|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-07-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 18, 2005
 PM proclaims place for exiling Communists on island of Agios Efstratios a symbol of democracy
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday proclaimed the old place for exiling Communists on the Aegean island of Agios Efstratios a symbol of democracy, satisfying a longstanding demand by its few inhabitants.
It was the first visit ever made to the island by a prime minister and the second by Karamanlis, who had visited it two years ago as the main opposition party leader and had promised to create a Museum of Democracy and a Cultural Centre as a form of tribute to the people who had been persecuted and who had suffered in the country.
In the building which had housed Communist exiles, currently in a state of ruin, 40 leftists had died of starvation after refusing to sign a proclamation denouncing their ideology.
Karamanlis said the Museum of Democracy will symbolize citizens who serve values, ideas and convictions at a risk and a cost and with personal sacrifice.
"Your proposal and the commitment I have undertaken is currently on the path of its implementation. The study for the building's restoration has been prepared and necessary funds (440,000 euros) have been secured from the 3rd Community Support Framework's (CSF) operational program 'Culture'. Formalities have been completed and work will begin immediately. In parallel, the stone building housing the old town hall will be renovated to function as a Cultural Centre," the prime minister said.
Karamanlis stressed that Agios Eftstratios is a place which was sealed by a painful period for the country and which has definitely closed, however, with the contribution of all political forces.
"We are here today, expressing the overcoming of the dividing lines of the past and our dedication to a new political culture, with respect for someone else's views and trust between ourselves. To enable us to stress in a symbolic and clear way our determination to clash with anything which can deal a blow at the quality of democracy, justice, human dignity and the rights and freedoms of the citizen," the prime minister said.
Karamanlis further spoke of a fairer future, a fairer society, a society of solidarity and cohesion and a society of confidence.
He promised to return to Agios Efstratios soon to attend the inauguration of the Museum, while the local inhabitants proclaimed him an honorary citizen of the island.
Earlier in the day, Karamanlis had visited the site where a ring road is being built in the region of Agios Nikolas at the port of Myrina on the island of Limnos.
Government building dividing lines in favor of the interests of the few, PASOK party spokesman says: Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, commenting on the address made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the island of Agios Efstratios, said on Saturday that the government is building dividing lines in favor of the interests of the few.
"What is on the mind of Greek citizens today is the new dividing lines which the Karamanlis government is building, with its partisanship and authoritarianism, dividing lines against the many and in favor of the interests of the few," he said.
"The dividing lines of the past were abolished in the '80s, many years before Mr. Karamanlis discovered, for his own reasons of communication, the need for their abolition," Athanassakis added.
 PM's address on island of Agios Efstratios a provocation, Communist Party says
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement that the address made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the island of Agios Efstratios earlier in the day was a provocation.
"We consider it a provocation that the prime minister should promise prosperity and democracy from Agios Efstratios, a place of exile for Communists and other fighters, at a time that it is tabling, as the PASOK party also did, a bill strengthening class exploitation and state and employer suppression," the announcement said.
"The Communists, who suffered martyrdom on Agios Efstratios, envisaged a society with rights for the working class, for all the people and not a society with the demolition of rights, with terrorism laws and with Greece's participation in the so-called 'anti-terrorism' plans of imperialist aggression," it added.
Coalition party member refers to PM's address on Agios Efstratios, criticizes government's labor policy: Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party Political Bureau member Nikos Voutsis, commenting on Sunday on the address made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the island of Agios Efstratios on Saturday, said the paying of tribute to fighters who had suffered on the island contrasted with the government's policy regarding eight-hour work and the curbing of labor achievements.
"The paying of tribute by the prime minister to the thousands of fighters who had suffered a great deal on Agios Efstratios contrasts with the political operation which his government has embarked on with the purpose of abolishing eight-hour work, curbing labor achievements and the implementation on a European scale of policies being against personal freedoms and rights," Voutsis said.
 Greece condemns all acts of violence and terrorism, PM says in letter to Erdogan
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)"Greece unequivocally condemns acts of violence and terrorism, wherever they may originate from," Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed in a letter to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent on Sunday, following Saturday's bomb attack on a minibus in Turkey's Kusadasi resort that killed four people and injured several others.
"On behalf of the Greek government and myself, I wish to express my sorrow for the tragic death and injury to innocent people, from this bomb attack. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims," Karamanlis said in his letter.
 ND's Meimarakis to 'Kathimerini': electorate backs gov't efforts to solve problems left by PASOK
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)New Democracy party secretary Vangelis Meimarakis, in an interview published by the Sunday issue of Kathimerini, stressed that the government was backed by the citizens in its efforts to clean up outstanding problems left by PASOK "on all fronts".
"There are no dead ends for democracies and, if necessary, the answer is always given by the citizens," Meimarakis said when asked if the country might find itself paralyzed in the autumn by the reactions of unions and trade groups to reforms being passed by the government.
He also disagreed with predictions that protests will escalate after the summer, saying that "there is daily proof that the government enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority of citizens on the issues in question."
Meimarakis said the voluntary early retirement model used for the state telecoms company OTE should also be applied in the case of other loss-making public-sector firms and accused PASOK of leaving all problems unsolved; "With the result that we now have to deal with all of them and find solutions for all of them," he added.
"If we just stand by every time the social partners (employers and workers) failed to reach agreement, then we might as well go home. That's what PASOK did and this is why we now find ourselves faced with so many problems that we have to solve as quickly as possible. We do not consider the political cost because, as the prime minister has repeatedly said, we operate on the sole criterion of the general good. The government's program has a four-year span, when we will be judged by the overall results of our governance and, I believe, we will win again," the ruling party secretary said.
He also stressed that the government will make every effort to avoid taking new revenue-raising measures in the autumn and, even in the case that internationals conditions imposed a different policy on all of Europe, the government would avoid turning against the economically weaker classes.
Regarding the controversial "primary shareholder" law currently blocked by the European Union, Meimarakis said this had been "correct in its underlying philosophy" and that it expressed in the "most authentic way the government's determination to ensure transparency".
He also said that the final solutions given to the problem would "also be the most appropriate, since corruption can be fought in many ways and we will not allow anyone to say that the government put aside its most major commitment".
Scenarios about early elections are aimed at keeping ND deputies on alert, PASOK party spokesman says: Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, commenting on Sunday on the interview given to the Sunday newspaper 'Kathimerini tis Kyriakis' by ruling New Democracy party Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis, said scenarios of early elections "return at times to keep ND's deputies on an alert and not to express their disagreements on the government's bills which harm the many and favor the very few."
Meimarakis had hinted at a possible early election in the event of paralysis in the country, in autumn, due to reactions by trade unions to the government's reform program.
"The relevant challenge addressed by PASOK's President to the prime minister in Parliament is recent and so is the relevant reply by Mr. Karamanlis," the spokesman added.
 Public order minister on EU-wide phone records, EU passports and arrest warrants
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis said that new European Union passports and the European arrest warrant will be adopted by Greece from the start of next year, during an interview with the Sunday Eleftherotypia.
He also spoke about a proposal for recording and keeping phone records on a European-wide basis, which was raised at the most recent council of EU ministers for law and order, as a measure to combat terrorism. The ministers have referred the problems to a team of experts for their opinion.
Should the team of experts conclude that such EU-wide monitoring of calls was necessary, the legal interpretation in Greece would have to take the new situation into account, Voulgarakis said.
At the same time, he pointed out that it could not be immediately implemented because of legal, technical and financial matters in some countries.
"We outlined our skepticism and we were the only country to express any doubts, especially on the keeping of phone records concerning what calls were made for a period of time.
Finally, Voulgarakis stressed that the public could trust the Greek Police (ELAS) to deal with terrorism, stressing that the days of repeated mistakes were a thing of the past.
 Unilateral claims incompatible with principles and values of international community, defense minister says
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)Unilateral claims and arbitrary interpretations or the violation of rules of international law are incompatible with the principles and values currently governing the international community, the defense minister said on Saturday in an address at the festival of the ruling New Democracy party's youth organization ONNED, taking place on the island of Limnos.
The defense minister also referred to the proposal being considered on compulsory military service at the age of 19. He added that no decisions have been taken yet, but stressed that the proposal will result in a drastic reduction in the duration of military service, but not less than six months, and in young people being able to begin and continue either their studies of
their professional career, after completing their brief military service.
 ND Youth Festival on Limnos ends with symbolic visit to Turkey
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)The New Democracy Youth (ONNED) Festival on the island of Limnos came to a close on Sunday with a symbolic visit by ONNED leaders to the Turkish coast, as a sign of their desire to promote friendship between Greece and Turkey.
A ship hired by ONNED that was used as living quarters during the Festival departed from the island's harbor in Myrina on Sunday for Piraeus, stopping at Turkey on the way to demonstrate the desire of young people on both sides of the Aegean for cooperation and solidarity.
On Saturday night, ONNED President George Papanikolaou had presented commemorative plaques to members of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) Youth - the party led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan - which had taken part in the festival.
 PASOK MP stresses Greece's poor economic state in interview with Sunday Ethnos
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou, a former European Commissioner and currently in charge of development issues for PASOK's Political Council, stressed that country's economy was in a poor state due to the government's 'public-sector audit' and a sharp drop in revenues, during an interview published by the paper "Sunday Ethnos".
She said there was a grave risk of a crisis in the markets, with repercussions for unemployment.
Diamantopoulou also accused the government of "making changes without calculating the impact on social cohesion" and of creating "generalized social conflicts with workers and SMEs, which form the backbone of the Greek economy and Greek society".
The MP slammed a number of reforms being carried out by the government, such as extending shop hours or giving employers greater flexibility in determining the length of an employee's working day and overtime, saying that these benefited only bosses and large companies.
"It's the little guys that lose out because of this measure, the small and middle-sized business and workers. The only ones that win are the very big fish," she underlined.
Noting that PASOK had gone through a difficult year as it tried to renew itself, she predicted that the next Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in the autumn would be a 'turning point' for the party and the start of a new beginning.
 Surveillance bodies being set up will not put an end to acts of terrorism, Communist Party leader says
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, speaking in the city of Halkida, eastern Greece, on Sunday said surveillance bodies being set up will not put an end to acts of terrorism.
"Surveillance bodies being set up will not put an end to acts of terrorism, but will make a new start in the attack against peoples," she said.
"The European Union's arguments on the universal keeping of files and generalized individual surveillance have a similar pretext with that of the Trojan War, which supposedly took place due to the seizing of beautiful Helen," she added.
Papariga further said that "the EU is a participant and co-founder of the system of modern-day imperialist barbarism. If the United States had been isolated by all the other countries, then there would have been possibilities for changes inside the country as well and for a degree of restraint."
 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 the biggest crime in Europe in second half of 20th century, Ambassador of Cyprus says
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)The Ambassador of Cyprus to Athens George Georgis said on Sunday the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was the biggest crime perpetrated in Europe in the second half of the 20th century.
Georgis was addressing a memorial service held at the Athens Cathedral in memory of those who lost their lives during the tragedy of Cyprus on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the coup and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
He added that with the pretext of protecting the Turkish minority, which constitutes 18 percent of the population, Turkey occupied 37 percent of the territory of Cyprus and carried out the greatest national cleansing campaign, in relation to the size of the population, in modern European history.
Georgis reminded that the rejection of the Annan plan by 76 percent of the people of Cyprus was not a denial of the solution. It was the denial of the acceptance and legalization of the invasion's fait accomplis.
The memorial service was organized by the Athens Municipality, the Cyprus Embassy and the Federation of Cypriot Organizations in Greece.
 The summer sales in the shops start on Monday and will last until August 27, the Consumers' Union of Greece announced.
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)It advised the public to be cautious and to compare prices before making a purchase, pointing out that the ministry had made it mandatory for goods to be marked with a double price, not just the old prices prior to the sales.
Consumer General Secretary Thanassis Skordas, meanwhile, urged the public to avoid overspending or relying too heavily on credit cards and consumer loans to make purchases. He also warned the public to carefully check the quality of goods they bought, while stressing that shops did not have the right to refuse to replace or refund goods that were faulty because they were bought within the sales at a discount.
The only exception was for goods sold at a discount because they were faulty, provided that the fault was clearly indicated and the buyer was aware of it at the time of the purchase.
He also warned consumers not to get carried away by supposed high discounts or by selected "bait" products and carefully compare prices, and urged the public to contact the consumer general secretariat at 1520 to report problems or abuses, such as fake discounts or faulty goods.
Finally, he warned that there will be constant inspections, with tough penalties for shop-owners who broke the rules, for example by hoarding stock or by trying to sell faulty or bad quality products, or not giving real discounts.
 New bill to allow lost stocks to be converted to electronic form, bourse president reveals
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) president Spyros Capralos told the Sunday Vima in an interview that a draft omnibus bill being prepared by the government will allow thousands of share owners to convert shares that have been either lost or destroyed from paper to electronic form.
He said the measure affected 184,752 shareholders of 157 companies and nearly 21 million shares worth 337.52 million euros, all of which had been effectively lost to their owners and the companies involved. The shares involved had not been included in a previous dematerialization process because the owners were unable to produce their physical counterparts.
According to Capralos, these lost shares had either been destroyed in natural disasters or accidents, such as floods, fires, earthquakes, or were stolen, while several were simply mislaid in bank deposit boxes by people who had inherited them but did not know where they were stored.
He said the new bill would allow the companies and share owners involved to sell their stock without producing the original bills, in a simplified procedure where the owners applied to the firm issuing the stock without a court decision.
 Public Power Corporation's president pleased with its ability to satisfy needs for electric power supply this summer
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)Public Power Corporation (DEH) President Ioannis Paleokrassas, in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Typos tis Kyriakis", said he was pleased with DEH's response to the needs for electric power supply this summer.
"The effort made since last year, following the blackout, to shield the system of electric power transportation and distribution with a series of investments which are increasing its stability has produced a great deal," he said.
Asked whether DEH is considering changes in the structure of invoices with the implementation of the time charging system in consumption, Paleokrassas said "we do not have meters yet to enable us to implement time charging."
The minister also said "because there is a need for greater transparency in invoices by European regulations as well, I believe that the cost of public interest services, the cost of auxiliary services we are providing and possibly one or two more factors must appear separately."
 1st National Development Conference for 2007-2013 period begins in Thessaloniki
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)The country's strategic options, in light of the fourth 2007- 2013 programming period and the best possible utilization of European Union funds that the country will be receiving in the framework of the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF), are the focus of attention at the 1st National Development Conference on the new programming period which began in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Saturday under the chairmanship of Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Christos Folias.
Since negotiations on the amount of EU funds to be provided for the country in the framework of the 4th CSF have not yet been completed, Folias expressed the evaluation and hope, while addressing the Conference, that the final amount will not diverge considerably from the total of 20 billion euros which it appeared at the Brussels summit that Greece would be receiving.
 Wind-surfer killed in boating accident
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)A 50-year-old windsurfer died on Saturday after his leg was cut off by the propeller of a passing speed boat.
Spyros Sotiriou, 50, was windsurfing in the 'Kamares' shore near Sounion, while he was hit by a boat driver by Dimitris Tagalakis, also 50.
The driver of the speed boat, currently being held at the Lavrio coastguard, said that he was acquainted with the victim and that Sotiriou had called for help, because of high winds blowing the area at the time.
According to Tagalakis, he had approached the windsurfer with his engines turned off but they had inexplicably started up again. Also in the boat at the time were two women and an underage boy.
The coastguard said that the death was the result of the amputation of the victim's leg. The driver of the boat will be led before a public prosecutor.
 Lead actress in Voulgaris' "Brides" to perform in Australian production of 'Stuff Happens'
MELBOURNE, 18/07/2005 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)Victoria Haralabidou, the lead actress in the hit film by Pandelis Voulgaris "Brides", will also be in the cast of the play "Stuff Happens" that will open in Sydney, Australia on July 20 and then move to Melbourne from August 24.
The play, a political satire dealing in the events that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq described as a 'masterpiece' by the press in Britain, was written by Sir David Hare and directed by Neil Armfield.
 Police disband ring of immigrant smugglers
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)Police have disbanded yet another ring involved in bringing illegal immigrants to Greece from Asian countries and keeping them in custody until they paid the amount of money agreed for their transfer.
A 30-year-old man was arrested on Friday, who was found in the possession of two passports which he was keeping to force their owners to pay him.
Investigations revealed that an unspecified number of illegal immigrants were brought into the country about 45 days ago and were being kept in custody in a house in the Attica prefecture by the arrested man and other members of the ring, until they each paid 1,500 euros as had been agreed beforehand.
Those who paid were allowed to leave, while two of them were being blackmailed to pay a balance amounting to 550 euros. However, the illegal immigrants notified the police, the banknotes to be used in the payment were marked and the culprit was arrested on receiving the money.
 Man arrested for forging documents used in legalizing foreigners' residence in country
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)A 46-year-old man who forged documents enabling foreigners to obtain legal residence in the country was arrested by the Athens Aliens Service on Thursday and referred to a public prosecutor.
The man, using forged seals and applications of public services, used to prepare forged documentation facilitating the submission of supporting documents, residence permits and various other documents which he used to sell to foreigners for 150-200 euros for each case.
 Man arrested for abducting Albanian girl
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)A 16-year-old Albanian girl experienced 10 dramatic days in the hands of a 45-year-old man who abducted her and kept her locked up in a container in the region of Aspropirgos and who, according to the girl, used to drug her and assault her sexually.
Police announced the case on Saturday after arresting the man on Friday.
The man owns a gallery in Athens and had hired the girl as an employee about three months ago. He had taken her by force to the container on May 24, from which she had succeeded in escaping on June 4 after breaking a small window and managing to squeeze through it as she had become very thin as a result of malnutrition.
 Forest fire breaks out in Megalopoli
Athens, 18/07/2005 (ANA)A fire broke out at 13:30 on Sunday in an area of forest between the villages of Goupata and Akovo near Megalopoli and quickly spread, fanned by strong winds.
Four fire-fighting aircraft, a helicopter, seven fire engines and firemen have been sent to put out the blaze, which was still burning strongly in the early afternoon.
 Memorial services held for those killed during Turkish invasion
NICOSIA, 18/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cypriots all over the world paid tribute on Sunday to those killed 31 years ago, during the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the island's northern third.
Memorial services were held in Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Paralimni, Polis Chrysochous and Evryhou and were attended by members of the cabinet and government officials.
Church services were also held in Greece, the UK and Australia, for those who lost their lives during the invasion, and prayers were offered for the people still missing.
The main ceremony will be held in Nicosia on 20th July, which marks the day of the invasion, in the presence of President Tassos Papadopoulos and the island's political and church leadership.
The Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus has decided that on July 20 flags will be half-mast at all churches in the government-controlled areas and church bells will toll dolefully for 15 minutes.
In Australia, Melbourne which has a sizeable Cypriot community, Labor Minister Christos Taliadoros conveyed a message of struggle by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos during a gathering to mark the 1974 military coup against the democratically elected President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios, engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece.
The coup was followed five days later by the Turkish invasion, which resulted in the illegal occupation of the island's northern third and its de facto division.
At London's Trafalgar Square on Saturday, members of Parliament from all political parties called on the British government to undertake its responsibilities against Cyprus and utilize the possibilities it now has as the EU president for this term so as to create the conditions for a solution to the Cyprus problem. The main speaker was Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister George Lillikas.
The gathering was organized by the Cyprus National Federation of Britain.