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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-12

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't determined to revamp economy
  • [02] Samaras meets with Alexandria Patriarch
  • [03] Memorial service for former Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos
  • [04] KKE on FinMin's address
  • [05] Asylum dominates Rectors' Assembly
  • [06] Greek honey, a natural sweetener and health booster
  • [07] Triple wager for 2010 budget
  • [08] Ski resorts open
  • [09] Volanakis seascapes exhibition
  • [10] 'Eros' exhibition in Athens
  • [11] Rectors' assembly

  • [01] Gov't determined to revamp economy

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Mourtis) - Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking at the end of the European Union summit in Brussels on Friday, said the measures his government will take to reverse Greece's now acute fiscal and economic woes concern a crackdown on tax evasion, contribution evasion and widespread corruption.

    Speaking to reporters during a press conference televised by state television, Papandreou said measures will also be taken of a structural nature, such as decreasing the country's administration levels from five to three, by abolishing the regional and prefectural levels.

    Moreover, he categorically rejected initiatives similar to those announced by Ireland because, as he stressed, the problems of the two countries are different and "it would be a mistake to take the same measures for different problems."

    The Greek prime minister also rejected the possibility of Athens resorting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while queried over international pressures from international firms, he replied with a phrase by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, namely, that it is unacceptable for the economies of countries to be prey to assessments of various credit rating firms.

    Papandreou further clarified that he has not requested special support from the EU, considering that support provided for Greece at political level was very adequate.

    "... we are not asking them to give us gifts, nor for our partners to save us." He added that Greece could not convince its partners if it did not acknowledge the problems and if it lacked proposals that can take the country out of the crisis.

    Focusing on the country, in particular, Papandreou said that he himself raised the issue (of the Greek economy) during the summit, where he acknowledged the magnitude of the problem and described the framework of a solution that the government is determined to provide.

    The Greek government emerged from the summit with an improved image since, as Papandreou said, the solidarity of all 27 partners was expressed and whom he thanked. "The support they gave concerns the recognition that Greece is not on the brink of bankruptcy, neither will it go bankrupt nor will it find itself outside the eurozone."

    The prime minister denied that measures of a strictly revenue-generating nature will be taken, referring to "panic-stricken analyses citing measures that the government neither planned nor will be taking."

    "All the measures that will be taken, and which shall be tough but fair, will not aim at decreasing salaries and pensions, because neither salary-earners and pensioners are to blame for the crisis, nor can the country's economic problem be solved with such measures," he said.

    Lastly, in an unrelated development, Papandreou referred to the desecration of the tomb of late Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos, terming the act unacceptable and sacrilegious.

    [02] Samaras meets with Alexandria Patriarch

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras had a brief meeting with Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa on Friday evening, in the framework of the Alexandrian Primate's official visit to the Church of Greece.

    The Patriarch briefed Samaras on the Orthodox Church of Africa's missionary work. On his part, the ND leader reassured the Patriarch that he will stand by the Patriarchate's side.

    [03] Memorial service for former Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos

    Nicosia (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos) -- A memorial service was held in Cyprus on Saturday marking the first year since the death of former President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    The service was marred by the violation of Papadopoulos' grave on Thursday night and removal of his body, leaving only an empty coffin that was found on Friday morning.

    Deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis represented the Greek government at the memorial service, which was also attended by main opposition New Democracy (ND) MP and former minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis.

    The incident was condemned by officials attending the service, who also paid tribute to Papadopoulos as one of the most significant figures in Cypriot history.

    [04] KKE on FinMin's address

    Commenting on finance minister George Papaconstantinou's address at the Economic Chamber of Greece earlier in the day, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Saturday that the minister's claim that the economy is not in danger "in essence is just one more assurance to the big-time businessmen that the government will do everything so that their huge profitability will not be impacted but, rather, strengthened even in conditions of crisis".

    What was at risk, the KKE added, is the last conquests of the working people and poor popular strata.

    [05] Asylum dominates Rectors' Assembly

    The Assembly of University Rectors ended on Saturday, with education minister Anna Diamantopoulou reaffirming that the government has no intention of changing the university asylum regime.

    "There will be no change. There is a general consensus for us all to work together, with specific actions, so that guarding of asylum will become a reality," she said.

    Thessaloniki Aristotle University (AUTH) rector Anastasios Manthos said that there was no essential difference between the minister's positions on aslyum and those of the academic community, stressing that the problem did not concern asylum as an idea, but had to do with its implementation.

    [06] Greek honey, a natural sweetener and health booster

    The nutritional value of Greek honey and its health benefits were outlined at an event organised in Larissa by the local Association of Beekeepers.

    Larissa has 650 beekeepers who account for a total of 47,000 hives, which produce 151 kilos of honey each.

    One of the oldest foods known to man, honey is pure and healthy and contains important vitamins and minerals.

    Honey is first mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Judges 14:8 which is believed to have been written about 1050-1000 B.C. In Spain 7,000 year-old cave paintings show bee-keeping and itās known that the ancient Egyptians kept bees over 4,000 years ago, using the honey for sweetening and for its healing power.

    The ancient Olympic competitors used honey and figs to enhance their performance; honey can help to maintain energy levels and help muscle recovery time.

    Honey is a good source of riboflavin and vitamin B6 and also contains iron and manganese. It has an abundance of glucose (also known as dextrose) which is a great source of readily available carbohydrates that give a healthy pick-up, and also boosts the immune system

    Combined with green tea, it is an excellent source of energy, while honey and lemon in a cup of hot water soothes a sore throat.

    Honey is also important for its antioxidant ability - the darker the honey the better.

    Further, honey helps to maintain healthy hair and skin, and is a great ingredient for home-made skin preparations. It's also used by cosmetic companies for moisturizers, soaps and shampoos. It has been used since ancient times as an antiseptic for burns, ulcers and it has wound healing properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.

    Caption: A bee collecting honey from the blossoms of a chestnut tree. (ANA-MPA/EPA)

    [07] Triple wager for 2010 budget

    The 2010 budget is the most difficult budget of the post-war period, finance minister George Papaconstantinou said on Saturday, adding that it aimed at winning a triple wager: recovery and revamping of the economy and regaining the country's credibility.

    Addressing an event organised by the Economic Chamber of Greece on the 2010 budget, Papaconstantinou said that the government was aspiring to support of the weaker financial strata in tandem with fiscal adjustment.

    He noted that the finance ministry's position was difficult, as it was called on to give account to the EU bodies and try to convince the country's partners, adding that the analyses of the Greek economy appearing recently in the foreign mass media were inaccurate and "outside the realm of reality".

    On the 2010 budget, Papaconstantinou said that the government's pre-elections pledges were valid, noting that a basic tool will be one hiring in the public sector per every five departures, with the exception of the "sensitive sectors", combined with the introduction of a single agency for the payment of civil servants.

    Regarding revenues, the finance minister said that the new budget will not introduce increases to any taxes save for the special consumption tax on alcohol and cigarettes.

    Outlining the dialogue on the new taxation system which begins on Monday, Papaconstantinou said that a completely different manner of taxation will be introduced, with the institution of a uniform tax scale while stock dividends will henceforth be considered "income" and taxed accordingly, as will incomes from all other sources. Further, a progressive taxation will be established on large real estate holdings, while taxpayers will be required to list all their assets on their income tax statements.

    As for taxation on bank deposits, the minister said that nothing is changing, adding that the deposits are not at risk and therefore there was no reason for their being transferred abroad.

    With respect to the structural changes, Papaconstantinou explained that these referred to the "opening" of the so-called closed professions and reform of the social security system.

    Finally, he said that as of December 2010 there will be new types of budgets introduced, containing long-term budgets for programs.

    [08] Ski resorts open

    Ski resorts in northern Greece reported the first substantial snowfall of the season, inaugurating their winter season just two weeks ahead of the Christmas holiday.

    Numerous roadways in northern Greece, particularly in the northern part of central Macedonia centring around Mt. Kaimaktsalan, were temporarily closed due to heavy snowfall, while snow tires were required on vehicles heading towards the town of Veria, Kastoria and Florina.

    [09] Volanakis seascapes exhibition

    A painting exhibition titled "Constantinos Volanakis, the poet of the sea" was inaugurated by Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli in the renovated facilities of the Hellenic Maritime Museum at Akti Themistokleous in Piraeus, featuring some of Volanakis' (1837-1907) most significant works on loan from public and private collections throughout Greece and abroad.

    This is the first exhibition of works by the renowned seascapes painter Volanakis, one of the foremost representatives of the 'Munich School', a Greek artistic movement of the 19th century, to be staged in the greater Athens area.

    The exhibition brings together the greater part of Volanakis' works, with 62 of his most representative oil paintings.

    The exhibition will run through January 17, 2010.

    Caption: Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli (center) at the inauguration of the "Constantinos Volanakis, the poet of the sea" exhibition at the Hellenic Maritime Museum at Akti Themistokleous in Piraeus. (ANA-MPA/G. Christakis)

    [10] 'Eros' exhibition in Athens

    A unique exhibition of 272 ancient objects and works of art devoted to Eros, the gold-winged god of love of ancient Greek mythology, titled "Eros: From Hesiod's Theogony to late antiquity", has opened to the public at the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, following its official inauguration on Wednesday night.

    Spanning 12 centuries, the artifacts, dating as far back as the 6th century BC up to the early Christian times, include statues, jewelry, ceramic vases, a plethora of varied objects, and even a 2,500 year-old love letter engraved on clay, have been collected from 50 museums in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and France.

    Highlights include a Roman-era copy of Greek sculptor Lysippos' famous "Eros stringing his bow" statue on loan from the Louvre, and an 18th century Antonio Canova sculpture "Cupid and Psyche" from the Capitoline Museums in Rome.

    The exhibition, the biggest ever display of its kind, will run through April 2010.

    [11] Rectors' assembly

    The Assembly of University Rectors ended on Saturday, with education minister Anna Diamantopoulou reaffirming that the government has no intention of changing the university asylum regime.

    "There will be no change. There is a general consensus for us all to work together, with specific actions, so that guarding of asylum will become a reality," she said.

    Thessaloniki Aristotle University (AUTH) rector Anastasios Manthos said that there was no essential difference between the minister's positions on aslyum and those of the academic community, stressing that the problem did not concern asylum as an idea, but had to do with its implementation.


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