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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-10-16
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos to visit USNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou) - Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will be visiting the United States from October 20 to November 6 and will be meeting US President Barack Obama at the White House.
The Ecumenical Patriarch's first stop will be New Orleans, where he will be chairing the 8th Environmental Symposium on "Religion, Science and the Environment."
He will then be going to New York to participate in celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of Archbishop of America Demetrius. In the framework of the events, an album will be presented on Demetrius's 10 years as the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
On October 25, Vartholomeos will be officiating at the Saint Demetrius Cathedral at Merrick on New York's Long Island. On October 26, the name day of Saint Demetrius, the Patriatrch will be officiating at the Saint Demetrius Cathedral in Astoria.
Apart from President Obama, the Ecumenical Patriarch will also be meeting Vice President Joe Biden, House of Representatives President Nancy Pelossi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
 Samaras announces ND leadership candidacyFormer culture minister and Messinia deputy Antonis Samaras announced his candidacy for the leadership of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Thursday evening.
Samaras said that the party must promote its ideals and bring back to it those who it has saddened, adding that "we must open our horizons to make our ideas a magnet for society. We must dare to move forward to become a modern European Centre-Right party."
He further said that unity is required at the party's head, noting that ND's ideology, social liberalism are not two words that are merely suited and stressing that "it binds our traditional values with the most modern liberal conceptions."
 Alternate FM meets with US ambassador to AthensUS Ambassador to Athens Daniel Speckhard met with Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Thursday and congratulated him on the "impressive initiatives undertaken by the Greek government both on a regional and international level as an indication of interest in a joint solution of the regional and international problems".
Exiting Droutsas' office following the one-hour meeting, Ambassador Speckhard stated that he assured the alternate FM as regards the strong support of the United States to the US-Greek relations and the strong alliance and added that "we are ready to continue supporting our bilateral relations."
Ambassador Speckhard stated that a visit by PM Papandreou to the United States was not discussed and clarified that it was a courtesy call and chance to become acquainted, during which "mutual respect was expressed while the good feelings of the United States toward the Greek government and the Greek people were underlined." He also expressed optimism for the future.
 Health Minister urges clearer guidelines on novel influenzaHealth Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou on Thursday asked Greece's Scientific Council on A(H1N1) influenza to establish simpler guidelines for identifying cases of novel influenza in schools. She stressed the need for clearer and stricter criteria for deciding when pupils needed to be removed from school, in order to avoid shutting down individual classes or even entire school complexes unnecessarily.
Xenoyiannakopoulou added, however, that sample checks carried out in the schools shut down so far had confirmed the existence of novel influenza.
It was clarified that the main criterion for an incident to be suspicious and justify the student's remaining at home until recuperation, was a temperature of over 38 C, plus a second symptom among the ones already defined as novel influenza symptoms.
The minister requested that the council issue a decision by next week on when vaccination against novel influenza will start and the groups that will be given priority.
 Ziller National Theatre building re-opensThe newly refurbished National Theatre in the historic neoclassical building erected by late 19th-century architect Ernst Ziller on Agiou Konstantinou Street in the centre of Athens is now open to the public after 8.5 years of restoration work.
The historic building, whose restoration was begun by the late director of Greece's national theatre Nikos Kourkoulos, re-opened on Wednesday night with a performance of the play "Pouthena (Nowhere)" directed by Dimitris Papaioannou, who makes full use of the ultra-modern central stage and its new equipment and "pits" its 26 performers against the stage itself.
The performance lasts just 45 minutes and is on twice a day at 21:00 and 21:45 from Wednesday to Saturday, with two earlier performances at 19:00 and 19:45 on Sunday until December 6./ANA-MPA/STR
 Dialogue with strikers continuesGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Thursday said the government had not considered action to declare a strike by Piraeus port dock workers illegal and abusive.
"This is precisely why we are following a course of resolving the issue through dialogue," he added.
Asked whether the government intended to give strikers a deadline to end their strike, Petalotis said that there was "nothing like that" and that the government wanted the situation resolved as quickly as possible.
He also categorically denied that the government intended to also offer pier 1 at the port as part of the process of renegotiating the agreement with COSCO.
Petalotis said the government's obligation was to handle the situation that had arisen and that its success was measured in the fact that there was now dialogue between the dock workers and the management of the Piraeus Container Terminal company in order to find a way out of the current deadlock.
"As long as dialogue is underway, this means that we do not have absolute intransigency," he added.
Commenting on the incidents between riot police and striking ship yard workers outside the labour ministry on Thursday morning, meanwhile, the spokesman said the government wanted a climate of peace, calm, dialogue and negotiation between ministry leaderships and workers.
"From that point on, we cannot tolerate situations of lawlessness," he noted, adding that the role of the police was to ensure legality, while exercising moderation.
 Gov't on illegal migrationCitizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis on Thursday told the leadership of the Greek coast guard that he hoped to put an end to the entry of illegal immigrants into Greece from the sea, during a meeting also attended by Greek Police chief Vassilis Tsiatouras.
The head of the coast guard Theodoros Rentzeperis and other coast guard officers underlined the need to modernise the service in terms of both its personnel and resources, adding that they have been striving to do their best for years.
In statements to reporters, Chrysohoidis announced plans to modernise and rename the coast guard (whose Greek name until now was officially the 'Harbours Corps'), creating the Hellenic Coastguard with a headquarters based in Piraeus. He also announced that the government was considering the immediate release of 1,200 foreign national prisoners due to be deported that are currently being held in police jails.
Chrysohoidis stressed that the government would no longer tolerate the large-scale mass entry of illegal immigrants nor the human traffickers that brought them. He said the Greek coast guard will be converted into an operational force with high capabilities for patrolling the coasts, while a new order of the ministry would free the coast guard from all other duties.
For the guarding of ports, as required by ISPS Code, port authorities should employ private security firms or pay to use coast guard officers.
 Olympic Air inauguratedThe commitment of Marfin Investment Group (MIG) "the biggest Greek business group to continue to place social interest above the short-term business interest for as long as the economic crisis lasts" was expressed by the Group's Presidernt Andreas Vgenopoulos during the inauguration of functioning of the new airline, OLYMPIC AIR, that was held in the packed hall of the airline's technical base.
Vgenopoulos thanked Prime Minister George Papandreou for whom he said that being the leader of the main opposition party he had supported the privatisation of Olympic, ignoring petty political interests.
Vgenopoulos also said that the achievement of Olympic Air would not have been feasible without the backing and hard work of its 5,000 employees.
Caption: An Olympic Air aircraft among the guests during the official inauguration that was held on Thursday 15 October in the premises of the airline's technical base. ANA-MPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU
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