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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis to chair KYSEA meeting
  • [02] PASOK anticipates early elections
  • [03] 4.4R trembler jolts Andravida, no damage reported
  • [04] FM stresses Turkey's obligations
  • [05] Reshuffle enhanced govāt profile
  • [06] FM Bakoyannis on Gaza
  • [07] Meimarakis on Turkish provocations
  • [08] Distinction for Greek prof.

  • [01] PM Karamanlis to chair KYSEA meeting

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will have separate meetings on Monday with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis at the Maximos mansion (government's headquarters).

    Afterwards, the prime minister will chair a meeting of the Government Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA).

    On Saturday, Karamanlis was briefed by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and new Deputy Interior Minister, responsible for public order, Christos Markoyiannakis, on issues involving law enforcement and the police force.

    After the meeting, Pavlopoulos referred to the latest spate of violence in downtown Athens by stone-throwing self-styled anarchist and anti-state youth, on the sidelines and tail-end of a protest rally held by unions representing educators and various ad hoc groups of pupils.

    "In a democratic country the law is applied, but first of all, human rights are protected. Because what is most important is social peace, people's right to work and to develop their personality within the framework of the law, without certain others abusing and violating those human rights, social peace and democracy".

    Referring to his working relation with Markoyiannakis, Pavlopoulos said claims of "sour relations" are pure fiction, stressing that "everything is completely clear and our cooperation is as good as with a friend from the past".

    On his part, Markoyiannakis said police did the best they could on Friday in order to safeguard a peaceful demonstration, adding that violence erupted, police acted within the framework of the law.

    "Legality is government's target, and citizens' security the top priority," he concluded.

    SYRIZA criticism of police action

    Meanwhile, in a related development, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary head Alekos Alavanos, in referring to Friday's violence during a rally protesting the Israeli operations in Gaza, referred to an "unprovoked attack by police against demonstrators".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Maximos mansion (government headquarters)

    [02] PASOK anticipates early elections

    Main opposition PASOK party parliamentary group secretary Dimitris Reppas, a former top minister in several previous PASOK governments, called for a "broad progressive government" in an interview appearing in a Sunday newspaper, adding that a self-sufficient PASOK government would guarantee political stability.

    In an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of the "Ethnos" daily, Reppas accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of a "slow reaction" that had proved "catastrophic for his government", and expressed a certainty that early general elections were on the horizon, not because the prime minister "wants to lose, but because he can't avoid them".

    On the prospect of a PASOK-ND co-governance, Reppas said such a collaboration between opposites, and under the present circumstances, would mean a consolidation of the lack of governance while, on the prospect of a co-governance of PASOK and the leftist SYRIZA (the Radical Left Coalition parliamentary alliance), he expressed a belief that "the only solution is a different progressive policy".

    In each instance, however, a cooperation scheme will have to stand the test of elections, Reppas added.

    PASOK national council secretary Yiannis Ragoussis also commented on the prospect of a collaboration among the opposition parties, saying that the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was "making the same mistakes" in identifying the "great democratic party (PASOK) with the right", while SYRIZA, on the other hand, "is in dialogue with itself, with its (internal) camps and with the different rationales that they represent".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK party headquarters in dowtown Athens.

    [03] 4.4R trembler jolts Andravida, no damage reported

    A light earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale jolted Andravida in the first hours of Sunday, but there were no reports of damage or injury.

    According to the Athens Observatory's Geodynamic Institute, the trembler was recorded at 00:26 a.m. at 194 kilometers west of Athens, with its epicenter in the area of Andravida, Ileia prefecture, from the same epicenter that had produced the strong 6.5R earthquake of June 8, 2008 in which two people died.

    The quake was felt in the prefectures of Iliia, Achaia and Aetoloakarnania and the Ionian islands.

    [04] FM stresses Turkey's obligations

    Greece remains steadfast in its backing of Turkey's European prospect, provided the neighboring country fulfills its self-evident obligations, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis said in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of To Vima newspaper, commenting on recent Turkish provocations.

    Bakoyannis stressed that the new government (which arose from last week's sweeping Cabinet reshuffle) will be judged on essence and not on public relations terms, adding that prime minister Costas Karamanlis did "what he deemed necessary" at this specific time and conjuncture.

    She said that there were "no magic wands with which an economic policy could give to everyone without collecting taxes", while she also said that the police needed to manifest greater dynamism and more results with regard to respect of the rights of the citizens and protection of their lives.

    On Saturday, ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos denied press allegations that a demarche was lodged by Turkey over President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias' recent visit to the border islet of Agathonissi for the Epiphany ritual of the Blessing of the Waters, replying to questions during an interview with a private radio station.

    "No such demarche was made. That is the truth," Koumoutsakos said.

    He added, however, that this did not diminish the significance of the fact that, after the President's visit, Turkey had proceeded with provocations. Greece responded to Ankara's provocative stance with the appropriate steps, he said, and asked: "Let's not attempt to add non-existent things to this difficult and complex picture. I am categorical on that".

    He reiterated that "no (Turkish) demarche was lodged, it is we who lodge demarches", adding that there were immediate, structured Greek responses to any unacceptable actions.

    [05] Reshuffle enhanced govāt profile

    Last week's Cabinet reshuffle apparently provided a fillip for the Karamanlis government, according to results of three opinion polls published in a same-number of Sunday edition newspapers over the weekend.

    The polls also indicated that main opposition PASOK's lead over ruling New Democracy (ND) slipped by as much as 3 percentage points, while the prime minister's assumption of responsibility over the Vatopedi Monastery-state land exchange affair acted positively on the respondents' psychology.

    According to a poll conducted by the Alco firm on behalf of the Sunday weekly "Proto Thema", PASOK was preferred by 31.2 percent or respondents against 28.2 percent for ND with respect to voters' intent (which party the respondent would vote for if elections were held the following Sunday); followed by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 7.8 percent; the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance with 7.1 percent, and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party with 3.9 percent.

    An apparent rallying of ND's grassroots supporters increased to 69.1 percent, up from 67.1 percent in Alco's previous opinion poll.

    According to results of an MRB opinion poll published in the Sunday edition of "Eleftheros Typos", Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' decision to proceed with a government reshuffle acted in a unifying manner among the ruling party's supporters, as 86.2 percent of respondents who declared themselves ND backers were satisfied with reshuffle.

    Regarding voter intent, PASOK led by 32.3 percent against 29.3 percent for ND, followed by SYRIZA with 8.6 percent, 7.5 percent for the KKE, and 4.5 percent for LAOS, with a hereunto unknown "ecologists-greens" formation marginally remaining outside Parliament with 2.5 percent.

    According to a Public Issue opinion poll for the Sunday "Kathimerini", the reshuffle provided a "window of opportunity" for the government, as 71 percent of respondents said the reshuffle had been necessary, while five in 10 respondents opined that Karamanlis' position was reinforced.

    Furthermore, 70 in 100 respondents considered that ministers -- chiefly those whose names had been linked with economic policy and the Vatopedi affair, and who were left out of the new Cabinet -- had acted as 'weights' in the Karamanlis government.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo

    [06] FM Bakoyannis on Gaza

    Greece, from the first moment, condemned the escalation of violence in the Middle East and spoke of an immense humanitarian disaster, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed on Sunday, adding that "as we speak, all the efforts have been made by the Greek government towards the EU for a clear-cut uniform European position, while at the same time we have an open line of communication with all my counterparts in our effort to at least be able to get humanitarian aid into Gaza".

    At this time, humanitarian organizations from all over the world were at the crossings with Israel and Egypt, she said, noting that Greece was also there, awaiting two things: First, to take injured children out of Gaza for treatment in Greek public and private hospitals, while at the same time getting the necessary humanitarian aid into Gaza.

    Bakoyannis was speaking after a meeting with Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance leader Alekos Alavanos, held at his initiative, during which he called for the mobilization of Greek diplomacy towards Israel so as to secure guarantees for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

    According to Alavanos, the Greek-owned ship "Arion", carrying doctors, SYRIZA MP Th. Dritsas, PASOK MP Sophia Sakorafa and members of the foreign media, as well as a cargo of medical supplies, was due to set sail from Larnaca, in Cyprus, for Gaza on Monday. He said that the doctors wanted to offer their assistance to the injured people in order to 'reduce the consequences of the slaughter in Gaza".

    Alavanos asked Bakoyannis -- who assured him of the foreign ministry's mobilization -- that the Greek diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv call on the Israeli state to respect the passengers (doctors), crew and mission of the Arion, adding that before departing Larnaca the ship would undergo the required inspections for confirmation that it was carrying only humanitarian aid.

    The SYRIZA parliamentary group leader reiterated his position that the Greek government should assume initiatives for facing the crisis, and repeated his call for recalling the Greek ambassador in Israel to Athens for deliverations, and for the repeal of the Greece-Israel cooperation agreement signed in 1993.

    Alavanos further stressed the need for crossings into Gaza to open up for the delivery of humanitarian aid, and the 'absolute need' for that aid to reach the region in order that "many lives will be saved".

    Caption: Smoke rises following an Israeli missile strike in the east of Gaza City, Gaza Strip on 11 January 2009. Israel's ongoing attacks on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip have claimed almost 900 lives.ANA-MPA/ EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

    [07] Meimarakis on Turkish provocations

    Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis charged that Turkey's provocative actions are "unacceptable, especially for a country that wants to join the EU", in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of weekly "RealNews".

    He warned Ankara that Greece's response to the Turkish military's escalating provocations would not be limited only to the diplomatic level, but would also be given "wherever else necessary".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis

    [08] Distinction for Greek prof.

    London (ANA-MPA/L. Tsirigotakis) -- Greek professor Costas Grammenos, pro-vice chancellor of City School of London and chairman of the steering committee of the International University of Thessaloniki, is included in the roster of personalities to whom Queen Elizabeth of England conferred titles and honorable distinctions in the new year.

    Grammenos was awarded the title of "Commander" of the British Empire for "his services in teaching and research", according to an announcement by the British Foreign Office.

    In 1994, Queen Elizabeth conferred the title of "Officer" of the British Empire to Grammenos "for his contribution to teaching and the promotion of Greek-British relations" and, in 1999, she had conferred on him the highest academoc title in Britain, that of "Doctor of Sciences".

    Professor Costas Grammenos, a Professor of Shipping, Trade and Finance, is Pro-Vice Chancellor of City University, London; and Deputy Dean (Head of Undergraduate School) of its Cass Business School.

    He founded the International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance in 1983 (renamed the Costas Grammenos International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance in April 2007). He has been head of the Centre since its inception and responsible for its design; and, until 1997, was Director of the world class M.Sc. in Shipping, Trade and Finance, introduced in 1984; and the M.Sc. in Logistics, Trade and Finance, introduced in September 1997 and M.Sc. in Energy, Trade and Finance, introduced in 2003. Approximately 2000 students, from 90 countries have graduated over this period, and many of them are holding leading positions in international banking, shipping and trading, and manufacturing sectors.

    He was born in Athens in 1944, and has a BA in Economics (Pantion University, Athens), an MSc. in Financial Economics (Bangor, Wales), and a DSc. in Shipping Finance (City, London).

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek professor Costas Grammenos, pro-vice chancellor of City School of London and chairman of the steering committee of the International University of Thessaloniki.

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