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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-10
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM Papandreou arrives in ParisPARIS (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis) - Prime Minister George Papandreou arrived in Paris on Tuesday evening and will begin his working visit with an interview he will be giving to the French newspaper Le Monde and the magazine Politique Internationale on Wednesday morning.
At 12 noon (local time), Papandreou will be meeting French National Assembly president Bernard Accoyer in Parliament and at 13:00 he will be having a working luncheon witrh French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Presidential Mansion.
At 16:30 the Greek prime minister will be meeting his French counterpart Francois Fillon at the prime minister's mansion.
Papandreou will be leaving for Brussels later on, where he will be participating in the informal EU summit on January 11.
 Samaras chairs meeting on ND CongressANA-MPA/The main opposition New Democracy (ND) organising committee for the party's 8th regular Congress convened on Tuesday, chaired by ND leader Antonis Samaras.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, party officer and MP Costas Gioulekas said that ND will back "fair" measures by the government "that are necessary in this difficult period", but warned that it will oppose any unfair, purely revenue-raising measure imposed to cover shortfalls "for something that was lacking from the very first moment, namely a plan on confronting the crisis".
The organising committee's chairman Dimitris Avramopoulos went on to announce radical changes to the main opposition's structure, organisation and strategy that will be decided at the upcoming conference, which he described as a "historic landmark" for ND.
Noting that ND was on the verge of launching a new era, Avramopoulos stressed that the party would once again "become dominant in politics and society and a trustworthy government proposal for the future," and "develop in the broader centre-right and open the door to the modern trends of the time".
 Nationwide public sector strikePublic sector employees are staging a 24-hour strike on Wednesday in protest to austerity measures announced by the government that involve changes to income, taxation and social security policy and include salary freezes and cutbacks in benefits.
Protest demonstrations and marches are scheduled throughout the day in downtown Athens and Thessaloniki and throughout Greece for the duration of the strike, which has been called by the civil servant unions' umbrella federation ADEDY, and backed by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated trade union movement PAME.
The strike has grounded all flights, since the country's air traffic controllers and civil aviation electronics engineers are also participating in the strike.
Addressing a PAME demonstration in Athens' central Syntagma Square, KKE leader Aleka Papariga warned that if the workers failed to "break this storm of measures" and "conform with the government's dictates, even worse things will be forthcoming in a year's time", referring to the government's announcements on social security, incomes and taxation policy.
She called on workers to disregard the government's talk about the state of the economy, saying the measures were aimed to salvage the bankers, shipowners, industrialists and big-time merchants.
"Don't believe them. Turn your backs on them," she urged.
 Farmers' meeting with Agriculture minister unfruitfulThe fourth and last meeting between the representatives of farmers from various roadblocks along the national motorway with the leadership of the Agricultural Development and Food ministry ended with no conclusive result on Tuesday.
A representative from the Nikea roadblock said that the minister moved along "the same antipopular and antifarmer policy and refused to satisfy the farming world's nine demands" and called on farmers to continue their struggle with decisions that will be taken at the roadblocks.
It was revealed that assemblies will be held at roadblocks in Thessaly on Wednesday morning with a proposal on lifting blockades.
 Sections of Long Walls of Athens discoveredÁÍÁ-ÌPA/The Long Walls of Athens, constructed in the mid 5th century BC, connected the city-state of Athens with its port city of Piraeus. They were begun in 461 BC under Themistocles after his victory at Salamis, possibly by Cimon, and completed under Pericles in 457 BC, with the aim of making Athens an impregnable city and preventing its being cut off from its harbor and from the rest of the world when beseiged by land. This ensured that Athens would never be cut off from supplies as long as it controlled the sea.
The two well-fortified Long Walls were 1 "stade" (160 meters) apart, 6000 meters long and 20 meters high. There were three harbors at the port of Piraeus at the time, for grain ships, merchant ships and warships, and ensured that Athens could receive supplies during the Peloponnesian Wars.
The Long Walls were destroyed by the Spartans in 404 BC after Athens was defeated in the First Peloponnesian War and surrendered to Sparta. Conon rebuilt them in 393 BC during the Corinthian War, but they were destroyed again by the Roman general Sulla in 86 BC.
The two Long Walls, 40 "stadia" (7 kilometers) in length, ran parallel to each other, with a narrow passage between them.
There are three walls in all, with a third wall running from Athens to the Bay of Phalerum (Neo Faliro, today).
Initially, the western wall connected the southwest of Athens with Piraeus, while the eastern wall ran from the south of Athens to the Bay of Phalerum, while a few years (445-443 BC) later a third and middle wall, known as the "third wall" or "southern wall", was erected near to and parallel with the western wall. The two walls to Piraeus (western and southern) are known as the Long Walls, while the eastern wall became known as the Phalerian Wall.
Substantial sections of the southern wall have been recently uncovered at Neo Faliro and adjacent Moschato, during ongoing upgrade works on the ISAP train line.
 Almunia on Greek economySTRASBOURG (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira) - European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, addressing the European Parliament Plenum during the discussion on handling the economic crisis and referring to the informal Council session in Brussels on Thursday, said "I would like European leaders to tell the Greek authorities that in exchange for their efforts they would able to rely on our support."
He added that "this support will not be free" and that "it is a clear support in exchange, however, for a clear commitment. The Greek government must meet its responsibilities."
At the same time, Almunia acknowledged the Greek government's efforts and termed the recovery programme that it is proposing "ambitious."
Almunia further said that "on January 15 this ambitious programme began to remedy the situation and to have a decrease in Greece's debt by 4 GDP units this year. It is a very ambitious programme because it is necessary that considerable moves are made with specific measures in 2010."
 Farmers to decide on further stanceProtesting farmers from Serres prefecture kept closed the Promachonas border post only for trucks for the third consecutive night on Tuesday, and will decide Wednesday on further mobilisations following a fruitless fourth meeting the previous day between protesting farmers' representatives with Agriculture Minister Katerina Batzeli.
The Ormenio border post in Evros prefecture is open, with tractors and farming machines lined up on both sides of the road without however disrupting the traffic.
Farmers on Wednesday abandoned their roadblock at the Sterna intersection on the Corinth-Tripolis national highway.
Moreover, Thessaly region farmers continue to keep closed the intersections of Nikaia and Microthebes on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway and will convene later Wednesday to decide whether they will continue or suspend their mobilisations.
 Aid arrives in HaitiThe Greek humanitarian mission arrived in the capital of Haiti on Monday morning for the victims of the disastrous earthquake.
The mission set out from Athens on Sunday night with 50 tons of pharmaceutical materials and food and included members of Non-Governmental Organisations who arrived in Port-au-Prince to assist the work of Greek groups already there.
The mission is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis who met at the capital's airport with representatives of Greek NGOs that are active in the country and was briefed on the situation.
 ASE opening: Sharp riseEquity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Wednesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), in the midst of a major de-escalation of the spread in the bonds' market, with the basic share price index up 3.72 percent, standing at 1,968.55 points at 11:00 a.m., and turnover at 69,615 million euros.
The biggest gains were in Banks, up 6.19 percent and Raw Materials, up 6.89 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 4.38 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 3.28 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 2.80 percent.
Of the stocks moved, 81 were up, 6 were down, and 11 were unchanged.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The government's changes in social security, taxation, pensions and benefits announced on Tuesday and labour unions' threats to escalate their mobilisations, the Greek economy and EU support and Prime Minister George Papandreou's visits to Paris and Brussels, dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Pensions: Up to seven years increase in retirement age".
APOGEVMATINI: "Pension at 63 and up.....".
AVGHI: "Three gifts to markets - Social security, salaries and taxation".
AVRIANI: "Black list with off shore companies' owners at Economy Minister - Heavy taxation on their properties and transactions".
CHORA: "Pension at 63-65 and halt to early retirements - Sweeping changes in social security".
ELEFTHEROS: "Thirteen shocking changes in private and public sector".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "15% reduction in pensions - New regulations will be fully applied in 2017".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New taxation system: VAT for everyone except doctors, cash registers everywhere".
ESTIA: "Tragic mistakes in the economy".
ETHNOS: "Retirement at 63 for a 'dignified' pension".
IMERISSIA: "Everything changes in our lives - Reversals in pensions, taxes, salaries".
KATHIMERINI: "The changes in taxes, salaries, pensions".
LOGOS: "The thirteen structural changes - Sweeping interventions on retirement age".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Scenarios of EU support to Greece rekindled".
NIKI: "Government has a 'wrong' agenda - The country is deprived of vision and development prospect".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Strike on Wednesday against the capital's, EU's and bourgeois parties' totally antisocial attack".
TA NEA: "Sweeping reversals in taxes and salaries - Blow against tax evasion".
TO VIMA: "Tax storm for all professionals - Papandreou goes to Brussels with the harsh measures as his weapon".
VRADYNI: "The changes in the social security system".
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