|Sunday, 11 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-06-24
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 24 June 2008 Issue No: 2926
 Greece wants Balkans a European neighborhood of peace, PM saysPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking during the International University's Conference in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Monday stressed that Greece wants the Balkans to be a European neighborhood of peace, stability, development and progress.
Karamanlis noted that 4,000 Greek businesses are active in the region, while 3,000 Greek bank branches are also operating. He also referred to the International University's role in promoting cooperation between the countries in the region.
The prime minister referred in turn to the unfavorable international economic conjuncture -the price of oil was 26 dollars a barrel in 2003 and today it is reaching 140- the fiscal crisis in the United States, which has conveyed its shockwaves to all over Europe, and to inflation that is developing into the greatest problem worldwide.
"In an environment of intensifying competition, in an environment that knows no borders, governments cannot act effectively, if they do not take into consideration international factors. They must cooperate with their political and economic partners, but above all with the international organizations.
They must consult each other so as to regulate the rules of international trade, capital flows, protection for the environment. They must shape conditions of extroversion so that they can adjust themselves easier, speedier and more effectively to global changes," he said.
Focusing on European developments and on Greece's position, Karamanlis said "Greece is proceeding in the 21st century having its equal presence in the European Union as a basis and pursuing the development of relations of cooperation with all its neighbors. We believe that the EU, despite the slackness of some of its members, is the force of our common future. It is a force of change, not only for its member-states, but for the entire continent as well. Its strategy towards globalization and the uncertainties that it entails, based on the one hand on the Stability and Development Pact and on the other on the Lisbon Strategy, guarantees a more secure and encouraging course in the difficult times of the new century."
Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, addressing the same conference, said that strengthening the extroversion of the Greek public university is the education ministry's next step to enable Greece to become an important regional and international education centre that will change bad mentalities and reverse the outflow of students.
Stylianidis referred to the ministry's reformist plan in third stage education, as well as to the bill on postgraduate studies that has been tabled in Parliament, stressing that it will provide Greek universities with the possibility of creating postgraduate programmes outside Greece and utilize the scientific potential of ecumenical Hellenism and foreign personalities.
 President Papoulias launches official visit to ChinaBEIJING (ANA-MPA/N. Megadoukas)
Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Monday afternoon began an official visit to China designed to strengthen bilateral relations with Athens in the financial and investment sectors.
In a statement attesting to the high-level bilateral relations between Athens and Beijing after his meeting with Papoulias, Chinese President Hu Jintao commented on the assistance given by Greece following the devastating earthquakes in China and stressed that "a friend in need is a friend indeed." He also referred to a memorandum of bilateral cooperation signed by the two sides and expressed confidence that "strategic cooperation between the two countries will be developed even further".
The Greek president, on his part, stressed that China was a great country with a "huge economic and political role" and said that bilateral relations with Greece had "reached the highest level of cordiality and friendship". He also conveyed the anguish of the Greek people at the massive destruction and loss of life caused by the recent earthquakes in China and said that Greece had done its utmost to assist China's recovery from this major setback.
The strategic nature of relations between Athens and Beijing was first confirmed by the joint statement on a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed during Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to China in January 2006.
Both the Greek and the Chinese sides see President Papoulias' visit to Beijing and Shanghai on Wednesday as a follow up to the visits made during the past two years to China by PM Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. The two sides have agreed to further promote bilateral relations in the financial and investment sectors and to cut down the trade balance deficit recorded in Greece, hence the large business delegation accompanying President Papoulias.
Furthermore, the Greek president underlined that 60 percent of the Chinese maritime import trade is conducted by Greek-ownership cargo ships, pointing out that Chinese shipyards have undertaken to build a large number of Greek-owned ships.
The official talks in the People's Building in Beijing opened with the earthquakes in Greece and China, the imminent Olympic Games being hosted in the Chinese capital and Sino-Greek cooperation for their organization, while the importance of the direct air transportation between the two countries launched last November was also stressed.
President Papoulias briefed the Chinese president on the situation in the Balkans making a special reference to Kosovo. On the FYROM name issue, he called on Beijing to support any relative UN Security Council resolution. He also referred to the Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue and developments in Europe after the Irish referendum on the Constitutional Treaty. Energy issues were also on the table.
Agreements were signed between the justice ministries of the two countries as well as between the Athens University of Economics and Business and the Confucius Institute. A memorandum of understanding on a developmental cooperation bilateral agreement was also signed.
The talks were held in the presence of Employment Minister Fanny Pali-Petralia, Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and Deputy Foreign Ministers Yannis Valinakis and Petros Doukas accompanying the Greek President.
Papoulias also attended a formal dinner hosted by his Chinese counterpart and was accompanied by the Hu Jintao to a special event on the 2,500 years of Greek music held at Beijing's Century Theater. Papoulias is only the second foreign leader after Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Chinese president has accompanied to a similar event.
President Papoulias will meet Tuesday with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and National People's Congress President Wu Bangguo. He will also attend a Greek-Chinese business conference and inaugurate a painting exhibition with works by Mina Valiraki within the framework of the Cultural Year of Greece celebrations in China.
 PM meets with W. Australia governor Dr. Ken MichaelPrime minister Costas Karamanlis met on Monday morning with visiting Governor of Western Australia, Dr. Kenneth Comninos Michael.
No statements were made after the meeting.
W. Australia governor meets deputy minister Kassimis
Visiting Governor of Western Australia, Dr. Kenneth Comninos Michael, on Monday met Deputy Foreign Minister for expatriate affairs Theodoros Kassimis, following a brief meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis earlier the same morning. The meeting with Kassimis was described as "particularly friendly".
This is the first official visit to Greece by Michael, who originally hails from Greece. The two men had also met about two years ago in Perth when Kassimis was carrying out a tour of Australia, at which time Michael had expressed strong support for Greek positions on major foreign policy issues for the country.
In statements to the ANA-MPA after the meeting, the Australian governor said they had looked at new opportunities to further strengthen the already close ties between Greece and Australia.
 Gov't critical of rumor-mongering in Siemens caseGovernment spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday slammed speculation in the press about the possible involvement of members of the ruling New Democracy party in the Siemens bribery case, denouncing this as an attempt to tar every party in the political spectrum with the same brush after the revelations concerning main opposition PASOK.
"In the past days Greek citizens have closely followed the following scene: that we have specific revelations, with names and surnames, and specific statements and depositions about everything that has happened in PASOK and, at the same time, impressions are being created through vague rumor-mongering," he said.
"What I want to note is that this lumping together is the refuge of those trying to direct into other areas their own responsibilities and their own guilt," the spokesman added.
He had been asked whether he ruled out the involvement of either the ruling party or its members in the case.
Referring to a report in the newspaper "Ethnos" about government ministers involved in the C4I system contracts, Roussopoulos said that in one case the contracts referred to by the newspaper were agreed under PASOK governments and continued by ND and that it was not right to "demonize contracts" without evidence.
"In the other case, can you tell me what kind of contract it is that was made known by the former close aide of the former prime minister? And is it possible to consider the fact that there are contracts of some companies with the Greek state sector and the same thing as money leaking from one fund to another?" he asked.
Roussopoulos reiterated statements made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis about the possibility of a Parliamentary inquiry into the Siemens affair, stressing that the government would wait until the conclusion of the judicial investigation before initiating a political probe.
"Our view is that the judicial investigation must continue unobstructed, as is happening, and that we must find out about all aspects of the issue," Roussopoulos said.
The spokesman also ruled out any cover-ups or intervention in the course of the judicial investigation by the government.
 President Papoulias to make official visit to Austria July 3-5VIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)
President Karolos Papoulias, accompanied by his wife, will be making an official visit to Austria on July 3-5 for talks with the Austrian state and political leadership, focusing on the traditionally excellent relations between the two countries, the future of Europe and the Lisbon Treaty, the issue of Cyprus, Turkey's accession course to the European Union, the European prospects of the Western Balkans, the Middle East question and other current issues.
President Papoulias will be reciprocating the official visit Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer had made to Greece in mid-May last year, while he himself had made a working visit to Austria in June, 2005, which was the first visit abroad by the Greek President, following the assumption of his duties three months earlier.
The two presidents have been linked by a prolonged and close friendship since the time Papoulias had served as Greek foreign minister and Fischer had been the Austrian Parliament president.
 Bakoyannis to Berlin donor conference for Middle EastBERLIN (ANA-MPA - P. Stangos)
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is expected to visit Berlin late on Monday in order to attend a international donor conference for boosting law and order in the Palestinian territories. On the sidelines of the conference she is to meet U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Greek foreign ministry announced.
The meeting was requested by the American side and will chiefly focus on the outstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the name issue, which the U.S. side is anxious to see settled as soon as possible. The meeting is being held in view of a visit to Athens by the UN mediator in the name issue talks, Matthew Nimetz.
The donor conference itself is a "low-profile" political event in which some 40 countries are participating and concerns the improvement of state infrastructure in the Palestinian territories, especially the West Bank, in terms of providing equipment, buildings and training to the local police force and judiciary based on a list drawn up by the Palestinians themselves with an estimated cost of about 140 million euros.
The conference has taken on added importance, however, due to the heightened activity surrounding the Middle East crisis in recent days and weeks on nearly all fronts and the issue of Iran's potential nuclear arsenal is also expected to figure in talks on its sidelines.
According to the German foreign ministry, more than 20 foreign ministers will be among the participants while among the most notable absences are those of the "main players" Syria and Hamas.
 Athens to donate 1 million euros for Palestinian refugee camp in LebanonVIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)
An international donors' conference for the reconstruction of the Nar El-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon concluded here on Monday, with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis reiterating Greece's support for the refugees.
"We Greeks care for the Palestinians and we are proving this in practice," she told reporters, announcing at the same time that Greece's participation in the effort will amount to one million euros.
Bakoyannis said Athens would undertake the reconstruction of one part of the camp, while it would also be present in relief programmes regarding Palestinian refugee women and children.
According to the Greek foreign minister, the refugee camp was completely destroyed during the 2006 war in Lebanon. "The aim of the reconstruction is to have the camp built on completely new foundations and of higher quality, so as to offer dignified living conditions to the Palestinian refugees."
On Sunday evening, Bakoyannis participated in an official dinner hosted by her Austrian counterpart Ursula Plassnik, in which EU foreign ministers and foreign ministers of the Arab League also took part.
Delegations from more than 50 countries and international organisations along with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa took part in the conference.
 Matthew Nimetz in Athens on Thursday, FYROM on FridayNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Matthew Nimetz, the personal envoy of the UN Secretary General in talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), will be traveling to the region this week "for the continuation of consultations concerning the issue of the name."
According to an announcement by the UN's Secretariat on Monday, Nimetz will be in Athens on Thursday and on Friday he will be traveling to FYROM.
As it was noted, he is expected to meet Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Athens, as well as other Greek officials.
Lastly, the announcement stressed, in response to questions by the press on whether Nimetz has submitted a new proposal, that "he has made no official proposals to the two sides."
 House begins debate on General Framework of Town Planning and Sustainable DevelopmentThe debate for the ratification of the General Framework of Town Planning and Sustainable Development, tabled by the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry began in Parliament on Monday night, with Minister George Souflias telling the House that "for the first time the country acquires a vision and targets regarding the issue."
The four opposition parties, on their part, asked for the withdrawal of the bill, while the main opposition PASOK party questioned on the procedure of the debate, demanding that the proposal be tabled in Parliament in the form of a bill for its voting.
Archbishop Ieronymos meets with party leader in Parliament
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Monday met in Parliament with Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) founder and leader George Karatzaferis, with the former later noting that he briefed the leader of the small Parliament-represented party on the Archbishopric's programme and that of the influential Church of Greece, in general.
On his part, Karatzaferis said he is an ardent supporter of the Archbishop's work.
 FinMin addresses OECD programs budgeting report presentationA bill introducing the drafting of three-year budgets by the local government organizations (OTA) and social security funds will be completed during the summer, economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis announced on Monday, adding that the ministry will, in 2009, draft a full time-table of the changes being made in the drafting of the budget.
Addressing a brief greeting at a presentation of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) report on Programs Budgeting in Greece, Alogoskoufis said that as of 2010 onwards, the Cabinet will set ceilings on expenditures for each ministry, while the Programs Budget will be fully applied as of 2012.
Greek economic growth rate to slow in 2008-2009, Goldman Sachs analyst says
The Greek economy is expected to grow at a slower pace this year and in 2009, following the steps of the rest of Europe, as a result of a slower domestic consumption and less investments, a Goldman Sachs International analyst said on Monday.
Addressing the 1st symposium of the International University in Thessaloniki, Peter Openheimer, stressed, however, that there was not going to be any significant fall since the Greek economy -and the European- are well supported by government spending, without suffering from high debts.
Commenting on the Greek stock market, Openheimer said he expected a lower performance this year and lower profits, in accordance with what happens in other European markets. He underlined that current stock share evaluations were realistic and said he expected a rebound of the Greek market by the end of 2008.
Goldman Sachs's analyst said despite a significant weakness in the United States, world economic growth will grow by an expected 3.1 pct this year and in 2009, supported by strong domestic demand growth in India, China and Brazil. He also stressed that the US Federal Reserve will not move with higher interest rates soon.
Nikos Stathopoulos, a senior executive at BC Parnters and the architect of Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki sale, TIM's acquisition and Migros Turk sale contract all worth around 6.0 billion euros, said he expected higher foreign direct investments in Greece this year.
 Monetary, financial stability primary target for BoG, new chief saysNew Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor George Provopoulos on Monday said the central bank's task of achieving its primary target, namely, monetary and financial stability, was more demanding now than ever because of an environment of serious uncertainties and challenges resulting from a slowdown in the European and global economies as well as ongoing international financial turmoil.
In a circular to the Bank of Greece's staff, his first since taking over the helm of the central bank, Provopoulos called the bank's personnel to work together in strengthening its institutional status and its influence in society.
 Folias holds talks with Energy Charter secretary generalDevelopment Minister Christos Folias and the Energy Charter's Secretary General Andre Mernier exchanged views on Monday on international energy issues, in the presence of Industry Secretary General Meletios Tzaferis and the International Energy Policy Special Secretary Elsa Loverdou.
Folias and Mernier, referring to the 19th Energy Charter Conference which will be held in Athens on November 28, 2008, concluded that at this initial stage the Conference will focus on diversity in energy sources and transportation paths.
The development minister said that the issue in question, with which the Conference will be titled, will provide Greece with the opportunity of stressing the importance of sustainable development, parallel to the country's transformation into an energy centre.
 Bucharest market lifts suspension of trading in Alumil RomThe Bucharest Stock Exchange on Monday lifted a suspension of trading in Alumil Rom Industry's shares, after news of the release of Thessaloniki industrialist George Mylonas who was abducted for ransom two weeks ago.
Alumil Mylonas controls 55.9 percent of Alumil Rom Industry.
 Greek per capita GDP at 98 pct of EU average in 2007BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)
Greece's per capita Gross Domestic Product totaled 98 percent of the EU average in 2007, Eurostat said on Monday. The EU executive's statistics agency said per capita GDP -in purchasing power units- ranged from 38 percent of the EU average in Bulgaria and 41 pct in Romania to 276 pct in Luxembourg and 146 pct in Ireland. Per capital GDP was 42 pct of the EU average in Turkey, 29 pct in FYROM and 22 pct in Albania in 2007.
 Intacom Jordan signs 1.8-mln-US dollar contract with PaltelIntracom Jordan, a subsidiary of Intracom IT Services, on Monday announced the signing of a contract, worth 1.8 million US dollars, with Paltel, the main telecommunications provider of the National Palestinian Authority, for the supply of a SAN Consolidation solution.
Intracom Jordan has won an international tender. The solution will be implemented in two stages.
Tareq Abu Sharar, Intracom Jordan's chief executive and vice-chairman, said the deal signed with Paltel further expands the company's activities in the region and established Intracom Jordan as a significant force in this rapidly growing market.
"We are confident that the Paltel project will pave us the way to similar large projects in the wider region," he noted.
Intracom Jordan was founded in December 2000 and it is based in Amman. It has already signed supply contracts with Sonatel Group in Senegal, Mobilink in Pakistan and Fastlink in Jordan.
 ASE head calls for abolition of securities transaction taxิhe chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), Spyros Kapralos, on Monday urged for the immediate abolition of a tax on securities transactions, stressing that the Greek government must be convinced over the necessity of the measure.
Speaking to reporters, Kapralos stressed he would hold a series of meetings with all market participants in the next two weeks to discuss the issue. He also announced the creation of a new category of listed shares. Under the plan, all shares currently included in the "special characteristics" category will be included in a category of reduced or lower flotation and mobility shares.
Kapralos said Hellenic Exchanges SA will split clearing and settlement of securities transactions with the aim of boosting the competitiveness of the Greek market compared with private trading platforms. This move will result to a more simplified relation between members of ASE and foreign brokers and cutting trading costs.
Kapralos said over-the counter transactions accounted for 2.5 pct of daily turnover in the market while he stressed that transactions in an organized market offered more transparency. He noted that Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of ASE, ADEX and Alternative Market, would strike back with the introduction of new composite products, such as dual listing. Kapralos said that the Dutch civil servants' pension fund held more than 7.0 pct in Hellenic Exchange's equity capital.
 Greek stocks plunged 2.60 pct on MondayGreek stocks plunged in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, as the market was unable to find any strong support. The composite index of the market ended at 3,524.85 points, losing 2.60 percent, with turnover a low 261.2 million euros of which 15.7 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved lower with the exception of the Financial Services which rose by 2.32 percent. Telecommunications (5.84 pct), Banks (3.79 pct), Insurance (3.23 pct) and Personal/Home Products (3.03 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
The FTSE 20 index fell 2.98 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.89 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index eased 1.43 percent. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 215 to 39 with another 35 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.28%
Personal & Household: -3.03%
Raw Materials: -1.71%
Travel & Leisure: -2.07%
Food & Beverages: -0.19%
Financial Services: +2.32%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Alpha Bank and MIG.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 18.78
Public Power Corp (PPC): 19.78
HBC Coca Cola: 19.04
Hellenic Petroleum: 9.96
National Bank of Greece: 28.50
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 16.08
Piraeus Bank: 17.50
Titan Cement Company: 26.06
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 114.258 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.25 percent and the June contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 1.33 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 10,560 contracts worth 99.691 million euros, with 62.213 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 28 contracts worth 621,000 euros with 132 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,841 contracts, worth 12.190 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (1,658), followed in Marfin Investment Group (999), National Bank (1,160), Marfin Popular Bank (942), Cyprus Bank (605) and Hellenic Postbank (565).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.180 billion euros on Monday, of which 630 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 550 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 355 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.66 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 5.24 percent and the German Bund 4.58 percent.
In money markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month Euribor rate fell to 5.41 pct from 5.43 pct on Friday, the six-month rate was 5.12 pct, the three-month rate 4.96 pct and the one-month rate 4.49 pct.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.564
Pound sterling 0.797
Danish kroner 7.518
Swedish kroner 9.468
Japanese yen 168.8
Swiss franc 1.635
Norwegian kroner 8.077
Canadian dollar 1.589
Australian dollar 1.643
 Conference on people with disabilities and mass mediaOptimism that the problems of the people with disabilities can be solved without prejudice and the need for greater public awareness, were underlined by Minister of State and government spokesman Thodoros Rousopoulos who opened on Monday the two-day 3rd International Conference on "People with a Disability and the Mass Media".
Speaking at the conference, organized and hosted by the Secretariat General of Communication - Secretariat General of Information (SGC - SGI) in Athens, Rousopoulos stressed that the commitments made at last year's conference have been materialized, adding that next year participation will become wider for more substantive and effective results. Presentations will be submitted to a special committee comprising academicians and scientists to be studied and help determine the conference's themes.
Rousopoulos underlined that well-concerted efforts for a new culture free of deeply-rooted prejudice and discrimination is necessary, pointing out that the discrepancy between what is being said and done should be identified and combatted.
Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Constantopoulos stressed that the health ministry's goal is to ensure greater independence for people with disabilities, underlining the major issue of children with disabilities.
Athens Journalists' Union (ESIEA) President Panos Sobolos stressed that over the past few years the media have contributed greatly to the sensitization of society, adding that considerable steps have already been made but apparently they are not enough.
Communications General Secretary Margarita Papada-Chimona underlined that people with disabilities need honesty and not charity.
End of first day
Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos, addressing the 3rd Conference on "Handicapped people and the mass media" at the end of its first day on Monday, said that mentalities cannot be shaped from one conference to the next and time and patience are necessary.
"I hope that the mentality will change at some moment so that we will not handle handicapped people as something different," he said, reiterating that the agenda for the next conference will be provided for joint consideration.
Roussopoulos referred to individual issues raised by delegates, saying that "we have started an effort to convince that a way exists for the qualitative presentation of issues on disability."
Earlier, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (EPT) director Christos Panagopoulos gave an account for the 2006-2008 period, saying that public television programmes were based on three main elements: the sensitization of Greek society, better access to information for handicapped people and the assumption of activities by handicapped people.
ANA-MPA General Director George Tambakopoulos said that the national agency has a steady and upward course, while stressing that its reference to issues on disability is regular.
Tambakopoulos said that the first steps have been taken, but a great deal has yet to be done.
He also made special reference to news broadcast by the ANA-MPA's pages, pointing out that a considerable number of them concern issues for the handicapped, while stressing that the journalists working at the national agency face handicapped people as equals, following the journalistic code of ethics. He further said that the agency is making efforts to improve its services, to enable easier access to it by disabled people.
 SBBE chief steps down hours after his release by abductors, trading of Alumil stock resumesFederation of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE) president George Mylonas on Monday announced his resignation from the post, just hours after he was released by his abductors after spending nearly two weeks in captivity, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Mylonas, who is the founder, president and CEO of the Athens-listed Alumil aluminum constructions industry, was released by his abductors in the first hours of Monday, nearly two weeks after he was abducted by unidentified gunmen shortly before midnight on June 9 in Thessaloniki, as he was returning to his home in the Panorama residential district.
Meanwhile, the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), following agreement with the Capital Market Commission, lifted a suspension on trading of the Alumil Mylonas Aluminum Industry SA shares, effective immediately, which had been put in place after the industrialist's abduction 13 days earlier.
Mylonas was released by his abductors in the first hours of Monday, and, according to initial reports, he was given a stolen BMW car to return home by his kidnappers, possibly in the region of Peria, Yiannitsa or Veria, and arrived at his home at 1:15 a.m.
The ransom amount paid by the family was undetermined, while Mylonas was reported to be well in health.
Silence had shrouded the police investigations and negotiations with the abductors following an appeal by Mylonas' family.
Mylonas was abducted by unidentified gunmen shortly before midnight on Monday, June 9, in Thessaloniki, as he was returning to his home in the Panorama residential district. According to ireports, three gunmen immoblised his car -- which was driven by Mylonas himself and with his wife as a passenger -- a short distance from his home. The perpetrators entered the car, released Mylonas' wife, and forced the industrialist to head eastwards, and a few kilometers later, in the Thermi area, they abandoned the car and disappeared, taking Mylonas with them.
Mylonas' wife immediately alerted authorities of the abduction.
Police who rushed to the scene found Mylonas' cell phone and watch on the back seat of the abandoned car.
Mylonas, 49, is the owner, president and CEO of the listed Alumil aluminum constructions industry and the Alumil Group of companies, with major investments in Greece and abroad.
The Serres-born Mylonas is also a member of the board of directors of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) and the Hellenic Aluminium Association, and vice-president of the board of the Association of Aluminum Processing Industries.
Further, Mylonas is vice-president of the Greece-China Business Council, and a member of the Greece-Serbia Business Council.
Mylonas and Alumil have received several awards and distinctions in recent years for their business activities.
Mylonas announced his decision to step down from the SBBE presidency, in statements to the waiting reporters outside his home, just hours after his release from captivity, saying he wanted to spend more free time with his family. "I want to devote more time, which I unfortunately cannot cut from my work, and consequently I will cut it from public affairs. Thus, in the future, you will no longer hear statements by me," he said.
Mylonas thanked the police for their support to his family throughout the ordeal, his friends and the majority of the mass media, adding that he would not reveal details on his abduction.
Regarding the conditions of his captivity, Mylonas described them as "dignified", adding that he had not encountered any problem during his 13 days in captivity, and clarifying that the only thing the perpetrators wanted was the ransom".
"It was a bad experience for me, which has passed without resulting in victims and without burdens on my family or on my company. The details are of no significance," Mylonas said.
He did confide to the press, however, that his mind was constantly on his family throughout the ordeal, and revealed that it was his wife who had "successfully conducted the negotiations" with the abductors, and expressed hope that what had happened to him would not happen to anyone else.
Regarding the abductors, he said they were three in number, that he had had a "minimum of contact" with them, and that they had been "willing and polite" with him".
"Whatever I wanted, they gave me. Naturally, given the circumstances, it wasn't like being at home. I spoke to them in Greek. I didn't see their faces," Mylonas said, and declined to reveal the location where he had been held captive nor the spot where he was released.
Replying to questions, he said that the the discussions with the kidnappers had been held "in a very good climate" since, he added, in an effort to lighten the atmosphere, "I asked them to release me by Tuesday so that I could accompany my daughter to a drawing competition".
Mylonas further refused to reveal the ransom amount and, to another question, said that his ordeal would not impact the course of his company.
"They let me go at an isolated spot, and told me that a few meters away there was a car with a full tank of fuel waiting, and gave me the key. They told me how to get to out of there, because I didn't know the area," the industrialist said.
To another question, Mylonas said that he would not be attending an event in Thessaloniki later that day with prime minister Costas Karamanlis as the central speaker, explaining that he wanted "to rest, to see the sunlight" that he had been deprived of during his days in captivity, and added that he would not speak of some of the things he went through during his ordeal "even to the police", but would "keep them inside me to my death".
Meanwhile, the Alumil board issued an announcement informing its investors that the "temporary crisis" with the company's chairman and CEO had reached a positive conclusion, adding that Mulonas would "return to his executive duties in the next few days".
 Two lawyers remanded in custody in Zachopoulos caseTwo lawyers testified before a special investigator on Monday, in connection with the case of former culture ministry secretary general Christos Zachopoulos, and will be remanded in custody in prison.
The two lawyers testified on charges of participation in suicide, attempted extortion and the violation of the law on personal data and delivered extensive memorandums to the investigator, Dimitris Economou, in which they denied their involvement in the case.
According to the charges they are faced with, the two lawyers participated in the extortion of Zachopoulos, since they operated as mediators and functionaries of the 35-year-old woman, who is the main defendant in the case.
After the investigator and the prosecutor handling the case reached a unanimous decision on the remanding in custody of the two defendants, one of the defense advocates, Costas Plevris, said among other things that the law in Greece is like a spider's web "in which the small insects are caught and the big ones get away" and the other advocate, Ninopoulos, said that the two defendants had distinct roles and hoped for the distinct application of justice.
The woman, a labor issue expert and the two lawyers on Monday have already been remanded in custody in the case.
 Proposal on the Parthenon Marbles in the W. Australian ParliamentMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA / S. Hatzimanolis)
A proposal for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece was tabled in the State Legislative Assembly of Western Australia by governing Labor Party (ALP) member John Biase D' Orazio.
According to the proposal, the Legislative Assembly is called to support the wish of the Greek-Australian Community as regards the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and their display in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.
He also suggests that the W. Australia state parliament convey this stance to the UK government in a proper manner.
 Australian Federal Parliament to examine Battle of Crete celebrations' upgradingMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)
A proposal to upgrade the Battle of Crete celebrations was tabled in the Federal Parliament of Australia by governing Labor Party (ALP) Greek-Australian Steve Georganas, MP electoral division Hindmarsh (SA).
The Battle of Crete was decisive in the outcome of WWII, said Georganas, adding that Australians, New Zealanders and Cretans fought side-by-side against the Axes forces.
He called on the federal parliament to issue a resolution recognizing the importance of the battle, while expressing the hope that the annually held events on the occasion of this historical anniversary will continue and become upgraded.
 AHEPA Australasia to hold 54th National Convention in AthensMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)
Issues concerning education, charity work, culture and greater youth participation will be under discussion at the 54th AHEPA Australasia National Convention to be held on July 1-7 in Athens with the participation of roughly 1,200 delegates and representatives from the United States, Canada, Australia, Greece and Cyprus.
Participants will also adopt resolutions on a number of issues of Greek national importance including the FYROM name issue, Cyprus, the Theological School of Halki, and the Pontian Greek genocide.
Delegates will have the opportunity to visit archaeological and tourist sites, attend events hosted by AHEPA USA and participate in a cruise around the Greek islands.
The AHEPA Australasia delegates will depart for Cyprus on July 11 to hold a mini conference on July 14 with the participation of the state, political and Church leadership to be briefed on the latest developments in Cyprus and be updated by the committees on the missing, the refugees and the enclaved in the occupied part of Cyprus. Delegates will visit the Kykkos Monastery, lay a wreath at the tomb of Makarios and visit Paphos and Limassol.
 Officers injured in attack by hashish growers on CreteThree policemen were injured, one of them seriously, after being attacked by hashish growers in the village of Malades in Heraklion, Crete, on Sunday night.
The officers, from the Heraklion police station, were taking part in an ambush at a hashish plantation when they were attacked by unidentified individuals who opened fire on them with what was believed to be a Kalashnikov.
One of the policemen was seriously injured by a gunshot wound in the head, while the other two officers had bullet shots in the leg and the shoulder.
All three policemen were in Heraklion Hospital, where they all underwent surgery. The two policemen with the ligher injuries were in stable, non-life-threatening condition.
Police have launched a manhunt in the area, while a police congent from Athens, headed by chief insprector for Northern Greece Dimitris Bouloukos, left for Heraklion early Monday morning on orders of Greek Police (ELAS) chief Vassilis Tsiatouras, to help in the investigations and in a clean-up operation in Malades similar to that of Zoniana, where in early November three other police officers were injured when attacked by local hashish growers during a police raid.
The contingent from Athens comprises EKAM special force teams, members of the criminology service, officers of the police drugs squad, and from the homicide force.
 UN International Day for torture victimsThe Medical Torture Victims Rehabilitation Centre operating in Greece has treated about 10,000 people during the 20 years that it has been functioning.
This figure includes the victims of torture, as well as members of their families who also experienced the consequences of this situation.
This was announced during a press conference held at the European Parliament's offices in Athens on Monday by the Centre's leaders on the occasion of the celebration on June 26 of the UN's International Day that is dedicated to the victims of torture.
The Centre, which was established in 1989, is aimed at preventing and abolishing torture from whoever it may be applied and rehabilitating the victims in particular.
 Benefactress Aliki Telloglou passes awayThe great benefactress Aliki Telloglou, whose bequeathal, together with her late husband Nestoras, of their art collection and entire property to Thessaloniki's Aristotelion University enabled the foundation in 1972 of the Teloglion Foundation of Art, passed away in the first hours of Monday, and her funeral will be held on Tuesday at the Metropolitan Church of Grigorios Palamas in Thessaloniki, with the expenses of the Foundation, which will remain closed on the day of the funeral in mourning.
The Foundation's Board of Trustees issued a resolution on Tuesday in which it paid tribute to the personality, gentleness of spirit, integrity and ethos of the late benefactress, whom the Board described as an intellectual with a great sense of social responsibility and unwavering dedication to ideals, and an invaluable sponsor of the Arts and Culture not only in Macedonia but in all of Greece.
The University established the Foundation in 1972 to house the Telloglou's art collection.
The main body of the collection included works of art by important Greek and European artists of the 19th and 20th century, prints, oil on canvas and sculptures, and also artwork from various civilizations (Hellenistic, Corinthian and Roman), pottery, statues, especially from the Hellenistic period, samples of Chinese and Arabic art (dishes, vases, etc.), Persina miniatures and a variety of woodreliefs from Thailand.
The Foundation's new premises were inaugurated in December 1999 with the exhibition "Collections and Donations", in a modern and impressive building on the northern slope of the university's campus.
Aliki Telloglou was born and raised in Thessaloniki, the eldest of the four children of Naoum and Loukia Orologa, refugees from Constantinople and Monastir.
From a very young age, she thirsted for reading and the arts, and her dream had been to study interior architecture, but ended up enrolling in Medical School. Her friendship with Nestoras Telloglou, a big-time merchant from a renowned family of Izmir led to their marriage in 1953.
The Telloglou couple decided to donate their entire estate to the Aristotelion University and to establish, together with other personalities of the Arts and Letters in the city, to found the Teloglion Foundation, which was initially housed at premises offered by the municipality of Thessaloniki, on the slopes of the university campus.
Their dream was to establish a museum/art school, a foundation that would be open to innovation in art and research, but one that also met the demands of modern-day artistic education and creativity.
The Aristotelion University's Teloglion Foundation was founded in 1972, and Nestor passed away a few months later.
The Telloglou's collection formed the core of the Foundation which was later enriched with the donation of the art collection of Toni and Ioanna Spiteris, the donation of the rich archival material of Giorgos Mourelos and recently the donation of the fine art collection of Demetrios Tsamis.
Since December 1999, the Foundation has been installed in its permanent facilities at an advantageous site at the upper part of the University campus in a building whose design resulted from an architectural contest. The Museum covers three floors of the spacious 6,500 square meter building.
The Teloglion Foundation of Art is a non-profit organization. Its mission is the multisided support of research and studies about art, as well as the broader familiarization of the public with art. The works of Greek artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, an important part of the museum's collections, define the Foundation's direction which is the study and promotion of contemporary Greek art to specialists as well as the wider audience.
The study, the electronic documentation and the accessibility of the museum's artworks are the first steps towards the advancement of research. At the same time, the organization of conferences or seminars, the hosting and exchange of specialists, the cooperation with other institutions with similar objectives in Greece and abroad and the communication of the current art research findings and achievements are among the main goals of the museum.
The Foundation is supervised by the Aristotelion University, and is directed by a Board of Trustees composed of University professors from various faculties, such as the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Law, the Polytechnic Faculty and the Faculty of Health Sciences. Furthermore, the museum employs researchers, curators and a technical support team, whose main objective is to make sure that the Foundation functions properly.
 Historical archives to be digitalisedThe digitalisation of 7.5 million pages of valuable archives kept at over 60 State General Archives services all over the country will have been completed by the end of the year, providing researchers and ordinary citizens with the possibility of direct access to them through the Internet.
According to an announcement by Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, who visited the Historical Archives of Macedonia in Thessaloniki on Monday, the digitalisation effort is taking place at 17 centres throughout the country.
About 40 percent of the archives, that concern historical archives from schools, metropolis, municipal registers, police and other public services and which date back to the 17th century, have already been digitalized. At the Historical Archives of Macedonia in particular, 450,000 pages of archives of the 19th and 20th century will be digitalized.
The cost of the task in its entirety will amount to 4.5 million euros.
 Illegal migrant dies from heat and hunger en route for VeniceROME (ANA-MPA - T. Andreadis)
A 30-year-old Iraqi illegal migrant was found dead on Monday by customs officers in Venice, Italy who conducted a search inside a Greek tractor trailer on board an ANEK Lines ferryboat that had originated from the southern Greek port of Patras.
The man was wearing a pair of short pants, had no luggage, money or passport and apparently had died from heat exhaustion and hunger.
Another 5 illegal migrants from Morocco, Syria, Iran and Iraq were taken to a hospital to receive treatment for severe dehydration considering that the temperature inside the truck had risen above 50 degrees Celsius.
Crewmembers of the Greek passenger ship had reported "strange noises" coming from the garage area prompting the customs officers' search.
 Tenant kills man during eviction process, dies by police fireAn eviction turned violent on Monday afternoon in Nea Makri township of eastern Attica prefecture with two shooting deaths reported, as a representative of the owner was shot dead by a 68-year-old tenant, who himself was fatally wounded during the incident by two attending police officers.
According to reports, the victim, 60, was accompanied by a court bailiff and the two police officers as he attempted to serve the eviction notice.
 Alexandria Patriarch to visit GhanaCAIRO (ANA-MPA - N. Katsikas)
Alexandria and All Africa Patriarch Theodoros is to begin a visit to the Orthodox diocese of Ghana on Tuesday night, whose congregation now includes some 400,000 members. This is his first visit to the area as Patriarch.
 Spanish FM encouraged by Cyprus peace processNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos appeared encouraged on Monday by the fact that a fresh effort has begun with a view to reach a Cyprus settlement.
Moratinos had talks here with his Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou with whom he discussed the Cyprus question, regional and international issues, bilateral relations and issues concerning the EU.
As regards the Lisbon Treaty, both Kyprianou and Moratinos underlined that the two countries are moving towards its ratification.
Moratinos proposed to Kyprianou the signing of a memorandum of understanding for cooperation between the two ministries, more specifically between their diplomatic missions. Kyprianou expressed hope that this memorandum will be signed during his visit to Madrid after the summer.
Referring to the Cyprus question, Kyprianou said he briefed his Spanish counterpart on the latest developments. Moratinos said "we are very much encouraged by what we've heard of the new talks to solve the Cyprus issue."
"Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are both doing very encouraging work," he said and encouraged them to continue and to engage in this process for the future of the island and the whole region.
"I am encouraged and I am very proud that things are moving forward. There are working groups. There are committees. There are discussions, there will be meetings. I think in diplomacy and international fair dialogue is the best instrument to solve problems and I think that is the way to achieve a final settlement of this issue. I' ve been so much personally involved in this island that I feel like all of you, hoping that finally we can come with very good news," he added.
As regards the Lisbon Treaty, Kyprianou noted the problems after it was rejected in a referendum in Ireland, adding that Spain and Cyprus are moving forward with the ratification process.
Moratinos said that both countries are on their way to ratify the Lisbon treaty by their parliaments. "We hope that both countries will be in the position to present our ratification of the Treaty before the European Council of the 15th of October in order to send a strong message Europe is moving forward,'' he noted.
Referring to Kosovo, Kyprianou said that on this and on EU relations with third countries, they have a common position. Moratinos said that "we have the same position on respect of international legality. Cyprus and Spain always put international legality at the front, top of our discussion and our attitude in international affairs", he added.
Kyprianou said that he also briefed Moratinos on the position of the Republic of Cyprus as regards the European Commission's activities in Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas and the support given to the Turkish Cypriot community. "We support the initiatives of the European Commission, given the fact that they are taken in the framework of legality, international law, the acquis communautaire and the European law," he added.
As regards Turkey's EU prospect, he said Cyprus supports Turkey's accession to the EU as long as Ankara fulfils its obligations towards the EU and all its member states, including Cyprus, adding that "we are addressing each chapter in this process on its own merits."
Moratinos said that from the talks they had "we have come to this very clear conclusion of Cyprus and Spain working together. We have the same policies, the same engagement, the same compromise, the same initiative that can enforce not only the EU itself but also the role of the EU in areas of common interest such as the Mediterranean, such as the Eastern Balkans," he said, adding that they are also defending the same position on Cuba.
He said that they agreed due to the high level of trust and confidence that exists between the two ministries that they can exchange diplomats and use their premises abroad in order that they reinforce the cooperation and dialogue between the two administrations.
Moratinos also referred to the importance of the EU Mediterranean dimension, noting that "we are working on President Sarkozy's initiative calling for a summit on the 13th of July. Both Presidents of Spain and Cyprus will attend the Summit in Paris. Cyprus and Spain will be very active in order to reinforce the Mediterranean dimension of the EU," he added.
He also said that they discussed about the Middle East and many other issues of common interest like immigration, adding that "in the EU we unify our forces because we have the same sensitivity and the same interest to work together."
Moratinos said that he invited Kyprianou to pay an official visit to Spain that he was also going to invite President Christofias, whom he met after his talks with Kyprianou, to pay also an official visit to Spain.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot technical committees and working groups have been set up after an agreement between President Christofias and Talat earlier this year, with a view to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations on the Cyprus question.
 EU aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot communityNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The European Union has launched a project, entitled ''Support for Rural Development Policy in the northern part of Cyprus'', for the Turkish Cypriot community.
The European Commission has signed a 1,991,000 euro contract with a consortium led by the company Agriconsulting Europe SA, and composed of Turkish company Agrin and French institution CNASEA, to support rural development policy in the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.
According to a statement of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, the "Rural Development Support Team" will help develop the capacity of Turkish Cypriot experts in the formulation of rural development policy, including assistance in the preparation of a Rural Development Plan, which will guide implementation of EU funded projects in this sector.
The Rural Development Plan will use the same methodology and approach as will be needed for the EU Common Agricultural Policy after a comprehensive settlement and reunification.
The Rural Development Support Team will play a vital role in the design of 17 million euro package of grant schemes, as well as helping potential beneficiaries prepare their applications. Target beneficiaries include rural communities, farmers, producer organisations, cooperatives, agri-food processors, small and medium sized enterprises, companies, local action groups, non-governmental organisations and individual households.
The project will last 24 months and is funded under the 259 million euro EU Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, managed by the European Commission.
A project inauguration ceremony will be held on 24 June at the EU Programme Support Office in the presence of European Commission officials and representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community.
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