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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-10-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government announces reward for wanted criminals
  • [02] Draft law on fire-ravaged regions
  • [03] Droutsas in Luxembourg
  • [04] Culture ministry priorities
  • [05] Ģigrants drown, child missing
  • [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Government announces reward for wanted criminals

    The government on Monday announced a reward of 600,000 euros for information leading to the arrest of three individuals - 33-year-old Simeon Seisidis, his 28-year-old brother Marios Seisidis and 31-year-old Grigoris Tsironis - who are wanted in connection with cases of organised crime.

    Citizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou signed a joint decision Monday promising the reward and full anonymity for informants that help authorities bring the three into custody, stressing that there are outstanding warrants for their arrest on criminal charges but also outstanding convictions against them.

    The two ministers invited anyone having any specific information on the three to give this to the police. The reward will be given for any leads that help police locate and arrest the three fugitives, while those providing the leads will be assured their anonymity against all private citizens and also all other state authorities.

    [02] Draft law on fire-ravaged regions

    A draft law unveiled by the ministry of environment, energy and climate change on Monday seeks to guarantee optimum protection against unauthorised construction and development in areas of east Attica prefecture ravaged by wildfires in August 2009.

    The purpose of the draft legislation is to abolish what the government calls āforest-killingā regulations and to create infrastructure (forestry maps-forest registry) aimed at protecting ecosystems and state land.

    The primary measures to be introduced by the proposed bill include a temporary suspension of all construction work, even in areas where building is allowed, and the establishment of a three-member committee on demolitions to eradicate the widespread phenomenon of unauthorised construction in burnt regions.

    The draft law also provides the inclusion of all wildfire-ravaged land in the land registry (cadastre) process if not registered yet, and suspends implementation of current regulations for differentiating land as defined as forest from that of 'a forested area'.

    The draft law's regulations refer to two time periods: the time until a burnt area is proclaimed destined for reforestation, followed by the period between declaring land destined for reforestation and the ratification of forest maps for the area in question.

    Specifically, construction will be suspended in areas where building is currently allowed but are within a region considered under reforestation. The suspension will last until maps of forestland have been finalised.

    Exempted from this ban are legally built structures and those with legitimate building licenses issued before the wildfires, following an inspection by the special committee.

    A special committee on demolitions will be set up to eradicate the phenomenon of unauthorised building in burnt regions, with technical support from the Hellenic Mapping and Cadastral Organisation (OKXE). Moreover, land registry procedures will begin at once in the regions that have not been registered with OKXE yet and a forest map will be drawn up immediately.

    The draft law also provides for the suspension of section 3, paragraph 1, article 1, of Law No 3208/2003 that defines the criteria based on which an area is characterized as a forest or forest land.

    [03] Droutsas in Luxembourg

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris) - The European Union's General Affairs Council is convening in Luxembourg on Monday and Tuesday, primarily to prepare the EU summit that will be taking place in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Greece's positions are being supported by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas.

    Droutsas said in a statement that one of the summit's important issues will be tackling illegal immigration, stressing that Greece aims at promoting cooperation on this "European problem."

    The minister added that on the same issue Greece desires the backing of Frontex with the shaping of joint action and procedures in the framework of a European asylum and immigration policy.

    According to Droutsas, there must also be promotion of funding and the distribution of the cost among the member-states, and the reaching of European agreements on re-entry with third countries, such as Turkey and the implementation of existing bilateral agreements such as that concluded between Greece and Turkey in 2001.

    The Council also discussed the issue of the EU's institutional reorganising in light of the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. The minister said on the issue that Greece would like Europe to acquire a strong voice in international developments.

    Foreign relations issues were due to be discussed during a working dinner on Monday night. As regards the Balkans, Droutsas said that Greece's will is for it to become a protagonist in the region, particularly on the issue of these countries' EU accession course.

    On the question of the situation in the Middle East, he said that Greece is aiming at "assuming a leading role once again", underlining the priority attributed by the government on traditional relations with the Arab world.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo to Alternate FM Dimitris Droutsas

    [04] Culture ministry priorities

    Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos underlined Monday that his top priority would be to organise the newly merged ministry of culture and tourism and the solutions that need to be given to lingering problems, while clarifying that he is the only one responsible for the culture sector.

    On the strategy being followed for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, Geroulanos stressed that the efforts will continue. He also noted that the British Museum appeared to be concerned, since it had taken the trouble to distribute leaflets giving its positions called "why the Marbles must stay" (at the British Museum).

    "Melina Mercouri (the late PASOK culture minister) was the one to first raise the issue and we continue the efforts," he said.

    The minister underlined that the state-run media should play a leading role in the promotion of culture issues.

    Geroulanos told reporters that the candidates for the post of the ministry general secretary have been narrowed down to four based on the CVs submitted online.

    On the issue of the Thessaloniki Film Festival and the state awards, Geroulanos urged people in the film industry to recommend the right solutions.

    He also stated that the portfolio of Deputy Minister Angeliki Gerekou has not been defined yet.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos

    [05] Ģigrants drown, child missing

    Eight illegal immigrants drowned and a ninth, a small child, was missing after a wooden boat carrying 17 illegal immigrants crashed into the rocky shores of Cape Korakas on Lesvos island early Tuesday.

    The 17 immigrants and the Turkish migrant-smuggler aboard the boat jumped into the water after the accident.

    Coastguard patrol boats that rushed to the region have recovered 8 bodies, while they also collected 9 migrants and the 20-year-old Turkish people-smuggler from the water.

    An extensive search was underway to locate the missing child.

    [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The government's decision to freeze all competitions for hiring in the public sector until the end of the year, the issue of the STAGE contracts, the changes in successive insurance and the campaigning for the main opposition New Democracy (ND) leadership, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Hell! PASOK government to fire 140,000 employees, mostly young people, from public sector".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Chaos prevails in ND".

    AVGHI: "Hiring procedures in public sector freeze until new law is passed in parliament".

    AVRIANI: "George (Papandreou, prime minister), don't delay - Precious time is being lost in deliberations and excessive focusing on transparency".

    CHORA: "Former Health Minister and candidate for ND' leadership Dimitris Avramopoulos' sound reaction on election procedure: I will not take part in fixed games".

    LOGOS: "Stage contract holders react against government's intervention".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Disastrous floods throughout the country".

    TA NEA: "No more favour hirings in public sector - New law for appointments".

    TO VIMA: "Freeze of hiring in public sector".

    VRADYNI: "What will change in social security for 2 million workers - Inequities in successive insurance will be cleared up".

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