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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-01-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

January 23, 2006


  • [01] PM urges tightening of Greek-Chinese commercial ties, wraps up visit
  • [02] PASOK leader launches stinging attack against government
  • [03] Greek Ambassador to US promotes Greece's 'new image'
  • [04] King Abdullah of Jordan receives Greece's Parliament President Benaki-Psarouda
  • [05] All measures against bird flu taken, Agriculture Min reiterates
  • [06] Majority of Greeks back constitutional reform
  • [07] Opposition names key candidates for local elections
  • [08] SYN to step up preparations ahead of local elections
  • [09] SYN leader slams gov't, main opposition
  • [10] Archbishop of America: US efforts for a Cyprus solution to continue
  • [11] Cyprus solution only within UN framework, Turkish PM says
  • [12] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos visits Bulgarian Church of Saint George in Edirne
  • [13] PM sends condolences for Kosovo president
  • [14] Airports and harbors set for privatization in 2007
  • [15] Govt's actions will pay off this year, Deputy Development Minister says
  • [16] Gov't repeats priority of regional growth
  • [17] Real estate market outlook positive, Eurobank/Metron Analysis
  • [18] PASOK delegation visits Phosphate Fertilizers facilities
  • [19] Trade group fears rise in natgas prices
  • [20] Foreign Exchange Rates: Monday
  • [21] Interior Minister Pavlopoulos chairs meeting for coping with coming extremely bad weather
  • [22] Minister finalizes action plan ahead of bad weather
  • [23] Memorial service for victims of terrorism
  • [24] Police force sets priorities for 2006
  • [25] Three illegal immigrants freeze to death
  • [26] Erdogan seeks to talk to Putin over Cyprus
  • [27] Russian Christian Orthodox Church at the disposal of Cyprus for promoting its problem

  • [01] PM urges tightening of Greek-Chinese commercial ties, wraps up visit

    SHANGAI, 23/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/A. Panagopoulos)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called for tightening of Greek-Chinese commercial relations, noting that there is room for improvement, during a speech he delivered at a business conference here on Saturday.

    "I strongly believe that there is much room for futher development of our economic ties. My visit here is the result of economic diplomacy efforts that were launched a while ago, but also the beginning of a cooperation which we believe will bring significant and mutual benefits for both sides," Karamanlis said.

    Within this context, the Greek government's goal is to increase exports of Greek products and services to China, to encourage bilateral cooperation and to attract Chinese investors, he said.

    He cited the advantages of post-Olympic Greece, a stable environment, infrastructure, tax reform, the new development law and the country's strategic location as incentives.

    Referring to the various economic sectors wherein bilateral cooperation would be beneficial, Karamanlis cited shipping, noting that the Greek government encourages the building of Greek ships in China and is trying to ensure that the Greek commercial fleet is the preferred choice for the transport of Chinese goods in international markets.

    Energy is another sector for possible cooperation, according to Karamanlis.

    "The promotion and execution of major international works have made Greece into an energy hub, providing more opportunities for Chinese investors interested in becoming active in the Balkan region," he said.

    As for tourism, "our goal is to attract a significant number of Chinese tourists to Greece," Karamanlis noted, adding that Chinese citizens' increasing interest in travel "is a major challenge for the Greek tourism industry."

    He also appealed to Chinese importers, stressing the value of Greek agricultural products, such as wine, fresh produce, dairy products and olive oil.

    "The superiority of internationally-acclaimed Greek agricultural products is the best guarantee for Chinese importers," he added.

    The Greek premier also referred to the ongoing cooperation between the two countries as Greece helps China prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

    "I therefore invite you to focus your investment interest in the Greek market, where you can easily find suitable local partners which can then lead to profitable joint ventures," Karamanlis concluded.

    After his speech, Karamanlis met with the Mayor of Shanghai, who hosted a luncheon in the former's honor.

    PM wraps up official visit to China: Karamanlis wrapped up his official three-day visit to China with visits to Shanghai's Oriental Pearl Television Tower and the city's exhibition centre.

    The Greek premier enjoyed the view of the city from the 468-metre high tower, while earlier, during his visit to the exhibit centre, he saw models of the city's planned development projects and infrastructure works.

    Speaking to reporters on Saturday morning, he expressed satisfaction with his visit and predicted that positive results in the sectors of shipping and tourism will be imminent.

    Karamanlis said he was pleased with the talks he had with China's political leadership, stressing that the discussions were all based on concrete plans for closer bilateral cooperation on both an economic and commercial level.

    As for Greek agricultural products, Karamanlis said that much effort, perseverance and consistency are needed for Greek products, such as olive oil, to 'conquer' the Chinese market.

    [02] PASOK leader launches stinging attack against government

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party leader George Papandreou on Sunday evening launched a stinging attack against the New Democracy government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Papandreou, who was speaking at a party event in Livadia, Viotia, central Greece, accused Karamanlis of "not keeping his electoral promises", adding that the Karamanlis government "deceived the people".

    He also accused the government that "instead of uniting Greeks, it divided them".

    Referring to the prime minister's official visit to China, which ended on Saturday, Papandreou said that "perhaps Mr. Karamanlis believes that Greek products can become cheaper than China", saying that the answer to the Greek economy's problem was not the "containing of salaries at 600 euros but investing in quality and the security of working people."

    Papandreou also called on leftist parties' leaderships to "not forget history and peoples' struggles" and that PASOK was a "living part of the people's movement which brought down the walls of division, which was the logic of the right wing party".

    Earlier, Papandreou charged that "we are dealing with a government which is rudderless, with a government which is chaotic, which concerns itself with its own problems and interests and not for a solution to the problems of the people."

    Papandreou made the statements at Orhomenos, first stop of his visit to Viotia.

    The PASOK leader met at Orhomenos with many farmers of the region, in their majority cotton producers and discussed with them their problems.

    He accused the government that before the general elections were held, it had made many promises "and did not implement any of them."

    Papandreou further accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that "although he had promised that he himself would negotiate in support of the farmers in Brussels, he did not negotiate in the recent EU summit, resulting in Greece losing funds for the agricultural sector."

    [03] Greek Ambassador to US promotes Greece's 'new image'

    NEW YORK, 23/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greece offers great investment opportunities, Greek Ambassador to the US Alexandros Mallias said, promoting the country's new image, during a dinner hosted in his honor here on Friday evening.

    He presented the country's new image, stressing the new business opportunities emerging in Southeast Europe as well as the advantages Greece gained from hosting the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Mallias also referred to Turkey's EU prospects, stressing that Greece supports its neighbor's EU aspirations, but added that Ankara must fulfill the obligations it assumed on October 3, 2005 - the official starting date of EU accession talks - which concern respect for minorities and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, human rights and the Cyprus issue.

    Regarding the latter, he said that everyone would like to see the Turkish occupation forces leave the island with the implementation of the acquis communautaire.

    As for the Middle East, the Greek ambassador expressed the hope that Palestinian elections will mean a new chapter for the region that will lead to peace and stability.

    Present at the dinner were Archbishop of America Demetrios, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, the UN's Palestinian Envoy, American businessmen, members of the Greek expatriate community, editor of the Turkish newspaper Sabah Gazetesi and others.

    Earlier on Friday, Mallias met with The New York Times' Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs department, briefing staff members on a series of issues concerning Greece.

    He also visited the offices of Greek media in New York.

    On Saturday evening, Greek General Consul in New York Ekaterini Boura is scheduled to host a dinner in his honor.

    Before departing from New York on Sunday, Mallias will meet with the board members of the Cyprus Federation of America.

    [04] King Abdullah of Jordan receives Greece's Parliament President Benaki-Psarouda

    23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Greece's Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda met in Amman on Sunday with King Abdullah of Jordan, in the context of her official visit to the country.

    According to a Parliament press release, during the talks, which were held in a particularly friendly and cordial atmosphere, views were exchanged on the situation in the region, but also in the broader region, while the need was underlined for the solution of problems, such as the Palestinian issue and the Cyprus issue, in accordance to the rules of international law.

    Both the Jordanian Monarch and the Greek Parliament President referred to the excellent relations existing between the two countries and to the efforts being made to further broaden cooperation in all the sectors and in particular to the strengthening of Greek investments in Jordan, as requested by King Abdullah.

    The Jordanian Monarch showed that he was particularly impressed by his recent visit to Greece, in December 2005, and to the particularly friendly relations between the two peoples.

    Benaki-Psarouda also met with her Jordanian counterpart Abdul Hadi Majali and Senate Speaker Zeid Rifai.

    [05] All measures against bird flu taken, Agriculture Min reiterates

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Greece is well protected against bird flu, Agricultural Development and Foodstuffs Minister Evangelos Basiakos reiterated once again following meetings with local authorities in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

    He warned against creating further problems for the country's already ailing poultry breeders.

    During his meeting with Secretary General of the Central Macedonian Region, prefects and other local government officials, Basiakos stressed that there is excellent cooperation between the ministry and local authorities and that raising awareness regarding EU measures in effect since 2004 has already proved beneficial.

    "We must reassure the public that the country is well protected, that measures are already being taken and that we will continue along this course in the near future in order to prevent the spreading of the disease from neighboring Turkey," he said.

    [06] Majority of Greeks back constitutional reform

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    The majority of Greeks support revision of the constitution but have little information on the issues, according to an opinion poll released on Sunday.

    In the survey by Kappa Research published in the Vima newspaper, 70% of respondents lacked information on the parts of the constitution that are being studied for revision.

    The public mostly backed reform of areas agreed by the country's two main political parties, including the abolition of tenure in the public sector, with 77.3% in favor of such a move, the poll showed.

    Of those areas, respondents noted the following issues as priorities for debate in order of importance: private universities; establishment of a constitutional court; abolition of immunity for parliamentary deputies; and abolition of tenure in the public sector.

    Over 57% of people polled said they believed that relations between state and church should be raised as an issue but the time was not right, the survey said.

    [07] Opposition names key candidates for local elections

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology on Sunday approved a recommendation naming candidates to stand for key posts in local elections, which will be put to groups backing the party in the polls this year.

    Heading a slate for the position of supra-prefect for Athens and Piraeus is G Panousis, with S Lykoudis for the prefecture of Athens and E Karakosta, Piraeus, said the party's central political committee after a meeting with the heads of regional committees.

    [08] SYN to step up preparations ahead of local elections

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    The Political Committee of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party decided on Saturday to step up preparations ahead of the 2006 local government elections, since it believes they will influence political developments overall.

    The committee, convening over the weekend, also decided to launch a three-month campaign that will focus on key issues such as health, education, labor relations and efforts to bring together the parties of the Left.

    Presenting the committee's action plan, SYN Secretary Nikos Hountis noted that by allowing a political party to win the local government elections with a 42% majority - a change recently made by ruling New Democracy - the chances of the two major parties dominating local elections greatly increase, thus underscoring the need for action and for the creation of leftist alliances.

    He accused the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) of adopting a 'divisive' line even on a local government level.

    As for the government's proposed revision of the Constitution, SYN expects it to be in a conservative direction, Hountis said.

    He also criticized the government's policies, saying that the "head-on neoliberal governmental attack on wages, labor and pension rights places broad social classes in a difficult position, while privatizations, accumulation of new tax burdens and hikes, and the reduction in social spending aggravate social problems."

    For 2006, Hountis predicted that a greater outcry against the government's implemented measures will be heard while the need for political and social forces to join together on an 'anti-neoliberal basis' will intensify.

    He also criticized the main opposition PASOK party of effectively going along with the government's basic economic policies and the constitutional revision, which results in the public's displeasure with both major parties.

    As for SYN's internal situation, Hountis said that despite some progress made, the party continues to experience organizational weaknesses and an inward-looking approach. To address these problems, the Committee has proposed staging a National Organizational Conference in April.

    [09] SYN leader slams gov't, main opposition

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) President Alekos Alavanos slammed both ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK during his speech delivered at the party's Political Council meeting on Sunday.

    He also highlighted the need for SYN to work towards bringing together other political forces despite objections of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    Alavanos accused the government of launching an attack "against workers' rights and their benefits," and an attempt to legalize such actions by revising the Constitution.

    According to the SYN leader, the government's proposed constitutional revision is dangerous in that it might constitutionalist choices that are "a burden on the social state, [and] on democracy."

    Referring to PASOK, Alavanos said that the main opposition party, through its policies, "effectively tolerates, covers up and agrees with ND's basic choices," adding that PASOK's stance creates "an opposition vacuum."

    Speaking on behalf of the party's Political Secretariat, Alavanos announced the following candidates: Spyros Lykoudis for Athens Prefect, Evi Karakosta for Piraeus Prefect and Professor G. Panousis for Athens-Piraeus Superprefect.

    [10] Archbishop of America: US efforts for a Cyprus solution to continue

    NEW YORK, 23/1/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Archbishop of America Demetrios has said that US efforts for a Cyprus problem settlement will continue, noting that this problem is important and has wider ramifications in the Middle East.

    In an interview with CNA ahead of his official visit to Cyprus 24-30 January, the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America expressed the belief that as time lapses he notices a softening of the initially negative approach on the part of the US towards the Greek Cypriots.

    During his visit to the island his Eminence will be received by the Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, whose stance towards the referendum he praised, noting the president's disposition to display calm determination.

    "I have the feeling that he was fulfilling his duty to the full towards history and the reality in Cyprus, taking into consideration all factors", he said, referring to Papadopoulos' appeal to the Greek Cypriots to reject a UN-proposed solution plan which the president said did not serve the interests of Cyprus.

    Referring to the Cyprus issue, the Archbishop said that due to its importance and its impact in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean "I am certain that efforts take place and will continue in order to reach a solution to the problem".

    The Archbishop of America warmly talked about the role of the Cypriot community in the US on issues concerning the Archbishopric and the

    Greek-American community. Participating in the official delegation is the President of the Cyprus Federation of America Panicos Papanicolaou.

    Demetrios' trip to Cyprus is the first official visit to the island by an Archbishop of America. Pressure from Ankara on the Ecumenical Patriarchate has prevented any such visits in the past.

    In his interview to CNA, Demetrios pointed out that his visit takes place as a result of changes in the international arena and because of his close relationship with President Papadopoulos.

    He described his visit "an honor" since it provides the opportunity for the overseas Greek American community to "communicate with our brothers in Cyprus".

    He said the visit will bear witness to the love and interest of the Greek Americans for a just solution to the Cyprus problem.

    [11] Cyprus solution only within UN framework, Turkish PM says

    ISTANBUL, 23/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    The Cyprus issue can only be resolved within a United Nations framework, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated during a press conference held jointly with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat here on Saturday.

    All sides must support the efforts of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he said, adding that Cyprus' EU accession cannot serve as an excuse for the Greek-Cypriot side's rigid stance.

    Erdogan noted that the Cyprus issue cannot stand in the way of Turkey's EU accession.

    [12] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos visits Bulgarian Church of Saint George in Edirne

    ISTANBUL, 23/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Sunday visited the Bulgarian Church of Saint George in Edirne, Turkey.

    He was received by metropolitans and clerics on behalf of Patriarch of Bulgaria Maximos, two deputies of the Bulgarian Parliament, the Bulgarian government's General Director for Religious Affairs, Professor Ivan Dimitrov, on behalf of the Bulgarian state, the Consuls of Greece, Vassilios Katakalidis, and of Bulgaria in Edirne, officials of the Bulgarian community and many faithful.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his particular satisfaction over the fact that "in the triangle of Thrace the peoples of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria live in harmony and mutual cooperation." Having underlined the fact that "the region offers itself for the development of close political and business cooperation," he referred to the "Polis" Network of the Municipalities of Trace in the three countries and underlined that "when local government is not influenced by political expediencies, it can offer services to the benefit of individuals and peoples."

    [13] PM sends condolences for Kosovo president

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday sent his condolences for the death of Kosovo's president, Ibrahim Rugova.

    "I would like genuinely to express my grief over the death of President Rugova after a long battle with his health. In Kosovo's recent troubled history, President Rugova was not only a much-liked man of letters, but also a cool-headed, sober political leader, who won the respect and love of his people, as well as the international community's esteem," Karamanlis said.

    "His loss will clearly render more difficult what in any case is a tough and complicated attempt to determine Kosovo's future status," the premier added.

    Rugova died of lung cancer on Saturday aged 61, shortly before talks that Kosovo Albanians hoped would secure the independence championed by the late leader.

    [14] Airports and harbors set for privatization in 2007

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis plans to privatize airports and harbors in 2007 as part of a new phase in the government's wide-ranging privatization plan.

    "This new generation of privatizations is infrastructure, which must work competitively," the minister told the Sunday Ethnos newspaper in an interview.

    The banking sector was the immediate priority with the part-flotation of Post Office Savings Bank; the sale of more stock in Athens-quoted Agricultural Bank of Greece leaving the state with a bare majority; and the full privatization of Emporiki Bank, also listed on the bourse, Alogoskoufis said.

    He also noted that one possible method of aiding fiscal discipline was to enter forecasts from the country's growth and stability pact into the constitution, and to embark on a mandatory formulation of three-year budgets.

    In addition, the minister said that tenure in the public sector remained the norm, with open-ended contracts an exception; and the tax-exempt level for income from 2007 would be 12,000 euros annually.

    [15] Govt's actions will pay off this year, Deputy Development Minister says

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    The foundations ruling New Democracy has been busy laying since it took office will begin to pay off this year, Deputy Development Minister George Salagoudis said, in comments he made during the New Year's pie cutting event at the Small Industry Chamber of Thessaloniki (VETH) on Saturday.

    He said that the Greek economy will improve in 2007 and 2008, adding that with the macroeconomics correction, the government will be able to better aid light industry.

    Salagoudis referred to the new development law the government recently passed, tax reforms, simplification of the start-up process of light industry enterprises and the new Third Community Support Framework programs.

    On his part, VETH President Sotiris Magopoulos referred to the chamber's key priorities, which include upgrading member services and the chamber's infrastructure, supporting companies' outward-looking strategies, and cooperation with the state, among others.

    Present at the event were Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis, Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, MPs from both ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, and others.

    [16] Gov't repeats priority of regional growth

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias said on Sunday that the government was pursuing its target of regional development.

    "This is non-negotiable," Folias told a traditional New Year cake-cutting ceremony in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.

    Citing a European Union funded growth plan for central Macedonia, he noted that the absorbtion rate had risen to 41% from 15.68% since the ruling New Democracy party took office in March, 2004.

    [17] Real estate market outlook positive, Eurobank/Metron Analysis

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Prospects in the residential real estate market look positive in the short- to medium-term future, a study conducted by EFG Eurobank Ergasias and Metron Analysis has found.

    The study, conducted from December 1, 2005 through January 9, 2006, found that 2% - 8% of the 1,373 households surveyed intend to buy or build a new house (primary residence) in 2006, while 4% - 18% of those surveyed intend to do so over the next five years.

    According to Eurobank analysts, demand for new housing is expected to increase at a rate of 3.5% annually over the next five years compared with an annual rate of 2.6% in 2004-2005 and 2.0% in 2000-2003.

    As for real estate prices, eight out of 10 households surveyed believe that buying a home is a safe investment and expect prices to increase significantly over the next 12 months, while seven out of 10 households believe real estate prices will continue to rise over the next five years at a rate of 5%-30% annually.

    [18] PASOK delegation visits Phosphate Fertilizers facilities

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    A delegation of main opposition PASOK MPs and party cadres visited the facilities of the Phosphate Fertilizers Industry in Thessaloniki on Saturday and were briefed on developments following the company's decision to shut down its Thessaloniki plant.

    PASOK MPs Anna Diamantopoulou, Robertos Spyropoulos, Harris Kastanidis, Evangelos Venizelos, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, Yiannis Magriotis, Yiannis Drivelegas and party cadres met with the President of the workers' union Yiorgos Michaelidis, as well as with employees themselves to discuss the company's decision to move its workforce in February to its Kavala plant, also in northern Greece.

    Employees voiced their objection to management's decision to shut down the Thessaloniki plant, saying that the plant's operation was viable with the potential of becoming profitable.

    After the meeting, the PASOK delegation expressed its support for the company's workers and called for the reversal of the decision during a press conference held at the company's site.

    They also accused the government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis personally, who as MP represents Thessaloniki, and stressed that any debate regarding the company's future can only begin after the decision to shut down the Thessaloniki plant is reversed.

    [19] Trade group fears rise in natgas prices

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    The owners of petrol stations on Sunday expressed fears that the price of natural gas will rise in the future.

    The president of the Federation of Gas Station Owners of Greece, Dimitris Makryvelios, told a general assembly that a report on the Greek liquid fuels market showed that four companies held a 67% stake - Hellenic Petroleum and Motoroil (refineries) and BP and Shell (multinationals).

    The trade group urged the Competition Commission to examine the state of competition in the market, rather than focus on the commercial workings of gas stations, as in the past.

    Makryvelios also noted that illegal trade in the sector was estimated at about 1.5 billion euros annually, and suggested that creating a single tax could help to resolve the problem.

    [20] Foreign Exchange Rates: Monday

    23/1/2006 (ANA)

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

    U.S. dollar 1.216

    [21] Interior Minister Pavlopoulos chairs meeting for coping with coming extremely bad weather

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    A meeting was held at the Civil Protection Office in Athens on Sunday under the chairmanship of Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Civil Protection General Secretary Panagiotis Fourlas to discuss the issue of dealing with the extremely bad weather which the country is expected these coming days.

    Also taking part in the meeting were representatives of state agencies and of local government.

    Pavlopoulos said after the meeting that a final assessment was made on the state of preparedness of the state apparatus. The minister said:"The state operates on the forecasts of the National Meteorological Service (EMY) and is obliged to take the necessary measures so as to confront any cases from the weather phenomena."

    The interior minister added:"In the event that EMY's forecasts are not fully confirmed, certain individuals will view that we exaggerated. However, it is better for there to be preparedness."

    [22] Minister finalizes action plan ahead of bad weather

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis on Sunday finalized the government's plan of action for a bout of bad weather including snow that has been forecast in coming days.

    Voulgarakis told senior officials of the police force and fire brigade that staff were to be ordered on full alert to tackle any contingencies.

    [23] Memorial service for victims of terrorism

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    A memorial service was held on Sunday to honor the victims of terrorism.

    The annual service requested by the Thanos Axarlian Association was held at the Aghia Triada Church in Piraeus.

    The group was created after a youth of the same name was killed as an innocent passer-by during a terrorist attack in central Athens.

    Among public figures taking part were Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou, Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos, also a casualty in a terrorist attack, the deputy speaker of parliament, Yiannis Tragakis, and the British ambassador in Athens.

    "This memorial is to remind us that the victim of terrorism is Greek society itself, and not only individuals," said Axarlian's mother.

    Yiannakou announced that a memorial day for the victims would officially become an annual event.

    "This will take place on the third Sunday of January each year. A presidential decree will state the manner in which it will be conducted," Yiannakou said.

    [24] Police force sets priorities for 2006

    ATHENS, 23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Police headquarters in Athens on Sunday issued a statement naming key targets for 2006.

    The targets, which aim to develop a modern and effective police force that is close to the public, include the following:

  • tackling organized crime

  • combating drugs

  • dealing with minor offences

  • road safety

  • tackling people-trafficking, especially sexual and financial exploitation

  • handling illegal immigration

  • protecting the under-age

  • improving day-to-day life for the public

    [25] Three illegal immigrants freeze to death

    23/1/2006 (ANA)

    Coast guard officials picked up 57 illegal immigrants on board two inflatable rafts off of Cape Sounio early Saturday morning, and found another three who had died from the cold.

    A ship spotted the two rafts nine nautical miles from Cape Kafirea (Cavo D'Oro) at 3:20 a.m. and alerted the Coast Guard which arrived at the location together with a Turkish ship and a Greek tanker.

    The illegal immigrants - 41 of Pakistani origin, 12 from Bangladesh and 4 Albanians - were taken to Port Lavrio where they were provided medical attention and examined for a possible bird flu infection since they had set out from the Turkish coast.

    Two of the immigrants were found to be suffering from hypothermia and were transferred to a hospital in Athens.

    According to the Merchant Marine Ministry, the four Albanians are believed to be the immigrants' traffickers and have been taken in for questioning.

    The three corpses were taken to the Athens morgue.

    [26] Erdogan seeks to talk to Putin over Cyprus

    MOSCOW, 23/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan has asked to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin before the latter meets Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos here on Monday.

    This was revealed by President Putin to his Cypriot counterpart during a reception given at the Kremlin by the Russian leader in honor of those being awarded Saturday by the International Fund for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, including Papadopoulos.

    The Cypriot president told the press afterwards that the Russian President had shown great interest in developments in Cyprus. "I briefed him on developments. He expressed some thoughts and we will continue tomorrow ( Monday), Papadopoulos added.

    President Papadopoulos praised the important role Russia plays as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

    "We want all permanent members of the Security Council to be involved" in the effort for achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem, and not only two permanent members to be involved, Papadopoulos noted.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    [27] Russian Christian Orthodox Church at the disposal of Cyprus for promoting its problem

    MOSCOW, 23/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    Patriarch of Moscow and the All Russia Alexiy II said the Russian Orthodox Church is always at the disposal of Cyprus for promoting the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking after the Ceremony of Awards given by the International Fund for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, Patriarch Alexiy II reminded that in the past the Russian Church helped after guidance by the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus for the support of Cyprus positions in the Security Council by the Russian representative.

    In the meantime, Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov expressed the need for more involvement of the Russian Federation towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Luzhkov who was one of those being awarded Saturday by the International Fund for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, pointed out that Russia always supported and will support a just solution for the Cyprus problem and the reunification of the island.

    ''What we must say now, is that Russia must continue to support Cyprus and involved more for the solution of its problem'', he concluded.

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