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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-12

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gas station strike ongoing
  • [02] Karamanlis receives Cypriot House leader
  • [03] Papandreou to meet Karoyan
  • [04] Fine arts exhibition in Thessaly
  • [05] International yachting symposium

  • [01] Gas station strike ongoing

    Petrol stations throughout the country were increasingly running dry on Monday due to an ongoing strike by tanker truck owners, while kilometres-long queues were forming outside the few remaining open gas stations.

    Crucial for the future of the mobilisations was a general assembly scheduled later on Monday by the strikers, who on Sunday decided to allow 200 private tanker trucks to supply limited fuel to gas stations in Attica prefecture.

    The tanker truck owners, joined by private truck owners, have been on strike for a week, a 13-percent increase in rates in order to ameliorate the substantial jump in the operational costs of their vehicles due to spiralling petrol prices, whereas the government has approved a 5-percent increase.

    Tanker Truck Owners Federation president K. Tsiamos has said the federation was willing to discuss with the government so as to find a compromise solution.

    Problems are also expected to come up in the smooth operation of the market in general, as private truck owners are also on strike, resulting in thousands of tons of products and produce remaining stranded at the country's ports and customs houses, while fresh produce was in danger of rotting.

    The striking truck tanker and truck owners were joined by taxi drivers throughout the country on Monday morning, who launched a 24-hour strike at dawn demanding larger fare increases beyond the 5 percent announced by the government, also citing increased operational costs caused by spiralling petrol prices.

    In statements made on the island of Hios on Sunday afternoon, meanwhile, Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis raised hopes of a compromise that might put an end to the strike and avert more severe shortages.

    Noting that he had already satisfied demands that directly concerned the transport ministry, Hatzidakis revealed that he had been in contact with Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis in order to intercede on behalf of the strikers in order to settle the financial aspects of their demands, as well as with employment minister Fani Palli-Petralia regarding pension-related demands.

    The minister said that Alogoskoufis had asked him to reassure truckers of his personal guarantee that demands on which the economy ministry general secretary had already made an initial verbal promise would be met.

    Petralia has also promised to meet representatives of truck owners on her return from a trip abroad on Monday.

    Caption: Kilometres-long queues forming outside the few remaining open gas stations in Athens on Sunday, 11 May, 2008. ANA-MPA/MARIA MAROGIANNI

    [02] Karamanlis receives Cypriot House leader

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Monday morning with President of the Cyprus House of Representatives, Marios Karoyan, at the Maximos Mansion (the prime's office).

    On Friday, at the 'Hour of the Prime Minister' in parliament, Karamanlis stressed that banks are obliged to manifest increased social responsibility, during discussion of questions tabled by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on over-indebtedness of households due to excessive bank borrowing.

    Practices that violate good faith, and abusive conditions in transactions "are not acceptable", the premier said during the 'Hour of the Prime Minister', and stressed his government's determination to "ensure protection of consumers" and take additional measures through "adoption of proposals from wherever they originate".

    He also referred to the status of operation of debt collector companies, an issue which he said was put forward by initiative of the Consumer Ombudsman, which was an institution that his New Democracy government had established, and said that the responsible ministries were advancing a draft institutional framework to "set rules" for such companies.

    Karamanlis said the measured currently examined by the government envisaged: prohibiting real estate auctions at prices below their objective value, while auctions will be obligatory held in courts with sealed bids. Also, borrowers will be offered a 12-month grace period to seek a new rescheduling of their debts with banks and setting social and economic standards to deal with such cases. The government was also examining plans to prohibiting confiscation of part of monthly wages up to 1,500 euros for debt to the public sector or banks and raising a 10,000-euro debt ceiling for foreclosures of first houses.

    The Prime Minister reiterated that the government would not hesitate to adopt proposals made by opposition parties.

    Commenting on the economy, Karamanlis said an economic slowdown in the European Union -mainly due to high oil prices- affected national economies and citizens' financial situation, while he added that these effects could have been more dramatic if the government did not implemented economic reforms in the previous four years.

    He criticized previous governments for failing to address the issue of relations between bans and consumers. Karamanlis said that in a period when a negative international conjucture affects both national economies in the EU and households' financial situation, "financial institutions could not be indifferent, nor delaying the necessary changes...They must carefully respond to their customers' demands and the proposals made by the government by taking the initiative of conforming to any court decisions," he said.

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

    [03] Papandreou to meet Karoyan

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou will meet on Monday afternoon with visiting President of the Cyprus House of Representatives, Marios Karoyan, according to a PASOK press release.

    The meeting will take place at 5:00 p.m. at Papandreou's office in the Hellenic parliament building in central Syntagma Square.

    CAPTION:ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou

    [04] Fine arts exhibition in Thessaly

    The inaugural Pan-Thessaly Painting and Fine Arts Exhbition opened on Monday at the Karditsa Municipal Art Gallery, with works from the five municipal art workshops of the capital cities of the Thessaly region's four prefectures (Karditsa, Larissa, Magnisia and Trikala), and the municipality of Nea Ionia (Magnisia).

    The exhibition, which will travel to Thessaly Prefecture's five municipalities, aims to become an institution projecting local arts and highlighting the local government's role in enhancing culture.

    Workds on display include painting, hagiography, ceramcis, woodcarving and other artistic applications.

    Karditsa mayor Dominicos Verillis said the Exhbition was building new inter-municipal bridges, which need to be kept alive and creative, so as to comprise in the future an investment in culture, not only at local, but also at national, level.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Meteora rock formations in the Thessaly prefecture of Trikala, above the town of Kalabaka.

    [05] International yachting symposium

    Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos declared the start of the 7th International Yachting Symposium taking place in Poros, stressing the major contribution made by marine tourism to the tourism revenue coming into Greece.

    Spiliotopoulos opened the symposium on Saturday, noting that yachts and other craft accounted for 9 percent of revenue when the sector actually represented less than 2 percent of the tourism traffic to the country.

    The minister also stressed that Greece remained a powerful force in tourism involving sea-going craft and that the sector had huge potential for development.


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