|Monday, 22 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-09-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 6 September 2010 Issue No: 3585
 PM: upcoming elections a 'yes' vote for a new GreeceBy voting for the new local government institutions established in the upcoming local elections, Greek citizens will be saying 'yes' to the future and to the changes that would make Greece a different, better and fairer country, Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Sunday.
In an unscheduled statement made after the announcement of PASOK-backed candidates in the regional and municipal government elections, Papandreou stressed these were not just another ordinary, run-of-the-mill election battle since the Kallikratis plan amounted to a "revolution in favour of the citizens, regions and the self-evident".
The only condition for carrying out this revolution "is for all of us to join the battle to elect those who believe in the prospects of change in Greece and in local government, those who have the knowledge and the ability and believe in these prospects".
The prime minister also stressed that he was speaking about "broader social, political forces" and that this was reflected in the choices announced by PASOK.
Regarding the candidates backed by PASOK, Papandreou said that they were people that had the ability and deserved to shoulder the burden of this great change, adding that their success in the elections would determine whether Greece was able to go forward.
According to the prime minister, it was a "great historic opportunity" that local communities and young people were able to participate in changing the state, changing the system for growth, modernising the welfare system, opening the educational system and innovatively highlight the modern Greek identity in products, services and tourism.
Papandreou noted that he had disagreed with some of the views expressed at PASOK's National Council but fully identified with everyone's concern to building a better Greece and to defend the weak, those on low pensions and salaries and "those that are often hard hit by this crisis for which they are not responsible".
"We are guided by the motto "the citizen first" and at the first possibility of a recovery we will concern ourselves with the problems of the weakest, helping and supporting so that there is security," he added.
Concerning the results of the 9th session of PASOK's National Council and the 36th anniversary since PASOK was founded, Papandreou said the party was moving forward in accordance with its principles but changing so that it was able to serve these in the best possible way.
He said the three-day National Council had once again proved that PASOK was a ground-breaking force, a body for dialogue and for processing innovative ideas and one that served values and was guided by principles that lit the way even in the darkest of circumstances, such as those the country had been going through in recent months.
"The hardest days we have known since democracy was restored, since the foundation of our movement, resulting from the unplumbable depths of the previous government's irresponsibility," he said, adding that the country had never before been in such danger or faced such a great threat.
 Samaras urges voters to use local government elections to condemn MemorandumMain opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras urged citizens to use their vote in order to condemn the Memorandum signed with the EU-ECB-IMF for the bailout package for Greece during an interview with the newspaper "Ethnos" published on Sunday.
ND's leader warned that, should PASOK be able to present the result of the upcoming local government elections as a victory, then it would then feel free to go carry out even harsher measures.
"We are calling on people to react politically," Samaras said, stressing that PASOK's only fear was the people's reaction and that it must feel things strongly at the local government elections.
 PASOK announces candidates for local electionsThe ruling PASOK party on Sunday announced the candidates that will run in the election for the country's 13 regional authorities and the largest municipalities.
The names announced included Dimitris Katsikopoulos for mayor of Patras, Yiannis Mihas for mayor of Piraeus, Yiannis Boutaris for Thessaloniki, Stathis Kousournas for Rhodes and George Kaminis in Athens.
For the 13 regions created under the Kallikratis plan the candidates announced were:
Aris Yiannakidis for Eastern Macedonia-Thrace
Yiannis Papiordanidis for Western Macedonia
Vaggelis Argyris for Epirus
Apostolos Papatolias for Thessaly
Apostolos Katsifaras for Western Greece
Klearchos Pergantas for Central Greece
Yiannis Sgouros for Attica
Nasos Giakalis for the Northern Aegean
Yiannis Macheridis for the Southern Aegean
Stavros Arnaoutakis for Crete
In the Peloponnese, PASOK will not field its own candidate but will back the 'Nea Peloponnisos' ticket headed by independent Petros Tatoulis. PASOK's candidate for the Ionian islands was not announced but according to Thanassis Tsouras, who announced the candidates, the party has selected an academic now teaching abroad whose name is to be announced next week.
According to Tsouras, PASOK was making a systematic effort to ensure broader convergence with Leftist and 'green' forces, in accordance with instructions from PASOK leader George Papandreou.
Concerning the sum of the candidates that PASOK will back in the upcoming local government elections, Tsouras said that PASOK had so far reached a decision for 298 municipalities, while a further 37 candidacies are to be announced within the next 10 days.
Stressing that local government lay at the core of PASOK's ideology and policy and that local authority heads must represent a force for change, Tsouras cited the results of surveys in various parts of the country and underlined that citizens primarily wanted mayors to have integrity.
He noted that the committee charged with choosing PASOK-backed candidates had faced a difficult task, both because of the larger size of the new local authorities and the unprecedented number of candidates for each position, which had exceeded an average of 18 per municipality.
 Opposition party reactionsCommenting on the list of names announced by PASOK, main opposition New Democracy spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos asserted that PASOK's elite had turned its back on the prime minister and refused to stand in the local elections.
"They obviously already foresee what the result will be, in reply to the disastrous policy of the Memorandum and are avoiding exposure to the popular vote in any way they can," he added.
 PM at PASOK National CouncilPrime Minister George Papandreou spent most of Saturday at the indoor Tae Kwon Do Arena in Faliro where the ruling PASOK party is holding the second day of its National Council. After briefly taking part in five workshops on various issues taking place earlier on Saturday, he then chaired a meeting of his associates at an office set up for his use within the complex.
Speakers at the workshops included several government ministers and deputy ministers responsible for handling government policy on the particular issues being discussed.
Meanwhile, also in session at the same time is a meeting of the secretaries of PASOK regional and prefectural committees chaired by National Council Secretary Sokratis Xynidis.
Prime Minister George Papandreou on Saturday visited five workshops on various themes that have been organised by the ruling PASOK party for the second day of PASOK's National Council.
 PASOK has not changed, Xynidis stresses in address to party's National Council"There has been no mutation within PASOK. The world changes, not PASOK which is adapting to the conditions and standing by the people, while it is not a party of ideological purity that is marginalised," said PASOK National Council Secretary Sokratis Xynidis during his speech on the last day of the three-day National Council.
Replying to criticism that PASOK's choices had placed it among the neoliberal parties that followed anti working-class policies, Xynidis stressed that theories of ideological purity did not provide answers to the capitalist crisis and called on those slamming support for banks to set a limit that would prevent a domino of bank collapses with devastating consequences for the economy.
Xynidis said that PASOK must wage a unifying, honest and clean battle during the upcoming local government elections and stressed that the Kallikratis plan completed the decentralisation that had been a PASOK policy platform since the party's foundation.
 Latest opinion poll resultsRuling PASOK retains a solid lead over main opposition New Democracy based on opinion polls published on Sunday, although "none of the above" remains the firm favourite among disillusioned Greek voters, with percentages vying those of the top party.
PASOK has a 7.1-percent lead over ND according to an opinion poll conducted by MRB for the weekly "Real News", though the percentage support for both parties is fewer than 30 percent. The poll was conducted on September 1-2 using a sample of 1,000 people throughout Greece.
Specifically, 27.1 percent of respondents said they would vote for PASOK (down from 27.2 percent in the previous MRB poll conducted in May). Support for ND was 20.0 percent (up from 18.5 percent in May), followed by 7.5 percent for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 5.3 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), 3.0 percent for the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), 2.9 percent for the Ecologists-Greens and 7.8 percent for other parties.
The percentage of voters that don't back any party was 26.4 percent, down from 30.8 percent in May.
Asked to choose between current premier George Papandreou and ND leader Antonis Samaras as most suitable premier, 35.1 percent chose Papandreou against 22.5 percent for Samaras, while 38.3 percent chose neither. During a poll in May, 37.1 percent had chosen Papandreou, 21.5 percent Samaras and 37.9 percent had chosen neither.
On the need for a cabinet reshuffle, 57.2 percent agreed that this was necessary, 30.9 percent said it was not necessary and 11.9 percent replied don't know/won't answer. On the timing of a reshuffle, 72.3 percent consider that it should take place soon, 23.7 percent some time in the future and 4.1 percent replied don't know/won't answer.
A poll conducted by Rass for the weekly Paron placed the difference between PASOK and ND at 6.2 percent, with PASOK receiving 26.4 percent of the vote and ND 20.2 percent, KKE 7.3 percent, LAOS 4.7 percent, SYRIZA 2.9 percent, the Ecologists-Greens 2.8 percent, other parties 4 percent and spoiled/blank votes 4.3 percent. Voters that have not specified which party they back came to 27.1 percent.
The Rass poll was conducted over the telephone on August 31, using a random nationwide sample of 1,503 people.
 KKE leader address at KNE-Odigitis FestivalCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga urged working-class people to join in fighting the dominant policies by casting their vote for KKE in the upcoming local government elections. She was speaking at the 36th KNE-Odigitis festival organised in Patras by KKE's youth group KNE.
"We communist men and women don't make do with cries, propaganda lines and melodramatic descriptions of the major problems of the working people. We don't waste our energy on blind rage. We want to contribute so that people take their fate into their own hands, overcome doubts and fears and even prejudices that are built in from the earliest years in school, so that they realise and use their indestructible, live-giving, revolutionary strength".
"Our goal is not to describe reality...it is to overthrow, to reverse this reality and put people on the path to social, popular prosperity," she added.
KKE's leader also warned against abstention as a political message in the upcoming elections, stressing that this was a message that anyone could construe as they wished.
According to Papariga, abstention was seen as giving up, inability to adopt a position, avoidance and pointless revenge.
"Not only does it not punish, quite the opposite, it promotes a dangerous neutrality and prepares the ground even better for new policies against the working classes and the people.
 Economy ministry unveils new price list for pharmaceuticalsThe Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping ministry has unveiled a new list of prices for pharmaceuticals that will apply as of Monday. According to the ministry, the list contains drugs representing 97 percent of total spending on pharmaceuticals in Greece and achieves a 20 percent median price reduction for most drugs, while the overall cost savings for social insurance funds is expected to reach 1.2 billion euros a year.
The new pharmaceuticals price list includes a total of 7,154 products, including 324 new drugs. Prices for 1,370 products have been increased while for another 613 they remain the same. For a small number of pharmaceuticals there was a problem in the pricing process requiring further investigation and inspections. In these cases the repricing process will be completed with the issue of a corrected price list on September 27.
In relation to the horizontal price reduction provisionally imposed last May, the prices of 3,373 products are lower, the prices of 2,658 are higher and 799 remain unchanged.
 U2 in AthensWith a spectacular set that was a triumph of technology and had perhaps the best sound quality achieved by any gig in Athens, U2 won over OAKA's Olympic Stadium in Athens during their first-ever appearance in the Greek capital.
"You are not defined by financial markets," Bono roared to an ecstatic audience that packed the stadium on Friday night, arriving from all areas of Greece to fill the stadium in defiance of the country's grim economic reality.
After opening acts Avin Geffen and Snow Patrol, U2 appeared on the stage playing the only unreleased song on the setlist, the instrumental opener "Return of the Stingray Guitar". They then proceeded to drive the crowd to delirium, with the audience roaring along to stock favourites like "I Still Havent' Found What I'm Looking For", "Get on Your Boots", "Vertigo", "Elevation", "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Pride".
The encore reserved more treats that had fans jumping in their seats, including "One", "Where the Streets have no Name" and "With or Without You".
This was only the second time that U2 have played in Greece, their first being 13 years ago in Thessaloniki. The next stop for the 360° Tour will be in Istanbul, Turkey where the band play on Monday.
 Mass jail escape from Omonia police stationThirteen inmates orchestrated a mass escape from Omonia police jail in the early hours of Saturday after they managed to convince guards to open their cell. The duty officer and two special guards at the station have been suspended from duty for allowing the escape and an official internal inquiry ordered by Greek Police headquarters.
The 13 inmates apparently pretended to develop a sudden acute health problem and demanded that they be taken to hospital. When the two special guards on duty opened the cell door in order to assist them, however, they attacked the guards and managed to escape.
The special guards succeeded in stopping three outside the jail cells and locked them up again, while another two were stopped at the police station entrance and a third caught in the surrounding neighbourhood.
A total of seven inmates succeeded in getting away, among them four Palestinians, two Iraqis and an Afghan. All seven are now being sought.
 15th Youth Parliament beginsThe 15th Youth Parliament, a three-day event organised in Greece every year for the past 15 years, kicked off on Saturday with the participation of 300 teenagers from Greece, Cyprus and Greek communities throughout the world.
Saturday's sessions included meetings of the a 'youth' Committees of Education and Social Affairs, at which the teen MPs stressed the need for a renewal of the education system. They also complained of a dearth of recreational activities for young people that they said encouraged teen addiction to the Internet. At their Social Affairs Committee they discussed the problems of the health system and issues concerning one-parent families.
On the second day of the Youth Parliament the teens will convene to discuss national defence and foreign affairs, economic affairs, production and trade, public administration, public order and justice.
The three-day event will culminate in a session of the full youth Parliament plenum beginning at 10:00 on Monday.
 Fire on 'Air Explore' aircraft landing on Kos, passengers safeAn aircraft of the Slovakian airline Air Explore caught fire in one engine shortly after landing in Kos airport on Saturday morning after a flight from Verona in Italy. All 170 passengers on board were safely evacuated without injuries.
The fire broke out as the aircraft was taxiing down the runway in order to park and let the passengers off, for reasons as yet unknown.
The airport's Civil Aviation Authority was alerted and the police and fire department were immediately mobilised. Within the space of minutes, passengers were being let off the aircraft using emergency procedures and the special slides for evacuating passengers.
All the passengers are safe and in good health, while the fire was quickly put out.
 Larissa petrol station robbedTwo Albanian nationals robbed a petrol station at Giannouli, Larissa early on Saturday and got away with 1,900 euros. They are being sought by police.
 Foreign nationals arrested for sex-traffickingA 42-year-old Bulgarian man and a 44-year-old Bulgarian woman were arrested in Thessaloniki for human-trafficking, authorities said on Saturday. The pair had brought a 23-year-old woman from Bulgaria to Greece, taking advantage of her financial difficulties, and then kept her captive against her will, locking her up in a van in the Hortiatis region of Thessaloniki.
The culprits had removed the young woman's travel documents and mobile phone and forced her to work as a prostitute. The 23-year-old has also accused the 44-year-old man of using violence and forcing her to have intercourse with him on September 2.
 Five illegal migrants arrested in stolen carAuthorities on Saturday announced the arrest of five illegal immigrants that were caught while travelling in a stolen car on the Athens-Patras national highway on Friday afternoon. The car was being driven by an unidentified man who managed to evade arrest.
Traffic police had pursued the vehicle because the driver had not complied with a signal to pull over and its occupants had then attempted to escape arrest by entering a nearby farm.
The car proved to have been stolen from Attica on August 25 while all five foreigners on board lacked valid residence permits. They had been travelling to the port city of Patras in order to illegally board a boat heading for Italy.
The five are to be led before a public prosecutor in Corinth while the driver of the vehicle is being sought.
 Mystery odour sends garbage collectors to hospitalTwo central Athens garbage collectors had to be rushed to hospital while working their shifts after a powerful odour caused both men to feel acutely unwell. The incident occurred at 11:00 on Saturday while the two men were collecting rubbish on Petros Kyriakou road in Ambelokipi, near the US ambassador's residence.
According to police, the two men were overcome while emptying a rubbish bin in the area and had to be taken to nearby Evangelismos Hospital, where doctors said they did not appear to be in any danger.
The area was cordoned off by police and a special fire brigade team trained in identifying radioactive, biological, chemical and nuclear contaminants searched the area. They have so far ruled out some radioactive source and the garbage truck used by the sanitation team was taken to the Demokritos research centre for further analysis, with nothing suspect discovered.
An inquiry into the incident is continuing, with the fire brigade considering a workplace accident to be the most likely cause. They have not yet identified the substance that affected the two garbage collectors, however.
 Ferry 'Agios Georgios' returns to Piraeus after developing engine troubleThe passenger ferry "Agios Georgios" returned to Piraeus port on Sunday after developing engine trouble. The ship had set sail from Piraeus for the island of Kythnos on Sunday morning with 292 passengers on board. The passengers will travel to their destination on other ships.
 Cloudy and wet on MondayCloudy weather with scattered showers and storms is forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, except the southern Aegean. Winds north northeasterly, ranging from 2-6 Beafort. Temperatures are expected to range between 14C and 30C. Sunny start in Attica, clouding over from the afternoon, temperatures from 21C to 30C. Cloudy and wet in Thessaloniki, with temperatures between 21C and 28C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens ' newspapers at a glanceAn anticipated cabinet reshuffle, the selection of PASOK's candidates for regional authorities and opinion poll results were the issues dominating headlines on Sunday in Athens newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The great fraud in a 'legal' fashion. White coats, 'black disability pensions'." [on suspected high incidence of 'fake' disability pensions]
APOGEVMATINI: "Lay-offs imminent in state enterprises".
ARTHRO: "The time of Leviathan. Cooperation that changes geopolitical balances in the Aegean".
AVGHI: "An economy and politics crossword" [analysis of current economic policy]
AVRIANI: "Sharp plunge in PASOK percentages changes [PM George Papandreou's] plans"
CHORA: "Victory course. [Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras] close to the people.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Hope for sale. Moves by G. Papandreou from now until Thessaloniki International Fair with the aim of raising low morale".
EPOCHI: "Unifying solution without rivalries" [article on opposition SYRIZA party]
ETHNOS: "George's dilemma for the changes at Maximos Mansion - government".
KATHIMERINI: "The problems on hold for the reshuffle..."
LOGOS: "Selection of regional authority candidates a 'thriller' scenario".
NIKI: "Who will receive and who will lose the EKAS low pension supplement".
PARON: "Slaughter in the court. Ragoussis versus Pamboukis for first place, with PM looking on"
PROTO THEMA: "Nikos versus the 'Czar' over taxes". [refers to PM's brother and finmin]
RIZOSPASTIS: "Joint organised struggle to overthrow the policy of PASOK-ND-EU-big capital".
TYPOS ON SUNDAY: "Lost votes and abstention shock PM's office".
VETO (weekly): "Government of business people with 'someone else' as prime minister"
VIMA: "New means and asset statement. 'Prove how you got it'. Draconian laws for property".
VRADYNI: "Further salary reductions. Who is not affected by the new list. Changes arising from the uniform salary scale."
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