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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-09-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Saturday, 11 September 2010 Issue No: 3590


  • [01] PM chairs Cabinet meeting in Thessaloniki; cites massive efforts to exit crisis
  • [02] ND lashes out at PM's statements
  • [03] IMF disburses another 2.5 bln euros for Greece
  • [04] ND criticism over gov't econ policy
  • [05] PM to visit NY, Washington
  • [06] Papoulias meets with new UNESCO chief
  • [07] LA.OS leader on local gov't candidates
  • [08] Greece unveils plan to overhaul Hellenic Railways Organisation
  • [09] Plan for OSE will eliminate deficits, government official claims
  • [10] Unemployment at 11.6pct in June
  • [11] Budget deficit down 32.2pct in Jan-Aug. 2010
  • [12] JP Morgan sees extension of EU/IMF package to Greece
  • [13] Car sales plunge 68.6 pct in Aug.
  • [14] Stocks end 1.40% lower
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [17] Inclement weather warning for the weekend
  • [18] Culture minister inaugurates Pella Archaeological Museum
  • [19] Paper questions claim that Vergina tomb was that of Alexander's half-brother
  • [20] Airbus makes emergency landing - Passengers safe
  • [21] French architects to present 'Grand Paris' proposals in Athens
  • [22] New outdoor archaeological park in Thessaloniki features Byzantine-era watermills
  • [23] City of Athens donations to Greek-language schools in southern Albania
  • [24] Foreign national charged with drug dealing
  • [25] Suspects charged in scheme to fly-out illegals via Irakleio airport
  • [26] Women's national water polo team loses in European Championship final
  • [27] Rainy on Saturday
  • [28] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [29] Leaders authorise aides to continue discussions on property
  • [30] FM: Differences remain as regards property issue
  • [31] Kyprianou: UN resolution on Kosovo should aim for stability in Western Balkans Politics

  • [01] PM chairs Cabinet meeting in Thessaloniki; cites massive efforts to exit crisis

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday chaired the first meeting of his newly reshuffled Cabinet in Thessaloniki, on the eve of the opening of the 75th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), which customarily serves as the venue for annual "state of the economy" addresses by Greek premiers.

    "We came here to do work, and whoever doesn't understand this does not understand our copious effort to bring the country out of the crisis," he said, explaining that he had decided that the Cabinet should meet for the first time in Thessaloniki rather than a typical presence at the TIF, as had been the case in the previous years.

    Papandreou also said his government had succeeded in keeping the country standing during the most difficult moments, and this was due to the assistance of the Greek people "in this patriotic effort".

    The premier further announced the creation of two inter-ministerial committees, one on development and the other on social policy and migration issues.

    In later statements, Papandreou said the government wants clear-cut relations between the state and private sector, addressing an event on SMEs organised in Thessaloniki by the ruling party.

    Relations between state and public sector have been "vilified" due to the differences that had developed between the two sides, the premier explained, and stressed that "as socialists, we must not fear the concept of 'doing business'."

    He made note of social entrepreneurship which, "beyond business profit, also sees the need to assist in the solution of social problems".

    Papandreou further pledged that the government will support entrepreneurship and, in that context, there could be a review of the Guarantee Fund for Small and Micro Businesses (TEMPME) because, despite the government's determination, the system has been sagging since banks were not readily giving out financing, and called on the banks to assume the risk of funding in order to restart the economy.

    The premier also said the country inherited a "credibility deficit" from the previous New Democracy government, stressing that "when you don't have credibility, you cannot convince no matter what you say".

    Greece, he said, was particularly hard-hit by the crisis due to the country's lack of credibility, but added that in the 11 months that PASOK has been in government that credibility was being gradually rebuilt, and this was the basis for the major changes being advanced by the government.

    The premier further stressed that corruption in business must be stamped out, and called on businesses to become competitive and promote innovative ideas, noting the need for synergies and new ideas and proposals, adding that they should not expect everything from the prime minister.

    Earlier, Papandreou paid a surprise visit to the Theagenio Cancer Hospital in Thessaloniki.

    [02] ND lashes out at PM's statements

    In a later reaction, main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos lashed out at Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday, charging that he "must be out of touch with reality or has made it his cause to provoke public opinion."

    Panagiotopoulos added that there is no other explanation to the fact that the prime minister "has cut wages and pensions; has the people face unemployment, closed businesses and caused a higher cost of living and then pretend to have anti-establishment and progressive ideas."

    Leftist parties

    On its part, the opposition Communist Party (KKE) criticised the Cabinet meeting in Thessaloniki as "theatrical performance" and underlined that "it would have been worth commenting on the prime minister's statements if the government refrained from launching a brutal attack on popular rights and was not engaged in the preparation of new cruel measures that lead the people to desperation."

    Finally, a Coalition of the Left (SYN) spokesman accused the government of being "unable to keep the country on its feet but, on the contrary, it led it into recession. Households, the unemployed, those who went out of business and farmers whose numbers wane are well aware of that."

    [03] IMF disburses another 2.5 bln euros for Greece

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou assessed on Friday evening that the climate was changing for the better as regards the Greek economy.

    "We must convince that positive developments are not just a flash," he said while addressing an event organised by the National Bank of Greece.

    "Probably some adjustments may occur in policies, always according to data, but the direction remains only one: to fully implement the programme and change the country," Papaconstantinou also noted.

    The minister announced that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Friday the disbursement of another 2.5 billion euros of a support package to Greece, on the basis of positive performances of the Greek economy.

    He also said that a Norwegian investments company has given a vote of confidence to the Greek economy by announcing that it would purchase Greek bonds.

    [04] ND criticism over gov't econ policy

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) cadre Notis Mitarakis sharply criticised the government's economic policy on Friday, stressing that "the collapse of the country's competitiveness has assumed tragic dimensions."

    He pointed out that the country ranks below Botswana and Rwanda and stressed that "the government instead of taking measures aimed at reversing the freefall is trapped in the adoption of transient measures suggesting tax increases when low competitiveness leads to a vicious circle of closed businesses, unemployment and deficits."

    Meanwhile, ND party development sector head Costis Hatzidakis, a former minister, underlined that "the high cost of living cannot be remedied with slogans."

    He stressed that government initiatives are necessary targeting, specifically, the supermarkets, while the Competitiveness Commission potential should be utilized, the law on the transactions within business groups must be implemented, as well as, the law regulating the petrol market. "The government should move on from complacency to action," he said.

    [05] PM to visit NY, Washington

    Prime minister George Papandreou will be in the US from September 18 to 23 to address the Summit on the Millennium Developmental Goals and attend the formal opening of the 65th UN General Assembly in New York, and a series of contacts in Washington on September 21.

    While in New York, Papandreou will have a number of meetings with head of state and government, including Turkish president Abdullah Gul and Cyprus president Demetris Christofias, as well as with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    Papandreou's itinerary begins on Sunday, September 19, with a meeting with American Jewish organisations, while the following day, Monday, September 20, he will address the first day of the Millennium summit and take part in a round-table discussion.

    Later in the day, Papandreou will attend a lunch at the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) with stockmarket and Wall Street officials, where he will present the Greek government's developmental and investments program.

    On the afternoon of September 20 Papandreou, who is also president of the Socialist International (SI), will chair a meeting of the SI presidium.

    On Tuesday, September 21, Papandreou will fly to Washington for a series of talks, including with US vice-president Joe Biden and members of Congress.

    Back in New York, on Wednesday, September 22, Papandreou will meet with foreign leaders, and will also attend a reception at Greece's Consulate General, where he will meet with leaders of the Greek American community, academicians and representatives of the arts and letters. Later in the evening, he will attend a reception hosted by former US president Bill Clinton.

    On Thursday, September 23, Papandreou will attend the formal opening of the 65th UN General Assembly, which will be addressed by US president Barack Obama, while that same night he will attend a reception hosted by Obama in honor of the heads of state and government attending the General Assembly opening, before leaving New York.

    Foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas will address the General Assembly this year on behalf of Greece on Tuesday, September 28.

    While in New York, Droutsas will also attend the traditional lunch hosted by the Secretary General on the occasion of the new General Assembly session, while he will also accompany Papandreou in the latter's meetings with foreign dignitaries, attend scheduled NATO-US, EU-US and EU-Russian high-ranking meetings.

    [06] Papoulias meets with new UNESCO chief

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday received the new Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, who is currently on a visit to Athens.

    Welcoming Bokova to the presidential mansion, Papoulias referred to his recent visit to her native Bulgaria where he met with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and inaugurated the new Kyprinos-Ivaylovgrad border crossing in Evros prefecture.

    Papoulias congratulated her on the assumption of her duties.

    Bokova also thanked Papoulias for his contribution, first in his capacity as Greek foreign minister and subsequently as president of Greece, of the promotion of bilateral relations between Greece and Bulgaria.

    [07] LA.OS leader on local gov't candidates

    Opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) leader George Karatzaferis reiterated on Friday that the two mainstream political parties in the country (ruling PASOK and main opposition ND) are "worn-out" and that his party records no such signs.

    He again criticised ND party leader Antonis Samaras for his choice of candidates to run in the Nov. 7 local government elections.

    Financial News

    [08] Greece unveils plan to overhaul Hellenic Railways Organisation

    The Greek government on Friday said that Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) will remain under full state control and pledged that a plan to radically overhaul the loss-making organization will not lead to any lay offs.

    Presenting the plan, in Thessaloniki, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas said that the state will sell 49 pct stake in TrainOSE, the train operator of the Organisation through an open tender along with offering participation in the management of the company.

    Reppas reassured that workers' regular salaries would not be affected by the plan, although the plan envisaged cutting excessive bonuses and overtime pay. He reminded that OSE has accumulated debt totaling 10.7 billion euros, producing annual deficits of 1.2 billion euros, of which 933 million euros in OSE and the remaining 231 million euros in TrainOSE.

    The minister stressed that OSE was the biggest loss-making public sector enterprise in the European Union and stressed that the aim of the plan was to balance these losses in the first quarter of 2011. The plan envisages the transfer of 45 pct of TrainOSE workers to other public sector positions and the 35-37 pct of OSE workers. From a total of 6,319 workers in the Organisation last year, the plan envisages the remaining of 3,800.

    GaiaOSE, another subsidiary of the organization, will be able to forge partnerships with private investors with the aim to make a more efficient use and development of the organisation's real estate property.

    [09] Plan for OSE will eliminate deficits, government official claims

    Transfers, retirements and cutbacks in the payroll cost will ensure that Greece's railway organisation OSE will not be operating at a loss as of next year, infrastructure ministry general secretary Haris Tsiokas asserted in statements to 'Real FM' radio on Friday.

    During the interview, Tsiokas revealed details of a plan for restructuring OSE that Infrastructure, Transport and Networks minister Dimitris Reppas will unveil to the Cabinet.

    He said that this would allow OSE, which has run up accumulated debts in excess of 10 billion euros, to stop generating further deficits so that Greek tax payers would no longer have to pay off both its debt and deficit.

    The plan would also allow OSE to continue operating and providing services along the entire railway network, he added.

    Tsiokas further asserted that this would be achieved without any reduction in basic pay and without laying off staff since unneeded OSE employees would be transferred to other public-sector services where they were needed.

    An estimated 2,800 OSE employees will be transferred to other public-sector posts and a further 1,000 will retire.

    The government does not intend to abolish any of the railway lines but the frequency of services will be decided by the companies that acquire OSE rights while there will be a 50-million-euro subsidy for the less economically viable lines.

    Ticket prices for the railway will be increased, but will not be more expensive than taking an airplane or bus to the same destination.

    [10] Unemployment at 11.6pct in June

    The unemployment rate in Greece jumped to 11.6 percent in June, up 3.0 percentage points year-on-year from the corresponding month in 2009, according to a labor force survey released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Friday.

    The unemployment rate in June 2010 was 11.6% compared to 8.6% in June 2009 and 12.0% in May 2010. The number of employed amounted to 4,429,823 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 582,364 and the number of inactive to 4,292,823.

    The number of employed decreased by 142,493 persons compared with June 2009 (a 3.1% rate of decrease) and by 1,503 persons compared with May 2010 (a 0.03% rate of decrease).

    The number of unemployed increased by 154,657 persons (a 36.2% rate of increase) compared with June 2009 and decreased by 19,821 persons compared with May 2010 (a 3.3% rate of decrease).

    [11] Budget deficit down 32.2pct in Jan-Aug. 2010

    The state budget deficit was reduced by 32.2 percent in the eight-month period January-August 2010, on a fiscal basis, falling to 14.493 billion euros from 21.382 billion euros in the corresponding period in 2009 and exceeding the target for the 8-month period. The annual target set out in the government's economic policy program is a 39.5 percent reduction.

    According to provisional figures released on Friday by the General State Accounts office, there was also a 3.3 percent increase in budget revenues in the corresponding period and a 7.7 percent reduction in expenditures.

    According to the finance ministry, the progress in the reduction of the deficit continues to exceed the forecasts of the Economic Policy Program, which targeted a 26.5 percent reduction in the period January-August 2010.

    It added that the rate of reduction of the deficit has slowed down in the last two months due to a large accrual of interest payments in the months of July and August, which account for nearly 40 percent of the annual interest payments program, and also due to a shortfall in revenue collection.

    More specifically, budget revenues rose by 3.3 percent in the 8-month period over the same period last year, and against an annual target of a 13.7 percent increase.

    The regular budget expenditures declined by 7.7 percent in the same period compared to the corresponding period last year, overshooting the targeted 5.5 percent decrease.

    [12] JP Morgan sees extension of EU/IMF package to Greece

    A funding packaged agreed between Greece, the EU and the International Monetary Fund, worth 110 billion euros, could need an extension by 3-6 years, a senior executive of JP Morgan said.

    According to a Bloomberg report, Pavan Wadwa, head of the bank's interest rates strategist for Europe said that "either other countries will refinance Greek loans or the country will restructure its debt and the market will begin to freeze again. Greece will need further help, to avoid an open bankruptcy".

    The 110-billion-euro package is designed to fund Greece's borrowing needs by 2012. Greek Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou has said that the country aimed at returning to international capital markets in 2011.

    [13] Car sales plunge 68.6 pct in Aug.

    Car sales in Greece fell to their lowest level in 15 years in August, as new car registrations dropped 68.6 pct last month compared with the same month in 2009, or 65.3 pct down compared with the average rate of the period 2004-2009.

    New car sales totaled 7,167 vehicles in August, down from 20,652 in August 2009. In the eight-month period from January to August, car sales totaled 117,237, down from 200,000 in 2009, a decline of 41.14 pct.

    The federation of car importers and dealers (SEAA) again underlined that lower car sales were directly hitting state revenues.

    SEAA urged the government to take initiatives, following the successful examples of other European states, to boost demand for new cars in the domestic market.

    More than 30,000 enterprises operate in the car sector with around 90,000 employees around the country.

    [14] Stocks end 1.40% lower

    Stocks ended lower at the last trading session of a volatile week in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index fell 1.40 pct to end at 1,588.33 points, with turnover shrinking to 87.395 million euros. Bank shares suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (National Bnak -2.89 pct, Alpha Bank -2.33 pct and Eurobank -3.36 pct).

    The Big Cap index fell 1.54 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.34 pct lower and the Small Cap index eased 0.81 pct. The Oil (1.13 pct) and Telecoms (0.84 pct) sectors scored gains, while Food (2.0 pct) and Media (1.99 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 112 to 58 with another 35 issues unchanged.

    NEL (20 pct), Marak Electronics (10 pct) and Petzetakis (9.09 pct) were top gainers, while Avenir (13.95 pct), Epsilon Net (10.0 pct) and Elbsico (9.52 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.85%

    Industrials: -0.44%

    Commercial: -0.71%

    Construction: -1.85%

    Media: -1.99%

    Oil & Gas: +1.13%

    Personal & Household: +0.16%

    Raw Materials: -1.30%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.46%

    Technology: +0.18%

    Telecoms: +0.84%

    Banks: -1.87%

    Food & Beverages: -2.00%

    Health: -1.47%

    Utilities: -1.39%

    Chemicals: -0.84%

    Financial Services: -1.52%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and OTE.

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.45

    ATEbank: 1.06

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.70

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.10

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.03

    National Bank of Greece: 9.40

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.18

    OPAP: 12.06

    OTE: 5.98

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.00

    Titan: 15.10

    [15] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.17 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover shrinking to 48.58 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,731 contracts worth 39.299 million euros, with 21,756 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,110 contracts worth 9.281 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,370), followed by Eurobank (2,462), MIG (1,525), OTE (1,903), Piraeus Bank (565), GEK (1,319), Alpha Bank (1,325), Ellaktor (1,844) and ATEbank (848).

    [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.282

    Pound sterling 0.829

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 9.275

    Japanese yen 107.69

    Swiss franc 1.312

    Norwegian kroner 7.939

    Canadian dollar 1.322

    Australian dollar 1.384

    General News

    [17] Inclement weather warning for the weekend

    The National Meteorological Service (EMY) on Friday issued an inclement weather warning for the next 24 hours in most parts of the country.

    EMY forecast a rapid worsening of the weather with local heavy rainfall and storms on Saturday and Sunday in most parts of the country.

    The bad weather front will begin with strong rainfall and storms in the early morning hours of Saturday in the Ionian islands, Epirus, western Thessaly, the western mainland and the western Peloponnese, spreading at noon to the eastern Peloponnese, eastern mainland (including the Athens-Piraeus region), Evia, the rest of Thessaly and the northwestern Aegean-Sporades islands complex.

    The weather phenomena will abate gradually in western Greece and the Peloponnese as of late Saturday night, while heavy rainfall and storms will continue on Sunday morning in eastern Thessaly, the Sporades, the eastern mainland (including Attica) and Evia, before abating later in the day.

    [18] Culture minister inaugurates Pella Archaeological Museum

    Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos inaugurated the Archeological Museum of Pella on Friday and stressed that work to shape the area around the museum will begin soon.

    Geroulanos also said that the ministry included the project, budgeted at 1.6 million euros, in the ESPA.

    [19] Paper questions claim that Vergina tomb was that of Alexander's half-brother

    A scientific paper published in the "International Journal of Medical Science" by prominent researchers of Bristol, Manchester and Oxford universities has questioned claims that an ancient tomb found in Vergina in northern Greece contains the remains of Philip III Arrhidaios, the half-brother of Alexander the Great.

    According to the paper published on September 8, the skull of the male body in the tomb bears marks of injuries consistent with those known to have occured to Alexander's father, Phillip II.

    According to Dr. Jonathan Musgrave of Bristol University's Centre for Clinical and Comparative Anatomy, the findings in Tomb II at Vergina, discovered in 1977, are not consistent with historical accounts of Arrhidaios' death and burial in a number of ways.

    According to these, Arrhidaios was buried with his wife Eurydice and her mother Kynna whereas the Vergina tomb contains only two individuals, a man and a woman. The remains of the woman show that she was between 20 and 30, whereas Eurydice is believed to have been just 19 years old when she died.

    The male skull appears to have a healed fracture on the right cheekbone and a marked asymmetry in the wall of the right maxillary sinus. History records that Philip II lost his right eye at the siege of Methone in 355-4 BC -- an injury which would be consistent with this damage to the skeleton.

    The claim that the 4th century B.C. tomb was that of Arrhidaios is also weakened by evidence that the bones were cremated with flesh still around them. Arrhidaios was murdered in the autumn of 317 B.C. and his remains were subsequently exhumed and reburied between four and 17 months later. There is also evidence of a funeral pyre near the tomb indicating that the bodies were cremated at Vergina. Musgrave considers that the beliefs of ancient Greeks would not have allow contact with a decomposing corpse and that Arrhidaios would not have been exhumed, moved and then cremated with the flesh still around the bones.

    The paper lends greater support to the view that Tomb II was that of Philip and his wife Cleopatra, one shared by Professor Manolis Andronikos who made the discovery in Vergina.

    Dr. Musgrave notes, however, that the aim of his paper is not to press the claims for Philip II and Cleopatra but to point out flaws in those for Philip III Arrhidaios and Eurydice.

    "We do not believe that the condition of the bones and the circumstances of their interment are consistent with descriptions of the funeral of Arrhidaios, his wife and his mother-in-law," he said.

    [20] Airbus makes emergency landing - Passengers safe

    A Monarch airlines aircraft made an emergency landing at Athens International Airport on Friday morning after an engine failure problem.

    The Airbus-321 was carrying out a charter flight from Zakynthos to Birmingham, England with 185 passengers on board and was forced to land at the Athens International Airport when the pilot detected a problem in the landing gear system.

    The airplane landed safely at the airport at 8 in the morning. The passengers remained at the airport while the aircraft was undergoing inspection by the airport's technical staff.

    [21] French architects to present 'Grand Paris' proposals in Athens

    The architects-town planners Andreas Alexopoulos and Louis Moutard of AREP (a subsidiary of France's railways SNCF) will be coming to Athens in October for a conference entitled "Riding out the storm - Socioenvironmental metamorphosis." During this they will present the team proposal made by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel for transforming Paris dubbed "Grand Paris".

    The two French architects will take part in a round-table discussion on urban redevelopment organised by the magazine Real Estate and Development in the framework of the annual RE+D Business Forum taking place in Athens on October 4-5.

    A second proposal presented under the "Grand Paris" project will also be presented by the team of architects at the Christian De Portzamparc Studio led by Didier Martin.

    Entry to the conference will be free while further information and the full programme are available at the website

    [22] New outdoor archaeological park in Thessaloniki features Byzantine-era watermills

    A new archaeological park encompassing the mid Byzantine-era watermills (12th-13th century AD) in the Polichni municipality of greater Thessaloniki will finally open to the public this month after 14 years of excavations and restoration at the site.

    The outdoor archaeological park will open on Sept. 20, with noted Paris-based Byzantologist Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler inaugurating the site. The 23-hectare area features exhibition space, footpaths, parking space and a 500-seat outdoor theatre.

    [23] City of Athens donations to Greek-language schools in southern Albania

    The city of Athens will donate more than 15,000 items of clothing and footwear as well as 200 bicycles to students at Greek-language schools in southern Albania, it was announced on Friday.

    Central Kotzia Square marked the starting point of the initiative, where Athens Mayor Nikitas on Friday delivered the items to members of the association Youth of Northern Epirus .

    Next week, municipality trucks, accompanied by members of the youth association, will transport the items, to then be distributed to some 1,200 pupils.

    [24] Foreign national charged with drug dealing

    A 37 year old foreign national was arrested on Friday in Heraklion charged with drug dealing. A search of his residence revealed 12.7 grams of cocaine, two mobile phones and an address book.

    The suspect attempted to dispose of the drugs in the toilet bowl but was stopped by police officers. The drugs were confiscated, and the suspect will be sent before the local prosecutor.

    [25] Suspects charged in scheme to fly-out illegals via Irakleio airport

    Police in Irakleio, Crete arrested two men, aged 29 and 35, for facilitating the transport of illegal migrants towards west European destinations via flights from the city's busy airport.

    One of the suspects is wanted on an arrest warrant for separate migrant trafficking charges.


    [26] Women's national water polo team loses in European Championship final

    The women's national water polo team lost 11-6 to Russia in the final of the European Water Polo Championship in Zagreb on Friday night.

    Russia won the title for the third consecutive time. The eight-minute intervals had the following results: 1-3, 3-3, 1-2, 1-3.

    Earlier, Holland beat Italy 14-12 and won third place.

    Weather Forecast

    [27] Rainy on Saturday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 31C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 28C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 26C.

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

    The recession and government's restructural changes, including the new payroll and curtailment of social expenditures ahead of the Troika's arrival next week in Athens, the Finance Ministry plan to review unaudited tax cases of the last decade and a World Economic Forum competitiveness report ranking Greece 83rd among 139 countries, mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Main opposition New Democracy (ND) presented its proposals for development - Government a sinking ship".

    APOGEVMATINI: "State property for sale - Finance Ministry's target to collect one billion euros per year in accordance with the Memorandum".

    AVGHI: "Deficient schools...After the cutback in the number of teachers, the government also cuts the extra educational support".

    AVRIANI: ęThe people livid over the government's 'mass tourism' in Thessaloniki - They booked all suites and expensive rooms in luxury hotels in order to send to the people the message for austerity and sacrifices".

    CHORA: "Deprecation over the Memorandum - Polls indicate that the people's fury surges".

    ELEFTHEROS: "George's (Papandreou, prime minister) opulent ministerial fiestas in Thessaloniki - He and his ministers are living it up in Thessaloniki".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou beseeches Troika to allow him to change policy".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "We will freeze before we starve - Government plan to double the price of heating oil".

    ESTIA: "Monstrous mistakes in taxation - The high tax rates brought the economy to its knees".

    ETHNOS: "The plan for rapid investment'.

    IMERISSIA: "Positive sign for the bonds - Strong (Norwegian) fund 'broke' the 'embargo' and bought Greek sovereign bonds".

    KATHIMERINI: "Greece ranks below even Rwanda in competitiveness, according to WEF's annual report".

    LOGOS: "Competitiveness plunges - Greek economy fell to 83rd place in the world ranking".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "State seeking to collect 4.7 billion euros from the market".

    NIKI: "The pros and cons of refinancing bank loans".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government supports businessmen's interest in Health sector".

    TA NEA: "Finance Ministry will inspect unaudited cases of the last decade".

    TO VIMA: "The ten 'commandment' for a frugal public sector - Troika arrives in Athens on Monday with the new budget".

    VRADYNI: "Market sends out SOS - One business opens while two others close".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [29] Leaders authorise aides to continue discussions on property


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu decided on Friday to authorise their aides to continue discussions on various aspects of the property issue, in order to achieve convergences, which will be presented to the leaders of the two communities when they resume their talks in October.

    Speaking after Friday's meeting in the context of direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said ''we continued the discussion with Mr. Eroglu, in general on the property issue.''

    ''There was an exchange of views, which led us at noon to decide to authorise our two teams, our aides and the teams, to continue more specifically discussions on various aspects, with an aim to reach some convergences, which they will present to us when we resume in early October,'' he said.

    President Christofias said he believed this was ''the right decision, with an aim to have an outcome, so that we do not just talk in general terms.''

    Replying to questions, President Christofias said ''we will see in the course of time if there is a result and the nature of the result,'' adding that ''the effort is to have a result.''

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Christofias has been engaged in talks with the Turkish Cypriot community since September 2008 to find a solution that will reunite the country.

    [30] FM: Differences remain as regards property issue


    Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyprianou said Friday that there are still many differences between the positions submitted by the two sides at the UN-led Cyprus talks regarding the property issue.

    In statements at Larnaka airport before departing to Brussels to participate in the Informal Meeting of the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Kyprianou pointed out that the Cyprus problem is a "very complex issue" and said that there are major differences in matters of principle between the proposals submitted on the table by the two sides on the property chapter.

    Asked whether he expects any move on behalf of Turkey before the end of the year, the minister clarified that "no timeframe has been set", saying that Ankara's communication strategy is to repeatedly express its willingness for a solution by the end of 2010, while at the same time it submits proposals which hinder any progress.

    He noted that on the other hand, Turkey submits proposals at the negotiating table which hinder any progress of the talks, and slow down the pace of the process and the possibility of a positive outcome.

    "We indicate exactly this contradiction in positions on behalf of Turkey and if Ankara continues this approach by the end of the year we will have no important development" he pointed out.

    "Despite all these", he went on to stress, "we will continue proceeding to the talks in a constructive spirit but at the same time defending principles and the rights of the Greek Cypriot side".

    Invited to comment on the visit paid this week to Cyprus by newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Dimitris Droutsas, Kyprianou described the results of Droutsas' visit as substantive, and reiterated that the visit was a symbolic one.

    He said that the two foreign ministries are in close contact and cooperation on a daily basis for issues concerning Cyprus, Greece and the EU.

    "I believe that the statements made by the Greek Foreign Minister support and reinforce the policy of the government of Cyprus on the Cyprus issue", he concluded.

    [31] Kyprianou: UN resolution on Kosovo should aim for stability in Western Balkans


    The Cyprus Government hopes that the UN resolution on Kosovo that was backed by Serbia and the EU 27 member states will contribute to creating a positive atmosphere in efforts to achieve stability and security in the Western Balkans.

    In a statement to CNA, Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou welcomed the UN General Assembly resolution on Kosovo that was passed by acclamation by the 192-nation assembly.

    "The fact that Cyprus cosponsored the resolution does not mean, under any circumstances that we are altering our stance on the Kosovo issue or we accept that the final status (of Kosovo) has been settled because for us the issue remains open", the FM remarked.

    Kyprianou repeated Cyprus' firm position that "we support the full respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia".

    In any event, he added, "we hope that the adoption of the resolution creates a positive climate in the direction of efforts to achieve peace, stability and security in the Western Balkans region".

    The Cypriot FM underlined that the UN resolution reaffirms the EU's firm commitment to the European prospect of Western Balkan countries, and especially that of Serbia.

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