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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-03-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Monday, 29 March 2010 Issue No: 3455

CONTENTS

  • [01] Finmin on EU summit decision
  • [02] Papoulias at Messolonghi
  • [03] PM Papandreou to visit Cyprus
  • [04] PASY, KKE mark Kileler centennial
  • [05] Brussels decision a 'temporary fix', Papariga claims
  • [06] Tsipras addresses Central Political Committee
  • [07] SYRIZA and Turkey's ODP call for reduced defence spending
  • [08] Archbishop Ieronymos on Church taxation, holdings
  • [09] Turkey changes rules for minority schools
  • [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [11] One killed in explosion in Patissia, Athens
  • [12] Greeks turn lights off for Earth Hour
  • [13] Fanar, Cyprus presidential mansion turn lights off for Earth Hour
  • [14] Firemen's training centre to be created in Western Thessaloniki
  • [15] DIAS motorbike police to begin patrols on Monday
  • [16] Presidential gardens opened to public for the first time
  • [17] Earthquake off Chios
  • [18] Taverna and pastry shop targeted by robbers
  • [19] Suspect held for theft escaped from police jail
  • [20] Explosion outside PASOK youth offices
  • [21] Panathinaikos nears title
  • [22] Fair on Monday
  • [23] The Sunday editions of Athens' newspapers at a glance Politics

  • [01] Finmin on EU summit decision

    In an interview printed by the Sunday newspaper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia", Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said that the agreement struck at the EU summit in Brussels on a mechanism to support Greece was "a major victory".

    He stressed, however, that the government's aim was that the mechanism would never need to be activated.

    Papaconstantinou also asserted that the IMF would have the smaller, supplementary role and that the deal was in no way tantamount to new austerity measures.

    "Creating this mechanism was made possible precisely because Greece showed great determination in the effort to solve our fiscal problems on our own, with a serious Stability and Growth Programme and additional tough measures to ensure that we achieved the goals. This was the catalyst and in the final decision there are no additional terms. For us and for everyone it is taken for granted that we will continue with the same determination in implementing our programme," he said.

    The finance minister said that efforts to create a European Monetary Fund and to issue a Eurobond were not being abandoned and that the summit's decision "was in the direction of creating a new model of economic governance in the eurozone".

    On the tough austerity measures taken by the government, Papaconstantinou stressed that these were decisions resulting from necessity, not ideology.

    [02] Papoulias at Messolonghi

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday attended events commemorating the historic attempt by Greeks to break out of the besieged town of Messolonghi in 1826, dubbed the 'Exodus of the Free Besieged from Messolonghi', during Greece's war of independence against Turkish rule. The sortie ended in a bloody massacre but marked a turning point in Greece's fortunes, with Turkish barbarity inspiring Europeans to aid the war of independence that Greeks began in 1821.

    In a speech at an official dinner held in his honour, President Papoulias underlined that solidarity should today be "the foundation stone for the Europe we are trying to build". According to Papoulias, the European vision was recent history's most significant investment in peace, cooperation and growth, its most ambitious and unprecedented political attempt at solidarity and unification.

    According to Greece's president, the people of Europe were calling on their political leaders to overcome the institutional impasse and create a European Union with social cohesion and solidarity, with convergence combined with respect for differences, marked by environmental sensitivity, sustainable growth, protection of workers and social justice.

    [03] PM Papandreou to visit Cyprus

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)

    Prime Minister George Papandreou will visit Cyprus on April 12, according to an official announcement by the presidency of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Papandreou will be received by President Demetris Christofias and will be having meetings with the leaders of the Parlia-mentary parties.

    The Greek prime minister will attend a luncheon given in his honour by the President of Cyprus, that will also be attended by the leaders of the Parliamentary parties of Cyprus.

    [04] PASY, KKE mark Kileler centennial

    The farmers' union organisation PASY on Sunday marked the 100th anniversary since the 1910 peasant uprising in Kileler, in which several people were killed when big land-owners tried to put down a revolt seeking to abolish privileges that allowed them to treat the local population as serfs.

    PASY held a rally at the Kileler memorial, at which PASY Secretary Vangelis Boutas called on farmers to join in rallies organised by the KKE-affiliated trade union group PAME on April 8.

    An announcement marking the anniversary was also issued by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which said the party's predictions about the policy that ruling PASOK would adopt after the elections had been absolutely confirmed.

    "This experience must be the starting point of a major change in political thought and the stance of the greater part of farmers, so they do not fall into new traps and extortion," it said.

    KKE claimed that the majority of farmers were victims of EU policy and the governments headed by PASOK and main opposition New Democracy, with many forced to seek other sources of income in order to make a living.

    The party presented figures showing that 74.74 percent of all Greek farms in 2007 made a gross profit that was between 1,200-9,600 euros in the year, a figure that was reduced further in recent years.

    [05] Brussels decision a 'temporary fix', Papariga claims

    In a speech given in Piraeus on Sunday, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga appeared doubtful that the deal struck by European leaders in Brussels on a mechanism to help Greece cope with its debt crisis will prove more than a temporary solution.

    "The EU took a decision that might be said to have a temporary and short-sighted nature - but even if it works it will be only partially effective because the imperialist system, or rather capitalism in the imperialist stage, is not able to drastically deal with and use effective medicine on its own contradictions," Papariga said.

    She criticised the government for trying to cultivate a sense of triumph over the result, which according to Papariga translated only into a decision by EU countries to hold another meeting if an EU member-state appeared on the verge of bankruptcy. At this they would decide whether there was a real threat of bankruptcy, at which point they would decide the terms of any support or funding or loans that might be given and whether that country should leave the euro zone.

    Pointing out that any such decision would have to be unanimous, Papariga said that capitalist states had shown that they could not agree with each other and show solidarity.

    One thing that had emerged, however, was a clear direction on at least one issue, which was to make labour an ever cheaper resource and to 'rob' and oppress the popular classes more and more, she added.

    [06] Tsipras addresses Central Political Committee

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras, addressing the party's Central Political Committee on Saturday, assessed that Greece, despite the jubilating, remains bound by profiteers and the Greeks by an antipopular policy of recession measures that will decrease their income continuously.

    Tsipras said that the decision taken at the European Union summit provides support for the country that if used, something that is not at all certain, will have a painful arrangement: the participation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and this decision will lead things to a much worse position than what had appeared with the initial support declaration at the summit held on February 11.

    He also referred to support for banks by the European Central Bank, saying that they will continue to profiteer and, in essence, that they do not contribute to the tackling of the crisis.

    Tsipras stressed that the party's main political aims are defending salaried employment, that is sustaining the toughest attack of the past decades, the taxation of capital and of powerful economic interests that tax-evade and promoting an alternative strategy for an exit from the crisis.

    [07] SYRIZA and Turkey's ODP call for reduced defence spending

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday had a meeting with the head of Turkey's Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) Alper Tas, after which they issued a SYRIZA-ODP joint statement.

    Tsipras stressed that the leftist forces in Greece and Turkey were fighting for the peaceful coexistence of the two peoples and the resolution of Greek-Turkish differences in a framework of solidarity and cooperation that was based on international law.

    Both SYRIZA and ODP stressed the need for both countries to reduce spending on armaments, stressing that this did not benefit the Greek and Turkish peoples but only arms dealers and big defence industries. They appealed to their respective governments for a mutual and balanced reduction in military armaments.

    [08] Archbishop Ieronymos on Church taxation, holdings

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Sunday stressed that the Greek Church was the "most honest" of all institutions, when asked to comment on calls for an audit of Church accounts that might possibly involve the Greek financial crimes' squad.

    "We invite you to investigate and prove that the Church is the best controlled of any," he told reporters as he emerged from the Church of Agios Dionysius. Concerning the taxation of Church real estate, he also claimed that the Church's allegedly huge property holdings would prove to be worth very little when examined more closely.

    He announced that the Church was making preparations for the discussion of the draft tax bill in Parliament, putting together a three-member committee that will participate in Tuesday's debate, and had drafted a memorandum outlining the positions of the Church to give to the appropriate ministries.

    [09] Turkey changes rules for minority schools

    ANKARA (ANA-MPA - A. Abatzis)

    A circular released by the Turkish education ministry has removed powers and responsibilities previously held by mandatory Turkish deputy headmasters appointed to private schools set up by minority ethnic groups, relative to their own ethnic minority headmaster.

    Dated March 24, the circular has demoted the Turkish deputy head in the school hierarchy, so that he is no longer the superior of the ethnic minority headmaster in the eyes of the state and no longer in charge of the entire staff.

    Under the new measure, the Turkish deputy head is considered second-in-command after the minority head for Turkish teachers, though his position within schools remains.

    The problems presented by the institution of the Turkish deputy head master in minority schools had been raised by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in a letter sent to the Turkish education ministry as far back as 2003. The practice of appointing a Turkish administrator to the schools of Greek, Armenian and Jewish minorities was first established in 1937, rescinded in 1949 and restored in 1962.

    Financial News

    [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.346

    Pound sterling 0.907

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 9.786

    Japanese yen 124.99

    Swiss franc 1.44

    Norwegian kroner 8.162

    Canadian dollar 1.383

    Australian dollar 1.489

    General News

    [11] One killed in explosion in Patissia, Athens

    One person was killed and a 10-year-old girl was seriously injured when a bomb exploded late Sunday night outside the building housing the School of Public Administration in the Athens disitrict of Patissia.

    The girl's mother was lightly injured. Mother and daughter are foreign nationals.

    Counter-terrorism police are investigating the scene of the explosion. No further details were immediately available.

    It is believed that the person was preparing to plant the bomb when it exploded in his hands.

    There was no warning call.

    [12] Greeks turn lights off for Earth Hour

    The familiar sight of a floodlit Acropolis against Athens' night sky disappeared for an hour on Saturday night, between 20:30 and 21:30. The monument was among several Greek landmarks, institutions and businesses that participated in WWF's Earth Hour on March 27, switching off their lights in symbolic support for efforts to avert climate change.

    Also plunged in darkness for that one hour was the Greek Parliament, Thessaloniki's White Tower and several of the city's central hotels. They were joined by countless Greek households and businesses and millions of people across the globe that took part in the WWF effort.

    In the sequence of photographs above, the floodlights are sequentially turned off on Greece's most famous archaeological site and monument, first on the Parthenon and Propylaea and then those on the Acropolis rock.

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul and the presidential mansion on Cyprus were other institutions that participated in Earth Hour.

    In a message, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew appealed to "everyone, regardless of religion and nationality, to take part in Earth Hour" and stressed that climate change was become the foremost environmental problem and an incontrovertible proof of mankind's responsibility for the ecological crisis, with collective environmental action the only hope for changing humanity's current course of self-destruction.

    [13] Fanar, Cyprus presidential mansion turn lights off for Earth Hour

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul and the presidential mansion on Cyprus were among institutions that switched off their lights and participated in Saturday's Earth Hour organised by the WWF.

    In a message, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew appealed to "everyone, regardless of religion and nationality, to take part in Earth Hour" and stressed that climate change was become the foremost environmental problem and an incontrovertible proof of mankind's responsibility for the ecological crisis, with collective environmental action the only hope for changing humanity's current course of self-destruction.

    The Greek General Consulate in Istanbul also participated in the initiative, while several events to mark WWF Earth Hour were held on the island of Cyprus.

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias announced that he intends to begin negotiations for including Cyprus in the UN framework treaty on climate change and stressed that averting climate change was the only viable solution for the environ-ment, the economy and humanity.

    [14] Firemen's training centre to be created in Western Thessaloniki

    Deputy Citizen's Protection Minister Spyros Vouyias on Saturday announced the creation of an Inter-Balkan Firemens' Training Centre in Western Thessaloniki. Speaking during a press conference in Thessaloniki, he said that the creation of this model Centre is expected to be completed in about two years.

    The Centre, that will be constructed with joint funding by the public and private sectors, will host firemen from Greece and Balkan countries for additional training.

    Vouyias also said that, in the framework of the INTERREG crossborder programme, Greece and Bulgaria have made a joint appeal to the European Union to secure funding amounting to 2 million euros.

    [15] DIAS motorbike police to begin patrols on Monday

    The DIAS motorbike police patrols announced by Citizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis a short while ago will go out onto the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki as of Monday, according to a police announcement.

    A total of 2004 officers on 1002 650cc motorbikes will begin patrols in Attica, covering 167 sectors in Attica's five police commands. There will be a similar programme in Thessaloniki, which will be patrolled by 422 DIAS officers on 211 motorbikes.

    [16] Presidential gardens opened to public for the first time

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday opened the gardens of the presidential mansion to the public for the first time, inaugurating the start of regular visiting hours between 10:00-14:00 every Sunday, except holidays.

    The gardens around the presidential mansion cover an area of 2.5 hectares and were once the vegetable gardens of the royal palace, which currently houses the Greek Parliament. The presidential mansion itself was built in 1897 to serve as the palace of the erstwhile Greek royal family's crown prince.

    Previously, the gardens had only been open to visitors during the garden reception held each year by the president on July 24, to mark the anniversary of the day when democracy returned to Greece after the fall of the military junta in 1974.

    Both the gardens and the presidential building were designed by the architect Ernst Ziller, who was responsible for many of the elegant neoclassical public buildings that now lie at the heart of historic Athens.

    The majority of the 140 different decorative plants in the gardens belong to native Greek species, while some of the cypress trees are over a century old, creating a unique environment in the heart of the city. Hundreds of people visited the gardens on Sunday, including tourists, several elderly people and young children.

    [17] Earthquake off Chios

    An earthquake measuring 4.7 points on the Richter scale occurred at 8:35 on Friday night southeast of the Aegean island of Chios. According to the Thessaloniki Seismological Institute, the earthquake's epicentre was located 220 kilometres east of Athens and 400 kilometres southeast of Thessaloniki. It was added that the phenomenon was no cause for concern.

    [18] Taverna and pastry shop targeted by robbers

    A pastry shop in the city of Iraklio on Crete and a family taverna on the foothills of Mount Parnitha were both the targets of armed robberies at the weekend, with the culprits making off with thousands of euros.

    Two armed men wearing hoods attacked the Iraklion pastry shop late on Saturday night and made off with a loot of 3,500 euros on a motorbike. Another pair of armed robbers entered the taverna 'Tzoumerka' in Varybobi at 1:20 on Sunday morning, firing shots into the air to intimidate the owner and customers. They made off with 1,000 euros handed over by the owner, as well as money and various valuable items taken from diners.

    A foreign national in the Piraeus suburb of Nikaia sustained knife injuries when he was mugged at 1:00 on Sunday by a man that stole 150 euros and his travel documents.

    [19] Suspect held for theft escaped from police jail

    A 38-year-old Greek being held on charges of theft succeeded in escaping from a police jail pen in Piraeus during the early hours of Sunday morning. A Greek Police announcement said the suspect managed to cut through the bars of the holding cell situated on the third floor of the police station using an unidentified object.

    A manhunt has been launched to find and bring him into custody.

    [20] Explosion outside PASOK youth offices

    An improvised incendiary device comprised of gas cannisters exploded outside the entrance to the offices of the youth organisation of the ruling PASOK party in the Athens district of Egaleo at 2:15 a.m. on Saturday. The explosion and ensuing fire caused limited material damage to the door to the offices.

    Soccer

    [21] Panathinaikos nears title

    Panathinaikos Athens beat Atromitos Athens 3-0 away over the weekend and needs only one point in the last two games to clinch this year's Greek Super League title, while Olympiacos Piraeus was held to a 0-0 draw at home by struggling Xanthi and AEK Athens was also held to a 1-1 draw at home by Panionios Athens.

    In other action:

    Larissa-PAOK Thessaloniki 2-1

    Aris Thessaloniki-Levadiakos Livadia 1-0

    Asteras Tripoli-Panthrakikos Komotini 3-1

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-PAS Yiannina 2-0

    Kavala-Ergotelis Crete 1-3

    Standings after 28 weeks of play:

    1. Panathinaikos 64 points

    2. Olympiacos 58

    3. PAOK 56

    4. AEK 49

    5. Aris 46

    6. Kavala 38

    7. Iraklis 37

    8. Panionios 36

    9. Atromitos 35

    10. Larissa 34

    11. Asteras 33

    12. Ergotelis 33

    13. Levadiakos 30

    14. Xanthi 29

    15. PAS Yiannina 28

    16. Panthrakikos 12

    Weather Forecast

    [22] Fair on Monday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 3C and 21C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 9C to 20C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 8C to 18C.

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

    The economy and the decisions made by EU leaders in Brussels mostly dominated the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Public sector to be purged of contract workers. Employees with limited-term contracts to go as well".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Semi-enclosed building spaces: the final measures. New law in the government gazette by April 29".

    ARTHRO (weekly): "300,000 to be laid off in the public sector. What Brussels-IMF are demanding, what the government intends to do".

    AVGHI: "Dangerous choices in Athens-Brussels. The prime minister claims optimism about the EU summit decions but there has not been any significant change apart from the now direct involvement of the IMF in the Greek economy".

    AVRIANI: "300,000 contract workers to slaughter. 4,000 municipal enterprises to shut down. No renewal of contracts in public sector and state-owned public utility companies."

    CHORA: "[New Democracy leader Antonis] Samaras turning things on their heads within ND. Scoop: all the proposals for the major changes.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "New measures 'before the gates'. The seven 'thorns' from Brussels and the one gift from the European Central Bank that change the picture of the Greek market".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Double contributions for 600,000 insured. Social insurance system: those having two jobs will pay two funds".

    EPOCHI (weekly): "Easter 'bonus' for ...markets! The decisions of the 'leaders' are a breather for banks, a stranglehold on the people."

    ETHNOS: "The 'fine print' in the agreement with the EU and the...IMF. Four files on the table before the crash test in May".

    KATHIMERINI: "Record kickbacks for the submarines. More than 5 percent paid in commissions - 10-12 million just for 'Papanikolis'". (Claims the German company Ferrostaal AG paid millions of euros in kickbacks to win the contract to build submarines for the Greek Navy in 2000).

    LOGOS: "The government hopes...it won't need the IMF. Admits that there are 'grey areas' in the decisions of the European Council".

    NIKI: "No lump sum on retirement for civil servants. Insurance rights of thousands in jeopardy".

    PARON: "They put us in the charge of two 'child-minders'. Germany and IMF to check up on us and make decisions".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Three years crucifixion. 'German' social insurance system and cuts in pensions. Massive wave of lay-offs coming".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Uniform class war on the war declared on us by capital. Workers - self-employed - poor farmers forming a single fist"

    VETO (weekly): "New measures from the IMF vampire. Confidential report by Goldman Sachs"

    VIMA: "Third wave of measures...with women's pensions as the opening act".

    VRADYNI: "All the taxes relating to real estate. How to find your way through the tangle of measures".

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