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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-08-29

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM orders measures for farmers
  • [02] PASOK criticises opinion poll
  • [03] KKE SG: Workers should punish major parties
  • [04] Benefits for wildfire sufferers

  • [01] PM orders measures for farmers

    Visiting the agriculture ministry on Wednesday, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis ordered ministry staff to circumvent bureacracy and ensure that measures for the relief of fire-stricken farmers were carried out without delays.

    "We have only one road ahead of us. To meet the expectations of our farmers and livestock breeders that are being sorely tried," he stressed.

    He also underlined the government's obligations to "the people that kept, are keeping and will continue to keep the future alive in the Greek countryside".

    Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos told reporters that front payments of compensation due to fire-stricken farmers would be credited to their accounts as of next Friday.

    He said the ministry had secured 300 million euros for the payment of compensation to farmers and that the civil emergency planning PSEA programmes would be submitted to the European Union within the next two months.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] PASOK criticises opinion poll

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Wedensday sharply criticised a most recent opinion poll giving rival New Democracy, the ruling party, a 2-point lead, 35.2 percent to 33.2 percent for PASOK.

    PASOK Secretary Nikos Athanassakis questioned whether the specific opinion poll was aware of the ongoing reality of the wildfires, while saying the results appeared "outrageous" and "incomprehensible".

    The PASOK cadre also took exception with results showing an almost identical negative opinion of both the ruling party and the main opposition.

    In terms of other parties, the Communist Party (KKE) was favored by 7.3 percent of respondents; the Coalition of the Left by 4.4 percent and the out-of-Parliament LA.OS party by 3.9 percent of respondents.

    In a later reaction, the MRB firm, which conducted the poll for a local Athens television station, said that "it was the inalienable right of every political party or citizen not to accept results of an opinion poll. However, they should avoid disputing the professionalism and objectivity of respected polling firms because they disagree with the results".

    The firm also referred to "slanderous statements" by the PASOK official.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK Secretary Nikos Athanassakis.

    [03] KKE SG: Workers should punish major parties

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga once again invited the working class on Wednesday to punish "the large parties that have repeatedly betrayed them" with their vote in the upcoming elections on September 16.

    Speaking at a coffee shop in Petralona, she stressed that the numbers of those who felt betrayed and deceived by the two parties they had alternatingly cast their vote for, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, were daily multiplying and that these people could make a difference at the polls.

    Referring to the aftermath of the devastating fires in the Peloponnese, she said the disaster had scuppered plans for a strong and competitive economy in Greece and that the issue was now how the survivors will live in the areas that had been destroyed, or whether young people would be forced to abandon the burnt villages and head for the cities.

    When asked her opinion about the cause of the fires, Papariga said her party linked these with plans to construct the Ionian highway, noting that the developers could only invest in prize land on either side of this if there was no agricultural production.

    She claimed that in remote regions also ravaged by fires - such as Grammos, the Valia Kalda forest and Mount Olympus - facilities were expected to be put up with a 99-year lease.

    According to Papariga, this was part of a global policy for changing land uses and she mentioned the desertification of the Amazon forest as an example.

    KKE's leader also levelled criticism at local authorities for failing to adequately prepare for the fire season, noting that no local politicians had raised the issue of fire-prevention and protection during the local government elections.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of KKE SG Aleka Papariga.

    [04] Benefits for wildfire sufferers

    Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Wednesday that the 3,000 euros benefit for wildfire sufferers had started being paid in the morning with beneficiaries making a simple formal statement.

    By the afternoon, a total of 7,496 applications had been submitted and the total amount corresponding to them was 24 million euros. By decision of Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, all banks will be providing the benefits for wildfire sufferers, while their working hours have been extended to facilitate citizens.

    Applications submitted are already being checked and stiff sanctions will be imposed on those attempting to deceive services.

    Roussopoulos also termed as false and misleading evidence given by the main opposition PASOK party regarding the issuing of a travel advisory by the government of Australia, that is being sent through the electronic post to Australians all over the world. The minister said that there is no connection between the wildfires and the danger of a terrorist attack in the travel advisory's text.

    Referring to damage caused by the wildfires, Roussopoulos said that, according to the health ministry, 510 homes have been destroyed in the prefecture of Ilia, while the first nine prefabricated houses have been set up in the prefectures of Messinia and Laconia and another 35 will follow on Thursday.

    The 1555 telephone line operating on a 24-hour basis has received 62,914 calls during the three days it has been operating and 84 percent of them concerned offers for the wildfire sufferers, while the remaining 16 percent requested information on measures that have been taken in regions affected by the wildfires.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos.


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