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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-09-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM at PASOK National Council
  • [02] Mass jail escape from Omonia police station
  • [03] Giallinas paintings stolen from Corfu
  • [04] 15th Youth Parliament begins

  • [01] PM at PASOK National Council

    Prime Minister George Papandreou spent most of Saturday at the indoor Tae Kwon Do Arena in Faliro where the ruling PASOK party is holding the second day of its National Council. After briefly taking part in five workshops on various issues taking place earlier on Saturday, he then chaired a meeting of his associates at an office set up for his use within the complex.

    Speakers at the workshops included several government ministers and deputy ministers responsible for handling government policy on the particular issues being discussed.

    Meanwhile, also in session at the same time is a meeting of the secretaries of PASOK regional and prefectural committees chaired by National Council Secretary Sokratis Xynidis.

    PM's opening speech at National Council

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing the opening of the ruling PASOK party's three-day National Council sessions on Friday, sent a message of optimism over the country's future and said that "now is the time for great changes and reversals."

    Papandreou offered his thanks for the confidence and support provided in "the joint struggle to reverse the downhill course that the country was taking," while stressing that "our first priority, the historic duty was for us to avoid bankruptcy."

    The prime minister admitted that the decisions taken in this direction were painful, "without us considering the political cost" and pointed out that with them "we established the basis, laid the foundations to build a better Greece."

    Papandreou further pointed out that Greece's problem had never been just economic and added that the real dilemma at present is whether the country will go back to all the things that led Greece to this point or whether Greece would be transformed into a country that was different, better, fairer and viable.

    He went on to say that the mistakes of the post-junta period were being left behind and stressed that the great wager in the years to come would be a change in education in the country and in its welfare state.

    Papandreou also referred to the "Kallikratis" plan, saying that it is not an electoral procedure, but a procedure for reshaping Greece, adding that for this reason the November elections are a confrontation of forces for the country's future.

    The prime minister noted that "some want to turn the elections supposedly into a 'vote against the memorandum'," and added that it is being said that the EU-ECB-IMF 'troika' is to blame for everything.

    "Does that mean that the troika is to blame for the corruption in our hospitals? For tax evasion? For clientelist extravagance? For our first place in corrupt habits?" he pondered.

    Papandreou underlined that these people were those who had ruined Greece and led the country to runaway debts and the Memorandum. Those who now conceded that PASOK had made the right decisions in order to save Greece from bankruptcy, which meant that they were essentially admitting that they would like to vote in favour, but were voted against due to the political cost.

    "They know that the bill we are called on to pay today is the bill for their crimes. It is the tombstone of their policy and they do not know how to handle it," the prime minister said.

    Papandreou, summing up his policy, said that "we are proceeding with structural changes when and wherever necessary" and noted that "the restructuring of the Greek state is a condition for survival, it is a condition for our national independence."

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [02] Mass jail escape from Omonia police station

    Thirteen inmates orchestrated a mass escape from Omonia police jail in the early hours of Saturday after they managed to convince guards to open their cell. The duty officer and two special guards at the station have been suspended from duty for allowing the escape and an official internal inquiry ordered by Greek Police headquarters.

    The 13 inmates apparently pretended to develop a sudden acute health problem and demanded that they be taken to hospital. When the two special guards on duty opened the cell door in order to assist them, however, they attacked the guards and managed to escape.

    The special guards succeeded in stopping three outside the jail cells and locked them up again, while another two were stopped at the police station entrance and a third caught in the surrounding neighbourhood.

    A total of seven inmates succeeded in getting away, among them four Palestinians, two Iraqis and an Afghan. All seven are now being sought.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] Giallinas paintings stolen from Corfu

    An unspecified number of paintings by the internationally renowned Corfu artist Angelos Giallinas have been stolen from the painter's former home, which had been converted into a gallery by Corfu authorities. The theft was discovered on Friday but it is not known when it actually occurred because the gallery had been closed and last checked about 20 days earlier.

    The police have been alerted and an inventory is now being taken of the hundreds of works of arts by Giallinas stored in the house, in order to determine which paintings have been taken and how many were stolen.

    The house had been fitted with a burglar alarm but this was disabled by the thieves.

    Angelos Giallinas was born in 1857 and died in 1939, becoming well known in Europe for his water-colour landscapes that now decorate palaces in England, Austria, France, Italy and are owned by several major museums. The 'Giallinas School' was particularly influential and his style is still imitated, even today.

    On his death, his house on Corfu had been converted into a gallery and the Giallinas Foundation had been set up to manage this. All the painter's works were considered to be of great value and some are considered particularly important.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [04] 15th Youth Parliament begins

    The 15th Youth Parliament, a three-day event organised in Greece every year for the past 15 years, kicked off on Saturday with the participation of 300 teenagers from Greece, Cyprus and Greek communities throughout the world.

    Saturday's sessions included meetings of the a 'youth' Committees of Education and Social Affairs, at which the teen MPs stressed the need for a renewal of the education system. They also complained of a dearth of recreational activities for young people that they said encouraged teen addiction to the Internet. At their Social Affairs Committee they discussed the problems of the health system and issues concerning one-parent families.

    On the second day of the Youth Parliament the teens will convene to discuss national defence and foreign affairs, economic affairs, production and trade, public administration, public order and justice.

    The three-day event will culminate in a session of the full youth Parliament plenum beginning at 10:00 on Monday.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

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