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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs meeting of ND Euroelections committee
  • [02] Greece awarded 425 Blue Flags for beaches
  • [03] The unique cave-dwelling crayfish of Aggitis
  • [04] Papoulias meets Basescu

  • [01] PM chairs meeting of ND Euroelections committee

    Ruling New Democracy's (ND) election campaign committee convened on Wednesday to discuss organisational issues in the run-up to the June 7 European Parliament elections, chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis.

    ND parliamentary group secretary Yiannis Tragakis noted afterwards, in statements to the press, that some 10 days remained to the Euroelections, adding that organisational matters were discussed in the final stretch to the polls, and stressing that ND's target was to emerge the top party in the election.

    ND central committee secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, commenting on the sharp criticism drawn by the ruling party's television campaign 'spots', said that the advertisements were functional, informational and original. Their purpose, he added, was to inform the public and highlight the work accomplished by Karamanlis, the government and ND.

    The country, he continued, needs a government that knows how to and can give solutions to the problems and lead the country out of the crisis. "Costas Karamanlis knows, and can," he stressed.

    Zagoritis further urged the citizens to vote, noting the large percentage of abstention in the preceding Euroelections.

    Former minister Marietta Yiannakou, who heads the ND ticket, opined that abstention would not be large in the upcoming Euroelections, adding that Greece will have one of the largest percentages of participation among the EU member countries, while foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis called for a dialogue of substance in the debate to be held among the political party leaders.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrives at his ruling New Democracy headquarters in Athens on Wednesday 27 May 2009. ANA-MPA/PANTELIS SAITAS

    [02] Greece awarded 425 Blue Flags for beaches

    Greece was awarded 'Blue Flags' for 425 beaches and eight marinas this year, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature announced on Wednesday.

    With 425 beaches awarded the international eco-label by the independent, non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), Greece placed second among 39 countries.

    The FEE this year awarded Blue Flats to a total of 2,699 beaches and 639.

    Blue Flags were awarded to 430 beaches and 8 marinas in Greece in 2008.

    The Blue Flags are awarded on a basis of 29 criteria including cleanliness of the coast and the sea, organisation, information, safety, and protection of the coastal environment.

    [03] The unique cave-dwelling crayfish of Aggitis

    The freshwater stone crayfish of the "Austropotamobius torrentium" species found in the Aggitis cave in Northern Greece is an unusually transparent crayfish, and could in fact be a new variety. A team of Greek and French speliologists and researchers have succeeded in locating some 25 such specimens, at a depth of 2,100-7,100 meters from the entrance to the Aggitis (or Maara) Cave, at the southern foot of Mt. Falakros in Drama prefecture.

    The cave-dwelling variety they have found is unique in the world so far, given the depth in which it lives, and also since the species itself is not a cave-dweller. It further differs in its translucent light blue color. The team intends to resume its exploration in August, hoping to collect an adequate number of specimens for DNA testing to ascertain whether the Aggitis Austropotamobius torrentium is indeed a new variety.

    Caption: A photo of the crayfish "Austropotamobius torrentium", Tuesday 26 May 2009. ANA-MPA/Str

    [04] Papoulias meets Basescu

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias met on Wednesday with his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu, who is on a state visit to Greece.

    Bilateral, regional and European issues were discussed by the two Presidents in both their bilateral meeting and also in a broader meeting afterwards that included the two countries' delegations.

    Papoulias said in statements to the press that the two countries had friendly and cordial relations, with very good prospects.

    He said they ascertained that their bilateral economic and trade relations were on the right path, noting that the discussion also focused on the field of energy "in which I believe there is room for broader cooperation".

    Regarding Southeastern Europe, Papoulias said that he and Basescu endorsed the accession of the western Balkans to the union, with particular emphasis on good neighborhood relations.

    They further discussed the EU, and Papoulias said that he stressed to Basescu the fact that it was unacceptable that Turkey continued to occupy a section of an EU member country and that Nicosia continued to be a divided European capital.

    Basescu praised the "excellent and solid" relations between the two countries that have been consolidated at both political and economic level.

    He also said that Romania unreservedly backed Greece's positions on the FYROM name issue, stressing that the principle of good neighborhood was an obligation of all countries, regardless of whether or not they are EU members.

    The Romanian President further stressed that Cyprus, as an EU member country, has the right to absolute sovereignty over its territory.

    On Turkey's EU aspirations, Basescu said that both Greece and Romania support Ankara's accession course provided that it fully meets the criteria and abides by the European acquis.

    The two presidents further discussed EU matters, and Basescu noted that the Lisbon Agreement, which would help in the good operation of the EU and the development of discussions on the EU's enlargement with western Balkan countries, needs to be set in motion.

    Papoulias and Basescu further reviewed developments in the global financial crisis and its impact on their two peoples and the other countries, and the Romanian president stressed his conviction that the two peoples would overcome the consequences of the crisis.

    Caption: President of Republic Karolos Papoulias (R) and visiting President of Romania Traian Basescu (L) at the presidential mansion on Wednesday 27 May 2009. ANA-MPA/SYMELA PANTZARTZI

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