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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-09-28

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

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

Weekend News Bulletin

Monday, September 28 2015


  • [01] President Pavlopoulos attends celebrations for 194th anniversary since Tripoli liberated
  • [02] PM Tsipras to discuss Greek crisis at CGI event in New York
  • [03] Main aim of PM's trip to NY was not to meet Obama, gov't sources say
  • [04] FM Kotzias meets Georgian, Iraqi counterparts in NY
  • [05] Stathakis unveils plans for borrowers' 'safety net' and 'credit rating service'
  • [06] Greece will not be turned into refugee concentration camp, Migration Minister tells 'Avghi'
  • [07] Stopping mass emigration of young people a key goal, Dep. Minister Haritsis tells 'Avghi'
  • [08] SYRIZA a 'pioneering force' in European Left, Minister of State Nikos Pappas tells 'Ta Nea'
  • [09] Tourism minister stresses sector's contribution in message for World Tourism Day
  • [10] Archbishop Ieronymos opposes changes involving religious studies in schools
  • [11] Central Macedonia Region chief Apostolos Tzitzikostas to run for New Democracy's leadership
  • [12] Search called off after missing migrants found by Turkish coast guard
  • [13] Armed forces sending heavy machinery to assist flood-stricken Kefalonia
  • [14] Thirteen to Corfu magistrate on sex-trafficking charges
  • [15] Athens Headlines at a glance Politics

  • [01] President Pavlopoulos attends celebrations for 194th anniversary since Tripoli liberated

    President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Sunday attended events held in Tripoli, Peloponnese marking the 194th anniversary since the city was liberated from Ottoman rule, in a battle known as the 'Fall of Tripolitsa'.

    "We are bound and inspired by the peerless example of Theodoros Kolokotronis and his fighters at the Fall of Tripolitsa," Pavlopoulos said after watching a major parade military and civilian parade held in the city.

    "We now pay homage to all those that conceived and executed the major stratagem of the siege of Tripolitsa, which was without doubt one of the peak moments of the nation's uprising of 1821. We pay, especially, the honour due to the head of the stratagem ... nation's General, Theodoros Kolokotronis.

    [02] PM Tsipras to discuss Greek crisis at CGI event in New York

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to appear on a panel discussing the crisis in Greece and Europe later on Sunday, organised by the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Appearing alongside former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Tsipras is expected to refer to the tools available for coping with the crisis and to stress that harsh austerity is not an effective response in this direction.

    The Greek prime minister will also address the UN Sustainable Development Summit discussing the post-2015 development agenda.

    Tsipras is currently in New York to take part in the 70th meeting of the UN's General Assembly, where he will address the assembly on October 1.

    He was scheduled to have a number of meeting with foreign officials while in New York, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN's Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, New York mayor Bill de Blasio and representatives of diaspora organisations. A meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama may also take place on the sidelines of the meeting.

    Tsipras will also participate in a separate meeting on migration, titled "Strengthening cooperation on migration and refugee movements under the new development" on September 30.

    He will return to Greece on October 2.

    [03] Main aim of PM's trip to NY was not to meet Obama, gov't sources say

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' primary goals during his visit to the United States for the 70th UN General Assembly are to develop international relations and highlight the need to restructure Greece's debt, government sources said on Sunday. They stressed that a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama was not the purpose of the visit but noted that a meeting might take place within the context of some event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

    They noted that the customary reception given by the U.S. President and the First Lady to the heads of the delegations participating in the UN General Assembly will be held late on Monday (local time).

    00] Econ Minister Stathakis accompanying PM to UN General Assembly in New York

    Economy, Development and Tourism Minister George Stathakis has accompanied Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to New York for the 70th UN General Assembly and will attend a series of meetings while the United States, the economy ministry announced on Sunday.

    Stathakis will sit in on the prime minister's successive meetings with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Ecuador President Rafael Correa, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Cyprus Republic President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The minister will also attend Tsipras' meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

    While in New York, the minister will address the third annual dinner of the 'Hellenic Initiative'.

    [04] FM Kotzias meets Georgian, Iraqi counterparts in NY

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Sunday met with Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.

    Kotzias and Al-Jaafari discussed the latest international and regional developments, emphasizing issues of bilateral cooperation and underscoring the need for the economic, technical, military and cultural cooperation between the two countries to be promoted even further. Towards the realization of this goal, it was agreed that an exchange of visits of the Political Directors of the two ministries be arranged soon, so that they can draw up a bilateral action and strategic cooperation plan.

    Kotzias also met the Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili, discussing bilateral cooperation issues and matters of international and regional interest, including the refugee and migration crisis and the resurgence of tension in the South Caucasus region. Particular emphasis was put on matters concerning Georgia's cooperation with the European Union.

    [05] Stathakis unveils plans for borrowers' 'safety net' and 'credit rating service'

    Laws creating a permanent "social security safety net" to support vulnerable bank debtors will be prepared by next November, Economy, Development and Tourism Minister George Stathakis said in an interview with the Sunday edition of the newspaper "Ethnos".

    Outlining the main features of this safety net, he said it would include local "information centres on debt" that will be run by all the agencies involved and offer borrowers free advice concerning their rights and obligations - and also their options - when it came to handling their debts.

    The same centres will provide comprehensive data on non-performing loans, creating a data bank for each region, while the labour ministry was setting up a legal framework for a social protection network, the minister explained.

    Stathakis also referred to plans for a state-run Credit and Wealth Service that will have complete information on the assets of each borrower - currently only available to courts. He said this will be an important and objective tool for determining a borrower's ability to pay off loans, while at the same time protecting personal privacy and placing the loan onto a evaluation scale.

    "Put simply, the borrower that wants to reschedule a loan or renegotiate a new one can turn to the Credit and Weath Service, which will rate his credit ability. With this credit rating, he or she will then apply to the bank, which will not be able to dispute the borrower's ability," he said.

    On the lifting of capital controls, Stathakis linked this to the recapitalisation of the banks, noting that this was currently expected to take place by the end of the year.

    [06] Greece will not be turned into refugee concentration camp, Migration Minister tells 'Avghi'

    Greece's response to the refugee crisis will partly depend on Europe making progress with plans for the relocation of refugees, Alternate Minister for Migration Yiannis Mouzalas said in an intervew with the newspaper "Avghi" on Sunday.

    "We are not going to turn our country into a concentration camp for refugees," he said, noting that the ministry intends to build hospitality facilities "to the extent that Europe proceeds with the relocation of 160,000 refugees."

    The results of the recent EU summit on migration appeared to show that Europe was changing its policy, under the pressure of events in the last two years, making it a more welcomining continent, he added.

    Regarding efforts to find new hospitality facilities in Greece, Mouzalas said that work had begun and such facilities will be ready soon, especially in areas of Attica, including Lavrio.

    He noted that the ministry was working closely with the UNHCR to tackle the problem but stressed that Greek authorities "are not prepared to employ the army to stop them entering or leaving, nor will we build concentration camps."

    [07] Stopping mass emigration of young people a key goal, Dep. Minister Haritsis tells 'Avghi'

    Stopping the mass migration of young people abroad was one of the main goals of the government, Deputy Economy, Development and Tourism Minister Alexis Haritsis told the newspaper 'Avghi' in an interview published on Sunday.

    He said the ministry intends to direct the "economic results" from the new National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) "toward the social majority, with special provision for those hardest hit by the crisis."

    Haritsis said that a payment of 4.5 billion euros was planned by the end of the year in order to smoothly wrap up the programmes of the current period and successfully begin those of the next, for which 26 billion euros in funds are available. The government's intention was to place emphasis on research and innovation, young entrepreneurship, development of new skills, environmental protection projects and social exclusion, he said.

    Among sectors likely to benefit, the minister listed the farming and foods sector, pharmaceuticals, new technology, logistics, industrial materials, environmental industry and tourism. He said an invitation for actions to upgrade the quality of services provided by tourist enterprises, will be sent out in the coming weeks.

    [08] SYRIZA a 'pioneering force' in European Left, Minister of State Nikos Pappas tells 'Ta Nea'

    SYRIZA was the "pioneering force" within the European Left and sought to influence 'neighbouring' political areas in Greece and Europe, Minister of State Nikos Pappas said in a an interview published by 'Ta Nea' on Saturday.

    "It would be fortunate if social democracy in Europe put an end to what, in the last two decades, we have aptly named neoliberal consensus. This consensus was reflected in the EU treaties and implemented by the major coalitions of cooperation with the right that the crisis gave birth to, creating an imperfect institutional framework in Europe," he claimed.

    Regarding SYRIZA's recent election victory, Pappas said voters had given SYRIZA "the second half of the first chance". He also noted that the partnership with the Independent Greeks (ANEL) had been "productive" in the previous government but that the government's standing goal was to expand its support base further.

    Asked about the possible future stance of the 'group of 53' within SYRIZA, Pappas appeared confident that the government front will be 'solid and extended' and stressed the need to quickly hold the party's conference.

    Referring to the PASOK party, he said it had yet to make clear if it wanted to distance itself from the tactics of recent years, when it had become identified with the extreme neoliberal right.

    [09] Tourism minister stresses sector's contribution in message for World Tourism Day

    In a message for World Tourism Day on Sunday, Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura underlined that Greece was one of the top 10 tourism destinations worldwide. She noted that the sector was one of the economy's main supports, which could assist in its efforts to exit the economic crisis.

    "Everyone that has a role and a say in Greek tourism can and must join with us, so that through a constant, collective effort we are able to deliver the benefits that arise from the tourist sector to the social whoe and the country's economy," she said.

    Kountoura said that tourism currently contributed roughly 20 pct of the country's GDP and directly or indirectly created approximately one million jobs, assisting both economic growth and social cohesion. The year 2015 was expected to close with record arrivals of 26 million tourists and an estimated 15.5 billion euros in revenues, she added.

    "Our aim is to continue our work to develop Greek tourism. We are confident and at the same time alert in order to make even greater steps and bring better results," she said, promising to keep striving to improve Greece's tourism poduct in terms of quality, infrastructure, training and provision of services.

    [10] Archbishop Ieronymos opposes changes involving religious studies in schools

    Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece on Sunday spoke out against an initiative that would simplify the process of exempting students from attending religious studies classes, appearing clearly irate after statements on the issue by Alternate Education Minister Sia Anagnostopoulou.

    "This does not come from the ministry but some lady that has certain ideas in her head," the archbishop commented, while stressing that it was "a matter linked to the Constitution".

    "The Greek people must finally get serious and stop listening to the nonsense of one person or another," he said.

    Regarding his participation in a dialogue that is beginning on Church-related issues ahead of the next revision of the Constitution, Ieronymos stressed that the decision was primarily up to the Greek people:

    "The Constitution decides what the course of this state will be and our Constitution states that our education must be national, Christian, Greek Orthodox education. We cannot have everyone saying whatever they like. If we want to change these things, then the Constitution must change. But the Constitution does not change one word, it will first go through our hearts and the hearts of Greeks. If they don't want priests, high priests, if they don't want religious studies, if they don't want all this civilisation we have, our history etc. The Greeks must therefore decide and if they decide on changing the constitution, then we can talk about it again," he said.

    The archbishop is due to have his first meeting with the new Education Minister Nikos Filis on Tuesday.

    [11] Central Macedonia Region chief Apostolos Tzitzikostas to run for New Democracy's leadership

    The head of the Central Macedonia Region authority Apostolos Tzitzikostas on Sunday announced his intention to run for the leadership of the main opposition New Democracy party.

    In a post on his Facebook account, Tzitzikostas announced that he would be a candidate and transform ND in to a party for all forces, which would make a real break with the past and clash with populism.

    General News

    [12] Search called off after missing migrants found by Turkish coast guard

    Greek authorities on Sunday called off a search and rescue operation for seven missing migrants (six men and one woman) after they were picked up and reported safe by a Turkish coast guard vessel. The seven had been missing since their boat capsized on Friday near the Turkish coast, while trying to make the crossing to the Greek island of Kos.

    One more migrant on board the vessel was picked up in waters between Kos and Kalolimnos by a Greek fishing boat.

    Meanwhile, the catamaran 'Tera Jet' and the car ferry 'Blue Star Patmos' arrived in Piraeus on Sunday, carrying a total of 3,875 migrants and refugees from the island of Lesvos.

    [13] Armed forces sending heavy machinery to assist flood-stricken Kefalonia

    Heavy machinery and other equipment, along with the necessary personnel from the Air Force units in Araxos and Andravida were sent to the Ionian island of Kefalonia on Sunday,

    after authorities on the island declared a state of emergency due to flash flooding caused by heavy rains.

    The military personnel and equipment will take part in the first phase of the disaster response, with the first units arriving on Sunday on board the ferry 'Kefalonia'. An additional mission of both machinery and personnel sent by the Army is due to be sent on Sunday, based on an order issued by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos after consultation with the National Defence General Staff chief Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.

    [14] Thirteen to Corfu magistrate on sex-trafficking charges

    Thirteen suspects arrested for alleged involvement in a sex-trafficking ring engaging in the sexual exploitation of women will be led before a Corfu examining magistrate on Sunday.

    They were picked up in a police operation that initially led to 16 arrests, including five foreign nationals from Ethiopia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Russia, but also three Corfu municipality employees and a night club owner.

    The 13 appearing before the magistrate will face charges of trafficking, rape, sexual exploitation, bribery, accepting bribes and numerous other offences, including those of tampering with official documents and issuing fake certificates. A total of 20 individuals aged 21 to 60 years old are implicated in the affair while three of the 16 originally arrested were released by order of a public prosecutor.

    The ring was mostly active in a night-club circuit on the island of Corfu and used women from Hungary and Bulgaria. According to a 29-year-old Bulgarian woman, she had been the victim of sex-trafficking by three of the defendants and had been repeatedly raped by one of them.

    In raids on the homes of the suspects, police found and confiscated three unlicensed hunting shotguns, a gun with a clip, an air gun, 3.47 million rubles, 2,794 euros, Corfu municipality and other official stamps, health certificates signed by doctors and other evidence.

    [15] Athens Headlines at a glance

    AVGHI: SYRIZA dominance.

    DIMOKRATIA: 210 billion in damages to the state

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Surprise moves in ND leadership course

    ETHNOS: The 1,000-euro [income] bar.

    KATHIMERINI: How Washington guided Tsipras against the Germans.

    PROTO THEMA: 5 'dishonest' new taxes


    RIZOSPASTIS: The people must not consent to the new anti-popular attack.

    TO PARON: SLAUGHTER between the 'families' at ND

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE - TEL: 64.00.560-63 ? FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr - E-MAIL: anabul@ana gr - GENERAL DIRECTOR: Michalis Psilos

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