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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-07-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: 'Complete breakdown' in some state functions
  • [02] More wildfires reported throughout Greece
  • [03] Group decries strikes at archaeological sites
  • [04] Papoulias receives WWF-Hellas chief

  • [01] Papandreou: 'Complete breakdown' in some state functions

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday referred to what he called a complete "breakdown in certain crucial state functions", amid a barrage of wildfires in the country this month and while speaking before his party's Parliamentary council.

    Papandreou, the former foreign minister, said the lacklustre response, as he charged, to the fires stems from a perception by the ruling New Democracy government that the state is ripe for "plunder".

    The PASOK leader further charged that the recent wildfires reveal a lack of prevention, planning and coordination, while charging that the government is "identified" with an attack on the social state and public domain.

    He also referred to a personnel shortage in the fire brigade, lack of meritocracy and "persecutions" based on political affiliation.

    Turning to other issues - as the session mostly focused on matters falling within the interior and public administration ministry's portfolio - Papandreou decried what he called the under-funding and "collapse" of all levels of education; the skyrocketing of private health care costs for the average family and a "complete failure" of the government's economic policy.

    In other matters, Papandreou reiterated his accusation that the government's has a "hidden agenda" involving social security reforms, while outlining PASOK's position in favour of granting eligible expatriate Greeks the right to vote in the nationwide tally, without the votes, however, counting towards the election of deputies in specific voting precincts.

    Other issues up for discussion at the PASOK parliamentary council included developments in Turkey and Cyprus.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    [02] More wildfires reported throughout Greece

    Another two wildfires were reported shortly after 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the Alepochori site in west Attica prefecture - west of the greater Athens area - as well as on the island of Salamina in the Saronic Gulf facing Athens, the latest in a barrage of blazes plaguing the east Mediterranean country this month.

    The fire on Salamina broke out in a forested area at the Selinia site, with ground crews assisted by two fire-fighting aircraft and a helicopter.

    The wildfire in Alepochori broke out near the tiny harbour of Mavrolimni between Alepochori and Schinos. According to the evidence gathered by the fire brigade, the fire started near the road and spread to a nearby pine forest.

    Still burning was a fire that broke out earlier on Tuesday in pine forest at the Psachna site on the large island of Evia, where fire-fighters, nine fire-engines, two airplanes and a helicopter were deployed to tackle the blaze.

    Also unchecked is a fire at Paliro in Mani, near Cape Tainaros of extreme southern Greece, that is burning through dry grassland in a more-or-less inaccessible area, and another that broke out at near the western town of Agrinio, where grazing land and olive groves were being destroyed.

    Two other blazes, one in a forest at the Lygia site near the coastal town of Nafpaktos, northwest of Athens, was reported to be under partial control in the early afternoon, as was a wildfire at the Mantem Lakko site in Halkidiki prefecture, northern Greece.

    Additionally, a fire that broke out alongside the train tracks in Kilkis due to a spark from a passing train was also under control by Tuesday afternoon, the fire brigade said. The fire burned through two hectares of grassland and another two hectares of farmland.

    Train services along the line were interrupted for safety reasons while the fire was still underway, causing delays.

    Caption: A fire-fighting helicopter in action against a blaze that erupted in forestland to the east of Athens proper in Mount Hymettus, which overlooks the Greek capital, on Monday, July 16, 2007. ANA-MPA / P. SAITAS.

    [03] Group decries strikes at archaeological sites

    The Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) on Tuesday announced that it has called for immediate action by the culture ministry to end a labour dispute with striking guards at many of Greece's pre-eminent archaeological sites, in a letter sent to the relevant minister.

    "It is not hard to appreciate how much Greek tourism is damaged by such events, but also the prestige and credibility of our country and what a bad impression this makes," the SETE letter emphasised.

    The association also repeated a previous proposal to introduce a system of standby skeleton crews for archaeological sites, along the lines of public utilities.

    "The state's inability to deal effectively with the continual strike actions of staff guarding archaeological sites causes justified disappointment and anger in a large number of our visitors," SETE noted.

    Caption: Visitors view the Acropolis and the Parthenon atop the hill from the west as the site was closed due to a strike by guards on Sunday, July 15, 2007. ANA-MPA / P. SAITAS

    [04] Papoulias receives WWF-Hellas chief

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received the chief executive officer of the Greek branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Dimitris Karavellas, who briefed him on issues concerning the environment, a particularly sensitive topic in the east Mediterranean country in light of a barrage of devastating wildfires this month.

    The meeting, which lasted 30 minutes, had been requested by the environmental advocacy group in order to brief Papoulias on its positions concerning protection of Attica prefecture's environment and on the adverse future entailed by the climatic changes in the planet. Papoulias, who recently expressed his own grave concerns on the issue, responded with an immediate appointment.

    After the meeting, Karavellas said the president had displayed particular sensitivity on the matter of the environment. He said the Greek president showed a very strong interest with respect to the Mt. Parnitha National Park, which was recently devastated by a massive forest fire.

    "We had the opportunity to extensively discuss our global campaigns and our positions regarding the recent destruction of the last remaining green space in the Attica basin (greater Athens area)," Karavellas said, adding that the president "assured us that he will be our ally and supporter in everything we attempt to do in the interests of the environment".

    Caption: Greek President Karolos Papoulias, right, with WWF Hellas head Dimitris Karavellas on Tuesday, July 17, 2007. ANA-MPA / K. MAVRONA.

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