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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-08-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Prespes Festival in Florina offers Callas tribute
  • [02] Bakoyannis on EU-Russia ties
  • [03] Poll: ND ahead by 1.2 points

  • [01] Prespes Festival in Florina offers Callas tribute

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Saturday inaugurated a major tribute exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of the Maria Callas' death. The event is being hosted at the Museum of Modern Arts in the northwest border city of Florina, as part of the annual Prespes Festival of cultural events, dedicated this year to the late Greek opera diva.

    The exhibition, entitled "Maria Callas, 30 years after", was first organised and presented by the Hellenic Parliament Foundation. following the declaration of 2007 as the Year of Maria Callas.

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, addressing the opening, paid tribute to "the Greek artist who left her mark on the history of opera with her unique voice, impressive performing style, and unparalleled stage presence", while Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis spoke of the "ultimate diva of opera".

    The inauguration was also attended by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and several other ministers, MPs, representatives of local governments and religious authorities, and hundreds of local residents and visitors.

    The tribute exhibition highlights Callas' artistic personality as well as her Greek and international career, through a display of photographs from the coloratura soprano's first appearances in Athens and her performances in opera houses throughout the world, costumes designed by noted Greek painter Yiannis Tsarouchis, Callas' personal objects, and portraits of the opera star painted by Greek artists.

    The Prespes 2008 festival was inaugurated on Friday night, with locally elected political officials calling on neighboring countries for peace and cooperation in their brief addresses.

    Bakoyannis expressed hope that this message would reach "all our neighbors and become truly understood, while Liapis, in opening the festival, stressed that "art operations primarily as a bridge among peoples and cultures, as a channel of communication that contributes to mutual understanding among the peoples and to their peaceful and creative co-existence".

    The opening event closed with a concert by performers from Greek and neighbouring countries, including Dionyssis Savvopoulos, Goran Bregovic and Erkan Ogur, the Russian choir Tretyakov, and the Sofia Symphony Orchestra.

    Caption: Greek President Karolos Papoulias (R) at the opening of the exhibition "Maria Callas, 30 years After" in Florina, northwest Greece, on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008. ANA-MPA

    [02] Bakoyannis on EU-Russia ties

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, quoted in an interview with an Athens daily on Sunday, emphasised that she considers a "no vote" by a ruling New Democracy MP of a government draft bill as unpardonable, stressing that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the government will not be held "hostage".

    "We'll proceed with (early) elections," she warned, in a published interview with the Sunday edition of "Eleftherotypia"

    Bakoyannis, a day before the summit on the Caucasus crisis in Brussels, where she will accompany the prime minister, said that even with "an exhaustive dialogue there must be a common European position ... the framework of EU-Russia relations must be clarified" given that Moscow is an "important partner" for Europe.

    "Thirdly, we must insist on respect for principles, such as that of territorial integrity," Bakoyannis said, adding that "the logic that in 2008 we shall proceed with border changes is a mistake."

    In answer to a press question and in reference to recent statements by her counterpart in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Antonio Milososki, namely, that Bakoyannis had entered into a dialogue with him on so-called "minority issues", Bakoyannis tersely responded that "Mr. Milososki is fishing in murky waters."

    "He (Milososki) must entertain no illusions. The national consensus in Greece is steadfast."

    Also commenting on the issue of FYROM's name, Bakoyannis reiterated that "we are pursuing a composite name with a geographical qualifier for all uses," stressing that this will not be considered by Skopje "optional and provisional, as in the case of FYROM."

    She concluded by saying that "what is necessary is for them (FYROM leadership) to agree to a name that will be accepted; one that will be used by all; this will solve the problem."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    [03] Poll: ND ahead by 1.2 points

    One of the first post-summer opinion polls unveiled over the weekend shows ruling New Democracy (ND) with a 1.2 percentage point lead over rival main opposition PASOK, 29.3 percent to 28.1 percent.

    As per the other Parliament-represented party, the Radical Left Coalition is preferred by 11.7 percent of respondents; 7.6 for the Communist Party (KKE) and 5 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS).

    In terms of respondents' predictions for election results, ND is picked by 51 percent to 19 percent for PASOK.

    In the ubiquitous "who's more qualified for prime minister" question, current Premier Costas Karamanlis favored by 44.8 percent of respondents to 29 percent for PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    Most respondents in the specific poll also thoroughly oppose any "grand coalition" government between ND and PASOK, with 59.4 percent expressing complete opposition, and 12 percent opting for a "probably not".

    Finally, 57.6 percent of respondents agrees with the government's recently announced measure to slap on an objective criteria income tax on certain categories of professionals (plumbers, electricians, physicians, cab drivers etc.).

    The opinion poll, conducted by the firm Kapa Research, was published in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "To Vima".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo.

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