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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-18

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou proposals on tourism
  • [02] President receives Cyprus AKEL's new leader
  • [03] Powerful home-made bomb neutralized outside bank
  • [04] Papariga at KKE Congress
  • [05] Car bomb defused

  • [01] Papandreou proposals on tourism

    Main opposition PASO  party leader George Papandreou conferred on Wednesday with shipping and tourism sectors officials, during a meeting in Athens held in the framework of a social dialogue initiative.

    "The country entered the financial crisis unshielded, and this has enormous consequences on shipping and tourism, two sectors that are of immediate interest for Greece," Papandreou said, and strongly criticised the government and also the Commission, charging that the measures announced by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Dec. 18 have not been activated at the legislative or funding level.

    He also accused the EU of "reacting with conservative reflexes" and "moving very slowly at a time when that it should be acting more aggressively and taking more drastic measures for exiting the crisis".

    According to the bleakest forecasts aired during the meeting, tourism levels are expected to decline by 20-30 percent in 2009.

    Papandreou presented PASOK's proposals on tourism, which aim at promoting quality tourism rather than mass tourism, placing emphasis on "green" tourism, and linking tourism with education and training.

    He also proposed a 2-percent reduction in VAT for tourism enterprises.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou at a meeting with shipping and tourism sectors officials on Wed.18 February 2009 in Athens.ANA-MPA/KATERINA MAVRONA

    [02] President receives Cyprus AKEL's new leader

    President of Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received the Cyprus AKEL party's new general secretary Andros Kyprianou at the Presidential Mansion.

    Papoulias congratulated Kyprianou on his election to the AKEL helm after former leader Demetris Christofias' election as Cyprus President of the Republic, and Kyprianou conveyed Christofias' greetings together with his respects.

    The Greek president commented on EU Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn's statements that the EU wants to help Cyprus, stressing that "this was well said, and since they want to help, they should do so, let it not be only 'big words'."

    Kyprianou agreed with Papoulias, noting that Cyprus itself was ready and adding that Rehn's recent visit there had been good, but the EU "is not only not dong what it should, but the opposite, and particularly Mr. Rehn".

    [03] Powerful home-made bomb neutralized outside bank

    A powerful home-made tiime-bomb was neutralized by police bomb-disposal experts at dawn Wednesday outside a Citibank office building in the northern Athens suburb of Kifissia.

    According to a police source, the explosive device was in actuality a booby-trapped car filled with a large quantity of explosives, which was left by unknown individuals in the building's surrounds at about 4:30 a.m.

    The moves aroused the suspicion of a bank guard, who saw the individuals leaving the car but, when they had not returned five minutes later, he called the police and told them he feared something suspicious was going on.

    Police who rushed to the site discovered that the car was loaded with explosives and called in the bomb disposal unit, which managed to neutralize the car-bomb at 6:40 a.m.

    It was as yet unknown why the device did not explode. Also, no warning telephone call was made.

    The bomb's mechanism was taken to the police Crime Lab for examination.

    [04] Papariga at KKE Congress

    The Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) 18th Congress opened on Wednesday in Athens, with party leader Aleka Papariga opening the procedures with a review of the international and domestic situation, the global financial crisis and its causes, political developments, and prospects in light of the KKE's ideological/political positions, while she also placed the KKE on "full alert" for the upcoming European Parliament elections and the prospect of general elections, which she said were also on the horizon.

    In her policy statement to the Congress, Papariga rang the bell for the party's counter-attack "on all fronts", at a time when major economic, social and political problems at global, regional and also national level were being "put on the table".

    As such, socialism was "both timely and historically necessary", the KKE secretary general said, at the same time launching an attack on all the other opposition parties.

    Expressing conviction that the Congress "will contribute to opening up a new page in the action and prospect of the labor, popular movement and in the KKE's contribution to the international communist, anti-imperialism movement", Papariga expressed gratification with the big majority with which the texts of the party's positions and the positions on socialism were ratified (72 percent and 73 percent respectively), which she said meant that the "agreement with both the texts of Positions has a solid foundation", adding that the ideological/political unity of the party was stronger today, consolidated by experience, struggles and the ideological/political confrontation.

    However, the fact that the Congress was taking place in the midst of a crisis meant that "we all have cognizance of the fact that the demands are growing, as the first signs of the crisis have made their appearance in our country", she said, predicting that the crisis would break out in Greece as well, and would be "aggravated and relatively long-term".

    "We have only one choice, to rise to the circumstances so that the labour movement will find itself in a position of counter-attack, and the social alliance will take steps forward".

    On the two mainstream parties, Papariga said that both the New Democracy (ND) government and main opposition PASOK party, albeit with different phraseology and slogans, were essentially saying the dame thing, that the maximum cooperation among the social partners, all the "productive forces", must be ensured so that the crisis will pass as smoothly as possible. At the same time, however, their choices and proposals had two basic interlinking characteristics: Measures to safeguard profit, to the degree possible, and 'aspirin' measures for extreme poverty, she added.

    On the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA, the SYN-led parliamentary alliance), Papariga said that it had "exceeded all boundaries of opportunism and anti-communism", making use of the opportunistic leaders who had headed the effort to transmute the KKE with the division of 1968.

    As for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, she said that it has "shown its aversion to the mass popular action and struggles, rendering itself an apologist of police violence".

    EU and NATO

    Regarding Greece's membership in the European Union and NATO, the text of Positions said that it was time for planning for raising the issue of insubordination, as well as the country's disengagement, as a response to the positions endorsing "change from within".

    In that respect, a discussion must commence on why Greece, in different conditions of political authority, is able to stand on its own feet, and under what conditions it should participate in international collaborations, and a systematic de-mythification of the "one-way paths" and the danger-mongering.

    An effort could begin, according to the text, to reveal what the "balance of participation" was. The meaning of "balance" replies to the propaganda that Community monies have been and are forthcoming, and also to the argument that a country that cuts itself loose will face dangers. In that area, it was necessary to project the terms of conformation, the asymmetricality, the relations of interdependence and dependence. Thus, the position is de-mythified that Greece is a small, dependent country and cannot enter a developmental orbit to the benefit of the social needs that is counter to capitalistic growth and the service of the monopolies.

    Elections

    Papariga noted that the first major political battle after the KKE's 18th Congress would be the European Parliament elections, noting that the outgoing Central Committee has drafted a Policy Statement on the political framework and guidelines of that battle.

    In one respect, the Euro-elections had significant similarities with national elections, with the difference that in the latter a government is elected while in the former a group of MEPs is elected, but nevertheless their common identity is the responsibility of the EU and the ruling parties regarding the everyday and more general problems faced by the working people in the country, the negative consequences from Greece's incorporation in the EU market and more generally in the "regional imperialistic union", the KKE leader said.

    Papariga further said that in the national elections, ND and PASOK -- the parties that alternately (as government) signed all the anti-labor and anti-popular decisions of the EU, took part in its imperialistic interventions and wars it backed or actively took part in -- will be judged.

    She said that the "imperialistic European Union policy" does not have only the two mainstream parties as allies in Greece, but also other political forces which, in their own way, supported and support it, considering it a "one-way' path. It was a fact, she said, that recently SYRIZA appeared to be strongly critical towards the EU, while at the same time cultivating the delusion that the EU could change into a more human union "in the same way that it (SYRIZA) frequently adopts the humanization of capitalism at national level".

    Papariga opined that national elections were near at hand since, under the present circumstances, it was not at all certain that the ND government would complete its four-year term, and as such the KKE needed to be prepared both ideologically and politically for such a battle, which would essentially be a showdown between the two paths of development.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Communist Party of Greece leader Aleka Papariga

    [05] Car bomb defused

    A powerful car bomb was neutralised by a police bomb disposal unit at dawn on Wednesday outside a Citibank branch in the upscale northern Athens district of Kifissia.

    According to police, the explosive device was, in essence, a booby-trapped car filled with a large quantity of explosives, later identified as ANFO, left by unknown individuals in the building's parking lot at about 4:30 a.m.

    The car aroused the suspicion of a security guard, who saw the individuals leaving the vehicle but, when they had not returned five minutes later, he called police.

    Authorities who rushed to the scene discovered that the car was loaded with five propane tanks attached by wiring with a briefcase, and called in the bomb disposal unit. The car bomb was neutralised via a controlled explosion at roughly 6:40 a.m.

    It was as yet unknown why the device did not explode. Also, no warning telephone call was made.

    The bomb's mechanism -- comprised of electrical detonators, batteries and two mechanical clocks -- was taken to a police crime lab for examination.

    The quantity of the involved explosives -- the same used in the Oklahoma federal building bombing -- was reported as unprecedented for local urban terror gangs.

    Caption: Police bomb disposal experts are shown outside a Citibank branch in the northern Kifissia district of Athens hours after a car bomb was neutralised on Wednesday, 18 February 2009. ANA-MPA/PANTELIS SAITAS


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