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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-06-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't on 'Hawala' activities by migrant smuggling rings
  • [02] Visiting hours to museums extended
  • [03] ND slams austerity policy
  • [04] FM at ASEM meeting
  • [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Gov't on 'Hawala' activities by migrant smuggling rings

    (ANA-MPA) -- Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Monday referred to a recent incident off the Ionian island of Corfu involving the sinking of a vessel carrying illegal migrants, in response to a tabled question by an opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) deputy.

    A written statement forwarded to Parliament by the minister underlined that the investigation conducted so far by Greek Police has brought to light no evidence linking the recent sinking of the vessel with the "Hawala" system, ostensibly used as a cash transport and payment system used by international illegal migrant trafficking rings.

    Papoutsis said authorities are aware of the Hawala system, the unique feature of which is that no promissory instruments are exchanged between the parties involved. The transaction takes place entirely on the basis of "trust", and operates in the absence of a legal and juridical environment, while often funding illegal activities, tax evasion or money-laundering.

    "Relevant authorities gather information on this specific system and its utilisation by international illegal migrant trafficking rings and terrorists for the purpose of transferring capital necessary to finance the preparation, organisation and execution of terrorist acts, human trafficking or even reinforcing the structure of such organisations," Papoutsis warned.

    Greece has increasingly come under pressure over recent years from the massive flow of mostly Third World illegals entering its territory -- in most cases via Turkey -- in a bid to reach other west European destinations. Increasingly high concentrations of illegal migrants are often recorded in major urban areas, as exiting Greece proves more difficult than remaining, as countries of origin refuse to acknowledge their undocumented citizens, whereas Turkey has only recently stepped up efforts to repatriate would-be migrants using its territory as transit.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [02] Visiting hours to museums extended

    Three new museums and the archaeological site of Delphi have been added to the list of 53 museums and archaeological sites nationwide that will operate on an extended timetable throughout the summer months, it was announced on Monday.

    The Archaeological Museum of Delphi will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sundays through Tuesdays and from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

    The archaeological site of Delphi will open at 8 a.m. for twelve hours every day.

    The Archaeological Museum of Ancient Messini and the Archaeological Museum of Vravrona were also added to the list.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [03] ND slams austerity policy

    ANA-MPA/Main opposition New Democracy's spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis attacked the government on Monday over a promotional advertisement released the previous Saturday, which he said was little more than propaganda.

    "Who are they targeting and who believes them? They claim to have done things over the past 20 months that had not been done in all the years previously but the truth is that in the past 20 months we have lost all that has been gained in the previous years," Mihelakis asserted.

    He stressed that nothing was moving forward as the country sank into recession.ana-mpa

    The spokesman also referred to the protests taking place in Syntagma and other cities around Greece in the past weeks, stressing that these were not protests organised by political parties but under "symbols that unite" and that no one could count the protestors as their "own voters".

    Mihelakis said the dilemma "Medium-Term Strategy or default," raised by the government was false and that the country was courting default by continuing down its present path, using the same mistaken formula for exiting the crisis.

    He repeated the need for an immediate renegotiation of the terms of the memorandum, adding that the government was not seeking consensus but "accomplices".

    "The prescription of the Memorandum has failed and what is being given is a bigger dose of the same wrong medicine. We will wait for the measures to be made specific and then adopt a position," the spokesman added.ana-mpa

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    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [04] FM at ASEM meeting

    ANA-MPA/Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas represented Greece at the 10th meeting of EU-Asia foreign ministers (ASEM) in Budapest in the framework of the Hungarian EU presidency.

    ASEM is an informal forum of dialogue in which 48 European and Asian countries as well as regional agencies are participating.

    During the two-day meeting, participants are expected to focus on the handling of "non-traditional threats against security".ana-mpa

    Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the Greek foreign minister focused on the issue of piracy and pointed to its tremendous consequences on Greece, which has one of the most important merchant fleets in the world, underlining at the same time the country's efforts in handling the problem.

    On the sidelines of the forum, Droutsas met with his Mongolian and Filippino counterparts.

    During his meeting with his Mongolian counterpart, Droutsas signed a cooperation memorandum aiminig at the reinforcement of bilateral economic, political contacts between the two countries.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The disagreements during an informal Cabinet meeting on the mid-term programme and the possibility of a referendum, salary cutbacks in the public sector and tax increases, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The 'distance' between Greece and China becomes smaller".

    AVGHI: "Prime Minister George Papandreou in state of panic, plays dangerous game".

    AVRIANI: "The MPs who really disagree with the government's handling should resign".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "They're blaming each other for the failure".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "30 percent cuts in lump sum retirement benefit".

    ESTIA: "Absurdities with taxation".

    ETHNOS: "Objections over layoffs in public sector and tax-free ceiling reduction".

    IMERISSIA: "Nine-hour thriller in the Cabinet - Disagreements and, at the end, agreement".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Referendum dilemma and revision of measures".

    KATHIMERINI: "Papandreou obsessed with referendum".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "All join in the general strike against the imposition of the horrific measures".

    TA NEA: "George (Papandreou) seeking support".

    VRADYNI: "Major cuts in specialised aids for the disabled".

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

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