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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-11-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] ND Extraordinary Congress opens Saturday
  • [02] Abolition of mandatory conscription in Navy, Airforce in 2012
  • [03] Alternate FM in Vienna
  • [04] ASE opening: Rise
  • [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] ND Extraordinary Congress opens Saturday

    A two-day extraordinary Congress of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party opens Saturday at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Flair, near Piraeus, for the purpose of amending the ND Charter provisions on the election of the party leader to extend the right of vote to all registered members.

    The proceedings will begin at 11:00 a.m. with addresses by Congress Organising Committee chairman Dimitris Sioufas, party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, outgoing party president and former prime minister Costas Karamanlis, and the three candidates contesting the leadership: former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, former culture minister Antonis Samaras, and Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.

    They will be followed by all Congress delegates who wish to take the floor.

    The election date has been set for November 29. If none of the three candidates amasses the required majority, a run-off election will be held on December 5.

    [02] Abolition of mandatory conscription in Navy, Airforce in 2012

    The Greek government on Friday announced plans to abolish mandatory conscription in the Navy and Airforce in 2012.

    The announcement was made by national defence minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    [03] Alternate FM in Vienna

    Vienna (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis) -- The Greek government's intention to make use of the Greek initiative for a direct channel of communication between the leaders of Greece and Turkey was stressed by alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas on Friday in Vienna, ahead of his meeting with Austrian federal president Dr. Heinz Fischer.

    Droutsas also said that the government will reply to a letter addressed by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou in the next few days, in statements to ANA-MPA.

    The alternate minister said that a responsible attitude was required by all sides and by everyone "because haste makes waste". Good preparation was necessary so that "the opportunity opening up before us will not be wasted".

    Droutsas further noted the meeting n Athens on Thursday between visiting Turkish minister of state and chief negotiator for the EU Egemen Bagis and prime minister Papandreou, during which Bagis briefed Papandreou on "Mr. Erdogan's desire to accept prime minister George Papandreou's call".

    He said that Thursday's meeting had been "useful" in view of the "crucial decisions on Turkey's accession course" in December when the EU will review Anara's progress in meeting EU requirements. "Greece clearly supports Turkey's European prospect. It equally clearly stressed that there will be no 'discounts' in the evaluation of Turkey," he added.

    On foreign policy, Droutsas noted that the government has, from the beginning, declared that it wants to change page in the way foreign policy is exercised. "We want aggressive diplomacy, active political initiatives, but this does not alter the fundamental targets we week, the fundamental principles and values we serve," he explained.

    Droutsas said that he was in Vienna "to take the next step in the Greek government's policy", taking the opportunity of the event being organised by Greece's Chairmanship-in-Office (CiO) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) marking the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall.

    While in Vienna, Droutsas said, he will seek two things.

    First, he will have a series of meetings with the Austrian leadership. Greece, Droutsas said, wants the contribution of Austria, "an important country for the Balkans" to the effort to advance the political goal of the European integration of Greece's entire neighborhood by 2014.

    Second, at a special session of the OSCE permanent council, he will present the vision for the ministerial meeting in Athens. "As we prepare the biggest international event after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, we want to set out clear-cut policy goals. More than 50 foreign ministers have responded to our invitation. When they come to Athens, we want agreement on an ambitious framework for dialogue that will render the Corfu Process a basic forum for the security issues of the Europe of the 21st century," Droutsas explained.

    "We are satisfied because the developments affirm our choices. We have a plan and a strategy. We are stirring up the waters. We are promoting dialogue. We are seeking solutions," the alternate foreign minister stressed.

    Apart from his meeting with President Fischer, Droutsas is also scheduled to meet on Friday with the Speaker of the Austrian Parliament, Dr. Barbara Prammer, Foreign Minister Dr. Michael Spindelegger, and the Secretary General of the OSCE, Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut.

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

    [04] ASE opening: Rise

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 0.98 percent, standing at 2,709.94 points at 11:05 a.m., and turnover at 39.4 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly upward, with the biggest gains in Commerce, up 2.46 percent; Mass Media, up 2.19 percent and Banks, up 2.07 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Food and Beverages, down 1.57 percent; Telecoms, down 0.68 percent and Construction, down 0.57 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 1.23 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.82 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.71 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 84 were up, 27 were down, and 22 were unchanged.

    [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The draft 2010 State Budget presented on Thursday, Prime Minister George Papandreou's statements on the economy, Greek-Turkish relations and the situation in main opposition New Democracy (ND) ahead of elections for a new leader, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government hopes to collect money from (increases tax on) gas, alcoholic drinks and cigarettes - 2010 State Budget: Taxes, taxes, taxes".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Storm of anti-social measures and taxes".

    AVGHI: "Revelation! The draft 2010 State Budget, which is full of social cruelty, is reminiscent of the preceding New Democracy government's policy".

    AVRIANI: "The Stage programme employees' 'movement' puzzles the government - In search of a solution for the major social problem of the 50,000 people left jobless".

    CHORA: "New Democracy leader election will be a tough derby - Developments in ND after the election are unpredictable".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "State-Church head on collision on the horizon - Finance ministry bill to be tabled in parliament foresees tripling of taxation on Church property".

    ELEFTHEROS: "For the first time a draft State Budget foresees a tax on MPs' and judicial and public sector employees' benefits".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "From whom they will collect the 4.5 billion euros - Emergency draft State Budget".

    ESTIA: "State Budget is dubious - Public expenditures are immensely high".

    ETHNOS: "Emergency State Budget for exit from the crisis".

    KATHIMERINI: "State Budget full of promises - Optimistic target to curtail the deficit to 9.4 percent (of GDP)".

    LOGOS: "Tax-storm on the horizon".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Well-paid jobs with social security and free time is the people's right".

    TA NEA: "2010 State Budget on a tightrope: 3.7 billion euros from taxes, 2.1 billion euros for benefits".

    TO VIMA: "Time for the bill - Government will collect 4.5 billion euros from new taxes".

    VRADYNI: "Society in turmoil - Cruel State Budget - Employees and pensioners will again bear the burden".


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