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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM sends letter of condolence to Australia's Rudd
  • [02] 'Sweet fashion' on show in Thessaloniki
  • [03] Greece faces no risks
  • [04] Talks with MIG over OA
  • [05] Kapralos new GOC president

  • [01] PM sends letter of condolence to Australia's Rudd

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday sent a letter of condolences to Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for the victims of the fires raging in the state of Victoria.

    In the letter, the prime minister notes that Greece has recently suffered a similar experience and wholeheartedly supports Australia's citizens during these difficult hours, especially the families of those smitten by this disaster.

    [02] 'Sweet fashion' on show in Thessaloniki

    Everyone's heard of street fashion. Well, the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki is back with the brand new concept of 'sweet fashion' that will be presented at the hotel Makedonia Palace on Wednesday evening by chef Virginia Anastasiadou Levi.

    Among a collection of 18 garments for men, women and children that are made of sugar and spice and all things nice (including chocolate), there is also one shaped into little hearts that is dedicated to Valentine's day.

    The fashion show is being organised as part of Levi's annual show of her new collection of sweets, which includes chocolates made with real ants, salt, tequila, lemons and lollipops whose ingredients include caterpillars and tarantula spiders!

    The proceeds of the entire event will go to the charity "Association of Friends of Children with Cancer - Storgi".

    Levi first presented clothing made of sweets to Greek audiences back in 1997, in the first ever presentation of 'sweet fashion' worldwide at the Asteras resort in Vouliagmenis. Her next surprise were the chocolate clothes she designed for the inauguration of her shop in Thessaloniki last year.

    "I get the inspiration for my creations by travelling and seeing things. I walk, I see images, I imprint them in my mind and I combine them," she said, when asked about her innovative sartorial ideas.

    According to Levi, she had not set out to do anything different when she first became involved in making sweets and pastries 22 years ago but arrived at this over the years:

    "If we 'dress' cakes, why can we not dress people, I thought, and that was how I created clothes of chocolate and candy in 1997, the first time this was done worldwide."

    She also holds a collection for her new sweets and chocolates annually, adding that the idea for her insect chocolates this year was born when she tasted foods using insects while travelling abroad.

    Though some of them taste unusual, most of her creations are in great demand and their price ranges from between 50 and 60 euros a kilo.

    As for her chocolate clothing, they may be sweet but are not likely to make it out onto the street. A few days after Wednesday's exhibition, they will be put on display in the 'Alexandros' gallery, next to the Thessaloniki Officers' Club.

    [03] Greece faces no risks

    Greece faces no risk from a global financial crisis, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, after an Ecofin meeting in Brussels, the Greek minister said the meeting focused on efforts to restoring the operation of the banking system in Europe and implementing an updated Stability and Growth Pact.

    Papathanasiou said the 27 finance ministers agreed on a series of measures aiming at coordinating actions and adhering to existing rules on competition and transparency, while he noted that the Economic and Fiscal Policy Commission would examine specific recommendations on the issue. Responding to a question over the need of revising a 28-bln-euro plan to boost liquidity in the Greek banking system, Papathanasiou said that Greek banks have minimum exposure to so-called ?toxic? investments.

    The minister underlined the need to respect the credibility of rules of a Stability and Growth Pact and said that the Greek updated stability program -submitted to the European Commission- pledged to reduce the countryās fiscal deficit below 3.0 pct of GDP by 2011. ?That is a demand for the benefit of the country and the demand of the markets,? Papathanasiou said, adding that government policies to reducing the fiscal deficit was drafted based on social interests.

    The Greek minister said Greek and community agencies had different views over economic projections in the country this year. Papathanasiou reiterated that the Greek economy would grow by 1.1 pct this year instead of a 0.2 pct growth projection made by the Commission, and stressed that: ?Our plan is realistic and the projected economic growth feasible?.

    He expressed his satisfaction over the fact that a Greek state three-year bond sale raised 7.0 billion euros with a yield spread at 190 basis points. ?Greece faces no risks despite rumors presented in international press over a credibility problem of the country,? he said.

    Papathanasiou said he discussed Greeceās borrowing needs with the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, along with the issue of high bond spreads. He noted that both in the Eurogroup and the European Commission, the problem of the Greek economy was the countryās large debt and the large spreads paid for its borrowing needs.

    [04] Talks with MIG over OA

    The Greek government and Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Tuesday officially launched negotiations over the sale of Olympic Airlines. The first phase of the talks included the stateās advisors in the sale and MIGās representatives and mainly cover technical issues related with MIGās interest in a procedure to buy the national carrier.

    Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, responsible for the privatization of Olympic Airlines, recently commented that an invitation to participate in the privatization procedure was open to any investor. Transport and Communications Minister Euripides Stylianides speaking to reporters, on Tuesday, expressed his optimism over the outcome of the negotiations.

    Marfin Investment Group, in its statement expressing its interest in buying the national carrier has said that if negotiations were successfully completed it would offer an option to the Greek state to repurchase Olympic Airlines within three months after the next general elections in the country and has stressed it was open to cooperate with any other investor interested in the sale, or even withdraw from the procedure if another serious candidate were to appear.

    [05] Kapralos new GOC president

    Spyros Kapralos was elected new president of the Greek Olympic Committee on Tuesday.

    The president of the Athens Stock Exchange beat the incumbent president, Minoas Kyriakou, by 18-11 votes in the elections. Participating in the voting were 28 federation representatives and Lambis Nikolaou as the International Olympic Committee's representative in the Greek Olympic Committee.

    Speaking immediately after his election, Kapralos said "I wish to thank you for the honour you bestowed on me in electing me president of the Greek Olympic Committee (EOE). Honouring your trust, I would like to reassure you that I will try with all my strength to live up to this high post of sport. In parallel, I request form you to work with us all together with consensus and unanimity, pushing aside whatever differences of the past, far from party blinkers and political expediencies, to enable us to make the Greek Olympic Committee the reality that we are dreaming of and that suits it."

    He added that "our mission is difficult. Greek Sport has been experiencing a crisis over the past years. I believe, however, that with methodical and collective work we shall be led to the positive results that we are all seeking."

    Outgoing president Kyriakou said on his part that "I do not wish to make any comment on the result. I want to wish every success to Mr. Kapralos... In life there is victory and defeat. I experienced both the one and the other. I am looking ahead. Greek sport is living and will live whether it is Kyriakou or anybody else. I am leaving satisfied with a very good tenure, from an Olympic Committee that also has a dowry at this moment. Almost 9 million. When I took over I found 126,000 euros. I wish all the best to all."

    Asked what he will remember, Kyriakou replied "many things, but I must say that Greece was also saved from many situations in Beijing. I serve my country and not policies."

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