|Wednesday, 2 December 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-06-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>June 6, 2006
 PM to receive PASOK party leader on Wednesday
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be receiving main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou at the Maximos Mansion at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The meeting will be taking place at the request of Papandreou to enable the PASOK leader to raise the issue of the defining of a new strategy in foreign policy.
Papandreou has made a similar proposal to the leaders of the other opposition parties as well.
His meeting with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga has been scheduled so far. It will take place at Papandreou's office in Parliament at 11 a.m. on Friday.
 Gov't on Turkish air force exercise, Bakoyannis visit
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)"We consider that Turkey will act along the lines of a country that is interested in its European prospects," Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Monday, in response to questions concerning a planned military exercise by Turkey's Air Force that will coincide with a scheduled visit by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to Turkey later this week.
The spokesman also pointed out that the Turkish exercise had been officially announced.
Commenting on a report in the newspaper "Kathimerini" that Greece and Turkey had come close to signing a memorandum for referring the Aegean continental shelf issue to the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2003, mean-while, the spokesman said that no information to this effect had been received by New Democracy's government, nor was it found in foreign ministry files.
 PASOK party spokesman comments on Greek-Turkish contacts
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis on Monday commented once again on the issue of exploratory contacts with Turkey in the framework of the decisions taken in Helsinki, saying that all relevant documents had been delivered to the new (New Democracy) government in April 2004.
Athanassakis' comments were prompted by a statement made on the same day by the government spokesman by which, according to PASOK's spokesman, "the impression could be created that not all evidence had been delivered by the previous government to the present one."
Athanassakis said that everything was delivered to (former foreign minister) Petros Molyviatis and indeed with a "long memorandum" by PASOK former alternate foreign minister Tasos Yiannitsis.
The PASOK spokesman, referring to a relevant question, said that the party's president "never expressed support for the demilitarization of the islands, as the defense minister (Vangelis Meimarakis) had mentioned last week," adding that Meimarakis "was obliged afterwards to use other formulations."
He also expressed the hope that the defense minister "will not follow the same tactic in the future."
 President Papoulias receives Governor-General of New Zealand
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias had a brief meeting on Monday with Governor-General of New Zealand Silvia Cartwright, who is on an official visit to Greece accompanied by her husband. The meeting was held at the Presidential Mansion in the presence of the spouses of the two leaders.
President Papoulias told reporters after the meeting that he outlined Greece’s views on European and world problems as well as on the Cyprus problem, a problem that concerns the European Union, the Commonwealth and the international community and which it was imperative that it be resolved based on the European principles.
President Papoulias also referred to the excellent relations shared by the two countries and their common struggle against Nazism, through which they forged strong friendship ties.
The memory of the Battle of Crete that took place with the participation of New Zealanders is still vivid and serves as a “reference point”, stated President Papoulias, on the occasion of the recent celebrations commemorating the event and the visit of Dame Cartwright to Crete before arriving in Athens.
Papoulias referred to the important role the dynamic Greek community in New Zealand plays in the country’s economic and cultural scene. He also referred to New Zealand’s develop-mental contribution to the Pacific region and praised its innovative stance toward the environment on the occasion of the World Environment Day celebrated the same day.
The New Zealand Governor-General stated that the talks they had were very pleasant and spoke about the bonds of friendship shared by the two peoples, using warm words.
Dame Cartwright also referred to the year-long "live and work" youth exchange program being examined by the two sides, which expected to contribute to the strengthening of bilateral friendship ties.
Referring to relations with the EU, the Governor-General of New Zealand stressed that she appreciates Greece’s stance.
President Papoulias hosts dinner for governor-general of New Zealand: President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday stressed the need for the issue of Cyprus to be resolved in accordance with European principles, linking the problem to the enlargement of the European Union and the obligation of candidate countries to fully adopt the EU's principles.
Addressing the Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Silvia Cartwright during an official dinner held at the Presidential Palace, President Papoulias referred to Greece's role as an EU member-state and at the same time a Mediterranean and Balkan country which was contributing to the handling of the region's problems, while at the same time warning of the risk of these problems leading to destabilization unless they are solved peacefully.
"We believe that Europe will only lose from exclusions, but also that the duty of candidate countries is the full adoption of the principles of the EU," President Papoulias noted, adding that "in this framework we believe that the time has come to solve an anachronism which does not honor the EU, the Commonwealth and the world community: The issue of Cyprus is a European problem and requires a solution in accordance with European principles."
Lastly, President Papoulias stressed that "the prolongation of partition and every anti-European solution offend the democratic character of the EU and harm its deeper values."
FM meets with New Zealand Gov-General Cartwright:Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis had a meeting Monday with visiting New Zealand Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, at a downtown Athens hotel.
No statements were made to the press after the half-hour meeting.
 PM to meet foreign, defense ministers on Tuesday
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be meeting Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Tuesday morning at 10:00, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced.
The prime minister is due to chair a cabinet meeting on tourism policy immediately afterward, while at 9:00 he is scheduled to meet New Zealand Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright who is here on an official visit.
 Bakoyannis meets US ambassador, no statements made
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday had a meeting with United States Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries, which lasted approximately 40 minutes.
No statements were made after the meeting, which the foreign ministry described as one of the regular, routine contacts between the minister and foreign diplomats.
 Greek public order minister addresses conference on Black Sea development and cooperation
BUCHAREST 6/6/2006 (ANA-MPA/I. Radou)Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, speaking here on Monday at the 1st Conference for the Development and Cooperation of the Black Sea, which was held at the initiative of the Romanian government, unfolded "the vision for the Black Sea region to become a region rich in natural and human resources, a zone of security, stability and prosperity."
He noted that "a useful tool for the implementation of this vision constitutes the European Union's policy, which aims at bringing closer this region (the Black Sea) with the European Union."
Having hailed the efforts for the consolidation of cooperation in the Black Sea, Polydoras gave particular emphasis to the need of safeguarding the environment and strengthening efforts for development and cultural interaction on three main levels, prosperity, social welfare and democracy and human rights.
"The environment, along with security, the combating of human trafficking, the development of economic sectors such as energy, trade, tourism and health are among the qualitative priorities which Greece aims at promoting, the only country of the region which participates both in the European Union and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Organization, as well as in NATO," Polydoras said.
According to the Romanian news agency Rompres, the joint declaration of the 1st Conference for Cooperation and Dialogue in the Black Sea expressed the need for the cooperation of the Black Sea countries aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region and the confrontation of new challenges.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey signed the declaration, which underlines that the Black Sea countries must follow a new strategy for the confrontation of challenges, such as terrorism, pollution of the environment, organized crime, illegal trade, human trafficking and possible territorial differences.
Russia participated as an observer in the conference.
 Justice minister on helicopter jail-break from Korydallos
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras on Monday said that correctional staff at Korydallos Prison had displayed inadequacy and lack of professionalism during the spectacular 'Hollywood'-style prison escape via helicopter staged by inmates Vasilis Paleokostas and Rizai Alket on Sunday.
The two were spirited away in a hijacked helicopter that a couple of accomplices managed to land in the courtyard of Korydallos jail, while prison guards looked on unable to retaliate. The prisoners' accomplices had hired the helicopter from the southern coastal suburb of Agios Kosmas and then forced the pilot to land in the prison courtyard using the threat of a pistol and a hand grenade.
The justice minister said that the escape from Korydallos Prison showed that organized crime using all modern means is more daring and dangerous than ever, adding that prison officials in the specific case had failed to rise to the occasion.
The minister said that sanctions will be imposed after the special inquiry he has ordered is completed. However, he noted that the governor of the court prisons, two prison officers and 4 gate guards have been suspended while four correctional officers and a gate guard are being transferred.
Papaligouras also stated that specific measures are being planned and the prison security system is reorganized so as to deal effectively with any airborne threat from now on. He stressed that two convicted criminals were now outside the prison after a well-planned and premeditated operation and it has to become clear that this will never happen again.
The minister also confirmed that the prison guards were allowed to open fire and added that in the specific case they had displayed laxity. He denied, however, that the public order ministry had received two confidential reports that a jailbreak was imminent at Korydallos Prison, saying that the justice ministry had received no such information.
The justice minister said that in the next 6-7 months Korydallos Prison will be used only for those awaiting trial and in a later phase it will be closed. He also stated that an effort is being made to transfer the foreign prisoners to their own countries in order to tackle prison overcrowding, adding that this was among the main issues discussed in Luxembourg last week in the EU Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers Council.
The minister also announced that more prison personnel will be hired soon to cover the needs in the guarding of prisons.
Roussopoulos: Government spokesman Theodoros Rousopoulos on Monday cited the statements made earlier by Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras in response to questions regarding Sunday’s dramatic escape by helicopter of two inmates at Korydallos Prison.
Rousopoulos said that there is an issue of administrative but not political responsibility and added that the responsible ministry has informed him in relation to the helicopter flight that Greece has recently passed an ICAO inspection establishing that the country is totally harmonized with international regulations, which in certain cases are stricter in Greece.
He said that these regulations were strictly followed in the specific case, noting that a passenger list with the flight plan is not required for helicopters in visual flight, adding that in other European countries a flight plan is not even required for helicopters.
PASOK party spokesman: Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said on Monday that the escape from Korydallos prison of two inmates on Sunday with the use of a helicopter was "unprecedented", stressing that for the first time the country has a "government of politically irresponsible ministers" and "a prime minister and ministers who are unaware of the meaning of political responsibility."
Athanassakis said that political responsibility exists objectively when the state is degraded and dissolved and that the prime minister himself should attribute it.
Instead of this, he added, "Karamanlis is covering up for the ministers and bears the responsibility in full himself".
PASOK has tabled a question in Parliament on the issue of the escape and Athanassakis said that he hopes that "this time the prime minister will deign to reply since the issue concerns himself."
 PASOK leader presents 'viable city' proposals
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed an event held in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni on Monday night, during which the inaugural proclamation of the ticket "Nea Smyrni-City with a face" of mayoral candidate Nora Katseli was made.
Papandreou made 16 proposals for a "viable city", stressing that they constitute action axes for local administration and will be included in PASOK's action program after the national elections, expressing certainty that PASOK will win them.
Some of the proposals are that the city should become a centre of innovation with educational, cultural and other services being provided, the city must be financially independent and have independent funds, cities must have urban renewal with protection for building heritage and have a target of increasing greenery by 20 percent per inhabitant over a period of four years, while local programs for the procurement and production of energy must be developed.
The PASOK party leader also said that World Environment Day signals PASOK's intention and will for human, viable and green cities and criticized the government for, "as was the case with a series of other major issues, losing the opportunity to utilize the heritage left by the Olympic Games and abandoned this capital which belongs to the Greek people."
 Solution to the European Constitution unlikely in the near future, Greek official says
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Alternate Director General of the Information Service of the European Commission, Panos Karvounis, at a press conference he gave in Athens on Monday, said that it does not seem likely that a solution for the European Constitution will be reached in the coming months.
Karvounis explained that "until June 2007 it is foreseen that the period of reflection will continue" and that Germany, which will hold the European Union's presidency during that period "will introduce a road map, which according to present moment predictions, will show the road which the EU will follow for an institutional solution."
At this moment, 16 countries have ratified the European Constitution, out of a total of the 25 EU member-states and two countries in relevant referendums have rejected it.
Referring to the overall matter, Karvounis predicted that "the final solution will be given at the latest simultaneously with the European Parliament elections in 2009."
 Greece advances to 'Tier Two' ranking in U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Greece has been elevated to Tier 2 status from its ranking last year of Tier 2 Watch List in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report released on Monday by the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, DC, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Athens on the same day.
This new designation means that the Government of Greece is making significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, the press release added.
It further stressed that Ambassador Charles Ries noted "I was pleased to be able to inform the Foreign Minister today that Greece has been elevated to Tier Two on the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report. This is a reflection of Greece's efforts over the past year to address this serious problem. There is more work to be done, however, especially to protect victims and to prosecute traffickers."
According to the report, the press release stated, Greece has increased its capacity to protect and assist victims, has continued to investigate trafficking cases, and has expanded its cooperation with neighboring countries, among other improvements.
 Greek Army to hire 2,000 professional troops
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Monday signed a joint ministerial decision for the recruitment of 2,000 professional soldiers to cover operational and technical needs of the Greek Army.
Meimarakis said the recruitment process will begin in July this year and the new soldiers will enlist in December 2006.
During the last recruitment drive for 5,800 professional soldiers in all three branches of the armed forces, more than 50,000 applications had been submitted.
 Naval Operational Deterrence Centre project in Souda entering implementation phase
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)The Naval Operational Deterrence Centre in Souda, located on the island of Crete and scheduled to meet the training needs of NATO naval forces, is entering its implementation phase.
The relevant Deputy Defense Minister, Vassilis Mihaloliakos, has signed the awarding of the project to the AKTER SA company which submitted the best offer in public tendering in which 28 construction companies had participated. AKTER SA offered the total amount of 4,777,435 euros with a discount percentage of 55.76.
The Centre will be ready in December 2007. Its mission will be to provide necessary training for NATO naval forces to enable them to carry out surface, underwater and air surveillance and to participate in activities in support of naval deterrence operations.
 Charge d' Affaires of Republic of Kazakhstan visits northern Greece
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)The Charge d' Affaires of the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Greece, Bulat Sarsenbayev, made an acquaintance visit to northern Greece on Monday.
The Kazakh diplomat met with Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis, Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis, Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, Mayor of Kordelio Mr. Lafazanidis, the deputy rector of Thessaloniki University Ekaterini Douka-Kabitoglou, other officials as well as representatives of Greek social organizations and tourism agencies.
Sarsenbayev briefed his interlocutors on the policy and economic situation of his country and the prospects for the development of Kazakhstan.
He noted that Kazakhstan and Greece could develop cooperation mainly in tourism, agriculture, the food industry and in transport services. He further expressed hope for activation in the cultural sector.
 Event held at Iranian embassy on 'Role of Imam Khomeini'
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)The Iranian embassy's Cultural Centre organized an event on Monday titled "The role of Imam Khomeini in the last decades of the 20th century." It was held on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Imam Khomeini on June 4, 1989.
Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Mohtashami said in his address that "Imam Khomeini always believed that power comes from the people and must serve the people and placed great emphasis on the independence and self-confidence of the people."
 First int'l symposium on highways opens in Athens - FM Bakoyannis, US ambassador Ries address event
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)In a few years' time, Greece will be the number one country in the world with respect to kilometers of highway constructed via collaboration between the public and private sector, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis said Monday, opening the first international symposium on highways, which is being organized in Athens by Attikes Diadromes S.A.
Bakoyannis said that the collaborations in the construction of major roadworks were very important for the construction of such works, noting that Greece had wide experience in this area, citing as examples the Attiki Odos highway, the Rion-Antirrion Bridge, Athens' new Eleftherios Venizelos international airport, etc.
In the coming years, 1,000 kilometers of highway was slated for construction in Greece, she said, adding that highways were a new reality in Athens, which gave a new prospect for all of Greece. Bakoyannis said that Greece had the most mature economy in the Balkan region, while its GDP rose by 4 percent, noting the largest increase in recent years. She said the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens had assisted in that direction, but added that Greece's neighboring countries were also showing signs of change, given that growth in the Balkans was estimated at 4.5 percent.
Greece, she continued, was playing an important economic role in the Balkans, and was transferring its experience to those countries.
Addressing the same symposium, US ambassador to Greece Charles Ries stressed that the first image seen by visitors when reaching Greece was the Attiki Odos highway, and it was their good first impression of modern-day Greece, revealing that US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, during her recent visit to Athens, had told him that she had been impressed by the quality of the highways in Greece.
Ries spoke highly of public/private sector collaborations in the sector of major works, explaining that such projects were constructed quickly and efficiently.
The ambassador further said that the electronic information systems on the highways were also very important, and technology was a great assistance in that direction.
Attikes Diadromes president Leonidas Bobolas reviewed the timetable of the construction of the Attiki Odos, noting that although drivers in the Attica prefecture were at first unprepared to pay toll fees, the quality offered by the Attiki Odos succeeded in reversing the climate, and the proportion of the drivers voicing satisfaction was now estimated at 96 percent.
Bobolas further said that the Attiki Odos emergency assistance units had handled 25,000 calls in 2005, with the average response time per call being just 4.3 seconds. Also, electronic traffic at peak hours (use of electronic tolls, e-passes) was 40 percent, while the entire Attiki Odos network also had an impeccable safety history.
He also said that use of the Attiki Odos contributed to the reduction in pollution in the Attica basin, chiefly emissions of carbon monoxide, while also shortening travel time.
Athens, Bobolas said, has become a modern city with infrastructures...an attractive city for investments.
 Merchant marine minister inaugurates 'Poseidonia 2006' exhibition
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Monday inaugurated the international exhibition "Poseidonia 21006" at the Exhibition Centre at Elliniko. "Poseidonia" is the biggest maritime exhibition in the world and takes place in Greece every two years.
Speaking during the inauguration, Kefaloyiannis said that the exhibition is a means of promoting both Greek and world shipping, adding that its taking place in Greece confirms the country's role as a global maritime centre.
The minister also said that in the framework of the "Poseidonia" exhibition "excellent opportunities are provided to strengthen cooperation not only between the maritime world, but also maritime cooperation between the various countries participating."
"Poseidonia 2006" will last until June 9. More than 1,600 companies from 80 countries are participating in the exhibition, while 16,000 representatives of world shipping and professionals of the sector are expected to visit it.
 Govt approves plan to build seven new fire stations
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)An inter-ministerial commission on Monday approved a project to build seven new fire stations around the country as part of a plan to promote joint ventures between the public and private sectors.
The commission meeting, chaired by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, also approved plans for the management of four police buildings and the reconstruction of a indoor sports facility in Phaliro.
Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Alogoskoufis said the seven new fire stations would be build in Alexandroupolis, Veria, Lefkada, Giannitsa, Messolongi, Gargaliani and Thessaloniki.
The projects are budgeted at 123.5 million euros. The commission has already approved plans to build 27 new school buildings in April 14, a plan budgeted at 105.4 million euros.
 FinMin confers with central bank governor
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)National economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis and Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas held their scheduled monthly meeting at the Finance Ministry building on Monday.
No statements were made after the one-hour meeting.
 Emporiki Bank's head urge for speedy privatization process
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Emporiki Bank’s chairman and chief executive George Provopoulos on Monday urged for speedy procedures in a plan to privatize the bank and said that extending any uncertainties over the bank’s ownership status could have a negative effect on its operations.
Addressing an annual general shareholders’ meeting, George Provopoulos said “a completion of a privatization process could become a landmark in the bank’s history”. The Greek banker said benefits to shareholders could be significant since the state’s withdrawal from the bank’s shareholders composition would offer greater dynamism and confidence in a restructuring of the group.
Emporiki Bank’s head said a strategic restructuring of the group, which started in 2004, has offered its first results with the bank returning to profitability and significantly improving its return on capital ratio. Provopoulos said a medium-term priority was the raise the bank’s network to 400 branches in Greece by the end of 2008 and to significantly enhance its presence in the Balkan markets.
 Unions welcome gov't move over banks
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Unions belonging to the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) on Monday welcomed an initiative by the government to call bankers and the bank workers' union for talks on a labor pact.
The next meeting is scheduled for the middle of June when the GSEE will seek signature of a collective labor pact.
The GSEE's member unions met for talks including changes to the social insurance system. It sent a letter to the finance and employment ministers seeking a meeting to discuss developments, including mass early retirement at Athens-quoted OTE telecom.
 Aktor, Gazprom form pipeline alliance
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Aktor SA, a member of the Athens-quoted Hellenic Technodomiki group, he company has signed a cooperation agreement with Gazprom Group for construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, a project budgeted at over one billion euros, along with other projects worldwide.
The agreement has been made before finalization of the institutional framework on PPP Projects in the Russian Federation, Hellenic said in a statement on Monday.
In addition, Aktor has been called to bid for Spartak’s stadium in Moscow owned by LUKOIL, which is budgeted at over 100 million euros.
Finally, Aktor, the construction arm of Hellenic Technodomiki, has opened a new office in Moscow, the outcome of a twelve-month effort initiated by Aktor for construction of a 43-kilometre co-financed urban highway in Moscow, the statement said.
 Greece, Finland seek to boost trade ties
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Greece and Finland are seeking to boost business ties and cooperation in research and technology, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Monday at the end of a three-day visit to the Scandinavian country before Helsinki assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union in July.
"There is great leeway for expanding economic and trade transactions between Greece and Finland," Sioufas noted after talks with his counterpart Mauri Pekkarinen.
The two officials also discussed a Euro-Mediterranean conference on industry and smaller enterprises to be held in the island of Rhodes on September 21-22.
Sioufas noted Finland's top position in a global ranking for competitiveness, research and technology and innovation for three consecutive years.
He reported that the government planned to make Greece the centre of research, technology and innovation in southeastern Europe by 2010,
Sioufas later visited a technological park and the headquarters of Nokia, the telecoms multinational.
On Sunday, Sioufas visited Jyvaskyla University's nanotechnology department and major industrial companies in the city including Metso Paper Oy, Moventas Oy and UPM.
 Greek budget revenues slowed in May, up 9.0 pct in Jan-May
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Budget revenues rose 1.9 pct in May, for an increase of 9.0 pct in the period January-May, Greece's Finance ministry said on Monday.
Finance Deputy Minister Antonis Bezas, presenting the figures, announced he would urge for a mobilization of the inspection and tax collecting mechanism of the ministry in an effort to speed up budget revenues growth in the months ahead.
Budget revenues' growth for the first five months of the year, however, exceeded an annual budget target. Tax agency revenues rose 1.4 pct in May, customs revenues were up 2.9 pct and VAT revenues rose 7.0 percent in the month.
Finance ministry officials remained optimistic over a recovery of budget revenues in the coming months and stressed that budget revenues in the January-May period totaled 1.5 billion euros, exceeding revenues in the period January-October last year.
 Greek state bond market turnover up to 51.1 bln euros in May
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary state securities market totaled 51.10 billion euros in May , up from 42.42 bln in April and 45.26 billion in May 2005, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The average daily turnover in the Greek bond market totaled 2.32 billion euros in May, from 2.36 bln in April, the central bank said in its monthly report on the market. Investors' interest focused on state bonds with a maturity of 7-15 years, which accounted for 67 percent of total turnover (34.2 billion euros). The 10-year benchmark Greek bond was the most heavily traded security (15.42 billion euros).
Greek bonds' yields were mixed in May, with yields in the three-10 year duration falling, remaining unchanged in the 20-year bonds and rising in 30-year duration. The three-year bond yield fell to 3.64 pct in May from 3.71 pct in April, the 10-year yield eased to 4.28 pct from 4.32 pct, over the same period respectively, the 20-year yield was stable at 4.48 pct and the 30-year yield rose to 4.70 pct in May from 4.66 pct in April. The average monthly spread between the 10-year benchmark Greek and German bonds was unchanged at 32 basis points.
Greek state bond prices rose in the short- and medium-curve of the yield (by 23 bps to 43 bps respectively), but fell by 70 bps in the 30-year bond.
 Closed-end investment funds' assets down in May
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Greece's 11 listed closed-end investment funds' assets totaled 373 million euros at the end of May, down from 394 million in April and 387 mln euros in January, official figures showed on Monday.
A monthly report by the Association of Institutional Investors said the sector's average return was 4.21 pct so far this year, with 10 firms reporting positive internal value returns -ranging from 0.38-12.98 pct-, and only one firm reporting a negative return of 3.34 pct.The average weighed discount of the sector was -16.22 pct in May.
 Civil aviation workers warn with indefinite strike actions
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Civil Aviation workers on Monday threatened with an indefinite closure of the country’s airports from July 1 and the beginning of 24-hour and 48-hour repeating strikes, protesting against government plans to privatize five Greek airports and reforming a regulatory framework of operation in the civil aviation sector.
Speaking to reporters, in Thessaloniki, Vassilis Alevizopoulos, president of the union of civil aviation workers (OSYPA) urged the government to begin a dialogue over the issue while he strongly criticized government ministers of trying to sell-off the country’s airports and of doing little to ensure airports’ growth.
Alevizopoulos said the country’s Civil Aviation Authority has received only 3.0 million euros as state support so far this year. He strongly opposed government plans to privatize the airports of Thessaloniki, Corfu, Rhodes, Heraclion and Kos.
 Spot checks at tourist resorts for tax evasion
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)The finance ministry said on Monday that it would launch spot checks at tourist resorts around the country in order to combat tax evasion.
The inspections by the ministry's Special Controls Service will be conducted in hotels, other forms of accommodation, restaurants, bars and other entertainment businesses.
 Greek Consumer Centre says cost of living escalates rapidly
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)According to a statement on Monday by the Greek Consumer Centre (ELKEKA), the price increases in products of broad consumption and the increase in the price of oil and gasoline have increased the cost of the family budget.
ELKEKA estimates that the cost of living of a four-member family on May 31, 2006 stands at 2,590 euros, up by 17.99 per cent in relation to May 31, 2005 which was estimated at 2,195 euros, that is, an increase of 395 euros.
 Building activity up 12.3 pct in 1st quarter
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Building activity rose 5.3 pct (in permits) and 12.3 pct in volume in the first three months of 2006, compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.
The Ionian islands (32.8 pct), south Aegean (29.7 pct), Epirus (12.4 pct) and Central Greece (10.6 pct) recorded the biggest percentage increases (in permits) in the January-March period.
 ASE aims to promote single trading platform in the region
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)The Greek stock market is closely monitoring developments in the international stock market industry before finalizing its partnership plan with neighboring markets with the aim of creating a single trade platform in the region, ASE chairman Spyros Kapralos said on Monday.
Addressing an Hellenic-Chinese Business Forum on “The restructuring of the Greek market in an international environment”, Kapralos said the first successful acceptance of a partnership plan was the creation of a single trading platform with the Cyprus Stock Exchange, currently on pilot operation and expected to be fully operational soon.
Kapralos said the Athens Stock Exchange, in cooperation with the Athens News Agency, were developing a joint website with economic and financial news. “We are trying to participate in subsidized EU programs to transfer know-how to Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean. We have already completed two such projects with the capital markets of Serbia and Slovakia and currently working with a corporate governance project in Egypt,” Kapralos said.
He stressed that ASE would focus on promoting remote membership, introducing new modern products such as ETF (exchange-traded funds) and to list ocean-going shipping companies in the market.
Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop
The Athens share index closed at 3,619.27 points, showing a decline of 1.98%. Turnover was 286.1 million euros.
Post Office Savings Bank made its trading debut on the bourse, rising by 11.84% to close at 13.98 euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 2.36% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.71% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 2.74% down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 246 to 41 with 22 remaining unchanged.
Foreign Exchange Rates
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.306
 World Environment Day honored in Greece
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)On the occasion of World Environment Day on Monday, the Transport and Communications Ministry held an event at Syntagma Square in down town Athens entitled "Gain oxygen. Use Public Transport".
The event was opened by Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis who in his address said "urban transport consumes four times less energy, per passenger, compared to a private car, a fact which means less fuel and pollution."
The minister underlined that citizens must become aware of the importance of protecting the environment and recommended the use of public transport, noting that a "great effort is being made to upgrade it."
During the event, Liapis toured the site of an exhibition at Syntagma Metro. He also inaugurated the first Greek four-seat hydrogen car and was briefed by the relevant research groups on these pioneering programs which are being implemented in the country. He further announced that "the first hydrogen bus will soon be built in our country."
On his part, former deputy development minister George Salagoudis in a statement expressed the need for paving "a realistic world policy for sustainable growth."
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, accompanied by Greece's Commissioner in the European Union, Stavros Dimas, visited the National Park of Parnitha and the 3rd Primary School in Elefsina, to honor World Environment Day.
The president was given a tour of the National Park which hosts 700 species of animals and birds.
 EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas inaugurates environment campaign
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas on Monday inaugurated in Athens an environment sensitization campaign by the European Commission titled "The change in climate depends on you", with the attachment of a huge poster to a building in downtown Athens.
The poster has a dimension of 18X9 meters and depicts the earth in space with a thermostat attached to it which measures its increasing temperature. It bears the campaign's slogan and urges people to "Regulate the thermostat, turn off the witch, recycle, walk, change habits."
The poster in question has been attached to the Commission's building in Brussels (May 22, 2006) by Commission President Jose Barroso and Commissioner Dimas, while on Monday it was attached to buildings in all EU capitals.
 Agriculture minister addresses Environment Day message
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Greece has signed all international treaties for the protection of the environment, including the Kyoto Protocol and the Biosecurity Protocol signed at Cartagena, agreements for biodiversity and the international treaty for phytogenetic resources, Greek Agricultural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos noted in an address to mark World Environment Day on Monday.
Basiakos also pointed to measures taken by the government to support sustainable development, such as an increase in reforesting and soil-conserving agriculture, reduction in sea pollution and an increase in water reserves and increased funds for the protection, development and preservation of forests and other protected regions.
 Thessaloniki celebrates World Environment Day
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Tens of schoolchildren flooded the area surrounding the White Tower monument at Thessaloniki’s waterfront to attend a "happening" organized by the Thessaloniki municipality on the occasion of World Environment Day on MONDAY.
Thessaloniki mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos spoke with the children about recycling and environmental protection. He stressed that a great effort was being made to raise the new generation with more respect for the environment.
The mayor offered potted plants to the children, urging them to take good care of them.
A similar event was held at the Local Government Organizations (OTA) Environmental Park in the municipality of Thermi in the presence of Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis, OTA Association president Yiannis Zournas and Thermi Mayor Theodoros Papadopoulos. Children from 12 kindergarten and elementary schools presented art works inspired by the environment as well as, theatrical and musical performances.
In the municipality of Stavroupolis, schoolchildren visited the Botanical Garden where they had the opportunity to see a total of 1,000 plant species and discuss with environment protection specialists.
 University of Macedonia establishes Environmental Excellence Award
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)The environmental initiative undertaken by a group of Thessaloniki’s University of Macedonia students and a number of other environmentally friendly practices on behalf of its faculty were rewarded by the university in a special ceremony establishing this way the “Environmental Excellence Awards”.
The top prize was received by 11 university students for their contribution to the drawing up and materialization of an environment education program at Thessaloniki’s Nea Elvenia Park. Over 500 Thessaloniki schoolchildren participated in an environment protection workshop under the guidance of the award winning students.
The award was established within the framework of the one year anniversary of the implementation of the EU certified Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) by the University of Macedonia.
A second award was received by the university research committee undertaking to issue a practical Decalogue on waste recycling and the saving of energy and water on the university campus. A third award was received by a university worker who saved the life of a colleague by administering first aid treatment he learned within the framework of a university program for the improvement of sanitary and safety conditions.
 Climate change turning Mediterranean into tropical sea, scientists claim
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Climate change was gradually turning the Mediterranean into a tropical sea, while the Black Sea was tending to become more Mediterranean, scientists told the ANA-MPA on Monday on the sidelines of the 8th Panhellenic Oceanography and Fishing Symposium in Thessaloniki.
The head of the Oceanography Institute of the Greece Centre for Marine Research, Evangelos Papathanassiou, said that the marine biologists were already reporting fish, mollusks and varieties of seaweed that normally populated the Aegean's southernmost waters in the northern parts of the Aegean.
He also noted that the Oceanography Institute had been put in charge of a ground-breaking research project funded by the European Union, with the acronym SESAME, which sought to examine the effects of climate change on the Mediterranean and Black Seas as if they were a single marine system, unlike previous studies that had treated them in isolation.
 SEECP culture ministers to meet in Bulgaria
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)The port city of Varna, Bulgaria will host the Council of Southeast European Culture Ministers' meeting on June 22-25.
Bulgarian culture minister and current council president Stefan Danailov stated that the meeting will be attended by the culture ministers of the eight member states of the SE Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP), while the ministers of culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Moldova have also been invited.
The participants will discuss common problems in the management of the region’s cultural and historical heritage as well as details of different cultural projects scheduled to materialize shortly with the assistance of the European Union and UNESCO.
 General public prosecutors of Greece and Bulgaria meet in Sofia
SOFIA 6/6/2006 (ANA-MPA/B. Borisov)Greek Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos held talks here on Monday with his newly-appointed Bulgarian counterpart Boris Velchev on prospects of cooperation between the prosecuting bureaus of the two countries after Bulgaria's accession to the European Union.
Speaking to the ANA-MPA, Linos said that, judging from the beginning, cooperation will be close and fruitful and expressed optimism that Bulgaria will become an EU member-state as of January 1, 2007.
"It is evident that the experience of Greece in combating money laundering, as well as the avoidance of the abuse of funds from European programs, will be valuable to us," the Bulgarian general prosecutor said on his part.
The Greek prosecutor's two-day visit to Bulgaria includes talks with Bulgarian Justice Minister Georgi Petkanov and Supreme Appeals Court President Ivan Grigorov.
 Actor Benini gives press conference on performance in Patras of Dante Allighieri's 'Divine Comedy'
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Famous Italian actor and Oscar award winner Roberto Benini gave a press conference in Patra, Peloponnesus, on Monday on Dante Allighieri's "Divine Comedy" which will be performed at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the city's Roman Odeon, in the framework of 'Patra Cultural Capital of Europe 2007'.
Regarding why he chose the specific text, Benini explained:"I could not be able to present in Greece a Greek text. It would be trite. Therefore, I decided for it to derive and refer to Greece though Dante which in his 'Hell', in the 26th ode, presents Ulysses as a human-shaped divine existence which marks the seeking of knowledge through the human and not from the divine."
The Italian actor added:"When I was asked by phone to (perform in Patras), I put the receiver to my heart for them to here its beat. This says everything. From the start I accepted the proposal to present the specific chant from the 'Divine Comedy' in Italian, work which I have not yet presented in Europe, because poetry is showcased through the language which it has been written and I thus think it is befitting that a work such as the 'Divine Comedy' to be transferred to an institution such as that of the Cultural Capital."
 Gov't on shock confessions that teens killed missing boy
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)The government on Monday expressed unstinting support for the parents and family of missing 12-year-old Alex Meschisvili, following a shocking turn in the investigation last Friday when five teenagers confessed to his murder.
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that authorities were continuing to look into the case, which he said had revealed serious and very real problems that concerned everyone as a whole and each person individually and required sensitive handling.
In Veria, meanwhile, police asked the mother of the missing boy for additional testimony and are waiting for the results of forensic and DNA tests on blood stains and other items found in a half-derelict house where the boy was allegedly killed, hoping to find physical evidence to back the confessions of his suspected killers.
Acting on the confession of one of the five teenage suspects, police launched a search of the house but failed to find the body of 12-year-old Alex, who was first declared missing about four months ago. The derelict house was knocked down a month earlier to make way for an apartment block, the construction of which has already begun.
The five boys have since changed the initial statements they made to the police.
Revelations made over the weekend regarding this unprecedented case in Greek crime annals indicate that the young boy, a member of a family of Georgian immigrants, may have been the victim of systematic bullying by some of his classmates in the small Greek town of Veria.
Asked whether the education ministry might take action against this type of phenomenon, the government spokesman pointed to seminar organized by the education ministry and the Educational Institute from November 2005 until April 2006, attended by 5,000 teachers, designed to improve their skills in dealing with issues of aggression and violence within schools and teach methods for handling conflicts, stress and anger.
Due to the enthusiastic response by the teaching community, the ministry intends to repeat the program in 2006 and 2007, doubling the number of hours and participants, Roussopoulos said.
He also pointed to a series of programs for mental health organized by the National Foundation for Youth, that were currently underway in roughly 1,500 schools around the country.
 Vodafone's Koronias testifies before prosecutor
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Vodafone Greece CEO George Koronias on Monday testified for approximately two hours before First Instance Court public prosecutor Ioannis Diotis.
Koronias was called to testify within the framework of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of 39-year-old Vodafone Greece executive Costas Tsalikidis, who allegedly committed suicide around the time a phone-tapping affair involving the mobile phone company was discovered.
Koronias’ testimony is probably the last taken by the prosecutor, who is expected to complete his five-month investigation on the Tsalikidis case in the next few days.
 Twinning between Kavala and Nuremberg in educational sector
Athens 6/6/2006 (ANA)Ten years have passed since the beginning of the "Innovation Management" seminar that is being implemented by the Kavala Technical Education Foundation in cooperation with Dr. Fees of the Fachhochschule of Nuremberg, the city twinned with Kavala, northern Greece.
In essence it constitutes twinning in the educational sector between the third stage foundations of the two twinned cities.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, the German professor gave a press conference on Monday on the presentation of the seminar, while the significance of educational cooperation between the two foundations was also stressed.
Dr. Fees is the director of a postgraduate program in Germany, which has been placed in third place among the 2,500 postgraduate programs operating in Germany.
 Spokesman says Turkish Cypriots enjoy all services and rights
NICOSIA 6/6/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Government Spokesman George Lillikas said Monday that if the Turkish Cypriots are ''isolated'' then this is due to the Turkish invasion, occupation and division of the island and not the fault of the Republic of Cyprus, which is providing all services and rights to the Turkish Cypriots.
Asked about statements by MEPs, members of the European Parliament contact group with the Turkish Cypriots, who held meetings in the
Turkish occupied areas of the island, Lillikas said ''we will wait for the final report of the group,'' adding that he did not think it wise to comment on remarks of each of the members of the group.
To a remark that it appears the objective of the meetings in the occupied areas was to find a way around the so-called embargoes against the Turkish Cypriots, Lillikas said ''we do not accept that there is an embargo and in any case if there is any isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, it is due to the Turkish invasion and continued occupation and division of our island.''
''It is not due to the Republic of Cyprus, which still provides all the services and rights to our Turkish Cypriots compatriots, who as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus enjoy the rights enjoyed by the rest of the Cypriot citizens, without indeed obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus, as the rest of the citizens,'' he added.
The spokesman noted that there is an EU decision adopting the proposal of the president of the republic to open the Famagusta port under the control of the EU and to return Famagusta to its legitimate inhabitants, adding that ''the decision of the Council, leading to a new directive on direct trade with the Turkish Cypriots, includes the conclusions of the Luxembourg presidency.''
''We are ready and are working for the adoption of this new directive in the framework set out by the EU Council itself,'' he said, noting that this is the basis for those interested in lifting the so-called embargo to work on.
 Cypriot Spokesman says Talat interested only in recognition
NICOSIA 6/6/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Government Spokesman George Lillikas said Monday that the interview of Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in a Greek Cypriot newspaper clarifies that what is of direct interest to Talat is the recognition of the Turkish occupation regime and not the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Lillikas stressed that the Greek Cypriot side was interested in progress towards a settlement.
''I will not comment on the personal attack against the President of the Republic or Talat's remarks about the President,'' Lillikas said,
adding that ''the interview clarifies that what Mr. Talat is directly interested in is the recognition of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime and not the solution, he does not want the preparation of talks because apparently he is not interested in an immediate solution and does not mind a new failure of efforts to reach an agreed solution.''
The spokesman said Talat's approach contradicts the position of the UN Secretary General for a good preparation of talks that would create the circumstances that would lead to an agreed solution.
''Here is the difference between the position of Mr. Talat and our position. Our aim is to reach a solution that would truly reunite Cyprus and the two communities. We want to live together and coexist harmoniously with guaranteed human rights and freedoms with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots and we do not want to live separately as good neighbors,'' he added.