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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-11-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 24 November 2008 Issue No: 3054


  • [01] Karamanlis: Gov't plan aimed at real economy, citizens
  • [02] Athens announces legal agents in ICJ challenge
  • [03] Hu Jintao in Greece on Mon.
  • [04] FM thanks Albania over military cemetery agreement
  • [05] Papandreou addresses con'f on combating trafficking
  • [06] KKE leader address in Sparta
  • [07] Alavanos critical of ND, PASOK role in Vatopedi case
  • [08] PASOK ahead in 2 recent polls
  • [09] Ieronymos on Vatopedi case, nat'l issues
  • [10] Education minister on World Day for Children's Rights
  • [11] SAE con'f in Chicago concludes
  • [12] Byzantine collection in Prespes inaugurated
  • [13] Willem Dafoe on role in latest Theo Angelopoulos film
  • [14] Thessaloniki film festival awards to best foreign entries
  • [15] Strong winds, rough seas keep ships in ports
  • [16] Second of 3 escaped prisoners nabbed
  • [17] Greek Superleague results
  • [18] The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance
  • [19] Rainy on Monday
  • [20] Cypriot spokesman: Turkey must contribute to solution
  • [21] Former president Papadopoulos in ICU Politics

  • [01] Karamanlis: Gov't plan aimed at real economy, citizens

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday tou-red the central Greek prefecture of Magnesia and the port city of Volos, where he visited the city's chamber of commerce and met with its board as well as representatives of producer classes in the prefecture.

    During his address at the Volos chamber of com-merce, the prime minister referred specifically to the ongoing global financial crisis.

    "To today's challenges we respond with an organised plan. We have, from the first moment, guaranteed all bank deposits; we took measures to protect bor-rowers; we have forbidden the foreclosures of people's primary residence. Our plan to fortify liqui-dity in market will send 28 billion euros to real economy; this is the truth."

    Karamanlis criticised what he called the "well-known and permanent deniers of everything, the ones who are attempting to twist the truth ... These people claim that we're handing out money to the bankers. The truth is crystal clear: We are not offering anything to anyone. We will not spend a single cent from the state budget. The citizens will not be burdened, but on the contrary, the citizens will benefit. This plan is for depositors' benefit; it will benefit small and medium sized businesspeople that need money to engage in commerce".

    Referring to the draft state budget, he said: "There are some who want to misinform, to scare-monger and lie. I repeat once more: there will be no extra taxes. Extra revenue for the budget will come from the measures against tax evasion and projected economy growth".

    Karamanlis also referred to farmers and unemployed, stating that the government will support farmers by offering a 150-million-euros loan without interest to farm unions in order funnel cash advances to farm producers.

    Regarding unemployment, the premier underlined that his first priority is the protection of the labour market and boosting employment.

    "We have announced the hiring of 200,000 people in public sector in 2009 and we are speeding up and with even stronger determination reforms and changes, which is the only way leading to the economy's development, to new investments and the creation of new jobs.

    "I am fully aware that households are being pressured, and are going through harder times. We have taken and will take any possible measure in the future. But I must state that I will not put jeopardise the achievements we've made in the past years, ones that have allowed our economy to better resist (the economic downturn) than those of our EU associates".

    Concluding, the prime minister said problems are not solved with hopes and prayers but with serious and responsible policies.

    "From being pleasant for a while I choose to be useful for the country. The challenge for all of us is clear. Each and every one of us must make his choices, choosing between mere impressions and substantive result; between prayers and real solutions; between superficiality and seriousness, in the final analysis, between irresponsibility and responsibility."

    Afterwards, Karamanlis was toured a new tunnel project on the Volos ring road, speaking with construction workers and engineers. He concluded his tour of the prefecture by visiting a local dairy cooperative.

    PASOK reax

    In a later reaction, a main opposition PASOK spokesman responded by saying that "Mr. Karamanlis visited Volos today as New Democracy's leader not as the prime minister."

    According to spokesman George Papaconstantinou, prime minister's priority was not to find solutions for people's problems but to support his collapsing image and criticise PASOK," adding that such old-fashioned recipes are not trusted any more.


    On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called on the people to "rise to their stature and stop tolerating the trickery and blackmailing by the government and the Maastricht parties."

    "It is the responsibility of wage-earners, the unemployed, the self-employed and the small-to-medium sized farmers not to be fooled or frightened, and to not pay for the repercussions of the crisis for which they are not responsible," a KKE announcement read.

    Finally, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) said the draft 2009 budget "will lead the economy into recession and a majority of society into more difficult times."

    [02] Athens announces legal agents in ICJ challenge

    The Greek foreign ministry on Sunday announced that Athens' appointment for ad hoc judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague -- in the wake of last week's legal challenge by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) against Greece -- is noted Greek jurist and international law professor Emmanuel Roukounas.

    Moreover, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that veteran Amb. Georgios Savvaidis, along with Greece's ambassador in the Netherlands, Amb. Constantinos Rallis, and the ministry's legal adviser, Maria Telalian, have been appointed as the EU member-state's agents in the ICJ legal proceedings.

    Koumoutsakos reiterated that the Greek government has already assembled a team of international and domestic legal experts with extensive ICJ experience to represent the country and mobilised the ministry's legal and archival departments.

    In a related development, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis briefed main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou over the government's decisions vis--vis the latest challenge by the Gruevski government in Skopje following the collapse of fYRoM's NATO membership bid last April.

    Other such briefings for political party leaders will follow, Koumoutsakos said.

    [03] Hu Jintao in Greece on Mon.

    The President of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao will arrive on Monday in Athens.

    Hu Jintao will pay a three-day official visit in Greece, during which he will also be present at the signing of a Piraeus port container terminal contract between the Greek state and Cosco Pacific Ltd.

    On Monday afternoon, the Chinese leader will be received by Greek President Karolos Papoulias before talks with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [04] FM thanks Albania over military cemetery agreement

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Friday praised an agreement with Albania that opens the way for the creation of two military cemeteries in the neighbouring country to properly bury the remains of Greek soldiers that fell there during the early stages of World War II.

    "Yesterday, in Tirana, Greece and Albania initialled an agreement on the creation of two military cemeteries in Albania for the Greek soldiers who fell on the battlefield during the 1940-1941 Greek-Italian war. This settles an issue of particular humanitarian and emotional importance for all Greek people, whose historical memory of this period remains vivid; a milestone in our long-standing struggle for freedom.

    "We would like to express our satisfaction and thanks to the Albanian government and to the Albanian people for their cooperation and understanding, which led to a successful outcome of this decades-old matter," she added

    [05] Papandreou addresses con'f on combating trafficking

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou on Sunday addressed an international conference in Athens convened on the issue of "combating forced labour and trafficking", hosted by Greece's largest umbrella trade group, GSEE.

    During his address, Papandreou warned that some 20 million people worldwide are being held under conditions of forced labour, of which 5.7 million are children. In touching on international scourge, the PASOK leader also referred to figures showing that roughly 1.8 million children also fall victim to sexual exploitation.

    Regarding trafficking, Papandreou said Greece was not immune, pointing to certain spots in the centre of Athens that are rife with prostitution and drug-dealing.

    Along those lines, the head of the main opposition criticised the Greek government's migration policy for a lack of political volition and of being a mere "observer" vis--vis the problem, saying that illegality and lack of transparency facilitate trafficking. He also referred to a lack of an effective legal framework for migration in Greece.

    Papandreou, a former foreign minister in PASOK governments up until March 2004, lamented the fact that Athens has not ratified the 2000 Palermo Protocol and the CoE's treaty (2005) for combating trafficking. He also proposed the holding of the 3rd International Forum for Migration in the western Greek port city of Patras, while reminding that his party has tabled specific proposals for immigrants.

    Turning to the SI's initiatives, Papandreou charged that the ongoing global credit and economic crisis is nothing more than "an example of inequality".

    Finally, he said SI maintains that the flow of capital to so-called "tax shelters" or off-shore destinations must be monitored, along with capital's attempts to slip by countries' labour laws.

    [06] KKE leader address in Sparta

    Events commemorating the Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) 90th anniversary since its foundation were concluded on Sunday in Sparta, with an address by KKE leader Aleka Papariga.

    "We honor KKE and the 3rd division of the Democratic Army of Greece, which saw major action during the Nazi occupation in Greece and the years after; we the fighters that were killed after exhausting their last bullet," Papariga said, in referring to the KKE-led rebel force during the Greek Civil War (1946-49).

    Papariga underlined that "it may not always be easy to quote in our everyday life the historical facts, but when we refer to history, whenever we speak of commemorations, we cannot be oblivious and provide an excuse towards the stance of the country's upper classes and their political delegates in the years of national resistance and the post-occupation years."

    "We are deeply satisfied and proud, without any hint of arrogance, of the fact that in Greece and within international movements a Marxist-Leninist communist party exists today, one that is ascending, which is mature and strong and remains steady and strong in the most difficult phase of modern history -- the phase of an international downturn after the victory of the counter-revolution".

    [07] Alavanos critical of ND, PASOK role in Vatopedi case

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group head Alekos Alavanos, during a political address in Thessaloniki on Sunday, charged that both ruling party New Democracy(ND) and main opposition PASOK are impeding Parliament's fact-finding commission on Vatopedi Monastery land exchange case, claiming that both parties are downgrading and mocking proceedings when they touch on them.

    Alavanos also unflatteringly referred to the image of the monastic community of Mt. Athos and Thessaloniki after revelations on Vatopedi monastery.

    "They (revelations) make Mt. Athos to appear as the Sodom and Gomorra of today's capitalism, transformed from the house where God dwells into a market place ..." he charged.

    [08] PASOK ahead in 2 recent polls

    The latest batch of opinion polls were published in a couple of Athens dailies over the weekend, with one showing main opposition PASOK ahead of ruling ND by 4.5 percentage points, 37 percent to 32.5 percent.

    The Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) follows with 13 percent; KKE with 8 percent, the hitherto anonymous and out-of-Parliament Ecologists with 4.5 percent and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) with 4 percent.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is ahead of PASOK leader George Papandreou on the question of who is more capable to be prime minister, taking 32 percent of respondents' preferences to 30 percent for Papandreou.

    The first poll was compiled by the Athens firm VPRC and published in the Sunday edition of "Eleftherotypia".

    In the second survey, published in the latest press addition to the Athens newspaper scene, Realnews, PASOK garners 28.7 percent of respondents' preferences to 25 for ND; Synaspismos is favored by 9.1 percent; KKE 6 percent; "another party" 4.6 percent and LA.OS 3.5 percent.

    [09] Ieronymos on Vatopedi case, nat'l issues

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Sunday stressed that the outcome of the Vatopedi Monastery land exchange case will have catalytic consequences for the Church of Greece.

    Ieronymos expressed his agony over of what he called "the Vatopedi phenomenon", while noting that "we must be patient and wait for the outcome of the case."

    He also responded to criticism that he rarely speaks out on Greek national issues.

    "I love my country so much that I would gladly give my life for it. But I have also lost patience and experienced disappointment and disgust with instances of ultra-patriotism and the exploitation of national feelings. I have met such people, ones who exploit patriotism, religion and the family as mere slogans and accommodations".

    [10] Education minister on World Day for Children's Rights

    Education Minister Evripides Stylianidis on Saturday addressed an event held on the occasion of the World Day of Children's Rights on Nov. 20.

    "We are trying to sensitise the Greek society and the State on the provision of children's' rights," he noted, adding: "We are reactivating the Children's Observatory, which focuses initially on briefing youth, activating society and the state to taking the mandatory initiatives in order to protect these rights in action."

    In response to press questions about the issue of classes in public schools teaching religion, and about charges claiming that some teachers request the reasons children want to be excluded from the lessons, the minister said the issue has been permanently resolved by the curricula the ministry has sent to all public schools, adding that the ministry's circulars must be followed.

    [11] SAE con'f in Chicago concludes


    World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) conference here focusing on youth, culture and national issues, concluded its works on Sunday with an address by SAE president Stefanos Tamvakis.

    "Our main target is the continuous and constructive contact with overseas Hellenism's grass roots, while SAE is taking its first steps towards financial autonomy and by its expansion," Tamvakis said.

    Referring to Greece's national issues, Tamvakis told delegates that that "it is our duty to support Greece whenever needed, even if such actions are not always concurrent with our personal beliefs."

    Referring to the FYROM "name issue", the SAE president said organisation does not exercise foreign policy, rather it supports the Greek state "in crucial times ... we stick together and united we face, with boldness, every external threat".

    He also cited efforts Greek-Americans to push for Greece's inclusion into the US Visa Waiver Program, noting that he strongly believes that a solution will be reached in the near future allowing Greek citizens to enter the United States without a visa.

    All of the speakers emphasised youth's role in SAE developments, while Tamvakis announced that coordinators of SAE's seven peripheries will be present at the next SAE summit in December.

    Greek MPs Nikos Tsiartsionis (New Democracy), Eva Kaili (PASOK) and Adonis Georgiadis (LA.OS) were present at the conference.

    General News

    [12] Byzantine collection in Prespes inaugurated

    Culture Minister Michalis Liapis on Sunday inaugurated an exhibition centre for a Byzantine collection of Aghios Germanos in the Prespes Lakes district of northwest Greece, as well as the temporary exhibition "Prespes: Byzantine Monu-ments in a Wetlands."

    The collection established in order to project the Byzantine and post-Byzantine history of pristine Prespes region, as depicted in the area's numerous surviving monuments.

    "We succeeded in making Aghios Achillios islet and the shores of Lesser and Greater Prespes lakes accessible to visitors. This temporary exhibition will serve as an archaeological course amid a natural and cultural environment, in total harmony throughout the centuries," he said.

    On Sunday evening, Liapis will attend the closing and international awards ceremony at the 49th annual Thessaloniki Film Festival.

    [13] Willem Dafoe on role in latest Theo Angelopoulos film

    The 49th annual Thessaloniki film festival will conclude with a screening of films on Saturday evening, in tandem with the international debut of Greek director Theo Angelopoulos' new film "The Dust of Time".

    The international awards will be bestowed to the winners on Sunday evening, while the ceremony for national productions comes on Monday.

    Noted Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe, who appeared in Angelopoulos' film, also spoke at a master class session on Saturday, where he stressed that he was happy to participate in the latest Angelopoulos production, dismissing concerns of how big or small a role is for the actor. He also expressed his respect of the noted filmmaker's work.

    [14] Thessaloniki film festival awards to best foreign entries

    Iranian filmmaker Abdolreza Kahani's feature-length B&W film "Over There" won the Golden Alexander award as the best foreign film at the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival, whose international portion concluded on Sunday evening.

    A critics' committee special award and the Silver Alexander went to the Romanian- Italian co-production "Hooked", directed by Adrian Sitaru.

    The best director award was given to Argentina's Celina Murga for her film "A Week Alone", while the prize for the best scenario was awarded to Australian Matthew Newton for his "Three Blind Mice".

    The Best actress award was given jointly to Ioana Flora and Maria Dinulesku from Romania and Best Actor award was also jointly bestowed to Sid Lucero and Emilio Garcia.

    [15] Strong winds, rough seas keep ships in ports

    Rough seas and gusty northwesterly winds on Saturday of up to 10 Beaufort led to a coast guard cancellation of most passeger ferry routes and a warning to mariners in the Aegean.

    In one instance, the ferry boat "Preveli", with 127 passengers on board, still had not docked at the islands of the Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini on Saturday due to weather conditions. The vessel anchored off Santorini and will remain there until the rough seas abate.

    [16] Second of 3 escaped prisoners nabbed

    A second of three prisoners, all Albanian nationals, who escaped a police precinct cell in the central city of Thebes last week was arrested on Saturday morning in the Moschato district of southern Athens.

    According to reports, the trio escaped from the jail cell by using a file, allegedly provided by a relative of one of the men during a visit.

    The three Albanians are charged with being members of a particularly vicious crime gang active in central Greece and the Peloponese.

    The chief of the central Thebes police precinct and four officers have been suspended pending the completion of an internal investigation into the jailbreak.


    [17] Greek Superleague results

    Olympiakos Piraeus remained firmly atop the Greek Super League standings on Sunday following the club's easy 3-0 away win against Iraklis Thessaloniki a day earlier. PAOK Thessaloniki held on to second place with an unconvincing 1-0 win at home on Sunday against Larissa.

    Results of other matches over the weekend:







    STANDINGS (after 11 matches)


    PAOK 22

    XANTHI 20


    AEK 16



    ARIS 15


    LARISSA 13



    IRAKLIS 11


    OFI 8


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

    Continuous local press focus on the Vatopedi monastery furor and the latest political developments in the country dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "They're taking everything back from (Vatopedi Monastery Abbot) Ephaim".

    APOGEVMATINI: "A government reshuffle will be necessary: Interview by DM Vangelis Meimarakis".

    AVGHI: "Health sector: SOS. Civil servants to be left without doctors (in pension fund)."

    AVRIANI: "High-profile names involved in (local) Siemens payouts and kickbacks".

    CHORA: "The well-known pilgrims of Vatopedi Monastery".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tax cuts in 2009 with eight-billion-euro bonus from Brussels".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "PASOK 37 percent to ND's 32.5 percent. New opinion poll by VPRC".

    ETHNOS: The paper again banners a headline on Abbot Ephaim's dealings in land exchange case.

    EPOCHI: "They're trapped in their policies. Government, PAOSK unable to deal with crisis."

    KATHIMERINI: "We're heading towards the crisis loaded with debt. Greece entering a tough 2009 with reduced national credibility and virtual budget".

    LOGOS: "Concerns over the Greek economy".

    NIKI: "Karamanlis a 'hostage' to his 151 MP majority, trying to bide for time".

    PARON: "Reshuffle, overturn: Eight ministers leaving."

    PROTO THEMA: The paper also banners a story on the Vatopedi case, claiming that Abbot attempted to sell-off part of an archaeological site (Ramnounda)".

    Realnews: "Ephaim's bank transfers..."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Class warfare against plutocrasy and Euro 'one-way street' ".

    TO VIMA: "Greece worried! Crisis gripping society"

    VRADYNI: "New government plan to fight unemployment".

    Weather Foecast

    [19] Rainy on Monday

    Rain is forecast for throughout Greece on Monday. Scattered clouds and rainfall in the northern parts of the country, with temperatures ranging between -2C to -11C; 0C-20C on the rest of the mainland.

    Drizzle in Athens, 7C-14C; rain in Thessaloniki, 2C-9C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [20] Cypriot spokesman: Turkey must contribute to solution


    Government spokesman Stephanos Stephanou on Sunday reiterated that the most defining question on the Cyprus issue is what kind of a solution does the Turkish side want.

    Stephanou made the statement when invited to comment an interview by UN envoy Alexander Downer to the "Politis" newspaper that he is under the impression that Turkey wants a solution.

    The spokesman pointed out that Turkey should prove that it wants, is pursuing and is working towards a solution, just as it is described in the High Level Agreements of 1977-1979 between the two communities and by UN resolutions and one that will restore the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people of Cyprus.

    He pointed out that this is the question and expressed regret that "so far we have not seen this kind of willingness on the part of Turkey".

    He referred to the recent incident when two ships under foreign flag that were conducting an exploratory survey on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus within its EEZ, 27 miles off the south coast of the island were forced by a Turkish warship to cease their operations and withdraw within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, under fear for the lives of their crews and the integrity of the ships.

    This incident, said Stephanou, prompted the government to protest to the UN and other organizations.

    "This is not the appropriate behaviour of a state which wants to contribute to solving a long-standing problem, helping to bring peace to eastern Mediterranean," he added.

    Asked if Turkey has made representations to Russia over the signing of the political declaration between Russia and Cyprus, the spokesman said he was not aware of any representations, noting however, that the

    Republic of Cyprus has every right, like any other state which respects itself, to develop international relations and sign agreements.

    The President of the Republic, said Stephanou, "is not only the negotiator of the Greek Cypriot side but also has to serve the vested interest of Cyprus and he is doing so through intense international activities".

    The declaration signed with Russia, he added, "and especially the political declaration which refers to the Cyprus issue, does not affect the vested interest of the Turkish Cypriot community".

    The peaceful, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus issue should rationally, serve the vested interest of Turkey, and Turkey must understand that it should cooperate and constructively contribute to a solution to the Cyprus issue in order to serve, primarily, the interests of the people of Cyprus, the spokesman concluded.

    [21] Former president Papadopoulos in ICU


    Former president of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos was admitted late Saturday evening into the Intensive Care Unit of the Nicosia General Hospital, suffering from acute respiratory failure, according to a statement issued by the ICU on


    It said the former president has been given the necessary treatment and that ''his condition has improved.''

    According to the ICU statement, Papadopoulos' planned departure for the United States for treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Florida will be ''re-evaluated.''

    Papadopoulos, 74, was admitted to a private Nicosia clinic on Wednesday suffering from lower back pain. A press release issued the next day said he would travel to the United States for further medical examinations.

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