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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Parliament comm't passes primary shareholder bill, PASOK walks out of session
  • [02] Concert in Athens on Wednesday for cyclone-hit New Orleans

  • [01] Parliament comm't passes primary shareholder bill, PASOK walks out of session

    Main opposition PASOK deputies walked out of Parliament on Tuesday in protest to the government tabling of a revised "primary shareholder's" law, only days after the government received the EU Commission's 'green light' for legislation aimed to exclude broadcast media owners from public sector contracts.

    The draft bill was nevertheless passed by a relevant Parliament committee on Tuesday afternoon, with the legislation headed to a Parliament plenum on Wednesday.

    PASOK's deputies left the Parliament committee session after the main opposition party's request for a wide-ranging debate on Wednesday by all interested MPs, instead of only each party's rapporteur, was rejected.

    In a later statement, Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the draft bill was urgently tabled pending swift ratification in order to avoid the creation of a "legal loophole". Additionally, representatives for the other two Parliament-represented parties, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), criticised PASOK's MPs for exiting the chamber, while at the same time decrying what they called a limited debate on the draft bill.

    "PASOK left a massive loophole. It did not defend transparency," Pavlopoulos added.

    Asked about PASOK leader George Papandreou's call, a day earlier from Parliament's podium, that the draft bill be discussed during a full Parliament session, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said:

    "Discussion has taken place at all levels. All of the issues have been exhausted and (each party's) views are well known. After the agreement (with the Commission) was achieved, it is important that we proceed substantively towards a vote on this bill ... There can be no more legal loopholes or uncertainties," he said.

    Finally, he said the agreement confirmed the government's efforts to effectively fight vested interests.

    In defending his party's walk-out, former minister Dimitris Reppas said the government "should be ashamed of this initiative, as it does not want a dialogue".

    [02] Concert in Athens on Wednesday for cyclone-hit New Orleans

    A concert for those affected by the cyclone "Katrina", in New Orleans, will be held at the Concert Hall-Megaron Mousikis in Athens on Wednesday.

    The concert is organised by the Greek section of the international philanthropic organisation "Habitat for Humanity", in cooperation with the Panhellenic Women's Organisation 'Panathenian'.

    The proceeds of the concert will be given directly to the U.S. organisation for the reconstruction of the affected regions, while the bank account which has been opened at the Bank of Piraeus by the 'Panathenian' for the victims of New Orleans will remain open until December 31.

    Taking part at the concert, which is entitled "New Orleans I send you a message", will be American singer Debora Davis with the New York trio "Few Good Men", Stefanos Korkolis, George Hatzinasios and soprano Jenny Drivala.

    "It will take months, if not years, for the restoration of New Orleans from these biblical catastrophes," said U.S. Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries, who on Tuesday attended the presentation of the concert's programme. The ambassador expressed his gratitude to the artists and to the Greeks, stating that "this philanthropic performance is an extremely characteristic example of Greek generosity."

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