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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-04-10

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

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

Saturday, 10 April 2010 Issue No: 3464

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin: Activation of EU support mechanism "not an issue"
  • [02] Torres: EU ready to support Greece if asked
  • [03] Samaras: Gov't responsible for skyrocketing spreads
  • [04] PM confers with visiting Cypriot FM
  • [05] PM meets Economy, Citizens' Protection ministers
  • [06] Birbili meets with French Alternate Sustainable Development Commissioner
  • [07] PM Papandreou has telephone communication with released Greek NGO volunteer
  • [08] CoS ruling opens way for recognition of professional qualifications
  • [09] Significant drop in Q1 budget deficit figure
  • [10] Fitch downgrades Greek credit rating to BBB-
  • [11] Inflation up 3.9 pct in March
  • [12] Alpha Bank calls for radical structural reforms
  • [13] Public energy-sector companies required to draw up three-year business plans
  • [14] Crete pavilion awarded for best presentation at tourism exhibition in Kiev
  • [15] "Spring Boat Show 2010" in Faliro
  • [16] Flower Show in Thessaloniki
  • [17] Value of Greek exports down 13.4 pct in February
  • [18] Industrial production down 9.2 pct in February 2010
  • [19] Local authority workers strike next Wednesday
  • [20] More vehicles on Greek roadways
  • [21] Stocks end 3.40% up
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [25] Patriarch Kirill on formal visit to Alexandria Patriarchate
  • [26] Cairo conference on return of stolen antiquities: Countries unit for repatriation of looted cultural heritage
  • [27] Thessaloniki prosecutor orders urgent probe on infant's death
  • [28] Man arrested for drug dealing in Hania
  • [29] Cloudy, rainy on Saturday
  • [30] The Friday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glance
  • [31] Archbishop to convey a message by Cyprus President to Turkish PM Politics

  • [01] FinMin: Activation of EU support mechanism "not an issue"

    Finance minister George Papaconstantinou on Friday stressed that there is no issue of activation of the EU support mechanism for the Greek economy, in statements to the press after a meeting with prime minister George Papandreou.

    "No issue of activating the mechanism has been put forward. The mechanism is a very important safety net. These recent days, specification of the mechanism is taking place, as had been planned, in a follow-up to the EU Summit decision," the minister explained.

    Asked if the government was worried about the sharp widening of the Greek bond spread, Papaconstantinou said the government was preoccupied with the lending rates at which Greece is borrowing, but the size of those rates does not reflect the real state of the economy, nor the effort being made and results achieved by the government.

    As time goes by, these will be realised by the markets and the international partners, and the lending interest rates will be more rational, he added.

    Papaconstantinou said he briefed the premier on progress in the country's Stability and Development program and on "the very positive data from the execution of the budget", citing as an example the fact that the country's deficit had fallen by 40 percent in the first quarter of the year against the same period last year.

    "Nothing has been won. We are earning our credibility day by day," Papaconstantinou said, adding that next week the Inner Cabinet will discuss the denationalisations program while the new taxation bill will be voted on in parliament.

    He further said that the government is moving forward at a very fast pace in the implementation of the Stability and Development program.

    [02] Torres: EU ready to support Greece if asked

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    The European Commission is closely monitoring developments concerning the state of the Greek economy and is in contact with Greek authorities, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Commission spokesperson Amelia Torrest said in Brussels on Friday.

    She repeated that the Commission was ready to activate a support mechanism decided on by EU27 leaders to help Greece as soon as it was asked.

    Replying to questions concerning the Greek economy, Torres said that a number of rumours had been circulating recently but the important thing was to meet the target of reducing Greece's deficit as a percentage of GDP by 4 percentage points in 2010.

    In this context, she pointed to Thursday's announcement by the Greek finance ministry that the size of the first quarter budget deficit in 2010 had been slashed by 40 percent relative to the deficit for the first quarter of 2009.

    Concerning the possible effect that the Greek crisis might have on the stability of the eurozone, Torres underlined that the euro was a stable and powerful currency and that there was no reason for concern.

    Among the technical issues concerning the support mechanism that needed to be settled was the interest rate charged in bilateral loans between Greece and other EU countries, which would be decided as and when Greece chose to ask for aid.

    [03] Samaras: Gov't responsible for skyrocketing spreads

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras sharply criticised the government during an address at a regional meeting of his party in the northwest city of Kozani on Friday, held ahead of the 8th party congress.

    He accused the government of being responsible for the skyrocketing spreads and, referring to his party, clarified that he will not allow a return to introversion, while no disunity will be tolerated.

    Nevertheless, Samaras admitted that when ND was in office it "made mistakes and omissions", stressing however, that "they were nothing compared to the performance of the current PASOK government."

    He maintained that the government-announced measures have "suffocated" the market instead of reducing deficits, leading to sacrifices without prospect or end.

    Referring to the course of his party, he stated that the regional meetings are being held to exchange viewpoints on how to pull the country out of the crisis and not to be consumed in party politics.

    Samaras also presented the key points of the ND position as regards the energy policy and the environment, underlining that the message of social liberalism is sustainable development.

    Earlier, the ND leader met with Kozani with local administration authorities and was briefed on the problems faced by the prefecture.

    [04] PM confers with visiting Cypriot FM

    Prime Minister George Papandreou met on Friday with visiting Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou in the presence of Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, with talks focusing on preparations for a visit to Cyprus by the former on Monday -- days before so-called elections in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

    "Greece's support to Cyprus is a given and self-evident, and our coordination is indisputable," Droutsas said after the meeting and while exiting the Maximos Mansion government headquarters.

    On his part, Kyprianou said "cooperation between PM Papandreou and Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, as well as on the foreign ministries' level, is very close in this crucial conjunction."

    Kyprianou briefed the Greek prime minister and Droutsas on the contacts he had in the United States and his meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whereas the Greek alternate FM referred to the contacts he had in Ankara.

    Reiterating the firm position of the Greek government, which was outlined in the joint press conference on Thursday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Droutsas stressed that a solution of the Cyprus issue should be a "Cypriot solution". He added that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should be left alone to negotiate their common future in the EU, allowing the Republic of Cyprus to be able to function effectively in the Union after a solution is reached. "Therefore, the European acquis should be fully respected," he added.

    Referring to the Turkish occupation troops on Cyprus, he pointed out that "the withdrawal of the Turkish forces is a basic precondition for a solution" and underlined that "those were the messages I conveyed to Ankara."

    In a recent interview in the Turkish mass daily "Sabah" ahead of his visit to Ankara, Droutsas had stated, referring to the withdrawal of the Turkish forces from Cyprus, that "such a move would have been a clear political action that would prove that Turkey is determined to let Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alone reach an agreement on their common future in the EU, which constitutes a real guarantee for all the people of Cyprus."

    Droutsas and Kyprianou will discuss bilateral and European issues in a reception hosted by the former later on Friday.

    [05] PM meets Economy, Citizens' Protection ministers

    Prime Minister George Papandreou had meetings with Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli and Citizens' Protection Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis on Friday.

    In statements on leaving the meeting, Katseli said the government wanted to move faster with its efforts to create a sound barrier against the crisis and to protect and encourage businesses, both through investments and through major regulatory reforms.

    She announced that the cabinet will meet next week to discuss a draft bill on simplifying the process for starting up businesses and the basic principles of the developmental law.

    Katseli said that she had briefed the prime minister on the progress in implementing the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), which she described as very satisfactory, and expressed certitude that Greece will achieve a target of absorbing 15 percent of the funds available within 2010.

    She reported that programmes were coming out almost every week and assessments of programmes to encourage women and young entrepreneurs and the first phase for small and middle-sized businesses (SMEs) were being completed. Also now beginning now were the second phase for SMEs, the Guarantee Fund for small and micro businesses programmes, and those for support of manufacturing and digital convergence.

    No statements were made after Papandreou's meeting with Chrysohoidis.

    Earlier, Minister of State Haris Pamboukis had a meeting with Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos to discuss issues concerning the organisation of the public-sector's senior management and ways to reduce bureaucracy.

    [06] Birbili meets with French Alternate Sustainable Development Commissioner

    Environment, Energy and Climatic Change Minister Tina Birbili and French Alternate General Commissioner for Sustainable Growth Michelle Rousseau on Friday discussed the usefulness of social partners meeting in the framework of an open public dialogue on green development.

    According to a relevant anouncement, the meeting took place as part of Rousseau's visit to Greece, who is here, at the initiative of the Environment ministry, to present the conclusions and the good practices of the French initiative at the public deliberation on the environment (Grenelle de l'Environnement).

    [07] PM Papandreou has telephone communication with released Greek NGO volunteer

    Prime Minister George Papandreou spoke on the phone with Greek NGO volunteer Athanassios Lerounis on Friday minutes after the Pakistani authorities handed him over to the Greek embassy in Islamabad. Lerounis, who was released by Afghan Taliban militants on Wednesday eight months after being kidnapped in the Chitral region of northern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, thanked the prime minister for the laborious efforts made by Greece for his release.

    He was transported to the Greek embassy from the Chitral region on board a helicopter on Friday morning and was welcomed by the Greek prime minister's personal envoy ambassador-at-large Dimitris Dollis and Greek Ambassador to Islamabad Petros Mavroidis.

    "This is a major success for Greece. Six months of hard work, with the prime minister's international prestige serving as a guarantee, brought a happy ending," Amb. Dollis told ANA-MPA.

    Lerounis is expected to be back in Greece within the next 48 hours.

    He was kidnapped by Afghan Taliban militants last September outside a museum he runs in the remote Kalash valley while his guard was fatally shot. He had been working on a cultural project in the area since 2001.

    [08] CoS ruling opens way for recognition of professional qualifications

    The Council of State (CoS) on Friday ruled that a ministry of education draft presidential decree that harmonises Greek law with EU Directive 2005/36/EC -- adopted on Sept. 7, 2005 -- on the recognition of professional qualifications is legal and legitimate.

    Based on the CoS decision (No 42/2010), the ratification of relevant European directives opens the way for the recognition of professional diplomas issued by private colleges that operate as franchises of universities based in other European countries.

    The draft presidential decree harmonises Greek law to Directives 2005/36/EC and 2006/100/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications, which Greece had to ratify back in 2007.

    According to the draft decree, the authority that recognised foreign diplomas (SAEITE) is abolished and until 2013 will be replaced by the council for the recognition of professional qualifications (SAEP). After 2013, the recognition of professional rights will belong to professional chambers, associations, etc, (Professional Chamber of Greece, Bar Associations, Medical Associations etc) operating as legal entities of public law.

    The CoS also ruled that professional chambers and associations will be the ones to determine applicants' familiarity with the Greek language, deemed as necessary to exercise their profession in Greece (and not the minister of education as provided by the draft Presidential Decree) depending on the individual case and the special demands of the profession.

    Financial News

    [09] Significant drop in Q1 budget deficit figure

    The annualised budget deficit decreased by 39.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010, topping an initial target of 30.2 percent, Greece's General Accounting Office (GAO) announced on Friday, echoing statements a day earlier by the finance minister.

    According to the GAO, the deficit reached 4.326 billion euros, down from the 7.119 billion euro figure for the corresponding quarter of 2009.

    Additionally, net revenues increased by 9.7 percent in relation to the same period last year, although the figure did not reach the stability programme target of 11.7 percent. Regular budget expenditures decreased by 3 percent, with the target being 3.5 percent.

    [10] Fitch downgrades Greek credit rating to BBB-

    The international ratings service Fitch on Friday downgraded Greece's credit rating to BBB-, down two notches from the previous BBB+. Fitch issued a press release in Paris noting, amongst others, that the country's economic outlook remains negative.

    [11] Inflation up 3.9 pct in March

    The general Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 3.9 percent in March 2010 compared with the same month in 2009, the Greek Statistics Authority announced on Friday.Harmonised CPI in the same period was also up 3.9 percent. By contrast, the CPI in February rose 2.8 percent compared with that of 2009.

    Both general and harmonised CPI for March 2010 increased by 3.1 percent relative to the previous month.

    The year-to-year rise in inflation was driven mainly by a 15.5 percent increase in transport costs, due to a rise in vehicle circulation taxes, road tolls, fuel prices, spare parts, vehicle maintenance and transport fees. There was also a 7 percent increase in housing costs caused by higher fuel bills, rents and utility bills and a 4.9 percent increase in prices of alcohol and tobacco.

    [12] Alpha Bank calls for radical structural reforms

    Radical structural reforms are imperative for reversing the currently negative climate surrounding Greece, Alpha Bank analysts stressed in an economic report released by the country's largest private-sector high street bank on Friday.

    "It's inconceivable that the site of the former airport at Elliniko, located in one of the most expensive areas of Athens, should remain unexploited because of the narrow-minded logic that projects of enormous importance for growth and for upgrading the environment must be exclusively funded from the state budget," the bank's analysts said, using this as an example of the country's many policy failures.

    The bank also slammed attempts to introduce new bureaucratic procedures that it said were undermining the future of private investments in offshore wind parks worth 10 billion euros and criticised policies that were delaying investment in less polluting power stations, failure to exploit Greece's potential as a tourist destination and a high-quality housing development area, as well as the country's failure to exploit state real estate assets valued in excess of 300 billion euros.

    [13] Public energy-sector companies required to draw up three-year business plans

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Friday asked all energy-sector enterprises supervised by her ministry to submit three-year business plans that will include environmental impact studies and ways to improve environmental performance.

    These included the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA), Public Power Corporation (PPC), Hellenic Transmission System Operator (HTSO) and PPC Renewables (PPCR), while the meeting was also attended by the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) and the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES).

    [14] Crete pavilion awarded for best presentation at tourism exhibition in Kiev

    Crete's pavilion, the joint effort of the island's four prefectures won the prize for best presentation at the Ukraine International Travel and Tourism (UITT) exhibition held in Kiev.

    According to tourist agents, flights from Ukraine with Crete as their destination have increased by 50 percent.

    UITT, Ukraine's largest exhibition for the travel industry, has become a regular meeting place for the industry and an opportunity for destinations to showcase the best their country has to offer to an increasing number of Ukrainian travellers, as well as tour operators and travel agents.

    [15] "Spring Boat Show 2010" in Faliro

    A marine exhibition will be held between 15 and 19 April at the Peace and Friendship Stadium's indoor facilities in Faliro, near Pireaus. The Exhibition "Spring Boat Show 2010" is expected to attract visitors and and raise the competition standard in the sector and bring the pleasure boat to the forefront ahead of the arrival of summer.

    Greek and foreign pleasure boat manufacturing and import companies are getting ready to compose the puzzle of a genuine marine exhibition. Inflatable boats and boats made from polyester will be at the centre of attraction. A variety of products and services, fishing boats, boats for hire, scuba diving products and apparatus, sea sports supplies and others will also be on display.

    [16] Flower Show in Thessaloniki

    The 21st Flower Show of Thessaloniki will open its gates on April 21 in the Pedion tou Areos Park in the northern Greek capital. The exhibition will run until 7 May and the producers of the Central Macedonia Florists Cooperative will display a large variety of plants and flowers and original flower arrangements.

    The exhibition will be inaugurated on April 21 at 7:00 pm by Thessaloniki mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos.

    [17] Value of Greek exports down 13.4 pct in February

    The value of merchandise exports-deliveries from Greece declined 13.4 percent to reach 1.0559 billion euros in February 2010, from 1.2193 billion euros in February 2009, according to figures released by the Greek Statistical Authority on Friday.

    The value of merchandise imports-arrivals in the country fell 21.6 pct in the same period to 3.1312 billion euros, down from 3.993 billion euros in the corresponding month last year.

    [18] Industrial production down 9.2 pct in February 2010

    The Greek industrial production index fell 9.2 pct in February 2010, compared with the same month last year, after a decline of 5.9 pct recorded in February 2009, the National Statistical Authority said on Friday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed the 2.5 pct fall in the industrial production index to a 16.5 pct fall in the mining/quarries index, a 7.6 pct decline in the manufacturing index, a 13.3 pct fall in the power production index and a 1.1 pct decline in the water supply index.

    [19] Local authority workers strike next Wednesday

    The local authority workers' union POE-OTA has decided to call a nationwide half-day strike next Wednesday, in protest against the acute problems faced by its members' social insurance fund.

    The strike will begin at 11:00 in the morning on Wednesday and continue until the end of the shift on that day. There will also be a protest rally at 12:30 outside the health ministry in Athens.

    [20] More vehicles on Greek roadways

    More vehicles -- both new and used -- were recorded on Greek roads during the recent January-March 2010 period in relation to the same quarter in 2009, the national statistical service announced on Friday.

    Specifically, a rise of 16 percent translated into more than 74,000 additional vehicles on Greek roadways. A 37.8-percent decrease had been reported for the same period of 2008.

    [21] Stocks end 3.40% up

    Share prices rebounded at the Athens Stock Exchange a half hour before closing on Friday to fix the composite index of the market at 1,991.22 points. The up tick reversed a dismal week-long slide for the Athens bourse. The index ended 3.40 pct higher, with turnover a moderate 242.8 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index was up by 4.59 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 1.50 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.49 pct up. Banks (7.14 pct) and Travel (4.01 pct) sectors scored gains, while Commerce (0.80 pct) and Foods & Beverages (0.22 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 136 to 51 with another 39 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: +2.45%

    Commercial: -0.80%

    Construction: +1.74%

    Media: +0.28%

    Oil & Gas: +1.95%

    Personal & Household: +0.34%

    Raw Materials: +3.65%

    Travel & Leisure: +4.01%

    Technology: +2.31%

    Telecoms: +0.57%

    Banks: +7.14%

    Food & Beverages: -0.22%

    Health: +0.21%

    Utilities: +0.17%

    Chemicals: +1.12%

    Financial Services: +1.24%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 6.60

    ATEbank: 1.52

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.15

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.90

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.30

    National Bank of Greece: 13.78

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 6.11

    Intralot: 3.48

    OPAP: 16.60

    OTE: 8.82

    Bank of Piraeus: 5.90

    Titan: 19.79

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased on Friday to 399 basis points from 429 basis points on Thursday in the Greek electronic secondary bond market, with the Greek bond yielding 7.13 pct and the German Bund 3.14 pct. Turnover in the market totaled 746 million euros, of which 336 million were buy orders and the remaining 410 million euros were sell orders. The ten-year bond (June 19, 2020) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 140 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.24 pct, the six-month rate 0.99 pct, the three-month rate 0.71 pct and the one-month rate 0.48 pct.

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount 1.55 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday with turnover rising to 93.018 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 16,695 contracts worth 78.985 million euros, with 25,228 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,805 contracts, worth 14.033 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,151), followed by Alpha Bank (2,023), Eurobank (1,863), Piraeus Bank (1,371), Marfin Popular Bank (1,235), Bank of Cyprus (545), OTE (309) and MIG (308).

    [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.349

    Pound sterling 0.878

    Danish kroner 7.502

    Swedish kroner 9.771

    Japanese yen 126.34

    Swiss franc 1.447

    Norwegian kroner 8.0

    Canadian dollar 1.357

    Australian dollar 1.449

    General News

    [25] Patriarch Kirill on formal visit to Alexandria Patriarchate

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA / N. Katsikas)

    Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will begin a three-day official visit to the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa on Saturday.

    The head of the Russian Church will visit the Patriarchate in Alexandria at noon on Saturday shortly after his arrival at the city's international airport and will be received by Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa.

    On Sunday, they will officiate in a mass at the Annunciation Cathedral in Alexandria where Patriarch Kirill will receive the Grand Cross of Apostle Mark the Evangelist, the supreme honorary distinction awarded by the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

    Following a formal luncheon at the Patriarchate at noon on Sunday, the two Patriarchs will depart for Cairo.

    On Monday, the last day of his visit, the Patriarch of Moscow will meet with Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Sheikh of al-Azhar Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb.

    Before departing for Moscow, Kirill, accompanied by the Patriarch of Alexandria, will visit the historical Monastery of St George in the Old City of Cairo.

    [26] Cairo conference on return of stolen antiquities: Countries unit for repatriation of looted cultural heritage

    Twenty-six countries, among them Greece, have joined forces in a coordinated campaign for the return of their stolen antiquities, during an international conference in Cairo this week on recovering stolen ancient artefacts from abroad attended by antiquities officials, deputy culture ministers and museum directors.

    The first step of the initiative is to draft a catalogue containing the priority stolen antiquities that the countries are demanding be repatriated, while the conference delegates also discussed proposals and recommendations that will be submitted to United Nations' cultural body, UNESCO, aiming at amendment of a 1970 convention banning the ownership or export of stolen antiquities acquired after that date in order to facilitate the repatriation of the antiquities to their countries of origin.

    Seven delegate countries -- Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Libya, Nigeria, Peru and Syria -- of the 22 countries in attendance at the Cairo conference, have already submitted their lists with the antiquities designated as "top priority" they seek to be returned, while the remaining countries have a month to submit their own lists, according to Egypt's antiquities chief Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the country's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

    For Greece, the priority continues to be the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum, which it has been campaigning for over the past 30 years.

    Announcing the expanded campaign at a joint press conference with the officials from the US, Greece and Italy, Hawass noted that "Greece was fighting alone, and Italy was fighting alone", but "now, for the first time, we are united...we will fight together".

    Greece's representative Elena Korka, who heads the country's cultural heritage protection directorate, told reporters that the Cairo conference "shows the importance many countries place on this matter and enables us to join forces".

    [27] Thessaloniki prosecutor orders urgent probe on infant's death

    The First Instance Court Prosecutor in Thessaloniki ordered on Friday an urgent preliminary investigation on the death of a one-year-old baby boy from the northwest city of Kozani last month to determine the causes that led to his death and file charges against anyone responsible.

    The parents of the baby, who died in Thessaloniki's "Ippokrateio" Hospital from dehydration, had filed a lawsuit against any party responsible on April 1.

    Two weeks earlier, the infant had been vaccinated against hepatitis and shortly afterwards it had exhibited symptoms of gastroenteritis. The incident could not be treated in the hospitals of Kozani and Ptolemaida, because they do not have paediatric wards, so the baby was taken to the Veria Hospital, where the doctors had diagnosed gastroenteritis. The parents took the child to the Special Infections Hospital in Thessaloniki before rushing it to the Children's Clinic ICU at the "Ippokrateio" Hospital, where he died.

    [28] Man arrested for drug dealing in Hania

    The Hania (eastern Crete) Drug Squad arrested on Friday a 54-year-old local man for drug dealing.

    Acting on a tip-off, police raided the man's house and found 3.550 kg of cannabis. The drugs were hidden in small barrels which the suspect used to store animal fodder in a forestal area near his house in the region of Apokoronas.

    Police officers also found a precision scale and 530 euros in cash from drug dealing.

    The 54-year-old man has a criminal record for drug dealing.

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Cloudy, rainy on Saturday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 4C and 20C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 9C to 19C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 8C to 18C.

    [30] The Friday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glance

    The dire condition in the economy and skyrocketing Greek 10-year bond spreads -- 463 basis points -- together with the bourse's "nosedive" and high-profile comments by ECB President Jean Claude Trichet mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens ' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Trichet's explicit statement: 'No bankruptcy issue for Greece '."

    APOGEVMATINI: "Government's mishandlings, incessant mistakes and vague EU support plan drive spreads crazy".

    AVGHI: "Greek people's sacrifices being lost in spreads".

    AVRIANI: "Greek banks take bold initiative to save country from IMF's grip".

    ETHNOS: "Corrections in proof of standards of living, taxes - 30 changes in tax bill ".

    ELEFTHEROS: "PM George Papandreou dances to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's tune - Ankara dictates and Athens carries out".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Secret moves towards IMF."

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Speculators unstoppable - Derailment of spread exceeded every limit in Greek bonds".

    ESTIA: New changes in taxes - Government's unprecedented shoddiness".

    IMERISSIA: "Suffocating pressure on markets - Spreads drive us to EU-IMF".

    KATHIMERINI: "Black Thursday and IMF, EU on horizon - Athens awaits Brussels to determine details of rescue mechanism".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Trichet: " Greece not threatened with bankruptcy".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Ruthless attack against people as spreads skyrocket".

    TA NEA: "23 changes in taxes - Who loses, who gains - The final plan".

    VIMA: "Government prepares counter-attack with reforms - Jean Claude Trichet's intervention acts as life jacket".

    VRADYNI: "Shock with spreads - They're pressing government to activate the support mechanism".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [31] Archbishop to convey a message by Cyprus President to Turkish PM

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II will convey a message by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayiip Erdogan during their meeting later this month in Istanbul.

    The Archbishop met on Friday with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, in view of his visits to Brussels and Istanbul.

    In statements after the meeting, he said that President Christofias asked him to convey a message to the Turkish prime minister but did not wish to reveal what about this message is.

    Chrysostomos said that he listened to Christofias' views with which he fully agrees and that they both wish his meeting with Erdogan will be successful for the sake of Cyprus and its people.

    Responding to questions, Chrysostomos noted that fact that Erdogan does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and that he is not a politician it is easier for the Turkish premier to listen to his own and other views that he will convey to him.

    On his part, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that the government sends various messages either by expressing them in public or by conveying them through other ways to Turkey. He also said that the government wants to make use of every such opportunity.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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