|Wednesday, 21 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-08-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 17 August 2009 Issue No: 3272
 Thrace turning into int'l commercial, energy hub, PM tells Thracians' congressPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday evening addressed the 8th world congress of Thracians in the northeastern city of Komotini, underlining the region's growing commercial and energy importance.
"Thrace is no longer an abandoned extremity. Thrace is changing image, it is changing role, and it is changing perspective. Conceptions concerning the one or the other possible Greece belong to the past, once and for all," Karamanlis said.
The prime minister reassured that the government is and shall stand by Thrace and will do everything necessary for its development and promotion into an international commercial and energy hub, to a bridge to other peoples and cultures.
He also stressed that the government honours the struggles of the Thracians and referred in detail to projects that have been completed and to others that are under way that are changing Thrace's image.
Karamanlis focused specifically on the Egnatia motorway that spans the breadth of northern Greece, to the TGI natural gas pipeline, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and to work being carried out in the region's ports and airports.
He also referred to the Democritus University, saying it is the country's third biggest university and with new departments being created continuously in order to attract more and more Greek and foreign students.
Furthermore, he said that 200 million euros are being provided for the construction and maintenance of schools in Thrace, including minority ones. The vision for Thrace, he added, is now becoming a tangible reality.
Karamanlis also referred to the Muslim minority of Thrace and said that Greece is implementing a modern minority policy that does not distinguish people according to religion, origin or language. It implements equality before the law.
Transport and Communications Minister Evripides Stylianidis, who hails and is elected from the region, also addressed the congress, terming the prime minister's presence at the Thracians' congress historic.
The congress's inauguration ceremony was attended by the Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Stavros Kalafatis, the regional governor of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, deputies, mayors from the region, ruling New Democracy party's secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, as well as diplomats, local office-holders and religious leaders.
 PM Karamanlis inspects projects in ThracePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis, currently touring the northern city of Komotini, inspected projects on Saturday having substantive and symbolic significance for the wider region of Thrace.
The first project he visited was the road axis linking the city of Komotini with Nimfea and Bulgaria, for which he said it was a modern motorway that had been left to words for years and was becoming a reality now.
According to a briefing made, the motorway has a lenght of 23 kilometres, it has five tunnels, it is difficult to construct and it is expected to be ready in the summer of 2010.
The second project was the labour housing settlement at Xylagani which, as the prime minister said, will be ready soon, it will house 36 families and it is being constructed with the strictest housing, energy and environmental specifications. He also stressed that this settlement is the prelude for the construction of another four similar settlements in the region.
Karamanlis also visited the Ancient Theatre of Maronia that was built at the end of the 4th century BC. Today, it is in a stage of reconstruction, work is being carried out rapidly and will be completed very soon.
Referring to the ancient theatre's reconstruction, the prime minister said that it is a very important project of great significance since it is an "indisputable testimony of the continuous, the longlasting and great contribution of Thrace to Greek history and to Greek culture."
 Government proceeding along path of work and responsibility, PM Karamanlis saysPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking after the religious service held on the occasion of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary at the historic Cathedral in the northern city of Komotini, that he attended together with his wife Natasha, stressed that the government is proceeding along the path of work and responsibility steadfastly and with determination.
Karamanlis noted that adherrence must exist to defending the quality of Democracy and the prestige of political life and devotion to the teachings of our history and culture, while calling for national consensus to enable Greece to confront the great challenges that are decisive for the country's future, that are resulting from the difficult international conjuncture.
"It is a great day for Christianity and for all Greeks, wherever they may be in the world," the prime minister said, adding that "it is a day that inspires faith, inspires national self-confidence and indicates adherrence to principles, values and ideals."
Karamanlis further said that "it is a day that sends messages of humanity, solidarity and hope. Messages, in other words, that are extremely timely, particularly during the present difficult international conjuncture."
The prime minister went on to say that "the challenges of the times are great and decisive for the future of our country. It is necessary, these challenges require, that we have both responsibility and determination. It is necessary, it is required, that there should be mobilisation and national consensus on the path of the task of progress on the path of social justice."
Karamanlis concluded by saying that "we are proceeding steadfastly along this path, the difficult path, the uphill path and at the same time the path of responsibility."
The prime minister is being accompanied on his tour of Komotini by the ruling New Democracy party's Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis.
 The time has come to overcome the crisis of values, PASOK leader saysMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, who attended the celebration of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary at Ekatontapyliani on the island of Paros, stated that "the time has come for us to overcome the crisis of values that is harassing the country and is not allowing Greece to forge ahead."
Papandreou added that what is required is for "necessary reforms to take place in a political system that tolerates and very often rewards untransparency, corruption and impunity."
The PASOK leader further said that his party can carry out the necessary reforms, "the reforms that shall create a State that respects the wealth of the Greek people and the abilities of every Greek. We must dare for a State that will observe rules and values, a law-abiding State that will respect the citizen."
Papandreou also emphasised PASOK's determination "to clear up the country's public life from all those cases that have shocked the Greek people. For the truth to shine, for light and the feeling of Justice to win."
Lastly, Papandreou said that he wished to reassure the Greek people that the party possesses determination and has taken its decisions, adding that "we can plan a different future together. A future of security, confidence and creativity for us and our children."
 Christianity honours Dormition of Virgin MaryChristianity is honouring the day of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary on Saturday, one of Orthodoxy's greatest celebrations. As is the case every year, the focus of attention will be the Panagia tis Tinou Cathedral on the Aegean island of Tinos and the Panagia Soumela Cathedral in Vermio.
President Karolos Papoulias chose to attend the religious service at Gardelaki on the island of Ithaki.
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis is in the city of Komotini, in northern Greece, where he attended the religious service. Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas and main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou will attend the service at the Ekantontapyliani Cathedral on the island of Paros.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga is at the seaside resort of Nea Makri, east of Athens, Alekos Alavanos is in Crete, Alexis Tsipras in Arta and George Karatzaferis in Arkitsa.
 Dormition of the Virgin Mary celebrated at Panagia Soumela CathedralThe Dormition of the Virgin Mary was celebrated at the Cathedral of Panagia Soumela, the protector of Pontian Hellenism on the slopes of Vermio in the northern region of Imathia.
The two-day events began on Friday and were attended by thousands of people, mainly people of Pontian origin from Greece and abroad.
The religious service held at the holy monastery was officiated by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, who was proclaimed honourary president by the Panagia Soumela Foundation.
The government and the prime minister were represented at the events by Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Stavros Kalafatis, while the president of the main opposition PASOK party was represented by Imathia Deputy Anastasios Sidiropoulos.
 LAOS party leader in ArkitsaPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, speaking after the religious service held on the occasion of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary in the town of Arkitsa, in eastern Greece, said that "I hope that the Virgin Mary will forgive those who commit sin against Greece."
Asked by reporters about the possibility of early elections, Karatzaferis said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis "is leading the country to elections with his stance," while saying about the Siemens issue that "Parliament must summon the lawyer of Mr. Christoforakos to explain all that he is claiming."
 Full transparency PASOK's steadfast positionFollowing a decision taken by main oppositon PASOK party leader George Papandreou, the party's secretary Yiannis Raggousis will be addressing a letter to the lawyers of Mihalis Christoforakos in the coming days, calling on them to reveal whatever evidence and proof that their client has "to substantiate his allegations, as they are appearing in his plea before German Justice, concerning the funding of PASOK by Siemens," according to a relevant announcement by PASOK.
The announcement further said that "our steadfast and unshakeable position is and remains full transparency and the need for everything to come to light, the truth to be revealed and the political system to be released from every form of hostage-taking."
Lastly, it said that "PASOK is determined not to leave any aspect of this scandal in the dark, but also not to allow anyone to slander without evidence and proof, for one's own interest and on the altar of political expediencies, using groundless allegations and absurd fabrications."
 KKE on developments in Siemens Hellas scandalCommunist Party of Greece (KKE), referring to the Siemens bribery and kickbacks case, said on Friday that "the revelations in the Siemens scandal point, inter alia, to how hypocritical and devious are ruling party New Democracy's and main opposition PASOK's proclamations on their party funds' transparancy".
According to KKE " the only safe criterion for people to be informed on a party's real role and the source of its money is if their policy serves their own interests or those of major business groups", adding: "The people must remember what was ND's and PASOK's stance on the deregulation of telecommunications and OTE's (Hellenic Telecommunications organisation) privatisation, and what party tried to stop them. The people can stop the anti-social measures and corruption only if they have trust in their power and launch a counter-attacks against anti-social policy of ND, PASOK and the monopolies".
 Coalition party on Siemens issueAn announcement by the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party (Synaspismos) said, referring to the Siemens issue, that it is preferable that the New Democracy and PASOK parties provide answers as to how much money they took and when they will return it to the Greek people.
Coalition leader Alexis Tsipras said that "Christoforakos's testimony comes to confirm the joint feeling of Greek citizens that the two mainstream parties, over a number of years, have set up a joint venture with Siemens as its sponsor."
Tsipras further said that "it is not about money belonging to Siemens, but about money belonging to the Hellenic state, that could have become schools, hospitals and public works."
 Countdown beginning for Christoforakos extraditionThe countdown has begun for the extradition of Mihalis Christoforakos to Greece, in connection with the Siemens issue, while the New Democracy and PASOK parties are in a state of readiness following allegations made by the former Siemens strong man regarding the funding of both the mainstream parties.
Germany's Supreme Constitutional Court, to which Christoforakos has resorted to achieve an annulment of the decision on his extradition to Greece, is expected to convene on Monday.
If his appeal is rejected, the fourth special investigator Nikos Zagorianos will travel to Munich immediately to pick him up, accompanied by security men and a doctor.
 'Nomismatokopio' Metro station opening by end of monthFollowing an interruption lasting for about six months, the Athens Metro is expected to resume its schedules to Athens airport, since the "Nomismatokopio" Metro station will open by the end of the month. The new station is expected to serve about 30,000 passengers on a daily basis, while a parking lot for 630 cars will also be available.
 Alavanos to miss TIFRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alekos Alavanos will not tour or address the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in September, similar to his absence last year from the largest trade exhibition in the country, according to an announcement on Sunday by Alavanos' office.
 Stocks end 0,80 percent up on FridayStocks ended higher on Friday at the Athens Stock Exchange with the composite index of the market gaining 0.80 pct to end at 2,341.42 points. Turnover was a low 119.9 million euros, of which 3.6 million were block trades.
Sector indices moved mostly upward with the Insurance (3.82 pct), Commerce (2.37 pct) and Banks (2.31 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day. Health (2.01 pct), Food and Beverages (1.60 pct) and Constructions(1.36) recorded the biggest losses.
The FTSE 20 index ended 1.18 pct up, the FTSE 40 index 0.49 pct up and the FTSE 80 rose 1.00 percent.
From the stocks moved, 140 ended up, 65 declined and 45 remained unchanged
 Wherever there are Greeks, a church is devoted to the 'Panagia'Everywhere in Greece, from the major urban centers to the remotest island and village, and in all corners of the world where Greeks live, there is a church dedicated to 'Panagia', the Virgin Mary.
On August 15, the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, tens of thousands of Greeks flock to her churches to piously pray to her and seek her grace.
In the words of the late Fotis Kontoglou, the refugee from Asia Minor who has been called the "father" of a whole generation of artists known as the "thirties generation" , the August 15 feast is the "Easter of summer", as it is celebrated as widely and devotedly by the Orthodox Church as the Resurrection of the Christ.
The Pontian (Black Sea Greeks) of the US and Canada have their own special church devoted to the Virgin, the church of the Panagia Soumela, at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in West Milford, northern New Jersey.
It all began in 1982, when the Panagia Soumela Pontion Amerikis (Panagia Soumela of Pontians of America) Institution was set up in New York for the purpose of reviving the August 15 devotion in the "Pontian Land of the New World". Twenty-three years later, in 2005, the "Holy Institution Panagia Soumela, Inc. purchased a large land expanse in West Milford, that now has an Orthodox Christian church and a cultural center. It is here that the annual three-day panegyr takes place from August 14 to 16, attracting devout from many other states in the US and from Canada.
The name 'Soumela' comes from the Greek 'stou Mela', meaning 'at Mt. Melas' signifying a specific locality in the Pontos in Asia Minor. The revered icon of Panagia (of) Soumela takes its name from the historic Monastery of Panagia Soumela in the Pontos, and has been kept there for centuries.
According to tradition, the icon was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist (Apostle Luke) and is older than the Monastery. The icon was originally kept in Athens, originally called the Panagia Atheniotissa (Panagia of Athens), but was later removed to Pontos for safe-keeping when the Saracens destroyed the city of Athens by two monks, St. Barnabas and St. Sophronios who are also said to be the founders of the Monastery of Soumela.
The original icon is now in the new monastery of Panagia Soumela in Greece, southwest of Veria, in the village of Kastanies on the slopes of Mt. Vermion, which was founded by refugees from the Pontos, while one of three exact copies of the miraculous icon lies in the monastery in the Pontos.
 Events dedicated to poet Yannis RitsosThe Mikis Theodorakis Museum is organising 3-day events in Zatouna Gortynias, Arcadia prefecture, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary from the birth of poet Yannis Ritsos, many of whose works have been set to music by the renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis.
The events will take place on 20, 21 and 22 August in the Museum's garden and will start at 8 noon.
 Greek - American foundation makes donation to ArgostoliThe municipality of Argostoli, Cephallonia island honoured on Thursday the Greek expatriates of the New York-based foundation "AINOS".
During a special event held at the Napier Garden in Argostoli. the Foundation donated two enviroment-friendly vehicles to the municipality, while mayor George Tsilimidos on his part presented an honorary plaque to the president of the foundation Vassilis Kokossis.
The foundation has offered its assistance constantly to Cephallonia in the past years by supporting the Orphanage, the municipality hospital and the Senior Citizens home.
 26 illegal migrants detainedTwenty-six illegal migrants (24 men, 1 woman and a child) were detained on Thursday noon near the port of Mytilene, Lesvos island, northeastern Aegean. According to their testimonies, the migrants originated from the opposite Turkish coast.
Local port authorities are conducting a preliminary investigation.
 Police dismantle immigrant smuggling ringPolice have dismantled an immigrant smuggling ring and arrested six of its members. The illegal immigrants were being brought from Pakistan, through Turkey, and held in containers in the coastal town of Aspropirgos.
In order to release them, their captors used to ask for more money than had been initially agreed. A police operation led to the release of 10 illegal immigrants and the arrest of the immigrant smugglers.
 Snake captured in city streetFire Brigade officers in the city of Trikala, central Greece, received a call on Friday from city residents asking them to remove an over 3-meter-long snake from a downtown street.
After several efforts the snake was captured and transeffered to the Town Hall.
According to first estimations the snake, possibly a python, was a pet and had escaped from its owner.
 Robbery at petrol station in ThessalonikiThree armed men robbed a petrol station in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, of about 3,000 euros at about 10 on Friday night and made a speedy getaway before police arrived at the scene of the robbery.
 Suspicious object was suitcase with clothesThe Explosive Devices Disposal Squad was called in at midnight on Friday to check a "suspicious" object located at the intersection of Pouliou and Amaliados streets in the Athens district of Ambelokipi, near an apartment building housing services of the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry. However, the ensuing investigation revealed that it was a suitcase containing clothes.
 Man shot dead in Ano LiosiaA police hunt has been launched for the arrest of a 52-year-old man and his three sons who allegedly shot dead a 23-year-old man in the district of Ano Liosia, north of Athens, on Saturday night.
According to the police, the four alleged perpetrators went to the victim's home and shot him in the stomach in the presence of his mother. The perpetrators and the victim had family feuds.
 Several incidents involving illegals in E. AegeanCoast guard officials on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos detected and arrested a total of 35 illegal migrants -- 32 men, two women and one minor -- along with an alleged migrant smuggler off the sea region of Eftalou.
According to reports, the illegals departed from the opposite Turkish coast with a dinghy they later destroyed when they spotted the coast guard patrol boat approaching. All of the individuals were first transferred to a local hospital for preliminary check ups.
At a separate incident on Sunday, 30 illegals (21 men, six women and three minors) were arrested 1.2 nautical miles off the eastern Aegean island of Samos. The mostly Third World migrants have left from the Turkish coast with a dinghy, which they sank.
On Saturday, a Samos coast guard patrol spotted nine illegal migrants and a 26-year-old trafficker in the waters off the island.
Finally, four illegal migrants were also arrested on Saturday within the port of Samos while attempting to board a ferryboat for Piraeus.
 Wildfire in Megara under controlA wildfire breaking out in the region of Megara at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon and burning forestland along the motorway linking Kokkinareas and Hani was reported under control early on Sunday evening.
 Fair on MondayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 2-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 23C to 32C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 21C to 32C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe political situation, the Siemens issue and election speculations were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday (appearing on Saturday due to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary holiday).
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Entry to universities without examinations. Government announcing new entrance system".
APOGEVMATINI: "Those wo did not receive the message are harming themselves. Deputy Finance Minister Antonis Bezas warns those who have not taken into consideration the results of the Euroelections".
AVGHI: "Omerta for party money".
AVRIANI: "Who and why trembling over Christoforakos revelations".
CHORA (weekly): "German court placed seal on kickbacks Filth and bad odour on political stage from 'black money'".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "The 5 points a torpedo for 'ND'. Only with an intervention by the Virgin Mary will the ranking of the two parties change".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Undesirable visitor. Mihalis Christoforakos. His impending return is keeping many in the government and PASOK on tenterhooks".
ETHNOS; "Christoforakos coming to Greece with full suitcases. Attempting bargaining in light of elections and threatening with new evidence".
KATHIMERINI: "The dilemmas of Mr. Karamanlis. He rejects reshuffle and early elections, but is positive for reforms in political system".
LOGOS: "Good election opportunity wanted. Summer leisure and premier work therapy".
NIKI: "Lifting of permanent status for new employees. Sweeping changes in labour relations in public sector".
PARON (weekly): "Coup de grace for political system held prisoner. Christoforakos holding many".
RIZOSPASTIS: "They are targeting the popular movement with decisions by the EU that are being implemented by ND-PASOK".
TO VIMA: "The Siemens virus is raising political fever while real problems are worsening and seeking solutions".
VRADYNI: "The new payroll in the public sector. What will apply from the new year".
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