|Wednesday, 23 September 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-11-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 19 November 2007 Issue No: 2752
 Milestone Turkey-Greece natural gas pipeline inaugurated by countries' leadersGreece and Turkey on Sunday took a major step in linking Caspian Sea gas suppliers with west European markets as Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on the bridge over the Evros River at the Kipi border crossing on the Greek-Turkish frontier to inaugurate a natural gas pipeline that went into operation the same day.
The two prime ministers shook hands and posed for photographers, after which Karamanlis rode with the Turkish premier to the town of Ipsala, on the Turkish side of the border, for an inauguration ceremony. This was the second time that the two prime ministers met on the bridge over the Evros River, the first time being in July 2005 when work on the project first began.
The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, US Secretary for Energy Samuel Bodman and Greek Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, who was instrumental in the promoting Athens' side of the deal as development minister.
The pipeline is expected to transport a large quantity of natural gas from the Caspian Sea region via Turkey and Greece to Italy and from there to the rest of Europe.
The two prime ministers inaugurated the project in twin ceremonies held at Ipsala in Edirne, Turkey and at the village of Peplos in Evros prefecture, on the Greek side of the border, with Karamanlis sending a message that "we can plan actions and carry out works that contribute to building a better future".
Addressing the Turkish side, meanwhile, the Greek premier stressed that Greece, its government and all its political forces were "once again seeking good neighbour relations, relations of cooperation, relations of continual rapprochement between the two peoples".
In his own message, Erdogan expressed hope that cooperation between Greece and Turkey on this first major and important project would extend to political and cultural issues between the two countries.
"The pipeline acts beneficially in our relations. We send from Evros today an important message of cooperation, through new corridors; a message for new opportunities and new possibilities; a message for growth, progress and prosperity of the two peoples; a message for a productive and fruitful tomorrow. The new era demands more than ever for us to see ahead, further," Karamanlis said at Ipsala and again in Peplos, while speaking directly to the Turkish side, he stressed:
"I wish to assure you yet again that Greece -- the government, all the political forces, all the Greeks -- seeks relations of good neighbourliness, relations of cooperation, relations of constant rapprochement between the two peoples. We firmly support your country's European prospects."
 Karamanlis visit to Turkey in early 2008In a related development, Karamanlis is expected to visit Turkey in early 2008, a decision announced following a 20-minute meeting between Karamanlis and Erdogan on Sunday in Ipsala.
The exact date and details of the official visit would be decided via diplomatic channels.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is due to visit Athens on Dec. 3.
There was no agenda for the meeting between the two premiers, who said they had discussed bilateral issues, Turkey's prospects of EU accession and the importance of the pipeline's operation for relations between their two countries.
The Greek premier also had a brief meeting with Azerbaijan's Aliyev, during which they discussed bilateral cooperation in energy, economic affairs and trade.
 US Energy Secretary welcomes projectAttending the inauguration ceremony on Sunday on the Greece-Turkey frontier, US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman welcomed what he said was an "extraordinary project" and a "critical new energy bridge between the East and West".
Stressing that this "Inter-connector pipeline" was the first link between Azerbaijan and Caspian gas suppliers of Central Asia to European consumers, he said its presence marked the beginning of a market expansion leading to a diversification for consumers and suppliers - who would all benefit from the resulting competition.
"This project is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is the technical and financial complexity involved in its construction. Building this pipeline also required a regional consensus, complex environmental analyses, and a lengthy and productive dialogue with all of the communities along the entire route," Bodman said, congratulating the Turkish and Greek prime ministers and those who had "the vision and commitment of those who conceived this pipeline".
He also hailed the project as a major advancement for the countries in southern Europe, providing a vital new energy supply link that underscored the new ways of doing business in Central Asia, a region full of new energy partners.
"This Turkey-Greece Inter-Connector is a critical first step in a new energy supply chain; and it comes on line at a critically important time. The European Union is the world's biggest gas import market - and one of the world's fastest growing. It is reasonable to expect that Europe's dependence on energy imports will continue to grow over the next 25 years - meaning that Azerbaijan and the rest of Central Asia is poised to become Europe's newest main source of supply, alongside the North Sea region, Russia, and North Africa," Bodman noted.
Finally, he stressed the need for continued cooperation of all the potential stakeholders: "The development of new projects over considerable distances is costly; they will need to be undertaken on a large scale if they are to be commercially viable. New partners -- including Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan -- need to be brought into negotiations and the EU will need to open up its gas markets to competition," the U.S. official added.
Commenting on development on Sunday, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said the working and popular classes should treat the celebrations with "distrust", because they would gain nothing from the pipeline's operation.
 Heavy rains cause problems, flooding throughout GreeceThe heavy rains of the past 24 hours caused problems throughout the country and several areas were flooded, the Greek fire brigade reported on Sunday. It said that fire brigade stations had received hundreds of calls, mainly to pump water from flooded homes and businesses.
Hardest hit was the prefecture of Rhodopi in northeastern Greece, where a state of emergency has been declared since Saturday. According to the fire brigade, it had received 360 calls for assistance in that area, while problems were also acute in the prefectures of Kavala, Drama and in Ioannina.
In the Peloponnese, the fire brigade responded to 20 calls to pump flood water in the municipality of Falaisia while the village of Tourkoleika was cut off after a bridge collapsed and could only be reached by a special tracked fire-brigade vehicle.
Civil protection services throughout the fire-stricken areas succeeded in averting serious problems due to the rains.
Problems were also reported in Serres where homes were flooded and crops were destroyed, while a driver was rescued from his car at the last minute before it was swept away by a torrent of water.
 State of emergency declared in Rhodopi after heavy rainsA state of emergency has been declared in the prefecture of Rhodopi in northern Greece after heavy rains caused flooding in the region, while an emergency meeting of local government officials was held on Sunday at the Eastern Macedonia-Thrace regional authority to discuss the problems that have arisen, with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas in the chair.
"The state is present, I congratulate the regional general secretary, the prefect and the mayor of Komotini and the authorities for the excellent coordination between them and I think we had a wonderful model of cooperation between state and local government in dealing with the problems of this intense storm that hit Rhodopi," Tzimas said afterwards.
He stressed that the weather conditions had been extreme and that the worst had been avoided, while Rhodopi Prefect Aris Yiannakidis said they had been "unprecedented in their intensity and duration".
Throughout the region, several roads have been cut off, about 140 sheep and goats were drowned at Mikro Kranovounio, rivers and torrents overflowed and dozens of homes in Komotini and the surrounding countryside were flooded since the rains started on Saturday.
The military have also contributed to efforts to evacuate villages in the region and set up anti-flooding works, providing vehicles, equipment and personnel, while the fire brigade sent 120 firemen and 38 vehicles and rescued 10 people that were trapped.
Serious damage was also reported in the prefectures of Kavala and Drama, where homes and businesses were flooded, cars were swept away and crops suffered damage. In the surrounding countryside, a fall of hail damaged olive groves and torrents overflowed, while a new road was swept away at Orfanos.
Problems due to strong winds were reported from the harbour on the island of Rhodes, where the cruise ship "Dream" came loose from its moorings. The ship has been docked at the harbour for the past two months for repairs.
It was only manned by a skeleton crew when it came loose and was adrift within the harbour, where there was a danger that it might collide with other vessels docked in harbour. The coast guard intervened and managed to tow the ship back with the help of three tug-boats.
Minor damage and problems caused by the bad weather were also reported at several harbours of the Dodecanese island group.
 Problems caused by rains persist near MegalopolisProblems caused by the previous day's heavy rains continued in the plains around Megalopolis in the central Peloponnese on Sunday, where landslides had blocked roads and swept away bridges.
In some villages, the power supply had been cut off and traffic on the Tripolis-Kalamata national highway was stopped for more than an hour when water covered the road near the villages Aghios Floros and Allagi.
Fears have been expressed that if rains continued, the Alfios River might flood its banks.
 Interior minister promises tougher disciplinary control of policeInterior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Sunday said the government intended to introduce changes to police disciplinary controls aimed at making them tougher, in an interview published by the Sunday edition of the newspaper "Kathimerini".
"The things that happened before, with endless investigations etc, with stop here," Pavlopoulos stressed, adding that "we will all be judged daily".
Regarding planned changes to election system law, the minister repeated that these would reinforce the party that got the greatest number of seats and would not in any way affect proportional representation of smaller parties.
 Papariga highlights problems with polluted water at OroposCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Sunday highlighted the problems faced by residents of Oropos, north of Athens, as a result of the area's environmental problems and the pollution of their water.
"This is a long-term crime in the area," Papariga stressed after her tour of Oropos, underlining that the problems were not limited to the Inophyta area where they were first discovered but had spread to nearby Oropos, where depleted chromium had also been found.
She criticised the government's policy, saying that the measures it had announced to date were "rubbish".
Referring to the inspections and measures carried out, Papariga said these were nothing but inspections by prefectures and municipalities on industrialists and fines. This essentially meant that businesses would continue to pollute for years, while there was also a question about whether these fines were actually paid.
Outlining the KKE's positions on this issue, Papariga said that it was no good to pay fines in order to continue polluting, because businesses were failing to comply with the laws. "This is where we need state inspections, by the ministry on industrialists who are aiming for excessive profits. This why this is all happening," she added.
She promised that her party would raise the issue in Parliament and at the same time begin a major campaign that anyone was free to assist for clean water and clean air.
 Ruling ND leads PASOK by 3.2 percent, latest poll showsRuling New Democracy (ND) party leads main opposition PASOK by 3.2 percent, according to an opinion poll published in Sunday's edition of the Athens daily "Eleftheros Typos".
According to the survey, ND garnered 34.6 of respondents' preference to 31.4 percent for PASOK, while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) garnered 7.2 percent; the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) 5.3 percent; the Orthodox Popular Rally LA.OS) 3.9 percent, and the out-of-Parliament Greens grouping 1.3 percent. The undecided vote reached 16.3 percent.
Asked "who you trust more for your and your family's future?" 43.4 percent chose a ND government with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, and 33.1 percent picked a PASOK government led by George Papandreou.
Of those questioned, 45 percent said they were satisfied with the way the prime minister is conducting his duties, while 25.5 percent said they were pleased with the PASOK leader's conduct.
A total of 31.4 percent said they were satisfied with the government and 17.2 percent with PASOK.
The nationwide telephone poll was conducted by the Metron Analysis firm on Nov. 13 and 14 from a sample of 1,002 people.
Meanwhile, in another poll, a majority of respondents said they are opposed to the prospect of early elections and want the government to complete its four-year term, according to an opinion poll conducted by the firm ALCO and published in the Sunday edition of the Athens weekly "Proto Thema".
In a nationwide poll conducted over the phone on a sample of 1,000 people on Nov. 13-15, 61 percent of those asked were against early elections and only 30.7 percent want to go to the polls before the end of the government's term.
Amongst ruling New Democracy voters, 79.8 percent were against early elections against 15.3 percent in favour, while among main opposition PASOK voters, 41 percent were against early elections and 48.7 percent were in favour. Among the other opposition parties, the percentages were 61.1 percent against early elections and 33.3 percent in favour.
Asked to assign responsibility for rising prices, 42.3 percent blamed the increase in prices worldwide, 26.8 percent blamed ND's policies and 20.8 percent blamed previous PASOK governments.
 November 17 anniversary march without incidentThe traditional march in Athens held each year on the anniversary of the November 17 Polytechnic uprising ended peacefully and without incident on Saturday evening.
The police presence at the march was strong but discreet and the 34th anniversary events for the polytechnic uprising ended shortly after 6:30, according to reports.
According to police chief Anastasios Dimoschakis, this year's march in Athens was almost completely peaceful and there were no injuries or damages reported, while no one had to be detained or arrested. He attributed this to the good cooperation between organisers and police.
The only tense moment during the march was when two different political groups clashed near Mavilis Square and when someone attacked police with a petrol bomb that burst into flames near the junction with Vassilisis Sofias and Kerasountos
Regarding marches held in other cities around Greece, Dimoschakis said the majority were without incident while in Thessaloniki three people were detained and one man was arrested when he attacked police with a plank outside the White Tower police station.
 Information SG addresses Greek-American symposiumWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)
Information ministry secretary general Panos Livadas spoke to a group of young Greek-Americans on Saturday during the first day of a symposium organised by the Council of Overseas Greeks of America, on the issue of "Meeting the Needs of Young Greek Americans: Opportunities and Perspectives in the United States and Greece".
Speaking at the event, held at Georgetown University of the US capital, focused on the new solidarity, Livadas referred to a "new patriotism and a gradual increase of trust between the state and citizens, which arose in Greece through the ordeal of the unprecedented and catastrophic wildfires of last summer," as well as what he called the opening of the country in the post-Olympics era.
Livadas cited the Greek economy's positive course, a burgeoning development in Greece's energy infrastructure and the paramount position of the Greek-owned merchant fleet. Moreover, he emphasised that Greece remains the business pillar of SE Europe, with noteworthy regional investments.
Concluding, the Greek official referred to the positive results of the country's recent PR strategy in the wake of the flawless hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.476
Pound sterling 0.721
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 9.332
Japanese yen 163.28
Swiss franc 1.653
Norwegian kroner 8.095
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.441
Australian dollar 1.653
 John Malkovich the honored guest at 48th annual Thessaloniki Film FestivalInfluential Hollywood actor, director and producer John Malkovich took centre stage on Sunday evening in Thessaloniki, where he gave the keynote lecture during a film masterclass on the sidelines of the 48th Thessaloniki Film Festival.
The prolific Malkovich, among others, the indirect 'protagonist' of a surrealistic movie entitled, in fact, "Being John Malkovich", covered questions ranging from the film bearing his name to the state of America's once-abundant independent cinema industry to the so-called "Malkovich acting method", for which he said there is no "Malkovich method."
The Academy Award-nominated actor, the official guest of this year's festival, was scheduled to attend the "Golden Alexander" awards ceremony on Sunday evening at the Olympion Theatre, followed by a screening of Spike Jonze's "Being John Malkovich".
The 48th annual Thessaloniki Film Festival began on Friday.
Greek-American writer and journalist Nicholas Gage, the author of "Eleni", a book later turned into a motion picture staring Malkovich, was also in attendance at the masterclass.
 Explosion at ATM machine in KifissiaAn explosion occurred near a Piraeus Bank cashpoint machine outside the Veropoulos supermarket in Kifissia, early on Sunday morning. Police said the unidentified perpetrators probably threw dynamite at the cashpoint machine, which suffered extensive damage.
 Rain, scattered storms on MondayRain and scattered storms with westerly, northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 6-7 Beaufort. Temperatures between 01C and 18C. Chance of scattered showers in Athens, 07C to 16C. Same in Thessaloniki, 06C to 12C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePension system reforms, opinion polls tracking political developments and main opposition PASOK's internal affairs, Saturday's march for the Polytechnic uprising anniversary, illegal immigration and the crisis in international markets were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Deportations of 500,000 illegal migrants living unlawfully in Greece".
APOGEVMATINI: "Revolution for pension system in order to save Funds. In 10 years from today new system will go into effect".
AVGHI: "Polytechnic 1973 - Symbol of Incessant Struggle. Then - today - always".
AVRIANI: "Massive 'Clean Hands' operation. With participation of sensitive branches of Greek Police, intelligence service, prosecutors (refers to operation against organised crime)".
CHORA: "Shock decision regarding small lots by Council of State (on decision that abolishes loophole allowing the conversion of "blind" plots of land into property that could be built on".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Turkey dumping illegal immigrants on us in order to destroy Greece's demographic composition and social fabric".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Metron Analysis Poll: Seven out of 10 voters say parties are 'autistic'".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Coalition governments 58 percent. Opinion poll on New Democracy, PASOK. Distrust of the two main parties. Citizens want election system with more proportional representation".
EPOCHI: "It's going to be like France [a reference to French strikes]...Attack on pension rights provokes workers' reactions"
ETHNOS: "Frontal assault on 600,000 insured. The government has picked the first...victims of pension system reform".
KATHIMERINI: "Anatomy of a generation with great expectations. 68 percent of young people live with their parents until 30 - the phenomenon of the 'luxury unemployed'".
LOGOS: "Which of the government's plans trigger reactions. Pension systems reform brings 'blow-out' in relations between government-trade unions".
NIKI: "A new leadership group. Papandreou's plans for the following day".
PARON: "Quiet please...the government is sleeping! Strong climate of discontent among New Democracy MPs".
PROTO THEMA: "ALCO Opinion poll for 'Thema': PASOK's base demands unity. Clear message: 77.1 percent Vangelis behave, 50.9 percent George, no expulsions" [refers to internal affairs within PASOK following elections for party leader won by George Papandreou, with Evangelos Venizelos as his main rival).
RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party of Greece (KKE) political proposal to the people: People's retaliation with action for a popular alliance, struggle for people's power".
TO VIMA: " 'Hole' of 300 million euros in the Organisation for the Care of Civil Service Insured (OPAD). Board members prosecuted for breach of faith ".
VRADYNI: "In the grips of the Mafia. Businesses fronts for money laundering. In-depth report: the orgy of the Godfathers on Mykonos".
 UN Chief considers special adviser on CyprusNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/CNA)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requested from the UN General Assembly an increased budget for 2008, to cover the requirements to emerge from a possible appointment of a new Special Adviser on Cyprus in the event of a fresh negotiating round for a Cyprus settlement in 2008.
In report entitled ''Estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council,'' Ban outlines the developments on Cyprus, a problem on the UN Security Council agenda for 40 years, making special reference on the July 8 agreement 2006 achieved in a meeting between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in the presence of the then UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari.
The July 8 agreement involves bicommunal discussions by technical committees of issues affecting the day-to-day life of the people and, concurrently, consideration by expert working groups of substantive issues, both of which "will contribute to a comprehensive settlement".
''There is broad consensus on the way forward, including preliminary agreement on the list of issues for the technical committees and the working groups. However, differences remain concerning the interpretation of the agreement, most notably on what constitutes a day-to-day matter, and the mechanism for resolving disagreements,'' Ban notes in his report, recalling Security Council resolutions 1728 (2006), 1758 (2007), which express full support for the July 8 process and called upon all parties to immediately engage constructively with the United Nations efforts and to demonstrate measurable progress in order to allow fully fledged negotiations to begin.
Noting that on September 5 President Papadopoulos and Talat met ''for the first time since July 2006,'' and ''agreed to continue their contacts through the United Nations and to meet again when appropriate,'' Ban says that ''depending on the developments on the island, in 2008, the Secretary-General may decide to appoint a Special Adviser to carry out his good offices mission at the shortest possible notice to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.''
He also points out that ''both the Secretary-General and the Security Council have underlined that the responsibility of finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves,'' adding that ''in that connection, civil society has been encouraged to be more actively engaged in the search for a comprehensive settlement. At the same time, the Council, in its aforementioned resolution, noted the primary role of the United Nations in assisting the parties to bring the Cyprus conflict and division of the island to a comprehensive and durable settlement.''
As regards the objectives for 2008, Ban includes a target of six meetings between the two leaders of the two communities, dialogue between the Coordination Committee (comprising the aides of the two leaders and the UN SG's Special Representative in Cyprus) reaching 35 meetings, and the establishment of 12 committees and working groups.
He also sets a target of 150 conferences, seminars and other relevant events organized by civil society organizations engaged in the search for a comprehensive settlement and finally the ''restoration of full-fledged negotiations to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem,'' with four substantive issues agreed as the basis for a comprehensive settlement.
Ban notes that ''in anticipation of the appointment of a Special Adviser in 2008, the estimated requirements amounting to 298,500 dollars would provide for salaries and common staff costs for the Special Adviser and 173,100 dollars for his or her support staff as well as 124,900 for official travel.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 Green Party backs Papadopoulos' bid for re-electionNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/CNA)
The Movement of Ecologists and Environmentalists (Cyprus Green Party) has decided to support Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos' bid for reelection in the Presidential Elections to take place in the coming February.
An extraordinary meeting decided Sunday to support Papadopoulos' candidacy with 46 votes (79.3%) out of 58 elected representatives.
Nine representatives (15.5%) voted in favour of AKEL's General Secretary and House President Demetris Christofias' candidacy, while there were three blank votes.
Speaking after the meeting, the Movement's MP and General Secretary Giorgos Perdikis said that the decision is subject to the inclusion of the Ecologists' positions in Papadopoulos pre-election programme and the fulfillment of Papadopoulos' commitments given to the party during their meetings.
Perdikis said that the important issues on which the outcome was shaped were the poll carried out between the movement members, which showed that a 60% majority favoured Papadopoulos' bid for reelection and the party's support for a multi party government.
''The door for a wider coalition of the centre-right party should remain open,'' he added.
Regarding the Cyprus problem, Perdikis said that the Green Party has differences with Papadopoulos, adding however, ''the positions of the other candidates were even further apart from our positions.''
Centre-right Democratic Party (DIKO), which Papadopoulos led, the Social Democratic Movement EDEK and the European Party have also decided to back Papadopoulos.
Apart from President Papadopoulos, House President and General Secretary of left-wing AKEL Demetris Christofias, former Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, backed by the main opposition party Democratic Rally, and former Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous have so far announced their decision to run for the presidency in February.
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