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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-01-10

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

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

Monday, 10 January 2011 Issue No: 3690

CONTENTS

  • [01] Frontex: 'Unprecedented' situation with illegal immigration on Greece's NE land border
  • [02] Greek, Turkish PMs address joint press conference
  • [03] Leftist parties on PM's visit
  • [04] Turkish FM on Erzurum contacts
  • [05] FM addresses event by Imvros societies
  • [06] Minister on health sector condition
  • [07] Mass transit work stoppages on Monday
  • [08] Mass transit work stoppages on Monday
  • [09] New Piraeus mayor promises crack down on illicit street trade
  • [10] Alleged migrant smuggling ring eyed executive jets as means of transport
  • [11] Another night of tension in Keratea
  • [12] 'Bambo' custom revived in Serres prefecture
  • [13] Olympiacos retains lead
  • [14] Cloudy on Monday
  • [15] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

  • [01] Frontex: 'Unprecedented' situation with illegal immigration on Greece's NE land border

    A report by the increasingly influential Frontex -- the European agency responsible for the management of operational cooperation of EU member-states' external borders -- refers to an "unprecedented" situation in terms of illegal migration in Greece's land borders with Turkey.

    According to a front-page article appearing in the Sunday edition of "Kathimerini", which quotes the Frontex report, roughly 31,000 illegal immigrants, with Afghans and Algerians making up the majority, were detected between January and September 2010 attempting to enter Greece from Turkey.

    The number of illegal migrants, practically all from Third World countries in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, could be much larger, the Frontex report is quoted as stating.

    The report cites one of the greatest influxes of illegal immigrants in the Union's history, in part basing this assessment on the sea patrols Frontex began in the eastern Aegean, which supposedly forced migrant smugglers to use the land route.

    Just as importantly, Turkey's role as a transit country for illegal migrants is underlined, while noting that the massive scope of the problem makes it impossible for Greek authorities to deal with it alone.

    On the news front, another body was discovered on Sunday in a field some four kilometres southeast of a guard tower on the Evros River, in the Peplos district of Evros prefecture.

    According to initial reports, the body is of an African male aged 20 to 25. The cause of death was listed as exposure.

    Meanwhile, on Saturday a mixed Greek and Frontex patrol intercepted a group of four illegal immigrants that had just rowed across the Evros River from Turkish territory aboard an inflatable dinghy.

    One of two alleged migrant smugglers was also arrested. The other fled back into Turkish territory.

    Finally, a Moroccan national, 30, was arrested in the Crete port city of Hania for attempting to transport 15 illegal immigrants, identified as Syrian nationals, to Italy aboard a decrepit ship anchored off a local harbour. The suspect was arrested and the illegals were detained, while another two men, a Moroccan and a Syrian, are sought by police.

    Of the 15 illegals, nine were listed as minors, with the youngest only three years old.

    Minister again cites tougher policy

    In a related development, Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis again expressed the government tougher stance vis-?-vis the spectre of illegal immigration, in an article appearing in an Athens weekly.

    "Only legal immigrants shall remain in Greece, no one else ... the rest shall leave our country, either via voluntary repatriation, or through compulsory deportation."

    Referring to recent negative reactions by some quarters in Europe in view of Athens' more hardline approach, Papoutsis again cited what he called "hypocrisy".

    "It hypocritical the people that have been accusing Greece till today of being unable to guard its borders, in accordance with the Schengen Treaty, now appear as critics because Greece wants the obvious: to strengthen security of its borders."

    Additionally, he said a planned fence on a portion of the Evros border, stepped up patrols and state-of-the-art surveillance and monitoring systems will "allow us to stabilise the situation, so that we can work, always in cooperation with other EU countries, towards long-term solutions.

    [02] Greek, Turkish PMs address joint press conference

    ERZURUM (ANA-MPA)

    The Prime Ministers of Greece, George Papandreou, and Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, on Friday declared that Greek-Turkish relations are already in a new era, while at the same time appealed for the continuation and consolidation of this new, mutually, beneficial era.

    "We cannot build our future on the difficulties of the past, or the negative language of the past. We must leave these behind and we can work, to create a new language, so that we can build our future," the Turkish prime minister said during the two leaders' joint press conference on Friday evening, and proposed the re-determining of the way with which Greek-Turkish relations are described.

    "Maybe we must change our approach, from that of neighbourliness, towards a partnership relation. We should characterise our relation in this way," he said.

    Papandreou accepted his Turkish counterpart's observations and stressed that "our visionary targets, that will provide the momentum, for us, the governments of the two countries, as well as for our peoples, is for us to proceed to a different base of peace and cooperation, that will be in the benefit of all."

    Erdogan said on his part that "we must avoid using terminology that can cause a problem between the two countries, because our target is to bring our peoples close, so that we can have a better future in the Mediterranean and the Aegean so that we can have a sea of peace."

    Papandreou further said "we are not bound by the past. On the contrary. We are discussing the problems of the past with great sincerity," adding that this is creating an even greater obligation "for us to forge ahead systematically, because we know that basically both peoples, just like tho two governments, want, but it is also in our interest, to take the steps ahead for a radically different relation."

    Papandreou went on to say that "the trust we are creating, is based precisely on the sincerity we have between us as well to face problems of the past." He referred in particular to the importance of the good personal relation that the two prime ministers have for the consolidation of Greek-Turkish relations.

    [03] Leftist parties on PM's visit

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on the occasion of the Greek prime minister's visit to Erzurum on Friday and his talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, spoke of a "'partnership alliance that is in the phase of completion through secret diplomacy as well."

    "The people must not be deceived by the prime minister's declarations about a new peaceful era in Greek-Turkish relations, or by his so-called bold references to Turkish airspace violations. Dangerous agreements are being promoted behind this at the expense of the peoples, the country's sovereign rights, particularly in the Aegean."

    On his part, the parliament head of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras called on Papandreou to brief political party leaders over his talks in Turkey, while also expressing a wish, as he said, "the prime minister's transformation yesterday (Friday), before Turkish diplomats and a reminder of Turkey's self-evident commitments vis-?-vis international law, are a sincere act".

    [04] Turkish FM on Erzurum contacts

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA)

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking after the conclusion of the 3rd annual conference of Turkish ambassadors, said that "Mr. Papandreou's participation (in the conference of the Turkish ambassadors in Erzurum) proves on what a right path our relations are on."

    Davutoglu added that "we shall overcome psychological obstacles in this way" and that Turkey has the will to lead its relations with neighbouring countries to the highest level.

    Replying to questions on what Papandreou said about "invasion" and "occupation" in Cyprus and to the violations of Greek airspace, Davutoglu said that all that the Greek prime minister said in Erzurum "is Greece's known view" and that "our positions on these issues are known, and our prime minister raised them with clarity."

    The Turkish foreign minister further said that "nobody can impose a position on the other side, and on Turkey in particular. Our positions are mutually known."

    Davutoglu pointed out, however, that "in general Mr. Papandreou's messages constituted messages of friendship and cooperation."

    [05] FM addresses event by Imvros societies

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas was present at a traditional reception for the New Year organised by natives of the northeast

    Aegean island of Imvros, where he expressed a wish that Turkey -- which retained the isle via treaty in 1923 -- takes bold steps in 2011 to embrace minorities in the neighbouring country.

    He also reiterated a statement made by the prime minister on Friday during an address to Turkish diplomats in Erzurum regarding respect for minority rights and religious freedom, noting that Athens attributes paramount importance to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to the ethnic Greek minority in Turkey.

    Droutsas nevertheless emphasised that Turkey has take positive steps. "We hope that these (steps) will continue so that the people remaining in Turkey (the now tiny ethnic Greek community) as well as those who have decided to return, will, indeed, feel a welcome part of Turkish society."

    [06] Minister on health sector condition

    Health Minister Andreas Loverdos on Sunday was quoted as again warning over the repercussions of the ongoing economic crisis on the all-important public health sector.

    "If we do not prove effective and skillful in achieving savings, without cutting services to the citizens, then more aggressive and unfair policies will be needed. We're fighting for the opposite, if we don't succeed than conditions for a political crisis will be created," Loverdos was quoted as saying in an interview carried by the Athens weekly "RealNews".

    Moreover, he sharply dismissed reports of early elections, charging that whoever is circulating such a prospect is conscientiously making provocations.

    [07] Mass transit work stoppages on Monday

    Commuters in the greater Athens area are expected to face renewed inconvenience on Monday due to work stoppages announced by unions representing mass transit workers in the traffic-plagued Greek capital.

    Unions are continuing protests against pending government measures aimed to slash massive operating losses by public transport providers, mainly mergers, payroll cuts and transfers of excess personnel.

    Specifically, the Athens metro and the electric rail line (ISAP) are expected to be out of service between noon and 4 p.m. on Monday. Additionally, buses, trolley buses and the tram lines will also observe a work stoppage between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

    Unions will hold assemblies at noon to take decisions on a future course of action.

    According to reports, one widely circulated proposal is for work stoppages on Tuesday and Wednesday and a 24-hour strike on Thursday.

    Managements in the state-run mass transit companies are expected to seek court injunctions against the threatened industrial actions.

    Fare increases

    In a related development, the government announced an increase in public transport fares in Athens as of Feb. 1.

    The relevant deputy minister said tickets in the capital will increase to 1.20 euros for ordinary fares and to 1.40 for the combined transport fares, valid for 90 minutes. Moreover, the monthly rides card for all public transport means reach 45 euros, up from the current 35.

    Protest against bus fare increases in Thessaloniki

    Meanwhile, supporters of the movement "Passengers of Thessaloniki" carried out a protest in downtown Thessaloniki and a symbolic takeover of buses, reacting to scheduled fare increases by the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organisation (OASTh).

    Protesters boarded five buses and raised banners against the increases, calling on passengers to not validate their tickets.

    [08] Mass transit work stoppages on Monday

    Commuters in the greater Athens area are expected to face renewed inconvenience on Monday due to work stoppages announced by unions representing mass transit workers in the traffic-plagued Greek capital.

    Unions are continuing protests against pending government measures aimed to slash massive operating losses by public transport providers, mainly mergers, payroll cuts and transfers of excess personnel.

    Specifically, the Athens metro and the electric rail line (ISAP) are expected to be out of service between noon and 4 p.m. on Monday. Additionally, buses, trolley buses and the tram lines will also observe a work stoppage between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

    Unions will hold assemblies at noon to take decisions on a future course of action.

    According to reports, one widely circulated proposal is for work stoppages on Tuesday and Wednesday and a 24-hour strike on Thursday.

    Managements in the state-run mass transit companies are expected to seek court injunctions against the threatened industrial actions.

    [09] New Piraeus mayor promises crack down on illicit street trade

    New Piraeus Mayor Vassilis Mihaloliakos visited a well-known weekend outdoor market in the port city on Sunday morning, where he referred to "an image of a Third World city that does not honour us."

    Mihaloliakos, a former ND minister, promised a crack down on illicit street trade in the municipality, which hosts Greece's largest port.

    [10] Alleged migrant smuggling ring eyed executive jets as means of transport

    Authorities at the Kavala airport on Saturday reportedly uncovered a sophisticated migrant smuggling operation using forged ID documents and even chartered executive jets to ferry migrants to Italy.

    A total of 15 people, all Afghan nationals, were arrested inside the departure terminal at Kavala's Alexander the Great Airport after police ascertained that the individuals were attempting to travel on forged Danish ID cards.

    Two leased executive jets, belonging to Greek firms, were reportedly waiting on the tarmac to fly the group to Genoa, Italy.

    A 19-year-old Moroccan woman was also arrested at the airport on charges of facilitating the travel of the group overseas via forged travel documents and ticket information. The suspect was identified as a permanent resident of Italy and as a travel agency employee in Milan.

    Moreover, four taxi drivers from Athens were identified as the means of transport of 15 Afghans from Athens to Kavala, as they were subsequently intercepted hours later on the Thessaloniki-Athens highway near the central city of Larissa. The drivers had reportedly charged 700 euros each for the transport of the illegals from Athens to Kavala.

    Additional suspects are wanted in the case, which authorities believe is the work of a trans-European migrant smuggling network.

    [11] Another night of tension in Keratea

    Friday night was another night of tension in the district of Keratea outside Athens. About 100 residents, who continue to protest the creation of a landfill in the area, lit fires in the middle of Lavrio avenue and charged at riot police.

    [12] 'Bambo' custom revived in Serres prefecture

    The "Bambo" custom will be revived on Saturday in regions of the northern prefecture of Serres, N. Petra, Monokklisia, A. Kamila and Haropo.

    According to the custom, the roles of women and men change. Women play the dominant role, while the men stay at home and do housework. In many regions, this day was later named the "Day of Women's Rule."

    In the Serres prefecture, this day is a day of honour for the oldest woman in the village (Bambo) who also used to function as a midwife in the past.

    Sports

    [13] Olympiacos retains lead

    Olympiacos Piraeus handily beat Kerkyra 2-0 away on Sunday evening to retain its lead in the Greek Super League standings over the weekend. Second-place Panathinaikos Athens beat Aris Thessaloniki 1-0 at home on Saturday while and AEK Athens downed Panserraikos Serres 3-1 away.

    In other action:

    Kavala-Larissa 1-0

    Ergotelis Crete-Olympiacos Volos 0-0

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-Atromitos Athens 1-0

    Panionios Athens-Xanthi 0-2

    PAOK Thessaloniki-Asteras Tripolis 1-0

    Standings after 17 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos Piraeus 42 points

    2. Panathinaikos 37

    3. AEK 27

    4. PAOK 27

    5. Kavala 24

    6. Xanthi 24

    7. Aris 23

    8. Olympiacos Volos 22

    9. Iraklis 22

    10. Ergotelis 21

    11. Kerkyra 20

    12. Atromitos 19

    13. Asteras 19

    14. Panionios 16

    15. Panserraikos 16

    16. Larissa 11

    Weather Forecast:

    [14] Cloudy on Monday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 18C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with light winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 16C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 2C to 12C.

    [15] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The latest developments in the battered Eurozone and pending reports by international credit rating services on the Greek economy, along with the latest changes or rumoured changes in the tax code, mostly dominated the headlines in Sunday's papers.

    APOCALYPSES: "Moody's and Fitch see bankruptcy scenario".

    AVGHI: "Unbridled business activity at hand".

    AVRIANI: "Citizens' movement to stop payments by majority of desperate citizens".

    CHORA: "Which ministers want elections, and which don't".

    ?LEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Crash test for debt restructuring and early elections".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "7+7 changes in workplace, taxes".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Worship of Islam unconstitutional and destructive".

    ETHNOS: "Tax traps: IRS recipe in battle against tax evasion".

    KATHIMERINI: "Frontex: Greek-Turkish border in Evros full of holes".

    PARON (weekly): "They're throwing us out of the euro!"

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Royal New Year's Eve for (government vice-president Theodoros) Pangalos".

    REAL News (weekly): "Confiscate their (ex ministers) assets!"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Dangerous developments in Aegean, eastern Mediterranean".

    VIMA (weekly): "Police operation against gangs of illegal immigrants in Athens' centre".

    VRADYNI: "Labour market: Major changes in 2011 for wages, contracts".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS


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