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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-07-26

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Protecting the environment an 'absolute priority', Karamanlis stresses

  • [01] Protecting the environment an 'absolute priority', Karamanlis stresses

    Protection of the forests and the country's natural environment are the absolute priority of the government, prime minister Costas Karamanlis stressed on Thursday, in a brief address to the graduates of the Fire Brigade Academy in Villia, near Athens, on Thursday.

    Karamanlis, who presented the new Fire Brigade officers with their diplomas, assured that the state services had orders from the government to do everything possible for protection of the environment and the forests, and the immediate restoration of all areas ravaged by the recent wildfires.

    "Protection of the forests and the natural environment are an absolute priority of our government, because they are directly connected with our survival," he said.

    Karamanlis described the Fire Corps' work as being of exceptional importance, and paid tribute to the sacrifices made by firefighters in their struggle to protect the country's forests and environment and the properties of the Greek citizens.

    "We express our confidence in the Fire Corps, and the state, on its part, will do everything possible to support its work," the premier said.

    After his greeting, Karamanlis symbolically presented diplomas to the first 20 graduates of the Academy.

    Also present at the ceremony were public order minister Vyron Polydoras and Fire Brigade chief Andreas Kois.

    Nearly 10 pct increase in tourist arrivals anticipated

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Thursday with tourism development minister Fani Palli-Petralia, who told reporters afterwards that she anticipated

    Petralia, who briefed the prime minister on current issues in the tourism sector, said that a total of 15.5 million tourists had arrived in Greece last year, while visitors this year were expected to exceed the 16 million mark by far.

    The increase in tourist arrivals was also accompanied by a 9 percent increase in foreign exchange inflows from tourism, the minister added.

    To a question on whether the recent spate of wildfires throughout the country had influenced the tourism flow, Petralias said that there had been no cancellations of reservations thus far, nor was a reduction in arrivals indicated.

    Petralia also briefed Karamanlis in detail on the interministerial committee's decisions regarding exploitation of the state tourism infrastructures with respect to the Afantos and Anavyssos properties, the Corfu Casino and the two Xenia hotels in Vytina and on Skiathos.

    She added that international tenders for the above infrastructures would be announced next week.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during a visit to the fire brigade's headquarters earlier this month.

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