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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-09-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 22 September 2008 Issue No: 3002


  • [01] PASOK leader addresses party rally in Halkida
  • [02] Greece, African Union to sign Memorandum of Understanding
  • [03] Four new opinion polls
  • [04] PASOK official on measures announced by Papandreou
  • [05] KKE SG Papariga addresses KNE Festival
  • [06] Synaspismos leader Tsipras addresses party's Youth Festival
  • [07] Alavanos gives interview on opposition action
  • [08] U.S. State Department on Halki School of Theology
  • [09] New three-day strike by Transport ministry employees
  • [10] Foreign Exchange rates: Monday
  • [11] Parliament President Sioufas visits Xanthi
  • [12] First Cultural Conference between Serres and Bulgaria's Blagoevgrad
  • [13] Free public transport on Monday
  • [14] Anti-war rally in downtown Athens
  • [15] Antiquities smugglers arrested in Trikala
  • [16] Hashish plantation in Karditsa prefecture
  • [17] Immigrant smuggler arrested in Servia
  • [18] Hooded assailants seize foodstuffs from super market
  • [19] Four drug traffickers arrested in northern Greece
  • [20] Three die as car plunges into sea
  • [21] Youth admits five rapings, seven more attempts
  • [22] Greek-owned ship attacked off Somalian coast
  • [23] Greek Super League soccer results
  • [24] Cloud, local showers on Monday
  • [25] The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance
  • [26] President Christofias in New York meets UNSG Politics

  • [01] PASOK leader addresses party rally in Halkida

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou addessed a rally of supporters in Halkida, Evia, on Sunday, criticising the results of the New Democracy (ND) government's budgets and noting that for his party "the battle of the budget is the battle for defending the families' income, the social state and the country's growth prospects."

    Calling on the government "not to decrease funds for health, welfare, education and public investments in the new budget," Papandreou said his party would wage its own battle for the budget "at the same time highlighting its own proposals-solutions."

    "We are here to declare simply and clearly: The bill of their (government's) failure cannot arrive everyday in front of our doors while some others are stealing the wealth of the country," the main opposition leader charged.

    Referring to recent opinion poll results showing his party in advance of the ruling ND, Papandreou said "we have all seen the first messages of confidence to our consistency, our will and our committments. But we have not come to Halkida as commentators of today's opinion polls. We are all here as guarantors of a different course."

    Referring to ongoing press speculations regarding a possible cabinet reshuffle, Papandreou said that "cabinets are easily being reshuffled but the mentalities of a government remain the same, while the citizen is asking today for a change of policies and not of ministers."

    Outlining PASOK's plan, he said it had four immediate priorities: supporting the families' income, restoring the social state, "green development" and a fair and effective public administration. He pledged for a decrease of taxation regarding low and middle incomes and supporting weaker social groups through subsidies and fighting against price hikes.

    On the question of financing his party's programme, Papandreou said that "in politics options always exist." Accusing the ND government of "granting billions of euros to the rich", the PASOK leader said his party would "tax effectively wealth where it exists even if we displease some people."

    He also pledged economising on military expenditures, rationalising public expenditure and "restoring the effectiveness of mechanisms against tax evasion."

    One of PASOK's "basic priorities" was a fair and effective state, Papandreou also said. "This is our vision...Nothing is easy, but nothing is fatal," he concluded.

    [02] Greece, African Union to sign Memorandum of Understanding

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greece and the African Union will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the Greek delegation's press office at the UN on Monday, concerning the funding of activities aimed at adjusting to climatic changes and amounting to three million euros a year over the next four years.

    The Memorandum will be signed by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, a former foreign minister of Gabon.

    The African Union is a regional organisation of African countries. It is based in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Abbaba, and constitutes the transformation of the Organization of African Unity.

    On the same day that the Memorandum will be signed, the High Level meeting on the Development requirements of Africa will be taking place at the UN. Greece will be represented by Foreign Minister Bakoyannis.

    [03] Four new opinion polls

    Four new opinion polls appeared on Sunday, three of which show the main opposition PASOK party leading with between 1.1 percent and 2.6 percent and in the fourth the ruling New Democracy party has a 0.6 percent marginal lead.

    The poll conducted by the OPINION company for the Sunday newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis" shows PASOK leading by 2.6 percent and garnering 29.7 percent and following are ND with 27.1, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) 10.6, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 6.6, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 4.5 and the Ecologists 3.8.

    The poll by ALCO for the newspaper "Proto Thema" shows a 2 percent margin. PASOK is ahead woth 28.1 percent and is followed by ND with 26.1, SYRIZA 8.5, KKE 6.7 and LAOS 4.8.

    The poll by MRB for the newspaper "Eleftheros Typos tis Kyriakis" shows a marging of 1.1 percent. PASOK received 27.9 percent, ND 26.8, SYRIZA 11.4, KKE 7.3 and LAOS 4.8.

    Lastly, the poll by RASS for the newspaper "Paron tis Kyriakis" shows ND leading by 0.6 percent and receiving 30.7 percent. Following are PASOK with 30.1, SYRIZA 10.2, KKE 8.1 and LAOS 4.6.

    [04] PASOK official on measures announced by Papandreou

    Main opposition PASOK party economic affairs rapporteur Louka Katseli said in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Eleftheros Typos tis Kyriakis" that the measures announced by party leader George Papandreou in Thessaloniki are feasible and can be implemented.

    Katseli said that they are a "package of feasible and bold measures," since "today, as in 1981, the call for social justice with growth is a dominant one."

    She further said that PASOK's proposal "promotes support for the family budget, for average and low incomes, the upgrading of social services and of welfare structures and a turn to a viable growth model."

    [05] KKE SG Papariga addresses KNE Festival

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Sunday evening gave a speech to the party's youth organization KNE in Athens expounding on the reasons why her refuses to cooperate with other political parties.

    She launched a stinging attack against the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement as well as against the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), the proposals of which she described as "a life jacket with a hole in it."

    Papariga made an extensive historic review on the course and action of the party which this year marks the 90th anniversary of its foundation. She underlined that the KKE "never compromised despite the great difficulties it faced during its 90 year-long course."

    She claimed that the "country's capitalist class is making efforts to bring back the derby of bipartisanship or a period of coalition governments of centre-right and centre-left forces." Papariga added that that in this effort, the KKE answers "do not stop, weaken the capitalist parties, do not look for differences."

    Papariga was particularly harsh against the two major political parties and SYRIZA. Particularly, the KKE Secretary General said that "the capitalist class and the parties which serve it, the ND and PASOK, utilized and are utilizing in a scandalous manner, the European Union (EU) support frameworks and programs, and the experience of the European neo-liberals and social-democratic parties, lavishly handing out money, taken from the sweat of the peoples to strengthen and broaden the labor aristocracy. They provocatively offer graft generously."

    [06] Synaspismos leader Tsipras addresses party's Youth Festival

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alexis Tsipras addressed his party's Youth Festival in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Sunday saying "the system is in a crisis."

    "We have a government which no one can tolerate any more. It is plunged up to its neck in every effort for wealth, in every trick at the expense of public wealth...The veil of dignity, responsibility and seriousness has fallen a long time ago. The Prime Minister (Costas Karamanlis) has suffered a Waterloo in his effort to appear at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair (TIF) as a responsible governor of the country," he said.

    On the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Tsipras noted that "having used its period of governance to stabilize the major economic interests in power, it is now trying to re-emerge to the surface."

    [07] Alavanos gives interview on opposition action

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alekos Alavanos made a six-point proposal on joint opposition action to the main opposition PASOK party and the rest of the opposition parties in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Ethnos tis Kyriakis."

    However, Alavanos continues to rule out governance cooperation with PASOK since no programme convergence exists.

    He terms the lack of an absolute majority by a party a "moment of great liberation" since it shall be proved that two-party rule is incapable of governance and that "a new hope, the Left, has risen."

    Alavanos further said that "we shall always remain a force of protest," adding that, in parallel, SYRIZA is "in the process of programme processing."

    Asked whether his party's stance towards PASOK is determined by the decrease of his party's percentages in opinion polls, Alavanos replied that opinion polls are now more frequent than weather forecasts and it is a case of "daily poll gambling."

    [08] U.S. State Department on Halki School of Theology


    U.S. State Department coordinator for religious freedoms, ambassador John Hanford, reassured on Saturday that in its contacts with Turkey the United States is continuing to raise the issue of the reopening of the Halki School of Theology and of the unobstructed functioning of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Replying to a relevant question, Hanford said that he also has raised the issue with Turkish interlocutors of his and added that it was also raised by President George Bush with Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan.

    "The Turkish government has repeatedly promised to reopen the School, but this has not yet happened," Hanford said, adding that Ankara is continuing "to refuse the recognition of the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch as the leader of the world Orthodox community and this evidently is preventing his ability to perform the task that he feels he is being called on to carry out."

    Financial News

    [09] New three-day strike by Transport ministry employees

    Employees of the Transport and Communications ministry will be intensifying their strike action since, according to an announcement, the ministry's leadership is refusing to satisfy longstanding institutional and financial demands.

    Following the 48-hour strike held on September 9-10, the ministry's employees union has called a new three-day strike extending between September 24-26.

    [10] Foreign Exchange rates: Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.435

    Pound sterling 0.793

    Danish kroner 7.519

    Swedish kroner 9.614

    Japanese yen 154.25

    Swiss franc 1.610

    Norwegian kroner 8.324

    Canadian dollar 1.527

    Australian dollar 1.764

    General News

    [11] Parliament President Sioufas visits Xanthi

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas on Sunday afternoon inaugurated the new building of the Foundation of Thracian Art and Tradition.

    Soufias promised that the Greek Parliament will actively support and encourage every cultural initiative and action which is being implemented in remote parts of Greece and particularly in Thrace.

    The president of the foundation's board and former deputy foreign minister Virginia Tsouderou, opening the ceremony of the inauguration, cordially thanked all those who for a decade supported the efforts and work of the foundation. She particularly thanked Sioufas but also former parliament president, Apostolos Kaklamanis, who contributed so that many bureaucratic problems be overcome. Furthermore, she also thanked Xanthi's local community.

    The foundation's new building, the second in a row, is an old tobacco warehouse which was built in the late 18th Century and constitutes one of the finest examples of industrial architecture. The tobacco warehouse was delivered to the foundation by Xanthi Municipality and was restored and preserved so as to house laboratories, the holding of events and museum collections.

    [12] First Cultural Conference between Serres and Bulgaria's Blagoevgrad

    The 1st Cultural Conference between the regions of Serres, Macedonia, and Bulgaria's Blagoevgrad was concluded on Saturday night and was implemented through the European program Interreg III.

    During the two-day event, which was held in Serres from 19-20 September, taking part were delegations and representatives of cultural associations, who presented the local costumes and the traditional dances of the two regions.

    The event was flanked with a photographic exhibition on the theme of popular culture and the presentation of traditional musical instruments.

    The conference was organised in the framework of the cooperation protocol which the two regions signed a year ago.

    [13] Free public transport on Monday

    The Transport and Communications ministry will be organising a series of events for the public on Monday, September 22, in downtown Syntagma Square as part of European Day Without Cars.

    The aim of the events is to inform and sensitise the public on the issue of using public transport as a means of contributing considerably to a decrease in atmospheric pollution and to protecting the environment.

    The event, that will be sponsored by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and Cosmote, will come to a close with live music from the "Alchimistes" group.

    It is reminded that on the same day transport with all the means of public transport will be free. As regards the Suburban Railway, free transport concerns the part of the route from Piraeus to Magoula and from Piraeus to Koropi, that are part of the urban cycle.

    [14] Anti-war rally in downtown Athens

    Elderly people, young people and pupils participated in an anti-war rally that began at noon on Saturday outside the Athens University campus and was organised by the Alliance Against War and by labour unions.

    Despite the rain, participation in the rally ran into hundreds of people and while the head of the rally was at the intersection of Panepistimiou and Patission streets its end was outside the University campus.

    About 50 people from the Afghan community held placards with the photos of mutilated and killed children, who were victims of the war in Afghanistan. Their slogans were "NATO out of Afghanistan" and "Asylum for the refugees."

    The main slogans shouted by the demonstrators were "Sixty years of NATO the same story. Juntas-wars-terrorism" and "NATO out of the Caucasus. Close down Souda and Aktio."

    [15] Antiquities smugglers arrested in Trikala

    Police in the city of Trikala, central Greece, arrested two people on Friday afternoon, who reportedly belong to a gang involved in the smuggling of antiquities.

    The two people, aged 40 and 38, were arrested while they were negotiating the sale of a grave stone with an engraved inscription, the statue of a woman, a marble lion (dating back to the Hellenistic era) and part of a marble statue from Roman times for the total amount of 2,220,000 euros.

    [16] Hashish plantation in Karditsa prefecture

    A plantation of Indian cannabis containing 104 trees having a height ranging between 20 centimetres and 1.6 metres has been located in a forested area in the municipality of Pezoula, in the prefecture of Karditsa in central Greece. The trees were uprooted and confiscated, while the case is being investigated by police in Karditsa.

    [17] Immigrant smuggler arrested in Servia

    A 26-year-old foreign national was arrested in the town of Servia, in the northern prefecture of Kozani, on Friday after being caught carrying 21 illegal immigrants in a truck, who had paid him 500 euros each. The ensuing investigation revealed that the truck had been stolen from a region in Athens. The immigrant smuggler will be brought before a public prosecutor in Kozani.

    [18] Hooded assailants seize foodstuffs from super market

    A group of about 15 hooded assailants entered a super market in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, at noon on Saturday, gathered various foodstuffs without paying and distributed them in a street market close by. Before leaving, they threw leaflets with slogans against high prices. After distributing the foodstuffs to people in the street market, they fled before police arrived at the scene after being notified by the super market's staff.

    [19] Four drug traffickers arrested in northern Greece

    Four people were arrested in the town of Meliki, in the northern prefecture of Imathia, and in the town of Kolindros, in the northern prefecture of Pieria, on Saturday night for drug possession and trafficking. A search of their homes revealed a total of 521.5 grams of heroin and 2,930 grams of cannabis. The drug traffickers will be brought before a public prosecutor in the city of Veria.

    [20] Three die as car plunges into sea

    Three people, two women and man, died on Sunday when the car they were riding in plunged into the sea at the Yachting Centre at Agios Kosmas. One of the women was about 40 and the other woman and the man about 25. The three bodies were taken to the Asklipiio Hospital in Voula.

    [21] Youth admits five rapings, seven more attempts

    A 19-year-old student was arrested in the city of Halkida, in the eastern prefecture of Evia, on Saturday afternoon after admitting five rapings and seven more attempts.

    Investigations revealed that over the past two months the youth had used to attack women on the outskirts of the city, in the direction of the town of Artaki, and after his acts he would take refuge in his home that was a short distance away. His victims included a 17-year-old girl.

    The youth was recognised unreservedly by his victims and he was brought before a public prosecutor on Sunday.

    [22] Greek-owned ship attacked off Somalian coast

    The Greek-owned Bahamas-flag ship "Captain Stefanos", with a crew of 19 and a cargo of coal, was boarded by at least five gunmen on Sunday, who were travelling in a speedboat, as it was sailing 250 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. The incident marks the third such pirate attack in recent days.

    The latest pirate attack was brought to the attention of the Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy ministry by the company owning the vessel, Charld World Shipping Corporation, following a telephone communication with the ship's captain.


    [23] Greek Super League soccer results

    Olympiakos Piraeus trounced Panseraikos Serres 4-1 in a Greek Super League match played at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Piraeus on Sunday evening. Panathinaikos Athens scored an impressive away victory over Aris Thessaloniki on Saturday by winning 2-1. AEK Athens beat Iraklis Thessaloniki 1-0.

    In other action:

    Larissa - Xanthi 0-1

    Panthrakikos Komotini -PAOK Thessaloniki 0-1

    Ergotelis Crete-Levadiakos Livadia 1-1

    Thrasyvoulos - Asteras Tripoli 0-2

    Panionios Athens-OFI Crete 1-1

    Standings after three weeks of play:

    1. Olympiakos 9 points

    2. AEK 7

    3. PAOK 7

    4. Ergotelis 7

    5. Xanthi 6

    6 .Panathinaikos 6

    7. Larissa 4

    8. Asteras 4

    9. Levadiakos 4

    10. Panionios 4

    11. Aris 3

    12. Panseraikos 3

    13. OFI 2

    14. Iraklis 1

    15. Panthrakikos Komotini 0

    16. Thrasyvoulos 0

    Weather Forecast

    [24] Cloud, local showers on Monday

    Cloudy and showery weather with westerly variable winds is forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-4 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 11C and 25C. Cloudy weather and local showers in Athens, with 3 beaufort variable winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 22C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 13C to 20C.

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

    Four new opinion polls in the country, the situation in the government, the case of the Vatopedi Monastery, the file concerning closed professions and the cost of the economic crisis dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The broker monk is burning four ministers-former and present".

    APOGEVMATINI: "'Window' to permanent status. Opportunity for thousands of employees in the public sector through STAGE".

    AVGHI: "Loss of consciousness at Maximou. Inability for initiatives to 'flee forward'".

    AVRIANI: "Opinion polls showing political chaos".

    CHORA: "The Karamanlis plan for the new government".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Election derby. PASOK 27.9 pc-ND 26.8 pc'".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Costas are you at home? Because I am calling you and it is engaged".

    ETHNOS: "Reversal of scene in opposition as well, while image of ND and the PM collapsing".

    KATHIMERINI: "Five Maximou scenarios for breakthrough. Repeated meetings under Mr. Karamanlis to overcome crisis harassing government".

    LOGOS: "Drastic measures for...change in course. Immediate interventioin by PM necessary'".

    PROTO THEMA: "Sanidas seeking responsibilities of ministers".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The gathering today. KKE Central Committee Secretary General Aleka Papariga will speak".

    TO VIMA: "The people are angry...with ND and Costas Karamanlis. And new opinion poll: PASOK 2.6 units ahead".

    VRADYNI: "'200,000 stremmas in town plan".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [26] President Christofias in New York meets UNSG


    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias has said he would defend "with modesty and determination" the principles of a solution to the Cyprus issue, exhibiting flexibility which however should not be misinterpreted by anyone.

    The president was speaking to journalists on his arrival in New York where later Sunday he met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    Christofias will attend the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly and address the plenary on Wednesday, 24 September.

    "The effort is to defend our homeland, modestly yet decisively, the principles of a solution to the Cyprus problem, showing of course flexibility. But when we talk about flexibility, this should not be misinterpreted either by the Turkish side or us. There will be flexibility to the point where we can be flexible. When principles are at stake, we shall defend them till the end", the president stressed.

    Christofias added that he remains consistent with previous commitments by all presidents of the Republic of Cyprus for a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution.

    "We believe that this commitment does not oppose UN commitment for a unified state with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and one international personality. This does not oppose or contradict EU principles, which Cyprus joined in 2004", the president remarked, adding that "this should become clear to Turkey and our friends in the Turkish Cypriot community. It is assumed that these principles, defined by resolutions and high level agreements, are accepted by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities".

    President Christofias said that talks on issues dealing with the implementation of the acquis communautaire in Cyprus will be tough and expressed reserved optimism. "The way ahead is no bed of roses, it is clear that there will be difficulties and obstacles ahead, we need to be composed, show restrain and determination", the president added.

    Christofias will meet on Monday Archbishop of America Demetrios and attend a dinner hosted by US President George Bush for the leaders of national delegations attending the UN General Assembly. He will host a lunch on Thursday for the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. He will also hold contacts with other leaders and participate in the High-level Meeting on Africa's Development Needs on 22 September. On 24 September he will address the UN General Assembly.

    Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou, who is accompanying the president, will meet his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice, at the 27 EU foreign

    Ministers meeting with Rice. He will also meet US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried.

    On Friday, 26 September, President Christofias will be the main speaker at a gathering organised by Cypriots in the US while earlier he will meet the leaders of overseas Cypriots federations and organisations.

    "Our relations with overseas Cypriots are strong and warm and we will continue to strengthen them", he told reporters.

    The president is accompanied by Kyprianou, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou and other officials.

    President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat began earlier this month direct negotiations with a view to find a political settlement, that will reunite Cyprus, which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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