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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK leader addresses rally in Crete
  • [02] Alavanos sees gov't failure in fire crisis
  • [03] Minister of State on wildfire relief

  • [01] PASOK leader addresses rally in Crete

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, addressing an election really in Ikalio, Crete, on Monday evening, called for ?a new change? which he termed ?a necessity and demand of the Greek people, a national renaissance.?

    Papandreou stressed, ?today, hope is being reborn in the country. Thirty-three years after the founding of PASOK, hope is being reborn in the country.. itās time for the government of mockery and unreliability to topple.?

    ?Never again such an incompetent government, such partisanship in the state, such indifference to human lives which were lost, such a destruction of the environment, such indifference to our historic symbols,? Papandreou said, referring to the recent catastrophic wildfires which swept the country.

    The PASOK leader accused the government of showing ?criminal indifference and incapability? and promised that he will give all his strength ?for what has been lost to be rebuilt.?

    ?The governmentās cycle has closed, it has closed and the New Democracy government is leaving as of September 17 and the new PASOK government gets to work,? he said.

    Papandreou accused the government that ?in leaving, it is attempting to transfer its own crisis into a crisis of democracy and is using illicit means to buy conscience (votes). In its effort to cling to power, the New Democracy becomes ruthless and dangerous for democracy, it has tuned lies into an official government policy and sows fear and division in society.?

    He committed himself that ?there will be a distribution of income, an end to unequal taxation in support of capital and at the expense of labour, an end to the increase of idirect taxation and the creation of good working conditions for all Greeks.?

    [02] Alavanos sees gov't failure in fire crisis

    The leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alekos Alavanos on Monday accused the government of failing to govern effectively during statements made in the central Greek town of Lamia.

    "What is now being presented as a problem, that we might be heading toward a lack of governance, is actually our present," Alavanos said. He was referring to speculation that the upcoming elections might yield a hung Parliament, in which neither major party had an absolute majority.

    He said the ruling New Democracy party had responsibility for its failure to handle the crisis in the fires as government, while main opposition PASOK was also to blame for the laws it created in the past, while describing the state as "incapable of doing even the basics".

    Addressing an electoral rally in Larissa, central Greece, on Monday evening, Alavanos launched an attack against the government regarding the procedures for the paying of compensation to individuals affected in the wildfire-ravaged regions.

    He spoke of ?a communication tactic to buy votes", at the same time terming as ?politically unprecedented" the procedure of compensation through banks.

    ?Those who promised the founding of the state managed to leave Greece without a state,? said Alavanos who added that ?the time has come for the Left to change the political landscape.?

    [03] Minister of State on wildfire relief

    Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Monday that a total of 45,600 wildfire-stricken people have received their initial compensation and the amount paid was 165,387,000 euros.

    Roussopoulos clarified that 210 people who were not entitled to compensation returned the benefit they had received, while 22,093 farmers and stockbreeders have been compensated with an amount totalling 31,991,000 euros.

    The minister further said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who participated in a meeting at the Arcadia prefecture on Monday morning, had on-the-spot information on all issues and held talks with local officials.

    Roussopoulos also announced that as he was informed by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias, flood-protection work in the Peloponnese has begun immediately and is taking place free of charge by big construction companies, "to which the government extends its thanks, as well as to our fellow countrymen who have supported the special account for the wildfire stricken."

    Flood-protection work in the prefecture of Evia will begin as of Tuesday, while in the prefecture of Ilia 50 specialised forestry officials from Parnitha are carrying out anti-corrosion work in Ancient Olympia and another 100 will be going by the end of the week.

    Roussopoulos announced that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met in Brussels with her counterparts from Portugal and Spain, the French alternate foreign minister and the relevant Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, while the promotion of the Greek initiative on strengthening European cooperation on natural disasters continued.

    Roussopoulos spoke of a very positive response, saying that it is indicative that the Portuguese Presidency will include the Greek initiative in the agenda of the General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council in October.

    The minister also said that, according to a briefing from the culture ministry, restoration work has already begun at the location of Ancient Olympia, while a group of Cypriot technicians has gone to the municipality of Zaharo, and to the village of Artemida in particular, to be involved in the reconstruction of the village and for this reason the Greek government thanks the Cypriot government and the Cypriot people.

    Roussopoulos referred to data provided by the Greek Police regarding arson arrests. Specifically, as he said, from 26/6/2007 until 22/8/2007 there were 48 perpetrators, 26 intentional and 22 through negligence and from 22/8/2007 until 1/9/2007 there were 34 perpetrators of whom 15 intentional and 19 through negligence.

    He also said that there are 13 cases of incendiary devices that are being investigated and added that the cases are at the stage of preliminary enquiries.

    As regards the reconstruction plan proposed by main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, the minister said that he will not comment on its points, terming them generalities.

    "What Mr. Papandreou did in 17 points was to outbid with money," Roussopoulos said and added that PASOK "promises and outbids with irresponsibility without facing the economy with the necessary respect and with knowledge of its needs."

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