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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-06-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Elections expenditure 15 million euros less
  • [02] SYRIZA leader pledges return of neighbourhood policeman
  • [03] PASOK leader Venizelos meets Italian PM Mario Monti
  • [04] Greek health system crisis cuts off access to vital meds

  • [01] Elections expenditure 15 million euros less

    AMNA--The Interior ministry's election expenditure for the June 17 elections will be 30 percent less, meaning about 15 million eulros, compared to last May's elections, according to caretaker minister Antonis Manitakis during a meeting he held on Monday with the president of the Union of Regions of Greece and Attica regional governor and the president of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece and Kallithea mayor.amna

    The two local administration officials also assured the Interior minister that all the relevant services of the municipalities and regions are in full readiness in light of the June 17 elections.

    [02] SYRIZA leader pledges return of neighbourhood policeman

    AMNA--Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday underlined that restoring a sense of security and safety by returning police to neighbourhood beats and "reconciling" the police with the public were two priority issues for his party, following his visit to the Attical General Police Headquarters in Athens.

    "It is especially important that we ensure the conditions that will enable every citizen to walk about freely and without fear in every corner of the country, 24 hours a day," he emphasised.

    According to Tsipras, the 'bailout governments' had directed resources, manpower and energy into two goals that had nothing to do with the true aim and mission of the Greek police - using the force instead to repress the people's reaction to the "memorandum policies of destruction" and as free security to guard "highly influential persons". Ensuring the safety of ordinary citizens meant returning the police to neighbourhoods, he added.amna

    "That is where [a policeman's] work is. To protect the citizen and not to be at MPs and ministers' offices," Tsipras stressed.

    He also underlined the party's desire to restore a climate of trust between the public and police, as well as between police and executive authority, noting that he intended to work with the police commanders to carry out "institutional changes that they, themselves, prioritise as important".

    Asked whether police would patrol neighbourhoods armed or unarmed, Tsipras clarified that the officers would be bear arms "where crime is being generated" but would not be equipped to repress the reactions of the people, inspiring a sense of safety rather than fear.amna

    Asked about the charges he made during his recent visit to the citizen protection ministry and a file on anti-establishment rioters that he presented to the police, Tsipras noted that "we have shared views with the leadership of the police concerning the dangers that exist for enclaves, which might be created and hatched at the lowest level even in the police force," he said.amna

    He also noted that the police force had a very good track record of successfully combatting high-level crime but suffered greatly in its handling of petty and medium-level crime, while expressing his party's "complete confidence in those forces that occupy themselves with the exclusive goal of the Greek police, which is to fight crime".

    [03] PASOK leader Venizelos meets Italian PM Mario Monti

    ROME (AMNA/Th. Andreadis-Syngelakis) - PASOK party president Evangelos Venizelos met here on Monday evening with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

    "We had a very crucial and substantive discussion. I briefed him on the situation in Greece. We discussed the point at which the crisis in the eurozone is in, after yesterday's (Sunday) decisions for Spain. I insisted very much on the need for a substantive discussion to be accepted on the revision of the unfavourable terms of the loan contract, because we must break the vicious circle of recession and unemployment," Venizelos told reporters after the meeting.

    Venizelos added that "now we can really keep all the positive points of the loan contract, of the new programme, the decrease of the debt and proceed with settlements and agreements that will allow us to exit finally from the memorandum and the crisis with an extension of the fiscal adjustment period without new cutbacks in incomes, salaries and pensions."amna

    "The discussion with Mario Monti made me believe even more in the importance that our proposal has for a governance of national joint responsibility. Without the governance of national joint responsibility, without the participation in negotiating, the commitment and the signature of all the political forces which say that they believe in Europe and the euro, we shall not be able to cope," the PASOK leader also said.

    [04] Greek health system crisis cuts off access to vital meds

    AMNA--Lack of funding to Greece's health system and social insurance funds due to the economic crisis has deprived many severely ill patients of access to vital medication needed to preserve their life or prevent their condition deteriorating. Cash-strapped social insurance funds are unable to provide these patients with services or the money to buy expensive medication, condemning them to suffer and hastening the course of their illness. The stark choices faced by patients were outlined by associations of patients suffering from various chronic ailments during a press conference on "The barbarity of the economic crisis and the devaluation of human life" held on Monday.

    According to Mihalis Tsakantonis, an unemployed cancer patient that also suffers from diabetes and a weak heart, things are now so bad that he "just wants to die like a human being, where I sit". Unable to get a pension because he is short 99 days of work, Tsakantonis cannot afford to buy the drugs he needs or even to breathe properly, since the electricity company cut off his power and he can no longer operate the assisted-breathing device that he needs.amna

    Multiple sclerosis patient Panagiotis Papastolakos had to stop taking the medication that slows the progression of the disease because he did not have enough money but also lacked the stamina to put up with the hardship patients now have to endure in order to secure the drugs they need.

    "Our basic medication costs up to 1,000 euro a month, apart from the other drugs that we got for free. Now you have to begin a marathon in order to get one box of drugs and, as soon as you find them, you're filled with anxiety about whether you can get the next box," said the general secretary of the Greek Society for MS patients Dimitra Kontogianni.

    "The worst thing is that you don't die but deteriorate on a daily basis and new health problems constantly arise," she added.amna

    The head of the Kidney Patients Association of Northern Greece Christos Karagiozis noted that patients were having to lend each other vital drugs and stressed that the problem would take months to resolve, during which time there would unavoidably be casualties.amna

    He reported a number of problems, from a lack of filters for kidney dialysis machines to pharmacists' refusal to supply drugs on credit, even charging that a hospital was discriminating between uninsured kidney transplant patients, who were given generic medication with inferior specifications, leaving them open to the risk of their transplant being rejected, and insured patients that were given the original.amna

    Problems with lack of basic supplies, such as bags to collect blood donations, were reported by the association of children with thalassaemia, young people with type I diabetes, while cancer patients highlighted their inability to afford prescription medication whose cost ranges from 200 euro to 4,000 euro a month.

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