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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-02-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 28 February 2011 Issue No: 3731


  • [01] Wen cites China's thanks for evacuation
  • [02] Greek, German FMs discuss Libya evacuation operation coordination
  • [03] Greece welcomes UNSC sanctions on Libya
  • [04] More third country nat'ls arrive on Crete from Libya
  • [05] Two more Greek ferries return from Libya with foreign evacuees
  • [06] More Greeks airlifted from Libya; embassy remains open
  • [07] ND continues criticism of FinMin
  • [08] KKE: Predictions on Memorandum have been confirmed
  • [09] LAOS leader bashes German stance
  • [10] Opinion polls on party preference
  • [11] Greek student protestors disrupt screening in Paris of Gavras film
  • [12] Helliniko project touted
  • [13] Postponement of EBEA event
  • [14] Several hunger-strikers treated at local hospital
  • [15] Burglars make off with jewelry worth 29,000 euros from jewelry store
  • [16] Super League results
  • [17] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance Politics

  • [01] Wen cites China's thanks for evacuation

    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has addressed a letter of appreciation to Greek Prime Minister to thank Athens for its contribution over the past week to the massive evacuation of several thousand Chinese nationals from strife-plagued Libya.

    Wen Jiabao cites the "deep and sincere appreciation of the Chinese people" towards the Greek PM, the Greek government, local administrations as well as to the people of Crete and all Greece.

    Several thousand Chinese citizens have been evacuated to Crete from Libya aboard Greek-flagged ferry boats this past week. Most are hosted in local hotels and resorts on the popular holiday isle before taking direct charter flights back to China.

    Additionally, Wen referred to the "friendly feelings towards the Chinese people and the spirit of mutual assistance demonstrated (by the Greek people) during particularly difficult times".

    Beijing said some 30,000 PRC nationals lived and worked in Libya before the recent turmoil began.

    Finally, China's premier cited expressed his hope over Papandreou's "significant support" and as well as that of the Greek government, while the same time calling for a meeting with the Greek prime minister in the near future.

    [02] Greek, German FMs discuss Libya evacuation operation coordination

    Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas had a telephone contact on Sunday with German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, whom he thanked, on behalf of the Greek government, of the evacuation operation of German, Greek and third-country citizens from the Libyan city of Jalu with German military planes operating out of the Souda military airbase on the island of Crete.

    Westerwelle, in turn, expressed appreciation of the excellent cooperation and coordination with the Greek foreign ministry, which he said enabled the successful completion of the mission.

    [03] Greece welcomes UNSC sanctions on Libya

    Greece on Sunday welcomed the UN Security Council decision that "proves the international community's volition for an immediate end to the violence in Libya and a peaceful solution of the problems, with the aim of satisfying the just demands of its people".

    Foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas, in a statement, reiterated Greece's absolute condemnation of the actions of the regime in Libya, as expressed by prime minister George Papandreou in Berlin, and called on the Libyan regime to immediately halt the use of violence.

    Greece, he said, also expresses its support to the people of Libya and, in cooperation with its EU partners, will continue to work towards facing the situation.

    Droutsas further stressed that Europe has an obligation to continue taking decisive measures aimed at the immediate termination of the violence.

    Security Council Resolution 1970, which was unanimously adopted on Saturday, imposes a ban on the sale of materiele (military supplies) to Libya, a freeze on the assets of the Ghaddafi regime, and prohibition of Ghaddafi, his family and the regime from traveling abroad.

    At the same time, the Security Council also calls on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the violence suppression measures so as to ascertain whether crimes against humanity have been committed.

    [04] More third country nat'ls arrive on Crete from Libya

    A Greek ferry boat arrived at the port of Irakleio on Crete on Saturday morning with another 2,800 third country nationals evacuated from strife-torn Libya. Most of the foreign nationals were identified as Chinese citizens.

    Several thousand Chinese nationals have already been ferried from Libya to Crete, where they are being hosted until their repatriation.

    Meanwhile, the first flights to China carrying a total of 541 evacuees from Libya departed from Hania airport on Saturday afternoon.

    According to the Chinese ambassador in Greece the massive repatriation effort to transport Chinese evacuees from Libya via Greece will take an estimated 10 days.

    [05] Two more Greek ferries return from Libya with foreign evacuees

    Two more Greek ferries docked at Iraklion port on the island of Crete on Sunday morning carrying more than 4,200 third-country evacuees from Libya, the majority of them Chinese nationals. The first ship, the Hellenic Spirit, arrived in Iraklion port just before 9:00 a.m., carrying some 2,120 evacuees, while the second vessel, the Olympic Champion, arrived in port two hours later with another 2,130 evacuees on board.

    The foreign nationals were put up in local hotels until arrangements are made for their return to their home countries.

    [06] More Greeks airlifted from Libya; embassy remains open

    Another eight Greek nationals, along with 11 Cypriot citizens, were airlifted from Libya on Saturday aboard a German air force C-160, which took off from the Nafoora airport and landed at Crete's Souda Bay air station.

    According to reports, the Greeks and Cypriots had been stranded in a remote construction worksite in the desert region of Gialo, due south of Benghazi.

    Greece's embassy in Tripoli remains open to assist remaining Greek citizens or ethnic Greeks in the North African country, the foreign ministry emphasized on Saturday.

    [07] ND continues criticism of FinMin

    A main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman on Saturday said the party will use a "no confidence" measure against the finance minister whenever it sees fit, speaking in Thessaloniki during a briefing of the party's communication policy.

    Moreover, in answer to a press question, spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis said ND was "not targetting individuals, but policies".

    "If someone feels responsibility for his policies, then he can resign without the need for a vote of no confidence," he said, in direct reference to recent and sharp criticism of Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.

    Finally, he reminded that ND leader Antonis Samaras has tabled a set of proposals to jump-start the economy.

    [08] KKE: Predictions on Memorandum have been confirmed

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Sunday said its predictions regarding the Memorandum have been confirmed.

    In a statement, KKE leader Aleka Papariga said that from the first moment the Memorandum was agreed, the KKE had predicted that the Greek people will go bankrupt and that from there on there would be a negotiation on the depth of the bankruptcy of a sector of the capital, in order for profitability to recover.

    "We have been confirmed," Papariga said, adding that the people need to believe that sacrifice is worthwhile only on the altar of the struggle for the counter-attack, the reversal of the present situation, and the toppling of authority.

    "There are no demi-solutions," she stressed.

    [09] LAOS leader bashes German stance

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis launched a harsh attack on Germany, prompted by German chancellor Angela Merkel's stance towards Greece, speaking on Sunday at the annual memorial service in Vigles, Megalopolis, for the 212 people executed by the Nazi occupation forces during WWII.

    Addressing the event, which was also attended by German ambassador to Greece Dr. Roland Michael Wegener, Karatzaferis likened the German occupation with German's stance today towards Greece, adding that Germany must realise that it has obligations to the peoples of Europe, and especially the Greeks.

    "Back then they devastated us, and are doing so again today, economically. All these things that are happening are disappointing the Greek people regarding those who believe that they can control our lives," Karatzaferis said, stressing "we can do so ourselves".

    Karatzaferis said that today's Greeks must take their example from those great Greeks of the past "because today, too, we are under a singular occupation, an economic one this time, and we must wage the battle to be able to emerge winners once again".

    [10] Opinion polls on party preference

    Ruling PASOK's lead over main opposition New Democracy has fallen to just 1.9 percent, according to the results of an MRB opinion poll appearing in RealNews newspaper on Sunday.

    More specifically, regarding voter intent -- meaning what party they would vote for if elections were held the following Sunday -- 23.2 percent of the respondents opted for PASOK, 21.3 percent for ND, 9.0 percent for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 5.6 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, 3.0 percent for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance), 2.7 percent for the Ecologists-Greens, 2.2 percent for the Democratic Alliance, 2.2 percent for the Democratic Left, while 4.0 percent said they would vote for some other party, and 26.8 percent were undecided.

    In another opinion poll, conducted by MARC and appearing in the Sunday edition of Ethnos newspaper, PASOK's lead over ND stood at 4.6 percent.

    More specifically, 26.1 percent of the respondents favored PASOK, 21.5 percent favored ND, 7.9 percent opted for the KKE, 5.9 percent for LAPS, 3.5 percent for SYRIZA, 3.3 percent for Democratic Alliance, 2.8 percent for Democratic Left, 2.9 percent for the Ecologists-Greens, while 22.3 percent were undecided, and 3.8 percent said they would vote for some other party.

    Under the above results, 8 parties would gain entry to parliament if elections were held the following Sunday, while no party would be able to form a self-sufficient government.

    [11] Greek student protestors disrupt screening in Paris of Gavras film

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)

    An event devoted to internationally-acclaimed Greek director Costas Gavras in Paris was cancelled on Saturday evening after tension broke out at the venue, where the film "Z" was due to be screened with the director in attendance.

    Just before the screening, upon the arrival of Greek government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos, a group of Greek students verbally attacked Pangalos and held banners saying "In Greece, just as in France, support for the undocumented migrants".

    Pangalos invited the protestors to a meeting on Sunday for an open discussion, which was rejected, as was Gavras' call for a "democratic dialogue".

    The tension increased, and Pangalos, Gavras, Greek ambassador in Paris Constantine Halastanis and Consul Katerina Koika, as well as the overwhelming majority of the audience, departed from the venue.

    A statement issued in Athens on Sunday by Pangalos' office said that "there is no longer any doubt that Greek society is faced with an organised effort which, unfortunately, has political cover by parliamentary -- in other words, systemic -- political parties, to plunge it into violence and instability".

    The statement commented on the "obstruction and, finally, cancellation" of the projection of Gavras' anti-dictatorship film "Z" by the "terrorist-like intervention of French anarchists and Greek proponents of SYRIZA at the Greek House in Paris' university campus".

    According to the statement, the director and other persons involved in the film, who were at the venue and were due to be honored for the film, "were forced to leave, in protest of the incidents, and a large number of audience members with them, who were there to honor Costas Gavras, among them government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos, a close friend of the director and old resident of the Greek House".

    "The claims of the anarchists and SYRIZA cadres that it was the (Greek) government's presence that incited them is totally false, since they themselves admitted on one of their blogs that they were not aware that the vice-president of the Greek government would be in attendance but --obviously wanting to take advantage of Costas Gavras' appeal in Greece and France -- had planned the forced prohibition of the screening of 'Z' and the projection, instead, of another film titled 'Paradise in the West' with an illegal migrant as the film's hero, in order to project the issue of the hunger-striking illegal immigrants in Athens," the statement said.

    It charged that "the unprecedented disdain of the anti-dictatorship film 'Z' has deep political significance and shows once again that these forces have never accepted the parliamentary democracy which was earned by the Greek people with so much blood shed", and "also shows their perception of culture, art and the creators, reminding one of the worst eras of every form of authoritarian regimes when the creators were described as 'enemies of the people' or 'enemies of the nation' and censorship and persecutions reigned".

    "This view, this insult they committed against Costas Gavras, is a clear-cut threat to freedom of expression," the statement added.

    "How can democracy safeguard this freedom inside and outside university premises against the fascist perception of the anarchists and the followers of SYRIZA, who believe that they have the right, 'in the name of the people', to determine what events will take place and which speakers may speak, using all kinds of threats, insults and, above all, physical violence?" the statement asked.

    It also asked whether it is possible that such an attitude towards Gavras and his film 'Z' is not clearly condemned by the political world in its entirety and by the intellectuals of Greece.

    The statement further warned that what happened in Paris, and what happened in Berlin or will possibly occur in the future in London and Rome, "undermine the country's international image and its effort to exit from the crisis".

    "Who wants Greece to sink into chaos?", the statement concluded.

    Financial News

    [12] Helliniko project touted

    The government on Saturday expressed its volition to attract a strategic international investor to exploit the site of the former Athens airport and surrounding land at the Helliniko site, while promising to create a "Central Park-like" green space in the otherwise congested Greek capital.

    Speaking just days after his latest trip to Qatar, Minister of State Haris Pamboukis said the government's proposal for the roughly 550-hectare tract of land will be ready by the fall.

    The minister, who is responsible for large-scale and "strategic" investments, said the interest by the Qatari side, noting that "Qatar has shown a significant interest; if the Helliniko project proceeds then others will follow".

    He also said the project will provide a major economic, social and environmental boost for the greater Athens area, while he said oil-rich and service-sector savvy Qatar has both the economic size and international experience to implement complex development projects at the highest level.

    Pamboukis' interview was carried in the Saturday edition of the Athens daily "Ta Nea".

    [13] Postponement of EBEA event

    An event planned by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) for Monday titled "GREECE-For a Smart Region-LEADING to a Smarter Planet" has been postponed.

    The event, organised in collaboration with the Global Coalition for Efficient Logistics (GCEL) in the context of the HumaWealth Genesis Program, included the presentation of a global initiative aimed to introduce "a new era in the efficiency of commerce in the 21st century".

    General News

    [14] Several hunger-strikers treated at local hospital

    Fourteen hunger-striking migrants were transported to a local hospital on Sunday suffering from dehydration and extreme fatigue, as their mobilisation in demand for universal legalisation of all illegal immigrants in the country entered its 35th day.

    The group of roughly 250 migrants, mostly North Africans labourers, arrived from Crete last month and briefly occupied an Athen Law School building along with their local supporters.

    In Thessaloniki, meanwhile, a delegation of the leftist SYRIZA political grouping visited a group of illegal migrants who have occupied the city's labour centre, where they expressed their solidarity.

    [15] Burglars make off with jewelry worth 29,000 euros from jewelry store

    Burglars broke into a jewelry shop in Ierisso, Halkidiki on the weekend and took off with items worth 29,000 euros.

    The burglars initially broke into a next-door butcher's shop and demolished the wall between the two shops, before grabbing jewelry and wristwatches worth 29,000 euros.

    They left behind the burglary tools used in the jewelry shop, which were confiscated and are being examined by police.


    [16] Super League results

    Olympiacos Piraeus retained its lead over arch rival Panathinaikos Athens by pulling away with a 1-1 tie against lowly Panionios Athens away on Sunday. Panathinaikos also tied a day earlier at home against Atromitos Athens, 1-1.

    In other action:

    Kerkyra-Olympiacos Volos 1-3

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-Xanthi 1-1

    Larissa-Aris Thessaloniki 2-2

    Panserraikos Serres-Asteras Tripolis 0-1

    PAOK Thessaloniki-Kavala 0-2

    Ergotelis Crete-AEK Athens 2-3

    Standings after 24 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos Piraeus 61 points

    2. Panathinaikos 51

    3. AEK 37

    4. Olympiacos Volos 35

    5. Kavala

    6. PAOK 34 (23 games)

    7. Ergotelis 31 (23 games)

    8. Aris 30

    9. Kerkyra 30

    10. Iraklis 29

    11. Xanthi 29

    12. Atromitos 28

    13. Panionios 26

    14. Asteras 25

    15. Larissa 20

    16. Panseraikos 17

    [17] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The economy and speculation of political developments after the upcoming EU summit were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    APOKALIPSEIS: "Shock and Awe with new harsh measures".

    AVGHI: "Government admits its failure and attempts...jump into the void".

    AVRIANI: "Full speed towards bankruptcy after the March 25 EU summit".

    CHORA: "The fuse has been lit, the uprising is on the way".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Economy and elections in Merkel's hands".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Memorandum Street, no. zero".

    EPOCHI: "The Memorandum has gone bankrupt".

    ETHNOS: "Eight parties will enter parliament (in the event of early general elections)".

    KATHIMERINI: "March, month of critical decisions".

    LOGOS: "No more...Memorandum, ruling PASOK MPs say".

    NIKI: "Farewell to benefits and tax reliefs - The middle class will once again pay the price".

    PARON: "They're pushing us to uprising".

    PROTO THEMA: "Merkel provocatively blunt to Papandreou: New measures for life, otherwise back to the drachma".

    REALNEWS: "Revealing MRB opinion poll: PASOK is NOT here...lead over ND falls to just 1.9 percent"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Need is ripe for popular authority".

    TO VIMA: "Now or never - Papandreou's dramatic appeal to Merkel".

    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: ILIAS MATSIKAS

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