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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-13

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek delegation ends Jordan visit
  • [02] Unions report high turnout for general strike
  • [03] Archbishop Christodoulos begins Vatican visit

  • [01] Greek delegation ends Jordan visit

    AMMAN (ANA-MPA - N. Melissova) Eight bilateral agreements on a state and business level were signed here on Wednesday, during the second day of a two-day business mission to Jordan headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis.

    The two sides held the 4th Joint Ministerial Committee meeting and the agreements signed cleared the way for Greek exports and joint ventures.

    The cooperation protocol signed concerns, among others, the sectors of tourism, constructions, energy, alternative sources of energy, and agriculture, while another agreement was signed between the Greek Energy and Technology General Secretariat and the competent agency in Jordan for the exchange of know-how in the higher education sector.

    In addition, agreements were signed by ELOT (Greek Standardization Organization) and OPE (Hellenic Foreign Trade Board) aimed at facilitating Greek exports. The Centre for Renewable Energy Sources, CRES, also signed agreements for the exchange of know-how and the creation of the appropriate environment for such investments.

    The exchange of visits and the promotion of the Greek products in the Jordanian market were the objectives of agreements signed by ACCI (Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry), SEV (Federation of Greek Industries) and SEVE (Exporters Association of Northern Greece).

    The deputy foreign minister had meetings with the Jordanian foreign minister, the commerce and industry minister and the planning and international cooperation minister, while he also met with Greek Metropolitan Bishop Benedict of Philadelphia.

    [02] Unions report high turnout for general strike

    Trade unionists reported a high turnout for the 24-hour general strike declared on Wednesday by the two largest trade union federations in the country but more limited participation in a rally held in the centre of Athens to protest against the government's proposed draft budget for 2007.

    The strike and rally were organised by the civil servants' union federation ADEDY and the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), a trade union umbrella organisation representing the majority of workers in the private sector and several public-sector services, such as buses and trains.

    Addressing the rally, GSEE President Giannis Panagopoulos described the draft budget as the most unfair and anti-social of recent years and warned the government against opening a new front over pension reform.

    He also criticised government plans for the further privatisation of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) as a "cut-price sell-off" and stressed that no European country had so far handed over control of telecommunications to the private sector.

    ADEDY President Spiros Papaspiros underlined that the budget would further deepen inequalities and austerity measures, undermine the social insurance system and intensify an already classist taxation system.

    He called on all sides of the political system to "give a specific and not a rhetorical alternative solution to the neoliberal whirlwind threatening basic labour and social rights,".

    Meanwhile, OTE workers said their strike would continue on Thursday, when they would hold another rally.

    The strike was most apparent in the broader public sector, with high participation among civil servants, public utility workers (including OTE), bank staff. Also affected was public transport in Athens, with no services throughout the day on the metro, tram, Proastiako railway and electric railway and a skeleton service run by the Greek Railways Organisation (OSE). Trolley buses and OASA buses held work stoppages at the beginning of the day and will stop running after 22:00 and 22:30, respectively.

    Buses in Thessaloniki were also not running before 9:00 and will stop again after 21:00, while a work stoppage by civil aviation staff caused the cancellation of three Olympic Airlines flights and changed departure times for five more.

    Teachers in both the private and public sectors, as well as university teaching staff, were also called to participate in a 24-hour strike by their unions, while public hospitals and IKA surgeries will operate with a skeleton service on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Also shut on Wednesday were pharmacies throughout Greece, except those covering emergency shifts, to demand payment of money owed to them by the state social insurance funds.

    Government on general strike

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, when asked if the government was concerned by Wednesday's general strike, stressed that the government had been elected to exercise a specific policy and to correct problems in the economy.

    "This is our number one priority, this is the direction in which we have been moving in the past 2.5 years and we already have positive results," he told reporters.

    [03] Archbishop Christodoulos begins Vatican visit

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos departed on Wednesday for the Vatican where he began the first official visit by a prelate of the Church of Greece to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, which will be concluded on Saturday morning.

    Archbishop Christodoulos will meet Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday, while during his stay in Rome, he will be proclaimed honourary professor of the Vatican University.

    In a statements, Archbishop Christodoulos said:"Throughout humanity today there is talk for the need of cooperation between religions and not only between Christian churches. And this, because we must, in every possible way, safeguard peace in the world which is threatened many times by certain fanatical people who hide behind and act under the guise of religion."


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