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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-08-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Progress in administrative reform reviewed
  • [02] Papandreou visits fire-stricken village
  • [03] Imports, Exports down in June
  • [04] FM congratulates Abbas on re-election
  • [05] The majestic tower houses of Vathia in the Mani

  • [01] Progress in administrative reform reviewed

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Friday with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos to review progress in the Operational Plan for Administrative Reform.

    Pavlopoulos explained to reporters after the meeting that the 630 million euros operational plan had four main aspects comprising the upgrading of administrative services, the human potential, the policy on equality, and technical support.

    He elaborated that the first aspect concerned the upgrading of the state civil and administrative structures, with a budget of 327 million euros.

    The second aspect regarding the human potential had a budget of 213 million euros, while the third aspect concerned equality policies, with a budget of some 65 million euros. The fourth aspect, which concerned technical support, had a budget of 15 million euros.

    The minister also said that the 85 million euros program for eliminating bureaucracy and corruption was being materialised, of which 27 million euros in related projects have already been contracted.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos (L).

    [02] Papandreou visits fire-stricken village

    Main opposition leader George Papandreou, on holiday on the island of Rhodes in the Dodecanese island complex, southeastern Aegean, on Friday night visited the village of Laermon in Lindos municipality which had been devastated by wildfires last summer, where he met with local residents and was briefed by local officials on the problems and delays in the restoration of the fire-stricken areas.

    Papandreou criticised the government for lack of prevention, coordination, staffing and ability to immediately face the crisis, as well as for lack of funding for the reconstruction of the area.

    The PASOK leader said that such situations cannot be faced "with patches", adding that a plan was required.

    He stressed that central but also decentralised planning, coordination and political volition are necessary -- rather than a 'clientele mentality' and wasteful spending -- through the proper use of the Greek people's money.

    The attitude needed was one of comprehensive restructure, he continued, adding that it was necessary to provide an economic prospect, green development, association of the reconstruction with new forms of productive identity, from tourism to the farming sector.

    This, Papandreou explained, requires an overall planning "because we will not leave thise areas to their fate", and in order to give a prospect to them.

    [03] Imports, Exports down in June

    Imports fell by 28.2 percent year-on-year in June 2009 against the same month in 2008, while exports declined by 20.7 percent in the same period, according to figures released on Monday by the national statistics service ESYE.

    More specifically, the overall value of imports/arrivals in June reached 4,228.8 million euros, down 28.2 percent from 5,893.5 million euros in June 2008.

    The overall value of exports/dispatches reached 1,255.6 million euros in June, down 20.7 percent from 1,583 million euros in June 2008.

    [04] FM congratulates Abbas on re-election

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis congratulated Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on his re-election as leader of the Fatah party, during a telephone conversation on Monday.

    Bakoyannis expressed Greece's support for the efforts for a solution to the Palestinian issue based on the principle of two states, those of Israel and Palestine that will co-exist in conditions of peace and security, a foreign ministry announcement said.

    In that framework, Bakoyannis discussed with Abbas the latest developments in the internal Palestinian dialogue, as well as the prospects for progress in the peace talks, the announcement concluded.

    [05] The majestic tower houses of Vathia in the Mani

    The traditional village of Vathia, in the section of the Mani located in the prefecture of Lakonia, is known for its breath-taking landscape.

    Built on top of a hill, the traditional settlement is dominated by its majestic stone tower houses, or 'pyrgospita'.

    Though the fortified village is sparsely populated today, several of the tower houses have been restored.

    Since the 16th century, Vathia was one of the best located ancient villages, with a dramatic view of the sea and Cape Tenaros and a majestic landscape of olive trees and cypresses.

    Legend had it that it was a favorite pirate spot.

    Caption: 'Pyrgospita' in the traditional village of Vathia in Mani, prefecture of Lakonia, southern Greece. ANA-MPA/SYMELA PANTZARTZI

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