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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-28
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM Karamanlis confers with BarrosoPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis held talks with European Union Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at the Maximos Mansion on Thursday night. Karamanlis said in statements afterwards that during their talks the issue of the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty was raised, while the issue of the Western Balkans was also discussed in relation to the European Union's further enlargement, as well Turkey's accession negotiations.
Karamanlis said that Greece actively supports their accession prospects in parallel, however, with respect for European principles and values. He also pointed out that the problem of illegal immigration was also discussed and its handling by the EU, stressing that Greece is experiencing more pressures on this issue on its land and sea borders.
The prime minister also referred to the international economic situation, streressing that the EU is playing the role of a stability pole on the international economic stage and pointed out that the EU must be vigilant and closely watch international developments in the economy.
On his part, Barroso referred mainly in his statements to the issue of illegal immigration, noting that at the moment there are 27 countries in the EU and 27 policies on handling illegal immigration.
He also said that a common policy is necessary to tackle the problem of illegal immigration, while pointing out that the Mediterranean region is a priority for the European Commission. He added that the future of the Balkans lies in the EU, but underlined that "we are concerned about security and stability matters."
Karamanlis hosted a dinner for the European Commission president later in the evening.
Barroso will attend on Friday the proceedings of the 4th plenary session of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly which is being held in Athens.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis(L) and European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso(R) at the Maximos Mansion (pm's office)
 Papandreou argues in favour of censure motionMain opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou on Thursday evening backed the censure motion which he tabled in Parliament on Thursday against the government's plans for the reform of social security system charging that the bill "is an unprecedented damage with irreversible consequences, which the New Democracy causes to the country."
"We refuse to accept the anti-democratic practices which you (the government) follow in and out of Parliament. We shall delay and obstruct every draft law which you are planning to pass without dialogue and respect towards the Greek society," Papandreou said.
Another "message" of the main opposition party, is according to the PASOK leader, "the expression of the popular will to refuse showing tolerance to the government, for the blank cheque to cease."
"Our message is: At long last stop the selling out. We are here and we shall remain guardians of our national wealth," said Papandreou, adding that "the era when you could evoke the past has ended. Today you are being judged, for your own history, your own policies, the enormous responsibilities."
Concluding, Papandreou linked the initiative of the main opposition party "to the common sentiment of society, as despite the tricks and the systematic efforts of manipulating the mass media with state advertisements and services, the New Democracy government today presents premature aging."
Caption: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addresses in parliament on Thursday 27 March 2008 ANA-MPA/MARIA MAROGIANNI
 5.7R quake jolts CreteA moderate earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale jolted the island of Crete in the first hours of Friday, but no damage was reported.
The earthquake was recorded at 2:16 a.m., with its epicentre in the sea area south of Gaidouronissi islet in the Libyan Gulf.
The quake was felt throughout Crete, but local authorities said no damage has been reported.
Caption:ANA-MPA file photo /NIKITAS KOTSIARIS
 6th Forum against povertyThe 6th Forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty (WACAP), co-organised by the City of Athens and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), ends on Friday with addresses by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
"Poverty in an abundant society makes us all a great deal poorer," said Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis.
"Within this framework, the 6th Forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, organized by the City of Athens, is of critical significance for the future of our society. And this is because it signals the transfer of responsibility for poverty eradication from central to local government, establishing municipalities as determinant factors of development, on both a local and national level," he noted.
Forum speakers and participants on Thursday - day two of the event - exchanged views on the role of local government and its increased responsibility in the development of initiatives toward poverty eradication.
Caption: The Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis during his address at the 6th Forum of the World Alliances of Cities Against Poverty in Athens on Thursday 27 March 2008.ANA-MPA/GOULIELMOS ANTONIOU
 Coins, collectibles exhibitionCollectors can find old European banknotes and coins as well as rare phonecards in the 16th International Exhibition "Card Collect & Coin Expo 2008" that will take place over the March 29-30 weekend in Thessaloniki. Entrance will be free and visitors will be able to find exquisite coins at affordable prices dating back to Greece's King Otto (c.1833) and King George I (c.1873). Very interesting are more contemporary coins dating back to 1926-1930 and 1954-1965 that can cost up to 1,700 euro, while the rarest Greek coins are eight gold 40-drachma coins minted in 1852 and the unique silver 5-drachma coin of 1846 that is kept in a museum. Among the exhibits are also phonecards and prepaid phonecards, old greeting cards, lapel pins, military medals, bonds and stocks, and other collectibles. Caption: ANA-MPA file photo/KATERINA MAVRONA
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The FYROM name issue, prime minister Costas Karamanlis' address on Thursday to his ruling New Democracy (ND) party's parliamentary group, the opposition parties' reactions over the social security draft law, and the debate in parliament on the motion of censure tabled by main opposition PASOK dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The nationwide school examinations up in the air - Crazy stories".
APOGEVMATINI: "Benefit to 232,000 poor families - Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos announced on Thursday a package of measures on achieving social cohesion".
AVGHI: "80 percent of citizens against the social security law - The referendum is the most democratic solution".
AVRIANI: "Small parties' competition in Syndagma sq. (largest square in Athens opposite of parliament) - PASOK and SYRIZA(Coalition of the Radical Left) after their 'race' to take first place in taking initiatives -- with the referendum and then with the motion of censure -- they finally decided to provide a spectacle to the passers-by with rallies lacking seriousness".
CHORA: "Breath of life to 150,000 families - Help to low-income and indebted households from the Social Cohesion Fund".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Karamanlis strikes back - Prime Minister attacked PASOK and SYRIZA on Thursday during his speech to his parliamentary group".
ELEFTHEROS: "Karamanlis scolded by his MPs - They told him that the government needs an anthropo-centric image".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "New proposal by Monday, or a veto will be put forward on Wednesday at the NATO Summit against FYROM's accession - Karamanlis sends direct message to all directions for a composite name or else he will block FYROM's accession to NATO at the leaders' dinner in Bucharest".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Eight out of ten citizens say: Take it back (the social security law) -Two polls give a slap to goverment".
ESTIA: "The reforms to be continued - Karamanlis' show of strength".
ETHNOS: "The new provocative proposal on the FYROM name issue brought to limelight - The full text of the UN meditator Matthew Nimetz's proposal".
KATHIMERINI: "PASOK full-speed backwards - Meanwhile Karamanlis persists with the reforms policy".
LOGOS: "Karamanlis' counter-attack in all directions - He accused the opposition of playing a game of antagonism and impressions".
NIKI: Poll conducted by large labour union GSEE shows that 78.5 of people are against the social security draft law.
RIZOSPASTIS: "The real political dispute is in society, not in the parliament"
TA NEA: "Secret surcharge on 2,000,000 loans - 50 euros increase in repayment installments".
TO VIMA: "Parties take to the streets, again, over the social security reforms".
VRADYNI: "Karamanlis' censure against populism amidst the debate in parliament on PASOK's motion of censure".
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