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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-06-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Monday, 1 June 2009 Issue No: 3208

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis, PASOK leader address rallies in central Greece
  • [02] PM calls for national response to international challenge
  • [03] PM inaugurates crucial segment of Egnatia motorway
  • [04] PM continues tour of Epirus province
  • [05] Interests exist that benefit from injustice, inequality, Papandreou says
  • [06] Papandreou visits farming regions in Magnisia
  • [07] Papandreou tours coastal Olympic facilities
  • [08] Papandreou appearance in west Athens
  • [09] Papariga address in Oropos
  • [10] KKE leader Aleka Papariga's interview to ANA-MPA
  • [11] Tsipras urges citizens to vote in Euroelections
  • [12] Greek envoy in Nicosia on inter-communal talks
  • [13] Foundation stone laid for new Halkida hospital
  • [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [15] Illegals, alleged traffickers arrested
  • [16] Police official at foreigners' directorate charged with bribery
  • [17] Panathinaikos secures participation in Champions League qualifying rounds
  • [18] The Sunday editions of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [19] FM: Government satisfied with UN resolution on UNFICYP
  • [20] Cyprus Permanent Representative to the UN Politics

  • [01] PM Karamanlis, PASOK leader address rallies in central Greece

    The Greek campaign in view of the June 7 Euroelections continued on Sunday evening with the two mainstream party leaders addressing rallies in separate central cities of the country.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed a rally in the city of Lamia, saying that "in the face of false dilemmas, the government replies with a positive proposal for national understanding, national rallying and a national response to the international challenge."

    "We must coordinate our efforts to promote today the changes that the country needs. We must go ahead, all of us together, with a new wave of reforms that will place the country among the winners of the global crisis," the prime minister said.

    On his part main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressing a similar rally in the city of Larissa, stressed that interests currently exist that feel suited with illegality, impunity, injustice and inequality and reiterating his slogan of "either we change or we sink."

    [02] PM calls for national response to international challenge

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed a Euroelection campaign rally in the city of Lamia, central Greece, on Sunday evening, saying that "in the face of false dilemmas, the government replies with a positive proposal for national understanding, national rallying and a national response to the international challenge."

    "We must coordinate our efforts to promote today the changes that the country needs. We must go ahead, all of us together, with a new wave of reforms that will place the country among the winners of the global crisis," the prime minister said.

    Criticising the main opposition PASOK party, Karamanlis said that "instead of changing, they are sinking in their unreliability" and accused it of "arrogance, unreliability and irresponsibility".

    Karamanlis referred to the difficulties that his government faced, stressing that "at every step we faced strong reactions from well-established interests. In every reform we faced the barren refusal of the opposition. In every change we attempted, we faced on PASOK's a monotonous 'no'. They were never able to realise why we are changing things."

    He referred in particular to the sectors of government policy such as educational reforms, social security reform, land planning and the new energy policy.

    Focusing on economc issues in particular, the prime minister underlined the decrease in unemployment by four percentage points and the easing of deficits. He enumerated policy measures to strengthen the social state and analysed the country's exact position in relation to the European map during this period.

    "The economy's biggest weakness lies in the debt left by the past governments," Karamanlis stressed and noted that this year we are paying 12 billion euros for interest alone.

    "We are taking difficult decisions, but for the collective benefit," Karamanlis said and concluded by saying that "we are responding with responsibility to the challenges of the times, we respect the younger generations in practice."

    [03] PM inaugurates crucial segment of Egnatia motorway

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday toured a recently completed stretch of the Egnatia motorway spanning the breadth of northern Greece , as the particular section, constructed in a remote mountainous section of the closed highway, was considered as amongst the most difficult.

    "The Egnatia motorway is a project that will change citizens' lives throughout Greece . It's also unique in Greece , given the nature of the project. I am thoroughly impressed," the premier said, ahead of next weekend's Euro-Parliament elections.

    "We are very proud that this project was completed on time and during our governance. We are also very proud because all the difficult sections were completed and built in an exceptional way and with respect to the environment," he added.

    A brief ceremony was held near the Venetiko junction, east of the city of Ioannina , the last section connecting the roadway with the town of Grevena . A smaller section of the motorway connecting Ioannina with the Ionian port town of Igoumenitsa will be delivered in June.

    [04] PM continues tour of Epirus province

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis continued his tour of northwest Greece on Saturday evening with an address in the port city of Igoumenitsa, Thesprotia prefecture, hours after inaugurating a crucial stretch of the Egnatia motorway that connects Greece's Ionian Sea coast with the Evros prefecture on the border with Turkey.

    Speaking a week before the European Parliament elections, Karamanlis continued to hammer home his ruling party's message and to sharply criticise the opposition, especially the main opposition, stressing that "above all we put the country's needs first."

    Conversely, he charged that opposition PASOK is irresponsible, given that it has stooped to "danger-mongering with the economy", as he said.

    Earlier, Karamanlis inspected works to upgrade and expand the port of Igoumenitsa, which services most ferry routes to the island of Corfu and increased routes to Italy. Igoumenitsa is the western-most destination of the Egnatia motorway, which spans the breadth of northern Greece.

    In referring to the wider Epirus region, in mountainous northwest Greece, he said the province is transforming into an energy hub, given the TGI natgas pipeline, along with the high-profile Egnatia and port upgrade projects.

    In again returning to the main opposition, he directly referred to two recent statements, ridiculing a "socialism or barbarism" phrase uttered by PASOK leadership last week, while emphasising that a statement by rival PASOK leader George Papandreou, namely, "either we change or we sink", doesn't refer to the country but to PASOK itself.

    [05] Interests exist that benefit from injustice, inequality, Papandreou says

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed a Euroelections campaign rally in the city of Larissa, in central Greece, on Sunday evening, stressing that interests currently exist that feel suited with illegality, impunity, injustice and inequality and reiterating his slogan of "either we change or we sink."

    Papandreou further said that "they are interests which cannot survive in a state of law. The only fear for them is PASOK. They fear no one else. Because today only PASOK guarantees a different course for the country's governance."

    The PASOK leader stressed that PASOK "guarantees a reliable and dynamic government" and that "for this reason they will deal blows at us any way they can, and for this reason they want to assist the smaller parties and abstention, they fear the great change."

    Referring to the ruling New Democracy (ND) party, Papandreou said "a vote for ND is a vote for those who plunged Greece into a crisis that is economic, institutional, political and of values. It is a vote for those who are responsible for corruption and a writeoff. It is a vote for those who invest in lies. It is a vote for those who live protected from the reality that the citizen is experiencing on a daily basis."

    Papandreou noted that "the crisis, both in Greece and in Europe, was created by policies and politicians whose measure was not man and the public interest but unaccountable profiteering which is identified, in the conscience of the European citizen, with specific conservative parties and persons."

    He concluded by saying that the battle on June 7 "is a battle for us to put an end to the policies of barbarism."

    [06] Papandreou visits farming regions in Magnisia

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou toured farmlands in the region of Almyros, in the prefecture of Magnisia in central Greece on Sunday and accused the government of "lacking planning and of inconveniencing farmers even for their receiving subsidies from the European Union."

    Referring to his party's commitments for farmers, Papandreou said "we have committed ourselves for a New National Strategy for the farming sector and we shall revise the way of providing rights so that injustices are tackled and there will be absolute transparency."

    Papandreou also assumed the commitment that PASOK will be supportive "in every way to enable the farmer to have the necessary profit and prosperity and our country to have competitive products as well."

    [07] Papandreou tours coastal Olympic facilities

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Saturday toured several 2004 Olympic Games facilities at Aghios Kosmas and Faliro districts of southern coastal Athens .

    Papandreou said his party will "face all minor and major interests" that block efforts to create a unified recreational and cultural coastline from the working class Piraeus district of Drapetsona, in the west, to the upscale seaside suburb of Glyfada, in the east.

    "We have a huge natural wealth, one of the most beautiful Mediterranean beaches and the Greek people invested in the Athens Olympic Games in order to have access to the beach," Papandreou said, adding that "after five years of New Democracy government the facilities are totally abandoned.".

    He said that these things must end and promised that PASOK will rectify the situation.

    [08] Papandreou appearance in west Athens

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou continued his appearances and addresses ahead of next Sunday's European Parliament elections, with the former foreign minister speaking to young people and adults on Saturday evening in a west Athens district's pedestrian way.

    Papandreou, who walked the length of the main promenade in the Bournazi district, repeated his recent high-profile statement, noting that "either we change or we sink".

    A concert organised by the party's youth wing was later held in the area.

    In a related development, in comments carried by an Athens weekly, Papandreou emphasised that "each vote that changes things is a vote for PASOK ... protests are not enough to change the course the country has taken."

    [09] Papariga address in Oropos

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga continued her pre-elections appearances and addresses, as she spoke to supporters in the coastal town of Oropos, north of the greater Athens area.

    Papariga emphasised that the Oropos district has for many years suffered from pollution caused by neighbouring industries further inland, which affect streams, the water table and coastal waters. She also decried the lack of a sewage system in the region.

    Turning to the upcoming European Parliament elections, Papariga said the main issue, according to her, is whether the KKE will be stronger from the ballot, rather than whether ND or PASOK will come in first.

    She also characterised a vote for KKE as the only "useful" choice.

    [10] KKE leader Aleka Papariga's interview to ANA-MPA

    Ôhe day after the elections will bring new measures against the working classes, according to Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, who gave an interview to the ANA-MPA on Saturday.

    Papariga charged that both of Greece 's mainstream parties merely described the country's problems without delving into the reasons for these problems.

    She also cited opinion polls giving unprecedented voters' preference to the hereunto unknown "Ecologists - Greens" party, saying a vote for the latter neither provides answers to the ecology issue nor to anti-social policies.

    The KKE leader underlined that the only positive progress for the working classes are those that will mark KKE's increased strength, adding that on the illegal migrants' issue "the problem is international and cannot be solved within a country"

    "In this ballot a clear condemnation against EU can be expressed. Whoever wants to protest and express his opposition to this Union of big capital and anti-social measures, of militarism and war may do so by casting a vote for KKE," she added, in repeating her communist party's leitmotif against the European Union.

    On illegal migrants and security issues, Papariga said that "simplified explanations cannot give answers but obscure consciences and give way to racism. They prepare the way to intensify the reactionary measures; surveillance mechanisms in our country and in EU."

    [11] Tsipras urges citizens to vote in Euroelections

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alexis Tsipras addressed an election campaign rally in the city of Nafplio, in the Peloponnese, on Sunday urging citizens to vote in the Euroelections and expressing confidence that young people will vote because "young people are in a state of insecurity and feel the pressure of the crisis and for this reason those who want to persuade us not to vote and to turn our backs on the ballot box will see that they are wrong."

    [12] Greek envoy in Nicosia on inter-communal talks

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A.Viketos)

    Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Vassilis Papaioannou said Sunday emphasised that "certain convergences have been registered but serious disagreements still remain", in reference to on-going inter-communal talks that began here last September for the finding of a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    In an interview with the Sunday edition of Cyprus' "Phileleftheros" newspaper, the Greek envoy noted: "If we consider the Turkish Cypriot side's position on issues such as governance, and particularly the one regarding the executive power, or that of properties, we will ascertain substantial differences, which refer directly to its (T/C side) own intransigence."

    Papaioannou also referred to what he called "backtracking" on the part of the Turkish Cypriot side regarding an issue that has already been agreed upon, such as the opening of the Limnitis crossing point.

    The Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sides insist on "their maximalist positions and remain intransigent", the Greek envoy added, indicating that the exhortations, such as "the opportunity must not be lost" and "the process must be accelerated" could not be addressed to the one side alone, but "must focus on the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sides".

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008, with a view to reach a settlement to the Cyprus problem, divided since a Turkish invasion of the island in 1974 and the occupation of the island republic's northern part.

    During their last meeting, on May 21, held in the presence of Alexander Downer, the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, the two leaders discussed the opening of a crossing point at Limnitis, in the north-west, to facilitate movement to and from the island's northern Turkish-occupied areas.

    In statements following the meeting, President Christofias had expressed disappointment regarding the stance of the Turkish Cypriot leader on the particular issue.

    Financial News

    [13] Foundation stone laid for new Halkida hospital

    Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos laid the foundation stone for the new general hospital in the city of Halkida, on the island of Evia, in eastern Greece, on Sunday.

    The project, one of great importance for the wider region, will cost 69 million euros and will have a capacity of about 300 beds.

    "The new hospital will cost about 69 million euros amd I must tell you that the timetable for its construction will be observed fully, since there is no problem concerning its funding," Avramopoulos said.

    "It will be one of the most modern hospitals in the country. At the strategic point that it is located here in Halkida, with the new road axes, together with the fact that the hinterland of Evia was facing various problems for many years with the tourist perspective as well, that I am certain is emerging on the horizon wonderful for Evia in its entirety. The new hospital will provide its modern services, above all, for the citizens and inhabitants as well as for visitors and investors.

    "At the same time, and it is a question of a week, the small but ultramodern hospital of Istiea (northern Evia) will have its foundation stone laid."

    According to the minister, the construction of the new hospital in Halkida is expected to be completed in two years.

    [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.421

    Pound sterling 0.879

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 10.753

    Japanese yen 136.3

    Swiss franc 1.524

    Norwegian kroner 8.949

    Canadian dollar 1.562

    Australian dollar 1.781

    General News

    [15] Illegals, alleged traffickers arrested

    Two foreign nationals, 40 and 49, were arrested on Saturday by Thessaloniki police on charges of attempting to transport 17 illegal migrants that sneaked into the country from neighbouring Turkey via the Evros River frontier.

    All of the suspects were arrested and police are conducting an investigation.

    [16] Police official at foreigners' directorate charged with bribery

    A police sergeant serving at the foreign nationals' directorate in central Athens was arrested over the weekend, along with his girlfriend, by internal affairs officers and charged with demanding money from third country nationals in order to facilitate their applications for political asylum.

    According to the police charges, the duo charged 600 euros per applicant in order to bypass the directorate's bureaucratic process and the long queues at the specific police facility off Petrou Ralli street.

    Soccer

    [17] Panathinaikos secures participation in Champions League qualifying rounds

    Panathinaikos Athens beat crosstown rival AEK 2-0 at the Athens Olympic Stadium in a playoff game on Sunday and secured participation in European Champions League qualifying rounds. The goals were scored by Karagounis (30' pen.) and Rukavina (36'). AEK will play in Europa League qualifying rounds.

    In the other game, PAOK Thessaloniki beat Larissa 1-0 at Toumba Stadium with a goal scored by Anastasakos (22') and ended third in the series.

    Final standings of the playoffs series: Panathinaikos 18 points, AEK 12, PAOK 9 and Larissa 1.

    Weather Forecast

    Cloudy, rainy on Monday [00] Cloudy and rainy weather, and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 12C and 31C. Cloudy in Athens, with northeasterly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 31C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with local showers, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 27C.

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

    Next Sunday's European Parliament elections, opinion polls and the resurgent interest in the Siemens bribery and kickbacks furor mostly dominated the headlines in the Sunday editions of Athens' dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Ruling New Democracy (ND) party to head into national elections with (PM Costas) Karamanlis: Interview by FM Dora Bakoyannis".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Relief for unemployed with 23,000 new jobs".

    AVGI: "Interview with leftist leader Alekos Alavanos".

    AVRIANI: "Jail them all (in Siemens case) before they escape overseas."

    CHORA: "New bank transfers to the 'codename' "Nikos" in Siemens case".

    ETHNOS: "PASOK ahead, ND unable to rally its grass roots".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Party leaders' debate once again revealed a political vacuum".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Opinion poll by MRB a week before the elections".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Four keys to reading the results of next week's Euro-elections".

    EPOCHI: "Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) so they'll lose their sleep".

    KATHIMERINI: "The ballot box's dilemmas and parties' anxieties".

    LOGOS: "ND's pre-election strategy revolves around Premier Costas Karamanlis".

    NIKI: "Forecast at 3.5 percentage points: ND sees clear lead by PASOK".

    PARON (weekly): "Everyone betting on Ecologist-Greens' 'bubble' bursting in election".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Six bank transfers totaling 20 million euros by Siemens to ND", the paper said, citing a "bombshell of a document".

    Realnews (weekly): "(One-time Siemens Hellas executive Mihalis Christoforatos, from Munich): I have many weapons at my disposal and I will use them. He's threatening from Munich."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Optimism for people's power for a strong Communist Party (KKE) via Euro-elections".

    VIMA: "PASOK ahead by three points over ND".

    VRADYNI: "All the changes in pensions".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [19] FM: Government satisfied with UN resolution on UNFICYP

    NICOSIA (CNAéANA-MPA)

    Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyprianou on Sunday expressed the governmentès satisfaction with the adoption of UN resolution 1873, renewing the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months.

    In statements to the press, Kyprianou said ''the resolution includes all fundamental principles we wanted to see, especially the recognition of the important role of UNFICYP in Cyprus as well as the fundamental parameters of a Cyprus settlement.''

    Kyprianou noted that ''the procedure for the renewal of the mandate this year was not easy at all,'' adding that ''with the help of countries which stand by Cyprus we consider that we have achieved our goal''.

    He said that some UN Security Council members and the UN Secretariat are thinking about the future of UNFICYP, noting that the Cyprus government will be following developments closely.

    Asked about the cooperation betweeen the governments of Greece and Cyprus, in view of the assessment of Turkish EU accession course in December, the foreign minister said that all scenarios and possible reactions of Nicosia are been examined.

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008, with a view to reach a settlement of the problem of Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

    [20] Cyprus Permanent Representative to the UN

    NEW YORK (CNA)

    Cyprus Permanent Representative to the UN Minas Hadjimichael has expressed the governmentès satisfaction with the fact that the UN Security Council has reiterated and endorsed in the resolution it adopted on May 29 for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the agreed basis for the comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem, which is a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions.

    Speaking after the approval of resolution 1873, Hadjimichael also expressed appreciation to the members of the Security Council who voted in favour of the adoption.

    "As you know, it has always been the position of my Government that the presence of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus is indispensable, it is a condition sine qua non, as long as the occupation of part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey, persists", he said.

    As far as the content of this resolution is concerned, the Cypriot Ambassador said that the Government is pleased with the fact that the Security Council has reiterated and endorsed in no uncertain terms, the agreed basis for the comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem, which is also the agreed basis upon which the talks are being conducted between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus within the Good Offices Mission of the UN Secretary-General, and which is no other than a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, he noted.

    "We are also satisfied that the same resolution recognizes the ongoing, the continuing violations of the military status quo and the restrictions imposed on UNFICYP's movements, by the Turkish occupation forces", he added.

    Regarding the notion of renewing UNFICYP's operations, Hadjimichael said that the Cypriot Government is pleased to note that "the Resolution stipulates that any contingency planning could be effected, only once a settlement has been agreed and is in place, and that therefore, the implementation of any such contingency plans or adjustments to the Force, will concern the, post-solution era".

    Finally, he reiterated that the Republic of Cyprus remains fully engaged in the ongoing talks and will continue as always to cooperate fully with the Secretary-General, with his representatives and of course with the Security Council in order to find a settlement pursuant to the agreed basis, that would be in line with Security council Resolutions, International Law and Legality.

    British diplomat: SC encourages the two sides to accelerate efforts for solution

    British Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sir John Sawer has said that the UN Security Council encourages the two parties in Cyprus to accelerate their efforts in the direct negotiation process "in order to take advantage of what we see as a unique opportunity to resolve the question of Cyprus, to re-unify the island".

    Sawer made a statement after the approval of resolution 1873 by the Security Council for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months.

    "We've encouraged the parties in the negotiation to accelerate their efforts, to intensify their work in order to take advantage of what we see as a unique opportunity to resolve the question of Cyprus, to re-unify the island. The basis of this is clearly set out in this and previous Security Council Resolutions, a lot of work has been done in the past, but we want to see this opportunity seized, and we will strongly support the leaders on the Island in their attempts to do so", Sawer said.

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