|Friday, 22 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 4, 2006
 Greece downed in world basketball final by Spain 70-47
ATHENS, 04/09/2006 (ANA)Greece's stunning performances at the World Basketball Championship in Japan ended on a distinctly anti-climatic note Sunday as Spain smothered the national team 70-47 in the final in Saitama City.
The convincing loss to Spain, two days after Greece shocked the US national team 101-95, ended its eight-game streak at the 2006 world championship. A spectacular Spain squad, meanwhile, ended the tournament undefeated.
The 2005 European champions trailed the Spaniards from the first seconds of the game and appeared to have "run out of gas" following the victory against the US "Dream Team" on Friday, whereas the fresh Spanish team put up a flawless defensive effort, while dominating under both baskets.
The showings in Japan were the best ever for both countries, respectively, at the international level.
Greece's political leadership on Sunday evening eagerly congratulated the national basketball team's players and coaches for winning the silver medal at the World Basketball championship.
"Some times words are superfluous, maybe because they are not enough to express the strength of our feelings; for the joy, the moving moments and the pride you generously gave us, all I have to say is a big thank you," President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said.
On his part, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis underlined that "the Greek national team reached the peak of the world after a real feat, and for the third consecutive year, Greece, which believes in its potential, sends it own message to all the world."
"Our national team, (coach) Panagiotis Yiannakis, these young men, achieved a major triumph in this world championship. They are winners in our heart, they played well," main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said.
Congratulations were also sent by other political leaders, ministers, Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda and even Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.
 S. Korea President Roh Moo-Hyun arrives in Athens for official visit
ATHENS, 04/09/2006 (ANA)South Korea President Roh Moo-Hyun arrived in Athens on Sunday afternoon for a three-day official visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias.
Shortly after his arrival, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, representing the government, accompanied the South Korean head of state at a wreath-laying ceremony at a monument in the Papagos district of east Athens dedicated to the Greek servicemen who fell in combat during the Korean War (1950-53).
The South Korean president heads a large delegation of Korean officials and businesspeople.
 Dep. FM signs draft agreement with Melbourne's La Trobe
MELBOURNE, 04/09/2006 (ANA-MPA / S. Aravopoulou)Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Saturday evening concluded his two-day meetings and contacts with expatriate Greek community representatives and academic leaders here, as his ongoing weeklong tour of Australia is focused on expanding and supporting Greek-language programs and teaching throughout the island continent nation.
The highlight of his visit to Melbourne was the signing of a draft agreement with the La Trobe University, envisioning an annual 35,000-euro grant during the next five-year period, post-graduate scholarships by the foreign ministry for Greek studies graduates, an exchange program for educators and summer exchange programs for pupils.
 Deputy Defense Minister Michaloliakos to visit Poland from Sept. 3-5
ATHENS, 04/09/2006 (ANA)National Defence Deputy Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos will pay a three-day visit to Poland from September 3-5 to attend the inauguration of the 14th International Defense Industry Exhibition which will take place in Kielce, the defense ministry announced on Saturday.
Michaloliakos is scheduled to meet his Polish counterpart Marek Zajakala for talks aimed at promoting closer military cooperation between Greece and Poland.
 PASOK leader addresses Patras rally on anniversary of party's founding
PATRA, 04/09/2006 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday addressed a rally in Patras, western Greece, on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of his party's founding by three-time premier Andreas Papandreou, Papandreou's father.
"This is not a gathering; it's a popular mandate for a new beginning, a new start. Today we unite our voices, the people demand the best; the people deserve the best. Greece can do better, it can take another road."
"Andreas Papandreou showcased a Greece of national independence and justice, founding and forging a strong and united democratic party. Costas Simitis (the former prime minister) brought Greece closer to Europe and the world," Papandreou added.
Additionally, Papandreou again criticized the New Democracy (ND) government for its policies, saying it "insults the intelligence of the Greek people," while citing what he said were increases in unemployment and inflation, falling incomes and high rates of borrowing.
A day earlier on Saturday, Papandreou visited the western town of Nafpaktos, where he met with the party's candidate for the Aetoloakarnania prefecture and other mayoral candidates. Local government elections will be held on Oct. 15.
 Opinion poll on PASOK
ATHENS, 04/09/2006 (ANA)In a related development, the Sunday edition of an Athens daily unveiled an opinion poll focusing entirely on PASOK supporters' views concerning the party and its leadership. The poll was published by the "Eleftherotypia" daily.
Specifically, an overwhelming percentage of respondents, 93.8 percent and 92.7 percent, respectively, want the party to clearly demonstrate its policy differences with ruling New Democracy and to clearly delineate its own program.
Moreover, 91.8 percent of respondents backed the idea of Papandreou exercising a "firmer leadership".
On a scale of one to 10, late PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou earned 9.3; two-time premier Costas Simitis 7.9 and George Papandreou 7.8. Respondents said PASOK's best stint in the opposition was from 1974 to 1981; its best term in office from 1981 to 1985 and its worst from 2000 to 2004.
In terms of other high-ranking current cadres, the best results were posted by former ministers Evangelos Venizelos, Anna Diamantopoulou, Theodoros Pangalos, Vasso Papandreou and Costas Laliotis.
Asked about two timely developments within the main opposition party, 39.5 percent said George Papandreou's decision to expel former FinMin Yiannos Papantoniou was incorrect; 35.5 said it was necessary, and 25.2 declined to answer.
Finally, 74 percent of respondents disagreed with a high-profile statement reportedly made late last month by Pangalos during a central committee meeting, namely, that PASOK after 2000 "demolished" the country.
The opinion poll was conducted by the GPO firm on a sample of 600 respondents.
 Synaspismos leader Alavanos criticizes gov't, PASOK
ATHENS, 04/09/2006 (ANA)Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos, addressing the party's Central Political Committee on Saturday, criticized the New Democracy (ND) government and the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), in particular about the image they present, in their planning for the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair which begins on September 8.
Alavanos said the Thessaloniki fair "is a ceremony and a choreography of promises by the two major parties," claiming that "the ND and PASOK converge on many issues, such as on the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and the issue of rallies."
In his criticism of the government, he said that "more than 20 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line."
Alavanos went on to say that "Greece is first in unemployment in the euro-zone, and according to official data, our country has the poorest regions in the European Union."
 Latest poll puts ND lead at 2.1 points over PASOK
ATHENS, 04/09/2006 (ANA)The latest opinion poll unveiled in an Athens newspaper this week gives ruling New Democracy (ND) a 2.1-percentage point lead over rival main opposition PASOK, 33.4 percent to 31.3 percent.
In terms of the smaller political parties, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) garnered 6.5 percent of respondents' preferences; 3.3 percent for the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) and 3.3 percent for the out-of-Parliament Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party. The percentage of 'undecided' was 17.9 percent.
The poll, conducted by the Metron Analysis firm, was published on Sunday by the weekly "Proto Thema" newspaper. Results were collected between Aug. 29 and Aug. 31 via nationwide telephone interviews on a sample of 1,002 respondents.
A majority of respondents also foresees an electoral victory by ND in the next elections, 59.8 percent, as opposed to 16.4 percent for PASOK.
As far as individual party leaders' popularity, 58.5 percent of respondents have a positive opinion of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, as opposed to 39.1 percent who have a negative opinion. PASOK leader George Papandreou is given a favorable rating by 49 percent of respondents, and a negative rating by 46.9 percent of respondents.
In terms of a handful of other domestic and international issues, 60.3 percent of respondents backed the dispatch of an international peacekeeping force to Lebanon. Moreover, 69.4 percent said the government's stance vis-à-vis the war in Lebanon was positive.
A hefty majority of respondents also backed proposals by unions for an increase of unemployment benefits (80.9 percent) and the allocation of a heating oil subsidy (89.2 percent).
Reforms in the education sector were backed and opposed by an equal percentage of respondents, 44 percent.
 'Flame of Hope and Culture' events begin in Patra
PATRA, 04/09/2006 (ANA)Events for the "Flame of Hope and Culture" and for the transfer of the torch to Rome, where the European Special Olympics games will be held from September 28 to October 8, began in Patra, western Greece, on Saturday.
The events are in the context of "Patra-Cultural Capital of Europe 2006".
In the morning, at Aghios Andreas Church, Patra Metropolitan Chrysostomos handed over the torch to athletes of the Special Olympics and wished them good luck.
Present at the ceremony was also the president of the Special Olympics, Gianna Despotopoulou, who said "from here starts the light of love and hope."
The torch was later transferred to Patra's Roman Odeon where the torch was due to be lit at 9 p.m. on Saturday.
 Papoulias opens reunion of Peloponnese natives
KALAMATA, 04/09/2006 (ANA)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday declared open the start of the annual "reunion of people from the Peloponnese", which took place in the village of Ramovouni, southern Messinia prefecture, believed to be the birthplace of 1821 revolutionary war hero Theodoros Kolokotronis.
In his address, the president expressed his pleasure in visiting Ramovouni, "a historic site of the Peloponnese, a site which plays an important role in the course and history of the Greek nation."
 Kissamos archaeological museum inaugurated AG.
NIKOLAOS, 04/09/2006 (ANA)A new archaeological museum in Kissamos, in western Crete, was finally inaugurated on Sunday, giving the area's numerous artifacts and cultural heritage a permanent shelter.
Present at the ceremony were former prime minister and New Democracy (ND) honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis and local officials.
The Kissamos museum is housed in a medieval monument dating to the Venetian and Ottoman periods, and located near the Venetian fortress of Castel Chissamos.
 Public Order Minister Polydoras inaugurates two police departments in Thessaloniki
THESSALONIKI, 04/09/2006 (ANA)Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras inaugurated two police departments in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Saturday morning, that of Security in the region of Ampelokipi, and that of the Narcotics Squad in western Thessaloniki.
The inauguration took place in the presence of Greek Police chief Lieutenant-General Anastasios Dimoschakis.
 'Revolutionary Brigade' group claims responsibility for explosion in Piraeus
ATHENS, 04/09/2006 (ANA)The "Revolutionary Brigade" group claimed responsibility for an explosion which occurred at Miaouli coast in Piraeus at noon on Saturday. The culprits used a mechanical device comprised of gas canisters.
A caller rang two television stations, stating that the bombing was in protest, as he said, over the death of a seaman on the ship Romilda.
 Antiquity smuggler arrested in Lamia
LAMIA, 04/09/2006 (ANA)Police from the security department of Lamia, central Greece, on Friday arrested a 26-year-old man, resident of Athens, when he attempted to sell to a police officer, who posed as a buyer, an icon of Jesus Christ for the sum of 50,000 euros, it was announced on Saturday.
The man was arrested at the moment when he received from the officer the marked bank notes.
The priceless 17th Century icon was stolen from a church in Mykonos.
The antiquity smuggler was led before the Lamia public prosecutor.
 Cyprus says Turkey's EU course cannot proceed without implementing commitments
LARNACA, 04/09/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas has said Turkey ''cannot proceed without implementing in practice the commitments which it voluntarily undertook towards the European Union," adding that ''we cannot behave as if nothing has happened.''
Lillikas said the position of the Republic of Cyprus on this issue ''is and remains steadfast,'' noting that ''we are showing in practice that we will not concede,'' but ''where we can,'' that is regarding the opening of chapters, ''the policy we are following is such that does not allow the smooth accession course of Turkey.''
The minister, who was speaking on Saturday evening at Larnaca Airport on his return from Brussels, was asked about the warnings of the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs towards Turkey regarding the fulfillment of its commitments towards Cyprus and the EU and the implementation of the protocol extending its customs union to the ten new EU members.
Lillikas said if Turkey continued to maintain the same stance, then ''there will be relative reactions and a relative stance on behalf of the Cypriot government.''
Replying to questions, Lillikas said ''we do not accept that the acquis communautaire and the commitments of the candidate countries have to do with independent matters, or that their implementation and response to the acquis communautaire permits anyone to negotiate the acquis or demand anything in exchange.''
In this direction, he said, ''we do not accept the linking of irrelevant things, meaning that the developments in the Cyprus problem cannot be linked to Turkey's obligations.''
Replying to questions, Lillikas said he met with other EU counterparts during the informal meeting of the EU General Affairs Council, adding that the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs would probably be visiting Cyprus next week.
Asked if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had made representations regarding the presence of the commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) at an event of the Turkish occupation army in Kyrenia a few days ago, Lillikas said ''it is certain that they will have been made.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The Republic of Cyprus joined the EU in May 2004.
Turkey is now a candidate country.