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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-02-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 16 February 2009 Issue No: 3123


  • [01] PM calls for consensus to deal with econ crisis
  • [02] Ministers says 4th CSF to focus on provinces
  • [03] Papandreou : Top priority will be protection of financially weaker
  • [04] Papandreou addresses supporters in Kalamata
  • [05] Tsipras addresses Synaspismos' congress
  • [06] Karatzaferis against early elections
  • [07] Latest opinion poll results
  • [08] Sioufas condolences over plane crash
  • [09] FinMin: Public debt the problem
  • [10] Landmark deal signed by Greek, Turkish private hospital groups
  • [11] Fundraiser for children of Gaza held in Athens
  • [12] Memorial service for WWII war crime in Larissa village
  • [13] Cocaine bust in Thessaloniki
  • [14] Clouds, sleet
  • [15] Greek Superleague Results
  • [16] The Sunday edition of Athens newspapers at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM calls for consensus to deal with econ crisis

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday toured Fthiotida prefecture of central Greece, where he called efforts to deal with the ongoing global economic crisis a "national issue", while again urging the contribution of all political and social forces in the country to exit the crisis unscathed.

    "Our experience from history does not permit any illusions, whenever we Greeks were disunited, whenever we put petty politics first, whenever we adopted divisive practices the result was negative for all, sometimes it was even disastrous for the country. When we were united we reached lofty goals; we successfully faced major challenges," he said.

    While in the prefecture, the premier visited a construction site for the upgraded Malliakos stretch of the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway - once amongst the most dangerous sections of the national roadway system -- while afterwards he met with Lamia Mayor George Kotronias, Fthiotida prefect Thanassis Himaras and other local officials. He also visited the museum at the Thermopylae site and a railroad tunnel project.

    "I am not here to doll out promises," he said, adding that "big words" in such difficult times are of no substance.

    "I am here to talk with you so we can understand each other, to see what we can do best for the country, the prefecture, the municipality."

    Karamanlis called the economic crisis the worst since WWII, stressing that the country cannot afford any more social clashes or irresponsible policies. "Consent on basic issues is imperative".

    "In such times saying no to everything is unconscionable as is the attempt to downgrade everything," he said in referring to the opposition.

    [02] Ministers says 4th CSF to focus on provinces

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Saturday, in an address in the city of Tripolis, southern Greece, said the country's developmental course is closely linked with the provinces' growth, the reason why the government will allocate more than 80 percent of the 4th Community Support Framework to the provinces.

    Referring to local government administrative reforms, Pavlopoulos said the government has made it clear that funding sources come first before proceeding with reforms, adding that the economic crisis has changed priorities. "Whenever though the crisis starts to ease, we will proceed."

    On early election speculation, Pavlopoulos said elections will take place when our tenure is completed, while he condemned PASOK for spreading such rumors.

    Commenting on results of opinion polls indicating a PASOK lead, Pavlopoulos said polls show PASOK with a lead but not a "dynamic lead".

    During his speech, he said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and ruling ND are the only suitable political forces able to deal with the current developments.

    [03] Papandreou : Top priority will be protection of financially weaker

    Main opposition PASOK's top priority, if it wins the next elections, will be the greater protection of the low-and middle-income levels of society, PASOK leader George Papandreou was quoted in an interview carried by the Sunday edition of an Athens newspaper.

    Papandreou insisted on an increase of public investments to boost the local economy.

    He also said PASOK's priority is the re-establishment of the social state through more spending in health and education and provisions to cut households' expenses".

    Among other changes, PASOK will attempt to limit the public sector's waste by studying and examining the articles of the state budget to find out where waste exists, adding that "we will spend where needed..."

    PASOK' leader said his government will radically change the tax system and transfer the burden from the low to the high-income levels, who are able today to evade taxes.

    Concluding, Papandreou pointed at PASOK's plan to deal with the financial crisis, which does not only deal with its management but is directly connected with another general plan to prepare the country for the future".

    The interview was carried in the Sunday edition of "Eleftherotypia".

    [04] Papandreou addresses supporters in Kalamata

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Sunday again demanded early elections this June to coincide with European Parliament elections, calling on the prime minister to declare elections and to agree on a consensus candidate for president of the republic.

    Papandreou, who spoke to supporters in the southeastern port city of Kalamata, charged that PM Costas Karamanlis is ignoring his demands.

    "PASOK doesn't call for elections for its own sake but for the country's sake. If we only cared for our party's interests we would let the government to fall apart, day after day. We only want to avoid the worst," he said, adding that "even if the following day is difficult we are ready to deal with it."

    He called on the people to "hold their head up high" and to know that there is hope for the country, while referring to the government he said it should "step back for Greece to pass; let the people speak".

    He criticised the government as having failed in all sectors and was critical over government's policy in agriculture and on public sector spending.

    "The country is in the midst of a crisis and needs to increase public investments, and the government has not only reduced them but has not taken advantage of even a single euro of the 4th CSF, leaving the country unprotected before the global economic crisis."

    Papandreou referred to the major and necessary reforms that must be made in the country, such as decentralisation, a new development model based on "green" development and an investment in human resources.

    He promised to create a "just state", pointing out that markets do not adjust themselves because this is a recipe of destruction. He also promised that Greece will recover its credibility in Europe, the Balkans and internationally, because PASOK's government will be a credible negotiator.

    "We can unite Greeks with a radical programme and we will be the winners of this battle," he concluded.

    [05] Tsipras addresses Synaspismos' congress

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday called on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to lead the country towards a" democratic exit" from the crisis, as he said, via early elections.

    In an address on the closing day of a Synaspismos standing congress, Tsipras referred to the consequences of the economic crisis and gave credit to his party programme, stressing that it is a realistic programme that meets working class, youth and poor people's needs -- and does not benefit bankers of profiteers".

    In a criticism of bipartisanism, Tsipras said the governments of the two mainstream parties have dismantled society and made an alliance with big capital in order to ensure their governance, adding that "the development has turned into toxic products and their derivatives".

    "The dilemma on the verge of general elections is that now people will have a choice: Whether to support the powerful parties or to support the left".

    [06] Karatzaferis against early elections

    Popular Orthodox Party (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis on Sunday reiterated that he is against early elections in the midst of the ongoing economic crisis and a brewing social crisis, as he said, speaking in an interview carried by the Sunday edition of "Eleftheros Typos".

    Instead of early elections, Karatzaferis proposes a wider consensus and called on the prime minister to "abandon his arrogance and ask for this wider consensus", saying there are personalities in the political world that can assume responsibilities in order to "get the country out of the swamp".

    Karatzaferis said he would be open to the prospect of serving the country if Karamanlis called for it today, adding that ruling New Democracy's marginal majority in Parliament cannot bring about a smooth development in the prevailing situation".

    On the possibility of PASOK-SYRIZA cooperation, Karatzaferis said SYRIZA's presence in the government is not necessary, while he characterised SYRIZA's positions extreme.

    [07] Latest opinion poll results

    A slew of opinion polls published in several newspapers on Sunday, a standard feature of the weekend editions, give main opposition PASOK a continuing lead over ruling New Democracy party, while conversely, showing respondents' preference for Premier Costas Karamanlis over PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    One poll, published by the "Ethnos" paper, gave PASOK 36.3 percent of respondents' preference to 34.6 percent for ND, while the Communist Party (KKE) garnered 7.3 percent; 7.1 percent for leftist SYRIZA and 4.1 percent for LA.OS.

    Karamanlis was preferred by 43.3 percent to 39.2 percent for Papandreou.

    The poll was conducted by the Marc firm.

    Meanwhile, in another poll in the weekly "Proto Thema", PASOK garnered 33 percent to 28.4 percent for ND; 7.3 for KKE, 6.3 percent for SYRIZA and 4 percent for LA.OS. The poll was conducted by the Alco firm.

    Finally, a poll in the Sunday edition of "Kathimerini" gives PASOK 38.5 percent to 34 percent for ND. Additionally, KKE picks up 8.5 percent to SYRIZA's 10 percent and 4.5 percent for LA.OS. Moreover, an up-until-now unknown "Greens" formation is picked by 3.5 percent of respondents.

    Karamanlis is preferred as prime minister by 39.09 percent of respondents to 35 percent for Papandreou.

    The poll was conducted by the firm Public Issue.

    [08] Sioufas condolences over plane crash

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas on Saturday sent a letter of condolences to US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi regarding the death of 50 passengers and crew aboard a jetliner that crashed outside of Buffalo, New York, this past week.

    Financial News

    [09] FinMin: Public debt the problem

    Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou reiterated stressed that the possibility of EU supervision of the Greek economy does not frighten the government, noting that "the process of excessive deficit does not bother us ... such a procedure doesn't concern only Greece but also four other countries."

    He pointed out that the problem is not the excessive deficit but the high public debt and the cost of borrowing, the reason he is requesting drastic cutbacks in public spending, underlining that the "economy ministry's cutbacks are not enough, all ministries must proceed with mandatory cutbacks and must closely examine their spending."

    [10] Landmark deal signed by Greek, Turkish private hospital groups

    ISTANBUL- (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Greek Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Turkish Minister of State for European issues Egemen Bagis underlined on Saturday the importance of a deal by Athens-based Hygeia Group and Safak, at a press conference here for the signing of share purchase agreement for the latter.

    Avramopoulos stressed that this investment is a landmark not only for the two countries' economy but also for their bilateral relations.

    The head of the Hygeia Group, MIG vice-president Andreas Vgenopoulos, said that investment and business opportunities do not recognize frontiers, especially in the framework of the global economy, adding that Turkey is a very interesting place for investments in general. He also noted that Marfin Group will examine the possibility for more investments in Turkey before the end of 2009.

    Bagis welcomed Avramopoulos and the Greek delegation and expressed his satisfaction and optimism for the development in Greek-Turkish relations and - bilateral investments.

    Hygeia Group, a Greek-listed group, officially presented the purchase of a 50-pct stake in Safak Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Hygeia will assume the management of the Turkish company.

    Safak Group operates four fully equipped hospitals in the wider Istanbul region, with a capacity of 470 beds.

    General News

    [11] Fundraiser for children of Gaza held in Athens

    A special fundraising event to collect money for the children of beleaguered Gaza was held at the packed Dais Theatre in Maroussi, Athens on Sunday evening, beginning with an opening address by Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. The money donated will be handed over to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, which will be in charge of ensuring that it is delivered to where it is most required.

    The event was organised by the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health 'Prolepsis', with the assistance of the 'CCC family' based in Athens and its Palestinian owners Khoury and Sabbagh and Leila Jallad.

    Introducing Avramopoulos, correspondent Maria Karhilaki recounted her own experiences in the Palestinian territories, stressing that Gaza was one of the most densely populated regions in the world and that nearly half the population was under 18.

    Avramopoulos stressed that our response to the events in Gaza was a "measure of the world's civilisation" and stressed that for all people in Europe and in Greece it was a "message of our responsibility".

    Other speakers included European Parliament Vice-President Rodi Kratsa, UNRWA director Panos Moumtzis and Dr. Aris Mousionis, just back from Gaza, who delivered an impassioned account of his experiences leading one of the few medical missions that got through the blockade to deliver humanitarian assistance and treatment amid Israeli air strikes.

    He underlined both the fear felt by all but also the dignity of the Palestinian people, and said his presence brought hope simply because he had got through the blockade.

    Kratsa emphasised the need to end the isolation of Gaza and the Israeli blockade, stressing that the region could have no future as long as this remained in place. She emphasised that not even humanitarian aid was able to help substantially under current circumstances, and that developmental aid, including substantial sums promised in Paris and held by the European Union, was essentially stalled.

    Moumtzis painted a stark picture of conditions within the city, especially in the wake of the air strikes between December 27 and January 18. He noted that 1200 people had lost their lives during that time, 410 of them children, while thousands of children had been injured - some of them with injuries that would trouble them their entire lives - and 100,000 people had been left homeless, with roughly one sixth of the city's housing destroyed.

    Among the targets of the strikes, he said, were the UN warehouse and a UN school filled with civilians trying to escape the fighting, while he underlined that both of these were definitely non-military targets.

    He also cited problems getting aid into Gaza due to the checkpoints - noting that only 37 trucks had got through on that day when the area's immediate needs - with 80 percent of the Gaza population now dependent on UN humanitarian aid - would require 500 trucks a day.

    Among the last speakers was the Palestinian Authority's ambassador in Athens Samir Abu Ghazalah, who appealed for a day when peace will be achieved "for our children and their children".

    [12] Memorial service for WWII war crime in Larissa village

    A memorial service was held on Sunday in remembrance of the 150 civilians executed by Italian occupation forces on Feb. 16, 1943 in the villages of Damassi, Domenico and Messohori of Larissa prefecture, central Greece.

    Italian Amb. to Greece Gianpaolo Scarante was on hand for the commemoration and a wreath-laying ceremony at a monument erected for the victims.

    In his address, the diplomat emphasised that we must remember the past and understand our responsibilities.

    A documentary entitled, "Domenico, A forgotten Sacrifice", will be screened on Monday afternoon at the township.

    [13] Cocaine bust in Thessaloniki

    Police in Thessaloniki on Saturday confiscated more than four kilos of cocaine after a tip-off led them to a package arriving from Colombia at the city's Macedonia Airport.

    A 38-year-old man was later arrested when in arrived to claim the parcel, along with another man charged as an accomplice. Both suspects claimed the actual recipient of the package was a third person.

    Weather Monday

    [14] Clouds, sleet

    Rain and light snowfall is forecast for Monday throughout most of Greece. Morning snowfall in the north with temperatures ranging from -7C to 10C. Clouds and sleet on the rest of the mainland and southern Greece, -1C to 11C. Chance of rain on the islands, 5C to 13C. Overcast in Athens, 1C-10C. Scattered clouds in Thessaloniki, -2C to 4C.


    [15] Greek Superleague Results

    Olympiakos Piraeus retained its 14-point lead over the second place teams over the weekend by downing Aris Thessaloniki 2-1 at home on Saturday in a match that left the visitors furious with several referee calls.


    Levadiakos Livadia - PAOK Thessaloniki 0-3

    Panionios Athens - Ergotelis Crete 0-0

    AEK Athens - Tharasyvoulos Athens 1-0

    Olympiakos Piraeus - Aris Thessaloniki 2-1

    OFI Crete - Asteras Tripoli 1-1

    Panserraikos Serres - Xanthi 1-0

    Panthrakikos Komotini - Larissa 0-1

    Iraklis Thessaloniki - Panathinaikos Athens 0-0

    STANDINGS after 22 matches


    PAOK 43


    AEK 38

    LARISSA 34

    ARIS 31


    XANTHI 28

    IRAKLIS 26





    OFI 18



    [16] The Sunday edition of Athens newspapers at a glance

    Five new polls' results, reports on the ongoing economic crisis and growth development dominated the headlines on Sunday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Consumers' war begins - Boycott against profiteering".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Loophole for slash in work days ".

    AVGHI: "Left the protagonist ".

    CHORA: "New opportunities for used cars".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Faithful and clerics upset over Archibishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos' statements".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: " Economic and political developments: Crucial 100 days".

    ETHNOS: "Main opposition PASOK to be the winner of second round of elections".

    KATHIMERINI: "Citizens do not trust ND and PASOK".

    KYRIAKATIKI AVRIANI: "The clash in political, banking and media sectors intensifies".

    KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "MIG's rocket vis a vis toxic bonds".

    KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party of Greece's 18th Congress of counterattack".

    LOGOS: "The internal balances within government on a tight rope".

    NIKI : "Management of 28-billion-euros banks' liquidity a labyrinth".

    PARON : "Who is ruling: Karamanlis or FM Dora Bakoyannis?"

    PROTO THEMA: "Bankers give a 380 million euros bonus to themselves".

    REAL NEWS: "Polls: Citizens to Karamanlis : Stay even after elections loss".

    TO VIMA: "Ruling New Democracy against its leader Costas Karamanlis - The crisis awaken successors' appetite".

    VRADYNI: "Who you will be appointed in public sector".

    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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