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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Saturday, 12 December 2009 Issue No: 3373


  • [01] Papandreou: 'Tough but fair measures' in store
  • [02] ND leader meets Directorate of Greek Societies Federation of Germany
  • [03] Alexandria Patriarch Theodoros II holds talks with ND leader
  • [04] Swords crossed in parliament over police violence
  • [05] Gov't on univ. asylum; LA.OS leader calls for its lifting
  • [06] Parliament approves new DEPA chief appointment
  • [07] Panteios con'f on Greek foreign policy
  • [08] Body of former Cyprus president Papadopoulos stolen from grave
  • [09] Statements on Greek economy after EU summit
  • [10] Event at Italian embassy
  • [11] Arrivals fall 1.4% in '08, yr-yr
  • [12] Stocks rebound on Thurs.
  • [13] Alexandria Patriarch presented with Gold Medal of City of Athens
  • [14] Significant snowfall reported in N. Greece
  • [15] Three die in Magnesia after being swept away by torrents
  • [16] Minister pledges pedestrian bridge where pupil was killed in hit-and-run incident
  • [17] President receives children's Ombudsman
  • [18] Two migrants die off Leros after migrant-smuggler disembarks them on rocky islet off Leros
  • [19] Female naval officer latest H1N1 fatality
  • [20] Athens garbage strike over
  • [21] Exhibition of Constantinos Volanakis' seascapes opens at Hellenic Maritime Museum
  • [22] Book on the origins of Albanian nationalism presented at French Institute in Thessaloniki
  • [23] Rainy on Saturday
  • [24] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Papandreou: 'Tough but fair measures' in store

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking at the end of the European Union summit here on Friday, said the measures his government will take to reverse Greece's now acute fiscal and economic woes concern a crackdown on tax evasion, contribution evasion and widespread corruption.

    Speaking to reporters during a press conference televised by state television, Papandreou said measures will also be taken of a structural nature, such as decreasing the country's administration levels from five to three, by abolishing the regional and prefectural levels.

    Moreover, he categorically rejected initiatives similar to those announced by Ireland because, as he stressed, the problems of the two countries are different and "it would be a mistake to take the same measures for different problems."

    The Greek prime minister also rejected the possibility of Athens resorting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while queried over international pressures from international firms, he replied with a phrase by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, namely, that it is unacceptable for the economies of countries to be prey by assessments of various credit rating firms.

    Papandreou further clarified that he has not requested special support from the EU, considering that support provided for Greece at political level was very adequate.

    "... we are not asking them to give us gifts, nor for our partners to save us." He added that Greece could not convince its partners if it did not acknowledge the problems and if it lacked proposals that can take the country out of the crisis.

    Focusing on the country, in particular, Papandreou said that he himself raised the issue (of the Greek economy) during the summit, where he acknowledged the magnitude of the problem and described the framework of a solution that the government is determined to provide.

    The Greek government emerged from the summit with an improved image since, as Papandreou said, the solidarity of all 27 partners was expressed and whom he thanked. "The support they gave concerns the recognition that Greece is not on the brink of bankruptcy, neither will it go bankrupt nor will it find itself outside the eurozone."

    The prime minister denied that measures of a strictly revenue-generating nature will be taken, referring to "panic-stricken analyses citing measures that the government neither planned nor will be taking."

    "All the measures that will be taken, and which shall be tough but fair, will not aim at decreasing salaries and pensions, because neither salary-earners and pensioners are to blame for the crisis, nor can the country's economic problem be solved with such measures," he said.

    Lastly, in an unrelated development, Papandreou referred to the desecration of the tomb of late Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos, terming the act unacceptable and sacrilegious.

    Party reactions

    Replying to Papandreou statements in Brussels, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Panos Panayio-topoulos made the following comment:

    "Once again, Mr. George Papandreou made the mistake of repeating his bad self ... At a time when the Greek people and together with them our European partners expected the announcement of a complete and specific plan for the exit of the Greek economy from the crisis, the prime minister applied himself either to general references and well-wishing of a theoretical character, or to political attacks against New Democracy governments.

    "Obviously, Mr. Papandreou is unable to realise that the pre-election period of promises without value have gone once and for all."

    On its part, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party said that PM Papandreou "confirmed our innermost fears. Greece has lost its national sovereignty, turning into a region of Europe. This taken into consideration, the prime minister briefed our partners on the measures that he will be taking. While the Greek people who will be called on to pay must wait, without fail, for the summoning of their neighbourhood's tax officer," an announcement read.

    [02] ND leader meets Directorate of Greek Societies Federation of Germany

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras expressed support for the recognition of voting rights for expatriates in their places of residence, during a meeting held with the Directorate of the Greek Communities Federation of Germany in Bonn on Friday.

    According to an announcement by the Federation, Samaras stressed, among other things, that with the representation of expatriates in the Greek Parliament Greek society would not only obtain knowledge but experience as well on how some things are done in other countries.

    Samaras hailed the Communities' activities as being a factor for maintaining national unity among Hellenism and an ambassador for national interests abroad, while also inviting the Directorate to visit him in Athens for an in-depth discussion on issues concerning expatriates.

    [03] Alexandria Patriarch Theodoros II holds talks with ND leader

    Alexandria Patriarch Theodoros II held a brief meeting with main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras on Friday evening, in the framework of the Alexandrian Primate's official visit to the Greek Church these days.

    The Patriarch briefed Samaras on the Orthodox Church of Africa's missionary work. On his part, the ND leader reassured the Patriarch that he will stand by the Patriarchate's side.

    [04] Swords crossed in parliament over police violence

    Citizens' Protection minister Michalis Chrysohoidis on Friday stressed that the government will not tolerate incidents of police arbitrariness or violation of human rights, warning that all police who do not do their jobs well, who exerted violence on citizens "will go home".

    The minister further assured that a recent beating death of a Pakistani migrant, which recently came to light, will be fully investigated by a prosecutor and will not be covered up through semi-measures.

    Replying in parliament to a current question tabled by main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy and former interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Chryshoidis noted that the incident had taken place before the October general elections, adding that the new government (PASOK) immediately and in action manifested its concern over the practice of cover-up that had existed up to then, and accused ND for what he called the "dissolution" of the police and full inertia of the security corps.

    Pavlopoulos spoke of "inaccurate" charges against the Greek Police, to which the new government should apologise, and attributed Chrysohoidis' statements on the case of the Pakistani migrant to a "public relations ruse".

    As for Chryshoidis' charges of "dissolution of the police", Pavlopoulos retorted that during the ND government's term "we did not have incidents such as a beating of a university rector or a police motorcycle ramming into citizens resulting in head injuries to one of them".

    [05] Gov't on univ. asylum; LA.OS leader calls for its lifting

    The government on Friday said it was not interested in changing the system of "university asylum" in the country, instead the emphasis is on supporting university authorities in implementing current laws.

    Speaking in Parliament and in answer to a table question by Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) president George Karatzaferis, Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, who said there was no tolerance of destruction in Greece's numerous universities, colleges etc.

    On his part, Karatzaferis sharply replied that "we have a ban on whatever bothers anti-state activists. The free exchange of ideas has ceased, only the exchange of ideas serving these people is allowed ... This is not democracy."

    The leader of the right-of-centre party clearly called for the lifting of the "university asylum" regime, which Diamantopoulou, however, said dates from "our experiences in the seven-year dictatorship".

    [06] Parliament approves new DEPA chief appointment

    Parliament on Friday approved the appointment of Haris Sahinidis as the new president and CEO of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), with a majority vote.

    The appointment was approved with the votes of the ruling PASOK and opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) MPs, while the other opposition parties cast blank votes.

    The new CEO has set as his goals more widespread use of natural gas in Greece at the lowest possible rates for consumers.

    [07] Panteios con'f on Greek foreign policy

    Effective national strategy in foreign policy was the focus of a roundtable discussion on the theme of "Challenges and Prospects of Greek foreign policy", held within the framework of a conference organised on Friday by the Panteios School's international relations institute.

    Former PASOK minister Gerassimos Arsenis underlined that neighbouring Turkey, an EU hopeful, does not want the existence of a Greek political entity on Cyprus, rather, Turkish leadership wants the partitioning of the Aegean and the "autonomy" of western Thrace.

    He added that this threat must be averted and conditions must be created for a peaceful co-existence and cooperation in the wider region, while national rights must be defended at the same time.

    Arsenis further said that although national issues are continuing without a prospect for a solution, "we have backed down from our initial positions."

    Among others, speakers at the event were former leftist party president Nikos Constantopoulos and journalist Nicholas Voulelis, the managing director of the ANA-MPA.

    [08] Body of former Cyprus president Papadopoulos stolen from grave


    Unknown persons violated the grave of former president of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, who passed away last year, and removed the body on Thursday night, a few hours ahead of the first annual memorial service.

    According to available information, unknown persons removed the body from the coffin and disappeared.

    Police have cordoned off the area and access to the cemetery in the community of Deftera is prohibited.

    The open grave was found on Friday morning by a member of Papadopoulos' guard, who lights the vigil candle at the grave every morning.

    On hearing the news, the members of Papadopoulos' family went to the cemetery.

    Chrysis Pantelides, a former close associate of Tassos Papadopoulos, described the incident as criminal and sacrilegious.

    Sources said the memorial service scheduled for Saturday will be held as planned at the church of St. Nicholas in Kato Deftera.

    Meanwhile, condemnation of the unprecedented incident poured in, with both Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras expressing their dismay over the shocking incident.

    Financial News

    [09] Statements on Greek economy after EU summit


    EU summit chairman and prime minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso voiced belief that the Greek government will take the necessary measures to streamline its fiscal finances, during a joint press conference on Thursday evening after the conclusion of the first day of the EU summit in Brussels.

    Replying to a question, Reinfeldt said that Greek prime minister George Papandreou acknowledged the structural problems his country was facing, which pre-dated the economic crisis, adding that Papandreou pledged that his government will take the necessary measures for streamlining the Greek economy.

    Barroso, in turn, underlined the Greek government's commitment for the recovery of the country's fiscal finances, and noted that the measures contained in the draft 2010 budget are a step in the right direction, although additional measures will be necessary. He also said that Papandreou had been straightforward and committed himself to taking all the fiscal and structural measures deemed necessary. Barroso also reiterated that the Commission will closely monitor the situation, adding that he is prepared to help in the drafting of a comprehensive program of reforms and rationalisation of the Greek economy. He further expressed conviction that the Greek government's effort will succeed.

    [10] Event at Italian embassy

    The annual meeting of all the "Sistema Italia" entities active in Greece -- both Greek-Italian chambers, industries representatives, Italian entrepreneurs and cultural protagonists -- again took place at the Italian embassy in Athens.

    In greeting the attendees, Italian ambassador to Athens Gianpaolo Scarante said a decline in Greek-Italian trade over the first nine months of the year, due to the global economic downturn, was nevertheless, distinctly less in comparison with decreases in Greece's bilateral trade with other countries.

    [11] Arrivals fall 1.4% in '08, yr-yr

    Arrivals in the country of non-residents fell by 1.4 percent in 2008 in comparison to the previous year, figures from the National Statistical Service (NSS) showed on Friday.

    Specifically, arrivals from European countries, who account for 90.8 percent of Greece's foreign tourist arrivals, fell by 1.7 percent; the decrease was 5.2 percent from EU countries.

    Arrivals from Germany continued to lead all others, at 15.5 percent, followed by Britain, 14.3; Italy, 6.9, and France, 5.7 percent.

    [12] Stocks rebound on Thurs.

    Stocks ended a two-day rally at the Athens Stock Exchange on a negative note on Friday, closing out a rollercoaster week for the bourse and the Greek economy, as the composite index of the market lost 2.41pct to end at 2,160.68 points. Turnover was a moderate 293.2 million euros, of which 22.1 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors lost ground, with Banks (5.22 pct), Technology (5.20 pct), Technology (6.31 pct), Financial Services (4.24) and Raw Materials (3.57) posting the biggest percentage losses of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index declined by 3.47 pct, the FTSE 40 index recorded losses of 0.99 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.61 pct lower. Broadly, decliners by advancers by 137 to 70 with another 42 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.40%

    Industrials: -2.24%

    Commercial: -1.35%

    Construction: +0.11%

    Media: -2.64%

    Oil & Gas: +1.36%

    Personal & Household: -0.44%

    Raw Materials: -3.57%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.08%

    Technology: -5.20%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: -5.22%

    Food & Beverages: -1.52%

    Health: -0.86%

    Utilities: +1.69%

    Chemicals: -0.56%

    Financial Services: -4.24%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank and DEH.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 7.79

    ATEbank: 1.70

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.29

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.26

    National Bank of Greece: 17.10

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.67

    Intralot: 3.70

    OPAP: 15.80

    OTE: 10.30

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.22

    Titan: 21.00

    General News

    [13] Alexandria Patriarch presented with Gold Medal of City of Athens

    Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis presented the City of Athens Gold Medal to Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa, on behalf of Athens City Council, in recognition of his significant contribution to promoting and supporting Orthodoxy and his extensive humanitarian work in African nations, during an official ceremony on Thursday night at City Hall.

    During the ceremony, Kaklamanis spoke warmly of the Patriarch's missionary work, noting: "Your diverse pastoral activity promotes and supports Orthodoxy and your extensive humanitarian work contributes substantially both to the development of African nations and promotion of co-existence and brotherhood of nations."

    "The City of Athens Gold Medal has great historic and sentimental value for us, and I am sure for you also, but it is perhaps a small token for all that you have done thus far as hierarch. May God bless you with good health so that you can do even more," the Mayor said, adding: "While all personalities may have supporters and critics, you are 'fortunate' as you have managed through action, effort, work and, particularly your character, to avoid attracting even one enemy. And, of course, your compatriots take the lead in expressing this love."

    On his part, Patriarch Theodoros warmly thanked Mayor Kaklamanis and the entire City Council for the honour, but mostly for their love and support of his missionary work.

    "Beloved Mayor, but, above all, my friend Nikitas, I would like to express my gratitude. This is not the first time I have visited you. I have visited on many occasions and Mr Bechrakis (Athens City Council chairman) and I have discussed many issues, and I have always found your heart to be open, you to be a patient listener and your love in assisting me."

    He spoke about his pastoral work and his journey from the Metropolis in Sfakia, Crete, to Odessa, Ukraine, up until his first travels as a missionary in Africa.

    "However, five years ago, God called on my to take the Cross of St Mark upon my shoulders in Alexandria, the beloved city of the Macedonian Commander Alexander the Great. The city which you also love so much. I thank you Mr Mayor, because you honour me on behalf of the City of Athens with this great Medal and badge of honour. It will be a great source of strength for me because I will soon bid you farewell and return to Alexandria, to celebrate Christmas with our few, select Greeks there, who remain in Egypt, and recommence my work, the great work of the missionary. In these difficult times, I will know that a faithful and good friend of mine, Nikitas Kaklamanis, the Mayor of Athens, and the City Council are nearby. This will give me strength and courage to move forward, like an Odysseus, because Ithaca is in the sky but also on earth," the Patriarch added.

    [14] Significant snowfall reported in N. Greece

    Numerous roadways in northern Greece, particularly in the northern part of central Macedonia centring around Mt. Kaimaktsalan, remained closed on Friday due to heavy snowfall. Elsewhere to the west, snow tires were required on vehicles heading towards the town of Veria, Kastoria and Florina.

    On the plus side, most ski resorts of northern Greece reported the first substantial snowfall of the season, thereby inaugurating their winter season.

    [15] Three die in Magnesia after being swept away by torrents

    The bodies of three men reported missing in Magnesia prefecture in torrential rains on Thursday have all been recovered, rescuers said on Friday.

    Two animal breeders, brothers, were reported missing in the Almyros region of Magnesia at noon Thursday after being swept away by a torrent while attempting to cross a stream in heavy rainfall. The body of one brother, 72, was spotted and recovered later Thursday by a team of EMAK rescuers, police and volunteers at a distance of 300 meters from the stream. The body of his 65-year-old brother was found by rescuers on Friday morning.

    Initially, the 72-year-old was swept away by torrential water, while the 65-year-old was also swept away a few minutes later as he attempted to help his brother.

    Rescuers also recovered, on Friday morning, the third missing man, a 69-year-old man who was swept away by torrential waters on Thursday as he got out of his car, which suffered a malfunction, on the Sourpis-Drymonas provincial road.

    [16] Minister pledges pedestrian bridge where pupil was killed in hit-and-run incident

    Infrastructure, Transport and Networks minister Dimitris Reppas on Friday pledged that his ministry will, one way or another, build a pedestrian bridge at the point on Kifissias Avenue where a 15-year-old student was killed by a car earlier in the week.

    Reppas made the pledge to parents of local schoolchildren.

    Pupils of local schools symbolically blocked Kifissias Avenue for several hours on Friday morning at the site of the accident, where a pupil was hit by a car on Tuesday and later died in hospital. The driver fled the scene in his car, but turned himself in to police the following day. A number of accidents have occurred at the spot where the pupil was killed on Tuesday.

    [17] President receives children's Ombudsman

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday received children's Ombudsman Giorgos Moschos along with a delegation from the NGO at the presidential mansion.

    "When a pylon of society, as the children are, suffers, then all of society goes badly," Papoulias said.

    [18] Two migrants die off Leros after migrant-smuggler disembarks them on rocky islet off Leros

    Two illegal immigrants died and another 25 were rescued off the coast of Leros island, in the Aegean, on Friday morning after a Turkish migrant-smuggler disembarked on a rocky islet in inclement weather and storm-force winds of 8-9 beaufort velocity, the Coast Guard said.

    The group of 25 migrants, including children, was spotted on the islet at dawn by the skipper of a fishing trawler, who immediately informed the Coast Guard.

    The migrants were picked up by Coast Guard boats and taken to Partheni, in Leros, where the survivors told authorities that two more migrants had been with them when the Turkish boat-runner disembarked them on the islet.

    A rescue operation was immediately launched by coast guard boats and nearby fishing boats, and the bodies of a young man and a young woman were spotted and recovered.

    Despite an extensive search, the Turkish migrant-smuggler was not spotted.

    [19] Female naval officer latest H1N1 fatality

    A 39-year-old female naval officer was the latest victim of the H1N1 flu in the country, as the ensign died on Friday at a naval hospital in Athens from severe pneumonia symptoms.

    As of Friday, military authorities reported 10 new flu instances in the air force and five in the army, all reported as mild instances.

    [20] Athens garbage strike over

    Sanitation crews were back on the streets of the greater Athens area as of early Friday evening following the end of a 11-day garbage strike ruled as "abusive" -- but not illegal -- by an Athens first instance court the previous day.

    An estimated 9,000 tonnes of rubbish has piled up over the week on Athens' rain-soaked street corners. A judge accepted Athens municipality's legal petition against the strike, citing public health and public good ahead of the upcoming Christmas holidays.

    Strikers demanded a normalisation of contract workers' status by the central government, a development that led to a heated clash between Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis -- who supports the demand -- and Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis, whose portfolio includes hirings in the wider public sector.

    [21] Exhibition of Constantinos Volanakis' seascapes opens at Hellenic Maritime Museum

    A painting exhibition titled "Constantinos Volanakis, the poet of the sea" was inaugurated on Thursday evening in the renovated facilities of the Hellenic Maritime Museum at Akti Themistokleous in Piraeus, featuring some of Volanakis' (1837-1907) most significant works on loan from public and private collections throughout Greece and abroad.

    This is the first exhibition of works by the renowned seascapes painter Volanakis, one of the foremost representatives of the 'Munich School', a Greek artistic movement of the 19th century, to be staged in the greater Athens area.

    The exhibition brings together the greater part of Volanakis' works, with 62 of his most representative oil paintings.

    The exhibition will run through January 17, 2010.

    [22] Book on the origins of Albanian nationalism presented at French Institute in Thessaloniki

    The history of the emergence of Albanian nationalism is the subject of a research book by French author Natathalie Clayer, which was presented at the French Institute in Thessaloniki on Thursday night.

    The presentation of the book by researcher Clayer, titled "Aux origines due nationalisme albanais", was organised by the Institute in cooperation with the Greek publishing firm Isnafi Publishing.

    Weather Forecast

    [23] Rainy on Saturday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -1C and 15C. Cloudy and rainy in Athens, with northerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 4C to 11C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 3C to 7C.

    [24] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Prime Minister George Papandreou's address at the EU Summit on the state of the Greek economy and the government's intended measures, foreign officials' statements and premier's call on President of Republic Karolos Papoulias to convene on Tuesday the Political Leaders' Council on the problem of corruption, and the start of the National Social Dialogue on Monday, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Athens under occupation - The self-destruction folly continues".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Cooperation is a national necessity - The President agreed with the prime minister's request to convene the Party Leaders' Council".

    AVGHI: "Government to announce painful and anti-social measures".

    AVRIANI: "Tax storm on the horizon - Government to announce package of extraordinary measures before Christmas".

    CHORA: "Leaders' dialogue on corruption full of thorns".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government seeks a life jacket in consensus in order to impose additional taxes and a 3-year freeze on salaries".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel puts pressure to EU to save us".

    ESTIA: "When was our national sovereignty conceded? - The premier's statement was unfounded".

    ETHNOS: "George's (Papandreou, prime minister) messages from Brussels - The Greek economy issue prevailed in the EU Summit".

    IMERISSIA: "Two opinions on economy - Dispute over the breadth of the measures".

    KATHIMERINI: "EU ultimatum, in the form of 'support'."

    LOGOS: "Promises....will bring new taxes - Papandreou promised in Brussels 'Substantial and major changes'."

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "EU leaders demand measures".

    NIKI: "Former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was aware of the imminent bankruptcy and......left".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Class, popular solidarity and counter-attack against the anti-social policy".

    TA NEA: "Salary freeze again on the table - Government will take decisions on measures over the weekend".

    TO VIMA: "Three-year freeze on salaries - Alternative solution to save the Christmas bonus".

    VRADYNI: "Protective wall - Germany backs Greek economy".

    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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