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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-04-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Monday, 21 April 2008 Issue No: 2874

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM briefed by foreign, defence ministers
  • [02] FM: Name solution opens way for funding, visa abolition
  • [03] President, party representatives attend Messolonghi Exodus anniversary event
  • [04] Papandreou attacks government in address to PASP
  • [05] Papandreou undergoes minor surgery for broken finger after cycling accident
  • [06] Papariga addresses meeting in Ioannina
  • [07] Health minister inspects construction site of Urban Health Center in Evosmos
  • [08] Macedonia-Thrace minister visits Vergina site
  • [09] Parliamentary delegation returns from Kabul
  • [10] Tourism minister visits Corfu, optimistic on rise in visitors
  • [11] Livestock farmers blockade Evzones customs post in protest
  • [12] Armenian Genocide remembered
  • [13] Noted resistance figure Glezos on WWII reparations
  • [14] Illegal immigrants arrested at Evros border
  • [15] Two attacks on buildings reported overnight
  • [16] Wildfires in Hania prefecture
  • [17] Australian PM Rand on return of Parthenon Marbles
  • [18] Olympiakos tops standings; int'l tribunal must now confirm championship

  • [01] PM briefed by foreign, defence ministers

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday had a meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis to discuss foreign policy and defence-related issues.

    Meimarakis was the first to leave the meeting, which continued with the prime minister and foreign minister alone.

    In statements as he was leaving, Meimarakis said they reviewed several foreign policy affairs, stressing that Greece had adopted the correct position on all the issues discussed.

    Questioned about the possible use of the name "New Macedonia" by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the defence minister stressed that the meeting had not touched on specific names.

    "We have outlined the characteristics [of the name] and we are waiting for the negotiator's proposals," he merely added.

    He also confirmed that the talks had covered Athens' presence in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

    When Bakoyannis emerged from the meeting with the premier, she said their discussion had covered all foreign policy issues and underlined that, in the issue of FYROM's name, "the negotiation is continuing and will continue at a more intense pace once the pre-election period in Skopje is over. From there on, we hope that we will have the chance to continue," she said.

    Regarding the name "New Macedonia" she also echoed Meimarakis, saying that the government "is very far from discussing names".

    "There are a lot of names that are being heard and discussed, but that is not where we are," she said.

    [02] FM: Name solution opens way for funding, visa abolition

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, in an interview with an Athens daily on Sunday, emphasised that Athens was considering a comprehensive funding package and other measures for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) when a mutually acceptable solution to the nagging "name issue" is finally achieved.

    Bakoyannis said that if such a solution was reached, Greece would immediately allocate 75 million euros in towards construction of Road Corridor X, which would link the landlocked country with Greece, to the south, and the rest of the European Union, as well as funding of business ventures, whereas the visa requirement for FYROM citizens would also be gradually abolished.

    The foreign minister said completion of the trans-national highway would open the country up and end a partial isolation, better linking it with Greece to the south and with the EU, via Serbia, to the north.

    This developmental package also entailed funding and co-financing of small businesses in FYROM, which she said would also create new jobs.

    Furthermore, Bakoyannis said, Greece believed in the free movement of people and services, and therefore, favoured a gradual abolition of visa requirements.

    [03] President, party representatives attend Messolonghi Exodus anniversary event

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday attended celebrations in Messolonghi marking the 182nd anniversary of the "Exodus of the Free Besieged".

    At a reception hosted in his honor by Messolonghi Mayor Yannis Anagnostopoulos, the President stressed that "Messolonghi is, for Hellenism, a timeless symbol of the struggles for National Independence, Justice and Freedom", adding that the "Exodus of the Free Besieged, which rocked the world, is a feat beyond the human measure", describing at is a "transcendence that inspired personalities of the arts and which, regardless of how many times it is recounted, never ceases to impress with its uniqueness and strength".

    "In thinking of the collective sacrifice of the people of Messolonghi, we remember the collective duty of abandoning individuality in the name of the greater and loftier ideal," Papoulias said.

    The President also referred to his recent visit to the town of Mariupol -- during his visit to the Ukraine -- which he called a "genuine Greek corner", adding that "in the eyes, but also the soul, of the Greeks I met there, I saw with awe a true expression of Greek pride, which is encapsulated in pure love for the Homeland, and in a patriotism that is not comprised of barren remembrance of the glorious past but is a life stance".

    Patriotism, he continued, "has nothing to do with ethnic phobias, intolerance and rants it is, mainly, a stance of responsibility and proof of respect to what we have inherited and to what we will turn over to the next generation", adding that "it is a manner of thought, intertwined with the historical viewpoint of the events, an with national self-knowledge".

    "It is not true that today there are no ideals and aspirations that can inspire the young generation," the President said, returning to the meaning of the anniversary, adding that the "example of life is the hardest, and perhaps therefore the loftiest".

    Earlier, the President and the local authorities attended a memorial service at the Metropolitan Church of Aghios (St.) Spyridon.

    Representing the government, development minister Christos Folias referred to the timeless messages of the sacrifice of the Free Besieged, stressing that the Exodus of Messolonghi highlights the value of the whole, of collective action, contrary to the who-cares, ease and egotism that have unfortunately been deified today. That was why the message of the Messolonghi anniversary was one of unity, unanimity, of the "we" that general Makrygiannis constantly repeated.

    [04] Papandreou attacks government in address to PASP

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou once again attacked the government on several fronts during his address on Saturday to the PASOK-affiliated student group PASP.

    In particular, he focused on the resignation of Special Audits Service chief Spyros Kladas, saying it was the result of a clash of interests with the ruling New Democracy party.

    "It is intolerable that the productive forces of the country should be trapped in an outlook of cronyism and corruption, something that we have been seeing constantly in the past months, even in the internal clashes within ND such as the most recent between Kladas and Alogoskoufis. Internal clashes between powerful interests and their representatives that are in ND," he said.

    PASOK's president additional criticised the government for allowing the acquisition of a large share of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) by Deutsche Telekom, suggesting that the plan to sell off the state-run utility went back several years and pointing out that none of the other 15 original EU members had allowed their national phone utility to be taken over and that all retained some form of state control.

    Papandreou described PASOK as a "force for responsibility" and stressed his stance to the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), saying that he had given three clear messages to UN mediator Matthew Nimetz during their meeting:

    "First of all, that we support the process of negotiations but always and only in the framework of the United Nations, secondly that we have set down a 'red line' that has been adopted by the majority of the Greek people and that, thirdly, that he [Nimetz] must show an objective attitude toward Greek positions and sensitivities."

    He also sent a message to young people in FYROM, saying that the final outcome should not yield winners and losers but two winners and that the "best allies in this story are not some major powers, or even Brussels, but the people themselves and especially the younger generation of Greece and FYROM".

    [05] Papandreou undergoes minor surgery for broken finger after cycling accident

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou was rushed to the KAT hospital in northern Athens on Sunday after breaking a finger and fracturing a vertebra in an accident while riding his bicycle, as he underwent minor surgery for a fracture to the carpal in the third finger of his right hand. He is expected to remain in the hospital for 3-4 days

    According to a medical bulletin, Papandreou also suffered a fracture in the eighth thoracic vertebra, without neurological symptoms, for which no surgical intervention was required.

    Given Papandreou's hospitalisation, his tour of Ileia prefecture and a meeting of the PASOK Political Council scheduled there for Tuesday are expected to be postponed.

    The accident occurred in the early afternoon in the Stamata district of northern Attica prefecture, as Papandreou was taking his usual bicycle ride.

    [06] Papariga addresses meeting in Ioannina

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga addressed a rally in the central square of Ioannina, say her party was seeking an "alliance with the people" rather than any of the other political parties.

    "We want to present a political proposal of alliance and power that is directed by the KKE to the people, and especially the great majority, the workers. This political proposal is not directed to the industrialists and shipowners, it is not addressed to those of the middle classes whose interests are exclusively connected with the upper class, that cooperate with it and get a share of its huge capital and its profits," she said.

    Papariga made the statements on Friday night, while she also commented on the arrival in Athens of the United Nations mediator for the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Matthew Nimetz. According to Papariga, the proposals being submitted by Nimetz in his "comings and goings" were basically in line with the desires of the United States on this issue.

    She also referred to problems faced by the masses, such as unemployment and high prices, saying that these were constantly becoming worse while the two main parties took turns to blame one another for these problems.

    KKE's leader also attacked the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) in her speech, claiming that it was the ruling class's "insurance" against a failure of the two-party system and the need for coalition governments.

    [07] Health minister inspects construction site of Urban Health Center in Evosmos

    The Urban Health Centre in Evosmos, Thessaloniki, will be completed and fully staffed, ready to provide high-quality health services, by the end of September, health and social solidarity minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Sunday, after an inspection of progress of construction at the Centre.

    Avramopoulos said that the network of Urban Health Centres being developed would provide substantial health services, thus easing the burden on the network of hospitals and the problems entailed.

    [08] Macedonia-Thrace minister visits Vergina site

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas on Saturday visited the archaeological site of Vergina in northern Greece, during a visit to the region. After he was shown around the tomb of King Philip II and the museum, he stressed that the site was one that "broadcasts the history and culture of Greece".

    "The scientific and historic evidence that Macedonia is Greek is not open to any doubt. And it would be better if all those that insist on views and positions ignorant of history to visit this unique monument of the ancient Macedonian state," Tzimas said in statements to the ANA-MPA.

    [09] Parliamentary delegation returns from Kabul

    A cross-party Parliamentary delegation returned from Kabul on Saturday after visiting the Greek peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. The 11 MPs from Parliament's Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee were led by the committee president Miltiades Varvitsiotis and represented three of the parties in Parliament, ruling New Democracy, main opposition PASOK and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS).

    No MPs were sent by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).

    A Parliament press release said the delegation paid a brief visit to the Greek troops stationed in Afghanistan and congratulated the officers and soldiers on the faultless operation of their unit, their contribution to improving the country's international image under very difficult conditions and wished them a happy Easter.

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas also issued a written message thanking Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis and the head of the Army General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dimitris Voulgaris for their support of the Greek MPs and for helping them gain a clear picture of the mission and work done by the Greek forces stationed in Kabul.

    Financial News

    [10] Tourism minister visits Corfu, optimistic on rise in visitors

    Tourism development minister Aris Spiliotopoulos was optimistic on the development of the tourism season for the island of Corfu, where he announced a package of actions aimed at strengthening the tourism flow to the popular Ionian island, during a visit on Sunday on the first leg of a tour of Greek tourism destinations.

    Spiliotopoulos noted that there was a problem due to a decline in tourism from the British market, but stressed that there were emerging markets that were giving impressive rates of increase, citing, based on lst year's figures, a 50 percent increase in tourists from Russia, overwhelming increases of 185 percent from Switzerland and 128 percent from Romania, 100 percent from Ireland, and 80 percent from Finland.

    With respect to investments, he announced that 13 million euros have been earmarked for Corfu, of which six million euros would go for the creation of a multi-purpose centre in Paleokastritsa, while the remainder of the sum will be used for the restoration of the tourism installations at Achillio (museum) and Gortitsa.

    Further, under the Operational Program "Competitiveness", 12 more actions, budgeted at 35 million euros, were currently underway, including qualitative upgrading of accommodations (12.7 million euros budget), business plans for small and medium size tourism enterprises (820,000 euros), and a program for projecting Greek cuisine and other actions (330,000 euros).

    Also in progress was a supplementary training program for employees in the tourism industry, the sector's seasonally unemployed, and tourism-related entrepreneurs, aimed at upgrading their knowledge.

    Spiliotopoulos also said that the sector of marine tourism presented large margins and prospects for growth in Corfu.

    He further announced several port and marina projects that were in various stages of completion.

    Spiliotopoulos was due to visit Santorini mid-week on the second leg of his tour.

    [11] Livestock farmers blockade Evzones customs post in protest

    Livestock farmers on Saturday organised a symbolic blockade outside the Evzones customs post on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece, in a protest over low prices offered for their livestock and to prevent imports of lambs and goats from neighbouring countries.

    Other types of traffic, meanwhile, were being allowed to go through as usual.

    According to farmers, similar protest action was being organised in neighbouring prefectures to prevent meat being imported via the Niki and Promahonas border posts, even at night.

    Livestock breeders are seeking a better price for the lambs they will sell over Easter from meat traders, who have rejected their proposals.

    They announced plans for further protest action leading up to Easter, such as rallies, pickets and demonstrations outside large department stores and the central meat markets in Athens and Thessaloniki.

    General News

    [12] Armenian Genocide remembered

    Events marking the 93rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide were held in Thessaloniki on Sunday, organised by the Armenian National Committee and the Thessaloniki Prefecture.

    The keynote speaker at the event, held at the Vellidis Conference Centre, was former parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis, while greetings were also addressed by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas, representatives of the Armenian ambassador in Greece and of Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis, by Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, and representatives of the Armenian Youth of Greece.

    The speakers noted the efforts being made for recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government, and on ways of averting other genocides from taking place in the future.

    [13] Noted resistance figure Glezos on WWII reparations

    Well-known wartime resistance figure Manolis Glezos, the president of the National Council for German Occupation Reparations, on Sunday briefed the residents and municipal authorities of the town of Ypati, in central Fthiotida prefecture, on the issue of German war reparations, given the town's destruction during the occupation as a reprisal for partisans' activity in the area.

    Glezos outlined the Council's activities, placing emphasis on the return of antiquities that have been recorded and are abroad, as well as return of an occupation-era "loan" towards the occupying forces and payment of compensation to WWII victims and hostages.

    [14] Illegal immigrants arrested at Evros border

    Five illegal immigrants and three Greek migrant smugglers that were transporting them in their cars were brought before a public prosecutor in Alexandroupolis on Saturday, after their arrest by border guards in the Evros prefecture in northeastern Greece.

    One group of four illegal immigrants, each of which had paid 500 euros, and a 37-year-old trafficker had been intercepted in the village of Provatona on Friday morning. They were headed for Sweden via Athens and intended to pay 3,500 US dollars on arriving at their destination.

    A 56-year-old Greek and a 46-year-old foreign woman were caught at around the same time on the Alexandroupolis-Komotini road with a 27-year-old illegal immigrant in their car.

    The last illegal immigrant was a 25-year-old that hijacked a taxi by forcibly throwing out the owner's wife in the centre of Alexandroupolis and then crashed into two parked cars while driving at speed. The woman was taken to Alexandroupolis hospital with slight injuries and the taxi returned to its owner.

    [15] Two attacks on buildings reported overnight

    Two attacks by unidentified young people targeting public buildings were reported in the Athens after midnight on Saturday, one targeted the headquarters of main opposition PASOK on Harilaou Trikoupi Street and the other the administrative first-instance courts at Louizis Riankour Street in Ambelokipi.

    The first attack occurred about three quarters of an hour after midnight, when a group of young people lobbed petrol bombs at a car park used by the police guard on PASOK's offices and ran away. No damage or injuries were inflicted in the attack.

    The second attack occurred 15 minutes later, when another group of young men threw rocks and paint at the courts, breaking windows and damaging the front of the building before they again ran away before they were arrested.

    [16] Wildfires in Hania prefecture

    Wildfires broke out in four districts in the prefecture of Hania of Crete on Sunday.

    According to initial accounts, all four wildfires were caused by the burning of branches by local residents, despite warnings of gusty winds in the area and temperatures reaching 34C.

    The worst wildfire erupted in the area of Meskla, where the blaze began in an inaccessible region on high ground, swept downwards by swirling winds that came as close as 300 metres to a residential area.

    Firefighters were battling the wildfire until late at night, while a precise assessment of damage caused is expected to be made on Monday.

    [17] Australian PM Rand on return of Parthenon Marbles

    MELBOURNE (ANA-MPA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    A reference made by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rand, during his recent visit to London, over the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece drew reactions as well as approval.

    Rand drew a parallel between the importance of Australia again retaining the cricket trophy urn to a significance placed by Greeks for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

    After referring to the Parthenon Marbles and the trophy, Rand said during a public lecture in London that this comparison might create a problem for him.

    The president of the International Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles, David Hill, said "the return of the Parthenon Marbles is a basic priority in the sector of world heritage. Personally, I would not have referred to the issue in the way that Mr. Rand did, but it did not annoy me either. The essence is that the prime minister expressed support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, and this is very good."

    Sports

    [18] Olympiakos tops standings; int'l tribunal must now confirm championship

    Olympiakos Piraeus beat Iraklis Thessaloniki 3-1 on Sunday in the last match of the season at the same time as cross-town rival AEK Athens overcame Asteras Tripolis 2-0 at the Athens Olympic Stadium, leaving Greece's Super League championship to be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), given that a ruling awarding a game to Olympiakos, following an appeal by the latter, was itself appealed to the international tribunal.

    If the standings stand as is, Olympiakos will retain the championship with 70 points, followed by AEK with 68.

    Panathinaikos Athens finished third despite beating Apollon Kalamaria 3-1 away.

    In other action:

    Larissa-PAOK Thessaloniki 4-3

    Panionios Athens-Atromitos Athens 2-1

    Ergotelis Crete-Xanthi 2-0

    Levadiakos Livadia-Veria 5-3

    Aris Thessaloniki-OFI Crete 2-0

    Final standings after 30 games:

    1. Olympiakos 70 points*

    2. AEK 68

    3. Panathinaikos 66

    4. Aris 50

    5. Panionios 45

    6. Larissa 45

    7. Asteras Tripoli 44

    8. Xanthi 36

    9. PAOK 35

    10. Iraklis 35

    11. Levadiakos 33

    12. OFI 32

    13. Ergotelis 30

    14. Atromitos 29 (Relegated)

    15. Veria 23 (Relegated)

    16. Apollon Kalamaria 22* (Relegated)

    NOTE: Apollon Kalamaria's 1-0 home win over Olympiakos was annulled and the game was awarded to Olympiakos, while the former also had one point deducted for the specific match.

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