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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Christmas carols for political leaders; PM in Florina
  • [02] Massive exodus for Christmas
  • [03] Christmas carols for Parliament president
  • [04] Gov't hails passage of UNSC Resolution 1738

  • [01] Christmas carols for political leaders; PM in Florina

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his family spent the Christmas holiday in the northwestern prefecture of Florina, an increasingly popular winter destination in the east Mediterranean country. On Sunday, several local groups sang Christmas carols for the prime minister, whereas Karamanlis and his wife Natasha handed out gifts to the carolers. Costas and Natasha Karamanlis later strolled through the town of Florina before attending a reception in their honor hosted by local and prefectural officials.

    Meanwhile, in Athens, the annual tradition of Christmas caroling witnessed most political leaders receiving groups of carolers.

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou received carolers at his party's headquarters, exchanging gifts with the groups, which hailed from several parts of Greece.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga also greeted carolers at her party's headquarters, while Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos enjoyed carols by a choir of children of Filipino guest workers in Greece.

    [02] Massive exodus for Christmas

    Thousands of excursionists, despite the relatively bad weather, abandoned the major cities for the Christmas holidays. Most of them travelled to country's tourism destinations and abroad. This year, more than 250,000 excursionists preferred to spend Christmas in European capitals and exotic islands. The weather on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was quite sunny but cold. The record exodus for the Christmas holidays continued over the weekend, with journey times extended by as much as two or three hours.

    Excursionists heading north on the Athens-Lamia highway had to negotiate a 10-kilometre tailback outside Aghios Kostantinos on Saturday.

    Traffic police said they were forced to periodically interrupt traffic going into Athens in order to accommodate the huge volume of traffic heading up from the capital on the northbound lane.

    The stretch of road at Aghios Konstantinos is a bottleneck that causes problems whenever traffic is heightened, since recent roadworks have reduced its width to one lane in each direction that comes right after a two- and three-land highway.

    In northern Greece, the relatively sunny weather was also driving Thessaloniki residents to the countryside in droves but without major problems, while inter-city bus stations said that all bus routes, including additional services, were leaving 100% full. According to KTEL bus station president Christos Lioupas, an estimated 150,000 passengers were expected to travel from Thessaloniki to areas throughout Greece over the holiday.

    Traffic was also higher than in previous years at Thessaloniki's New Railway Station and at 'Macedonia' airport.

    According to authorities, Thursday marked the start of a record exodus for the Christmas period in past years, during which hundreds of thousands of excursionists left Greece's larger cities during the holidays.

    Most of them travelled to the provinces and abroad. More than 250,000 Greeks spent Christmas in European capitals, in tourism destinations and exotic islands.

    At Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport, from December 22-28 there will be more than 300 extra flights and another equal number is estimated to be made during the New Year period."

    However, those who enjoy winter sports and planned to have a white Christmas in one of the ski centres of Europe and Greece were most probably disappointed, as the lack of snow is unprecedented for this period.

    [03] Christmas carols for Parliament president

    Groups of carollers sent by clubs and societies from various areas of Greece on Saturday visited Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki in order to sing traditional Christmas carols, including a group from Crete and an association of Pontian Greeks from southern Greece and the islands. Other carollers to visit Benaki were children living at the 'Smile of the Child' hostels and the childrens' choirs of the Greek police headquarters, as well as the Greek Scouts Corps.

    The Parliament president offered the carollers good-luck charms from the Thrace Museum.

    [04] Gov't hails passage of UNSC Resolution 1738

    The foreign ministry on Sunday praised a unanimous decision, a day earlier, by the UN Security Council to pass Resolution 1738 in support of greater protection of journalists and mass media staffers in war zones and areas of conflict. The ministry also noted that the decision emanates from an initiative undertaken by the Greek UNSC presidency last September, an initiative actively promoted by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    In a recent interview, Bakoyannis dedicated the government's efforts to the memory of late Athens-based journalist Yiannis Diakoyannis.

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