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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-06-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

June 8, 2006


  • [01] Main opposition leader meets PM, discusses foreign policy
  • [02] Papandreou: Extension of territorial waters must precede arbitration with Ankara
  • [03] President Papoulias meets Mitsotakis
  • [04] PM meets with Patriarch Theofilos of Jerusalem
  • [05] FM meets with Jerusalem Patriarch, Albania Archbishop
  • [06] Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem meets with press
  • [07] New Democracy incapable of abiding by Constitution, Papandreou claims
  • [08] Voulgarakis, gov't spokesman on terrorism
  • [09] Government denies passage of CIA prisoners through Athens
  • [10] Polydoras again dismisses allegations of terror-related interrogations,abductions
  • [11] Public order minister addresses Police conference on anti-crime policy
  • [12] Justice Minister convenes meeting on reinforcing security of prisons
  • [13] PM and national municipalities union KEDKE discuss local government issues
  • [14] Regional Health Services to be abolished, health minister announces
  • [15] Students to hold rallies in Athens and Thessalonica to protest gov't measures
  • [16] Greece repeats deficit reduction vow
  • [17] Greece, Ukraine seek closer business ties
  • [18] Merchant marine minister completes contacts with Singapore deputy Transport minister
  • [19] Starwood Hotels to manage Astir Palace Hotel
  • [20] Athens hotels' occupancy rates up 3.2 pct in first four months of 2006
  • [21] Sustainable development dominates UN--backed int'l conference on Adriatic
  • [22] Minister Voulgarakis says establishment of 'Council of Culture' planned
  • [23] Exhibition on 19th century Greece in Amsterdam
  • [24] Exhibition at Athens Airport on 'People and Traditional Professions in the Aegean'
  • [25] Groups condemn handling of missing youth's case by certain media outlets
  • [26] Illegal immigrants arrested in northern Greece
  • [27] Athens College celebrates 80th anniversary of its founding
  • [28] Cyprus' positions at EU-Turkey Association Council discussed
  • [29] Cypriot political parties discuss guarantor issue

  • [01] Main opposition leader meets PM, discusses foreign policy

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday morning met the leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) George Papandreou for talks that focused on foreign affairs. The meeting had been requested by Papandreou, who called for a new strategy in foreign policy, especially toward Turkey.

    No statements were made afterward.

    Commenting on the results of the meeting, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed that the government steadfastly sought the maximum achievable consensus on issues of foreign policy.

    "The prime minister heard the leader of the main opposition attentively. Many of the positions heard during the meeting are already known. There is always a series of questions that must be answered," the spokesman said.

    He did not clarify whether these "questions" were related to Wednesday's meeting between Papandreou and Karamanlis or general questions concerning foreign affairs.

    "The core of Greece's strategy in recent years has been to encourage Turkey's European adaptation in its path toward EU accession while at the same time, on a bilateral level, continuing the building of trust, economic cooperation in various sectors and the process of exploratory contacts," Antonaros said. He also stressed that Greece was steadily persevering in efforts to create the conditions that would allow the referral of differences with Turkey to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, while at another point he noted that referral to court at The Hague was a "tool of Greek foreign policy". He underlined that the sole issue that government intends to refer to the court was that of delineating the Aegean continental shelf.

    [02] Papandreou: Extension of territorial waters must precede arbitration with Ankara

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, the former foreign minister, on Wednesday emphasized that Athens must first exercise its right to extend territorial waters within the framework of international law before signing any compromissum -- a mutual promise to abide by the decision of an arbiter -- with neighboring Turkey.

    In outlining an explicit step-by-step proposal for the often complex sphere of Greek-Turkish relations only hours after meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Papandreou said a target-based political dialogue should subsequently commence with Ankara in order to only refer the issue of delineating the Aegean Sea's continental shelf to the International Court at The Hague.

    Papandreou, speaking to his party's Parliament group, said the signing of a peace and security pact with Turkey, a fellow NATO member-state, would follow in tandem with a mutual decrease in defense spending by the two sides.

    Whereas potential political fallout from a midair collision late last month in the SE Aegean between Greek and Turkish fighter planes was quickly and effectively defused by both governments, the incident nevertheless sparked a broad and uncharacteristically temperate debate by the country's political forces on the current and future course of Greek-Turkish relations, as well as on Athens' long-term strategy vis-à-vis its neighbor and EU hopeful Turkey.

    A standing 'thorn' in continuing rapprochement between Athens and Ankara is a resolution by Turkey's assembly in the late 1990s to threaten the use of force (casus belli) in case Greece legally extended its territorial waters from the current six nautical miles. Greece has repeatedly called on subsequent Turkish governments to disavow any such threat as absolutely incompatible with good-neighborly relations.

    Papandreou explained his position in a meeting with Karamanlis at the Maximos Mansion shortly before a meeting of PASOK's Parliamentary Group in the framework of his initiative for determining a new strategy in Greek-Turkish relations, an initiative which began with Papandreou's meeting with President Karolos Papoulias.

    Expanding on his proposal, the PASOK party leader said that the target of the new strategy is to safeguard our sovereign rights and, at the same time, to show Turkey the path of necessary respect for international law, the principle of good neighborliness, the principles and values of the European Union and its (Turkey's) obligations towards the EU and its member-states and, of course, towards Greece and Turkey.

    Explaining his initiative, Papandreou said that "the interests of Greece cannot be left to the logic of resorting to time" and rejected the logic that a "non-position is a position", while adding that "neither the multiple nor conflicting positions shown by the government, is a position."

    The basic aims of the new national strategy proposed by Papandreou are the "effective defending of our sovereign rights. The sovereign rights of Greece are non-negotiable for us. Consolidating peace in the region and the country's economic and social development with safeguarding funds from the 'peace dividend'."

    Former ND leader Miltiades Evert criticizes territorial waters proposal by Papandreou:

    Former ruling New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert on Wednesday accused main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou of "irresponsibility" regarding the latter's proposal on the extension of Greece's territorial waters.

    "With his statement at the Parliamentary Group of PASOK, George Papandreou criticized the government of ND for not extending the territorial waters of Greece," Evert said.

    "However, who is Mr. Papandreou deceiving? He himself had been foreign minister for many years and he never called for an extension of the territorial waters of the country," he added.

    Evert went on to say that "now he feels the need for the extension of territorial waters. Now that Turkey is going through a period of internal political crisis and wants us to give it the opportunity to export this crisis through a conflict with Greece."

    Lastly, the former ND leader said that "the irresponsibility of Mr. George Papandreou is unique and dangerous for the security of the country. He makes this statement publicly without having consulted the government and all the parties beforehand," adding that "his attitude is disappointing the Greeks and placing the security of the country in danger."

    [03] President Papoulias meets Mitsotakis

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    There can be no discussion for a new national strategy on foreign policy, stated former premier and ruling New Democracy's honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis after meeting with President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday.

    Mitsotakis noted that a single strategy has been followed since 1992, which was agreed by the then political party leaders’ council. It is a policy of dialogue with Turkey, he said, founded on three basic principles: respect of territorial integrity, observance of international treaties and respect of international law.

    The dialogue was held and will continue to be held on the basis of these principles, and at some point it will lead to the solution of bilateral differences, he added.

    This policy endured through the Imia crisis and was followed by the next governments and then Foreign Minister George Papandreou. Turkey’s European orientation was added to this policy and all political parties, excepting the Communist Party, agree to offer assistance to Turkey’s efforts.

    Mitsotakis referred to the likelihood of recourse to The Hague, saying that the International Court is not the beginning but the conclusion of a process. He added that issues like the continental shelf can be referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague as opposed to issues of national security such as the fortification of the islands.

    He stressed that Greece has the bitter experience of Cyprus. He pointed out that Cyprus was lost when the junta withdrew from the island the army division sent by the Center Union government.

    On the issue of terrorism on the occasion of the recent terrorist attack targeting Culture Minister George Voulgarakis, he stressed that the problem is not over.

    Domestic terrorism was dealt a powerful blow with the dissolution of the terrorist organization “17N” but nothing is over yet and this is something that we must always keep in mind, Mitsotakis underlined.

    [04] PM meets with Patriarch Theofilos of Jerusalem

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Wednesday morning with visiting Patriarch Theofilos of Jerusalem.

    No statements were made to the press after the meeting.

    [05] FM meets with Jerusalem Patriarch, Albania Archbishop

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis had separate meetings on Wednesday with visiting Patriarch Theofilos of Jerusalem and Archbishop Anastasios of Albania.

    Bakoyannis reiterated to Theofilos Greece's undivided support for the Jerusalem Patriarchate, stressing that Athens stood by its side in times of difficulty.

    [06] Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem meets with press

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    An official visit by Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos III to Athens had provided an opportunity to relay the serious economic problems faced by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to Greek officials, reporters heard on Wednesday.

    Meeting with the press, Patriarch Theophilos said that he presented the Patriarchate’s economic state to the foreign ministry, while he underlined the government’s interest in efforts aimed at restoring normalcy at the Patriarchate.

    The Patriarch stressed that the new Israeli government had indicated that it was prepared to proceed with his recognition but the dethroned Patriarch Irineos of Jerusalem continues to reside in the Patriarchate guarded on a 24-hour basis.

    Responding to a question on the fate of the real estate (hotels etc) that were allegedly sold by Irineos, Patriarch Theophilos pointed out that the fact that Irineos is still in the Patriarchate guarded by the Israelis could mean that the transactions have not been completed yet.

    He also stressed that the crisis the Patriarchate went through was a crisis of institutions and not transactions.

    Patriarch Theophilos stated that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem has no official website and the one appearing on the official sites of Christian Orthodox Churches is of unknown origin, adding that an official Patriarchate of Jerusalem site is under construction.

    The Patriarch added that he protested to Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece regarding the visits to the deposed Patriarch made by Church of Greece clerics.

    [07] New Democracy incapable of abiding by Constitution, Papandreou claims

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) intends to highlight the upcoming Constitutional revision as one of the key issues in the next general elections - plus the fact that ruling New Democracy has shown itself incapable of abiding by the Constitution - main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou stressed in his speech to the party's MPs on Wednesday.

    Addressing PASOK's Parliamentary group, Papandreou said he was certain that the voters would decide that PASOK was the party able to respect and protect democratic institutions.

    PASOK's leader alleged that the Constitution had been violated both during the Vodafone phone-tapping scandal and the Pakistani abductions case and that this violation was continuing as long as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis continued a cover-up of these incidents.

    He also slammed the government's 'disdain' for the public-sector recruitments body, the Supreme Council for Personnel Recruitment (ASEP), independent authorities, its attempts to control justice, an attempt to lift the protected status of forest land in the Constitutional revision and the fact that PASOK had one MP fewer than the voters elected, as he claimed.

    Outlining PASOK's proposals for the revision of the Constitution, Papandreou referred to measures to establish a minimum standard of living that would include references to a minimum income, provisions for the rights of foreign nationals legally resident in Greece and changes to Constitutional articles referring to religion and the roles of Church and State, while stressing that article 16 would allow the establishment of non-profit private universities but also refer to the State's obligation to support state universities as a priority.

    A second series of measures proposed by PASOK's leader referred to democratic institutions, such as enabling voters to hold a national referendum on national issues if this was requested by at least 5 per cent of the electorate, or making the election of the president of the republic independent from Parliament, while a third dealt with local government.

    Summing up, Papandreou said that the proposals he had outlined marked the start of dialogue in Parliament and society but warned against allowing this dialogue to divert attention from the country's problems or to end in sterile political confrontation.

    He also underlined that PASOK had an even greater obligation to win the next general elections, because the Parliament that emerged from them would have the right to revise the Constitution.

    [08] Voulgarakis, gov't spokesman on terrorism

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    The fight against actions that are aimed directly against democracy itself is constant, and this is the firm stance adopted by the democratic world and the people, commented Culture Minister George Voulgarakis before a scheduled press conference on Wednesday on cultural issues.

    Voulgarakis, the former public order minister and the recent target of a bomb attack near his home, made the comment in response to a question by a reporter on terrorism and how it can be combated.

    Later, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that the Greek men and women, all Greek citizens, unequivocally condemned acts of blatant violence aimed against society and democracy.

    The spokesman was replying to questions prompted by the assumption of the responsibility for last week's attack on Voulgarakis by the "Revolutionary Struggle" organization, in a proclamation to an Athens weekly newspaper that was due to appear in Thursday's edition.

    [09] Government denies passage of CIA prisoners through Athens

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    The government on Wednesday indirectly denied a Council of Europe report claiming that Athens had been used as a 'stop-over' for aircraft used in the illegal transportation of prisoners by the U.S. intelligence agency CIA.

    "All movements of aircraft to and from Greece were carried out with full and strict respect for the laws, rules and international treaties that govern international air travel," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed.

    He would not, however, be drawn into any statement on whether the CoE report was reliable.

    Following publication of the report, MP for the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) Theodoros Pangalos, a former foreign minister, made statements claiming that there was "criminal and political liability" for the affair.

    [10] Polydoras again dismisses allegations of terror-related interrogations,abductions

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras on Wednesday repeated, again in Parliament, that Greek intelligence service (EYP) agents were not involved in any abductions and illegal interrogations of Pakistani nationals living in Athens shortly after the July 2005 London bombings.

    Polydoras told a relevant Parliament committee that he himself debriefed several EYP officers, who denied any involvement in the alleged abductions, while he also repeated his position of resigning if the opposite proves true.

    However, several main opposition PASOK deputies and Coalition of the Left MPs insisted that extra-judicial inter-rogations did, in fact, take place, whereas several unanswered questions remained regarding EYP's involvement, as they said.

    Conversely, Polydoras called on a prosecutor whose report evaluates the Pakistanis' allegations as truthful and who referred to responsibility of two EYP agents to simply present concrete evidence that the charges are substantiated.

    [11] Public order minister addresses Police conference on anti-crime policy

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras addressed a Greek Police Officers conference in Athens on Wednesday which centered on the paving of anti-crime policy for 2006.

    Polydoras, who referred to the Police's tackling of illegality and crime, congratulated Police Chief Anastasios Dimoschakis because he did not postpone the meeting in view of the escape last Sunday of two inmates from Korydallos prison.

    "Crime takes advantage of circumstances. The terrorist, the criminal, the drugs dealer, the trafficker, has the advantage of surprise. Society demands training and effectiveness, orderliness, cooperation and group spirit and a better result," Polydoras told the officers. He added: «The criminals will lose. Law, justice and morality will win. Intensify your efforts, society demands it."

    [12] Justice Minister convenes meeting on reinforcing security of prisons

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras chaired a meeting in Athens on Wednesday with the objective of reinforcing the security systems in the country's prisons, particularly by air.

    At the same time, the justice minister ordered the directors of the major prisons to submit their proposals for the more effective fortification of prisons.

    The meeting came in the wake of the escape of two inmates at Korydallos prison on Sunday by helicopter.

    [13] PM and national municipalities union KEDKE discuss local government issues

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday met the presidency of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) and discussed issues concerning local government, in the presence of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlo-poulos.

    The meeting formed part of a government initiative for dialogue with local government representatives in order to strengthen the institution of local government.

    During the meeting, Pavlopoulos stressed the government's desire for strong local authorities, saying that this would enhance the quality of democracy and contribute to the country's growth.

    In response to complaints about funding made once again by KEDKE, the minister agreed that a 1989 law was inadequate and promised to modify this along the lines of a later 2005 law, while he also promised that a draft bill setting up 'metropolitan municipalities' for greater Athens and Thessalonica will be ready by the end of 2006.

    [14] Regional Health Services to be abolished, health minister announces

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday termed the operation of 17 Administrative Health Services in the country an "unnecessary luxury that the National Health System cannot afford," adding that these services will be reduced to seven at an initial stage with their abolition being the final target. The health ministry is taking a step forward to fulfill government commitments, he added.

    He explained that the regional health services will be abolished with a legislative amendment and about a year will be required to enable the 450 employees to return to their organic positions.

    According to Avramopoulos, the long-term abolition of the regional health services will decrease bureaucracy and will contribute to the system in the health sector being less complicated while it will help hospitals or other health premises with valuable human potential.

    Commenting on this development, main opposition PASOK party Employment, Social Policy and Health sector chief Evangelos Venizelos said that the reduction of regional health services to seven "does not obey to any logic of either an administrative division of the country or of health functioning, while for insular Greece, Epirus and Thrace in particular the new structure of the regional health services is not only dysfunctional but it is offensive as well."

    [15] Students to hold rallies in Athens and Thessalonica to protest gov't measures

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Students will hold rallies in Athens and Thessalonica on Thursday to protest government measures for changes in education. Also taking part in the rallies will be trade unionists in a show of solidarity to the students.

    The students are demanding public and free higher education.

    Students and trade unionists argue that their social and labor rights are "under attack" by the government’s measures, such as "through the privatization of public services, the abolition of the eight-hour working day and changes in the social insurance system." They deemed necessary "the joint confrontation of the problems, in accordance with the example set in France."

    [16] Greece repeats deficit reduction vow

    BRUSSELS 6/8/2006 (ANA-MPA/V Demiris)

    The government is clearly committed to attaining a fiscal deficit below 3.0% of gross domestic product, the European Union's ceiling, in 2006 and 2007, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters after sessions of EU and euro zone finance ministers, Alogoskoufis said that monetary affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia had made a positive recommendation on reducing Greece's fiscal deficit during a sidelines meeting.

    The Greek official that euro zone ministers agreed that Europe was seeing an economic upturn, despite hazards from the global scene, especially rises in oil prices and turmoil in financial markets.

    Asked to comment on the euro-dollar parity, he said that the rate was not worrying, and would not play a decisive role in Europe's large economy. Exports would be affected, but the continent's economic recovery was independent of the foreign currency parity.

    Finally, the Alogoskoufis reported that EU ministers had endorsed a proposal by the bloc's executive Commission and European Central Bank that Slovenia should join the euro zone.

    "This is a major decision. There is a clear preference on the part of the new member states to take part in the euro zone, and I hope this will occur for all the old members as soon as possible, as this would benefit the overall European economy," he added.

    [17] Greece, Ukraine seek closer business ties

    KIEV 6/8/2006 (ANA-MPA/N Melissova)

    Economic links between Greece and Ukraine are lagging excellent political and cultural ties, Deputy Foreign Ministry Euripides Stylianidis said on Wednesday.

    "There is great leeway to upgrade business ties," Stylianidis said during a visit to Ukraine at the head of a 50-member delegation to Ukraine.

    On Thursday, a joint ministerial committee of the two countries is due to sign a protocol for economic, industrial, technological and scientific cooperation. Other agreements will be signed for telecommunications and standardization.

    Stylianidis also met Ukraine's deputy foreign and finance ministers for talks.

    He also addressed a Greek-Ukrainian business forum on the sidelines of the committee's meeting, saying that bilateral trade was low, despite rising to 250 million US dollars in 2005; and that the trade balance was in Ukraine's favor.

    "This needs to be equalized, benefiting both countries," he noted.

    Stylianidis also pointed out those Greek investments in Ukraine totaled about 350 million dollars from 80 companies. Among them are a subsidiary of Athens-quoted engineering contractor Mechaniki; and Athens-quoted Germanos, which is expected to run 300 stores in Ukraine by 2008.

    Greek firms were especially interested in construction projects in Ukraine, along with tourism and energy, he added.

    [18] Merchant marine minister completes contacts with Singapore deputy Transport minister

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Wednesday completed his contacts with the Deputy Transport Minister of Singapore, Lim Hwee Hua, and the Cyprus' Communications and Works Minister, Harris Thrasos that were held on the sidelines of the international Posidonia exhibition.

    Kefaloyiannis reiterated the interest of the merchant marine ministry in upgrading its presence in the Far East with the establishment of two consular harbor authorities in Singapore and one in China in the city of Shanghai.

    According to ministry press release, during his meeting with the minister of Cyprus, the close cooperation existing between the two countries in shipping issues was ascertained once again.

    The two sides agreed that the development of the Adriatic-Greece-Cyprus sea lane opens new great prospects in European marine transport and in the wider region of the Mediterranean in particular, both for Greece and Cyprus who, together with Malta, control the biggest part of the EU fleet.

    Greece and Singapore sign new agreement on air transport cooperation: Greece and Singapore renewed their agreement on cooperation in air transport after 35 years.

    An increase in passenger travel between the two countries is achieved with the new agreement signed by Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis and the Deputy Transport Minister of Singapore Lim Hwee Hua and transit movement between Greece and Singapore is served, while the possibility exists for further developing and widening air destinations and links to Europe and the East.

    Liapis said in a statement that "the target of the agreement is for us to open the gates of the East to the West, via Greece, which being an exclusively tourist country needs this facility as regards air transport from the East."

    [19] Starwood Hotels to manage Astir Palace Hotel

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, winner of an international tender, is to manage the Astir Palace hotel complex in the Athens coastal resort of Vouliagmeni.

    Starwood will take over management on July 1, Astir said in a statement on Wednesday.

    "The arrival of Starwood will be accompanied by a major investment in human resources at the Astir, with continuous and extensive training for staff," said Takis Arapoglou, chairman of Athens-quoted National Bank of Greece, owner of the Astir.

    "This move will benefit both the Astir and tourism development in Greece overall," Arapoglou added.

    Starwood manages four other hotels in Greece under the Luxury Collection brand name, including the Grande Bretagne Hotel in central Athens.

    [20] Athens hotels' occupancy rates up 3.2 pct in first four months of 2006

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Athens hotels reported increased occupancy rates in April, compared with the same period last year. A monthly report by the Union of Attica Hoteliers on Wednesday said that occupancy rates fell 10 percent in five-star hotels (from 53.84 pct to 48.45 pct), but rose 16.8 pct in four-start hotels (62.04 pct from 53.12 pct), 9.2 pct in three-start hotels (71.23 pct from 65.23 percent) and 10.6 pct in two-start hotels (51.68 pct from 46.19 pct).

    Occupancy rates rose 3.2 pct in the first four months of 2006 to 58.9 pct from 57 pct in the corresponding period last year, while the average room price rose 0.5 pct to 101.87 euros, according to a survey by JBR Hellas-Howarth.

    Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop

    The Athens share index closed at 3,505.57 points, showing a decline of 0.48%. Turnover was 376.8 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.09% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.37% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.41% up.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 144 to 126 with 43 remaining unchanged.

    Foreign Exchange Rates

    Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.289

    [21] Sustainable development dominates UN--backed int'l conference on Adriatic

    Portorož, SLOVENIA 6/8/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Sustainable development and curbing environmental damage in one of the world's most researched bodies of water and the Mediterranean's shallowest seas, the Adriatic, was squarely the focus of an UN-backed conference vigorously promoted here this week by one of the countries, Slovenia, with a vital interest in keeping its narrow 46.6-kilometre "maritime window" unblemished amid rapid coastal development.

    The conference, entitled "Sustainable Development Strategy for the Adriatic" and held in the northern Adriatic resort of Portorož, detailed the serious environmental damage -- mostly in the form of diminishing biodiversity and water quality -- caused by eutrophication (agricultural runoff dumped into the sea by rivers), over-fishing, lack of modern sewage systems, oil and operational pollution emanating from vessels as well as climate-generated tropicalisation, among others. According to researchers and local officials at the conference, organized by Slovenia's environment and spatial planning ministry in collaboration with the UN Environment Program/Mediterranean Action Plan's communication and cleaner production centers (UNEP/MAP), the northern Adriatic is particularly vulnerable.

    Efforts to declare the Adriatic a "Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA)" under the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) criteria; ratification of a "Land Based Sources (LBS)" protocol linked with the seminal Barcelona Convention and implementation of national action plans by countries bordering on the Adriatic -- Italy, Croatia, Albania, Serbia-Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia -- were the themes repeatedly stressed by Slovenian officials, who more-or-less dominated the conference's proceedings, as recent political developments in the wider area (a new Italian government and the Montenegro referendum, for instance) resulted in decidedly lower-level delegations from other national governments.

    Conversely, Slovenian Environment Ministry Secretary Mitja Brjceli reiterated on several occasions that Ljubljana -- whose only access to the sea is sandwiched between the Gulf of Trieste and the eponymous Italian port-city and Croatia's Istria peninsula -- is eagerly backing a sub-regional approach vis-à-vis the Adriatic's environment as well as the ongoing trilateral commission for the sea (Italy, Croatia and Slovenia).

    "We're taking the European maritime strategy seriously. It's clear that its intention is to build partnerships for the sustainable use of marine resources. We're fighting to take the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan seriously," Brjceli outlined on the sidelines of the conference, and ahead of an important trilateral commission meeting in early July

    "We'd like to show that sub-regional initiatives are very important for the implementation of the Mediterranean strategy for sustainable development," Paul Mifsud, the coordinator of Athens-based UNEP/MAP said in reference to the conference, while adding that his organization would like to see "measurable reductions" in land-based pollution in the Adriatic when queried about a 10-year goal.

    The Portorož conference coincided with the holding of the 8th National Oceanography and Fishing Symposium held in the northern Greek port-city of Thessalonica, as researchers there unveiled data showing that climate change is gradually turning the Mediterranean into a tropical sea, whereas the Black Sea was tending to become more and more like the Mediterranean.

    The head of the Greek Centre for Marine Research's Oceanography department, Evangelos Papathanassiou, said marine biologists were already reporting fish, mollusks and varieties of seaweed that normally populate the Aegean's southernmost waters now in the northern parts of the Aegean -- a conclusion echoed by Slovenian scientists, who reported species normally observed in the southern Mediterranean now residing in the northern Adriatic, such as the pelagic stingray.

    [22] Minister Voulgarakis says establishment of 'Council of Culture' planned

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said on Wednesday that the culture ministry was planning the establishment of a Council of Culture.

    He said that the Council of Culture would have "an advisory character" towards the culture minister aimed at "a unified and long-term national cultural policy."

    Voulgarakis also said that there are plans for "the founding of a National Theatrical and Dance Centre and for the activation of the operation of the Central Museums Council in order for a unified museum policy for museums of every category to be achieved."

    The culture minister further said that plans are under way for the extension of the operating hours of archeological sites and museums so as to increase the number of visitors, and in this direction "credits totaling five million euros have been secured" for the hiring of 543 people for the morning shift, 100 for the evening shift and 72 people for sanitation. These hiring concerns the hours between 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m for the period from April 12, 2006 until October 31, 2006.

    [23] Exhibition on 19th century Greece in Amsterdam

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    A photography exhibition on the 19th century Greece will open at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam from July 7 through September 18, organized by Amsterdam University Museum Studies Department students who presented it as their dissertation project.

    The theme of the exhibition is the dominant views on Greece and antiquity during the 19th century.

    In mid 19th century, Greece was "rediscovered" by the West as the cradle of its own civilization. The West was able to have free access to Greece through its travelers-pilgrims when the Ottoman rule ended in 1833 and the Modern Greek state was founded. The pictures displayed in the exhibition are a reflection of this rediscovery of Greece through different ways, romantic, dream-like, descriptive and scientific.

    The exhibition also includes a great variety of objects such as books, gravures, paintings, maps and plaster sculptures.

    [24] Exhibition at Athens Airport on 'People and Traditional Professions in the Aegean'

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    The Foundation of the Hellenic World will hold an exhibition throughout the summer entitled "People and Traditional Professions in the Aegean".

    The exhibition, which will be comprised of photographs and documentation, will be held at Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport in the context of the airport's cultural activities. It will be open to the public from Friday, June 9 to September 30.

    The exhibition with 60 photographs and accompanying texts will show scenes from the daily life in islands such as Kalymnos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Chios, Lesvos, Sifnos, Syros, Tinos, Naxos and Santorini.

    [25] Groups condemn handling of missing youth's case by certain media outlets

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    Coverage, mostly by a handful of television stations, of an unprecedented incident involving the disappearance and alleged murder of an 11-year-old by five schoolmates in the northern town of Veria has prompted a sharp reaction by the Greek Ombudsman's office, the country's broadcast watchdog authority and the Athens Journalists' Union of (ESIEA).

    The Ombudsman's office, along with the Ombudsman for Minors, emphasized that the Alex Meshivili case also touches on the rights of the accused minors, as three television stations aired statements by the anonymous under-age suspects.

    Additionally, the groups said the use of visual footage concerning missing minors is allowed only under the precondition that it takes place in cooperation with police, whereas the media are obligated to not publicize the private life of any other minor involved in a missing child case.

    The Ombudsman office called on all parties to display vigilance and prudence while investigating the case and to avoid generalizations. It also called media under the National Radio-Television Council supervision to abide by the law and avoid any reference to minors' personal data of suspected minors or their families that "could cause further damage."

    Meanwhile, the media watchdog has decided to call the Athens-based television stations Antenna, Alter and Star to appear at a hearing next Tuesday in order to justify their decision to air interviews during their June 4 newscasts of the minors allegedly involved in the disappearance.

    According to a relevant law (77/2003), taking interviews from minors under the age of 14, as well as from witnesses or defendants in criminal cases, is prohibited.

    On its part, a statement issued by ESIEA underlines that the "interrogation" of minors in front of television cameras became a regular practice during the past few days on the occasion of the shocking Veria case.

    ESIEA condemns such phenomena, either in the form of television interviews or "interrogations" in place of police investigations, as totally unacceptable.

    Authorities over the weekend, acting on the confession of one of the five minors -- aged between 11 and 13 -- launched a search of a half-demolished house behind the municipality's town hall, although efforts to find the body of the missing youth and DNA tests on blood stains at the site have so far failed to turn up anything. Alex Meshivili, who lived with his Georgian mother and Greek stepfather in the northern town, was first declared missing four months ago. The derelict house was knocked down a month later to make way for an apartment block, the construction of which had already begun.

    The five youths -- three foreign nationals and two local brothers -- at first admitted to beating their schoolmate to death and later burying his body at the site. They later changed their initial statements to police.

    Revelations made over the weekend regarding this unprecedented case in Greece's crime annals indicate that the youth may have been the victim of systematic bullying by some of his classmates at the elementary school he attended in Veria.

    [26] Illegal immigrants arrested in northern Greece

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    A traffic accident resulting in a truck overturning "revealed" 60 illegal immigrants in the northern prefecture of Pieria.

    According to police, the truck was loaded with dozens of illegal immigrants, Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Iranians and Indians, and overturned at dawn on Wednesday on the Leptokaria-Neos Panteleimonas motorway.

    When police arrived at the scene, they ascertained that the driver of the vehicle had fled while six of the illegal immigrants were slightly injured.

    According to law, the illegal immigrants will be deported.

    [27] Athens College celebrates 80th anniversary of its founding

    Athens 6/8/2006 (ANA)

    A historic Greek school, the Athens College, this year celebrates the 80th anniversary of its founding. The celebration of the anniversary culminated with an official ceremony which was held on Wednesday at the College's Theatre at Psychico, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Also present at the event were main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, members of the government, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, National Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou, deputies, representatives of the academic community and many members of the family of the College.

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    [28] Cyprus' positions at EU-Turkey Association Council discussed

    NICOSIA 6/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus' position at the EU-Turkey Association Council in July was the main issue of discussion at Wednesday's meeting between President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou.

    In statements after the meeting, Iacovou noted that the EU common statement at the Association Council, on July 13th, will differ from the previous one, due to the developments that took place in the past year.

    ''Turkey undertook some commitments. It is important that the common statement reflects all that has happened since then. The references on the Cyprus problem should change, since in the meantime we have had the meeting in Paris between President Papadopoulos and the UN

    Secretary General, as well as Kofi Annan's statement and the invitation towards "Turkey to accept the establishment of the Committees on a technical level to prepare for negotiations on the Cyprus problem," Iacovou noted.

    The EU Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) was due to discuss on Wednesday the EU common statement and in the event that no agreement is reached, the issue will be remitted at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday.

    Iacovou added that with President Papadopoulos they discussed many other important EU issues, like the EU-Turkey negotiating chapters.

    [29] Cypriot political parties discuss guarantor issue

    NICOSIA 6/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The role of the guarantor powers was the issue examined during Wednesday's meeting at Ledra Palace in Nicosia of the leaders and representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties.

    A joint communiqué issued at the end of the meeting said that the leaders and the representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot ''exchanged views on the role of the guarantor powers in Cyprus suggested by the Socialist Party of Cyprus.''

    ''They stressed interconnection between the solution of the Cyprus problem and the role of guarantors in Cyprus,'' the statement added.

    In statements, leader of the Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus party Izzet Izcan said his party believes the future of Cyprus is without any guarantors. ''Guarantors are Cypriots to each other and the solution which will provide circumstances that we shall guarantee of each other,'' he noted.

    On Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's refusal to give his consent to open the Limnitis crossing point, deputy leader of Greek Cypriot Democratic Party Nicos Kleanthous said the obstacles raised by the Turkish Cypriot political side are well known, noting they do not realize that the opening of crossing points makes it easier for people and the freedom of movement.

    ''It is very important and we will continue to make efforts, hoping that with the contribution of Turkish Cypriot friends, Mr. Talat's intransigence will be curbed,'' he said.

    Izcan described as unfortunate Talat's statement that if Turkish Cypriots do not get anything, then they will not open the crossing point. ''We are here in Cyprus to work for a united Cyprus. For a united Cyprus we will open more gates, we will have people come together, we will have all sorts of connections and to help the trust and the cooperation between the two communities,'' Izcan said.

    He added that his party and Talat's Republican Turkish Party had supported many times that more crossing points have to open. ''It seems however that the RTP does not support this policy anymore,'' he added.

    ''Not only the Limnitis gate, we want the Athienou gate, we want more gates to open for the people of Cyprus to travel freely in Cyprus and cooperate, work for peace and solution and I do not agree with Mr. Talat,'' he added.

    Leader of the Communal Liberation Party Hussein Angolemli said that his party supports removing all gates or check points ''and especially we look forward to seeing the opening of the Limnitis gate.''

    ''We would like to see the demolishment of the artificial bridge and simultaneously removal of the wall. Within this frame we support the demilitarization of Nicosia,'' he added.

    The next meeting of the leaders and representatives of the political parties will be held on the 27th of September 2006.

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