|Sunday, 17 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-06-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 15 June 2009 Issue No: 3220
 PM briefed on measures to contain H1N1 fluThe National Pandemic Influenza Committee will convene at the National Health Operations Centre on Monday morning, at the initiative of Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. The meeting will be followed by a press conference an hour later.
Meanwhile, Avramopoulos briefed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday over the issue of the H1N1 Novel Influenza and on measures taken to protect the country from the flu's escalating development. "Greece is a safe country. There is no cause for concern," Avramopoulos said after the meeting.
On Sunday Avramopoulos said there have been 14 cases in the country so far, eight of which have been cured completely and one is being treated at home. The minister mentioned that the increase in cases is within reason, while noting that it is a positive fact that all the cases were detected at entrances to the country.
The health minister stressed that the country has been shielded and that all the relevant services have taken all the measures necessary for the month of September as well, when there may be a possible increase in cases.
"What is important is that we are in a state of readiness, instructions have been given to all the services and big hospitals are ready," Avramopoulos concluded.
 FM Bakoyannis criticises LA.OS party leaderForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, speaking in an interview with a Sunday weekly, criticised Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis, terming him an "extreme populist" and his policy extremely opportunistic.
Bakoyannis said that the grand French centre-right never cooperated with (French National Front leader) Jean-Marie Le Pen and, despite the difficulties of the past, it has won three consecutive elections.
Lastly, she reiterated that she is not placing whatever goals she has above the collective interest, the interest of the party and of the country.
 Alternate interior minister on police work, firefightingAlternate interior minister Christos Markogiannakis said Sunday that the in about six weeks' time a mass intervention would be possible by the Greek Police in the center of Athens to tackle the problem that has arisen due to the large number of illegal migrants.
Markogiannakis said Greek police and the interior ministry were at this time facing two challenges: illegal migration and anarchists' actions.
He said the problem with the anarchists' would be set aside for the time being so as to immediately tackle the problem with the illegal migrants.
This would be done through the establishment of "reception centers" in which illegal migrants would be hosted, in humane conditions, until the procedures for their readmission to the countries of origin were completed, the alternate minister said, adding that relevant funds have already been secured, given that building infrastructure, medical mersonnel and expenses for feeding the illegal migrants were necessary for those centers to operate.
Referring to the work of the police, he said that at this time they were making interventions in the area of illegalmigrants, with sweep operations and arrests to the degree served by the present infrastructures. More generally, he said the Greek police have significant successes and were doing their job well, but added that crime was evolving, increasing qualitatively and quantitatively and the police need to adapt and improve in order to cofront the many and serious matters.
On the problem of fires, Markogiannakis said that rational use needs to be made of the means. He noted that every year the public order ministry falls short on its budget for firefighting with the use of helicopters, and substantially exceeds the budgeted expenses, resulting in the accumulation of debts to the companies, with difficulty in paying them.
"That is why, in no instance, will I put all the (firefighting) helicopters on stand-by, each of which costs a sizeable sum per day," he said.
The alternate minister explained that the weather conditions are taken into consideration consideration, and noted for example that up to now it had been raining in northern Greece, while in other areas the conditions were not such as to require placing all the helicopters on stand-by.
He continued that after the end of the rainy period forecast by the National Meteorological Service, all the means would be placed at the disposal of the Fire Brigade.
This, he added, averted the purposeless waste of resources at the expense of the Greek taxpayer.
 PASOK: 8-point plan for zero illegal migrationMain opposition leader George Papandreou outlined an eight-point plan for "zero illegal migration" in Greece, as he stressed, in an article appearing in the Sunday edition of the daily "Kathimerini".
According to Papandreou, the New Democracy (ND) government, in its five years in office, has lacked a migration policy.
"The lack of such a policy by ND has made our society a free-for-all. And we are all living this anomaly. In Omonoia square; in the historic centre of Athens; in Kypseli and in Patras, from Agathonissi island to Aghios Panteleiomonas; and so many other areas of our country this can't go on," he said.
He charged that, instead of having a serious and responsible policy on the issue, ND had opted for "spasmodic policies" for the sake of impressions, with vote-getting aims "... based on intolerance and racism" rather than "a well-governed democratic state that guarantees justice for every person".
PASOK, he continued, has a specific plan regarding the phenomena of migration, political refugees and illegal migration, "a plan that ensures that the migrant in our country, the political refugee, will creatively contribute to our country's development, prosperity, culture and its presence in international affairs".
PASOK's plan comprises eight points: zero tolerance for illegal migration, aimed at 0 percent illegal migrants; reinforcement of the country's borders and a strong demand in the EU for further funding and support for the protection of "our common borders"; implementation of international and bilateral agreements, and particularly the Illegal Migrant Readmission Protocol that has been signed (2001) and was in the past applied with Turkey; drafting a common humanitarian policy by the EU that will guarantee the equal assumption of the burdens regarding political refugees by all the EU member states, and not only by the countries of entrance of the refugees; clarification of Greece's policy on refugees, speedy ruling by the Greek authorities on who is eligible for political asylum and on who is a non-legal migrant and should be readmitted to the country of origin; assimilation of legal migrants into the Greek society through serious policies on education, combating uninsured work, granting of citizenship to those who fulfil requirements, and especially to second-generation migrants; formulation and implementation of a planned policy to attract workers in sectors with large seasonal or more permanent needs, and a comprehensive approach to migration policy in Greece by a ministry with specialised services; and a special program for the reorganisation of the country's cities and neighbourhoods, with special focus on the neighbourhoods that are turning into ghettos, through substantial public investments, a systematic housing policy for migrants, and guarantees for peaceful coexistence and social cohesion in the Greek society.
 SYN con'f on poor resultsCoalition of the Left (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras summed up the party's two-day central political committee meeting on Sunday by stressing that he is open to discussions on the way that the party functions, but without a change in policy, following a lacklustre showing by the party's Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) in last Sunday's European Parliament election.
He also opined that SYRIZA, which picked up 4.7 percent of the vote in the specific election, will continue to exist "because society needs it".
The main characteristic of the two-day session was the clash between the party's two dominant trends, the "renewal wing" and the "leftist current". Proponents of the former demand a change in policy, while the latter's proponents replied that a change in policy is carried out in congresses.
The Synaspismos leader said left may have been defeated but it will not collapse.
 Veteran leftist leader Kyrkos: SYRIZA a mistake from the beginningVeteran leftist leader Leonidas Kyrkos said the SYRIZA (Radical Left Coalition parliamentary coalition) venture has reached his end, in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of "Eleftherotypia" newspaper, adding that "SYRIZA was a mistake from the beginning".
He said that the Coalition of the (Synaspismos) party (which heads SYRIZA) paid for that mistake in the recent European Parliament elections.
"We paid for that mistake with a defeat, because the physiognomy and policy line of Synaspismos ended up so altered that its core -- our devoted comrades, cadres and members who have for years now been waging the battle for the survival of the renovative Left's effort -- are literally at a loss," Kyrkos opined.
He added that "there is no leadership issue", but naturally there was an issue of "reassessing both our policy line and our methods, and also our relations with the entire democratic sphere".
Asked to comment on Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis' overture for cooperation to ruling New Democracy, Kyrkos replied: "Don't put too much weight on (prime minister Costas) Karamanlis' refusal, the idea is gaining ground'.
 FinMin: New relationship of confidenceEconomy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou stressed his conviction that the "message of disappointment" expressed by voters in the recent European Parliament elections in Greece could be transformed by the government into a "new relationship of confidence", provided that "we decide to govern with determination, efficiency and zero tolerance to behaviors that compromise us", in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of "Vima" newspaper.
Papathanassiou opined that it was not the government's overall work that had been disapproved of in the Euroelections, but rather the low result in specific areas. "This is why I fervently believe that whatever bothered, embittered and enraged the citizens must be changed," he added.
On the government's plan to conserve resources, Papathanassiou said that "the lies and excuses have ended...either we decide to reduce the deficit and debt, or we will then truly sink all together", adding that "there are no magic recipes for reducing the deficit".
Asked on the prospect of new taxes, Papathanassiou noted a pre-electoral statement by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that in June the course of execution of the state budget would be assesses and, if required, the necessary adjustments would be made, including the imposition of taxes if needed. "I said the same thing pre-electorally. We have never hidden the truth, as all the others have done," the minister added.
 Former Siemens Hellas exec's bail set at 800,000 eurosFormer Siemens Hellas executive Dionyssis Dendrinos was released on an 800,000-euro bail after appearing before a special judicial magistrate on Sunday.
Dendrinos testified for more than five hours in relation to charges of complicity in fraud against the Greek state with a contract for the procurement and installation of the C41 security system. The massive contract, won by the California-based SAIC company, with Siemens as a subcontractor, was never delivered and never applied during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Dendrinos provided a written statement to the magistrate claiming that Siemens Hellas delivered its portion of the project on time. He also states that he is unaware of "slush funds" employed by Siemens and underlines that he has no relation to the charges attributed to him.
The bail money must be paid by June 26, while Dendrinos is banned from leaving the country, while he is obliged to appear at a police precinct three times a month.
 New Acropolis Museum websiteJust a few days before its official inauguration, the New Acropolis Museum will open its electronic gates to the public on Monday at the website www.theacropolismuseum.gr.
The website introduces the Museum to online visitors, enabling them to tour the display areas, and to read up on its history and operation.
The site is a virtual electronic map that takes the vistior on a tour of Greece's unique cultural heritage, unfolding the route from antiquity to the present that encompasses not only the exhibits and Greece's history, but also modern-day Hellenic culture.
The site will also apply an e-ticketing system, for the first time by a Greek museum, enabling future visitors anywhere in the world to book entry to the New Acropolis Museum at a specific date and time. This innovative application will enable the Museum to manage visiting hours while at the same time decongesting possible waiting lines at the entrance.
The Museum's electronic gate will open on Monday, June 15, at 11:00 p.m. (local time), while the Museum itself will be inaugurated on Saturday, June 20, by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
Entry to the Museum on its first three days of operation (Sunday, June 21 to Tuesday, June 23) will be available only to holders of e-tickets, while tickets will begin to be sold at the Museum beginning on Wednesday, June 24.
 Illegal migrants detected off Lesvos in 3 instancesCoast guard units assisted by other European allies' vessels operating within the Frontex initiative to boost cooperation amongst EU countries vis-à-vis border security intercepted 126 illegal immigrants in the sea region between the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos and the Turkish coast over the weekend.
In one instance, a vessel loaded with illegal immigrants heading for Greek territorial waters was intercepted by the French vessel "Zeppelin", which detained the individuals and later transported them to the main port on Lesvos.
Specifically, 32 would-be migrants were detected off the northern coast of Lesvos, 28 men and four women.
In the sea region off Molyvos, off northwestern Lesvos, two plastic dinghies equipped with oars were found carrying 60 people: 45 men, seven women and eight minors.
An engine-powered boat was also detected in the same region carrying another 34 illegal immigrants: 24 men, four women and six minors.
All the detainees were taken to a reception centre for illegal immigrants in Pagani, after undergoing medical checks.
 Police intercept truck carrying illegal immigrantsPolice arrested a man for carrying 18 illegal immigrants in a truck on the Kozani-Larissa national motorway on Friday. According to police, when the truck was stopped for a routine check, the driver stopped the vehicle and its occupants tried to escape.
An ensuing chase led to the arrest of one of two migrant smugglers and seven illegal immigrants, while the rest, including the second migrant smuggler, managed to get away. Police also ascertained that the truck used had been stolen in Athens by the two smugglers.
 Wildfire in Trizina regionA wildfire broke out in the region of Trizina, in the Peloponnese, at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and was laying waste forest land. Fire-fighters, backed by 13 vehicles and two Canadair and three Bezedel firefighting aircraft, were still battling the flames late in the afternoon.
 Hirvonen wins 56th Acropolis RallyMikko Hirvonen of Finland is the winner of the 56th Acropolis Rally that ended on Sunday in Greece. Ford driver Hirvonen, who now ranks 7th in the overall standings of the World Rally Championship, is trailed by Sebastien Ogier (France/Citroen) in second place in the Greece rally and by fellow teammate and compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland/Ford) in third.
Latvala posted the best time in the final 33-km Aghii Theodori 2 stage on Sunday. Following the win, Hirvonen narrowed to seven points (55) his distance from front-runner and current world champion Sebastian Loeb (48, France/Citroen), who crashed out of the Rally on Saturday when his car hit a rock, careered off track and rolled repeatedly. Loeb was the winner of last year's Acropolis Rally.
The Acropolis Rally is the seventh round of the 12-round 2009 World Rally Championship.
 Victory for Greek women's national basketball teamThe women's national basketball team of Greece beat the Czech Republic 62-45 in a second phase Group Five match played in Riga, Latvia, for the Women's European Basketball Championship on Saturday, keeping alive its hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals. The 10-minute intervals had the following results: 16-11, 30-22, 42-38, 62-45.
 Fair on MondayFair weather, and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with northeasterly 4-7 Beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 21C to 32C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 29C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceIllegal migration, the planned increase in farmers' pensions and speculation of early general elections in September were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Increases in farmers' pensions, EKAS (low pension benefit)".
APOGEVMATINI: "The base passing grades for AEI and TEI (higher education) - Detailed charts for all the Schools".
AVGHI: "X-ray of the votes and abstention - V-PRC survey on behalf of Avghi".
AVRIANI: "Elections in September, with 'Sarkozy recipe', decided by Karamanlis".
CHORA: "They're crossing the borders with children as the bait - Uncontrolled inflow of illegal migrants a bomb with a slow-burning fuse".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Human sacrifices and Aris (Spiliotopoulos)-Meimarakis duo - 'Clean' ballots of election candidates, and reshuffle with a view to early general elections in autumn".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Ticket without return - Operation 'Order and Security' - With charter flights, ELAS (Greek Police) transporting 3,000 (illegal) migrants (back) to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa".
ETHNOS: "Plethora of contracts - Claims of hostile relations with the German giant (Siemens, under 3-year Mitsotakis government) belied".
KATHIMERINI: "Eight ministers recommend initiatives that must be made - Prime Minister keeps his hand closed".
LOGOS: "Prime minister steps up initiatives - Substantial changes awaited in government".
NIKI: "PASOK opts for aggressive tactics, aimed at pressuring the government so as to speed up the political developments".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Labor-wide class action against the new anti-labor attack - EU prepares new measures".
VIMA: "The lies are over - They're seeking revenues, cutting expenditures - Papathanassiou (economy and finance minister): The measures I intend to take..."
VRADYNI: "End to the 'good days' for the civil servants - The new salary scale".
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