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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis meets with Athens mayor
  • [02] EU action to protect savings deposits
  • [03] Unions hold rally, 24-hour strike
  • [04] Illegals intercepted aboard Italy-bound lorries

  • [01] PM Karamanlis meets with Athens mayor

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met on Wednesday morning with Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, following a request by the latter for meetings with the premier and the political party leaders to brief them on the destruction suffered by the capital in four consecutive nights of rioting sparked by the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy by police in the Exarhia district, and to seek specific measures for healing Athens' wounds.

    In statements to the press after the meeting, Kaklamanis explained that the wounds were two-fold. The first category concerned the material damages in the streets of Athens and building facilities, while the second cateogry was the financial devastation of the merchants of Athens' historical center but also its environs.

    Regarding the city's infrastructures, Kaklamanis said that he was already in contact with interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, adding that the problems would be solved so as to make the city accessible once again.

    Concerning the Athens merchant community, Kaklamanis said he requested of the prime minister the announcement, "as early as today, if possible", of economic relief measures and proposed "a substantial relief loan, interest-free, with a grace period of at least two years and a repayment period of at least 10 to 15 years, that would be comensurate with the destruction they have suffered" in the riots.

    Asked whether the merchants would take judicial recourse against the State over the devastation, Kaklamanis said that this was a matter that concerned the merchants themselves and their unions, adding that "we, as the Municipality, have from the very first moment stood at their side and will continue to do so until all the shops reopen".

    He appealed to all Athens residents, as well as the residents of the entire Attica prefecture, to help in this effort.

    Kaklamanis further announced that the Municipality's holiday program would commence on Wednesday night with the lighting of the Runner sculpture in front of the Athens Hilton, while early next week Syntagma Square would be ready to begin its holiday events.

    The holiday program, which was due to be launched last Sunday, was suspended by the municipality after the teen's shooting to after the funeral, which took place on Tuesday, but four consecutive nights of violence and vandalism by hooded troublemakers, including the burning of the city's traditional Christmas tree in Syntagma Square, caused a delay in the commencement of the events.

    "Often, from such disasters, a flower of hope springs up. This city needs a smile, it wants hope. We will give it that, because that is the fate that Athens must have. We will safeguard its history, its cultural heritage, the properties of our fellow-citizens and, above all, the human lives," Kaklamanis said.

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

    [02] EU action to protect savings deposits

    Individual savings of up to 100,000 euros are fully guaranteed in all EU member states, according to a response issued by the EU Council and the French EU Presidency, in reply to a tabled question by Greek MEP Manolis Angelakas, who represents the New Democracy (ND) party in the European Parliament. Savings deposits in European banks are guaranteed by Directive 94/19/EC, which is aimed at ensuring banking sector stability by introducing a harmonised 20,000-euro minimum pan-European deposit guarantee. The EU Council also referred to coordinated efforts made to restore confidence in Europe's banking sector and to ensure the smooth operation of the financial sector to avoid a more widespread crisis.

    [03] Unions hold rally, 24-hour strike

    Greece's two largest unions, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and ADEDY civil servants' union, on Wednesday went ahead with a 24-hour strike and corresponding rallies. According to reports, the biggest rally, in downtown Athens, was peaceful and, thankfully, without incident. Addressing protesters, union leaders stressed that the government policy has to change, inviting wage-earners and civil servants to hold a rally outside Parliament on the day the state budget will be voted on. The shooting death by police of the teenage boy in central Athens last Saturday was also roundly condemned.

    [04] Illegals intercepted aboard Italy-bound lorries

    Eleven illegal migrants and three truck drivers were arrested in a same-number of separate incidents on Tuesday, two in the extreme northwest port of Igoumenitsa and one in the major western port city of Patras. In all three instances, the illegals were hidden aboard trucks ready to board Italy-bound ferry boats.

    Coast guard and harbour corps officials are continuing investigations.


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