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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-11-24

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

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

Tuesday, 24 November 2009 Issue No: 3357

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Papandreou addresses Socialist International Council
  • [02] Deputy FM Kouvelis addresses Socialist International session
  • [03] PM invites premiers of Albania, FYROM to meeting on Prespes Lakes
  • [04] Bulgarian President Parvanov due in Athens on Tuesday
  • [05] Greece, France considering bilateral defence agreement
  • [06] Environment minister attends EU council on climate change
  • [07] Alternate FM holds meetings with foreign ambassadors
  • [08] Clinton unable to attend OSCE meeting in Athens
  • [09] Papoulias receives CoS head
  • [10] Government condemns attack on MP's office
  • [11] Government spokesman on expatriates vote
  • [12] KKE's Papariga press conference
  • [13] 34th Black Sea Cooperation Organisation Parliamentary Assembly
  • [14] Econ & Shipping minister Katseli at IMO General Assembly in London
  • [15] Greek commerce sector says conditions uncertain
  • [16] Conference on attracting Austrian investments to Greece
  • [17] National Bank says nine-month profits 1.01 billion euros
  • [18] SingularLogic reports improved nine-month results
  • [19] Attica Group reports lower nine-month results
  • [20] Six Greek air carriers interested in countries outside EU
  • [21] Stocks end 1.78% higher
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [24] H1N1 vaccination campaign commences in full; 2 deaths reported
  • [25] Athens municipal health centres begin H1N1 vaccinations
  • [26] Degas' sculptures on display at Herakleidon Art Museum
  • [27] Fox film studio head Gianopulos in Athens
  • [28] NATO minesweepers in Thermaikos Gulf
  • [29] Three arrested in arson attack on city bus in Thessaloniki
  • [30] Child porn arrests in Thessaloniki, Kilkis
  • [31] Illegal immigrants
  • [32] Inmate makes impressive escape from Thiva police station
  • [33] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou addresses Socialist International Council

    SANTO DOMINGO (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)

    Prime Minister, PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou, addressing Monday morning's session of the Socialist International's Conference in the Dominican Republic, stressed "the progressive and socialist forces have a great responsibility to forge ahead and be carriers of change today that the system has failed."

    Papandreou further said that the economic crisis, the environmental crisis and the energy crisis require the deepening of democracy, the strengthening of social justice, green change and a new growth model to be tackled.

    He also referred to the "differences between progressive and conservative forces," pointing out that for the "progressists the basic principle and credo is man first."

    Focusing on the global economic crisis and its other parametres, the prime minister stressed that "unless it is intercepted and, on the contrary, the crisis continues, most indexes will worsen." He further noted that global mutual dependence exists and all together are sharing the negative consequences of the crisis.

    Papandreou said that among the first priorities that must be set by the progressists and the socialists to enable many problems to he handled, is green growth, through which new investments can be made, agriculture and tourism to develop and ways of confronting unemployment to be found through them.

    The prime minister also referred to the "good work done by the Socialist International's relevant committee on climatic change, work that shows the path to arrive from the economy of high pollutants to a society of low pollutants."

    Papandreou also said that the economic crisis, the food crisis, the energy and environmental crisis constitute great threats for the planet, adding that they can create new tensions and conflicts in a new geopolitical reality.

    He also focused on the considerable repercussions of these crises on developing countries that were also struck by pandemics and which are aggravating the already existing crisis even more.

    He referred to data of the Internatiaonal Labour Organisation, stressing that according to them in 2009 the number of unemployed worldwide will increase by 18 to 30 million compared to 2007.

    According to one scenario, 200 million people from the developing countries might possibly be found under the poverty level and the largest part of them will be women and young people.

    In order for these problems to be tackled, Papandreou said that the big global players, as he termed the big countries that influence decisions most, must provide economic and development aid for the developing countries.

    Papandreou also underlined that progressive forces are committed absolutely not to tolerate unemployment, since labour is a top priority for these forces.

    He further noted that it should not be forgotten that in many cases the economic crisis has been used by conservative forces to curb social justice, social security, the welfare state and other social rights that the labour movement had achieved with many and longlasting struggles.

    The prime minister also commented on the election of Barack Obama which, as he said, "has boosted prospects for constructive global cooperation".

    Lastly, Papandreou stressed the need for the deepening of democracy, adding that the SI must show its solidarity to those living in countries having authoritarian regimes, underlining that "democracy does not only mean elections every four years".

    [02] Deputy FM Kouvelis addresses Socialist International session

    SANTO DOMINGO (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis, speaking during the Socialist International's Council on Monday, stressed that the promotion of the problem climatic change as the top issue of the International's directorate is of great importance.

    Kouvelis noted that there are two considerable symbolisms, "the first that this issue is being discussed just two weeks before the international Copenhagen conference and the second is that the Council's session is taking place in the engine room of the global climate," as he termed the region of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico from where the air stream known as the Gulf Stream comes from.

    He also said that it is essential that the 2 percent limit is observed regarding the increase in temperature.

    [03] PM invites premiers of Albania, FYROM to meeting on Prespes Lakes

    Prime Minister George Papandreou has invited the prime ministers of neighbouring Albania and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Sali Berisha and and Nikola Gruevski, respectively, to take part in an informal meeting in the Prespes Lakes region in northern Greece on Friday. The meeting will discuss the possibility of cooperation for the protection and viable development of the Prespes Park region, which straddles the borders of all three countries.

    Announcing the meeting on Monday, government spokesman George Petalotis said the initiative "confirmed the high priority" given by the government to environmental issues, noting that it would be followed by the Copenhagen summit on climate change a few days later and was just two months ahead of the 10th anniversary since the three countries first pledged to cooperate in order to protect the Prespes Lake ecosystem.

    Asked whether the meeting would also touch on other issues between the three countries - particularly the dispute over FYROM's name - Petalotis said that such issues might be discussed in bilateral meetings that might take place. He clarified, however, that there was only one process being followed for many years over the name issue "negotiations through the United Nations alone".

    [04] Bulgarian President Parvanov due in Athens on Tuesday

    Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov iis due in Athens on Tuesday for a 3-day official visit, at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias.

    Parvanov, accompanied by his spouse, will be on an official visit to Greece on November 24-26.

    The foreign dignitary, who will be accompanied by a delegation of Bulgarian entrepreneurs involved in a variety of sectors, is slated to deliver a presentation on his country's economy to the Greek business community at an event organised in Athens by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) on Wednesday, which will also be attended by Papoulias.

    Parvanov will outline the prospects for further developing bilateral economic cooperation in his presentation.

    [05] Greece, France considering bilateral defence agreement

    Greek Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his French counterpart Herve Morin reaffirmed the strategic significance of Greek-French cooperation during a meeting in Athens on Monday.

    After a meeting that discussed armament programmes and controlling illegal migration, Morin announced a French proposal for a bilateral agreement creating a common defence architecture between the two countries. He said this might be signed in the next few months and outline the entire range of defence and military cooperation between Greece and France on a bilateral and international level.

    Regarding the negotiations underway for the purchase of six frigates by Athens, Venizelos said that the Greek side was prepared to continue negotiating "but only on condition of the greatest possible Greek participation, the greatest possible transfer of technology and the greatest possible Greek added value".

    According to Morin, France was "treating the armaments programme as as industrial partnership between Greek shipyards and the French government with the transfer of technology".

    Concerning programmes for the acquisition by Greece of NH-90 helicopters combined with Super Puma search-and-rescue helicopters, Venizelos said the government was "formulating initiatives to overcome the problems for finding mutually beneficial solutions".

    Turning to issues of illegal migration, the French minister said his country was prepared to contribute ships to patrol the Aegean Sea for illegal immigrants and expressed support for a common area of supervision in seas from the Baltic to the Mediterranean and the Aegean, through the creation of a network that would allow European countries to know what was going on at any given time and adapt the means available in response.

    Asked whether Greece was considering the purchase of 30 new fighter planes, Venizelos said that the dossier on this had not yet opened and that the issue would be examined in due course.

    The two ministers also discussed international affairs, European defence and security policy, the role of European Union defence ministers in the framework of the Lisbon Treaty, international missions in which both countries participate, negotiations over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Cyprus issue, and relations between Greece and Turkey.

    [06] Environment minister attends EU council on climate change

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    Greece's Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Monday attended a meeting of EU environment ministers held here to discuss the European Union's positions in view of the Copenhagen climate change conference next month.

    After outlining Greek positions at the meeting, Birbili stressed that people expected governments to make binding decisions and promises in Copenhagen, not just proclamations.

    "Decisions that are unambiguous and crystal clear and pledges that are convincing and with which a better future for all of us and the planet will be ensured," the minister stressed.

    In the time leading up to Copenhagen, "we will all put all our strength into achieving a binding target and Greece will try to make this target a reality," she added, noting the efforts being made by Greek Prime Minister and Socialist International President George Papandreou to persuade other countries to move along the same lines as the EU on this issue.

    [07] Alternate FM holds meetings with foreign ambassadors

    Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas had a series of regular meetings with the ambassadors of the US, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belgium and Austria on Monday.

    US ambassador Daniel Speckhard told reporters after his meeting with the alternate foreign minister that the discussion had focused on bilateral and international matters "in the context of our effort to upgrade and enhance Greek-US relations, which are a matter of priority for both countries".

    Speckhard said he also voiced congratulations on the recent success regarding the Lisbon Treaty and the election of an EU president and foreign minister, while views were also exchanged ahead of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) ministerial conference in Athens, as well as on regional issues and security matters.

    He stressed the importance of stability and de-escalation of tension in the Aegean, and reiterated US support for direct cooperation and mutual understanding between the two communities on Cyprus so as to reach a solution.

    Droutsas also met separately with Dutch ambassador to Greece Cornelis Van Rij, Czech ambassador Hana Motlova, Belgian ambassador Pierre Vaesen, and Austrian ambassador Dr. Michael Linhart.

    [08] Clinton unable to attend OSCE meeting in Athens

    The foreign ministry in Athens on Monday announced that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not attend next week's OSCE ministerial summit in Athens.

    Spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras told reporters that US envoy to Greece Daniel Speckhard informed Alternate FM Dimitris Droutsas -- during a meeting earlier in the day -- that the US Secretary of State would be unable to travel to Athens due to a previously scheduled itinerary.

    [09] Papoulias receives CoS head

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received Council of State chief justice Panagiotis Pikramenos, who briefed him on issues related to the country's highest administrative court.

    The Council of State president stated that the court enjoys a high degree of prestige, adding that the goal is an "even better and more rapid administration of justice".

    [10] Government condemns attack on MP's office

    Government spokesman George Petalotis on Monday said the government condemned "in the most categorical way" the attack using a makeshift explosive device on the political office of ruling PASOK MP Sifis Valyrakis.

    "Attacks of this kind against elected representatives of the Greek people turn against democracy and the people that support it," Petalotis underlined and stressed that Greek authorities will do everything necessary to find and lead those responsible to justice.

    [11] Government spokesman on expatriates vote

    Government spokesman George Petalotis, responding Monday to a question, said that expatriates should be represented by expatriates, they should have geinuine representation in Greek Parliamnent and on the basis of these principles "we shall submit our views and proposals, attempting to be consensual so that there shall be a two-thirds majority and the expatriates' vote to be turned in practice as well."

    [12] KKE's Papariga press conference

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga in a press conference on Monday rejected participation in a dialogue on the social insurance issue, stressing that her party does not participate in "fixed games".

    Papariga stated, however, that she would take part in a debate if one takes place, and likened the government's social insurance policy to a "declaration of war".

    She stated that "the catastrophic typhoon of premeditated measures, launched by the PASOK government, is "coming closer", pointing out, that the government's goal is to "uproot the last remaining conquests in the area of collective labor contracts."

    Papariga also accused PASOK of following the same policy with New Democracy (ND), its predecessor in the country's government, stressing that it lays more burdens on the people's shoulders.

    Referring to the government policy in the sector of health, she stated that "the doors are being opened for its complete privatization."

    She also stated that all contract workers should unconditionally acquire permanent worker status and called for mass hirings in public, welfare, education and civil protection agencies. Furthermore, she demanded the abolition by law of all flexible forms of employment.

    Papariga expressed concern as regards developments in the Aegean and Cyprus, adding that "for as long as there are national borders, the KKE will be defending them."

    [13] 34th Black Sea Cooperation Organisation Parliamentary Assembly

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)

    Ruling PASOK party Deputy Vassilis Geranidis was elected vice president of the 34th Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation (BSEC) which was inaugurated here on Monday, while Russian State Duma President Boris Gryzlov stressed the Russian leadership's steadfast support for the deepening of cooperation between the Black Sea countries.

    Gryzlov proposed the creation, within the framework of the BSEC, of apparutuses for the avoidance of mistakes and the further unification of the economies of the region, so that mistaken and frequently dangerous decisions by certain members of the international community to be prevented.

    The Greek Parliament is being represented at the Assembly by deputies of PASOK and the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party.

    Financial News

    [14] Econ & Shipping minister Katseli at IMO General Assembly in London

    Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli will represent Greece at the 26th General Assembly of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London on Monday.

    While in London, Katseli will have bilateral meetings with Greece's IMO secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos, the presidium of the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (known simply as the Committee), and with China's deputy transport minister on Monday, and with British under-secretary of state for transport Paul Clarke on Tuesday.

    Two main items on the IMO General Assembly agenda are protection of the marine environment and confronting piracy off the coasts of Somalia, while the Assembly will also elect new IMO Council members for the two-year term 2010-2011.

    [15] Greek commerce sector says conditions uncertain

    More than one in five Greek enterprises said they have cut their workforce this year, the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) said in its annual report on Greek commerce for 2009.

    Presenting the report, ESEE's president D. Armenakis said Greek commercial enterprises were currently operating in an uncertain environment, while despite the fact that commerce remained the major employer in the economy, unemployment rose in the sector while around 40 pct of enterprises suffered lower sales and profits.

    Armenakis said government measures were moving towards the right direction and stressed that the commerce sector was in favour of a plan to reduce the number of social insurance funds and called for less legislation in the labour market.

    V. Korkidis, president of the Commerce Club of Piraeus said that Greeks were expected to spend around 420-700 euros on average during this Christmas season, the smallest amount in many years and predicted that the holiday sales would be around 15 pct lower compared with 2008.

    The vast majority of enterprises said sales were down in 2009 and expected a worsening of profitability. Three out of four enterprises in the sector said investment activity was unchanged, one in five cut investments and only a small minority said they increased investments.

    Most small- and medium-sized enterprises expect a recovery in 2010, while larger companies do not expect any improvement.

    [16] Conference on attracting Austrian investments to Greece

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    A special conference was held at the Vienna Chamber on Monday, aimed at attracting Austrian investments to Greece and promoting cooperation between Austrian and Greek businesses in the sector of managing refuse and solid and dangerous refuse and environmental technologies in general.

    The event was organised by the Economic and Commercial Affairs Office of the Greek embassy in Austria, in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Greek Investments Centre.

    The response of the Austrian business community was beyond any expectation, particularly for the specific season and conjuncture and the conference was attended by 35 representatives of Austrian businesses that are interested in investing in Greece in these sectors.

    Addressing the event, Greek Ambassador to Austria Panayiotis Zografos conveyed the greetings of Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis and referred to the conference's aim which, as he said, constitutes "a continuation of the successful great Greek-Austrian Business Forum that had taken place in Vienna on July 4, 2008."

    [17] National Bank says nine-month profits 1.01 billion euros

    National Bank Group on Monday said its nine-month net profits fell 17 pct to 1.01 billion euros, compared with the corresponding period in 2008 and said third quarter profits surpassed 300 million euros boosted by a recovery in organic profitability in all countries with established activities by the bank.

    Greece's largest commercial bank said pre-provision earnings totaled 2.1 billion euros in the January-September period (up 15 pct from last year), while new loans grew 12 pct to 5.0 billion euros in Greece, of which 2.2 billion euros were mortgage loans accounting for 41 pct of the total market, or 69 pct of new loans in the period.

    New saving deposits totaled 4.0 billion euros in the nine-month period, raising the loan to deposit rate to 94 pct at the end of September. National Bank said 45 pct of profits in the third quarter came from activities abroad. More particularly, Finansbank's net profits totaled 332 million euros in the January-September period, 33 pct of total profits of the group, with all activities in Southeastern Europe recording profits despite a negative economic conjucture.

    National Bank said its Tier I 12.2 capital adequacy rate rose to 12.2 pct.

    Commenting on the results, Takis Arapoglou, the bank's chairman and chief executive, said third quarter performance -particularly the stability in organic revenues- highlighted operating results as the main factor for a gradual recovery of the bank's results to pre-crisis levels. "Acknowleding that challenges in the banking sector remained big, we are preparing for a gradual withdrawal of urgent measures that supported the international financial system in 2009 and creating preconditions so that National Bank Group will take advantage of new opportunities," Arapoglou said, adding that the bank was a leader in supporting the Greek economy.

    [18] SingularLogic reports improved nine-month results

    SingularLogic on Monday reported an 1.0 pct increase in its consolidated turnover to 70 million euros in the January-September period, from 69.5 million euros in the corresponding period last year.

    EBITDA rose 12 pct to 10.4 million euros, while consolidated pre-tax earnings rose to 6.8 million euros, from 5.7 million euros in 2008. After tax profits totaled 4.8 million euros, up 800,000 euros from last year.

    The Group said its customer base expanded in the nine-month period, while it signed a number of significant projects with new or existing customers (Eurobank, Forthnet, Multirama, Olympic Air, Pizza Hut, Pubilc, Telefonia, Vivartia, Wind, Hygia Group).

    [19] Attica Group reports lower nine-month results

    Attica Group on Monday said consolidated after tax net profits totaled 2.17 million euros in the January-September period, including non-repeated losses of 4.38 million euros from risk insurance financial instruments from oil. Consolidated sales totaled 246.27 million euros, down from 267.51 million euros in the corresponding period last year.

    EBITDA fell to 39.26 million euros, from 50.29 million euros last year, with the corresponding period's earnings (21.57 million euros) boosted by the sale of four RoRo vessels. Third quarter EBITDA totaled 25.61 million euros while net profits totaled 13.52, both down compared with the same period in 2008.

    Attica Group said it managed to raise its market shares in all Greece-Italy sea lines, while it strengthened its presence in the domestic sea lines.

    Passenger traffic was down 3.0 pct in the Adriatic Sea, truck traffic fell 19 pct, while vehicle traffic was up 2.0 pct in the January-September period.

    [20] Six Greek air carriers interested in countries outside EU

    Applications have been submitted by interested Greek air carriers for carrying out regular air routes to and from countries, lying outside the European Union, and the appointment of air carriers, based on existing bilateral airline agreements, as was stressed in a relevant announcement by the Civil Aviation Service.

    The applications were submitted by the following six Greek air carriers: Aegean Airlines, Athens Airways, Blue Bird, Hellas Jet, Hellenic Imperial and Olympic Air.

    Applications were also submitted by the Ciel Airlines company, which is not an airline company for the time being, meaning that it does not possess an exploitation licence and an air carrier certificate.

    [21] Stocks end 1.78% higher

    Stocks rebounded strongly at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, recovering part of their heavy losses suffered in the previous week. The composite index rose 1.78 pct to end at 2,448.36 points, with turnover a moderate 188.5 million euros, of which 5.4 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Oil/Gas (4.04 pct), Utilities (3.88 pct) and Travel (3.26 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Technology (1.23 pct), Financial Services (0.97 pct) and Food/Beverage (0.18 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.81 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.58 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.08 pct up. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 115 to 82 with another 62 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: unchanged

    Industrials: +0.90%

    Commercial: +0.77%

    Construction: +0.79%

    Media: +1.88%

    Oil & Gas: +4.04%

    Personal & Household: +0.97%

    Raw Materials: +2.05%

    Travel & Leisure: +3.26%

    Technology: -1.23%

    Telecoms: +1.94

    Banks: +1.73%

    Food & Beverages: -0.18%

    Health: +0.20%

    Utilities: +3.88%

    Chemicals: +0.29%

    Financial Services: -0.97%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank Ergasias and Bank of Cyprus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 10.05

    ATEbank: 1.72

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.25

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.78

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.02

    National Bank of Greece: 22.70

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.37

    Intralot: 4.00

    OPAP: 16.75

    OTE: 10.50

    Bank of Piraeus: 10.38

    Titan: 20.49

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 166 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 4.94 pct and the German Bund 3.28 pct. Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.895 billion euros, of which 1.135 billion were buy orders and the remaining 780 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.505 billion euros.

    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.

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.508

    Pound sterling 0.907

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.380

    Japanese yen 134.09

    Swiss franc 1.522

    Norwegian kroner 8.443

    Canadian dollar 1.597

    Australian dollar 1.634

    General News

    [24] H1N1 vaccination campaign commences in full; 2 deaths reported

    The vaccination of high-risk population groups against Novel Influenza A (H1N1) was launched in Greece on Monday morning.

    Health Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou said a total of 6,500 people were vaccinated by noon while, based on official figures, a total of 13,406 physicians had been vaccinated by Nov. 20 nationwide.

    The top priority for the ministry is to have 95 more beds available in hospital ICUs across the country, while an effort is underway for an additional 54 ICU beds by early December, she said.

    The health minister said 300 hospital staff members will be hired via an urgent ASEP (Supreme Staff Selection Council) procedure, while 1,000 physicians and 2,000 hospital nursing staff will be hired in 2010.

    Meanwhile, an 11-year-old girl, one of the two children infected with the virus in Thessaloniki, died on Sunday night at the city's Ippokratio Hospital. The virus apparently caused a reactivation of a tuberculosis infection, for which the girl was treated four years ago. A 7-year-old boy remained hospitalised in critical condition.

    [25] Athens municipal health centres begin H1N1 vaccinations

    Health professionals were the first to undergo vaccination on Monday against the new flu virus at seven city of Athens municipal health clinics, within the framework of a national action plan to counter any major outbreak of the A/H1N1 flu virus in Greece.

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis symbolically gave the first vaccinations at the city's 1st municipal clinic (78, Solonos St.), in his capacity as a physician, by vaccinating another doctor and an individual who belongs to an at-risk group.

    [26] Degas' sculptures on display at Herakleidon Art Museum

    Seventy four bronze sculptures by 19th century French artist Edgar Degas (1834-1917) will be on display at the Herakleidon Art Museum in Athens from Nov. 27, 2009 until April 25, 2010.

    Athens will be the first stop of "The Complete Sculptures of Edgar Degas" exhibition world tour.

    The centerpiece of the exhibition will be the "Little 14-year-old dancer". All bronze sculptures on display were cast from recently discovered plasters made from Degas' original waxes while he was still alive.

    [27] Fox film studio head Gianopulos in Athens

    "If we can create talent, we can create the best movies as well," Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos stated Monday in a press conference in Athens.

    He pointed out that Greece can develop a more robust film industry by releasing quality pictures with a strong Greek identity that can become box office hits both in the domestic and international markets.

    He also underlined that it is difficult for American films to be shot entirely in Greece and the European Union, in general, because of the high production costs.

    Later in the evening, Gianopulos will give a lecture at Athens' Megaron Hall on the subject of "Hellenism and Hollywood: From Aristotle to Alexander (Payne)", while on Tuesday morning he will participate in a roundtable discussion at the Greek Film Archive Foundation.

    Gianopulos, a Greek-American, attended a roundtable discussion at Thessaloniki's John Cassavetes Theater on Sunday, held within the framework of the city's 50th International Film Festival (TIFF).

    His visit to Thessaloniki and Athens comes within the framework of the Fulbright Program "Great Ideas" incentive, underway in cooperation with the US embassy and with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

    [28] NATO minesweepers in Thermaikos Gulf

    A briefing on the activities of the NATO fleet of minesweepers (SNMCMG2), which sailed into the Thermaikos Gulf, Northern Greece, on Friday, was held on board the frigate Granatiere by its captain and fleet commander Patrizio Rapalino on Monday afternoon.

    The mission of the six vessels participating in the force (two Italian, one Greek, one Turkish, one Spanish and one German) is the continuous checking of sea lanes and ports in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, while their main task is to avert dangers from mines in the sea and explosive devices.

    "We act mainly on the seabed. We detect every kind of object that might possibly pose a danger for passing vessels, we record it and in the event that we ascertain that it is a mine, we neutralise it," Rapalino said.

    The NATO vessels will sail from the Thermaikos Gulf on Wednesday, heading for Naples.

    [29] Three arrested in arson attack on city bus in Thessaloniki

    Thessaloniki police have arrested three people in connection with an arson attack on a public transport bus, in which a minor was injured, it was announced on Monday.

    Police said a group of approximately 20 individuals broke the windows of the bus and threw lit torches into its interior, resulting in the injury of a 10-year-old boy.

    The detainees, aged 18, 27 and 37, believed to be fans of a local soccer team, will be led before a public prosecutor on Monday.

    [30] Child porn arrests in Thessaloniki, Kilkis

    Thessaloniki police arrested a 30-year-old man on Monday on charges of possession of child pornography material after a search in his residence allegedly revealed a number of photographs of underage girls stored in his computer. He was reportedly traced by local authorities following a dispatch by Interpol.

    The suspect was charged with possession and trafficking of child porn material.

    Last week, two individuals, aged 26 and 46, were arrested in the northern city of Kilkis accused of possessing child pornography material. Both were released on bail after appearing before an examining magistrate.

    [31] Illegal immigrants

    A man was arrested in the early hours of Monday at the Pyrgetos toll post in northern Greece, in the Athens-bound lane, after 14 illegal immigrants were found in his truck.

    [32] Inmate makes impressive escape from Thiva police station

    A 32-year-old inmate, an Albanian national, held in a police station in Thiva, central Greece, made an impressive escape Monday morning after threatening all police officers present with a handgun.

    The gun with which he was armed had apparently been left in the police station's bathroom by unidentified individuals for him to find.

    The escapee, who was incarcerated in the Grevena Prison for robberies and thefts, had been transferred to the Thiva police station on Nov. 17 to appear before a prosecutor on Nov. 19 and be indicted for other cases.

    An investigation is underway on the circumstances under which the handgun entered the police station.

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-4 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 22C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 7C to 21C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 5C to 17C.

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

    The new flu, real estate taxes, the dialogue on the social security sector that begins Monday, and the last stretch to Sunday's election for a new leader in main opposition New Democracy (ND) were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "All three candidates pledged unity for ND, in rallies and addresses throughout Greece".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Three deaths from the new flu over the weekend - An 11-year-old girl, a 16-year-old boy and a 70-year-old man who succumbed over the weekend had contracted the killer H1N1 virus".

    AVRIANI: "The extraordinary contribution to be paid by one million real estate owners - Analytical tables by category".

    CHORA: "Dora (Bakoyannis, former foreign minister and prominent ND leadership candidate) in state of panic - Attempts to reverse the negative opinion polls (in favor of fellow candidate and former culture minister Antonis Samaras) with attacks".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Real estate owners up in arms over the extraordinary contribution on property."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Who will tell us what to do? Mass vaccination of the general population (against H1N1) begins today (with the vulnerable categories of the population)".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The (current 13) social security funds to be merged into 3-4 larger Funds - The dialogue commences today (Monday) without an agenda and without Papaconstantinou (finance minister)".

    ESTIA: "The national wealth being limited - The taxation discourages generation of wealth".

    ETHNOS: "Cuts in tax-exemptions - Abolition of arrangements that do not serve the common goal on the horizon".

    IMERISSIA: "Tax-raid on real estate - The new burdens bringing the market to its knees".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Triple 'wager' for the state revenues".

    TA NEA: "In the midst of the new flu outbreak with closed ICU's (due to staffing shortages) - Race for hiring of nursing staff".

    VRADYNI: "Athens calls on Beijing: 'Buy' our debt (with purchase of Greek State bonds)".

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