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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM briefed by Justice Minister
  • [02] Vatican returns Parthenon fragment

  • [01] PM briefed by Justice Minister

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Thursday with Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis, who briefed the premier on the ministry's legislative work.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Hatzigakis called the bill to introduce a Free Cohabitation Agreement between a heterosexual couple that was passed in the first reading (in principle) in parliament as revolutionary, noting that the government had dared to take a step that other governments had not dared to take over many years.

    He also said that another social bill dealing with the sexual abuse of children and women as also ready to be tabled in parliament, and was relevant to a Council of Europe convention signed by Greece, adding that the bill adapted the convention's regulations to the Greek state of affairs and would solve many problems faced by society.

    Hatzigakis further briefed the premier on a bill being advanced by his ministry on narcotics and substitute substances (used to ameliorate withdrawal systems), a program that will be applied on users in the country's prisons.

    He added that the ministry was dealing with seriousness, consistency and great interest the issues that concern the prison system, and was in contact with the other political parties on the matter.

    Hatzigakis said that his recent discussin with representatives of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) had been "productive and useful", noting that a proposal was accepted for setting up an Inter-Party Committee that would regularly visit prison facilities.

    He noted that he was also due to meet later in the day with representatives of the inmates while, on the problem of congesion in the jails, Hatzigakis said that a program was being designed along two focal points, the one focusing on the effort for the removal of a number of inmates from the prisons, through various legislative measures, while the second focused on the establishment of new jails.

    Hatzigakis elaborated that 4-5 new prison facilities would be constructed in 2009.

    Karamanlis will depart on Thursday evening for Brussels to take part in the extraordinary EU Summit for a concerted European confrontation of the global financial crisis.

    Moreover, the Summit is expected to set out its position ahead of the G20 International Conference that will take place on November 15, in Washington.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] Vatican returns Parthenon fragment

    A fragment of a Parthenon frieze returned to Greece by the Vatican's Museum Gregoriano Etrusco was presented by Culture Minister Michalis Liapis stressing that "this gesture by one of the most important museums in Europe sets an example for others to follow and eventually restore the unity of the Parthenon Marbles". The special event on Wednesday was held at the New Museum of the Acropolis in the presence of Vatican's ambassador to Greece Patrick Coveney, Greece's ambassador to the Vatican M. Hiskakis, head of the Vatican museum's classical antiquities department Giandomenico Spinola and Organization for the Construction of the New Museum of the Acropolis President Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis. The fragment, returned on a one-year loan, is from a section of the Parthenon frieze depicting part of a youth's head and part of a tray he carries. The efforts for the return of the fragment were launched in the early 90s and intensified after 1997. The late Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece had, during his visit to the Vatican in 2006, requested from Pope Benedict XVI that the fragment be returned. Two more fragments are still kept at the Vatican museum, one of which will be returned to Athens soon.

    Caption: Culture Minister Michalis Liapis puts the Parthenon fragment in it's place at the New Acropolis Museum on Wednesday 6 November 2008. ANA-MPA /SYMELA PANTZARTZI

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