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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-08-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM addresses world congress of Thracians
  • [02] Time has come to overcome crisis of values
  • [03] Police dismantle immigrant smuggling ring
  • [04] Countdown for Christoforakos extradition
  • [05] Religious celebration observed
  • [06] Illegals arrested in Aegean

  • [01] PM addresses world congress of Thracians

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday evening addressed the 8th world congress of Thracians in the northeastern city of Komotini, underlining the region's growing commercial and energy importance.

    "Thrace is no longer an abandoned extremity. Thrace is changing image, it is changing role, and it is changing perspective. Conceptions concerning the one or the other possible Greece belong to the past, once and for all," Karamanlis said.

    The prime minister reassured that the government is and shall stand by Thrace and will do everything necessary for its development and promotion into an international commercial and energy hub, to a bridge to other peoples and cultures.

    He also stressed that the government honours the struggles of the Thracians and referred in detail to projects that have been completed and to others that are under way that are changing Thrace's image.

    Karamanlis focused specifically on the Egnatia motorway that spans the breadth of northern Greece, to the TGI natural gas pipeline, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and to work being carried out in the region's ports and airports.

    He also referred to the Democritus University, saying it is the country's third biggest university and with new departments being created continuously in order to attract more and more Greek and foreign students.

    Furthermore, he said that 200 million euros are being provided for the construction and maintenance of schools in Thrace, including minority ones. The vision for Thrace, he added, is now becoming a tangible reality.

    Karamanlis also referred to the Muslim minority of Thrace and said that Greece is implementing a modern minority policy that does not distinguish people according to religion, origin or language. It implements equality before the law.

    Transport and Communications Minister Evripides Stylianidis, who hails and is elected from the region, also addressed the congress, terming the prime minister's presence at the Thracians' congress historic.

    The congress's inauguration ceremony was attended by the Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Stavros Kalafatis, the regional governor of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, deputies, mayors from the region, ruling New Democracy party's secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, as well as diplomats, local office-holders and religious leaders.

    [02] Time has come to overcome crisis of values

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, who attended the celebration of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary at Ekatontapyliani on the island of Paros, stated that "the time has come for us to overcome the crisis of values that is harassing the country and is not allowing Greece to forge ahead."

    Papandreou added that what is required is for "necessary reforms to take place in a political system that tolerates and very often rewards untransparency, corruption and impunity."

    The PASOK leader further said that his party can carry out the necessary reforms, "the reforms that shall create a State that respects the wealth of the Greek people and the abilities of every Greek. We must dare for a State that will observe rules and values, a law-abiding State that will respect the citizen."

    Papandreou also emphasised PASOK's determination "to clear up the country's public life from all those cases that have shocked the Greek people. For the truth to shine, for light and the feeling of Justice to win."

    Lastly, Papandreou said that he wished to reassure the Greek people that the party possesses determination and has taken its decisions, adding that "we can plan a different future together. A future of security, confidence and creativity for us and our children."

    [03] Police dismantle immigrant smuggling ring

    Police have dismantled an immigrant smuggling ring and arrested six of its members. The illegal immigrants were being brought from Pakistan, through Turkey, and held in containers in the coastal town of Aspropirgos.

    In order to release them, their captors used to ask for more money than had been initially agreed. A police operation led to the release of 10 illegal immigrants and the arrest of the immigrant smugglers.

    [04] Countdown for Christoforakos extradition

    The countdown has begun for the extradition of Mihalis Christoforakos to Greece, in connection with the Siemens issue, while the New Democracy and PASOK parties are in a state of readiness following allegations made by the former Siemens strong man regarding the funding of both the mainstream parties.

    Germany's Supreme Constitutional Court, to which Christoforakos has resorted to achieve an annulment of the decision on his extradition to Greece, is expected to convene on Monday.

    If his appeal is rejected, the fourth special investigator Nikos Zagorianos will travel to Munich immediately to pick him up, accompanied by security men and a doctor.

    [05] Religious celebration observed

    The Dormition of the Virgin Mary religious holiday -- one of the most venerable in predominately Orthodox Greece -- was celebrated throughout the eastern Mediterranean nation on Saturday. The most prominent celebrations again took place on the Cyclades islands of Tinos and Paros, as well as at the Panaghia Soumela monastery on the slopes of Mt. Vermio in northern Greece.

    The religious services held at the Imathia prefecture monastery was officiated by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, who was proclaimed an honorary president of the Panaghia Soumela Foundation.

    The Greek government was represented by Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Stavros Kalafatis, while the president of main opposition PASOK was represented by Imathia MP Anastasios Sidiropoulos.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Panaghia Ekatontapyliani on the island of Paros/PANTELIS SAITAS

    [06] Illegals arrested in Aegean

    Coast guard officials on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos detected and arrested a total of 35 illegal migrants -- 32 men, two women and one minor -- along with an alleged migrant smuggler off the sea region of Eftalou.

    According to reports, the illegals departed from the opposite Turkish coast with a dinghy they later destroyed when they spotted the coast guard patrol boat approaching. All of the individuals were first transferred to a local hospital for preliminary check ups.

    At a separate incident on Sunday, 30 illegals (21 men, six women and three minors) were arrested 1.2 nautical miles off the eastern Aegean island of Samos. The mostly Third World migrants have left from the Turkish coast with a dinghy, which they sank.

    On Saturday, a Samos coast guard patrol spotted nine illegal migrants and a 26-year-old trafficker in the waters off the island.

    Finally, four illegal migrants were also arrested on Saturday within the port of Samos while attempting to board a ferryboat for Piraeus.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo

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