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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-01-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 12 January 2009 Issue No: 3093


  • [01] FM: Greece still supports Turkey's EU course as long as obligations met
  • [02] PM briefed by ministers on law enforcement
  • [03] PM to confer with FM, DM, chair meeting
  • [04] FM spokesman denies report of US supply of Israeli army via Greek harbor
  • [05] FM discusses efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza with SYRIZA leader
  • [06] Protest held in Athens over Gaza
  • [07] SYRIZA criticism of police action
  • [08] DM on Turkish provocations
  • [09] PASOK anticipates early elections
  • [10] Latest polls: Reshuffle enhances gov't profile
  • [11] Gov't determined that laws will be enforced
  • [12] Spiliotopoulos: Determination for quality education
  • [13] ND secretary on reshuffle
  • [14] Gov't: No issue of natgas shortage
  • [15] Greek professor conferred title by Queen Elizabeth
  • [16] Patriarch honors Russian cosmonaut of Greek descent
  • [17] Alexandria governor honored
  • [18] 4.4R trembler jolts Andravida, no damage reported
  • [19] Contraband cigarettes intercepted before export
  • [20] Olympiakos extends lead over PAOK
  • [21] Cloudy on Monday
  • [22] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
  • [23] Christofias to meet Talat Monday
  • [24] Free Gaza Movement ship to set sail Monday

  • [01] FM: Greece still supports Turkey's EU course as long as obligations met

    Greece remains steadfast in its backing of Turkey's European prospect, provided the neighbouring country fulfils its self-evident obligations, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of an Athens daily, and in the response to last week's eyebrow-raising Turkish military provocations in the eastern Aegean.

    Bakoyannis stressed that the Greek government, following last week's sweeping Cabinet reshuffle, will be judged on its substance and not in terms of public relations, adding that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis did "what he deemed necessary" at this specific time and juncture.

    She said there were "no magic wands with which an economic policy could give to everyone without collecting taxes", while she also said he police needed to demonstrate greater dynamism and more results with regard to respect of citizens' rights and protection of their welfare.

    On Saturday, ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos denied press allegations that a demarche was lodged by Turkey over President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias' recent visit to the border islet of Agathonissi last week.

    "No such demarche was made. That is the truth," Koumoutsakos said.

    He added, however, that this did not diminish the significance of the fact that, after the president's visit, Turkey had proceeded with provocations.

    Koumoutsakos reiterated that "no (Turkish) demarche was lodged, it is we who lodged demarches," adding that there were immediate, structured Greek responses to any unacceptable actions.

    [02] PM briefed by ministers on law enforcement

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was briefed on Saturday by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and new Deputy Interior Minister, responsible for public order, Christos Markoyiannakis, on issues involving law enforcement and the police force.

    After the meeting, Pavlopoulos referred to the latest spate of violence in downtown Athens by stone-throwing self-styled anarchist and anti-state youth, on the sidelines and tail-end of a protest rally held by unions representing educators and various ad hoc groups of pupils.

    "In a democratic country the law is applied, but first of all, human rights are protected. Because what is most important is social peace, people's right to work and to develop their personality within the framework of the law, without certain others abusing and violating those human rights, social peace and democracy".

    Referring to his working relation with Markoyiannakis, Pavlopoulos said claims of "sour relations" are pure fiction, stressing that "everything is completely clear and our cooperation is as good as with a friend from the past".

    On his part, Markoyiannakis said police did the best they could on Friday in order to safeguard a peaceful demonstration, adding that violence erupted, police acted within the framework of the law.

    "Legality is government's target, and citizens' security the top priority," he concluded.

    [03] PM to confer with FM, DM, chair meeting

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will have separate meetings on Monday with foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and national defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis.

    Afterwards, the prime minister will chair a meeting of the Government Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA).

    [04] FM spokesman denies report of US supply of Israeli army via Greek harbor

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Saturday categorically denied a newspaper report alleging that the US is re-suppling the Israeli army via a tiny harbor in western Greece, namely, the hamlet of Astakos.

    "There is no issue of re-suuply of the Israeli army through the harbor of Astakos or any other point on Greek territory," Koumoutsakos said.

    Earlier, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued an announcement calling on the Greek government to take a position on the press claim.

    The Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) also called for an immediate denial or confirmation of the report.

    [05] FM discusses efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza with SYRIZA leader

    Greece, from the first moment, condemned the escalation of violence in the Middle East and spoke of an immense humanitarian disaster, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed on Sunday, adding that "as we speak, all the efforts have been made by the Greek government towards the EU for a clear-cut uniform European position, while at the same time we have an open line of communication with all my counterparts in our effort to at least be able to get humanitarian aid into Gaza".

    At this time, humanitarian organizations from all over the world were at the crossings with Israel and Egypt, she said, noting that Greece was also there, awaiting two things: First, to take injured children out of Gaza for treatment in Greek public and private hospitals, while at the same time getting the necessary humanitarian aid into Gaza.

    Bakoyannis was speaking after a meeting with Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance leader Alekos Alavanos, held at his initiative, during which he called for the mobilization of Greek diplomacy towards Israel so as to secure guarantees for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

    According to Alavanos, the Greek-owned ship "Arion", carrying doctors, SYRIZA MP Th. Dritsas, PASOK MP Sophia Sakorafa and members of the foreign media, as well as a cargo of medical supplies, was due to set sail from Larnaca, in Cyprus, for Gaza on Monday. He said that the doctors wanted to offer their assistance to the injured people in order to 'reduce the consequences of the slaughter in Gaza".

    Alavanos asked Bakoyannis -- who assured him of the foreign ministry's mobilization -- that the Greek diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv call on the Israeli state to respect the passengers (doctors), crew and mission of the Arion, adding that before departing Larnaca the ship would undergo the required inspections for confirmation that it was carrying only humanitarian aid.

    The SYRIZA parliamentary group leader reiterated his position that the Greek government should assume initiatives for facing the crisis, and repeated his call for recalling the Greek ambassador in Israel to Athens for deliverations, and for the repeal of the Greece-Israel cooperation agreement signed in 1993.

    Alavanos further stressed the need for crossings into Gaza to open up for the delivery of humanitarian aid, and the 'absolute need' for that aid to reach the region in order that "many lives will be saved".

    [06] Protest held in Athens over Gaza

    A protest march in support of the Palestinian cause and against the latest Israeli actions in Gaza was held in downtown Athens on Saturday, beginning in Syntagma square and ending at the Israeli embassy. The protest was again organised local labour unions, anti-war/anti-globalisation activists and Palestinians living in Greece. Another protest on the same issue was held earlier on Saturday in Thessaloniki.

    [07] SYRIZA criticism of police action

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary head Alekos Alavanos, in referring to Friday's violence during a rally protesting the Israeli operations in Gaza, referred to an "unprovoked attack by police against demonstrators".

    [08] DM on Turkish provocations

    National defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis charged that Turkey's provocative actions were "unacceptable, especially for a country that wants to join the EU", in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of RealNews newspaper.

    He warned Ankara that Greece's responses to its escalating provocations would not be limited only to the diplomatic level, but would also be given "wherever else necessary".

    [09] PASOK anticipates early elections

    Main opposition PASOK party parliamentary group secretary Dimitris Reppas, a former top minister in several previous PASOK governments, called for a "broad progressive government" in an interview appearing in a Sunday newspaper, adding that a self-sufficient PASOK government would guarantee political stability.

    In an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of the "Ethnos" daily, Reppas accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of a "slow reaction" that had proved "catastrophic for his government", and expressed a certainty that early general elections were on the horizon, not because the prime minister "wants to lose, but because he can't avoid them".

    On the prospect of a PASOK-ND co-governance, Reppas said such a collaboration between opposites, and under the present circumstances, would mean a consolidation of the lack of governance while, on the prospect of a co-governance of PASOK and the leftist SYRIZA (the Radical Left Coalition parliamentary alliance), he expressed a belief that "the only solution is a different progressive policy".

    In each instance, however, a cooperation scheme will have to stand the test of elections, Reppas added.

    PASOK national council secretary Yiannis Ragoussis also commented on the prospect of a collaboration among the opposition parties, saying that the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was "making the same mistakes" in identifying the "great democratic party (PASOK) with the right", while SYRIZA, on the other hand, "is in dialogue with itself, with its (internal) camps and with the different rationales that they represent".

    [10] Latest polls: Reshuffle enhances gov't profile

    Last week's Cabinet reshuffle apparently provided a fillip for the Karamanlis government, according to results of three opinion polls published in a same-number of Sunday edition newspapers over the weekend.

    The polls also indicated that main opposition PASOK's lead over ruling New Democracy (ND) slipped by as much as 3 percentage points, while the prime minister's assumption of responsibility over the Vatopedi Monastery-state land exchange affair acted positively on the respondents' psychology.

    According to a poll conducted by the Alco firm on behalf of the Sunday weekly "Proto Thema", PASOK was preferred by 31.2 percent or respondents against 28.2 percent for ND with respect to voters' intent (which party the respondent would vote for if elections were held the following Sunday); followed by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 7.8 percent; the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance with 7.1 percent, and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party with 3.9 percent.

    An apparent rallying of ND's grassroots supporters increased to 69.1 percent, up from 67.1 percent in Alco's previous opinion poll.

    According to results of an MRB opinion poll published in the Sunday edition of "Eleftheros Typos", Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' decision to proceed with a government reshuffle acted in a unifying manner among the ruling party's supporters, as 86.2 percent of respondents who declared themselves ND backers were satisfied with reshuffle.

    Regarding voter intent, PASOK led by 32.3 percent against 29.3 percent for ND, followed by SYRIZA with 8.6 percent, 7.5 percent for the KKE, and 4.5 percent for LAOS, with a hereunto unknown "ecologists-greens" formation marginally remaining outside Parliament with 2.5 percent.

    According to a Public Issue opinion poll for the Sunday "Kathimerini", the reshuffle provided a "window of opportunity" for the government, as 71 percent of respondents said the reshuffle had been necessary, while five in 10 respondents opined that Karamanlis' position was reinforced.

    Furthermore, 70 in 100 respondents considered that ministers -- chiefly those whose names had been linked with economic policy and the Vatopedi affair, and who were left out of the new Cabinet -- had acted as 'weights' in the Karamanlis government.

    [11] Gov't determined that laws will be enforced

    The new alternate minister for public order at the interior ministry, Christos Markoyiannakis, expressed optimisn that all would go well in the sector of public order, in statements on Saturday night in Chania, Crete, where he stressed the government's determination that the laws will be enforced and warned that there would be repercussions for all excesses by law enforcement officers.

    "We are determined to act within the framework of legality and of respect for human rights, but everyone who has the intention of committing illegalities should know that the law will be enforced in every instance. This is our decision. I believe that we have already made a good beginning, the Athenians felt their properties were safe (during demonstrations on Friday), and this is satisfactory. Despite whatever criticisms, I am satisfied from the first 'test', if you wish, following the assumption of my duties," Markoyiannakis said.

    [12] Spiliotopoulos: Determination for quality education

    New education minister Aris Spiliotopoulos stressed his determination to advance education issues in the best possible way, through a "substantive, not an ostensible, dialogue with the youth" at all levels, including via the internet, in an article appearing in the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper.

    Stressing that development in the direction of a more qualitative Education sector could arise only through consensus and removed from dogmatism and partisanship, Spiliotopoulos committed to holding an "open discussion with all the political parties".

    [13] ND secretary on reshuffle

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) secretary Lefteris Zagoritis stressed that "personal strategies and mistakes are not allowed", adding that "if the government doesn't do well, we will all pay for it", in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of Eleftherotypia newspaper.

    He stressed that last week's sweeping government reshuffle marked a "change of page" and was "a reshuffle of substance", while he also ruled out the prospect of general elections before 2010.

    Financial News

    [14] Gov't: No issue of natgas shortage

    New Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Sunday reiterated that the government is confident of the country's natgas reserves and supply. Hatzidakis, speaking to a state-run TV network, also said that preparation of a tender for construction of a new natural gas condensation unit on the islet of Revythoussa will ensure even more supplies and energy security.

    Hatzidakis said he will take part on Monday in an off-the agenda EU energy ministers' summit, expected to focus on the issue of energy security, especially in the wake of the recent natural gas supply crisis.

    "We are closely monitoring the issue. A vessel carrying liquefied natural, which arrived on Sunday, will cover our needs until the beginning of next week. Nevertheless, the crisis indicates the need not to depend to just one source and one supplier. Anyway, this is our national energy mode," he added.

    General News

    [15] Greek professor conferred title by Queen Elizabeth

    London (ANA-MPA/L. Tsirigotakis)

    Greek professor Costas Grammenos, pro-vice chancellor of City School of London and chairman of the steering committee of the International University of Thessaloniki, is included in the roster of personalities to whom Queen Elizabeth of England conferred titles and honorable distinctions in the new year.

    Grammenos was awarded the title of "Commander" of the British Empire for "his services in teaching and research", according to an announcment by the British foreign office.

    In 1994, Queen Elizabeth conferred the title of "Officer" of the British Empire to Grammenos "for his contribution to teaching and the promotion of Greek-British relations" and, in 1999, she had conferred on him the highest academoc title in Britain, that of "Doctor of Sciences".

    Professor Costas Grammenos, a Professor of Shipping, Trade and Finance, is Pro-Vice Chancellor of City University, London; and Deputy Dean (Head of Undergraduate School) of its Cass Business School.

    He founded the International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance in 1983 (renamed the Costas Grammenos International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance in April 2007). He has been head of the Centre since its inception and responsible for its design; and, until 1997, was Director of the world class M.Sc. in Shipping, Trade and Finance, introduced in 1984; and the M.Sc. in Logistics, Trade and Finance, introduced in September 1997 and M.Sc. in Energy, Trade and Finance, introduced in 2003. Approximately 2000 students, from 90 countries have graduated over this period, and many of them are holding leading positions in international banking, shipping and trading, and manufacturing sectors.

    He was born in Athens in 1944, and has a BA in Economics (Pantion University, Athens), an MSc. in Financial Economics (Bangor, Wales), and a DSc. in Shipping Finance (City, London).

    [16] Patriarch honors Russian cosmonaut of Greek descent


    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) on Sunday received Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin-Grammatikopoulos, as the latter was honoured by the Patriarchate. The cosmonaut was accompanied by Greek Olympic weightlifting champion Valerios Leonidis and the Prime Minister of the Karachayevo-Cherkessia Vladimir Kaishev.

    The cosmonaut expressed his gratitude to the Ecumenical Patriarch for the honour.

    "For us Russians of Greek descent it is a great honor to be at the Fanar. It was one of my dreams and now it has become a reality. We offer you the love of the Russian people and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev, who sends you his best wishes and warm greetings," Kaishev said.

    On his part, the Ecumenical Patriarch stated: "We Greeks are very proud that our nation produces such personalities, who not only honour the nation but also the Orthodox Church".

    [17] Alexandria governor honored

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Saturday bestowed the medal of the City of Athens to Alexandria Governor Gen. Adel Labib, who is paying an official visit to Greece. A special ceremony was held at the Athens Town Hall on the occasion.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, the Egyptian ambassador to Greece, Hamdi Losa, and other officials were present at the ceremony.

    [18] 4.4R trembler jolts Andravida, no damage reported

    A light earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale jolted Andravida in the first hours of Sunday, but there were no reports of damage or injury.

    According to the Athens Observatory's Geodynamic Institute, the trembler was recorded at 00:26 a.m. at 194 kilometers west of Athens, with its epicenter in the area of Andravida, Ileia prefecture, from the same epicenter that had produced the strong 6.5R earthquake of June 8, 2008 in which two people died.

    The quake was felt in the prefectures of Ileia, Achaia and Aetoloakarnania and the Ionian islands.

    [19] Contraband cigarettes intercepted before export

    Coast Guard officers confiscated 44,500 packs of contraband cigarettes on Saturday after searching a refrigerator truck at the port of Patras, western Greece.

    Authorities stopped the vehicle just before it was ready to board an Italy-bound ferry boat. The driver was arrested and is being questioned.


    [20] Olympiakos extends lead over PAOK

    PAOK Thessaloniki lost ground on Sunday in its bid to keep up with league-leading Olympiakos Piraeus, losing to AEK Athens away 1-0 a day after Olympiakos edged Xanthi at home 2-1 in an unconvincing win.

    In other results over the weekend in Greek Superleague play:

    Panthrakikos Komotini - Panathinaikos Athens 1-3

    Panionios Athens - Panserraikos Serres 2-0

    Thrasyvoulos Athens - Levadiakos Livadia 2-1

    Larissa - Asteras Tripolis 2-1

    OFI Crete - Iraklis Thessaloniki 2-3

    Aris Thessaloniki - Ergotelis Crete 0-0

    Standings (after 17 matches)

    Olympiakos 42

    PAOK 33

    Panathinaikos 33

    AEK 28

    Panionios 25

    Larissa 25

    Aris 24

    Xanthi 22

    Panthrakikos 22

    Iraklis 22

    Ergotelis 20

    Levadiakos 19

    Asteras Tripolis 14

    Thrasyvoulos 12

    Panserraikos 11

    OFI 11

    Weather forecast

    [21] Cloudy on Monday

    Clouds and strong wind 7 to 8 on the beaufort scale are forecast for Monday. Scattered clouds all over the country; temperatures ranging in the north -6C to 6C, 1C-16C in the mainland and 8C-16C on the islands. Clouds and drizzle in Athens, 6C-13C; overcast in Thessaloniki, -2C - 6C.

    [22] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The economy, the aftermath of last week's government reshuffle, and new opinion polls were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "He saved 20 billion euros from the abolition of paperwork - Pavlopoulos' (interior minister) head-on collision with bureaucracy and everyday problems".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Smart loans - 10 moves to exit crisis a winner".

    AVGHI: "They're spreading death in center of Athens - Risk of chemical pneumonia and fatal pulmonary edema from the police's widespread use of tear gas, European Parliament report reveals".

    AVRIANI: "PASOK deflated (in popularity) in just two days" after the government reshuffle.

    CHORA: "Taxation with new agenda - What the new economy and finance minister is planning".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "If the prime minister doesn't change policy as well but suffices in the change of faces, then the reshuffle will have been in vain".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "He's gaining time - The changes strengthened Karamanlis' profile", according to opinion poll.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Rendezvous on Tuesday the 13th - Government will resort to desperate borrowing of 2 billion euros through short-term state bonds".

    ETHNOS: " Turkish generals attempting upset in Aegean - The new dogma of claims caught Athens by surprise".

    KATHIMERINI: "New opportunity for Karamanlis - Reshuffle has positive appeal - Economy and public order the open fronts".

    LOGOS: "Education the 'wager' for government - The selection of Aris Spiliotopoulos (as the new education minister) and the examinations system".

    PARON: "RASS opinion poll: 63 percent say 'no' to early elections - Even 3 out of 10 PASOK supporters agree".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "An independent viable state is the solution for the Palestinian people's struggle".

    TO VIMA: "Three-month Emergency Plan for economy and elections".

    VRADYNI: "All salary increases in the public and private sector".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [23] Christofias to meet Talat Monday


    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will meet on Monday in the framework of the UN-led negotiating process, which began in September with a view to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    The two leaders' meeting on January 5 had a positive outcome and Christofias had stated that there has been mutual understanding between the two sides.

    UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Taye-Brook Zerihoun announced after that meeting that the two leaders "reached full agreement on the issue of harmonisation and cooperation between the federal government and the constituent states or federal units".

    During Monday's meeting the two will "take up the issue of past acts", according to Zerihoun.

    UN Secretary General's Special Advisor for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, will attend tomorrow's meeting.

    [24] Free Gaza Movement ship to set sail Monday


    The Free Gaza Movement ship, ''Spirit of Humanity", will leave Larnaca Port Monday and its representatives hope that logic will prevail on the part of Israel.

    A press conference will be held at 0830 GMT at Larnaca Port on

    Monday, where the ship is expected to dock today and set sail at noon on Monday, on what the movement has described as "an emergency mission to besieged Gaza. The ship will carry desperately needed doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and members of several European parliaments as well as medical supplies".

    Free Gaza representative Vangelis Pissias told CNA on Sunday that all problems have been tackled and the boat was expected to arrive from Limassol this afternoon.

    Asked if there has been any reaction from Israel, he said that all threats were direct. "They declared the area a war zone and have told us not to go ahead with the trip", he said.

    However, he added, "we have taken our decision and hope things will go well and logic will prevail".

    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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