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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-05-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 23 May 2011 Issue No: 3793


  • [01] PM to chair important cabinet meeting on Monday
  • [02] PM to meet with party leaders on Tuesday
  • [03] KKE leader rejects invitation to meet with PM Papandreou
  • [04] PM Papandreou gives interview to 'Ethnos tis Kyriakis' newspaper
  • [05] ND leader Samaras gives interview to 'Proto Thema' newspaper
  • [06] ND cannot be coerced
  • [07] MARC poll for 'Ethnos tis Kyriakis' newspaper
  • [08] Opinion poll: PASOK-ND diffference at zero pct
  • [09] Alternate FM on need for national consensus
  • [10] Greek doctors working at Kabul military hospital in good health
  • [11] Education minister on economic crisis
  • [12] Canadian PM to visit Kalavryta during official visit to Greece
  • [13] Alternate Culture minister attending Eptanissa union celebrations
  • [14] Battle of Crete anniversary events heighten in Hania
  • [15] Turkish PM's wife on private visit to Rhodopi
  • [16] Simplification of exports framework
  • [17] Adriatic- Ionian initiative ministerial meeting
  • [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [19] Two defendants in Kantaris slaying case to testify on Wednesday
  • [20] Two port officials, serviceman arrested for drug trafficking
  • [21] Super League playoff results
  • [22] Cloudy on Monday
  • [23] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
  • [24] Two big parties increase share of the vote

  • [01] PM to chair important cabinet meeting on Monday

    Prime Minister George Papandreou will be chairing an expected cabinet meeting on Monday at which the medium-term programme will be discussed.

    According to reports, however, final decisions will not be taken and the package will not be closing in its entirety since negotiations with the "troika" have not been completed. The negotiations will continue as of Wednesday when the creditors' representatives will be returning to Athens.

    This does not apply, however, to the sector of privatisations, where decisions are expected to be taken. Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou might also be announcing more privatisations and the appointment of new privatisation advisers.

    The framework of the prime minister's discussions with opposition party leaders is also expected to be discussed at the cabinet meeting.

    Papandreou's meetings with party leaders are expected to take place on Tuesday and will be held with each one separately.

    [02] PM to meet with party leaders on Tuesday

    Prime minister George Papandreou will hold a series of meetings with opposition party leaders on Tuesday, after an invitation issued by the premier himself.

    Papandreou will meet with main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras at 10:30 a.m., followed by Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis at noon, and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras at 1:30.

    He will further meet with the leaders of the non-parliamentary Democratic Alliance and Democratic Left party leaders Dora Bakoyannis and Fotis Kouvelis at 2:30 and 3:30, respectively.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga has rejected Papandreou's invitation.

    [03] KKE leader rejects invitation to meet with PM Papandreou

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga has not accepted the invitation by Prime Minister George Papandreou for a meeting between them, according to an announcement by the party's press office on Saturday afternoon.

    According to the announcement, KKE "believes that there is no topic for the specific meeting, from the moment that the positions of the government and of KKE are both known and diametrically opposite."

    It further says that KKE rejects both the so-called medium-term programme that the government has shaped with its allies and its overall policy. In any case, George Papandreou stated that he will not take even a step back from the targets he has set with the troika, the announcement added.

    [04] PM Papandreou gives interview to 'Ethnos tis Kyriakis' newspaper

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Ethnos tis Kyriakis", stressed that he is "determined for the country's salvation", a few days before crucial decisions on the economy's four-year programme.

    Papandreou admits that the discussion with partners "is not easy" as to the way of funding the economy in 2012, but stresses that "when the wager is to save the country, this is the only red line."

    The prime minister further said "he has given no one the right to indicate elections" and pointed out that he has proved that he does not fear the political cost, nor does he seek "an alibi and scapegoats."

    As regards the medium-term programme, he spoke of "serious and systematic negotiating, while the question of restructuring is out of the question.

    Lastly, referring to the country's relations with Turkey, Papandreou said they have reached a crucial crossroads and that "the time of truth is arriving. The time that the credibility, will and determination of each of us will be judged. And Greece must be and is ready for every eventuality. Have no doubt."

    [05] ND leader Samaras gives interview to 'Proto Thema' newspaper

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, speaking in an interview with the newspaper "Proto Thema", underlined his position that he will not vote for a second memorandum and not even for the medium-term programme.

    "I will not vote for any commitment on a mistaken and deadlocked policy," he said on the possibility of voting for a possible second memorandum and stresses that "we have no objection to assuming commitments to decrease the deficit and control the debt. We do not disagree with the targets of fiscal restructuring but with the proved mistaken recipe that they imposed on us."

    Samaras further said that he will not vote for the medium-term programme either "because it does not include recovery measures" and adds that "cutbacks without recovery cause worse recession, more padlocks and greater unemployment" and that "we want a decrease in extravagance combined with recovery."

    [06] ND cannot be coerced

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) charged that "scenarios of co-governance" are being spread by "those who fear a self-sufficient ND government and (ND leader Antonis) Samaras as a self-sufficient prime minister", in an interview by party press spokesman Yannis Michelakis appearing in the Sunday edition of RealNews daily.

    He said that ND will go to elections, whenever they take place, with the target of self-sufficiency, so as to be able to implement, without delay, a policy that the people will have been fully informed of in advance.

    Michelakis accused the government of putting forward "coercive dilemmas" and "elections dilemmas" such as the calls for passing of the Medium-Term Fiscal Adjustment program with an increased majority of 180 votes in the 300-member parliament.

    He stressed that Samaras cannot be coerced, and warned that if the government even thinks of coercing ND, "it will realise that our party cannot be coerced", while he also charged that "the government is attempting to conceal its inefficiency" with the political consensus it is calling for.

    The ND spokesman further warned that the government is planning even harsher and more painful measures, stressing that Samaras "will never say 'yes' to incorrect policy".

    [07] MARC poll for 'Ethnos tis Kyriakis' newspaper

    Six out of 10 respondents said an effort must be made for consensus between the two mainstream parties, according to an opinion poll carried out by the MARC company for the Sunday newspaper "Ethnos tis Kyriakis". More specifically, 62.8 percent agree and 32.2 percent disagree.

    Asked whether main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras must consent with the government or insist on the political proposal he has made, 51.9 percent said that he must consent and 37.6 percent that he must insist on the proposal he presented at the Zappion Mansion.

    Moreover, 35.7 percent of ND voters request consent from Samaras. However, 77.3 percent call on the government to adopt some of Samaras's proposals as against 14 percent who call on the government to insist on its programme.

    Lastly, 74.1 percent of ruling PASOK party voters call on the government to adopt proposals by Samaras, while 71.6 percent do not want early elections in contrast to 26.2 percent who have a different view.

    [08] Opinion poll: PASOK-ND diffference at zero pct

    Ruling PASOK's lead over main opposition New Democracy has diminished to zero percent, according to an MRB poll on behalf of RealNews newspaper, the results of which appeared in the newspaper's Sunday edition.

    More specifically, both PASOK and ND amassed 21.5 percent each among respondents to the poll, followed by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 8.1 percent, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party with 6.0 percent, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) with 4.1 percent, and the non-parliamentary Ecologists-Greens with 3.2 percent.

    Further, the non-parliamentary parties Democratic Left (DEMAR) and the Democratic Alliance (DHSY) were preferred by 2.3 percent and 2.0 percent of the respondents, respectively, while 3.9 percent of the respondents said they preferred a different party, and 26.1 percent were undecided.

    To a question on voters' intention if elections were held now, PASOK and ND were preferred by respondents with 31.8 percent each, followed by the KKE with 9.5 percent, LAOS with 7.1 percent, SYRIZA with 4.8 percent and the Ecologists-Greens with 3.8 percent, while the rest of the parties did not amass the 3.0 percent required to gain a seat in the 300-member parliament.

    According to the above result, no party would acquire a self-sufficient majority in the event of general elections.

    As for which party they anticipated would win if elections took place now, PASOK led with 12.5 percentage points.

    PASOK leader and current prime minister was also considered the most suitable for premier with a marginal lead of 0.2 percentage points over ND leader Antonis Samaras, with Papandreou preferred by 26.5 percent of the respondents against 26.3 percent for Samaras, while a noteworthy 45.2 percent of respondents said the preferred neither of the two mainstream party leaders.

    Foreign ministry denies existence of proposal by Turkish FM to Droutsas for joint visit to occupied territory in Cyprus

    The Foreign ministry categorically denied a statement by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to the Turkish newspaper "Zaman" that he has made a proposal to his Greek counterpart Dimitris Droutsas to visit occupied territory in Cyprus together and that the proposal "is meeting with a response on the Greek side."

    Foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras clarified that "such a proposal has never been made in any way by the Turkish side to Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, consequently it is not possible for there to have been a response, either positive or negative on it, as is mentioned in the report."

    The spokesman further noted that the self-evident precondition for such a visit would be the withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces whose presence, as the international community is aware of, is the essence of the problem of Cyprus and that only if the Turkish occupation forces withdraw will a solution to the problem become possible for the benefit of all Cypriots.

    [09] Alternate FM on need for national consensus

    Alternate Foreign Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakoupoulou, speaking on the theme of "Political Coincidence" at a hotel in the northern city of Serres on Friday evening, said "we are speaking of the need fior national consensus. We do not need any European to impose national consensus on us. At a crucial stage for the country the stance of each one, of each political force is what matters."

    Referring to government policy and the ruling PASOK party, the minister said "we have the political will and we have a determined prime minister who is waging battles at all levels in Europe and the world. We must prove that the sacrifices are not in vain and Greece will come out of the crisis without losses."

    [10] Greek doctors working at Kabul military hospital in good health

    The 16 Greek doctors working at the military hospital in Kabul, where at least three people were killed on Saturday morning by an explosion whose causes were not yet known, were reported in good health.

    According to an announcement by the press service of the Afghan Defence ministry, "many" other people were wounded by the explosion, while civilians and soldiers are among the victims.

    The causes of the explosion are being probed, according to the Afghan ministry.

    [11] Education minister on economic crisis

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, speaking to PASOK party officials in the city of Lamia and replying to a series of questions in a procedure lasting over four hours, stressed that "we are at war."

    The minister termed the effort that must be made a matter of "life or death" and, referring to the crisis in particular, noted that "it is a fiscal crisis, a crisis of competitiveness for the country, a crisis of credibility and a crisis of principles and values. We must tackle all these crises together and immediately."

    Diamantopoulou also stressed that "we do not have time and we do not have money. We are being called on to take many and great decisions. We are being called on, as a party, for dilemmas that are relentless."

    [12] Canadian PM to visit Kalavryta during official visit to Greece

    OTTAWA (ANA-MPA/I. Frangouli)

    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be visiting the city of Kalavryta, a place of historical memory, in the framework of his official visit to Greece on May 28-29, to pay tribute to the Greeks slain by the 117th Commando Division during World War 2, on December 13, 1943.

    The Canadian prime minister is linked to the small city through the descriptions of his press spokesman and communications director of the government, Dimitris Soudas, who was born and grew up in Canada, in the wake of his grandfather's murder by the Nazis.

    Soudas, born in Montreal in 1979 and despite holding the highest governmental post at administrative staff level in Canada, has never forgotten the history of his small place.

    [13] Alternate Culture minister attending Eptanissa union celebrations

    Alternate Culture Minister Telemahos Hytiris, speaking in Corfu where he is representing the government at celebrations marking the anniversary of the union of the Eptanissa islands with Greece in 1864, sent a message of unity.

    In a statement made after a parade, Hytiris said "the people must be united in this difficult period of the economic crisis, that is unprecedented for our country. We must rise to the occasion."

    Referring to the politicians, he said that for the crisis to be handled they must show wisdom and consensus.

    [14] Battle of Crete anniversary events heighten in Hania

    Events held in the city of Hania marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete heightened at the historic airport of Maleme on Sunday evening.

    The ceremony included a religious service at the memorial of the fallen, the laying of wreaths and speeches by Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis,who represented the government, the vice regional governor of Hania Apostolos Voulgarakis and the mayor of Platanias Yiannis Malandrakis.

    The Alternate Defence minister referred in his address to the events of that period and to the joint effort made at the time by the Greeks and the allies.

    [15] Turkish PM's wife on private visit to Rhodopi

    Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's wife, Emine Erdogan, paid a private visit to Rhodopi on Sunday, accompanied by Turkish state minister Egemen Bagis and AKP candidate MP Mehmet Muezinoglu, who comes from the region.

    Mrs. Erdogan visited the Kikidio settlement in Komotini, where she attended a Koran reading competition, then went to Filyrra for the circumcision ceremony of two grandsons of minority MP Ahmet Sadik, who died in a traffic accident in June 1991.

    She is also due to visit the Turkish consulate in Komotini and meet with minority officials before returning home.

    Greek government spokesman and Rhodopi MP George Petalotis, also on a visit to Komotini, declined comment on Mrs. Erdogan's visit, as it was a private visit, and noted that everyone desiring so was welcome to visit Thrace as tourists, adding that the region has need of tourism.

    Financial News

    [16] Simplification of exports framework

    The institutional framework for export trade set out in a 1979 law will be simplified, while the portal "" is being prepared, with information sections, networking, guides for exports and funding tools, insurance, online reports, studies and other useful material in order to provide entrepreneurs with integrating information, networking and opportunities for expansion in the international markets, Regional Development and Competitiveness minister Michalis Chrysohoidis announced, in an article he wrote appearing in the Sunday edition of RealNews newspaper.

    He also noted that the "Single Window", a digital "one-stop-shop" for exporters, will be launched in early 2012, thus providing the entrepreneur with an "ally" in carrying out the required institutional steps for imports, exports and transit of goods.

    The relevant draft law is due for vote in parliament in the autumn, and the digital tool will commence operation in early 2012, he added.

    "The miracle in exports indicates that the crisis is awakening the survival reflexes of healthy entrepreneurship and proves that our country can export the entire gamut from agricultural products and construction materials to high quality services and knowhow in new technologies," Chrysohoidis added.

    He warned, however, that "results are not achieved on automatic pilot", but, rather, require planning, determination and a break with the parasitic and counter-productive growth model that has been followed in recent years.

    [17] Adriatic- Ionian initiative ministerial meeting

    Deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis arrives in Brussels on Monday to represent Greece at a ministerial meeting of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative and a meeting of EU Developmental Cooperation ministers.

    While in Brussels, Kouvelis will also have meetings with EU Commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries Maria Damanaki, DEVCO (Development and Cooperation-EuropeAid directorate general) director general Fokion Fotiadis, and EU Commissioner for development Andris Piebalgs.

    The Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (AII) was formally established as a political initiative at a conference held in Ancona, Italy in May 2000 with the aim of linking the coastal countries of the two seas for the purpose of cooperating in the development and safety of the entire area.

    [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.445

    Pound sterling 0.890

    Danish kroner 7.568

    Swedish kroner 9.066

    Japanese yen 118.01

    Swiss franc 1.266

    Norwegian kroner 7.945

    Canadian dollar 1.400

    Australian dollar 1.356

    General News

    [19] Two defendants in Kantaris slaying case to testify on Wednesday

    One of the two Afghan defendants in the case of the slaying of 44-year-old Manolis Kantaris, speaking to a foreign shopkeeper who criticised him for killing a man for a videocamera, had said "he was shouting 'thief, thief', what could I do?".

    This evidence is contained in the file of proceedings on the killing in downtown Athens and for which the two defendants were given time by an investigator on Saturday to make their testimonies on Wednesday morning.

    According to the file, it appears that the three perpetrators, one of whom is still at large, had watched the 44-year-old as soon as he had emerged from his home and, apart from the camera, they also took money from his wallet which they searched when he was already bleeding on the ground.

    [20] Two port officials, serviceman arrested for drug trafficking

    Two port officials and a military serviceman were arrested in the northern city of Xanthi on Friday night for possessing and selling drug substances. The port officials, 36 and 37, are serving at the Thessaloniki central port authority and the serviceman, 40, in the city of Litohoro.

    A drug squad policeman appeared before the serviceman as a potential buyer for three kilos of hashish for 6,800 euros, using marked banknotes.

    When the deal was completed, the serviceman's two accompli-ces, who were travelling in their service car together with a sniffer dog, appeared at the scene with the quantity of drugs and were arrested with the assistance of DIAS service police.

    A bodily search of the serviceman revealed 1.8 grams of hashish, while another 329.6 grams of cannabis were found in his car.


    [21] Super League playoff results

    Panathinaikos Athens beat PAOK Thessaloniki 1-0 at home and Olympiakos Volos also beat AEK Athens 1-0 at home in playoff games played for the Super League on Sunday evening.

    Standings after five weeks of play:

    Panathinaikos 10 points

    PAOK 9

    AEK 8

    Olympiakos V. 6

    Weather Forecast

    [22] Cloudy on Monday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 28C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 15C to 28C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 27C.

    [23] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The state of the economy and speculations of layoffs and more salary cuts in the public sector were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    AVGHI: "They are increasing the 'dose' in the prescription that kills - New taxes and salary cuts being prepared one year after the introduction of the resoundingly failed Memorandum".

    AVRIANI: "Sell-off of Greece, or default on payments".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Admire him: Our Giorgios (prime minister George Papandreou) an illustrious member of the Illuminati..."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Layoffs of civil servants - Mortgages (on state assets) for the 50 billion euros, immediately".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Triple shock ahead: New salary reductions in public sector, layoffs of civil servants and drastic reduction of high pensions planned by government, under heavy pressure from Troika".

    ETHNOS: "PM Papandreou: I am determined for the salvation and change of the country".

    KATHIMERINI: "The public sector has cash for up to mid-July".

    LOGOS: "Civil war in the EU over the Greek debt".

    NIKI: "The petroleum will save us - Exploitation of the country's oil and natural gas reserves will bring revenues of more than 10-15 billion euros over 15-20 years".

    PARON: "Collapse of government and Papandreou - PASOK and ND 'neck-and-neck', latest opinion polls indicate".

    PROTO THEMA: "Fire (civil servants) and sell (state assets), or you're finished".

    REALNEWS: "Reversal of political scenery: PASOK-ND difference at zero, after 33 months".

    RIZOSPASTIS: Counter-attack without delay against the sweeping anti-popular measures".

    TO VIMA: "PM to (main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras): Antonis, the situation is very difficult - Open hot line between Papandreou and Samaras".

    VRADYNI: "Work for 100,000 unemployed under OAED (Manpower Employment Organisation) program".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [24] Two big parties increase share of the vote


    The main opposition party, the right wing Democratic Rally (DISY), topped the polls in Sunday's parliamentary elections, gaining 138,614 votes and a comfortable lead of 34.27% against the ruling left wing AKEL party, which rallied in second position with 132,163 votes and 32.67%.

    Both parties have increased their share of the vote, compared with the corresponding percentage in the 2006 parliamentary elections.

    DISY's percentage in the 2006 parliamentary elections was 30.52%, gaining 3.75% in Sunday's poll. In the same poll in 2006, AKEL got 31.31% share of the vote, registering 1.36 in Sunday's poll.

    The biggest upset of the night was the number of abstentions, reaching 113,282 or 21.32%, an unprecedented development in parliamentary elections.

    A total of 418,181 ballots were counted, 404,518 were valid, 8,693 invalid and 4,970 were blank.

    The government coalition partner, the Democratic Party (DIKO), from 17.98% share of the vote in 2006 lost a 2.22%, reaching 15.77% or 63,783 votes while EDEK Movement of Social Democrats maintained its percentages with 36,119 votes or 8.93% a slight drop of 0.03%.

    The European Party secured (EVROKO) 15,712 votes or 3.88%, reducing the percentage it achieved in the 2006 elections by -1.90%.

    The Green Party garnered 8,954 votes, increasing its share of the vote from 1.96% in the 2006 poll to 2.21%.

    The newly founded National People's Front (ELAM) secured 4,350 votes or 1.08% while the Office of Citizen Rights (LASOK) rallied behind with 2,668 votes and a 0.66% percent, going up by 0.42%.

    The Independent Citizens Movement Balance (ZYGOS) got 858 votes (0.21%), while the Cypriot Progressive Cooperation (KY.PRO.S) 709 0.18%. I

    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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