy since there was no domestic auto industry in the country while entailing a "huge fiscal cost".

    The minister said the cost of the programme would total 400 million euros annually and stressed that citizens who have already participated in the "cash for clunkers" scheme would be fully compensated.

    Environment Minister Tina Birbili also announced a decision to amend "green" duties on vehicles, putting fewer burdens on smaller cars, and abolishing a "green road ring" scheduled to be introduced in Athens by 2011.

    [17] Cosmote acquires Romania's Zapp

    Cosmote Group on Monday announced the completion of the acquisition of Telemobil SA (Zapp) in Romania, following approval of the deal by the country's competition authorities.

    Mihalis Chamaz, Cosmote's chief executive, commenting on the deal said:

    "The successful completion of the deal to purchase Zapp is a significant landmark for the group and its subsidiary in Romania, as it enhances Cosmote's presence in the domestic market. We have a very significant task ahead of us, ensuring that this move establishes the Group as a stronger player in the Romanian market to the benefit of consumers and the country's economy".

    Cosmote Romania is the fastest growing mobile telephony operator in the country, with more than 6.3 million customers and a 23 pct market share in four years of operation.

    [18] Ex-minister: funds available for buildings' energy upgrading programme

    Former development minister Costis Hatzigakis and Constantinos Mousouroulis, also a main opposition MP and former ministry general secretary, underlined in a press conference on Monday that the funds and the means necessary to implement a private buildings' energy upgrading programme are available, adding that it is up to the government to display the necessary political will.

    Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis recently announced that the programme is suspended.

    [19] 11th Greek ICT Forum on November 4-5

    The 11th Greek ICT Forum, that will be taking place on November 4-5 at the Intercontinental, will begin with a message from Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    The prime minister's message will be coming at a decisive turning point for the achievement of targets for "Digital Greece," which is characterised by the completion of the 3rd CSP and the commencement of ESPA and the new revised Actions.

    In the Conference's six issue packages that cover the most important sectors for the creation of digital services for citizens, businesses, agencies and public services, more than 100 important speakers will attempt to record and present the developments that will affect the course of the Informatics, Telecommunications and Broad Band services markets.

    [20] Greek PMI slightly down in Oct.

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell slightly in October to 48 points, down from 48.5 in September, entering the last quarter of the year on a weaker foot and reflecting a slightly worsening of operating conditions throughout the Greek manufacturing economy. However, the index remained markedly above the average levels recorded last year.

    Greek manufacturers cut production for the first time in three months, reflecting a shrinking of new orders and pressure on prices, while employment and inventories were also squeezed, as enterprises tried to limit costs.

    Greek manufacturing economic production shrank in October, after two months of weak growth. New orders dropped significantly both in the domestic and foreign markets.

    The Purchasing Managers' Index measures business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing economy, while readings below 50 a shrinking economy.

    [21] Stocks end 1.49% down

    Greek stocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, ignoring an upward trend prevailing in other European markets. The composite index fell 1.49 pct to end at 2,646.24 points, with turnover shrinking further to 199.8 million euros, of which 3.6 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved downwards, with the Media (5.19 pct), Commerce (3.82 pct), Banks (2.41 pct), Technology (2.17 pct) and Oil (2.13 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Travel (1.43 pct) and Utilities (1.07 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 1.67 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.91 pct down and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.95 pct lower. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 160 to 35 with another 41 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.87%

    Industrials: -2.00%

    Commercial: -3.82%

    Construction: -2.03%

    Media: -5.19%

    Oil & Gas: -2.13%

    Personal & Household: -2.00%

    Raw Materials: -1.36%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.43%

    Technology: -2.17%

    Telecoms: -1.74%

    Banks: -2.41%

    Food & Beverages: -0.15%

    Health: -1.75%

    Utilities: +1.07%

    Chemicals: -1.05%

    Financial Services: -0.51%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 12.80

    ATEbank: 1.88

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.30

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.90

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.07

    National Bank of Greece: 24.70

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.77

    Intralot: 4.41

    OPAP: 17.69

    OTE: 11.30

    Bank of Piraeus: 11.30

    Titan: 22.90

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.09 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover at 73.285 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,658 contracts worth 60.062 million euros, with 24,921 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,488 contracts worth 13.223 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,546), followed by MIG (765), OTE (1,033), Piraeus Bank (1,180), Marfin Popular Bank (2,343), Cyprus Bank and Intracom (318).

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.652 billion euros on Monday, of which 940 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 712 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.117 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 140 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 4.62 pct and the German Bund 3.22 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 pct, the six-month rate 1.04 pct, the three-month rate 0.72 pct and the one-month rate 0.42 pct.

    [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.489

    Pound sterling 0.910

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.476

    Japanese yen 134.01

    Swiss franc 1.521

    Norwegian kroner 8.497

    Canadian dollar 1.608

    Australian dollar 1.645

    General News

    [25] Int'l Conference of Greek Linguistics held at Chicago University

    The 9th International Conference of Greek Linguistics (ICGL) with the title "The course of the Greek language throughout the centuries, approaches to its study and analysis" was held at Chicago University from 29 to 31 October under the auspices of the International Society for Greek Linguistics and the Midwest Committee for Modern Greek Linguistics.

    According to an announcement by the organising committee "the Greek language, one of the oldest languages in the world with unceasing historical presence from the 14th century BC until today was always a vital laboratory on the studies of linguistic changes. The recent interest on other parts of the linguistic analysis by inspecting the language as a modern system of interrelated elements of structure, sound and meaning in the frameworks of the human interaction and intercommunication, opened a new horizon on the research of Greek language'.

    The International Congress is held every two years since 1993, and this was the first time that it took place in North America.

    The biennial ICGL focuses on all aspects of the linguistic study and analysis of Greek from Ancient Greek up through Modern Greek, with greater emphasis on the later stages of the language.

    [26] Forum focuses on migration, both regional and int'l

    A two-day "Forum of the Society of Citizens" opened Monday at an upscale Athens seaside resort within the framework of the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), set to take place in the Greek capital this week.

    The proceedings of the forum, chaired by veteran film director Costa Gavras, focused along the theme of"integrating migration policies into development strategies for the benefit of all", according to the event's itinerary.

    Addressing the forum, Deputy Citizen's Protection Minister Spyros Vougias underlined that the "dark corners" in Greece's migrant integration process include red tape, uninsured work, stereotypes, problems in the naturalisation process, a deficit in equality before the law and lack of places of worship and burial for certain categories of migrants.

    Along those lines, he also announced that the government was temporarily closing an illegal immigrant detention centre on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, and specifically at the Pagani site, until it is renovated to host a significantly lower amount of mostly Third World migrants ferried over from the Turkish coast.

    As regards illegal migrants, Vougias underlined the necessity of "special structures" for the protection of political asylum seekers, pointing out that an interior ministry experts' committee will be set up to work on this problem.

    Vougias stressed that Greece will also request the renegotiation of the Dublin Treaty, which, amongst others, refers to the obligations of EU border countries like Greece, an entry point for illegal immigrants.

    According to figures provided by the Gallup Organization following a study conducted on a sample of 250,000 people, the greatest interest in emigration is recorded among the people in sub-Saharan African countries (38 pct of the adult population) corresponding to roughly 165 million people, as opposed to the limited interest recorded amongst people in Asian countries (10 pct of the adult population).

    The United States is the most desired destination for would-be migrants (24 pct) followed by Canada, UK, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Australia. Roughly 210 million adults worldwide want to immigrate to an EU country.

    The forum proceedings attend 250 representatives of international migrant organizations and 50 UN and other international organizations' observers. Roundtable discussions will be held on migration and development, financial crisis and migration, migrant integration.

    Pavlopoulos' reaction

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy (ND) MP Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the up-until-recently interior minister, later responded to Vougias by stated that the "treaty on migration and asylum signed in the EU Summit on October 2008 establishes a common European migration policy and clearly states that the member-states' borders are also EU external borders."

    Pavlopoulos, who also attended the forum, also charged that "no comprehensive migration policy rules, particularly as regards illegal migration, were enacted by the governments of PASOK until 2004, while no illegal migrant reception centres were built ... The 'purgatories' mentioned by Mr. Vougias are past PASOK government creations."

    The forum was sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation.

    [27] Int'l "anti-forum" of migration and antiracist movements

    The International Meeting of Migration and Antiracist Organizations was held at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) on Sunday in the form of an "anti-forum" and in response to the four-day Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) that opened in the Greek capital on Monday.

    The "anti-forum" focused on labor and sexual exploitation suffered by migrants, the education of migrants and their children, the migration flow caused by climate change, border policy and migration management. The delegates also discussed the relation between migration and the job market, migration policies in Greece and the EU and the looting suffered by Third World countries as the main cause for the refugee and migration waves originating in Asia and Africa.

    [28] Large sums taken in heists throughout Greece on Monday

    Designer jewellery and sums exceeding 182,000 euros in cash were stolen in a spate of robberies and burglaries reported throughout Greece on Monday, in towns and cities up and down the country.

    The largest single amount, 57,000 euros, was taken in the robbery of a post office van delivering mail to local post office branches outside Livadia in central Greece early on Monday morning. Three armed robbers stopped the driver at gunpoint as he was heading toward Itea, near the village Tsoukalades, and slit open the postal sacks containing mail until they found the money destined to pay OGA farmer fund pensions, leaving the unlucky driver handcuffed by the side of the road. He was found by police searching for the missing post office van three hours later.

    The post office was also the target of a robbery in the village of Geraki in Laconia prefecture, where an armed robber stole a cash delivery of 50,000 euros as it was being unloaded by a private security firm. The robber entered the post office during the delivery with his face uncovered and fired a warning shot in the air, hitting the branch manager on the wrist when the bullet ricocheted, took the money and sped away in a car driven by an accomplice.

    Another OGA pensions payroll amounting to 25,000 euros was taken from a post office delivery van on the Derveni-Pyrgos road in Corinth, by two masked men armed with a revolver and a knife. The van was stopped at gunpoint at the 7th kilometre of the road, when he slowed to take a particularly sharp bend.

    A sum exceeding 20,000 euros was taken during an armed robbery of an ATEBank branch in the village of Livanates in Fthiotida prefecture at 13:30 on Monday afternoon by two armed robbers wearing ski masks, who took two sacks of money from the tills and the cash that a woman customer was holding at the time of the robbery.

    Sums of 5,000 euros were also taken in two separate robberies carried out by armed culprits, one in a Cyprus Bank branch in the town of Kiato, Corinth and one at a branch of the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) in Filiatra, Messinia.

    Burglars that broke into the Champion Marinopoulos supermarket in Kalamata, southern Greece, managed to get away with 20,000 euros taken from a cash-point machine within the supermarket and an unknown sum that was in the safe.

    The workshop of world-renowned jewellery designer Lalaounis in the Athens suburb of Kifissia was also the target of a burglary discovered on Monday, in which the thieves tunnelled through the yard wall into the interior, broke into the safe and grabbed money, gold and jewels whose precise value has not yet been estimated.

    Also in the greater Athens area, a woman had to be admitted to Thriasio Hospital for first aid early on Monday morning after a group of three burglars broke into her home in Neo Perama during the night and hit her over the head with the butt of a gun, grabbing various valuables.

    Earlier, two armed men took a small amount of cash and several prepaid mobile phone cards from a kiosk owner in the Athens suburb of Halandri after threatening him at gunpoint.

    [29] Environment minister-Athens mayor meeting

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili will receive Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Tuesday for talks on issues concerning Greece's most populous and largest municipality, according to a press release issued by the latter's office.

    The meeting will be held at the ministry.

    [30] Air Force reports 7 mild cases of H1N1 among personnel

    The Air Force General Staff on Monday reported that seven Air Force personnel had been diagnosed with mild cases of H1N1 novel influenza. They included a non-commissioned officer serving as a nurse at the 251 Air Force General Hospital and six first-year cadets in the Air Force academy for non-commissioned technical officers.

    For strictly precautionary reasons, four of the cadets were admitted to the 251 air force general hospital.

    [31] Anthrax infections amongst livestock recorded in Axios region

    A number of lethal infections caused by anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) have been recorded among livestock in the Axios Estuary region of north-central Greece, according to reports. Such incidents appear isolated, however, due to regularly vaccinations.

    The Thessaloniki prefecture's veterinary agency, the body that performs biannual precautionary vaccinations on livestock in the spring and fall in the specific prefecture, has briefed the region's cattle breeders on the seriousness of the situation.

    [32] Lalaounis jewellery workshop burglarized in Athens

    The workshop of the world-renowned Ilias Lalaounis jewellery firm located in the district of Kifisia, Athens was burglarized on Sunday night.

    Unidentified individuals broke into the workshop by cutting through one of its walls facing its yard, opened its safe and made off with cash, gold and jewellery of undetermined value.

    An investigation is underway by the Attica Police.

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Rainy on Tuesday

    Rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 1C and 21C. Cloudy and rainy in Athens, with southerly 3-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 17C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 6C to 13C.

    [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) Congress Organising Committee's meeting on Saturday ahead of new leadership election, the State Budget deficit and government's measures and Prime Minister George Papandreou's visit to London and talks with his British counterpart Gordon Brown, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Useless services to be abolished or merged".

    APOGEVMATINI: "ND leader Costas Karamanlis' intervention avoided a clash in the organising committee's meeting on Saturday".

    AVRIANI: "All the changes in real estate taxation".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Former Foreign Minister and ND leadership candidate Dora Bakoyannis dictated former Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis' attack against candidate Antonis Samaras at the ND Organising Committee meeting".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Samaras: "This is why we lost the elections".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Four billion euros in taxes - Halt to old car withdrawals".

    ESTIA: "Former FinMin Stephanos Manos' article in newspaper: The deficit must be contained immediately".

    ETHNOS: "Reversal in real estate taxation - Large property owners targeted , relief for small-scale owners".

    TA NEA: "Government in search of 4.5 billion euros - The new taxes to be imposed in 2010".

    VRADYNI: "Heavy winter with taxes and unemployment - Draft State Budget draft to be unveiled by end of the week".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [35] President Christofias on UN-led peace talks

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Neither the Greek Cypriot nor the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to discuss in depth the issue relating to properties, in the context of UN-led peace talks, President Demetris Christofias has said.

    "We are not yet ready to discuss this issue in depth," the president replied, when asked whether there was an agreement on the criteria on property-related issues.

    Speaking on arrival at the Presidential Palace, after his meeting on Monday with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, Christofias said that the discussion on the issue of properties will continue during his next meeting with Talat on Friday afternoon.

    "There is nothing new" to report, Christofias told journalists, adding that "we discussed some current issues and of course the properties issue in our tete-a-tete meeting".

    He said their advisers would continue the discussion on this issue before Friday's meeting.

    Commenting on Turkish press reports that the Turkish side would put on the negotiating table a roadmap relating to the ongoing talks, President Christofias replied: "No there is no such issue".

    Christofias and Talat began UN-led talks in September 2008 in a bid to achieve a mutually agreed solution to the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    The two leaders have entered the second phase of the talks for the ``second reading`` of the six chapters of the Cyprus problem, namely, governance and power-sharing, property, EU matters, economic matters, territory and security and guarantees.

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