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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-06
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Samaras: Economy needs breath of hopeMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras said on Wednesday that the economy needs a breath of hope, wishing that this will be forthcoming from the government.
Samaras, speaking in his hometown of Pylos where he celebrated the Epiphany blessing of the waters, said: "Epiphany, in our tradition, is a breath of hope. Our economy has need of a breath of hope, and we hope the government will give it".
He added that "I get a breath of hope when I am in the Greek periphery...Today is a great day for all of us, but for me in particular as I am in Pylos with people I love and who love me".
 Fire in Hania Synagogue attributed to arsonUnknown individuals were the perpertrators of the fire that broke out inside a synagogue in Hania's historic old quarter, on the island of Crete on Tuesday, according to a police announcement released on Wednesday.
According to the announcement, unknown individuals broke into the synagogue's yard an hour after midnight and set fire to an outdoor wooden ladder which leads to the library. The fire was extinguished immediately before it threatened the temple and the adjoining library, which features roughly 1,600 rare books and manuscripts.Hania Fire Brigade chief said that at the scene, firefighters found a bottle with a flammable liquid still burning.
Authorities in the Cretan port city said the synagogue's main doors were locked and that the alarm system sounded when firefighters broke down the main gate to enter the building.
The medieval synagogue in Hania's old quarter is amongst the most noted Jewish temples in Greece, functioning as both a cultural centre and a house of worship.
 'We will do everything necessary'The acceleration of Greece's fiscal adjustment to three years was the decision of the prime minister and the government, which will do everything necessary, Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli said on Wednesday.
The decision to accelerate the country's fiscal adjustment to three years "was our own decision, that of the prime minister and the entire government," Katseli said in reply to a question on whether the acceleration was imposed by the EU, adding that "we will do everything necessary for the country".
Asked whether 2010 will be a difficult year, Katseli replied: "It will be a year of work and hope, a year of battles for a better future for our country".
Katseli also voiced certainty that the government will succeed in this effort.
Speaking after the Epiphany blessing of the waters in the port of Piraeus, where she represented the government, Katseli wished that "2010 will be a year of support for the Greek flag and Greek ships, for maritime training, for attraction of young people to the maritime profession, and for the safety of our ships and seamen, so that we will not mourn new victims, as we did recently".
 Aegean could be sea of peaceThe Aegean is precious for Greece, a source of inspiration, and could be a sea of peace and bridge of Greece's relations with Turkey provided that the neighboring country fully respects international law and Greece's national sovereignty, alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas said on Wednesday, speaking after the Epiphany blessing of the waters on the remote island of Agathonissi.
Droutsas noted that the island inhabitants were those who first and foremost desired good relations, peace and tranquil relations between Greece and Turkey, adding that "this is the message we want to send, that the Greek people wish to cooperate with the neighboring people, but in adherence of the self-evident, with respect for good neighbor relations".
The alternate minister stressed that Greece is prepared for such cooperation, but at the same time is "absolute and strict" with respect to the country's sovereign rights, and warned that Greece has both the determination and the means to respond to any provocations and to effectively defend its sovereign rights.
The island's community leader Evangelos Kotoros, in turn, said that the "outlandish, historically ungrounded theory of grey zones of the Turkish neighbors and their actions", such as the violations of Greece's national airspace, found the Agathonissi residents in the ramparts.
 Epiphany at PatriarchateEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Vartholomeos) on Wednesday received visiting Greek Deputy Education & Religious Affairs Minister Ioannis Panaretos, who arrived in Istanbul for a two-day visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Phanar.
Panaretos conveyed Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the government's best wishes for the New Year to the Ecumenical Patriarch, as well as Athens' firm support for the venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate and the now tiny ethnic Greek community in the Bosporus metropolis.
During a lengthy meeting, the two men also exchanged views on matters of mutual interest, while Panaretos attended a luncheon hosted by Bartholomew.
Panaretos represented the Greek government at the same-day Epiphany Blessing of the Waters ceremony in the Keratios (Golden Horn) bay outside the Patriarchate, which was also attended by World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Stefanos Tamvakis and other officials, including worshippers from all over the world.
Caption: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officiates at a Blessing of the Waters ceremony at a quay near the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Phanar district of Istanbul on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010. ANA-MPA / S. GIANSAKIDIS.
 Greek Superleague resultsPanathinaikos Athens extended its league-leading lead to five points on Sunday by easily defeating Ergotelis Crete 4-1 at home hours before AEK Athens thumped bitter cross-town rival Olympiacos Piraeus 2-1 away the same evening.
LARISSA - ASTERAS TRIPOLIS 1-0
KAVALA - LEVADIAKOS LIVADIA 2-2
ATROMITOS ATHENS - ARIS THESSALONIKI 0-3
IRAKLIS THESSALONIKI - PANTHRAKIKOS KOMOTINI 3-1
PAS YIANNINA - XANTHI 0-0
PANATHINAIKOS ATHENS - ERGOTELIS CRETE 4-1
PAOK THESSALONIKI - PANIONIOS ATHENS 1-0
STANDINGS (after 16 weeks)
ASTERAS TRIPOLI 23
PAS YIANNINA 15
Caption: Panathinaikos' players celebrating after the end of the match Panathinaikos - Ergotelis at the Olympic Stadium of Athens on Wednesday 6 January 2010.ANA-MPA/INTIME SPORTS
 Trees, ornaments recyclingOn Sunday, the 250 natural fir trees which formed the City of Athens Christmas tree will travel from Syntagma Square to the Pendeli range, to start a new life as a new forest.
The fir tree saplings that made up Athens‚ environmentally friendly Christmas tree during the festive season are not "disposable" but living organisms which constitute a vital element of the environment, according to a City of Athens announcement.
With this in mind, the City of Athens is participating in a tree-planting organized by the Pendeliko Protection and Regeneration Association (SPAP) with the support of SKAI private radio and television station and - as announced at the launch of Christmas events - will transfer the 250 fir trees to the fire-stricken Megaro Doukissis Plakendias area in Pendeli, so that they can be planted there.
Athens Mayor Kaklamanis has invited all Athenians to participate in a Christmas tree and ornament recycling programme, the aim of which is to ensure that the materials are reused after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The recycling of natural and synthetic trees, Christmas ornaments and lights, which are used each year during the festive season, has now been incorporated in an integrated recycling programme implemented by the City of Athens.
Citizen participation in the recycling programme entails a simple procedure and, most importantly, constitutes a practical expression of love for the environment and the city of Athens.
More specifically, immediately after the holidays end:
- City of Athens crews will collect natural Christmas trees and transfer them to the Agricultural University of Athens, so that they can be converted into fertiliser. Citizens need only leave their tree in a visible place next to their nearest municipal garbage bin.
- Apart from natural trees, synthetic (plastic) Christmas trees are also recyclable (the majority are made from polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC). The trunk of synthetic trees is the only section that can be recycled and should be placed in a blue recycling bin.
- Christmas ornaments can be recycled, depending on the materials used. More specifically, glass, plastic and paper ornaments should be placed in blue recycling bins.
- Citizens can take their Christmas lights to City District offices, so that City of Athens crews can collect them and take them to an approved lighting fixture recycling organisation. Citizens can also call the Municipality‚s recycling line 1960.
Deputy Mayor for Waste Management and Environment Yiorgos Dimopoulos noted: "Our effort to ensure Athens is clean and environmentally-friendly does not constitute a maxim or communication trick. It is an endless process, and on every possible occasion we strive to make a difference, reducing our ecological footprint on nature but by also raising awareness and encouraging citizens to participate in every action, which aims at recycling, environmental protection, cleanliness and the improvement of Athens‚ appearance."
Caption: The City of Athens' giant Christmas tree in central Syntagma Square. (ANA-MPA)
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The economy and 3-year stability program, and efforts to contain the state deficit below 10 percent were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Wednesday.
AVGHI: "Strict austerity, not mild adjustment".
KATHIMERINI: "Reduction of the deficit being hastened".
LOGOS: "5 weeks of agony for the Greek economy".
NIKI: "Three-year austerity, and stern warning by George (prime minister Papandreou) to ministers: Heads will roll".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Governmental announcements on 'life-long learning' - They're preparing cheap laborers for the high profitability of capital".
TO VIMA: "Government aspiring to overall reduction of deficit by 10 percent - Harsh austerity for three years".
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