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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-01-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 26 January 2009 Issue No: 3105


  • [01] PM: Europe a buffer against crisis
  • [02] PM praises planned cultural complex in Faliro
  • [03] Pavlopoulos: If Karamanlis goes, so do I
  • [04] FM interview on elections, relations with Turkey
  • [05] Interior minister receives Swedish minister of migration, asylum policy
  • [06] Papandreou: State not the winning party's fiefdom
  • [07] Judges and prosecutors union begins general assembly
  • [08] Farmers continue roadblocks, to meet with minister on Monday
  • [09] KKE leader visits farmers' blockade in Thessaly
  • [10] LA.OS leader on farmers' demands
  • [11] Tsipras meets with Palestinian authority FM
  • [12] Rafter missing on Lousios River
  • [13] Thessaloniki Jews who perished in Holocaust remembered
  • [14] Composer/orchestra director Rozakis passes away
  • [15] Drug arrest
  • [16] Trio arrested for trafficking illegal immigrants
  • [17] Scuffles with police during protest in Athens
  • [18] Hania photographer arrested for producing child porn
  • [19] Olympiakos extends lead
  • [20] Cloud, rain on Monday
  • [21] The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance

  • [01] PM: Europe a buffer against crisis

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed the European Union's role as a buffer against the worst repercussions of the current economic crisis, addressing a meeting of youth party organisations affiliated with the European People's Party (EPP), held in Athens on Saturday.

    "The crisis points out to European citizens how much more serious the repercussions would be for the economies of their countries if these were outside the EU," Karamanlis said.

    He urged European young people to be actively involved in public affairs and come out ahead of developments, stressing that New Democracy's vision was Greece's participation in a democratic and united Europe.

    Referring to the economic crisis, in general, Karamanlis forecast that this would be unpredictable both in terms of its depth and duration, noting that it was not only the job of governments to deal with the problems but also the social partners in every country, who needed to adopt a responsible attitude.

    Karamanlis underlined that coping with the repercussions would require strong reflexes and social sensitivity:

    "It requires policies for the classes that are worst affected, but without placing fiscal balance in jeopardy," he said.

    While the months ahead would be difficult, past experience has shown that great crises played a decisive role in bringing out historic progress, Karamanlis added, calling on European governments to use their pooled experience and take decisions.

    "We are creating the school of the future, improving the quality of tertiary education and beginning dialogue on the exam system and the reform of high school," Karamanlis said.

    The premier was critical, however, of the government's political opponents in Greece, accusing them of using the economic crisis to further petty party political goals in view of the upcoming European elections, creating a climate of pessimism and uncertainty.

    "Some people are irresponsibly investing in the problems. Our goal is to meet the problems head on," he emphasised.

    The meeting of EPP youth groups was organised in Athens by ruling ND's own youth group, ONNED.

    [02] PM praises planned cultural complex in Faliro

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis showered praise on a project initiated by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to build a new National Opera and National Library on the site of the old horse-race track in the Faliro Delta, architectural plans for which were unveiled for the first time on Saturday during an event at the Zappeion Building.

    "It is a day of anticipation and pride in a monumental project," Karamanlis said in remarks at the event and described late shipowner Stavros Niarchos as a "great national benefactor," whose foundation was creating a "small oasis for the areas of research, technology, culture and education, a reference point for young and old".

    The premier noted that fast solutions had been found to procedural issues, so that bureaucratic inflexibility would not be an obstacle to carrying out the project, and pledged that his own support for the effort would be "permanent and constant".

    "This centre is a watershed in the life of our country, whose radiance will extend beyond the borders," he added.

    The unveiling of the plans at the Zappeion was also attended by a number of ministers, MPs and local government officials.

    In what they describe as "perhaps the most important work in the area of public buildings and spaces of modern Greek history," the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has single-handedly undertaken the cost of the project, which is scheduled to be delivered for use by the Greek state after 2015.

    The foundation's donation - in the region of 450 million euros - will be used construct a new building to house Greece's National Library and also make its contents available over the Internet throughout the world, as well as a new National Opera theatre built to modern international specifications, an 'Agora' that seeks to recreate the ancient 'agora' where the Greeks of antiquity would gather for trade and discourse and the Stavros Niarchos Park that will be accessible to all Greeks seeking a temporary escape from the 'concrete jungle'.

    The above will be built on the site of the old racetrack, covering an area of approximately 16 hectares.

    It has also promised that the entire project will be constructed in accordance with the most advanced environmental and technological specifications, with buildings and installations that are self-sufficient in terms of energy and produce minimal carbon emissions, using a series of arrays of interlinked photovoltaic cells to cover the energy needs of the complex, which will be powered exclusively by solar and wind power.

    [03] Pavlopoulos: If Karamanlis goes, so do I

    In a strong message of support for the premier, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos told the "Imerisia" newspaper that he would end his political career if Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was no longer head of ruling New Democracy.

    "If Karamanlis were for any reason to depart from the premier's office and the leadership of New Democracy, then I will have completed by political course and will return to the university," he said in an interview published by the paper on Saturday.

    The minister said that the arrival of the alternate minister Christos Makroyiannakis had not made significant changes, with the ministry operating as a single unit as before. He also denied that the Kapodistrias 2 plan had been "shelved" but noted that it did not appear to be immediately feasible to financially support the new, bigger municipalities because of the global economic crisis.

    "At the end of March, we will gauge the situation once more," he added.

    [04] FM interview on elections, relations with Turkey

    In an interview appearing in the financial newspaper "O Kosmos tou Ependyti" on Saturday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis dismissed rumours of early elections and said that the apparent loss of cohesion in ruling New Democracy's electoral base was temporary.

    "The country has no need of elections or election-mongering. It needs works," she stressed.

    Regarding the return of Antonis Samaras to government in the new cabinet, she commented only that those in politics were judged on a daily basis by the public, both together as a government and personally for their own separate course.

    On relations with Turkey, she noted that there was a middle ground between the extreme views of defeatism and conflict, which was the sober, realistic policy being followed by Greece.

    [05] Interior minister receives Swedish minister of migration, asylum policy

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Sunday received Sweden's minister for migration and asylum policy, Tobias Billstrom, who is paying an official visit to Greece.

    After the meeting, Pavlopoulos said that taking into consideration that Sweden will assume EU's presidency next July and will focus especially on immigration issues -- as these have been processed during the French EU presidency with the Immigration Treaty and the Asylum -- it makes the Swedish minister's visit very important.

    "Today, we discussed two issues: Sweden's preparations for the EU presidency and Greek positions and the contribution of the Swedish presidency to the organisation of the International Forum on Migration to be held in Athens," Pavlopoulos said.

    On his part, Billstrom expressed his satisfaction for the meeting and the cooperation with the Greek minister, adding that he anticipates Greece's contribution and assistance during the Swedish presidency.

    [06] Papandreou: State not the winning party's fiefdom

    Attending the general assembly of the judges and prosecutors' union on Saturday, main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou referred to a succession of scandals, as he said, that have rocked Greek public opinion and were now going through the courts, as well as the essentially closed investigation into an earlier phone-tapping scandal and illegal political money.

    "The state is not the fiefdom of whoever wins the elections," PASOK's leader underlined. "For the last five years, the citizens feel that they live in an insecure environment."

    "The citizen feels that what is right does not prevail in our country. What comes across is the view that everyone is out for himself," Papandreou said, adding that the views of the present government had brought about a deep crisis in democracy.

    He underlined that judges and prosecutors had a decisive role in protecting what was right and just, while claiming that there had been selective prosecution of judges along political party lines, and the existence of a small number of judges that were acting as advisors to ministers.

    Regarding the most recent furor over the land swaps between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, he said the government had attempted to have this written off and asked for meritocracy and transparency.

    [07] Judges and prosecutors union begins general assembly

    The union of judges and prosecutors on Saturday began its general assembly at the Athens Appeals Courts building, in the presence of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Parliament President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, representatives of the political parties and heads of the country's supreme courts.

    During his address to the meeting, the union's president Haralambos Athanassiou focused especially on the rioting in Athens and elsewhere in December, following the killing of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police bullet.

    He asked that those responsible for vandalism and violence at demonstrations and marches be dealt with particular severity, stressing that the right of protest was not given for the destruction of property but as a means for citizens to voice and push for their demands.

    A message from Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was read out during the meeting, who said that the government's respect for the institution of justice was given and that it condemned all attempts to undermine the institution of justice from any and all quarters.

    In a brief address, Sioufas stressed that work should be done for the true administration of justice and that intervention in justice's independence was inconceivable.

    The new justice minister, Nikolaos Dendias, stressed the need to speed up the administration of justice, stressing that Greek citizens were on the verge of facing a quasi-denegation of justice that "was in direct contravention of the articles of the Constitution and directly violated the articles of the European Treaty on human rights" and exposed Greece to action by EU courts.

    He reported that of 327 rulings against Greece issued by the European Court of Justice since 1991, roughly two thirds or 222 had been for delays in administering justice, making it an issue requiring immediate solutions. The minister said he intended to modernise the civil court procedures code, called for a tidying up of overlapping laws and action to bring the justice system into the electronic era.

    The meeting was also addressed by main opposition PASOK's leader George Papandreou.

    [08] Farmers continue roadblocks, to meet with minister on Monday

    Agricultural Development Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis will meet on Monday afternoon with the a national coordinating body of the country's protesting farmers, who on Sunday entered their seventh consecutive day of roadblocks at a number of intersections along the national highway network and at five border crossings.

    Tractors continued to block the Athens-Thessaloniki highway at Tempi, central Greece, the Mikrothebes intersection and Nikaia in Larissa.

    Blockades also remained in place at the northern border crossings of Promachonas in Serres prefecture and Exochi in Drama prefecture on the Greek-Bulgarian frontier, as well as at the Kipi border post in Evros prefecture, although farmers at the Promachonas blockade said they were allowing passage to vehicles transporting perishable produce and to emergency instances. Two new blockades were also set up at the Evzoni and Doirani border crossings, which, however, were being opened up occasionally.

    The meeting with Hatzigakis was initially scheduled for Sunday, but was put off to Monday at the request of the farmers, who were engaged in all-night consultations to dawn Sunday.

    The farmers' protests are behind held in demand of increased farm subsidies and pensions, guaranteed minimum prices for their products, reduction of refundable Value Added Tax (VAT), and lower fuel prices.

    [09] KKE leader visits farmers' blockade in Thessaly

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Sunday visited a farmers' blockade in the central Thessaly province, speaking with protesting farmers.

    "Throughout Greece, from the north to the south, and of course, here in Thessaly, there are blockades by poor and middle-income farmers who are suffering from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the policy by the government, which obeys the European Union's orders".

    "For us there are no blue, green or red blockades. Among the protestors are people that follow different paths, vote for parties and have some differences in their demands, but this is an issue that the farmers will solve by themselves. We support all the blockades and we don't make any distinctions," she said.

    The KKE secretary also condemned what she called a 'farmers court', underlining that the farmers' struggle must be also associated with the struggle for democratic and unions' freedom.

    [10] LA.OS leader on farmers' demands

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis reiterated his party's backing of the farmers' demands, stressing that the state must immediately take measures to substantively support the farmers' incomes, speaking at a press conference in Alexandroupolis on Saturday evening, on a tour of Evros prefecture.

    Karatzaferis said that there were still margins for such support from invisible resources earmarked for emergency instances.

    He added that the farmers' problem should be treated as an emergency instance, and disagreed with the current distribution of reinforcements.

    Karatzaferis also referred to the problems faced by the Thrace region, and to the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    Turning to the issue that has recently surfaced concerning the problems in Samothrace's coastal shipping link with the mainland, Karatzaferis noted the proposal he has made in parliament according to which the Greek state could purchase a number of small boats and carry out the route to the remote or border islands with harbour corps personnel.

    Karatzaferis further warned that the Greek economy was collapsing, and initiatives needed to be taken as soon as possible to support the incomes of the Greeks and give new impetus to the course of the economy.

    Regarding persisting speculation of early general elections in recent days, Karatzaferis maintained that "not even elections can save" ruling New Democracy, adding that the upcoming European Parliament elections would have the character of a "referendum".

    [11] Tsipras meets with Palestinian authority FM

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alexis Tsipras assured Palestinian Authority Minister for Foreign Affairs Riad Al-Malki of his party's solid solidarity and support for the Palestinian people's struggle, during a meeting in Athens on Saturday.

    Tsipras stressed SYN's support for "a people who, these days, are once again undergoing a harsh and inhumane attack by the state of Israel", and expressed hope for positive developments in the immediate future.

    The SYN leader criticized the European Union of "not rising to the circumstances", and hoped that in the future it would take care to at least "listen to its peoples, which all these days have stood at the side of the Palestinian people in solidarity to their struggles", and also expressed hope for "positive developments at international level, waiting to see at least some signs of differentiation in US policy, following the election of the new President".

    He said that resolution of the Palestinian problem was a key to peace in the wider region of the Middle East, stressing that "its resolution comes from within the solidarity of the peoples, from within the diplomacy of the citizens, and chiefly from within the unity of the Palestinian people themselves...and we hope that serious initiatives and substantive steps will be taken in the immediate period, in that direction".

    Malki, in turn, thanked SYN for the initiatives it has taken at local as well as European level in support of the Palestinian people, stressing that "the support we seek from the EU is not limited only to the official backing by its member states, but we rely more on the people's support, the public opinion in the EU, which manifested itself and is being manifested strongly in favor of my people's just demand for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state".

    He further briefed the SYN leader on the Palestinian Authority's efforts for the establishment of a truce, on the need for immediate lifting of the isolation of the Gaza Strip, and the need for the immediate opening of the corridors for the transport of humanitarian aid, as well as on the efforts for attaining a Palestinian national unity, stressing that "the focus of all, and of the international community, must be on the substance, and the substance is the Israeli occupation, which must be ended".

    General News

    [12] Rafter missing on Lousios River

    A man was declared missing on Sunday afternoon when a raft he was riding in on the Lousios River at Arcadia prefecture, in the central Peloponnese of southern Greece.

    According to the fire brigade, his raft overturned and was carried away by the river's swift currents. A 12-member rescue team is searching the river banks.

    Six hikers drowned along the Lousios River during a trek in May 2007 after a sudden rain storm caused torrent to sweep away the hikers.

    [13] Thessaloniki Jews who perished in Holocaust remembered

    The memory of the Greek Jews of Thessaloniki who perished in Ķazi concentration camps was commemorated on Sunday at an event at the Holocaust Museum, organised by the prefecture of Thessaloniki and the local Jewish community.

    Greetings were addressed by Macedonia-Thrace minister Stavros Kalafatis, Israeli ambassador to Greece Ali Yahya, German ambassador to Greece Wolfgang Schultheiss -- who read out a message from minister of state for Europe Gunther Gloser -- Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis, the chairman of the Central Jewish Council of Greece Moses Constantines, and president of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel.

    The keynote address was delivered by main opposition PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos, who said that "we all bow to the memory of the Holocaust victims and hear their silent cry," stressing that Greek society reacted strongly against the violence in Gaza.

    Also present at the memorial event were Archbishop Demetrios of America, the consuls of the US, Spain, France and Romania, representatives of consulates, several MPs and representatives of local governments.

    The Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) did not send a representative, explaining in an announcement that it honors the memory of Greek Jews but that the attendance of the Israeli ambassador rendered its own participation impossible, and consequently SYRIZA will honor the memory of the victims separately at the Holocaust Monument.

    [14] Composer/orchestra director Rozakis passes away

    Well-known composer, orchestra director and musical theory professor Mike Rozakis died suddenly on Saturday of cardiac arrest at the age of 62.

    The Alexandria-born Rozakis began his musical career in Switzerland before moving to Athens, where he was the singer and bass player for several popular Greek music bands including the Juniors (1962), the Charms (1963 and the Playboys (with whom he appeared in the Greek film 'One woman, one love, one life starring actor and singer Tolis Voskopoulos).

    This was followed by a solo career that produced several 45 rpm hits and two LPs.

    Rozakis, who studied music at the National Conservatory (earning a diploma in fugue in 1977), and gained acclaim for his excellent orchestrations.

    For four years he was director of the ERT (national radio and television foundation) musical programs and director of the Assorted Music Orchestra. He was also professor of musical theory at the National Conservatory from 1987 on, while in 1995 he assumed the university musical studies preparatory department and, since 1996, the orchestration class for theatrical and cinema music.

    [15] Drug arrest

    A 37-year-old foreign national was arrested on Saturday in Paleo Faliro on charges of trafficking large quantities of hashish, Athens police announced on Sunday.

    Police, acting on a tip-off, located and arrested the 37-year-old man after 106.95 kilos of cannabis were found in his possession. The narcotic was seized, as were 1,500 euros in cash and the man's car, which was used for the transport of the drugs.

    [16] Trio arrested for trafficking illegal immigrants

    Three local men aged 16, 19 and 25 years old, respectively, were arrested at the Vassiliada-Kastoria intersection by border police on Saturday, for illegally transporting seven Albanian illegal immigrants into Kastoria.

    The three men were driving two cars in which the illegal immigrants were passengers. They were apprehended after they failed to comply with an order to stop for a routine road-side inspection but instead tried to speed away.

    [17] Scuffles with police during protest in Athens

    Scuffles with police broke out during a protest march on Saturday afternoon by groups protesting against the arrest of demonstrators during December's rioting in Athens.

    Police said that roughly 1,000 protestors had gathered in the Monastiraki district at around noon to express support for those arrested and demand that they be released. They then set off down Athinas Road and Evripidou Road toward Stadiou Street to end up at Syntagma Square.

    As they were dispersing down Panepistimiou Street, some of them attacked police with stones and other objects and police responded with the use of tear gas to drive them away. Shortly afterwards there was a second clash with police at the gates of the university, where tear gas was again used to disperse protestors.

    Groups of youths set fire to rubbish bins, while large groups were seen heading toward Exarhia and the Athens Polytechnic.

    Similar incidents were reported at a march in Patras with the same demands, where protestors attacked the premises of local newspapers and bank branches.

    [18] Hania photographer arrested for producing child porn

    A 29-year-old photographer from Nea Kydonia in Hania, Crete was arrested by the Attica Security Electronic Crimes department on charges of producing, possession and dissemination of child pornography over the Internet.

    Police said the arrest was made on Thursday based on a report by the parents of two girls, one of them underage, who said their photographs wearing bathing suits in provocative poses had been posted on the Internet.

    The photographs had been taken in a hotel room and the 29-year-old was the administrator of the website.


    [19] Olympiakos extends lead

    Olympiakos Piraeus continued its league-leading form over the weekend, edging OFI Crete 2-1 at home on Saturday and extending its comfortable lead over its nearest rivals, sans AEK Athens, which it plays next week.

    Results of other Super League action:

    Ergotelis Crete - Panathinaikos Athens 1-0

    Asteras Tripolis - Levadiakos Livadia 2-0

    Panthrakikos Komotini - Iraklis Thessaloniki 1-0

    Larissa - Panserraikos Serres 1-1

    Thrasyvoulos Athens - Xanthi 1-1

    AEK Athens - Panionios Athens 3-0

    Aris Thessaloniki - PAOK Thessaloniki 0-0

    The standings after 19 weeks of play:

    Olympiakos 48

    PAOK 37

    Panathinaikos 36

    AEK 34

    Larissa 27

    Panionios 25

    Panthrakikos 25

    Aris 25

    Xanthi 24

    Ergotelis 23

    Iraklis 22

    Levadiakos 22

    Asteras Tripolis 20

    OFI 14

    Thrasyvoulos 13

    Panserraikos 12

    Weather forecast

    [20] Cloud, rain on Monday

    Cloud and rainfall in parts of the country is forecast on Monday. Partly cloudy in Athens, with northwesterly winds of 4-6 on the Beaufort scale; temperatures from 9C to 17C. Partly cloudy also in Thessaloniki, 6C to 14C.

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

    The ongoing farmers' mobilisations, measures intended by the government in the face of the global financial crisis, and increasing speculation of early general elections were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The 'Rocco' code broken" in the investigations into the Siemens slush fund affair tens of millions of deutschemarks found in bank accounts belonging to high-ranking officials of main opposition PASOK party.

    APOGEVMATINI: "We propose Mr. Papoulias (current President of the Republic)".

    AVGHI: "Tough test for at least two years".

    AVRIANI: "Supreme Court president uncovered the politicians".

    CHORA: "Last-minute arrangements - Last chance for 660,000 debtors to the state".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Electoral test in the farmers' blockades and the economy".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Elections (early) shelved".

    ETHNOS: "ND (ruling party) giving out checks without collateral to everyone".

    KATHIMERINI: "Scurry of benefits, with eyes turned to elections".

    LOGOS: "Impasse at the blockades".

    NIKI: "Storm of price hikes".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The farmers' struggle must become a cause for all the workers and self-employed".

    FREE SUNDAY (weekly): Loss of control in the economy".

    TO VIMA: " 'Tsovolas Plan' (referring to former PASOK finance minister) for early elections - The government paving the way to elections with benefits".

    VRADYNI: "What is changing in salaries, pensions".

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