|Tuesday, 12 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 29, 2005
 Alogoskoufis says no social security reform package during this 4-year term
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis reiterated over the weekend that the government does not intend table legislation during its current four-year term aimed at reforming Greece's creaky social security system, possibly the most controversial and divisive issue for citizens and taxpayers in the east Mediterranean country.
Alogoskoufis, whose comments were quoted in an interview published in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Chora", said cooperation and consensus is desired with all social partners and parties, "even before the next elections, so that solutions are lasting".
Additionally, he said the ministry's finance team was examining the possibility of cutting the tax rate for wage-earners and pensioners, while again stressing that the Karamanlis government inherited a "very poor economic condition" from the previous PASOK government.
"The mistakes and omissions of the past are a burden for the country's economy ... but Greek citizens will soon witness some positive results in the coming period from the ongoing economic policy," he added.
 PM Karamanlis pays official visit to Czech Republic
PRAGUE 29/8/2005 (ANA/S.Goutzanis)Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Prague on Sunday afternoon on an official visit to the Czech capital.
On Monday morning Karamanlis will have a meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus and shortly afterwards he will hold talks with Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek.
On the agenda of the talks are bilateral relations, mainly issues of trade transactions and tourism cooperation between Greece and Czech Republic.
Furthermore, the leaders of the two countries will discuss issues regarding the European Union and mainly the EU's fiscal prospects for the years 2007-2013, as well as the enlargement of the EU with the issue of Turkey.
Accompanying Karamanlis on his visit are Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis and Deputy National Economy and Finance Minister Christos Folias.
On Sunday afternoon, Karamanlis had the opportunity to tour Prague with his wife Natasha.
 Defense Minister Spiliotopoulos, on an official visit to China, will meet his Chinese counterpart Cangchuan on Monday
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)National Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, who is on an official visit to China, will have talks on Monday with his Chinese counterpart Cao Cangchuan.
According to a Greek National Defense Ministry press release on Sunday, Spiliotopoulos, who responded to an invitation by Cangchuan to visit China, has already visited the biggest Chinese air industry "Xi'an Air Industry Group Company" which employees more than 20,000 people and was briefed on its activities.
Apart from Xi'an, the Greek minister also visited Shanghai where he was given a tour of the Naval Base.
During his meetings, Spiliotopoulos hailed the bonds of friendship linking Greece and China, two countries with an ancient history and centuries-old cultural tradition. He also referred to the prospects of cooperation between the two countries in the military and industrial sector.
 Greece again points to EU position vis-a-vis FYROM name issue
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Athens on Saturday again reminded of the European Union's position, adopted last September, requesting a mutually acceptable solution for the "name issue" still plaguing relations between EU member-state Greece and its northern land-locked neighbor, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
The statement, by foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, comes after a decision by the Polish government to use the name "Macedonia" in bilateral Polish-FYROM communication.
"Only such a (mutually acceptable) solution will facilitate FYROM's course towards achieving its desire to advance towards and join Euro-Atlantic institutions," he added.
The foreign ministry noted that the practice of using the one-time Yugoslav Republic's constitutional name in bilateral ties, but using FYROM in multinational fora and international relations, is being employed by other European countries as well.
Although Athens and Skopje have achieved remarkable progress in bilateral relations, especially in trade and investments, since signing a UN-mediated "interim agreement" 10 years ago, the "name issue" continues to block the full normalization of ties.
Athens strenuously opposes FYROM's use of the name "Macedonia", citing historical and political reasons. Moreover, Greece's largest province, which shares borders with FYROM, is called Macedonia, the same geographical region that more-or-less corresponds with the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.
 'No' to Turkey's accession to EU if Cyprus issue is not first solved, poll shows
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)In a poll conducted by Kappa Research for the newspaper "To Paron", 73.5 per cent of Greeks ask from the government to vote against Turkey's accession to the European Union if the issues of the political settlement of the Cyprus problem and that of the Aegean are not first solved.
Furthermore, 8.5 per cent ask for Turkey's accession to the EU to be voted against in every case. Of those questioned, 51.5 per cent ask for the political rapprochement with Turkey not to be continued and for Greece to follow a tough stance. Also, 46.1 per cent believe that this policy must continue, but with the prerequisite of the lifting of Turkey's claims in the Aegean.
Also, 81.6 per cent of those questioned ask for this issue to be raised by the council of political party leaders under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic.
Finally, 58.5 per cent believe that Turkey's accession does not serve the interests of the European Union, against 35.7 per cent who believe the contrary.
 PASOK cadres meet to prepare for Papandreou address next month
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Several top Thessaloniki-area PASOK deputies and cadres, along with the main opposition party's national council secretary Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, met here on Sunday to plan and prepare for PASOK leader George Papandreou's tour and address at next month's Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
Papandreou will follow Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' address by one week at the TIF exhibition, traditionally the venue for the premier's annual yet unofficial "state-of-the-nation" address.
The former foreign minister will tour the TIF exhibition on Sept. 17 and 18.
 Communists for cooperation in local gov't elections under conditions
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Saturday said that her party was in favor of cooperation with other political forces during local government elections next year on condition that the cooperation would go against ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition Panhellenic Socialist party policies.
Addressing a press conference in Larissa, central Greece, Papariga added that her party "will not allow itself to be blackmailed in the local elections campaign".
 New data released on causes of Cypriot plane crash north of Athens
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Investigations are continuing in the collection of data regarding the causes which led to the crash of the Cypriot plane belonging to the private company "Helios" north of Athens on Sunday August 14m, resulting to the death of all 121 people on board.
According to information, data was collected indicating that there was a problem in the planes compression system from the time of its takeoff from Larnaca Airport and particularly the switch which puts in operation the specific system was not on the automatic index but was on the manual system.
Head of investigations Akrivos Tsolakis was at the site of the tragedy on Sunday who stated that the note book of the co-pilot of the ill-fated Boeing 737 in which, according to information, were registered the problems that the specific plane presented has not yet come into his possession.
Finally, Tsolakis said that next week about 150 police officers will explore the broader area of Grammatiko where the plane crashed on a hillside, to exclude the possibility that the three bodies which have not yet been located, will be found. As Tsolakis said, up to now, only some bones have been found and sent to the morgue for examination by coroners who on Monday will determine whether they have anything to do with the three bodies which have not yet been located.
 YPA dismisses press reports against it regarding flight safety checks as untrue
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)The Civil Aviation Service (YPA) on Sunday termed as "untrue and with motivated expediences" press reports concerning the operation of the Service and the safety checks of flights.
Specifically, YPA said, the press reports claim that the checks are not made properly regarding the safety of flights and say that employment of controllers is made through political criteria.
In an extensive announcement, the Civil Aviation Service said that in 2000 ICAO had downgraded it to Category B' but that in May 2004 it upgraded it to Category A'.
 Unionists rally against extended store hours outside 2 multinational retailers
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)A large multinational supermarket chain and a major clothing & apparel retailer, both in Athens, were picketed by a few dozen members of a retail employees' union late Saturday afternoon, the first day of extended opening hours (8 p.m. on Saturday) allowed under a bill passed earlier in the summer.
Members of the mostly communist party-affiliated PAME labor grouping picketed and aggressively blocked customers' entrance into the stores, resulting in a handful of minor scuffles before riot police arrived on the scene.
Unifying opening hours around the country and allowing store managements and shop owners the right to extend their operation during the weekdays and on Saturday was among a handful of high-profile reforms worked through Parliament by the government over the summer, although the latter came amid often bitter resistance by labor unions and opposition parties.
 Education minister says new department will be created at University of Western Macedonia
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou announced on Saturday from Florina, northern Greece, the creation of a Department of Applied Arts at the University of Western Macedonia in Florina, which will operate in the academic year 2006-2007.
Yiannakou added that the government's aim is the creation, within 2007, of a second department of cinema and television, so as to create a School of Fine Arts.
 New Jerusalem Patriarch Theofilos cites need for restoring Patriarchate's 'moral standing'
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Newly elected Jerusalem Patriarch Theofilos was featured in two interviews carried by Athens dailies on Sunday, days after he succeeded deposed patriarch Irineos (Eirineos) as the head of the venerable but recently crisis-plagued Orthodox Patriarchate of the Holy Land.
In an interview with the "Eleftherotypia" daily, Theofilos stressed the "need for restoring the Patriarchate's moral standing and credibility, which were injured vis-a-vis the local governments (of the region), the people and all of the parties that one way or another had contact with the Church."
Irineos was dethroned by the world's Orthodox Church leaders after months of heightened criticism by members of his Holy Sepulcher Brotherhood, the Holy Land's congregation and non-Orthodox Palestinians for actions or omissions related to the long-term lease of Patriarchate properties in east Jerusalem to Jewish investors.
Speaking to the "Vima" daily, Theofilos dismissed any worry of an "arabization" of the Patriarchate -- most of the top clergymen are ethnic Greeks -- while taking umbrage, in fact, with the term "arabization".
"The Patriarchate of Jerusalem belongs to all, whether they are Greeks or Arabs. Our flock, comprised of Arab speakers, needs the Patriarchate very much," he stressed.
 Christodoulos chastises mass media for ignoring Church's charitable work
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Influential Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Sunday charged that most mass media outlets in the country were simply ignoring the Church's considerable charitable work, as he said.
Speaking from the pulpit to a congregation in southern coastal Athens, the outspoken Christodoulos said the Church allocated a sum of more than 62 million euros last year throughout the east Mediterranean country.
"This sum did not come from some type of obligatory taxation of the people, but from the contributions of the flock that cherishes and trusts the Church," he said, adding:
"Of course, the Church's work is not promoted by the mass media ... Our Church offers daily testament that it is marching firmly and unwavering on a course laid out by our Lord, so that the faithful are supported..." he stressed.
 PM Karamanlis, President Papoulias express condolences over death of composer Mouzakis
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister and Culture Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday extended his condolences over the death of music composer George Mouzakis.
"Few people had the good fortune and honor to link their name so closely with the history of a theatrical type, such as George Mouzakis with the theatrical review. The great compositions which he created, successes which were interpreted my important names will keep alive his memory in the future generations.
"I extend to his family my sincere condolences, Karamanlis said."
President Karolos Papoulias also sent a telegram of condolences to the family of Mouzakis.
Mouzakis died on Saturday at the age of 83. He had composed more than 450 songs. In 2003, he was awarded by the president of the republic for the 68 years of his contribution.
George Mouzakis was born on August 15, 1922 in Athens.
His funeral will be held on Tuesday.
 Boat-load of illegal migrants intercepted in eastern Crete
Athens, 29/8/2005 (ANA)Nearly 150 illegal immigrants were detained by authorities on Crete Sunday morning after authorities were tipped off that scores of individuals were seen disembarking from an unidentified vessel on a remote beach along the southern coastline of Lasithi prefecture.
Two alleged migrant-smugglers were later arrested aboard a 25-metre trawler subsequently intercepted by coast guard patrol boats. The vessel is believed to have ferried the illegals onto the large island.
The would-be migrants were spotted near the Livario beach in the Siteia district of Lasithi prefecture, the eastern-most of the holiday island's four prefectures.
No information was given regarding the nationalities of the illegal immigrants.
 Cyprus prepared arguments ahead of EU meeting for Turkey, FM says
LARNACA 29/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou said here Sunday that Cyprus has prepared its legal and political arguments ahead of European Union meetings to discuss the commencement of negotiations between the EU and Turkey.
In statements on his departure for the Netherlands, Austria and Slovakia, Iacovou said that it seems that all signs lead to the assumption that the British Presidency seeks to conclude the discussion on Turkey on September 1, during the informal General and Foreign Affairs Council, ''something which we do not accept.''
''We believe that the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) should examine the EU's counterstatement, answering to the issues raised by the Turkish statement,'' Iacovou said, adding that the Republic of Cyprus is ready for such a possibility ''with its legal and political arguments.''
On July 29, Turkey signed a protocol expanding the Ankara Agreement (Customs Union) to cover the Union's ten new member-states, issuing simultaneously a declaration that said it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.
Referring to the General Affairs Council, Iacovou said that it is naturally legitimate for the British Presidency to raise for discussion the issue of the negotiating framework of Turkey, adding that Cyprus believes that these two issues should be connected.
 Overseas Cypriots reaffirm their commitment for solution
NICOSIA 29/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)Overseas Cypriots reaffirmed their commitment for a Cyprus settlement, which would reunify the island, calling on the Turkish Cypriots to join them in their struggle, which would allow all Cypriots to enjoy the fruits of the European Union.
Overseas Cypriots, who on Friday wrapped up their four-day annual Congress, adopted resolutions to the UN Secretary-General, the President of the European Commission, the US President, the Prime Ministers of Britain, Canada and Australia, the Cypriot President and his Greek counterpart, as well as a message for the Turkish Cypriots.
''We assure you that the Government of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots are ready and willing to engage in direct and substantive negotiations to reach a lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem, with full regard to the principles of the UN and the European Union, and take into full account the areas of concern of the Greek Cypriot community for the common good of all the people of Cyprus,'' overseas Cypriots stress in their resolutions, describing the present status quo in Cyprus as ''unacceptable''.
They add that ''Turkey's military presence on the island is in flagrant violation of UN resolutions, including General Assembly resolution 3212 (1974), and the principles on which the European Union is based,'' noting they believe that ''a just, viable and workable solution to the Cyprus problem must be based on the EU acquis communautaire and UN resolutions.''
''We believe that the welfare and prosperity of the people of Cyprus lie with the economic integration of the two communities and the unification of the economy of Cyprus, and not with the encouragement of separatist tendencies,'' the overseas Cypriots add.
In their message to the Turkish Cypriots, the overseas Cypriots reiterate that the rejection of the solution plan, proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, by the Greek Cypriots was not a rejection of the solution of the Cyprus problem but a rejection of the particular plan, ''the provisions of which were not functional and were unacceptable for all of us.''
''We must strive together to enjoy the fruits offered to us by our European course. We must contribute in order to enter to a new negotiation process in the framework of the UN for a just, functional and viable settlement, based on the UN values, the acquis communautaire, which would safeguard the human rights and individual freedoms of all of us. We will achieve all these with the withdrawal of the Turkish occupying forces and of the settlers,'' the overseas Cypriots note.
Furthermore, in a press conference Saturday to mark the completion of the congress, leaders of the overseas Cypriots pledged they will continue to work in the countries they live in to promote the interests of the Cypriot people, adding that they witness a change of the negative climate against the Greek Cypriots that emerged after the April 24, 2004, referenda on the Annan plan.
Both President of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) Haris Sofoklides and International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) Philip Christopher, noted that one of the most important problems they face is the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot propaganda regarding the lifting of the so-called ''isolation'' of the Turkish Cypriots.