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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-04-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Monday, 30 April 2007 Issue No: 2582

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis underlines commitment to 'principles, values'; Magginas replaces Tsitouridis as new welfare minister
  • [02] Opposition sharply criticises gov't over Tsitouridis, bonds
  • [03] PM to visit island of Kasos on May Day
  • [04] FM spokesman comments on Estonia developments
  • [05] Pavlopoulos underlines importance of regional development
  • [06] Greece to host event at UN on SC sanctions
  • [07] Gov't promises pipeline transit fees for regional development
  • [08] GSEE leader on May Day strike
  • [09] Ambassadors in Kalamata as guests of Messinia Chamber of Commerce
  • [10] N. Greece businesses reserved on efficacy of developmental model
  • [11] Water resources management via cell phone
  • [12] Opinion poll: Short summer vacations this year, mainly in August
  • [13] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday
  • [14] Supreme Court president addresses event on combating corruption
  • [15] Police exchange gunfire with 'mystery car' occupants
  • [16] More migrant smuggling arrests on Samos
  • [17] World Dance Day celebrated in Kalamata
  • [18] Sports
  • [19] Mostly sunny on Monday
  • [20] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [21] EP delegation, headed by Cypriot MEP, visits Palestinian areas
  • [22] Christodoulos arrives in Cyprus on Sunday
  • [23] Spanish FM on official visit to Cyprus

  • [01] PM Karamanlis underlines commitment to 'principles, values'; Magginas replaces Tsitouridis as new welfare minister

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday announced the replacement of embattled Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis -- who was at the centre of an ongoing furor regarding mismanagement of state-run pension funds' reserves -- following a latest high-profile press report that a close ministry aide is being investigated for his role during the 1999-2000 stock market 'bubble'.

    "My decision is to not tolerate any actions or behaviours that harm the country or its citizens ... we are continuing on the basis of our principles and values," Karamanlis said during a televised appearance at his Maximos Mansion office.

    Less than an hour later, the prime minister's office announced that ruling New Democracy (ND) parliamentary spokesman Vassilis Magginas, a long-time parliamentarian that also served as the party's spokesman in the mid 1990s, will be sworn in on Sunday to replace Tsitouridis.

    A two-hour meeting preceded the announcement of Tsitouridis' resignation on Saturday.

    "When I assumed the responsibility of the country's reins I wanted all Greek citizens to know that the prime minister and the government they chose will respect them, and demonstrate the same sensitivity towards all issues, big and small," Karamanlis said, adding:

    "From the very first moment I asked members of the government to show the same respect and to be very careful, both in terms of their political choices and in the selection of their associates ... A continuing discussion has racked the country, following the revelation by the government itself over the purchase of a bond by the board of a fund without, apparently, the principle of political caution in the decision being respected. The boards of funds bear responsibility for their decisions, which is why, with the government's initiative, we have decided to change the manner in which the members on of the board are selected," Karamanlis stressed.

    "We did not hide and we will not hide any problem under the rug, keeping our faith in the principles and values and our respect for the Greek citizen," Karamanlis said, underlining the government's initiative to transfer the responsibility for appointing pension funds' board members to the Bank of Greece and the Capital Markets Commission.

    A same-day report in the Athens daily "Kathimerini" revealed that the employment ministry's general secretary, Evgenios Papadopoulos, is the object of a judicial investigation due to his representation of an off-shore company allegedly involved in shady stock market transactions during the 1999-2000.

    Saturday's article was the latest in an avalanche of press scrutiny that also focused on Tsitouridis himself, in the wake of a controversial deal, and related financial terms, approved by the civil servants' supplementary fund to purchase a structured bond.

    In a later announcement, government spokesman and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos said the swearing-in ceremony for Magginas is scheduled for Monday at noon.

    [02] Opposition sharply criticises gov't over Tsitouridis, bonds

    Reaction to Saturday's announcement by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of embattled Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis' resignation was swift by the opposition, with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou again renewing his call for early elections.

    "The country has entered a period of prolonged (government) idleness. Mr. Karamanlis' government has only one thing left to offer the country: the immediate recourse to a popular vote," Papandreou, who travelled to Irakleio, Crete, on Saturday, said.

    Papandreou, a former foreign minister, also referred to Karamanlis' "complete weakness" in running the country, while charging that Tsitouridis' ouster from the Cabinet served merely to protect the premier and other ministers from fallout over the bond affair.

    In a written statement, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) stressed that "personal responsibilities cannot in any way 'wash away' the major political responsibilities that the government has over the continuing looting of workers' pension funds. The Tsitouridis resignation, by itself, cannot under any circumstance be considered as a substantive development for workers, as long as policies and laws surrender their pension fund reserves to the plunder of stock brokers and bankers."

    On is part, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party issued an announcement saying that "two months after the bonds scandal shocked public opinion, the government limits itself in only firing Mr. Tsitouridis as a way of covering up wider political liability, particularly by the (government's) economic team ... the prime minister is obliged to appear in Parliament and give public explanations and stop hiding, as he's done over months now vis--vis questions tabled by Synaspismos."

    Larissa MP Christos Zois takes over as ND parliamentary spokesman

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party MP for Larissa, Christos Zois, will take over as ND's parliamentary spokesman, following spokesman Vassilis Magginas' assumption of the post of employment and social insurance minister after the forced resignation of Savvas Tsitouridis, it was announced on Sunday.

    [03] PM to visit island of Kasos on May Day

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will spend May Day on the eastern Aegean island of Kasos, traveling there with a Greek naval vessel on Monday and arriving the next day in the morning.

    One interesting facet of the trip is the fact that Karamanlis had personally acquiesced to a request by the island's residents that he sail to their isle aboard a gunboat that bears its name, Kasos.

    Following his arrival on Tuesday morning, the prime minister will address local inhabitants and local officials before returning to Athens.

    Karamanlis will meet with Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Monday morning, while at 12 noon he will attend a swearing-in ceremony for newly appointed Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas.

    [04] FM spokesman comments on Estonia developments

    A foreign ministry spokesman on Sunday commented on the recent events in the Baltic republic of Estonia, saying that "just as the European Commission, we also express our regret over the sad incidents of these past few days in Estonia, which, among others, have cost the life of one of the demonstrators."

    Spokesman George Koumoutsakos added that "in any case, these incidents confirm our initial position that in present-day Europe, history, as a recording of events of the past, must not be a cause for acts that negatively affect relations between countries."

    Lastly, the spokesman said that "a Europe of the future is being built on knowledge, tolerance, as well as the overcoming of historical differences."

    [05] Pavlopoulos underlines importance of regional development

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos addressed a conference on prefectural and local administration, organised by the Constantine Karamanlis Institute in Larissa, central Greece, on Saturday.

    "The government's goals, that are regional development and social cohesion, will not be implemented if we do not support local administration. We are working hard in this direction and we believe that we shall succeed," the minister said.

    Pavlopoulos, who declined any comment on current political developments, said that he came to Larissa to speak about regional development, although he underlined that during New Democracy governance, funds channelled to local administration have increased.

    [06] Greece to host event at UN on SC sanctions

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greece will organise an international symposium on the subject of "Enhancing Implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Sanctions", to be held on Monday at the United Nations' Headquarters in New York City.

    The symposium, which will be attended and addressed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, is organised by the Permanent Mission of Greece in cooperation with Notre Dame's "Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies", and will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

    Guest speakers will include diplomats, academics, and personalities known for their contribution to improving the effectiveness of the Security Council sanctions, including George Lopez, David Cortright and Peter Wallensteen, while the presence of the UN chief and many diplomats of UN member countries, gives the symposium a special weight.

    The purpose of the symposium is to promote improvement of the effectiveness of Security Council sanctions on the basis of just and balanced principles which, inter alia, take into consideration the humanitarian repercussions of the sanctions and the principles of just trial in the listing of names on the sanctions lists.

    During its two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the Security Council (2005-2006), Greece acquired immense experience on issues of UN economic sanctions, due to its presidency of two Sanctions Committees (Sudan, Ivory Coast) and the Security Council's Informal Working Group on Sanctions Issues, and one of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee's three sub-committees.

    In addition, as chair of the Informal Working Group, Greece advanced the adoption of new recommendations to the Security Council on issues of sanctions efficiency, which were incorporated in Security Council decision 1732 (2006).

    Greece's initiative to organise the symposium is in continuation of similar initiatives undertaken since 1999 by Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, which organised conferences -- outside the UN framework -- on this issue. Some of the conclusions and principles of those conferences have been adopted by the Security Council.

    Financial News

    [07] Gov't promises pipeline transit fees for regional development

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Sunday chaired a broad meeting of local agencies in Alexandroupolis, organised by the Evros Prefectural authority, to discuss the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, as the interstate agreement for its construction was signed in mid-March in Athens between Greece, Bulgaria and Russia.

    Sioufas announced that a committee will be set up for management of the funds allocated to the Evros region from the pipeline's transit fees, which he said will be used for developmental and environmental projects in the region.

    The meeting in Alexandroupolis marked the opening of a communication network between the state and the local agencies.

    "Today, we are here to listen, but mainly to build the first institutional network of communication among the central government (development ministry), the Prefectural Authority and social and producer agencies of the prefecture, and the international consortium" that will construct and operate the pipeline, Sioufas said, and pledged that "the project will be carried out with the cooperation and participation of the local authorities and producer and social forces of the region".

    He further pledged that the pipeline will be constructed and operate "under conditions of total safety for the protection of the prefecture's natural environment", while it will also "constitute a part of and evolve into an inalienable and central axis of the developmental plan for Evros prefecture, also within the framework of the EU's 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) for 2007-2013".

    Sioufas reiterated the government's, and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' personal, commitment that the transit fees -- to be determined on the basis of a Transit Agreement to be signed among the countries involved and the project's future international consortium -- will be channelled towards developmental programmes in the prefecture and its environmental upgrading.

    He clarified that transit fees to be collected by Greece and allocated to the Thrace region would be in the tens of millions of dollars, of which the main portion will concern Evros prefecture, with the rest will focusing on the neighbouring prefectures of Rhodopi and Xanthi, "so that the benefit will be distributed throughout all of Thrace and its inhabitants".

    He said those funds would be managed by a committee that would be chaired by the prefect, with the mayors of the prefecture as members, and would operate under the supervision of the interior, public administration and decentralisation ministry, the national economy and finance ministry, and the secretary general for the Periphery.

    Replying to concerns by various agency representatives on possible repercussions on the environment as a result of the pipeline's operation, Sioufas stressed that the project will be constructed and will operate in accordance with the most modern technological methods. In addition, the strict environmental legislation in effect for all investments in Greece would also be applied to the fullest.

    Despite all that, he continued, the uniqueness of the project gave rise to the obligation on the part of the state, but also gave it the ability, to go one step more. "That is why we propose the establishment -- by a decision of the prefect and the participation of the regional leader and the prefecture's agencies -- of a high-level committee that will officially deliberate with the representatives of the international consortium at all the stages, from the construction period up to the pipeline's operation".

    The minister noted that the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, combined with the operation of the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline, would contribute to further development of the region and the attraction of investments, and "will change the image of Thrace, and Evros more particularly, over the coming years".

    He said that 500 people would be employed during the construction stage, while the jobs during the operation were estimated at more than 250.

    In addition, he said, the Greek state had reserved control of 1 percent of the 24.5 percent share of the controlling interest in the project (Russia will control 51 percent of the project while Bulgaria will control the remaining 24.5 percent), so that the State will have "direct involvement and monitor that all is being done in accordance with the terms of the relevant agreements".

    The Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline will be the first to be constructed on European territory in 40 years. It will be an underground pipeline with a length of 280 kilometres, of which 135 kilometres will run through Greek territory, while it will be constructed and will operate with cutting-edge technology and in implementation of the Greek as well as the EU legislation on protection of the environment.

    The meeting was also attended by Deputy Development Minister Anastasios Nerantzis, deputy foreign minister Evripides Stylianidis and ministry secretary general Nikos Stefanou, among others.

    [08] GSEE leader on May Day strike

    The 650 euro salaries are the end of labour, General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) president Yannis Panagopoulos said in an interview with the local daily "Makedonia", appearing in the paper's Sunday edition.

    According to Panagopoulos, "when the minimum tolerable level of dignified living has reached 1,300 euros (per month), it is a provocation for one to claim that a remuneration of 650 and 700 euros (per month) may be considered satisfactory".

    "One could say that this is the end of labour and the beginning of slavery," he said.

    Asked what the trade unions' message was for this year's May Day, the GSEE leader noted that "we will work for the demands of the labour movement and society, steady work for all, our opposition to all forms of part-time employment, under-the-table and informal work, and protection of our incomes".

    [09] Ambassadors in Kalamata as guests of Messinia Chamber of Commerce

    A group of 14 ambassadors of Mediterranean and Middle East countries and Russia, the president of the Derna Chamber of Commerce, and the Secretary General of the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development were in Kalamata over the weekend, as the guests of the Messinia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    The diplomats attended a dinner in their honour on Friday night, shortly after their arrival, hosted by Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia.

    On Saturday, they met with Kalamata mayor Panayotis Nikas, and later with Messinia Prefect Dimitris Drakos, while in the afternoon they attended a round-table discussion during which three important events planned for the coming year, with an "inter-state nature", were presented.

    The events are "The Sea Routes of the Olive Tree" (or, Greece closer to the Arab countries), Mediterranean (culture, tourism and dietary habits), and the relay of the "Flame of Peace" to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games.

    During the round-table discussion, Messinia Chamber president George Karabatsos proposed a ferry link between Derna and Kalamata, thus opening up a new sea route and substantially boosting, in this way, the goal of rendering Kalamata Greece's "Southern Gateway" in the Mediterranean.

    Other speakers included the Secretary General of the Arab-Hellenic Chamber Mohamed el Khazmi, ambassadors, the Messinia Prefect and local mayors.

    [10] N. Greece businesses reserved on efficacy of developmental model

    Reservations on the efficacy of the developmental model for Northern Greece was expressed by the majority of representatives of businesses that are members of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE), although they conceded that the neither the performance of the private sector was satisfactory, according to an opinion poll by KAPA Research conducted on behalf of a local daily, the results of which appeared in the paper's Sunday edition.

    The poll was conducted on April 25-26, with the participation of 130 business owners or managers, accounting for approximately one-third of the SBEE members, headquartered in central, western and eastern Macedonia, Thrace and Ioannina, through telephone interviews and on the basis of an electronic questionnaire.

    More specifically, 80 percent of the respondents were not satisfied with the course of Thessaloniki's, and Northern Greece's in general, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or with the rate of investments in the wider region and the efficiency of the business concerns. Only 18.7 percent said they were satisfied, while 2.2 percent of the respondents were neutral.

    In addition, 46.7 percent of the respondents said they have not received a positive response to the everyday problems and the problems of industrial viability and growth, while 43.3 percent said they had received a positive response, and 8.9 percent were neutral.

    Over the past two years, 7.8 percent of the respondents said they had not made any investment whatsoever, while 12.2 percent said they did not intend to make any investment in their enterprises over the next two years.

    [11] Water resources management via cell phone

    The constant monitoring and operation of pumping stations via a mobile telephone, which will in actuality function as a central computer where information is collected, is now a fact, under a new method presented Sunday at a seminar at the Technical Chamber in Hania, Crete, Water Resources Management.

    According to speakers, monitoring the operation of an entire network or only one pumping station via cell phone is now feasible.

    Using a cell phone, users of the system can monitor the supply and consumption of water, occurrences and system malfunctions, and the current condition of the pumping station and reservoir, as well as give orders concerning their operation, engineer Manolis Kimionis told the seminar, adding that "with this system we can monitor and track broken pipes and water leakages, we can control the energy in the operation of a network".

    [12] Opinion poll: Short summer vacations this year, mainly in August

    Most Greeks will be taking relatively short vacations this summer, with the concentration chiefly in the month of August, according to a nationwide opinion poll conducted by KAPA Research on behalf of a local newspaper, the results of which appeared in the paper's Sunday edition.

    More specifically, to the question of which month they would select for their summer holiday, 55.1 percent of the respondents replied August, against 33 percent who said they would opt for July, 6.7 percent for September, and 2.2 percent for June, while 3.0 percent did not reply.

    Regarding the duration of the vacation, 31.2 percent of the respondents said they would go away on holiday for only one week, while 22.2 percent said 10 days, and 15.8 percent said one month.

    In addition, the most popular holiday destination was Halkidiki, preferred by 33.3 percent of the respondents, followed by Crete with 8.2 percent.

    The nationwide opinion poll was conducted from April 16 to 18 on a sampling of 900 men and women, of which 300 were in Thessaloniki.

    [13] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.375

    Pound sterling 0.687

    Danish kroner 7.509

    Swedish kroner 9.216

    Japanese yen 164.06

    Swiss franc 1.656

    Norwegian kroner 8.203

    Cyprus pound 0.586

    Canadian dollar 1.535

    Australian dollar 1.655

    General News

    [14] Supreme Court president addresses event on combating corruption

    The National Centre for Public Administration and the Public Administration Inspectors' and Auditors' Corps organised a two-day event in Kalamata on the weekend on the theme "contribution of the auditing mechanisms to the improvement of administrative action, combating corruption and modernising public administration".

    Supreme Court president Romylos Kedikoglou attended the event, and delivered a brief greeting, in which he stressed that corruption was a problem faced by society not only in Greece but throughout Europe.

    Referring to corruption in the private sector, he said that the authoritative inspection and audit mechanisms needed to focus their attention on preventing the phenomenon.

    [15] Police exchange gunfire with 'mystery car' occupants

    Police exchanged gunfire with the two occupants of a car in Halkiades, near the town of Farsala in central Greece, at dawn on Saturday. The car ultimately managed to escape, while none of the policemen was injured.

    The incident occurred when the car ignored a police roadblock and sped away, as one of its occupants fired at police patrol cars that gave chase. Police returned the fire and the ensuing chase lasted for some time before the car managed to get away.

    [16] More migrant smuggling arrests on Samos

    A total of 28 illegal immigrants were arrested by authorities on and near the coasts of the eastern Aegean island of Samos over the last 24 hours, reports stated on Saturday.

    The island, which lies very close to the opposite Asia Minor coast, has long been a favorite "pass" for Turkish migrant smugglers attempting to ferry mostly Third World migrants onto Greek territory.

    [17] World Dance Day celebrated in Kalamata

    The UN-designated World Dance Day (April 29) will be celebrated on Sunday night in Kalamata's Historic Centre.

    The event, to be held under the aegis of the Municipality of Kalamata, is supported by the Association of Athletic Dance "Xenia", the Historic Centre Organisation, and local professionals.

    [18] Sports

    Results of Greek Super League soccer matches played over the weekend, the next to last week of play:

    AEK Athens - Xanthi 0-0

    Iraklis Thessaloniki - Ionikos Piraeus 1-0

    Egaleo Athens - Olympiakos Piraeus 1-1

    Kerkyra - Ergotelis Crete 5-1

    Larissa - Panathinaikos Athens 1-1

    Atromitos Athens - PAOK Thessaloniki 2-1

    OFI Crete - Panionios Athens 3-1

    Aris Thessaloniki - Apollon Kalamaria 3-2

    Standings after 29 weeks of play:

    Olympiakos 68 points (Champion)

    AEK 62 (Champions League qualification round)

    Panathinaikos 53

    Aris 46

    OFI 42

    Panionios 42

    PAOK 42

    Atromitos 37

    Ergotelis 36

    Xanthi 36

    Apollon Kalamaria 35

    Kerkyra 34

    Larissa 33

    Iraklis 32

    Egaleo 28 (Relegated)

    Ionikos 4 (Relegated)

    Note: Ionikos has been deducted five points for disciplinary reasons.

    The Super League will end on May 13 with the following games:

    Apollon Kalamaria - Larissa

    Aris Thessaloniki - Atromitos Athens

    Ergotelis Crete - Egaleo Athens

    Ionikos Piraeus - Olympiakos Piraeus

    Panionios Athens - AEK Athens

    Panathinaikos Athens - Kerkyra

    PAOK Thessaloniki - OFI Crete

    Xanthi - Iraklis Thessaloniki

    All the teams with 36 points or more have been secured their presence in the first division for next season.

    Weather forecast

    [19] Mostly sunny on Monday

    Mostly fair weather is forecast throughout Greece on Monday, with local cloud in the afternoon on the mainland and chance of sporadic rainfall on high ground in central and northern Greece. Northwesterly winds light to moderate, turning to strong in the Aegean. Temperatures will range from 9C to 27C.

    Sunny in Athens, with temperatures ranging from 13C to 26C. Sunny in Thessaloniki, with local cloud in the afternoon on high ground, and temperatures ranging from 11C to 24C.

    [20] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The forced resignation of employment minister Savvas Tsitouridis, at the centre of an ongoing furor regarding mismanagement of state-run pension funds' reserves -- following confirmation of a press report that a close ministry aide (ministry special secretary Evgenios Papadopoulos) is the object of a judicial investigation for his role during the 1999-2000 stock market 'bubble', due to his representation of an off-shore company allegedly involved in the shady stock market transactions during that time -- mainly dominated the front pages of Sunday's newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "PASOK (main opposition party and preceding government) looting with EU funds - Ultimatum from Brussels: Bring back the 518 million euros!".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Karamanlis (prime minister) blow to the events - The premier yesterday (Saturday) requested the resignation of the employment minister (Tsitouridis)".

    AVGHI: "Missiles in Greece, too: The Greek diplomacy a front-runner in the Atlantic plans - The minister confirms, the ministry 'corrects' ".

    AVRIANI: "Karamanlis beheaded Savvas (Tsitouridis) over the laundering of Panousis' 'bubbles' ". Panayotis Panousis was one of 13 businessmen found guilty by an Athens court in March 2005 and served with a suspended sentence and heavy fine over the 1999 share manipulation affair on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE).

    CHORA: "May Day brings increases to workers and unemployed".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Archbishop (Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece) will visit the grave of Grivas-Digenis (Cyprus-born decorated general in the Greek Army who organised the EOKA and EOKA-B organisations, and died in Limassol in January 1974) - With respect to history and traditions, on his (week-long) visit to Cyprus (which begins on Sunday), he will officiate at a memorial service".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "End to tolerance - From the 'relatives' to the bonds and the bubble-stock - Tsitouridis' course on the way out".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The fire that burned Savvas - Evgenios Papadopoulos, who is being investigated in the bubble-stock scandal, the fateful person in the Tsitouridis resignation".

    EPOCHI: "Too late for tears, Costas (Karamanlis) - Ousting of Tsitouridis".

    ETHNOS: "Low-down directing with resignation and pronouncement - How Maximos Mansion (government headquarters) set up the 'show' of Tsitouridis' beheading".

    KATHIMERINI: "Karamanlis' rage, end for Tsitouridis - Kathimerini's revelation Saturday on the employment ministry's special secretary led to the ousting of the minister, after a dramatic behind-the scenes yesterday morning at the Maximos Mansion".

    LOGOS: "Karamanlis sackings - Plans to exit the bonds affair crisis".

    NIKI: "Resignation from the responsibilities - Tsitouridis sacrificed, aimed at cover-up".

    PARON: "Heads are falling - He ousted Tsitouridis, Magginas takes his place - Whose turn is next?" Ruling New Democracy (ND) parliamentary spokesman Vassilis Magginas, a long-time parliamentarian that also served as the party's spokesman in the mid 1990s, will be sworn in on Sunday to replace Tsitouridis.

    PROTO THEMA: "He succumbed - He ousted Tsitouridis, they confess the graft - Karamanlis' first personal political shipwreck".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "MAY DAY 2007 with PAME - Class struggle for our rights, for radical changes".

    TO VIMA: "Tsitouridis beheaded - Karamanlis forced him to resign - A close Tsitouridis aide the target of the prosecutor's office".

    VRADYNI: "OEK (Workers' Housing Organisation) giving out 10,000 apartments - Special programme for the island regions".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [21] EP delegation, headed by Cypriot MEP, visits Palestinian areas

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    A high level European Parliament delegation, headed by Cypriot MEP Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, begins a six-day visit to the Palestinian areas on Sunday.

    A European Parliament press release says the delegation is visiting Palestine at a crucial time following the formation of the Palestinian National Unity government and the relaunching of the Arab League initiative that have raised hopes for a breakthrough and progress towards a solution of the Palestinian problem.

    The delegation will discuss this and various aspects of the problem with high level representatives of the Palestinian legislative council and the Palestinian government, and will reiterate the position that the killing of and attacks on civilians is only increasing tensions and is jeopardising prospects for a solution.

    Furthermore, it will echo the various appeals for the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston.

    [22] Christodoulos arrives in Cyprus on Sunday

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos arrives here Sunday on a week long visit, at the invitation of the primate of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II.

    The visit begins on Sunday, with the official welcome ceremony at Larnaca Airport, where Christodoulos will be met by his host, members of the Holy Synod (the top decision making body of the Church of Cyprus), Minister of Education and Culture Akis Kleanthous and the Greek ambassador in Nicosia Demetris Rallis.

    On Monday Christodoulos will attend a church service, and later on he will be received by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.

    He will meet the Bishop of the Turkish-occupied town of Kyrenia Pavlos, and in the afternoon he will pay his respects to the graves of Greek Cypriots killed by British forces during the anti-colonial liberation struggle in the mid 1950s.

    On Tuesday, May 1, the visiting Archbishop will meet Morphou Bishop Neofytos at his temporary seat in the village of Evryhou (Morphou has been under Turkish occupation since 1974) and then proceed to Kykko Monastery to meet Kykko Bishop Nikiforos, before heading to Paphos, on the western coast, to see the local Bishop Georgios.

    The following day, Wednesday, Christodoulos will visit Limassol to meet Mayor Andreas Christou and the local Bishop Athanasios.

    Larnaca is the next stop to meet Kition Bishop Chrysostomos.

    During his stay, he will visit various monasteries, museums, schools, the Greek Embassy, the ceasefire line in Derynia, on the east, and other important sites.

    On Saturday he will see Archbishop Chrysostomos and the members of the Holy Synod in Nicosia and on the last day of his visit he will attend a special church service during which the primate of the Church of Cyprus will decorate the visiting Archbishop with the highest award the Autocephalous Church in Cyprus can bestow on any person, the medal of St. Barnabas, the founder of the Church of Cyprus. He leaves on Sunday evening.

    [23] Spanish FM on official visit to Cyprus

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Angel Moratinos begins an official visit to Cyprus on Monday, during which he will be received by President Tassos Papadopoulos and will hold official talks with his Cypriot counterpart George Lillkas.

    According to the programme of the visit, on Monday morning Moratinos will meet with Mayor of Nicosia Eleni Mavrou and will be received by President Papadopoulos, followed by a meeting with Lillikas and official talks.

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