|Friday, 15 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 14 September 2007 Issue No: 2697
 'Sunday elections a referendum for the Right to leave power,' PASOK leader tells Athens rallyMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed his party's main rally in a downtown Athens square on Thursday evening, ahead of Sunday's general elections, calling for mobilisation and a victory message, saying that "Sunday's election is a referendum for the Right to leave power."
Papandreou used for the first time during the election period the slogan with which he became the party's leader, "George change everything," promising that he will honour the commitments he has undertaken.
Appealing once again to citizens wavering between PASOK and the parties of the Left, he invited them to "a common course and to the victory of the new change." He also summarised the dilemmas contained, according to him, in the elections saying "either a PASOK government or a New Democracy government."
The PASOK leader underlined three main reasons why PASOK should be voted for on Sunday:firstly, for confidence to be secured in every household and in every family, secondly, for hope to exist for the children and the youth of the country and, thirdly, for Greece to have a prospect.
Continuing his address, which was attended by former PASOK prime minister Costas Simitis and Socialist International Secretary General Louis Ayala, Papandreou said "the end of Right-wing governance has come, Athens has decided and PASOK guarantees hope, confidence and prospects."
He further spoke of a "great victory for the democratic party and a victory for all the Greeks," while reiterating that Sunday's vote is very crucial.
Papandreou said that what is at stake "is the course of national issues, the future of the new generation, the cohesion of society, social solidarity, social justice and economic growth, the attitude and ethics of authority and the effectiveness and seriousness of governance."
He said that what is also at stake is "whether Greece will continue to totter and sink in the incompetence of the Karamanlis government or whether it will turn page and achieve the creation of a just society."
Papandreou stressed that now is the time of truth, the time for the new change. He noted that "an end must be put to the anti-Right policy that is deceiving the people and a strong progressive government must be promoted."
PASOK in government, he stressed, "will be a guarantee for employment, for equal possibilities to be provided for all and it will guarantee a strong social state and a just society, democratic institutions and the rights, freedoms and vested interests of every citizen."
The PASOK leader placed the New Democracy party "opposite all the democratic and progressive forces," saying that "no democrat, no progressive, no socialist and no leftist will cede his country's fortune to the Right and will not cede to New Democracy the possibility of ruling contrary to his values and ideas with his tolerance."
Papandreou also said that "what the Right can do is to slip even more to the Right and become the hostage of the far-Right."
He further accused New Democracy of using "deceitful tactics with intimidation and rumours to dampen PASOK's morale".
He also accused New Democracy of speaking of dangers "in its fear of defeat to disorientate citizens" and claimed that "an apparatus exists that disseminates rumours," adding that "this apparatus is the Maximos Mansion, the government's ministers, the basements of Rigillis and salaried parrots of theirs."
Papandreou accused New Democracy of having "a secret agenda for the day after the elections which it is hiding from voters and which includes, among other things, an increase in maximum pensioning ages and a decrease in pensions, the lifting of working people's social security rights, the lifting of the dismissals percentage in the private sector, an increase in VAT to 21 or 22 percent, an increase in indirect taxes and the objective values of real estate, the dissolution of the National Health system (ESY) and of public education and the imposition of a poll tax on small and medium-size property."
The PASOK leader also criticised Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, terming him "a prime minister of interests, of scandals and of cover-ups." He added that the prime minister "is an absent prime minister who is bound and held hostage by those who he is protecting."
Lastly, Papandreou considered the rally as being "the prelude to the victory" in Sunday's elections, adding that it is "the celebration of popular participation and the mobilisation of victory and of the new change."
 PASOK spokesman on Papandreou rally in AthensMain opposition PASOK spokesman Giannis Raggousis on Thursday called on all Athenians to attend the major pre-election rally being held by PASOK leader George Papandreou at 19:30 at Pedion tou Areos in central Athens.
"On Monday in Greece we will either have a government led by [current Prime Minister] Costas Karamanlis, with all the negative things that implies for the state, the economy, the environment, the people and youth. Or we will have a new course for Greece with George Papandreou and PASOK. The time of responsibility is coming for every Greek man and woman," PASOK's spokesman said.
Raggousis rejected the replies given by the government regarding documents made public by PASOK on the issue of retirement ages for women, dismissing them as "laughable" and also stressed that former premier Costas Simitis remained a firm supporter of both George Papandreou and PASOK and would have a special institutional role on the day after the elections if PASOK won.
 National duty calls for continuation of reforms, PM Karamanlis tells election rally in ThessalonikiPrime Minister and New Democracy (ND) party President Costas Karamanlis told an election rally in Thessaloniki, central Macedonia, on Thursday evening that "all Greeks together defend and reinforce national interest" and that "it is a national duty to continue at an even faster pace, with even more determination."
"This is the message arriving from all over the country," he said, adding that Greece needed a stable government because "only a stable government can take quick and bold decisions."
"On Sunday you are deciding on the course which the country will follow. I am asking from you a positive option. I am asking you to unite our forces in order to continue the reforms which the country needs," Karamanlis outlined.
The prime minister also addressed a severe warning to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) leadership, calling on it to avoid irredentist propaganda against Greece and to opt for a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the neighbouring country's name.
"If our neighbours (FYROM) really want to move towards Europe, if they really want to join Euro-Atlantic structures, they must avoid actions of irredentist propaganda. They must respect fully the Agreements, they must abandon their intransigent stance, in order for a mutually acceptable solution to the pending issue of the name to be found," Karamanlis emphasised, before noting: "I said it before and I again reiterate that we have developed good bilateral relations, we have a close cooperation in many sectors. But, if they (FYROM) do not abandon provocative actions of propaganda, if they do not show in practice a disposition for a mutually acceptable name, they must know, and they know it well, that with their stance they are putting by themselves obstacles in their way to Euro-Atlantic institutions."
"We have clearly said to all directions, that we are not moving a single step backwards from this position. I say this in simple, clear-cut words. In the 21st century, we peoples can all be winners together. Winners in consolidating peace, in expanding international cooperation, in development and progress. This is our strategy, a strategy that makes Greece a model in the region, strong in Europe and respected in the world," Premier Karamanlis underlined.
Greece rejects the use, by the landlocked republic, of the name 'Macedonia' on the grounds that it serves irredentist designs against the Greek province with the same name. An interim agreement was signed by the two countries in 1995 providing for talks, under the auspices of the United Nations, for the finding of a mutually acceptable name for Greece's northern neighbour. Talks are still going on.
"We have clear-crystal positions, based on principles and values. We serve these positions with consistency, prudence and national self-confidence. We support neighbouring Turkey's European prospects. We made it clear, however, that these prospects depend, primarily, on Turkey itself. Its full accession demands and is conditioned by its full adherence, its complete adjustement to the principles and values of Europe. This also applies for any other case. It certainly applies also for Skopje," the prime minister said.
The prime minister also referred to the energy agreements his government has signed while in office, namely the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline, the Greek-Italian under-the-sea natural gas pipeline, the agreement with Italy and Turkey for the construction of the south European natural gas pipeline, the agreement with Russia and Bulgaria for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and Greece's cooperation with Russia, Bulgaria and Italy for the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline.
He spoke of "important national achievements which upgrade our country's prestige and attract big investments to Greece thus creating new jobs," and enumerated the big projects under construction in northern Greece.
Referring to reforms in the education system, the prime minister committed himself for the revision of Article 16 of the Constitution, thus allowing the operation of private universities in the country.
"We all Greeks know very well what patriotism is: it is the values that unite us, the respect to our traditions, the solidarity to our fellowmen," Karamanlis concluded.
 Papariga: Vote for KKE a counter-balance to major partiesA vote for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) will serve as a "counter-balance" to the policy adopted by ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, which "remain unchanged whether they win or lose", KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga said after touring a shopping mall in Athens on Thursday.
Papariga said her party will not change sides using various pretences. Therefore, a vote for KKE is the best investment in view of the struggles to come, she stressed.
"There is hope that we will be able to cancel out certain measures or make them harder to implement; there is hope that we will be able to look forward to a better future, with KKE being a notable and unwavering counterbalance", Papariga concluded.
 KKE SG Papariga visits detox centerCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Thursday evening visited the Prevention and Detox Health Center "Arixis".
Papariga said that "the personnel of the centre undergo a very difficult task and however, are the last wheels of the chariot, due to the government policy which consumes very many words on the matter, but it brushes aside the people who by necessity and obligation play a substantial role."
The KKE Secretary General added, "here and now, we, and in particular after the general elections, we will raise the tones for the overall matter and for the people who work hard in this sector."
 Alavanos calls for new plan for Olympic AirwaysCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos on Thursday called for a new plan for the reconstruction of Olympic Airways. Commenting on a ruling issued by the European Court of Justice regarding OA the previous day, Alavanos said the European Union was itself beginning to question the so-called subsidies given by the state to the company.
According to Alavanos, the national carrier had been abandoned to its fate and the two main parties were responsible for its current condition.
On the issue of retirement ages for women, specifically an EU demand that they be extended to the same as that for men, Alavanos said the EU had no right to interfere in matters of social and pension policy.
"If [the EU] cared about women's rights, it could have asked that retirement age for men be reduced by five years," SYRIZA's president argued.
He repeated accusations earlier leveled by main opposition PASOK's leader George Papandreou against the government, saying that it had set up a "fixed battle with the EU that it would lose at the European Court in order to raise retirement age for women".
Alavanos also criticised a decision of the Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation to sell off public lands around Kaiafa Lake in the municipality of fire-stricken Zaharo for tourism development, ostensibly to help with the area's recovery effort.
"The fires are not even out and the government is handing over the burnt areas to business interests. It's like telling people: get rid of the forests. Set fires everywhere. Burn, build and sell," Alavanos stressed and pointed to PASOK silence on this issue.
SYRIZA's leader also commented on press reports regarding the Pakistani abductions allegations, challenging the prime minister to reveal the truth about this case within the day. Alavanos noted that in a meeting with Karamanlis in January, the prime minister had assured him that no abductions had taken place.
 SYRIZA leader Alavanos meets working youthRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos on Thursday met with part-time young workers in banks and with contract workers.
In statements after the meeting, Alavanos made an opening towards the new voters but also to the undecided voters.
"The prime minister (Costas Karamanlis) directs himself towards the youth and calls on them to participate in the movement for the 'new patriotism'. This is not a motherland for youth, which gives forest fire-fighters pharmaceutical masks which cost one euro, This not a motherland for youth which gives newly appointed professors a salary which is below the poverty line of the European Union. This is not a country for youth which puts them to work in the public sector in the stage programs without social insurance with 400 euros and with the prospect of dismissal in a few months. This is not a country for youth which for years now has created and holds hostage thousands of contract workers. This is not a country for youth which compels them, instead of doing post-graduate studies and of going to university, to hand out leaflets in the streets for three euros an hour," Alavanos said.
 LA.OS party leader George Karatzaferis visits PatraGeorge Karatzaferis, leader of the out-of-Parliament Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, visited the city of Patra in western Greece on Thursday and met with party Parliamentary candidates in the prefecture of Achaia.
"We made the difference and we became the cause for words such as patriotism and national flags to come out of the time closet of oblivion. We will be able to do even more in Parliament," he said in a statement.
Referring to his party, Karatzaferis said "we are against globalisation and the new world order. We are a patriotic party and we are interested in the Greeks. We have succeeded, instead of dividing citizens, in bringing them all to us, even people who were in diametrically opposite parties until recently."
 Athens Prefecture on general electionsThe Prefecture of Athens is ready for this Sunday's general elections, as 485 personnel will deal with the preparations, according to an announcement on Thursday.
With regard the election centers, there will be a total of 5,321 of them in the Attica Prefecture.
On the night of September 16, at the head offices of the Athens Prefecture, the personnel of Athens Prefecture, along with the personnel from the Attica Region and from the Prefectures of Piraeus, Eastern Attica and Western Attica will gather the final results.
 FM on FYROM 'name issue': Athens retains all its EU, NATO optionsGreece sharply criticised the latest statements by the president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) president this week regarding the "name issue" still plaguing relations between Athens and the land-locked country to its north.
"The government of FYROM either intentionally ignores or challenges the content of (1995) interim agreement provisions and UN Security Council resolutions, all aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue," Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said in a written statement issued on Thursday.
Commenting on remarks by FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski, during a press conference with the visiting president of Montenegro in Skopje, Bakoyannis said Greece's constructive stance has been proven in action, as opposed to FYROM's intransigence.
"A number of decisions and actions undertaken by the FYROM government reassert its persistence to a historically unfounded and provocative propaganda directly affecting the good-neighborly relations principle," she said, adding: "They forget the obligations they have undertaken in reference to Article VII of the Interim Agreement, which explicitly forbids any direct or indirect irredentist propaganda practices It should be clear that the Interim Agreement cannot be implemented in a selective and arbitrary manner and, therefore, Greece cannot and will not give up the options it has as member of NATO and the European Union," Bakoyannis concluded.
Ties between Greece and FYROM have dramatically improved since the early 1990s, although the thorny "name issue" remains the only impediment in a full normalisation of otherwise excellent relations between the two Balkan neighbours.
 White House nominates Daniel Speckhard as new US ambassador to GreeceWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)
The White House announced the nomination of Daniel V. Speckhard as the next US ambassador to Greece, replacing Charles Ries whose term expires in mid-June.
Speckard is a career member of the Senior Executive Service, and currently serves as a special advisor at the US Embassy in Baghdad, having previously served as attache at the embassy. His nomination for the post by US president George Bush was formally announced on Wednesday, and the nomination has been forwarded to the Senate for approval.
Speckhard studied at the University of Wisconsin, in his home state.
According to a White House announcement on Wednesday: "The President has nominated Daniel V. Speckhard, of Wisconsin, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Greece. Mr. Speckhard currently serves as Special Advisor at the United States Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Baghdad. Earlier in his career, he served as Director of Policy Planning for the Secretary General of NATO. Mr. Speckhard received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin.
 Public works minister visits Patras, inspects projects in progressEnvironment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Thursday visited Patras to inspect public works projects currently in progress in the surrounding area. Among these was the flood-prevention and road construction project at the Diakoniaris torrent, which as Souflias noted in a later press conference meets a decades-long demand by the city's residents.
Souflias said the project was due to be completed in a year's time, in the autumn of 2008, and its total cost would reach 60 million euros.
The minister also inspected the progress in the construction of the Piros-Parapiros dam, which he said would solve the problem of water supply for Patras and west Achaia. He said the work was now making good progress but had run up against delays in expropriations because of "unreasonably high" land prices awarded by the courts that the government was due to appeal in November. He said the dam was due to be completed in 2009 and the total cost to reach 240 million euros.
Souflias also visited the construction sites a road linking the Patras bypass with the city's planned new port facilities, again due to be delivered at the end of 2008.
 Bank of Piraeus completes acquisition of Ukrainian bankThe Bank of Piraeus on Thursday announced the completion of the purchase of 99.6 percent of shares in Ukrainian bank "International Commerce Bank", after banking authorities in Greece and Ukraine gave their approval to the deal.
The Greek bank said it paid 75.3 million US dollars to acquired the Ukrainian bank. International Commerce Bank was founded in 1994 and operates a branch network of 133 units in 38 cities around Ukraine. It has more than 25,000 customers and employs 910 workers.
With the completion of the deal, Bank of Piraeus Group begins its expansion in the rapidly growing market of Ukraine, further strengthening its international activities with a presence in eight countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Egypt, UK, US and Ukraine).
 Construction production index up 21.2 pct in Q2, yr/yrGreece's production index in the construction sector jumped 21.2 percent in the second quarter of 2007, compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Thursday.
The production index in the construction sector measures changes in the volume of construction production.
The statistics service said the index was up 27.6 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter of 2007.
 ASE announces tender to create first ETF in Greek marketThe Athens Stock Exchange, in cooperation with the FTSE Group, has asked mutual funds management companies to express potential interest in the creation, listing and distribution of the first-ever Exchange Trade Fund (ETF) in the Greek market.
The first ETF will be based on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, comprised of big capitalization stocks traded on the Athens bourse. ASE, in a statement, said interest should be expressed between Sept. 13 and Oct. 12, 2007.
FTSE Group, in cooperation with the Athens Stock Exchange, will select the issue of the Exchange Traded fund, with issuance and distribution in the Greek market expected by the end of 2007.
ETFs are products successfully operating in several international markets, offering increased profits to investors.
 Greek stocks end 0.48 pct higher on Thurs.Greek stocks moved moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday. The composite index ended 0.48 percent up at 4,846.08 points with turnover an improved 422.36 million euros.
Sector indices gained ground, with the Banks (1.77 pct), Oil (1.27 pct) and Insurance (1.01 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while the Food/Beverage (1.88 pct), Telecommunications (1.01 pct) and Personal/Home Products (0.78 pct) suffered losses.
The Big Cap index rose 1.0 pct, the Mid Cap index fell 0.37 pct and the Small Cap index jumped 1.30 percent. Microland (10.0 pct), Pairis (6.11 pct) and Dromeas (4.85 pct) were top gainers, while ANEK (8.02 pct), Microcomputer Systems (7.14 pct) and Vivere (6.90 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 119 to 116 with another 66 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.79%
Personal & Household: -0.78%
Raw Materials: -0.03%
Travel & Leisure: +0.01%
Food & Beverages: -1.88%
Financial Services: -0.48%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Marfin Investment Group, Alpha Bank and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 24.26
Public Power Corp (PPC): 22.46
HBC Coca Cola: 36.20
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.36
Emporiki Bank: 20.10
National Bank of Greece: 43.60
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 25.40
Titan Cement Company: 34.42
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices were mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover rising to 142.67 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.35 percent, while the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a premium of 0.05 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 7,643 contracts worth 97.961 million euros, with 43,827 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 558 contracts worth 17.298 million euros with 1,268 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 20,146 contracts worth 27.410 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Investment Group's contracts (4,053), followed by Marfin Popular Bank (1,805), OTE (730), PPC (1,373), Piraeus Bank (639), National Bank (667), Alpha Bank (1,158), Intracom (2,857), Emporiki Bank (963), Motor Oil (523), Post Savings Bank (1,110) and ATEbank (1,491).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 2.117 billion euros on Thursday, of which 1.461 billion were buy orders and the remaining 656 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 446 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was unchanged at 0.35 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.49 pct and the German Bund 4.14 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate jumped to 4.70 pct from 4.10 pct on Wednesday, the two-day rate fell to 3.80 pct from 4.10 pct, the one-month rate eased to 4.43 pct from 4.45 pct and the 12-month rate was 4.70 percent.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.400
Pound sterling 0.690
Danish kroner 7.507
Swedish kroner 9.350
Japanese yen 160.8
Swiss franc 1.654
Norwegian kroner 7.897
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.447
Australian dollar 1.669
 Greek-American initiative for fire victimsWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA /T. Ellis)
More effective coordination and intensification of relief efforts by private individuals and institutions in the United States for relief of fire victims in Greece was discussed at a meeting of several Greek-American groups and associations.
Representatives of the World Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE), the Hellenic-American National Council (HANC), other expatriate Greek organisations, US Congressional representatives as well as the Greek ambassador to the US Alexandros Mallias, participated.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza presented the State Department's views, while assuring participants that the likelihood of arson as a cause of some of the wildfires will not have a negative effect on the visa waiver process for Greece.
Former foreign minister and the head of the newly established fire victims' relief fund, Petros Molyviatis, referred to the international fundraising effort in a phone communication with participants.
 Events commemorating 40th anniversary of Archbishop of America Demetrios being ordained prelateNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
New York and the Greek American community will honour Archbishop of America Demetrios on the 40th anniversary of his being ordained as prelate.
The 40th anniversary and the eighth since he acceded to the throne of Archbishop of America will be celebrated on Saturday at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Manhattan.
The event will be attended by municipal, state and federal authority representatives, diplomats from Greece and Cyprus and Greek American community congressmen.
The city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, will be organising an event and a dinner on September 25 to honour Archbishop Demetrios.
 Patriarch Daniel of Romania to be enthroned on September 30BUCHAREST (ANA-MPA / I. Rantou)
Archbishop Daniel of Iasi and Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina, a close associate of the late Patriarch Teoctist (Theoktistos), has been elected as the new Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church Patriarch, and his enthronement will take place on September 30.
Daniel replaces the deceased Patriarch Teoctist (Theoktistos) who died of heart failure on July 30 at the age of 92, as a complication of prostate surgery that he underwent at Fundeni hospital.
The 56-year-old Archbishop Daniel, who had been appointed by the Romanian Church Holy Synod as interim leader of the Romanian Church after Teoctist's death, was born in Timisoara and in 1970 was admitted to the Sibiu Seminary.
In 1987, Daniel became a monk and in 1990 he was appointed Archbishop of Iasi and Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina. He founded the Dumitru Staniloae Seminary School in Iasi, named after his mentor.
 Student remanded in custody for incidents at TIFA 19-year-old female student caught after minor clashes between rioters and police during protests at the 72nd Thessaloniki International Fair was remanded in custody after she appeared before a Thessaloniki Examining Magistrate on Thursday.
The student was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning after she was found to be carrying a telescopic steel baton. She faces criminal charges of participating in the causing of explosions that might endanger people and of participating in the construction and possession of explosives. The girl has also been charged with a number of misdemeanours that include damaging foreign property, causing dangerous bodily harm, illegal weapons possession and use, disturbing the peace, being part of a gang and resisting arrest, among others.
She denied the charges against her, claiming that she was passing through the university campus by chance and was carrying the steel baton for self-protection, but failed to convince the magistrate who agreed that she be remanded in custody.
 Greek researchers developing system to wake up sleepy driversGreek researchers are currently working on a smart system that will be able to monitor alertness levels in drivers, recognise symptoms of sleepiness and give drivers a wake-up call. The system is being developed by the Greek Transport Institute IMET at the National Centre for Research and Technology Development in Thessaloniki. According to IMET's research director Evangelos Bekiaris, it is expected to be completed in early 2008 and will go into production for use by car manufacturers within the next five years.
Bekiaris said the system comes equipped with micro and nano-sensors that will be able to measure levels of wakefulness and warn drivers when they are becoming dangerously sleepy or distracted, so as to ensure safer driving behaviour in drivers who are tired or have drunk alcohol - conditions shown to be responsible for a large percentage of serious accidents.
Researchers have found that sleepiness increases the risk of an accident by three or four times more than when a driver is alert, while it is responsible for 15-20 percent of accidents overall. They also found that the 2-3 seconds before accidents take place are usually crucial.
"In this tiny space of time, a normal vehicle will have already covered 70 metres before its driver reacts if it is travelling at 100 kilometres an hour. The reaction time of the driver is critical and is reduced when he or she is sleepy or distracted," experts told the ANA-MPA.
"Within the vehicle will be placed micro-cameras that will measure the rate of movement of the eyelids and sensors in the steering wheel, the seat and the roof will measure the pressure applied by the hands, the course and position of the vehicle relative to the lanes and the surrounding vehicles, as well as the movement of the body and the driver's head," scientists explained.
The system will then be able to use algorithms to calculate when these parameters do not meet the requirements for normal and safe driving and warn the driver to stop, either with an auditory message or a visual message appearing in the mirror or even a "vibrating buzzer" fitted in the seat belt that will wake the driver up.
 Historic monastery restored in Trikala, central GreeceThe monastery of St. Vissarion in the prefecture of Trikala, central Greece, is undergoing a comprehensive restoration expected to be concluded within a year.
The 130,000-euro project will be ready by August 2008, while the road leading to the monastery has also been upgraded.
The katholikon (church) of the monastery, dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ, was built between 1527 and 1535 by Metropolitan Vissarion of Larissa, who was later declared a saint by the Orthodox Church.
 Australian students to visit GreeceMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)
Australian students will learn more about their own history while visiting areas in Greece where Australian soldiers participated in combat during the two World Wars.
Greece will be among the countries to be visited by the students selected to take part in the 2008 Victorian Spirit of ANZAC Study Tour educational trip, according to Victoria State Premier John Brumby.
The Australian students selected will visit the island of Crete, south Aegean, to become familiar with the place where many Australians were killed trying to fight back the invading Nazis in 1941, said Brumby.
High school students in the State of Victoria are called to compete in essay writing on the Spirit of ANZAC (short for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) and its meaning, referring to the massacre of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders during the allied forces' landing in Gallipoli, in Turkey's Asia Minor coasts, back in April 1915.
The 1915 anniversary is of great significance for the Australians signaling their coming of age as a nation.
 Private universities inaugurated on CyprusNICOSIA (ANA-MPA / A. Viketos)
Three private colleges in Cyprus will be transformed into full-fledged universities, according to a decision by the Cypriot government's Cabinet.
Beginning from October, the Frederick Institute will be named Frederick University, Cyprus College will be the European University of Cyprus, while Intercollege will turn into Nicosia University.
Cypriot Education Minister Akis Kleanthous referred to a new beginning in the island republic's higher education sector, stressing that the goal is to turn EU member-state Cyprus into an international educational centre.
 Mostly sunny on FridayMostly sunny weather with northerly, northeasterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Friday with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 28C. Partly cloudy in Athens, with northerly, northeasterly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 28C. Mostly fair in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 25C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou's accusations that prime minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis has a "secret agenda" on the social insurance sector, and the strong reaction by the government, mainly dominated the front pages of Thursday's dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "George (Papandreou) continuing the gaffes - He became a laughingstock again, this time over the Nazi map and the retirement ages for men and women".
APOGEVMATINI: "The bill abolishing the inheritance tax to be tabled in November - The abolition will be effective immediately upon the draft law's tabling in parliament".
AVGHI: "Alekos Alavanos (SYRIZA leader), in Iraklion (Crete) to the PASOK followers: Call for backing of SYRIZA in the elections".
AVRIANI: "Strong governmen in order for the reforms to proceed and to strengthen the social state - Alogoskoufis (national economy and finance minister) speaks to Avriani on what's at stake in the elections".
CHORA: "Arrest of 32-year-old man for six arsons in Argolida - He had links with other two arsonists - Organised plan underway?".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "The wager in the elections for New Democracy - If one of the two small parties (LAOS and Democratic Revival) is not voted into parliament, Karamanlis gets a (absolute) majority (in parliamentary seats)."
ELEFTHEROS: "Exclusive interview with the prime minister".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "PASOK now endorsing the view of self-sufficient majority as being necessary, following SYRIZA's rejection of its (electoral) cooperation proposals".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Chaos over the women's retirement age: George charges 'secret' agenda".
ESTIA: "Unprecedented irresponsibility - Papandreou now meting out pensions".
ETHNOS: "The secret plan on social insurance - Women's retirement age at 65, via Brussels".
KATHIMERINI: "The (political party) leaders casting their final arrows, aiming at the undecided (voters)".
LOGOS: "On Sunday we will elect a stable government - Karamanlis in Mytilene".
NIKI: "The 2 scenarios for self-sufficient majority - What must emerge from the elections in order for a government to be formed".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Optimistic message of popular battle and hope - KKE's main campaign rally was impressive in volume and enthusiasm".
TA NEA: "ND double-speak on women's pensions - PASOK charges secret agenda".
TO VIMA: "Abolitiion of tenure in public sector intimated by Karamanlis - He will seek changes to the relevant provisions of the Constitution".
VRADYNI: "MUD, mud, mud - River of baseness and blatant distortion by PASOK".
 Cyprus calls on Turkish side to implement July 8 agreementNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The Cypriot government has called on the Turkish side to show the necessary political will for the immediate implementation of the 8 July 2006 agreement.
In a written statement on Thursday, Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas notes that if the Turkish government really believes that the presence of the Turkish troops in Cyprus is based on Turkey's rights, emanating from international treaties, then Turkey, in compliance with the UN Charter, articles 33 and 36, can accept the solution of this legal part of the Cyprus problem by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Palmas issued the statement in reply to the reactions of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Turkish Cypriot leadership to remarks by President Tassos Papadopoulos, who said in a televised press conference on September 11 that the Turkish army was an enemy of Cyprus.
The spokesman points out that the Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation, adding that ''the presence of the Turkish army in Cyprus is the result of Turkey's invasion of our country in the summer of 1974, which led to the capturing and occupation with the use of violence of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.''
He adds that the continuing presence of Turkish troops on Cyprus' territory is illegal, noting that the invasion itself and the presence of the Turkish army constitute a blatant violation of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, which safeguarded the independence, territorial integrity and security of Cyprus, as well as the status quo, as it was defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. It also flagrantly violates the UN Charter and the rules of Jus Cogens, he notes.
Palmas says the Turkish army is already in its 34th year of illegal presence in Cyprus, controlling the occupied areas and, along with the Turkish government, is responsible for the national cleansing of the area from Greek Cypriots and anything reminiscent of them, replacing them with anything Turkish.
''They are responsible for the secessionist actions that led to the unilateral declaration of independence in 1983 and the creation of the secessionist local administration subject to Turkey in the occupied areas, which was deplored by the Security Council, in resolutions 541 and 550, describing it illegal and null,'' he adds.
In his statement, Palmas says ''the Turkish army, as the military arm of Turkey in Cyprus, is maintaining and promoting the division of Cyprus and the alienation of the two communities.''
''If the Turkish government really believes, as the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement says, that the presence of the Turkish troops in Cyprus is based on the rights of Turkey, emanating from international treaties, then Turkey, in compliance with the UN Charter, articles 33 and 36, can accept the solution of this legal aspect of the Cyprus problem by the International Court of Justice of The Hague,'' he says.
Palmas adds that the Cypriot government has been proving in practice that it is committed to achieving a functional and viable solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible, on the basis of high level agreements, relevant UN resolutions and EU principles, which furthermore provide for the withdrawal of the occupation troops.
''In this direction, it (the Cyprus government) calls on the Turkish side to show the necessary political will for the immediate implementation of the July 8 agreement,'' he concludes.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
President Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on 8 July 2006, during a meeting in Nicosia in the presence of UN official Ibrahim Gambari, to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
 Ambassadors of permanent five discuss latest Cyprus developmentsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The ambassadors in Nicosia of the five permanent members of the Security Council met on Wednesday with UN Secretary General's Special Representative Michael Moller and they reviewed the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, following last week's meeting between President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
Sources told CNA that during the meeting, which was held at the residence of the French ambassador, the diplomats discussed the results of the two leaders' meeting and reconfirmed the firm position of the permanent five for the immediate implementation of the July 8 Agreement, despite reports that one of the five recently appeared to be backing out of the need to implement the Agreement.
Other sources told CNA that the permanent five examined ways to exert influence on the Turkish side to be persuaded to put into practice the Agreement.
A foreign diplomat, speaking to CNA, did not rule out the possibility of a common statement being issued on the decisions taken.
President Papadopoulos met Talat at Moller's residency on September 5 where they "agreed on the need for the earliest start of the process and discussed other issues leading to a comprehensive settlement.''
The meeting came 14 months after the two agreed on July 8 last year, in the presence of senior UN official Imbrahim Gambarri, to set up technical committees and working groups to discuss issues that affect the day to day life of the people and substantive issues of the question of Cyprus, The July agreement 2006 also provided for periodic meetings between Papadopoulos and Talat to help push the process forward.
Cyprus, an EU member state since May 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.
 Chinese ambassador: UNSC five insist on implementation of July 8 AgreementChina's Ambassador to Cyprus, Zhao Yali confirmed Thursday that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council insist on the implementation of the July 8 Agreement, rejecting reports that one of them is backing out of this position.
The statement was made by General Secretary of the Ecologists-Environmentalists Movement, member of the House of Representatives George Perdikis after a meeting with Zhao and comes a day after the Cyprus News Agency reported that the five ambassadors met on Wednesday with UN Secretary General's Special Representative Michael Moller where they reviewed the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, following last week's meeting between President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
"What he assured is that the five permanent members insist on the implementation of the July 8 Agreement and hope that in mid October, following the meetings President Papadopoulos and Mehmet Ali Talat will have with the UN Secretary-General, the July 8 procedure will further proceed", said Perdikis.
He also said the ambassador rejected reports that one of the five has second thoughts on the implementation of the UN brokered agreement.
Perdikis pointed out that from his meeting with the embassies of Russia, the US and China, it seems that all acknowledge that the obstacle in the implementation of a number of agreed measures, is the Turkish army.
The meeting with the Chinese ambassador was held in the framework of promoting the joint proposal of the Ecologists-Environmentalists Movement and the Turkish Cypriot New Cyprus party for demilitarization of Nicosia and the return of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants, according to UN resolutions.
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