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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: state is not the winning party's fiefdom
  • [02] PM praises planned SNf complex in Faliro
  • [03] Farmer protests enter 6th day

  • [01] Papandreou: state is not the winning party's fiefdom

    Attending the general assembly of the judges and prosecutors' union on Saturday, main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou referred to a succession of scandals that have rocked Greek public opinion and were now going through the courts, as well as the essentially closed investigation into an earlier phone-tapping scandal and illegal political money.

    "The state is not the fiefdom of whoever wins the elections," PASOK's leader underlined. "For the last five years, the citizens feel that they live in an insecure environment."

    "The citizen feels that what is right does not prevail in our country. What comes across is the view that everyone is out for himself," Papandreou said, adding that the views of the present government had brought about a deep crisis in democracy.

    He underlined that judges and prosecutors had a decisive role in protecting what was right and just, while claiming that there had been selective prosecution of judges along political party lines, and the existence of a small number of judges that were acting as advisors to ministers.

    Regarding the most recent scandal over the land swaps between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, he said the government had attempted to have this written off and asked for meritocracy and transparency. He said he was in favour of abolishing the monastic community's self-administrating status.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou addressing the Judges and Prosecutors' Union general assembly in Athens on Saturday. ANA-MPA - A. Beltes

    [02] PM praises planned SNf complex in Faliro

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis showered warm praise on a project initiated by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to build a new National Opera and National Library on the site of the old horse-race track in Faliro, the architectural plans for which were unveiled to the public for the first time on Saturday in an event at the Zappion Building.

    "It is a day of anticipation and pride in a monumental project," Karamanlis said in remarks at the event and described Stavros Niarchos as a "great national benefactor," whose foundation was creating a "small planet - oasis for the areas of research, technology, culture and education, a reference point for young and old".

    The premier noted that fast solutions had been found to procedural issues, so that bureaucratic inflexibility would not be an obstacle to carrying out the project, and pledged that his own support for the effort would be "permanent and constant".

    "This centre is a watershed in the life of our country, whose radiance will extend beyond the borders," he added.

    The unveiling of the plans at the Zappion Building was also attended by a number of ministers, MPs and local government officials.

    In what they describe as "perhaps the most important work in the area of public buildings and spaces of modern Greek history," the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has single-handedly undertaken the cost of the project, which is scheduled to be delivered for use by the Greek state after 2015.

    The foundation's donation - in the region of 450 million euros - will be used construct a new building to house Greece's National Library and also make its contents available over the Internet throughout the world, as well as a new National Opera theatre built to modern international specifications, an 'Agora' that seeks to recreate the ancient 'agora' where the Greeks of antiquity would gather for trade and discourse and the Stavros Niarchos Park that will be accessible to all Greeks seeking a temporary escape from the 'concrete jungle'.

    The above will be built on the site of the old racetrack, covering an area of approximately 16 hectares.

    It has also promised that the entire project will be constructed in accordance with the most advanced environmental and technological specifications, with buildings and installations that are self-sufficient in terms of energy and produce minimal carbon emissions, using a series of arrays of interlinked photovoltaic cells to cover the energy needs of the complex, which will be powered exclusively by solar and wind power.

    [03] Farmer protests enter 6th day

    Farmers in Greece, especially in the north, continued to man roadblocks in protest on Saturday, entering the sixth consecutive day of their mobilization to demand measures supporting their income, which has been slashed by falling wholesale prices for food.

    They warned that they would remain in position until the government provided further clarifications regarding the 500-million-euros package for farmers it announced on Thursday. There will also be meetings of farmers associations and coordinating bodies during the day to decide on their position from here on.

    On Saturday afternoon, farmers in northern Greece had set up a one-hour road block with their tractors at the 'Prasina Fanaria' intersection leading to Thessaloniki's 'Macedonia' airport, while they plan to close the road again at around 20:00 in the evening.

    At the Halkidona intersection, more farmers were maintaining an indefinte blockade while their colleagues in Malgara were planning to close off the road. Also closed to traffic was the Giannitsa-Thessaloniki road.

    The customs post at the border crossing to Bulgaria in Promahonas was closed down again at 13:30 after farmers had temporarily opened the road to let trucks and heavy goods vehicles through for about two hours, as a gesture of good will.

    Also closed from the afternoon are the border crossings of Exohi in Drama, Kipoi and Ormenio in Evros and those at Evzones and Doirani.

    At the Strymoniko intersection in Serres, farmers set fire to tobacco and cereal crops and continued a blockade at Kerdylia, Serres.

    There was also a two-hour road block on the Kozani-Larisa national highway at the Servion Bridge that opened at around 14:00 and at the 24th kilometre of the Kozani-Florina road.

    Further down, tractor road blocks are still going strong at Tempi, Mikrothebes and Nikaia, Larisa where farmers had also blocked access to the alternative routes via Tsaritsani in Elassonas and Gerakari, Agia. The second was due to reopen at around 3:30 but close again for two hours at night.

    After an appeal by the Greek Railways Organisation (OSE) to farmers warning of possible accidents, farmers in Tempi decided not to proceed with a planned blockade of a railway line going through their area.

    In an announcement, OSE had warned of the high risk of blockades on those lines powered by electricity, especially on the Eidomeni-Thessaloniki line, Thessaloniki-Larisa, Larisa-Domokos and Tithorea-Oinoi.

    "Any casual approach to the high-voltage 25,000 KW power cables by people or farm machinery could cause a power discharge and thus a lethal accident," the rail company said. It further pointed out that the high-speed trains reached speeds of more than 200 km per hour and needed more than two kilometres in order to come to a stop.

    Caption: Farmers in Aitoloakarnania on Saturday set up a road block with some 100 tractors on the bridge over the Aheloos River, cutting off the main artery to northwestern Greece and forcing traffic onto the treacherous and slow network over the mountains.

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