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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-07-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 6 July 2009 Issue No: 3237


  • [01] PM Karamanlis to meet supreme courts' leaderships on Monday
  • [02] Papoulias interview with Belgrade's 'Politika'
  • [03] Patriarchs join for mass in Fanar
  • [04] Iran releases journalist Iason Athanasiadis
  • [05] FM Bakoyannis expresses satisfaction over release of Greek journalist by Iran
  • [06] Nimetz urges 'flexibility' to solve name dispute
  • [07] Papandreou: change requires autonomy of politics
  • [08] Papariga slams effort to control party funding at KKE youth event
  • [09] Papariga interview in 'Kosmos tou Ependyti'
  • [10] LAOS leader addresses party's 4th conference
  • [11] Markoyiannakis: illegal immigration a 'national issue'
  • [12] Markoyiannakis calls for greater support for police
  • [13] Zagoritis calls for changes in ND
  • [14] Spiliotopoulos: exam system has reached its limits
  • [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [16] Gang behind ship-owner kidnapping
  • [17] Dragon houses symposium held in Styra
  • [18] The Cretaquarium sea world park on Crete
  • [19] Fire brigade receives 105 calls because of rain
  • [20] Fire in toy workshop extinguished
  • [21] Swine flu cases in Greece rise to 147
  • [22] Explosion at venue frequented by young people
  • [23] Worry-beads to inmate found packed with heroin
  • [24] Police catch two with 5 kilos cannabis
  • [25] Two pedestrians killed, one injured in motor accidents
  • [26] Weak tremor recorded off Sithonia
  • [27] Anti-establishment group torches ministry building
  • [28] Rain on Monday
  • [29] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
  • [30] Spokesman: Greek Cypriot side not satisfied with progress at the talks so far
  • [31] House President: 'We do not accept a solution giving guarantor rights to Turkey'

  • [01] PM Karamanlis to meet supreme courts' leaderships on Monday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will hold successive meetings with the leaderships of the Supreme Court, the Council of State and the Auditing Council on Monday.

    Karamanlis will be meeting with the Supreme Court president and vice president at 12 noon, with the Council of State president and vice president at 12:30 p.m. and the Auditing Council president and vice president at 1 p.m.

    [02] Papoulias interview with Belgrade's 'Politika'

    In an interview printed by the Belgrade newspaper "Politika" on Saturday, Greek President Karolos Papoulias said that Greece supported Serbia's efforts to join the European Union and noted that their success would depend on the progress of carrying out necessary reforms. Papoulias gave the interview during a two-day official visit to Serbia this week.

    The Greek president described EU enlargement as "the most important and most successful policy of the EU, since it led to the creation of a zone of security and prosperity for all European citizens".

    He also pointed out that Greece, as European Council president in 2003, had contributed to making the inclusion of the western Balkans into united Europe an official political position of the Community.

    "Greece supports the European prospects of Serbia, supports the reforms that are being carried out and hopes that the efforts will soon bear fruit and the European vision will be fulfilled," he stressed.

    He noted that bilateral relations between the two countries were at a very good level, with shared positions on a number of issues, while there was also rapid growth of economic relations, in spite of the economic crisis.

    Papoulias pointed out also, that Greece accounted for most foreign capital investments and that Serbia was an important market for Greek products, while Greece was also contributing to Serbia's development through the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans.

    On the issue of Kosovo, Papoulias said that Greece was in favour of a mutually accepted solution based on international law achieved through dialogue, which respected human and minority rights and did not create "winners and losers".

    Regarding Greece's dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the name issue, Papoulias said that Athens would continue to work for a solution of the name issue in the framework of international law and was waiting for Skopje's leadership to finally display the required political will and approach the talks in a constructive spirit.

    [03] Patriarchs join for mass in Fanar

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Visiting Moscow and All Russia Patriarch Kirill I joined Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the mass at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar on Sunday, in what he later described as "the most important event of our visit".

    The new Russian Patriarch further reinforced the message of unity that his visit is designed to promote and referred to the strong historic bonds between the two Churches, in ritual and in the monastic traditions they observed.

    "Our common tradition is the steady basis of our joint witness toward the modern world," Patriarch Kirill added.

    "To the conditions in which religion is pushed to the sidelines of social life, when even the meaning of sin itself is eradicated, when traditional moral values are radically revised and on the base of the economy we place the principle of profit, we have an obligation to unite our efforts to defend the rules of the gospel and formulate a universal Orthodox reply to the challenges of the times," he stressed.

    In his reply, Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the important decisions taken by the Fourth PanOrthodox PreConsciliar Conference at Chambesy in Geneva, praising the constructive cooperation and the contribution of the Moscow Patriarchate in the success of this conference, which manage to resolve one of the most thorny problems for the course of the Orthodox Church.

    Bartholomew stressed that the administrative organisation of the Orthodox Church into independent Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches "in no way implies that we constitute Churches and not a Church".

    "The Orthodox Church does not, of course, have a primacy in power but it does not lack a coordinating organ, one that does not impose but expresses the unanimity to the local Churches," he said, adding that this ministry was "humbly practised by long and holy tradition" by the Patriarchate in Fanar in full compliance with the dictates of Orthodox ecclesiology.

    Patriarch Kirill stated that his "peaceful visit" to Fanar was the first of a series of visits to the Orthodox Churches around the world and "a good start for renewing the brotherly relations in Christ of the two great Orthodox Patriarchates of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ".

    "We must not forget that the Russian Church is linked by special ties to the first in the order of the holy Diptychs Patriarchal Throne of Constantinople. From this we received the enlighten-ment of the light of faith and the principles of scholarly wisdom, temple-building and agiography, the service and the whole variety of the ecclesiastical structure," he added.

    [04] Iran releases journalist Iason Athanasiadis

    Iran released Greek journalist Iason Athanasiadis on Sunday, according to reports by the AFP and Reuters news agencies.

    Athanasiadis, who works for the Washington Times, had been arrested during disturbances that had followed the recent presidential elections in the country.

    The journalist was released thanks to efforts by the Iranian embassy in Athens and that his press card was returned to him, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeman Hassan Qashqavi.

    The Greek embassy in Tehran confirmed that it is the journalist in question, who has both Greek and British citizenship.

    [05] FM Bakoyannis expresses satisfaction over release of Greek journalist by Iran

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis expressed her "profound satisfaction" on Sunday over the release of journalist Iason Athanasiadis by Iran.

    "I express my profound satisfaction over the release of Iasonas Athanasiadis. In close and continuous contact with the Iranian Foreign Ministry and under very difficult conditions for all, we ultimately had a favourable conclusion to this case," she said.

    "Iasonas Athanasiadis will be with us soon, with his family. I hope that these people will never again experience the anxiety of the past 15 days," Bakoyannis added.

    Athanasiadis, who had been arrested at Tehran airport on June 19, 2009, was due to leave Iran on Sunday night through the assistance of Greek Ambassador Garilidis.

    [06] Nimetz urges 'flexibility' to solve name dispute

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA - N. Frangopoulos)

    UN envoy Matthew Nimetz, the mediator in the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), said in statements on FYROM state television on Saturday that the name dispute could be solved by the end of the year if Greece and FYROM were both prepared to be "flexible".

    "If both sides make serious efforts regarding this issue, then there can be a solution by the end of the year," Nimetz said, while describing the name issue as "complex".

    "I will ask the negotiators of both countries to make serious efforts and work painstakingly. In Skopje, I will listen carefully to the positions of the country's leadership, so that we can make progress in the negotiating process," Nimetz said.

    The UN mediator will be in Skopje on Monday and Tuesday, after which he will travel to Athens, in order to talk to the leadership of both countries.

    [07] Papandreou: change requires autonomy of politics

    Support for measures that would make politics independent of "other interests" was voiced by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou in an article appearing in this Sunday's "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia" newspaper.

    "No change is possible without the autonomy of politics from any sort of interest," he stressed, referring to corruption as a critical problem that "embraces governments and the political system".

    "Because of the dominance, in the last decades, of neoliberal and neoconservative beliefs, the great wealth that has been generated both worldwide and on a national level has been allowed to accumulate in the hands of a few and very powerful people," he said.

    The question of autonomy for the political system was an issue of democracy, Papandreou added and identified dependence on all kinds of unmonitored interests - such as business, the media and others - as the "root of the evil".

    "Autonomy for politics will act as the starting point for a change of course for the country," PASOK's leader asserted, adding that this would require political will and a constant effort to come about.

    "It needs a government that feels indebted to no one, apart from the citizens that have placed their faith in it, and does politics accordingly. One whose main concern is the good of the country and public interest," he stressed.

    "This is not the current government. It is the PASOK government of tomorrow. And that is my personal promise," Papandreou concludes.

    [08] Papariga slams effort to control party funding at KKE youth event

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga addressed the 35th KNE-ODIGITIS festival organised by KKE's youth group in Piraeus on Saturday night, where she stressed the need to resist the dictates of the establishment as represented by the two main parties.

    "Submission and compliance, or counter-attack and opposition? This is the real political and ethical question that stands before us in our daily struggle against the rising problems, at ballot boxes today and tomorrow," Papariga said.

    According to KKE's leader, all mechanisms and organisations of the bourgeois political system were geared toward preventing the working classes and young people from considering this question. She accused ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, as well as the newly-emergent Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) of beginning a "brainwashing campaign" for the supposed cleansing of political life that was actually a front for a imposing a system of complete and totalitarian control on the activities of political parties, even those that were openly supportive of the system.

    "The collateral goal is to prevent through laws and Maniadakis-type orders the activity of any radical social and political forces, especially KKE," she claimed.

    Papariga went on to say that the main source of funding for KKE were the contributions paid by party members and the contributions of friends and supporters of the party, including workers, ordinary citizens and bodies "that understand the need for KKE's existence, for its action, independent of whether they agree with us on everything."

    "Our activities to acquire financial means must and are politically independent of business, we do not subjugate our policy to economic gain," she stressed.

    [09] Papariga interview in 'Kosmos tou Ependyti'

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga insisted that her party would not back any candidate for the post of Greek president, during an interview published by the Athens newspaper "Kosmos tou Ependyti" on Saturday.

    "We will not elect anyone for President of the Republic, regardless of who is proposed, because he or she will be obliged to sign the anti-working-class measures taken by the government, whether this is New Democracy or PASOK," she said.

    In reference to the ongoing Siemens investigation, she predicted that the two main parties and big capital would finally come to an agreement among themselves so that "they and their systems are not exposed".

    Criticising the policies of both main parties and the EU, she stressed that workers could raise obstacles to these if they placed their faith in KKE and organised their struggle in every work place and in every sector.

    With respect to migration, she called for joint action by Greeks and immigrants for the legalisation and protection of those wishing to stay in the country and to extricate those that wished to go to other countries in the EU.

    [10] LAOS leader addresses party's 4th conference

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis addressed his party's 4th conference on Saturday, calling for a "break with and overthrow of the rotten establishment".

    Analysing his party's new political theory of 'Patriotic Interventionism', which he described as the "answer to neoliberalism and socialism," Karatzaferis predicted that it was only a matter of time before the electorate entrusted the government to LAOS, as a result of the mistakes of the other parties but also LAOS's own successes.

    Among the highlights of Patriotic Interventionism he cited measures like a five-year military service for the unemployed with full pay and social insurance, or an allowance of free power and water for all.

    Pointing out that LAOS had been third party in several electoral precincts during the European Parliament elections in June, Karatzaferis said that the goal would be to make LAOS third party throughout the country and even main opposition, if the result led to a coalition government of the two main parties.

    [11] Markoyiannakis: illegal immigration a 'national issue'

    Illegal immigration was rapidly taking on the dimensions of a "national problem", according to Alternate Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis.

    Addressing an event on Friday night, Markoyiannakis said that Greek society was already aware of the issues, while Europe was also beginning to take action.

    "This is clear, after the last visit by European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot in Greece who, as I have been informed, stated in Brussels that the problem of illegal immigration is now extremely major for Greece," he said.

    The measures being taken were accepted by Greek society and the political parties and would soon bring about results, Markoyiannakis added.

    "Those who stay in Greece will be those that legally live, work and adapt to Greek society and in this way we will not have the problems arising from the uncontrolled presence of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants," the minister said.

    [12] Markoyiannakis calls for greater support for police

    Alternate Interior Minister for public order issues, Christos Markoyiannakis, called on Greek society to show greater support for the police force and its work. Speaking at a rotarian dinner in Hania on Friday night, Markoyiannakis stressed that police needed support and not just criticism.

    "What they are doing is a big thing. Not just criticism, but also support. Of course criticism when and where it is appropriate, but also support," the minister said, while referring to police officers that had fallen in the line of duty.

    No more immigrants say 93 pct of Greeks in survey

    An overwhelming majority of people in Greece believe that the country cannot accept any more immigrants, according to a survey carried out by the firm Public Issue and printed in the Sunday issue of the newspaper "Kathimerini".

    Asked if Greece had reached the limit of immigrants that it can accept, 93 percent of people answered 'yes' and only 4 percent said 'no'. Another 3 percent replied 'don't know, won't answer'.

    The newspaper noted the conservative swing in attitudes toward migration and pointed out that 72 percent of those asked consider that immigration policy is "less strict than it ought to be". In response to the same question the previous year, fewer than 65 percent agreed with that view.

    Asked to evaluate the impact of migration on Greece, 62 percent of those asked in 2009 consider it "probably harmful", up from 54 percent in the previous year.

    [13] Zagoritis calls for changes in ND

    Ruling New Democracy Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis on Sunday stressed in an interview with the paper "Kathimerini tis Kyriakis" that changes in the party were imperative and would be carried out. He was commenting on the results of the European Parliament elections.

    "I do not believe that the main responsibility for the result in a prefecture lies with the prefectural organisation of the party. Every result is caused by several factors," he added.

    Zagoritis repeated that ND funds had not received money from Siemens but he did not rule out the possibility for individuals, while noting that the Siemens case bears the "signature" of past PASOK governments, since it concerns deals worth billion that were signed between 1997-1998 and 2003, when PASOK was in government.

    [14] Spiliotopoulos: exam system has reached its limits

    "I don't think there is anyone who does not admit that the present examination system has reached its limits," Education and Religious Affairs Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said in an interview printed by this Sunday's edition of the newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis". He had been asked about the reforms envisioned to the current system for university entrance examinations.

    The government's intention was to create a reliable, technical exam system and an examination authority that was above dispute, with universities participating in the selection of their students, he said.

    "The aim is a system that will gradually restrict and finally eradicate the need for extra tuition outside schools," he added.

    According to Spiliotopoulos, the government hoped that the dialogue on reforming upper secondary schools and the exam system will have arrived at final conclusions by the autumn and that it could then proceed to make them into law.

    Commenting on the current state of education, the minister said that the time for changes and reforms had come several years ago but "it took some people several years to realise this".

    At the same time, he opposed the abolition of asylum in universities and said that Greece had an obligation under European law to incorporate directives that would legalise franchise colleges or 'Liberal Studies' centres.

    Financial News

    [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.412

    Pound sterling 0.863

    Danish kroner 7.505

    Swedish kroner 11.000

    Japanese yen 135.39

    Swiss franc 1.535

    Norwegian kroner 9.037

    Canadian dollar 1.633

    Australian dollar 1.769

    General News

    [16] Gang behind ship-owner kidnapping

    Sixteen people were charged on Saturday with criminal offences related to the kidnapping in January of ship-owner Periklis Panagopoulos and other crimes, based on evidence collected by a police investigation lasting more than six months.

    Ten individuals belonging to a gang that police say was behind the abduction appeared before a public prosecutor on Saturday morning, while five suspected members of the gang are already in prison. The 16th member of the gang is still at large and is being sought by police for other offences.

    All 16 were charged with forming a criminal organisation and acting in concert to carry out the kidnapping, while they also face charges of homicide and moral complicity in connection with the previously unsolved murder of George Gousios in Penteli in 2008.

    Other charges brought against them included that of causing explosions (again in connection with the Gousios murder), supplying and manufacturing explosives and aggravated cases of theft as a habitual practice and a means of livelihood, as well as charges of moral complicity for all the above.

    The case has now been assigned to the 25th examining magistrate, who has summoned the suspects to present their testimony on Wednesday and Thursday.

    The 74-year-old ship-owner was abducted in mid-January and was released unharmed a week later, after his wife had paid the kidnappers a ransom. The ship-owner was the second wealthy Greek businessman to be the victim of a kidnapping in the space of six months, after the northern Greek industrialist George Mylonas in June 2008.

    A police announcement released earlier on Saturday said that the gang was also involved in executing contract killings and other serious criminal offences, in addition to the kidnapping of Panagopoulos.

    Attica Security director Brigadier Yiannis Dikopoulos said the case had been cracked by the Crimes against Life department, while the National Intelligence Service had provided advanced surveillance equipment and assisted in actions that helped to locate the suspects.

    According to police, 10 members of the gang were involved in the kidnapping, while the remaining five were already in prison and a sixth was on the run, being sought for other offences.

    Police identified the gang's leader as Panagiotis Vlastos, an inmate serving time at Trikala prison for homicides, protection rackets and other offences.

    Other suspected members of the criminal gang that are already in custody were identified as Vassilis Stefanakos, Ioannis Skaftouros, Konstantinos Andreou and Servos Dejan alias Boban Ivanov or Rifstoschi.

    The 10 individuals arrested on Saturday, who were directly involved in the kidnapping, were identified as Apostolos Petrakis, Emmanouil Skarlatos, Aristomenes Kleftoyiannis, Georgios Katsaganis, Georgios Tromboukis, Ioannis Theodorakis, Haralambos Moustakas, Ioanna Vlastou (the widow of Spyridonas Vlastos), Polytimi Georga (the partner of Skaftouros), and Ioannis Thodis.

    The gang member still at large was identified as Panagiotis Soiledis or Soidelis.

    Of the above, the ones that physically carried out the kidnapping or were present included Petrakis, Katsaganis, Kleftoyiannis and Moustakas, while secondary roles were played by Tromboukis, Skarlatos, Vlastou and Thodis and Panagiotis Vlastos masterminded the operation from inside prison.

    In addition to the kidnapping, the group had carried out contract killings and several murder attempts and bomb attacks - including a contract to kill the police officers on their trail and the head of the police department coordinating the investigation.

    According to Dikopoulos, the group organised and carried out the murder of businessman George Gousios on September 12, 2008 and attempted to set a large bomb in the home of a business man in Arta but were prevented by the Attica Crimes Against Life department, which received a tip-off and arrested two members of the gang - Ivanov and a Bulgarian - while they were carrying the bomb.

    The gang is also accused of planning the contract killing of the Trikala prison governor and social worker because they had refused to grant Vlastos prison leave, and of making preparations for the murder of a nightclub owner that was averted through information obtained by police. The intended victim was then smuggled out of the country to Germany, so that he could be protected without forcing police to reveal what they knew and thus exposing their investigation.

    The group had also apparently planned the murder of a Malandrinos prison inmate that was an arch enemy of Vlastos and head of a rival criminal gang, intending to kill him when he was taken to court for trial by placing large quantities of explosives in a booby-trapped car and showering him with bullets from Kalashnikov rifles. That plan fell through, however, when the prisoner's transfer was moved to another date.

    Other planned murders attributed to the group included the killing of three individuals that were part of the rival criminal gang and of a businessman in Corinth, while they had also planned to place a bomb in a supermarket in Menidi in order to blackmail the owner.

    Police said they were continuing their investigation to uncover additional criminal actions by the same gang.

    Alternate Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis and Greek Police Chief Vassilis Tsiatouras arrived at Attica Security headquarters on Saturday afternoon and congratulated the detectives that cracked the case.

    "I came to congratulate the officers of Attica Security, who methodically and professionally succeeded in dismantling a criminal organisation that carried out extremely serious criminal acts," Markoyiannakis stated, while Tsiatouras also extended thanks to the National Intelligence Service for their assistance.

    [17] Dragon houses symposium held in Styra

    The first international symposium on the mysterious 'dragon houses' of Evia - a Greek island quite near the coast of Attica - was held in the municipality of Styra in the south of the island over the weekend. Some of the best known examples of the dragon houses - megalithic buildings who origin and method of construction are shrouded in mystery - are found in this part of the island.

    The three-day symposium entitled "Styria Gaia" attracted some of the top researchers of the Archaic, Neolithic and early Bronze Age eras in Greece.

    "We hope this symposium will be the start of a worldwide promotion of the dragon houses, an effort that is a life goal for me," said Styra Mayor Sofia Moutsou as she inaugurated the symposium at the Town Hall.

    The megalithic remains (whose defining characteristic are the massive stones used in their construction) are usually found in isolated, inaccessible spots on the flanks and summits of mountains in the area around Styra and Karystos.

    They are built of enormous pieces of schistolith and most are roughly rectangular in shape, though there is one circular dragon house in the 'Laka Palli' region of Styra. Both their precise age and their use by the ancient inhabitants of the region have so far defied discovery.

    Several foreign archaeologists, most of them having long experience of excavation in Greece, were among those attending, in addition to a large number of academics from Greece.

    The symposium, which ends on Sunday, was organised by the Styra municipality under the aegis of the University of the Aegean (Mediterranean Studies section) and sponsored by the Tourism ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO).

    [18] The Cretaquarium sea world park on Crete

    Summer and sea go hand in hand but normally the experience doesn't take you much beyond the first few metres surrounding a beach. At the Cretaquarium-Thalassocosmos park on the island of Crete people of all ages can now discover the hidden depths of the Mediterranean and its fascinating marine environment, have fun and let their imagination run wild.

    In addition to viewing the marine life in the aquariums, Cretaquarium has organised a number of activities targeting all age groups that are designed to offer visitors a very enjoyable day out and some new, unique experiences.

    Among these is a workshop where participants can make their own clay models of marine organisms and then paint them, or even "invent" their own organisms and equip them with the tools they need to survive in a specific environment, or "enact" their imagined organism in a group setting. These workshops take place every day throughout the summer months (until September 11), between 10:00-12:00 and 16:00-19:00.

    Alternatively, one can visit the specially designed 'touch pool' where visitors can observe and touch invertebrate marine species, feel the strange structures and adaptation of their bodies and experiment with touch. They also become acquainted with marine organisms within the aquarium, many of which are commonly found in Greek seas. Opening hours are 11:00-14:00 and 15:00-18:00 on all days of the week.

    Visitors can also observe divers enter the larger aquariums for routine maintenance and thus get an opportunity to see how marine animals react to the presence of humans, especially when they are offered food. The divers enter the pools at 13:00-14:00 each day, except weekends and holidays. On some days, there are also special shows put on with divers in specific tanks.

    One of the most impressive sights at Cretaquarium is the feeding of the animals, which are fed between 12:00-13:00 every day by the aquarium staff.

    The Cretaquarium building is part of the Thalassocosmos complex, the largest research, technology and entertainment centre in the Mediterranean.Thalassocosmos extends over 6 hectares in the northwest shoreward section of the former American Base at Gournes, Heraklion Prefecture.

    [19] Fire brigade receives 105 calls because of rain

    The fire brigade received 105 calls to pump out flooded premises and cut down dangerous trees during the heavy rainfall in Attica over the past 24 hours, according to an announcement on Sunday.

    [20] Fire in toy workshop extinguished

    A fire that broke out early on Saturday at a toy and gifts workshop at the Thermi industrial park in Thessaloniki has been completely extinguished, the fire brigade reported. The fire caused damage in the workshop's basement area and was put out by 15 fire-engines and 35 fire-fighters.

    [21] Swine flu cases in Greece rise to 147

    Seven new cases of swine flu have raised the total of diagnosed cases in Greece to 147, the National Centre for Health Operations (EKEPY) reported on Sunday. Of these, 54 cases have made a full recovery.

    The seven new incidents recorded are a 14-year-old Greek boy arriving in Greece from the UK, a 23-year-old Greek woman arriving from Germany, a 4-year-old Greek girl arriving from the U.S., an 18-year-old British woman arriving from the UK, a 33-year-old Greek man that had come into contact with an confirmed case of swine flu and a 23-year-old British man that came into contact with an confirmed case.

    EKEPY stressed that the flow of incidents was fully controlled and that there was no reason for concern.

    [22] Explosion at venue frequented by young people

    An incendiary device went off at around 3:00 on Sunday morning at a venue popular with young people on Makrygiannis Street in the centre of Thessaloniki.

    According to the Thessaloniki police, the explosion damaged the front of the venue, which was housed in the basement of a building, and also a car parked outside on Makrygiannis street. An investigation to find those responsible has begun.

    [23] Worry-beads to inmate found packed with heroin

    Hollowed-out worry-beads were the latest method devised in order to smuggle drugs into Larissa prison, authorities reported on Saturday. The 'worry-beads' - which were actually packed with heroin - had been sent by post to a 38-year-old inmate carrying out a seven-year sentence for theft. The 21 beads contained 4 grammes of heroin in total but were spotted in a routine check by prison guards.

    [24] Police catch two with 5 kilos cannabis

    Thessaloniki police on Saturday reported the arrest of two suspected drug traders, a Greek aged 54 and a foreign national aged 31, who were caught with five kilos of cannabis in their possession. The arrest was made on Friday night on the Thessaloniki-Mechaniona rural road, based on a tip-off.

    [25] Two pedestrians killed, one injured in motor accidents

    Two people were killed, one of them a 15-year-old girl, and a third was injured in motor accidents involving pedestrians reported on Saturday.

    One accident occurred on a rural road toward Cassandra in the prefecture of Halkidiki, when a 23-year-old driver ran over two girls aged 15 and 14 that were crossing the road. Both girls were taken to Thessaloniki's AHEPA hospital, where the 15-year-old later died of her injuries.

    In the second accident, a 31-year-old foreign national was run down by a car driven by a 78-year-old Greek driver. The accident occurred on Friday night on the rural road from Malgara to Kleidi in Halkidona.

    [26] Weak tremor recorded off Sithonia

    A weak earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale was recorded at 2:10 in the morning on Saturday. The epicentre of the quake was in the sea some 10 kilometres from the southern coast of the Sithonia peninsula in the northern Greek prefecture of Halkidiki.

    [27] Anti-establishment group torches ministry building

    The interior ministry's IT services building in the Athens district of Neos Kosmos was seriously damaged in an attack early on Saturday morning by a group of masked and hooded anti-establishment activists wielding petrol bombs and makeshift incendiary devices.

    Arriving at the building around 1:00 after midnight, the group of men broke windows and set fire to the ground floor, which was completely gutted, while the fire also spread to the mezzanine.

    The fire was put out by the fire brigade but the culprits escaped.

    Weather forecast

    [28] Rain on Monday

    Clear skies leading to showers and storms after midday are forecast on Monday, especially in the mainland and north. Winds from mainly western directions, ranging from 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures between 16C and 34C. Sunny in Athens, with cloud and some showers from the afternoon. Temperatures between 22C and 34C. Cloud in Thessaloniki, with temperatures between 21C and 32C.

    [29] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The Siemens bribery and kickbacks scandal and speculation about the presidential election dominated the front-page headlines in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Who stays in the 'heavy and hazardous' labour category" [article on reforms to the social insurance system].

    APOGEVMATINI: "Schools for a guaranteed job. Traps and opportunities in filling out the [university application forms]".

    AVGHI: "Labour and social insurance laws on the operating table".

    AVRIANI: "All the names of the gang that organised kidnappings and carried out contract killings".

    CHORA: "In Greece they are looking for a scapegoat in view of the elections. Exclusive: [fugitive Siemens case suspect] Christoforakos' lawyer talks to Chora".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "[LAOS leader] George Karatzaferis, they are begging that you will go to [ruling New Democracy] so that they can grab your party!"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Bargaining at Standelheim (Munich prison). Siemens scandal: battle in the trenches and multi-level negotiations with Christoforakos from the German prison".

    EPOCHI: "Rights of members, obligations of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA)"

    ETHNOS: "He claims readiness even if elections are held in March. 'Green light' from [Greek President Karolos] Papoulias to the moves by [main opposition PASOK leader George] Papandreou".

    KATHIMERINI: "US to Turkey: Stop overflights above the Aegean...Interview in 'K' with US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [30] Spokesman: Greek Cypriot side not satisfied with progress at the talks so far


    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that the Greek Cypriot side is not fully satisfied with the progress achieved so far at the negotiations between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who have held so far 35 meetings in the framework of direct negotiations which began last September, with a view to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    "We were expecting more progress. In various issues conver-gences and agreements have been achieved but in many others there are disagreements and divergences and especially in some important ones", the spokesman pointed out.

    Stephanou said that so far, despite the fact that some progress has been achieved, "overall we are not satisfied".

    But he stressed that "despite the non satisfactory progress, we will continue to work hard at the negotiations", noting that "there is no other way to reach a solution than the talks and negotiations between the two communities of Cyprus".

    He assured that the Greek Cypriot side will continue the direct negotiations, "with seriousness, responsibility, consistency to principles, determination and flexibility, in order to pave the way for a solution".

    The solution, he went on to add, must be based on the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, the UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus and the principles of European and international law.

    "We will continue pursuing a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation which is the historic compromise of the two communities. We are seeking the achievement of a comprehensive, mutually acceptable solution, which will be a compromising settlement, but will be based on principles, and for that it will be functional and viable", he said.

    Stephanou said that deadlocks and stagnation do not favor the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    "Deadlocks and stagnation do not favor the solution, they favor division, which constitutes a time bomb for the present and the future of our country and our people, and for this reason it is condemnable, rejected and no acceptable".

    He said that Cypriot President Demetris Christofias strives for the vindication of Cyprus and its people, to create those circumstances that would allow Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to live under conditions of peace, security and prosperity, in a common country where human rights and fundamental freedoms will be respected for everyone.

    Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

    [31] House President: 'We do not accept a solution giving guarantor rights to Turkey'


    The Greek Cypriot side does not accept a solution of the Cyprus problem that will give Turkey guarantor or intervention rights in Cyprus, President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian has stressed, noting that Ankara aims at a settlement of two states in Cyprus and a solution that does not even serve the interests of the Turkish Cypriot community.

    ''We do not accept a solution that would provide for a 'virgin birth' or give Turkey guarantor or intervention rights. We are ready for a historic compromise, for a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation but we reject a solution of confederation or two states", Garoyian noted on Sunday.

    Speaking at a memorial service for those who lost their lives fighting in Nicosia area during the Turkish invasion of the island in the summer of 1974, Garoyian said that the Greek Cypriot side is "ready for an honorable and just compromise but does not accept the closing of the Cyprus problem".

    The solution, he said, must end the Turkish occupation of the island, restore the unity of the state, its people, its institutions and end Ankara's policy to bring illegally Turkish settlers to Cyprus.

    Garoyian said that the Greek Cypriot side has the good will to work for the achievement of an agreed solution, but noted that Ankara insists on the Annan plan for a solution in Cyprus, which has been rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriot community during a referendum in April 2004.

    ''Unfortunately Ankara and its representative insist on the Annan plan. They pursue a solution of two states, insist on 'virgin birth', Turkish guarantor and intervention rights, refuse to discuss the issue of illegal settlers, refuse to implement the High Level Agreements and the UNSC resolutions, violate the principles of international law and avoide fulfilling Turkish obligations and commitments towards the EU", Garoyian has stressed.

    The House President noted that Turkey aims at a solution based on its own terms and its own strategic plans, "a solution that would not even serve the interests of Turkish Cypriots".

    Such a solution, he went on to note, will not be accepted by the Greek Cypriot side.

    He underscored that the people of Cyprus "will not accept the terms of the occupation force or sign a solution of suicide" under "conditions of blackmail or under the burden of the dilemma that this would be the last chance".

    Turkish intransigence and the tolerance of foreign countries towards Turkey keep the Cyprus problem unsolved for 35 years now, he said.

    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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