|Monday, 23 July 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 14 December 2009 Issue No: 3374
 PM to inaugurate 'social dialogue' on Mon.Prime Minister George Papandreou will formally open the government's "social dialogue" on Monday, as he will address an independent Economic and Social Committee session in the afternoon at the central Zappeion Hall.
Papandreou announced last week that he intends to take a series of decisions and initiatives on the difficult economic situation Greece is facing, with the first initiative being the commencement of a broad dialogue with so-called social partners in order to create what he called a grand alliance of social forces towards necessary major reforms.
The premier also asked President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias to convene a meeting of the council of political party leaders on the problem of corruption, which will take place on Tuesday chaired by the President.
 ND leader unveils 'shadow gov't', to participate in Tues. party leaders' meetingMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Sunday announced his "shadow government", with the designation of coordinators of various policy divisions.
Former minister Dimitris Avramopoulos was designated as the coordinator of the foreign affairs and policy division (shadow foreign minister), while Costas Tasoulas was designated defence issues coordinator (shadow defence minister).
The labour and social security issues head is Yiannis Vroutsis (an MP for the Cyclades islands), whereas former minister Costis Hatzidakis assumes the development and competitiveness portfolio.
Also, the domestic affairs and public administration portfolio has been assigned to Christos Zois, and the citizens' protection portfolio, better known as public order and law enforcement, was assigned to former minister Nikos Dendias.
Samaras, an economist, assumed the economy portfolio himself, with MPs Christos Staikouras (economic policy) and Theodoros Karaoglou (taxation) as alternate shadow ministers.
Meanwhile, ND press officer Panos Panagiotopoulos announced that the main opposition will take part in the meeting of political party leaders, to be convened on Tuesday by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, and following a request by Prime Minister George Papandreou.
ND, he said, has always and continues to seek cooperation among the political forces of the country on the major issues that concern all the citizens and determine the country's course.
Earlier on Tuesday, the ND parliamentary group will meet in Parliament's Senate hall, chaired by Samaras, to discuss "the Greek economy and global economic crisis".
 ND former minister: PASOK gov't 'trapped itself' with pre-elections pledgesMain opposition New Democracy (ND) MP and former minister Costis Hatzidakis on Saturday said the government has trapped itself with its pre-elections commitments, addressing an event organised by the Economic Chamber of Greece.
Hatzidakis said that, according to Prime Minister George Papandreou, the biggest deficit faced by the country was a "deficit in credibility".
"Let's hope that, in the coming months, we will not see that the biggest deficit is a deficit in the seriousness with which the government is handling the economy," he added.
He also accused the PASOK government of "arbitrarily inflating the fiscal deficit", adding that the first measure taken by the new government on the social security system was to rescind the preceding ND government's measures to salvage the system.
 Alexandria Patriarch concludes official visitPatriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa on Sunday concluded an official visit to the Church of Greece, with Theodoros presiding over a liturgy, attended by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and Metropolitans of the two Churches.
Speaking after the liturgy, Ieronymos paid tribute to the Patriarchate's "immense" missionary work in Africa, adding that Theodoros always "brings a smile of hope and courage to our African brothers".
Theodoros, in turn, thanked Ieronymos and the Church of Greece for its support to the missionary work of his Patriarchate "whose flock extends to 54 countries in Africa with millions of faithful".
Theodoros also made special reference to the Egyptian Greeks: "They left Egypt, but their heart lives in the land of the Nile. And Alexandria continues to be strongly reminiscent of Greece, where we guard the legacy left to us by our forebears."
He further expressed appreciation for the Greek government "which has never abandoned the Patriarchate", and all those who support the Orthodox Church of Africa's work, as well as to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's "support of our Greek Orthodox Patriarchate".
Ieronymos and Theodoros afterwards went to Mt. Penteli where a reforestation project was in progress in the fire-stricken areas.
Theodoros strongly criticised those "who do not respect nature" and who "for the sake of financial interests" destroy the forests both in Africa and Europe, and everywhere else.
The visit was concluded with an official luncheon hosted in Theodoros' honor by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, which was also attended by alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas, deputy education and religious affairs minister Ioannis Panaretos, and the Egyptian ambassador to Greece.
 'Asylum' issue dominates rectors' assemblyThe Assembly of University Rectors ended on Saturday with Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou reaffirming that the government has no intention of changing the unique, by international standards, university asylum regime in Greece.
"There will be no change. There is a general consensus for us all to work together, with specific actions, so that guarding of asylum will become a reality," she said.
Thessaloniki University (AUTH) rector Anastasios Manthos said that there was no essential difference between the minister's positions on asylum and those of the academic community, stressing that the problem did not concern asylum as an idea, but had to do with its implementation.
 Memorial service for former Cyprus president PapadopoulosNicosia (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)
A memorial service was held in Cyprus on Saturday marking the first year since the death of former President Tassos Papadopoulos.
The service was marred by the violation of Papadopoulos' grave on Thursday night and removal of his body, leaving only an empty coffin that was found on Friday morning.
Deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis represented the Greek government at the memorial service, which was also attended by main opposition New Democracy (ND) MP and former minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis.
The incident was condemned by officials attending the service, who also paid tribute to Papadopoulos as one of the most significant figures in Cypriot history.
 Econ minister: Gov't determined to take necessary measuresEconomy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli was quoted by an Athens daily on Sunday as citing that it is now necessary to convince international financial markets that Greece is determined to take measures necessary to achieve its "triple goal" of fiscal streamlining, and rekindling the economy and production.
However, she warned, "if we give them one hand, the will cut off our other hand as well".
Katseli stressed that the government must implement its programme immediately. "It must materialise the measures on the basis of its commitments and incorporate them in the Stability and Growth Programme. It would be useful if the measures are announced immediately. We knew that the market does not make discount. Consequently, it is necessary to immediately boost credibility," she added.
Asked to comment on recommendations for a "freeze" of salaries, along the lines of the latest Irish model, Katseli replied that, at this time, the country's fiscal problem will not be solved, and the markets will not be convinced, with a salary freeze or reduction, not only due to the fact that the working people are not the ones who should shoulder the cost but, above all, what comes first and foremost is effectively bringing the fiscal deficit under control.
 FinMin: 2010 budget targets triple wagerThe 2010 budget is the most difficult budget of the post-war period, finance minister George Papaconstantinou said on Saturday, adding that it aimed at winning a triple wager: recovery and revamping of the economy and regaining the country's credibility.
Addressing an event organised by the Economic Chamber of Greece on the 2010 budget, Papaconstantinou said that the government was aspiring to support of the weaker financial strata in tandem with fiscal adjustment.
He noted that the finance ministry's position was difficult, as it was called on to give account to the EU bodies and try to convince the country's partners, adding that the analyses of the Greek economy appearing recently in the foreign mass media were inaccurate and "outside the realm of reality".
On the 2010 budget, Papaconstantinou said that the government's pre-elections pledges were valid, noting that a basic tool will be one hiring in the public sector per every five departures, with the exception of the "sensitive sectors", combined with the introduction of a single agency for the payment of civil servants.
Regarding revenues, the finance minister said that the new budget will not introduce increases to any taxes save for the special consumption tax on alcohol and cigarettes.
Outlining the dialogue on the new taxation system which begins on Monday, Papaconstantinou said that a completely different manner of taxation will be introduced, with the institution of a uniform tax scale while stock dividends will henceforth be considered "income" and taxed accordingly, as will incomes from all other sources. Further, a progressive taxation will be established on large real estate holdings, while taxpayers will be required to list all their assets on their income tax statements.
As for taxation on bank deposits, the minister said that nothing is changing, adding that the deposits are not at risk and therefore there was no reason for their being transferred abroad.
With respect to the structural changes, Papaconstantinou explained that these referred to the "opening" of the so-called closed professions and reform of the social security system.
Finally, he said that as of December 2010 there will be new types of budgets introduced, containing long-term budgets for programs.
 KKE on FinMin's addressCommenting on finance minister George Papaconstantinou's address at the Economic Chamber of Greece earlier in the day, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Saturday that the minister's claim that the economy is not in danger "in essence is just one more assurance to the big-time businessmen that the government will do everything so that their huge profitability will not be impacted but, rather, strengthened even in conditions of crisis".
What was at risk, the KKE added, is the last conquests of the working people and poor popular strata.
 Lecture on New Acropolis Museum at Columbia UniversityNew York (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Dimitrios Pandermalis, President of the Board of Directors of the New Acropolis Museum and Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, presented a lecture on "the Acropolis Museum and Its Collections" on Saturday evening at Columbia University.
Pandermalis made a historic review of the landmarks in the search for the appropriate site for the New Acropolis Museum, the obstacles that arose along the way, the excavations that necessitated a change of plan, and the final result that he said enchanted humanity.
Speaking to a packed auditorium, which also included the Museum's architect, Bernard Tschumi, Pandermalis also outlined aspects unknown to the wider public concerning the entire course from inception of the idea of the New Acropolis Museum to the completion of the project.
Pandermalis also noted the "great advantages" of the Museum, such as the exploitation of natural light, and its roof, which functions as a "fifth facade".
The lecture was given in conjunction with the exhibition on the New Acropolis Museum running at Columbia University's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery through December 19.
Opening just four months (October 21) after the new Acropolis Museum itself (June 20), the exhibition focuses on the building itself - its innovative architecture and the major role it plays at the nexus of Greco-Roman cultural and archaeological history, according to the organisers.
Sited to be in visual dialogue with the Acropolis, The new Acropolis Museum creates a direct association between the displayed objects and their original context. For the first time, all significant archaeological finds from the area are consolidated into one, state-of-the-art museum, highlighting the importance of the site in shaping artistic expression in Greco-Roman antiquity and its continuing influence on perceptions of Greek art. At the heart of the Wallach exhibition is an array of full-scale casts of prime examples of the sculpture that the museum was built to house, together with casts of pottery that was unearthed during excavations for its foundation. The casts, on loan from the museum in Athens, are complemented by color photographs of the building.
Introducing the exhibition are planning documents from Bernard Tschumi Architects, the firm that designed the museum. These materials include preparatory sketches, working drawings and architectural models. Tschumi, a New York-based Swiss architect, is a member of the faculty of Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where he served as dean from 1988 to 2003.
Early archaeological work on the Acropolis is illuminated by illustrated books from Columbia's Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. Copies of archival documents from the American School of Classical Studies in Athens outline the pioneering studies of William Bell Dinsmoor, a Columbia faculty member from 1919 to 1963 and one of the few foreign scholars allowed to conduct excavations on the Sacred Rock. Ioannis Mylonopoulos, professor of Ancient Greek art and archaeology in Columbia's department of art history and archaeology, is serving as curator of this exhibition.
The exhibition winds up on December 19.
 Athens lights eco-friendly Christmas tree, launching holiday eventsThe City of Athens launched its Christmas and New Year events at Syntagma Square with the traditional lighting of its Christmas tree and a spectacular fireworks show. Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis marked the start of the City's events and urged everyone to spread a little more optimism, compassion, sensitivity and love in order to experience the true meaning of Christmas.
Minutes before the lighting, Mayor Kaklamanis said a few words regarding the unique Christmas tree that adorns Syntagma Square this year.
"This year, the tree of the city of Athens is one of a kind. It is not just an environmentally friendly tree made from recycled and recyclable materials, nor is it a real tree cut from a controlled plantation that will simply be recycled after the holidays," he said.
"It is a tree created from natural trees. 250 natural fir trees and their roots have made up our tree this year. And the best part? These trees - which will be watered here for three weeks - will be planted in Attica's most fire-ravaged areas after the holiday season, this way acquiring new life themselves and in turn giving life to the Basin's residents," he explained.
"In this way we would like to send a message, in practice as well, to the residents and visitors of our city: that the City and the Environment are one and that it is up to all of us to protect the environment by changing our habits to help our city, our country and our planet to breathe," Kaklamanis stressed.
The Mayor of Athens did not neglect to thank the City's employees who all contributed to the city's festive appearance and he particularly thanked the workers from the electrical and sanitation departments.
Concluding his brief greeting, Mayor Kaklamanis set a date for next year to switch on the lights of the Christmas tree together with all Athenians: "Be certain that next year, all together, you and I, I and you, will be here again to light the Christmas tree".
Syntagma Square was then filled with lights and colours, while the City of Athens Philharmonic and the City of Athens Music Ensembles group De Stijl, under the guidance of its chairman and well-known composer and saxophone player Yiorgos Katsaros, played for the hundreds of the people who turned out for Athens' first celebration of the holiday season.
 Caravan of Palestinian ambulances travels through N. GreeceRoughly 130 Palestinian activists in 80 ambulances en route to the Gaza Strip arrived in the Thessaloniki-area municipality of Polichni on Sunday, where they will spend the night in a local indoor arena.
The caravan of ambulances set off from Britain before arriving in Belgium and travelling across Europe. The group expects to travel through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and then to attempt a crossing into Gaza.
 Consulate car targeted by arsonists, group claims responsibilityA belonging to the Albanian consulate in Thessaloniki was targeted by arsonists at dawn on Saturday, with the attack was claimed by a previously unknown group calling itself "anarchist action" (Anarchiki Drassi) in a proclamation sent to a Greek internet news portal.
A fire broke out at 4:15 a.m. in the car, which was parked in downtown Thessaloniki, causing minor damage to the vehicle before being extinguished by the Fire Department.
 Bombs neutralised at media social security, pension Funds officesPolice bomb disposal experts on Saturday neutralised two home-made explosive devices outside the mass media social security fund (ETAP-MME) and the Athens Journalists pension fund (TSPEATH) in the Neos Kosmos district of Athens, after an anonymous call to a private television station.
The explosive devices had been placed in metal boxes.
 Greek honey, a natural sweetener and health boosterThe nutritional value of Greek honey and its health benefits were outlined at an event organised in Larissa by the local Association of Beekeepers.
Larissa has 650 beekeepers who account for a total of 47,000 hives, which produce 151 kilos of honey each.
One of the oldest foods known to man, honey is pure and healthy and contains important vitamins and minerals.
Honey is first mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Judges 14:8 which is believed to have been written about 1050-1000 B.C. In Spain 7,000 year-old cave paintings show bee-keeping and it's known that the ancient Egyptians kept bees over 4,000 years ago, using the honey for sweetening and for its healing power.
The ancient Olympic competitors used honey and figs to enhance their performance; honey can help to maintain energy levels and help muscle recovery time.
Honey is a good source of riboflavin and vitamin B6 and also contains iron and manganese. It has an abundance of glucose (also known as dextrose) which is a great source of readily available carbohydrates that give a healthy pick-up, and also boosts the immune system
Combined with green tea, it is an excellent source of energy, while honey and lemon in a cup of hot water soothes a sore throat.
Honey is also important for its antioxidant ability - the darker the honey the better.
 Super league resultsOlympiacos Piraeus remained atop the standings of the Greek Super League standings by easily downing last-place Panthrakikos at home on Saturday 3-0. In other action:
Aris Thessaloniki -- Asteras Tripolis 0-1
PAS Yiannina - Ergotelis 1-0
Iraklis Thessaloniki - Panathinaikos Athens 0-1
Atromitos Athens - Xanthi 1-0
Larissa - Panionios Athens 2-2
Kavala - PAOK Thessaloniki 0-0
AEK Athens - Levadiakos 3-2
Standings after 14 weeks of play:
1. Olympiacos 36 points
2. Panathinaikos 35
3. PAOK 25
4. Panionios 22
5. Ergotelis 21
-- AEK 21
7. Asteras Tripolis 20
8. Aris 19
-- Kavala 19
10. Atromitos 16
11. Iraklis 15
-- Larissa 15
13. PAS Yiannina 14
-- Xanthi 14
15. Levadiakos 11
16. Panthrakikos 2
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe economy and the government's planned measures, and the social security system were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "100 professions in tax bureau's vise".
APOGEVMATINI: "New plan for salaries, pensions".
AVGHI: "Papandreou pendulum".
AVRIANI: "Public utilities and state enterprises to be sold".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Nightmare report: social security system's 'secret' debts at 600 billion euros".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Two blind dates - Dialogue on economy is opening with cards closed - Reservations over (Tuesday's) meeting of party leaders on transparency".
ETHNOS: "George's (Prime Minister Papandreou) wager on the economy, counter to recommendations - He disregarded pressure and reversed predictions of harsh measures".
KATHIMERINI: "Experimentation in the midst of crisis - Papandreou disregards EU and markets, and persists with his pre-elections programme".
LOGOS: "The hour has arrived for painful measures on economy - Prime minister to make announcements on Monday".
NIKI: "Absolution for the scandals".
PARON: "We're both changing and sinking - George's (Papandreou) lack of willpower shaking government".
REALNEWS: "End to tax exemptions - Explosive recommendation in Papandreou's hands".
RIZOSPASTIS: "PAME strike on Dec. 17 against the front comprising capital, EU, government, ND, GSEE and ADEDY, for the satisfaction of our needs".
VIMA: "Papandreou plan for the crisis and the economy - The pressure, the recommendations and the prime minister's decisions".
VRADYNI: "Who will be affected by the mergers of social security funds - Sweeping changes to the social security system".
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