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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: ND bequeathing 'gloomy legacy'
  • [02] Athens mayor praises start of works for new Panathinaikos sports complex
  • [03] SYRIZA head calls for stronger youth presence
  • [04] Skulpturhalle Basel hosts Acropolis Museum exhibition
  • [05] PASOK MP resigns seat

  • [01] Papandreou: ND bequeathing 'gloomy legacy'

    The "outgoing" New Democracy (ND) government was leaving a "gloomy legacy" to the young generation, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said in parliament on Friday, speaking during an off-the-agenda discussion on the youths' rights to education, culture and sports initiated by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga.

    Commenting on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' address in the House earlier, Papandreou charged that in describing what was at stake today, the premier had described "everything he has not done".

    Papandreou further said that ND was "bequeathing" to the young generation immense financial burdens, an "economy of recession that will be running at negative rates, with deficits reaching up to 5 percent -- despite the grandiose declarations -- and hidden deficits that were created well before the global crisis".

    The PASOK leader, addressing himself specifically to the prime minister, said that the ND economy minister himself had said last August that "we've hit rock bottom".

    "Your government confessed this," he added.

    The ND government was leaving behind the huge burdens of the social security funds' deficits, Papandreou said, charging that the government had relieved the banks of their social security obligations and transferred them to IKA (the state Social Security Foundation) and the social security funds. "You played with the toxic bonds, and unified the social security funds without planning," he accused the government.

    Papandreou said that the young generation would inherit a country that was "under guardianship", having lost its validity and credibility, a country that was borrowing with the most expensive terms in the euro-zone, while it had zero absorption from the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) two years after the commencement of its operation.

    ND has indebted Greece with 80 billion euros, the PASOK leader continued, while the "throngs of 'blue' consultants' on committees set up by the government have cost the country one billion euros.

    Papandreou said that when PASO  took over the government it would channel 5 percentage points of GDP to education, as it has pledged, with one billion euros being earmarked from the very first state budget it will draft.

    "You ask us where we will find the money? One billion euros is the amount that you are wasting for your partisan committees alone. We will make a serious redistribution, cut wasteful spending, innovate," Papandreou said.

    [02] Athens mayor praises start of works for new Panathinaikos sports complex

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Friday toured the Votanikos site in central Athens, where excavation and demolition works began for the ambitious urban regeneration land development project that includes a new sports stadium and other arenas for the Panathinaikos sports club.

    "Today the city of Athens is celebrating a dream that is starting to become a reality. The dream of the twin urban regeneration project, at the heart of which lies our city team's stadium and the new Panathinaikos Sports Club - Amateur Division facilities. It constitutes the biggest urban regeneration project in the city's history and, I believe, it is worth the effort - for Athens, its residents, its visitors, all sports fans and, especially, Panathinaikos fans," Kaklamanis said, adding:

    I would like to thank the city council's municipal tickets who supported this vision from the very start. Costas Skandalidis, Christos Papoutsis and their municipal ticket. Theodoros Bechrakis, from whom I was handed the baton, which he received from Dora Bakoyannis and, together, we all made an effort to move it forward."

    The final go-ahead for the entire project, including construction of a large shopping mall, hinges on a decision this month by the Council of State (CoE) following a legal petition by 131 plaintiffs against the commercial aspect of the project in the rundown Votanikos district.

    [03] SYRIZA head calls for stronger youth presence

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos referred to a "confidence crisis, detachment, alienation and indifference between youth and political institutions," addressing Parliament on Friday during an off-the-agenda discussion on the youths' rights to education, culture and sports.

    He also stressed that young voters will have to make their presence felt in the European Parliament elections (June 7) in order to bring about a change in the political landscape.

    Alavanos also criticised the ruling New Democracy (ND) decision to abstain from the discussion on the establishment of a preliminary examination committee to probe a second Pavlidis case, and referring to the looming "scandals", as he said, blamed both ND and main opposition PASOK party for adoption of a legislative framework that keeps the Parliament occupied with judicial inquiries and sends no one to court.

    On the violence by a segment of youth, Alavanos stressed that "we should deal with the causes that lead to violence instead of adopting legislation against the hood-wearers."

    [04] Skulpturhalle Basel hosts Acropolis Museum exhibition

    An exhibition promoting the New Acropolis Museum in Athens will open at Skulpturhalle Basel, Switzerland, on May 12, part of an initiative by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture (HFC).

    The exhibition focuses on the excavations conducted on the spot where the new museum stands today, some 400 metres from the Acropolis, and serve as a pre-opening of the New Acropolis Museum next month. The exhibition is organised by the Organisation for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum (OANMA).

    Among the exhibits will be a scale model of the new museum in relation to the Acropolis hill and the surrounding urban environment, as well as a second scale model that shows the foundations of the museum along with parts of the Parthenon and other artifacts.

    The exhibition will run until June 10, 2009

    On the inauguration day of the exhibition, a conference on "The New Acropolis Museum and its exhibits" will be held at the University of Basel in cooperation with HFC, OANMA, and the 1st department of prehistoric and classical antiquities of Athens.

    Caption: A file photo dated 03 October 2007 shows the giant cranes used to transport heavy artifacts from atop the Acropolis Hill in downtown Athens to the new Acropolis Museum (in the middle of the photo), some 400 metres away, as viewed from the Acropolis' southern side. ANA-MPA/ EPA/SIMELA PANTZARTZI

    [05] PASOK MP resigns seat

    Former minister Christos Verelis, a high-profile transport and communications minister in previous PASOK governments, on Friday tendered his resignation as a Parliament deputy.

    Verelis, a well-known PASOK MP, said he was resigning his seat due to standing disagreements with the political climate that he said has arise in the country over the recent period, a direct reference to a series of cases alternately dubbed "scandals" by one party or the other in a barrage of charges and counter-charges.

    "I want to be a catalyst for transparency," Verelis told reporters, while in a written statement he said: "scandals are weighing down the country. The political world today not only doesn't inspire Greek citizens but the climate surrounding this serves as an alibi for the cynicism that has entangled the country."

    In referring to the recently emerged MAN furor involving alleged bribes by the German heavy vehicle-maker in order to ostensibly win international tenders, Verelis stated: "We still do not know what has occurred. There is still not one piece of evidence that is known. However, the creation of a situation to challenge for June 7 (the European Parliament election) immediately began to take shape by paid and willing hack writers...

    "I hope there is a quick answer to everything from the progress in the investigation in Germany, and that the Greek justice system mobilises, independently and disobedient of orders and politically motivated designs ... None of this affects me; nothing frightens me," his statement read.

    In accepting the resignation, Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas commented that "we hope his decision is the right one; he respect his decision and hope Mr. Verelis will soon return here with us."

    Verelis' seat will be filled with the runner-up from the same party ticket, Andreas Makrypidis.

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