|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-10-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 27 October 2010 Issue No: 3629
 BoG report: No room for higher tax ratesThere is no more room for higher tax rates in the country, Bank of Greece's governor George Provopoulos said on Tuesday, adding there were two preconditions for the successful outcome of an Economic Adjustment Program implemented from May 2010.
The central bank's interim report on monetary policy, submitted to Parliament and the Cabinet, stressed that the first precondition was the adequacy and efficiency of mechanisms implementing the program, of the public administration. It urged the government to complete its reform program without any deviation or delay, although it underlined the need for a radical restructuring of the state at all its levels, so that its operations encourage creative initiatives.
The second precondition was ensuring the continuity of the program. The central bank stressed that one of the reasons for the current crisis was that similar stabilization programs in the past failed to be completed successfully, or were abandoned during the process.
The Bank of Greece underlined the need to continue a fiscal adjustment program which should focus on cutting spending as there was no more room for higher tax rates on businesses and individuals. Fiscal adjustment will be viable and successful only if it came from a radical restructuring of the state, while fiscal policy should be able to make corrective moves in cases of any deviation from targets. In order to persuade market and to restoring confidence in the economy, the central bank also recommended that the government moved one step ahead of targets envisaged in the memorandum, offering a clear message that fiscal adjustment was progressing rapidly.
The report noted that a cohesive action plan for growth was necessary to show that the Greek economy can recover faster and to maintain high growth rates based on healthy basis. The central bank stressed that the road to growth will be long and painful. It predicted that the country's Gross Domestic Product will shrink 4.0 pct this year and to remain in recession in 2011, although at a slower pace. The action plan, recommended by the bank of Greece should include two main axes. First, taking advantage of the country's comparative advantages and supporting export activity, and secondly, creating an environment friendly to businesses.
Provopoulos categorically rejected talk of a debt restructuring and said that Greek state bond spreads remained at high levels because markets were cautious influenced by analysis alleging that a Greek debt restructuring was inevitable.
Commenting on developments in the domestic banking system, the central banker said he supported strategic partnerships and mergers between Greek banks and noted that problems facing Greek banks mainly reflected the country's low credit rating. He stressed that the figures of the banking sector will not improve unless factors pressuring banks' credit worthiness were improved, allowing Greek banks to raise money from market markets.
Provopoulos called banks to adjust to a new reality, saying that even if economic activity returned to growth, expansion rate of banking services would be lower than the past, before the crisis.
 Gov't on economic policy; local gov't elections"The 'red line' for salaries and pensions is not an issue up for negotiation," government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis underlined on Tuesday, stressing that "by keeping our eyes fixed on our goals we see that there is no reason to talk about new measures."
He pointed out that "the apparently upward revision of the 2009 deficit will not bring more measures," clarifying that there will be "no more salary and pension cuts."
Speaking during a regular press briefing in Athens and in response to repeated queries, Petalotis said that the government is trying to avoid implementation of measures that have been already scheduled for 2011, by considering alternative scenarios.
Referring to the upcoming Nov. 7 local government elections, Petalotis said that "in the period we are going through there is no vote of discontent but, on the contrary, there is a vote for political stability."
He stated that "the citizens do not want their sacrifices to go to waste and jeopardise the future of their children by leading the country back to 'point zero'."
He underlined that there was "no blackmail on behalf of the prime minister," stressing that during his all-channel televised interview on Monday evening "the premier underscored the responsibility we all have in view of the elections."
The government spokesman said "the state of alert is still on and consequences will be fateful if the country's course out of the crisis is upset."
"It is clear that the government's intention is to continue a difficult course and not call early elections," he said, adding that "we all need to realize the usefulness of this course."
 PM in Thessaloniki for anniversary celebrationsPrime minister George Papandreou said that Greece is once again at a historic turning point, speaking on Tuesday in Thessaloniki after a doxology at central St. Demetrios Cathedral marking the feast day of the city's patron saint and Thessaloniki's liberation from Ottoman rule.
"Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of the liberation, we are once again at a historic turning point, as we are waging the battle to liberate the country from all kinds of slavery and surveillance," Papandreou said, while he also outlined the efforts his government is making for the country's exit from the crisis and also for administrative reform with the Kallikratis program.
"Today, too, we are waging the battle to liberate the country from all forms of slavery and surveillance, to rid ourselves of concepts, attitudes and practices of the past that keep up back, and to liberate our citizens so that they may be creative, innovative, and have certainty and potential," Papandreou said.
He added that one of the steps taken is the Kallikratis administrative reform plan, "which breaks the bonds of clientelistic dependence and concentrationism and gives wings to the periphery", and liberates the immense potential and forces in every region in order to turn Greece into a country of prosperity, social justice, transparency and democracy.
 Samaras: PM 'threatening and coercing' the peopleMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Tuesday accused the prime minister of "threatening and coercing" the Greek people, but added that in elections, the Greek people cannot be blackmailed and it is they who send the messages.
Speaking after a doxology at central St. Demetrios Cathedral marking the feast of the city's patron saint, Samaras said that "for the first time a prime minister, certain of his defeat, threatens and blackmails the people".
"Let me remind everyone, however, that in our democracy, when we go to elections, it is the people who send the messages, and do not accept blackmail. Besides, a different road also exists, that of development," Samaras added.
Three-day events opened in Thessaloniki on Monday marking the triple celebration of St. Demetrios' feast day, the 98th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule, and the October 28 OCHI Day national holiday.
 ND refers to 'political blackmail' in criticising PM's televised press con'fMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Tuesday strongly condemned the previous evening's nationally televised press conference by Prime Minister George Papandreou, with a ND spokesman issuing a sharply worded press release less than an hour after the premier's appearance.
In statements on Tuesday from Thessaloniki, ND leader Antonis Samaras charged that Papandreou's statements "marked the first time a Greek prime minister, certain of his defeat, threatened the people and blackmailed ... allow me to remind him that in our democracy when we have elections it is the people who send messages; they're not recipients of blackmail. There is another path, the path of growth," he said.
ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos called on the prime minister to abandon what he called "fear-mongering" and to change his policies.
"We're working for stability, security and the growth of our country. We're interested, above all, in getting Greece through this crisis without harm. The prime minister is obliged to work for this and not to blackmail voters. However, Mr. Papandreou should not be mistaken, ND is ready for any possibility," the spokesman said, in reference to now widespread speculation over a possible early election.
Panagiotopoulos also referred to the upcoming municipal and regional elections on Nov. 7 and the second round on Nov. 14, noting that "tonight even the last undecided voters, in seeing Mr. Papandreou, have finally determined what message they will send."
"The prime minister is in a state of panic watching the ruling PASOK popularity freefall." Panagiotopoulos said, adding that the Greek people cannot be blackmailed with false dilemmas, pointing out that the PM is trying to avoid defeat in the upcoming Nov. 7 local government elections by creating bogus political conditions in the country.
Referring to the likelihood of early elections, the ND spokesman said his party is ready for any eventuality pointing out, however, that its goal is to salvage the country and not to assume power just for the sake of power.
 Lesser opposition's reaction to PM's statementsParliament parties on both the right and left sides of the chamber were quick to issue statements late Monday evening immediately after a nationally televised press conference by the prime minister -- carried by the state-run broadcaster and a handful of other private stations -- with Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis dismissively citing a lack of substance, while charging that PM Papandreou merely damaged the prospects of ruling PASOK-backed candidates in the upcoming local government elections.
"PASOK's candidates will dip into single digit percentages with another such multi-channel appearance by the prime minister before the elections," Karatzaferis opined.
He also referred to a panicked appearance and a lack of optimism from the televised press conference, where seven prime-time news readers asked questions.
On its part, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) issued a statement noting that the "prime minister, under the weight of public opinion pressure, admitted that a vote in the coming elections will be for or against the (EU-ECB-IMF) memorandum. The blackmailing dilemmas, however, are void and outdated, therefore, they will not persuade anyone," the party's press release read.
 KKE head calls for voters to reject 2 main partiesCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Tuesday called on voters to condemn the two major political parties, the ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND), and support her party's candidates in the upcoming Nov. 7 local government elections.
In a press conference at the KKE headquarters, Papariga referred to Monday night's all-channel televised interview of Prime Minister George Papandreou, charging that the dilemma he put to the people, namely, vote for the policy implemented or face the likelihood of early elections, is "pure blackmail".
She called on voters not to give in to blackmail, as she charged, while terming as a "ludicrous lie" a statement made by the PM that no new measures will be imposed.
 Leftist leader: Bankruptcy already hereRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday accused Prime Minister George Papandreou of attempting to manipulate public opinion, "turning our political culture many years back", while he stressed that the government must be condemned by the people in the upcoming Nov. 7 local government elections.
Speaking in a press conference, he referred to the PM's all-channel televised interview on Monday evening and lashed out at the government and the premier personally.
"The PM's blackmailing dilemma of 'memorandum or default' is groundless, because bankruptcy is already here", he said, citing unemployment figures.
Tsipras said his party is not afraid of early elections and stressed that the question is whether elections will give hope to the people, adding that voter abstention favours the two major political parties.
 ND leader in Brussels for EPP summitMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras will be in Brussels on Wednesday to attend a European People's Party (EPP) Summit meeting.
Samaras will meet with EPP President Wilfried Martens and later in the afternoon he will visit the European Parliament. On Wednesday evening, he will host a dinner for ND's affiliated MEPs.
Ahead of the EPP Summit on Thursday, Samaras will meet with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
 FM Droutsas to meet Luxembourg counterpartForeign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn, who is currently on a visit to Greece, will be discussing issues of European and regional interest, in light of the European Council that will be held in Brussels on October 28-29, in Athens on Wednesday afternoon. Bilateral issues will also be discussed during the meeting.
 Transport minister due in Paris on WednesdayInfrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas is due to arrive in Paris on Wednesday for talks with his French counterpart Dominique Bussereau.
No announcement has been made by the transport ministry regarding the content of their talks but these are widely expected to focus on the issue of Greece's debt-ridden and loss-making national railway OSE, which the government has pledged to restructure and reform. In the delegation accompanying the minister are the board chairmen and CEOs of OSE and its subsidiaries - TRAINOSE, EDISY and ERGOSE - who will have meetings with representatives of the French railway SNCF and ALSTOM Transport.
There is already cooperation between OSE and SNCF, while there have recently been rumours that there is French interest in acquiring a 49 percent share and the management of TRAINOSE. There is provision for this in a draft bill on reforming TRAINOSE that Parliament is expected to pass on Tuesday.
 Deputy FM Kouvelis in TurkeyISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A.Kourkoulas)
Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis, currently in Turkey for the Joint Greece-Turkey Interministerial Committee, on Tuesday visited the mayor of Istanbul's Sariyer district Sukru Genz.
Referring to the historical ties between the two peoples, Kouvelis said "the citizens who compose these two societies are children of the same territory. And for this reason the cultural ties between us have never been severred."
Kouvelis also spoke of the natural beauty of the Bosporus, reminding that poet Constantine Cavafy had once lived among these colours and this beauty.
"I woulk want very much to be at the concert that you will organise, but I regret that I will be unable to. However, I hope that our cooperation will continue in the future as well," he said, referring to the concert by the Greek dance theatrical group "Dora Stratou" that will be held in Istanbul on October 28.
On his part, Genz said that his mayorship supports every artistic and cultural effort that takes place to strengthen friendship and peace between the two peoples.
"We are all aware that the language of art is a global one and art is the best instrument for global peace," he said.
 Parliament Plenum sanctions OSE bill articlesThe Infrastructures, Transport and Networks ministry's bill on the reorganising, restructuring and development of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) had its articles sanctioned at the Parliamentary Plenum on Tuesday.
 Alavanos announces plan to found new political partyVeteran left-wing politician and former party leader Alekos Alavanos, currently running for the seat of regional authority chief in Attica at the head of the 'Free Attica' election ticket, confirmed in statements to ANA-MPA Internet TV on Tuesday that he intends to found a new political party.
Alavanos said that the parties existing today left a political "gap" and were unable to express the values of the Left. He also noted that a defeat of PASOK candidates at the upcoming local government elections that might lead to new general elections would be cause for "optimism and hope".
 Transparency Int'l: Greece falls to 78th spot in annual CPI reportGreece's ranking on Transparency International's (TI) closely watched Corruption Perception Index (CPI) worsened in 2010, with the crisis-plagued east Mediterranean country dropping to the 78th ranking out of 178 countries on the list.
The results of the TI report for 2010 were presented in Athens on Tuesday by the president of TI's Greek affiliate, Costas Bakouris, and its director Aris Syggros.
Greece scored 3.5 points out of a possible 10, ranking last amongst the European Union's 27 member-states. Greece's score was worse than Turkey's, as the latter scored 4.4 points.
Greece's CPI ranking was 57th in 2008 with 4.7 points, only to fall to 71nd place in 2009, with 3.8 points.
 Siekaczek confirms that Siemens paid politicians in GreeceMUNICH (ANA-MPA - G. Pappas)
Former Siemens AG manager Reinhard Siekaczek confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Siemens had handed out "political" money in Greece. He was testifying before a delegation of Greek MPs sent to Munich by a Greek Parliamentary committee investigating alleged kickbacks paid by the German multinational in their country.
While in Munich, the MPs will also question former Siemens Hellas CEO Mihalis Christoforakos, a fugitive from Greek justice, who is due to testify before the Greek Parliamentary delegation on Wednesday.
The main administrator of Siemens slush funds, Siekaczek said he was aware that kickbacks were being paid to political parties in Greece but did not reveal any names, saying that he did not know who the names of the politicians that accepted the funds. He suggested that the MPs question Christoforakos regarding the identities of the recipients.
During his testimony on Tuesday, Siekaczek apparently denied saying that money had been given by Siemens to a small political party in Greece. He also spoke at length about the Siemens slush funds and the routes that the illegal bribes had followed.
The man that formerly coordinated a worldwide torrent of bribes by Siemens amounting to an estimated 1.3 billion euros, Siekaczek was convicted by German courts in July 2008 and given a two-year suspended sentence, as well as a fine of 108,000 euros, for embezzling Siemens funds.
 Gov't to review 4th CSF implementationRegional Development and Competitiveness Mihalis Chrysso-hoidis on Tuesday announced a revision of a 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) package to become more efficient and to focus on business activity, the "living economy".
Addressing a meeting of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the minister said the 4th CSF was a strong development tool and an important factor in dealing with the economic crisis.
Chryssohoidis said the ministry's top priority was restarting the economy, the survival of existing enterprises and supporting new and innovative business activity. "What's important is to offer liquidity in the market, where it is needed," he said.
Chryssohoidis said a draft bill will be tabled to Parliament by the end of the year, envisaging a restructuring of the competition commission.
 Trade deficit down a hefty 51.4pct in AugustGreece's trade balance deficit dropped a hefty 51.4 percent in August this year over the corresponding month in 2009, according to provisional figures released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT) on Tuesday.
The deficit of the Trade Balance for the 7-month period from January to August 2010 amounted to 13,628.2 million euros (17,918.7 million dollars) in comparison with 20,275.9 million euros (27,274.0 million dollars) for the corresponding period of the year 2009, recording a drop of 32.8%. The corresponding change of the deficit of the trade balance, excluding oil products, recorded a decrease of 2,806.5 million euros or 17.5%.
The total value of exports-dispatches for the 7-month period from January to August 2010 amounted to 10,012.7 million euros (13,176.0 million dollars) in comparison with 9,684.6 million euros (13,146.1 million dollars) for the corresponding period of 2009, recording an increase of 3.4%. The corresponding change excluding oil products recorded an increase of 346.2 million euros or 3.9% .
The total value of imports-arrivals for the 7-month period from January to August 2010 amounted to 23,640.9 million euros (31,094.6 million dollars) in comparison with 29,960.5 million euros (40,420.2 million dollars) for the corresponding period of 2009, recording a drop of 21.1%. The corresponding change excluding oil products recorded a decrease of 2,460.3 million euros or 9.9%.
The total value of imports-arrivals in August amounted to 2,336,7 million euros (3,004.2 million dollars) in comparison with 3,327.5 million euros (4,733.3 million dollars) in August 2009, recording a drop of 29.8%. The corresponding change excluding oil products recorded a drop of 313.6 million euros or 12.3%.
The total value of exports-dispatches in August amounted to 1,201.7 million euros (1,554.3 million dollars) in comparison with 992.7 million euros (1,420.5 million dollars) in August 2009, recording an increase of 21.1%. The corrsponding change excluding oil products recorded an increase of 210 million euros or 24.6%.
The deficit of the trade balance in August amounted to 1,135.0 million euros (1,449.9 million dollars) in comparison with 2,334.8 million euros (3,312.8 million dollars) in August 2009 recording a drop of 51.4%. The corresponding change excluding oil products recorded a decrease of 523.6 million euros or 30.9%.
 Greek banks' bad debt rate up to 9% in JuneThe quality of banks' loan portfolios vis-à-vis the private sector worsened further in the first half of 2010, with the rate of bad debt rising to 9 pct in June -- up from 7.7 pct in December 2009 -- reflecting a small number of banks reporting relatively high bad debt rates, the Bank of Greece announced in its interim report on monetary policy 2010.
The central bank stated on Tuesday that the bad debt rate rose steadily in the last six quarters, covering all loan categories, but mostly in consumer loans (16.7 pct in June from 13.4 pct in December 2009). The report also showed that the coverage rate of bad debt from accumulated provisions was 43.4 pct in June from 41.5 pct in December 2009.
The report said this development was not satisfactory if the impact of a negative rate in economic activity on the quality of banks' loan portfolio was taken into account. The central bank urged banks to significant raise provisions against credit risks.
The rate of bad debts in mortgage loans rose to 8.7 pct in June from 7.4 pct in December 2009, while in business loans it rose to 7.6 pct from 6.7 pct over the same period, respectively.
 Athens Int'l Arport, Piraeus cargo terminal, to promote combined transport servicesAthens' 'Eleftherios Venizelos' International Airport (AIA) is beginning the implementation of a partnership agreement signed with Piraeus Cargo Terminal, managed by Cosco for a period of 35 years.
The deal, signed during a recent visit by the Chinese Premier in Athens, envisages the promotion of a combined sea-air transport service, through simplified procedures to attract more transit cargos, taking advantage of the country's significant geographical position.
The deal aims to cover the wider Middle East region, initially, and North America and Canada at a later stage. The main products will be textiles, machinery, electronics and vulnerable products.
Alexis Sioris, the airport's cargo development manager, said that Athens Airport is the only airport in Europe to develop combined sea-air transport. Captain Fu, chief executive of Piraeus Cargo Terminal, speaking to reporters said: "We are here in Greece to invest. If we unite Greek intelligence with Chinese mentality we will be able to achieve our main goal, which is offering better services to customers".
 Construction of biological sewage treatment unit in GevgeliSKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Frangopoulos)
A tripartite agreement was signed here on Tuesday between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Greece and Switzerland on the construction of a biological sewage treatment unit in the city of Gevgeli (near the fYRoM-Greece border).
The project's construction is expected to contribute to the protection of the region's ecosystem and the improvement of the quality of the waters of the Axios river.
The cost of the construction of the biological treatment unit amounts to 9.6 million euros, 6.8 million euros of which constitute an offer by the Swiss government, 1.84 million euros an offer by the Greek government, while the Gevgeli municipality and fYRoM's Environment and Transport ministries are participating with an amount in the region of about 850 thousand euros.
 New Athens bourse president namedSocrates Lazaridis on Tuesday was named as the new president of the Athens Stock Exchange and chief executive of Hellenic Exchanges, replacing Spyros Kapralos.
Lazaridis will also take over as chief executive in the group's clearing subsidiary.
Lazaridis studied at the Economic University of Athens and majored in econometry at Queen Mary College of London.
He joined Hellenic Exchanges in 1994 and took over as executive vice-president of the Athens Stock Exchange in 2000. He headed the clearing and settlement department of the group since January 2007.
 Stocks end 1.78% downStocks changed direction at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index of the market losing 1.78 pct to end at 1,608.08 points. Turnover was an improved 132.286 million euros.
The Big Cap index dropped 2.12 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 1.79 pct and the Small Cap index ended 1.72 pct lower. Motor Oil (1.34 pct), Viohalco (0.96 pct) and Ellatkor (0.57 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Alpha Bank (4.93 pct), Eurobank (4.49 pct) and Piraeus Bank (3.20 pct) were among losers.
The Media (1.06 pct) and Telecommunications (0.34 pct) sectors scored gains, while Health (4.84 pct) and Chemicals (4.28 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 124 to 54 with another 51 issues unchanged. Compucon (14.29 pct), Daios Plastics (9.93 pct) and Euroline (9.09 pct) were top gainers, while Paperpack (18.75 pct), Eurobrokers (15.79 pct) and Vell Group (12.9 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.82%
Personal & Household: -1.04%
Raw Materials: -3.45%
Travel & Leisure: -1.73%
Food & Beverages: -0.43%
Financial Services: -3.39%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Piraeus Bank and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 5.21
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.41
HBC Coca Cola: 19.30
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.80
National Bank of Greece: 8.34
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.89
Bank of Piraeus: 3.93
 Greek bond market closing reportGreek bond spreads widened in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the 10-year benchmark bond yielding 9.74 pct, up from 9.38 pct on Monday. Turnover in the market was a low 77 million euros, of which 57 million were sell orders and the remaining 20 million euros were buy orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 10 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate was 1.53 pct, the six-month rate 1.26 pct, the three-month rate 1.04 pct and the one-month rate 0.84 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.90 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 49.426 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,174 contracts worth 39.559 million euros, with 24,994 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,705 contracts worth 9.867 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (9,238), followed by Eurobank (1,248), OTE (1,339), National Bank (3,287), Alpha Bank (898), Cyprus Bank (1,649) and Hellenic Postbank (355).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.402
Pound sterling 0.883
Danish kroner 7.517
Swedish kroner 9.377
Japanese yen 114.01
Swiss franc 1.366
Norwegian kroner 8.185
Canadian dollar 1.435
Australian dollar 1.422
 Nike Monument unveiled at new Acropolis MuseumThe Nike Monument erected in honour of the ancient military commander Callimachus after the Battle of Marathon, its various surviving shards reassembled for the first time to resemble the form they would have had in antiquity, was unveiled in the new Acropolis Museum on Tuesday by Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos.
In statements at the unveiling, Geroulanos emphasised the importance of the monument 2,500 years after the historic battle, an event broadly regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of European culture.
In 490 B.C. when the Battle of Marathon took place Callimachus was then a 'polemarch' or supreme military commander of Athens. With the 10 Athenian generals evenly divided over whether to do battle or surrender to the Persian invasion force, it was he that cast the deciding vote that sent the Athenians into battle and on to their final victory over the Persian Empire.
"Everything now rests of you," Geroulanos said, quoting directly from the description given by the ancient historian Herodotus of a hypothetical conversation between Callimachus and Miltiades - the general that led the battle and earned Greeks their victory - just before the polemarch cast his vote.
"Today we are not unveiling the monument of just another general but a monument to a democratic process that changed the course of history," the minister stressed.
Callimachus took part in the battle himself, leading the right wing of the Greek army, but was killed during the fighting. His statue was erected atop of the Athens Acropolis.
According to Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis, the curator of the new Acropolis Museum, the monument has been reconstructed in a modern fashion, using only the original shards in their correct positions, so that a visitor might be able to see the authentic version.
The remnants of the 4.68-metre monument have been affixed to a metal column that holds the various parts in place and is built so that additional fragments might be attached if they are found. It is on display in the museum's Archaic Monuments' section.
A short distance from the original there also stands a copy showing archaeologists' best estimate of what the monument might have looked like when it was whole.
The unveiling of the Nike monument was among a series of events scheduled by the culture and tourism ministry to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary since the Battle of Marathon, which will culminate in the holding of the 28th Classic Athens Marathon on Sunday, in which more than 20,000 athletes from all over the world will take part.
Rare ex-voto retablos from Museum of the Hellenic Nobel Collection on display in 'Ex-votos of Europe' exhibition in Poland
Rare ex-voto retablos from the private collection of the Hellenic Nobel Museum are featured in an exhibition titled "Ex-votos of Europe", currently on display at the Borderland Museum Gallery (Galeria Ofycina) in Lubaczow, Poland, the Greek participation in which was organised by the Academy of Athens' Hellenic Folklore Research Center.
The soon-to-be-completed Museum of the Hellenic Nobel Collection in the Halandri suburb of Athens, the life's work of Prof. Giorgio S. Marcou, is the owner of an impressive collection of rare ex-voto retablos, in addition to the Nobel collection and 162 smaller collections.
The Hellenic Nobel Museum is exhibiting just a small sample of its ex-voto retablos collection at the Lubaczow exhibition, which also features ex-votos from the collection of UNESCO-Hellas president emeritus Nicos Papageorgiou. Similar exhibitions are also taking place in Latin America and Europe.
Ex-voto retablos are devotional or votive paintings, in vivid colors, often painted on tin, leather or wood panels, that give thanks to Christ, the Virgin Mother or a saint for their protection in a threatening situation or intercession in a cause prayed for, and which depict the situation, often with an inscribed explanation of the event, date and location. They may be placed at a shrine as a votive offering or kept at home, displayed in a place of honor.
Widespread in Latin America, the ex-voto retablo, or lamina, is a form of folk art that frequently uses iconography deriving from traditional Catholic Church art. It is similar in concept to the "tamata" of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches in general. Tamata (plural of tama), however, are usually small metal plaques, frequently of silver or gold, usually with an embossed image symbolising the subject of the prayer, or gratitude for a prayer answered, for which the plague is offered. Tamata are usually offered to an icon or church of a saint, Christ or the Virgin Mother.
According to Hellenic Folklore Research Center director Dr. Ekaterini Polymerou-Kamilaki, who organised the Greek participation in the exhibition, "tama" is the practice of placating the higher forces with the offer of material or other gifts (devotions), a practice that has been in use since the times of primitive man.
 Death toll from building collapse in Edessa rises to twoThe death toll from a building collapse in the northern city of Edessa during renovation works rose to two late Monday, according to local police.
Part of an old house undergoing renovation collapsed on Monday, caving in on four people. A 41-year-old Albanian worker was killed on the spot, while a 66-year-old woman, a co-owner of the house in the Varossi district, was fatally injured.
The second co-owner, 41, and another 29-year-old Albanian worker have been hospitalised, the former with multiple injuries but in stable condition and the latter in critical condition.
 Suspects charged with providing forged documents to illegal migrantsA group of foreign nationals, all from South Asia countries, is believed to be behind a ring supplying illegal migrants with forged documents for use in the legalisation process, authorities said on Tuesday.
Police officers investigating the case arrested a Pakistani national, 23, and a Bangladeshi, 36, in the Athens district of Sepolia on Sunday.
A search in a house used by the suspects revealed 127 official rubber stamps removed allegedly taken from police stations, prefectures, customs offices, hospitals, government ministries, etc, as well as a large number of employer-issued certificates, political asylum application forms and other documents.
The suspects were led before a prosecutor on Monday while an investigation is underway for the arrest of other suspects.
 Cannabis plantation on CreteHania (Crete island) police on Tuesday located a cannabis plantation in a mountainous area in Selino prefecture. The police officers, acting on a tip-off, went to the spot where unknown individuals started shooting at them. The officers returned the fire but the suspects, taking advantage of the situation, managed to escape.
Police confiscated 700 cannabis plants and 330 grams of hashish found in a storage space that was used as a dryer for processing the cannabis, a cartridge and 23 bullets, a precision scale and other objects used for cannabis cultivation.
Police has launched a manhunt for the suspects.
 American poet Simic in AthensNoted American poet Charles Simic will appear at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) on Nov. 1 to recite portions of his works.
Entrance will be free with the presentation of admission ticket.
Simic has received the Wallace Stevens award 2007 and the Pulitzer in 1990, while he was declared US Poet Laureate in 2007-2008.
Simic was born in Belgrade in 1938 and moved with his family to the United States in 1954.
 Archaeological sites closed 8.00-12.00 on WednesdayAll museums and archaeological sites will remain closed on Wednesday from 8am to 12 noon due to a Hellenic Federation of antiquities guards' work stoppage in support of the Culture Ministry employees' mobilisations, which are continuing for a second consecutive week.
Moreover, all Culture Ministry permanent employees will be on strike on Wednesday.
 Clocks ... fall back one hour on Sun.Daylight Saving Time in Greece and the rest of the EU in 2010 ends at 4 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, when clocks will be reset one hour back to read 3 a.m.
The Daylight Saving Time or "summer time" measure is based on the 2000/84 European Parliament directive and the 10/1/2001 Council decision.
 Greek embassy initiative at Beijing MarathonBEIJING (ANA-MPA)
Ôhe Greek embassy here distributed informational flyers on Sunday to some 30,000 participants of the 30th annual Beijing Marathon, a week before the Athens Marathon coincides with the 2,500th anniversary of the eponymous Battle of Marathon.
The Chinese-language flyers featured a map of the "Classical Marathon" route used for the Athens event, photos of ancient Greek vases depicting runners, the Tumulus of Marathon and even postcard images of the first modern Olympic Games of 1896 in Athens, as well as a brief history of the landmark Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.
The Greek embassy also participated with photographic exhibits and press material at the Beijing Marathon Expo 2010, which was inaugurated on Oct. 21 at the Beijing Olympic Village.
Greek ambassador to China Theodoros Georgakelos spoke at the inauguration on the significance of the ancient battle.
 From Brussels to the Athens marathon for a children's charityAn executive trainer by day and a mother of a five-year-old, Vali Lalioti, will be among the thousands to run at the this Sunday's 28th Athens Classic Marathon, leaving her home in Brussels for a while to run in the eponymous race on behalf of a charity.
Lalioti and another 40-50 amateur runners will run for "Floga" (www.floga.org.gr), a NGO founded by the parents of children afflicted with cancer.
Lalioti has had a personal experience of the substantive help offered by "Floga" when a child of two of her friends was stricken by the disease.
"That was the reason I decided to run in the marathon and help raise funds for 'Floga' there is nothing worse than a small child with cancer and you don't have to be a parent to know that," she said.
 Rainy on WednesdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-9 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 11C and 25C. Rainy in Athens, with southwesterly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 21C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 15C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePrime Minister George Papandreou's nationally televised press conference expectedly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' main newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Greek FBI to be established".
APOGEVMATINI: "Prime Minister George Papandreou asks citizens to vote for (EU-ECB-IMF) memorandum".
AVGHI: "He's bluffing (Papandreou) and losing".
AVRIANI: "Papandreou will leave after local government elections".
ELEFTHEROS: "Prime minister's blatant contradictions".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "He's threatening early elections under spectre of the troika".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Threats with empty revolver a confession of defeat".
ESTIA: "Mr. Papandreou threatening with early elections".
ETHNOS: "Clear victory or recourse to ballots".
IMERISSIA: "Polarisation of political climate - Early elections dilemma a risk".
KATHIMERINI: "Mr. Papandreou points to early elections".
LOGOS: "Nationally televised shock and awe".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "24 billion euros in 'red loans' in first half of 2010".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Workers income under guillotine".
TA NEA: "The great gamble - George (Papandreou) opens his cards".
TO VIMA: "Papandreou's dramatic warning: General elections if (local elections) results indicate impasse".
VRADYNI: "Hypocrisy and self-contradiction".
 EU Commissioner calls on Turkey to implement the Ankara protocolBRUSSELS (CNA/ANA-MPA)
EU Commissioner for enlargement Stefan Fule has called on Turkey to implement the protocol of its Association Agreement with the Union, in an attempt to give an impetus to its accession negotiations.
Fule was speaking during the 65th meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee held here on Tuesday. He also referred to a regulation on direct trade between the EU and Cyprus' northern Turkish occupied areas and defended the legal basis the Commission has chosen to press for approval of this regulation.
He noted that this basis is the most appropriate one and it does not imply recognition of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in Cyprus' occupied areas. He added that the discussion on the issue will continue at the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament political groups.
With regard to the Cyprus problem, the Czech Commissioner noted that its settlement will give an impetus to Turkey's EU course. He added that the key for the "de-freezing" of the eight chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations is in Turkey's hands and depends on the full implementation of the Ankara protocol.
He stressed the need to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation and expressed hope that the EU Belgian Presidency will be able to open the Competition chapter by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, at Tuesday's EU-Turkey meeting, Cypriot and Greek MEPs reacted strongly to the offensive remarks by Turkish Minister for EU
Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis who spoke about "two states, two peoples and two parliaments" in Cyprus and noted that his country does not recognize the "southern areas of Cyprus", as he called the government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus.
Cypriot MEPs Takis Hadjigeogiou, Eleni Theocharous and Antigoni Papadopoulou and Greek MEPs George Koumou-tsakos and Niki Tzavela intervened and asked that these provocative references by the Turkish Minister are not included in the minutes of the meeting.
The Chairwoman of the Committee did not respond to their request and the five MEPs walked out of the meeting in protest.
Bagis' reference to "two states, two peoples and two parliaments" in Cyprus had resulted in Fule's reaction who recalled that negotiations for a Cyprus settlement aim at a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
UN-led direct negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side in Cyprus have been going on since September 2008, with a view to solve the problem of Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. Turkey which aspires to become an EU member does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member since May 2004. The EU decided in 2006 to freeze eight of the 35 EU-Turkey negotiating chapters, as Ankara does not meet its EU obligations, one of which is opening its ports and airports to Cypriot ship and vessel.
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