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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-05-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 18 May 2009 Issue No: 3196


  • [01] Karamanlis unveils MEPs ballot; tours NW Greece
  • [02] PASOK Euro-Parliament candidates announced
  • [03] Papandreou press interview
  • [04] KKE warns against abstention
  • [05] KKE protest outside resort
  • [06] Tsipras tours western Greece
  • [07] Tsipras interview to paper
  • [08] Karatzaferis rally in Kavala
  • [09] Latest opinion polls ahead of Euro-election
  • [10] Dep. FM receives Syrian Orthodox primate
  • [11] PM tours New Acropolis Museum
  • [12] Foreign nationals arrested in kidnapping, assault on minor
  • [13] Çania awards for best gardens
  • [14] Horseback protest for Lake Koronia
  • [15] Mild quake west of Athens
  • [16] Rainy on Monday
  • [17] The Sunday editions of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Karamanlis unveils MEPs ballot; tours NW Greece

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday unveiled his ruling New Democracy (ND) party's candidates list for the upcoming June 7 European Parliament elections, placing former minister and high-profile party cadre Marietta Yiannakou at the top of the list, a widely expected decision.

    Current MEP and Euro-Parliament VP Rodi Kratsa follows Yiannakou, herself a former education minister.

    "Our new ballot is comprised of people with experience in European issues; noted scientists in their respective professional sectors, people that can meet the heightened demands of the European Parliament and vis-à-vis our country," Karamanlis said during a press conference at the Zappeion Hall in downtown Athens.

    Other candidates, out of the 22 in total on the ballot, include Georgios Papastamkos; Costas Poupakis, a well-known labour unionist; Theodoros Skylakakis; George Koumoutsakos, the current foreign ministry spokesman; George Papanikolaou, the president of the ND-affiliated ONNED youth group; followed by Ioannis Tsoukalas, Stavros Papastavrou and Aliki Moschi -- the top 10 candidates.

    Greece will elect 22 MEPs in the current election, down from 24 MEPs in 2004. During the last Euro-elections, ND elected 11 MEPs.

    "ND is the pioneer and authentic expresser of (Greece's) European orientation; the political formation behind the major national choices in the country, the party that dares to take decisions and assume the political cost in order to take the difficult path for the collective good," Karamanlis said, adding: "These decisions have been vindicated over the passage of time, and this is the crucial point that characterises politics; it's this crucial point and others that we challenge any comparison".

    According to the prime minister, the European Union faces the greatest economic crisis since its establishment, "a crisis that is changing the world and that will strongly affect its development."

    Karamanlis referred to current MEP members, stressing that they had offered substantial services to Europe, their country and the people.

    Speaking later in the evening from northwest Greece, Karamanlis sharply criticised main opposition PASOK, underlining that "today the main opposition denies the self evident. PASOK leader George Papandreou attempts to give alleged ideological coloring to an international crisis that until recently he did not see or even accept its existence.

    "Even now pretends that is not aware of the self evident of what is happening in countries with Social Democrat governments. He even characterises as 'barbarism' every opinion that is against his own. He attempts to disorientate public dialogue and invests in denial and nihilism. His choices are irresponsible and this does not correspond with the crucial conjecture that the country is going through".

    Karamanlis on Sunday afternoon visited a former military camp near the city of Preveza where the site is being transformed, while afterwards he toured the noted archaeological site of ancient Nikopolis and was briefed on the progress of restoration works. Later, the premier inspected progress on a stretch of a highway bypassing the nearby city of Arta.

    Karamanlis stated that the works will be completed at the end of 2009 and will be part of the Ionian highway.

    [02] PASOK Euro-Parliament candidates announced

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday afternoon announced his party's candidate slate for the upcoming European Parliament elections, picking the party's current spokesman, George Papaconstantinou, to head up the ballot, with a serving MP second on the list.

    After Sylvana Rapti, Papandreou announced that current MEP Stavros Lambrinidis, a close aide to Papandreou when the latter was foreign minister, will be third in line.

    "These elections are not a referendum, they are our decision for the Europe and Greece we want; to end with the policies of yesterday," Papandreou said in announcing the list from his party headquarters.

    PASOK picked up eight MEP spots in the previous Euro-elections in 2004 and will now vie for the 22 MEP positions Greece holds, down from 24 in 2004.

    Following Lambrinidis, the candidates are Chrysoula Saatsoglou; George Stavrakakis; current MEP Marilena Koppa; current MEP Anni Podimata; Kritonas Arsenis; Spyros Danellis and Dimitris Droutsos, Papandreou's diplomatic adviser.

    "The international economic crisis found Greece ravaged by consecutive crises brought about by the government's policies," Papandreou said, referring to a crisis affecting Greek families, society and the institutions.

    Speaking before a rally in the centre of the western Peloponnese city of Patras later in the evening, Papandreou said that "the party that transparency as its banner now closes its cycle with the stigma of corruption," while charging that the prime minister proceeded with an "unprecedented and illegal act" to close Parliament, something he said allowed for the statute of limitations to "write-off scandals".

    He also said the next and "self-evident" move after Parliament's adjournment is for double elections on June 7.

    In turning to a handful of issues of particular interest to the greater Patras area and the northwest Peloponnese, Papandreou promised to complete some 80 million euros of projects left over from the Cultural Capital of Europe institution in 2006, while also handing over four kilometres of seafront owned by the port authority to the municipality.

    In another problem faced by the port city, namely, the congregation of several hundred mostly Third World migrants at the port attempting to sneak aboard Italy-bound ferry boats, Papandreou referred to "a serious social problem that if not dealt with will get worse due to the international crisis and conflicts in Afghanistan.

    "... This has been transformed into a security and public health problem; PASOK will assume the initiative, in a timely manner, to transfer all of the illegal immigrants to host centres, as foreseen," he said, adding that Turkey must honor a migrant re-admission protocol it signed with Greece in 2001.

    [03] Papandreou press interview

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou reiterated on Sunday that "I am not indebted to anyone, and I have nothing to fear," in a published interview with an Athens daily.

    Papandreou stressed that PASOK's first 100 days of governance, if the party wins the next general elections, will be dedicated to two major and urgent issues, namely, the economic crisis and to what he called "restoration of people's trust in the political system".

    He also announced a plan to upgrade the economy and liquidity in market via an increase in state's investments from 4th CSF funds, along with greater support for the financially weaker and the middle classes. Additionally, he promised to protect job, restore tax-collecting mechanisms in tandem with a radical tackling of tax evasion.

    "We will re-negotiate our commitment deadlines as a member of the euro-zone through a reliable mid-term programme of fiscal reform, in order to return to high growth rates."

    Referring to his proposal for a one-on-one debate with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Papandreou charged that "Mr. Karamanlis, as he is fond of nothing, is avoiding the issue."

    The interview was carried in the daily "Eleftherotypia".

    [04] KKE warns against abstention

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Sunday afternoon warned supporters that voter abstention in the upcoming June 7 election favors both of the major parties, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK.

    Speaking at a rally in the Aghios Dimitrios district of southeastern Athens, Papariga said accumulated problems of the 1990s and the last few years has generated dissatisfaction, stressing that both mainstream parties should be punished in the election.

    She also dismissed smaller parties, saying a vote for the latter is a "wasted vote", not because they have very few chances of gaining power but because "a vote for them is wasted, in terms of a political choice".

    [05] KKE protest outside resort

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) supporters and cadres held a protest outside a luxury hotel in the Athens seaside resort of Vouliagmeni on Friday afternoon against a what they charged was a planned meeting at the hotel of the Bilderberg Club over the weekend. Party official also used the event as a rally ahead of the June 7 European Parliament election.

    [06] Tsipras tours western Greece

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alexis Tsipras continued a pre-election swing through western Greece on Saturday, visiting the lagoon-city of Messolonghi following a visit to Agrinio on Friday.

    Speaking before the June 7 Euro-elections, Tsipras touched on an issue of particular interest to residents of the Aetoloakarnania prefecture, expressing his leftist party's opposition to the Acheloos River diversion project.

    [07] Tsipras interview to paper

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party leader Alexis Tsipras used the phrase "the king has no clothes" during an interview with the "Ethnos" newspaper to comment on what he called "scandal-mongering" and government's stance.

    Referring to the "green economy" model repeatedly being uttered over the recent period, he said the crucial question is what you will do when private interests work against the environment.

    In commenting on the neophyte "Ecologists - Greens" party debuting in the Euro-elections, he noted that environmental protection without clashes is like trying to "make an omelet without breaking eggs".

    Tsipras also called on main opposition PASOK to stop "caressing bankers and industrialists".

    [08] Karatzaferis rally in Kavala

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) president George Karatzaferis on Sunday sharply criticised ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK over what he called a phenomenon of nepotism in Greek politics.

    "Neither of the two major parties is able to provide solutions to country's outstanding issues," Karatzaferis said from the northeast city of Kavala, underlining that the issue it is not directly tied to the economy but political.

    Regarding his charges of nepotism, he said that in the past 65 years three families have governed Greece, an unprecedented phenomenon for Europe.

    Asked about the possibility of cooperation with ND after the Euro-elections, Karatzaferis said he feels closer to PM Costas Karamanlis than with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    [09] Latest opinion polls ahead of Euro-election

    No less than five opinion polls were published in a same number of newspapers on Sunday, most showing varying leads -- between 2.8 to 5.5 percentage points -- for main opposition PASOK over ruling New Democracy (ND) party heading into the June 7 European Parliament elections.

    Specifically, one poll gives PASOK 26.5 percent of respondents' preference to 21 percent for ND, with both figures dramatically lower than what the two major parties usually garner in elections. In terms of smaller parties, 6 percent of respondents picked the Communist Party of Greece (KKE); 5.5 percent for the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and 3 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS). Additionally, 19 percent of respondents said they would not vote in the June. The poll was conducted by the firm Public Issue and published in the Sunday edition of "Kathimerini".

    Another poll gave PASOK a 4.5-percentage point lead over ND, 37 to 32.5 percent. SYRIZA was given 9 percent in this poll; 8 percent for KKE and 5 percent for LA.OS. Interestingly, the hereunto unknown Greens-Ecology party garnered an impressive 5 percent.

    This poll was published by the firm VPRC for the Sunday edition of the newspaper "Eleftherotypia".

    Finally, PASOK's lead stands at 2.8 percentage points -- marginally down from the last poll by the same firm -- over ND, while both parties show decreasing tallies. PASOK is preferred by 30.5 percent of respondents to 27.7 percent for ND; KKE with 8.1; 7.7 for SYRIZA; 5.3 for LA.OS and 3.6 for the Greens.

    The last poll was published in the weekly "Paron" and conducted by the firm RASS.

    [10] Dep. FM receives Syrian Orthodox primate

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Saturday received the Patriarch of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, Ignatius Zakka, at the foreign ministry, with discussions focusing on scholarships for theologians of the Antioch Church as well as special Greek language programmes during the summer.

    Ignatius also thanked the minister for the Greek government's support of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.

    Kassimis later hosted a reception in honour of the visiting ecclesiastical leader.

    General News

    [11] PM tours New Acropolis Museum

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday toured the New Acropolis Museum a month before Greece's newest and state-of-the-art museum opens to the public some 400 metres beneath the Acropolis Hill.

    "We are in the final stretch towards the official inauguration," Karamanlis told reporters following his tour with Culture Minister Antonis Samaras.

    "To the one million people expected to visit the Acropolis and the new museum every year we are sending out the message that modern Greeks, in practice and with specific works, are honoring our history and civilisation," the premier said, stressing that Hellenic culture remains one of the most significant cornerstones of world civilisation.

    Karamanlis was also accompanied by New Acropolis Museum's director, Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis, and the head of the prime minister's press office, Yiannis Andrianos.

    [12] Foreign nationals arrested in kidnapping, assault on minor

    Four Pakistani men and a Bangladeshi national were arrested by police Saturday on felony kidnapping and assault charges in relation to the abduction and severe beating of a 14-year-old minor, also from Bangladesh.

    The incident, reminiscent of several other such abductions attributed to groups of South Asian refugees and illegal immigrants, involved the abduction for ransom of the youth, which occurred on May 11 in the Aghios Panteleimonas district of central Athens -- itself the scene of increased crime rates over the recent period and corresponding media attention.

    According to reports, the suspects allegedly demanded 2,000 euros from a relative of the victim, who subsequently discovered the whereabouts of his nephew and called police.

    All four foreign nationals are due to face an Athens prosecutor.

    Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, police re-arrested a 24-year-old Afghan man who escaped from custody at the Athens first instance court complex several days ago by impersonating another foreign national freed after a suspected conviction on lesser drug charges.

    The fugitive was arrested by the same two police officers deemed responsible for his escape, thereby ending a criminal trial against them for dereliction of duty -- a provision enshrined in Greek law.

    [13] Çania awards for best gardens

    The picturesque port city of Hania on Crete has established an annual competition for the best gardens, balconies and building commons in the municipalities.

    An evaluation committee will survey the city's streets and to judge candidacies. Three prizes will be given to the best gardens, the same to the best balconies and the building commons and three prizes for the Old Quarter.

    [14] Horseback protest for Lake Koronia

    A protest on horseback was held on Sunday for the preservation of Lake Koronia, near Thessaloniki, in northern Greece. Some 150 riders from several parts of Greece took part to the 28-km marathon around the lake.

    The lake faces a water shortage problem and pollution.

    [15] Mild quake west of Athens

    A mild earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale was recorded at 2:59 p.m. (12.59 GMT) in the Corinthian Gulf, west of Athens, on Sunday. According to the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki's Geophysical Institute, the quake had an epicentre 16 kilometres SW of the village of Dovrena, in Viotia prefecture.

    Weather forecast

    [16] Rainy on Monday

    Scattered showers with northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind between 6-7 on the Beaufort scale. Rain in the north with temperatures ranging from 13C-28C; 14C-29C on the islands. Rain in Athens, 16C-28C; cloudy in Thessaloniki, 16C-27C.

    [17] The Sunday editions of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Domestic political developments, including a 'feud' between former PASOK minister Theodoros Pangalos and the Communist Party (KKE), the expected announcement of the European Parliament candidate tickets by New Democracy and PASOK and the ubiquitous weekend opinion polls mostly dominated the front pages of Athens' dailies on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "New job spots opening".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Land Cadastre Company returning money to 50,000 beneficiaries within days".

    ARTHRO: "Storm of incarcerations ahead in Siemens case".

    AVGI: "Ballots of rage".

    AVRIANI: "16 insurance firms facing bankruptcy".

    CHORA: "The secrets for early retirement pensions".

    ETHNOS: "Knives will be unsheathed in ND with a Euro parliament defeat exceeding 3 percent".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: «Let him throw his resignation in their faces! Immediate, loud and condemnatory patriotic act by president of the republic".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Burning letters by Siemens towards PASOK minister -- Confidential correspondence in procurements for Hellenic Rail and electric cars".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Half-hearted vote ahead of Euro-elections".

    EPOCHI: "Ballot of hope for Coalition of the Left".

    Free Sunday (weekly): "Three fronts for the government".

    KATHIMERINI: "Indifferent parties merely observers of political shipwreck".

    LOGOS: "PM announces change in law over minister's legal liability".

    NIKI: "End of lies for Karamanlis".

    PARON: "Two major parties losing ground as Euro-elections approach".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Fevronia's strange business dealings".

    Realnews (weekly): "Theodoros Pangalos: Communist party invested in Germanos retailer. 'I will resign if I am proven wrong'."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Mobilisation for powerful communist party via ballot box".

    VIMA: "They're (government) hiding forthcoming economic measures".

    VRADYNI: "Successive social insurance coverage, new measures for rapid pensions".

    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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