|Monday, 17 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-10-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 2 October 2010 Issue No: 3608
 Chinese premier Wen Jiabao arriving in Athens on SaturdayChinese Premier Wen Jiabao is due to arrive in Athens on Saturday for a three-day official visit that will be his first stop in a tour of Europe. It is also the first visit to Greece by a Chinese premier in the last 24 years and comes just two years after a visit to the country by Chinese President Hu Jintao in November 2008.
In an interview with the Chinese news agency Xinhua, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the visit was indicative of the "very strong strategic relationship" developing between the two countries, for the mutual benefit of both.
According to China's Ambassador in Athens Luo Linquan, the visit will further enhance strategic cooperation with Greece and the European Union as a whole and is yet another message to the world that China gives its 'vote of confidence' to Greece's economic prospects and is willing to assist Greece and the EU in overcoming the economic crisis.
Upon his arrival, Wen will be received by government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos at the airport and will meet Papandreou at the Greek prime minister's offices, where the two sides will sign a number of agreements, both between the two states and on a private level.
Talks between Wen and Papandreou are mainly centre on the shipping sector, given that Greece and China have the two largest commercial fleets in the world. Shipyards are expected to be another hot topic - with Greece currently building hundreds of ships i n China - along with container transport and the Chinese-operated container terminal in Piraeus port.
On Saturday evening the Greek prime minister will host a dinner in the Chinese premier's honour at the Acropolis Museum.
On Sunday, the Chinese premier is to visit the Athens Acropolis and the new Acropolis museum and then address the Greek Parliament, followed by a meeting and dinner with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias later the same day. He is also to meet wi th main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and visit Chinese facilities in Piraeus.
He departs Monday morning for Brussels, where he will take part in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the EU-China summit, and will later visit Italy and Turkey.
Wen arrives at the head of a large delegation of Chinese officials that will include the chinese ministers for commerce and development, the vice foreign affairs minister and the Chinese central bank governor.
 Government spokesman meets Chinese ambassadorThe ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Athens held a meeting with government spokesman George Petalotis on Friday focusing on the great importance that the Chinese side attributes to the visit to Greece by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, w hich begins on Saturday.
According to an announcement from the spokesman's office, the Chinese ambassador stressed that it is the first visit to be taking place 24 years after the previous visit by a Chinese premier, that this meeting constitutes a milestopne for the two countrie s' bilateral relations and aims at Greece's support.
In addition, it noted that the importance of cooperation at economic and commercial level upgrades Greece's role and the strategic relation of a partner with the People's Republic of China.
On his part, Petalotis pointed out that Premier Jiabao's visit expresses a vote of confidence for our country and for its people what is very friendly towards this country and with which it is linked with strong bonds of history and culture, respect and m utual appreciation.
Widened cooperation was also underlined at the level of facilitating Chinese journalistic missions and the preparation of informatory programmes in our country in the framework of the two countries' mutual acquaintance and rapprochement on issues of mutua l interest.
 PM to receive Quadriga award on Sunday in BerlinPrime Minister George Papandreou will be presented with Germany's Quadriga Award, in the category 'Power of Veracity', during a ceremony to be held in Berlin on Sunday. The Quadriga Awards are presented on October 3 each year - the anniversary of the reun ification of Germany - to four personalities or projects that are regarded as role models for or from Germany.
Papandreou is being awarded for his efforts to "restructure Greek fiscal policy and avert default by the Greek State" and the award will be presented by Deutschen Bank AG CEO Dr. Josef Ackermann.
This year Germany celebrates the 20th anniversary since its unification and the message of the awards is "Sharing values - Germany, Europe and the world".
Other award winners in 2010 include German Finance Minister Dr. Wolfgang Schauble and the last premier of former East Germany Lothar de Maiziere for "Architecture of Unification", the German armed forces represented by defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Gut tenberg and Lieutenant General Gunter Weiler ('Service of Responsibility'), the artist Olafur Eliasson ('Art of Interaction') and Dr. Albrecht and Kristina Hennig ('Light of Empathy') for their work with the poor of Nepal.
Past winners of the Quadriga award include Mikhail Gorbachev, Vaclav Havel, Jose Manuel Barroso, Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker, Peter Gabriel and the magazine 'Der Spiegel', among others.
According to the award's website, the Quadriga has been bestowed every year to four personalities active in politics, the business world, social issues and culture. Recipients are honored for their commitment to a future of enlightenment, re-generation an d their pioneering spirit.
The name of the award refers to "Die Quadriga", the legendary ensemble at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
 Papoulias calls on Turkey to show political will for a Cyprus solutionNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A.Viketos/CNA)
President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias called on Turkey to show ''real political will'' for a settlement to the Cyprus problem, underlying that the Greco-Turkish relations would only normalize through a Cyprus settlement.
In his address at an event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus, in Nicosia, on Friday, Papoulias noted that Cyprus membership to the European Union defines the basic aspects of the solution to the Cyprus problem.
''Today is a day to remember the important achievements of the Cypriot people, but also to recollect our course,'' Papoulias said, adding ''this is a day of remembrance and honour to President Makarios, a symbolic figure and a point of reference to all of us.''
Papoulias also said ''the Cyprus problem remains an open wound, with the reunification being the issue at hand.''
Noting that Nicosia remains the only divided capital in Europe, Papoulias said that this is ''a daily reminder of the connivance of the international community to the violation of the international legality and of the human rights.''
He also described Cyprus' membership to the EU and to the Euro area as a ''vital advantage,'' pointing out that the capacity of an EU member-state defines the basic aspects of the solution of the Cyprus problem, which should be adapted to the European law and the EU acquis communautaire.
Turning to President Christofias, Papoulias reassured him of his country's active support to his efforts and his initiatives for a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions and the EU pr inciples and values.
''We call on Turkey to show real political will. It is in Turkey's hands to break the deadlock. Only thus the Greco-Turkish relations will fully normalize and its course to the EU will be facilitated,'' he added.
''I firmly believe that this can be achieved. The Greek Cypriots and Greece were ready long ago,'' he concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Cyprus UN-led talks are underway between the leaders of the two communities of Cyprus, President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
 President Papoulias holds meetings in CyprusNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A.Viketos/CNA)
President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias held a series of meetings here on Friday on the sidelines of his visit on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus.
President Papoulias received former first lady Fotini Papadopoulou, the spouse of late former foreign minister Alekos Michaelides, Yiola Michaelidou, the Pancyprian Union of Refugees, the Committee of the Occupied Municipalities of the Union of Cyprus Mun icipalities, as well as the Pancyprian Organisation of the Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons.
On behalf of the Committee of the Occupied Municipalities of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities, Alexis Galanos, Mayor of the occupied city of Famagusta, said that Greek and Cypriot leadership must decide upon the steps to be taken in order to overcome th e "deadlocks in which we are today".
Nicos Theodosiou, President of the Pancyprian Organisation of the Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons said that the Greek President has a good thorough of the humanitarian issue of the missing persons, recalling that Papoulias served as Minister of Foreign Affairs "at difficult times".
Theodosiou added that during the meeting, they exchanged views about further steps as regards the issue of missing persons.
President of the Pancyprian Union of Refugees, Christakis Paschalis said that the the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, as well as the international and European law constitute the guaranties of finding a lasting and viable solution in Cyprus. He ad ded that if the Turkish Cypriot side changes its stance, a solution of the Cyprus problem can be found and this will be in the interest of all people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike.
In the evening, the Greek President attended the official dinner hosted by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace for all the heads of state and government as well as ministers, who have been invited for the ce lebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus.
Before returning to Athens on Saturday, the Greek President will meet President Christofias at the Presidential Palace.
Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias arrived on Cyprus shortly after noon on Friday on an official visit to attend events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus
President Papoulias was received at Larnaca International Airport by Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou, Greek Ambassador to Nicosia Vassilis Papaioannou, Cypriot Ambassador to Athens Joseph Joseph and Hellenic Force in Cyprus (ELDYK) Commander Simeon Keve ntzidis.
The President made no statements upon his arrival.
 DM meets with Cyprus president in NicosiaNICOSIA (ANA-MPA)
Greece's defence minister Evangelos Venizelos met on Friday with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias in Nicosia.
No statements were made after the one-hour meeting.
Venizelis is in Nicosia to represent the Greek government at the military parade marking the 50th anniversary of Cyprus' independence.
 Greece stands in total solidarity with Cyprus, Greek DM saysNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A.Viketos/CNA)
Greece stands in total solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus, Greek Minister of National Defense Evangelos Venizelos said here on Friday.
Speaking after a military parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus, Venizelos said that ''the Cyprus problem, one of invasion and occupation, is also our problem in the framework of a permanent, structured defensive cooperation that G reece and Cyprus have.''
The Greek minister said that the 50th anniversary finds Cyprus "proud but amputated".
''Our wish, he added, ''is that the 51st anniversary, one year from now, will find Cyprus united, peaceful and prosperous to the benefit of all its citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike.''
''The only way to achieve this goal is the respect of the international law and the acceptance of the UN Security Council resolutions,'' he said.
He also thanked President of the Republic Demetris Christofias for "his words of recognition and honor for Greece's role, for unity, for solidarity and support, for expressing graditute towards all Greek governments and the Greek people".
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
 U.S. President Obama on Cyprus's 50th anniversaryWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T.Ellis)
U.S. President Barack Obama expresssed on Friday his support to the reunification of the Republic of Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
In a statement on the occasion of the 50 year anniversary of the island republic's declaration of independence, President Obama notes:
"The people of the United States join the people of the Republic of Cyprus in celebrating its 50 years of independence today. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between our countries, which are united by ties of kinship and c ommon ideals. Our partnership is strengthened by the long history of friendship between our peoples and the many contributions Americans of Cypriot ancestry have made to our nation. We look forward to deepening our relationship and strengthening cooperati on in our many areas of mutual interest.
"On this occasion, we recognize not just this history, but also the hopes for future security and prosperity. We applaud the determined efforts to achieve a comprehensive Cyprus settlement and support the reunification of the island as a bizonal, bicommun al federation. The United States is confident that a resolution meeting the aspirations of both communities is attainable.
"We congratulate the people of the Republic of Cyprus on this historic anniversary."
 Government on fact-finding committee on economyGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Friday stressed that the Parliametary inquiry into the economy announced the previous day by Prime Minister George Papandreou would not shy away from any period "for which there is evidence". He underlined that the government was determined to bring "everything to light".
He clarified that the main focus of the inquiry would be to examine why the country had been presented falsified economic figures and pointed to a government pledge to set up a fact-finding committee on this issue as soon as it was discovered that Greece' s debt and deficit had been under-reported by the previous government.
He criticised main opposition New Democracy for its demand that the inquiry stretch back to 1981 when the first PASOK government came to power, saying that this was simply an attempt to sow confusion and that PASOK "would not agree to hiding the truth".
On the issue of falsifying the economic figures, Petalotis stressed that this had led to Greece losing all credibility aborad and led to the debt crisis.
He noted that the fact-finding committee must seek out and name those responsibile, so as to send a message both at home and abroad that "impunity has come to an end".
 ND spokesman on factfinding commission on economyMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos criticised the government and Prime Minister George Papandreou over the issue of the creation of a factfinding commission on the economy.
"Mr. Papandreou wants a factfinding commission for the economy, tailored to suit him, to conceal all that is not in the interests of PASOK and to disorientate public opinion from the grave responsibilities that he and his ministers have for the state in w hich Greece has found itself today," the spokesman said.
In parallel, he reiterated the proposal by ND on a factfinding commission as of 1981, as well as the "threat" for a factfinding commission on how Greece reached the memorandum.
He said that "ND clarifies once again: We want all that concerns the Greek economy to be probed, from 1981 until today, for the Greek people to find out at last, among other things, why, and under which conditions, the country was led by the present prime minister to the tripartite supervision."
 Simitis response to PM's comments on parliamentary inquiry into economyFormer prime minister Costas Simitis responded on Friday to comments made a day earlier to reporters by Prime Minister George Papandreou, the former's successor as president of PASOK party, on how far back a Parliamentary inquiry will investigate problems in the Greek economy.
Simitis, via a written statement, underlined that "the parliamentary inquiry should focus on the period after 1996. A government and its members that remain the same cannot be honest before 2001 and turned into suspects after that year. Innuendoes, half-t ruths and political fireworks are unacceptable."
Papandreou, speaking to reporters on Thursday, did not rule out the likelihood for the parliamentary inquiry to cover the period 2001-2004, responding to a question on whether the role played by Goldman Sachs will also be examined.
 ND leader Samaras tours NW GreeceMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras is currently on a visit to northwest Greece within the framework of the party's local government election campaign in view of the Nov. 7 poll.
Samaras met with the mayor and the prefect of Grevena, the latter being a ND mayoral candidate in the upcoming elections. He also visited the Chamber of Grevena and met with local production sector representatives.
Later in the afternoon, Samaras will visit Kastoria where he is scheduled to meet with the city mayor and the prefect, who is also ND's mayoral candidate.
In the evening, Samaras will address a gathering of party supporters at a local hotel.
On Saturday, the ND leader will visit the prefectures of Florina and Kozani.
 ND leader Samaras addresses party supporters in KastoriaMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras addressed party supporters in the northwest city of Kastoria on Friday within the framework of his tour of northwest Greece in view of the upcoming November 7 local government elections.
Samaras called on his audience to vote for the candidates supported by ND, stressing that "the party has kept its ties with the past but, at the same time, it is a brand new party."
Referring to the economic crisis, he said that his party had never said that sacrificies were not necessary. "But sacrifices must bare fruit," he added.
On the memorandum policy, Samaras said that it "targets the deficit problem but the recession caused, results to higher deficit."
Samaras said that the government is unreliable because "in the first four months after the memorandum was implemented it has proved to be unable to meet the targets set."
He said that "PASOK wants people to be afraid, while New Democracy gives hope to the citizens," adding that ND's plan has been costed and annuls the deficit in 18 months, decreases the debt in four years and takes the country out of the terms of the memor andum in two years, naturally provided that its implementation begins immediately.
The ND leader also said that he "never maintained that ND did everything right in the past," but "never went as far as to cut down 700-euro pensions."
Referring to the parliamentary committees probing a number of cases, Samaras maintained that "their purpose is to mislead the people turning their attention away from the government decisions and the real problems they (the people) are faced with."
 FM meets with film industry execs in LANEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas on Thursday wound up a brief visit to Los Angeles with talks with executives of the film industry, in a bid to attract American producers to Greece.
Droutsas met with television producer Michael Corbett, who is planning a show on Greece, followed by Oscar and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker and HBO Miniseries president Kary Antholis, to discuss the production of documentaries in Greece.
The minister also met with director and cinematographer Phedon Papamichail, who is planning to produce a film in Greece, and with Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman and CEO Jim Giannopoulos, with whom he discussed matters concerning the film industry and p rospects for cooperation with Greece.
He further met with officials of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary in Los Angeles, and with the American Hellenic Council, as well as with officers of the American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Associa tion (AHEPA) LA chapter, for an exchange of ideas on further boosting the film industry's ties with Greece, Greece's cultural presence in Hollywood and promoting Greek issues in the US.
Droutsas also visited the Getty Museum, and toured the exhibition "The Art of Ancient Greek Theater", where he spoke with museum officials, who expressed their desire to work with Greek archaeologists and antiquities conservators.
 KKE rejects education ministry invitation for dialogueOpposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga in a reply to Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, on Friday declined to participate in a national committee on education, which will consider major reforms in the sector.
Papariga mentions in the letter that KKE has repeatedly presented in public its positions on education, stressing that "it should serve the people and not economic interests."
 Synaspismos support of ChristofiasThe Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party on Friday expressed its "unreserved solidarity" to Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, whom the party claims "has become the target of unacceptable and insulting attacks in response to positions he express ed in a speech" in the United States, as regards "a coup of the Greek junta and the Turkish invasion in 1974."
The statement referred to a "double crime that was committed against the independent Republic of Cyprus," and accused "nationalist circles in Greece and Cyprus of orchestrating a broad scale campaign opposing the difficult effort aimed at reaching a solut ion on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in compliance with the UN decisions and the EU acquis."
 New missile boat delivered to Hellenic NavyA fourth out of the seven missile boats being constructed for the Hellenic Navy was delivered on Friday at the Elefsina Shipyards, west of Athens.
The new "Super Vita"-type vessel, named the "Lt. Grigoro-poulos", was delivered during a ceremony attended by Hellenic Navy chief of staff Vice-Adm. D. Elefsiniotis and other high-ranking navy officers, as well as the ambassadors of France and UK, Christo phe Farnaud David Landsman, respectively.
The fifth missile boat in the current contract is scheduled to be delivered at the end of the year, while the sixth and final seventh vessel in November 2012 and March 2013, respectively.
 Greece, Uruguay sign two agreements on tourism, economic cooperationDeputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis and his counterpart from Uruguay Roberto Conde on Friday signed two bilateral agreements on economic and tourism cooperation during a meeting held in Athens.
In statements afterwards, Kouvelis noted that Uruguay "was an exceptionally friendly country and a very important partner for promoting our partnerships in the region of Latin America, in our effort to promote extroversion of the Greek economy."
Of particular interest is cooperation between the two countries in the shipping sector, given that Greek shipping is significantly represented in Uruguay, while the two sides noted the need to cooperate on a regional level in the framework of the EU and M ercosur and noted that the two organisations should take a greater interest in the needs and interests of small countries.
Kouvelis thanked Uruguay for its steadfast support of Greek positions on foreign policy issues such as the Cyprus problem and the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Conde noted that Uruguay did not intend to change its positio n on these issues and will continue an open dialogue with Greece.
 Reppas, Polish envoy discuss infrastructure issuesGreek Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas met with the Polish ambassador to Greece Michal Klinger for talks focusing on the construction of roads, especially a new international highway called the "Via Carpatia Route" that will link the EU countries of the south with those of the north along Europe's eastern borders.
During the meeting, which took place on Thursday, the minister noted that the project had to be included in the Transeuropean Transport networks and the Basic Network in order to secure financing from the EU structural funds.
Reppas noted Greece's interest in extending the Via Carpatia to Romania, Bulgaria and Greece and in linking Greek ports with the Baltic Sea via a modern motorway, estimating that it will considerably enhance the economy of the eastern EU countries.
The Polish ambassador presented Reppas with an official invitation from his Polish counterpart to participate in a meeting of ministers from the countries involved in the project that will take place on October 22 in Lancut, Poland.
 Reppas on the truckers' mobilizationsInfrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas repeated in a radio interview on Friday that the government will fulfill its promises to truck owners as regards three basic issues of great concern to them; namely, taxation, development and social insurance.
Asked why Thursday's meeting between protesting truck owners and Regional Development and Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis had not taken place earlier, Reppas said that the question should be directed to the truckers. Thursday's meeting was apparently decisive in prompting the truckers' decision early on Friday to call off the mobilizations they had announced.
The minister clarified that the government was at the protesters' disposal for a discussion on any level, aside from changing the legislation liberalizing the road freight market.
Reppas stated that Chryssochoidis proved to the truckers that it is in their interest to cooperate with the government ministries to prepare their integration into the new environment.
 Greek truck owners call off strikeStriking freight and fuel truck owners called off their mobilisations shortly after midnight Thursday after a marthon meeting that lasted more than five hours. The strikers, whose mobilisations have entered their third week, will begin removing their truc ks from roadblocks throughout the country on Friday, giving a breath of relief to the market, where severe shortages have taken a heavy toll.
 Civil servants' union demands collective work contractThe civil servants union, ADEDY, in a statement issued on Friday rejected a "consultation and dialogue process that will allow the government to make unilateral decisions" and demanded "a negotiation that will lead to the signing of a collective work cont ract."
ADEDY will present its proposals as regards civil servants' salary scale on Monday, Oct. 4.
The ADEDY statement followed Thursday's meeting with Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, which focused on the shaping of a framework of dialogue aimed at achieving a unified salary scale for Greece's numerous public sector employees.
According to an interior ministry announcement issued after the meeting, "the government wants a constructive dialogue to shape a unified salary scale seeking a fairer salary system for public sector employees."
 Berisha inaugurates 60-mln-euro Hygeia Group hospital in TiranaTIRANA (ANA-MPA/A. Lidorikis)
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha on Wednesday expressed his satisfaction with the largest private investment in Albania's healthcare sector, speaking during the inauguration here of the 60-million-euro Hygeia Group hospital in the Albanian capital.
The new Hygeia hospital, part of the health group subsidiary of Athens-based MIG, first opened in June, initially offering 120 rooms, with a general and pediatric clinic, as well as a pre- and post-natal maternity ward.
"We appreciate your confidence in Albania, and by extension, the investment of 60 million euros by the Hygeia Group for an ultra-modern hospital of international standards, one that guarantees high-quality healthcare for its patients," Berisha, a cardiolo gist by training, said during the inauguration.
On his part, MIG president Andreas Vgenopoulos thanked the Albanian prime minister and the Tirana government for their support of the major investment, while emphasising that Albania is an extremely investment-friendly country.
Moreover, he said the Hygeia Group now considers Albania as its "second home" and will back its investment in Tirana.
The medium-term plan is for 220 rooms and 12 surgical theatres, five maternity rooms and 16 ICUs.
The hospital also hosts Albania's first two linear accelerators for cancer treatment, the first comprehensive oncology department in the country, a fully-equipped cardio-surgical unit and an invasive cardiovascular centre, amongst others.
With the Tirana hospital, officially called Hygeia Hospital Tirana, the Hygeia Group is present in four SE Europe countries, with 10 private facilities in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Albania.
 Bank of Greece: interest rates rise for most types of loansInterest rates on most types of loans moved upward in August, driven by the restricted liquidity in the system, according to figures released by the Bank of Greece on Friday.
Interest rates on consumer loans (including credit cards) without defined maturity stood at 14.31 percent, up from 14.29 percent the previous month. Interest rates on business loans without defined maturity increased to 6.56 percent from 6.33 perecnt the previous month.
Loans to free-lance workers, farmers and small businesses without defined maturity rose to 9.11 percent from 9.07 percent. For business loans up to one million euros, interest rates rose marginally to 5.87 percent from 5.74 percent and for larger sums the interest rate fell slightly to 4.51 percent from 4.73 percent.
Floating interest rates for housing loans increased to 3.67 percent from 3.54 percent whereas fixed interest rates of up to five years in the same category decreased slightly to 4.33 percent from 4.52 percent.
Interest rates for deposits closed for up to one year by households dropped slightly to 3.66 percent from 3.71 percent the previous month.
 Positive indications on course of budget revenuesBudget revenues recovered in September and according to reports increased by 5.3 percent. This is a positive indication regarding the course of budget revenues compared to past months.
Revenues from VAT increased spectacularly by 16.9 percent as a result of checks in the market by the Economic Crime Squad and the gathering of receipts by consumers.
Relevant Finance ministry officials express optimism over the course of revenues in the coming months, believing that targets anticipated in the budget will be achieved.
 Stocks flat on FridayA rally by National Bank shares at the end of Friday's session at Athens Stock Exchange mostly overturned the mood, with stocks marginally dropping 0.17 pct to end at 1,468.52 points. Turnover was a low 122.77 million euros.
The Big Cap index dropped 0.46 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 067 down and the Small Cap index posted a marginal 0.06 pct gain. The Commerce (1.92 pct) and Petroleum products (3.24 pct) sectors scored gains, while the Health (4.63 pct) and Telecoms (1.52) s ectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 72 to 69 with another 56 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +3.24%
Personal & Household: +0.15%
Raw Materials: -1.34%
Travel & Leisure: +1.41%
Food & Beverages: +0.07%
Financial Services: -0.71%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.45
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.30
HBC Coca Cola: 19.38
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.78
National Bank of Greece: 7.20
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.28
Bank of Piraeus: 3.64
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds on Friday shrank further to 796 basis points from 821 in the Greek electronic secondary bond market. Turnover was 108 million euros of which 67 million were buy orders and the remaining 41 million euros were sell orders. The 5-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 15 million euros. The Greek bond yielded 10.24 pct and the German Bund 2.24 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate was 1.46 pct, the six-month at 1.18 pct, the three-month rate at 0.94 pct and the one-month rate 0.70 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount 1.67 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover at 32.670 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,484 contracts worth 25.903 million euros, with 30,181 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,317 contracts worth 6.767 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,954), followed by Piraeus Bank (979), Alpha Bank (893), Eurobank (625), Hellenic Postbank (372) a nd OTE (244).
 Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.383
Pound sterling 0.874
Danish kroner 7.511
Swedish kroner 9.292
Japanese yen 115.17
Swiss franc 1.353
Norwegian kroner 8.104
Canadian dollar 1.419
Australian dollar 1.422
 The Athens National Observatory at Thission: A building with a memorable historyThe neoclassical cross-shaped stone building with a retractable copper dome in Thissio, at the foot of the ancient Athenian Agora, is one of many notable landmarks in central Athens, but few are aware of the notable history of the central premises of the National Observatory of Athens.
Situated on the Hill of the Nymphs (Lofos Nymfon), facing the Acropolis, the building has for the past two years also been housing the Observatory's Astrogeophysics Museum, the exhibits of which relate the history of researchers' observation of the stars, the earth and the atmosphere from the 19th century to the early 20th century under the clear, back then, Attica skies.
It was that very sky and the impeccable equipping of the Observatory that attracted German astronomer Julius Smit to Athens, and his later assumption (1858) of the post as director of the Observatory. It was here that Smit drew the most precise lunar topo graphical map in the 19th century.
The original part (main building) of the Observatory was designed by the famous Dane Architect Theophilus Hansen (Theophil Freiherr von Hansen). It was the first research Institution built in Greece (1842) after the country's liberation from the Ottoman E mpire, and continues to conduct research in astronomy, on earthquakes, energy and the climate. During a later expansion of the site, three new buildings were added, one of which was designed by Ernst Ziller., and the refractor telescope Doridis was instal led.
The Hill of the Nymphs, famous from antiquity, is where, according to mythology, the Nymphs were worshipped and is next to one of the famous Observatories of the 5th century, where Meto's Heliotropion was placed. The Hill of the Nymphs is aligned with one of the most celebrated and best preserved meteorological/astronomical Observatories, the Tower of the Winds, which is also the emblem of the Royal Meteorological Society and a rough copy of which was built at the University of Oxford.
The new Observatory on top of the Hill of the Nymphs is a landmark in Athens, facing the Parthenon and has long been used by Greek and foreign astronomers as the basis for astronomical, meteorological, geoastrophysical measurements and observations in its 160-year-history.
Today the buildings include the Astrogeophysics Museum and also house clocks, telescopes and other instruments of the 19th century and an extensive 19th century astrogeophysics library.
The National Observatory of Athens (NOA) today operates five Research Institutes and provides the facilities for graduate student training in collaboration with Greek and foreign Universities. It hosts the UNESCO Chair for Natural Disasters and operates t he National Seismological Network and it is participating in the OPTICON and other international research networks, hosting the Greek Focal Point on the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).
The NOA also has an Astronomical Station in Penteli, situated on Koufou Hill.
 Athens development agency to host 'Cities of the Future' con'fThe City of Athens Development Agency (AEDA) will organise a conference entitled "The Cities of the Future - Integrated Urban Development, Governance and Funding", with the participation of distinguished Greek and foreign academics as well as public admin istration and European Commission staff, and to be held on Tuesday at a downtown Athens hotel.
The aim of the conference, which falls within the framework of the CREPUD-MED programme, is to examine the ways in which Greek cities can plan their future and finance strategic development projects.
Additionally, the progress of the implementation of the Jessica funding instrument, to constitute the basic financing mechanism for sustainable urban development, will be evaluated.
The CREPUD-MED programme examines sustainable development and town planning strategies through collaboration between France, Greece, Spain and Italy. (ANA-MPA)
The European Commission's MED programme supports this collaboration.
 Trial of gang accused in shipowner's kidnapping opens‘he trial of 20 alleged members of a so-called "crime syndicate" charged with the kidnapping for ransom of shipowner Pericles Panagopoulos in January 2007 opened Friday in the women's section of the Korydallos high security prison near Piraeus.
The 20 face a multitude of charges, while seven are accused of the kidnapping and with respect to the hefty ransom, which has not been recovered.
The ringleader is believed to be inmate Panagiotis Vlastos, giving orders from his prison cell at Trikala prison, where he was serving time for homicides, protection rackets and other offences.
The 74-year-old ship-owner was abducted in mid-January 2007 and was released unharmed a week later, after his wife had paid the kidnappers a ransom.
 Cocaine in rubber form intercepted at Athens airportDrug traffickers apparently employed new and highly resourceful way to smuggle cocaine into the country Greece, although the 5.5 kilos of cocaine was in the end detected.
Police at Athens' international airport arrested a 25-year-old Albanian national in the early morning hours on Friday on drug possession charges after detecting the cocaine hidden in a bag he was carrying.
The narcotics had undergone a unique process to resemble black rubber, before being placed inside a plastic bag in the form of lining.
A 40-year-old local man from Crete, for whom the cocaine was allegedly destined, was arrested outside the airport's arrivals terminal.
 Wildfire reported on RhodesA fire broke out at around noon on Friday in an area of forest in the southwest of the Aegean island of Rhodes, near the village Monolithos.
The cause of the fire has not yet been identified and a strong fire-fighting force has been sent out to battle the blaze, while the Dodecanese prefecture has also asked for the assistance of fire-fighting aircraft.
 Scouts host World Animal Day eventsDozens of Boy and Girl Scouts gathered at "Nea Elvetia" Park in Thessaloniki on Friday within the framework of events ahead of the Oct. 4 World Animal Day and on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Scouts of Greece.
Elementary school children flooded the park and assisted by members of "Arcturos" environmental organization made paper wolves using the origami technique and assembled brown bear jigsaw puzzles. They also drew robins in an initiative by the Hellenic Orni thological Society and learned about the animals of the sea from volunteers of the Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean Seal (MOm).
Roughly 250 schoolchildren have registered to participate in the events that will last until Sunday, Oct. 3, hosted by the 13th Scouts Group.
 Foreign nationals protest in AthensMembers of the Pakistani community organised a protest in Petrou Ralli street in central Athens on Friday evening.
According to the police, about 300 people of Pakistani nationality gathered at the location to protest because they are not being granted political asylum, for which they have submitted relevant appeals.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe new uniform payroll and the scissoring of benefits, a planned VAT rate increase in some products and reactions, the new development bill to be tabled in end-October, and the changes in the banking sector announced by prime minister George Papandreou, mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Prime Minister envisions another (parliamentary) fact-finding committee, (this time) on the Economy".
APOGEVMATINI: "Express transfers for 10,000 university students".
AVGHI: "New cuts in civil servants' salaries".
AVRIANI: "Papandreou points finger at former PASOK prime minister Costas Simitis - He will be called to testify before the fact-finding committee on the economy".
CHORA: "23 percent VAT on souvlaki, cheese pies and pizzas!!".
ELEFTHEROS: "Papandreou: "I know the measures are painful, but we...like them".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government 'cooking' cuts of up to 40 percent in civil servants' salaries".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Incomes reduction in the entire public sector - New cutbacks in benefits".
ESTIA: "Economy's engine failure - The damage from truckers' mobilisation incalculable"
ETHNOS: "Regional development and Competitiveness Minister Michalis Chryssohoidis' plan to deflate prices on the market".
IMERISSIA: "Papandreou to bankers: Proceed with the deals."
KATHIMERINI: "Scissoring of benefits - Government's uniform payroll for civil servants opens up a new front".
LOGOS: "Papandreou gives consent for fact-finding committee".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Substantial reversals in state aid - The new bill will be revealed at the end of October".
NIKI: "Civil servants will lose an additional 2,500 euros per year with the new payroll".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Council of Europe: They want to put the people and the anti-monopoly struggle in a cast".
TA NEA: "Public sector: New cuts in salaries in the horizon".
TO VIMA: "Multi-speed uniform payroll".
VRADYNI: "40,000 small and medium size enterprises in the red".
 Christofias praises Greek support to government's efforts for a solutionNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
All the Greek governments following the military junta that was ruling Greece, have stood by Cyprus with complete consistency, stated Friday President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.
Speaking after a military parade to mark the 50 year anniversary of the Republic's declaration of independence, President Christofias underlined the full support provided by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his government in the policy which the Cypriot government is following and the proposals it has submitted as well as the full support of the Republic of Cyprus.
President Christofias condemned the junta which was dominating the Greek people, noting that unfortunately, the coup opened the way to the Turkish invasion.
"Are we going to stop condemning the junta, stop saying the historical truth? Are we going to change the history of this place?" the president remarked.
President Christofias pointed out that he has made statements before the Greek foreign minister, noting Greece's role, "which provides the most vital support in our struggle. And I have praised the support which is granted to us by Prime Minister Papandre ou and all previous governments", he added.
Regarding the Cyprus issue, President Christofias said that there is no other alternative but to continue the dialogue. He expressed hope that the dialogue will be substantial and will lead to the restoration of the rights of the people, the independence , sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.
What the UN Secretary General and the international community need to do, he added, is to exert their influence on the Turkish leadership. "We are still waiting for their words to be transformed into action," he added, noting it is not enough for the Turk ish leadership and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu to state that they want a solution by the end of the year.
On Friday's parade, the president said that it is part of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the island's independence. "We are proud of our accomplishment called the Republic of Cyprus. We are proud of the National Guard, which has a mission to defen d the entity of the Republic of Cyprus", noting they are in a defensive order while the occupation forces are in an offensive order.
"I hope and pray that the soonest possible the talks which are underway will produce results to solve the Cyprus issue, reunite the island, the Turkish troops and all foreign troops leave Cyprus, there will be an end to the settlement and Greek Cypriots a nd Turkish Cypriots will celebrate jointly anniversaries of the Republic of Cyprus, which will ensue into a unified, bizonal, bicommunal, federal and communal state."
"We are doing everything possible for the Turkish side to change rota, to cooperate and recognize the human rights of all people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and Cyprus to stop being a divided country," he added.
Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974, five days after the legal government of the late Archbishop Makarios III was toppled by a military coup engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece.
Cyprus UN - led talks are underway between the leaders of the two communities of Cyprus, President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
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