|Tuesday, 23 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-28
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 28 September 2009 Issue No: 3308
 PM: No room for a single lost voteThe Oct. 4 general election is "so critical that there is no room for a protest vote ... there is no room for a single lost vote," Prime Minister and ruling New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of a local weekly.
In addressing a campaign rally in the western port city of Patras on Saturday, he stressed that the hope provided by ND was credible and real because it was based on tough but necessary measures.
In the newspaper interview, Karamanlis called on ND voters to stand by the party in next Sunday's elections, putting aside their "complaints and bitterness".
He expressed confidence that the recent opinion polls (indicating main opposition PASOK with a lead over ND) will be disproved by the election result.
Asked whether he had been influenced by recommendations for early general elections, Karamanlis said the relevant rumours are "fairy tales", stressing that "the big decisions are taken by the leader...the more so when important nation interests are at stake".
To another question, the premier replied that "ND is a democratic party", and that he does not intend to step down from the party leadership in the event his party loses the upcoming elections.
"I have no intention of leaving -- I am a fighter, and a bellwether -- provided I feel useful and they want me," he said.
Regarding his backing of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias for a second term in office, Karamanlis said his support is steadfast, and criticised main opposition PASOK on its stance.
"The choice I made (in proposing Papoulias, a former PASOK foreign minister, for the presidency), apart from having proved to be a correct one, also had a very significant symbolic value for a different development in our political ethos. Unfortunately, PASOK did not follow suit," the premier continued.
Asked to comment on speculation that he, himself, would be a candidate for President of the Republic, Karamanlis replied: "Karamanlis is a born fighter, and this means that he takes a stance and a battle position on all issues. I am fighting for my ideas to prevail in the country. This means that, when you are on the front line of the battle, you have no other options."
Speaking in Patras on Saturday evening, the premier stressed that the hope offered by ND was credible, and real, because it was founded on tough but necessary measures that will place strong foundations in the economy.
"We are not seeking to be pleasant, for a few months, with disastrous consequences for the country and the citizens. The hope we offer is being earned over a hard and steady course. There is no easy path. The easy path does not build hope, but destroys it," Karamanlis said.
"We have presented a responsible plan, with straightforward measures, and an explicit timetable, because we choose the path of responsibility," he added.
He criticised PASOK of offering "empty hope" built "on the sands of unrealistic and irresponsible benefits, the cost of which exceeds 10 billion euros", in the absence of a plan for facing the crisis. "Those benefits will skyrocket the deficit and the state debt. They will be disastrous for the economy. They will take us back years."
Karamanlis said that although PASOK in the past few days has now acknowledged the severity of the crisis, it nevertheless persists with its unrealistic promises. Although it has conceded the need to contain the deficits and debts, it nevertheless proposes measures that will lead to the opposite result, the premier charged, adding that, in a conjuncture of huge difficulties, PASOK has not proposed a single unpleasant measure and "persistently keeps its cards closed".
He further accused PASOK leader George Papandreou of hurting the country's international credibility by disputing agreements signed and strategic alliances formed, thus creating a climate of uncertainty.
Turning to the country's future, the prime minister stressed that "tomorrow's growth, progress and prosperity depend on what we do today".
"These hopes depend on our economy's ability to exit the crisis quickly and with the fewest possible repercussions. Very specific policies are necessary for that. Tough decisions are needed. If we don't implement them, we will not be able to move forward. If we do not dare, today, the global crisis will lead to increased debt, to very harsh measures, and to misadventures. It is our national obligation to avert that prospect," Karamanlis stressed.
ND, he continued, has proposed a specific plan that leads, with steady steps, to the prospect of a dynamic recovery, stressing that "the necessary measures need to be taken now in order to attain the Greece we want, a Greece with optimism, strong development, increasing number of jobs and a real social state".
"We can attain this, and we will do so," Karamanlis concluded.
Speaking later at a campaign rally in the Cretan city of Irakleio, he sternly attacked main opposition PASOK, stressing that the latter's positions reveal a major risk, "we must not forget".
Karamanlis also sharply criticised PASOK leader Papandreou for turning down his proposal for a second one-on-one debate, stressing that he is investing in»darkness of vagueness and not in the light of clear positions".
Furthermore, Karamanlis repeated what he called the dilemma of "responsibility or irresponsibility", noting that "behind hollow promises are hidden huge taxes".
"We can succeed it if we try hard" he said.
Concluding, Karamanlis said that on Oct. 4 "it is you that will decide, you will judge who has a realistic plan. You will decide who is ready to face the crisis. They (PASOK) keep their cards closed, we have them open and speak to the people honestly."
 Papandreou: Strong showing for self-sufficient gov'tMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday called for a strong showing in favour of his party, one that will give PASOK a self-sufficient majority following next Sunday's election, while pledging that he will personally guarantee that such a self-sufficiency will not result in arrogance, "but rather will comprise the firm foundation on which a new unity of all the Greeks will be built."
His comments were carried in his front-page article appearing in the Sunday edition of the "Vima" newspaper.
Papandreou stressed that a wave of reforms is necessary, ones that will sweep away corruption and build a political system of transparency and confidence, eliminate bureaucracy, and reinstate the social state, as he said.
Addressing an event on breast cancer prevention on Sunday morning in Athens, organised by the Panhellenic Association of Women with Breast Cancer 'Alma Zois' (Leap of Life) and the US organisation Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Papandreou pledged that PASOK, if elected as the government, will guarantee a state that is sensitive to the individual and to the "plague" of breast cancer.
"It is important that we guarantee the right to life," he said, adding that this meant "first of all the right to prevention, the right to immediate and early diagnosis, without bureaucracy and labyrinthine procedures".
All that, however, "requires a state that invests in the proper equipment, proper hospitals and capable healthcare and nursing staff", Papandreou said, adding that this could be achieved through a proper streamlining of the economy and the National Health System (ESY).
Speaking later in the evening at a campaign rally in the central city of Larissa, he called on voters to join him "in a battle of our lives on Oct. 4".
"Only a government with strong majority in Parliament can guarantee the major changes that the country needs" he said.
Speaking in the country's farm belt, Papandreou said he will not increase farmers' taxes and charged that ruling New Democracy is using manipulation when it claims the opposite.
Regarding the oft-repeated idea of "green growth" he said it is not only a plan for environmental protection, but a political programme aimed at the creation of new wealth and its just distribution.
Finally, he stressed that Larissa will be transformed into a modern and model agricultural centre, while in reference to the problem of water sources, he reassured that he will not allow the Thessaly plain to turn into a desert.
 Papariga: Storm of anti-popular measures pendingCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga predicted a "storm of anti-popular measures" regardless of what the next government will be, in comments published by in two newspaper interviews on Sunday.
She called on the people to actively manifest their disproval of the two mainstream parties, ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK, by rejecting their disorientating efforts and 'pseudo-dilemmas' and casting their vote for a KKE "of resistance and prospect".
Papariga said PASOK has perfected the "art" of introducing anti-popular measures with the fewest popular reactions, whereas the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) is an "obstacle to the development of a strong radical movement" and lacks credibility.
Addressing a campaign rally in Irakleio, Crete on Saturday evening, Papariga lashed out both against the two mainstream parties (ND and PASOK), which she accused of repeated lies, as well as the other opposition parties.
On Sunday, speaking to party supporters in the central city of Volos, she referred to the consequences of the economic crisis, stressing that "in the last 20 years workers have lost many of their rights in social security, in education and everywhere.
"We do not feel sorry for the working classes, we are disgusted, furious and beyond everything we do not only know they are right but we also know the way through which they can find their right", she said, stressing that this is the difference of her party with the other ones.
 Tsipras' televised press conferenceThe Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary alliance's goal in next Sunday's general elections is to enter Parliament in order to "wage new and effective struggles after the elections", Coalition of the Left (Synaspimos) leader Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday during a televised press conference in Athens.
Tsipras strongly criticised ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK, while he also said that the recent internal crisis in SYRIZA was now "a thing of the past", adding that any problems that may arise after the elections will also be resolved.
The leftist leader indirectly ruled out any post-electoral collaboration with PASOK, in the event that no party emerged from the elections with a self-sufficient majority.
He opined that ND was headed towards a crushing defeat in the elections, "which it deserves", adding that the ruling party's "antidote to poverty is more poverty".
Regarding PASOK, he said it was seeking a "carte blanche, and we will see afterwards about the tax issue, salary increases, labour relations etc", adding his certainty that PASOK was already planning for the 'morning after' and how "it will take back everything it promised during the election campaign".
Asked what SYRIZA's stance will be in the event that a self-sufficient government does not emerge from the Oct. 4 elections, Tsipras ruled out the prospect of lack of governance, but also maintained that PASOK's positions "are in a direction that is not to the benefit of society".
Consequently, he continued, "the day after the elections, we will press towards a different direction, given that there is no disposition on the part of PASOK to collaborate with the left".
Meanwhile, in an interview published by an Athens daily on Sunday, Tsipras was also critical of Communist Party of Greece (KKE).
Speaking in the central Athens district of Ambelokipi on Saturday during a tour of open-air markets and shops, Tsipras said SYRIZA is the only guarantee for positive developments and an exit from the current crisis.
 Karatzaferis in SpartaPopular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis on Saturday visited the southern Peloponnese town of Sparta on a campaign swing, where he sternly critisiced the government and the main opposition PASOK.
"Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis betrayed people's mandate and my role is to frustrate main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou from becoming prime minister The two mainstream parties have many things in common".
On the prevailing situation in economy, he noted that markets are suffocating and characterised as unbelievable the prime minister's proposals for strict measures in the economy over the next two years. Referring to Papandreou, he said the latter is not clear about his plans.
Asked about possible post-election cooperation between LA.OS and PASOK if a self-sufficient government is not elected, Karatzaferis said: "I believe that Karamanlis will not leave Papandreou without support, without government. We are the ones that will exercise opposition to PASOK".
 LAOS: Goal is 15 MPsPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou of not having said a word throughout the election campaign period on Greece's national issues, the Siemens affair and the illegal migration problem, in a press conference on Sunday during a visit to the western port city of Patras.
He said that Turkey was having a "free for all" in Thrace, while Turkish overflights had reached all the way to Skyros, and called for the European Union to assume the responsibility of guarding the borders "from the Turkish threat".
Karatzaferis further called for EU guarding of the Greek borders against illega immigrants, and recalled a LAOS proposal for the establishment of a quota.
Regarding the economy and the impact of the global financial crisis, Karatzaferis said that "money is needed for the country to exit the crisis", adding that the money necessary can be found if the black economy was curbed, while a rduction of VAT would "turn the market around".
In an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of Eleftheri Ora newspaper, Karatzaferis said his party aimed at electing 15 MPs to the 300-member parliament.
 EcoGreens campaign event in AthensThe Ecologists-Green party on Sunday held its main campaign event in Athens, where the party's showcased its proposal for a "green economy".
Instead of a traditionally rally, the party held an open discussion in a downtown Athens cafe, where the party's campaign leaders Nikos Chrysogelos and Yianna Kondouli answered citizens' queries and reiterated their neophyte party's position on for a "comprehensive and cohesive policy which combines the ecology with the economy and the society."
 ND calls for third TV debateA ruling New Democracy campaign spokesman on Saturday challenged main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou to a second one-on-one television debate with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, a proposal that was rejected earlier in the week.
"We do not want to believe that he is avoiding it," spokesman George Koumoutsakos, a MEP, told reporters.
Asked why the ruling party wants a third debate when PASOK has already rejected the proposal, Koumoutsakos said "nothing is more important and crucial than for people to be informed thoroughly".
 PASOK rejects callMain opposition PASOK rejected a renewed call by ruling New Democracy (ND) on Saturday for a third televised debate ahead of the October 4 general elections, which would have been the second one-on-one debate between prime minister Costas Karamanlis and PASOK leader George Papandreou.
Commenting on the new refusal, announced by PASOK press spokesman George Papaconstantinou, Koumoutsakos noted that ND had from the outset asked for more than two televised debates (the one among the six main parties contesting next Sunday's elections and the second between Karamanlis and Papandreou took place early in the week), and criticised PASOK for its second refusal.
 Event in memory of terror victim BakoyannisAn event in memory of assassinated New Democracy deputy Pavlos Bakoyannis, who was gunned down by urban terrorists outside his office 20 years ago, was held on Saturday in Athens ' Zappeion Hall.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas were the main speakers at the event.
"Twenty years ago some believed that by killing Bakoyannis they would harm the national consensus; they believed that they could seal our lips and kill our ideas. They did not achieve it," said Karamanlis, adding:
"Bakoyannis won our respect and his murder evoked anger and rage against the murderers. His sacrifice fortifies our battle against terrorism and violence; no tolerance to crime, to democracy's enemies They will be arrested and punished. They won't get away".
On his part, Sioufas noted that Bakoyannis, the slain husband of current FM Dora Bakoyannis, honored life itself with his words and deeds and called him "an emblematic personality".
 Cache of weapons recovered by divers off VouliagmeniCoast guard divers recovered a small cache of weapons and ordnance off a beach in the upscale Vouliagmeni resort, southeast of Athens proper.
Divers turned up six hand grenades, four rocket launchers, five detonators, 46 shells and even a mortar on Sunday afternoon, some six metres from the shoreline and tucked under an underwater rock.
The operation followed a unanimous call to police a day earlier.
One of the hand grenades was neutralised by a bomb squad specialist, reports state.
 Major heroin arrest on SamosA 26-year-old Lithuanian woman was arrested on Saturday on the eastern Aegean island of Samos on charges of attempting to smuggle five kilos of heroin into the country.
The woman arrived aboard a ferryboat from the Turkish resort of Kusadasi. Authorities said the drugs were carefully hidden in a crypt in her suitcase.
A day earlier, a 19-year-old Estonian national was also arrested on Samos for possessing 1.8 kilos of heroin. According to police both suspects are members of the same drug smuggling ring.
 Counterfeit moneyTwo foreign nationals, aged 37 and 39, were arrested in Kilkis on Saturday night as they attempted to sell counterfeit 20-euro bills totalling 50,000 euros to undercover policemen posing as buyers, at a price of 3.5 euros per bill (8,250 euros total in marked bills).
According to the regional police headquarters, the detainees transported the counterfeit money hidden inside the rear fender of their car.
It was revealed under questioning that the counterfeit bills were manufactured in Bulgaria.
Police were continuing the investigation, while the detainees will be led before a local prosecutor.
 Greek Superleague resultsPanathinaikos Athens stayed unbeated and atop the Greek Superleague standings by defeating AEK Athens 1-0 away on Sunday at the Athens Olympic Stadium.
Results of the Greek Superleague
LARISSA - PAS YIANNINA 0-0
OLYMPIAKOS PIREAUS -PANIONIOS ATHENS 1-0
ARIS THESSALONIKI - XANTHI 1-0
ASTERAS TRIPOLIS - LEVADIAKOS LIVADIA 2-1
ERGOTELIS CRETE - PANTHRAKIKOS KOMOTINI 4-0
ATROMITOS PERISTERI - PAOK THESSALONIKI 0-0
KAVALA - IRAKLIS THESSALONIKI 1-0
Standings after the fifth week of play:
ASTERAS TRIPOLI 11
PAS YIANNINA 6
 Japan's Sekiya Ryochi wins Spartathlon raceThe 27th annual Spartathlon ultra-marathon race, which began in Athens on Friday, was concluded on Saturday in Sparta, located in the southeastern Peloponnese. The first athlete to cross the finish line on Saturday, in front of a statue of King Leonidas, was Japan's Sekya Ryochi, who completed the race after 23 hours, 48 minutes and 24 seconds, followed by Lars Christoffers of Denmark with time of 24:31:45 and Jon Berge of Norway in third place with 25:09:38. The humble reward for the athletes' super-human effort was a "cotinos", a wreath made of wild olive tree branches and water from the Evrotas River delivered by a young woman from Sparta.
 Cloudy on MondayOvercast skies are forecast for most of the country on Monday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Temperatures between 15C to 25C on the mainland and 18C to 27C on the islands. Scattered clouds in Athens, 18C-25C; the same for Thessaloniki, 16C-25.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe final stretch to next Sunday's general elections, last week's arrest of terrorist suspects and the fiscal deficit were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Papandreou's (main opposition PASOK leader) seven lies - They will further indebt us with 70 billion euros from their first day in office".
APOGEVMATINI: "Ddisgruntled voters returning to (ruling New Democracy party) ND".
AVGHI: "Strong SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance) for 'winter' that's coming".
AVRIANI: " 'Pyramid' of insurance companies collapsing".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "In the 'straits' of Brussels - Papandreou's battle plan, with three defence lines for the negotiations with EU on the economy".
ETHNOS: "Blue (ND) torpedoes aimed against a PASOK self-sufficient majority - The last moves of the two duelers (ruling ND and main opposition PASOK) in the campaign arena".
KATHIMERINI: "The quandaries in the election and the nightmare of the 'morning after'."
LOGOS: "Revelations on 'new style' terrorist organisations - The four suspects arrested to testify on Tuesday, six more wanted".
NIKI: "The 'heavy artillery' on front lines - George's PASOK, united, heading for self-sufficient government".
REALNEWS: "Karamanlis' message - The prime minister opens up his cards on elections and 'morning after'."
RIZOSPASTIS: "Decisively into battle, with the KKE ballots".
TO VIMA: "Five burning files and three defeat scenarios - PASOK and ND preparing for the 'morning after'."
VRADYNI: "Rallying of ND voters at its zenith - The messages coming in to the party headquarters from all parts of Greece".
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