|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-05-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 21 May 2007 Issue No: 2598
 PM Karamanlis holds talks in Singapore; begins New Zealand visit on MondaySINGAPORE (ANA-MPA - A. Panagopoulos) Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Singapore on Saturday afternoon local time for the first stopover on a tour that will include official visits to Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam. In statements to reporters on board the flight from Athens, meanwhile, he ruled out imminent elections, saying there was "still some time to go".
On his arrival, Karamanlis was received by Singapore's President Sellapan Rama Nathan for talks that covered political and economic ties between Greece and Singapore.
Afterwards, the Greek premier said he had had a "useful meeting and talks" with Singapore's president and that relations between the two countries were very good, while it was possible to enhance cooperation in trade and shipping.
"I hope that with the signature in a short space of time of a shipping agreement, relations will be strengthened even further. Singapore is a key station for the shipping interests of the Greek commercial fleet," Karamanlis stressed.
The meeting also focused on expanding cooperation between Singapore and the European Union, while Karamanlis briefed Nathan on developments concerning the Cyprus issue and Kosovo.
Singapore's president, who visited Greece three years ago, invited the Greek prime minister to carry out a longer, official visit to Singapore and also requested that Greece send exhibits to a museum being constructed in the tiny island country, so that its young people might learn about classical-era ancient Greece and Greek culture.
 PM arrives in New Zealand, FM comments on FYROM issuePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in New Zealand on Sunday night, local time, and will be holding talks on Monday with the General Governor and the country's prime minister, while he will also be laying a wreath at the monument commemorating the Battle of Crete during World War II.
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who is accompanying the prime minister on his visit, said in flight from Singapore to New Zeland that she did not expect developments on the issue of the name of the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) soon and separated the issue from the possible holding of early elections.
Bakoyannis was categorical in saying that the prime minister is not seeking an excuse from a national issue to call elections (elections are normally due in the country in March 2008).
The foreign minister assessed that consultations will be continue at the UN, by special mediator Matthew Nimetz, but told reporters but there is no evidence at the moment indicating that developments are expected.
Bakoyannis noted that the visit to Tirana, Albania, by U.S. President George W. Bush on June 10 is also related to the issue of Kosovo and mentioned that the American position on the issue of FYROM and its accession to NATO has not changed.
Analysing Greek positions, Bakoyannis said that the issue of good neighbourliness and the attitude of the neighbouring country is a priority, apart from the finding of a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the name, since an upsurge in irredentism and propaganda is being observed lately.
Lastly, commenting on the issue of developments in the NATO alliance, Bakoyannis said that the candidates for accession to NATO (Croatia, Albania and FYROM) are not fulfilling necessary criteria with the same pace and each one is being judged and must be judged separately.
 Australian PM pleased with Greek counterpart's visitMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA - S. Hatzimanolis)
Australian Prime Minister John Howard expressed his great pleasure over the weekend that his Greek counterpart, Costas Karamanlis, will be visiting Australia, and in particular the cities of Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne and Darwin, from May 21-26, accompanied by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
"Australia and Greece have very friendly relations that are also due to the presence here of a numerous Greek Community," the Australian prime minister said, adding that during Karamanlis's presence in Canberra new initiatives will be announced that will strengthen relations between the two countries even further and referring to the signing of a social insurance agreement and the mutual recognition of family law arrangements.
Karamanlis is expected in Sydney on Monday, his first stopover in Australia, after visiting New Zealand.
 FM Dora Bakoyannis sees no considerable development over Cyprus issue in near futureNICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos)
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis sees no considerable development over the issue of Cyprus in the near future and assesses that a "crucial" window to an opportunity might open in 2008.
Speaking in an interview with the newspaper "O Fileleftheros", the Greek foreign minister said she did not predict any crisis in Cyprus and the Aegean as a result of political instability prevailing in Turkey.
Bakoyannis further said that a solution to the issue of Cyprus is a steadfast pursuit for Greek foreign policy.
She also clarified that no deviation exists between Athens and Nicosia and pointed out that Greece and Cyprus are two separate countries and exercise their policy independently.
"When there are different approaches, we discuss them," she explained.
 Deputy DM calls on Turkey to abandon historically inaccurate and irrational demands against GreeceDeputy Defence Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos, speaking on the island of Crete on Sunday, called on Turkey "to abandon historically inaccurate and irrational demands against our country."
Speaking during the unveiling of a bust erected at Akrotiri, in the prefecture of Hania, in memory of Greek Air Force hero Costas Iliakis, Mihaloliakos added that "Greece supports Turkey's course towards the future and the European Union, but its path must pass through absolute respect for the rules of International Law and for the European Union's access criteria."
The deputy defence minister also pointed out that "Greece wants Turkey to find her pace, because accession to the European Family is mainly a political decision. However, this does not mean that we have signed a 'blank cheque'. It must be realised at last that tension benefits no one."
Praising the role played by the armed forces, Mihaloliakos said that "today, with the unveiling of the bust of Costas Iliakis, we are sending a resounding message in every direction that we do not forget. In the face of Costas Iliakis, both the Air Force and our Armed Forces in their entirety are being honoured, that are and will remain absolutely prepared to confront every provocation and every threat."
 Papandreou calls for change in countryMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing his party's two-day programme conference in Piraeus on Saturday, said that the party will begin a struggle to rid the country from the worst government it ever had and to bring in a new and great change.
"This government must leave here and now," Papandreou said and once again called for early elections (elections are normally due in Greece in March 2008) that, in his view, must have two preconditions.
First of all, scandal cases must be clarified, at least from a political point of view, to enable confrontation ahead of elections to be based on the parties' programmes only.
In addition, Papandreou said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis must not use national issues as an election ploy to lead the country to elections.
Referring to issues considered as being scandals and for which he called for clarifications, the PASOK leader included the stock exchange issue and the recent cases regarding bonds, phonetapping and the abduction of Pakistanis.
Lastly, Papandreou accused the government of failing to clarify its positions and of intending to go to the elections with the second volume of its secret agenda but, as he noted, the Greek citizens will not believe it this time.
Diamantopoulou at PASOK conference
Addressing the second day of PASOK's programme conference on Saturday, main opposition MP Anna Diamantopoulou said the "main wager of PASOK's programme will be to link policies, while the biggest success was that there was no dispute of the ideological stamp and the political framework".
She called for "a political and social current must be formed that will deal with matters horizontally," using education as an example, saying that teachers, school pupils, students, parents, local government, research centres and professional bodies must all be involved in the process of solving issues in education.
Government spokesman replies to PASOK leader
Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, replying to an address made by main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou at a party conference on Saturday, said that in 24 hours Papandreou promised all that PASOK had been promising to do for 20 years and never did.
Roussopoulos further said that Papandreou used many "shalls" in his address, much abuse for his political opponents, danger talk and an attack on institutions.
"Indeed, in his enthusiasm, Papandreou also attacked members of PASOK, saying that they were worn out by the long stay in power. However, he forgot to say who these members are and why he is still keeping them with him," Roussopoulos concluded.
 FinMin Alogoskoufis comments on economy, PASOKEconomy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis in a statement on Sunday commented on the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), noting that it cannot "mislead" the Greek citizens.
"PASOK cannot mislead the Greek citizens again. The citizens see that the government has proceeded in the improvement of the economy, maintains its commitments, has a plan and guarantees the country's future and the prosperity of the Greek people," Alogoskoufis said.
"The Greek people these days had the opportunity to see yet again what PASOK means. PASOK, which as government, led in the greatest looting of public wealth with the enormous hidden deficits and the debts it left behind it. PASOK, which as government, led in the looting of the deposits of the Greek citizens through the Stock Exchange. They have never apologised to the people for these crimes. They are attempting yet again to mislead the Greek citizens. For three years, they are danger-mongering on the course of the economy. They fell short and instead of recognising it, today they are attacking the European Commission," the finance minister added.
Responding to his statements, PASOK deputy Vasso Papandreou said, "the citizens are daily witnessing the repercussions of the New Democracy party's policy and they will give their answer in the general elections."
 Israeli ambassador comments on IranIsraeli Ambassador to Athens Ali Yiahia, addressing an event organised by the Greece-Israel Friendship Federation in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, over the weekend said that the Arab world is well aware that Israel is not the real danger. The extremists are the real danger.
"The extremism of Iran is being transferred to Syria and from there to Hezbollah, in Lebanon," he said and expressed the hope that Tehran will be restrained soon, terming its nuclear programme "dangerous."
Yiahia said that it is an "obligation and right" of the Israeli government to respond to attacks with Kassam missiles, saying that Israel pulled out of Gaza and instead of a hand of peace being extended to it, it is being faced with this situation.
Lastly, he stressed that Israel supports the principle of two countries for two peoples and appealed for peace, adding that it is a path that Israel has chosen together with such Arab countries as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, as well as the Gulf countries.
 Only voluntary mergers in local administration, interior minister saysInterior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, speaking in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Typos tis Kyriakis", said that the government is against any forced mergers (in local administration), as was the case with the "Kapodistrias" system, but the new Municipalities and Communities Code contains special reference to voluntary mergers.
Referring to the handling of the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF), he said that "supportive apparatuses" are being shaped to help local administration bodies, to which the lion's share of the 4th CSF will be directed, that will not be imposed on these bodies and that will not affect their independence.
On the question of refuse disposal, the minister said that legal problems bequeathed by the past have been solved and the problem will be resolved in a final manner.
Lastly, Pavlopoulos said of the election law that "there is no question of a change."
 Public order minister gives interview to Sunday newspaperPublic Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, speaking in an interview with the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia", said he was not afraid of difficulties and did not intend to resign.
"I am not stuck to the chair. I want to be free and I am free. I will not resign because I am not one who will throw down his shield, nor am I a coward. I am not afraid of difficulties," he said.
Speaking about the shortage in information, that he referred to recently, the minister said that there is interest in filling in the vacuum and suitable measures will be taken to improve the situation.
The public order minister also assured that no pressure is being exerted for new arrests by any foreign factor.
 IOC president, Voulgarakis open forum on Olympic TruceAddressing an international forum on the Olympic Truce alongside International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge on Saturday, Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis underlined the role of the Olympic Truce to the idea of the Olympic Games.
As he opened the day's proceedings at the forum taking place at the International Olympic Academy facilities in ancient Olympia, Voulgarakis said that the forum helped to revive the overall idea of the Olympic Games and bring the truce back to the forefront.
According to the minister, the importance of the effort for an Olympic Truce was that it combined the strength of the Olympic Movement with the desire of younger generations to work together for peace.
The forum was also addressed by Tourism Development Minister and vice-president of the International Olympic Truce Foundation Fani Palli-Petralia, who underlined that the Olympic Truce was an institution that had achieved many things in the 15 years since it was revived.
"It is indicative that during the Olympic Games in Athens, enemy armies and groups of conflict throughout the world show through their stance - and some through their statements - that they respected the idea of the Olympic Truce but also Greece itself," Petralia said.
The Beijing Olympics would be another opportunity to reinforce the ideal of the Olympic Truce, she added.
The "International Forum on Sport for Peace and the Olympic Truce" will be held at Olympia from May 17 until May 21.
 Papandreou meets IOC President RoggeMain opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou met on Sunday with International Olympics Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge at the international Athens airport.
Issues relating to the Olympic Truce movement, the successful holding of the 2004 Athens Olympics and preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics were discussed during the meeting, a PASOK press release said.
The IOC president also invited Papandreou to attend the 2008 Olympic Games.
Rogge was in Greece during the weekend to attend an international forum on the Olympic Truce at the International Olympic Academy facilities in ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese.
 Giakoumatos visits Iraklio, predicts ND election victoryDeputy Employment Minister Gerassimos Giakoumatos expressed absolute confidence that ruling New Democracy would emerge victorious in the next elections as well. He was speaking in the city of Iraklio on Crete, where he had attended a lottery to share out 96 homes to families qualifying for free state housing.
"The next four-year term belongs to Costas Karamanlis so that he can complete the work he started," Giakoumatos said.
Regarding the now defunct secretariat for the management of pension fund reserves at the employment ministry - whose chief Evgenios Papadopoulos departed under cloud of scandal linked to the stock market bubble of 1999-2000 - Giakoumatos said that its creation had been a mistake and that this had now been recognised, which was why it had been closed down.
The furnishings and equipment installed in Papadopoulos' office by the Olympic Village company - another issue that recently made media headlines - will be given back to the Olympic Village, the minister said.
Giakoumatos was on Crete to attend a ceremony at Iraklio's Lido Indoor Gymnasium to pick the 96 lucky applicants that would receive a home state housing from the Worker Housing Organisation OEK.
From a total of 1070 applicants that had applied and fulfilled the necessary criteria, 11 automatically received homes due to complete disability, fatal work accident or as families with seven or more children.
Another 44 families qualified to take part in a lottery for 27 homes, being either large families with 5-6 children, or persons with at least one underage child that had drawn disability pensions for a non-reversible disability of 67% or more.
The remaining 1020 applicants participated in a lottery for another 58 apartments, which are due to be delivered by OEK by March.
According to the minister, state housing projects for the construction of 200 more homes were currently underway in the prefecture of Iraklio.
 ND Secretary Zagoritis addresses party's youth organisationRuling New Democracy (ND) party Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis addressed the start of a meeting of the party's youth organisation ONNED, in Larissa, central Greece, on Sunday.
The meeting was held ahead of ONNED's congress which will be held in Lamia, central Greece, June 8-10.
"We have time until the (general) elections. It is apparent that the elections will not be held in June," Zagoritis said, following the statements made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis from Singapore on Saturday on the issue.
"At this moment of time there is no issue of extraordinary importance for the country to be led to the ballot box," the ND Secretary added.
"It is apparent that elections will not be held in June. Everyone is aware of this, even (main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement leader) George Papandreou, who is afraid of them and who unfortunately instead of changing PASOK, managed to change himself," Zagoritis told the ONNED meeting.
 KKE leader Papariga refers to next general electionsCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga wrote an extensive article in Sunday's edition of "Rizospastis" newspaper in which she said that the strategy of the two major parties, the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) was the cause of the problems of the working class, the self-employed, poor farmers and the overwhelming majority of youth and women.
"A criterion to vote should be the awareness that the daily problems faced by the working class, the self-employed, poor farmers and the overwhelming majority of youth and women derive from the strategy of the two major parties, of the ND and of PASOK," Papariga wrote.
Referring to the next general elections, she said that the elections "are not determined by the ethos and the style or the kind of managing (of the system)," noting that "if the general line is not condemned, if no rift is created in the bi-partisan alternative, then valuable time is lost for the movement to be able to place obstacles to the new anti-popular measures which will be implemented."
Referring to the tactics followed by the ND and PASOK, she said, "the quarrel between them is not 'rigged', it is real. It expresses the acute antagonism between the ND and PASOK as to who will be the driver and who will be the co-driver. It is dangerous, because it disorientates, incorporates and eventually corrupts and buys out conscience."
 Event in memory of Black Sea Hellenism GenocideThe victims of the Black Sea Hellenism Genocide, 88 years ago, were honoured by the Pampontian Federation of Greece (POE) and the issue was raised of the Genocide's recognition by international organisations and Turkey, during an event held in Agia Sofia Square in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Saturday night, where the Genocide Memorial has been built.
Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Kalantzis said that Genocide is a crime that is never written off, underlining that Greece will not allow anyone to falsify history and adding that the government is supporting efforts being made by Black Sea Greeks' organisation to have the Genocide recognised by international organisations.
The demonstrators organised a protest march to the Turkish consulate at the end of the event.
An event in memory of the genocide of Pontian Greeks, who had for centuries inhabited the shores of the Black Sea, was held in Thessaloniki on Saturday. The date of May 19 has been established as a day of memory for the Pontian genocide by Turkey.
The central speaker was indepedent MP Stelios Papathemelis, who also leads his recently revivied "Dimokratiki Anagennisi" party.
Calling genocide "the crime of crimes", he said that the killings and finally the uprooting of those that survived in Pontus, Asia Minor and Thrace were "one of the most horrific images in world history".
He also accused Ankara of continuing to trample on the human and religious rights of the Greek minority in Turkey and of violating Greece's borders on a daily basis.
 Magginas emphasises role of SMEs at European conferenceEmployment Minister Vassilis Magginas stressed on Saturday that his ministry placed great emphasis on the development and future of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Europe. He was addressing a European conference on the role of SMEs in the 21st century that began at a hotel in the Attica resort of Kavouri on Friday, under the auspices of the employment ministry.
According to the minister, this was a key direction in the Human Resources Development Programme for 2007-2013.
Apart from action by the state, however, the minister noted that there also had to be mobilisation by the social partners and he urged them to make a more substantial contribution to creating new jobs and the country's economic growth, which would in turn lead to more employment and social cohesion.
Magginas underlined the importance of life-long learning, knowledge and innovation for increasing productivity and said that government policy was focusing its strategic action in this direction in order to "also change the behaviour of business people toward that of an innovative economy that is based on human capital".
 Foreign Exchange Rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.358
Pound sterling 0.689
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 9.292
Japanese yen 164.3
Swiss franc 1.666
Norwegian kroner 8.240
Cyprus pound 0.587
Canadian dollar 1.488
Australian dollar 1.653
 Man dies after being shot by brother over financial differencesPolice are currently looking for a man who has disappeared on Saturday after shooting his brother - who later died in hospital - over financial differences. The tragic incident occurred at around noon in a workshop operated by the two brothers in the west Athens district of Aigaleo.
The argument ended when one of the owners shot his 63-year-old brother right through the left leg. The injured man was taken to the Nikaia State General hospital, where he died.
Police have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death, because the man also suffered from a heart condition.
Immediately after the shooting, the man got into his car and has not been seen since. Police have launched a manhunt to locate and arrest him, while an investigation is being carried out by West Attica police.
 Eggonopoulos exhibition begins in ThessalonikiAn exhibition on the work of poet and artist Nikos Eggonopoulos has opened at the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki and will run until July 29.
The exhibition entitled "Place-Eggonopoulos" was inaugurated on Friday by Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis to coincide with World Museum Day and is being jointly organised with the National Book Centre as part of a programme for the centennial since the artist's birth in 1907.
In part it explores the generational leap that brought surrealism to modern Greek art.
It will be open daily, except on Mondays, while entry will be free of charge until Sunday to mark World Museum Day.
 Events held marking Battle of CreteEvents were held in Crete over the weekend marking the 66th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.
A service was held at the Allied cemetery in Souda, Hania, organised by the British Embassy in Athens.
Present at the service was British Ambassador Simon Gass, veterans of the Battle of Crete and local officials.
An exhibition of new stamps was also inaugurated at the port of Hania. On show at the exhibition were also older series of stamps on the Battle of Crete, which were issued in 1947 and 1991.
"Through philately history travels all over the world," Hania Prefect Grigoris Arhontakis said.
The events will continue on Monday at the Keriti Monument, while an exhibition by Hania artists will be inaugurated on the theme "Battle of Crete - Memories".
 Nationwide university entrance exams begin in GreeceThe nationwide university entrance exams, or 'Panellinies', began in Greece on Saturday morning when highschool students sat their first paper in modern Greek. According to the education ministry, everything went smoothly and all the exam papers arrived on time.
Deputy Education Minister Spiros Taliadouros visited a lyceum in Paleo Psychiko and wished the students good luck in their exams, while Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou sent a message wishing all the students good luck from London.
 Ticket tout caught selling Champions League tickets for 7,000 eurosA 27-year-old man has been arrested by Thessaloniki police after he attempted to resell two tickets to the Champions League final on the black market for 7,000 euros.
The man tried to find a buyer for the tickets, each originally bought for just 140 euros, by posting a small add on the Internet 10 days earlier, in which he at first asked for 9,000 euros.
A police officer posing as a buyer contacted the man - who works as a highschool teacher - and after an exchange of e-mails bargained him down to 7,000 euros. When he came to collect the marked notes left by the officer, however, he was arrested by Thessaloniki police.
 Teenage girls arrested on drug-dealing chargeTwo teenage girls were arrested in Thessaloniki on charges of drug-dealing and possession, police in Giannitsa announced on Saturday.
They said an officer had approached the two girls, aged 17 and 15, and posed as a buyer after receiving information that they were supplying narcotics to drug users in the Giannitsa region in Pella. He arrested the two girls during the transaction.
 Foreigner arrested for failing to pull over for traffic policeA 41-year-old foreign national was arrested by traffic police in the city of Drama, northern Greece when he failed to pull over in response to a traffic policeman's signal.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday morning, when the man ignored repeated signals, including sirens and flashing lights on a patrol car, and started to drive away at speed.
A high-speed police pursuit ensued, during which the driver violated speed limits, red lights and stop signs before he was caught and made to undergo a blood alcohol test. He was found to be over the limit and also lacked a driving licence
The man was placed under arrest and led before a Drama Misdemeanours Court Public Prosecutor.
 Rain on MondayRainy and stormy weather is forecast in most parts of Greece on Monday. Winds westerly, northwesterly, moderate.
Rain in Athens, with temperatures ranging between 15C and 25C. Same in Thessaloniki and temperatures ranging from 13C to 23C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Panic diary by Ioanna"
APOGEVMATINI: "Good start for University and Technical Institute candidates"
AVGHI: "Programmes in shade. ND and PASOK choose savage polarisation"
AVRIANI: "Bomb in major road projects by 'blue' contractors at odds with George Souflias"
CHORA: "Buyout of state-owned land"
ELEFTHERI ORA: "PASOK carried out...training in Tae Kwon Do"
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Civil war among commission recipients"
EPOCHI: "The 'milk villages' give struggle on beaches"
ETHNOS: "Five-party Parliament nightmare for (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis"
KATHIMERINI: "High voltage interests"
NIKI: "Course towards victory"
PROTO THEMA: "Prosecutor for Romylos and son"
RIZOSPASTIS: "Cultural Centre 'Library-Harilaos Florakis archives' ready"
VIMA: "This is the ring. JP Morgan 'burning' ministry"
VRADYNI: "Pensions:new arrangements favouring women"
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