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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis confers with Health Minister
  • [02] Papandreou meets Austrian leadership
  • [03] Sixty seven illegal migrants arrested
  • [04] ASE: Strong rise
  • [05] Nikolaidis resigns from AEK
  • [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Karamanlis confers with Health Minister

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Monday with health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos to discuss general policy and matters falling under the ministry's authority.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Avramopoulos said that problems that have been chronic in recent years in the health sector were reaching the stage of resolution.

    Regarding the problem of duty shifts at hospitals, Avramopoulos stressed that the goal was to sign, in a few days, a collective labor agreement with the doctors so that the relevant EU Directive may be implemented in Greece.

    He also said that there was agreement with the economy and finance ministry for additional hirings in the health sector afterwards.

    Asked whether doctors were threatening to close the hospitals, Avramopoulos said that the ministry was in the final stage of its discussions with the doctors' unions in order to resolve the problem with the duty ships, stressing that a new collective agreement must be signed.

    The ministry, he continued, has reached agreement both with the doctors and the economy ministry, and this outstanding issue was nearing its end, so that the Community Directive could be applied in Greece.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Prime minister Costas Karamanlis(L) and Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos(R) talk during a parliament session

    [02] Papandreou meets Austrian leadership

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou, who is on an official visit to Austria, met on Monday with Austrian parliament president Barbara Prammer and was later received by President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer, while Papandreou was also due to be received by Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer.

    Later he will chair an SI sponsored meeting of the Stiglitz Commission. The commission was set up by an SI presidium decision during its meeting in New York last September to address, from a socialist point of view, the present global credit crisis.

    The Vienna meeting is expected to shape "proposals of the world's progressive forces for dealing with the international economic crisis."

    In the afternoon Papandreou will meet with Metropolitan of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Middle Europe Mihail at the Holy Metropolis of Vienna.

    PASOK leader said that he refused to give a "carte blanche" to the banks 'as the government wants to", referring to a 28 billion euros support package for the banking system decided by the government, in an interview with Eleftherotypia newspaper appearing in the daily's Monday edition.

    Outlining his own party's proposals for the economy, Papandreou said that they included:

    - Support measures only for those banks needing them, and only with the ensurance of guarantees of the state's role in their decisions, with the benefits being passed on to the real economy.

    - Support of the medium and low incomes brackets through an extraordinary "solidarity subsidy", a heating subsidy, increase in the VAT rebate rate to farmers, and expansion of the recipients of the EKAS low-pension benefit.

    - Support of development and particularly the SMEs with the reinstatement of the tax-free ceiling for self-employed professionals, reinforcement of the gurantees system and public investments.

    - Support of the unemployed through incentives for the absorption of youths on the job market, subsidized social work, particularly for older dismissed employees, and increasing the unemployment benefit.

    - Measures for the protection and relief of borrowers, including a freeze on the loan obligations of the financially weaker brackets and the SMEs up until the end of 2009.

    Regarding dialogue with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance and collaboration on individual issues aimed at building a social state, Papandreou said that with SYRIZA "we want a dialogue without conditions and coercion from any side"

    "We believe in dialogue. We don't fear it," Papandreou said.

    "Let's be frank, it is very easy to find those points that divide us from SYRIZA. But what we want is to find those points that unite us, points that concern the citizen: reinforcement of income, building a social state, the new decentralization of the state, environmental issuesâ¦and to build around them a collaboration that I believe will be beneficial for the country, that will guarantee deeper and solid changes," Papandreou added.

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

    [03] Sixty seven illegal migrants arrested

    Fixty three illegal migrants were intercepted in two different incidents by the Coast Guard on Sunday while attemting to approach with dingies the coast of the eastern central island of Samos

    According to their testimonies, the migrants had set sail from the Turkish coast.

    In a separate incident on Sunday in the sea region northeast of Agathonissi islet, a Coast guard patrol spotted a dingy with a 19 year old illegal migrant. The suspect's questioning revealed that he had left from the Turkish coast together with 13 other illegal migrants who had already disembarked on Agathonissi and were arrested by the local police.

    All the illegal migrants were sent to local hospitals for a check up. The local authorities are carrying out a preliminary investigation

    [04] ASE: Strong rise

    Equity prices were rising on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 3.61 percent, standing at 2,134.70 points at 12:15 a.m., and turnover at 99.8 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving upward across the board, with the biggest gains in Health, up 8.58 percent; Insurance, up 7.29 percent; Food and Beverages, up 6.63 percent; Trade, up 6.22 percent; Raw Materials, up 5.70 percent; Public Utilities, up 5.43 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 3.57 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 4.60 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 3.42 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 179 were up, 14 were down, and 10 were unchanged.

    [05] Nikolaidis resigns from AEK

    Demis Nikolaidis announced on Sunday night that he was resigning from his post as president of Athens soccer club AEK, shortly after his team beat Asteras Tripoli 2-1 at home with a goal scored in injury time, adding that his resignation was final and irrevocable.

    The 35-year-old official focused on the jeering he experienced from AEK supporters, as did team coach George Donis, and explained his decision by saying that he did not wish to be president of a team where such situations occurred.

    Demis Nikolaidis, a former player of AEK Athens, Atletico Madrid and the Greek National team, gave up his carrier as a football player in 2004 after the national team won the European championships and took over the leadership of AEK (in collaboration with other Greek entrepreneurs) in order to save the team from an economic impasse.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of AEK Athens president Demis Nikolaidis

    [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The ongoing financial crisis, the upcoming ECOFIN conference on Tuesday and EU Summit on Friday dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Window for benefits for low incomes".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Medicines free for all low pensioners - Government will offer immediate support to the weaker".

    AVRIANI: "Depositions and detentions begin on the Siemens and frigate scandals".

    CHORA: "The cooking pot revolution - Original protest in the struggle against the high cost of living".

    ELEFTHEROS: "The ministries are 'independent states' - Several ministers forging personal strategy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Cry of agony from pensioners, doctors, home owners".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The hour of the State - Interview/intervention by George Papandreou on the crisis and the future".

    ESTIA: "Social-statism revives in Greece - Article by (former minister) Stefanos Manos on the plan for the banks".

    ETHNOS: "One million home-owners in line - After the co-ownership tax, the ETAK opens up new wounds".

    TA NEA: "Extortion by banks with immense interest rates - Now they don't want the 28 billion euros help package".

    VRADYNI: "The box of social benefits opens - 'Relaxation' of Stability Pact being prepared by the European leaders".

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