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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-06

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

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


  • [01] PM receives Euroleague champs PAO
  • [02] Papandreou: Victory in EuroParliament elections
  • [03] Greek stocks end 1.42% higher
  • [04] Red Arrows in Crete

  • [01] PM receives Euroleague champs PAO

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday received the entire Panathinaikos Athens basketball team, who last Sunday became the Euroleague champions for the fifth time in the club's history, in a thrilling and closely-fought game against defending champions CSKA Moscow that ended with a score of 73-71. Along with the players came club officials and the team coaches.

    Karamanlis congratulated the team in a brief address, stressing that their success in winning the title for the fifth time, and the second time in three years, had brought honour to Greece. "You have made all Greeks proud. This is a lasting success. Congratulations," he said.

    The two sides also exchanged gifts, with the premier receiving a small replica of the Euroleague trophy, two Panathinaikos shirts with the signatures of all the players and a basketball, again signed by the champion team.

    Each of the players and club officials present were then presented with a silver bowl etched with the Greek flag and the prime minister's signature. The team, coaches and officials stressed in statements afterwards that the invitation to meet Karamanlis had been a great honour.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) shakes hands with veteran Panathinaikos Athens basketball coach

    [02] Papandreou: Victory in EuroParliament elections

    In a sharp attack on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his government, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday termed the previous night's vote in Parliament (on whether to indict former minister Aristotelis Pavlidis) a "major defeat" for the ruling party. Addressing PASOK's Political Council, Papandreou said that the premier was personally responsible for the outcome.

    "The prime minister and his government, through their stance, are completely hostage to the interests that they serve," he stressed. The proposal to indict was rejected after it failed to obtain the 151 votes required under the Constitution, with 146 votes in favour, 144 against and five blank votes cast in the ballot box.

    Referring to the Siemens slush funds investigation, in which both members of PASOK and ND have been implicated, and in view of PASOK's proposal for a Parliamentary probe into the case that will be discussed on Wednesday, Papandreou said that Karamanlis had "missed a great opportunity to investigate the case and lay down rules for transparency".

    "ND did not dare because it is not interested in transparency but only in remaining in power so that it can serve interests," he added.

    PASOK's leader also stressed that corruption was only the "tip of the iceberg" and that the underlying problem was a "specific attitude of government" that had to be changed.

    Referring to ND's years in power, he accused the ruling party of squandering the country's developmental and social reserves and cited the latest figures from the European Commission "that show a complete fiscal failure for which the international crisis is not chiefly to blame but the fact that the country is in a dire economic situation."

    This had forced the government to impose spending cuts, Papandreou added, which were "the worst possible thing in a time of recession".

    Regarding the upcoming European elections and the next general elections, PASOK's leader said the party's goal was to win the first and achieve a majority government in the second. He stressed that the battle would be a tough one, against powerful interests and a government using state mechanisms, but was optimistic that PASOK will prevail "without having made compromises".

    "The Euro-elections are not just a national battle but a battle for the direction of Europe. The answer to the attacks that PASOK is getting and will continue to get is the loud and strong presence of the Movement, its rallying, unanimity and unity," he concluded.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou speaking at an ISTAME event on Europe held in Athens on Monday night. ANA-MPA / Alexandros Beltes.

    [03] Greek stocks end 1.42% higher

    Greek stocks continued their rally in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, as the market easily absorbed a wave of profit taking selling early in the session. The composite index rose 1.42 pct to end at 2,191.18 points, with turnover a strong 347.3 million euros, of which 8.3 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Health (5.28 pct), Food/Beverage (4.66 pct), Telecoms (4.13 pct) and Utilities (3.36 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Constructions (2.35 pct), Personal/Home Products (2.01 pct) and Chemicals (0.57 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.35 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.45 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index ended 2.66 pct up. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 119 to 97 with another 52 issues unchanged.

    [04] Red Arrows in Crete

    The Royal Air Force's (RAF) renowned aerobatics team, the Red Arrows, will perform in the annual Battle of Crete commemoration events over the Old Port of Hania on May 23.

    Events marking the 68th anniversary of the early WWII Battle of Crete will take place across Hania Prefecture on May 16-24 and will include memorial services, exhibitions, speeches and happenings.

    The formal hoisting of the Allies' flags will be held at the Firka Fort on May 22, while the German embassy event at the German cemetery in Maleme will take place on Sunday, May 24.

    The Battle of Crete began on the morning of May 20, 1941 when German forces launched an unprecedented airborne invasion of Crete, code-named "Merkur". The operation was successful in that it wrested control of the island from Allied forces, although the victory was so costly in terms of paratrooper casualties that the Wehrmacht never again attempted a major airborne operation. The stiff resistance by the allied troops and local Cretans is also credited, by many historians, with delaying the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

    Caption: The Red Arrows fly past the Olympic handover celebrations held near Buckingham Palace in central London on 24 August 2008. ANA-MPA/ EPA/HO EPA/HO

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