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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-06-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

June 20, 2006


  • [01] Turkey must fulfill EU criteria, government stresses
  • [02] PM briefs president on results of EU summit
  • [03] Papandreou, Stephanopoulos discuss foreign policy strategy
  • [04] FM Bakoyannis to address WEU Parliamentary Assembly
  • [05] Deputy FM signs economic and technological cooperation protocol with Egypt
  • [06] Deputy FM Theodoros Kassimis addresses UN Human Rights Council
  • [07] Italian FM comments on cooperation with Greece
  • [08] Gov't: Education reform proposals to be unveiled this week
  • [09] Main opposition PASOK party announces restructuring
  • [10] Events honoring 10th anniversary of death of Andreas Papandreou
  • [11] Investigation on religious service held in Cappadocia
  • [12] Defense minister meets predecessors for lunch, exchange of views
  • [13] Deputy interior minister meets ombudsman of Kazakhstan
  • [14] Greek Police Chief meets British envoy
  • [15] Gov't actions to promote broadband services
  • [16] Greece asks for additional funds to support poultry industry
  • [17] Economy minister addresses Federation of Northern Greece Industries
  • [18] Hellenic Petroleum expands retail network in Bulgaria
  • [19] Bank of Cyprus may call offer for Emporiki Bank
  • [20] National Bank hikes rates after ECB rise
  • [21] Main opposition raps Gov't over EU funds
  • [22] Coalition (SYN) party slams OTE management
  • [23] Greece's 'golden oil' promoted at embassy event in Washington
  • [24] 22nd international clothing conference in Thessalonica
  • [25] Austrian tourism to Greece rises
  • [26] OA flight cancellations due to cabin crew shortages
  • [27] Loutraki casino sponsors restoration works at ancient Nemea temple
  • [28] International conference on 'Disabled people and the mass media'
  • [29] Hania Mayor wants Souda islet open to public
  • [30] Sylvie Guillem, Russell Maliphant at Herod Atticus Odeon
  • [31] Deposed metropolitan of Attica convicted on embezzlement count
  • [32] Albanians and Serbs from Kosovo meet in Thessalonica
  • [33] Fewer children, more teachers in Greek schools last year, statistics service reports
  • [34] Culture minister addresses event on sports installations
  • [35] Lillikas: Our aim is to promote the solution of the Cyprus issue
  • [36] Spokesman: Talat cannot choose issues to be discussed at technical committees
  • [37] T/C leader Talat calls for immediate resumption of Cyprus talks

  • [01] Turkey must fulfill EU criteria, government stresses

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    In repeated warnings to Turkey, the Greek government on Monday stressed that Ankara must fulfill the criteria set by the European Union if it wants to join the Community.

    "In all cases, the road to Europe passes through the fulfillment of the Union's criteria and of the commitments and obligations undertaken by every candidate-country," Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed after a meeting with President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias to brief him on the results of the EU summit held in Brussels last week.

    The same message was echoed in the statements of alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, in response to questions about Turkey's European prospects:

    "Turkey seeks full membership of the EU and in order to achieve this goal it must fulfill certain requirements," Antonaros underlined.

    Regarding calls for a "new strategy" toward Turkey made by main opposition leader George Papandreou, leader of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Antonaros repeated that Greece had a standard strategy toward Turkey.

    Antonaros dismissed Papandreou's accusations that the government was "timid" in foreign policy issues, saying that the government's foreign policy was consistent and brought results, such as the latest EU call to Turkey to fulfill commitments to the EU, have good neighborly relations with all its members and behave as a country that wishes to adapt to Europe.

    Asked to comment on the reaction of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who said that Turkey would not open its ports and airports to Cyprus-flagged traffic even if this resulted in the suspension of accession talks - Antonaros pointed out that EU leaders had last week "stated the obvious".

    "In other words, that Turkey must fully fulfill certain obligations in order to achieve the goal that it has itself set."

    Regarding an article published by former premier Costas Simitis concerning relations with Turkey, meanwhile, Antonaros stressed that the "only realistic approach is the national strategy that has been implemented for several years now and which, as far as I know, has the support of both the main parties."

    [02] PM briefs president on results of EU summit

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was received by President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday and briefed him on the results of the European Union summit that was held in Brussels last week.

    After the meeting, Karamanlis said they had discussed the decisions for the European Constitutional Treaty, the discussion over the EU's ability to absorb new members and measures on a European level for migration and civil protection.

    The Greek premier also sent a clear message to Ankara regarding Cyprus, stressing that "in all cases, the road to Europe passes through the fulfillment of the Union's criteria and of the commitments and obligations undertaken by every candidate-country."

    [03] Papandreou, Stephanopoulos discuss foreign policy strategy

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday expressed concern on the course of Greece's foreign policy after a one-hour meeting with former president Kostis Stephanopoulos, held within the framework of contacts with political leaders and distinguished personalities to discuss the need for a new strategic policy on national issues.

    Papandreou stated that there will be more tension with Turkey unless a new foreign policy strategy is adopted, particularly as far as relations with the neighboring country are concerned.

    He also sent a message to Ankara, calling on it to meet obligations and commitments it has undertaken toward the European Union and Greece.

    Referring to the risk of new tension, he stressed that the Greek people will continue to foot the bill for defense expenditures, adding, however, that there is an alternative, comprised of two axes, namely, protection and promotion of Greece's sovereign rights and consolidation of peace and cooperation with Turkey.

    [04] FM Bakoyannis to address WEU Parliamentary Assembly

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will participate in the conference of the Western European Union (WEU) Parliamentary Assembly which convenes in Paris on Tuesday.

    Bakoyannis will address the meeting on the theme "Greek foreign and defense policy in the wake of new challenges in the sector of security".

    On the same day, the Greek foreign minister will meet her French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy while on Wednesday she is due to meet French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

    [05] Deputy FM signs economic and technological cooperation protocol with Egypt

    CAIRO 6/20/2006 (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis on Monday signed a protocol of economic and technological cooperation with Egyptian Deputy International Cooperation Minister Zahia Abu Zeid, to whom the deputy foreign minister delivered a letter by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The letter confirms the willingness of the Greek government to strengthen bilateral relations further.

    Development cooperation holds first place in the chapters of cooperation intensification between the two countries, since Egypt is a top priority country for the Greek foreign ministry's Hellenic Aid service.

    The deputy minister announced that the foreign ministry will finance a program for the preservation of the Saint Catherine monastery in the Sinai, the equipping with pharmaceuticals and anti-cancer control of the Greek hospital in Cairo and the renovation of the three traditional buildings of the Greek community in Alexandria which are part of the Shatby complex.

    Development cooperation will also be implemented in the sectors of the utilization of waters, support for small and medium-size enterprises, the transfer of tourist know-how with the funding of tourist profession schools and the utilization of waters with the help of experts from the Water Supply Corporation EYDAP.

    The protocol also refers to the intensification of relations in the sectors of energy, transport, banks, tourism, construction and telecommunications.

    Stylianidis, speaking during the presentation of results of the 6th Joint Inter-Ěministerial Committee, which he termed "absolutely successful", said that "excellent cooperation" between Greece and Egypt in the political, cultural, economic and development sector "gives the best reply and the best message to the international community at a conjuncture where some people speak of a conflict between civilizations."

    Referring to the results of a Greek-Egyptian business forum, the deputy foreign minister termed them "impressive" since some cooperation has already been concluded, while meetings had initially aimed at achieving acquaintance between businessmen. The eight agreements concluded between state and private agencies or institutes concern the promotion of cooperation in standardization, small and medium-size enterprises, alternate sources of energy, research institutes, professional associations, agriculture and the linking of ports.

    Stylianidis meets wit the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar: Visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis met with the prestigious Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mohamed Sayed Tantawi here on Monday.

    The meeting was held before the signature of a protocol of economic and technological cooperation by Stylianidis and Egyptian Deputy International Cooperation Minister Zahia Abu Zeid, to whom the deputy foreign minister delivered a letter by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    The Greek minister thanked the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar for his contribution to the formation of Greek Muslims of Thrace that are studying at the Al-Azhar University and for his moderate teaching.

    [06] Deputy FM Theodoros Kassimis addresses UN Human Rights Council

    GENEVA 6/20/2006 (ANA-MPA/S. Aravopoulou)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, addressing the UN's newly-established Human Rights Council on Monday, stressed the determination of Greece to actively support the actions of the Council.

    The Human Rights Council began its first 15-day session, held in the presence of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, with great expectations.

    "The most basic human right, which is the right to life, is being violated on a daily basis by acts serving various interests, fanaticism and terrorism," Kassimis said and pointed out that protection for human rights "submits to temporary expediencies resulting in our credibility being compromised."

    Reiterating the commitment of Greece to defend human rights in accordance with the UN Charter, the deputy minister stressed that Greece has ratified a considerable number of UN treaties, and referred to legislation it has adopted on such issues as equality of the genders, combating illegal human trafficking and protecting its victims.

    Kassimis also announced that the Greek government is preparing a bill "against violence in the home."

    [07] Italian FM comments on cooperation with Greece

    ROME 6/20/2006 (ANA-MPA/L. Hajikyriakos)

    Italian Foreign Minister Massimo d'Alema, speaking at a press conference here on Monday, said the new Italian government is already developing an identity of views and joint action in the Mediterranean and the Balkans with the Greek government.

    "It is premature for us to announce Balkan initiatives or conferences. Italy must develop its interest towards the Balkans. There is a batch of European measures. We want to develop our relations with Montenegro directly and we want the strengthening of security in the Adriatic and the Ionian and the combating of smuggling. Dialogue exists with the Greek government on this issue," he said.

    "Both the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and I met in the framework of the European Council in Brussels with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. There was a will for joint action and a coincidence of views. We discussed the proposal by Prodi for a Mediterranean program and an Investments Bank for the development of the Mediterranean. There was a coalition of willing with the activation of all those who are willing to participate. Greece expressed its interest. Summing up, the foundations for joint action with Greece were laid for the Balkans," the foreign minister added.

    [08] Gov't: Education reform proposals to be unveiled this week

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    The government on Monday promised that a long-expected and seemingly controversial draft law on tertiary level education reforms will be unveiled this week, with wide-ranging public debate preceding its tabling in Parliament.

    Lifting a constitutional ban on private non-profit universities, instituting an evaluation process for individual faculties, cutting back on so-called "eternal" college students and eliminating the regime of bucking classes from one semester to the other, amongst others, generated heated street protests by university students, the union representing professors, and supporters last week.

    The government decided against tabling the long-expected draft bill until a Parliament plenum convenes in the fall, but instead it will unveil its proposals now in a bid to generate debate and counter-proposals. However, the issue of education reform has been continuously cited as a government priority and a pre-election promise by ruling New Democracy party.

    In a related development, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Monday merely noted that individuals have the "responsibility for what they say", when asked to comment on recent statements by noted professor Thanos Veremis, the head of a government-appointed commission of "wise men" that developed many of the university reform proposals.

    According to press reports, Veremis said Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga is responsible for much of the ongoing opposition to education reforms, opposition he charges emanates from a small but very vocal minority of students and professors.

    [09] Main opposition PASOK party announces restructuring

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    The main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Monday evening announced a restructuring in its ranks as regards responsibilities assumed by its high ranking officials.

    Party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, announcing the restructuring which was decided by party leader George Papandreou, said the aim of the changes was greater specialization, stronger presence in daily action, preparation of the party's program, stronger parliamentary presence and control of the government from the opposition.

    The most significant changes concern the party's political council in which former minister Theodoros Pangalos takes over the development sector, Maria Damanaki the employment and social and health sector and former minister Evangelos Venizelos the local government, public administration and justice sector. Former EU commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, together with current parliamentary group secretary Dimitris Reppas, assumes the responsibility for the drafting of the movement's program with the support of the 'Andreas Papandreou foundation.

    By decision of the party's president an election committee for the upcoming local election is established, chaired by national council secretary Marilisa Xenoyiannakopoulou.

    [10] Events honoring 10th anniversary of death of Andreas Papandreou

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Former main opposition PASOK party deputy and minister Costas Laliotis, addressing an event on Monday evening commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of PASOK founder and former prime minister Andreas Papandreou, who ruled the country as prime minister between 1981-1989 and 1993-1996, called for a clarification of the party's positions and moved along a purely anti-right policy.

    Referring to Andreas Papandreou, Laliotis spoke of the "phenomenon of Papandreou and the statesman who broke the obstacle of Greek borders and emerged as an emblem personality of Greece."

    Laliotis said that Papandreou was a "politician of great visions, open horizons, redemptive interventions and creative works." He added that the late prime minister was 'also an important and considerable player on the international chessboard, having absolute knowledge of the 'game theory' and a dynamic negotiator."

    Referring to the issue of Cyprus, he said that Andreas Papandreou "adopted the strategy of joint ranks instead of solidarity" between the two countries, he promoted the fundamental principle of the unified defense doctrine and pointed out that today he would be proud of the accession of Cyprus to the European family.

    On the question of Greek-Turkish relations, Laliotis said that Papandreou believed that Turkey was methodically questioning sovereign rights of Greece in the Aegean and "will also be trying methodically and continuously to create conditions of turning Thrace into a new Cyprus issue."

    Costas Laliotis also referred in particular to the struggling passion, as he said, of Andreas Papandreou for democracy, people's rule, decentralization and popular participation.

    [11] Investigation on religious service held in Cappadocia

    ISTANBUL 6/20/2006 (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    A local public prosecutor is conducting a preliminary investigation on the holding of a religious service in Malakopi in Cappadocia last April and called on the Patriarchate "to submit as soon as possible and definitely within a limit of 10 days from the delivery of the present document" "the full identity particulars and the addresses of the clerics who participated in the holding of the religious service."

    The public prosecutor also requested a "certified copy" of article 4 of the Regulation of 1935 which allows the Patriarch "to appear publicly outside churches and outside the time for performing holy services in ecclesiastical attire."

    The investigation is taking place following a report by the representative of the "National Strength Platform" Kemal Kerinciz.

    On April 29 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was faced outside the church of Saint Theodore in Malakopi by about 40 members of the "Grey Wolves" group who chanted "God is Great" and raised their hands, forming the shape of the wolf with their fingers. The Patriarch entered the church and officiated at the church service.

    [12] Defense minister meets predecessors for lunch, exchange of views

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Monday held a luncheon for all his predecessors at the defense ministry, during which they exchanged views and described their experiences when in charge of managing the country's defense and armed forces.

    The luncheon was attended by all the defense ministers of recent years, including Admiral Theodoros Deyiannis (who served during Greece's interim caretaker government in 1989 and then in 1990), Ioannis Haralambopoulos, Tzannis Tzannetakis, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Gerassimos Arsenis, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Yiannos Papantoniou and Spilios Spiliotopoulos, as well as current deputy defense ministers Vassilis Mihaloliakos and Yiannis Lambropoulos.

    According to the defense ministry, their talks were carried out in "a climate of national understanding" and concerned relations with Turkey, arms procurements and the issue of army camps, either in terms of exercising social policies by turning them over to local communities or in terms of boosting the country's defensive shield.

    [13] Deputy interior minister meets ombudsman of Kazakhstan

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Deputy Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos on Monday met with the ombudsman of Kazakhstan, Bolat Baykadamov, in the presence of Greek ombudsman George Kaminis.

    Andreoulakos referred to the development of institutions within the framework of the European Union with the aim of guaranteeing the better organization and functioning of public administration to enable it to serve the citizen and for the citizen to trust the state. He added that such an institution is the ombudsman which is an independent authority in Greece.

    Baykadamov said on his part that "we have many common points in the system of public administration and protection of the rights of the citizen" and that there will be close cooperation between the two countries.

    [14] Greek Police Chief meets British envoy

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Greek Police Chief Anastassios Dimoshakis met on Monday with British Ambassador to Athens Simon Gass.

    According to a press release by the public order ministry, the good cooperation between the Greek and British police was confirmed while an exchange of views on issues of mutual interest was made.

    Ambassador Gass extended an invitation to Dimoshakis to visit Britain, the press release also said.

    [15] Gov't actions to promote broadband services

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    The Greek government has earmarked 450 million euros for a project to promote fast Internet connections in the country, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday.

    By inaugurating a free wireless Internet access show in Syntagma square, in central Athens, Alogoskoufis said that the government aimed to bring citizens closer to fast Internet services by 2008 and noted the similar actions were scheduled to promote broadband services to 85 municipalities, universities and business program agencies.

    Professor Vassilis Asimakopoulos, secretary-special at the Information Society agency, said the free Internet show would also strengthen the city's touristical profile. Asimakopoulos said a plan to promote broadband services by 2008 was in full swing.

    [16] Greece asks for additional funds to support poultry industry

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Greek Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos on Monday urged a more effective funding of EU measures to support the poultry industry. The Greek minister, addressing an EU Farm Council meeting in Luxembourg, supported by his French and Italian counterparts, urged the European Union to immediately earmark additional funds from the EU budget to cover the total amount of damages suffered by the poultry industry in Greece and other countries from a bird flu scare that hit producers. The Council unanimously adopted these proposals.

    The Council, after long negotiations, agreed on a European Fishery Fund to finance actions in the fisheries industry during the period 2007-2013, such as modernizing a fisheries fleet, promoting, expanding and modernizing aquaculture units, supporting processing and trade fishing companies in Greece, supporting new entrants in the fisheries industry.

    The Greek minister also asked that a new sugar regime regulation should no longer burden the Hellenic Sugar Industry and urged that available funds to be paid timely and without any cuts. Basiakos urged the European Commission to offer no more concessions to the EU's trade partners and to defend a new Common Agricultural Policy during talks in the World Trade Organization.

    [17] Economy minister addresses Federation of Northern Greece Industries

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, addressing the General Assembly of the Federation of Northern Greece Industries in Thessalonica, Macedonia, on Monday, said that his ministry was focusing its efforts now on problems related to the "extravagant" state with regard to fiscal stability.

    Alogoskoufis said that the growth rate of the Greek economy has been speeded up in the first quarter of 2006, reaching 4.1 percent compared to 3.7 last year, while the fiscal deficit will fall below 3 percent in 2006 for the first time since the country joined the Economic and Monetary Union (2.6 percent).

    Main opposition PASOK party Deputy and former EU Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou said that "while Alogoskoufis and the government are announcing an increase in economic indicators, the relevant commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, is expressing doubts over the achievement of targets set in 2006 and is stressing the need for structural reforms and not temporary measures."

    Federation of Northern Greece Industries President George Mylonas, called on the state and its functionaries to abandon the thought and mentality of the "political cost" and to function with the real development of the country being the only criterion.

    [18] Hellenic Petroleum expands retail network in Bulgaria

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Hellenic Petroleum SA on Monday announced an agreement, signed by its subsidiary in Bulgaria EKO-ELDA EAD, for a long-term lease and management of EKO Petroleum OOD's retain network in the country.

    EKO Petroleum OOD operates a network of 14 petrol stations around the country. Under the deal, EKO will bring the network under its trademark logo raising its retail network in Bulgaria to 37 stations.

    Hellenic Petroleum plans to expand its network by at least 40 new petrol stations in the next three years. Panos Kavoulakos, Hellenic Petroleum's chief executive, said: "It is a significant agreement which allows us to double the volume and our share in the domestic market".

    Hellenic Petroleum is currently seeking to expand its activities in Southeastern Europe. It recently agreed to launch its first 20 petrol stations in FYROM under the trademark name OKTA and plans to expand its Greek retail network to 220 units next year.

    [19] Bank of Cyprus may call offer for Emporiki Bank

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Bank of Cyprus Group said on Monday that it may submit a public offer to shareholders of Athens-quoted Emporiki Bank through a procedure already in progress.

    "Among the strategic objectives of the Group is the further expansion of its operations in Greece. Consequently, the developments surrounding Emporiki Bank are naturally of interest to the Bank of Cyprus, which is examining the possibility of submitting a public offer...", management of the group said in a statement to bourse authorities.

    The bank was responding to reports in the Greek and Cypriot Press that prompted a query from Cypriot regulatory authorities, the statement added.

    [20] National Bank hikes rates after ECB rise

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Athens-quoted National Bank of Greece said on Monday it would raise many of its interest rates in the wake of a 0.25 basis-point rise by the European Central Bank.

    Due to increase by up to 50 basis points from Tuesday are various deposit rates; and several categories of loan products by 25 basis points, management said in a statement.

    [21] Main opposition raps Gov't over EU funds

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    The main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Monday criticized the government over its handling of European Union funds under the Third Community Support Framework.

    "The situation is very disquieting concerning absorption, and there is a massive risk of losing key funding from the 3rd CSF," the party's shadow economy spokeswoman, Vasso Papandreou, told a news conference.

    "In the first five months of 2006 absorption was just 1.7%, which is less than 600 million euros. This means that to avoid losing funds, we must absorb at least 600 million euros per month for the next 31 months," the spokeswoman noted.

    She said the performance was the worst since the first half of 2002 when the funding program began.

    Gov't rejects criticism: In a statement later in the day, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias noted that the government had inherited an absorption rate of 21.47% from its PASOK predecessor in March 2004.

    Citing data from June 1, 2006, Folias stated that the absorption rate was 44%, which meant that it had taken the current government 26 months to achieve more than its predecessor in 50 months.

    [22] Coalition (SYN) party slams OTE management

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    The head of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party Alekos Alavanos on Monday accused the management of Hellenic Telecommunications Organization’s (OTE) of seeking to turn the telecom utility over to private interests, especially slamming moves to elbow out the OME-OTE labor union as the sole representative of OTE's workforce.

    He made the statements after a meeting with the leadership of OME-OTE.

    Alavanos was critical of plans to use the OTE general shareholders' meeting on June 22 in order to change the firm's logo, change an article referring to OTE's control by the state and changes to an article that obliges OTE's management to negotiate with OME-OTE on wages and other labor issues concerning OTE's staff.

    He said that SYN would support the struggle of OTE's workforce to protect their social rights and OTE's public-sector character and announced that he would raise the issue in Parliament by tabling a question for the prime minister.

    [23] Greece's 'golden oil' promoted at embassy event in Washington

    WASHINGTON 6/20/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    More than 200 US food service, supermarket and hospitality professionals were treated to samples of Greek olive oil from the Peloponnese, Crete and Lesbos along with Greek wines and delicacies in a Tourism Ministry- funded event held last Thursday , June 15 at the Greek Embassy in Washington DC .

    The event was held within the framework of a promotion of Greek cuisine and food products in the United States, in cooperation with US importers of Greek olive oil.

    Guests heard Ann Geracimos, a Washington Times reporter, Susan K. Bennett MD, Clinical Director of the Women’s Heart Program at GWU Hospital and Artemis Simopoulos MD, President of The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health and author of “The Omega Diet”, praise the quality of olive oil produced in Greece and the value of the so-called "Mediterranean Diet".

    The olive oil sampling was the second event promoting Greek products organized by the Greek Embassy in Washington after a wine tasting evening held last January.

    Greece's ambassador to the United States, Alexandros Mallias, said that he hoped US consumers will appreciate the high quality and health benefits that have been offered by Greece's incomparable olive oil for the past 4,000 years.

    [24] 22nd international clothing conference in Thessalonica

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Thousands of firms worldwide are struggling in the "arena" of the clothing sector. The new developments shaped, particularly after the accession of China to the World Trade Organization, the introduction of technological developments and the change in the way of providing goods and services render necessary the adjustment to new models of products combining quality, innovation and accessible prices, as it was stressed during the 22nd conference of the World Clothing Federation that is taking place in Thessalonica, Macedonia.

    Addressing the conference, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said that the clothing industry is one of the country's most important exports sectors, adding that the same applies to the neighboring Balkan countries.

    [25] Austrian tourism to Greece rises

    VIENNA 6/20/2006 (ANA/MPA-D Dimitrakoudis)

    Package holiday bookings to Greece by Austria's two largest tour operators have risen by 24% since the end of April 2006 in comparison with a year earlier, Austrian newspapers said on Monday.

    Bookings to Turkey have fallen by 29% in the same period, with interest also waning in Egypt and Tunisia, the newspapers reported.

    The increase for Greece was attributed to an improvement in the country's tourism product after the Athens 2004 Olympics, including refurbishing of hotels, they noted.

    [26] OA flight cancellations due to cabin crew shortages

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Flight cancellations over the weekend at state-run Olympic Airlines (OA) due to cabin crew shortages were gradually being alleviated in spite of the fact that several cancellations were recorded on Monday as well. Passengers were informed in advance of cancellations on Monday to avoid any inconvenience at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport.

    A total of six domestic and international flights -- Larnaca, Rhodes, Mytilini, Munich, Amsterdam and Madrid -- were cancelled on Monday due to cabin crew shortages, while the rest of the flights were expected to depart as scheduled.

    Asked about the negative development during a regular press briefing, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said OA's management is in constant contact with the national carrier's unions in order to satisfy extra summer demand for air travel to and from the country. Additionally, some 100 seasonal cabin staff will be hired in the next few days, according to reports.

    OA flights back to normal Tuesday: Management of Olympic Airlines said that flights would return to normal on Tuesday as a shortage of flight personnel that that led to disruption of schedules had been resolved.

    Contractual flight attendants at the airline will fill the gaps until the recruitment and training of 100 seasonal personnel is completed, management said in a statement on Monday.

    Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise

    The Athens share index closed at 3,620.98 points, showing a rise of 1.47%. Turnover was 254.9 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.84% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 3.97% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 3.66% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 248 to 33 with 29 remaining unchanged.

    Foreign Exchange Rates:

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.269

    [27] Loutraki casino sponsors restoration works at ancient Nemea temple

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Restoration works at the late Classical-era Temple of Zeus in Nemea, a noted archaeological site in the northeast Pelo-ponnese (southern Greece), by the University of California at Berkeley will be partially funded by the Club Hotel Casino of Loutraki, a resort near the Isthmus of Corinth.

    The 500,000-euro sponsorship will cover expenses for roughly the next four years, while the goal is to secure necessary funding for the completion of the project.

    A relevant sponsorship contract will be signed at the Nemea site on June 25, with the renowned US higher education institution represented by vice chancellor for university relations Donald McQuade.

    According to the culture ministry's electronic listing, the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea developed in the beginning of the 6th century B.C., with the institution of the Pan-Hellenic Nemean Games. The first temple of Zeus and the first two phases of the Heroon were constructed during the Archaic Period while nine "Oikoi-Treasuries" were erected in the 5th century B.C. At the end of the 4th century B.C., a new temple of Zeus, baths, a hostel, a stadium and the 3rd phase of the Heraion were built as part of a large construction project. After the transfer of the games to Argos, in 270 B.C., the sanctuary fell into decline. During the 5th and the 6th centuries A.D., a small community grew in the vicinity and a basilica was erected on the ruins of the hostel.

    In 1984, restoration work began on the temple of Zeus. A year later, in 1985, blocks from the foundations were put back in their place (42 blocks) and the spaces were filled with modern material.

    [28] International conference on 'Disabled people and the mass media'

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Representatives of disabled people, speaking during an international conference on "Disabled people and the mass media", called for the linking of licensing for radio and television stations to the degree of accessibility to their programs for disabled people.

    The conference was organized by the general Communication and Information secretariats on the occasion of the tabling in Parliament of a report by the Inter-party Committee on the handling of problems concerning disabled persons.

    The conference was inaugurated by Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos who said that it was time to pass from words to deeds and not to see the problems of disabled persons as being separate but as being a part of society.

    He said that all political forces agree to the taking of specific measures. Referring to the Inter-party Committee's report, the minister said that it must constitute the criterion for action by both the government and society.

    Roussopoulos also said that the mass media must play a leading role in sensitizing society on the problems of disabled persons and referred to the operation of the National Broadcasting Corporation's (ERT) Prisma+ digital channel whose program is "friendly", as he said, to disabled people.

    [29] Hania Mayor wants Souda islet open to public

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Hania Mayor Yiannis Perrakis on Monday sent an official request to National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, asking that the public be allowed to visit the small islet at the entrance of Souda harbor. The islet is currently off-limits and forms part of the controlled zone of the Naval Fort of the Souda naval base.

    Perrakis notes that the islet no longer has any strategic importance to the naval base, however, since control of incoming ships has been carried out at Kalami, which is opposite the islet, since 1974.

    He also points out that the islet's archaeological and other assets are languishing unexploited, even though work was recently completed on a dock for small craft and a lot of work has been done on the restoration of the Venetian castle on the islet.

    Visits to Souda's islet by the public will be allowed on June 25, during Naval Week.

    [30] Sylvie Guillem, Russell Maliphant at Herod Atticus Odeon

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Internationally acclaimed dance duo Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant will be appearing at the Herod Atticus Odeon in Athens at 20:00 on Tuesday and Wednesday night for what promises to be one of the highlights of this year's Athens Festival.

    The pair will be performing the same program that took the Sadler's Wells Theatre and critics by storm in 2005, playing to rave reviews in all the British press.

    "I'm very excited to be returning to Athens to dance in the enchanting setting of the Herod Atticus Odeon, especially together with Russell in a choreography that is full of contrasts," Guillem told reporters during a press conference on Monday.

    The program includes the dazzling solo dances "Solo" and "Two" for Guillem, Maliphant's signature solo "Shift" and the extraordinary duet "Push", all choreographed by Maliphant. The performances are complemented by the lighting designed by Michael Hulls.

    [31] Deposed metropolitan of Attica convicted on embezzlement count

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    A three-justice felony court in Athens on Monday handed down an eight-year suspended sentence on deposed former Metropolitan of Attica Panteleimon, after finding him guilty of embezzling nearly 200,000 euros from a monastery under his jurisdiction.

    Panteleimon, one of the highest ranking clerics implicated in last year's Church-related scandals revolving around a trial-fixing conspiracy and unrelated claims of sexual impropriety, was charged with misappropriating the money from the monastery of Osios Ephraim in the eastern Attica district of Nea Makri between 1995 and 1998

    The deposed metropolitan, the Greek Orthodox Church's ecclesiastical equivalent of a bishop, was tried by the special appellate-level court due to the felony nature of the embezzlement charges.

    In statements afterwards, he said he would be vindicated in an appeals process.

    Panteleimon was also ordered to pay a 30,000-euro bond and not to leave the country.

    [32] Albanians and Serbs from Kosovo meet in Thessalonica

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Albanians and Serbs from Kosovo began in Thessalonica on Monday a series of contacts focusing on minority rights.

    The meetings, which will end on Friday, are organized by the European Centre for Minority Issues. Representatives of Serbian and Albanian political parties and the government and parliament in Kosovo as well as experts from the Council of Europe, representatives of the high commissioner of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the UNOSEK are taking part in the meetings.

    [33] Fewer children, more teachers in Greek schools last year, statistics service reports

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    There were fewer children and more teachers in Greece's primary and secondary school year in 2005-2006 relative to the previous year, the Greek National Statistics Service reported on Monday.

    There was a 0.6% drop in primary school pupils and a 2% drop in secondary school pupils, while the number of schools fell by 1% for primary schools and increased by 1.6% for secondary schools.

    At the same time, there was a 2.8% increase in teachers at primary schools and a 1.1% increase in secondary school teachers, improving the teacher:child ratio in classes relative to 2004-2005.

    The majority of school children continue to be concentrated in and around the prefecture of Attica, which has 28.6% of all kindergartens, 33.1 per cent of primary schools, 34.3% of high schools and 35.7% of lyceums.

    [34] Culture minister addresses event on sports installations

    ATHENS 6/20/2006 (ANA)

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis addressing an event on Monday on the granting of sports installations by Olympic Real Estate SA to the municipality of Paleo Faliro, outlined the positive elements resulting from the Olympic Games for local society and the improvement of citizens' quality of life, while referring to the government's actions to achieve better utilization of projects resulting from the 2004 tournament for the benefit of citizens.

    The minister also spoke of the serious problems faced, at least at an initial stage, by post-Olympic Games utilization and spoke of a specific plan which "proves that the new governance plans on a national scale and intervenes on a local scale."

    Voulgarakis said that the government "succeeded in record time" (only six months) to achieve the transfer of Olympic installations from the Organizing Committee to the central government, while in the corresponding case of Sydney two years were needed and in Barcelona one.

    The government "proceeded immediately with the determining of uses and the solving of town planning and legal problems for each installation. Moreover, it carried out international tendering for the guarding, maintenance and cleanliness of installations. It also implemented an immediate plan for the short-term utilization of Olympic installations and by concluding and carrying out 166 contracts with private and public agencies, it achieved the holding of important cultural, entertainment and trade events and other activities at Olympic installations, as well as obtaining considerable revenues for the Hellenic state and, consequently, taxpayers," the minister said.

    [35] Lillikas: Our aim is to promote the solution of the Cyprus issue

    LARNACA 6/20/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Foreign Minister George Lillikas said on Monday that the main aim of the Republic of Cyprus is to promote a solution of the Cyprus issue, adding that the government of Cyprus is working hard to ensure that Turkey fulfills its obligations towards the European Union and thus towards the Republic of Cyprus itself.

    Speaking to the press prior to his departure to Brussels, Lillikas said that the Republic of Cyprus is making efforts so that Turkey meets, before this October, its EU obligations in order to create better circumstances for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    "If Turkey does not meet its obligations by October when the European Commission will issue its annual report on Turkey, then we should expect by our EU partners and the Commission, strictness in the report", he noted.

    On Tuesday Lillikas will have separate meetings in Brussels with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Oli Rehn, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Marcos Kyprianou, as well as with EU High Commissioner for External Policy, Xavier Solana.

    The issues to be discussed at Tuesday's meeting with Rehn will include the Cyprus problem, the implementation of the financial protocol for the Turkish Cypriot community, the Euro-Turkish relations, as well as the promotion of direct trade based on the decision of the Council of the European Union regarding the opening of the Turkish occupied port of Famagusta and the return of the fenced area of Varosha to its lawful inhabitants.

    During the meeting with Solana, the Cypriot minister will exchange views on issues regarding the European defense and security policy as well as the participation of Cyprus at various EU missions.

    In Brussels, the Cypriot minister will also give a lecture at a 'think tank' on the Cyprus issue.

    "Our aim is not to cancel Turkey's EU accession course, or to take measures against Turkey. Our main aim is to promote the solution of the Cyprus problem. We aim and work hard to persuade all who are interested, to help achieve a smooth EU course for Turkey so that it takes all those measures that would help her continue its EU course", Lillikas said.

    Answering questions, Lillikas refuted allegations in the Greek press that there is a crisis in the relations between the governments of Cyprus and Greece, saying that relations are harmonious and their cooperation is excellent.

    "There is no change in Greek policy regarding Cyprus", he said, adding that the common aim is to achieve "a European solution of the Cyprus issue".

    [36] Spokesman: Talat cannot choose issues to be discussed at technical committees

    NICOSIA 6/20/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat cannot choose which issues will be discussed at the technical committees, Cyprus Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes said here Monday, invited to comment a statement by Talat that he is ready to discuss about the disengagement of forces and de-mining.

    Pashiardes said that what has been agreed at the meeting in Paris, last February, between UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos was "explicit and clear: discussion of the so called every day issues, with a parallel discussion of issues of substance, with a view to prepare the ground and pave the way for substantive talks at the political level."

    Invited to comment a statement by Talat that talks for the settlement of the Cyprus question must begin immediately, the spokesman said "it depends on what Talat means when he refers to talks", adding that "our position from the first moment was that the ground must be prepared for the resumption of substantive negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem."

    Pashiardes noted that Talat is constantly accusing and insulting President Papadopoulos, while he asks for talks on the Cyprus question with him.

    He said that "this does not consist of a problem for the resumption of a dialogue, provided that this dialogue is effectively prepared to have all guarantees and prospects to have concrete results".

    "And the first thing the Turkish side has to do is to respond positively to the UN Secretary General's call, after his meeting with President Papadopoulos in Paris, for cooperation, with a view to pave the way for substantive negotiations," he added.

    Invited to comment on a statement by Talat that he is ready to discuss the issues of disengagement of forces and de-mining, Pashiardes said that if Talat is ready to discuss in parallel with the every day issues and the issues of substance, then he should inform the UN about his intention "so that the UN will inform us that he accepts this procedure. Until now he did not do so," he added.

    He noted that except from these two issues "there are of course other issues of substance which must be discussed" and that "Talat cannot choose issues that should be discussed."

    [37] T/C leader Talat calls for immediate resumption of Cyprus talks

    ISTANBUL 6/20/2006 (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat was quoted here on Monday as calling on the Greek Cypriot community to immediately begin negotiations based on the Annan peace plan, or, as he said, "from scratch".

    Talat's comments were featured in an interview published in the English-language "Turkish Daily News".

    Among others, he was quoted as saying he remains committed to the idea of a federal solution for the long-divided island republic, while at the same time noting that "no one can guarantee what will happen in the future".

    Talat added that UN chief Kofi Annan will decide if there is a chance to resume talks aimed at a Cyprus solution following a report expected to be tabled by the UN's deputy general secretary.

    Conversely, he said the recent election results in the Republic of Cyprus and positions taken by the AKEL party do not favor the process for finding a solution.

    "Mr. (Tassos) Papadopoulos (the president of Cyprus) has nothing to lose from refusing to talk," he said, while claiming that only some form of pressure from the European Union towards the Cypriot president will open the way for a solution to the long-standing problem.

    In touching on one of the outstanding 'thorns' in Turkey's European course, Talat said Ankara cannot open its ports and airports to Cyprus-registered vessels and airplanes. "This measure is not something simple; it is the only form of pressure for a solution to the Cyprus problem ... as long as there are restrictions against the Turkish Cypriots Ankara cannot lift its restrictions on the use of Turkish ports".

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