|Thursday, 22 October 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-06-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>June 7, 2006
 Government confirms postponement of Turkish military exercise
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Tuesday confirmed reports that a Turkish military exercise originally set to coincide with a visit to Istanbul by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had been partially postponed.
"Some basic activities of the Turkish aeronautical exercise have been postponed until the following week and the week after that," Antonaros said. According to reports, the exercise originally scheduled to take place on June 10-16 would now be held on June 17-24. Bakoyannis is due to arrive in Istanbul on Saturday and departs on Sunday.
Asked about the contents of talks between Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of a journalists' conference taking place in Istanbul, Antonaros pointed out that political contact between representatives of different countries was something routine and did not usually produce the sensational results that journalists tending to expect.
He also reminded reporters that Greece and Turkey were engaged in bilateral talks on a number of issues, including tourism, economic affairs and trade matters, some of which had arrived at agreements were others were still outstanding. "We want to fully normalize our relations with our neighbor and for this reason the political representatives of our country hold talks with their Turkish counterparts," Antonaros added.
Greek ministers welcome postponement of Turkish military exercise: Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis welcomed reports that Ankara had decided to postpone an exercise by its Air Force that would have coincided with a visit to Turkey by Bakoyannis.
"I take this as a positive message," Bakoyannis told reporters, after she and Meimarakis emerged from a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Reports said that the Turkish military exercise, originally scheduled for June 10-16, had been pushed back to June 17-24.
Bakoyannis is due in Istanbul on June 10 for a meeting with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, which will take place on the sidelines of a Greek-Turkish journalists' conference and will return to Athens on Sunday, June 11.
Meimarakis said the decision to postpone was a move in "a positive direction".
The Greek defense minister was due to depart for a NATO ministers' meeting later on Tuesday, while a meeting with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines is not out of the question.
 PM meets with New Zealand Governor-General
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Tuesday morning with visiting Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Silvia Cartwright.
No statements were made after the meeting.
Justice Minister gives luncheon in honor of governor-general of New Zealand: Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras gave a luncheon at noon on Tuesday in honor of the Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Silvia Cartwright, who is on an official two-day visit to Greece at the invitation of President Karolos Papoulias.
Papaligouras said in his address that Greece and New Zealand have traditionally good relations and are two countries that fought together during World War Two for the ideals of freedom, democracy and human dignity.
The justice minister referred to support provided by New Zealand in international fora on issues of direct interest to Greece, such as the election of Greece at the UN Security Council, the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations, finding a solution to the issue of Cyprus and the question of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Lastly, Papaligouras said that judicial cooperation between the two countries is unobstructed and expressed the wish that relations between the two countries will develop even further after her official visit to Greece.
 Inner Cabinet discusses tourism issues
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Inner Cabinet convened Tuesday, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, and discussed tourism-related issues.
Tourism development minister Fani Palli-Petralia told reporters after the session that the efforts of the past two years have yielded results, adding that she had briefed the Inner Cabinet on bills being advanced by her ministry on spa tourism and agro-tourism.
The minister stressed that Greece's traditional "Sun-Sea" tourism product will be enriched with new types of tourism.
The goal, she said, was to render Greece one of the top popular tourist destinations.
 PM to meet with PASOK leader on Wednesday
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will meet Wednesday morning with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros announced on Tuesday during a regular press briefing. He said Karamanlis will meet earlier in the day with Patriarch Theofilos of Jerusalem, and at noon with the president of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE).
On Thursday morning, Karamanlis will meet with Archbishop Anastasios of Albania.
 ND maintains lead in latest GPO opinion poll
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The ruling New Democracy party (ND) was leading over main opposition PASOK party by 2 percentage points, according to the results of a GPO opinion poll released late Monday night.
More specifically ND was leading with 34 percent with respect to "voters' intent" (which party the respondents would vote for if general elections were held tomorrow), followed by PASOK with 32 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 7.4 percent, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party with 5.1 percent, and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) with 3.6 percent, while 12.9 percent were undecided or declined reply.
The lead widens to 16 percentage points with respect to the "most suitable for prime minister", with current prime minister and ND leader Costas Karamanlis amassing 49 percent of the respondents' preference -- up from 46 percent in a similar GPO poll in April -- against 33 percent who preferred PASOK leader George Papandreou as the most suitable.
Also, to a question on which party they believed would win general elections if they were held now -- regardless of their own political affiliation or party preference -- an overwhelming majority of 63.9 percent opined that ND would win the elections, compared with 21.7 percent who believed that PASOK would emerge victorious.
To another question, a majority of 54.9 percent of the respondents agreed with former President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos' recent proposal for referral of the Greek-Turkish differences to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
In addition 56.8 percent of the respondents gave a negative grade to the government's policy, while 66.9 percent assessed as negative the opposition exercised by PASOK, while 32.8 percent assessed its opposition tactics as positive.
Particularly regarding Papandreou's decision to nominate Gul Karahasan, a woman member of the Moslem community and alternate secretary of PASOK's municipal organization in Miki in the Xanthi prefecture, as the PASOK-backed candidate for the Drama-Xanthi-Kavala supra-prefecture in the upcoming local government elections in October, 58 percent of the respondents considered the choice of Gul as being negative.
The poll further indicates PASOK as leading in the Athens-Piraeus supra-prefecture, with 41.5 percent of the respondents in favor of the Gennimata-Sgouros-Michas ticket, against 33.5 percent for the ND-backed Dinopoulos-Pipili-Spyridonas ticket.
Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros commenting on the GPO opinion poll results stated that opinion polls record tendencies at a given time, adding that the important point is that once again it was established that the Greek people in their great majority approve, support and encourage the government’s reform efforts.
 Greece and S. Korea discuss cooperation in marine research
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy Development Minister Anastasios Nerantzis and Research and Technology general secretary Ioannis Tsoukalas on Tuesday held talks on cooperation in marine research with a South Korean delegation led by Vice-minister for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Moo Hyun Kang.
The two sides expressed mutual interest in developing relations in marine research, especially in maritime technology and industry, the marine environment, marine biological sources and domestic waters.
They agreed to cooperate in order to work out details, such as areas and terms of cooperation, of a bilateral agreement along the lines of those usually drafted by the development ministry.
The Korean minister also invited Nerantzis to visit S. Korea, who accepted and stressed that Greece looked forward to cooperation in marine research, an area in which Greece had achieved notable results.
 Deputy DM and S. Korean maritime vice-minister agree on upgrading bilateral relations
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy National Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos on Tuesday met with visiting Republic of Korea Vice-Minister for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Moo Hyun Kang.
Relations between Greece and the Republic of Korea will be further upgraded following their agreement for the signing of a memorandum of mutual understanding in matters of hydrography and oceanography.
The two sides supported the broadening of bilateral cooperation and also referred to their common struggles for freedom and democracy.
The South Korean vice-minister invited Deputy Defense Minister Michaloliakos to visit the Republic of Korea in autumn.
Present at the meeting was Korean Ambassador to Athens, Hae Moon Chung.
 Greece upgraded in US report on eradicating human trafficking
WASHINGTON, 7/6/2006 (ANA-MPA)Greece has been upgraded to Tier 2 in the US State Department's 6th annual report on Trafficking in Persons worldwide (2006), which was released on Monday, up from the Tier-2 Watch List last year, while conversely, Cyprus dropped to the Tier 2-Watch List in the 2006 report, from the Tier 2 category in 2005.
The report covers the period April 2005-March 2006, and is described as a tool of the US government in combating this crime against human rights, which is described as a modern-day form of slavery, and the prosecution of perpetrators and protection of the victims.
The two-page country report on Greece notes that the Greek government is making significant efforts to eradicate human trafficking, and stresses that government "increased its capacity to protect and assist victims" in 2005, while it also improved its cooperation with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) "with the completion of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to allow Greek authorities to work more directly with NGOs. The report further noted that "after several years of negotiations, the government signed a child repatriation agreement with Albania" for children that are victims of exploitation (for forced begging or stealing), while in 2006 it implemented a national public information campaign aimed at victims, clients and the Greek public.
The report said that the Greek government should now provide available protections to trafficking victims and ensure that NGOs have an operational role in victim identification. Noting that the government increased convictions of trafficking crimes in 2005, it called on the government to "demonstrate the political will to punish traffickers sufficiently over the next year", adding that "trafficking-related complicity by government officials should be vigorously prosecuted".
With respect to prosecution, the report said that the government of Greece "continued to investigate cases of trafficking and secured convictions for increased numbers of traffickers in 2005". It stressed that In January 2006, "the government established 12 additional anti-trafficking task forces throughout the country and funded specialized training for over one thousand police officers throughout Greece". While in 2005, it investigated 60 trafficking cases and arrested 202 suspected traffickers. The report added that the number of trafficking convictions increased, and the sentences for the convicted traffickers ranged from one to 12 years.
According to the report, "the Greek Government demonstrated leadership in promoting regional law enforcement cooperation during the reporting period".
With respect to prevention, the report noted: In 2005, the Greek Government continued to provide significant funding to NGOs and international organizations that provide programs, shelters, and legal aid to victims of trafficking. In 2006, the Secretariat General for Gender Equality implemented a national awareness campaign targeting commercial sex procurers, trafficking victims, and citizens. The campaign encourages the public to report incidents of trafficking. The government's anti-trafficking inter-ministerial committee met regularly and, in November 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established a working group between origin, transit, and destination country diplomats, NGOs, and working level government officials.
The report places the countries in three different categories, in accordance with the efforts they make to combat this international phenomenon and their compliance with the standards appearing in the relevant US legislation in the 2006 report, 26 countries are placed in the Tier 1 category, denoting full compliance with the provisions of the relevant US legislation. The second category, Tier 2, is divided into two sub-categories. The 79 Tier 2 countries are those that do not fully comply with the minimum standards of the relevant US legislation provisions but are making significant efforts to do so, while the 32 Tier 2-Watch List countries are making significant efforts but the absolute number of victims or severe forms of trafficking is very significant or increasing, or have failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, or the determination that the country is making efforts to comply with the minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.
There are 12 countries currently in Tier 3, which is described as "countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so".
The Balkan countries and Turkey are categorized in Tier 2.
 Stylianidis on US human trafficking report
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The upgrade for Greece in the US State Department's report on Trafficking in Persons constituted recognition of the systematic efforts made by the Greek government, the foreign ministry and Hellenic Aid to tackle human trafficking, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis told ANA-MPA on Tuesday, following the release of the report.
Greece has been upgraded to Tier 2 in the US State Department's 6th annual report on Trafficking in Persons worldwide (2006), which was released on Monday, up from the Tier-2 Watch List last year.
The report covers the period from April 2005 until March 2006, and is described as a tool of the US government in combating this crime against human rights, which in turn is described as a modern-day form of slavery, and the prosecution of perpetrators and protection of the victims.
The deputy foreign minister said that these efforts include the signing of a Cooperation Memorandum with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the minors’ repatriation agreement signed with Albania and the public awareness campaign aimed at informing and sensitizing the general public. He stressed that this development is important for Greece’s international image and absolutely encouraging for the effort made by the foreign ministry and Hellenic Aid during the past two years.
Greece is upgraded to Tier 2 and has stopped being a country under supervision, added Stylianidis, recognizing at the same time that problems like the arrest and conviction of traffickers have not been totally solved.
The foreign ministry's activities form part of the National Action Plan that covers the whole spectrum of actions concerning prevention, protection of the victims and eradication of the phenomenon through cooperation of the responsible government ministries with international organizations, inter-state cooperation and cooperation with Greek and international NGOs.
One of the most important initiatives undertaken by the foreign ministry, mentioned in the US State Department report is the agreement signed in February between Greece and Albania against the trafficking of minors, which also provides for their repatriation on humanitarian grounds and their social rehabilitation.
The International Development Cooperation Department or Hellenic Aid cooperation with the respective US organization USAID is also being promoted in the area of International Cooperation against the Trafficking of Minors and the TAACT program (Transnational Action Against Child Trafficking).
 Foreign Ministry's Skylakakis to hold consultations in Washington
WASHINGTON, 7/6/2006 (ANA-MPA)The Greek Foreign Ministry's Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Theodoros Skylakakis, will have contacts in the coming two days in Washington with senior U.S. officials who deal with international economic developments and development cooperation.
Skylakakis will meet with Deputy Assistant Secretaries of State for Economic and Business Affairs Paul Simons and Christopher Moore, and at the World Bank, with officials who deal with Southeast Europe.
He will also meet with former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Andrew Natsios.
 Jerusalem Patriarch received at Greek foreign ministry
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Tuesday received a visit from Jerusalem Patriarch Theofilos, who is carrying out an official visit to Greece, at the foreign ministry in Athens.
The Patriarch, who was accompanied by a delegation of high-ranking clerics, briefed Kassimis on the efforts being made at the Jerusalem Patriarchate to resolve the problems that arose the previous year through transparent procedures and careful handling. Theofilos also outlined the Patriarchate's work in its surrounding region, including its educational projects, through which it hopes to assist in alleviating the tension in the area.
Kassimis praised the efforts being made by the Patriarch and the Brotherhood of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to enable the Patriarchate to play its role in a difficult time, stressing the Greek government's support for the Patriarchate and its goals in difficult times.
The Jerusalem Patriarch declared Kassimis a Grand Seneschal of the Order of the Orthodox Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and awarded him the Patriarchate's Gold Cross.
 Statements by Culture Minister Voulgarakis in Patra
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Culture Minister George Voulgarakis, in statements he made in Patra, Peloponnese, on Tuesday evening, said "I do not believe that anyone can talk with criminals."
He was responding to reporters' questions in view of the fact that the "Revolutionary Struggle" terrorist group, through a text it sent to a newspaper, claimed responsibility for the bomb attack near his home at Lycabettus in Athens on May 30.
 Deputy DM receives Ukraine's Armed Forces General Staff Chief
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy National Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos received a courtesy visit by Ukraine's Armed Forces General Staff Chief Lieutenant-General Sergiy Kirichenko in Athens on Tuesday.
Confirmed during the meeting was "the very good climate in bilateral relations," while the Greek side reiterated its support to Ukraine's efforts for the completion of the process which will lead the country to its accession to the Euroatlantic structures.
 FinMin in Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Tuesday will participate in a Eurogroup council meeting in Luxembourg.
The Eurozone's finance ministers will discuss economic and fiscal developments in the Eurozone, the inflation rate and plans to expand the Eurozone.
Alogoskoufis will also participate in an ECOFIN meeting on Wednesday with an agenda including EU-US relations, combating tax fraud and reducing administrative burden on corporations. The EU finance ministers will also discuss plans to simplify VAT cross-border transactions.
 Govt unveils draft bill on equality at work
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Labor Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Tuesday unveiled a draft legislation aiming to promote equal treatment of men and women in employment, professional training and employment conditions in the country.
Presenting the draft bill, the Greek minister said the new law was abolishing discrimination between men and women in the private and public sectors, while sexual harassment would be considered a punishable act.
The draft law integrates a community directive 2002/72, envisaging jail penalties from 6 months to three years and a minimum compensation of 1,000 to a victim of sexual harassment.
Labor Deputy Minister Gerasimos Giakoumatos said the draft law would protect workers from unjustified lay-offs and offered protection to men or women taking a parental leave.
Eugenia Tsoumani, Equality secretary-general, said 10 percent of working women have been victims of sexual harrassment at work, while another 30 percent said they knew of such acts in their working area.
Labour Minister Savvas Tsitouridis underlined that Greece opposed plans to deregulate working time issues in the EU and said that such changes could be agreed only after consultations with trade unions. Tsitouridis said the ministry would submit a draft law on the social security system to parliament soon.
 EU commissionner replies to question on privatisation revenues
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)"Funds from privatizations are directed to a special account of the Public Mobile Assets Firm with the Bank of Greece and are spent outside the regular process of the budget," European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia mentioned in his reply to a question by Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party Eurodeputy Dimitris Papadimoulis, according to an announcement by the party on Tuesday.
According to the Commission, the Hellenic state's revenues from privatizations over the past four years (2002-2005) amount to 5.5 billion euros. The Coalition party's announcement said that the Commissioner noted that "according to the 1995 ESOL (European Economic Accounts System), revenues from privatization do not have a direct impact on the decrease in the deficit. This means that if these funds are spent instead of being used to pay off debts or the accumulation of fiscal immobilizations the public deficit increases."
Referring to the Commissioner's reply, Papadimoulis said that "as the IMF notes and the Commission confirms, a great question exists on the use of revenues from privatizations. Where did the 5.5 billion euros go over the past four years."
 Greek exports up 15.7 pct in 2005
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Greek exports raised an annual average 4.7 pct in the period 2001-2005, rising steadily after 2003, a report by the Institute of Exporting Research and Studies said on Tuesday.
The report, based on the latest figures by Eurostat, was presented by the Federation of Northern Greece Exporters (SEBE). SEBE said despite the increase, Greek exports remained at the bottom of an EU-15 list.
The value of Greek exports totaled 13.6 billion euros in 2005, up 15.7 percent, with the trade deficit shrinking to 29.6 billion euros after a 3.3 percent rise in foreign imports to Greece last year (43.4 billion euros).
Germany was the main destination of Greek exports (with a market share of 12.5 pct of total exports), followed by Italy (10.5 pct), UK (6.8 pct), Bulgaria (5.9 pct) and the US (5.4 pct). Greek exports also rose to Turkey (+15.9 pct), the UAE (+21.6 pct), Libya (+31 pct), although exports fell to FYROM (-8.3 pct) and Israel (-6.5 pct).
The report said that cross-border trade accounted for 55.2 percent of total Greek exports, rising by an annual average 6.3 pct in the period 2001-2005. Greek exports rose significantly to Belgium (14.5 pct), Finland (13.3 pct), Austria (13.2 pct), and Italy (11 pct). Greek exports fell to Ireland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Austria, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Greek exports to the Balkans rose an annual average 2 pct with a market share of 19.9 percent. North American holds a market share of 6.0 pct.
The food sector climbed to the top of the list of Greek exports with a market share of 17.9 pct, followed by the chemicals and plastics industry (17.1 pct), textiles (15.6 pct) and metals (15.2 pct).
Exports of oil products jumped 56.2 percent last year, vehicles rose 29.7 pct, foods (24.8 pct) and metals were up (24 pct). The textile and clothing industry recorded an 11.8 pct decline in last year’s exports.
 DM addresses conference on future of Greek aeronautics industry
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Defense Minister Vangelis Meimarakis addressed the two-day conference titled "Greek Aeronautics Industry-Present and future, that opened at the Zappion Hall on Tuesday, stressing the need for the development of substantive cooperation between the Aerospace Industry (EAB) and foreign firms in the aeronautics sector that will safeguard know-how, production and employment.
The conference is taking place with the participation of the seven biggest aeronautics and space products manufacturing companies in Europe and the United States.
Meimarakis reminded of the contribution of the late statesman Constantine Karamanlis to the laying of the foundations and the development of the Greek aeronautics industry, saying that "the country of Ikarus and Daedalus must be in the frontline of aeronautics."
The ambassadors of France, Britain, Russia, the Czech Republic and Israel will be referring during the conference to defense cooperation between their countries and Greece.
 Gov't tenders metro extension
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The public works ministry on Tuesday tendered construction of a new stretch of metro from Haidari, west of the capital, to the port city of Piraeus.
The 8.2-kilometre stretch and seven new stations will serve western suburbs of Attica, Public Works George Souflias said in a statement.
Budgeted at 570 million euros, funding is expected from the European Union's Third Community Support Framework of funds.
The winner of the project will be named early in 2007, the minister said.
 Greek inflation at 3.2.-3.3 pct in May, forecast
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Greek annual inflation rate was running at 3.2-3.3 pct in May, according to early forecasts by the National Statistics Service. The official figures for the consumer price index will be released on Friday.
 PASOK submits motion in Parliament on building of schools
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Thirty-two deputies of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), headed by Andreas Loverdos, the Education coordinator of the party's Parliamentary Group, on Tuesday submitted a motion in Parliament criticizing collaboration between the public and private sector in the building of schools.
According to the motion, "from government announcements, the fact arises that the method of collaboration between the public and private sector, is foreseen to lead to the building of 27 new schools amounting to 150 million euros (200 million euros together with insurance contributions), at a time when during the 2001-2003 period, 329 schools were tendered with a total cost of 246, 047,292.42 euros, of which 158 concerned big school units, with the average cost of the construction of a big twelve-seat school amounting to 1.6 million euros."
The motion argued that "the public sector is spending 250 per cent more money, in comparison to the previous method."
 European agrotourism forum to be held in Ioannina
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The first European agrotourism forum will be held in the city of Ioannina, northwestern Greece, from June 16-17, under the auspices of the Tourism Development Ministry.
The opening of the sessions of the forum, the organization of which has been undertaken by "Agrotouristiki", will be declared on June 16 by Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia.
Taking part in the forum will be journalists from 10 European countries, as well as tour operators specializing in countryside tourism.
The reporters will cover the presentation of the agrotourism and its growth in four regions: Epirus, Crete, the Peloponnese and Thessaly.
The forum will be accompanied by local exhibitions and visits to Epirus villages and to the Dodoni archaeological site.
 Tourist shelter to be built in Halkidiki
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)A tourist shelter is to be constructed at Panaghia bay in Halkidiki, with the project budgeted at 2.032 million euros, by decision of Central Macedonia region secretary general George Tsiotras, it was announced on Tuesday.
The project, considered of great importance for the region with respect to both tourism and the region's economy in the framework of boosting the fisheries sector, will be included in the Regional Operation Program (PEP) for Central Macedonia.
Construction of the shelter is slated to begin next month, and expected to be completed by December 2007.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks slump
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Athens share index closed at 3,522.43 points, showing a decline of 2.68%. Turnover was 401.8 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.92% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 4.51% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 5.02% down.
Bond Market Close: Buyers lag sellers
Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.295
 EU Commissioner Dimas attends event on the environment
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) President Paris Koukoulopoulos on Tuesday addressed an event organized by KEDKE on the theme "Strategy for Urban-Agricultural Environment and Management of Refuse". Present was EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas who also addressed the event in Athens.
"The problem of management of garbage was confronted effectively only where the initiative and responsibility was undertaken by local government. On the contrary, where local government was 'accommodated' behind the initiatives of the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry, the results were disappointing. Therefore, valuable ground was lost and today our country has a great distance to cover," the KEDKE president said.
On his part, Commissioner Dimas, speaking on the environment, stressed "the great role which local government is called upon to play in the new program period of the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF)," but also on the responsibility which local government has "for the strategy which it will implement on the issue of viable urban growth on a local level and for reliable and timely access to technical know-how provided."
 First World Conference of Overseas Greeks begins
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Greek studies are entering the Beijing University. The Greek community in Australia is the messenger of Hellenism in China, particularly the National Centre of Greek Studies and Research (EKEME) of Australia, a "child" of Melbourne's La Trobe University.
This was announced by the rector of La Trobe University, Michael Osborn, the main speaker at the First World Conference of Overseas Greeks that began in Athens on Tuesday and will be concluded on Thursday.
Osborn also made an appeal to the Greek state for further help in the huge undertaking.
The conference is being organized by the "Ecumenical Hellenism" program and the La Trobe University with EKEME and under the auspices of the foreign and education ministries, as well as of the Athens municipality.
Deputy Foreign Minister for Expatriate Greeks Theodoros Kassimis directed a "big thank you" to all delegates present with the purpose of exchanging views on a common vision: "the active participation of the Greek spirit and the Greek soul in the new culture being shaped".
The importance of the role of overseas Greeks was stressed in the address made on behalf of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis by Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias.
He said that the role of overseas Greeks is decisive because they are aware of the meaning of mutual respect and cooperation and they are Greece's best ambassadors.
Folias also stressed the importance of extroversion and culture, as well as the significance of the new institutional framework which favors investing development.
 Parliament receives copy of BBC Greek Service archives
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Greek Parliament on Tuesday received a copy of the BBC Greek Service archives in a bid to "preserve the recent historic memory of Greece", as Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki stressed.
"From Parliament's library, researchers but also anyone that wishes, will be able to gain access to a living source of modern Greek history. These auditory reports that record an entire era will offer a new outlook to research," she added.
The archives, stored in a collection of 2,000 CD-Roms, cover 66 years of news reports by Greek presenters for the BBC and were handed over to the Greek Parliament during an official ceremony held in Parliament's Peristyle that was attended by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
During the ceremony, selected extracts of the archives were played, including the Greek services first broadcast in September 1939 and the last in December 2005, as well as newscasts during the troubled years of World War II and the seven-year military dictatorship in Greece.
 Public order minister calls on Paleokostas brothers to give themselves up
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, speaking after a press conference on violence at soccer stadiums on Tuesday, called on the Paleokostas brothers to give themselves up.
One of the brothers escaped from the Korydallos prison last Sunday with the help of a helicopter.
"I call on the Paleokostas brothers to give themselves up because, one way or another, they will be arrested sooner or later and they have nothing to gain. On the contrary, they will make their position worse," he said.
The minister further said that guards were right in not firing on the helicopter because of the risk of loss of life, adding that our legal culture does not allow such behavior.
 Somali illegal immigrants rescued from sea, boy dead
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The body of a 5-year-old boy, missing since dawn after a group of Somali illegal immigrants were spotted in the sea off Samos island, was recovered later Tuesday morning, while the other 23 illegal immigrants were rescued by a nearby Dutch cruise ship, the merchant marine ministry said.
The boy's body was recovered by a Coast Guard vessel, floating in the sea some 3 nautical miles off Kotsikas beach.
The Dutch cruise ship Nurdam spotted the group of Somali illegal immigrants in the sea at dawn, as it was sailing off Samos.
An alert was sent out, and the passenger ferry Marina, which was carrying out the Samos-Chios route, a navy vessel, and a Super Puma helicopter rushed to the area.
The cruise ship lowered life-rafts and picked up the 23 illegal immigrants, who were still on board the Dutch vessel as at 10:00 a.m., while the search continued for the missing boy, whose body was later spotted and recovered by the Coast Guard vessel.
The Samos port authority was investigating the circumstances under which the 24 Somalis found themselves in the sea.
 Drug trafficking arrests
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Thessaloniki security police have arrested three Albanians in the Athens district of Kolonos on charges of drug trafficking in the wider Attica region, it was made known on Tuesday.
Police searched the house where the Albanians were residing and seized 1.568 kilos of heroin and 15,570 euros in cash.
According to the results of the preliminary investigation, a 30-year-old Albanian woman is also implicated in the case and is wanted by the Thessaloniki police.
 Chania Prefecture publishes book on earthquakes for pupils
7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Prefecture of Chania, on the south Aegean island of Crete, published a 60-page book titled “Earthquakes, what they are and how to deal with them”.
Prefect Giorgos Katsanevakis said during the book presentation in Chania on Monday that it was an educational guide for children aged 8-15, but expressed the certainty that it will be read by adults too because they can find valuable information on earthquakes and advice on what to do during and after the phenomenon.
The book and CD-ROM, containing interesting information on earthquakes, cartoons, games and tests, will be distributed for free to pupils of the last three elementary school classes and the first three high school classes.
 Papadopoulos to announce Cabinet reshuffle decisions Thursday
NICOSIA, 7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos will be announcing his decisions regarding a Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, June 8.
Undersecretary to the President and Acting Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis told reporters at the Presidential Palace that Tuesday's meeting of the Council of Ministers was postponed and that the president will be making his decisions public on Thursday.
Pashiardis' statement came following increasing press speculation about a possible Cabinet reshuffle.
 Bulgarian FM says Cyprus negotiations should be well prepared
NICOSIA, 7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivailo Georgiev Kalfin said Tuesday that any further negotiations on the Cyprus problem should be well prepared and touch all the issues that are important, adding that Bulgaria supports the integrity and unity of Cyprus.
Speaking after talks in Nicosia with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou, the Bulgarian official said it is very important to have Turkey in the process of European integration, but pointed out that Ankara still has to fulfill its commitments towards the EU.
On Tuesday, an agreement was signed between Cyprus and Bulgaria on social insurance issues, which will protect Bulgarians and Cypriots working in each other's country in issues of social insurance.
Iacovou said ''Cyprus and Bulgaria have excellent relations and now that Bulgaria will be acceding to the EU on the 1st of January 2007, we will be partners and thus many opportunities will be given for closer cooperation.''
''Bulgaria has supported Cyprus for many years and of course the Republic of Cyprus returned the support in Bulgaria's accession prospect and course,'' Iacovou added.
He said Kalfin has already met with President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and that during talks at the ministry of foreign affairs between Kalfin and himself, they covered the Cyprus problem, Turkey's EU accession course, Turkey's obligations towards the EU, the Western Balkans, Montenegro, Kosovo and broader international issues, such as the Middle East, Iran and others.
Kalfin said ''we are very happy with the very constructive and fruitful talks we had'' with Iacovou, adding that they found ''very close positions'' on many issues.
He thanked the Cypriot government for supporting Bulgaria in its EU accession course, noting that ''your experience was very important for us, now Cyprus is a member country of the EU and the friendly for Bulgaria voice of Cyprus in the EU is very encouraging and stimulating.''
''Of course Bulgaria is doing its homework. We hope to be absolutely prepared and ready by the end of this year to join the EU and again the cooperation with Cyprus in this aspect is very important and very fruitful and useful for us,'' Kalfin added.
Referring to Turkey's EU course, the Bulgarian minister said ''we are absolutely supporting the principle that every side has to exercise and to obey its commitments,'' adding that ''there are current commitments, requirements for Turkey to accomplish, and this is going to be watched in the EU.''
''We would like to see all the commitments taken by Turkey being fulfilled. For us it is very important to have Turkey in the process of European integration, but this European track needs taking and meeting commitments. This is for us the process of negotiations and we are very much sure that this should be and this will be the position of all EU member countries,'' he pointed out.
Kalfin noted that Bulgaria supports ''all the efforts made by the government in Cyprus, by the President also, for bringing new initiatives for tackling further the Cyprus issue.''
''We share the opinion that there should be results. That is why any further negotiations should be well prepared and should find a way to touch all the issues that are important. Bulgaria is supporting the integrity and the unity of Cyprus,'' he said.
He added that it was very interesting to hear Iacovou's views on other issues, such as the Middle East, the Western Balkans and Iran.
''I find the expertise, the experience and positions of Cyprus very important and very relevant,'' he noted.
Referring to bilateral relations, Kalfin said they are excellent adding that ''bilateral relations, both in political and in economic terms, are developing very well in the latest years and what we have to do is to further stimulate the very practical aspects.''
Replying to questions, Kalfin said ''Turkey still has to finalize its commitments and what we also have to see is a very clear political will and commitment.''
Asked what was expected in the European Council conclusions regarding Bulgaria, Iacovou said ''there has been a Commission report, there are some comments, the number of chapters that the Commission still has some concerns about have been limited, cut down to six.''
''I think Bulgaria has made a major effort to fulfill its commitments to the Union. I think the comments will be encouraging with a view of first getting Bulgaria to really complete its preparatory work before the 1st of January and also to encourage member states to ratify the accession treaty before the 1st of January. My personal conviction is that Bulgaria will be joining us together with Romania on the 1st of January 2007,'' Iacovou noted.
 Bulgarian FM: Cyprus 7th biggest investor in Bulgaria
NICOSIA, 7/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)Cyprus is the seventh biggest investor in Bulgaria with investments reaching the amount of 700 million US dollars, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivailo Georgiev Kalfin has said, adding that commercial exchanges between Cyprus and Bulgaria increased by 200% last year.
Kalfin, who concluded Tuesday his official visit to Cyprus, met with Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism George Lillikas, with whom he discussed ways to further enhance the cooperation between Cyprus and Bulgaria, in the areas of tourism, commerce, energy and mutual investments.
The two ministers also discussed the organizing of a business conference in Cyprus in September, to be followed by a second conference in Bulgaria.
According to Kalfin, the areas of further cooperation between Cyprus and Bulgaria are energy, energy production through renewable energy sources, as well as tourism.
During their meeting, the ministers also discussed the establishment of a negotiating mechanism between Cyprus and Bulgaria, within the EU framework, as well as in other international organizations like the World Trade Organization, for discussing energy and commercial issues.
Referring to the business conference, the Cypriot minister said that its aim is to give information on investment possibilities in Bulgaria. The conference will be organized by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bulgarian Chamber.
Moreover, bilateral meetings between Cypriot and Bulgarian businessmen will take place, he added.