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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-12-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Saturday, 1 December 2007 Issue No: 2762


  • [01] PM inaugurates Museum of Democracy on Aghios Efstratios
  • [02] Greece to assume OSCE Presidency in 2009
  • [03] Interview by FM Bakoyannis to FYROM's 'Utrinski Vesnik' newspaper
  • [04] Skopje must show sensitivity to Greek concerns, Burns says
  • [05] FM spokesman on FYROM
  • [06] FYROM media focus on gov't decision to put 'Macedonia' on licence plates; possible Greek reactions
  • [07] U.S. State Department on 'Next Generation Initiative'
  • [08] Egyptian President Mubarak to visit Athens
  • [09] Public sector staff recruiting Council sends report to Parliament
  • [10] Pope Benedict XVI sends letter to Ecumenical Patriarch
  • [11] Vatican delegation attends St Andrew's celebrations at Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • [12] Greek economy grew by 3.6 pct in Q3, Eurostat
  • [13] European Budget Commissioner on Greek budget, social insurance reform
  • [14] PASOK official criticises state budget
  • [15] Magginas and Alavanos face off over pensions in parliament
  • [16] Alavanos meets with ESIEA board
  • [17] Papandreou promises no pension cuts
  • [18] KKE's Papariga meets with journalists' board
  • [19] KKE leader holds talks with employee representatives
  • [20] Efforts to resolve Olympic Airways' issue "almost impossible", Commission official
  • [21] PASOK deputy responds to transport minister's statements on OA
  • [22] Souflias visits Thessaloniki metro construction site
  • [23] Gov't approves power hikes
  • [24] Opposition, SEB react to power hikes
  • [25] ADEDY congress comes to an end
  • [26] Piraeus Port Organisation reports improved nine-month results
  • [27] Israeli Dep. Gov. meets with BoG officials
  • [28] Greek budget revenues up 7.8 pct in Jan-Oct, yr/yr
  • [29] Intracom Holdings says sales up 15 pct in Jan-Sept, yr/yr
  • [30] Greek stocks jump 1.61% on Friday
  • [31] ADEX closing report
  • [32] Greek bond market closing report
  • [33] Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [34] President Papoulias attends celebrations in Patra
  • [35] President Papoulias visits Ancient Olympia
  • [36] Greek presence at 31st Cairo International Film Festival
  • [37] Event held in Athens in memory of AIDS victims
  • [38] PASOK secretary's associate and husband the victims of armed robbery
  • [39] Teenager sentenced over Pangrati school vandalism case
  • [40] Overcast, scattered showers on Saturday
  • [41] The Friday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance
  • [42] Cyprus to respond positively to a Cyprus initiative
  • [43] Government: illegal regime oppresses Turkish Cypriots
  • [44] US Congressmen support just solution to the Cyprus issue Politics

  • [01] PM inaugurates Museum of Democracy on Aghios Efstratios

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday morning inaugurated the Museum of Democracy on the Aegean island of Aghios Efstratios, his third visit to the island in the last four years.

    "Today we are together inaugurating the Democracy Museum, a work of memory and honour. The place that in the dark years of Greek history in the past century had housed the hospital of those displaced for their political beliefs - among them Yannis Ritsos, Menelaos Lountemis, Manos Katrakis, Titos Patrikios - is being preserved, highlighted and delivered to this generation and the next," the prime minister underlined.

    Greece is now a democratic country with rule of law and that the 33 years since the restoration of democracy, all the political forces of the country had "succeeded in leaving behind the dividing lines and labels that had divided society and hurt the country", he added.

    Karamanlis stressed, however, that the quality of democracy that Greece enjoys today and the national reconciliation, unity and unanimity of Greeks in the face of major and important issues is not and should not be considered self-evident.

    "In order to reach this point, we had to all overcome bigotry and prejudice, to heal the wounds of decades, with responsible and visionary leaders from all sides making brave steps forward," he said, mentioning Andreas Papandreou, Harilaos Florakis, Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Mikis Theodorakis, Leonidas Kyrkos and Ilias Iliou.

    He also referred to the relation of trust that had to exist between citizens and politics. "We made a promise to change things, to give realistic and reliable solutions to the problems bequeathed from yesterday. I'm not saying that all was done perfectly, but I can look you in the eye and say that we have achieved many and important things. Every day that passes, our work improves the present and creates a better tomorrow," the premier said.

    As an example, he mentioned the ferry connections to the island, saying that the situation here had improved and that procedures were currently underway to complete plans for enlarging and modernising its harbour and other projects planned for the island.

    The prime minister departed for Aghios Efstratios on Thursday night from Salamina on the Navy frigate 'Psara', accompanied by Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Merchant Marine and Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis and Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis.

    During the trip, he observed navy exercises and dined with the sailors, while at 8:15 in the morning he dropped a wreath in the sea at the point where an airman had been lost.

    He was received at the harbour of Aghios Efstratios by the community leader, residents and school children and then briefed on the island's problems. The prime minister visited the island's nursery and primary school, the gymnasium and lyceum, presented the children with PCs, a projector and a home cinema kit and then had a coffee at the coffee shop in the island's main village before his departure for Athens.

    [02] Greece to assume OSCE Presidency in 2009

    Greece will assume the Presidency of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2009, following a decision taken on Friday by the Organisation's Ministerial Session in Madrid.

    Commenting on the development, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said that "it is a great honour for Greece to assume the Presidency of the ODCE for the year 2009. It is a considerable challenge for Greece, since we will be assuming the Presidency of the biggest Security Organisation in the world."

    The foreign minister further said that it is an Organisation "that promotes regional security through peaceful coexistence from Vancouver to Vladivostock," adding that it is an Organisation "whose devotion to democracy has been proved 'in the field' with success."

    She went on to say that "we shall use all the means at our disposal to handle with success the expectations of the member-states and to increase the effectiveness of the ODCE."

    Bakoyannis further pointed out that "the world is faced with a series of great challenges. Terrorism is threatening the state of law and democracy. The dissemination of weapons of mass destruction is placing the world in danger" and "organised crime, combined with the failed countries, spread violence beyond national borders."

    Lastly, Bakoyannis said that "Greece expresses its gratitude to the Foreign Minister of Spain, M. Moratinos, for his zeal and for his indefatigable efforts as President. We also thank the Foreign Minister I. Kanerva and the Finnish presidency that is assuming the guidance of the Organisation in 2008."

    Earlier, Bakoyannis addressed the Organisation's Ministerial Session, underlining the crucial role of the OSCE in promoting stability and prosperity in southeastern Europe.

    The foreign minister placed emphasis on the need for the continuation of the OSCE's presence in Kosovo, that was a focal issue on the agenda and referred to the great importance of "the observance of principles of good neighbourliness and understanding by all the countries in the region."

    Bakoyannis also referred to another major issue preoccupying the Madrid Session, the fate of the Treaty on Conventional Weapons which highlights the conflict between the two major powers that are jointly housed in the OSCE.

    "The Agreement on Conventional Weapons has contributed for 17 years to security, stability, pre-emptiveness and transparency and remains the cornerstone of European architecture in security," she said and appealed for the finding of a mutually acceptable solution.

    Referring to the Open Horizons Agreement, the foreign minister said that "we encourage and welcome every new accession to the Agreement" and expressed her regret over the fact tat Cyprus's accession application is still pending.

    [03] Interview by FM Bakoyannis to FYROM's 'Utrinski Vesnik' newspaper

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Frangopoulos)

    "The moment is now" for the solution of the pending name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated in an interview to Skopje's "Utrinski Vesnik" newspaper which will be published in its Saturday edition.

    Bakoyannis stresses the need for "clear solutions" to the name issue, "easily understandable by all the peoples of the region and of the world," and describes as mistaken the logic that says that there are winners and losers in this matter.

    She noted that Greece does not refuse the inclusion of the term "Macedonia" in the name of its northern neighbour and calls for a composite name which will be distinct.

    "Greece does not have entrenched positions" and seeks a mutually acceptable solution, accepting that this will be on the basis of a composite name, Bakoyannis said.

    The Greek foreign minister calls on the government of FYROM, after this very important step for Greece, to do its own corresponding step for the reaching of a solution.

    [04] Skopje must show sensitivity to Greek concerns, Burns says


    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held talks here on Thursday, on the sidelines of the OSCE's ministerial session in Madrid, with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, who called on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to show sensitivity to Greek concerns over the "name issue".

    Burns called on the government of Skopje to show greater sensitivity for Greek public opinion and for the Greek government and realise that some of their actions were very provocative. Burns said after his meeting with Bakoyannis.

    Referring to the same issue, the Greek minister said that "we are ready to attend constructive dialogue and negotiating and we are expecting Mr. (UN special mediator Matthew) Nimetz in Athens in the coming days with this spirit."

    Burns made the following statement to the Greek press: "I had a long discussion with Mrs. Bakoyannis, whom I listened to very carefully. I mentioned to her that that I told the Foreign Minister of FYROM (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), A. Milososki that we believe that the prime minister and the government of Skopje must show greater sensitivity for Greek public opinion and for the Greek government. They must realise first that some of their actions were very provocative. Having lived many years in Greece, I understand the importance of the issue for the people and the government of the country. We requested from Mr. Nimetz to become involved again and we hope that a solution will be found that both countries can support. The government of Skopje must realise that it has the responsibility of meeting Greece halfway and show sensitivity for Greek concerns. Some actions by Skopje were unnecessarily provocative. We realise the importance of the heritage of Macedonia in Greek history, the modern-day political stage, in the hearts and minds of the Greeks. We hope that progress will be achieved and you must be certain that the United States will support a solution agreed to by both sides."

    The two officials also discussed the Middle East issue and the recent Annapolis conference, from where the Greek delegation arrived to attend the meeting in Madrid, as well as the question of Kosovo.

    Burns praised Greek presence at the international conference on the Middle East, saying, "I am pleased that Greece participated in the Annapolis conference as a full member. I am grateful to Mrs. Bakoyannis for the support she is offering for efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, for the creation of a Palestinian state after 60 years and the creation of conditions of security in Israel. The role of Greece, which is being involved in this procedure, is very important. The Annapolis conference was a great success. We must continue the hard work now, continue this process and achieve further progress."

    Referring to Kosovo, Burns said that efforts are being made, in the framework of the OSCE, to achieve a good development on the issue.

    He conceded that "the coming months will be very difficult since there will be a transitional period there" and expressed the hope that "this will happen peacefully, with stability and there will be no violence."

    Commenting on her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, she said that they ascertained the very good level of economic and political cooperation and discussed the agenda of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to Moscow.

    [05] FM spokesman on FYROM

    Asked by Greek reporters to comment on Greece's reaction in the event that the government of Skopje "makes some move for the sake of impression" by lifting the renaming of Skopje's international airport, an eventuality that the neighbouring country is reportedly considering, according to press reports, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that "such a thing would not constitute a reason for the reversal of the Greek position, of Greek policy, that is focused on the essence of the issue."

    Skopje has renamed the airport to "Alexander the Great", provoking a Greek reaction.

    [06] FYROM media focus on gov't decision to put 'Macedonia' on licence plates; possible Greek reactions

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Frangopoulos)

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) interior ministry this week announced that it was revising the design of the country's vehicle plates to include the country code "MK" as well as writing out the word "Macedonia" - in English, no less - on a strip just after the code.

    The development comes amid heightened recent diplomatic activity to resolve the thorny "name issue" still separating the land-locked former Yugoslav republic with its southern neighbor Greece -- given the spectre of a possible Greek veto hanging over FYROM's ambition to curry an invitation for NATO membership at the Alliance's general assembly next spring.

    Revision of the licence plates to include the code "MK" and "Macedonia" along with possible reactions by Greece was cited by a majority of the press in Skopje, with one mass daily, "Dnevnik", noting that the only European country that lists its name on licence plates is Andorra.

    According to one report by a local television station, FYROM Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska declined to respond to a press question on how the government will assist entrepreneurs and college students should Greek customs authorities raise objections at border posts. Jankulovska was also reportedly quoted as saying that she does not visit Greece and has no plans to do so.

    Greece objects to the use of the name 'Macedonia' by FYROM on the grounds that it conceals future irredentist ambitions against the northern Greek province of the same name, which shares a border with FYROM and has access to the northern Aegean Sea. Greeks also object to what they view as historically misleading attempts by FYROM authorities to establish a connection to ancient Macedon and Alexander the Great, through moves like adopting the Vergina Sun as the country's symbol or renaming of Skopje airport after Alexander.

    [07] U.S. State Department on 'Next Generation Initiative'


    U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented on Friday on the "Next Generation Initiative" presented by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis during the conference in Annapolis, Maryland, saying that the encouragement of human contacts is something very positive.

    "I am aware that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has become involved in efforts for rapprochement between state functionaries and social partners, efforts for human contacts. I think that she has become involved in efforts such as those with which the Secretary (Condoleezza Rice) has also dealt with and concern communication and the approach of women leaders from all over the world. As regards some specific programmes that Greece desires to promote with the aim of encouraging human contacts, I would say that it is something very positive," McCormack said.

    [08] Egyptian President Mubarak to visit Athens

    Egypt President Hosni Mubarak will be on a working visit to Athens between Dec. 3-6, as the veteran head of state will also be accompanied by a government delegation.

    Mubarak will be received on Monday by Greek President Karolos Papoulias, who will host a reception in his honor.

    On Monday afternoon, the Egyptian president will attend a symposium organised by the Friends of the Library of Alexandria.

    On Tuesday, he will meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and attend a reception hosted by the premier in his honor. A meeting with main opposition PASOK party president George Papandreou is also scheduled.

    On Wednesday, the Egyptian president will address a Greek-Egyptian economic forum and meet with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    [09] Public sector staff recruiting Council sends report to Parliament

    The Supreme Council for Staff Selection (ASEP), responsible for approving the recruitment of staff in the civil service and broader public sector, on Friday presented its annual report for 2006 to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas. ASEP President George Veis said the report highlighted the need to streamline procedures related to ASEP, since the great number of laws passed that directly or indirectly referred to its operation made it very difficult for the independent authority to do its job.

    He announced that a codification of the current legislation would soon begin, in collaboration with the interior ministry.

    Receiving the report, Sioufas said that the important work done by ASEP was recognised by all and urged the authority to continue its efforts, especially to shorten the time for carrying out civil service entrance examinations so that state services could be promptly staffed.

    [10] Pope Benedict XVI sends letter to Ecumenical Patriarch

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Pope Benedict XVI has addressed a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on the occasion of the Patriarchate's throne celebration, stressing that "we wish to reassure once again the adherrence of the Catholic Church to the creation of a fraternal ecclesiastical relation and the preservation of dialogue."

    The letter, read after the service held at the Saint George Cathedral by cardinal Walter Kasper on Friday, refers to the meeting between the Joint Orthodox Catholics Committee in Ravenna and its considerable results.

    "Our work during these first years of the 21st century is urgent due to the many challenges being faced by all Christians and to which we must reply with a united voice and faith," the Pope said.

    The service for the throne celebration was attended by Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis and a delegation from the Church of Rome, headed by cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontiff Council for the promotion of the unity of Christians.

    Also present were the Greek ambassador to Ankara, George Yennimatas, and representatives of other Faiths and Churches.

    [11] Vatican delegation attends St Andrew's celebrations at Ecumenical Patriarchate

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas)

    A delegation from the Vatican headed by Cardinal Walter Kasper has arrived in Istanbul in order to attend celebrations being held at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar to mark the feast day of St. Andrew, the Patriarchate's patron saint, on Friday.

    According to an announcement by the Patriarchate, it is customary for Fanar and the Vatican to be represented by delegations at the feasts of their respective patron saints, as part of measures decided by Patriarch Athinagoras and Pope Paul VI when frosty relations between the two Churches first began to thaw.

    The Patriarchate's celebrations will end on Friday night with reception attended by diplomats and the Vatican delegation.

    Financial News

    [12] Greek economy grew by 3.6 pct in Q3, Eurostat

    The Greek economy grew by 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2007, compared with the same period in 2006, Eurostat said on Friday.

    The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said Eurozone' economy grew by 2.7 pct and the EU-27 grew by 2.9 pct in the July-September period, seasonally adjusted. Eurozone's economy was up by 2.5 pct in the second quarter of 2007, while the EU-27 grew by 2.8 pct.

    Eurostat said Eurozone's economy grew by 0.7 pct in the third quarter, from the second quarter, while the EU-27 grew by 0.8 pct over the same period.

    Greek economic growth was 4.6 pct in the first quarter and 4.1 pct in the second quarter.

    The US economy grew by 2.8 pct in the third quarter, while the Japanese economy grew by 2.2 pct over the same period.

    [13] European Budget Commissioner on Greek budget, social insurance reform

    European Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite on Friday praised the Greek government regarding the restriction of the deficits and the maintenance of the Stability Pact, in a crucial period for the international economy due to the repercussions of the high prices of oil and the turmoil from the fiscal crisis in the United States.

    Grybauskaite, gave a press conference in Athens in the context of her participation in a round table discussion on the theme "The budget's reform in a Europe which is changing".

    To a question regarding the issue of the social insurance reform, the Commissioner noted that "the European Commission cannot ask its member-states to implement a unified model of reforms, as the conditions differ from country to country. A social insurance reform model which may have positive results in Sweden or Ireland may not be operational in Greece or in another European Union country."

    [14] PASOK official criticises state budget

    PASOK party Economy sector rapporteur Louka Katseli on Friday criticised the implementation of the 2007 state budget, stressing that "the unreliability of the economic policy of the government and the fictitiousness of the budget for 2008 is being confirmed today by the publication of latest data regarding the course of the implementation of the budget for 2007 by the General State Accounting Office."

    Katseli further referred to the "even greater failure of the government with the implementation of the Public Investments Programme, where revenues are showing a great lag."

    Lastly, Katseli said that "what is unfortunate is that the ineffectiveness and failure of the economic policy of the government will be shouldered, once again, by the citizens, by the lower and middle income brackets in particular."

    [15] Magginas and Alavanos face off over pensions in parliament

    Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas repeated in Parliament on Friday that the positions for social insurance reform supported by the government have not changed and that there will be no cutbacks in pensions, no change to the way pensions were calculated and no increase in contributions or retirement age.

    Responding to questions by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) President Alekos Alavanos on the pension fund mergers proposed by the government, the minister commented that the anti-social phenomenon of early retirement has no supporters.

    Alavanos stated that the government plans will cause rifts in the ruling New Democracy Parliamentary Group and stressed that all workers are opposed to the social insurance reforms proposed, calling on the government to abandon its designs because it has entered a collision course with society.

    Magginas replied by stressing that ND's parliamentary group was united and firmly supported all government policies.

    [16] Alavanos meets with ESIEA board

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) President Alekos Alavanos on Friday stressed after meeting with the Athens' Journalists Union (ESIEA) that the assets of the primary pension funds of journalists, engineers, doctors and lawyers are being "robbed", a reference to a government proposal to merge the funds.

    Alavanos stated that mergers can be acceptable only if beneficiaries give their full consent and their rights are guaranteed, while reaffirming his party's support to all ESIEA demands.

    ESIEA President Panos Sobolos stated that the journalists' pension funds are under attack by the government and underlined that the sector's demands are fair.

    [17] Papandreou promises no pension cuts

    Main opposition PASOK party president George Papandreou attended festivities in the western port city of Patras on Friday on the occasion of the feast day of Apostolos Andreas (St. Andrew), the city's patron saint.

    Referring to the timely issue of social security reform, Papandreou said his party's policy guarantees that there will be no pension cuts, while retirement age limits and contributions will not increase.

    The PASOK leader also said that the few "healthy" pension funds should not be called on to pay the price for whatever mergers of funds in the country.

    [18] KKE's Papariga meets with journalists' board

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Friday voiced support for the journalist union's opposition to a government proposal to merge the sector's primary pension fund with other pension funds, speaking after a meeting with the Athens Journalists' Union (ESHEA) board of directors.

    Referring to social security reform, Papariga reiterated her party's position that proposed measures are inhumane and will affect all wage-earners.

    The KKE leader also stressed that ESIEA's opposition to the merger is justified because pension funds involved concern professions that are unrelated to each other.

    Furthermore, she stated that the merger's intention is to abolish certain worker rights, predicting that even worse measures are on the way.

    "The media sector is not enjoying preferential treatment, as is falsely projected, because the majority of journalists earn low salaries, do not have stable jobs and have low life expectancy," she added.

    [19] KKE leader holds talks with employee representatives

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga held talks on Friday with employee sector representatives, including the notary publics society, the pharmaceutical society and the federation of judiciary employees.

    "We undoubtedly support the joint and united struggle of workers and employees, of independent professionals, of the self employed, even of farmers who are smallholders, because the measures concern them as well and on this basis it is necessary that all branches coordinate themselves according to sector and nationwide," she said afterwards.

    Papariga also said that the government "is aiming at putting all the social security funds and all the reserves into one container and from then on to lower the standard of social security, health, welfare and pensioning more and more."

    [20] Efforts to resolve Olympic Airways' issue "almost impossible", Commission official

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Spinthourakis)

    Greek Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Friday painted a very bleak picture over the future of Olympic Airways but tried to reassure workers in the national airline over their jobs and underlined that the government would ensure air travel to Greek islands. Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, the Greek minister said that legal actions taken by European airlines against Olympic Airways and the European Commission over its handling of the case, have made things worse for the Greek airline.

    Hatzidakis said that as long there were open legal problems with Brussels, no credible investor would be interested in the company since it was in danger of inheriting the burdens of the past.. However, he offered four reassurances: first, that workers will not lose their jobs, second, that Greek islands will continue enjoying air travel, third, a viable solution was sought without any hasty moves but also without losing any more time, and fourth, that any solution will not allow monopoly conditions in the Greek air travel market.

    A spokesman for the EU Transport Commissioner, responding to questions by Greek journalists over the talks of the meeting between J. Barrot and C. Hatzidakis, said the Commissioner acknowledged the Greek minister's efforts to resolve the Olympic Airways issue, but noted that his mission was almost impossible.

    [21] PASOK deputy responds to transport minister's statements on OA

    Main opposition PASOK head of the party's Social Policy Department Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou on Friday evening referred to developments at Olympic Airlines and to the statements made earlier in the day by Transport and Communications Minister Costas Hatzidakis.

    According to a press release, she said:

    "Mr. Hatzidakis' statements constitute a confession of the Karamanlis government's incompetence and of the impasse which it has led Olympic Airlines with its options.

    "Options which were marked by the slackness and the systematic absence of negotiations and led Olympic Airlines to a course of disdain.

    "PASOK will continue to give a battle for the viable prospects of Olympic Airlines and the securing of the personnel."

    [22] Souflias visits Thessaloniki metro construction site

    Excavations by the two tunnel-boring machines (TBM) that will be working on the Thessaloniki metro project will get underway in April and by 2012 the city will have one of the most advanced mass transportation system in Europe, assured Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias during his visit to the New Railway Station construction site on Friday.

    The first TBM machine, used to open underground galleries, has already arrived in Thessaloniki from Germany and is being assembled, while a second one is expected in January, according to Souflias who was accompanied by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas.

    The tunnel-boring machines are 90 meters long and can excavate the equivalent of 10-13 meters of underground galleries daily.

    Many of the artifacts found by the metro construction crews buried underneath the city will be exhibited in Alcazar, a monument building under restoration, while an additional 40 million euros have been reserved for the metro expansion toward Kalamaria, the eastern end of the city, to be followed by its westward expansion to the municipality of Stavroupolis.

    [23] Gov't approves power hikes

    The development ministry on Friday approved hikes in electricity rates, valid from Dec. 1, after the Energy Regulatory Authority gave a positive recommendation to a demand by the state-run Public Power Corp. (PPC).

    Development Minister Christos Folias approved increases ranging from 8.0 percent (for heavy consumption and industrial use) up to 10 percent for high voltage bills, as well as a 7.0-percent average weighed price increase on PPC's rates from July 1, 2008.

    The power utility had called for price increases ranging from 20.67 pct to 30 percent. Under the ministerial decision, there will be no price increases for low consumption users and registered large families.

    [24] Opposition, SEB react to power hikes

    Opposition parties and the Federation of Greek Industries and Business (SEB) reacted strongly on Friday to Public Power Corp. rate hikes, announced earlier in the day.

    "The power sector is unconditionally being surrendered by the New Democracy (ND) government to an 'automatic pilot' of the market with incalculable cost for consumers," main opposition PASOK said in a statement.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) termed the increases as "provocative" and a "new robbery at the expense of working people's income," and called on workers to "demand a decrease in PPC electricity rates and the abolition of VAT."

    A Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party spokesman said the increases were "robbery against broad popular strata", which "will boost the general wave of unprecedented high cost of living experienced in the market."

    On its part, SEB said the increases would "deal a blow to the competitiveness of Greek enterprises and to the Greek economy."

    Development Minister Christos Folias approved increases ranging from 8.0 percent (for heavy consumption and industrial use) up to 10 percent for high voltage bills, as well as a 7.0-percent average weighed price increase on PPC's rates from July 1, 2008.

    The power utility had called for price increases ranging from 20.67 pct to 30 percent. Under the ministerial decision, there will be no price increases for low consumption users and registered large families.

    [25] ADEDY congress comes to an end

    The 33rd congress of the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) came to an end on Friday with losses being recorded for the PASOK-affiliated PASKE labour group and gains for the New Democracy-affiliated DAKE group.

    Elections for ADEDY's General Council produced the following results:

    -PASKE 36 seats from 41 held in the previous Council

    -DAKE 28 seats from 23

    -ESAK (Communist Party of Greece) 9 seats from 10

    -Autonomous Intervention 8 seats from 8

    -Rallies-Interventions 4 seats from 3.

    According to estimates made by trade unionists, ADEDY's Executive Committee is expected to have the following composition: PASKE 7 seats, DAKE 6, ESAK 2 and Autonomous Intervention 2.

    [26] Piraeus Port Organisation reports improved nine-month results

    Piraeus Port Organisation on Friday reported a 7.9 percent increase in its nine-month turnover, reflecting a 21.3 percent jump in the number of vehicles, a 22 percent increase in cargo transport and a spectacular 45 percent in sea cruise growth.

    Pre-tax profits in the January-September period totaled 26.7 million euros, up 54.8 percent from the same period last year, with capital reserves totaling 44 million euros at the end of September, reflecting strong profitability and low investment levels (12.1 million euros or 26 percent of the budget).

    [27] Israeli Dep. Gov. meets with BoG officials

    The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel, professor Zvi Eckstein, on Friday visited the Bank of Greece, where he was briefed by Greek central bankers over monetary policy issues used by the bank and the Eurosystem, banking supervisory issues and statistical services management issues.

    Eckstein, at the head of a visiting delegation of Bank of Israel officials, also gave a lecture on the Israeli economy, analysing the main changes in economic policy introduced over the last few years in the country, such as price stability and deregulation of domestic financial markets.

    [28] Greek budget revenues up 7.8 pct in Jan-Oct, yr/yr

    Greek regular budget revenues rose by 7.8 percent in the 10-month period from January to October, compared with the same period last year, slightly down from a budget target for an annual growth rate of 8.1 percent, the General Accounting Office said on Friday.

    Net budget revenues rose 5.4 pct in the 10-month period, down from a budget target of 6.6 pct for the year. Budget spending slightly exceeded a budget target of 9.8 percent, growing by 10 percent, while primary spending rose by 12 percent, up from a budget target of 11.7 pct.

    Including revenues and spending of the Public Investments Programme, the budget deficit in the 10-month period totaled 9.765 billion euros, up 48.3 percent from the same period last year.

    Public Investment Programme revenues rose 24.4 pct, down from a budget target of 31.9 pct, while spending jumped 31.7 pct, up from a budget target of 6.3 pct.

    [29] Intracom Holdings says sales up 15 pct in Jan-Sept, yr/yr

    Intracom Holdings on Friday reported a 15 percent increase in its nine-month sales to 289.2 million euros and said the value of new contracts totaled 508.8 million euros in the January-September period.

    Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) totaled 11.6 million euros this year, pre-tax earnings totaled 9.8 million euros and after tax losses totaled 25 million euros, down from 27 million euros in the corresponding period in 2006.

    The group said consolidated results did not include Intracom Telecom.

    Intacom Holdings said Intracom Defense Electronics reported lower sales in the nine-month period (59.3 million euros from 60.3 million last year, EBITDA fell to 6.3 million (8.1 mln) and pre-tax profits eased to 3.5 million euros (4.0 million in 2006).

    Intrakat reported a jump in nine-month sales to 102.7 million euros (65.8 mln in 2006) and EBITDA (5.4 million euros from -1.5 mln last year), while pre-tax losses fell to 300,000 euros from 2.2 mln in 2006.

    Intracom IT Services said sales rose to 104.2 mln euros (94.1 mln in 2006), EBITDA jumped to 2.7 million euros (1.3 mln in 2006) and pre-tax losses eased to 1.4 million from -2.0 mln in 2006.

    Hellas Online said sales rose to 29.2 mln euros (24.5 mln in 2006) and pre-tax losses rose to 20.2 million euros from 7.6 million euros in 2006 reflecting highegr investments.

    [30] Greek stocks jump 1.61% on Friday

    Greek stocks ended the last trading session of the week with major gains in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index jumped 1.61 pct to end at 5,053.87 points, with turnover a massive 854.3 million euros, of which 160.2 million were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher with the Food/Beverage (6.19 pct), Healthcare (3.58 pct), Utilities (2.61 pct) and Banks (2.51 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Financial Services (2.10 pct), Technology (1.53 pct) and Constructions (0.71 pct) suffered losses.

    The Big Cap index jumped 2.11 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 0.04 pct and the Small Cap index ended 2.17 pct higher. Tria Alpha (9.74 pct), VIS (9.48 pct) and Piraeus Port Organisation (9.15 pct) were top gainers, while ANEK (10 pct), Microsystems (8.54 pct) and VELL Group (8.45 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 145 to 105 with another 51 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.68%

    Industrials: +0.73%

    Commercial: +1.40%

    Construction: -0.71%

    Media: +0.23%

    Oil & Gas: -0.14%

    Personal & Household: -0.04%

    Raw Materials: +0.29%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.00%

    Technology: -1.53%

    Telecoms: +0.15%

    Banks: +2.51%

    Food & Beverages: +6.19%

    Health: +3.58%

    Utilities: +2.61%

    Chemicals: -0.16%

    Financial Services: -2.10%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Cosmote and DEH.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 23.24

    ATEbank: 3.84

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 33.48

    HBC Coca Cola: 29.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 10.60

    Emporiki Bank: 20.90

    National Bank of Greece: 45.90

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 24.06

    Intralot: 12.66

    OPAP: 26.56

    OTE: 24.72

    Titan Cement Company: 30.52

    [31] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices ended mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover at 207.861 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.66 pct and the December contract on the FTSE 40 index at a premium of 0.38 percent. Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 10,717 contracts worth 143.004 million euros, with 31,993 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 417 contracts worth 12.859 million euros with 790 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 26,393 contracts, worth 37.451 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Investment Group's contracts (9,140), followed by Marfin Popular Bank (5,153), PPC (448), Piraeus Bank (564), National Bank (2,511), Alpha Bank (1,643), Intracom (1,032), Postal Savings Bank (1,134) and ATEbank (841).

    [32] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 2.456 billion euros on Friday. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 455 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.35 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.43 pct and the German Bund 4.09 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved higher. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.11 pct from 4.02 pct on Thursday, the two-day rate was 4.02 pct, the one-month rate was 4.85 pct and the 12-month rate eased to 4.69 pct from 4.75 pct.

    [33] Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.487

    Pound sterling 0.720

    Danish kroner 7.517

    Swedish kroner 9.446

    Japanese yen 164.74

    Swiss franc 1.667

    Norwegian kroner 8.178

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.481

    Australian dollar 1.677

    General News

    [34] President Papoulias attends celebrations in Patra

    President Karolos Papoulias visited the city of Patra, in western Greece, on Friday and attended events organised on the occasion of the celebration for the city's Patron Saint Andrew.

    President Papoulias attended the service held at the Saint Andrew Cathedral and afterwards he followed the litany through the city's main streets. He then visited the town hall where he was proclaimed an honourary citizen of Patra.

    The President referred in his address to the wildfires that ravaged the Peloponnese and other parts of Greece last summer, stressing that "we must unite our strength to put an end to this course of destruction."

    He also said that "this year, we were all witnesses of an unspeakable criminal disaster. The fire, which we experienced dramatically in the summer in the Peloponnee and in other parts of Greece as well."

    On the occasion of the celebration for Saint Andrew, President Papoulias said "today, we are celebrating the memory of the Apostle Andrew who, with humility and self-denial became a martyr for a mankind that will break the bonds of individualism and of indifference towards the woes of our fellow men."

    At noon, President Papoulias visited the installations of "Achaia Klauss", where Patra Mayor Andreas Fouras hosted an official luncheon.

    The celebrations were also attended by PASOK party president and Achaia deputy George Papandreou, Deputy Development Minister Stavros Kalafatis, who represented the government, former president of the republic Kostis Stefanopoulos, deputies from the prefecture of Achaia, the deputy of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party Adonis Georgiadis, representing his party, and Athens Mayor and President of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) Nikitas Kaklamanis.

    [35] President Papoulias visits Ancient Olympia

    President Karolos Papoulias visited the archaeological site at Ancient Olympia on Friday afternoon.

    "We shall be unworthy of our history if we shall not be able to deliver to the next generations this nature, this holy nature, this beautiful nature intact," President Papoulias said.

    The ancient site suffered extensive damage during last summer's wildfires.

    [36] Greek presence at 31st Cairo International Film Festival

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    Greece's position this year at the 31st Cairo International Film Festival is particularly exceptional.

    On Monday, in the presence of Communications Secretary General Margarita Papada-Himona, Greece will present five of the films for people with special needs which were awarded last June in Athens in a competition for corresponding films which make the public aware of the problems of this vulnerable category of people. The film productions were presented within the framework of the 2nd International Conference on the theme "People with Disability and the Mass Media" and of the "1st International Documentary Festival on Disability", which were organized by the Communications General Secretariat-Information General Secretariat.

    Included in the competition section of the 31st Cairo International Film Festival are four Greek films.

    [37] Event held in Athens in memory of AIDS victims

    The Health and Solidarity Ministry, within the framework of its ten-day briefing campaign regarding AIDS, organised on Friday an event at the Athens' Kallimarmaro Stadium.

    The campaign comes to an end on Saturday, December 1, which has been declared Day against AIDS and social racism.

    With the slogan "love is a human right", Friday's event was flanked by the known red ribbon for AIDS which lit the stadium and a silent march with lanterns by various organizations towards Athens' Syntagma Square,

    The national action plan for AIDS, which was recently drafted by the health ministry, concerns consultations with all the involved agencies, that is, ministries and non-governmental organizations.

    [38] PASOK secretary's associate and husband the victims of armed robbery

    A 54-year-old female associate of main opposition PASOK party secretary Nikos Athanassakis and her 56-year-old husband were both injured in their home by thieves that broke in on Friday at dawn. They are being treated for superficial stab wounds at Athens' "Giorgos Gennimatas" National Hospital.

    The couple were sleeping in the bedroom when they were awakened by four individuals, apparently entering for purposes of theft, who had broken into the house in Kifissia, Athens. In the attempt to stop the intruders, both the man and the woman were injured in the arm and face respectively while the culprits took off empty handed.

    A police investigation is underway to find and arrest their assailants.

    [39] Teenager sentenced over Pangrati school vandalism case

    An Athens court on Friday sentenced an 18-year-old to 15 months in prison, with the right of appeal. The young defendant was part of a group of young people that ransacked a high school complex in Pangrati, Athens during a wave of student sit-ins this past month, causing roughly 1 million euros of damage.

    He was sentenced in absentia after being found guilty of disturbing the peace based on the testimonies of the school headmaster, a parent and the school complex electrician, who told the court that the young troublemaker had removed the keys to the teachers' lounge and the library and had refused to hand them over when he was asked to.

    According to the testimony given by the parent, the defendant was not a student and had a leading role in the sit-in, preventing students and teachers from entering the school.

    Weather Forecast

    [40] Overcast, scattered showers on Saturday

    Overcast weather with scattered showers with northerly, northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 5-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 02C and 19C. Overcast in Athens, with northerly, northwesterly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 06C to 15C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 05C to 10C.

    [41] The Friday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' direct message to ND members who disagree with proposed social security reforms, in which he stressed that the reforms were "necessary and imperative", and the 47 million euros fine imposed by Competition Commission on five dairy companies for setting up a 'milk cartel', dominated headlines in Friday's editions of the Athens daily newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: Banners headline claiming that the former Athens international airport at Elliniko, now destined to become a park, has turned into a camp for Rom gypsies.

    APOGEVMATINI: PM Costas Karamanlis stated in parliament that "the perpetuation of social insurance problem a crime against future generations"

    TO VIMA: "Employees and employers present united front over social security issue."

    VRADYNI: "Karamanlis determined to proceed with necessary social security reforms."

    ETHNOS: "Employment Minister's Vassilis Magginas outrageous confession about his daughter. Uproar over her back-door recruitment by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE)."

    ELEFTHERI ORA: Controversy over PASOK leader George Papandreou's decision to exclude supporters of his election rivals from all top posts in the main opposition party.

    ELEFTHEROS: "PM Costas Karamanlis calls for unity and demands discipline in New Democracy."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Karamanlis underlines determination to go ahead with social security reform; demands discipline from ND members.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Karamanlis determined to make ND MPs toe the line over social security reforms."

    ESTIA: "Karamanlis sends direct message to ND's members: Collective responsibility over social insurance issue."

    KATHIMERINI: "Competition Commission imposes 48.4 million euros fine on dairy companies"

    LOGOS: "Karamanlis' warning message to ND rebels: Reforming social security an act of responsibility."

    TA NEA: "Karamanlis forgot his pre-election commitments over social security reforms"

    NIKI: "Half truths from Karamanlis in his address to ND's parliamentary group."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Attack on social insurance escalates.'

    CHORA: "PM states: Social security reforms are an act of responsibility."

    Cyprus Affairs

    [42] Cyprus to respond positively to a Cyprus initiative


    Cyprus Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas said on Friday that the Greek Cypriot side would respond positively to a possible initiative on the solution of the Cyprus problem ''if this meets everything that we believe should be included in such an initiative.''

    Palmas' remarks came in the wake of press reports for a possible initiative after February's presidential elections. Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos stated Thursday that at present there is no initiative on Cyprus but signs of movement.

    ''What is clear is that there is movement around Cyprus. Now whether this movement becomes an initiative on a formal level, by the UN

    Secretariat or the European Union or anybody else, is an issue which we will face in a positive manner, if this responds to all that we believe should be included in such an initiative,'' Palmas said.

    Commenting on a statement by EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn that a row between Turkey and Cyprus, which endangers European security forces in Kosovo by preventing closer cooperation between the EU and NATO missions there, should be settled, Palmas pointed out that it is clear that these problems are not created by Cyprus but by those who continue to occupy Cyprus' northern part for the past 34 years.''

    Turkey, an EU candidate member state, refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since May 2004 and blocks the entry of Cyprus to various international organisations. Turkey, a NATO member objects to the participation of Cyprus in meetings between NATO and the EU in joint operations.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    [43] Government: illegal regime oppresses Turkish Cypriots


    Restrictive measures imposed by the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime are proof of its suppression on the Turkish Cypriots, Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas has said, adding that such moves show where the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots emanates.

    The spokesman was commenting Friday on press reports that the illegal regime is introducing measures to curb shopping by the Turkish Cypriots in the southern government controlled part of Cyprus.

    "I believe this proves where oppression comes from and how the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots from the international community emanates," Palmas said.

    The government, he pointed out, has on various occasions in the past said that the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is the direct result of policies imposed by the illegal regime.

    "This "isolation" is exclusively due to the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime," he stressed.

    The regime, recognized only by Turkey whose troops occupy since 1974 Cyprus' northern part, has maintained over the past few years that the government of the Republic is raising obstacles in the way of the Turkish Cypriots and prevents them from joining the international community.

    The government points out that "isolation" as a notion is often applied by the regime to consolidate its status and assist its designs to establish two states on the island.

    The Turkish Cypriot media reported also the strict control the regime is exercising at crossing points to and from the occupied areas, because of foot and mouth disease outbreak in the government controlled areas and asks why the regime does not confiscate "infected money which thousands of Turkish Cypriots, working in the southern part of the country, bring home."

    [44] US Congressmen support just solution to the Cyprus issue


    Members of the US Congress expressed here Friday the hope for a just solution to the Cyprus problem and the reunification of Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, in conditions of peace.

    Democratic Congressman Albio Sires is heading a Congressional delegation which includes Democrat Congressman Dennis Moore and Republican congressmen John Carter and Phil Gingrey.

    The Congressmen were received by President Tassos Papadopoulos but no statements were made after the meeting.

    House President Demetris Christofias during his meeting with the congressmen reviewed the Cyprus problem and briefed them on the latest developments.

    Christofias explained to the delegation the reasons which led the Greek Cypriot side reject a UN-proposed solution plan, the Annan plan, on 24 April 2004, stressing that this specific plan and not a Cyprus solution was rejected.

    He stressed the Greek Cypriot side remains dedicated to the search for a bizonal, bicommunal federation, on the basis of relevant UN resolutions and in line with European principles.

    He pointed out that the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is the result of the Turkish invasion and continued occupation.

    At the same time, Christofias informed the US congressmen, who were accompanied by US Ambassador in Nicosia Ronald Schlicher, on the package of measures which the Cypriot government is implementing to support Turkish Cypriots and help improve their standard of living.

    He referred to the July 8 Agreement, noting that the fact that it has not been implemented so far is due to the Turkish negative stance.

    Christofias conveyed the willingness of the Greek Cypriot side to make use of the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General to overcome the current deadlock in efforts to find a negotiated settlement in Cyprus.

    The American diplomats also met the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Democratic Rally member of the House Averof Neofitou.

    The Cypriot parliamentarians informed the US delegation on the various aspects of the Cyprus problem and expressed their appreciation over resolution 620 of the US Congress, calling on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus.

    They pointed out that the substance of the Cyprus problem lies with the Turkish invasion and the continued occupation of the island's northern third and stressed the need for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of European and international law.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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