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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-09-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 1 September 2008 Issue No: 2984


  • [01] Karamanlis at EU summit on Caucasus crisis
  • [02] Bakoyannis on EU-Russia ties
  • [03] FM again reiterates position on FYROM 'name issue'
  • [04] Poll: ND ahead by 1.2 points
  • [05] Congress of overseas natives of Florina opens
  • [06] Papoulias inaugurates Callas exhibition in Florina
  • [07] FinMin defends latest tax package
  • [08] Construction of Tempi tunnel begins
  • [09] Intralot reports significantly improved H1 results
  • [10] Turkish soldier's alleged binge drinking lands him on Greek isle
  • [11] Foreign nationals clash in Athens
  • [12] Illegal migrants intercepted in eastern Aegean
  • [13] Super League soccer results
  • [14] Cloudy on Monday
  • [15] The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance
  • [16] Christofias: No Mass at St. Mamas after T/C decision

  • [01] Karamanlis at EU summit on Caucasus crisis

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be in Brussels on Monday to participate in the European Union's specially called summit on the Caucasus crisis and possible repercussions vis-a-vis Moscow's relations with the international community.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will also be participating in the summit.

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that what is of interest to Greece is respect for the territorial integrity and the independence of countries and, in this framework, Athens did not recognise Kosovo, or the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    The Caucasus crisis will be discussed at the national foreign policy council at the foreign ministry on Thursday, under Bakoyannis' chairmanship.

    [02] Bakoyannis on EU-Russia ties

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, quoted in an interview with an Athens daily on Sunday, emphasised that she considers a "no vote" by a ruling New Democracy MP of a government draft bill as unpardonable, stressing that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the government will not be held "hostage".

    "We'll proceed with (early) elections," she warned, in a published interview with the Sunday edition of "Eleftherotypia"

    "Thirdly, we must insist on respect for principles, such as that of territorial integrity," Bakoyannis said, adding that "the logic that in 2008 we shall proceed with border changes is a mistake."

    In answer to a press question and in reference to recent statements by her counterpart in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Antonio Milososki, namely, that Bakoyannis had entered into a dialogue with him on so-called "minority issues", Bakoyannis tersely responded that "Mr. Milososki is fishing in murky waters."

    "He (Milososki) must entertain no illusions. The national consensus in Greece is steadfast."

    Also commenting on the issue of FYROM's name, Bakoyannis reiterated that "we are pursuing a composite name with a geographical qualifier for all uses," stressing that this will not be considered by Skopje "optional and provisional, as in the case of FYROM."

    She concluded by saying that "what is necessary is for them (FYROM leadership) to agree to a name that will be accepted; one that will be used by all; this will solve the problem."

    [03] FM again reiterates position on FYROM 'name issue'

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis over the weekend once again reiterated that Athens was seeking a solution to the FYROM 'name issue' "without winners and losers", but not one without content, speaking in Florina on Saturday only kilometers away from the frontier with the one-time Yugoslav republic.

    She said the name that is found must reflect realities of the region, and "finally put an end to irredentist propaganda and nationalistic chatter that FYROM leaders frequently resort to."

    The name, she stressed, must not deprive a single Greek from Florina, Kastoria, Kilkis or Thessaloniki of his and her inalienable right to consider himself a proud Macedonian, and of honoring his roots and glorious history.

    Bakoyannis further reiterated that the UN-mediated negotiation had a single purpose, to determine the name of the neighboring country, and a single goal, which is achievement of a mutually acceptable solution, and "not the perpetuation of this serious outstanding issue, which has repercussions on the good neighborhood relations and regional cooperation in our region".

    She stressed that it was of exceptional importance "to send the message to our neighbors that, since we live side-by-side, it will be to everyone's benefit to succeed in finding a solution and in our relations being characterized henceforth by friendship, mutual respect, and constantly broadening cooperation".

    Noting that at the NATO summit in Bucharest Greece had convinced its friends and allies of the correctness of its positions and the credibility of its arguments, Bakoyannis added that "today we are continuing, with persistence, realism and self-confidence, to seek a mutually acceptable solution via negotiations".

    "Our goal and aspirations are crystal clear: a composite solution, with a geographical determinant that will be in effect for all. A solution that will enable us to accept our neighbor as an ally in NATO and to continue to support it in its difficult adaptation towards a European future. A solution that will help our neighbors stop trapping themselves in the past and move forward, with Greece's backing, to a more hopeful future of stability, cooperation and constant development," Bakoyannis added.

    She also explained that Greece, while it maintains this constructive stance, and as it awaits the other side to leave behind anachronistic bigotry and obstructive policies, will at the same time actively support the development of the neighboring state.

    [04] Poll: ND ahead by 1.2 points

    One of the first post-summer opinion polls unveiled over the weekend shows ruling New Democracy (ND) with a 1.2 percentage point lead over rival main opposition PASOK, 29.3 percent to 28.1 percent.

    As per the other Parliament-represented party, the Radical Left Coalition is preferred by 11.7 percent of respondents; 7.6 for the Communist Party (KKE) and 5 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS).

    In terms of respondents' predictions for election results, ND is picked by 51 percent to 19 percent for PASOK.

    In the ubiquitous "who's more qualified for prime minister" question, current Premier Costas Karamanlis favored by 44.8 percent of respondents to 29 percent for PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    Most respondents in the specific poll also thoroughly oppose any "grand coalition" government between ND and PASOK, with 59.4 percent expressing complete opposition, and 12 percent opting for a "probably not".

    Finally, 57.6 percent of respondents agrees with the govern-ment's recently announced measure to slap on an objective criteria income tax on certain categories of professionals (plumbers, electricians, physicians, cab drivers etc.).

    The opinion poll, conducted by the firm Kapa Research, was published in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "To Vima".

    [05] Congress of overseas natives of Florina opens

    The strengthening of communication of the local society with overseas natives of Florina is amongst the targets of the 3rd World Congress of Floriniotes, which opened Saturday in the northwest border city and was addressed by parliament president Dimitris Sioufas, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and a handful of other ministers.

    The two-day congress is organised by the Florina prefectural authority, in cooperation with the Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of Florina and the council of Overseas Floriniotes.

    Sioufas noted the significance of the timing of the congress, which coincided with this year's annual Prespes Festival in the region, "which sends a message of humanitarian contribution, peaceful coexistence of the peoples and international cooperation".

    Bakoyannis stressed the contribution of the overseas Florina natives to the development of their native land. "From whatever part of the world you live, from whatever part of America, Europe or Australia, you never cease trying to contribute to the utmost to your homeland, to contribute to its growth and progress in every way, with all your power," she said.

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in turn, noted that the Greeks abroad comprised the strength of Hellenism and an imaginary extension of the nation throughout the world.

    Topics discussed on the opening day included issues of concern to overseas Greeks such as language, keeping traditions, culture, and their ties with the Church and the local government.

    Sunday's topics included Florina as a gateway of the Balkans.

    [06] Papoulias inaugurates Callas exhibition in Florina

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Saturday inaugurated a major tribute exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of the Maria Callas' death. The event is being hosted at the Museum of Modern Arts in the northwest border city of Florina, as part of the annual Prespes Festival of cultural events, dedicated this year to the late Greek opera diva.

    The exhibition, entitled "Maria Callas, 30 years after", was first organised and presented by the Hellenic Parliament Foundation. Following the declaration of 2007 as the Year of Maria Callas.

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, addressing the opening, paid tribute to "the Greek artist who left her mark on the history of opera with her unique voice, impressive performing style, and unparalleled stage presence", while Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis spoke of the "ultimate diva of opera".

    The inauguration was also attended by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and several other ministers, MPs, representatives of local governments and religious authorities, and hundreds of local residents and visitors.

    The tribute exhibition highlights Callas' artistic personality as well as her Greek and international career, through a display of photographs from the coloratura soprano's first appearances in Athens and her performances in opera houses throughout the world, costumes designed by noted Greek painter Yiannis Tsarouchis, Callas' personal objects, and portraits of the opera star painted by Greek artists.

    The Prespes 2008 festival was inaugurated on Friday night, with locally elected political officials calling on neighboring countries for peace and cooperation in their brief addresses.

    Bakoyannis expressed hope that this message would reach "all our neighbors and become truly understood, while Liapis, in opening the festival, stressed that "art operations primarily as a bridge among peoples and cultures, as a channel of communication that contributes to mutual understanding among the peoples and to their peaceful and creative co-existence".

    The opening event closed with a concert by performers from Greek and neighbouring countries, including Dionyssis Savvopoulos, Goran Bregovic and Erkan Ogur, the Russian choir Tretyakov, and the Sofia Symphony Orchestra.

    Financial News

    [07] FinMin defends latest tax package

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis was quoted on Sunday by an Athens daily regarding the government's recently unveiled tax measures for the coming year, saying luxury items and expenses (pools, cars, boats, vacation villas and private school tuitions) will be re-instated in order to combat tax evasion.

    Additionally, he said the recently announced measures have the premier's support, while he doesn't expect any surprises during a Parliament vote on the draft bill.

    Alogoskoufis, quoted by "To Vima", said evaluation of such "statements of means" will allow objective calculation of non-wage earners' income, while taxpayers will have the right to appeal to the independent judiciary.

    Moreover, he reminded that the latest tax hikes do not affect wage earners, pensioners or the country's growth prospects.

    [08] Construction of Tempi tunnel begins

    Public Works Minister George Souflias on Sunday activated the detonation of an explosion to symbolically commence construction of the biggest T2 road tunnel in Greece, at the Tempi valley site in central Greece.

    The tunnel will feature double lanes, each of which will have a length of 6,100 metres. The project will cost 1.3 billion euros and its construction will be completed in 4.5 years.

    [09] Intralot reports significantly improved H1 results

    Intralot on Friday reported a 44.5 percent increase in its consolidated turnover to 547.5 million euros in the first half of 2008 compared with the same period last year, and said pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings rose 5.1 pct to 126.7 million euros. Pre-tax profits rose 8.4 pct to 112.4 million euros, while after tax and minorities earnings rose 4.6 pct to 60.3 million euros.

    Parent turnover was 98.9 million euros in the January-June period, down 3.5 pct from last year, while pre-tax profits were 43.7 million euros and after tax profits were 36.3 million euros in the same period.

    General News

    [10] Turkish soldier's alleged binge drinking lands him on Greek isle

    A 21-year-old Turkish army conscript reportedly wandered around a verdant eastern Aegean island for three days before approaching local coast guard officers, claiming he couldn't remember how he got on the Greek isle from the Turkish port city of Izmir after a night of heavy drinking.

    A local court nevertheless sentenced the man to eight months jail time and a 4,000-euro fine for illegally entering the country, while ordering that the young conscript be deported afterwards.

    [11] Foreign nationals clash in Athens

    Serious incidents broke out between at least 150 foreign nationals from African countries in Geraniou, Menandrou and Sophocleous streets in downtown Athens on Friday afternoon, resulting in 11 foreign nationals and a policeman being injured and taken to hospital.

    According to the police, when they rushed to the scene of the clashes one of the foreign nationals attacked and injured a policeman in the arm with an axe. The policeman fired his weapon and injured the foreign national in the leg, while a Greek national passing by chance was slightly injured by a stray bullet.

    Police rounded up 49 people for questioning, while an investigation is under way to ascertain the cause of the clashes.

    [12] Illegal migrants intercepted in eastern Aegean

    A total of 42 foreign nationals were intercepted by the coast guard in two separate instances over the weekend in the eastern Aegean after they clandestinely landed on Greek territory or were within territorial waters.

    According to reports, 31 would-be migrants -- 27 men, two women and two minors -- were spotted on the rock islet of Barbalia, near Lesvos, in the early morning hours of Sunday. The illegals claimed they were ferried onto the islet from the opposite Turkish coast.

    Meanwhile, a total 11 illegal migrants -- five men, one woman and five minors -- were intercepted aboard an inflatable craft some two nautical miles from Lesvos by a coast guard patrol. Again, the mostly Third World nationals said they had disembarked from Turkey.


    [13] Super League soccer results

    AEK Athens beat cross-town rival Panathinaikos 2-1 at the Athens Olympic stadium, at the opening of the Super League's new soccer season over the weekend. Olympiakos Piraeus also beat Asteras Tripoli 3-1 at Karaiskaki stadium, after trailing 1-0 at half time, and PAOK Thessaloniki achieved an impressive 2-0 win against OFI Crete away.

    In other action:

    Panthrakikos Komotini-Ergotelis Crete 1-2

    Aris Thessaloniki-Levadiakos Livadia 2-0

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-Panseraikos Serres 1-2

    Panionios Athens-Xanthi 0-1

    Larissa-Thrasyvoulos Athens 3-0

    Standings after one week of play:

    1. Larissa 3 points

    2. Olympiakos 3

    3. AEK 3

    4. Aris 3

    5. PAOK 3

    6. Panseraikos 3

    7. Xanthi 3

    8. Ergotelis 3

    9. Panthrakikos 0

    10. Iraklis 0

    11. Panionios 0

    12. OFI 0

    13. Panathinaikos 0

    14. Levadiakos 0

    15. Asteras 0

    16. Thrasyvoulos 0

    Weather Forecast

    [14] Cloudy on Monday

    Cloudy weather with northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 2-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 33C. Local cloud in Athens, with 4-7 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 20C to 33C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 31C.

    [15] The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance

    Political developments in the country, ubiquitous opinions polls to inaugurate the fall political season and recent tax measures dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Northern Greece the steam engine of development for the region."

    APOGEVMATINI: "Mayors as governors. 385 municipalities funded with 4.8 billion euros."

    AVGHI: "Uprising over unfair tax measures".

    AVRIANI: "Government holds up despite harsh, but necessary tax measures announced by FinMin".

    CHORA: "New wage scales and pensions".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Mr. Nimetz (the UN mediator for the FYROM 'name issue'), are you a Slav?".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Secret formula by PM Karamanlis for elections. Major reshuffle amongst the scenarios".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Karamanlis reverts to spectre of early elections".

    EPOHI: "They (gov't) won't pass (at Thessaloniki exhibition)".

    ETHNOS: "Government tabling proposal for abolition of university entrance exams".

    KATHIMERINI: "Bush-Putin duel".

    LOGOS: "Difficult autumn for government due to economy, taxes and pension reform".

    NIKI: "They're (gov't) shaking over possibility of new scandals".

    PROTO THEMA: "Karamanlis being led to impasse with 151+ MPs, throws down the gauntlet".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "We're protesting with the (communist-affiliated) PAME labour grouping".

    TO VIMA: "ND difference over PASOK at 1.2 percentage points".

    VRADYNI: "Pension reform: Everything changing for civil servants, military officers".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [16] Christofias: No Mass at St. Mamas after T/C decision


    No Mass will take place at the Christian Orthodox church of St. Mamas in Turkish-occupied Morphou, following the occupation regime's decision not to give permission to Greek Cypriots to pass through Limnitis crossing point to attend an organized pilgrimage to celebrate the saint's day on Sept. 2, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias said.

    ''Unfortunately the position of the other side on the organised pilgrimage has not changed and rightly the Bishop of Morphou decided not to hold the Mass,'' the president said, adding that the Bishop called him to discuss this issue.

    Christofias noted that the decision of the Turkish Cypriot side not to allow Greek Cypriots to pass through Limnitis ''is not the best omen'' just a few days before the commencement of the UN-led direct talks between him and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, on Sept. 3.

    He expressed regret because the ''unilateral good will moves by the Greek Cypriot side have not yet found response by the Turkish side.''

    Christofias said that during a long telephone conversation he had with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat the latter gave him assurances that the decision for the opening of Limnitis crossing point will soon be taken.

    ''We will keep our commitment to begin talks with good will hoping that we will find an extended hand by the other side. We are aware of the difficulties which emerge from various factors and circles of the other side and I sincerely hope that there will be no actions that will pose obstacles and undermine the (solution) efforts,'' Christofias said.

    The Cyprus government has requested from the Turkish Cypriot occupation regime to allow Greek Cypriot pilgrims to visit St.

    Mamas Cathedral, following the permission granted from the Cyprus government to Turkish Cypriots to visit Kokkina as part of an annual event to commemorate the bombing of Greek Cypriot villages in the area during the intercommuncal clashes in 1964.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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