|Saturday, 24 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-03-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 23 March 2009 Issue No: 3152
 Papandreou: Extra funding via higher taxes on wealthyMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Sunday charged that the New Democracy (ND) government has been judged and determined to have failed, in comments carried by an Athens newspaper.
Speaking a year and a half after the last general elections, September 2007, Papandreou also predicted that voters will give PASOK absolute majority, adding that "elections may be announced any time" as a result of "major impasses".
He reiterated that consensus and calls by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for a joint effort in hamdling the present economic crisis, was a "blank check" to continue his (Karamanlis's) "unsuccessful policies against the majority of citizens".
Referring to the international economic crisis, Papandreou stressed that the "worse crisis is the government's total incompetence to serve the country's interests; the government's latest measures are a confession of deceit and political fraud."
Asked where he would find money to fund the projects and initiatives he is proposing while in the opposition, the former foreign minister in successive PASOK governments said he would increase taxes on the rich, major corporate shareholders and major real estate holders, adding that the state's assets would be properly exploited and for the common interest, while he also promised to freeze defence spending.
Regarding the role of the banks, he said that the banks are being supported by the state without any exchange, adding that "a state's pylon will be created which will give a new direction to the banking system". He also announced the imposition of major property tax, taxation of certain Church holdings and off-shore companies, if elected.
Concerning President of Republic Karolos Papoulias's re-election, Papandreou said he would support him if he desired a second term.
As for the government's recently announced stricter measures against individuals engaged in criminal acts while wearing hoods, Papandreou merely said that the government was attempting to "hide its own weaknesses behind the issue of the hoods."
 FM Bakoyannis addresses party event in IoanninaForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, addressing an event organised by the ruling New Democracy party's local prefectural organisation in the city of Ioannina, northwestern Greece, on Saturday evening, criticised the main opposition PASOK party of "backtracking and of lacking responsibility and reliability."
"They are aware that the only reason they are calling for elections, PASOK's leader and his associates, is to disorientate public opinion, to throw the ball into the stands. Their aim is to conceal the poverty in their proposals, to conceal their inadequacy, even in exercising opposition, not to speak of the country's governance," she said.
Referring to the new measures concerning the economy, Bakoyannis said that the extraordinary circumstances require them and the government has the political courage to take them, without placing the possible political cost above the common interest.
 DM: Euro-elections don't elect gov'tDefence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Sunday stressed that upcoming "European parliament elections do not elect a national government," in an interview given to an Athens newspaper.
Meimarakis also noted that opposition PASOK's lead in recent polls is the result of the difficult economic conjucture, adding that "our problem are not the polls but how to face the problems".
On early election speculation, Meimarakis stressed that the popular mandate is fresh and "not a single reason exists for elections".
 Alavanos: End Stability PactRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary grouping leader Alekos Alavanos on Sunday expressed a view that voters' shift from the two mainstream parties (ruling New Democracy and PASOK) is a first reaction amid what he termed the fear and insecurity prevalent in the world, in an interview with the party's affiliated newspaper.
He stressed that this "shift, as he evaluated, is not being done with enthusiasm or hope but of out of necessity, adding that he is aware that SYRIZA is also going through a period of major adversity.
Referring to the recent spate of urban violence, Alavanos blamed police incompetence.
The leader of the small leftist group in parliament also called European leadership non-existent and urged for the abolition of the Stability Pact.
 New opinion pollsThe main opposition PASOK party is leading the ruling New Democracy (ND) party, according to the latest opinion polls. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is continuing to be ahead of PASOK leader George Papandreou as to who is most suitable to be prime minister.
The opinion poll prepared by ALCO for the newspaper "Proto Thema" shows PASOK leading ND by 4.5 percent and garnering 32.6 pc, ND 28.1, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 8, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) 5.8 and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party 4.5.
The poll carried out by RASS for the newspaper "Paron" gives PASOK 34.2 pc, ND 30.9, KKE 7.2, SYRIZA 6, LAOS 4.4 and the Ecologists Greens 3.1. A further 56.7 pc of respondents believe that PASOK will win the next elections, compared to 37.5 for ND. Karamanlis also receives 44.7 pc as to who is best for prime minister, followed by Papandreou with 32.9.
Lastly, the poll prepared by ALCO for the "Proto Thema" shows that 77.5 pc of respondents want tougher measures to crack down on crime, 75.8 pc favour police intervention in universities in the event of criminal acts and 62 pc agree to additional sentences for those breaking the law while wearing a hood.
 America Archbishop Demetrios to meet U.S. President Barack Obama, Hillary ClintonNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Archbishop of America Demetrios will be meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department at 8 p.m. (Greek time) on Monday.
"We shall have the opportunity to discuss issues of interest to us as expatriates," said the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
Archbishop Demetrios will also be meeting U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday. He will then be attending, together with President Obama, and addressing a ceremony being organised by the U.S. president at 11 p.m. (Greek time) on the occasion of the March 25 national anniversary.
During his visit to Washington, Archbishop Demetrios will also have the opportunity to meet senators, deputies and officials of the Obama administration.
 Greek Lobby mobilizes against Clinton-Talat meetingNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P.Panagiotou/CNA)
The Greek Lobby in the USA mobilized to avert a meeting between US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
In a letter to US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden, Greek lobby personalities describe such a meeting as an ''extension of the Bush Administration doctrine even further by establishing a Cyprus policy that contradicts both'' Obama's and Biden's ''clearly articulated views on the issue.''
They urge both Obama and Biden to intervene ''before they cause America problems that will take years to correct.''
Noting that the US administration has not yet held high-level contacts with either the President or the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, they state that they are ''shocked to learn from a statement by the Turkish-Cypriot spokesman in Cyprus that they are now on the verge of establishing this administration's de facto recognition of an illegal entity in Cyprus' militarily occupied area, while ignoring the internationally recognized Cyprus government.''
Quoting a statement made by Obama that he desires a "solution to the situation in Cyprus based on the rule of law, not on force, one that is based on UN resolutions passed on the Cyprus issue, and on the very principles and standards of the EU," the Greek-American personalities note that ''the occupied area of Cyprus, with which your people are aligning you, is an anathema to those principles, forced into place by more Turkish troops on that little island than America has in Afghanistan.''
''Such de facto recognition will further solidify Turkish insistence on unreasonable Cyprus settlement provisions that virtually all Democrats on the Senate European Affairs Subcommittee objected to and which even a majority of the Republicans on that Subcommittee called 'unacceptable to western democracies' in a letter to President Bush,'' they point out.
The letter also stressed that the Greek lobby understands that the Administration supports Turkey's eventual accession into the European Union, as does the Republic of Cyprus, noting however that ''pursuing anything that suggests de facto recognition of the occupation regime would not only be contrary to countless UN Security Council resolutions, but it would perhaps force the Republic of Cyprus to reconsider its stance with regard to Turkey and the EU.''
''Please overturn these misguided actions by people in your Administration. The Greek-American community that has been so committed to your Presidency and Vice Presidency, and the hope that they believed it would bring to the militarily occupied nation of Cyprus, will be devastated,'' they concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, while in 1983 it backed the regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus, which proceeded to a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) proclaiming the so-called TRNC. This move has been considered as ''legally invalid'' by the UN Security Council resolution 541 of 1983 and called for its withdrawal.
Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged since early September 2008 in UN-led direct negotiations with a view to reaching a settlement to the Cyprus problem. They held 23 meetings so far.
 Ecumenical Patriarch receives former PM Costas SimitisISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos welcomed former prime minister Costas Simitis at the Saint George Cathedral at the Phanar on Sunday, praising his contribution to Greece becoming a member of the European family and of the monetary union.
"The Greek people are grateful to you, our Patriarchate honours you and thanks you for all that you have done for it, during your tenure as prime minister," Vartholomeos said.
"I tried all the years that I was responsible for the policy of the Greek government to improve relations with neighbouring Turkey and through this to improve the environment in which you are working with such success," Simitis replied.
Simitis is in Istanbul at the invitation of BILGI University to speak about "Diversity and Democracy in the European Union."
 Hatzigakis calls on stockbreeders for more timeAgricultural Development and Food Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis called on stockbreeders on Saturday, during his presence in the city of Serres to address an event of the ruling New Democracy party-affiliated ONNED organisation, to give the government more time.
"The stockbreeders must have confidence in me," Hatzigakis said, adding that the government will be adopting a series of institutional and economic measures.
"The stockbreeding problem cannot be solved with crumbs. The entire sector needs restructuring. We are also orientated in that direction. I am calling on them to be a little patient," the minister stressed.
Referring to the new tax measures announced by the government, Hatzigakis said that the Karamanlis government is trying to handle the crisis in the mildest of ways, noting that "in Greece we are trying to make the circle square, we are trying to prove the self-evident."
The minister also announced that the economic support package for farmers, amounting to 432 million euros, will include the potato producers of the Serres prefecture.
 Macedonia-Thrace minister on new tax measuresMinister of Macedonia and Thrace Stavros Kalafatis referred on Saturday, while speaking in the northern city of Serres at an event of the New Democracy party-affiliated youth organisation ONNED, to the announcement by the government of new tax measures.
Kalafatis stressed that the Karamanlis government should and must be useful and beneficial and it does not aim at the creation of impressions because "this is necessitated by the times and this is necessitated by a responsible policy."
The minister further said that "the circumstances require prudence, determination and political will, extraordinary measures and extraordinary decisions."
Referring to the political cost that the government might have to pay, Kalafatis pointed out that "political cost was never a criterion for the prime minister's decisions."
 Russian tourism minister visits Greek pavilion in Intourmarket-2009 tourist exhibitionMOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)
Russian Tourism Minister Vitaly Mutko visited the Greek pavilion in Moscow's Intourmarket-2009 tourist exhibition, that opened its doors to the public on Saturday, and expressed his satisfaction over measures taken by the Greek authorities in recent years to simplify entry visa procedures for Russian citizens.
"Visas are, of course, a kind of 'brake' but what the Greek authorities are doing, opening new Visa Centres, simplifying procedures and providing the possibility for you to have a Schengen visa in 48 hours is in the right direction and we must continue in this way, to attract people and not to discourage them," the minister said.
Mutko also stressed that no complaint has been made by any Russian citizen in past years because "the level of tourist services provided in Greece today is quite high."
 Greek bankers optimistic local banks will weather crisisThe heads of four of the largest banks in Greece on Sunday expressed optimism over the course of the domestic banking system, the largest in SE Europe, in an interview published by an Athens daily.
According to National Bank of Greece president and CEO Takis Arapoglou the Greek banking system is in a better position, without burdens and without investment to "toxic products" but with satisfactory liquidity. He also cited strong capital efficiency that can absorb vibrations even in case of the worsening of the economic crisis.
"We must not disregard the fact that the main element of crises is psychology. I believe that over the last months psychology has been undermined systematically and the image that tends to prevail does not meet with the truth and is unjust for the Greek banking system, enterprises and Greek economy's developmental potential in general".
Eurobank's chief Nikos Nanopoulos said Greek banks are continuing to support and finance businesses and households, offering liquidity in order to ease the consequences of the crisis.
Alpha Bank Head managing director Dimitris Mantzounis stressed that regulations to fortify the economy's liquidity have began to be implemented lately and have gradually ameliorated households and enterprises' financing conditions.
Piraeus Bank president Michalis Sallas expressed optimism that regardless of the difficulties of the current economic conjuncture, the Greek banking system has all the mandatory characteristics to allow it to exit the crisis. "Despite this period's adverse developments, future projects for Greece and the other countries of SE Europe are positive. From this point of view our economy and our banking system looks in a better position than other European countries".
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.365
Pound sterling 0.947
Danish kroner 7.511
Swedish kroner 11.144
Japanese yen 130.91
Swiss franc 1.541
Norwegian kroner 8.719
Canadian dollar 1.690
Australian dollar 1.984
 Deputy FM Kassimis attends March 25 anniversary event in LondonLONDON (ANA-MPA/L. Tsirigotakis)
The Greek community in London celebrated the March 25 anniversary at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sophia, in the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis.
Addressing the event, Kassimis said the anniversary of Greece's independence "contains messages that we, being those continuing the huge heritage of the Greek nation, must read carefully since 188 years later, they continue to be as timely as ever."
The Greek deputy minister also referred to the difficult period currently being faced by Greece and the world, stressing that "Greece can handle this unfavourable conjuncture, adequately shielded by its participation in the most important international institutions and alliances, the European Union and NATO."
 Interior minister in LarissaInterior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos inaugurated a fire-fighting station in the industrial region of Larissa, in central Greece, on Saturday and a bridge in the municipality of Rodia that provides direct access to the area of Mount Olympus.
Referring to recent opinion polls, Pavlopoulos said that "I have stressed repeatedly that opinion polls do not replace popular will. They are valuable and they give us the possibility to draw conclusions. PASOK may be leading in the latest opinion polls as well, however, the percentage of the undecided that remains large, shows that they have expectations from Costas Karamanlis and the New Democracy government for the country's future."
The minister also ruled out the possibility of early elections, saying that "we are neither discussing elections nor an election climate. We are only discussing Euroelections."
Pavlopoulos criticised the main opposition PASOK party, stressing that it is an unprecedented phenomenon that in other countries opposition parties help governments to overcome the crisis, while the opposition here, which is also responsible for most of the country's woes, not only refuses to give a helping hand but creates problems as well.
 Lawyers on use of hoods by demonstratorsThe Plenum of the Greek Bar Associations Presidents held a special session in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, at noon on Saturday and expressed its disagreement with announcements made by Justice Minister Nikos Dendias on the insulting of authority and the use of hoods by demonstrators being an offence.
Addressing the event, plenum president and Athens Bar Association President Dimitris Paxinos said that legislation in Greece is adequate and more laws and conditions are not necessary.
"The laws are adequate, provided that they are applied. And what is required is that those who break the law by causing destruction should be arrested and brought before Justice," Paxinos said.
 Anti-racist rally in AthensAn anti-racist rally was held in Athens on Saturday on the occasion of International Day against Racism. Similar rallies were held in Thessaloniki, Hania, Patra, Iraklio, Volos and in other cities around the country.
The rally in Athens began in Omonia Square at 3 in the afternoon and then headed to the U.S. embassy. The main demands heard by the demonstrators, most of whom were foreign nationals, were "asylum and housing for all refugees, welcoming centres for refugees, asylum must not be the jurisdiction of the police."
Children also participating in the rally held placards calling for Greek nationality to be given to all children born or growing up in Greece.
 Peace march to U.S. consulate in ThessalonikiMembers of the International Detente and Peace Committee held a rally at the entrance to the port of Thessaloniki, Macedonia, at noon on Saturday, followed by a march to the U.S. consulate on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the bombings in Yugoslavia.
The Serb Peace Movement placed a commemorative plaque in the wall at the port's entrance in recognition of the support and solidarity of the Greek people and of the Greek Peace Movement against NATO bombings in the spring of 1999.
 Police nab drug trafficker in IraklioPolice in the city of Iraklio, on the island of Crete, have seized a big quantity of unprocessed cannabis, after arresting a 42-year-old man whom they had been shadowing recently.
The suspect was also cultivating cannabis in an area between Gazi and Kavrohori, taking all the necessary security measures and concealing his plantation.
A search of his car and his home led to the confiscation of a total of 3,906 grams of unprocessed cannabis, 103.2 grams of cocaine, four electronic precision scales, three mobile phones and 2,365 euros.
 Super League soccer resultsOlympiakos Piraeus clinched its 12th title in the last 13 years and the 37th in its history after beating Panionios Athens 3-2 away over the weekend, three weeks before the end of this year's Super League. Panathinaikos Athens was held to a1-1 draw away by tough Asteras Tripili and remains in second place, but shares the same position with PAOK Thessaloniki who beat doomed Thrasyvoulos Athens 2-1 at home with the winning goal being scored in injury time.
In other action:
AEK Athens-Levadiakos Livadia 3-1
Xanthi-Ergotelis Crete 0-1
Iraklis Thessaloniki-Larissa 0-2
Panseraikos Serres-Aris Thessaloniki 1-2
OFI Crete-Panthrakikos Komotini 4-3
Standings after 27 weeks of play:
1. Olympiakos 65 points
2. Panathinaikos 54
3. PAOK 54
4. AEK 53
5. Larissa 42
6. Aris 38
7. Xanthi 35
8. Asteras 33
9. Ergotelis 33
10. Panthrakikos 32
11. Panionios 30
12. Iraklis 29
13. Levadiakos 29
14. OFI 23
15. Panseraikos 22
16. Thrasyvoulos 13
 Cloudy, rainy on MondayCloudy and showery weather, and northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -2C and 15C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northwesterly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 5C to 15C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 1C to 10C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePolitical developments, opinion polls and government measures in the public order sector dominated the headlines on Sunday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Social security, bonuses card for all wage-earners and pensioners".
APOGEVMATINI: "Resolution for trespassed forest areas".
AVGHI: "Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos: Enough with Jose Barroso and Jean Claude Trichet".
CHORA: "Shocking changes in payrolls - Reversals for civil servants".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Extraordinary plan includes raises in tax rates".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "President of Eurogroup Juncker's interview: Nothing in Greece will be as it was in the past - We demand more measures".
EPOCHI: "Anti-labour cocktail".
ETHNOS: "Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou: New contract for just taxation and support of employment".
KATHIMERINI: "Society needs democracy and order".
LOGOS: "New package of measures 'threaten' workers and pensioners".
NIKI: "Final countdown for Karamanlis".
PROTO THEMA: "Government's incompetence pushes society to extremes".
REALNEWS: The newspaper claims Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis considers retirement if he loses next elections.
PARON: "Freeze the loans! - The measures are not enough to overcome the crisis".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party of Greece's 18th congress proclamation is the springboard for future without manipulation".
VIMA: "Law and order - Political violence rocks government".
VRADYNI: "Early pension a life vest".
 Cyprus President: No alternative action plan on the Cyprus problemNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias reiterated on Sunday his determination to continue UN-led talks for a Cyprus settlement, expressing his disagreement with proposals suggesting that the Greek Cypriot side should draft an alternative action plan on the Cyprus problem.
Christofias was commenting on a suggestion made by the leader of the Cypriot Green Party during the party congress.
''We had a five-year stalemate and we tried to break it. I have promised no one that this effort will surely lead to a Cyprus settlement. I have said however that at least we will be in front of Turkey and if we are not successful we will show its intransigence. Of course, our aim is to find a mutually agreed, functional and viable federal solution,'' the president said replying to questions on the sidelines of the Green Party congress.
Addressing the congress, the president reiterated his determination to continue participating in the UN-led talks on a Cyprus settlement that started early September 2008.
''Regardless of the difficulties we face in the negotiating process, we reiterate our determination to continue our efforts based on principles and showing the necessary flexibility,'' he stressed.
He stated that he remains consistent to the UN resolutions on Cyprus, the international law and the EU acquis communautaire law as well as the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979.
''We will continue to be consistent to a bi-zonal bi-federal solution with political equality as defined in the relevant UN resolutions for one state with a single sovereignty and nationality and a single international personality, as we agreed with Mr (Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali) Talat,'' the president noted.
''Our unwavering aim is a solution which would restore and safeguard the human rights and basic freedoms of the people as a whole, Greek
Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenian and Latin so they can all live in a peaceful demilitarized, secure and prosperous united Cyprus Republic,'' he added.
 Garoyian: Turkish side's proposals do not lead to federationNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The Turkish side's proposals during all processes to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem were not aiming to achieve a federation but rather a co-federation and two states in Cyprus.
This was stated Saturday by President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian, who also pointed out that the term ''bizonal, bicommunal federation" constitutes a historical compromise on behalf of the Greek Cypriot side.
Addressing a seminar organised by the Ecologists and Environmentalists Movement entitled "Federation: The European Experience and the Cyprus Problem", Garoyian said that "all proposals submitted by the Turkish side during the processes to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem aimed not to establish a federation, but a co-federation and two states".
Furthermore, he stressed that a federation system is a system, "which unites and not divides".
"The term 'bizonal, bicommunal federation' constitutes a historical compromise on behalf of the Greek Cypriot side. And often many people stress that the term should go hand in hand with the phrase 'with the right content'", he went on to say.
The House president noted that a federation "needs continuous agreement and consent, meaning less autonomy of the constituent states".
A bicommunal federation, he said, must have one international personality, one sovereignty and one citizenship.
Regarding the term "bizonal", Garoyian said that the Turkish side interpreted the term "as meaning two separate zones, two ethnically unmixed areas, a Turkish Cypriot and a Greek Cypriot area".
"This Turkish interpretation has never been accepted by our side and ever since insisted on the right of return and the safeguarding of the three fundamental freedoms. A division on the basis of ethnical or religious criteria would be in conflict with each and every principle for the respect of human rights and would not lead to the reunification of Cyprus, it would lead to the consolidation of the division", he concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third territory.
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