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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-08-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 31 August 2009 Issue No: 3284


  • [01] Papandreou addresses French Socialist Party event
  • [02] Bakoyannis, Pangalos express support for election system overhaul
  • [03] Papariga on wildfire damage
  • [04] Bid for special Synaspismos congress fails
  • [05] 'Thermopylea' begins on Mon. at Leonidas monument
  • [06] Foreign nationals charged with migrant smuggling, holding compatriots hostage
  • [07] 2 wildfires extinguished
  • [08] Teenage girl suffering from flu A
  • [09] Athens Metro resuming airport route
  • [10] Super League football results
  • [11] Fair on Monday
  • [12] The Sunday editions of Athens dailies at a glance
  • [13] Christofias to discuss Cyprus issue with al-Assad

  • [01] Papandreou addresses French Socialist Party event

    LA ROCHELLE (ANA-MPA / G. Milionis)

    PASOK party leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou addressed the French Socialist Party's annual "summer university" strategy session here on Saturday, speaking on the subject of "Geopolitics of the Crisis," where he stressed that "the citizens are looking for alternative solutions to the crisis and we socialists can become a force of change."

    The French socialists' "summer university" is a forum for discussion that has been held annually for the past 15 years, while this year's event is also being attended by personalities not belonging to the Socialist Party.

    Papandreou went on to say that although voices are being heard that the crisis is nearing its end, however "if we are not careful it will return" and stressed that "we must not allow this" and opposed the "privatisation of benefits and the 'socialisation' of losses."

    The PASOK leader said policies concerning markets over the past 30 years need revising, pointing out that the socialists have followed at times, sometimes partially and sometimes in their entirety, some of these policies, adding that the voice must be heard of the excluded and of those affected by the crisis and new policies must be shaped at all levels.

    Papandreou further said that "the question is that the market and the state must serve the citizen" and proposed "democratic governance and democratic control of the market."

    After his address, Papandreou attended a luncheon given in his honour by the French Socialist Party's first secretary, Martine Aubry, at the Atlantic Sea resort.

    Citizens want reforms, PASOK leader says

    Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou, speaking after his address at the French Socialist Party's "Summer University" at La Rochelle on Saturday, said that "with the crisis, that we are all experiencing, the citizens want reforms that will give them the opportunity to have a say and to participate in the results of growth, (they want) a society and a state that secures favour and justice."

    Papandreou added that "we are determined to confront every establishment, that stops this course of necessary changes benefitting the citizen" and that "we, PASOK, are ready and determined for a new growth model with 'green growth' and justice that stands by the citizen and ready to struggle for a better tomorrow for all."

    [02] Bakoyannis, Pangalos express support for election system overhaul

    Changes to Greece's political system dominated the articles of two leading politicians on Sunday, the current foreign minister and the one-time foreign minister.

    Specifically, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis called for a "radical reform in term of institutions" with the adoption of a new election system, with her preference being the so-called "German model".

    Along those lines, she said she favours single-MP precincts or precincts with few deputies representing it, along with the "list system" employed in the nationwide count.

    "This new election system should ensure a strong, autonomous government..." she said.

    On his part, top PASOK MP and former minister Theodoros Pangalos said he favours a so-called "French system", which among others, would do away with the vote in favour of specific individuals on a party's ticket in each district race. Pangalos said he also favours a system that will produce a strong government.

    Both politicians' statements and positions were featured in the Sunday edition of "Kathimerini".

    [03] Papariga on wildfire damage

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a rally at the eastern Attica seaside resort of Nea Makri on Sunday evening, outlining her party's positions on the protection of the environment.

    Papariga focused mainly on the recent wildfires that ravaged northeastern Attica, as well as on their repercussions, and criticised the policies applied over the past years by the governments of both the New Democracy and PASOK parties.

    On the question of responsibilities for the destruction, Papariga said that responsibilities lie with mayors and prefects, adding that a change in the use of land is being attempted and that "the politicians who are guilty must be punished with political means."

    Referring to the political clash between the two mainstream parties, Papariga said that ND's theories, according to which it denounces political exploitation of the problem of wildfires, "do not touch us".

    "It concerns its rivalry with PASOK; the people must not get between them, but against them," Papariga concluded.

    [04] Bid for special Synaspismos congress fails

    The central political committee of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) on Saturday evening rejected a proposal by the leftist party's president for an extraordinary party congress, after the bid failed to garner a majority of members that voted in the session.

    The vote came after a marathon 10-hour session by the party's committee, following an address by Synaspismos leader Alexis Tsipras, whose high-profile call for such a congress comes in the wake of a particularly poor showing by the affiliated SYRIZA leftist grouping in the June Euro-elections.

    Synaspismos is the biggest bloc in the SYRIZA Parliamentary grouping, the latter headed up by Alekos Alavanos, who stepped down in favour of Tsipras at Synaspismos' helm but who retains his Parliament seat. Tsipras, conversely, is not a Parliament MP. Criticism and counter-criticism between Alavanos and Tsipras surfaced in the wake of the Euro-elections.

    The vote was 49 in favour, 48 against and six members casting blank votes.

    Tsipras later said he was not interested in promoting the initiative without an absolute majority of the central committee members.

    Earlier, before the vote, Tsipras said he wasn't interested in a congress after the elections, "because after the elections we won't be holding a congress for revival but maybe a wake".

    General News

    [05] 'Thermopylea' begins on Mon. at Leonidas monument

    Preparations for the "Thermopylea 2009" continued over the weekend near the ancient battleground of Thermopylae, as the event will take place in front of a monument commemorating Leonidas of Sparta, his famed 300 Spartans and their Thespian allies. The events, due to begin on Monday evening, will have a festive nature this year.

    According to the programme, apart the re-enactment of ancient-style military formations, various screenings will take place. The events will come to a close with a concert. Stands have already been put into place to host more than 2,000 people, in front of the Thermopylae monument.

    The government will be represented by Culture Minister Antonis Samaras.

    [06] Foreign nationals charged with migrant smuggling, holding compatriots hostage

    Three Pakistani nationals were arrested on Saturday in the west Athens industrial district of Aspropyrgos on migrant smuggling, extortion and false imprisonment charges.

    The trio is charged with smuggling compatriots into the country via Turkey and holding them hostage until their relatives paid an additional 4,000 euros on top of 7,000 euros per head charged to ferry them onto Greek and EU territory -- a frequent practice of migrant smugglers transporting mostly South Asian nationals into the country.

    A total of 19 Pakistanis were discovered locked up in a residence in the district, while a fourth suspect is wanted by police.

    The suspects were also charged with robbing a local 86-year-old woman of 3,000 euros.

    [07] 2 wildfires extinguished

    Two wildfires, one southeast of Athens proper and the other one in the town of Kranidi in the northeast Peloponnese, were extinguished on Sunday after causing minimal damage.

    The first blaze erupted near the Vouliagmeni cemetery, a seaside resort SE of Athens.

    [08] Teenage girl suffering from flu A

    A 16-year-old Greek girl is being treated in a crucial condition in an Intensive Care Unit, suffering from the new flu A virus. According to an announcement by the Health Ministry, the patient has a record of malignance and the state of her health has worsened with respiratory inadequacy.

    [09] Athens Metro resuming airport route

    The section of the Athens Metro between the Ethniki Amyna station and the airport will be resuming its routes by Monday at the latest. It had stopped functioning several months ago as a result of the construction of three new stations (Nomismatokopio, Holargos and Agia Paraskevi).

    As of Monday, only the Nomismatokopio station is expected to operate, that is expected to serve about 30,000 passengers on a daily basis, while a parking lot for 630 cars will also be available.

    The Holargos station will be delivered at the end of 2009 and that of Agia Paraskevi in 2010.


    [10] Super League football results

    Panathinaikos Athens beat Xanthi 1-0 at the Athens Olympic Stadium on Sunday and leads in the opening of the Super League football season. AEK Athens also beat Super League newcomer Atromitos Athens 1-0 away and Olympiakos Piraeus beat Larissa 2-0 away in another important match.

    In other action:

    Kavala-Asteras Tripoli 0-1

    Panionios Athens-Ergotelis Crete 1-1

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-Aris Thessaloniki 2-2

    PAS Yiannina-Panthrakikos Komotini 2-0

    PAOK Thessaloniki-Levadiakos Livadia 3-0

    Standings after two weeks of play:

    Panathinaikos 6 points

    Aris 4

    PAS Yiannina 4

    Asteras 4

    Iraklis 4

    PAOK 3

    AEK 3

    Kavala 3

    Olympiakos 3

    Xanthi 1

    Panionios 1

    Larissa 1

    Ergotelis 1

    Panthrakikos 0

    Atromitos 0

    Levadiakos 0

    Note: AEK, Panionios, PAOK, Larissa and Olympiakos each have a game less.

    Weather Forecast

    [11] Fair on Monday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 33C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 33C. Cloudy and showery in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 29C.

    [12] The Sunday editions of Athens dailies at a glance

    With autumn on the horizon, Athens' Sunday editions concentrated on familiar "seasonal" front-page stories: speculation over early elections, cabinet reshuffles and assorted political machinations prior to the annual and customary Thessaloniki International Fair.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "37 million euros lost by TEVE pension fund every year".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Increases: 400 euro OGA pension; 6 percent hike in low-pension bonus".

    AVGHI: "Tour of fire-ravaged eastern Attica prefecture".

    AVRIANI: "Early elections in October if PASOK doesn't consent on presidential election: Karamanlis tables dilemma".

    CHORA (weekly): "Before Thessaloniki fair Karamanlis in search of answers to political impasse".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "PM searching for way out of impasse via cabinet reshuffle".

    EPOCHI: "SYRIZA first of all, struggle against poverty, joblessness".

    ETHNOS: "Ruling New Democracy withering and giving PASOK an opportunity to win majority government".

    KATHIMERINI: "Anger and political uncertainty, Karamanlis' first option is early elections."

    NIKI: "PM eying wholesale cabinet reshuffle".

    PARON (weekly): "Elections in January. Designs by 'pimps' and their serfs to force Karamanlis into early elections aren't succeeding".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "PASOK in front by 6 percent: opinion poll".

    REALNEWS (weekly): "Fire brigade deputy commander shown as culprit (of alleged delayed response to wildfires)."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "All workers' rally ahead of TIF in Thessa-loniki."

    VIMA: "Karamanlis with 'tied hands' at TIF".

    VRADYNI: "He's (PM) getting rid of (Interior Minister Prokopis) Pavlopoulos."

    Cyprus Affairs

    [13] Christofias to discuss Cyprus issue with al-Assad


    The Cyprus problem as well as issues concerning bilateral ties will be discussed between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Christofias departs Sunday night to Damascus for a two-day official visit at the invitation of President al-Assad.

    During the visit, the Cypriot delegation, comprising Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and Minister of Communication and Works Nicos Nicolaides, will sign bilateral agreements on culture, sports, agriculture, the environment, social insurance and telecommunications.

    Christofias will also hold a series of meetings with the Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri, the Speaker of the People's Assembly of the Syrian Arab Republic Mahmoud Al Abrash, and the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Ignatius IV.

    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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