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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Samaras: Major party changes
  • [02] Christmas Day violations by Turkish warplanes reported
  • [03] Gov't on internal affairs body
  • [04] Crew missing after ship fire

  • [01] Samaras: Major party changes

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) president Antonis Samaras was quoted in a published interview on Friday as emphasising his intent to radically change the party, speaking less than a month after he won a party leadership race to succeed former premier Costas Karamanlis.

    "I have the responsibility to change what must be changed and to again unite this political formation, something you cannot achieve by observing 'sensitive balances', but only with bold initiatives," he was quoted as saying.

    Among others, Samaras also said Karamanlis, the former ND leader and two-time prime minister, engaged in a "very courageous self-criticism in the end", while adding that the previous two ND governments have a positive record, as a whole.

    Asked about the recently approved 2010 state budget, tabled this week by the ruling PASOK government, Samaras again referred to it as "insincere" and featuring a "bloated" budget deficit, while pointing to his promise for support of the government's efforts to reform the Greek economy, "if it changes direction and decides to take measures aimed at reform..."

    In response to a recent statement by Prime Minister George Papandreou on a "distorted economic system that produces corruption", the Messinia prefecture MP and former minister emphasised that this "system" was not created by ND during its five-and-a-half-years in power.

    "(ND) found it; it was inherited from PASOK," he said, underlining that today's main opposition party will be on the government's side when tackling the specter of corruption, "as opposed to PASOK, which was against the ND government in its reform efforts."

    Finally, in reference to next year's local government elections and asked whether he believes current Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis has had a successful tenure, Samaras merely responded that the latter will be judged when he has completed his term.

    Kaklamanis, who served in Costas Karamanlis' first cabinet as the health minister and was later easily elected as Athens mayor on a ND-affilated ticket, at one time belonged to the party, Political Spring, that Samaras established in the early 1990s.

    The interview was published in the Athens weekly "Real News".

    [02] Christmas Day violations by Turkish warplanes reported

    (-PA) -- Greek military authorities on Friday, Christmas Day, reported that up to eight Turkish warplanes violated Athens FIR regulations after entering the region south of the eastern Aegean island of Limnos. At least two instances of violations of Greek airspace were also cited in the northern and central Aegean.

    According to reports, Hellenic Air Force fighter planes were scrambled to identify and escort all of the intruding warplanes out of the Athens FIR.

    The latest instance of Turkish military violations in the eastern Aegean on Christmas Day, a religious and national holiday for predominately Eastern Orthodox Greece, contravenes the so-called Papoulias-Yilmaz memorandum, which calls for the avoidance of military exercises during the peak summer tourism season and on major national and religious holidays in either nation.

    [03] Gov't on internal affairs body

    Citizen's Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis addressed an open letter to Amnesty International's Greek section this week as regards the establishment and operation of an internal affairs office to deal with incidents of alleged police misconduct and unlawful behaviour.

    Chryssohoidis was responding to recommendations made by Amnesty International in letter on Dec. 1, 2009.

    The minister reminded that no international treaty or contractual obligation undertaken by the country calls for the establishment of a special independent body to examine complaints against police. He also stressed that the reference, in the Amnesty International letter, to the European Court of Human Rights guidelines underlines the need to ensure institutional and hierarchical independence between the inspector and the inspected.

    Chryssohoidis stated that the independence cited will be guaranteed by the fact that a special office will not be established within the law enforcement framework. Moreover, its personnel will be civilians and distinguished members of the judiciary.

    Chryssohoidis thanked the group and all collective agencies or private citizens for their contribution to the dialogue held on the specific issue.

    [04] Crew missing after ship fire

    (ANA-MPA) -- Nine merchant seamen, including three Greek nationals, were reported as missing on Friday morning in a sea region off Venezuela, following a fire aboard the Greek-owned freighter "Aegean Wind".

    The vessel, which belongs to Athens-based Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd., was carrying a crew of 24 seamen, nine of whom are Greek mariners. It was sailing from Brazil for Houston, Texas loaded with steel.

    According to a coast guard press release, the fire began in the vessel's mess hall and quickly spread throughout the ship.

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