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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 2008 Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony spectacular
  • [02] PM Karamanlis message on Olympic Games
  • [03] Papandreou condemns Mauritania coup

  • [01] 2008 Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony spectacular

    The 29th Olympic Games started on Friday at Beijingās ?Birdās Nest? with a most spectacular opening ceremony. More than 90,000 Chinese and foreign spectators went to Beijingās Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony and greatly applauded the Greek mission which paraded first with Olympic gold medallist Ilias Iliadis as flag-bearer.

    It was hot with intense humidity. Beijingās Olympic Stadium is impressive, ultra-modern, imposing. For the spectators, the guests and the journalists the problem is small. What will happen however at the medium and long-distance races when the track and field events begin in the ?Birdās Nest??

    Ilias Iliadis was the first athlete of the 29th Olympic Games who set foot at the ?Birdās Nest.? With Greeceās blue and white flag in his hands and with his charming smile, the golden medallist in judo opened ?the dance? of the athletesā parade, under the spectatorsā laud applause and with orchestra music from the five continents.

    Participation in the Olympic Games is a lifeās dream for every athlete and this sentiment could be seen in the faces of those who paraded, representing 204 countries taking part in the Games.

    [02] PM Karamanlis message on Olympic Games

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis issued a message, in view of the Beijing Olympic Games' opening ceremony, expressing Greece's wishes to athletes and members of the Olympic family from all over the world "in the hope that the Olympic Games will continue inspiring the peoples of the planet with their sublime values."

    Referring to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the prime minister noted: "Four years ago, in the summer of 2004, the Olympic Games returned to their cradle. Greece had then undertaken a double task: to organise in safety and successfully the planet's greatest athletic event, but to also highlight in a strong manner the principles and values on which the Olympic spirit was forged."

    "With sacrifices and hard work, by uniting our forces to achieve the great target, we Greeks have succeeded beyond the most optimistic expectations. In our nation's history, 2004 will remain for ever as a landmark-date, the beginning of a new era of confidence to the forces and capabilities of Hellenism," Karamanlis underlined.

    "Today, the torch passes to China, the most populated country of the planet. A country which, just like Greece, bares the responsibility of continuously responding to its great and ancient civilisation," Karamanlis said, adding that the challenge remained the same as in 2004, as in 1896 and in 776 BC, when the first Olympic Games in history took place at ancient Ilida, in the Peloponnese, that is "to prove on the one hand that surpassing the limits, which many times we arbitrarily set for ourselves, is an inseparable part of the nature of mankind, and on the other hand to prove that, replacing emnity and violent rivalry by fair play, competition and cooperation between men and peoples is not only a desirable and pressingly necessary target but a feasible one."

    "With these thoughts and in the hope that the Olympic Games will continue inspiring the peoples of the planet with their sublime values, we Greeks, as the historic guardians of the Olympic spirit, send our best wishes to the athletes and the members of the Olympic family from all over the world, to all those who serve the ideals of sport away from all that adulterates healthy competion," Karamanlis concluded.

    [03] Papandreou condemns Mauritania coup

    Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou condemned on Friday the military coup occured on Wednesday in Mauritania against the government which was elected in June 2007.

    "As president of the SI I plead for the respect of state of law respect and the immediate re-establishment of the democratic and institiutional order in Mauritania, through a dialogue between the political forces of the country. We express our total support to the African Union's effort for a peaceful solution of the crisis," Papandreou said in a written statemnt.

    "The Socialist International will watch closely developments in Mauritania in cooperation with the party member of SI Rassemblement des Forces Democratiques(RDF)," Papandreou concluded.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK party leader and president of Socialist International George Papandreou.

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