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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece determined to solve its problems
  • [02] Samaras: Gov't suffering from 'Titanic Syndrome'
  • [03] Anti-racism rally held in Athens
  • [04] KKE rally ahead of Wednesday's nationwide labor strike
  • [05] Return of five rare Byzantine fresco-icons stolen in 1978

  • [01] Greece determined to solve its problems

    LONDON (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis) - Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed during a visit to London that support for Greece is a very serious issue, since all can see the Greek people's determination to solve the country's problems and this decision belies rumours that "the Greeks do not want changes".

    Papandreou was speaking to reporters on Friday after a working luncheon with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and talks with foreign secretary David Miliband.

    The Greek premier also addressed a conference on Global Progressive Governance.

    Papandreou told a press conference that it is evident that the problem does not concern Greece alone, adding that a part of the international markets are not looking at the longterm viability of the Greek economy, but are focusing on the speculative attacks.

    Papandreou also said that Greece's target is implementation of the Stability, Growth and Restructuring Program and having the necessary period of time to enable it to produce results.

    The prime minister further said that it is a positive fact that Greece and the Greek government are trusted, and to a question on whether his government intends to take additional measures before the EU's evaluation on March 15, urged: "Let's wait first for the evaluation before we go into talk about measures, which in itself creates insecurity".

    "We'll take stock (of the results) and see if and what measures are needed," he added.

    Papandreou acknowledged that Greece has a problem, "but not as it is being presented" (by the international media), and stressed that a major effort is underway to reverse the picture of Greece that has recently emerged.

    To relevant questions, the premier said that no reference was made by the British government officials he met with recommending that Greece take recourse in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and that Britain would have no objection to eurozone support for Greece.

    Referring to his meeting with the British foreign secretary and asked whether the issue was raised of aid to Afghanistan by Greece, Papandreou said that such an issue was not discussed at all, but a review of the situation in Afghanistan was made, adding that Greece has taken its decisions on this issue.

    Moreover, since the course of the Cyprus issue was discussed with Miliband, it was stressed that will has not been manifested on the part of the Turkish Cypriots, while the prime minister further underlined to the British foreign secretary Greece's support for the efforts of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

    [02] Samaras: Gov't suffering from 'Titanic Syndrome'

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Friday unleashed an all-out attack on the PASOK government, prompted by the latter's intention to set up a fact-finding commission on the economy, in his address to his party's Parliamentary group.

    The main thrust of Samaras' address was on the significant problems faced by the Greek economy, which he attributed to its management by the past PASOK governments from 1981 onwards. He also criticised the handling of Greece's accession to the EMU (EU single currency), charging that "we entered the euro with a parity higher than that which would have preserved the competitiveness of the Greek economy".

    "PASOK is suffering from 'the Titanic Syndrome'," Samaras said, adding that the government is "breaking up the domestic front with fact-finding commissions and converting a conjuncture in which the greatest unity is mandatory into a period of intense partisan clashes".

    On PASOK's intention to set up a fact-finding commission on the economy, Samaras said ND agrees with establishing a commission to investigate the management of the economic indicators "because we fear nothing in the least, nor have we anything to hide, and because the current state of the economy is not a matter of the last few years".

    [03] Anti-racism rally held in Athens

    A march with the participation of 55 anti-racism and migrants' organisations and unions was held on Saturday afternoon from Omonia Square to Syntagma Square in downtown Athens.

    Participants demonstrated for migrants' and refugees rights and against xenophobia and racism.

    The Coaltion of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Ecologists-Greens parties also took part in the march.

    Afterwards, a concert was staged at Syntagma Square featuring bands comprising second-generation migrant youths.

    [04] KKE rally ahead of Wednesday's nationwide labor strike

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) staged a rally in downtown Athens on Saturday, ahead of Wednesday's nationwide labor strike called by the country's two largest umbrella federations ADEDY (civil servants unions' federation) and GSEE (General Confederation of Workers of Greece), which was addressed by party leader Aleka Papariga.

    The KKE leader charged that the government, through the measures it is taking, wants to ensure the full profitability of the big capital, and warned that "there is no time, we must avert and obstruct the barbarous measures before the government brings them to parliament".

    She said that the government intends to "take" not only the "14th salary" (Christmas bonus), but also 2-3 additional salaries of the working people through increases in VAT and the special consumption tax on fuel, which will raise prices in general.

    "The government is lying when it says it is taking measures to cover the deficits and debts. In reality, only a very small part of those will be covered. It has one and only goal, to ensure the full profitability of the big capital, recovery on the backs of the working people who are not just simply the victim. This time, the consequences will be tragic and long-lasting," Papariga charged.

    [05] Return of five rare Byzantine fresco-icons stolen in 1978

    Five rare Byzantine hagiography frescoes stolen in 1978 from the Palaiopanagia Church in Steni, Evia, returned to Greece from Basle, Switzerland at dawn Thursday.

    The priceless fresco-icons, dating from the 13th and 16th centuries, stolen by Greek antiquities smugglers from the church in August 1978 and illegally sent out of the country were traced by the Greek authorities (Athens Security Police Antiquities Smuggling unit) in 2006 to a well-known Italian antiquities dealer, at a gallery he ran jointly with his German wife in Basle.

    The Greek judicial authorities launched legal procedures for the return of the precious icons, on behalf of the Greek state, which lasted more than two years, instituting charges against the Italian antiquities dealer and all others involved, and sought the judicial assistance of the Swiss authorities for confiscation of the stolen icons. The Basle prosecutor's office in December 2009 issued a final judgement ordering the unconditional return of the frescoes to Greece.

    The frescoes depict Saints Ermolaos, Nikitas, Makarios of Egypt and Nestor, and are unique examples of the school of painting prevalent in the 13th and 16th centuries on mainland Greece.

    Palaiopanagia is a 12th century cross-shape roofed Byzantine church renowned for its exceptional art hagiographies that are distinguished for their precision of proportions and colors.

    The five stolen frescoes are a point of reference in international and Greek studies, outstanding among which is a 1971 study co-authored by the present Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos titled "Medieval Monuments of Evia", which has been awarded by the Academy of Athens.

    The study, in fact, was a key factor in definitively identifying the frescoes and positively establishing before the Swiss authorities that the five icons are protected Greek cultural monuments.

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