|Monday, 19 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-03-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 16 March 2009 Issue No: 3146
 PM addresses youth group con'f on environment, long-term developmentPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday addressed a ruling New Democracy youth organisation (ONNED) conference in the western town of Agrinio on the issue of "Environment, Green Energy and Long-term Development".
Karamanlis praised ONNED cadres on their decision to start their conference from a provincial town, stressing that it is an "act of symbolism and significance".
"We have received your message; the new generation is our country's major advantage. You are showing us the way to the future; the way of dialogue and cooperation; the way of national unanimity; the way that sets aside petty politics to join all young people's common visions".
Regarding government's policy on environment, Karamanlis said that from 2004 the government has been implemented a new developmental model, adding that "We are implementing a strategy that combines development with environmental protection. The fact that the National Framework Package grants 4.9 billion euros for works and actions for environment's protection is a major example of our efforts."
Earlier, he spoke at the Aetoloakarnania prefecture's Industrial Chamber, where he noted that "we are proceeding with responsibility, calmness and seriousness. We are determined to transform the international challenge into a national opportunity; all together, and determined to win this battle for the sake of all Greek citizens".
Karamanlis also noted that the international economic crisis exerts pressure on all financial institutions, and that nobody can ignore this reality.
The prime minister called business owners to show greater social responsibility and the due respect to their employees.
Referring to government's plan to exit the crisis, he said that it is based on development, even with low rates of growth during this difficult year, "the gradual reduction of the fiscal deficit and support to the weaker incomes, within the limits of our economy."
Karamanlis also referred to the government's plan to cope with unemployment. "We are implementing coordinated actions aimed to help 200,000 unemployed to find jobs by the end of the year."
 PASOK on PM's commentsMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Saturday referred to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to Agrinio.
"Society has turned its back to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. His visit to the local hospital reminds Greek people the dysfunction and degradation of the National Health System. His visit to a construction site of Ionia highway reminds them of the cutbacks in state's investments and the abandoning of the region during his governance. His speech to producer groups makes it clear that he doesn't have a plan against the crisis and of course his presence at New Democracy's youth organisation reminds us that entire he prefers his party's audience."
Concerning the last poll results, Papaconstantinou said they indicate citizens' disapproval of Karamanlis' governance.
 SYRIZA: PM obsessed with neo-liberal partyA Coalition of the Left (SYRIZA) party, in an announcement on Saturday, sharply criticised Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for what it called an obsession with a "neo-liberal policy".
"The government's plan for an exit from the crisis is harmful for the majority of Greek citizens and especially for the weaker strata. What is needed is a radically different structure in economy's model for the sake of society and the environment".
 FM Bakoyannis: ND a large democratic partyForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who is visiting northern Greece, said that "the extremes are extreme and by comparison ruling New Democracy is a large democratic party representing the centre and the right."
She was answering a press question referring the Popular Orthodox Party (LA.OS).
Referring to the vandalism against stores, banks and cars in Athens and Thessaloniki, a day earlier, she stressed: "We are really worried and we are determined not to permit to such groups to destroy people's property and to devastate the image of the country".
The statements were made after the conclusion of Bakoyannis' meeting with the members of ND's coordinating committee in Thessaloniki in the presence of Macedonia and Thrace Minister Stavros Kalafatis, Deputy Interior Ministers Costas Gioulekas, Yannis Ioannidis and other officials.
Bakoyannis at noon will tour Pella prefecture and in the evening will address ND supporters in Edessa.
 PASOK leader bashes gov't in Veria address; gov't reactionMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said now was the time for the country to change course, addressing a political rally in the north-central town of Veria on Sunday.
"Let's give the say to the Greek people to decide: PASOK or New Democracy? Exit from the crisis or bankruptcy? Dignified life or poverty? Security or insecurity? Work or unemployment? With the bankers or with the citizens? Social sensitivity or insensitivity?" Papandreou asked.
The PASOK leader said a different path existed, adding that the people, with their vote, would choose his party for a state that cared about the citizen and a human-oriented society.
Greece, he continued, was at a critical crossroads, and what would be decided was whether it would continue on the same destructive decline or change course, and accused the government's policy of causing insecurity "which is becoming a noose around the throat of every Greek". Robberies had become routine, guns and shots had become a frequent phenomenon, and prison escapes had become an international joke. "The state is collapsing, and unlawfulness is prevailing," Papandreou added.
He said that the ND government was unable to guarantee the country's equal participation in international developments, tolerated Turkish provocations in the Aegean, and was teetering constantly like a pendulum between retreat and adventurism.
Outlining his party's platform on agriculture, Papandreou said PASOK had warned the government of the problems on the horizon, but the government had turned a deaf ear.
On social policy, Papandreou said the government could not be asking a 600 euros pensioner and the 1,500 euros wage-earner for sacrifices today.
Now was the time for "the others, the few, the rich and powerful, those who have benefited over the past five years" to contribute equally, Papandreou said, adding that PASOK did not perceive the social state as philanthropy.
Papandreou further blasted the incidents of corruption and lack of transparency in public life, noting that the country today was living in a state of non-meritocracy, corruption and inefficiency, and was a captive of the big interests.
The PASOK leader said that his party could succeed, and would be judged on its actions. "Now is the time to help the weak," he said, and called on the Greek people to join forces "around a national, social pact, a pact of confidence for a new course for the country that will bring the unemployed out of the margins and the poor out of poverty".
The farmers, he continued, needed immediate measures that would reduce the cost of production and enhance their incomes. To ND's lack of developmental strategy PASOK responds with proposals for a new model of balanced growth, fortification of the Imathia region with expansion of the Veria hospital, completion of the Veria-Naoussa-Edessa highway, establishment of a suburban railway linking Thessaloniki with the cities of Imathia and Pella, and the operation of a commercial airport in Alexandria, Papandreou said.
The PASOK leader further pledged free, quality education for everyone, reinstatement of the all-day school, and funding for education amounting to 5 percentage points of GDP.
Turning to the European Parliament elections in June, Papandreou said the EU needed institutional changes so that the member-states could contribute to developmental recovery with public investments that would not burden their deficits.
He said that the global financial crisis had also highlighted the problems in present-day Europe, which could not be simply a Europe of the market and single currency. PASOK, he added, was fighting for a Europe with targets and policies that promote a human model, a developmental model that invests in knowledge and innovation, a Europe that gives a say to its citizens.
In a later reaction, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said Papandreou's statements in Veria said "made danger-mongering his party's banner. As much as he struggles, he won't succeed in dividing the Greek people. However, as much as he tries, he will not be able to promote his personal agonies above the country's interests ... he won't be able to hide his bulimia for power."
He also charged that Papandreou's "only concern is his petty political planning; planning that concern only himself and his undisguised and anxious group of associates..."
Reacting to Papandreou's address, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said, in a statement, that PASOK leadership, with empty declarations, was attempting to conceal the fact that its policy was equally dangerous for the people as that of ND.
Both mainstream parties (PASOK and ND) "have the same guideline: the needs of the plutocracy, which is expressed with reactionary directions by the EU," the KKE statement concluded.
 KKE leader: Crisis will be acute when it hits GreeceCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said that the global financial crisis showed up the impasses of capitalism, and the superiority of the socialist system, in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of the "Kathimerini" newspaper.
Papariga opined that the crisis would be acute when it hit Greece.
She also predicted that the New Democracy (ND) government would not serve out its entire four-year term, adding that the "forces of capital" wanted a strong government of consensus, "in other words a government that will be able, as they think, to impose even harsher anti-popular measures".
On elections, "whenever they take place", Papariga called for the voters to back KKE (even if they do not agree with us on everything" because her party "is the guarantee for the daily life of the working people in order to avert the worst".
She further criticized the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) that its occasional metamorphoses and Leftist slogans could not conceal its opportunism nor the bankrupt social-democratic views it cultivates.
 SYN leader: Euro-elections opportunity for registering voters' displeasureCoalition of the Left (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras said that the June European Parliament elections posed an opportunity to record the people's displeasure with the political system and the two mainstream parties (ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK) that have led the country to the present crisis, speaking on Sunday at open events in Thessaloniki during which the party's platform on education was presented.
Tsipras said that the Euro-elections were a significant opportunity because the people were faced with the quandary of "one of the same" on the one hand, or change of page on the other hand, namely, confirmation of the two parties that, with their policies, had created the crisis, or an "escape forward" with a turn to the Left.
He said that SYRIZA (the SYN-led Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance) has proven that it can upset opinion poll forecasts, and expressed conviction that there was the ability to produce a "surprise" electoral result in the Euro-elections.
Speaking on the same subject in an interview with the "Eleftherotypia" daily appearing on Sunday, Tsipras said that he considered the Euro-elections not only a collective cause, but also a personal wager.
On the global financial crisis, Tsipras likened the European Commission and the ECOFIN ministers' council as the "Vatican of economic policy", adding that "we will not play the role of local bishops".
 High-profile con'f focuses on Greek-FYROM ties, 'name issue'Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Sunday inaugurated a two-day conference entitled "Greece-fYRoM: The Causes of the Crisis and Greece's Position after the Bucharest Summit -- Possible Solution, Prospects", organised by ruling New Democracy party's affiliated students group in the southern coastal town of Nafplio.
Avramopoulos, a former Athens mayor and career diplomat, stressed that Greece in the beginning of the 1990s lost many opportunities to resolve the thorny issue, and should have accepted the name 'Slavo-macedonia' for the neophyte state that emerged to its immediate north.
"We have lost 10 years," he said.
Moreover, he stressed that "in case of a referendum not a single Greek citizen would accept the name 'Macedonia'," for the international recognised name of the former Yugoslav republic.
New Democracy MEP Manolis Angelakas, on his part, emphasised that the current FYROM government's provocations demonstrated "irredentism", while he referred, in detail, to the NATO's summit in Bucharest last April, underlining that "FYROM received the message that it won't be accepted into the Atlantic Alliance under its own conditions".
Others speakers included ND parliament member Elsa Papadimitriou, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party MP Adonis Georgiadis, Amb. Constantinos Georgiou, "name issue" expert and researcher Evangelos Kofos and others.
 Three new opinion polls on election preferencesMain opposition PASOK maintained its lead over ruling New Democracy (ND) in three opinion polls, two on national elections and one on European Parliament elections, which appeared in three Athens newspapers on Sunday.
According to a Public Issue opinion poll appearing in the Sunday edition of Kathimerini, PASOK posted a five percent lead over ND, with PASOK increasing its proportion by 1.5 percent and ND by 1.0 percent over a previous poll conducted last month by the same survey firm, but prime minister Costas Karamanlis maintained an 8 percent lead as the most suitable for prime minister.
More specifically, in Public Issue's monthly political 'barometer' conducted by telephone on March 3-6 on a sampling of 1,018 respondents, PASOK was preferred by 40 percent of voters against 34 percent for ND -- while the previous month's poll in February 2009 PASOK was leading with 38.5 percent against 35 percent for ND -- with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in third place with 8.5 percent (8.5 percent also in the February barometer), the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) with 7.6 percent (down from 10 percent last month), the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) with 5.0 percent (up from 4.5 percent last month) and the Ecologists-Greens with 3.0 percent (down from 3.5 percent in February).
Karamanlis posted an eight percent lead with 40 percent, against 32 percent for PASOK leader George Papandreou, to the question on who was the most suitable for prime minister.
According to a Focus opinion poll appearing in Real News, which was conducted on March 10-12 by phone on a sampling of 1,000 respondents, PASOK posted a three percent lead over ND, with the two mainstream parties again indicating an increase in their percentages over the previous month. Specifically, 30.2 percent of the respondents said they would vote for PASOK if elections were held the following Sunday (up from 29.4 percent in the same poll in February), against 27.2 percent for ND (26.3 percent in last month's poll), followed by the KKE with 7 percent, SYRIZA with 6.8 percent, LAOS with 3.6 percent, and the Ecologists-Greens with 2.8 percent.
According to a RASS opinion poll appearing in To Paron weekly newspaper, conducted by phone on March 9-12 on a sampling of 2,003 respondents and concerning voter preference for European Parliament elections, PASOK posted a 2.5 percent lead over PASOK, although down a marginal 0.2 percent from the previous poll conducted on March 1. More specifically, PASOK was preferred by 32.1 percent (32.4 percent in the previous poll), ND posted 29.6 percent (29.7 percent), SYRIZA 7.9 percent (7.2 percent), the KKE 7.1 percent (7.8 percent), LAOS 5.1 percent (4.3 percent) and the Ecologists-Greens 3.2 percent (3.1 percent).
 Dep. Min. proposes Hellenes abroad press documentation centreDeputy Interior Minister Costas Gioulekas, who holds the media portfolio, on Sunday proposed the creation of a Hellenes Abroad press documentation centre in Thessaloniki, speaking at the inauguration of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) press exhibition.
"I believe it would be an outstanding effort that we can begin together at the Interior Ministry, the SAE and the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry," he said.
 ONNED head calls for separate environment ministryThe president of ruling New Democracy (ND) party's affiliated youth group (ONNED), Giorgos Papanikolaou, on Saturday called for the creation of a separate environment ministry, during his address on Sunday in the western city of Agrinio during an ONNED conference on the environment.
Papanikolaou noted that a separate ministry is not only mandatory for the upgrading of relevant administrative structures but basically to emphasise the priority given to environmental issues. He also called a broader use of renewable energy sources.
 FinMin: Election-mongering, not elections, hurt the economyElection-mongering and benefit-mongering, not elections, hurt the economy, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou warned, in an interviewing appearing in a Sunday newspaper.
In an interview with the "Vima" daily, Papathanassiou said the state of the Greek economy was manageable, and assured that the government would continue to follow a combination economic policy in order to support growth and the financially weaker strata.
Questioned on the prospect of new taxes being introduced, the minister noted that he has already categorically denied speculation of an increase in VAT, warning that talk alone of such a prospect was harmful to the economy, created an inflationary mentality and only served to help profiteering games.
However, he added, he would not adopt a rationale of denying every scenario that sees the light of day.
On incomes policy for the civil servants, Papathanassiou said that it would be announced "by the end of March", adding that the government would handle this issue as well with due sensitivity, and noted that the fact would be taken into consideration that the public sector salaried employees had the security of tenure, which was not so for the employees in the private sector and the unemployed.
 OA's ground service to MIGMarfin Investment Group (MIG) on Saturday announced that it will also purchase state-run Olympic Airways' ground handling service, after an earlier suitor, Swissport, failed to finalise a deal for the unit.
Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said the deal between Swissport and MIG was not completed within a set deadline that ended yesterday.
"Negotiations between the state and MIG on finalising a deal for both Olympic Airways and its ground handling services to be purchased by MIG will proceed immediately," he said.
MIG had promised to buy the ground handling services for a price of 44.8 million euros, as set by independent evaluators.
 New oil exploration investment in Kavala GulfDevelopment Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Saturday characterised a new 200-million-dollar oil exploration project in the Kavala Gulf of northern Greece as "one of the most important investments in Greece at the moment".
The exploration aims to exploit fossil fuel deposits in the North Prinos zone, undertaken by the companies Kavala Oil and Energiaki S.A.
At a company presentation, Hatzidakis stressed that the state supports healthy and major investments, while he also underlined that the specific investment is being carried out completely with private capital.
The Greek minister, who holds the energy portfolio, praised the company's environmental protection over the past 30 years since it has been active in the Kavala Gulf region, between the northeast mainland and popular Thassos island.
According to company officials, the goal is production of 13,000 barrels of oil on a daily basis via three rigs above the deposit "E" of the North Prinos zone, and using the all-weather drilling technology "energy exerter". One of the rigs has already arrived at the port of Kavala from Norway, following a three-month journey.
 National Literature Awards bestowedGreece's National Literature Awards for 2008 were bestowed on Sunday at the Parnassus Hall in downtown Athens, in presence of Culture Minister Antonis Samaras.
The major literary prize was unanimously awarded to Costas Georgousopoulos for the sum of his works: poetry, theatrical critiques, essays and translations.
The poetry prize was awarded to Dimitra Christodoulou for her book 'Limos'; the short story prize went to Evgenia Fakinou for "Filodoxies Kipou"; the fiction prize to Georgios Leonardos for his book "The last Palaeologus", while the essay and critics award went to Vangelis Athanassopoulos for his book "The poetic landscape of the 19th and 20th century".
 Kileler uprising commemoratedFarmers and students' groups on Sunday participated in at a commemoration honoring the 99th anniversary of the in Kileler uprising, an early 20th century farmers' revolt in Thessaly, central Greece.
 Nafplio honours FarakosThe municipality of Nafplio in the southeastern Peloponnese held a weekend conference in honour of political intellectual and long-time leftist activist Grigoris Farakos, who was born and is buried in the city. Farakos, a former Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general, was also the author of several books.
 Simmering vendetta results in death, several arrests on CreteA simmering vendetta between two local families in a remote rural part of Hania prefecture on Crete resulted in one shooting death and the serious injury of the 25-year-old victim's mother hours later.
A total of eight individuals were subsequently arrested by police, while another two suspects, reportedly the assailants, are sought.
An initial fracas occurred in a field near the Pervolakia site near the township of Kissamos, where the victim was shot dead by gunfire. His mother was later stabbed at a nearby health centre, where members of the two families again clashed.
 Olympiakos, PAO advanceOlympiakos Piraeus retained its nine-point lead over second-place Panathinaikos Athens on Sunday after bashing Iraklis Thessaloniki at home 5-0, with all the goals scored in the second half. Panathinaikos, meanwhile, overtook PAOK Thessaloniki in second place after edging relegated Thrasyvoulos Athens 1-0 away.
 Results of other Greek Superleague games over the weekend.Larissa - PAOK Thessaloniki (Sat.) 0-0
AEK Athens - OFI Crete (Sat.) 1-0
Aris Thessaloniki - Xanthi (Sat.) 0-1
Ergotelis Crete - Asteras Tripolis 0-1
Levadiakos Livadia - Panionios Athens 1-1
Panthrakikos Komotini - Panserraikos Serres 2-1
Standings (after 26 weeks)
Asteras Tripolis 32
OFI Crete 20
 Fair on MondayFair weather is forecast for most parts of the country on Monday. A chance of rain in the north and northwest Greece, with temperatures ranging from -2C to 18C; 0C-18C on the rest of the mainland and between 5C-17C on the islands. Northerly winds, 3 to 4 on the Beaufort scale on the seas. Fair in Athens, 5C-18C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, 0C-14C.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesPolitical developments, an apparent rapprochement between main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and his predecessor, former prime minister Costas Simitis, the economy and crime were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Crisis within Church of Greece; 'rebellion' in Mesogaia (east Attica prefecture) bishopric the reason".
APOGEVMATINI: "New pay scales in public sector announced at end of March".
VIMA: "Total recall of PASOK to power; new situation following Papandreou-Simitis rapprochement".
VRADYNI: "How to secure your pension".
ETHNOS: "September 'ground zero' for Greek economy".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Where is Church headed?"
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "'I'll fight until the end', PM Costas Karamanlis reiterates his decisions amid economic crisis.
EPOCHI: "They're killing off employment".
KATHIMERINI: "New Scotland Guard unit in Athens on Monday to help reorganise anti-terrorism service".
CHORA: "How to save money, time in this year's tax returns"
AVGI: "Quo vadis.gr" in reference to unemployment.
AVRIANI: "Businesspeople, bankers should assume their responsibilities in order to deal with economic situation".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "OK by Ecofin council for 5% VAT rate to achieve cuts in indirect taxes for tourism services, construction; Athens mute".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Struggle continues on Tuesday against plutocracy".
LOGOS: "Rising crime rate a headache for government".
REALNEWS: "(LA.OS party head George) Karatzaferis in front of us, not with us," interview by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
PARON: "Nightmares for Costas, George from economic crisis, terrorism".
PROTO THEMA: "Live and let other Greeks die; brutal indifference by state".
NIKI: "Most difficult summer ahead for tourism sector".
FREE SUNDAY: "Desperate measures due to corruption".
 Slovak National Council President to visit to CyprusNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The President of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Pavol Paska, heading a four-member parliamentary delegation, arrives Monday afternoon in Cyprus on an official three-day visit, at the invitation of the Cyprus House President Marios Garoyian.
 Loeb wins Cyprus RallyNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Citroen Racing's Sebastien Loeb secured an emphatic victory in the 2009 Cyprus Rally, round three of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), and re-wrote his own record books by securing a landmark 50th WRC victory in Limassol on Sunday afternoon.
The Frenchman has taken the world of rallying by storm since sealing his first WRC victory in Germany in 2002 and he comfortably held off the challenge from Finland's Mikko Hirvonen over the closing three stages in Cyprus to win by a margin of 27.2 seconds.
''I didn't really think about the 50 victories,'' said Loeb. ''I wanted to concentrate on keeping everything in order and making sure
I made no mistakes. It has been a fantastic start to the season for me. I have three wins from three events and the 50th victory makes it that extra special. It's incredible. I remember the records of Carlos (Sainz) and Colin (McRae). They were my mentors. Now this is like a dream'', he added
Hirvonen's BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team settled for second overall and eight manufacturers' series points, but Spaniard Dani Sordo lost out on the final podium place to Petter Solberg over the closing two stages. The success for the Norwegian privateer marked his first podium finish since his second overall with the Subaru team in last year's Acropolis Rally. ''We are back,'' shouted an elated Solberg at the stage finish.
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