|Thursday, 23 May 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-12-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 7 December 2010 Issue No: 3663
 Barroso: Next loan tranche certain, extension imminentBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis - M. Aroni)
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, speaking to reporters shortly after meeting Prime Minister George Papandreou here on Monday, praised Athens for its efforts to combat a severe debt and deficit plaguing the country.
"Let me pay tribute to what Prime Minister Papandreou has achieved since taking office...he is delivering, not just committing," Barroso said.
On his part, Papandreou stressed that Greece is experiencing a difficult phase, adding that "historic changes" are being promoted that will have positive repercussions on the Greek economy. He also said that the target is exiting from the memorandum in 2013, stressing that Greece is on a good path.
The Commission president underlined the constructive way with which the government is handling the Greek economy's problems and the new impetus that it has provided for the country, stressing that Greece is in a phase of reconstruction.
He further said the fiscal deficit is de-escalating at a speedy rate, inflation is being stabilised and the country's competitiveness is gradually increasing.
Barroso appeared certain that on Jan. 19 the Council of eurozone finance ministers will approve the next tranche of eurozone countries' loans to Greece, amounting to 6.5 billion euros and, as he said, earlier, at the end of December, approval will have preceded for the disbursement of 2.5 billion euros from the IMF.
The Commission president also noted that more efforts will be necessary for the Greek economy's restructuring in the coming years and expressed an appreciation for the courage shown by the Greek people, as he said, as well as the bold reforms that being promoted in the country. Referring to the Greek prime minister, he thanked him because "he steadfastly supports the EU's methods in the decision-making procedures."
Papandreou said the changes being promoted in Greece benefit the Greek economy and the eurozone / EU. On the question of a European support mechanism, Papandreou expressed support for its creation through a limited reform of the Lisbon Treaty. He also said that, in relation to the creation of this mechanism, numerous proposals have been submitted, both by the member-states and the European Central Bank.
On the question of issuing of eurobonds, he said Greece has repeatedly expressed its support for this idea. Barroso also noted, regarding the issuing of eurobonds for the financing of major infrastructure projects in the EU, that he has expressed his support in the past.
Regarding the all-important issue of the extension of loans that Greece has received from the EU and the IMF, Barroso cited the political decision taken a week ago by the EU's finance ministers, appearing certain that the technical details remaining will be resolved so that an extension for Greece will be approved soon.
Papandreou told reporters that issues he discussed with Barroso included the acceleration of the utilisation of EU funds in this difficult economic period.
Lastly, the prime minister said he also discussed with the Commission president the issue of Cyprus, the question of Turkey's relations with the EU and Greece, and the European prospects of the western Balkan states, as well as Frontex's presence in Greece.
Papandreou further said the existing system of granting political asylum in Greece will be reformed soon and stressed that many migrants are victims of migrant traffickers.
 Agenda for PM-Barroso meeting 'open', spokesman saysDuring the regular press briefing on Monday, government spokesman George Petalotis said that the same-day meeting between European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Prime Minister George Papandreou would have an 'open' agenday and had been requested by Barroso "some time ago".
The Commission president had specifically asked that talks during the meeting be "wide-ranging" and cover all issues that concern the EU and Greece, he added.
Concerning Greece's position on major issues, Petalotis said that these were well known and that Barroso was already acquainted with them.
Europe was now heading toward the EU summit "where very important decisions will be taken for the countries of the EU and the European stabilisation mechanism, for which Greece had played a leading role," he noted.
Regarding the upcoming visits to Athens by IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn, Petalotis said they would be having a series of meetings with the country's political leadership, including briefing the Greek Parliament's Committee of Economic Affairs, and would exchange views with the social partners.
The spokesman denied that Greece intended to make an official request to extend the repayment period for the EU and IMF loans during their visits, stressing that no such request has officially been made nor were the visits taking place for this purpose.
"We are talking through a discussion that is taking place about extending the repayment of our loans. From there on, at the right time there will be a request to that effect, provided that the timing and method are judged appropriate," he said.
With respect to Greece's goals at the upcoming summit, Petalotis said that the crisis support mechanism was a goal in which Greece had a primary say and role. He also stressed that the existence of a European stabilisation mechanism was important for Greece as well.
"Our country can only emerge stronger from such a discussion and negotiation," he asserted.
Regarding the issue of a euro-bond, the spokesman pointed out that the Greek premier had been among the first to make such a proposal and that this also had the backing of other EU countries but that a decision on this was still being processed.
 Employment minister holds talks with EU representative in troikaBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
Greek Employment and Social Security Minister Louka Katseli met here on Monday with the European Commission's representative in the troika Servaas Deroose, according to a Commission spokesperson.
According to the spokesperson, in the meeting that took place at the initiative of Katseli, the Greek side had the opportunity of presenting the two bills that will be promoted in the Greek Parliament in the near future on the issue of labour relations in Greece.
The same spokesperson added that on its part the Commission reserved the right to study the bills without declaring its stance on their content at present.
 Katseli attends EU Employment Council sessionBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
The future of pensioning systems in European Union member-states was the main issue discussed during Monday's session of the EU's Employment Council, at which Greece was represented by Employment and Social Security Minister Louka Katseli.
The ministers exchanged views during the session on the necessary structural reforms that will secure the adequacy of pensioning benefits and the strength of the pensioning systems in Europe.
Earlier in the day, Katseli took part in a meeting of the Party of European Socialists (PES) labour ministers.
 Six terror suspects receive stay of testimonySix suspects formally charged on Sunday on terrorism charges who were arrested the previous day in a coordinated police operation asked for and received a stay of testimony to Tuesday by the examining magistrate who has undertaken the case file.
The six are charged with three felonies: participation in a terrorist group, aggravated arms possession and acquisition and possession of explosive materials. The specific terror group has not been named, pending completion of ongoing investigations by the police counter-terrorism squad.
The arrests came in a coordinated police swoop on terror hideouts in the wider Athens area, Agrinion in central Greece and Siteia on the island of Crete on Saturday.
According to the suspects' defence attorneys, the arrestees will seek a new stay of testimony in order to be briefed on their case files and charge sheets.
The six, including a woman, were led before public prosecutors under draconian security measures on Sunday.
Earlier Sunday, Greek Police (ELAS) chief Lefteris Economou confirmed that police hastened the arrests of suspects who were under surveillance after evidence turned up that a terrorist hit was being planned.
Two of the suspects -- identified as Constantine Sakkas, 26 and Alexandros Mitrousias, 21 - were arrested on Saturday afternoon at a safehouse on Kessarias street in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni. A short while later, in simultaneous operations, 30-year-old George Karayiannidis was arrested at a safehouse on Pylis street in Piraeus and 31-year-old Christos Politis at a safehouse in Themistokleous street in the Athens district of Exarchia, 26-year-old woman Styliani Antoniou at a hideout on Platonos street in the Athens district of Kallithea, and 26-year-old Dimitrios Michail in Siteia, Crete.
Sakkas and Mitrousias, at the time of their arrest in Nea Smyrni, were carrying a knapsack in which police found and confiscated two Glock pistols, a Scorpion submachine gun, a second unidentified submachine gun, a handgrenade, ammunition of various sizes, two cell phones and a USB stick while Karayiannidis, who was arrested in Piraeus, had a forged police identity card on him.
Weapons caches and explosives were found in the hideouts on Kessarias street in Nea Smyrni, an apartment on Praxitelous street in Piraeus, an apartment on Platonos street in Kallithea, and in Agrinio.
There are outstanding arrest warrants against Mitrousias and Karayiannidis on charges of terrorist actions, causing an explosion, acquisition, construction and possession of explosive materials and of setting up and participation in the terror group "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire". Also, Politis had been summoned before an examining magistrate on December 2 in connection a May 22 arson attack behind the Athens Appeals Court and had been released with restrictive conditions. The attack had been claimed by the organisation "Christos Tsoutsouvis Commandos" in a proclamation.
Ballistic tests on weaponry found in the Athens and Piraeus hideouts did not identify the arms with past terror attacks, but tests were continuing to ascertain whether they have been used in incidents of common crime.
Based on the weaponry found, police believe the hideouts belong to the Revolutionaries' Sect, which emerged after the riots sparked by the shooting death of 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos during incidents in the Exarchia district of central Athens on December 6, 2008. The group has claimed the killings of investigative journalist Socratis Giolias in July and a counter-terrorism police officer.
 Greek, Iranian FMs meet in AthensInternational and regional issues, including bilateral economic ties, mostly dominated a meeting in Athens on Monday between Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and visiting Iranian FM Manuchehr Motaki.
Following private consultations, the two foreign ministers were joined by diplomats from both countries.
In a direct statement over Iran's controversial nuclear programme, Motaki underlined that "nuclear weapons do not resolve any problem, the only thing they bring is destruction," while adding that a nuclear-free zone is the best guarantee for security.
Moreover he expressed a hope that talks beginning Monday in Geneva over Iran's nuclear programme will continue in a positive light, so as to reach a positive result for all sides.
On the same issue, Droutsas said Greece completely backs dialogue and rejects any other option, while expressing a hope that talks will be held with the necessary positive spirit in order to bear a desired result.
Asked about what advice, if any, he offered his Iranian counterpart, Droutsas said he doesn't believe any advice is necessary, while noting, however, that Greece "encourages all of the sides to grasp the opportunity, so that the best possible effort is made to reach a solution, which will comprise a guarantee for stability and peace throughout the region."
Additionally, Droutsas referred to Athens' "special interest" in favour of the consolidation of peace and stability in the region, emphasising, along those lines, that the channels of communi-cations must remain open.
Other issues discussed were the situation in Afghanistan and Lebanon, while Motaki cited cooperation with Greece in dealing with problems in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
During a later press conference, Motaki said the talks in Athens are held in the same positive and constructive spirit that characterised the New York talks in September between Prime Minister George Papandreou and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian envoy will meet with the Greek premier on Tuesday, the second day of his visit to Greece.
Motaki will also meet with Parliament President Filippos Petsalnikos and Regional Development Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, while on Monday he had a meeting with Republic President Karolos Papoulias.
In other statements, he referred to the transport of energy from Iran to Europe by saying that "the Persian natural gas pipeline from Iran to Europe is an important project in which Greece could also participate," expressing an overall interest in a cooperation with Greek enterprises bilaterally or concerning third countries.
Conversely, he repeatedly declined to enter a discussion on so-called "red lines" drawn by his government or whether the uranium enrichment issue will be discussed in Geneva, stressing that "we should wait", pointing out nonetheless that "a country does not negotiate its rights".
On the increasingly closer ties between Greece and Israel and how this affects relations with Iran, he merely stated that FM Droutsas has explained to him the basis on which Greece's relations with Iran and the other countries is based, underlining that the goal of the Greek policy is peace and security in the world.
 President meets visiting Iranian foreign miniser, calls for dialogue, negotiations on Iran's nuclear programPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday urged dialogue and negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program and voiced opposition to any prospect of war conflict, speaking after a meeting with visiting Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
He called the prevailing situation a "confidence deficit".
"Greece is in favor of negotiations, rejects any other solution, and will try to reconcile things in that direction in the framework of the European Union. We cannot ponder a new war. It would be a great disaster for the world, for Europe and especially for us, who are so close by," Papoulias stressed.
Mottaki, in turn, noted the long-standing relations between the two countries, and of bilateral and trilateral initiatives that have been undertaken in the past, and stressed the need for corresponding initiatives to be assumed again today in the region.
The visiting official also conveyed greetings from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and from Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to Iran's supreme spiritual leader, with whom Papoulias had worked in the past when the two men were serving as foreign ministers of their respective countries. As foreign ministers, Papoulias and Velayati had undertaken a joint initiative in 1994 for peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
 President receives central bank chief"We are doomed to succeed," Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos stressed during a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday, but warned that "there is no room for complacency or premature let-up" of the effort.
"We are in the middle of a very big and painful effort to correct chronic, accumulated weaknesses and problems and to stand on our own feet as quickly as possible. We are doomed to succeed in this effort," Provopoulos said.
He added that there is no room for complacency, noting that Greeks at times tend to be impatient. "The problems are quite serious, and we must have patience and be methodical in order to solve them" Provopoulos added.
 Papoulias receives Chinese trade union delegationGreek President Karolos Papoulias on Monday received an All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) delegation accompanied by World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) General Secretary Giorgos Mavrikos.
Papoulias referred to the contribution of the Chinese workers to the Far East country's impressive economic growth underlining, at the same time, the role of farmers.
Commenting on the cooperation between Greece and China at the port of Piraeus, he expressed satisfaction because "a dynamic part of China works in Piraeus and has major development plans". He also pointed out that this is the "first time Chinese workers have had a presence in Greece", adding that "cooperation between Greek and Chinese workers is on the right track and has very good future".
ACFTU Vice-Chairperson and 1st Secretary of the ACFTU Secretariat Wang Yu Pu characterised Papoulias as "a friend of China", while he referred to the excellent relations shared by his country and Greece -- reaffirmed recently by visits of both China's president and premier to Greece.
 Gov't on individual business contracts; labour relationsA relevant "draft law will be finalised after consultation with social partners is completed, because an agreement, shared by all interested sides on the form of labour relations that should exist in the economic crisis we are experiencing, is very important", government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said on Monday.
The social partners' consensus and understanding is regarded as a necessary element, the urgency of which should also be considered by the partners themselves, he said, adding that "walking out of discussions leads nowhere".
Petalotis stated that there is no deadline underlining, however, that an understanding should be reached soon and that the government wants to have the draft law finalised and submitted as soon as possible.
He clarified that Labour Minister Louka Katseli is in Brussels for the Employment Ministers' Council and that her visit has nothing to do with the draft law to be submitted.
Petalotis also stated that "a different form of work contracts effective for a limited period of time and under very strict preconditions could be adopted in order to save businesses and job positions", underlining that "wages will not be smaller than provided by the national collective work framework".
On the impact the wage cuts imposed by individual business work contracts will have on the social insurance funds, Petalotis underlined that all aspects will be taken under consideration and that the government will not jeopardise any of the structural reforms decided.
He also categorically denied that the government considers the abolition of the permanent status of the civil servants.
Called to comment on a statement made by Yannis Papathanassiou, the former finance minister who served in the preceding New Democracy (ND) government, Petalotis said that it is "audacious for Karamanlis' government ministers to dare question the size of the deficit when, in fact, the policy they followed have led the country to the verge of bankruptcy".
 ND opposes private sector salary cutsMain opposition New Democracy (ND) on Monday voiced opposition to any salary cuts in the private sector.
ND press spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos said that any structural changes should contain wasteful spending by the state, and not deduct income from the citizens who are already paying a heavy price due to excessive taxation, high prices and cutbacks.
 KKE to abstain from parliament session during IMF chief visit to GreeceThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) parliamentary group refuses to attend the Economic Issues Committee session in parliament which will take place during IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's and European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn's visit to Greece.
According to a KKE announcement on Monday, the two officials' visit "is taking place in a period, in which the big-time businessmen's and the government's, with the support of main opposition New Democracy (ND) and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party, attack against the working classes is escalating with the anti labour, antisocial measures that are foreseen in the updated Memorandum".
KKE called on the workers to participate in 15 December's strike and clarified that there is no reason for KKE deputies to attend parliament sessions during the two foreign officials' visit to Greece, so long as the government refuses to bring the updated Memorandum for discussion in parliament as the KKE has repeatedly asked.
 PM Papandreou to unveil new agricultural policy on SundayThe government's new agricultural policy, which is harmonized with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), will be outlined by Prime Minister George Papandreou at the port city of Rethymno, on the southern Aegean island of Crete, on Sunday.
Providing support to locally produced goods across the country and their promotion in the market, in accordance with the EU standards, will be the key point of the new policy.
The premier, who will present the so-called "basket of agricultural commodities", will be accompanied by Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Costas Skandalidis and deputy minister Milena Apostolaki.
Before his departure from Rethymno on Sunday afternoon, the prime minister will meet with representatives of local agricultural cooperatives and businessmen active in the local products market.
 Papaconstantinou ranked eighth among 19 EU finance ministers by Financial TimesDespite an economic crisis that has made Greece a byword for this class of problem, its finance minister George Papacon-stantinou has managed to rank eighth among his fellows in Europe's 19 largest economies in a survey conducted for the Financial Times newspaper unveiled on Monday.
Ireland's Brian Lenihan, by comparison, ranked last among the 19 and the ministers in the other 'troubled' European economies of Hungary, Spain and Portugal came 18th, 17th and 16th, respectively. First place went to German finance minister Wolfgang Schaueble.
The finance ministers were ranked by seven top economists according to their scores in three categories: political ability, economic performance and market credibility.
Greece's Papaconstantinou was ranked a surprising first for his political skill in ensuring acceptance of the unprecedented austerity measures imposed in Greece and the restoration, to some extent, of investor confidence. Others noted that Papaconstantinou could well top the rankings in next year's survey if Greece's economy begins to recover in 2011.
The Greek minister was ranked 17th in terms of the results of his policies for the Greek economy's performance and last for credibility in the markets.
The score for economic performance was given based on GDP growth, the size of the deficit, the planned reduction of the deficit in 2012, changes in employment rates from 2007 to 2012 and the current accounts balance. The score for market credibility was based on the yield of 10-year bonds and how this had changed.
 Former ND FinMin blames gov't for IMF recourseFormer finance minister with the preceding New Democracy (ND) government Yannis Papathanassiou on Monday unveiled a publication entitled "Using the Language of Numbers: the Truth About the Economy", stressing that his endeavour "constitutes an effort to present the truth on the Greek economy and the moves that led the country to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)".
Papathanassiou underlined that "following a year of one-sided presentation of the situation by the ruling PASOK government," he decided to "speak using facts and figures proving that the recourse to the IMF's support is the result of a number of actions and omissions made by the current government".
The former finance minister stressed that "the PASOK government has intentionally falsified the truth to defame the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party and serve its own interests".
He added that in the nine-month period he was in charge of the Greek economy he did everything in his power to stop the deficit and debt crisis from turning into a crisis of trust between the country and the international markets. "This was accomplished by the PASOK government in just six months leading Greece to the IMF", he concluded.
 BoG governor on monetary policyBank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos, speaking before the Parlimentary Economic Committee on Monday in the framework of a discussion on the bank's interim report on monetary policy for 2010, said that "such debt percentages are only met in war periods. We must realise that we are in a state of war. And a battle is necessary, a difficult battle, a laborious one and one of a duration."
Provopoulos expresssed optimism that "we can emerge victors" in the battle for the Greek econonmy's recovery and on the exit to markets after the end of 2011.
 Union calls for retail staff strike next SundayThe Federation of Private Employees of Greece has called a 24-hour strike for staff in all retail sales outlets in Athens next Sunday, December 12.
The union objects to a decision by the Athens prefect to allow shops in Athens to open on the second Sunday of December, calling it illegal and abusive, and urges employees to send a strong message to those "trying to abolish the Sunday holiday during the time of economic crisis and recession, alongside with the slashing of wages, further deterioration of work conditions and complete disruption of labour relations."
 Stocks up in slow tradingStocks ended slightly higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, mostly boosted by investors' interest in low capitalisation shares, with the composite index up 0.43 pct to end at 1,492.92 points. Turnover was a disappointing 62.18 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose0.87 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.44 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 2.35 pct.
Mass media (7.04 pct), Technology (5.34 pct) and Financial Services (4.98 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Foods & Beverages fell 2.38 pct.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 105 to 65 with another 51 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.84%
Personal & Household: -0.30%
Raw Materials: +0.42%
Travel & Leisure: +2.91%
Food & Beverages: -2.38%
Financial Services: +4.98%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Piraeus Bank and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.50
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.18
HBC Coca Cola: 19.80
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.67
National Bank of Greece: 6.74
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.23
Bank of Piraeus: 3.10
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bond increased to 884 basis points on Monday from 880 bps on Friday. Turnover in the market was a very low 5 million euros of which 2 million were buy orders and the remaining 3.0 million euros were sell orders. The ten-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 2 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.52 pct, the six-month rate was 1.25 pct, the three-month 1.02 pct and the one-month rate 0.81 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.87 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover falling to 18.737 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,354 contracts worth 18.729 million euros, with 33,198 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,360 contracts worth 7.538 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (4,858) followed by National Bank (4,435), MIG (2,987), Ellaktor (2,017), OTE (832), GEK (565), Hellenic Postbank (396) and Alpha Bank (388).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.338
Pound sterling 0.853
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 9.184
Japanese yen 110.94
Swiss franc 1.318
Norwegian kroner 8.042
Canadian dollar 1.347
Australian dollar 1.356
 Three injured during march marking Grigoropoulos shootingThree people were injured and rushed to hospital for first aid during incidents between police and protestors outside the gates of the Athens University (Propylaea) on Monday afternoon, during demonstrations commemorating the second anniversary since the fatal shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by police in 2008.
Police said the three people injured were a man beaten by youths who suspected him of being a plain-clothes police officer, a woman suffering from shock after a flare exploded next to her at the junction of Ippokratous and Panepistimiou streets and a man found injured in unknown circumstances on the corner of Aiolou and Stadiou streets.
The march from the university gates to Parliament was marked by scenes of violence, following an earlier rally by teachers, students and school pupils against the teenager's killing. Hundreds of people gathered near Propylea to protest while the civil servants' union ADEDY had called work stoppages throughout the day.
Even before the start of the march, groups of anti-establishment groups set fire to a bus stop and erected road blockades using rubbish bins that they then torched, while others vandalised a telephone booth. Youths also threw rocks and other objects at MAT riot police, while police responded with the use of tear gas and flash grenades.
When police managed to restore order, the march toward Syntagma via Stadiou street began, guarded by police but violence erupted again when it reached Syntagma, when youths among the protestors again attacked police on guard outside Parliament with petrol bombs and police again replied with use of tear gas. Once the majority of those in the march had moved on down Panepistimou street, MAT forces pursued some of those throwing stones and petrol bombs to the entrance of Syntagma metro station, while motorcycle police were stationed along Amalias Avenue.
Other hood-wearing, anti-establishment youths remained on the scene after other demonstrators had dispersed, throwing rocks and petrol bombs and also setting fire to rubbish bins in front of a bank on the Korai pedestrian street. The fire brigade put out the fires while a limited number of protestors remained within the university grounds.
Earlier, a group of mostly teens threw rocks against a police station in the west Athens district of Peristeri, while traffic on a main thoroughfare, Kifissias Avenue, was periodically blocked by other groups of protesters.
 Culture Ministry on Parthenon marblesA spokesman of the Culture and Tourism Ministry's press office said in a statement to the ANA-MPA on Monday that "the permanent return of the Parthenon marbles to the new Acropolis Museum remains the steadfast demand of the Greek state and of the Culture Ministry. Moreover, Greece is prepared to offer the British Museum classic masterpieces of the country for periodical exhibitions," adding that Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos never referred to the issue of the marbles' ownership in his meeting with a reporter of the British newspaper "The Times."
The spokesman was referring to a report appearing in the newspaper "that "Greece is trying to break decades of stalemate with Britain over the Elgin Marbles by dropping its long-standing claim to ownership of the sculptures in return for the British Museum sending the Acropolis artefacts back to Athens on a long-term loan."
The report added that "in return, Greece will offer the British Museum a selection of its best classical art, changing the exhibition every few years to give London one of the richest permanent displays in Western Europe of sculpture, carvings and art from ancient Greece."
Meanwhile, the British Museum in an announcement on Monday mentions that Greece made no official approach to it regarding this offer and added that "if such a proposal is to take place, there is no reason for us to assume that the Museum's managers will change their opinion that has been expressed in their announcement on the issue." It mentions that the sculptures must continue to stay "in the British Museum's world collection."
 Study shows rise in academic papers published by Greek researchersThe number of academic papers written in Greece rose sharply between 1993-2008, when the rate of increase was among the highest in the European Union and the 30 member-states of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to a survey by Greece's National Documentation Centre (EKT) released on Monday.
Greece also performed well in terms of the number of articles published relative to population, with 820 papers per one million inhabitants in 2007. This ranked the country 17th among OECD member-states in 2008 and greatly improved on its position in 1993, while surpassing publications relative to population in Japan, Italy and Spain.
The results of the study have been published as an e-book by EKT and are available in Greek on its website www.ekt.gr/metrics/.
This is based on the data for some 92,456 papers generated by 70 bodies in Greece, including universities, technical educational institutes, research centres supervised by the general secretary for research and technology, other public-sector research bodies, state-sector health bodies, private-sector health bodies, organisations supervised by the defence ministry, museums, banks, various other state organisations and private organisations.
The statistical processing of the data was carried out using specialised software developed by EKT. This showed an increase in both the number of times Greek papers are referenced by other scientists and academics worldwide but also the percentage of publications that include references to the sum of Greek publications.
For example, in the five-year period 2004-2008 there a total of 43,447 Greek papers published, of which 26,224 (60.3 percent) were referenced 165,981 times. In the five-year period 1993-1997, by contrast, there were a total of 16,869 Greek papers published and 7,919 of these (46.9 percent) were referenced 35,044 times.
The highest percentage reference rates in 2004-2008 were achieved by private health organisations (69.4 percent) and research centres supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (68.4 percent).
The highest number of publications were authored within universities or with the participation of universities, which employ the largest number of researchers and accounted for 80.8 percent of the total. General Secretariat for Research and Technology research centres follow with 16 percent of the total and public-sector health organisations are third with 10.7 percent.
Papers written by university or with universities also accounted for the largest number of references of Greek papers (76.2 percent of the total) between 1993-2008, followed by General Secretariat for Research and Technology research centres (22.8 percent) and state health organisations (12.7 percent).
The natural sciences account for 51.4 percent of papers published by Greek authors in 2004-2008, while the fields of medicine and health sciences record the fastest rate of increase in terms of the number of papers published and an ever-increasing share of the total, which came to 37.5 percent in 2004-2008.
Mechanical engineering and technology holds a 23.7 percent share in the same period while there are few Greek papers in agricultural science, social science and human studies.
The study also records an increase in collaboration between Greek researchers and other research teams abroad, with papers produced collaboratively rising from 47.2 percent in 1993 to 65 percent in 2008.
The study is also available in printed version at the National Research Foundation bookshop in Athens (48 Vassileos Konstantinou St).
 Akrithakis exhibition at Kalfayan Gallery, features famed 'Bar' installationAn exhibition of works by one of the most significant representatives of post-war art in Greece, Alexis Akrithakis (1939-1994), will be on display at the Kalfayan Gallery in Athens through January 29.
The showcase exhibit is Akrithakis' renowned "Bar", an exceptional historical wooden installation, which belonged to an American collection and recently returned to Greece.
This is the first exhibition of the historic installation artwork since its initial presentation at the Bernier Gallery in 1981.
The Akrithakis display is one of the annual exhibitions held by Kalfayan Galleries (Athens and Thessaloniki) dedicated to the most important Greek representatives of Modernism.
Known for his colorful palette and playful, though sometimes ironic, themes, Akrithakis remains one of the most important figures of post war art in Greece. Largely self-taught, Akrithakis embarked on an intellectual and artistic life that led him from Athens to Paris and then to Berlin in 1968 where he spent some of his most creative and productive years before returning to Athens in 1984.
Two works in the exhibition are dedicated to his friends, the writer Kostas Tachtsis and the poet and intellectual, George Makris. Akrithakis kept company with intellectuals in Athens and later, in Berlin, through his wife's restaurant, Fofi's, when it became a meeting place for the artistic world of the German capital.
A microcosm of archetypal symbols and images of personal experiences flows through his works: flowers and flags, suitcases and bicycles, the heart and the sun come together to create magical worlds in paintings, watercolors and wood constructions. In his tsiki-tsiki drawings, as Tachtsis called them, labyrinthine lines drawn in pen and ink conjure up imaginary worlds in an automatic script. Akrithakis created a visual mythology in which travel and adventure played a major role and the symbols that he used repeatedly -the suitcase, the bicycle, the airplane - evoked a desire for escape that was not only physical but psychological as well.
 Navy celebrates feast of patron Saint NikolaosThe Hellenic Navy on Monday celebrated the feast of its patron Saint Nikolaos at a special event held at the Navy Cadets Academy attended by the country's military leadership and national defence minister Evangelos Venizelos.
Addressing the event, Navy General Staff chief Vice-Admiral Dimitris Elefsiniotis assured of the Navy's preparedness to meet the nation's expectations.
Venizelos, in turn, noted that Greece is a seafaring nation and maritime power, adding that great significance is placed on the armament, preparedness, training and morale of the Navy, which also supports Greece's merchant shipping that comprises one of the country's greatest comparative advantages.
 President to attend religious music concert at Aghios Panteleimonas cathedralPresident Karolos Papoulias will attend a religious music concert at the Aghios (St.) Panteleimonas cathedral in central Athens on Dec. 12, accepting an invitation by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece as well as by Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) President Ioannis Manos.
The event is organised by the Archdiocese of Athens and the Megaron, and will be held under the auspices of Archbishop Ieronymos.
 Motorway linking Promachonas border with Bulgaria closedThe motorway connecting Promachonas (on the border with Bulgaria) and Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, remained closed on Monday due to heavy rainfall that resulted in the overflow of the Strymonas river.
Traffic is being diverted.
According to Macedonia General Police, the motorway has been closed near the Bulgarian town of Kresna.
Authorities recommend that drivers use the Exochi border crossing as an alternative exit from the country. Traffic has also been diverted at Vyronia- Megalochori bridge due to the Strymonas river's high levels of water.
 Eleven suspects in attacks at Thessaloniki Aristotle University receive stay of testimonyEleven young people suspected in the double attack that occurred at dawn on Saturday at the premises of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), who were arrested during a police operation in an occupied location in the University's second student dormitory in the region of 40 Ekklisies in Thessaloniki, asked and received a stay of testimony for Wednesday and Thursday.
The eight men and three women, aged between 19 and 27, were led late Sunday before a Thessaloniki prosecutor who charged them with "participation in a criminal organisation", "robbery" and "violation of the law regarding weapons".
 New mayor to have shortest-lived term worldwideA newly-elected mayor in the municipality of Epidavros will have the dubious honor of the shortest-lived term worldwide, given that the municipality will be abolished on December 31 under the Kallikratis public administration reform program.
Alexandros Lymniatis was elected mayor of the soon-to-be-abolished municipality in repeat local government elections held on Sunday after a marathon court dispute that nullified the initial winner of the elections in November.
 Man missing after swept away by surging riverA 35-year-old Bulgarian farm worker remained missing on Monday afternoon after being swept away by floodwaters earlier in the day in Serres prefecture.
The man, along with his employers, a local father and son, apparently attempted to cross the flood-swollen waters of the Strymonas River of northeastern Greece.
All three were swept up by the strong river tide, with only the father and son managing cling to tree branches, before being rescued by nearby fishermen.
 Woman killed in train accidentAn undentified woman was killed on Monday in Achaia prefecture, southwest Greece, while attempting to cross the railway tracks on foot.
According to Hellenic rail, the incident occured at 11:38 near the village of Aghia.
The train was carrying out the Aghios Andreas-Rio route.
 The Monday edition of Athens newspapers at a glanceThe government's crucial meetings with the EC, ECB and IMF troika and six arrests on charges of involvement in a terrorist group, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Police prevented terrorist attack".
AVRIANI: "Athens in state of siege ahead of 'loanshark chief' Dominique Strauss-Kahn's (IMF managing director) arrival".
ELEFTHEROS: "Theatre of the absurd between prime minister George Papandreou and Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Four-point objection to the troika".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "15,000 lay-offs in the Armed Forces".
ESTIA: "Fresh ideas wanted".
ETHNOS: "Police dismantles the 'Revolutionaries' Sect' and 'Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire' terror groups network".
IMERISSIA: "Battle begins on three fronts".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Pressure for immediate changes in public sector".
TA NEA: "They (terror group) were ready for new attack".
VRADYNI: "Middle Ages in labour and by law".
 Leaders decide on their December meetingsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have reviewed the work done by their representatives and have decided the schedule of their meetings for December.
Speaking after Monday's meeting between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, in the framework of the direct negotiation process, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Lisa Buttenheim said that "the leaders met for just over an hour in a friendly atmosphere. They reviewed what their special representatives discussed in two meetings last week and exchanged views and they agreed to meet at their level - at the level of the leaders - on the 13th, 21st and the 28th of December".
"The representatives will be meeting this Wednesday (8th) and Friday (10th), and they'll decide on the schedule of their own meetings in the coming weeks as well", she added noting that on Wednesday there will be the first meeting of the committee on the opening of crossings.
Asked if during January there will be all-day meetings between the two leaders, Buttenheim said the leaders haven't decided on the dates yet.
"But, I think you can see that they are intensifying their contacts by meeting throughout the holiday period; as I mentioned, all the dates between now and the end of December with additional representative meetings that will be taking place over those weeks as well, and they have agreed in principle to meet two times a week", she noted.
Asked what chapters will be discussed during their meetings, she said that the UN Secretary General when he met them in New York, in November, he asked them to focus on core issues and to try to agree on a practical plan for overcoming their remaining points of disagreement. "So, this is going to be across all chapters", she concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Peace talks began in September 2008 between President Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. Talks continue now with Eroglu, who succeeded Talat in April this year.
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