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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-28

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM discusses oil pipeline project with Bakoyannis, Sioufas
  • [02] Papandreou notes staff shortages at children's hospital
  • [03] Greek tourists in Petra, Jordan snowed-in

  • [01] PM discusses oil pipeline project with Bakoyannis, Sioufas

    PM and Bakoyannis discuss PM's trips abroad in 2007

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had a meeting on Thursday to discuss foreign policy and planning for the premier's trips abroad during the coming year.

    Emerging from the meeting, Bakoyannis said the meeting with Karamanlis had also examined the issue of the planned Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, where she noted that there were certain differences of opinion between the countries involved.

    Commenting on a report that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) planned to name Skopje's airport "Alexander the Great", Bakoyannis said that there had been no official announcement and no such information had reached the foreign ministry.

    "The interim agreement is in force and it would be best to avoid actions that could be misunderstood," she added.

    Sioufas: 2007 a year for competitiveness, innovation

    The year 2007 will be a year for competitiveness, innovation and new technologies, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas stated on Thursday as he emerged from a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    He said his talks with the prime minister had focused on the preparation of reforms to reinforce the ministry's developmental planning, including the 11 draft bills that are to be tabled in Parliament before April.

    As in earlier talks with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, the premier's meeting with the development minister was occupied by the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    According to Sioufas, the Greek side has discussed all the issues involved with the other two countries involved in the project, Russia and Bulgaria, including some outstanding differences.

    He noted that elections in Bulgaria had caused a delay but that actions by the Greek side, including trips undertaken by Sioufas and development ministry general secretary Nikos Stefanou to Moscow and Sofia, had helped make up for lost time.

    Asked to comment on high prices for consumer goods, the minister stressed that he had never claimed that prices were not high, adding that the problems and inflexibility of the past could not be solved overnight.

    He underlined, however, that the ministry was constantly carrying out inspections and imposing high penalties when transgressions were discovered. He also stressed that a sharp rise in oil prices had contributed to the problem, while pointing out that the country had managed to absorb these large increases smoothly.

    [02] Papandreou notes staff shortages at children's hospital

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou found a significant shortage of nurses and paramedics during his visit to the Aglaia Kyriakou childrens' hospital in Athens on Thursday.

    He accused the government of downgrading the national health system, stressing the need for more funding and more staff.

    Papandreou held talks with parents of children being treated in the hospital, as well as the hospital staff and management, including hospital governor George Yiannopoulos, who outlined the problems caused by a lack of nurses.

    According to PASOK's leader only 815 new employees had been hired to replace some 1,500 that had gone into retirement, with the shortages particularly apparent on weekends and when the hospital was on emergency duty.

    Staff said the shortage was particularly acute in the newborn's wing, where there were just three nurses for 30 beds.

    [03] Greek tourists in Petra, Jordan snowed-in

    All 16 Greek tourists stranded in the archaeological site of Petra in Jordan on Wednesday due to heavy snowfall are safe and well.

    After contacting Greek diplomatic authorities in Jordan and thanks to the immediate mobilization of the Jordanian state mechanism, 9 of them were picked up by the Jordanian army and taken to a nearby military base where they spent the night while the remaining 7 stayed on a tourist bus.

    Jordanās King Abdullah has sent the army to the region to evacuate any of the 300 tourists trapped in Petra who wished to leave the area.

    All tourists from Petra are expected to arrive in the Jordanian capital by bus, while the remaining Greek tourists, who couldnāt travel on Wednesday because of the bad weather, are expected to return to Greece on a flight from Amman.


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