|Saturday, 25 May 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-03-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 6 March 2008 Issue No: 2837
 PM and Cyprus president reaffirm close tiesPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Cyprus President Demetris Christofias reaffirmed the excellent relations and close cooperation between Athens and Nicosia on Wednesday, during their first official meeting since Christofias was elected president of Cyprus.
During the Athens meeting, the two leaders agreed to consult and communicate more frequently in view of an anticipated peak in activity regarding the Cyprus issue during the current year. Both leaders said that implementation of the July 8 agreement of 2006 was a starting point for new initiatives aiming at a solution of the Cyprus problem and urged Turkey to give up its intransigence and fulfill its obligations toward the European Union.
Karamanlis and Christofias further clarified that the Greek-Cypriot side would not accept very tight schedules because they did not help the process, with Christofias referring to "bitter experiences" in the past.
The Greek premier said 2008 would bring a "window of opportunity" for solving the Cyprus issue and echoed Christofias in noting that the agreement of July 8th, UN resolutions and the principles of the EU provided the necessary framework for promoting a solution.
"The procedural framework for preparing the ground that will lead to comprehensive negotiations has already been agreed and is the collection of principles of 8th July 2006," he said.
The Greek premier urged Turkey to show "honest desire for cooperation" and noted that confidence-building measures would help improve the climate between the two communities on Cyprus. He also invited Turkey to fully comply with its EU obligations, particularly stressing the implementation of the additional Protocol for customs union.
"The talks must aim at the implementation of the only agreement signed by both communities, that of 8th July. I will honor the signature of my predecessor, I hope that [Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali] Talat will honor his own," Christofias said regarding the next developments in the Cyprus issue and his upcoming "exploratory" meeting with Talat.
"I hope that this exploratory meeting will lead to the creation of the two kinds of committee envisaged by the agreement, the working committees and the technical committees. In the meantime, it is hoped that during our meeting we will be able to announce the opening of the Ledra Street [crossing-point] and the prospect of soon opening the roadblock at Limnitis," Cyprus's president added.
He also underlined Turkey's role in the Cyprus issue, stressing that it was "an occupation force and, at the end of the day, the agreement that arises from the Cypriots must include the withdrawal of occupation troops, the end of settlement, recognition of the right of refugees to return and to property and, of course, to arrive at a bizonal, bicommunal federation that will unite the people, their institutions, the economy."
Christofias said that Athens and Nicosia would work together closely with regard to ensuring that Turkey fulfilled its obligations toward the EU, while stressing that Turkey's prospects of EU accession were a "helpful factor in achieving a solution that is viable and just in treaties and functional."
Regarding the prospects of progress if Turkey remained intransigent, Christofias underlined the Cyprus government's good will and desire for a solution, while stressing that equally firm "was the basis on which we believe that the negotiation must begin in order to be serious".
While noting that time was not in favor of either community on Cyprus, he also pointed out that the "deadlines lie before Turkey, which has deadlines in which to answer to the EU". If Turkey was in a hurry for the sake of its EU progress, it had to change its stance in order to be favoured by both the EU and the Greek side, he added.
Christofias and Karamanlis also repeatedly stressed that the Annan plan was no longer on the table and that any solution must be based on United Nations resolutions and the principles of the European Union, while it must also require the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops from the island.
Referring to demilitarization, Christofias said that the ultimate goal was that this should extend to all of Cyprus, not just of the Cyprus Republic:
"The united Cyprus Republic must be demilitarized and in the future, it is our view that the island, Cyprus, must be demilitarized because, unfortunately, based on the agreements of 1960 we are talking about the territory of the Cyprus Republic and the territory of the British bases. Now the final eventual target is the demilitarization of the island," Christofias said.
 Papoulias receives newly elected Cypriot President ChristofiasGreek President Karolos Papoulias reserved a warm reception for newly elected Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias on Wednesday, as the latter visited the presidential mansion in Athens during his first overseas visit since his election as the island republic's head of state.
During a photo opportunity ahead of the meeting, the two veteran politicians exchanged gifts and commented on a formal reception hosted on Tuesday evening by Papoulias in honor of Christofias.
Papoulias presented Christofias with a replica of a Claudius Ptolemy Code, a 2nd century AD manuscript, which constitutes a geography-based description of the then known world, while the Greek President was given a silver basket.
The Cypriot President will also meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
 Christofias-Sioufas meetingCyprus President Demetris Christofias met on Wednesday with Greek Parliament president Dimitris Sioufas, with both men agreeing to a further strengthening and broadening of bilateral relations and cooperation, especially on the Cyprus issue.
Sioufas assured Christofias that all political forces in Greece stand by the people of Cyprus and attempts to reopen intercommunal talks in order to achieve a viable and functional solution based on UN resolutions and EU principles as soon as possible, "and to demolish the last wall left in Europe".
Christofias emphasised that his top priority is the realisation of the agreement of July 8, 2006, adding that he hopes Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will honour his signature regarding the agreement.
"The Turkish Cypriot community needs the island to be rejoined ... I am not a dreamer, we will face many difficulties, but if people of Cyprus want it, it can be done," he stressed.
 PASOK leader meets Cyprus President ChristofiasMain opposition PASOK leader met on Wednesday afternoon with visiting newly elected Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.
Speaking to the press afterwards, Papndreou said he wished President Christofias success in his new duties, adding that the latter would have his support as leader of PASOK and also as Socialist International (SI) president "in the struggle for a just solution of the Cyprus problem."
The PASOK leader said that the Annan plan "is part of history; new opportunities and new challenges are opening on the basis of the European Union acquis communautaire, given the fact that Cyprus is an EU member-state."
"Of course, for the prospects of a solution, Turkey's will is necessary, as the Cyprus issue is a problem of occupation of one member-state of the EU by a candidate country," Papandreou added.
On April 24 2004, 76% of the Greek Cypriot side rejected the Annan plan for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, while the 65% of the Turkish Cypriot community endorsed it.
 KKE SG Papariga meets Cyprus presidentCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga met on Wednesday afternoon with visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias for talks on the Cyprus issue.
"We considered it our obligation to remind President Christofias, whom we any way know for a long time, that he can count on KKE's support to the people of Cyprus and its president for a just solution of the Cyprus problem," Papariga told reporters after the meeting.
Papariga, who was heading a party delegation, noted "we are on the same wave lengths and we share the same positions with the President of Cyprus, but a Cyprus solution does not only depend on the correct stance of the Cyprus presidency."
The KKE SG also said that she discussed with President Christofias developments in the Balkans, especially the repercussions of the "creation of the protectorate in Kosovo".
Papariga expressed her party's opposition to Greece's participation in multinational military forces deployed in the region, underlining that the government should "state its opposition to Kosovo's independence and not to offer its position as an "exchange" in the dispute over the name of FYROM."
 SYRIZA leader Alavanos holds talks with Cyprus presidentRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos met with visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on Wednesday afternoon.
"We wished to the president success in his task for the resumption of talks on the Cyprus issue and its solution on the basis of United Nations resolutions and the agreed opinion of the two communities," Alavanos told the press afterwards.
"The Cyprus issue is the great issue of Greek foreign policy. We do not speak of a name. We speak of an island occupied by foreign troops. Demetris Christofias' presidency creates new optimism and new possibilities of mobility," Alavanos concluded.
 PM Karamanlis, President Christofias deny pressures to recognise Kosovo independencePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Cyprus President Demetris Christofias categorically denied on Wednesday that Athens and Nicosia were experiencing pressure to recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.
Karamanlis, who was speaking to reporters with President Christofias at the end of their talks in Athens, also explained Greece's position both on Kosovo and on the process to find a mutually acceptable solution on the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
"I do not feel pressures from anywhere. We have a very clear policy with regard to Skopje as well. We have already made it known to allies and partners with absolute sincerity and, of course, to the government of FYROM itself. I think that it is a very clear policy. We want to reach a compromise. We want a solution to be found. If, however, a solution is not found, evidently with the responsibility of that side which, so far, is not appearing to be responding to cover its own part of the distance for such a mutually acceptable solution, then, of course, Greece cannot consent to the invitation to NATO," the prime minister said.
"The same, that I am not feeling pressures from anywhere, also applies for Kosovo. In Kosovo, it was the Greek side that played a leading role in an agreement being reached at European Union level, for the presence of the European mission there. From then on, it is up to every member-state of the European Union to decide what it will do with regard to the recognition of the final status quo of the region," Karamanlis added.
Asked whether the existing international environment is facilitating, from a negotiating point of view, the promotion of a solution to the issue of Cyprus, he replied "it is natural for international developments to be moving and, indeed, in a region such as our wider region. This does not mean that the time is not suitable for one to deal seriously with one of the greatest problems that we are facing, at national level, which is the issue of Cyprus. Every moment is suitable for the issue of Cyprus, it is and always remains a basic priority of our policy."
President Christofias also rejected comments of pressures and, referring to theories about the "Taiwanization" of Cyprus or of confederation options, he said that they are not in the interests of Turkey itself.
"These policies are distant from the resolutions of the UN, high-level agreements and, of course, the principles of the European Union and the very course of Turkey to the EU and the commitments that it has assumed. Consequently, it is in Turkey's interest, I agree with the prime minister, to follow a conciliatory policy that will lead to a solution at the end of the day which will also be based on the summit agreements, as well as on the resolutions of the UN and the principles of international and European law," he said.
 Karamanlis repeats message to SkopjeReiterating his message to the leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday underlined that Greece would not agree to FYROM's entry into NATO if no solution to the name dispute were found.
"We have a very clear policy with regard to Skopje and we have made it known with absolute honesty and clarity to our allies and partners and to FYROM's government. We want to go to a compromise, we want a solution to be found. If a solution is not found, however, - responsibility for which will obviously lie with the side that has so far not been willing to respond in order to cover its own part of the distance to such a mutual agreed solution - then Greece certainly cannot consent to an invitation to join NATO," Karamanlis stressed after a meeting with visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.
Questioned about recognition for unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, Karamanlis replied that "the Greek side played a leading role so that there would be an agreement on an EU level with the presence of a European mission there".
"From there on, it is up to each EU member-state to decide what it will do with regard to the recognition or not of the final, as it is called, status of the region," Karamanlis added.
 EU Commissioner calls on FYROM to intensify efforts for a solution on name issueBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Aroni)
Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner responsible for enlargement, on Wednesday called on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to intensify its efforts in order to achieve an agreement on its name issue.
Presenting an EU Commission report on the Western Balkans and answering a relevant question, Rehn said that European Union decisions are taken unanimously, adding that the Skopje government should intensify its efforts to achieve an agreement with neighboring Greece in order to avoid a Greek veto to its starting EU entry negotiations.
The European Commissioner noted that Greece has repeatedly declared its support to FYROM's European prospects, and pointed out that if the name issue is not resolved this will have negative consequences on its EU entry course.
 Government on Milososki statement, name issue talksGreece has demonstrated through its actions which side is most interested in and decisively contributes to safeguarding stability in the wider region, stressed alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Wednesday. He was replying to a comment made by the foreign minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Antonio Milososki, over the name dispute.
In a recent statement in Skopje, Milososki called on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to clarify whether he was more interested in the stability of his parliamentary group or the region. Antonaros refused to comment on the statements, rejecting them as "crude".
Regarding the timeframe for the name issue negotiations, based on the statements made on Tuesday by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, he pointed out that the government has never stated that the NATO Summit in Bucharest constitutes a deadline.
Greece participates in the UN-sponsored negotiations for a mutually accepted solution in a decisive, constructive and substantive manner, contributing to the efforts aimed at meeting the goal set, he pointed out.
Responding to another question, Antonaros added that this was an appropriate time for a solution and Greece participates in the process in a constructive way.
 Nimetz concludes meeting with FYROM's political leadershipSKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Frangopoulos)
UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz concluded his meeting with the political and state leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in Skopje on Wednesday.
Taking part in of talks, which lasted for the two hours were FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki and the country's representative in the negotiations on the FYROM name issue Nikola Dimitrov.
After the meeting, Nimetz stated that he heard the opinions and observations of FYROM's political leadership, adding that he ascertained that it was in favor of the continuation of the negotiating process.
To reporters' questions whether the rift remains, Nimetz replied affirmatively, without, however, clarifying whether it is smaller or greater after Wednesday's meeting.
He concluded by saying that he did not submit any new proposal and added that he would depart for Thessaloniki, Macedonia, where he would brief Greece's representative in the negotiating process, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, on the talks he had with FYROM's leadership.
 Nimetz meets Greece's representative on FYROM name issue Ambassador Adamantios VassilakisUN special mediator Matthew Nimetz met in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Wednesday night with Greece's representative in the negotiations on the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis.
Prior to his meeting with Vassilakis, he told reporters that he assessed that both Greece and FYROM desire a solution to the FYROM name issue.
Nimetz referred to the contacts he had in Skopje earlier in the day with FYROM's political and state leadership, about which, he said, he would brief Vassilakis, adding that he will return to New York to examine where the process is standing and would be in contact with both the sides.
He reiterated hat he did not put forward any new proposal, but discussed on the aspects of the proposal which he had presented to the two sides, so as to give the two countries the opportunity to express their ideas and to present, maybe, certain proposals.
 NATO spokesman on FYROM name issueBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Aroni)
NATO spokesman James Appathurai reiterated on Wednesday the need to find a solution to the dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Speaking at a press conference on the NATO foreign ministers meeting on Thursday, Appathurai noted that efforts for finding a solution to the name issue of the landlocked republic were continuing and pointed out that UN Special Mediator on the issue Matthew Nimetz was visiting Skopje on Wednesday for talks on the matter.
"Greece has made clear that it desires the finding of a solution and it would participate in talks with open mind, something which we hope the Skopje government will also do," the spokesman said.
Appathurai further indicated that Athens has made clear that its desire is to have all three countries - Croatia, Albania and FYROM - join NATO, but a solution to FYROM's name issue should be found first.
 FM briefs Thessaloniki mayor on FYROM issueForeign minister Dora Bakoyannis met Wednesday with Thessaloniki mayor Vassilis Georgopoulos, who said afterwords that "reason and the national interest must take precedence, and populism and political party exploitation of a national issue must be subdued", referring to the FYROM name issue. Papageorgopoulos told reporters after the meeting that he was "fully briefed" by the foreign minister.
The Thessaloniki mayor stressed that he "supports the national policy at this critical time", adding that "we must all align ourselves with the responsible stance of the government, which is backed by the main opposition party and the other large political parties".
Asked to compare the protest rallies regarding the FYROM issue that are planned for Wednesday in Thessaloniki and those of 1992, Papageorgopoulos said that "there is no comparison", either in turnout -- predicting that Wednesday's demonstrations would be limited in size -- "or in their message".
The mayor further opined that "these demonstrations play no role, just as I don't believe that the demonstrations in Skopje played any role", and stressed that "we must move away from the anger, and mobilise reason, because that's where the game is being played".
 Protest events in Thessaloniki over FYROM name issueTwo protest events concerning the issue of the name of the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) were organised in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Wednesday.
The first event was a rally held in front of the statue of Alexander the Great, that was organised by the "Ion Dragoumis" Institute that is supervised by the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party and a rally at the indoor Alexandrio Melathro Stadium that was organised by the Macedonian Struggle Committee.
The main speaker at the rally in front of the statue of Alexander the Great was LAOS party leader George Karatzaferis who appealed to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, stressing that "the name and history cannot be negotiated. The country will not be fragmented and it will not be sold out to the Americans. We are anxious about the fate of this place that is called Macedonia."
Karatzaferis further criticised the stance of Karamanlis and of main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, while referring to the late prime ministers Constantine Karamanlis and Andreas Papandreou and calling on the prime minister to remove Dora Bakoyannis from the foreign affairs ministry.
The rally organised by the Macedonian Struggle Committee was addressed by the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Anthimos, Democratic Revival party leader Stelios Papathemelis and Costas Zouraris.
 Deputy FM Doukas on Greece's role in Mediterranean UnionDeputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas stressed in an accross-the-board briefing on Wednesday Greece's determination to play a leading role in the Mediterranean Union in light of the Paris summit in July.
He also noted its ability to utilize the potential of foreign investments in Greek ports, airports, motorways and organizations and to become more extroversive with new business missions that will highlight the creative image of modern-day Greece.
Doukas further referred to the Greek and the international money market, the crisis in the sub-prime housing loans in the United States and the threatening clouds of worldwide recession.
Referring in particular to the promotion of the Mediterranean Union, for whose creation France, Italy and Spain had already signed up since last December "for an equal partnership relation between the coastal countries of the Mediterranean," Doukas mentioned Greece's proposals for "strong" funding to enable the "map of the Mediterranean to change."
Lastly, Doukas denied reports that he will be assuming the post of governor of the Bank of Greece.
 Archbiship meets with education, religious affairs ministerArchbishop of Athens and all Greece Ieronymos met on Wednesday with Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Evripidis Stylianidis.
Ieronymos told reporters afterwards that the meeting had not been simply a courtesy call, but that they had a constructive discussion on issues of common interest.
Stylianidis wished the new Archbishop every success, adding that they discussed matters concerning seminary education, and expressed belief that they will have a smooth cooperation.
He also pointed that the roles of the Church and the State role are distinct, supplementary and cooperational, and the two will have a relationship of cooperation, for the benefit the people
 Culture minister receives U.S. Ambassador Daniel SpeckhardCulture Minister Mihalis Liapis received U.S. Ambassador Daniel Speckhard on Wednesday, at the latter's request, and discussed with him issues of mutual interest concerning culture.
"We had a productive exchange of views. It was a very constructive discussion. We referred to the issues of mutual interest of the two countries that concern culture. We agreed that we must strengthen cultural exchanges, develop various activities at cultural level. We agreed that we shall be in constant contact, because the two countries can do a great deal in the sector of culture, on a basis of reciprocity," Liapis said after the meeting.
The ambassador said on his part that "I told the minister that I have a special love and appreciation for arts and culture and I am very impressed by the arts and culture here in Greece. I believe that this sector is equally important with the economy or politics for building relations between our countries and understanding between the Greek and American people. I also told him that I intend, during my tenure here, to cooperate closely with him and his ministry to enable us to extend and promote exchanges in the sectors of culture and arts and to improve understanding between the two peoples."
Asked to comment on the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, Speckhard said "the minister explained to me how important this issue is for the Greek people. I fully understand this view, seeing the beautiful museum that you have created for the Parthenon Marbles."
Also asked whether a possible veto by Greece for FYROM's accession to NATO will affect Greek-American relations, the American ambassador said "we did not discuss this here. I hope, however, that there will be an agreement. From my discussions with my Greek counterparts I think that they very much desire a successful outcome to the talks and we are hearing the same from the leaders in Skopje. I think, therefore, that there is time to settle the issue."
Liapis concluded by saying that "Greece presents realism, determination and unprecedented national consensus before the intransigence of Skopje. When we are in harmony, we have nothing to fear."
 Interior ministry tightens rules for granting Greek nationalityDeputy Interior Minister Athanasios Nakos on Wednesday issued a circular that seeks to tighten up the rules for granting Greek nationality to children born of foreign mothers whose paternity has been recognized by a Greek father. The move seeks to avoid such recognitions through fake or questionable documents, in response to a rising number of incidents when the current system has been abused and Greek authorities misled.
Under the new rules, applications to register children with foreign nationality in municipal rolls after they have been recognized by a Greek father must be sent on to the local Regional Authority, which will decide whether to grant Greek nationality.
Applicants will also have to supply an official act of recognition before a notary or a court decision recognising paternity, a certificate that the father is registered in a Greek municipality, a legally ratified and translated registry office birth certificate and a legally ratified certificate of the foreign mother's marital status issued by a foreign authority.
The circular clarifies that the presence of the father's details on a foreign birth certificate for a child born to an unmarried mother cannot automatically be taken as recognition of paternity by the father, unless it is first followed up and cross-checked.
In the case of paternity assigned by the court of a foreign country, there must also be recognition of the court decision in Greece.
The circular additionally outlines legal methods for ratifying and translating foreign documents to ensure their authenticity.
 Defence Minister to visit Tripoli on ThursdayDefence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis is to visit Tripoli in the Peloponnese on Thursday morning, where he will attend the swearing-in ceremony of newly recruited airmen at the 124th squadron of the Greek Air Force basic training.
 Social security system reforms positive and imperative, PM Karamanlis saysPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Wednesday night, following an Inner Cabinet meeting that changes which the government is promoting to reform the social security system "are positive and imperative".
Karamanlis said that the changes aimed at the salvation of a system which has been led to a deadlock because, as he said, the more reforms are delayed the bigger the deadlock gets and the solutions imposed by tough reality will become more painful for all of society and mainly for the younger generations.
The prime minister went on to say that if one did not wish to assume the political cost he could leave things as they are or make superficial changes, in other words transferring the problem and its deadlock to a future government, being aware that things will worsen in this way so that it will be that one that will shoulder the political cost.
"Such an option would constitute extreme irresponsibility. Such an option is inconceivable for me. It is completely alien to my political philosophy, my course and my decision to be useful for the country, even if I am not likable temporarily. For this reason we took a responsible decision for the substantive reforming of the social security system," the prime minister said.
Karamanlis noted that the reforms restructure the social security system, safeguard its long-term viability, they are mild and moderate, socially fair and serve the interests of society in its entirety even if they harm specific interests and specific privileges of the few.
The prime minister said that due to the chaotic reality existing, great inequalities have been created with pensions, great irregularities in pensioning time and great differences in medical and pharmaceutical care.
He further said that there are pensioners who receive a higher pension than the salary they had when they were working and others who are being pensioned for more years than they had worked.
Focusing in particular on the main reforms, Karamanlis stressed the following:
-Firstly, a bold and effective administrative reform since the 133 agencies and branches falling under the jurisdiction of the employment ministry will be reduced to 13. No fund whatsoever will be excluded from the unifications. The main criteria for unifications are the similarity of those joining.
Secondly, corrective moves will be brought about in extreme and socially unfair cases, without general time limits being harmed and, at the same time, incentives will be provided for staying at work for those desiring this. Corrective moves concerning special age limits and special pensioning preconditions will be implemented gradually and most will begin as of 2013. General age limits will not change, pensions will not be reduced and contributions will not be increased.
Thirdly, institutional innovations will be promoted with the creation of the solidarity capital for generations where every year 10 percent from privatizations, 4 percent from VAT and 10 percent of social resources will be accumulated in this capital, which will remain intact until 2019. Central control will be enacted for the system of employment, pensioning, and treatment and every citizen will have a card with one number alone that will be essential for him to work, be pensioned or to receive treatment. The citizen will be served in a better manner in this way, contribution evasion will be tackled and extravagance will be curbed drastically.
Karamanlis concluded his statement by saying that the reforming of the social security system will not stop "because few and privileged people are functioning as an establishment. Because we shall not sacrifice the future and the progress of our country."
 Inner Cabinet concludes meeting on social security reformsThe Inner Cabinet concluded a meeting on the bill on social security reforms shortly before 8 on Wednesday evening.
Employment Minister Fanny Palli Petralia said in a statement that an extensive discussion took place which was constructive and stressed that she will table the bill in Parliament on Thursday morning and afterwards she will be presenting it at a press conference.
Defense Minister Vangelis Meimarakis said that all agreed with the bill being forwarded.
 FinMin gives press conferenceEconomy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis said that the Stability and Growth Programs of Greece and other EU member states were evaluated at the EU Council of Economy and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) meeting held in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, which focused mainly on the economic situation in the EU and globally, stability of the credit system, and combating VAT fraud, economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis said during a press conference on Wednesday, adding that the conclusions and recommendations of the ECOFIN were fully acceptable to the Greek side.
He said that worry was also expressed during the meeting over the fluctuations in currency parities, while the ministers also anticipated a small slowdown in the growth rate in the EU, and more particularly in the eurozone, from the initial forecasts, and higher inflation.
After the press conference, Alogoskoufis was deluged by questions on the content of his meeting earlier in the morning with the governor of Greece's central bank, Nick Garganis, and on the suspension of trading on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) due to an ongoing strike by Bank of Greece employees, and what steps would be taken to reopen the payments system.
The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) and Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) remained closed on Wednesday, for a second consecutive day, due to the strike by the central bank's employees that has rendered the clearing of transactions not possible since the central bank's Target system is not in operation.
Alogoskoufis noted that the Bank of Greece was independent, and functioned independently, but added that it also had obligations towards the citizens that must be fulfilled.
He said he discussed with Garganas the initiatives that need to be taken restore the smooth operation of transactions, adding that "what has happened is inconceivable" and that "we took all the necessary actions to ensure that".
To a question on Garganas' tenure at the helm of the Bank of Greece, Alogoskoufis replied that "there is no issue of his removal" from the post, stressing that "what comes foremost is to restore the smooth operation", adding that the central bank was already taking steps for the operation of the electronic system.
Asked what steps the BoG was taking apart from recourse to the justice system and whether he, as economy minister, could assure that the ASE would be in operation on Thursday, Alogoskoufis replied that "you should address that question to the Bank of Greece".
He reiterated that the smooth operation of the Bank of Greece was foremost, adding that the central bank was an independent body, but at the same time it had obligations to the public, adding that he had spoken by phone with the ASE president and with the Association of Greek Banks, so as to tackle all the problems that have arisen.
To another question regarding PASOK former economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou's failed candidacy for the presidency of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Alogoskoufis said that Papantoniou's candidacy had been backed by the Greek government, but explained that was very difficult for that candidacy to prevail, although positive comments were made about the former Greek minister.
Alogoskoufis said that when it became evident that there was no possibility of the Papantoniou candidacy prevailing, Greece then backed the German candidacy.
The EU finance ministers on Tuesday endorsed German deputy finance minister Thomas Mirow for the next president of the EBRD, succeeding French technocrat Jean Lemierre, whose second term ends in July. Apart from Papantoniou, the other candidates were Czech central bank governor Zdenek Tuma, and Hungarian central bank former governor Gyorgy Suranyi.
 FinMin meets with central bank governorEconomy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis met Wednesday with Bank of Greece Governor Nick Garganas at the ministry of finance in Athens.
No statements were made after the meeting.
 Government criticises central bank strike affecting bourseAny thoughtlessness that hurts the country's international prestige, the stock market and the efforts made during the past four years to bolster the country's economy and attract foreign investors is unjustifiable, stated alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Wednesday.
He was referring to the suspension of trade on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) and the Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX), which remained closed for a third consecutive day due to an all-out strike by the Bank of Greece employees, whose union had refused to provide skeleton staff for key services.
Antonaros stressed that the Bank of Greece has certain obligations that it will have to meet.
 Federation of Hellenic Industries' head comments on strike mobilisationsStrike mobilizations, accompanied by extreme behavior and practices, are not the solution, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Hellenic Industries said on Wednesday, adding that the political system must offer solutions to existing social dead-ends.
Commenting on pension system, Daskalopoulos said the government's proposals were towards the right direction, as long as they would be implemented and noted that it was obvious that a fundamental solution to the problem was rolled-over to future generations.
Daskalopoulos said price increases in the domestic markets needed to be dealt with by the state.
 PPC workforce extend strike until next WednesdayA strike by the workforce at the Public Power Corporation (PPC) will be extended until the following Wednesday, after a decision made on Wednesday by their leadership of their union GENOP-DEH. Specifically, trade unionists have decided on six rolling 24-hour strikes beginning next Friday, when the current strike is due to end.
The union's board will meeting against next Wednesday to assess the situation, while there will also be another rally on the same day outside the PPC's central offices.
The ongoing strike - in which several power stations have been taken over and shut down by the PPC's staff - caused the PPC's management to order the first power cuts around the country on Wednesday, in order to avoid a black-out as the truncated grid labored to keep pace with demand. The biggest problems were in northern Greece, the islands, and Attica, in the north and western suburbs of Athens.
With the shutdown of a power plant in Florina and the hydroelectric plants along the Aheloos River, there are now 19 power units that are offline and, according to the system managers, the grid is now operating with a deficit of 4,900 MW.
The PPC repeated an appeal to consumers to cut back energy consumption throughout the day and especially at peak hours between 10:00 am - 2:00 pm and 6:30pm until 9:30 pm.
 Deputy development minister on renewable energy sourcesWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)
Deputy Development Minister Stavros Kalafatis, who is participating here in the International Conference on Renewable Sources, stressed on Wednesday that Greece places great emphasis on renewable energy sources.
"We are here for symbolic reasons and for substantive reasons, Symbolic, to send the message that Greece places great emphasis on renewable energy sources. It is also doing this with its policy and with its legislative and political work," Kalafatis said, who is heading the Greek delegation.
In parallel with the conference, a Greek pavilion is also operating with the participation of the finance ministry and the environment, town planning and public works ministry.
"With a 15-member delegation, Greece is also declaring its presence in the exhibition, it is providing the coordinates and constitutes a pole of attraction for many visitors who are scientists, as well as for businessmen who will be informed of the possibilities provided by our country for investments in the energy sector," the deputy minister said.
Kalafatis concluded by saying that "we are providing a dynamic presence and we slowly consolidating our position in the international energy community."
 Greece at ITB Berlin travel trade showBERLIN (ANA-MPA/P. Stangos)
The theme of Greece's participation in this year's ITB international tourism exhibition in Berlin is "Greece: The true experience", and the Greek pavilion will be inaugurated on Wednesday by tourism development minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, who arrived in the German capital on Tuesday.
Spiliotopoulos will have meetings with various tourism bodies, as well as with German economics and technology minister Michael Glos who, as the political "host" of the ITB will visit the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) pavilion during his traditional tour of the exhibition areas.
The Greek minister is also scheduled to meet with Berlin Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit on Wednesday evening at the City Hall.
This year's 42nd ITB, which opens on Wednesday and runs through Sunday, has broken every previous record in participations, which number 11.147 exhibitors from 186 countries and peripheries, according to official figures, thus preserving the ITB's clout as the leading travel trade sector event worldwide, encompassing the entire range of the travel business, including destinations, tour operators, booking systems, carriers, hotels and other suppliers.
 Special Parliament session dedicated to Greek women farmersThe Greek Parliament held a special session on Wednesday dedicated to women farmers on the occasion of International Women's Day.
Opening the session, Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas referred to the role of women farmers, stressing that they are the force that keeps the Greek family together in a seemingly male-dominated society, praising their contribution to the agrarian economy and the preservation of family values and folk culture.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking at the special Parliament session, expressed satisfaction for the steady improvement in the women farmers' quality of life since the 1950s. He reiterated the government's decision that 80 percent of the funds earmarked for Greece in 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) will be channeled to the Regions, stressing that the agricultural development actions alone are being funded with 4 billion euros, while subsidies reach 18 billion euros.
The prime minister pointed out that a new strategy is being formed to turn the Greek farmer into a modern businessman while actions are being taken to facilitate the women farmers' role. He referred to the increased number of all-day schools, the measures in support of the single-parent families through the social cohesion fund, the upgraded healthcare units through the use of broadband and tele-medicine applications, and the favorable banking transactions terms for farmers.
Main opposition PASOK party president George Papandreou referred to the problems faced by women in different parts of the world, particularly in war zones and in terms of gender discrimination. On the Greek women farmers, he stated that they live in a society that continues to be patriarchal and oppressive, adding that their role is decisive in the efforts made for an upgraded, high-level agricultural economy.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga criticized the policy followed on women farmers by the EU and the government.
Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos called for measures and incentives to be adopted by the state that will create a new generation of women farmers, pointing out that, based on EU documents, farmer income in Greece has shrunk 15 percent over the past decade as opposed to the rest or the European countries showing an increase of 25 percent.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) president George Karatzaferis suggested the adoption of a single national pension that will include the farmers and underlined the class discrimination between city women and women farmers.
 Motor Oil to pay 1.20 euros per share dividend to shareholdersMotor Oil on Wednesday said its 2007 turnover totaled 3.719 billion euros, from 3.630 billion euros in 2006, for an increase of 2.5 percent, while its sales volume totaled 8.31 million metric tons, slightly down from 8.38 million over the same period, respectively.
The company said it plans to pay an 1.20 euros per share dividend to shareholders. Gross profits rose 10 pct to 374 million euros last year, form 341.4 million euros in 2006, while pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) rose to 286.3 million euros (258.6 mln in 2006) and pre-tax profits rose 10 pct to 208.4 million euros. After tax profits rose to 154.7 million euros last year, from 127.5 million in 2006.
Motor Oil said that following completion of its hydrocracker investment, the company was included among the most updated refineries in Europe with a high complexity grade.
 AB Vasilopoulos reports improved 2007 resultsAB Vasilopoulos on Wednesday reported improved 2007 results, with consolidated sales totaling 1.175 billion euros, up 14 pct from the previous year, reflecting higher sales and an expanding branch network. Parent turnover totaled 1.141 billion euros, up 14 pct over the same year.
Consolidated operating earnings jumped to 51.5 million euros, from 32.8 million in 2006 (parent earnings totaled 48.1 million euros from 30.5 million over the same period, respectively).
Consolidated after tax earnings rose to 37 million euros in 2007, from 20 million in 2006 (parent earnings totaled 34 million euros from 18.4 million in 2006).
AB Vasilopoulos plans to pay a 0.89 euro per share dividend to shareholders, up from a 0.49 euros per share dividend in 2006.
 Intrasoft Int'l wins EU IT contract worth 10 mln eurosIntrasoft International, a subsidiary of Intracom IT Services, on Wednesday announced it has won a contract for the supply of finance information system with European Union organisations, worth 10 million euros. Intrasoft International leads a joint venture, called Intrasoft International-Altran, and its share of the contract totals 7.0 million euros.
 German tourists to Greece up 4.0 pct in 2007The Greek state and the private sector have begun a big joint effort to push the country to the highest possible position in world tourism lists, Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said on Wednesday.
Speaking in Berlin, during the inauguration of the Greek pavilion in the international tourism fair ITB, the Greek minister said the country dismissed all pessimistic forecasts for the tourism sector after the World Economic Forum announced that Greece moved two positions higher in the world tourism competitiveness index. Spiliotopoulos said German tourists to Greece rose 4.0 pct last year, totaling 2.5 million visitors.
 ASE, ADEX remain closed due to BoG strikeThe Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) and Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) will remain closed on Wednesday, for a second consecutive day, due to a strike by employees at the Bank of Greece.
The Athens stockmarket board of directors had announced on Tuesday its decision that trading will not take place on the ASE and ADEX that day, "aimed at the smooth operation of the stock market, following the problems arising from the employees' strike" at the country's central bank, explaining that due to the ongoing strike by BoG employees, clearing of the transactions was not possible since the central bank's Target system was not in operation.
In a new announcement issued on Wednesday, following a contact between the ASE president and the Bank of Greece management, the ASE board said that trading would continue to be suspended on Wednesday.
 "From the Land of the Labyrinth" exhibition of Minoan Crete travels to New YorkThe exhibition "From the Land of the Labyrinth: Minoan Crete, 3000-1100 B.C.", in its first showing outside of Crete, will be inaugurated by culture minister Michalis Liapis on March 13 at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York, organised by the Affiliated Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA) in collaboration with the Greek ministry of culture and the archaeological museums of Crete.
The exhibition, which will run through September 13, presents more than 280 artifacts and works of art from the ancient land of Crete, most of which have never been shown outside Greece. These fascinating objects seen together bring to life the story of Crete's luminous Minoan culture, the first palatial civilization to establish itself on European soil.
The exhibition brings to light aspects of Minoan daily life during the second and third millennia B.C., including social structure, communications, bureaucratic organization, religion, and technology.
The preparations for the exhibition are not limited only to an inspired lay-out of the exhibits, but also include a catalogue/treatise for visitors compiled by collaborating archaeologists on the first major palatial civilization to flourish on European soil, a related lecture series, guided tours, and an international conference that will close the exhibition on September 13, 2008.
"Up to now, we have organised 18 exhibitions of a classical nature, on serious but lucid themes. This time, we wanted to present something that sets boundaries. The Minoan civilization is the most ancient, structured and comprehensive palatial Hellenic civilization in Europe and comprises a chronological boundary," Onassis Foundation president of the board, Antonis Papademetriou, told a press conference.
In eleven thematic sections, the exhibition maps chronologically the establishment and great achievements of Minoan culture. Here the viewer can explore the historical and cultural context of this celebrated society and gain insight into its mysteries, such as the legends surrounding the reign of King Minos of Knossos, who commissioned the fabled Labyrinth of Greek mythology.
Information gathered from the study of the Early, Middle, and Late Minoan periods-also known as the Prepalatial, Protopalatial, Neopalatial, and Postpalatial periods-is largely based on objects excavated from the island's burial grounds and settlements. The exhibition pieces together the culture's past by focusing on such objects as gold jewelry deposited in the rich tombs of the elite, inscribed clay tablets that reveal the basic elements of the Minoan economy, ceremonial vessels found in both palaces and tombs, and votive figures of clay, symbolic offerings to protective deities. All of these intriguing objects are on loan from the archaeological museums in Crete, in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.
The island of Crete is equidistant from the three continents of Africa, Asia, and the European mainland. As a result of this advantageous location, the Minoans experienced a period of active trade with the other civilizations around the Mediterranean basin and maintained control over the sea routes. They exported timber, foodstuffs, cloth, and olive oil and in turn imported tin, copper, silver, emery, precious stones, and some manufactured objects. For their basic needs, however, the Minoans were entirely self-sufficient.
Archaeological evidence from the Prepalatial period reveals the great changes that took place in the social structure of Early Minoan society. The rise of local elite populations, for instance, led them to commission and display different types of objects in order to convey and celebrate their social identity and rank. This kind of social differentiation gradually led to the formation of a palatial society during the Middle Minoan or Protopalatial period about 1900 B.C. Urbanization and increasing economic wealth brought about bureaucratic change, including the rise of powerful social classes and ruling groups. Major palaces were built at Knossos and Malia in northern Crete, at Phaistos in the south, and at Zakros in the east. These palaces were large building complexes that served as centers of religious, economic, and social life for their inhabitants. The architecture and the layout of the palaces communicated a dynastic message, enhanced by prestigious objects and symbolic expressions of the rulers' power.
With the palaces came the development of writing, probably as a result of record-keeping demands of the palace economy. The Minoans used a hieroglyphic script most likely derived from Egypt and a linear script, Linear A, which may have evolved from the language of the eastern Mediterranean and has yet to be deciphered. In the section of the exhibition entitled Scripts and Weights, examples of this mysterious script will be displayed, exemplified by the Linear A Tablet shown here. This sun-dried clay slab dates from the end of the Late Minoan I period and exemplifies the administrative records that listed products, goods, and people. Inscriptions have also been found on various important objects, such as double-sided axes, pottery, seals, and stone vessels. The exhibition includes as well tablets in Linear B script, which was deciphered in the 1950s by M. Ventris and J. Chadwick. The symbols of this script reflect an early form of the Greek language that was spoken by the Myceneans, who had arrived in Crete by the second half of the fifteenth century B.C.
The Religion and Ritual section of the exhibition reveals one of the most important and fascinating aspects of the Minoan culture. The figure of a female goddess, the protector of nature and fertility, occupies the predominant place in the hierarchy of deities. Common sacred symbols of Minoan religion include the bull, such as the chlorite Bull's-Head Rhyton found at Zakros¬ and double axes made of bronze, silver, or gold placed in areas of worship, such as this Votive Double Axe found in the Arkalochori cave. Numerous figurines depict worshipers, whereas animal figurines were symbolic offerings to deities.
In the section devoted to the Colorful World of Murals, we see another form of communication that the Minoan developed-the art of large-scale wall paintings. Minoan painters covered the walls of palaces and urban mansions with images of Cretan life and special ceremonies. Using the fresco technique-by which Minoan painters applied earthy colors to wet surfaces that even today retain their vivid quality-figurative murals such as the Partridge Fresco illustrate their world.
Workshops specialized in the production of palatial or personal items and luxurious objects, such as jewelry, seals, miniature works of art, and inlays for implements and furniture. Significant advances were made in techniques for jewelry making, seal engraving, and pottery production. As shown in the Pots and Potters, Seal Engraving: Great Art in Miniature, and Jewels for Life and Death, artistic works of this period reveal the highly refined techniques perfected in workshops by specialized artisans. Exquisite filigree, granulated jewelry, and carved seal stones convey their sensitivity to materials, which included clay, gold, stone, ivory, and bronze. A related section, Masterpieces in Stone, demonstrates the Minoans' achievements in stone work, which resulted in the production of high-quality artifacts of great beauty. Labor-intensive objects, such as sophisticated saucers, bowls, and bottles, were constructed with innovative devices, including drills and polishing tools. Even everyday objects, such as the Beekeeping Vessel displayed in the section Alimentation and Aromatics, brings another dimension to this exhibition as it draws the viewer into the everyday activities of the ancient Minoan citizen.
In the Final Palatial or Late Minoan III A-B period, the arrival of the Mycenaeans gave rise to a new central power. The establishment of the Mycenaean bureaucracy represents yet another period of change in Minoan civilization. The exhibition shows how the serious changes brought about by this power shift are evident in new pottery shapes, individually vaulted tombs, and the appearance of Linear B script. Lavishly decorated swords and a rare Boar's-Tusk Helmet, such as those displayed in the Warriors and Weaponry section, along with other precious metals and jewelry, are evidence that a proud and ostentatious military class developed in Crete from about 1450 to 1300 B.C., after the coming of the Mycenaeans.
"From the Land of the Labyrinth: Minoan Crete, 3000-1100 B.C." was organized by Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, Vili Apostolakou, Christos Boulotis, Nota Dimopoulou-Rethemiotaki, Lefteris Platon, and Giorgos, Rethemiotakis. The Onassis Cultural Center collaborated with the Hellenic Cultural Ministry in arranging loans from the Archaeological Museums of Herakleion, Khania, Rethymnon, Haghios Nikolaos, Hierapetra, Siteia, and Kissamos in Crete.
The exhibition will be open Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Admission will be free to the public.
 President Papoulias proclaimed honorary citizen of Ukraine's MarioupolisPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was proclaimed on Wednesday honorary citizen of Ukraine's Marioupolis, following a unanimous decision by the city's Municipal Council.
President Papoulias was honored for his important contribution in the development and strengthening of the friendly relations between the people of Ukraine and Greece.
The proposal for proclaiming Papoulias as honorary citizen of Marioupolis was submitted by Constantine Balabanov, rector of the city's Humanitarian Studies Institute and honorary consul of Cyprus in Marioupolis.
 Greeks citizens honored by IsraelAn event was held at the Jewish Cultural Centre of Athens on Tuesday evening to honor three Greek citizens for their efforts to save fellow Greek Jews amid the dour Nazi occupation of the country during WWII (1941-1944).
Israel's ambassador to Greece Ali Yahya praised the three individuals, who were honored by the State of Israel for their courage during the occupation.
The Israeli envoy and the president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), Moses Constantines, bestowed the prestigious "Righteous Among the Nations" awards, given out by the Yad Vashem Institute and Museum to non-Jews who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.
The awards were received by the nephew and son of the now deceased recipients: Constantinos Karamanlis (no relation to the late Greek statesman and prime minister), his sister, Angeliki, and her husband, Costas Doukas.
One of four people given shelter by the Doukas' in the Athens district of Ambelokipi during the war, Moshe Salario, also attended the emotional event after arriving from Israel.
Salario, his brother Mino, their mother, Rachel, and sister, Matilda, were given refuge during the occupation in the Doukas' home.
The ambassadors of the United States, France, Hungary and Poland also attended the event.
 Two successive moderate earthquakes in Rhodes sea regionTwo successive moderate earthquakes measuring 5.1 points on the Richter scale were registered on Wednesday afternoon in the region of the Aegean island of Rhodes.
The earthquakes occurred at 18:11 and 18:14 with the sea region south of the island of Halki as their epicentre.
The tremors were felt by inhabitants on Rhodes, Halki and other islands of the Dodecannese prefecture without causing panic or damage.
 Arms, ammunition seized in nightclub in PsiriThe finance ministry's Special Audits Service, an elite investigations squad, seized handguns and ammunition discovered during a routine inspection conducted at a nightclub in the Psiri district in central Athens, following complaints that the club was operating without a license.
Squad members discovered and seized a SKORPIO automatic pistol loaded with nine 9mm bullets and a Springfield Armory pistol loaded with ten 45mm bullets, hidden in a storage area on the business premises.
The special investigations squad also came across fifty 45mm bullets, a detonator and a remote control device fitted with an antenna, transmitter and receiver all constituting parts of an explosive device, according to a police bomb disposal expert called on the scene.
The 50-year-old nightclub manager was arrested, while its owner is wanted.
An investigation continues on the case in cooperation with the Attica Police.
 Drug arrests in NafplioNafplio Police arrested a foreign national on the Nafplio - Nea Kios motorway in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, after finding 200 grams of cocaine in his possession.
Another male suspect was arrested while a third one is wanted by authorities. Both are accused of supplying the first individual with the drugs.
An investigation is underway to determine the origin of the cocaine.
 Panathinaikos, AEK win in Super League matchesPanathinaikos Athens beat Atromitos Athens 1-0 away and AEK Athens thrashed Xanthi 3-0 in Greek Super League soccer matches played on Wednesday that had been postponed last month due to bad weather conditions. Panathinaikos scored its only goal with Sarriegi (52). AEK's goals were scored by Blanko (6), Julio Cesar (82) and Edinho (88).
Standings after 23 weeks of play:
Panathinaikos 53 points
Asteras 34 Panionios 34
NOTE: Olympiakos and Kalamaria have a game less.
 Olympiakos loses 3-0 away to Chelsea in Champions League soccer matchOlympiakos Piraeus lost to Chelsea (England) 3-0 (halftime 2-0) in a first knockout round, second leg Champions League soccer match played at Stamford Bridge in London on Wednesday evening.
Chelsea's goals were scored by Michael Ballack in the 5th minute, Frank Lampard in the 25th and Salomon Kalou in the 48th.
Chelsea won 3-0 on aggregate and qualified for the quarter-finals of the competition.
 Cloudy with scattered showers on ThursdayCloudy weather and scattered showers with easterly, southeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 7-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 7C and 21C. Partly cloudy in Athens, with southeasterly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 9C to 19C. Rain in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 6C to 15C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe government's planned social security reforms, the FYROM name issue and the repercussions on the Athens Stock Exchange Market (ASE) due to an ongoing strike by the Bank of Greece (BoG) employees dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "BoG empoyees' strike immobilises ASE".
APOGEVMATINI: "Two vetos in Dora's (Foreign Minister Bakoyannis) bag - The Greek rejection of FYROM's entry to NATO also freezes the procedures for its accession to the European Union".
AVGHI: "Government 'raid' on social security funds - Labour unions organising new mobilisiations and strikes".
AVRIANI: "(Main opposition) PASOK must change its leader or form a new party - It's the only solution after the party's slump".
CHORA: "The social security reforms will be unveiled on Wednesday - The changes that are in progress".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Demonstration on Wednesday on the FYROM name issue in Thessaloniki".
ELEFTHEROS: "Government in shock from two 'slaps' (two demonstrations scheduled for Wednesday in Thessaloniki) by the people over the FYROM name issue".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Karamanlis hastens to announces on Wednesday the changes to retirement ages and pensions - The government's move conceals a political and communicational behind-the-scenes".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Outbursts over social security reforms - Government remains solid on its positions and takes final decisions on Wednesday".
ESTIA: "Inter-party overture from Karamanlis".
ETHNOS: "Five more working years for all - Government 'covers up' the social security reforms with benefits for women farmers".
KATHIMERINI: "Government opens 'fronts' with labour unions despite the huge political cost".
LOGOS: "The time for social security reforms has arrived - The Inner Cabinet gave the green light".
NIKI: "The social security reforms are Fani's (Palli-Petralia, Employment Minister) rec\ipe - The bill will be released on Thursday after a 3-month doctoring".
TA NEA: "Blackout over social security reforms - The bill will be tabled on Thursday in parliament".
TO VIMA: "Transactions suspended - ASE remained closed on Tuesday - Third day of strike in Bank of Greece"
RIZOSPASTIS: "Stop the murderers of the Palestianian people - Demonstration against the imperialistic barbarism and Israel".
VRADYNI: "All the changes contained in the new social security bill - 158 articles reform the map in pensions and social security - The law will be given on Wednesday to the Inner Cabinet".
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