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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-27

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM again promises 'fair, mild' social security reforms
  • [02] Holiday travelers return amid cold front

  • [01] PM again promises 'fair, mild' social security reforms

    A high-profile government-sponsored committee on revamping the list of hazardous and heavy occupations in the country will convene on Thursday to study the matter, as the importance of the "H&H" designation lies in the fact that practitioners of such occupations are eligible for earlier retirement, among others.

    The meeting comes amid the latest declaration by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that his government is committed to "fair and mild" reforms for the country's ailing social security system. "Failure to enter into dialogue is an extremely conservative and anti-popular stance," he told the opposition during an address in parliament.

    Meanwhile, new Employment and Social Insurances Minister Fani Palli-Petralia will resume a round of meetings on Thursday with so-called "social partners", i.e. sector representatives, unions and employers' groups.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Premier Costas Karamanlis

    [02] Holiday travelers return amid cold front

    The return of thousands of Christmas holiday travelers to Greece's cities comes amid a cold front forecast for the east Mediterranean nation on Thursday, with showers in most areas and snowfall in the mountainous regions of central and northern Greece expected.

    Authorities are on alert since noon on Wednesday in view of the return of tens of thousands of holiday-makers who departed the major urban areas, particularly Athens and Thessaloniki, for the provinces. Despite heightened measures, 25 people were killed in road accidents during the holiday exodus, while scores of people were injured in traffic-related incidents.

    In terms of the country's political leadership, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and his wife and children spent their Christmas holidays in Cologne, Germany.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his wife Natassa and their two children spent Christmas in mountainous Grevena, northern Greece.

    The prime minister and his family visited the Grevena prefecture's seat, where they were welcomed by the prefect and local residents. Also present was Development Minister Christos Folias. An ethnic Pontian choir sang Christmas carols for the Karamanlis family at the Grevena Town Hall, where the prime minister also met the mayor of the town.

    Earlier in the week, the premier toured the Vasilitsa ski resort and at Aghia Paraskevi Monastery in the prefecture.

    On his part, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and his family spent Christmas in Athens, with a children's choir singing Christmas carols for the PASOK leader at the party's headquarters.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga also spent Christmas in Athens and heard Christmas carols at the party's headquarters.

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos spent Christmas on the Cyclades island of Tinos.

    Finally, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis spent Christmas in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    Caption: Thousands of Athenian residents and tourists converged on a Syntagma Square, in the heart of downtown Athens across from Parliament, on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007 -- the second day of Christmas -- as the piazza hosts numerous holiday attractions. ANA-MPA / MARIA MAROGIANNI.


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