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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-04-21

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

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

Wednesday, 21 April 2010 Issue No: 3473

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin presents next stage of economic policy plan
  • [02] Gov't on euro assistance mechanism, IMF
  • [03] ND: Gov't turned deficit crisis in major borrowing crisis
  • [04] Socialist group leader on loaning system to Greece
  • [05] President receives central bank governor
  • [06] President meet Transparency International Chair
  • [07] Deputy FM Kouvelis' talks in NY
  • [08] Dep. Min. Sifounakis attends EU meeting of Telecommunications and the Information Society
  • [09] Greece following EU policy on volcanic cloud, gov't says
  • [10] Air traffic shutdown causes cancellations in Athens hotels
  • [11] Defence ministry on political protection problems
  • [12] Greece raises 1.95 bln euros from T-bill issue
  • [13] Greek-German energy cooperation mulled, conference told
  • [14] Current accounts deficit significantly up in Jan-Feb
  • [15] Unemployment at 11.3pct in January
  • [16] ADEDY urges strong turnout for Thursday strike
  • [17] Hospital doctors in Athens and Piraeus on 48-hour strike
  • [18] Retailers: Activate support mechanism immediately
  • [19] Greek presence at Shanghai World Expo detailed
  • [20] Stocks end 0.91% up
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [24] Terrorist group's main arms cache discovered in safehouse in Kypseli
  • [25] "Found underneath a tree root ...Ancient Greek Coin Hoards" exhibition opens at Athens Numismatic Museum
  • [26] Thessaloniki Book Fair opens Thursday, Chinese, Turkish works featured
  • [27] Four Bulgarian nationals killed in road accident outside Kozani
  • [28] Foreign nationals arrested for possession of counterfeit notes
  • [29] Cloudy, rainy on Wednesday
  • [30] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [31] President: Difficulties ahead as regards Cyprus issue
  • [32] FM says efforts for a settlement will be harder after Eroglu's ''election''
  • [33] Miliband: UK supports federation and continuation of Cyprus talks
  • [34] UK and USA call on Eroglu to continue Cyprus talks Politics

  • [01] FinMin presents next stage of economic policy plan

    A new framework of fiscal management, promoting privatizations, deregulating services markets and the opening of so-called closed professions are included in a new package of government actions, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister also said his ministry will introduce a single payment authority in the public sector, integrating all payroll spending in the public sector. The first phase of this plan will include all government ministries in the first half of the year, to include municipalities and public sector enterprises by the end of 2010.

    A new fiscal management framework will include drafting of three-year budgets from government ministries and hiring auditing firms to monitor the execution of state budgets. Papaconstantinou said two auditors will be placed in every ministry and every pension fund and state hospitals to help in the proper execution of budgets plans.

    The finance minister said the government's aim was to save the economy and to restore the country's credibility. He presented a series of ministry initiatives and actions aimed at restoring economic stability, transparency and fair distribution, while he offered a detailed report of the government's actions during its seven months in office. He said there were very positive results in the country's public finances in the first quarter of the year and added he was cautiously optimistic over the success of this year's budget. Papaconstantinou said the government would introduce a permanent consultation mechanism with all agencies and unions.

    Commenting on a visit by an IMF delegation in the Finance ministry, Papaconstantinou said he was expecting to receive the delegation's recommendations and to publish them soon afterwards.

    The minister will travel to the US to attend an IMF meeting in the weekend and said talks with a 20-member delegation from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund over the framework of a joint support mechanism for Greece will last at least 10 days and dismissed recent press reports over additional measures. He clarified that Greece would not begin a roadshow in the US to promote a US-dollar bond issue, as the government has not yet reached a decision on the timing of such a move.

    He said measures taken so far, more than covered a target to cut the fiscal deficit by four percentage points of GDP this year, while he categorically dismissed reports that the four-party talks would discuss a plan to restructuring the country's public debt.

    Papaconstantinou said a decision to activate the support mechanism for Greece would depend on the progress between the government and the three organizations and stressed that activation procedures would be direct allowing the country to borrow from the Eurozone and the IMF on the short-term covering its borrowing needs for May (less than 10 billion euros).

    The minister attributed a widening of the Greek bond yield spread to uncertainties over the support mechanism, market's concerns over the medium-term trend of the public debt and to speculative moves in the market.

    He also sounded cautiously optimistic that economic growth rates would not be as bad as initially estimated by analysts and stressed that informal economy would act as a pillow to protect the country from a recession.

    [02] Gov't on euro assistance mechanism, IMF

    "The government makes all necessary decisions, if and when they are needed, keeping in mind the public and national interest while ensuring that the terms will be favourable for society," government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said Tuesday.

    "Talks are being held to have the European support mechanism ready if and when it is needed," he said, adding that "we want the terms to be clear cut and be familiar with them in advance, in case we will have to activate the mechanism."

    Responding to a question on whether there are "red lines" that cannot be crossed as regards the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said the only "red line" is the public interest, adding that "the government seeks to defend it with the terms that will be discussed and the preparations that are being made.

    Petalotis said the participation of IMF was not suggested by Greece, stressing that it was decided by the eurozone countries. He also said that as European Socialists "we had a different proposal, in which the IMF was not included ... we requested and sought a purely European solution."

    The government spokesman stated that it is "inappropriate" and "rather misleading" to compare Greece with other countries that have resorted to the IMF, considering that they did not do that through a European support mechanism.

    He also characterised "as naive, at best" the position according to which the government placed the IMF option "on the table", and clarified that this is not a direct recourse to the IMF considering that the European support mechanism has been approved.

    Responding to a relevant press question, he said Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou will attend an annual IMF meeting and will not enter into any negotiations.

    [03] ND: Gov't turned deficit crisis in major borrowing crisis

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos emphasised on Tuesday that "the prime minister received a debt and deficit crisis from the (preceding) ND government and transformed it into a borrowing crisis, with Greece now called on to pay during this difficult period."

    "Recourse to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) underscores the total failure of the prime minister's moves," Panagiotopoulos stated, adding that "the public debt and deficit were not created in the last five and a half years ... the biggest share of the responsibility belongs to the governments headed by PASOK."

    "Those who see the IMF as an alternative mechanism for cheap loans are not in contact with reality," he said, pointing out that "it is the terms set by the IMF that matter and not its interest rates."

    Panagiotopoulos characterised as positive the fact that the sale of 3-month T-bills raised 1.95 billion euros, adding nevertheless that the auction witnessed a sharp increase in the interest rate spread, at 3.65 percent from the previous 1.67 percent.

    Finally, he said unemployment rate in January 2010 skyrocketed to 11.3 pct, and stressed that the "non-existent policy" in the construction sector has resulted to thousands of jobs being lost.

    [04] Socialist group leader on loaning system to Greece

    STRASBOURG (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)

    The head of the Socialist group at the European Parliament Martin Schulz termed the loaning system to Greece with a 5 percent interest rate an "unacceptable mechanism."

    Addressing the Plenum during the questions hour, he underlined that according to the "non rescue clause" known as "Bail out" a country is not obliged to assume the debts of another country, and also it does not have the right to "obtain profits due to the debt of another country."

    Schultz made special reference to Germany and to the profits that it will obtain participating in the loaning with 5 percent, while it borrows with 3 percent itself.

    Addressing Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, he asked him if "he is willing to accept this absolutely unacceptable mechanism or raise the issue for discussion with (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel and (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy."

    Barroso replied that he discussed "for many weeks" this issue with the heads of state and government.

    [05] President receives central bank governor

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos, who expressed optimism that, with the sums of money that will be available to Greece if it decides to activate the EU support mechanism for the economy and with the presence of the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), confidence will be restored and Greece will be able to restore the country's crediblity and exit from a problem cycle into a virtuous cycle.

    On the developments in the Greek economy, the central bank chief said that the events were unfortunately not heading in a good direction, given that the markets continue to be disbelieving towards Greece and see that the numbers are bad, in the sence that the country's borrowing needs will be high in the coming years, just like this year, "and this creates the impression that our debt will tend to grow, and this is something that the markets do not like".

    [06] President meet Transparency International Chair

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received Huguette Labelle, Chair of the global non-governmental organisation Transparency International, who was accompanied by the head of TI's Greek section Constantine Bakouris.

    Labelle is currently visiting Athens for the 13th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) taking place in the city.

    [07] Deputy FM Kouvelis' talks in NY

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    The role and contribution of Greeks abroad in the growth of the Greek economy was at the focus of talks between deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis and Greek-American businessmen and local Greek organisations in New York on Tuesday.

    "A major effort is being made by the present government in order to overcome the crisis and enter a new period of development," Kouvelis said during a press conference later, stressing that the Greeks abroad are "the vehicle for intensification of economic cooperation between Greece and the US".

    Kouvelis, who represented the Greek government in celebrations in NY marking the March 25 anniversary celebrations and the traditional Greek Parade last Sunday on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and also held a series of meetings with local businessmen and state and city officials, said that the government's target is to present the true picture of Greece and the real facts on the state of the Greek economy, as well as the government's initiatives to embark on a new developmental course for the country.

    On his talks with business representatives, Kouvelis said they examined the prospect of promoting increased economic cooperation, noting that economic diplomacy is one of the foreign ministry's areas of authority, with the aim of promoting investments in Greece.

    Kouvelis was also received by Archbishop Demetrios of America, while he further met with UN Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holms, with whom he discuss cooperation through the multinational developmental aid provided by Greece.

    He said he briefed Holms on Greece's own initiatives and priorities, while they also discussed ways in which the two sides can work together to enhance the effectiveness of the cooperation.

    On the state of the economy more generally, Kouvelis stressed that the Greek government was making a major effort so that a support mechanism will be in place that can be activated if needed, noting that this had a dual meaning: First of all, the government has succeeded in putting forward the fact that Greece is not an isolated case but that the issue concerns the entire European Union and the eurozone, and secondly that a mechanism-shield for Greece exists against the speculation that has made the situation very difficult for the country.

    From there on, the government will decide if that mechanism will be activated, and this will depend on the markets' response, he added.

    [08] Dep. Min. Sifounakis attends EU meeting of Telecommunications and the Information Society

    The EU Informal Ministerial Meeting of Telecommunications and the Information Society held in Granada, Spain on April 18-20 was completed with the issuing of a ministerial declaration that focused on the adoption of a new digital strategy for Europe to succeed the i2010 initiative.

    Addressing the meeting, Infrastructure, Transportation and Networks Deputy Minister Nikos Sifounakis stated that high speed infrastructures are important for financial profits and therefore investments in new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) must be promoted. He also underlined the need to safeguard the security of networks and information.

    [09] Greece following EU policy on volcanic cloud, gov't says

    Greece is following the common European policy on the volcanic dust cloud, Greek government spokesman George Petalotis said on Tuesday when asked if the government had taken any special measures.

    Petalotis said that a set of rules was being followed, which established a restricted zone forbidding flights every six hours, using confirmed data collected by satellites.

    In the meantime, he added, the foreign ministry had sent out a circular to all consular authorities abroad, asking them to monitor the situation and assist any Greek citizens stranded in airports outside Greece.

    [10] Air traffic shutdown causes cancellations in Athens hotels

    A volcanic ash cloud that has paralysed air traffic throughout northern and northwestern Europe has caused increased cancellations of hotel reservations in Athens over the past few days, Yiannis Retsos, president of the Association of Hoteliers in the Athens-Attica region, said on Tuesday.

    Retsos said the negative development is another blow to the Greek capital's tourism season, while he stressed that early forecasts of a 6-8 pct drop in tourism revenues are "particularly optimistic".

    Travel industry officials also said that travel enterprises were largely frustrated with current developments, as more than 950 flights have been cancelled in just a few days in the country, while more than 100 buses were currently dispatched to other parts of Europe to transport stranded Greek tourists and school pupils on educational holidays.

    [11] Defence ministry on political protection problems

    The Defence ministry's political and military leadership gave a press conference at noon on Tuesday on the plan prepared by the Armed Forces regarding their contribution with special units to the handling of political protection problems.

    Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that it is a package of forces that the Armed Forces have for emergencies in the framework of the political leadership's clear priority on developing social work on their behalf, given that national sovereignty is now identified with the ability to manage crises.

    In this framework, the three sectors of the Armed Forces provide 774 persons, permanent staff, whose training was completed recently, who are ready to respond to any emergency that they will be called on to tackle by the Political Protection Secretariat.

    In full deployment, the package of forces approaches in equal size those provided by the Fire Brigade Corps, about 7,831 persons.

    Forces participating in forest firefighting include, among others, two Chinook helicopters, while the total number of aircraft and helicopters that will be provided for this year's firefighting period amounts to 40, a figure that will increase according to air transport needs.

    Financial News

    [12] Greece raises 1.95 bln euros from T-bill issue

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a three-month T-bill issue, raising 1.95 billion euros from the market. Bids submitted totaled 6.92 billion euros, or 4.6 times more than the asked price of 1.5 billion euros, while the interest rate of the issue was set at 3.65 pct, sharply up from the 1.67-pct rate of the previous auction of three-month T-bills in January.

    [13] Greek-German energy cooperation mulled, conference told

    Energy and climate change secretary general Costas Mathioudakis announced imminent Greek-German collaborations in the energy sector, during a one-day conference of the Hellenic-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry on "Aeolic (wind) energy in the Greek market and developments" held in Athens on Tuesday.

    Vice-president of the Energy Regulatory Authority Theodoros Panagos stressed the importance of simplifying the procedures for accelerating the penetration of renewable energy sources (RES), urging that attention be turned to the speedy upgrading of the networks, adding that a relevant ministerial decision will be signed in a few weeks' time.

    He also stressed the importance of activating local societies, aimed at speedier penetration of RES and the need to record all the prospective state land expanses that could be used for such business activity.

    Dr. Dimitris Kanellopoulos, director of the Public Power Corporation (PPC)-RES's aeolic energy division said the company's target over the next three years is to incorporate 223MW in RES into the country's energy grid either on its own or through collaborations, and to expand its role in SE Europe in order to enrich its portfolio with new, major works.

    He also noted that, as of this year, PPC-RES is active in the sector of biomass, while in 2009, its units produced 304 GW hours in energy, marking a 49 percent increase over 2008.

    [14] Current accounts deficit significantly up in Jan-Feb

    Greece's current accounts deficit widened significantly in the first two months of the year, totaling 7.0 billion euros, up 50.8 pct compared with the corresponding period in 2009, the Bank of Greece announced on Tuesday.

    The central bank, in its report, said this development mainly reflected reduced EU money transfers to the Greek government (411 million euros in 2010, down from 2.3 billion euros last year).

    The country's trade deficit rose by 167 million euros, reflecting higher spending on fuel imports, while the trade deficit - excluding ships and fuel - fell by 326 million euros, with imports down 11.6 pct and exports down 14.8 pct.

    The services surplus fell by 129 million euros, reflecting lower net revenues from transport services, with travel spending from non-residents up 1.0 pct in the January-February period, while travel spending by Greeks fell 8.6 pct.

    The incomes deficit shrank by 50 million euros compared with the same period in 2009, as net payments on interest, dividends and earnings fell 3.2 pct, while the current transfers balance showed a deficit of 628 million euros after a surplus of 1.469 billion euros in the same period in 2009.

    Foreign direct investments recorded a net outflow of 98 million euros in the January-February period, while the portfolio investment category recorded a net capital inflow of 1.3 billion euros. The other investments category recorded a net capital inflow of 5.5 billion euros.

    [15] Unemployment at 11.3pct in January

    The unemployment rate in January 2010 rose to 11.3% compared to 9,4% in January 2009 and 10.2% in December 2009, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Hellenic Statistica Authority (ELSTAT).

    The number of employed stood at 4,445,743 in January while the number of unemployed amounted to 567,132 and the number of inactive to 4,276,258.

    The number of employed decreased by 39,272 persons compared to January 2009 (a 0.9% rate of decrease) and by 11,914 persons compared to December 2009 (a 0.3% rate of decrease).

    Unemployed increased by 101,440 persons (a 21.8% rate of increase) compared to January 2009 and by 62,022 persons compared to December 2009 (a 12.3% rate of

    [16] ADEDY urges strong turnout for Thursday strike

    The civil service umbrella union ADEDY on Tuesday urged all public-sector unions and workers to turn out in force for the strike declared on Thursday, April 22, and attend strike rallies on that day. It said that tours and meetings were being held in the work places of most of its members in order to prepare the strike.

    An ADEDY announcement stressed that public sector staff were continuing and escalating their struggle with the demand that the rich and powerful be called to pay for the crisis, not just the workers, and for the government to withdraw anti-popular measures that drastically reduced income and added to the tax burden.

    They also demanded a withdrawal of a draft pension system reform bill that will greatly reduce pensions and raise retirement age, calling for measures to support the social insurance funds of the public sector.

    Twenty-seven public and private-sector trade unions, including the local authority staff union federation POE-OTA or the civil aviation authority union, have so far decided to participate in the strike called by ADEDY, as well as the Union of Civil Servants Organisations of Thessaloniki.

    [17] Hospital doctors in Athens and Piraeus on 48-hour strike

    Hospital doctors in Athens and Piraeus will go on a 48-hour strike on Wednesday and Thursday, reacting to reduced funds for shifts of up to 20 and 30 percent, as they are claiming.

    Hospitals will operate with skeleton staff, while the doctors are demanding the full implementation of the collective labour agreement that they had signed with the Health ministry's previous leadership.

    They are also calling for the beginning of consultations on the new collective agreement. On the question of shifts, they said that go slow work will continue for as long as money is not paid, but they admitted that in most hospitals the shifts for December have been paid and in many for January as well.

    [18] Retailers: Activate support mechanism immediately

    The Federation of Hellenic Retail Enterprises (SEL.PE) on Tuesday said recent unfavourable developments for Greece in international capital markets are making recourse to a eurozone support mechanism " inevitable and necessary", while the group urged the government to seek activation of the mechanism as soon as possible.

    In an announcement, SELPE said talks with the IMF over a new package of measures should focus on reducing state spending and overspending, in tandem with expanding the tax base and combating tax evasion.

    The federation also called for the adoption of short-term measures to boost economic activity in order to exit the current recession. It said medium- to long-term measures are also needed to strengthen the country's productive base and to boost growth rates.

    [19] Greek presence at Shanghai World Expo detailed

    Greece on Tuesday said it would cut, by 40 pct, its budget for the country's official participation at the upcoming Shanghai World Expo 2010, specifically, from 12 million to seven million euros, although efforts will be made without affecting the quality of its presence, Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli said Tuesday.

    Addressing an event regarding Greece's presence at the international trade fair between May 1 and Oct. 31, 2010, the Greek minister said the government's aim was to take advantage of such opportunities to promote the country on a global scale.

    A three-axis plan for the Greek national participation at the World Expo includes economic actions to promote investment opportunities and the export of product and services; highlighting Greek shipping as a tool of dynamic cooperation between Greece and China; and thirdly, cultural and tourism development actions.

    Prime Minister George Papandreou will visit Shanghai on the occasion of Greek Day, on June 19.

    [20] Stocks end 0.91% up

    Stocks ended moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index of the market rose 0.91 pct to end at 1,961.86 points, with turnover a moderate 170.257 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.98 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.45 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.58 pct. The Health (3.61 pct) and Media (2.25 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Commerce (3.84 pct) and Oil (1.82 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 88 to 80 with another 59 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: +1.11%

    Commercial: -3.84%

    Construction: +0.77%

    Media: +2.25%

    Oil & Gas: -1.82%

    Personal & Household: +1.27%

    Raw Materials: +1.63%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.90%

    Technology: +0.08%

    Telecoms: +1.17%

    Banks: +1.21%

    Food & Beverages: -0.43%

    Health: +3.61%

    Utilities: -0.28%

    Chemicals: -0.42%

    Financial Services: +1.38%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alapis, Alpha Bank and OPAP.

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

    Alpha Bank: 6.60

    ATEbank: 1.43

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.06

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.61

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.91

    National Bank of Greece: 12.70

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 6.24

    Intralot: 3.52

    OPAP: 17.29

    OTE: 8.67

    Bank of Piraeus: 6.15

    Titan: 19.72

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    Ôhe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to a new record of 492 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 461 bps the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.68 pct and the German Bund 3.08 pct. Turnover in the market shrank to 286 million euros, of which 115 million were buy orders and the remaining 181 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (June 19, 2020) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 100 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely 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.

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.28 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover a low 50.790 million euros. Volume on the Big cap index totaled 8,769 contracts worth 41.352 million euros, with 25,653 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,868 contracts, worth 9.438 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,452), followed by Eurobank (527), MIG (1,768), Piraeus Bank (779), Alpha Bank (976), Cyprus Bank (243), Hellenic Postbank (574) and ATEbank (849).

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.359

    Pound sterling 0.883

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 9.722

    Japanese yen 126.32

    Swiss franc 1.444

    Norwegian kroner 8.011

    Canadian dollar 1.377

    Australian dollar 1.459

    General News

    [24] Terrorist group's main arms cache discovered in safehouse in Kypseli

    Police discovered the Revolutionary Struggle terrorist group's main arms cache late Monday night, in a safehouse in the central Athens district of Kypseli.

    The safehouse, in a 5th-floor apartment on Aeginis street in close proximity to the Evelpidon court complex, is believed by police to house most, if not all, of the group's weaponry, including explosives.

    The building was evacuated by police for precautionary reasons, and the tenants were put up at hotels, while the immediate vicinity has been cordoned off, until the arms and materials have been removed.

    Although no official announcement has been made by police as of Tuesday morning, police sources said that the finds are "very significant" and announcements could be made later in the day.

    The apartment, which police sources said was used by the suspects arrested 10 days earlier (April 11) in a coordinated dawn police swoop on several other safehouses, is believed to be the group's main safehouse.

    The apartment was rented in the name of "Anastassios Grivokostopoulos", one of the aliases appearing on three fake ID's found in the car of one of the six suspects, Costas Gournas, in the Nea Philadelphia district last week.

    All six suspects have been jailed pending trial.

    The Greek police counter-terrorism squad on Saturday announced the discovery of an apartment and of a basement garage containing a saller cache of explosives in a Karea-area apartment block that were being used by 'Revolutionary Struggle'. Police sources said the garage in the basement of 54 V. Antoniadou Street in Kareas was found on Saturday afternoon and had been leased in November 2007 under the name 'Dimosthenis Mandalozis'. This was also the name on a fake ID found two days earlier in Gournas' car. Inside the garage, police found 180 kilos of the explosive ANFO, the same explosive used in many hits by the terrorist organisation. These were contained in three 20-litre gas canisters, each about half full, and four 75-litre cans originally holding olive oil, of which two were full, as well as a green plastic bin liner containing another 15 kilos of ANFO.

    [25] "Found underneath a tree root ...Ancient Greek Coin Hoards" exhibition opens at Athens Numismatic Museum

    The Athens Numismatic Museum is hosting a temporary exhibition titled "Found underneath a tree root Ancient Greek Coin Hoards", which opens Tuesday and will run through December 31.

    The exhibition aspires to convey the visitor from the mythology surrounding the ancient treasures to the richness of the ancient coin hoards kept at the Numismatic Museum. Emphasis is given on the conditions of their discovery, the causes behind their concealment as well as any information derived for their initial owners.

    Ancient hoards, buried inside walls, beneath floors, inside caves, in secret locations or elsewhere, are connected with historical events, offer information on the phenomenon of savings and attest to matters of coin circulation in Greece, focusing on savings at a time before banks and banking systems.

    Twenty-one ancient Greek coin hoards (5th - 1st cent. BC) from the Museum's collections are on display in the exhibition. They contain 3,644 electrum, gold, silver, silver-plated and bronze coins. Two hoards from Epidaurus and Thebes, on loan from the IV and IX Ephorates of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities respectively, consisting of 549 coins and 498 pieces of gold jewellery, are also included in the presentation.

    The Numismatic Museum of Athens, with a history going back to 1829, is one of the few of its kind in the world and the only such museum in the Balkans. It provides continuous educational support for Hellenism in terms of numismatics, history and art history.

    The strength of the Museum's permanent collection lies in some six hundred thousand coins covering the ancient Greek world, the Roman and Byzantine periods, western Medieval times and modern times, "hoards" (closed numismatic groups), weights, lead stamps, medals and precious stones. About ten thousand volumes devoted to the special field of numismatics, to history, to seals and to archaeology, as well as offprints, fascicles, and general publications cover the archaeological material.

    In addition there is an extraordinarily rich archive of documents. The Iliou Melathron (The Palace of Ilion), the home of Heinrich Schliemann, which houses the Numismatic Museum, is a work of the German architect Ernst Ziller in the style of buildings of the Italian Renaissance adapted to the neoclassical spirit of the late 19th century. The building was inaugurated on January 10, 1881.

    The walls inside are decorated with wall paintings copying Pompeian themes and the finds of Schliemann at Troy and Mycenae. With many activities, such as scientific and informative publications (in printed as well as electronic form), cycles of educational lectures, lectures, symposia, the organisation of periodic and occasional exhibitions, educational programmes, participation in international programmes, the Museum is a centre of research and attraction for scholars and for the wider public. Conservation of metal objects belonging to the Museum and coins from the excavations of the Archaeological Ephorates is conducted in the fully equipped laboratory.

    The exhibition of the objects, provided with electronic support, is organised to show various themes (history of the Museum, donors, life and work of Heinrich Schliemann, the architect of the Iliou Melathron, an introduction to numismatics, the mints of Athens and of Alexander the Great, Greek colonisation, numismatic "hoards", portrait heads, statues and coins, mythological representations, buildings, fauna, flora, etc.).

    [26] Thessaloniki Book Fair opens Thursday, Chinese, Turkish works featured

    The 7th Thessaloniki Book Fair (TBF) will open its doors in the northern Greek city's HELEXPO exhibition facilities on Thursday The book fair will end on Sunday, April 25.

    The TBF is an annual international book fair that has been held for the past six years. The 2010 fair expects some 500 publishers and 151 authors from 24 countries, who will present their ideas, proposals and finished products. According to the head of the National Book Centre Katrin Velissari, the TBF did not this year escape the impact of the Greek and global economic crisis and is smaller than in previous years but she stressed that the cuts "are in quantity, not quality".

    Another problem that arose were the unexpected obstacles to travel, due to the volcanic dust cloud from Iceland.

    China will be the guest of honour at this year's fair, while the theme of the featured exhibition will be "Antiquity and us".

    This will use Greek publications - including 18 rare, antique volumes contributed by Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University - to illustrate the interaction between ancient and contemporary civilisations.

    Exhibits, book presentations, round table discussions and numerous parallel events will be organised to attract the public and make their visit to the fair a more valuable experience. These will include events on teen literature and the 'Gourmet Corner', with books and lectures on gastronomy.

    The book fair will be inaugurated by Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos.

    China as guest of honour

    The pavilion set up by China is expected to be another major drawing point for book fair, with a team of 200 people employed to set up some 3,000 publications and other exhibits on its 500-square-metre national stand.

    With the slogan "Tradition and Innovation", the Chinese stand is organised by the Chinese Culture ministry and Beijing Book Fair to highlight both China's vast market of 1.5 billion people and its role as a country steeped in tradition and history.

    Turkish authors showcased

    Meanwhile, nine authors from Turkey will be in Thessaloniki to participate at the International Book Fair.

    The delegation aspires to contact local publishing houses to have Turkish works translated into Greek, Heyamola publishing house representative and author Omer Asan told ANA-MPA.

    The authors, whose books will be presented in the book fair, participate in the Istanbulum programme implemented by Heyamola publishers in cooperation with the Organization Istanbul Cultural Capital of Europe 2010. A total of 40 books by different authors have been published within the framework of the programme and each one of them is inspired by an Istanbul suburb.

    In addition, the authors of the Karadeniz (Black Sea) series, who will also attend the Thessaloniki book fair, will extend a hand of friendship and cooperation to the Greeks from the Black Sea region suggesting that they work together to revive the friendship and brotherhood shared by the two peoples.

    Rare books on show at Thessaloniki book fair

    Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University will contribute 18 rare books from the Trikoglou collection, shown in public for the first time, for an exhibition of rare books and manuscripts organised as part of the 7th International Book Fair being held at the Helexpo exhibition facilities on April 22-25.

    The exhibition is being organised by the National Book Centre and the Panhellenic Federation of Publishers and Paper Sellers. It includes rare books on ancient Greece and ancient Greek culture that is entitled "Antiquity and us".

    The Trikoglou collection is made up of some 12,000 volumes that are normally kept in the university's central library under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity, as well as 950 works of art that were exhibited roughly four years ago at the city's Telloglion Foundation.

    Among the 18 volumes to be exhibited on Thursday are "Greek Archaeology" by Grigorios Paliouritis published in 1815 or the first edition of "Fêtes et courtisanes de la Grèce" by one of the leading figures of the French Revolution Pierre Chaussard, as well as Depping's exquisitely illustrated "La Grèce" published in 1823.

    There will also be some of the world's first museum guides, such as "The Elgin and Phigalean Marbles" by the British Museum director Sir Henry Ellis (1846), 19th and 20th century books on archaeology written for children and historic photographs and engravings of ancient monuments.

    Rare Books on show

    Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University will contribute 18 rare books from the Trikoglou collection, shown in public for the first time, as part of the exhibition "Antiquity and us" that is being organised by the National Book Centre and the Panhellenic Federation of Publishers and Paper Sellers.

    The Trikoglou collection is made up of some 12,000 volumes that are normally kept in the university's central library under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity, as well as 950 works of art that were exhibited roughly four years ago at the city's Telloglion Foundation.

    Among the 18 volumes to be exhibited on Thursday are "Greek Archaeology" by Grigorios Paliouritis published in 1815 or the first edition of "Fêtes et courtisanes de la Grèce" by one of the leading figures of the French Revolution Pierre Chaussard, as well as Depping's exquisitely illustrated "La Grèce" published in 1823.

    There will also be some of the world's first museum guides, such as "The Elgin and Phigalean Marbles" by the British Museum director Sir Henry Ellis (1846), 19th and 20th century books on archaeology written for children and historic photographs and engravings of ancient monuments.

    [27] Four Bulgarian nationals killed in road accident outside Kozani

    Four Bulgarian nationals were killed in a car accident outside the city of Kozani, in northwest Greece.

    The 29-year-old driver, who was injured and is hospitalised, reportedly lost control of his vehicle due to slippery road conditions and crashed into a truck on Monday afternoon. The 44-year-old truck driver was not injured in the accident.

    Three of the victims, aged 20, 35 and 36, were killed at the scene, while the fourth victim, a 51-year-old man, succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday.

    [28] Foreign nationals arrested for possession of counterfeit notes

    Two foreign nationals were arrested in the environs of Nafplion on Tuesday after police found a cache of 10 counterfeit 50-euro notes inside a hidden compartment in a car owned by one of them. An inquiry is being carried out by the Nafplion police.

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Cloudy, rainy on Wednesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 4-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 6C and 22C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 13C to 21C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 10C to 19C.

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

    The discovery of the "Revolutionary Struggle" terrorist group'[s arms cache in a safehouse in the Athens district of Kypseli on Monday, the escalation of pressure on the market with the new skyrocketing of the spread, and the new social security system, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: ""Kallikratis local administration reform plan will provoke a civil war".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Ashes from the market and lava from the IMF - The die has been cast for the support mechanism after the new skyrocketing of the spread".

    AVGHI: "In the IMF's grips - Government determined to 'surrender' to IMF".

    AVRIANI: "IMF predators ready to devour Greece - The big looting begins".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos' 'operation disorientation' for laborers and pensioners".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Document on the scam - How they downrated our bonds".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Simple examples of what is awaiting the pensioners".

    ESTIA: "National 'rescue' government in order to politically undertake the weight of the measures".

    ETHNOS: "Blow against terrorism - Police discovered 'Revolutionary Struggle's' safehouse".

    IMERISSIA: "The recourse is a matter of time - Government ready to ask for help".

    KATHIMERINI: "The main safehouse full of weaponry and explosives discovered'.

    LOGOS: "The way ... opens for the recourse to the support mechanism".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "On the final stretch to the support mechanism".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Strike on 21 and 22 April against the austerity measures".

    TA NEA: "Police disarmed the terrorists - They found the main safehouse".

    TO VIMA: "Guns and rockets next to the courthouse".

    VRADYNI: "Environment Minister Tina Birbili's announcement on the penalties for illegally enclosed semi-balconies".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [31] President: Difficulties ahead as regards Cyprus issue

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has stressed that there will be difficulties as regards the efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus problem, after the victory of Dervis Eroglu in the illegal elections, which took place on Sunday in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    "It is clear that we will have difficulties. But I do not want to forejudge anything," the president told reporters on Tuesday evening, when asked to comment on the change of the Turkish Cypriot leadership.

    President Christofias expressed the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side for the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations, which were suspended due to the illegal elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    "We await. We are more than ready for a meeting with Mr. Eroglu at the negotiating table under UN auspices," he added.

    Asked if there was any information on behalf of the UN as to when the direct talks would resume, President Christofias said "the UN are consulting, Alexander Downer (the UN chief's Special Advisor for Cyprus) will go to the UN, which have already made their statement, which satisfies us."

    The president said that the government has already taken preventive measures, "by talking with the UN Secretary General and sending a letter to the EU and the UN."

    Concluding, he called for unity among the political parties in Cyprus to deal with the difficulties ahead.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Christofias has been engaged in UN-led talks with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, since September 2008, with a view to finding a negotiated settlement to reunify the country.

    [32] FM says efforts for a settlement will be harder after Eroglu's ''election''

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou has said that the situation with regard to efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus problem will be difficult after the illegal elections in Cyprus Turkish occupied areas. Dervis Eroglu won the ''elections'' on Sunday and is the new Turkish Cypriot leader.

    He noted however that if Turkey wants to follow the right policy then certainly the situation would be improved. He added that the government would have to send the message to the international community that the process of the negotiations must go on the same basis.

    Kyprianou stressed that the important thing is to explain that the negotiations must not begin from scratch but continue on the basis followed so far.

    He noted that the international community must take into consideration the sensitivities and concerns of the Greek Cypriot community, while he also stressed the crucial and determining role of Turkey in the negotiating process.

    "Turkey cannot hide any more behind Mr. (outgoing Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali) Talat. Turkey must assume its responsibilities and express its positions explicitly and officially as regards the settlement of the Cyprus problem," not only through statements and interviews, he added.

    He stressed that Turkey's role is decisive on the Cyprus issue and therefore it must be asked to express a clear position as regards the settlement of the Cyprus problem, the form of the solution and to be constructive as regards the negotiations. "It is time for Turkey to assume its responsibilities," he underlined.

    Asked about the issue of the regulation on direct trade between EU and Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas, Kyprianou said that if this issue has been promoted with a view to facilitate the opening of EU negotiating chapters with Turkey then this attempt will not be successful, whatever happens with this regulation.

    As he said, efforts to bring this regulation back to the table were wrong and that the Republic of Cyprus insists on these positions, irrelevant of who is the representative of the Turkish Cypriot side at the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.

    He noted that the so-called isolation can be resolved through a settlement of the Cyprus problem and all those who want to help towards this direction must focus on the talks and not on erratic tactics with which they undermine the outcome of the talks and which are illegal, according to the European and Cypriot law.

    Replying to a question, Kyprianou said that he expected more from outgoing Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and the situation is becoming complicated after Eroglu's "election".

    "That is why I consider necessary that the attachment of the other side to the prospects for a settlement, the form and the basis of a settlement must be reconfirmed," he added.

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Talat began direct negotiations since September 2008 with a view to reach a settlement of the problem of Cyprus divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

    [33] Miliband: UK supports federation and continuation of Cyprus talks

    LONDON (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband has stressed the importance of the continuation of the UN-led direct talks on the Cyprus issue, noting that his country is committed to a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    "We are very committed to the process that is seeking the bizonal, bicommunal settlement of the Cyprus issue. We think that is the right way forward, we think it is the only way forward. We do not think the status quo is right basis for any agreement", Miliband stressed.

    In statements during a visit he paid to the Cypriot Council Center in London and invited to comment on the so called elections which took place Sunday in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, the British Foreign Secretary reiterated that his government does not recognise the illegal regime established in the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Noting that the UK government follows very closely the developments, Miliband said "you know that we do not recognise the TRNC and so we are very careful in what we say about different elections".

    "However", he went on to add, "I do know that Mr Eroglu (the new Turkish Cypriot leader) has committed himself to pursue a political settlement. He said his first visit is going to be to Ankara. I look forward to speak to him in due course".

    The British Foreign Secretary pointed out that it is very important that all commit to the continuation of the UN-led Cyprus talks.

    "Obviously, it is very important that the UN sponsored process continues. I think it is important that all sides continue to commit to that", he said.

    Miliband added that the solution of the Cyprus problem has to be made in Cyprus, "it can not be made in London, it can not be made anywhere else".

    "But we are determined to support all of the partners to a settlement and I think that is very important", he continued.

    Asked about the EU regulation on the direct trade between the Cyprus Republic's northern Turkish occupied areas and the EU, he noted that this is an important issue, adding "it has been brought forward by the European Commission. It has not come to the European states yet".

    "So we are going to wait to see the details", he concluded.

    [34] UK and USA call on Eroglu to continue Cyprus talks

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The UK and US Governments have called on the new Turkish Cypriot leader to continue negotiations aiming to find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Commenting on developments after Dervis Eroglu won Sunday's illegal elections in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, a Foreign Office spokesperson said in a written statement that "we look forward to the continuation of negotiations towards a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus following the pause in the talks for elections in the north of the island".

    "It is important to exploit this unique opportunity", he noted.

    According to a written statement issued by a State Department official "the United States congratulates Dervis Eroglu for his victory in elections held to select the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community".

    "We encourage him to continue the pursuit of a settlement that reunifies Cyprus into a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation through a process based on UN parameters including the leader's statements of May 23 and July 1, 2008", as he concludes.

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