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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 Issue No: 3032


  • [01] Greece celebrates 68th anniversary of Ochi Day
  • [02] Student parade in Athens marking 'Ochi Day'
  • [03] 'Ochi day' statement by Justice Minister
  • [04] Greek community in Egypt celebrates Oct. 28
  • [05] Turkish DM visits Ataturk birthplace in Thessaloniki
  • [06] Minister: Olympic Airways 'ailing'
  • [07] Foreign Exchange rates: Wednesday
  • [08] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [09] Mostly fair on Wednesday
  • [10] Christofias hopeful Turkey will withdraw troops from Cyprus
  • [11] Cyprus ranks 40th in the Global Competitiveness Report for '08 Politics

  • [01] Greece celebrates 68th anniversary of Ochi Day

    Greece on Tuesday celebrated the 68th anniversary of "Ochi (No) Day", which marks the country's entry into World War II, with a traditional military parade in Thessaloniki, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and the country's political and military leadership. The parade wound up the annual three-day series of events held in Thessaloniki, including the Oct. 26 anniversary of the ancient metropolis' liberation from Ottoman rule in 1912 and the same-day feast day of Aghios (St.) Demetrius, the city's patron saint.

    The government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis were represented by Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis. Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou also attended.

    Additionally, present at the parade were eight defence ministers from countries of SE Europe. On hand were defence ministers Mehmet Vecdi Gonul of Turkey; Constantinos Papacostas of Cyprus; Selmo Cikotic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Boro Vucinic of Montenegro, as well as the deputy ministers of Bulgaria, Spas Panchev, Petrit Karabina of Albania, and the assistant minister of the Serbian defence ministry, Dusan Spasojevic, and Croatia's MOD state secretary, Gordan Cacic.

    The parade was also attended by the Italian ambassador in Greece, former president Christos Sartzetakis, the prefect and mayor of Thessaloniki, Panagiotis Psomiadis and Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, respectively, deputies and Eurodeputies, armed forces general staff Chief Lt.-Gen. Dimitris Grapsas, defence attaches, local government representatives, Church leaders and other officials.

    Referring to the parade, Papoulias stressed:

    "The military parade yet again demonstrated the armed forces' high level of preparedness and training. It is a guarantee of our national independence and territorial sovereignty. I am certain, as then, when the people and military, united, confronted the enemy, today we are also ready not only to confront any threats but to work and cooperate in order for the Balkans to be a place of peace, cooperation and cordial understanding."

    On his part, Meimarakis stressed that "... Greece is now building the future with an integrated European awareness of understanding and cooperation, and always undertakes initiatives so that all the countries of the wider region may accede to Euroatlantic Institutions, providing that they fulfil the criteria and rules of good neighbourliness."

    PASOK leader Papandreou stressed that "the soldiers whom we honour today said 'no' to barbarism, and a big 'yes' for a society of values. Now, despite the (economic) crisis we are going through, we know that we can have a better Greece."

    [02] Student parade in Athens marking 'Ochi Day'

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas and Education and Religious Affairs Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, on behalf of the government, on Tuesday laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, marking Greece's 68th anniversary of "Ochi Day".

    Also present were representatives of the political parties and Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. Immediately afterwards, it was followed by a parade by students.

    Taking part in the parade were primary and secondary school students, 12 from primary schools, 26 from secondary schools, of the Special Olympics and scouts.

    At the end of the parade, Sioufas spoke about the importance of the anniversary and stressed that the global economic crisis demands "national unity."

    Stylianidis stressed that young people "must know that our values and principles also inspire us today."

    Anna Diamantopoulou, on behalf of the main opposition PASOK party, noted the importance of education, saying that young people have "education as a weapon." She added that "what is needed in state education is for lies and phobic hypocricies to stop. We must have state education as a first priority."

    [03] 'Ochi day' statement by Justice Minister

    Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis on Tuesday attended the festive events marking the 68th anniversary of "Ochi Day" in Trikala. At the end of the student and military parade, he made the following statements:

    "Greece today celebrates the victory of independence against totalitarianism. This fact signals and constitutes the starting point for the building of a new world model. The message today is the return to reality, to the real economy, to the real politics and in a society of values which will defend individual rights and will be based on the principles of social Justice," the minister said.

    [04] Greek community in Egypt celebrates Oct. 28

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    The anniversary of the Oct. 28, 1940 entrance of Greece into the Second World War was celebrated here on Tuesday in the presence of a delegation that had participated in events organised over the past few days in El Alamein.

    Members of the Greek armed forces and representatives of veterans' associations honored the anniversary, which culminated in a parade by pupils and boy scouts.

    The president of the ethnic Greek community in Cairo, Christos Kavalis, said of the anniversary, that "Oct. 28 constitutes a special national celebration for Hellenism in Egypt."

    [05] Turkish DM visits Ataturk birthplace in Thessaloniki

    Turkish Defence Minister Mehmet Vecdi Gonul on Tuesday visited the residence in Thessaloniki where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was born in 1881.

    The residence is located in the courtyard of the Turkish consulate in the northern Greece city.

    Gonul arrived in Thessaloniki to observe the annual Oct. 28 military parade commemorating Greece's entry into the Second World War in 1940. The Turkish minister was given a guided tour of the building and signed the visitors' register.

    Financial News

    [06] Minister: Olympic Airways 'ailing'

    Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis, who represented the government in an annual Oct. 28 parade in Hania, Crete, on Tuesday, referred to the issue of the pending privatisation of state-run Olympic Airlines.

    In reply to reporters' questions, Hatzidakis termed the prevailing situation at debt-ridden Olympic Airlines as "ailing".

    "Today, even as we speak, five airline companies throughout Europe are in the process of being privatised. We are continuing our effort on the basis of the timeframes we have set and with the main objective to rid the tax payers and the weaker economic classes from a burden which they have carried for so many years, backing a sick situation at Olympic Airlines," the minister said.

    Gathered in front of the grandstand were a group of Olympic Airlines employees in Hania who hoisted a placard and shouted slogans, calling for a scuttling of the government's plans.

    [07] Foreign Exchange rates: Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.256

    Pound sterling 0.812

    Danish kroner 7.512

    Swedish kroner 10.176

    Japanese yen 116.68

    Swiss franc 1.455

    Norwegian kroner 8.885

    Canadian dollar 1.609

    Australian dollar 2.055

    [08] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The international economic crisis, the sale of Olympic Airlines and Greece's national anniversary of "OCHI Day" in 1940 mostly dominated the main front-page items in Tuesday's newspapers.

    AVGHI: "While throughout the European Union banks and industries are being re-nationalised (in accordance with French President Nicolas Sarkovy) Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, faced by the extended political crisis due to the revelations of the Vatopedio scandal, attempts 'a flight towards reforms', aiming towards the sale of Olympic Airlines, that is, the privatisation of the national carrier".

    KATHIMERINI: "Businesses send out an SOS due to the lack of credits. Outcry of anxiety by hoteliers. Businesses in Greece extend a signal of danger, as the banks stop lending. The markets hope for a new reduction of interest rates by the central banks, so as to avert the upcoming recession".

    LOGOS: "Restriction of the crisis to households. On Friday is the agenda for the economy. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, from Qatar, during the inauguration of the Greek Embassy in Doha, referred to the measures which the Greek government has taken to restrict the cost of the crisis on the income of households. He further stressed the government's measures to speed up the necessary changes and reforms".

    NIKI: "Terror and anxiety in the households - a turbulance is coming for the real economy. 'The crisis of the century' has passed the door of the Greek economy, but the prime minister and his government are indifferent to the repercussions which it will have and are dealing with the sale of Olympic Airlines to the Arabs of Qatar. The recession is approaching, a fact which signals dramatic developments in the so-called real economy".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "A strong No to plutocracy - popular counter-attack. NO by the Greek people in the war of 1940. The great anti-imperialist struggles followed, that of EAM-ELAS and the Democratic Army of Greece. The Communist Party of Greece opposes the call by the capitalist political parties in favour of unanimity, that is, popular subjugation to the "one-way Euro-road and class cooperation".

    TO VIMA: "New threat by the poor neighbours. Domino crisis from Kiev to Sofia - The Balkans on the verge of bankruptcy. The countries of SE Europe, Turkey and the countries of the Balkans are being swayed into the economic crisis. Ukraine, after Hungary, resorted for help from the International Monetary Fund. The domino in the neigbouring countries troubles the government as more than 3,500 businesses of Greek interest are active in the Balkan countries, having invested six billion$ in the past three years".

    Weather forecast

    [09] Mostly fair on Wednesday

    Mostly fair weather with northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 9C and 25C. Mostly fair in Athens, with 2-4 beaufort variable winds and temperatures ranging from 12C to 24C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with a slight possibility of rain, with temperatures ranging from 11C to 21C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [10] Christofias hopeful Turkey will withdraw troops from Cyprus


    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has expressed a hope and wish that Turkey will realise its interests, wihdraw the soonest possible its troops from Cyprus and accept a solution of the Cyprus question that will serve the interests both of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    In statements after a doxology held here on the occasion of the anniversary of the Oct. 28 commemoration of Greece's entry into WWII, and invited to comment on Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's statements about the establishment of a state in Cyprus comprising two constituent parts, Christofias said he did not want to comment Talat's statements in public.

    "If I have something to say to Mr. Talat, I will do so when we meet," he added.

    Replying to a question about the issue of guarantees, Christofias stressed that Cyprus, as a modern state member of the European Union, does not need any guarantees, and guarantors. "And this is the position that I am promoting", he added.

    Christofias congratulated the leadership and the people of Greece and paid the tribute to the people ''who fought and died in the field of honour". He added that ''we here in Cyprus continue our struggle against the expansionism of the Turkish military forces".

    [11] Cyprus ranks 40th in the Global Competitiveness Report for '08


    Cyprus ranks 40th in the Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009, in regards of the competitiveness of its Economy, improving by 15 places compared to the Report for 2007.

    The results of the Report were presented here today in an event organized by the World Economic Forum, the Cyprus Development Bank, the European University of Cyprus and the PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    Analyzing the results of the Report, Jennifer Blanke, Senior Economist and Director of the Global Competitiveness Network, noted that the United States tops the overall ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report for 2008.

    Switzerland is in second position followed by Denmark, Sweden and Singapore.

    European economies continue to prevail in the top 10 with Finland, Germany and the Netherlands following suit. The United Kingdom, while remaining very competitive, has dropped by 3 places and out of the top 10, mainly attributable to a weakening of its financial markets.

    The United Kingdom, while remaining very competitive, has dropped by three places and out of the top 10, mainly attributable to a weakening of its financial markets.

    Greece is in the 67th position, and has dropped by two places compared to 2007.

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