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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] New heads at Athens Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival and Film Centre; all 3 meet with Karamanlis
  • [02] Athens reiterates priorities vis-a-vis Jerusalem Patriarchate crisis
  • [03] New EFET leadership nominated in wake of yogurt recall
  • [04] Water flow issue examined during conference in Orestiada

  • [01] New heads at Athens Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival and Film Centre; all 3 meet with Karamanlis

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday met consecutively with the three new heads of a same-number of noted state-run cultural organisations: the Athens Festival, the annual Thessaloniki Film Festival and the Athens-based Greek Film Centre.

    Karamanlis, who also holds the culture ministry portfolio, first received Yorgos Loukos, the current artistic director of the Lyon Opera Ballet, one of France's two national ballet companies.

    Afterwards, Loukos expressed his willingness to help restructure the venerable Athens Festival, an annual series of summertime performing arts events -- music, dance, theatre -- hosted at the Roman-era Herod Atticus Odeon, beneath the Acropolis. The only pending issue regarding the appointment is whether the internationally acclaimed Loukos will serve as the Festival's president or its artistic director.

    Noted Greek director Pantelis Voulgaris -- "Brides" (2004) and "It's A Long Road" (OLA EINAI DROMOS, 1998), among others -- met afterwards with the Greek premier at the Maximos Mansion office after his appointment as the new president of the Thessaloniki Film Festival.

    Voulgaris said he will continue the work begun by his predecessors at the post, Theo Angelopoulos and Michel Dimopoulos.

    Finally, author Thanassis Valtinos, who was tapped to head the Greek Film Centre, was received last by Karamanlis.

    Valtinos later said he will follow the programme already scheduled by the current administration for the 2006 season, while emphasising however, that opportunities will be given to new artists.

    [02] Athens reiterates priorities vis-a-vis Jerusalem Patriarchate crisis

    Athens on Friday stressed that its primary concerns vis-a-vis the ongoing crisis enveloping the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem are the institution itself and preservation of its Greek character and heritage.

    Speaking after a meeting with the Palestinian Authority's charges D'affaires in Greece, Ismat Sabri, Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis said the government's other two priorities are the maintenance of good relations with all of the countries of the region, as well as preventing any negative repercussions to regional peace and security.

    On his part, Sabri reiterated that there is "no issue" of a challenge to the ancient Patriarchate's "Greekness".

    "This is a standing position of the Palestinian Authority," he added.

    In a related development, a government spokesman repeated a series of official statements out of Athens during the past week, namely, that Jerusalem Patriarch Erinaios (Irineos) ?must assume his historical responsibilities?.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros also confirmed that the prime minister's office has received a copy of a signed statement by 10 high-ranking Jerusalem Patriarchate clerics demanding Erinaios' resignation.

    Communist Party (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga, meanwhile, directly called for the Patriarch's resignation after her separate meeting with Sabri.

    [03] New EFET leadership nominated in wake of yogurt recall

    The government on Friday nominated a Thessaloniki veterinary pathology professor as the new president of the Central Food Control Agency (EFET), following the resignation of the agency's top leadership a day earlier amid charges of a "cover-up" related to the recall of roughly 350,000 containers of yogurt.

    Prof. Ioannis Vlemmas is set to replace Nikos Katsaros at EFET's helm, while the general director's position will be tendered, as prescribed by law. The head of a foodstuffs technology faculty at an Athens technical institute (TEI), Evangelos Lazos, was nominated for the vice-president's position.

    EFET general director Christos Apostolopoulos also resigned on Thursday.

    The yogurt was recalled by the FAGE company in early March due to the presence of surface mold.

    [04] Water flow issue examined during conference in Orestiada

    The installation of measuring and warning systems for the continuous flow of water along the crossborder rivers of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey was held in Orestiada, northern Greece, at the invitation of the Crossborder Cooperation Network of prefectures of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.

    The event was held as a result of longstanding problems concerning the timely exchange of information on quantities of water in crossborder rivers and problems created by such phenomena for bordering prefectures.

    In another development, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos told Parliament, in reply to a question by Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Alekos Alavanos on damage caused in the Evros region as a result of the river's overflowing, that "compensation will be paid within two months from the final registration of damage."

    Pavlopoulos clarified that compensation will be paid in the cases of both damage already caused to crops and where damage renders planting impossible.

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