|Thursday, 23 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-20
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greek-US Economic CommitteeThe meeting of the Greek-US Committee for Economic and Trade Cooperation was substantive and sincere focusing on routine issues as well as on investment and trade potential between the two sides, stated Greek foreign ministry Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation Theodoros Skylakakis. The meeting, held at the US State Department, tackled issues as regards the strengthening of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, the promotion of investments, and joint action in the sector of developmental cooperation. Skylakakis referred to the strengthening of relations between Hellenic Aid and USAID to include programmes currently in progress concerning trafficking issues in Albania and programmes in Sri Lanka and Jordan as well as strategic programmes on energy saving and renewable sources in SE Europe, and developmental cooperation in the Adriatic region in the sector of tourism. The prospect of Greek investments in the United States was unthinkable a few decades ago but today has become a reality, Skylakakis said, referring to the 800-million-dollar Greek investments in the United States. On behalf of the US side, the Committee was co-chaired by Mathew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, and Paul Dyck, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the European Bureau. Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID in Europe and Eurasia Thomas Fleetwood Mefford also attended on behalf of the American side. Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of <font color="#FFFFFF" size="3" face="Verdana">Greek foreign ministry Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation Theodoros Skylakakis.
 Lycabettus theatre closesThe municipal authorities of the City of Athens closed the ancient open-air Lycabettus Theater for safety reasons on Thursday afternoon, just hours before a concert by English singer and songwriter James Blunt was due begin, on the basis of a technical report stating that the theater must be closed immediately for further technical inspections and required repairs, sparking a clash with the Athens Festival organisers, who 'lease' the Theater for most of the Festival performances each summer.
The City of Athens cited a letter by the state Tourism Development Company (ETA, the 'managing arm' of Greece's state-owned tourism property, and as such the 'proprietor' and manager of the Lycabettus Theater) in early June stating that the immediate suspension of the theater's operation was necessary in order for further inspections and an in-depth technical study to be conducted and for the required repairs to begin immediately. The initial inspection and report had been conducted by order of the National Tourism Organisation of Greece (NTOG).
In a press statement later, the Athens municipal authorities, stressing that the municipality has "nothing to do" with the Theater or the Festival, gave the background of the events leading up to the closure of the theater.
The press statement reads as follows:
"The City of Athens today (Thursday) issued the following statement regarding the closing of Lycabettus Theatre:
"In its letter dated 5-6-2008 to the Athens Festival, which was copied to the City of Athens and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), the Tourism Development Company (ETA), proprietor and manager of the Lycabettus Theatre, refers to a technical report which states that the theatre must immediately cease operation in order for further inspections and a technical study to be carried out, and for necessary repairs to begin immediately.
"In a second letter dated 17-6-2008, ETA revoked its previous decision regarding the need for the immediate closure of the theatre "in order to allow the theatre's operation during this year's summer season", making reference to assurances by the Athens Festival that it would assume full responsibility for the theatre's operation.
"On its part, Athens Festival SA, a tenant of the Lycabettus Theatre, in a letter dated 18-06-2008 to ETA, requested the revocation of the City of Athens' decision to seal off the theatre. The Athens Festival stated in its letter that it assumes full responsibility for the theatre's operation "accepting all consequences" and that it "would avoid all possible incidents".
"ETA's third letter to the City of Athens, dated 18-6-2008, announced that, having taken into account relevant technical reports, it had concluded that reinforcement works had been carried out on the theatre's bleachers and, therefore, "there was no question of riskā¦ which necessitated the closure of the theatre".
"The City of Athens responded immediately to the original request of the proprietor of the property - namely ETA - and decided to suspend the operation of Lycabettus Theatre, considering the fact that the matter concerned the safety of theatre-goers. It should be noted that in the event that persons within the theatre are at risk of bodily harm, the City of Athens is obliged to suspend all performances and seal off the theatre, until the proprietor meets necessary demands, as was the case.
"Subsequently, Athens Festival SA turned to the Athens' Court of First Instance, requesting the withdrawal of the the City of Athens decision concerning the suspension of theatre's operation. The Athens Festival's request was rejected by the Court and, as a result, the City of Athens decision on the closure of the theatre remains effective.
"In order for the City of Athens to reopen the theatre, a thorough technical study and relevant court order are required. It should be noted that a report by ETA technical services in no case substitutes detailed technical studies and the necessary repair work.
"Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis made the following statement:
'I was disappointed to hear the statements made by the artistic director of the Athens Festival, Giorgos Loukos, a man who knows how strongly I have supported him and continue to do so.
'The City of Athens has nothing to do with the Athens Festival nor the Lycabettus Theatre.
'The order for the inspection of the theatre was issued by the Greek National Tourism Organisation. The original report was never withdrawn, apparently because the engineers who signed it refused to do so. The order for the closure was issued 14 days ago by ETA and the Greek justice system confirmed the City of Athens decision for the theatre's immediate closure.
'According to Mr Loukos, the City of Athens should have ignored the court ruling because tickets had been soldā¦
'I wonder if Mr Loukos would have used such excuses if the court of Avignon had issued a similar order. The municipal police simply followed the orders they were given. That is where their role begins and that is where it ends'."
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of the audience at a concert in Lycabettus open theatre in Athens
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The alleged involvement of high-ranking officials of the main opposition PASOK party in the Siemens scandal and the European Union's Summit in Brussels dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS:"Former PASOK official Theodoros Tsoukatos' public confession: Yes, PASOK received 1 million deutschemarks from SIEMENS".
APOGEVMATINI: "Tsoukatos confesses that the black money went into PASOK's accounts".
AVGHI: "The Siemens scandal a blow against the two-party system".
AVRIANI: "(Former prime minister Costas) Simitis' 'general' Theodoros Tsoukatos was a thief - He received 1 million deutschemarks from Siemens".
CHORA: "Yes, I took 1 million marks on PASOK's behalf - The 'abscess' of Simitis' 'enviroment' bursts".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Siemens gave deutschemarks under the table to members of both mainstream parties - The reel begins to untangle beginning with the case of Tsoukatos".
ELEFTHEROS: "PASOK is a party of ruthless bribe-takers - They openly admit that they took money under the table from Siemens for the party's electoral campaign needs".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Ping-pong with Siemens' 'gifts' - The scandal (ball) in PASOK's court - Tsoukatos, the recipient of the DM1 million, states: I gave the money to the party - PASOK says: We never received a single euro".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The 'route' of the political bribes - Siemens' first bomb exploded in Tsoukatos' hands".
ESTIA: "PASOK'S black money - Admission of Siemens funding to PASOK".
ETHNOS: "Storm of revelations in Siemens case - Rapid developments will follow in PASOK after the latest revelations that more politicians are involved in the scandal".
KATHIMERINI: "The developments in Siemens case turn into a domino - Tsoukatos admits that he took money from the black funds - Politicians' bank accounts are being investigated".
LOGOS: "Siemens typhoon hits PASOK - Tsoukatos: The money went into the party's coffers".
NIKI: "(PASOK leader George) Papandreou cutting to the bone - He's cleaning up PASOK from Siemens shadows".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Escalation of the struggle against the high cost of living, with demand for satisfactory collective labor agreements".
TA NEA: "Earthquake -Siemens jolts PASOK - Heavy shadows over Tsoukatos".
TO VIMA: "Who's turn is it? - Rumors of new revelations ahead - Siemens scandals sets fire to the political life".
VRADYNI: "Shocking confession from Simitis' 'general': Yes I took 1 million marks but on PASOK's behalf" - Siemens 'typhoon' sweeps PASOK".
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