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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-03-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 22 March 2010 Issue No: 3449


  • [01] PM: Greece will pay its own debts; no risk of default
  • [02] Samaras: Gov't 'flirt' with IMF dangerous
  • [03] Interior minister on public sector staffing, tenure
  • [04] Christofias addresses annual Venizelos memorial event on Crete
  • [05] New Cyprus embassy building in Athens
  • [06] KKE on labour movement
  • [07] Archbishop: Tax against Church unconstitutional, unprincipled
  • [08] GSEE labour union election results
  • [09] Bomb planted next to detention centre's wall
  • [10] Pakistani national targeted in bomb incident
  • [11] Kileler farmers' uprising commemorated
  • [12] 12th Thessaloniki documentary festival concludes
  • [13] Olympiacos downs Panathinaikos 1-0
  • [14] Fair, warm on Monday
  • [15] The Sunday editions of Athens' newspapers at a glance
  • [16] Gov' t: Int'l conference on Cyprus in UN framework
  • [17] Unknown persons steal remains of two Archbishops

  • [01] PM: Greece will pay its own debts; no risk of default

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Saturday again reiterated -- this time during an address to his ruling PASOK party's national council in Athens -- that the country will not default on its debt.

    "Today is a historic point, a point that appears only once every 30 or 40 years for countries," he said, adding that the first target is the rescue of the country, which is also a prerequisite for PASOK to be able to serve the Greek citizen.

    Turning to the internal political scene, he also sternly attacked main opposition New Democracy for its policy over the past few years, charging it that left the country on the verge of collapse.

    Referring to the government's recent and closely watched austerity measures, he termed them as extremely urgent.

    "We do not abandon the battle when things get tough and we will do whatever is necessary, however tough and painful it is, even at our own cost. The situation we are facing today is difficult; these are 'war conditions' and that's why our decisions are difficult If we did not impose these measures the consequences would be unimaginable. We took the right decisions and that's why we are exiting the crisis Greece has a strong and determined government that does what is necessary."

    Moreover, the Greek prime minister again referred to what he called an "unprecedented attack" by money market speculators against the country, noting that the problem doesn't concern only Greece but the eurozone as a whole. He said Greece will solve its problems alone and will pay its own debts.

    Regarding a recently tabled draft bill changing the tax codes, he said it was a decisive step for a just redistribution of wealth and the burden of taxpayers, "we will tax all citizens based on their true incomes; we will strike tax evasion. This is the end to impunity."

    [02] Samaras: Gov't 'flirt' with IMF dangerous

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Saturday charged that the ruling PASOK government is "persistently and dangerously" flirting with the opting of seeking recourse to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amid the ongoing debt crisis facing Greece.

    Samaras' comments came during an address to party cadres at a ND party pre-congress meeting held in Thessaloniki.

    Moreover, the opposition reminded, as he said, that PASOK "pledged everything to everyone" before last October's general elections. These election claims were subsequently succeeded by a "Titanic psychology" in the markets regarding Greece's economy.

    "In this crucial point for the country, ND supports Greece, not the government," he stressed. " However, consensus doesn't mean a 'blank check' I never promised such a thing nor I will allow it. Mr. Papandreou has such a consensus from another party not from us".

    He reiterated that "support" means backing of every correct government decision, even belatedly, saying he will repeat this mantra at next week's European People's Party (EPP) summit of eurozone prime ministers, where he will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    Referring to his party, he announced "radical changes", underlining that "we will not use Band-Aids, but we will rebuild it from the foundation up."

    Former premier Costas Karamanlis also attended the session.

    [03] Interior minister on public sector staffing, tenure

    Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis was quoted in a press interview, published on Sunday, as promising to drastically reduce the time needed to adjudicate instances where civil servants are charged with serious administrative infractions or dereliction of duty.

    Asked about the thorny issue of civil servants' permanent tenure status, Ragoussis said the issue of evaluation based on meritocracy and the staffing of Greece's public sector must first be addressed.

    He pointed to the establishment of a special commission to decide the appointment of top public sector department heads as a step in the right direction.

    His interview was published in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Vima".

    [04] Christofias addresses annual Venizelos memorial event on Crete

    Visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on Sunday addressed the annual memorial event near Hania, Crete for Eleftherios and Sophocles Venizelos, two of Greece's most prominent 20th century statesmen.

    The Cypriot president again called for the international community to pressure the Turkish government to change its policy and allow a solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem. Christofias said a Cyprus solution is in the best interests of Turkey itself, while he said a recent statement by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan on the issue -- namely, in favour of bizonal, bicommunal federation -- was positive.

    "Under no circumstances will we sacrifice the contents of a solution simply to gain time. Conversely, we cannot in the name of an idealised solution, one that does not take under consideration the realities of the era and the entire historical development of the Cyprus problem, allow time to pass unexploited," he added.

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis represented the government.

    [05] New Cyprus embassy building in Athens

    A day earlier, Christofias, in the presence of President Karolos Papoulias and Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos, inaugurated the new building of the Cypriot embassy in Athens.

    Christofias referred to the most modern Cypriot diplomatic delegation in the world.

    The new building is ready to welcome and offer its services to all Cypriots living in Greece and to accommodate Greek citizens and citizen of third countries that are interested in Cyprus, he said, adding that a total of 70,000 of Cypriot citizens currently live in Greece.

    [06] KKE on labour movement

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Sunday released a decision taken two weeks ago at its national congress which calls for the "restructuring" of the labour union movement in the country.

    The decision also refers to the KKE-affiliated PAME labour grouping, while also sharply condemning and criticising what it terms "leftist, anarchist and anti-state" groups, as well as terrorism, which as the party emphasises, "slander true revolutionary ideas".

    [07] Archbishop: Tax against Church unconstitutional, unprincipled

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Sunday was quoted in an Athens weekly as charging that a looming tax on Church-related commercial property and revenue was unconstitutional, while warning that the Church of Greece will seek recourse to Greek and European courts if a relevant draft bill provision is approved.

    Instead, the primate of the autocephalous Church of Greece proposed a calculation based on revenues and expenditures, with the Church subsequently paying a tax of 20 percent on the remainder of whatever net income.

    "The state is telling us that 'we don't know what your (Church) revenues are; yet, I want 20 percent of what you receive'. This is unconstitutional, and can be countered in both Greek and European courts. However, it is also unprincipled. How can you take 20 percent from someone when he may not even cover his expenditures?" Ieronymos was quoted as saying.

    Moreover, the Archbishop dismissed press reports of a cash-laden Church. "Come and show us where this money is."

    Finally, Ieronymos said he plans to meet with the prime minister to discuss this issue, adding that "our patience is now exhausted."

    The interview was published in the Athens weekly "Real News".

    [08] GSEE labour union election results

    The ruling PASOK party-affiliated PASKE grouping received 230 votes (48.2 percent) out of 478 valid votes at the 34th GSEE labour union congress on Sunday, held at a Halkidiki resort in northern Greece.

    ND-affiliated DAKE received 118 votes (24.69 percent), followed by the DAS (PAME) grouping with 100 votes (20.92 percent).

    In terms of seats for the new 45-member GSEE board of directors, PASKE picked up 22 seats (one more than in the last such election; DAKE 11 seats and DAS nine seats. The leftist "Autonomous Intervention" grouping picked up three seats.

    General News

    [09] Bomb planted next to detention centre's wall

    A strong bomb explosion was reported at 15.58 (13.58 GMT) Saturday outside an illegal migrants processing and detention centre in downtown Athens. The bomb was planted in a bus station next to the wall of the centre.

    Earlier, an unidentified caller phoned a local newspaper and television station warning of the imminent explosion, while also reportedly providing information on the exact spot where the bomb was planted.

    Before the phone call, a guard at the building reported seeing a suspicious object and later discovered the explosive device. The time bomb was placed in a metal box.

    Anti-terrorism squad officers arrived at the scene and commenced an investigation. No group has assumed responsibility for the explosion.

    A bevy of ultra-leftist urban terror groups have in the past claimed responsibility for make-shift bomb blasts in the Greek capital, with most incidents coming in the early morning hours in order to avoid casualties and against state targets, multinational company outlets, banks etc.

    [10] Pakistani national targeted in bomb incident

    A home-made explosive device was detonated early Saturday morning outside the entrance of an apartment block in the central Athens district of Patissia where a Pakistani man, who according to reports is a member of a local organisation comprised of nationals from that country, resides.

    The man, identified as Anuar Ikmar, was apparently the reason for the bomb's planting, as 20 minutes before the explosion an unidentified caller phoned a local newspaper and television station to warn of the blast.

    According to police, makeshift caused only minor damages because it did not detonate properly.

    [11] Kileler farmers' uprising commemorated

    The centennial anniversary of a farmers' uprising near the Kileler site in central Greece was observed on Sunday, with Deputy Agriculture Minister Mihalis Karhimakis representing the government at an event at the site of a monument dedicated to the incident.

    Several political officials, office-holders and representatives of farm groups in Larissa prefecture attended the event.

    [12] 12th Thessaloniki documentary festival concludes

    The Greek documentary "Gaza, We Are Coming", was awarded the audience award on Saturday evening at the conclusion of the 12th annual Thessaloniki documentary festival.

    The film, by Yorgos Avgeropoulos and Yiannis Karipidis, won the award in the Greek film over 45 minutes category, picking up a prize worth 10,000 euros.

    According to the event's website, the film chronicles the planning and journey of a first such mission to break an Israeli naval blockade, envisioning the docking of the first foreign ships in Gaza in 41 years, in August 2008.

    "Eyes Wide Open", a retrospective of the leftist political movement in Latin America by Uruguay director Gonzalo Arijˇn, won the audience award for best foreign film.

    "To shoot an elephant", an eye witness account chronicling the work of ISM volunteers in the Gaza Strip during Operation "Cast Lead", won the FIPRESCI award for a foreign film.


    [13] Olympiacos downs Panathinaikos 1-0

    Olympiacos Piraeus posted a hard-fought 1-0 victory away on Sunday evening before some 70,000 fans at the Athens Olympic Stadium against archrival and league-leader Panathinaikos Athens. The result of the eagerly awaited derby cut the difference between the two clubs to four points at the top of the Super League standings. Meanwhile, AEK Athens edged PAOK Thessaloniki 1-0 away on Sunday in the "battle" of the two-headed eagles, the emblem of both clubs.

    In other action:

    Ergotelis Crete - Iraklis Thessaloniki 1-3

    Levadiakos Livadia - Panthrakikos Komotini 2-0

    Kavala - Larissa 3-3

    Panionios Athens - Aris Thessaloniki 1-1

    PAS Yannina - Atromitos Athens 1-0

    Xanthi - Asteras Tripolis 2-0

    The standings after 27 weeks of play:

    Panathinaikos 61

    Olympiacos 57

    PAOK 56

    AEK 48

    Aris 43

    Kavala 38

    Panionios 35

    Atromitos 35

    Iraklis 34

    Larissa 31

    Asteras Tripolis 30

    Ergotelis 30

    Levadiakos 30

    Xanthi 28

    PAS Yannina 28

    Panthrakikos 12

    Weather forecast

    [14] Fair, warm on Monday

    Fair weather is forecast throughout the country on Monday, accompanied by unseasonably high temperatures. Temperatures between 3C to 22C in the north; 4C to 22C elsewhere on the mainland and 8C to 20C on the islands. West to southwesterly winds, up to 4 on the Beaufort scale.

    Clear and warm in Athens, 6C to 22C; sunny to partly cloudy for Thessaloniki, 6C to 20C.

    [15] The Sunday editions of Athens' newspapers at a glance

    The economy, political developments and recently announced austerity measures again mostly dominated the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Heart attack in public sector from massive flight of employees towards retirement".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Labour, wages, retirement changes in private sector".

    AVGHI: "IMF 'cocktail' an adulterated drink for country."

    AVRIANI: "Free-wheeling gambling by speculators betting huge sums on Greece's bankruptcy".

    CHORA: "Who's going to pay the tax man: What we'll pay in latest tax storm".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Pension after 40 years of work!"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New taxes and the unknown variable 'X'."

    EPOCHI (weekly): "(PM) G. Papandreou waiting for solutions from markets. Catch 22 between IMF and (Angela) Merkel".

    ETHNOS: "IMF technocrats serve up their plan".

    KATHIMERINI: "Support for Greece linked with Hungarian model (solution)."

    PARON: "Economic, business, political and mass media interests pressuring for unity government".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): Headlines an article alleging collusion shady business dealings between the Greek Red Cross-owned and operated Henry Dunant Hospital and the adjacent Erythros Stavros state hospital of Athens.

    Realnews: "Massive scam with the signature of (former finance minister Antonis) Bezas: they've already laundered 50 billion euros".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist party congress: Realignment of movement for social alliance aimed at popular governance."

    VETO (weekly): "Unbelievable snafu: Erroneous data by finance ministry led to (austerity) measures."

    VIMA: "Lifting of civil servants tenure isn't taboo. Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis' interview".

    VRADYNI: "The behind-the-scenes maneuvering in PASOK prior to tabling of draft tax bill".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [16] Gov' t: Int'l conference on Cyprus in UN framework

    NICOSIA (CNA/┴═┴-╠PA)

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that an International Conference on the Cyprus issue must take place in the framework of the United Nations.

    Stephanou, who was commenting on criticism by main opposition leader, DISY President Nicos Anastasiades, said that the International Conference on the Cyprus problem must take place in the framework of the UN, explaining that the solution of the Cyprus problem will be achieved on the basis of the UN Secretary General's good offices mission and the relevant UN resolutions on Cyprus.

    The spokesman said that the President of the Republic of Cyprus wishes to achieve a solution the soonest possible and added that President Christofias would continue his efforts to reach a solution, based on principles and showing the necessary realism.

    Referring to the EU, the spokesman said that it could play an important role in changing Turkey's negative stance on Cyprus, noting that "this is one of the basic pillars of our policy".

    [17] Unknown persons steal remains of two Archbishops


    The remains of two Cypriot Archbishops have been stolen from their tombs in the Agios Spyridonas cemetery in Nicosia.

    In statements to the CNA, police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said that "we have before us a new villainous deed".

    He added that unknown persons opened the graves and removed in the early hours the remains of Archbishop of Cyprus Sophronios III (1865 - 1900) and Archbishop of Cyprus Kyrillos II (1909 - 1916).

    Katsounotos said that they also removed the tombstone from the grave of Archbishop of Cyprus Kyrillos III (1916-1933) without removing the remains.

    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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