|Friday, 13 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-07-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 16 July 2010 Issue No: 3542
 Bill on public-sector pension reforms passedThe draft bill for reforming the public-sector pension system was passed by Parliament on Thursday.
Articles 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 of the bill were voted on in a roll-call vote requested by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), while article 10 was voted on in a roll-call vote requested by the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party.
The amendment tabled on Thursday concerning armed forces staff was also voted on in a roll-call vote demanded by KKE and LAOS.
Of the 285 MPs present during the vote, 156 voted in favour (PASOK) and 128 opposition MPs voted against and one voted 'present'. Three independent MPs, including Kostas Kiltidis and Dora Bakoyannis, were absent.
 Amendment to pension system bill for armed forces personnelNational Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday accepted an amendment to the bill on the public-sector pension system, agreeing with a proposal to give armed forces personnel that enlisted on or before December 31, 1995 the option to pay contributions in order to buy an additional three years and thus reach the 40 years now required for a full pension under the new pension system requirements.
Unions representing salary earners in the private sector and employers' federations on Thursday signed a three-year national collective labour agreement envisaging a freeze in wages this year and pay rises equalling the average Eurozone inflation rate in July 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012 -- estimated at 1.5 pct and 1.7 pct, respectively.
The agreement also guarantees - to a certain extent - continuation of the so-called "13th and 14th" monthly salaries in the private sector by, terming them as regular payments. The agreement also underlines the will of social partners to promote measures, such as extending the unemployment subsidy period for long-term unemployed people and to create a solidarity account for long-term unemployed and low-income earners.
Speaking to reporters after the signing of the agreement, Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) President Dimitris Daskalo-poulos said the agreement highlights the will of the private sector to protect workers' income and to promote measures.
GSEE - Greece's largest trade union umbrella - president Yiannis Panagopoulos said the signing of the agreement was an act of responsibility and noted that GSEE achieved the largest possible gains in ensuring the 13th and 14th monthly salaries continue. He said the memorandum signed between Greece and the Commission-ECT-IMF "troika" acted as a "lever of pressure", while he underlined that the signing of the agreement kept alive the institution of collective bargaining, offering "a light at the end of the tunnel for the Greek economy."
Greek inflation rate was above 5.0 pct in May and June, while a pay freeze this year and pay rises at the Eurozone's average inflation rate in 2011 and 2012 will lead to a further reduction of wage-earners' purchasing power.
According to early calculations, minimum wages will be set at 750 euros as of July 1, 2011 and 763 euros from July 1, 2012.
 PM Papandreou hails signing of collective labour agreementPrime Minister George Papandreou, commenting on the signing of the new three-year Collective Labour Agreement, said "we hail the agreement achieved between the social partners. It is an important event, particularly in this period that the country, we Greeks, are being called on to face an unprecedented crisis."
The prime minister added that "in these difficult hours, the aim of all must be the exit from the crisis with confidence for all the Greek citizens and particularly for all those who have been harmed more by the crisis. As well as the shaping of necessary terms and preconditions for us to be led to a viable growth that will give us the possibility to build a State, a society, with social justice and dignity."
Papandreou concluded by saying "every initiative contributing to this direction and shaping conditions of social understanding, can only give us satisfaction. Our hope is for us to achieve the building of a wider social agreement as well, that will signal the determination of all for us to defend social cohesion and create a better future for us and our children. We are working for this."
 Symi Symposium comes to an endPrime Minister George Papandreou, speaking at the end of the Symi Symposium's sessions on the Saronic island of Poris on Thursday evening, sent a message of optimism, stressing that he is "much more optimistic and confident that Greece will soon be a country that will be much fairer, law-abiding, happier and its citizens will be more happy."
"In nine months that have passed, we succeeded what could not be succeeded. To both avoid bankruptcy and prove that Greece is a worthy country once again," he said.
As he said, both the international and the Greek crisis had certain common symptoms that were manifested with a crisis in established mentalities, in conceptions and practices, they strengthened corruption and impunity and tolerated social and economic injustice, adding that the law of the powerful and not the power of the law prevailed.
"All this brought us to the verge of poverty, particularly over the past six years of a conservative governance which invested in the pathogenies of the Greek economy and society to serve specific interests and petty party options that are contrary to the interests of the country," he further said.
Papandreou said that one of the government's important targets is "the change of the country's model that will link the word value with the word Greece, that will not mean corruption but absolute transparency."
Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz also addressed the closing session, stressing that he is impressed by the way that Greece is handling the crisis which it is experiencing. He said that Greece is showing with the decisions taken by the government that it will not let the crisis be lost and will make it an opportunity.
 ND backs Kaklamanis for AthensMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Thursday toured the City of Athens' social solidarity centre in the Greek capital's downtown, where he was accompanied by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis.
The appearance by Samaras at the centre, which hosts the municipality's foundation for the homeless and oversees the city's free pharmacy and subsidised pantry, sealed New Democracy's support for Kaklamanis' re-election bid.
Kaklamanis served as a health minister in the previous Karamanlis government before winning the mayor's seat in Greece's largest and most populous municipality.
"I would like to say, once again, that I ascertained your readiness, maturity, seriousness and your reliability, qualities with which you will again seek the citizens' trust, the trust of the citizen of Athens," Samaras said.
 Papariga: 'Memorandum a vehicle for dismantling entitlements'Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Thursday renewed her attack on the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the government, the EU and the IMF, calling it a "vehicle for dismantling labour relations and entitlements".
Speaking from the city of Iraklio during the second day of her tour of the island of Crete, Papariga stressed the need for a "radical change on the level of leadership" that she said could only arise through a broader alliance between the working classes, farmers and small business owners.
Commenting on political corruption, she said that this had intensified the current crisis but had not created it, being simply one of the "side-effects" of the governments set up by the two mainstream parties, PASOK and New Democracy.
She criticised the government for passing measures abolishing the use of coupons to support political parties as a means of controlling political graft, saying that this amounted to a direct attack on KKE as this was now the only party that was significantly funded through coupons.
Papariga also expressed her opposition to the offer from Piraeus Bank to buy ATEBank and Hellenic PostBank, noting KKE's opposition to the formation of oligopolies, its opposition to privatisations and also the possible adverse effect on farmers.
 Culture minister at removal of billboards along Marathon routeCulture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos on Thursday joined Deputy Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Nikos Sifounakis to watch the removal of billboards along the length of Marathonos Avenue in Attica.
Geroulanos had asked that the Marathon route be included in a programme to tear down illegal billboards so as to improve the aesthetics along the route of the Classic Marathon race that will be held in Athens on October 31, with 20,000 participants throughout the world.
The 2010 Marathon is doubly significant both as a cultural and tourism event since it coincides with 2,500th anniversary since the Battle of Marathon.
Geroulanos stressed that the aim was to ensure that the Classic Marathon remained an event with global appeal that was able to attract thousands of investors, noting that the potential of the race and the Marathon Route had been significantly underexploited for many years, as had the region of Plato's Academy.
 International Cooperation Commissioner to visit AthensSOFIA (ANA-MPA/B. Borisov)
European Union International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva will be making an official visit to Athens on Friday.
An announcement by the European Union's permanent delegation, in Sofia, stresses that Georgieva will be holding talks with Greek government ministers with whom she will be examining issues concerning the strengthening of the EU's reaction momentum in the event of major natural disasters and industrial accidents and the creation of a European volunteer force for humanitarian aid, as well as other issues of her competence.
According to the same announcement, Georgieva will be meeting in Athens with Citizen's Protection Minister Mihalis Chrissohoidis, Environment, Energy and Climatic Change Minister Tina Birbili, Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis and Alternate National Defence Minister Panos Beglitis.
She will also be visiting the Elefsina air base to be briefed on the capabilities of firefighting aircraft in combatting major forest fires, the announcement added.
 President Papoulias at Dekelia air basePresident Karolos Papoulias delivered swords to new air force officers during a special ceremony held at the installations of the Air Force School at the Dekelia air base on Thursday afternoon.
President Papoulias was accompanied by Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos. The oath was taken by 131 young men and women, of whom 5 were from Cyprus, 2 from Jordan, 1 from Nigeria, 1 from Libya, 1 from Serbia, 1 from Bosnia and 1 from Albania.
The event was also attended by party representatives, the leadership of the Armed Forces and Security Services, as well as relatives and friends of the new officers.
 Archbishop Ieronymos to join Brussels dialogue on fighting povertyArchbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos is to visit Brussels next Sunday, at the invitation of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Along with other European religious leaders, the archbishop will take part in a dialogue on fighting poverty and social exclusion that Barroso has set up this coming Monday, in collaboration with European Council President Herman Van Rompey and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek.
 Gov't eyes Piraeus Bank proposal for acquisition of stakes in ATEbank, Hellenic PostbankThe Greek government is examining a proposal by Piraeus Bank to purchase the state's holdings in ATEbank and Hellenic Postbank, the Finance ministry said on Thursday.
In an announcement, the ministry said the written proposal by Piraeus Bank chairman Michalis Sallas was delivered on Wednesday to Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, and noted that the government was examining the proposal in the framework of institutional procedures, based on the public interest, viability of both ATEbank and Hellenic Postbank and of the banking system and the Greek economy in general.
Piraeus Bank said its bid to buy the state's holdings in the two Athens-listed banks, was in cash and totaled 0.53 euros per share for ATEbank and 3.5 euros per share for Hellenic Postbank.
News of the bid boosted sentiment in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index of the market was up more than 2.0 pct in midday trading, with banks scoring the biggest percentage gains.
The Athens Stock Exchange had suspended trading in the shares of the three banks involved in the merger plan early in the day. The suspension decision was revoked at 13.45 local time.
Earlier Thursday, Piraeus Bank chairman Michalis Sallas announced a proposal for the Group's acquisition of major stakes in Athens-listed ATEbank and TT Hellenic Postbank.
Sallas announced Piraeus Bank Group's intention for a "simultaneous and coordinated" acquisition of a major 77.31 percent stake in ATEbank and 33.04 percent stake in TT Postbank for 701 million euros.
Piraeus Bank S.A., the parent company of the Piraeus Bank Group, was founded in 1916 and is the fourth largest bank in Greece, specialising in SMEs, retail banking, e-banking and capital markets.
In 2000 it absorbed Çiosbank and Macedonia-Thrace Bank, and ETBAbank in 2003, thus creating one of the largest private banks in the country.
ATEbank was established in 1929 as the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE).
TT Hellenic Postbank was established in 1902 as the Greek Postal Savings Bank (TT).
During a later press briefing, the government spokesman said that "each proposal will be judged on its own particularity, and on its own criteria", following a barrage of press questions over the development.
Asked about the prospect of more bids on the specific state-run banks, spokesman Giorgos Petalotis merely said that only the Piraeus Bank proposal is on the table.
He also said the Greek state will examine all of the parametres involving the potential acquisition, including the issue of whether a state-run bank can be privatised without the previous proclamation of a relevant tender.
 Tsipras on Piraeus Bank offer, pensions billCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Thursday attacked the government over news that Piraeus Bank had proposed to buy ATEBank and Hellenic Postbank, accusing it of selling off state assets "for a song" in order to bail out its buddies.
He was also harshly critical of the measures in the draft bill for reforming the public-sector pension system, describing them as "violent, brutal and hellish for young people" and accused the government of blackmailing its own MPs in order to have them passed.
SYRIZA's leader noted that the proposed pension and labour measures contravened "half the Constitution" and that the government, having won elections on promises of handouts, would now come up against the full degree of public opposition to its measures.
"It is no longer necessary for us to shout that you have no democratic legitimacy, the members of your own government say it," he stressed.
 Unemployment at 11.9pct in AprilGreece's unemployment rate jumped to 11.9 pct in April this year, from 9.4 pct in the same month last year and 11.6 pct in March 2010, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Thursday.
In a report, the statistics service said the number of unemployed people totaled 596,979 in April, up 130,101 from April 2009 (an increase of 27.9 pct) and up by 18,256 from March this year (an increase of 3.2 pct). The number of employed people totaled 4,412,946 in April, down 69,318 compared with April 2009 (a decline of 1.5 pct) and by 10,953 compared with March 2010 (a decline of 0.2 pct).
The unemployment rate among women totaled 15.5 pct, up from 13.3 pct in April last year, while among men was 9.3 pct (6.7 pct in April 2009). The 15-24 age group recorded the highest unemployment rate (30.8 pct), followed by the 25-34 age group (15 pct) and the 34-44 group (10.4 pct).
Th southern Aegean (22.7 pct), Ionian Islands (19.8 pct) and western Macedonia (16.1 pct) recorded the highest unemployment rates among the country's regions, while northern Aegean (4.8 pct), the Peloponese (9.8 pct) and Thessaly (10.5 pct) the lowest unemployment rates. Attica recorded an 11.6 pct unemployment rate, up from 8.0 pct last year.
 Hoteliers' association foresees another slide in tourism revenuesGreek tourism revenues are expected to fall between 7 to 9 pct this year, after dropping by 12 pct in 2009, Andreas Andreadis, president of the Panhellenic Hoteliers Association stated on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, Andreadis said tourist arrivals are expected to show minor changes from 2009 levels (down 6.5 pct compared with 2008), despite projections of a significant increase in tourism revenues globally, and a 3-4 pct rise in arrivals this year. He stressed that tourist arrivals in Turkey were expected to grow by 20 pct in 2010.
Andreadis said the tourism ministry's political leadership continues to be unaware of how to focus and manage its limited powers and funds. He said the ministry was consumed by "amateurish moves and inefficient efforts" vis-?-vis visits and contacts with other political officials abroad, "ignoring the fact that such actions do not offer additional value or help in the recovery of tourism trends in the country."
Andreadis underlined that the current and the previous political leadership of the tourism ministry managed to devalue the country's tourist product by around 15 pct in two years, limiting the tourism sector's contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product from 18 pct in 2008 to below 15 pct this year.
Finally, he urged the prime minister to re-organise the tourism and shipping ministries and to set up a professional promotion agency, based on the models of Maison de la France or Visit Britain. This agency should be operational by October in order to begin a more professional promotion of the country abroad. Even more importantly, he so called for a reduction of VAT on tourism services.
 Stocks jump 2.22% on Thur.An offer by Piraeus Bank to acquire 77 pct in ATEbank and 33 pct in Hellenic Postbank for 701 million euros, boosted sentiment in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday and pushed the composite index of the market above the 1,600 level. The index jumped 2.22 pct to end at 1,608.76 points, with turnover an improved 163.508 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose 3.58 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.69 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 2.15 pct. Banks (6.53 pct) and Constructions (2.65 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (2.51 pct) and Food (0.72 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 125 to 53 with another 50 issues unchanged.
Hellenic Postbank (21.48 pct), Vell Group (16.85 pct) and Klonatex (14.29 pct) were top gainers, while Atlantic (18.18 pct), Compucon (15.38 pct) and Technical Publications (10 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.56%
Personal & Household: +0.57%
Raw Materials: +1.68%
Travel & Leisure: -0.41%
Food & Beverages: -0.72%
Financial Services: +0.43%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.91
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.40
HBC Coca Cola: 18.54
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.15
National Bank of Greece: 10.90
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.77
Bank of Piraeus: 4.54
 Greek bond yields significantly up in JuneGreek state securities' yields rose significantly in June, with the three-year benchmark bond yield rising by 351 basis points to 11.31 pct at the end of the month, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.
In its monthly report on the Greek electronic secondary bond market, the central bank said the 10-year benchmark bond yield grew 271 basis points to 10.45 pct and the 30-year bond yield rose 120 bps to 9.45 pct.
The yield curve reversed, with the yield spread between the 30-year and the three-year bonds falling to -186 bps at the end of June from 45 bps a month earlier. The average yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds widened further to 647 bps from 514 bps a month earlier.
The three-year bond price fell to 84.19 points, while the 10-year and the 30-year bond prices fell to 74.56 points and 52.01 points, respectively in the June.
Turnover in the market rose slightly to 1.6 billion euros in June, from 1.4 billion in May, although sharply down from 27.8 billion euros in June 2009. Average daily turnover rose to 71.5 million euros, with the three-year bond accounting for 269 million euros.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.88 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover rising to 80.176 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 16,244 contracts worth 63.053 million euros, with 21,815 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 29,625 contracts worth 17.123 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (8,693), followed by Eurobank (1,704), MIG (1,556), Piraeus Bank (2,799), Alpha Bank (3,678), Intracom (708), Marfin Popular Bank (1,412), Intralot (727), Mytilineos (805), Cyprus Bank (1,563), Hellenic Postbank (1,434) and ATEbank (2,641).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 42 million euros on Thursday, of which 14 million were buy orders and the remaining 28 million euros were sell orders. The three-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 8.0 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was unchanged at 769 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 10.34 pct and the German Bund 2.65 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly higher. The 12-month rate was 1.36 pct, the six-month at 1.10 pct, the three-month 0.82 pct and the one-month rate at 0.57 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.293
Pound sterling 0.842
Danish kroner 7.509
Swedish kroner 9.491
Japanese yen 114.01
Swiss franc 1.352
Norwegian kroner 7.989
Canadian dollar 1.330
Australian dollar 1.462
 New ANA-MPA directorBy decision of Minister of State and government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis, journalist Ilias Matsikas was appointed on Thursday to a five-year term as the new general director of the ANA-MPA.
Matsikas was born in Athens in 1955 and is a graduate of the Athens National Metsovion University (Polytechnic) School of Architecture and of Darmstadt Polytechnic in Germany.
He worked as a journalist in Greece's largest-circulation daily, "Ta Nea", from 1981-2010, holding the posts of news editor, managing editor, editor-in-chief and publication consultant. He has also worked as editor at the newspapers "Exormissi" and the weekly "Pontiki".
Matsikas is fluent in German, English and French.
He is married and has two children.
 Fire breaks out in Athens suburb of PolitiaA fire broke out in the northern Athens suburb of Politia at 7:30 on Thursday evening.
According to the Fire Brigade, the fire started in a location having low vegetation near the Politia tennis club and has spread to a ravine also containing pine trees.
Homes are situated near the fire but are not in danger so far, according to the Fire Brigade. The fire was being combatted on Thursday night by 54 firemen with 18 vehicles, two firefighting aircraft and two helicopters.
 Man arrested for setting fires in Megara regionA 46-year-old man has been arrested by fire brigade investigators on suspicion of setting five forest fires in the Megara region during this year.
The suspect is charged with setting fires that broke out on March 27, April 20, May 19, June 7 and July 11. All five fires were quickly put out by the fire brigade.
The same man had set fires in the region last year and been arrested but was set free by order of a public prosecutor after he was judged to suffer from mental health issues and admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
The suspect was led before an examining magistrate on Wednesday.
 Fire on Zakynthos under controlA fire that broke out on the island of Zakynthos on Wednesday night, threatening homes and livestock farming installations, was under control by Thursday morning the fire department reported.
The fire was on the borders of Skopos in Argasi and was the third arson attempt in the Skopos region this year. The blaze burned through roughly 8 hectares of low-growing forested land.
 Two arrested for possession of cocainePolice in Corinth on Thursday reported the arrest of two men aged 33 and 44 years of age, respectively, after they were found in possession of 101 grammes of cocaine.
The arrest was made on the Patras-Corinth highway on Wednesday night by a Zeus 2010 police patrol carrying out a routine check. The two men were pulled over while riding in a car owned by the 33-year-old, where the drugs were found. The two men will appear before a Corinth public prosecutor on Thursday.
 Two guns found discarded in Corinth apartment block yardPolice in Corinth found two guns and two magazines, one of which contained two bullets, in a plastic bag left in the back yard of an apartment block. The guns, found on Wednesday night, have been sent for a ballistics check and an inquiry into their origin launched by Corinth security police.
 Fair on FridayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 19C and 37C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 23C to 36C. Cloudy with possible showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 22C to 35C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe civil servants' social security bill to be voted on Thursday and a Greek demarche over the Turkish seismic vessel Piri Reis' explorations between the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Thursday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Areios Pagos (Greek Supreme Court) to decide on September 23 on the fate of the public sector's 200,000 contract employees".
APOGEVMATINI: "Ankara anchors in the Aegean".
AVGHI: "The final blow to pensions".
AVRIANI: "Banks turn off 'spigot' to the Public Utilities and Organisations (DEKO)".
CHORA: "Samaras: Socially, we've gone bankrupt - Clash in parliament with (finance minister) Papaconstantinou".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "The Sismik (Piri Reis) causes...seismic quake".
ELEFTHEROS: "The Turks degrading us, Papandreou caresses them - We tout talks on the Aegean continental shelf, they explore for oil in it".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Public sector: Changes for women - Private sector: Three-year salary freeze".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Social security: 10 changes in the public sector".
ESTIA: "Smaller state, better economy - What the restrictive measures aim at".
ETHNOS: "Breather for mothers and uniformed services - Last-minute changes to the public sector social security bill".
IMERISSIA: "Express procedures for new investments".
KATHIMERINI: "The social security reform has been completed - Ratification of the bill for civil servants".
LOGOS: "Socially, we've gone bankrupt, New Democracy leader Samaras maintains - Government-ND clash in parliament".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Three-year labor peace with small salary increases".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The lies of the PASOK and LAOS leaderships revealed on the KKE's alleged connection with the Germanos electronics store chain".
TA NEA: "Public sector social security bill: Bonus of up to five years for mothers of minors".
TO VIMA: "Agreement on salaries with gifts and euro-ATA (inflation-pegged increases) - Historic compromise among GSEE (General Confederation of Workers of Greece), SEB (Federation of Greek Industries) and merchants".
VRADYNI: "Socially, we've gone bankrupt - Strong attack by Samaras against government over retirement/pension reforms".
 Cyprus commemorates those killed in 1974 coupNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus commemorated on Thursday all those killed defending the Republic, during the 1974 military coup, on July 15, against the democratically elected President of Cyprus, the late Archbishop Makarios III.
The coup, engineered by the Greek military junta, then ruling Greece, was followed five days later by the Turkish invasion, which resulted in the occupation of Cyprus' northern third.
The Cypriot political, religious and state leadership attended the annual commemoration church service, in the presence of President Demetris Christofias.
''These days bring back painful memories, this is when the Greek military junta and EOKA B' (paramilitary group in Cyprus) launched an offensive against the Presidential Palace, sowed destruction and targeted President Makarios and democracy. Their achievement was to bring the Turkish invader to Cyprus", President Christofias said after the service.
At the same time, he called for unity on the internal front to help find a solution that will free Cyprus of Turkey's occupation and secure the unity of the state, the people, the economy and the institutions.
"Today, we reaffirm our decisiveness to defend with consistency the Republic and the democratic values, to honour for ever those who fought and stood against the tanks and the kalashnikov and resisted, sacrificing their life defending democracy and freedom", he stressed.
The president said that the coupists opened the gates to Turkey to invade Cyprus, which is exactly what it did on July 20.
"Today is a day of reflection. I call for unity, at least for the minimum necessary unity, at a time when Turkish propaganda is trying to gain the upper hand. Small party ambitions and goals must be put aside and we should jointly support efforts for a solution," the president stressed.
"The solution can only be achieved if we fight united, with the full support of Greece, which is granted and consistent," he said.
In his remarks, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said that for 36 years now the people of Cyprus are suffering and yet no solution seems to be in sight.
The future is not bright, he said, noting that no one knows how this tragedy of division and occupation will end.
"For that reason, we should all remain calm, and with a clear mind claim our rights", the Archbishop said, stressing that if the people fight holding on to ideals and principles, there is hope for a viable solution to the Cyprus problem.
A special plenary session of the House of Representatives was held later on Thursday, in the presence of President Christofias, to condemn the 1974 military coup and the Turkish invasion.
President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian called on the MPs to observe one-minute's silence in memory of the heroes and martyrs, killed during the summer of 1974.
The session, which was also attended by ministers and other officials, began with an opening speech by Garoyian and was followed by speeches by leaders or representatives of political parties.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The President is engaged in UN-led peace talks with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country.
 Cyprus protests to UN new Turkish violationsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus has protested once again the most recent violations of its air space and air traffic regulations by the Turkish airforce, pointing out that such action puts at risk air safety in addition to violating international law.
Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Minas Hadjimichael, in a letter to the UN Secretary General dated 6th July, protested the new violations of international air traffic regulations and of its national airspace by Turkey, recorded from 2 April to 28 June 2010.
The letter was circulated on Wednesday as an official UN document.
In his letter, the Permanent Representative expresses the government's strong protest for the violations and calls for their immediate ending.
He notes that that these actions blatantly endanger the safety of air flights and violate international law and international air traffic regulations while at the same time put at stake peace and stability in the region
Hadjimichael stresses that Turkey's systematic attempts to undermine the sovereignty and unity of Cyprus by promoting the illegal secessionist entity in the Turkish occupied areas of the island and with the usurpation, inter alia, of the right to control part of the airspace of the Republic of Cyprus, further complicate the efforts to build trust and confidence between the two communities.
Such policies and actions, he adds, provide ample demonstration of the irresponsible behavior of a country that now serves as non-permanent member of the Security Council.
He also notes that the Turkish government should respond to the call of the international community to comply with the UN Charter and respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, thus contributing to the creation of the necessary conditions for achieving a viable solution to the Cyprus problem on the agreed basis which has been endorsed by numerous Security Council resolutions.
In conclusion, he calls on the Secretary-General to include these violations in his report on the peacekeeping force to the Security Council.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third. Turkey has refused to implement numerous UN resolutions calling for the immediate withdrawal of its occupation troops from Cyprus.
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