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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-07-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 14 July 2009 Issue No: 3244


  • [01] PM Karamanlis meets Spain's Zapatero
  • [02] Bakoyannis on refugee issues
  • [03] Inquiry into corruption in prisons
  • [04] Symi Symposium on Skiathos
  • [05] Development minister in Bucharest Tuesday
  • [06] PASOK criticises sale of Thessaloniki water utility
  • [07] Athens's hotels occupancy rates down 16.6 pct in Jan-May
  • [08] Greek stocks end slightly lower
  • [09] Greek bond market closing report
  • [10] ADEX closing report
  • [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [12] Journalist Athanasiadis addresses ELIAMEP event
  • [13] Charms of electrum at Thessaloniki's Archaeological Museum
  • [14] Sunny on Tuesday
  • [15] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [16] President Christofias: Guaranties not necessary after a Cyprus solution
  • [17] ECHR rejects Turkish demands relating to Greek Cypriot applications

  • [01] PM Karamanlis meets Spain's Zapatero

    Madrid (ANA-MPA / C. Melissopoulos)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Monday with his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero while on an official visit to Spain.

    Their talks focused on the problem of illegal migration and the ongoing global economic crisis, as well as bilateral issues.

    Responding to questions, Karamanlis stated that the outcome of the European Parliament elections was not indicative of the national election results and referring to the government's economic policy, he stressed that its primary goal was not to impose revenue-raising measures but to adopt structural reforms. "This is what we are trying to do and what will eventually be done," he underlined.

    Regarding illegal migration, the Greek premier said that tackling this was a priority for Europe and stressed that Greece was working closely with its EU partners and on a bilateral level with Mediterranean countries in order to come up with solutions.

    "The growing problem of illegal migration demands European solidarity and can only be solved together," he underlined.

    According to Karamanlis, resolving the problem required a three-level approach: firstly, dealing by adopting common policies on a European level, secondly on a national level and thirdly, through policies for the economic support of countries immigrants originated from.

    Karamanlis noted also that Greece was both willing and obliged to work with Turkey for the re-admission of immigrants and underlined that Turkey "is not upholding the agreement it has signed with our country satisfactorily."

    "We support Turkey's European prospects, on condition that the terms that have been agreed are met. Our position is clear: full accession and full compliance. Turkey must cooperate more effectively with Greece and the EU," the Greek premier stressed.

    Karamanlis also referred to EuroMediterranean cooperation, saying that this acted as a "bridge" for bringing non-EU countries of the Mediterranean closer to the EU to discuss tackling illegal immigration.

    Talking about the impact of the global economic crisis, the Greek premier said that this had been milder in Greece than many other European countries but had led to a problem with fiscal balances that was largely due to the large public debt built up in previous decades.

    Zapatero, on his part, noted the good level of bilateral relations between the two countries, saying that they had almost identical views on the vast majority of issues. He also agreed on the need for a common approach to tackling illegal immigration within the framework of the EU, while noting that collaboration and diplomatic cooperation with the immigrants' origin and transit countries was of "fundamental importance".

    He said that reinforcing Frontex was among the goals of the Spanish presidency, as well as ensuring that the EU worked steadily to ensure that re-admission treaties were honoured and that EU immigration policy was accompanied by close cooperation with the origin and transit countries so that it might bring results.

    Earlier, Karamanlis had a meeting with the leader of the Spanish opposition, Popular Party president Mariano Rajoy. No comments were made afterwards.

    [02] Bakoyannis on refugee issues

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday stressed the necessity of finding a balance between the need to protect Greece's borders and that of protecting the right of asylum of refugees forced to abandon their homes. She was addressing an event organised by the Greek office of the UN High Commission for Refugees in order to raise public awareness of refugee issues, with the support of the Greek foreign ministry.

    The minister reiterated the need for "European solidarity in practice and not just in words" to countries like Greece, which found themselves on the front lines of the immigration wave.

    Referring to Sunday's events in the port city of Patras, where authorities tore down a makeshift encampment occupied mainly by illegal migrants on the city's coastal road, the minister stressed that the situation had dragged on for 12 years and was a "blight on Greek civilisation". The people living there would now be placed in government hostels, with first priority going to the children, she said.

    Bakoyannis noted that the migration was a global problem, with refugees numbering some 42 million people worldwide according to figures in 2008, while many were people displaced within the borders of their own countries.

    The minister stressed that 80 percent of refugees currently burdened developing nations, with the largest numbers during 2008 recorded in Pakistan (1.8 million), Syria (1.1 million), Iran (1.0 million), Germany (600,000) and Jordan (500,000).

    She stressed that the foreign ministry had been working with UNHCR on the current public awareness campaign long before the issue came to the top of the political and news agenda and a long time before the Euro polls.

    Responding to questions about the attitudes of the public to migrants, Bakoyannis was careful to distinguish between refugees and immigrants, stressing that refugees were not just people who left their homes in search of better fortunes but people fleeing civil war and religious or racial persecution.

    "This difference has to become understood," she stressed, while underlining the need for European solidarity toward Greece, which needed infrastructure and funds in order to balance the needs of protecting borders with the need to provide asylum.

    The minister also referred to instances when asylum requests were made without justification, pointing out that it was often hard to distinguish between genuine refugees and economic migrants due to a lack of necessary infrastructure in their country of origin that might confirm their identity and because of the persecution that they might be subjected to there.

    "Our European partners know these things," she underlined, summarising Greece's positions for common action and a common approach, political pressure on third countries to honour readmission agreements and making funds available for the guarding of borders and providing asylum.

    She also called for a policy of preventative intervention by the EU to avert conflicts in developing countries and better coordination in the provision of developmental aid in order to combat the causes of poverty and promote growth in the countries where migrants originated.

    "The EU has not yet sent money to Pakistan, which faces a huge problem with internal migration. Developments are occurring much more quickly than we make decisions," Bakoyannis underlined.

    The minister expressed conviction that Greek society was neither racist nor xenophobic, in spite of some negative "reflexes" generated by the sudden sharp increase of immigrants in a country, which had gone from being an almost entirely uniform culture with a single religion to a society with more than 12 percent immigrants in less than a single generation.

    Referring to neighbouring Turkey, meanwhile, Bakoyannis said that Turkey was failing to honour an agreement for the re-admission of immigrants, many of whom came to Greece from its shores.

    "This must be respected and we must work together to clamp down on organised crime and the EU must help Turkey sign readmission treaties with its neighbours so that it can cope with its own problems with immigration," she stressed.

    [03] Inquiry into corruption in prisons

    Justice Minister Nikolaos Dendias on Monday announced the start of a judicial inquiry into what is going on in Greek prisons with the interrogation of prison staff, to be supervised by Supreme Court Deputy Public Prosecutor Anastasios Kanello-poulos.

    The minister also announced a meeting of appeals court prosecution offices throughout the country to discuss corruption within the correctional system.

    In another announcement, the ministry said that the Grevena prisons would become class C high-security prisons by the end of this month and that all inmates serving long sentences will be transferred there.

    A Hania first-instance court public prosecutor currently carrying out an preliminary inquiry into the actions of the Agia agricultural prisons governor Mihalis Kyriakakis has been given an additional three days in order complete his investigation, so that he can also examine witnesses suggested by Kyriakakis.

    In the meantime, Dendias ordered that two prison guards at Larissa prison be placed on suspension after their names cropped up in tapped telephone conversations between members of the gang responsible for the kidnap of ship owner Periklis Panagopoulos.

    [04] Symi Symposium on Skiathos

    The 12th Symi Symposium taking place on the Aegean island of Skiathos, debated on Monday the current world economic crisis in its global, european and Greek aspects.

    Economist Joseph Stiglitz analysed the global aspect of the crisis, former Swedish minister Leif Pagrotsky focused on the European aspect while Greece's main opposition PASOK economic rapporteur Louka Katseli referred to present Greek economic and political realities.

    Financial News

    [05] Development minister in Bucharest Tuesday

    Development Minister Kostis Hatzisakis will be in Bucharest on Tuesday for a working visit at the invitation of Romanian Economy Minister Andriean Videanu, it was announced on Monday.

    Hatzidakis will also attend a dinner hosted in his honour by the Greek-Romanian Chamber.

    [06] PASOK criticises sale of Thessaloniki water utility

    The head of main opposition PASOK's economic sector, Louka Katseli, on Monday criticised a government decision to sell 23.02 percent of the Thessaloniki water and drainage utility EYATh to a strategic investor as a "panic" reaction.

    "The New Democracy government is continuing, in the face of the fiscal derailment that it has itself created and in a panic at the collapse of state revenues, to sell off public property. After a decision for the sale of an additional 5 percent of the state's share in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to Deutsche Telekom (DT), it is today making the first step for selling EYATh to a strategic investor by saleeing the 23.02 percent that the Greek State currently owns," she said.

    She challenged the government to explain what purpose the sale would have apart from raising additional revenue and how it would benefit the public.

    [07] Athens's hotels occupancy rates down 16.6 pct in Jan-May

    Athens' hotels on Monday reported a 16.6 pct drop in average room occupancy rates, a 5.1 pct decline in average price per room and a 20.8 pct drop in total revenues per available room in the first five months of the year.

    A monthly report, compiled by GBR Consulting, and published by the Association of Athens-Attica Hoteliers, said the occupancy rate fell to 55.4 pct while average price per room was 110.47 euros. The report showed that Athens recorded the lowest occupancy rate among 11 European cities and the fifth lowest room price.

    The association said the figures confirmed its disappointing forecasts made late last year and noted that Athens -as a travel destination- could resist pressures on hotel room prices but on the precondition that a well organised effort to reverse this negative climate was underway. The association said a new focused promotion of Athens as a city break destination was needed, along with completion of procedures to creating a congress center in Athens and resolving cabotage problems for the support of sea cruise.

    [08] Greek stocks end slightly lower

    Greek stocks edged lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index of the market losing 0.12 pct to end at 2,103.67 points. Turnover was a low 138.7 million euros, of which 10.2 million were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower, with the Technology (1.77 pct), Constructions (1.64 pct) and Telecommunications (1.23 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Travel (0.78 pct), Media (0.58 pct) and Chemicals (0.56 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 0.01 pct, the FTSE 40 index eased 0.71 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.34 pct higher. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 113 to 97 with another 47 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.73%

    Industrials: +0.18%

    Commercial: -0.28%

    Construction: -1.64%

    Media: +0.58%

    Oil & Gas: -0.44%

    Personal & Household: -0.81%

    Raw Materials: -0.46%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.78%

    Technology: -1.77%

    Telecoms: -1.23%

    Banks: +0.35%

    Food & Beverages: -1.11%

    Health: -1.20%

    Utilities: +0.39%

    Chemicals: +0.56%

    Financial Services: -0.40%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, PPC and Hellenic Postbank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 7.55

    ATEbank: 1.41

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.40

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.61

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.04

    National Bank of Greece: 16.30

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.30

    Intralot: 4.00

    OPAP: 18.00

    OTE: 10.43

    Bank of Piraeus: 7.03

    Titan Cement Company: 18.22

    [09] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 462 million euros on Monday, of which 225 million were buy orders and the remaining 237 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 375 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 178 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 5.01 pct and the German Bund 3.23 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.42 pct, the six-month rate 1.22 pct, the three-month rate 0.99 pct and the one-month rate 0.62 pct.

    [10] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.0 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising slightly to 64.367 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,552 contracts worth 55.138 million euros, with 25,098 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 10,048 contracts worth 9.229 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,532), followed by PPC (605), GEK (609), Cyprus Bank (605), Hellenic Postbank (2,023), Eurobank (288), MIG (360) and OTE (435).

    [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.408

    Pound sterling 0.874

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 11.140

    Japanese yen 130.06

    Swiss franc 1.525

    Norwegian kroner 9.142

    Canadian dollar 1.636

    Australian dollar 1.815

    General News

    [12] Journalist Athanasiadis addresses ELIAMEP event

    Greek journalist Iason Athanasiadis, a Washington Post correspondent, delivered a lecture Monday on "Recent elections in Iran: a personal testimony", organised by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP).

    Athanasiadis was incarcerated for three weeks at Tehran's Evin Prison on espionage allegations, following demonstrations after June's presidential elections in Iran.

    Athanasiadis referred to the election period, which he termed "troubled" and the difficult hours of his detention. He put emphasis on what he called "great difference of political expectations between the middle bourgeois strata, which feel that the country's present leadership does not fit them, and the peasantry, which votes for the current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

    According to the journalist, Ahmadinejad disboursed great sums of money for infratructures in the undeveloped Iranian provinces.

    Referring to the suppression of demonstrators after the announcement of the election results, Athanasiadis said that police used exteme violence.

    He said that the policemen who arrested him at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport belonged to a private police, "who immediately started hitting" him. While in detention, he was "tortured in order to admit, by signing a declaration, that I was a British secret agent."

    "I was saved from the nightmare thanks to the Greek diplomacy and mainly to Greece's Ambassador to Iran Mr. Nikolaos Garilidis. I was liberated thanks to him and my Greek passport," Athanasiadis said.

    [13] Charms of electrum at Thessaloniki's Archaeological Museum

    Charms and jewelry made of electrum dating back to the Mycenaean Era and the Roman Times will go on display at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki this month, in an exhibition titled "The magic of electrum: charms and jewelry from Magna Grecia and Macedonia" that begins on Wednesday, July 22 and runs until Feb. 15, 2010.

    One hundred eighty masterpieces made of electrum as well as other objects made of metals and bones coming from the Basilicata tombs in the south of Italy dating back to the 8th and 4th centuries BC will be on display with electrum objects unearthed in burial grounds in Macedonia, north Greece, dating back to the Mycenaean Era and Roman eras.

    The exhibition is co-organized by the Archaeological Museums of Thessaloniki and Potenza in collaboration with the Italian Education Institute (Istituto Italiano di Cultura - Salonicco) of Thessaloniki.

    Weather forecast

    [14] Sunny on Tuesday

    Mostly sunny weather is forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds variable, light to moderate, but rising to 7 Beaufort around the islands of the Aegean. Temperatures ranging between 16C and 35C. Sunny in Athens, with light winds and temperatures between 20C and 34C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures between 20C and 32C.

    [15] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Arrests of more members of the organised crime gang, the Siemens case and possible new taxes were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The opinion poll ludicrousness resumes just days after governmental decision regulating the operation of polling companies".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Christoforakos (fugitive Siemens Hellas former CEO who was recently arrested in Germany) coming - By September he will have been extradited to Greece by the German authorities".

    AVRIANI: "New wave of arrests of organised crime gang and terrorist group members - Gigantic joint operation by EYP (National Information Service) and Security Police".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Poorer every year - The citizens' income devoured by taxes and loan payments".

    ESTIA: "When early general elections are allowed - The Constitution is systematically violated".

    ETHNOS: "They're concealing the taxes until the elections - Government trying to gain political time".

    TA NEA: "5-year 'bomb' for 150,000 women - Across the board increase in retirement ages (for women) in 2013".

    VRADYNI: "Alliances being sought on the national issues and combating illegal migration - Karamanlis' crucial meetings with Zapatero and Berlusconi (the prime ministers of Spain and Italy respectively, with whom Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis will meet in Madrid on Monday and Rome on Wednesday)".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [16] President Christofias: Guaranties not necessary after a Cyprus solution


    Cyprus does not need guaranties after the solution of the Cyprus problem, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias said Monday.

    The Cypriot President clarified that he has not given any alternative suggestions for the continuations of the guarantor system and reiterated, "Our position is that Cyprus does not need any guaranties".

    In statements to the Press after a visit he paid Monday to the Institute of Neurology and Genetics, President Christofias underlined that "the people of Cyprus have suffered as a result of the guarantors," adding that he does not suggest Cypriots or some Cypriots do not bear any responsibility.

    However, he said, "as people who have suffered we would not like the continuation of guaranties. We have stated this position in public and during the negotiations, we submitted our argu-mentation to support it, and the negotiation process continues."

    Finally, Christofias dismissed comments regarding the negotia-tions and namely the issue of "red lines", underlining that he does not discusses or accepts any red lines set by Turkey.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island.

    President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat began the discussion of issues relating to guarantees, during their 36th meeting on July 9.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [17] ECHR rejects Turkish demands relating to Greek Cypriot applications


    The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has recently rejected two Turkish demands regarding Greek Cypriot applications against Turkey, concerning property claims.

    Turkey demanded that 12 appeals by Greek Cypriots, for which the Court had condemned Turkey, are referred to the Court's plenary.

    Moreover, Turkey demanded that 20 more Greek Cypriot applications against Turkey are "frozen". The ECHR has rejected both demands.

    In statements to CNA, lawyer Achilleas Demetriades said that the rejection of Turkey's first demand by the Court is a very important development, since this decision reaffirms the current position of the Court, namely that Turkey continues to violate human rights of Greek Cypriots who have properties in the areas which are under Turkish occupation since 1974.

    He added that after the summer break the Court would decide on the amount of damages that Turkey would have to pay for violating the property rights of Greek Cypriots.

    What is important, he said, is that the Court has found Turkey guilty of violating human rights of Greek Cypriots.

    "This means that Turkey must allow those people to return to their properties", Demetriades said.

    He added that the ECHR has rejected one more Turkish demand regarding 20 Greek Cypriot applications against Turkey.

    Turkey demanded that the Court "freezes" those applications, which were ruled admissible, until the Court examines eight applications by Greek Cypriots against Turkey, which have been declared by the Court as pilot cases, regarding the future of the so-called "Turkish Cypriot immovable property commission".

    The ''commission'', set up in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, seeks to be considered as an effective domestic remedy to which Greek Cypriots must first apply with regard to claims on their property.

    Demetriades, who is representing some of the applicants, expressed optimism about the Court's ruling regarding the 20 cases.

    "The Court has informed us that it would proceed with the examination of violations for the 20 applications which have already been declared admissible. We believe that possibilities are very good, given the case law of the Court, as confirmed by this rejection", Demetriades told CNA.

    He also recalled that the execution of two more cases of Greek Cypriots against Turkey is pending.

    The first case concerns Greek Cypriot refugee Myra Xenides Aresti. In 2005 the ECHR found Turkey guilty of violation of the applicant's right to enjoy peacefully her property in Turkish occupied Famagusta and has ordered damages reaching 890,000 euro.

    The second case concerns Greek Cypriot refugee Ioannis Demades. The Court ordered Turkey in April 2008 to pay 830,000 euro for loss of use of his property in the northern coastal town of Kyrenia, occupied by Turkish troops since the Turkish invasion in 1974.

    Property claims is one of the main negotiating chapters between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, within the context of direct negotiations, which began last September with an aim to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Following the Turkish invasion and military occupation of the northern part of the island, Turkey forcibly expelled from their homes more than 162,000 Greek Cypriots.

    Greek Cypriot owners of property in the occupied areas are still being denied access, control, use and enjoyment of their properties as well as any compensation for interference with their property rights.

    A large proportion of the properties from which Greek Cypriot owners were expelled, was unlawfully distributed and is currently being used by tens of thousands of Turkish settlers illegally brought into the occupied area by Turkey to change the demographic structure of Cyprus.

    Moreover, unprecedented illegal construction is taking place on land which belongs to Greek Cypriots who were forced to abandon the occupied areas during the Turkish invasion.

    The European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey guilty of violating relevant articles of the Convention for Human Rights for refusing to allow the return of Greek Cypriot refugees to their homes and for denying them access and use of their property.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of the island since 1974, in violation of numerous UN resolutions calling for their immediate withdrawal.

    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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