|Tuesday, 12 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-13
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 13 September 2007 Issue No: 2696
 KKE leader calls on working people to make new startCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed her party's main rally at Pedion tou Areos Square in downtown Athens on Wednesday evening, ahead of Sunday's general elections in the country, calling on working people to make a new start on September 17.
Papariga called for support for KKE's election tickets all over the country, at the expense of the ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK parties, stressing that every vote for KKE "is a contribution towards raising a stronger social and political barrier against the new antipopular measures."
"What is of interest on September 16 is for ND and PASOK to feel that they have sustained an election and political blow, while their opposite side, KKE, has become considerably stronger," she said, adding that "ND will not change, PASOK will not change. ND was the party of capital ever since its birth, while PASOK became along the way."
Speaking about KKE's alliance policy, Papariga called on working people to support her party so that "what the country and the people need will begin to become a reality, meaning the formation of the social and political alliance."
"The alliance policy is a very serious issue for us to burn it with offhand alliances for opportunist reasons," she said, reminding that "the country's political history has experienced alliances that have helped the popular movement, but also alliances that have harmed it and the question is not for us to make an alliance with eyes focused at the ballot box, in which differences on crucial issues are covered up for the sake of immediate and temporary benefits."
Referring analytically to the policy of the two mainstream parties over the past 20 years and to their tactics in light of Sunday's elections, Papariga said that "the more we are getting close to the ballot box, the more the drums of extortion will be ringing out loud. This is the good sign in this election struggle. The two parties which have been alternating in power for years realise that this time voters from the popular classes in urban and semi-urban centres, in the countryside, have become aware of what they are, ".
The KKE Secretary General said that ND and PASOK are using the danger of the lack of governance in a misleading way, "while they know that the system still has the power to promote an antipopular government, a government for businessmen." It is not by chance, she added, that "bastions are being sought and hands of cooperation are being extended. The question is that the people must not be afraid to pave the way. Otherwise, they will always be in the corner, with their backs against the wall."
Papariga also referred at length to the different positions and policies that KKE has developed on all issues of domestic and foreign policy and addressing hersslef to the Coalition party said that "struggles, gentlemen of the Coalition, cannot take place against conservative policy on the one hand and on the other to cooperate in the election of bodies in labour centres and federations, and in the institution of local administration, with one of the partners, PASOK."
 'Time for responsible decisions', PM Karamanlis tells election rally in MytiliniPrime Minister and New Democracy party president Costas Karamanlis told an election rally on the north-eastern Aegean island of Mytilini on Wednesday evening, that this Sunday's general election "is the time of responsibility for all. The time for serious and responsible decisions regarding the future of the country."
"Are we going to persist on the road which proovenly benefits all or are we going to return back to deficits, debts and yesterday's insecurity, are we to continue on the road of reforms or are we going to let the country slide down to uncertainty and impasse?" the prime minister asked his audience.
"Negation does not lead to solutions, it does not open roads, Greece does not go backwards, the country has entered the road of development, welfare, hope," Karamanlis said.
"With your participation in Sunday's feast of Democracy, and with a positive answer, we opt for a steady course towards the future...We opt for a firm government which can take quick decisions, which can advance with boldness and determination to deep changes which the country needs," he noted before referring to his government's achievements.
"The deficit has been contained to 2.6 per cent from 7.9 per cent, growth is moving with much higher rates than the average Eurozone rate, Greece attracts, after many years, foreign investments, tourist arrivals have reached 17 million this year, from 12 million in 2004, exports are increasing considerably, entrepreneurial activity is being supported and becomes a lever of growth, more that 200,000 new jobs have been created in three-and-a-half years and unemployment fell to 7.7 per from 11.3 in 2004," Karamanlis indicated.
He noted that many things remained yet to change, and should change fast. "Time is not waiting, the future is won by those peoples and countries which are not afraid to face and fight challenges, which are not afraid of the new."
Placing man in the centre of his policies, Karamanlis said: "Our main target is social cohesion, our basic aim is a real social state." He also enumerated measures taken by his government for the tax relief of low and medium incomes, the increase in pensions and unemployment benefits.
"The fiscal clean-up we achieved allows the government to proceed faster in enlarging the social state," the prime minister added.
"2007 Greece is much better that the Greece of 2004, this is the truth, and we do dare making comparisons," Karamanlis underlined.
He said the Regional Operational Programme for the North Aegean had been absorbing in the past "only 9 per cent, while today its absorption capacity increased to 59 per cent."
"The THISSEAS programme allocates to the north Aegean's local government authorities the amount of 130 million euros for the 2005-2009 period," the prime minister added.
Karamanlis also referred to the creation of the Democracy Museum on the island of Aghios Efstratios, where political exiles were deported last century, saying that "we pay tribute to all Greeks, men and women, who in difficult times, have fought defending principles and values, defending democracy, national dignity."
 PASOK leader visits central Athens party pavilionMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou visited the party's election pavilion in Klafthmonos Square in downtown Athens on Wednesday evening, where he was welcomed by party members and supporters.
Papandreou visited the various sections of the pavilion and signed the volunteers book for the reforestation of regions in the country that have been ravaged by wildfires.
 Papandreou accuses gov't of 'secret agenda' on pensionsMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday accused the government of having a "secret agenda" regarding pensions, including an increase in retirement ages for women. In a televised interview with journalist Georgios Aftias, Papandreou said PASOK had got hold of an internal document showing that the government had attempted to use the European Union in order to achieve this.
"I have here a document that came to me via the foreign ministry. It is a document which shows that the Greek government, [then employment minister Savvas] Tsitouridis and [Foreign Minister Dora] Bakoyannis, essentially tell the European Union, as that the European Union change ages of retirement for the worst," Papandreou said.
According to PASOK's leader, this document was dated 22 September 2006 and basically said that Greece would have no objections to increasing ages of retirement for women to the same as that for men.
"So that you understand, this means that they want to increase the ages of retirement but because they do not want to say so, they went through the European Union in order to force the EU to take action through the courts and impose this measure on Greece," Papandreou told Aftias.
He offered to release the document in question to the media, noting that it was a public document, and cited it as another instance of the government saying one thing and doing another.
According to Papandreou, PASOK would renegotiate this planned increase if elected while he outlined his objections to the measure, stressing that retirement ages for women and men should only be made equal when society provided facilities that relieved women of the additional burdens of raising a family.
"For example, when we talk about Sweden where I have lived, a woman has leave from work for a child, she is funded for the child as soon as it is born, she has access to all child care facilities, she has all the facilities for the health of the child, all the facilities for a child's education. She does not have burdens. She is free to work, as free to work as a man.
When we get to that level, not of Sweden but in that direction at least, then we can talk about equating terms of retirement," Papandreou noted.
 Roussopoulos replies on women's retirement ageReplying to Papandreou later the same day, Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos denied the claims and reiterated that the ruling New Democracy party has repeatedly indicated Greece's opposition to increase retirement ages for women.
This is confirmed by a number of documents addressed to the European Union, said Roussopoulos, adding that Papandreou had read segments of a document selectively in order to back his allegations.
The government spokesman added that Greece has engaged in a lengthy confrontation with the EU and has been referred to the European Court over the specific issue.
This would not have been the case if Greece had agreed to the pension age increase for women, he stressed. Roussopoulos also noted that a few months previously Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas had met with representatives of Greece's largest trade union groups, GSEE and ADEDY, requesting them to assist in the preparation of arguments against any pension age increase for women to be presented before the European Court of Justice.
 PASOK spokesman compares PASOK policies to NDMain opposition PASOK on Wednesday promised to reverse several policies currently being followed by ruling New Democracy if it won Sunday's election. PASOK spokesman Yiannis Raggousis stressed that "it is up to every Greek citizen to freely and emancipatedly decide whether the country, on September 17, will have a George Papandreou and PASOK government, or Costas Karamanlis and ND".
Among the measures Raggousis listed were a stop to all moves to revise article 24 of the Constitution, which he said were catastrophic for the environment, or the present government's equally environmentally damaging special town plan for Greek islands and the creation of an independent environment ministry.
He also promised that PASOK would create a government "that truly respects democratic freedoms" and contrasted this with the record of current public order minister Vyron Polydoras.
More particularly, Raggousis emphasised the government's tax reforms that he said were "letting off the rich and increasing indirect taxation like VAT".
 SYRIZA leader Alavanos addresses election rally in CreteRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos addressed an election rally in Iraklio, Crete, on Wednesday accusing Prime Minister and New Democracy (ND) president Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou of turning Greece into "a vast tax free" country.
At the same time, he launched an attack against PASOK, stating that "what we see is unsubstantial political content of competition promises."
"As Radical Left Coalition, we seek for the New Democracy to be ousted from power. Not to be able to win a majority." He claimed that the main opposition PASOK "is unable to project a substantial alternative program" against the government.
"We're impressed by PASOK's stance towards the ruling party. There are many fronts which someone could open from a progressive point of view. Article 16 (of the Constitution) and the state university, the privatization of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), the Public Power Corporation (PPC), of the National Bank, of the Post Offiice Savings Bank. It's (PASOK's) stance towards the U.S. and NATO. The selling out of free countries."
 Papathemelis press conference in ThessalonikiThere will be no cooperation government in the event that no party wins the majority of votes in the September 16 parliamentary elections, because neither of the two mainstream political parties wishes such a development, according to Democratic Revival President Stelios Papathemelis.
In a press conference he gave on Wednesday during his visit to Thessaloniki's 72nd International Trade Fair, Papathemelis added that the political leaderships will be forced to turn to cooperation solutions only if the country is led to a repeat election that again will not result in a majority vote won by either of the two major parties.
On the FYROM name issue, he suggested that the veto right should be exercised now, adding that the prime minister will not veto FYROM's accession into NATO and the EU. He also commented that the ruling New Democracy party has distanced itself from the political party leaders' council decision reached in 1992, adding that PASOK's George Papandreou was moving along the same path.
Regarding main opposition party PASOK, he said that it has been altered and bears no resemblance to Andreas Papandreou's socially sensitive and patriotic PASOK.
Referring to his party, he pointed out that it is progressive, socially sensitive, patriotic and democratic, and has nothing in common with George Karatzaferis' Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), accusing it of accepting far-right extremists within its ranks.
 Souflias again dismisses prospects of coalition gov'tPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday morning met with town planning and public works minister George Souflias, one of ruling New Democracy's top cadres, with the latter appearing optimistic over the outcome of Sunday's elections in the country.
Additionally, Souflias echoed a high-profile statement by Karamanlis last week precluding any ND-led coalition government should the party achieve only a marginal victory in the Sept. 16 election.
"Coalition governments (in Greece) in the past did not do well because the problems in Greece are complex, numerous and, above all, there is a great malady called petty partisan politics, the politicisation of everything. Conditions here are not conducive (for coalition governments), they may be in other countries," he said in leaving the premier's office.
 Gov't welcomes EU Court decision on Olympic AirlinesAthens on Wednesday welcomed a decision by the European Court of First Instance to partially overturn a European Commission decision over the recovering of state aid paid to Olympic Airlines.
"It is a justification of efforts made in the last few years to the benefit of both the airline and the Greek state," Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Petros Doukas said.
Commenting on the ruling, Doukas noted that the "decision of the European Court, partially annulling past decisions taken by the Commission over state subsidies to Olympic Airlines, is a justification of our efforts. The Greek government dealt with the Olympic Airlines issue with a sense of responsibility towards the company's workers, customers and the Greek taxpayer. It inherited pending issues from previous governments that failed dramatically in implementing all restructuring programs for the airline, undermining its name which it is its main asset," he said, adding:
"With hard work, the government is doing what previous governments should have done for several years. We continue our efforts to achieve a full restructuring of the company".
The Court of First Instance said the EU's executive arm had not given adequate reasons for finding fault with the prolonged non-payment of airport charges due to Athens International Airport by the airline and other items. But the court threw out Olympic's challenge against having to repay restructuring aid.
 Gov't says 52.9 mln euros already allocated for fire-ravaged agriculture sectorThe government on Wednesday announced that 52.9 million euros have been allocated by the farm insurance bureau (EL.GA) to 42,050 farmers and stockbreeders -- 20,823 in Ilia prefecture alone -- affected by last month's wildfires in the Peloponnese and Evia island.
According to relevant Agriculture Minister Evangelos Basiakos, the sum comprises a first cache of compensation for lost crops and animals. The remainder of the compensation towards eligible farmers will come after an assessment of damages is completed.
 SEB says financial aid to wildfire-stricken inhabitants exceeds 300 mln eurosThe Federation of Greek Business and Industry (SEB) in an announcement on Wednesday said that the financial aid by businesses to those inhabitants affected by the recent wildfires which swept the country last month, has exceeded 300 million euros.
The businesses' aid is not just financial but is extended to a series of products, voluntary action and specialized services to the wildfire-affected regions.
SEB president Dimitris Daskalopoulos said that "the interest of the business world for the relief of wildfire-affected inhabitants and the restoration of the production network in our country's affected regions, remains strong."
 Greece's taxes on capital lowest in Eurozone, MEP reportsGreece is currently the only country in the euro-zone that does not tax individuals for income generated by stocks, shares and other capital assets, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis announced on Wednesday citing figures given by European Commission for taxation and customs union Lazslo Kovacs.
Responding to a question put by Papadimoulis, the Commissioner said that other Euro-zone countries imposed taxes on income from capital ranging between 15 percent and 48 percent.
In a previous answer to Papadimoulis, meanwhile, Kovacs had presented official figures showing that the tax burden on capital in Greece was 8.8 per cent lower than the Community's average while taxes on income from work and wages was 2 percent higher.
Specifically, capital assets in the 12 Eurozone countries existing prior to 2007 are taxed at a rate of 48.7 percent in France, 45 percent in Spain, 44.3 percent in Germany, 44.1 percent in Italy, 42 percent in Ireland, 40 percent in Portugal, 39 percent in Luxembourg, 30 percent in the Netherlands, 28 percent in Finland, 25 percent in Austria, 15 percent in Belgium and 0 percent in Greece.
While noting that the relative proportions of taxation for labour and capital were a matter for the individual member-states to decide, Kovacs also pointed out that "a significantly lower taxation of capital gains in comparison with taxation of income from labour negatively affects the distribution of income given that, as a rule, the share of the total income coming from capital assets is much greater in the case of large incomes than in the case of tax payers with low incomes".
According to Papadimoulis, the Commissioner's replies showed that Greece was over-taxing wage earners and that ruling New Democracy was promising tax breaks that would increase this gap even more.
"To the simple question 'Who pays taxes in Greece?' the Commission replies with hard figures: Greece over-taxes wage earners, who have the lowest incomes in the Eurozone, while hardly taxing income from capital at all. Despite this, the ND government with its taxation laws and pre-election announcements, instead of a tax convergence with the European Union is widening the inequality gap in favour of the powerful and increasing already high and social unfair indirect taxes," Papadimoulis stressed.
At the same time, the MEP added, tax evasion, tax avoidance and the black economy were rampant and the leaders of the two main parties were handing out promises for further tax breaks as an "election bonus" for swing voters. He called on them to "undertake their responsibilities for this provocative injustice".
 Initiative to promote Greek products abroadA new strategic initiative titled Match Making Programs is being implemented by the Greek Overseas Trade Organisation (OPE), in the framework of the initiatives it is undertaking to promote Greek products and services abroad.
The initiative concerns inviting foreign buyers, distribution networks, public opinion shapers and journalists from the clothing, fur, jewellery, cosmetics, food, beverages and biological products sectors.
According to the Organisation's website, the offer will concern inviting about 15 foreign buyers, distribution networks and journalists, as well as business contacts with 20-25 Greek businesses and the holding of about 100 business meetings.
 N. Greece water conservation agreement a success, seminar notesCoordinated efforts to conserve water used to irrigate 100,000 hectares in Thessaloniki, Pella and Imathia had saved roughly 100 million cubic metres of water from Lake Polyfytos during the current year, a seminar on the "Environment and water resources: new challeges in the light of climate change" reported on Wednesday.
The seminar was organised by Helexpo SA and the UNESCO centre for Women and Peace in the Balkans as part of the 72nd Thessaloniki International Fair.
The head of the water directorate of the Central Macedonia Region said the result was achieved through an agreement signed at the start of the year by the regional authority, the Public Power Corporation and other bodies involved in managing irrigation water. He said the agreement's target had been to use 450 million cubic waters in total and that total use at the end of the irrigation period was actually just 430 million cubic metres of water.
The seminar also outlined a new system for checking and stopping pollution of the Strymonas River drainage basin while noting the danger of flooding in regions hit by the summer's fires.
 Attica Group buys two Ro-Ro vessels for 30.4 mln eurosAttica Group on Wednesday announced the purchase of two "Ro-Ro" vessels, built in 1998 and 1999, for 30.4 million euros. The shipping company said delivery of the two vessels is expected in October.
 Greece's import price index up 2.6 pct in July, yr/yrGreece's composite import price index in the industrial sector rose by 2.6 percent in July, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistical Service (NSS) said on Wednesday. The service said the index was up 1.1 percent in July from June 2007.
In its monthly report, NSS said the 2.6-percent increase of the import price index in the industrial sector reflected a 6.8 pct jump in the intermediate goods index, an 1.7-pct rise in the consumer goods price index, an 1.4 percent increase in the capital goods price index and a 0.6-pct rise in the energy goods index.
 Greek stocks ease on WednesdayGreek stocks ended slightly lower on Wednesday pushing the composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange down 0.32 percent to 4,823.04 points. Turnover was an improved 325.61 million euros.
Most sectors moved higher, with the Personal/Home Products (1.44 pct) and Banks (0.22 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecommunications (2.29 pct), Industrial Products (2.01 pct) and Healthcare (1.15 percent) suffered losses.
The Big Cap index eased 0.27 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.18 percent down and the Small Cap index fell 1.09 percent.
Creta Plastics (15.38 pct), ANEK (9.46 pct) were top gainers, while Viosol (7.14 pct), Klonatex (6.06 pct) and Alsinco (5.49 pct) were top losers. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 177 to 65 with another 57 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.01%
Personal & Household: +1.44%
Raw Materials: -0.70%
Travel & Leisure: -0.62%
Food & Beverages: -0.15%
Financial Services: -0.76%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Alpha Bank and Marfin Popular Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 23.76
Public Power Corp (PPC): 22.42
HBC Coca Cola: 37.10
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.18
Emporiki Bank: 20.12
National Bank of Greece: 43.06
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 24.70
Titan Cement Company: 34.64
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.660 billion euros on Wednesday, of which 1.390 billion were buy orders and the remaining 270 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 645 million euros.
The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.35 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.46 pct and the German Bund 4.09 percent.
In the domestic interbank market, a move by the European Central Bank to add liquidity in the market helped to change a rising trend in interest rates. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.10 percent, the two-day rate fell to 4.10 percent from 4.20 percent on Tuesday, the one-month rate was 4.45 percent and the 12-month rate fell to 4.70 percent from 4.75 percent.
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices saw their discount evaporate in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover a moderate 132.242 million euros.
The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at its fair price, while the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.66 percent. Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 7,979 contracts worth 102.322 million euros, with 45,054 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 231 contracts worth 7.194 million euros with 1,249 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,872 contracts worth 22.726 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Intracom's contracts (4,334), followed by Marfin Investment Group (1,240), OTE (839), National Bank (1,124), Alpha Bank (1,471), Marfin Popular Bank (1,978) and ATEbank (614).
 Foreign Exchange Rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.399
Pound sterling 0.689
Danish kroner 7.507
Swedish kroner 9.364
Japanese yen 159.41
Swiss franc 1.655
Norwegian kroner 7.895
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.457
Australian dollar 1.674
 Noted Greek-American astrophysicist in Athens for workshop"The universe is explicitly and precisely structured. If it was chaotic we would have been unable to understand anything," noted Greek-American astrophysicist Demosthenes Kazanas said here on Wednesday.
Kazanas, a member of NASA's research team at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, is an expert on the inflationary universe theory.
According to Kazanas, space-related knowledge can become simplified only up to a point because certain cosmic phenomena cannot be understood without the use of specific terminology.
Moreover, in reference to NASA's prolific scientific research, he emphasised that all of the agency's work is presented and published in scientific journals.
Dr. Kazanas will be among the speakers at an international workshop entitled "Chaos in Astronomy", organised by the Athens Academy's Research Center for Astronomy and Applied Mathematics in the Greek capital from Sept. 17 to Sept. 20.
 Austrian soldiers and firemen sent to assist firefighting efforts in Greece receive medalVIENNA (ANA-MPA/ D. Dimitrakoudis)
The Austrian soldiers and firemen, who fought for five days the blazes on the island of Evia side by side with the Greek firefighting forces, were honoured by Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos.
The 32 soldiers and 3 firemen who participated in the mission were bestowed the Austrian medal of valour in a special ceremony held in a military camp in the city of Linz.
Addressing the members of the firefighting force dispatched to Greece, Darabos stressed that they have honored the Austrian armed forces by offering support to the Greek population in such a difficult situation and contributed to the efforts to put the catastrophic wildfires under control.
He commended their stance pointing out that they offered help and gave hope to people in grave need, becoming themselves models for society deserving great recognition.
For five days, the Austrians participated in the firefighting efforts in the Evia forests with two AB-212 helicopters and two PC-6 aircraft. They completed a total of 54 flight hours dropping roughly 230,000 lit of water on the fire fronts. A third PC-6 aircraft was used to conduct reconnaissance flights and for transportation purposes, while 6 of the soldiers were the crew on a C-130 transport aircraft.
 SAE president meets Alexandria PatriarchWorld Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) president Stefanos Tamvakis met with Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros 2nd in Alexandria on Wednesday.
Tamavakis briefed the Patriarch on developments at SAE and on the mobilization of Greeks throughout the world to help the inhabitants affected by the recent wildfires which swept many regions of Greece last month.
The SAE president also met with Greece's new Consul General in Alexandria, George Diakofotakis for a mutual briefing regarding issues concerning overseas Greeks.
 Mokbel appeals against his extradition to AustraliaMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)
The attorneys of Australian fugitive Tony Mokbel, who is currently incarcerated in Korydallos Prison, Athens, have appealed to the Australian Justice to block the extradition of their client to Melbourne maintaining, among others, that the Australian government had forwarded confidential documents to Greek Court judges.
According to Mokbel's defense attorney in Australia, Mirko Bagaric, due process was not followed in the extradition request made to the Greek authorities.
Antonio Sajih Mokbel, 41, a prominent figure in the Australian underworld and one of Australia's most wanted criminals with outstanding warrants and convictions in serious drugs and homicide cases, was arrested in the Athens seaside suburb of Glyfada on June 5 on charges of holding fake documents. His arrest was made 15 months after skipping bail on March 19, 2006 just before being sentenced to a 12-year prison term -- in absentia -- by a Melbourne court for cocaine trafficking.
Mokbel, who received a 12-month sentence by an Athens court last week for holding fake documents, denies accusations by Victoria State police that he has murdered two members of the Australian underworld.
According to Mokbel's defense attorney in Greece, Yannis Vlachos, the Council of Appeals Judges who ruled last month in favor of his client's extradition to Australia had received a document with inaccurate, demeaning and unsubstantiated information that did not come to the defendant's attention as ought to. Moreover, he stated that he had also found two e-mails from Australia, one of them sent to the Athens Court of Appeals from the Australian foreign ministry, stressing that both he and his client were not given the opportunity to respond to those documents.
The Australian Federal Court has decided to examine the request made by Mokbel's attorneys on September 29 before a final ruling on his appeal against his extradition is issued by the Greek Supreme Court on October 9.
 Illegal immigrants arrested following spectacular car chaseAuthorities in the prefecture of Thessaloniki on Wednesday reported the arrest of two families of Albanian illegal immigrants following a spectacular car chase that ended in the Paleokastro district of Thessaloniki.
They said the two couples and their underage children were being transported in a private car driven by a 37-year-old man, who was accompanied by his 42-year-old wife.
During the chase, the driver of the vehicle rammed two Thessaloniki police patrol cars that sped to assist Polykastro border guards in the pursuit. The two immigrant smugglers and the immigrant families themselves then abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. Police gave chase until they were captured.
The 37-year-old driver was taken to Kilkis General Hospital as a precaution, where he is now being held under guard. An inquiry into the incident is being carried out by the Polykastro border guard.
 Seventy illegal immigrants intercepted on SamosSeventy illegal immigrants of various nationalities were intercepted on the Aegean island of Samos on Wednesday. The immigrants had travelled from the Turkish coast in a boat.
The first 30 of them initially disembarked at the Kouroundere area, while the remaining men, women and children in the boat were let off in the next half hour.
They were sighted by coast guard officers and Samos police at a number of locations north of the island's main city of Samos, from Kouroundere to Kokkari and were all taken to Samos Hospital for a precautionary medical check and then to the island's immigrant reception centre.
 Greece draws 2-2 with Norway away in Euro 2008 qualifierGreece drew 2-2 with Norway (halftime 2-2) in a European Championship 2008 Group C soccer qualifier which was played in Oslo on Wednesday night.
Greece went into the lead with Sotirios Kyrgiakos in the 6th minute but Norway equalised in the 15th with John Carew. Kyrgiakos again put Greece ahead in the 29th but the Norwegians equalised 10 minutes later with John Arne Riise, bringing the final result to 2-2.
The draw left Greece on 19 points from eight matches, two more than the second-placed Norway who have played a game more.
In other Group C matches:
Bosnia 0 Moldova 1
Turkey 3 Hungary 0
Greece 19 points (eight matches)
Norway 17 (9)
Turkey 17 (8)
Bosnia 13 (9)
Hungary 9 (9)
Malta 5 (8)
Moldova 5 (8)
October 13, 2007
Hungary v Malta
Moldova v Turkey
Greece v Bosnia
 Virgin Forest Ultramarathon organised at Paranesti in DramaA super-long endurance race dubbed the "1st Virgin Forest Ultramarathon" is going to be held at Paranesti in the prefecture of Drama in northern Greece on October 13-14. This is the first and only 24-hour, 102-kilometre ultramarathon race to be held in Greece, with the participation of 100 athletes.
The aim of the organising committee is to promote the surrounding region as a tourist destination and to highlight environmental protection issues. It hopes to establish the race as an annual event that in the future will attract athletes from all over the world.
The race is being organised jointly by the Drama prefecture and the Paranesti municipality, under the auspices of the Macedonia-Thrace ministry, the deputy sports ministry the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region authority and the New Generation General Secretariat.
 Partly cloudy, windy on ThursdayPartly cloudy weather with northerly, northwesterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Thursday with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 12C and 28C. Mostly fair in Athens, with northerly, northwesterly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 17C to 27C. Overcast in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 25C.
 The Wednesday editiion of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe turnout at the political parties' campaign rallies in the final stretch to Sunday's general elections mainly dominated the front pages of Wednesday's dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The 50 major public works projects that changed Greece - Released by (ruling New Democracy party) ND".
APOGEVMATINI: "6,607 job opportunities - The hiring procedures to be activated on Monday".
AVGHI: "Change the (political) scene with SYRIZA (SYN-led Coalition of the Radical Left) - SYRIZA's dynamic rise was affirmed at yesterday's (Tuesday's) major rally in Athens.
AVRIANI: "Karamanlis' (prime minister and ND leader) new government with Sarcozy recipe - Souflias, Avramopoulos, Dora (Bakoyannis), Alogoskoufis and Sioufas will staff the critical sectors, in order for the reforms to progress speedily".
CHORA: "Greece has no time to lose - Big turnout at Karamanlis' rally in Agrinio".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Others chasing majority, others chasing entry in parliament, they are intensifying their bombardment of the electorate".
ELEFTHEROS: "Karamanlis 42.8 percent, Papandreou (main opposition PASOK leader) 39.8 percent - ND's battle for majority government with 155 seats (in the 300-member unicameral parliament) and percentage (of the vote) near 43 percent progressing vote by vote".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Everyone against everyone for the very last vote - Karamanlis-Papandreou head-on collision with 'prime ministerial' tv ads - The history textbooks of 6th grade grammar school and third form lyceum (highschool senior class) in the electoral campaign vortex".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Games with 'secret' opinion polls - Organised operation by the government".
ESTIA: "ND 43.3 percent, PASOK 38.6 percent - The statistics of the 11 parliamentary elections".
ETHNOS: "Marietta's (education minister Yannakou) borders...National faux pas with the 3rd form lyceum History (textbook)".
KATHIMERINI: "The war of the secret opinion polls - What ND and PASOK see, aspire to".
LOGOS: "Battle over unemployment - Karamanlis sought 'mandate of responsibility' in Agrinio".
NIKI: "They're extorting (voters) with political favours and bogus opinion polls - Premier is on a downfall, says PASOK".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Everyone at the Pedion tou Areos park tonight - KKE's (Communist Party of Greece) main campaign rally today".
TA NEA: "George (PASOK leader Papandreou) casts down the gauntlet at KKE and SYN - "PASOK-ND we are not the same".
TO VIMA: "Papandreou to propose surprise government - He's preparing overturn of the (political) scenery".
VRADYNI: "Agrinio 'sealed' the victory - Karamanlis' rally exceeded all expectations".
 President Papadopoulos: Turkish side responsible for non solutionNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Turkey's long-term designs and Ankara's intransigence bear the exclusive responsibility for the absence of a political settlement in Cyprus, President Tassos Papadopoulos has said, pointing out that the Turkish Cypriots also have a share of responsibility for the lack of a solution.
Speaking at a televised interview on Tuesday night, he dismissed any suggestion of external arbitration, in the search for a settlement, saying he was wrong to have accepted in February 2004 UN arbitration in the ongoing negotiations at the time.
"Our fundamental goal is to revoke the Turkish occupation of part of our country, to avoid division, either on the ground or through any plan which might directly or indirectly impose it," he said, noting that European Union decisions and UN resolutions provide the values and principles on which a solution must be based.
He said the aim is to adopt such policies and follow such strategy that would cause Turkey to sustain a political cost as a result of its positions on Cyprus.
"What we are seeking to achieve is for Turkey to be convinced or to feel pressure in order to realize that a just and functional Cyprus solution will serve not only the interests of the Cypriots but also its own interests as well, in addition to safeguarding stability and security in this sensitive region of the Mediterranean and paving the way for relations between Turkey and Cyprus and Turkey and the EU," he added.
On the prospects of a solution, the president had this to say: "Is there anybody who believes that we can solve the question of Cyprus on our own or that the Greek Cypriot side is responsible for the absence of a solution?"
"Turkish intransigence and Turkey's long-term designs on Cyprus bear the exclusive responsibility for the absence of a solution. It is difficult, not to say impossible, to predict when a solution will come and I want to say that I am not promoting a settlement in the long run," he stressed.
Responding to questions, he said that the people of Cyprus have the democratic right to express an opinion on any proposed solution and reiterated his adherence to a bizonal bicommunal federal settlement.
"The term bicommunal is defined internationally more or less but the notion of bizonality as a constitutional concept does not exist and we do not accept that it has the meaning of ethnically clear regions," he explained, responding to other questions about the kind of solution he is seeking.
All this, he continued, must be the object of discussion at talks between the two communities.
He also said that the only process available today that could lead to substantive negotiations towards a settlement is the UN-brokered agreement, between himself and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
On his presidential bid for reelection, the President appeared optimistic that he will be in the second round of the elections, in February next year and said that he is not in a position to influence voters in his former party, the Democratic Party.
 Cyprus President sees political ramifications in ECHR decisionNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos believes that there are political ramifications in a decision by the European Court of Human Rights to accept the appointment of two Turkish Cypriot judges, who will represent Turkey at the Court.
The president stressed however that the Court decision is "respected."
The two judges are serving in the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, in northern Turkish occupied Cyprus. The Third Section of the Chamber of the Court, comprising seven judges, took the decision on Thursday of last week and Cyprus has lodged an objection to the decision.
Replying to a question during a press conference he gave Tuesday evening, Papadopoulos said that ''we could not but react to this decision, in spite of the fact that in our report expressing our initial objections to Ankara's suggested list of judges we had noted that it was very difficult for the Court to reject the candidate of any country.''
''If Turkey has opted to nominate a Turkish Cypriot instead of submitting the names of Turkish citizens to represent the country at the Court - and I assume there are many distinguished judges and legal advisors in Turkey - this was clearly a political gesture, which indirectly shows that the occupied areas are linked to and are subordinate to Turkey,'' he pointed out.
Papadopoulos explained that ''our objections lie in the fact that these judges, who are committed to the so-called constitution of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus, have expressed opinions relating to property issues and in this respect I believe they cannot have the objectivity one expects from a ECHR judge.''
Papadopoulos said that however ''it is not us who decide the members of the Court and the Court has not accepted our argument but it preferred to accept the assurances of the judges that they are committed to their oath and will be objective in the execution of their duties.''
"The Third Section of the Chamber rejected an objection by the Cyprus government concerning the participation of Mr M. Hakki and Mrs G. Eronen as the ad hoc judges designated by Turkey," the Court decision noted.
The two Turkish Cypriots were put forward by Ankara, whose appointed judge to the Court had retired, as its representative judges to the European Court.
Hakki has been appointed to hear 38 cases against Turkey relating to property of Greek Cypriots in Turkish occupied Cyprus and Eronen is set to hear 9 cases concerning the issue of missing persons in Cyprus.
Turkey, which occupies Cyprus' northern part since its troops invaded in 1974, has been found guilty of human rights violations in this part of Cyprus, in relation to property rights and the fate of missing persons as well as the rights of their relatives.
The Court, in its rulings on different cases the Republic of Cyprus and individuals have filed against Turkey, has described the Turkish Cypriot regime as "a local subordinate administration" to Turkey.
Ankara, the Court added, by virtue of the presence of its occupation troops exercises effective control in occupied Cyprus and is therefore responsible for what happens there.
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