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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM : Investing in our youth
  • [02] ECB's Papademos addresses BoG event
  • [03] 425 Blue Flags for Greek beaches
  • [04] Interview : FM Bakoyannis
  • [05] ASE opening: Decline
  • [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] PM : Investing in our youth

    The government is putting emphasis on new technologies and modern infrastructures, prime minister Costas Karamanlis stressed on Thursday during a visit to the model "school classroom of the future" in Halandri, accompanied by education minister Aris Spiliotopoulos and deputy minister Andreas Lykourentzos.

    The 'classroom of the future', the first in Greece, will have all the infrastructures necessary for the application of individualised education, employing the latest technological solutions, Karamanlis said.

    One characteristic element of the 'classroom' is the use of an inter-active blackboard that provides unlimited audiovisual prospects and encourages participation in the lesson, while the pupils will have an electronic textbook containing the curriculum material which, in turn, will be multiplied and updated through the use of multi-media, Karamanlis explained.

    He said that the exploitation of technology in the design and development of the "digital classroom", with the proper software, will offer pupils innovative means to discover and put to use their own dexterities.

    The prime minister stressed that "we must prepare the children starting school to be able to live in the globalised environment arising from the new technologies, PCs, digital portrayal, satellite communications", so as to fully cultivate in them those dexterities that will fully acquaint them with the competitive environment they will live and work in.

    Innovation and creativity are two fundamental prerequisites for the evolution of the Greece of the future, Karamanlis stressed, noting that the target was a developmental course and protagonistic role in the European family.

    Research and technology was, at international level, radically transforming education, entrepreneurship, the services sector, and the country's social and economic development more generally, the prime minister explained, adding that knowledge, learning, open horizons and extroversion are the fundamental building materials for the strong Greece envisioned with an active presence in the overall European effort.

    "This is why we are investing in the young generation, which is our country's greatest capital. The future belongs to those who systematically prepare for it, to those who look ahead and work towards a specific direction, with firm goals," Karamanlis continued.

    He stressed that education was directly linked with the country's future, and "we are preparing the school that meets the modern-day global status quo, preparing the pupils to successfully meet the demands of the tough international competitive environment".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] ECB's Papademos addresses BoG event

    European Central Bank (ECB) vice president Loucas Papademos said on Wednesday that economic activity in the Eurozone was stabilising.

    "According to initial indications received by the ECB, economic activity in the Eurozone was stabilising," he said while addressing an event organised by the Bank of Greece (central bank).

    He predicted however that this activity would remain weak until the end of 2009.

    "Gradual recovery will begin in the middle of 2010," Papademos nevertheless warned, adding that there were no margins for complaisance.

    He also insisted on the need of implementing a comprehensive strategy to exit from the "state of alert" created by the world financial crisis.

    "We must abandon the state of particularly low interest rates, affluent liquidity (provided by the ECB) and measures of fiscal support," the ECB executive said, assuring that his bank would follow a "gradual transition" to the new environment, seeking, in any case, the protection of price stability as the economy would begin to recover.

    [03] 425 Blue Flags for Greek 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. ANA-MPA / SYMELA PANTZARTZI

    [04] Interview : FM Bakoyannis

    In an exclusive interview with ANA-MPA, Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis noted that the outcome of any type of election -- be it for local or prefectural government or the European Parliament -- always contains a political message as well, but stressed that the government, however, that those polls were not for the election of a government, which would be the same one the following day.

    What was at stake in the Euroelections, she said, were the European course and Europe's prospects, and what Europe will do in the face of very large changes.

    She said that a European Parliament able to wage a daily battle with the Commission was needed, noting that the Europarliament will have very great authorities in the new stage being entered.

    Therefore, she said, it was very important that Greece be properly represented by experienced MEPs, ones who are fighters and determined to wage a battle on all the issues of concern to Greece.

    But there was also a 'Greek' wager, Bakoyannis continued, in the sense that the message of the Euroelections, or of any election, always has a political message as well, adding, however, that the June 7 polls were not elections for a new government. "This is clear. The government will be the same the following day."

    Asked whether early general elections could be a solution to the impasses caused by the various problems and the impact of the global financial crisis, Bakoyannis replied in the negative, warning that, on the contrary, they would only intensify the problems "because the reality is that Greece, like the other European countries, is faced with a very big crisis which everyone in the world agrees is the biggest economic crisis since 1929".

    Consequently, the responsibility of the government - 'which it has assumed with a sense of responsibility' - is to take the country out of this crisis and at the same time turn the crisis into an opportunity..."in other words, to emerge stronger from the crisis," she said.

    "The battle we are waging is a difficult one, but also one we have been called on to wage, and we must fulfill the confidence the Greek people showed us last September," Bakoyannis said.

    To a question on whether she was worried over prospective developments in crucial foreign policy matters in the second half of 2009, Bakoyannis noted that the world around us was changing rapidly, adding that the EU was facing new challenges and reiterating the position that Greece is stronger when Europe is stronger, and that Greece's EU membership made the country stronger.

    There was a critical discussion ahead relating to the review of Turkey's EU course, "whether Turkey has met its obligations or not", such as the Ankara Protocol and its implementation, Bakoyannis said, while the negotiations on the Cyprus issue were also ongoing, "critical negotiations between (Cyprus) President Christofias and Mr. Talat (Turkish Cypriot leader), difficult negotiations...we will have to see how those progress".

    There was also the FYROM name issue, which was still outstanding, she said, adding that the negotiations under UN special representative Matthew Nimetz will resume after the Euroelections, possibly towards the end of June. "A new effort will be made for finding a mutually acceptable solution," she said.

    Further, there was also Greece's chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), noting that Greece has invited, for the first time in the OSCE's history, the organisation's 56 foreign ministers to a meeting on Corfu so as to open the dialogue on European security.

    The challenges are many, Bakoyannis said, adding that Greece was handling these issues with confidence in the country's arguments and strength, and in the Greek diplomatic services.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis

    [05] ASE opening: Decline

    Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Thursday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 0.89 percent, standing at 2,274.32 points at 10:45 a.m., and turnover at 28.e million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the biggest losses in Oil & Gas, down 3.28 percent, Travel & Recreation, down1.60 percent, and Banks, down 1.33 percent.

    The biggest gains were in Insurance, up 4.41 percent; Food & Beverage, up 1.68 percent; and Financial Services, up 1.16 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 1.08 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 0.96 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 0.44 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 40 were up, 86 were down, and 13 were unchanged.

    [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou's interviews on all issues ahead of Euroelections dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Ruling New Democracy's (ND) victory in election cannot be ruled out - Bogus opinion poll results are collapsing".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Karamanlis stated: I am a fighter, I feel in top form and I will continue to struggle", adding that he impressed the public with his honesty and dynamic.

    AVGHI: "SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos and Synaspismos leader Alexis Tsipras interventions to prevent clashes in Friday's Muslim communities protest in Athens".

    AVRIANI: "The two mainstream parties put the blame on publishers and 'interests' in an attempt to conceal their unreliability and inability because they are afraid of the people's disapproval, in the Euroelections".

    CHORA: "Karamanlis gave the message for the Euroelections: All together towards victory".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Prime Minister left open the participation or not of ministers involved in the Vatopedi case in the party's ticket and pledged not to impose new taxes ....under conditions".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Historical high profile ND former minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis criticises ND's electoral policy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "I am not leaving, I am a fighter - Karamanlis says no to new taxes if things remain as they are".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The 'High Priest' of evasion - Karamanlis did not give substantive answers".

    ESTIA: "Thursday's debate (among the party leaders ahead of the Euroelections) - A parody of real political dialogue".

    ETHNOS: "Karamanlis backs to the very end the ministers implicated in the Vatopedi monastery case".

    KATHIMERINI: "Europe puts pressure on Turkey on illegal migrants wave - Connects the major issue with negotiation on Turkey's accession to EU".

    LOGOS: "The head of ND's Euroelections ticket Marietta Giannakou predicts: The abstention rate in Euroelections will not be high in Greece".

    NIKI: ęThey are betting on abstention and.... ecology".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The vote is the weapon against EU policies".

    TA NEA: "Karamanlis gave absolution to those implicated in Vatopedi case - Papandreou: Either we change or we sink".

    TO VIMA: "George Papandreou: Either we change or we will sink".

    VRADYNI: "Karamanlis and Papandreou opened up their cards on Wednesday".

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