|Tuesday, 23 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-10-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 3 October 2011 Issue No: 3905
 Cabinet meeting ratifies 2012 draft state budgetA cabinet meeting on Sunday night, chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou, ratified the draft state budget for 2012, which was presented by government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos. The draft budget will be tabled at the Permanent Parliamentary Economic Affairs Committee on Monday, according to the provisions of article 79 of the Constitution.
The budget's main fiscal indexes for 2012, as well as the point where the budget for 2011 will close, were discussed at length with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika', both before and after its arrival in Athens.
The draft budget, according to an announcement by the Finance ministry, as against a fiscal target of 2011 of a 17.1 billion euros deficit, meaning 7.8 percent of the current GDP, the deficit for 2011 is determined at 8.5 percent of the GDP (18.69 billion euros), in other words a deviation of 0.7 percent of GDP is being recorded, due to recession (-5.5 percent) that is much deeper than that predicted in May (-3.8 percent), when the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Programme was prepared.
As has been agreed with the "troika", from the combined approach of the targets of 2011 and 2012, in the framework of the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Programme, achieving the fiscal target for 2012 (deficit of 6.8 percent of GDP or 14.65 bilion euros) is secured.
This amount of the total fiscal deficit (including the cost of serving the public debt) in 2012, permits the production of a first stage surplus of 3.2 billion euros or 1.5 percent of GDP, that signals Greece's entry into a different fiscal phase.
Since three crucial months remain for the completion of the 2011 fiscal year, the final assessment of a deficit of 8.5 percent of GDP can be achieved, provided there is a similar response by the state mechanism and the citizens themselves, on whose stance the country's fiscal, developmental and social future depends, according to the finance ministry's announcement.
With the implementation of the measures that have already beed decided, the achievement of the fiscal target of 2012 is secured, one way or another, since both years (2011/2012) are jointly handled.
With the budget for 2012 and its implementation, a fiscal adjustment is recorded that began with a first stage deficit of 24 billion euros in 2009 (fiscal deficit of 36 billion euros) and reaches a first stage surplus of 3.2 billion euros only three years later, in 2012, despite the increase in the annual cost of serving the public debt. The achievement of first stage surpluses shields the country, thanks to the sacrifices and the efforts of the Greek people, the announcement added.
 Cabinet approves proposal on reserve labour systemA crucial cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou examined and approved a proposal on the reserve labour system, Government Spokesman Elias Mosialos said on Sunday night.
The proposal was prepared by an ad hoc inter-ministerial com-mittee and after long and hard consultations with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and Interna-tional Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika', the spokesman added.
 PM Papandreou addresses cabinet meetingPrime Minister George Papandreou, addressing a cabinet meeting on Sunday evening, at which the draft 2012 state budget, that will be tabled in Parliament on Monday, and the labour reserve system were ratified, stressed that the implementation of the July 21 Eurozone Summit decision "is very close".
Papandreou referred to the agreement's ratification by most of the eurozone's parliaments and that of Germany in particular, a few days ago. He said that another precondition for the agreement's implementation "will constitute a reality in the coming weeks."
The prime minister insisted, once again, that everything depends on the consistency which Greece will show, in the implementation of the commitments it has undertaken towards the partners, so as to be reliable to all.
The prime minister also referred to the great importance of the next sessions of the European bodies, with Monday's Eurogroup meeting being the first, which Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will attend.
 FinMin: 6th tranche secured if gov't, people, shoulder responsibilitiesGreek finance minister and government vice president Evangelos Venizelos said that the 8 billion euros sixth tranche of the EU-IMF bailout loan to Greece is secured, given that the Greek government is taking such tough decisions and the Greek people are shouldering such great burdens, in an interview appearing in a Sunday newspaper.
Venizelos, in an interview with "To Vima" newspaper, Venizelos said it is necessary to send a clear message abroad that Greece can and wants to exit the crisis.
Acknowledging that the measures being taken by the Greek government, in agreement with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika, are many and tough, he made it clear, however, that from the moment that the government is taking such tough decisions and the Greek people are shouldering such great responsibilities, the sixth tranche is secured.
He added that he is prepared to put up with humiliation and accept the obvious political cost, provided that the country is saved.
"Personally, it is my obligation to accept humiliation, if it benefits the country. What is important is that my country is not humiliated," he said, and severely criticised main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras of populism, and called on him to state clearly whether "he is in favor of fiscal consolidation and tax justice or encourages the rear-guard battle being given by the forces of tax evasion and the black economy".
 PM meets with Qatari Emir, PMGreek prime minister George Papandreou met on Saturday afternoon with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, and the emirate's prime minister and foreign minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir Al Thani, for talks that were also attended by environment minister George Papaconstantinou.
After the meeting, both Papandreou and the Emir of Qatar underlined the relations of confidence between the two countries, as well as the prospects opening up for Qatari investments in Greece.
The meeting took place in light of the signing of a 1.2 billion euros agreement that provides for the inflow of Qatari capital into the "Hellenic Gold" Halkidiki Mining Company, and which is expected to create 1,500 new jobs.
The agreement comes one year after the signing of the Memorandum of Economic Cooperation signed by Papandreou and the Emir last September in New York.
Papandreou said that this decision by Qatar sends a message to the international community and reflects the confidence in the developmental opportunities arising in Greece form the reforms being advanced by the government.
The Emir reaffirmed to Papandreou Qatar's interest for investments in Greece, especially in the denationalisatoins in the sectors of energy and tourism, and for the development of the tract of land of the old Athens international airport at Ellinikon.
The Emir, accompanied by the emirate's prime minister and foreign minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir Al Thani and other officials, spoke of the "confidence" he feels when collaborating with the Greek government, adding that "Qatar does not have a political agenda with respect to its investment activities", and thanked the Greek government for the rescue and hosting of Qatari officials during the crisis in Libya.
Papandreou, in turn, welcomed the Emir's visit, saying it indicated "the confidence and interest of foreign investors in the strategy of sustainable development for the benefit of all the Greeks that the Greek government ins advancing".
Investment of capital in Greece means investment in Greece itself, Papandreou said, adding that the Qatari investment agreement "indicates the confidence of the international community in Greece".
The investment agreement was signed on the sidelines of the meeting between Papandreou and the Emir by the president of the Greek company "Hellenic Gold" S.A. Dimitris Koutras, representing the Aktor firm, and the president of Qatar Holdings Ahmad Al-Sayed.
Under the deal signed, Qatari Holdings will purchase a 10 percent stake in London-based European Goldfields from the 25 percent stake the Greek building firm Aktor holds. European Goldfields was granted a permit by Greece in July to mine for gold in the north of the company
 President: Fair distribution of the burdens of the crisisPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday urged those in power "to fairly distribute the burdens of the crisis the country is facing among the Greek people".
Speaking in the Ioannina village of Ligiades, where he attended memorial events for the victims of the 1943 massacre and looting of the village, Papoulias said that the Nazi barbarity at Ligiades left an indelible mark in European history and European civilisation.
Greece, he said, sacrificed many dead and ruins in the struggle to free itself and for Europe to be relieved of the Nazi regime, which "our partners in Europe should not forget".
Today, the President added, the Greek people were waging another battle, a very tough battle for its survival.
"In this battle, those in office must display greater understanding, they must distribute the burdens fairly. The burdens cannot fall on the shoulders of the weaker. We need to wage this battle together and win it," Papoulias said, adding his conviction that the battle will be won.
Papoulias also laid a wreath at the monument of the 92 victims -- among them 34 children aged six months to 11 years, 37 others, mostly women, aged 30 to 64, and 11 over 70 years of age -- who were massacred by the Nazi forces on October 3, 1943.
 Samaras: Smaller state, fewer taxes, to generate growthMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras advocated a "smaller state and fewer taxes" as a prerequisite for Greece to enter into growth rates, in a newspaper article he wrote appearing on Sunday.
Samaras strongly criticised the PASOK government of expan-ding the state by creating more than 70 general secretariats, directorates and authorities, and of creating positions and appointing thousands of "political friends" under intransparent procedures.
In the article, appearing in To Vima newspaper, Samaras warned that the "tax-grabbing" measures imposed by the government are destroying the economy and society, and exterminating the middle class completely.
Samaras reiterated his own proposal for reserve labour which, he explained, does not include layoffs in the public sector but would drastically reduce the country's deficit without causing problems to society, "in antithesis with the government's proposal, which sets off explosions and results in a very small reduction of the deficit".
The ND leader further accused prime minister George Papandre-ou personally of winning the last elections by making false pro-mises.
He said that the country's exit from the crisis requires sacrifices, "but sacrifices with prospect".
"Greece can be saved without the Greeks dying," Samaras said.
 Tsipras calls for non-payment of real estate surtax and deposit in distresed organisations insteadCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras urged party cadres and MPs to deposit the money corresponding to their electricity bill at the Mortgage and Loans Fund and refuse to pay the extraordinary surtax on real estate -- which will appear on the taxpayers' electricity bills -- "because it is illegal and unconstitutional".
Addressing his party's central political committee on the weekend, Tsipras urged the move as "a political act, an act of solidarity, and at the same time a symbolic act", standing at the side of the "people who cannot pay, even if we can".
He added that "we who are able to pay the illegal and unconstitutional surtax on real estate" should be deposited in a "mutual assistance fund, the fund of a state organisation which is on the verge of collapse".
"Personally, I am considering depositing that money at the KETHEA (Drug Detox and Rehabilitation Center) which the government is closing down," Tsipras continued.
The proposal has already been approved by the SYN-led Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) secretariat.
Tsipras further reiterated his proposal for a new "coalition of power" that would reorganise the political scenery and create new correlations at political and social level, adding that SYN and SYRIZA should in the immediate future undertake coordinated initiatives.
On prime minister Papandreou's statement after his recent meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy that Greece will fulfill all its commitments, Tsipras questioned: "What are the commitments that have been made? Are they commitments of the country, or personal, secret commitments of Mr. Papandreou?".
He also reiterated his call for early general elections, stressing that the government does not have the democratic legitimisation for assuming commitments.
 DM holds talks with Turkish counterpartNational Defence Minister Panos Beglitis, speaking after his first meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ismet Yilmaz, in the framework of the session of Defence ministers of countries of Southeastern Europe in Antalya on Sunday, said "I raised the issue of Confidence Building Measures, where sincerely we have achieved considerable progress, but the two sides can work even more to enable us to create a climate of mutual trust, to reduce the mistrust between the two sides."
Beglitis also said that in this meeting he conveyed the Greek government's concern over the recent violations of Greek airspace on the part of Turkish aircraft.
"I raised this issue on the basis of relations of good neighbourliness, relations that could be undermined if these attitudes continue on the part of Turkey. We agreed to discuss this issue and indeed very soon, in the framework of a regular dialogue that we agreed to establish with the Turkish Defence minister," he added.
Beglitis further said "we also discussed Turkey's actions in the region of Kastelorizo. I also raised this issue, because these practices are not compatible with International Law and I said this very sincerely, as a concern and scepticism on the part of Greece and the Greek government."
The two sides also exchanged views on developments in the wider region, including those in Cyprus, on the occasion of research continuing in the framework of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus.
"I also stressed to my Turkish colleague that relations between the two countries depend on the good climate, on the reduction of tension and the consolidation of security, stability and relations of good neighbourliness between our two countries," Beglitis added.
 DM in Cyprus for Independence Day anniversaryNicosia (AMNA/A. Viketos)
Greek defense minister Panos Beglitis on Saturday strongly reaffirmed that Greece is able to safeguard the national defence and security ore generally of the Republic of Cyprus, speaking after the military parade in Nicosia marking the 51st anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus, at which he represented the Greek government.
Beglitis said that he was in constant contact with the Cypriot leadership and both were closely monitoring Turkey's moves with calm and determination.
"Today's anniversary reaffirms the national sovereignty and national independence of the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state and member country of the UN and other international and regional organizations. It reaffirms, in other words, the powerful strength o the national, sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus as they emanate from the principles of international legality and the principles of international law. Therefore I consider this anniversary to be of exceptional importance because the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus is once again confirmed," Beglitis said.
The Greek defence minister father said that his presence in Cyprus confirms the close cooperation and constant coordination betseen the two countries and governments, "the more so in these exceptionally difficult conditions, both domestic -- economic and social -- and external, due to the multiple developments in the wider region of the southeastern Mediterranean.
"I want to once again denounce, as defence minister of Greece, the statements by the political leadership of Turkey, which many times are incendiary, and also the practices it follows," Beglitis said, adding that "they are practices that violate the sovereign rights of both Greece in the Aegean and in the southeaster Mediterranean, and of the Republic of Cyprus".
He said it is necessary for Greece and Cyprus to continue to work closely in the future in order to create daily a solid front and solid trench against the aggressive moves or prospective initiatives in the future by Turkey.
The conditions are tough and the situation is critical, and that is why calm is required, but also the corresponding determination. "I am here to send a message to the Cypriot people that Greece will be here. Greece is able to safeguard the national defence and the security in general of the Republic of Cyprus," Beglitis assured, adding that this message is addressed to Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, "because, together, we can create a region of peace, security, stability and prosperity for all the peoples".
 Meeting with Cyprus PresidentCyprus president Demetris Christofias on Saturday received Greek defence minister Panos Beglitis, who is representing the Greek government at events marking the 51st anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus' independence.
During the meeting, which was also attended by Cyprus defence minister Demetris Eliades, talks focused on defence matters of mutual interest.
No statements were made after the meeting, which took place in Nicosia ahead of the traditional independence day military parade.
 Changes for speedup in implementation of JusticeJustice Minister Miltiades Papaioannou presented three changes for the decongestion of courts at the dialogue with the EC/ECB/IMF troika delegation that visited him on Saturday.
Following the dialogue he had with the leaderships of the two Senior Courts (the Supreme Court and the Council of State), the minister seems to adopt the view that some time-consuming court material which hinders courts from taking speedy decisions should be forwarded to the notaries.
More specifically, the proposal anticipates that the process of issuing consensual divorces, the issuing of payment orders and with a hypothec on real estate for the granting of loans to "pass into" the hands of the notaries.
In parallel, however, the Justice ministry is examining the way with which it will overcome the expected reactions by lawyers on this transfer of duties to notaries.
 Construction of Evros fence to begin shortly, minister saysCitizen's Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis announced on Sunday that the construction of the fence at Evros, for the handling of the illegal immigrants phenomenon, will begin shortly, given that the time limit for the submission of bids by companies desiring to undertake the project ends on October 4.
The minister made the announcement during the swearing in ceremony for 608 graduates of the Komotini Police Academy.
Papoutsis congratulated the graduates and their families and praised the level of training and their trainers, while stressing that one of the cornerstones of the functioning of the Greek Police is the defending of human rights, the security of citizens and social cohesion.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.370
Pound sterling 0.879
Danish kroner 7.553
Swedish kroner 9.396
Japanese yen 105.35
Swiss franc 1.235
Norwegian kroner 8.006
Canadian dollar 1.431
Australian dollar 1.408
 Large child porn trafficking ring uncovered, 11 arrestsEleven people have been arrested in several cities throughout Greece for involvement in a large child pornography internet trafficking ring, police authorities said late Saturday night.
The ring, numbering 15 members, comprises "persons above suspicion", including a priest from the island of Crete, police sources told AMNA, adding that they are charged with moving "very hardcore child pornography material via the Internet".
The sources said that 11 of the 15 ring members have been arrested, while warrants are outstanding for the other four. The accused are 14 Greeks and one foreign national.
The ring members were located during a series of investigations and operations conducted by the Greek Police electronic crimes squad code-named "Butterfly" over the space of four months in several cities throughout the country.
Acting on the information collected throughout the four-month investigation, police, in the presence of prosecutors, conducted searches of suspects' houses in Athens, Thessaloniki, Volos and the island of Crete (Iraklion, Aghios Nikolaos, Ierapetra and Malia) between August 20 and September 20, which turned up 57 hard disc drives, five laptops and a plethora of CDs and DVDs containing tens of thousands of digital video archives and photographs of child pornography total ling 40,000 GB, all of which were confiscated.
The detainees were taken before the local prosecutors, while case files were written up for the four still at large.
The ring was uncovered through the use of a specialised computer programme that traces all items moved via the internet related to child porn.
Child pornography trafficking over the internet has taken on very large dimensions globally.
According to official figures, child pornography material is not produced in Greece, but an estimated 2,000 users in the country log into child porn sites, paying substantial amounts of money.
From 2004 to the present, there have been 680 child pornography related arrests made in Greece.
 Bank robbery at Eleftherios Venizelos airportA robbery with a haul in the region of 1.5 million euros, according to initial reports, occurred at a branch office of Alpha Bank at Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens at 16:43.
According to police, a person claiming that he was phoning from the head office of the ERGO company, called the Alpha Bank branch office at the airport and spoke to a woman employee, telling her that on Sunday two employees of the ERGO company would be arriving holding a company card and wearing blue overalls, to carry out innovation work at the branch office. He also revealed the identity of the people who would be carrying out the work.
At 16:43 and after the bank had closed for the public, a man wearing blue overalls appeared, holding a tools case, and showed a card of the ERGO company and revealed the identity mentioned in the phone call, convincing the employees to let him through in this way. He took a measure out of the case and pretended to be masuring the bank's premises until he reached the place where the safe was located. He then pulled out a pistol and ordered the employees to give him the safe's combination.
The employees reacted initially and refused but were forced to obey at gunpoint. The man opened the safe, took three big bags out of the tools case and filled them with money. He then tied up the three employees and immediately afterwards ran to the exit where, according to a testimony, he boarded a taxi and disappeared.
It is noteworthy that the branch office at the airport remains open until 16:00 on Sundays to be of service to the public.
 Ferry rams into pier, no injuriesA car/passenger ferry rammed into the pier at Souda port on the island of Crete on Saturday morning, but all 1,118 passengers were safe and uninjured, port authorities said.
The ferry "LATO", carrying out the Piraeus-Hania route, rammed into the pier as it was manoeuvering to dock.
The collision caused a 30cm rift on the right side of the ferry approximately one meter above the water line.
The ferry has been banned from sailing until the rift is repaired and the relevant certification provided.
 Thessaloniki inaugurates municipal extreme sports parkThessaloniki on Sunday inaugurated its own municipal park for extreme sports.
The municipality has transformed a disused park opposite the city Hall into the "What's Up Park" that features outdoor athletic activities, an aerial games area, a wall-climbing area, and paintball, skate and bungee trampoline facilities.
The What's Up Park covers the entire eastern section of the old park, and was created in a collaboration between the City of Thessaloniki and the mobile telephony company Cosmote.
A concert for young enthusiasts was also planned for Sunday evening, featuring the groups Stavento, Professional Sinnerz and Melisses, and pop singer Myronas Stratis.
 Two arrested for tobacco, cigarette smugglingTwo Chinese nationals were arrested by the police financial crimes squad late Saturday night and 983 kilos of contraband tobacco and 409 packets of contraband cigarettes were seized, while case files have been drafted on two more Chinese nationals believed to be living in London and were apparently the end recipients of the contraband.
Police said that during a coordinated operation late Saturday night following information received, in the warehouse of a transport company in Aspropyrgos, the contraband tobacco was found in 352 plastic bags hidden in crates filled with clothing.
According to police, the two detainees were responsible for coordinating the international movement of the crates, which were destined for London.
One of the detainees, who was arrested near Omonia Square in downtown Athens, was found with two seals containing the information of companies, similar to the seals contained on the accompanying documents for the crates in which the contraband tobacco was found, and photocopies of the accompanying documents.
Police also seized 1,200 euros in cash and a car.
The investigation revealed that more such cargoes had been moved with the same process by the two detainees in the recent past.
Greece's financial crimes police are collaborating with similar authorities in France and Britain and with Europol and Interpol to ascertain whether contraband tobacco had been trafficked in those instances.
The detainees were due to be taken before an Athens prosecutor on charges of tobacco and cigarette smuggling.
 Italy's Ivan Cudin wins Spartathlon for second consecutive yearItalian ultra-distance runner Ivan Cudin won the 29th Spartathlon on Saturday, covering the 246 kilometer distance from Athens to Sparta in just under 23 hours. The race started out on Friday from the Acropolis in Athens, finishing at the statue of Leonidas in Sparta.
Cudin won the 28th Spartathlon with a time of 22:56:45, beating his own winning time of 23:03:06 last year. Cudin topped a turnout of 285 athletes of both genders from 39 countries, with Yuji Sakai of Japan in second place with a time of 24:21:29 and Michael Vanicek of Germany third with 25:55:04.
The top Greek in the competition was George Koutsoukos, who placed 13th overall with a time of 29:06:18.
The top woman was Szilvia Lubics of Hungary, who placed 14th in the overall standings with 29:06:50.
The Spartathlon is a historic ultra-distance foot race that takes place in September of every year in Greece. It is one of the most difficult and satisfying ultra distance races in the world because of its unique history and background.
The race retraces the route of Pheidippides, whom the Athenian generals sent to Sparta to seek reinforcement for their sparse forces in order to confront the "Asian tide" (incursion), according to the historian Herodotus on the 490 BC Battle of Marathon.
For 29 consecutive years, the Spartathlon athletes have followed the route John Foden and his team defined in 1982 when they experimented in running from Athens to Sparta. It is based on Herodotus' description of the Athenian 'Imerodromou' or messenger who arrived in Sparta the day after he departed from Athens and also on well known historical events of that time. It has, therefore, been considered the nearest route to that which Pheidippides must have followed.
The battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., one of the most famous battles in world history, constituted a landmark and a starting point in the history of civilization. The triumph of the genius of Miltiades and the self-denial of his soldiers made the hordes of Persians flee and rescued Athens and Hellenism from the utmost danger of subjugation to the barbarian invaders. The effects of the victory at Marathon continue to influence the present. It was the first victory against the planned domination of "Asianization" over Europe and an event with momentous significance. Because of this victory, Athens was able to achieve a great deal and bequeath the benefits of its knowledge, arts and virtue to mankind.
Briefly, Miltiades' messenger Pheidippides started out of Athens on the ancient Iera Odos, or "sacred road", up to Elefsis. From there he followed Skyronia Odos, a military road on the slopes of the Gerania Mountains, and travelled through Isthmia, Examilia and Ancient Corinth. He went on to Ancient Nemea, thus avoiding the Epicratea of Argos, as it wasn't in alliance with Athens, and he continued along the mountains between Argolida and Arcadia. He climbed the Parthenio Mountain (1200 meters), where he encountered the god Pan. Descending the mountain, he continued in the direction of historical Tegea, one of the locations mentioned by Herodotus in his account about Pheidippides. He proceeded south toward Sparta. Upon his arrival in Sparta, he completed 1,140 "stadia" (with one 'stadio' equalling the length of one stadium), totalling 246 kilometers.
In 1879 the English poet Robert Browning wrote the stirring poem 'Pheidepeides'. It is said that the poem so inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin and other founders of the modern Olympic Games that they were prompted to create a foot race of 42 km which would be named the Marathon.
"Archons of Athens, topped by the tettix, see, I return!
See, 'tis myself here standing alive, no spectre that speaks!
Crowned with the myrtle, did you command me, Athens and you, "Run, Pheidippides, run and race, reach Sparta for aid!
Persia has come, we are here, where is She?" Your command I obeyed, Ran and raced: like stubble, some field which a fire runs through, Was the space between city and city: two days, two nights did I burn Over the hills, under the dales, down pits and up peaks."
Two and a half thousand years after that historical battle, a sports event, inseparably related to it, was born in Greece. The Spartathlon is inseparably linked with the Olympic ideals of friendship. peace, selflessness and fraternity.
The ultra-distance runners were greeted by Spartans at the entrance to the city, while a lavish ceremony in honor of the winners was held in the center of Sparta on Saturday evening.
 Super League resultsGames played for the Super League over the weekend had the following results:
Olympiacos Piraeus-PAOK Thessaloniki 2-1
Panionios Athens-AEK Athens 0-1
PAS Yiannina-Kerkyra 2-1
Aris Thessaloniki-Xanthi 0-0
OFI Crete-Ergotelis Crete 1-0
Atromitos Athens-Panetolikos Agrinio 2-1
 Cloudy on MondayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 11C and 29C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 15C to 27C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 14C to 26C.
Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
The issue of reserve labour and intended changes to the taxation system discussed between the government and the EU-IMF 'troika' were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
AVGHI: "The government has given up - Secretly discussing German plan for sell-off of state property in exchange for 'haircut' of debt".
AVRIANI: "4 insurance companies to declare bankruptcy, while 13 other companies have run out of capital".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Reserve labour-Layoffs - 50,000 civil servants at the razor's edge".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The government searching for its tranche".
ETHNOS: "Troikan war for the big massacre in the public sector - Troika demanded immediately the names o 30,000 civil servants, and not general targets".
EXPRESS: "Escalation of tax burdens on 2011 incomes".
KATHIMERINI: "SOS from (former PASOK prime minister) Simitis".
LOGOS: "Insecurity and intimidation in the public sector via reserve labour".
NIKI: "How much we will lose from the abolition of the tax exemptions".
PARASKINIO: "Documentation of oil and uranium reserves in Greece".
PROTO THEMA: "Handcuffs for tax evaders as of tomorrow (Monday)".
REALNEWS: "This is the plan for the 'haircut'."
RIZOSPASTIS: "Absolute participation in the October 5 strike in public sector".
TO ARTHRO: "German reorganisation of Greek state".
TO VIMA: "The secret bargaining on taxes, reserve labour, social security funds".
VRADYNI: "Retire now with fewer years".
 Cyprus' sovereign rights are non-negotiable, President saysNICOSIA (CNA/AMNA)
The sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, as circumscribed by international law and the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea in particular, are non-negotiable, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias said on Saturday.
He added that the Republic of Cyprus is not willing to accept any kind of intervention or arbitration on the matter concerning its rights to conduct research and drilling activities within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), while at the same time he denounced Turkey for reacting with the pursuit of an "expansionist policy".
Speaking after the conclusion of the military parade in Nicosia, commemorating the 51st anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, President Christofias congratulated the people of all Cyprus' communities, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins.
He paid moreover his compliments to the leadership and the staff of the National Guard, the Republic's armed forces, for their excellent performance during the parade, adding that the National Guard continues to carry out its mission to defend the Republic's sovereignty and protect it from Turkey's designs.
Ankara continues unfortunately to carry out an expansionist policy against the Republic of Cyprus, following the conduct of research activity by Nicosia in Cyprus' EEZ, the president went on to say.
He noted at this point that the Republic's sovereign rights, that derive from international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, are "non-negotiable", underlining at the same time that "we are not going to accept any kind of intervention and arbitration" on this matter. "This needs to be very clear", the president said.
He assured moreover the Cypriot people that research activity for locating and exploiting hydrocarbon reserves will carry on, adding that such discovery would be a "blessing" for the entire people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike.
The president noted that natural reserves belong to all citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and added that responsible for dealing with the issue is the government of the Republic of Cyprus, which is the only legal authority on the island.
Moreover, the president wished for the matter to become a catalyst for concluding an agreement concerning Cyprus talks, adding that Turkey needs to stop pursuing policies that are counterproductive towards this aim.
"Turkey's expansionist policy is a serious obstacle in solving the Cyprus problem, because it encourages our interlocutor, the Turkish Cypriot side, in maintaining an intransigent and disingenuous stance", President Christofias said.
He went on by saying that Cyprus talks are being conducted amongst the leaders of the two communities of Cyprus, as provided by UN resolutions, adding that the basis of the negotiation talks is well-established. "We are consistent both with the basis of the talks as well as towards our principles", the president said, adding that the Greek Cypriot side is showing at the same time the necessary degree of flexibility.
Addressing the Turkish Cypriot community, the president assured them that he will continue negotiating by showing good will, and added that if the other side also displays the same degree of understanding, a Cyprus solution will be reached soon.
President Christofias called for unity in the domestic political scene, noting that otherwise, difficult days will follow in the absence of it.
Christofias thanked the Greek National Defense Minister Panos Beglitis for being present during the military parade, adding that Greece is always standing at the side of the Republic of Cyprus, defending its sovereignty. Finally, he extended his gratitude towards the Prime Minister, the political leadership and the people of Greece for their constant support towards Cyprus.
Cyprus has been divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded the island occupying 37% of its territory. UN led talks have been ongoing since 2008 between the leaders of the two communities with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.
Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot puppet regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.
Houston-based "Noble Energy", whose drilling rig is already in place, off the island's southern coast, has begun drilling in Cyprus' EEZ.
The company has a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore field, south of Cyprus, known as Block 12.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey's moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.
36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS