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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-11-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 1 November 2010 Issue No: 3633
 PM: I'm not bluffing, or escaping from the problemsPrime minister George Papandreou stressed that he was not bluffing or escaping from the problems, in an interview with an Athens daily appearing on Sunday, and denied as "ludicrous" reports that he has opted for an "exit strategy".
"I am not bluffing, I am not escaping from the problems, I am not taking posthumous fame into account, in the face of the pressing needs and magnitude of the challenges," Papandreou said in an interview with RealNews newspaper.
"I have given and am giving my entire self for my country to avoid bankruptcy. I undertook historical responsibilities with much thought, but without ever losing heart," he said, adding that he is prepared to be judged again by the citizens, whenever necessary.
He stressed that in a democracy there are no impasses, adding that, for him, "defeat" would be inability to contribute the utmost to the battle for changing Greece. Papandreou stressed, however, that the prospect of recourse to the people (early general elections) does not depend on an isolated electoral result but on whether the country is headed to an impasse.
Greece, he continued, just barely averted the nightmare of bankruptcy and, "with everyone's efforts and sacrifices, we are firmly on the road to salvation and reform". However, if that course is brought into doubt, he warned, the threat of the sacrifices of the Greek people, the present stability and the smooth future of the country will be more than just tangible.
Papandreou reiterated his prediction that 2011 will be the last year of recession, stressing that Greece has assumed specific commitments and will carry them out, "without regard for the supposed political cost".
"In 2013, the situation in the country will be much better and we will have once again entered a developmental track," the premier said.
He further ruled out the prospect of a new Memorandum, "simply, because a new Memorandum is not needed".
"If we carry on unwaveringly, without back-tracking, with the expiration of the Memorandum in 2013 Greece will be a country like all the others, that will be borrowing on its own from the markets and meeting is borrowing needs," he said.
 PM reiterates significance of regional elections for gov'tPrime Minister George Papandreou toured the western Mace-donia region of northern Greece on Sunday, speaking at a regional conference organised by ruling PASOK in the city of Kozani, where he reiterated that next Sunday's vote in the local government elections is significant for the future of the country.
Papandreou said citizens' anger is justifiable in the current phase, and is a reality that he recognises, nevertheless, he called on voters not to "invest, with their vote, in fear and insecurity, but to transform their vote into a power for creativity and changes."
The Greek premier noted that the local government elections on Nov. 7 -- with the second round on Nov. 14 -- will determine whether the country continues on its current stable course towards salvation, as he said.
Moreover, in continuing his emphasis on the importance of the result for his government, Papandreou told party cadres and supporters that "if there is an impasse, then the people will be called on to speak, because in democracies there are no impasses."
In criticising the preceding government, Papandreou said main opposition New Democracy handed his government a "bomb", with the hope that it would explode in a PASOK government's hands, "but we did not shudder, and we are now on a path to exit the crisis".
As per the newly instituted "Kallikratis" plan for local govern-ment mergers and restructuring, Papandreou said the plan is a blow to petty partisan politics and favourtism.
The address and the related political discussions and workshops were attended by more than a half dozen Cabinet members.
 PM: Local gov't election should send clear message abroad, at homePrime Minister George Papandreou spoke to gathering of supporters in the working-class northwest Athens district of Aghii Anargyri on Saturday, on the weekend prior to municipal and regional elections in the country.
Papandreou called on voters to send a "clear cut political message, inside and outside the country, namely, that the unwavering course towards the salvation and reformation of Greece will not be broken."
In an indirect reference to the opposition, which has called on voters to vent their anger at drastic austerity measures envisioned in an EU-ECB-IMF memorandum, the Greek premier said such criticism was aimed solely at generated dissension in the country at a time unity is paramount.
"We have a debt to not become hostages to adventurism ... in the face of such a prospect, there is no other solution but to let the people speak, because there are no impasses in democracy," he said.
 ND calls for Pangalos' resignation over debt restructuring commentsA main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman on Sunday evening issued a scathing attack against government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos, calling for the latter's resignation following eyebrow-raising comments earlier in the day referring to a restructuring of Greece's foreign debt.
In published statements appearing in an Athens daily on Sunday as well as comments on a state-run television station, Pangalos left open the possibility of a restructuring of the debt load.
"Either the vice-president of the Papandreou government is investing in the country's bankruptcy, as the prime minister says of those that refer to a debt restructuring, or without knowing it, Mr. Pangalos exposed to the Greek people the true substance and purpose of Mr. Papandreou's recent election blackmail," ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos said.
The main opposition party demanded Pangalos ouster from the government.
PASOK, Pangalos reactions
In a reaction immediately following ND's criticism, the government spokesman referred to a "distortion of public dialogue" and danger-mongering on the part of ND.
Spokesman Giorgos Petalotis charged that ND is merely attempting to flee from the "impasses of its own political non-existence; crafting conspiracy scenarios and intentionally distorting Mr. Pangalos' statements."
On his part and in a written statement, Pangalos cited his joy because "New Democracy adopted, on the occasion of a theoretical discussion about the relationship of a hypothetical country with its debt burden, all of PASOK's arguments on the need for strict implementation of the memorandum's conditions, so that a reduction in the public debt is achieved with the exploitation of the (support) mechanism, which the prime minister achieved in order to fund the country's immediate needs."
 Papariga: Voters must shun PASOK, NDCommunist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Saturday spoke to party cadres and supporters in the west Athens district of Petropouli, where she again issued a call to voters to shun ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy.
"Abstention is irresponsible; participation and responsibility is a vote for KKE and the election combinations that it supports," she said, noting that the party's supporters should also avoid candidates of the two major parties in the second round of the upcoming municipal and regional elections -- Nov. 7 being the first week and Nov. 14 the second round.
Moreover, Papariga was sharply critical of a handful of leftist candidates vying for the current election, particularly of expelled PASOK MP Yiannis Dimaras and noted labour lawyer Alexis Mitropoulos, a favourite panelist on morning news programmes and television newscasts. Both of the latter are competing for the all-important Attica region race.
 LAOS leader criticises Merkel, PASOK, NDPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis launched a harsh attack on German chancellor Angela Merkel over her stance at the recent EU summit in Brussels towards the EU's economically weaker member countries, while he also criticised ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy on their stance "at this hour of crisis".
Speaking in Salamina during a tour ahead of the November 7 local government elections, Karatzaferis said that LAOS was the only political power that is not controlled by anyone nor anyone's marionette.
Patriotism, he said, is his party's philosophy, and it puts the homeland, not party clientelism, above everything else.
Noting that the situation in Greece is extremely serious and critical, with the country facing its worst crisis since the 1940s and heading towards disaster, he criticised the two mainstream parties of bickering and blaming each other while remaining indifferent to the critical nature and severity of the situation in the country.
He is due to speak at a rally in Glyka Nera in the evening.
 Tsipras: True dilemma of local gov't election is 'tolerance or condemnation' of gov't policyCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras said that the true dilemma of the November 7 local government elections is "tolerance or condemnation" of the government's policy and the Memorandum, speaking during a press conference in central Athens on Sunday.
Presenting the SYRIZA positions ahead of next Sunday's polls, Tsipras called on the Greek people to send a "message of reversal" of the "catastrophic course" being followed by the government, stressing that a vote against the government-backed candidates could act as a catalyst and open up the road of hope for progressive developments after the election.
Tsipras further charged that prime minister George Papandreou, "panic-stricken by the extent of the people's outcry", was resorting to an "empty blackmail of early general elections".
"The country is in danger from the Memorandum, the lenders and the Troika, and not from the free will of the people," Tsipras said, adding that the salvation of the country will be its disengagement from the Memorandum.
In an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of ETHNOS newspaper, Tsipras called the "dilemma" put forward by the prime minister "a joke", adding that Papandreou was openly seeking a vote of support to his policy of poverty, unemployment and social isolation "and also of increase of the debt".
 Massive gridlock plaguing Greek court systemMassive delays in the adjudication of court cases have created a major backlog in the Greek judiciary, with newly filed civil court cases in the greater Athens area, for instance, now being scheduled for the second half of 2014.
According to data released this week, one of the biggest reasons for the snail-like pace in adjudicating cases is the constant continuances and postponements, particularly at the Council of State (CoS) level.
One case before the CoS, Greece's highest administrative tribunal, has been postponed 36 times; two cases have earned 35 postponements, while thousands of cases have been postponed more than a dozen times.
Scheduling of new cases at the three-justice appellate misdemeanor court of Athens now begin in early 2014, while the mixed justice and jury appellate court system will now hear new appeals in the second half of 2011
According to reports, the situation will now worsen with the mass departure of court employees hired under the STAGE contract employee system, as only 148 new hirings are expected to be approved by the justice ministry in 2011.
In terms of figures, 25,391 cases were pending at the CoS in 2006; 27,879 in 2007; 30,705 in 2008 and 30,708 in 2009.
The backlog at all levels of Greek justice has also generated continuing condemnations of the country at the European level by the European Court of Human Rights. Specifically, over the last decade, out of a total of 392 violations slapped against Greece, 354 have involved the right to a fair and speedy trial.
 Turkish foreign ministery condems vandalism of Greek Orthodox cemetery on ImvrosANKARA (ANA-MPA/A. Ambatzis)
The Turkish foreign ministry on Sunday condemned the vandalism at a Greek Orthodox cemetery on the island of Imvros on the night of October 28, the anniversary of the Greek OCHI Day national holiday.
A ministry announcement said it was "informed with regret" that " on the night of October 28 many graves were destroyed in the cemetery" on Imvros.
The announcement noted that after charges filed by the Metropolitan of Imvros with the Turkish prosecutors' office, an investigation was immediately launched for the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators, adding that the Turkish authorities have taken all the necessary measures to avert the repetition of such incidents.
The incident is also being investigated by Greece's Consulate General in Istanbul, after receiving information that 78 graves in the Panaghia Cemetary were vandalised.
The incident occured between the night of October 28 and morning of October 29, which is the anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
 Obama invites Archbishop Demetrios to meeting with National Council of ChurchesUS president Barack Obama has invited Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios of America to take part in a meeting of the Heads of Communions of the National Council of the Churches of Christ (NCC) with the President at the White House on Monday.
The National Council of the Churches of Christ, usually identified as the National Council of Churches, is an ecumenical partnership of 36 Christian Churches in the US, encompassing 100,000 local congregations and 45 million adherents.
 Raymond Bett wins 28th Athens Classic Marathon, leading Kenyan 'sweep'Kenyan's Raymond Bett won the 2010 Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday, clocking in at 2:12:40, with fellow Kenyans Jonathan Kipkorir in second place with 2:14:05 and Edwin K?mutai in third place with 2:15:21, leading a record 12,500 runners in the commemorative ultra-distance race marking the 2,500th anniversary of the 490 BC Battle of Marathon.
Greece's prime minister George Papandreou completed the sideline 10-kilometer split, while a 5-kilometer split was also held.
Bett covered the 42-kilometer distance in record time, breaking the previous record of 2:12:42 set by yet another Kenyan, Paul Nicholas Lekuraa in the 2008 Athens Classic Marathon.
The first woman to finish the race, which set off from Marathon shortly after 9:00 a.m., was Lithuania's Rasa Drazdaukaite with 2:31:06 (42nd overall), followed by Russia's Olga Glok with 2:33:51 (45th overall).
The first Greek runner to finish was Michalis Parmakis with 2:20:48, in 15th place overall.
The 42-kilometer Classic Marathon is based on the legendary run carried out by the ancient hoplite Pheidippides who ran all the way from the battlefield of Marathon to the ancient city of Athens to bring news of the Greek victory over the invading Persian army and traces the actual route he is believed to have taken. Pheidippides died as soon as he arrived in Athens, shouting 'Enikikamen' (we won). Pheidippides' effort inspired the modern Marathon event, which covers roughly the same distance as that between Marathon and central Athens and was created for the first-ever modern Olympic Games of 1896.
 PM: Greece running its own marathon"Greece is running its own marathon," prime minister George Papandreou said on Sunday, but expressed certainty that "together, we will finish, and quickly, I hope", in a statement after completing the 10-kilometer split on the sidelines of the 28th Athens Classic Marathon, which marked the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon.
"2,500 years ago, we had the clash between East and West. Today, all of humanity celebrates through the spirit of the Olympic Ekecheiria (truce), the Olympic Games. We celebrate our common values of peace, cooperation, love and sport," Papandreou said, expressing his great pleasure in running "albeit these few kilometers, on this historic day, which projects Greece".
 ABNA-SE meetings conclude in BelgradeBELGRADE (ANA-MPA)
Issues affecting national news agencies in southeast Europe were squarely on the agenda at a two-day meeting here of the Association of SE Europe New Agencies (ABNA-SE), whose sessions concluded here on Saturday.
Challenges facing national news agencies, the new digital environment and increased competition from new media and Internet providers as well as the burning issue of plagiarism and intellectual property theft dominated the deliberations at workshops held within the framework of the meeting.
On his part, outgoing ABNA-SE general secretary Andreas Christodoulides, the special adviser to the ANA-MPA's general director, emphasised that within this new environment news agencies are forced to adapt to both the needs of clients, as well as to the rapidly transforming electronic media sector.
The meeting was hosted by Serbia's Tanjug agency, with the participation of the association's member-states: BTA from Bulgaria; CNA from Cyprus, MIA from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM); Agerpres from Romania; Anadolu Ajanci from Turkey; SRNA from the Sprska Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina and Greece's ANA-MPA. Observer agencies included FEMA of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Moldpres of Moldova; MINA of Montenegro and Slovenia's STA.
 Vatopedi land swaps defendent released on bondHellenic Public Real Estate Corporation (HPREC) former president Prof. Petros Papageorgiou was on Sunday released on 50,000 euros bond after testifying before special examining magistrate Irene Kalou on the Vatopedi Monastery-state land swaps affair.
Papageorgiou denied charges of breach of faith and moral instigation of false certification that have been made against HPREC executives, countering that the HPREC had only executed political decisions that had been taken in the land swaps deal.
 Tanker seized by pirates in Somali Basin, three Greeks officers aboardA Panama-flagged tanker was pirated in the Somali Basin on Friday, with a 24-member crew on board, including a Greek captain, second mate and first engineer, but there has been no news since the captain's last communication with the owning company since dawn Sunday.
The "MV Polar" was seized by pirates during the night as it was sailing 600 nautical miles off Somalia, east of Socotra island, carrying 68,000 tons of fuel oil from Suez to Singapore, according to EUNAVFOR, the EU's naval force in Somalia.
The last communication between the owner company Paradise Navigation and the captain of the 72,825 dwt. MV Polar was at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Apart from the three Greek officers, the crew comprised one Romanian, 4 Montenegrins and 16 Filipinos.
 Search continues for missing French woman on Mt. OlymposA search was continuing in full force on Sunday to locate a 37-year-old French woman who was reported missing in early October on Mt. Olympos.
EMAK rescuers, the army and police were scouring the area in search of the French tourist.
According to an eyewitness account by a local shepherd, the woman was last seen in early October climbing a footpath on Olympos.
 Search continues for missing Italian salesmanA search for a 48-year-old Italian salesman who has been missing since mid-October had not turned up any results so far, police said on Sunday.
The man was last seen in the region of Pteleos, Magnesia prefecture, in mid-October.
Police, who have left open all prospects, are continuing the search.
 Panathinaikos tops rivalPanathinaikos Athens was the big winner of the weekend, downing bitter rival Olympiacos Piraeus 2-1 on Saturday at the Athens Olympic Stadium (OAKA) to come within a point of the league leaders.
In other action:
Aris Thessaloniki-Atromitos Athens 2-0
Panserraikos Serres-Kavala 1-0
Kerkyra-Asteras Tripolis 1-2
Ergotelis Crete-PAOK Thessaloniki 1-2
Iraklis Thessaloniki-Olympiacos Volos 0-0
Panionios Athens-AEK Athens 1-0
Standings after six weeks of play:
1. Olympiacos P. 18 points
2. Panathinaikos 17
3. AEK 13
5. Kerkyra 12
8. Iraklis 11
10. Olympiacos Volos 10
11. Ergotelis 9
13. Atromitos 7
16. Xanthi 6
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glancePolitical developments and speculation on the outcome of the November 7 local administration elections were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.
AVGHI: "The people picking up the gauntlet".
AVRIANI: "Dimaras demolishes the establishment of the political dynasties".
CHORA: "Papandreou (prime minister) beneath the circumstances and controlled".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "What the bluff with the early general elections hides".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Murky scenery with elections-Memorandum".
EPOCHI: "PASOK fears the elections, not the people".
ETHNOS: "The secret opinion polls and the 'keys' for early general elections".
KATHIMERINI: "Dangerous electoral game".
LOGOS: "The bad news after the local government elections".
REALNEWS: "I'm not bluffing, I'm not escaping - Papandreou speaks about everyone and everything".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Vote for strong KKE".
TO VIMA: "Four scenarios of electoral madness".
VETO: "Opinion poll: 84.1 percent say 'no' to George (Papandreou)".
VRADYNI: "Real estate: Prices collapsing".
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