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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-01-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 28 January 2008 Issue No: 2805


  • [01] Papandreou lashes out at gov't, internal party dissent
  • [02] FM to attend EU General Affairs Council meeting
  • [03] Kassimis visits Durban
  • [04] ND secretary on political situation
  • [05] DM Meimarakis proclaimed honorary citizen of Crete town
  • [06] Avramopoulos visits Lamia Hospital
  • [07] Leftist cadre: 'Alternative left gov't not utopia'
  • [08] Cosmote subsidiary awarded 3G licence in FYROM
  • [09] Tourism minister meets in Paris with heads of GNTO's 23 overseas bureaus
  • [10] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday
  • [11] New Acropolis Museum in Paris
  • [12] Gale force winds in NW Aegean
  • [13] Annual Holocaust memorial service in Thessaloniki
  • [14] AEK ahead; Olympiakos, Panathinaikos pick up significant victories
  • [15] Sleet, gale force winds on Monday
  • [16] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [17] Cypriot FM: No harmonization between the EU and the T/c community
  • [18] Cypriot MP to participate in Euromed Parliamentary Assembly meeting

  • [01] Papandreou lashes out at gov't, internal party dissent

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday addressed a party meeting in the western working-class Athens district of Ilion, where he both repeated standing criticism against the government while at the same time declaring opposition to any creation of "groupings" within his own party.

    The statements come a little over two months after Papandreou was again re-elected as PASOK leader, vending off a challenge from top deputy and former minister Evangelos Venizelos, primarily.

    Among others, Papandreou stressed that supporters want PASOK powerful, self-sufficient and autonomous "during a time when the country is sliding and when citizens feel disappointed..."

    He also again sharply criticised what he called a "handful of judges" who are attempting to manipulate the independent judiciary with the government. Additionally, he accused the ND government of attempting to buy-off various mass media outlets.

    Along those lines, he made several references to the ongoing Zachopoulos affair and the latest press reports dealing with a ND deputy, Costas Koukodimos.

    After referring to certain policies of past PASOK government he painted in a negative light, Papandreou said there is "no room" for rekindling the leadership squabbles evident before the Nov. 11 internal party election.

    "Our new course does not allow margins for the development of personal strategies; does not allow internal opposition or 'unofficial strikes' by top cadres against (facing off with ruling) New Democracy; we do not accept strategies of defeat," he said at an event organised by the party's prefectural organisations.

    Finally, he said there are "certain parties" that want a "rematch" of the Nov. 11 party election.

    Gov't response

    "Mr. Papandreou, with his speech today, has again attacked the independent judiciary. The internal party considerations that have ensnared him in this strategy are, of course, obvious to all Greek citizens," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos later responded in a press release.

    "The only thing he (Papandreou) is accomplishing with this systematic disrespect towards the institutions is to clearly demonstrate the big difference, in terms of quality, that divides this government from previous PASOK governments," Roussopoulos added.

    [02] FM to attend EU General Affairs Council meeting


    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, will be in the Belgian capital on Monday to represent Greece at the EU General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council meeting.

    European foreign ministers are expected to focus on the peace process in the Middle East, the political situation in Lebanon and developments in Pakistan and Africa, particularly Kenya, Sudan and Chad.

    During a working lunch, discussions will touch on the western Balkans and Iran, while on the sidelines of the Council's sessions there will be a meeting of the European troika with Serbia.

    [03] Kassimis visits Durban

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis continues his 8-day official visit to South Africa and paid a brief visit on Friday to the city of Durban to meet the Greek community's members and participated in an event organised for the Greek delegation attended by local authorities and diplomacy members.

    In Johannesburg Kassimis and the Greek Delegation visited two homes for the poor and elderly run by the Greek communities.

    Later, Kassimis had a meeting with the vice president of the South Africa Phumzile Gloria Mlambo-Ngcuka

    [04] ND secretary on political situation

    "It's too early for (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis to retire," was the way New Democracy (ND) party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis responded to a press question, part of an interview published in the Sunday edition of the "Eleftheros Typos" newspaper.

    At the same time, Zagoritis underlined that "those who are exploiting the (current) morbid political climate are wrong to think that they can harm the prime minister."

    On the issue of former culture ministry secretary general Christos Zachopoulos, Zagoritis noted that "the government was not blackmailed but there was an attempt to blackmail a state functionary. The government can neither be blackmailed, neither does it deal with anyone under the table and it does not compromise (in such matters)."

    [05] DM Meimarakis proclaimed honorary citizen of Crete town

    Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis was proclaimed an honorary citizen of the Aghios Myronas municipality on Crete on Sunday, during a visit there.

    Afterwards, Meimarakis visited an ancestral home in the Pyrgos Malevyzios village, where he received a warm welcome by local residents, the local council and the cultural association.

    [06] Avramopoulos visits Lamia Hospital

    Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos conducted an unscheduled inspection on early Saturday morning at the Hospital of Lamia, central Greece .

    Avramopoulos visited the outpatient facilities and later described the hospital as one of most important medical foundations of the country outlined that he will continue on making non-expected visits to other public hospitals throughout Greece.

    [07] Leftist cadre: 'Alternative left gov't not utopia'

    A leading candidate to assume the leadership of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party, one-time Athens mayoral candidate Alexis Tsipras, was quoted in a published newspaper interview on Sunday as stressing that an "an alternative government of the Left is not utopia."

    "We cannot whistle indifferently ... fearful of facing responsibilities," he said.

    Asked whether in a leftist government there is room for a left-wing (main opposition) PASOK, Tsipras said "in the present phase, room for a left-wing PASOK does not exist, and from what it seems, there isn't within PASOK either."

    His statements appeared in the Sunday edition of the "Ethnos" newspaper.

    Financial News

    [08] Cosmote subsidiary awarded 3G licence in FYROM


    Cosmofon, Athens-based Cosmote's subsidiary in the Foreign Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, announced on Friday that it was received a third-generation 3G licence for the neighbouring country.

    According to a Cosmote press release, the regulatory in FYROM awarded the mobile phone provider a licence (2X15MHz plus 1X5 MHz spectrum) that allows it to develop a UMTS network, allowing speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps.

    The price tag for the licence was put at 10 million euros.

    [09] Tourism minister meets in Paris with heads of GNTO's 23 overseas bureaus

    PARIS (ANA-MPA / C. Halkiadakis)

    Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos met here on Saturday evening with the general directors of all central 23 bureaus operated overseas by the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), Athens' tourism promotions vehicles around the world.

    Organisational issues and better planning dominated talks at the meeting, as well as upgrades to the bureaus themselves and increased staffing.

    New GNTO bureaus are planned for China, Russia, South Africa and India.

    [10] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.482

    Pound sterling 0.748

    Danish kroner 7.511

    Swedish kroner 9.536

    Japanese yen 159.62

    Swiss franc 1.626

    Norwegian kroner 8.088

    Canadian dollar 1.493

    Australian dollar 1.678

    General News

    [11] New Acropolis Museum in Paris

    The new Acropolis Museum was showcased at a central Paris bookstore on Friday afternoon within the framework of a series of events entitled "Greece: Eternal and Marvellous".

    The initiative comes from the Greek embassy in Paris' press office.

    One of the highlights of the event was portion dealing with the Parthenon Marbles.

    Events conclude on Saturday evening with a presentation by Greek Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on the issue of "Modern Greece: A Place for Tourism and Gastronomy"

    [12] Gale force winds in NW Aegean

    Northwesterly winds reaching up to 9 Beaufort forecast for the Thermaikos Gulf off Thessaloniki and in the northwestern Aegean on Monday, according to weather bulletin issued on Sunday by the Thessaloniki Port Authority.

    [13] Annual Holocaust memorial service in Thessaloniki

    A memorial service was held at Thessaloniki's Holocaust Monument on Sunday in memory of the approximately 50,000 Greek Jews of the city that were exterminated in Nazi death camps during WWII.

    The event was organised by the Thessaloniki prefecture authority and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki.

    Representing the government, Deputy Sports Minister Yiannis Ioannidis, a Thessaloniki-area MP and well-known professional basketball coach in the country, reminded that "peoples without historical memory have no future".

    On his part, Israel's ambassador to Greece, Ali Yahia, referred to an "international coalition of extremists that disputes the Holocaust and which cultivates anti-Semitism and racism."

    Yahia added that certain countries are included in this coalition, citing Iran and the country's president, in fact.

    Local Parliament deputies, local government and prefecture officials, foreign diplomats (US, Russia, Germany, Romania and France) as well as the presidents of the Central Jewish Council of Greece (KIS) and Thessaloniki's Jewish Community attended the event.


    [14] AEK ahead; Olympiakos, Panathinaikos pick up significant victories

    AEK Athens remained atop the Greek Super League football standings over the weekend with an easy 3-0 win at home on Sunday over lowly Levadiakos. AEK stayed one and two points ahead of rivals Olympiakos Piraeus and Panathinaikos Athens, respectively. The latter club picked up a significant away win on Sunday against PAOK Thessaloniki. Olympiakos, meanwhile, edged a determined Aris Thessaloniki side on Sunday at home with controversial 78th minute penalty kick.

    In other results of matches played over the weekend:

    Panionios Athens - Apollon Kalamaria 2-1

    Larissa - Atromitos Athens 2-0

    Ergotelis - OFI Crete 1-1

    Xanthi - Veria 2-0

    Iraklis Thessaloniki - Asteras Tripoli 0-0

    Standings after 18 weeks of play:

    AEK 42 points

    Olympiakos 41

    Panathinaikos 40

    Asteras 31

    Aris 29

    Xanthi 25

    Panionios 25

    PAOK 23

    Atromitos 21

    Iraklis 19

    Larissa 19

    Levadiakos 18

    Veria 17

    OFI 16

    Apollon 15

    Ergotelis 13

    Weather Forecast

    [15] Sleet, gale force winds on Monday

    Sleet with gale force northerly, northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 9-10 beaufort. Snow in the mountainous regions. Temperatures will range between -4C and 15C. Cloudy with sleet in Athens, with northerly 7-9 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 4C to 8C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -2C to 6C.

    [16] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The ongoing Zachopoulos affair and its repercussions on the political system as well as a couple of reports on a probe regarding the German multinational Siemens were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Final plan for pensions (reform)"

    APOGEVMATINI: "All of the major issues on the (government's) table"

    AVGHI: "A new majority. Two-party system collapsing"

    AVRIANI: The newspaper banners a front-page story claiming that a former PASOK minister is involved in a kick-back scheme vis-a-vis the German multinational Siemens, something that will allegedly be cited in an investigation by a German prosecutor

    CHORA: "392 areas to be included in new zoning"

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Prosecutor to file criminal charges against the 'courier' of the (Zachopoulos) DVD and three attorneys involved in the alleged blackmailing case"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Politicians, journalists and DVD in the land of ... miracles"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Government and television news stars the protagonists in a show involving collusion, blackmail and revelations"

    EPOCHI: "Post-1974 political system at its boundaries"

    ETHNOS: "Divorces in (main opposition) PASOK and 'arranged marriages' in (ruling) New Democracy"

    KATHIMERINI: "Kick-backs by Siemens: 100 million euros to parties and telephone utility (OTE) executives"

    LOGOS: "Early political storms"

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "MEGA-liars. Who is hiding the unedited DVD of Tsekou", a play using the name of a local television station.

    RIZOSPASTIS: "People's will and strength the course towards power"

    TO VIMA: "Underworld and decline downgrade public life"

    VRADYNI: "How to protect yourself against excessive borrowing and high prices"

    Cyprus Affairs

    [17] Cypriot FM: No harmonization between the EU and the T/c community


    Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis made clear on Sunday that under no circumstances there can be harmonization between the Turkish Cypriot community and the EU acquis communautaire, recalling that the acquis can be applied throughout the Republic after the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Marcoullis was speaking to the press before her departure for Brussels where she will attend the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council and she will meet the EU Enlargement Commissioner

    Olli Rehn. From Brussels Marcoullis will travel for Helsinki for contacts with her Finnish counterpart and other officials, while on Friday she will go to Estonia to meet, among others, the Estonian President and Members of the Parliament.

    Asked whether during her meeting with Rehn she will raise the issue of the ports in the Turkish occupied since 1974 areas of Cyprus, after Rehn's written reply to Cypriot MEP Marios Matsakis that according to the general principles of international law, entry and exit of ships from the closed ports of Cyprus is not prohibited and therefore it is not in a position to intervene accordingly to the Syrian authorities regarding the illegal use of the closed port of Famagusta by a cruise ship, on an illegal sea route to Latakia, Syria.

    ''We firmly disagree with the unwarranted interpretation of the European Commission, which however complies with the position it assumed on the direct trade regulation with the Turkish Cypriots,'' Marcoullis said, recalling that the EU direct trade regulation was approved by the Commission in 2004 but has not been endorsed by the EU Council ''because it has been established that it is unacceptable not only for its legal basis but because of several other issues included in this regulation.''

    ''For us,'' Macroullis added, ''the fact that the European Council's legal department ruling on the direct trade is sufficient, that is according to the international law and the acquis communautaire the Republic of Cyprus has the sovereign right to declare its ports and airports closed and every member-state of the international community and especially members of the EU have the obligation to abide by the international and EU rules and the international law.''

    Asked about the contacts between Commission officials and the Turkish Cypriots for the harmonisation of the T/c community, Marcoullis said that she will discuss this issue with Rehn, adding that the Ministry has made representations for the issue.

    ''Our position in clear. For us there is no harmonization of the T/c with the acquis,'' she said, adding that the EU financial aid regulation, approved by the Commission with the agreement of Nicosia, includes projects aiming to bring the Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU.

    ''Under no circumstances there can be harmonization of the Turkish Cypriots with the EU acquis. The EU acquis can be applied throughout Cyprus after the settlement of the Cyprus problem and that is the position which I will reiterate to Rehn in Brussels,'' she said.

    Asked about illegal immigrants entering the areas controlled by the Republic from the occupied areas, Marcoullis said that she raised this issue to Foreign Ministers during the 5th Informal Meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers of Mediterranean countries, that was held in Paphos, adding that this is one of the issues she will discuss with the EU enlargement Commissioner.

    Cyprus, an EU member-state since May 1 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [18] Cypriot MP to participate in Euromed Parliamentary Assembly meeting


    Cypriot MP Nicos Hadjinicolas was due to depart for Brussels on Sunday to participate in a meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly's Political Affairs,

    Security and Human rights Committee to be held in the European Parliament building.

    The meeting will discuss among others, the situation in the Middle East, the priorities of the Slovenian presidency of the EU, and will assess the actions plans and the monitoring of the code of conduct on countering terrorism in the Mediterranean states.

    Hadjinicolas will also participate in the Committee's working group on human rights, which will discuss the respect of human rights with regard to migration policy.

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