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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-09

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

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

Wednesday, 9 December 2009 Issue No: 3370

CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens pleased with EU foreign ministers' council conclusions regarding Turkey, fYRoM
  • [02] EU FMs' conclusions on FYROM "satisfactory" for Greece's positions
  • [03] Russian transport minister: Statements before departing for Athens visit
  • [04] Gov't: Link between organised crime, street violence
  • [05] Keratsini 'commune' detainees released, most on restrictive conditions
  • [06] Papoulias received newly elected ND leader Antonis Samaras
  • [07] Samaras at EPP con'f in Bonn
  • [08] Samaras talks with Thessaloniki Prefect Psomiadis
  • [09] Tsipras visits Children's Hospital
  • [10] LA.OS blasts univ. asylum regime
  • [11] President meets with Cyprus parliament chief
  • [12] Venizelos begins Cyprus visit
  • [13] PM briefed by finance, econ ministers
  • [14] Fitch downgrades Greek credit rating; gov't reax (recasts)
  • [15] Almunia statement on Greek economy
  • [16] Employment minister on social insurance issue
  • [17] Katseli on bills to boost market liquidity
  • [18] Lloyd's List Awards to Greeks
  • [19] Stocks sharply down on Tues.
  • [20] UN adopts Greek resolution on "return or restitution of cultural property to countries of origin"
  • [21] Alexandria Patriarch honoured
  • [22] Initiative for spread of Russian language, culture
  • [23] Charges stand in Zammit case
  • [24] Eight minors arrested for arson attack in N. Greece
  • [25] Henk Ten Cate removed from Panathinaikos' bench
  • [26] Rainy on Wednesday
  • [27] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at glance Politics

  • [01] Athens pleased with EU foreign ministers' council conclusions regarding Turkey, fYRoM

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou expressed, in a joint statement, their satisfaction on Tuesday over the final conclusions of the EU's external relations council regarding Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), underlining that the positive results were supported by close coordination between Greece and Cyprus.

    On the question of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Droutsas expressed satisfaction over the decisions concerning the one-time Yugoslav republic, adding that within the day Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was due to have a telephone conversation with that country's prime minister, Nikola Gruevski.

    The Greek premier's initiative is interpreted as confirmation of Athens' standing commitment to boost bilateral cooperation.

    As regards Turkey, Droutsas said that following prolonged and tough negotiations, a substantive improvement in the EU council's conclusions was achieved.

    The Greek alternate foreign minister said Athens vigorously promoted its positions, while noting that the Swedish EU presidency had radically different views from those of Greece.

    Referring further to Turkey's EU course, Droutsas termed as a "considerable success" the exclusion from the Council's conclusions of a text proposed by the Swedish presidency that stated, among others, that bilateral differences between member-states and candidate-countries must not be an obstacle for EU enlargement.

    Droutsas pointed out that conclusions make explicit reference to Turkey's obligation to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria and, in particular, to respect fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, religious freedoms, the freedoms of minorities and their property rights, issues of particular importance for the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate and the tiny ethnic Greek minority that remains in Turkey.

    Mention is also made of illegal immigration and Turkey's obligation is underlined to implement bilateral re-admission protocols and to beef up patrolling on its borders.

    Turkey must also maintain relations of good neighbourliness and contribute to the peaceful solution of differences in accordance with the UN charter and, if necessary, to resort to the International Court at The Hague.

    The EU calls on Turkey to avoid threats and actions that could undermine relations of good neighbourliness. For the first time, as the minister said, reference was included by which there must be respect for the sovereign rights of member-states, including bilateral agreements based on International Law and the Convention on the Law of the Sea, of which Turkey is not a signatory.

    As regards Turkey's obligations towards Cyprus, the 27 ministers expressed their regret over the fact that, despite their calls, Ankara refuses to fully implement the Ankara Protocol. Consequently, the Council insists on the decision taken in December 2006 to freeze eight negotiating chapters, stressing that Turkey made no progress towards normalising its relations with Cyprus.

    In addition, the Council calls on the Commission to reassess Turkey's progress in its next annual report and notes that progress is expected without further delay. In addition, the Council said that it expects Turkey to contribute actively to efforts for a just and viable solution to the issue of Cyprus in the framework of the UN.

    Asked to comment on statements by the Turkish prime minister regarding a Muslim minority in Greece, Droutsas said "we do not discuss issues of a Muslim minority, in other words, issues of Greek citizens. Turkey can say what it likes."

    On the question of fYRoM, the minister said "what is required is for us to reach a solution on the issue of the name. Before a solution is achieved there is no question of starting of (EU accession) negotiations with fYRoM. This is not an issue for negotiation, it is a reality."

    The minister noted that the final text of conclusions fully satisfies Greek positions and pointed out that the Council records the Commission report that proposes the starting of accession negotiations with fYRoM, adding that it will return to the issue during the next EU presidency, meaning in the next six months.

    Finally, Droutsas stressed that several member-states shared Greece's concerns and supported Athens' positions. In parallel, the minister said he tried to send a positive message to fYRoM, highlighting the new momentum that has developed in its relations with Greece.

    He added that Greece wants to take "on its shoulders" the issue of fYRoM's accession course but noted, however, that the land-locked country to Greece's immediate north must do its duty in helping find a mutually acceptable compromise solution to the "name issue".

    [02] EU FMs' conclusions on FYROM "satisfactory" for Greece's positions

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    Greek foreign ministry sources described as "satisfactory for Greece's positions" the reference to FYROM contained in the text of conclusions of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers-General Affairs adopted on Tuesday morning by the EU foreign ministers following the political agreement they reached on Monday after long deliberations.

    More specifically, the text agreed does not contain any reference to commencing EU accession negotiations with FYROM in March, but instead states that the Council will return to the issue during the next EU presidency, which is assumed by Spain on January 1, 2010.

    The Council of Ministers, in its conclusions, welcomed the progress achieved by FYROM in a number of important issues and the fact that the country has to a large degree faced the fundamental priorities of the partner relationship. The smooth implementation of the Stability and Association agreement is expected to facilitate further steps, according to the conclusions, while the presidential and local elections of 2009 fulfilled most of the international standards.

    It further said that implementation of the Ochrid Framework Agreement remains an essential element of democracy and a just state, and stressed that the reform program must continue.

    More specifically, the conclusions said, continuation is necessary of the effort to combat corruption and ensure the independence and objectivity of Justice.

    The Council of Ministers further noted that the European Commission has recommended the commencement of accession negotiations with FYROM, and that it will come back to this issue during the course of the next EU presidency.

    The conclusions further stressed that the maintenance of good neighborhood relations, including a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue following negotiations under the auspices of the UN, remains essential, adding that the Council of Ministers encourage the recent positive developments in relations between Greece and FYROM.

    [03] Russian transport minister: Statements before departing for Athens visit

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)

    Russian transport minister Igor Levitin expressed his conviction that Greek-Russian relations will develop further, stressing that Greece is a reliable friend and steadfast partner of Russia, in exclusive statements to ANA-MPA ahead of his arrival in Athens on Tuesday for talks with his Greek counterpart Dimitris Reppas and co-chairman of the Greece-Russia Interministerial Cooperation Committee deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis.

    "I am convinced that, with the assumption of authority by the new government under (prime minister) George Papandreou, the relations between the two countries will not only not lose their momentum of the recent years, but will also develop even further. All the necessary conditions exist, including the economic prerequisites," Levitin said shortly before his departure from Moscow for Athens.

    "Greek-Russian relations have a long tradition, and have always been built on the firm foundation of mutual confidence and rapport. Today, we are actively developing our cooperation, which is characterised by its high level in a wide variety of sectors," he added.

    On the meetings he will have in Athens, Levitin said he intends to discuss with Kouvelis the broad range of bilateral relations, and also the measures being taken by the governments of Greece and Russia to tackle the repercussions of the global crisis.

    More specifically, the dates will be set for the regular meeting of the Interministerial Greece-Russia Cooperation Committee, while matters related to the construction of the Olympic projects (2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics) in Sochi will also be discussed, given the interest manifested by the Greek side for participation in those plans.

    He also said that transport and communications issues will be discussed more specifically with Reppas, since "Russia and Greece have great prospects in this field".

    Listing the areas of interest of the bilateral cooperation committees, including energy, transports, commerce and industry, agricultural economy, and tourism, which he described as the "basic tool for implementation of the strategic economic interests of Greece and Russia", Levitin opined that "it is necessary that we supplement our cooperation with new sectors".

    He further said that the Business Council set up by the Russian and Greek industrial federations should play an important role in the development of bilateral business relations.

    Commenting on the global financial crisis, Levitin noted that 2009 has been the hardest period for the Russian economy since the 1998 crisis, and stressed that the Russian government was making efforts to contain the decline in GDP to 8.5 percent through a specialised program of measures drafted in November 2008.

    He added that the anticipated rise in industrial production (metallurgy, chemicals, petrol products) and in the Russian agrarian economy, which has posted good results, give rise to optimism. "We are optimistic, and we are convinced that the condition of the crisis will not affect the Greek-Russian partner relationship," the Russian minister concluded.

    [04] Gov't: Link between organised crime, street violence

    Citizens Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, whose portfolio includes law enforcement and public order, on Tuesday pointed directly to what he called a link between organised crime in the country and urban terrorists, speaking to reporters following a three-day barrage of street rallies and protests in the Greek capital.

    Mostly youthful protest rallies marked the one-year anniversary of the police shooting of a 15-year-old pupil in central Athens, an incident that sparked unprecedented rioting in the country's urban centres, and stoked fears of widespread violence on the margins of street demonstrations this year. Although a number of incidents were reported, beginning on Saturday evening in Athens, a massive police presence in the Greek capital's centre and nearly 1,000 detentions along with scores of arrests resulted in dramatically less damage than last year.

    Speaking on Tuesday, Chryssohoidis said organised crime, "namely, the one involved in kidnappings, drug trafficking, white slavery and money laundering is behind what is known, in the wider notion, as terrorism, and is intertwined with individuals that attempt to destroy cities during demonstrations".

    Among others, the minister, who held the same portfolio prior to 2004 and during the investigations that led to the eradication of the once-elusive "November 17" terror gang, announced a series of measures involving police and crowd control.

    He cited a ban on riot police using tear gas and mace during protests, whereas beginning in early January police officers will have name tags and badge numbers on their uniforms.

    In response to press questions, Chryssohoidis said there is no issue of altering or scrapping the asylum status of universities in the country, instead the application of all laws dealing with crimes on campus will be re-examined.

    "Some 12 percent of higher educational institutions' budget, in other words a frightening amount of millions of euros, is used to repair damages, forcing Greek taxpayers and poorer citizens to pay for the damages."

    In referring to the heightened police measures over the weekend and the more-or-less prevention of widespread violence, Chryssohoidis said:

    "Some people were readying a new krystalnacht (for the city of Athens); we had information about a (planned) pogrom of violence and hate. They did not succeed. Today's peaceful image of Athens has no resemblance to last year's..." the minister said.

    ND

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras on Tuesday visited Athens University rector Christos Kittas at an Athens-area hospital.

    The latter was roughed up by masked hooligans that broke down the gate of the Athens University's main administration building (Propylea) on Sunday. Kittas suffered a mild concussion from a blow to the head and a subsequent mild heart attack.

    Samaras said in a statement that the rector's condition is improving constantly, adding that "fortunately, the worst was averted ... but this case of violence cannot continue, it has exceeded all limits. And for this reason ND has submitted a specific proposal on (university) asylum. Universities must be a place for the free exchange of ideas ... They cannot be incubators of criminal activities ... I am expecting the government and the other parties to reply to our proposal."

    [05] Keratsini 'commune' detainees released, most on restrictive conditions

    Twenty-two youths arrested in Keratsini on felony charges for supply and posession of explosive materials over the weekend were relased on Tuesday by a Piraeus examining magistrate, half of them on restrictive conditions, after all-night testimonies.

    The 22 were arrested in the Piraeus-area working class municipality of Keratsini during a raid on a self-styled "autonomous" commune (apartment). According to reports, a shock grenade, 200 bottles reportedly fashioned into would-be firebombs, hammers, sledge hammers, chisels, two tanks with flammable liquid, rods, helmets, gas masks and a PC were confiscated.

    By joint decison of the examining magistrate and prosecutor, 11 of the youths were relased without restrictive conditions, while the other 11 were released with a prohibition of leaving the country and the requirement to present themselves to their local police stations twice a month.

    Further, the individual appearing as the "tenant" of the apartment will post a 15,000 euros bond, while 9 of the other individuals will post 3,000 euros bond each, and two more, both of which had keys to the apartment, will post 5,000 euros bonds each.

    [06] Papoulias received newly elected ND leader Antonis Samaras

    President of Republic Karolos Papoulias received on Tuesday the newly-election main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras at the Presidential Mansion.

    After the 40-minute meeting, Samaras said to reporters that ND's commitment to support Karolos Papoulias for a second term as President goes without question.

    Samaras noted that "in the start of my new duties, I felt the need and obligation to share my thoughts and concerns on the country's course with the President of the Republic".

    Earlier, while entering to the meeting hall, Samaras had a brief dialogue with Papoulias, who congratulated the former on his election and also noted Samaras' planned departure on Wednesday for the European Peoples Party conference in Bonn.

    Samaras, referring to the issues that will be discussed at the conference, stressed: "It will be interesting, it will focus on the social dimension of the economic development which is extremely important and is the main issue".

    [07] Samaras at EPP con'f in Bonn

    Newly elected main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras will head for Bonn, Germany this week to participate in a European People's Party (EPP) conference, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling CDU party.

    Samaras will head up a high-ranking ND delegation at the conference, expected to be attended by 13 European Union member-states' prime ministers, six prime ministers outside the EU, and some 1,500 delegates.

    [08] Samaras talks with Thessaloniki Prefect Psomiadis

    Newly elected main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras and Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis, who was also a contender for the leadership helm, held a 40-minute meeting at the party's headquarters on Tuesday evening.

    Speaking after the meeting, Psomiadis said he did not come "to flatter the president as some others did" and to ask for some post.

    Psomiadis requested from Samaras to support George Papandrepou and the government on whatever positive proposals exist, and added that "we must not decide for the people without the people."

    [09] Tsipras visits Children's Hospital

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras visited the Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital in Athens on Tuesday, after which he said that the ESY (National Health System) was suffering from a "chronic illness".

    He called the new flu outbreak "a mild pandemic that will pass", compared with "ESY's chronic illness that has reached its margins and does not seem to be passing".

    Tsipras also said that more than 550 organic healthcare posts in the hospital were vacant, "which makes the life of the medical and nursing staff, but also that of the children and their parents, difficult", and called on the government to take care of those problems "not in a public relations manner" but through strengthening the ESY with hirings and funds.

    He added that the hospitals are places of social contribution, and "were it not for the doctors and nursing staff, they would have already collapsed".

    [10] LA.OS blasts univ. asylum regime

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis has tabled a question for the prime minister requesting information on whether the government intends to maintain the existing legal framework regarding university asylum.

    "It is evident that the institution of university asylum has turned into a means for the demolition of the very values for whose protection it was established," Karatzaferis underlined.

    "In many cases, persons having nothing to do with the university, and while invoking university asylum, charge onto its premises, usually having their face covered, merely to resort to violence and destruction," he added.

    [11] President meets with Cyprus parliament chief

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received visiting Cyprus House of Representatives president Marios Garoyian, whom he assured that "Athens is at your side".

    Garoyian, on a two-day visit to Athens, replied that Greece has been firmly at Cyprus' side from the first moment.

    The Cypriot official also said that things were difficult at this time, noting that there were some problems with the Swedish EU presidency "that has submitted varous drafts which are not acceptable on our part", noting that the current stage was difficult in light of the EU evaluation of Turkey's course.

    [12] Venizelos begins Cyprus visit

    Nicosia (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)

    Greece's defence minister Evangelos Venizelos was received on Tuesday in Nicosia by Cyprus president Demetris Christofias, at the start of a two-day visit to Cyprus.

    No statements were made after the 45-minute meeting.

    Financial News

    [13] PM briefed by finance, econ ministers

    Prime Minister George Papandreou met with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday, with the latter advising calm in the face of exerted international pressure due to the state of the Greek economy.

    Papaconstantinou attributed the international pressure to a combination of profiteering, which he termed "classic", and to "impatience" on the part of EU partners, who are anxious to see results from the Greek economy.

    After meeting with Papaconstantinou, the prime minister received Economy & Competition Minister Louka Katseli.

    Katseli spoke afterwards of the need for change in the framework of funding businesses. Along those lines, two ministry bills will be up for discussion during Wednesday's cabinet meeting, concerning heavily indebted households and businesses, respectively.

    [14] Fitch downgrades Greek credit rating; gov't reax (recasts)

    Fitch on Tuesday downgraded Greece's credit rating from A- to BBB+, the first such downgrading in 10 years and the first time the country's rating has been designated as under "A" by an international credit ratings firm.

    The development comes a day after Standard & Poor's announcement that it was placing Greece's A- rating on notice for a possible national debt downgrading.

    "The downgrade reflects concerns over the medium-term outlook for public finances given the weak credibility of fiscal institutions and the policy framework in Greece, exacerbated by uncertainty over the prospects for a balanced and sustained economic recovery," a Fitch statement read.

    The negative news elicited an immediate response by the government, with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou emphasising that "we will do what is necessary to meet our obligations".

    Conversely, in distancing the government from Fitch's evaluation that recently announced spending cuts and a "get tough" policy vis--vis tax evasion would not dent the ballooning public debt, Papaconstantinou said the government does not distinguish between "hard and soft measures, because it is promoting a fiscal policy where the weakest won't be harmed."

    On his part, Bank of Greece Gov. George Provopoulos, who met with the minister at the finance ministry, downplayed any concerns focusing on the all-important domestic banking system and banks' profits.

    [15] Almunia statement on Greek economy

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    EU Commission Joaquin Almunia on Tuesday issued a written statement regarding the Greek economy, noting that "... We take note of the fact that the sustainability of public finances in Greece draws the attention of financial markets and rating agencies ... A difficult situation in one euro area member state is a matter of common concern for the euro area as a whole".

    [16] Employment minister on social insurance issue

    Employment and Social Solidarity Minister Andreas Loverdos on Tuesday underlined that 2015, when the generation of those entering the workforce in the mid '70s is expected to retire masse, will be a year in which the social insurance system will explode.

    Loverdos, speaking during an experts' committee session appointed for a dialogue on the social insurance issue, said there should be a reaction with an overall change of the social insurance system, without resorting to demagogical fragmentation.

    He proposed as the principles to govern the new system a public and universal character, viability, rationalisation and social justice. He added that not harming the present framework of benefits for those insured remains the government's steadfast political will.

    [17] Katseli on bills to boost market liquidity

    Economy, Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Louka Katseli said on Tuesday evening that the bills on providing the market with liquidity will be discussed during Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.

    She was speaking while turning up at a session of the SEV general council, Greece's biggest employers' federation.

    Katseli also indicated a new institutional framework on the licensing and functioning of businesses that constitutes, as she said, a precondition for an increase in investments, the rekindling and productive restructuring of the economy.

    Replying to questions on the downgrading of Greece's credit rating by Fitch, Katseli said "unfortunately, this is the account of the previous government."

    [18] Lloyd's List Awards to Greeks

    The Lloyd's Award "Personality of the Year 2009" was bestowed on MIG president Andreas Vgenopoulos for his investments in Greek coastal shipping with Superfast and Blue Star Ferries and for his Marfin Bank's enhancement of its shipping portofolio.

    The Lloyd's List Greek Shipping awards were presented for the sixth consecutive year to Greek shipping figures and companies that excelled in their field.

    The "Greek Shipping Newsmaker" award went to shipowner Victor Restis and the "Lifetime achievement" award to captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos, founder of TEMES S.A. and chairman of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Agency (HELMEPA).

    Meanwhile, The Lloyd's List Global Award for an Amver-Assisted Rescue at Sea was presented to Arcadia Hellas Shipmanagement's motor tanker Aegean Angel, for the April 2008 rescue of 11 distressed mariners aboard a life raft after their vessel sank 300 miles south of Puerto Rico, during an earlier ceremony in London.

    The Lloyd's List Global Award for Newsmaker of the Year was presented to Navios Maritime Holding chairman and CEO Angeliki Frangou, at the London ceremony.

    [19] Stocks sharply down on Tues.

    Stocks collapsed at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday on word of a Fitch downgrading of Greece's credit rating, pushing the composite index of the market 6.04 percent lower to end at 2,178.70 points. Turnover was a moderate 379.6 million euros, of which 11.1 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved downwards, with the Banks (8.94 pct), Insurances (8.14 pct), Technology (7.75 pct), Financial Services (7.37 pct), Financial Services (8.25 pct) and Raw Materials (6.63 pct) posting the biggest percentage losses of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index lost 7.07 pct, the FTSE 40 index was 5.50 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index dropped 4.17 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 186 to 34 with another 28 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -8.14%

    Industrials: -3.88%

    Commercial: -2.73%

    Construction: -6.00%

    Media: -0.03%

    Oil & Gas: -0.88%

    Personal & Household: -3.01%

    Raw Materials: -6.63%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.37%

    Technology: -7.75%

    Telecoms: -3.66%

    Banks: -8.94%

    Food & Beverages: -2.33%

    Health: -6.07%

    Utilities: -6.28%

    Chemicals: -1.81%

    Financial Services: -7.37%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Bank of Cyprus and DEH.

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

    Alpha Bank: 8.02

    ATEbank: 1.76

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.71

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.00

    National Bank of Greece: 18.20

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.23

    Intralot: 3.50

    OPAP: 16.00

    OTE: 10.01

    Bank of Piraeus: 9.00

    Titan: 19.80

    General News

    [20] UN adopts Greek resolution on "return or restitution of cultural property to countries of origin"

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA)

    A viable global culture cannot be created if we do not recognise and respect the strength and uniqueness of the individual cultures, Greece's culture minister Pavlos Geroulanos stressed on Monday evening, addressing a UN General Assembly meeting during which a resolution, introduced by Greece, on "The return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin" was adopted.

    The draft resolution had been submitted by Greece's permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Anastasis Mitsialis, on November 16, 2000 and was adopted by consensus, without voting, as it was sponsored by another 85 UN member countries.

    Geroulanos, who is Greece's minister for culture and tourism, stressed the importance of the UN and its role in the realisation of the global dialogue among cultures, noting that "one of the UN's commitments is to preserve the cultural identifies of the peoples as unique, complete and creative".

    He said the adoption of the resolution bore witness to the commitment of the countries to work together for the realisation of that goal, and expressed the Greek government's earnest appreciation to all the sponsors of the resolution and to all the member states for their support of the resolution.

    Geroulanos further stressed the need for the "restitution of the fragmented symbols" of the global cultural heritage, and made a specific reference to the Parthenon Marbles.

    "Cultural heritage does not always need protection. Very frequently, cultural heritage needs to be healed, such as in the process of returning something to its home, to make it whole again. In the same framework, within which we seek to heal the identities, thus must we seek to heal the great symbols of heritage. Especially when those symbols comprise an inalienable part of our dialogue on civilisation. A symbol so unique that it mirrors the values of various cultures, that it becomes a global symbol. With the aim to instill the values it represents. With our goal being to bring us close to a spirit of understanding. To dismember such a symbol is immoral, to keep its pieces divided is unethical. In the Parthenon, many cultures, if not the world in its entirety, acknowledge a symbol of humanity, the fundamental idea that people are good if someone inspires them to exercise self-constraint, that they can cooperate and create incredible things if left free to think, to express themselves, to put their reason in action, and to rule themselves. It represents the essence of all those things for which this Organisation was founded," Geroulanos said.

    Avowing his own faith in human nature, Geroulanos said that the Parthenon is a symbol so unique that it stands as a beacon not only for the achievements that we have attained, but also for those that we will create.

    "For us Greeks, the Parthenon is all these things, and in addition a part of what we are. A fundamental part of our legacy. We cannot but express our joy that several pieces of this monument have been returned to us voluntarily or on loan from Heidelberg, Palermo and the Vatican. We look forward to such cooperation with other museums, in order to find ways for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, which will enrich, instead of render poorer, their exceptional collections," he said.

    [21] Alexandria Patriarch honoured

    Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II, who is paying an official visit to Greece, was honoured on Tuesday with the Grand Cross of Apostle Paul during a special session of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, who welcomed warmly the head of Alexandria Patriarchate, expressed the Church of Greece's commitment to continue to support the substantial and quiet missionary work of the Alexandrian Church. He also characterised Theodore II an 'exceptional personality' and an example of 'ministration, love and sacrifice'.

    On his part, the Alexandria Patriarch thanked for Greek Metropolitans and Church of Greece's support in the difficult missionary work and also the Greek state that always stands by them in difficult times.

    Theodore II referred to the mission's problems, emphasising that the people of Africa are faced with several diseases and particularly with HIV, while there is also a shortage in drinking water.

    He offered to the Holy Synod as a gift, the first Gospel written by the children of Madagascar in their language.

    Later the Patriarch of Alexandria visited the Rizareios Ecclesiastical School, of which he is a graduate.

    [22] Initiative for spread of Russian language, culture

    Digital programmes, films and publications presenting the development of the Russian language and culture, focusing mainly on the Russian State Museum of St. Petersburg, are included in the archives of the educational centre "Russian Museum: digital appendix" inaugurated at Thessaloniki's Macedonian Studies Society. Visitors will have the opportunity of using the digital material created by the Russian State Museum.

    [23] Charges stand in Zammit case

    Greece's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a criminal case defendant against a lower appeals court ruling indicting him on intentional homicide charges in the death of 20-year-old Australian tourist Doujon Zammit.

    Zammit's beating death, which generated international media coverage, occurred outside a bar on the island of Mykonos in late July 2008.

    Marios-Sosipatros Antonopoulos, a bouncer at the now defunct "Tropicana" club at the time of the fatal incident, will also be charged with the attempted homicide of other foreign tourists accompanying the victim, possession of a lethal weapon and unprovoked dangerous bodily harm. Two other men who were with the primary suspect will face attempted homicide charges.

    The incident occurred on July 28, 2008, when the group of young Australians was allegedly attacked by Antonopoulos. The latter is accused of hitting them repeatedly with a collapsible metal truncheon, while continuing to punch Zammit even as he lay covered with blood on the ground, according to witnesses' testimony.

    The young Australian lost consciousness in an ambulance taking him to the island's health centre and was subsequently flown to a hospital in Athens, where he died on Aug. 2.

    [24] Eight minors arrested for arson attack in N. Greece

    Eight minors were arrested in the northern town of Alexandria, near the city of Veria, at dawn on Tuesday for allegedly attacking the local police station with petrol bombs.

    Masked youths hurled five firebombs at the building housing the police station, while during their attempt to flee they threw another two firebombs and stones at private vehicles, causing limited material damage.

    Arrests were made a few hours later, following investigations by police in the area.

    Soccer

    [25] Henk Ten Cate removed from Panathinaikos' bench

    Second-place Panathinaikos Athens on Tuesday that it was letting go Dutch coach Henk Ten Cate, following a string of more-or-less lacklustre performances and especially a 2-0 defeat to fierce rival Olympiacos Piraeus two weeks ago.

    The Athens club, favoured to qualify for the next round of the Europa Cup, said the team's temporary management would be assigned to Nikos Nioblias, a former player with coaching experience in the under-18 national side.

    Weather Forecast

    [26] Rainy on Wednesday

    Rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 3C and 18C. Cloudy and rainy in Athens, with southerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 17C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 13C.

    [27] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at glance

    Scuffles throughout the country, on the one year anniversary of the killing of 15 year old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police officer in Exarchia district of Athens, the social security and taxation issue and UN's International Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen , dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "March and street violence in Athens - 879 were taken in for questioning and 166 were arrested".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Multinational group of anti-statists reinforced the local troublemakers in Athens".

    AVGHI: "In the last two days, 850 individuals were taken in for questioning while 124 of them were sent before the prosecutor".

    AVRIANI: "Radical changes in main opposition New Democracy (ND), to become a modern centre-right party".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Deputy Minister Yannis Maniatis appointed his best man as president of the National Land Registry, whose wife is a member of a contracting firm undertaking property registration projects".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "13 charged with felony and 800 police records established".

    ESTIA: "The scenes of violence expose Greece - We have forgotten that we are a tourist destination".

    ETHNOS: "Tourism in the ....roadblocks - Mosaic of nationalities in Athens' streets".

    IMERISSIA: "Standard & Poor's ultimatum - Markets pressing for immediate measures".

    KATHIMERINI: "The taboo of the university asylum falls".

    LOGOS: "The issue of the University asylum opens again- ND proposes its abolition".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet recommends severe measures for employees in public sector".

    NIKI: "Street violence with chemicals, handmade bombs, clubs and safehouses in Alexis' memory".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Workers' united struggle for the rights to work, pension and health".

    TA NEA: "Rectors call police on the....asylum: Protect the facilities of the universities".

    TO VIMA: "The difficult issues begin now: Social security and taxation".

    VRADYNI: "Vice rector of University of Athens Yannis Karacostas to newspaper: 'J'accuse'."

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