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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-14
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Patriarch, US envoy meetEcumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos (Bartholomew I) received US ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard in Athens on Wednesday, as the latter reiterated America's policy vis-a-vis the Ecumenical Patriarchate following a brief meeting, namely, support for the re-opening of the Halki Seminary and the important principle of religious freedom.
Speaking after the talks, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his complete satisfaction with the meeting, the respect shown by the US towards the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the standing positions of consecutive American administrations on the Patriarchate, adding that both America and the Ecumenical Patriarchate "serve the same ideals of justice, freedom and all the supreme moral values that exist over time and universally, and because of this, we share many common positions."
Additionally, the Patriarch noted that discussions with Speckhard also touched on a series of "special issues" that the venerable Istanbul-based Patriarchate, the "primus inter pares" of the world's Orthodox Churches, faces.
"I objectively briefed him (Speckhard) on the situation that our Patriarchate faces today," Vartholomeos added.
The US envoy, who was accompanied by his wife, praised the Ecumenical Patriarch for his international efforts to promote environmental awareness as well as advancing inter-faith dialogue and the spiritual health of the world's citizens, as he said.
"It's been a great honor, and I want to thank you Your All-Holiness," Speckhard added.
"I know you not only from all the good words they say about you, here in Greece, and throughout the world, the Church and the community, but from this," Speckhard said in presenting Vartholomeos with a copy of "Time" magazine listing the Ecumenical Patriarch as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2008.
Vartholomeos responded that it was a great honor "for my humble person and for my Church".
In 'painting' Vartholomeos' portrait for "Time", the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, Rowan Williams, writes: "The title Ecumenical Patriarch historically refers to the Patriarch's pastoral responsibility for 'the whole inhabited world'. This brave and visionary pastor has given a completely new sense to the ancient honorific; his work puts squarely on our agenda the question of how we express spiritual responsibility for the world we live in."
The international distinction for Vartholomeos (by Time in late April) was followed by the latest eyebrow-raising references to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the updated pages of the Turkish foreign ministry's website.
Amongst many others, the official Turkish site includes a passage that states: "... Considering that the Patriarchate is a Turkish institution and the Patriarch has to be a Turkish citizen, the usage of the title of 'Ecumenical' is incongruous with the agreement reached during the Lausanne Peace Conference."
Caption: Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos (R) with US ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard on Wednesday, 14 May, 2008, in Athens. ANA-MPA / STR
 European FM's meet in ParisThe issue of Lebanon was expected to be discussed at the "informal working dinner" on Tuesday night, attended by eleven European foreign ministers, invited by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, in light of the French EU presidency starting on July 1.
Attending the dinner is also Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
Regarding the issue of Lebanon, at a press conference that preceded the dinner, the French foreign minister said that although he has received a mandate by President Nicolas Sarkozy to start anew a tour and visit all the protagonists, nevertheless, he will wait so as not to obstruct the efforts of the Arab League.
He said that on Monday he took part in a "gigantic telephone communications" between the foreign ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Lebanon and members of the Arab League.
Caption: ANA- MPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis
 FinMin : emphasis on FDI'sA reform program implemented by the government in the last four years strengthens the Greek economy's resistance to imported financial problems and fortifies the country's role in the Europe and in the wider region, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.
Addressing an annual general assembly of the Federation of Hellenic Industries, the Greek minister referred to the strong performance of the economy, with a growth rate still double the Eurozone average this year and in 2009 despite an international slowdown. Greek economic growth is projected at 3.4 pct in 2008 and 3.3 pct in 2009, compared with growth rates of 1.7 pct and 1.5 pct in the Eurozone, respectively.
The government's top priority continues to be strengthening social cohesion, Alogoskoufis said and noted that opposition political parties strongly opposed every reform efforts aimed at improving economic competitiveness, while social partners, including businesses, seemed to expecting everything from the state.
Commenting on the inflation rate, said the government was making great efforts to contain consumer prices and urged businesses to contribute also towards strengthening competition, combating monopolies and containing prices hikes.
Alogoskoufis said the government's privatization program on Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation aims to forge a strategic alliance with a significant European telecoms group. "Negotiations are already in very advanced stage. With this partnership we seek OTE's growth and modernization, not only in Greece but in the wider geographical area, while also ensuring our national and defense interests," he said.
The Greek minister reiterated that further privatization were due, including ports and airports. "Upgrading infrastructure was a necessary precondition to exploit our strategic advantages. With our policy we put Greece back into the world investment map," Alogoskoufis said.
"Our goals is achieve balanced budgets the soonest possible. We know it will not be easy, but we must fight to achieve this goal," he said.
Caption: FinMin George Alogoskoufis during his address at the annual general assembly of the Federation of Hellenic Industries on Tuesday 13 May 2008.ANA-MPA/MARIA MAROYANNI
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' call for self-restraint and responsibility over the current financial crisis, the fuel truck federation's strike and a new doping incident involving a swimming champion dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "70,000 long-term civil service contract employees' salary and grade scales equalized with those of the tenured civil servants".
APOGEVMATINI: "In 1996 George Papandreou (main opposition PASOK leader) had voted in favor of a law for the foundation of a non-state university (referring to Law 2413/96 for the founding of the International University of Hellenic Studies, heaquartered in Ancient Olympia) - Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis revealed on Tuesday in parliament the contradictory stance and hypocrisy of PASOK regarding the revision of Article 16 of the Constitiution (which restricts non-state universities in Greece)."
AVGHI: "Top Greek swimmer found doped - Claims of 'Chinese mistake' (cited in recent doping scandal involving 11 athletes of the National Weightlifting Team) collapse".
AVRIANI: "PASOK and New Democracy held 'hostage' by US over the SIEMENS 'black money' scandal".
CHORA: "Thousands buried alive in China - New strong after-shock on Tuesday".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "The 'Battle of the Fuel Tanks' (ongoing fuel truck owners strike) to be reckoned today, as profiteering, adulteration and spiralling prices rage on".
ELEFTHEROS: "Greek industrialists dream of emulating Berlusconi - They proposed the founding of an 'Alliance for Progress' for exodus from the economic crisis".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Compromises (over the striking truckers' demands) have victims - Danger on national roads multiply after government's decision to permit tanker trucks circulation in tunnels and and tractor trailers on Fridays (currently restricted under road safety rules)".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New uprise over education issues - Universities' financing at the epicentre of the oncoming battle".
ESTIA: "The state of affairs concerning the 'closed shop' occupations is at the brink of irrationality".
ETHNOS: "Medals plunged in dope - The 'China syndrome' hits Greek swimming".
KATHIMERINI: "Market on the loose, brings soaring prices - Karamanlis, Papandreou, SEB (Federation of Greek industries) criticise the oligopolies".
LOGOS: "Front against profiteering phenomena - Karamanlis sends message in his address at SEB general assembly".
NIKI: "SEB dismantling the government - Industrialists detect deep crisis and stagnation in the country, and ask for...change".
RIZOSPASTIS: "United anti-working class front by industrialists, ND and PASOK".
TA NEA: "Dozens of food products suspected of containing mineral oil (referring to quantities of imported sunflower oil recently found to contain mineral oil) - Confusion on the market confused - Inspections delaying".
TO VIMA: "Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) 'preaches' reforms and changes - Annual assemly and new management".
VRADYNI: "Grade-scale advancements for the 70,000 indefinite term contract civil service employees".
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