|Monday, 27 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-05-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 29 May 2007 Issue No: 2604
 Karamanlis wraps up tour of Australia, New Zealand, VietnamPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived back in Athens late Sunday evening after completing a 10-day tour that took him to New Zealand, Australia and, finally, Vietnam. During the trip, the Greek prime minister held numerous meetings with local Greek expatriate organisations, including large rallies in Australia attended by thousands of Greek-Australians, and held talks with the political leadership of each country.
Among the most important results of the trip was the signature of a bilateral agreement settling pensions and social insurance issues with Australia.
While in Hanoi during the last leg of his tour on Sunday, the first-ever state visit by a Greek premier to Vietnam, Karamanlis invited his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung to pay an official visit to Greece.
The Greek prime minister, accompanied by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, arrived in Hanoi on Saturday evening.
Karamanlis, speaking to reporters after a meeting with Dung in Hanoi, stressed that Vietnam, with its rapidly developing economy and active participation in international organisations, has become a new addition as a trade partner of Greece.
During the meeting, a tourism cooperation agreement between the two countries was signed, with Kassimis signing on behalf of Greece.
Karamanlis said talks covered a broad range of bilateral relations, noting that cooperation between the two countries was good and that they aspired to strengthen their cooperation in the economic and commercial sectors, while agreeing to give mutual support and cooperation in international organisations.
Greece has agreed to back Vietnam's candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in the period 2008-2009. Vietnam had backed Greece's successful candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council, on which it served in the period 2005-2006.
Dung, in turn, accepted Karamanlis' invitation, adding that he aspired to further reinforce relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries on a permanent basis, stressing that the Greek prime minister's visit "will bring a new era in our bilateral relations".
The Vietnamese prime minister further noted that Karamanlis backed economic reforms being advanced in Vietnam, adding that negotiations were currently underway for two more cooperation accords between the two countries in the sectors of the economy and avoidance of double taxation.
Both prime ministers noted that bilateral cooperation could be further expanded to the sectors of shipping and technology, in addition to the sectors of tourism and commerce.
In 2006, the trade balance between Greece and Vietnam was 84 million US dollars, with the target to reach 100 million dollars, Dung said, adding that Vietnam was acknowledged by many countries as a market economy, and stressing that, as a new member of the World Health Organisation (WHO), it would live up to its obligations.
Karamanlis said relations at political level were very good, adding that these relations should also be reflected in the sector of economic cooperation.
Earlier, Karamanlis laid a wreath at the Monument to Heroes and Martyrs, and another wreath at the Ho Chi Ming Mausoleum.
After their talks and joint press conference, Dung hosted an official luncheon for Karamanlis, who later also met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet.
The Greek prime minister departed Vietnam on Sunday afternoon (local time), and is expected to arrive back in Athens shortly before midnight Sunday (Greek time).
 PM Karamanlis concludes Australia tour with visit to DarwinDARWIN, Australia (ANA-MPA/A. Panagopoulos)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis concluded a six-day official tour of Australia on Saturday with a visit to Darwin where he met with Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin.
Darwin has a Greek community of 10,000, of which about 70 per cent originate from the Greek island of Kalymnos.
Karamanlis, who received a warm welcome by the Greek community, said in a brief speech that "my visit in this city marks the end of a very successful visit to Australia, during which we had the opportunity to reconfirm the historical bonds between the two countries, to further develop bilateral relations and meet with the Greek-Australian communities."
Karamanlis thanked Australia's Hellenism, stating that "I want to confirm that upon my departure, I feel even more proud and more optimistic about the Greeks everywhere." He described as "very important" the Greek community's contribution "to the economic, social and political life in Australia's Northern Territory."
The Greek prime minister reminded that the first Greeks from Kalymnos and Kastelorizo arrived in Darwin in the early 20th Century, saying that in the early 21st Century, distinguished Greek-Australians served in senior political posts, including in the position of governor and ministers in local government.
"All these factors honor Greece in the great and friendly country which hosts you and makes us proud of all of you. It's particularly important that the bonds between modern Greece and the northern regions of Australia are being strengthened from generation to generation. The fact that Kalymnos had been twinned with Darwin since 1982 has symbolic but also practical importance. It's a firm basis of friendship and cooperation, which is continuously strengthened," Karamanlis concluded in his address.
Martin later hosted a reception in honor of Karamanlis.
 'Islam does not identify itself with terrorism', Greek PM saysMELBOURNE, Australia (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis gave an interview to Melbourne's newspaper "The Age", the offices of which he visited on Friday.
"The Greek prime minister supported the demand of Muslim Turkey to accede to the European Union and endorsed the compatibility of Islam with the European values," the newspaper wrote in its Saturday edition.
"Mr. Karamanlis said that he himself has no doubt that Islamic faith is not identified with terrorism and cannot touch moderate people who support democratic processes and values," the newspaper said.
"The Age" added that Karamanlis said, "I have many Muslim friends, in many countries, who are law-abiding citizens with a democratic orientation and who are extremely moderate."
In another point of the interview, Karamanlis, commenting on terrorism, said that it must be dealt a blow "but we must also reach and eradicate the causes which fuel it."
 PASOK leader addresses 7th Annual World Meeting of NGOs in GlasgowGLASGOW, United Kingdom (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)
Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papapandreou addressed the 7th Annual World Meeting of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Glasgow, United Kingdom, late Friday night, on the theme "The relations of the society of citizens with political parties - Allies or Opponents?"
The address by the PASOK leader and SI president was a continuation of previous moves by SI aimed at the development of relations with democratic political forces.
Within this context, Papandreou had taken part in the founding congress of Italy's Democratic Party, while already, SI's relations with India's Congress Party and the USA's Democratic Party have been promoted to a significant degree.
In his speech, Papandreou said that the present government in the United States of America "undermines democracy with the manner with which the Soviet Union in the past undermined socialism."
"Cooperation by political parties and political organisations with non-governmental organisations is necessary for changes to be advanced in the world. Together, we can change the world," the PASOK leader and SI president also stressed.
He also referred to his experience as foreign minister and to the example of cooperation between Greek and Turkish NGOs "which acted as a catalyst in the improvement of the two countries' relations."
He added that "a similar example also exists in the Middle East where women's non-governmental organisations cooperate with corresponding Palestinian ones, while similar cooperation has also started in the Balkans."
 Arab envoys to hold reception in honor of Papandreou on TuesdayMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday morning will chair a meeting of his party's Parliamentary Council.
According to a PASOK press release on Monday -- a state holiday in Greece -- Papandreou, also in his capacity as Socialist International (SI) president, will attend a luncheon early Tuesday afternoon in his honor hosted by the ambassadors and heads of accredited Arab diplomatic missions in Greece.
The event will be held at the residence of the ambassador of Syria to Greece, the doyen of Arab envoys in Athens.
 Senior foreign ministry official to attend ASEM dialogue in HamburgForeign Ministry European Affairs Secretary General Dimitrios K. Katsoudas will represent Greece at the 8th Ministerial Meeting of Europe-Asia Dialogue of ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting), which will be held in Hamburg from May 28-29.
According to a Foreign Ministry press release on Saturday, taking part in the meeting will be the European Union's 27 member-countries, the European Commission, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Javier Solana, the ten member-countries of ASEAN, as well as China, Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan and Mongolia.
The Europe-Asia dialogue of ASEM offers the framework of an open forum at which will be discussed political, economic and social issues of mutual interest. The states which participate in the Organisation represent 60 per cent of the world population.
 PM to chair Inner Cabinet meeting on TuesdayPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis will chair an Inner Cabinet meeting at his Maximos Mansion office on Tuesday morning expected tol deal with issues related to the economy and finance ministry.
Karamanlis will later receive Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko in the presence of Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas.
 Opinion poll: 81 pct against 'Macedonia' in FYROM nameAn overwhelming majority of 81 percent of respondents were opposed to any name for FYROM containing the term "Macedonia", according to an opinion poll by the MRB polling company conducted on behalf of Alpha private radio and television station, the results of which appeared in the Sunday newspaper TO PARON.
Conversely, only 15.1 percent of the respondents believed that Greece should accept a name for FYROM containing the term "Macedonia".
The same newspaper also published the results of an opinion poll by RASS, conducted between May 21-25 on a sampling of 1,501 people, in which 55.5 percent of the respondents were in favour of a cooperation government, while 40.9 percent believed the government should comprise only one party.
Also, 47.5 percent of the respondents in the RASS poll believed that a new political party must be created, while the majority 50.9 percent opposed the establishment of a new par;ty.
Of those who were in favour of a new party, 31.5 percent believed that the party should be created in the Centre-Left area of the political spectrum, 17.7 percent in the Centre-Right, 14.8 percent in the Centre , 13.5 percent in the Left , and 8.2 percent in the Right.
 Ecumenical Patriarch on forthcoming elections in TurkeyISTANBUL (ANA-MPA)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Monday appeared optimistic that general elections in Turkey on July 22 "will lead to a solution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's problems."
"We hope and pray that after the formation of a new government in Ankara there will be spectacular and radical changes in this direction," the Patriarch said after officiating at a service at the Aghia Triada (Holy Trinity) Cathedral here on the occasion of the Holy Trinity feast day.
Addressing pilgrims from Greece, members of Istanbul's dwindling ethnic Greek community and to Euro-MPs of the Greens Party visiting Turkey, the Patriarch stressed that "we are not asking anything more than the self-evident, the ease and full freedom to exercise our religious duties.
"We want there to be complete freedom in our lives for our minority rights, as is happening with our Muslim brothers in Germany and in other European countries where they are continuously building new mosques without any restriction whatsoever, participating in local government and are elected deputies in the corresponding (European countries') parliaments," Vartholomeos said.
 Education minister at event commemorating Battle of CreteEducation Minister Marietta Yiannakou represented the government at an event held to commemmorate the Battle of Crete during World War II at the Nea Kydonia municipality on the island of Crete.
During the event on Sunday, which ended events marking the Battle of Crete for this year, Yiannakou stressed that there was "no shortage of historic memory" in Greece, where it was perhaps strongest than in any other country in Europe, and emphasised the importance of the Battle of Crete for the final outcome of World War II.
 DM nostalgic for previous post of ND secretaryNational defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis expressed his desire to return to his previous post, that of secretary of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party, in an interview with Eleftherotypia daily appearing in the newspaper's Sunday edition.
"Who wouldn't want to be" a candidate (for the post), "despite the fact tht we have many things in the workings at the defence ministry", Meimarakis said, adding that: "The central committee (party) secretary must be the selection of the party president and enjoy the confidence of the majority of the Central Committee, so as to be able to cooperate effectively with it. Consequently, I believe that we will all abide by whatever desire the party leader expresses on this issue".
He further added his conviction that no party official would deny such an offer if ND leader and prime minister Costas Karamanlis extended one to him, but stressed that "there is no such issue at this time".
 Justice minister at ND youth party conferenceJustice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras was the main speaker at an event organised by the ruling New Democracy's youth party ONNED in Kiato on Monday.
Billed as a "pre-conference" in preparation for the ONNED 7th regular conference taking place in Kammena Vourla on June 8, the event focused on "Transparency in Justice" and ways to promote local youth councils.
A brief address to the event was also made by ND Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis.
In his speech, Papaligouras noted that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was the youngest premier elected in Greece since democracy was restored after the fall of the junta in 1974, and therefore more sensitive to the concerns and problems of young people.
He also stressed that when the government had taken over in March 2004, the country's finances and economy had been in a shambles, while corruption had been rife in all areas and every level of public life.
"We found ourselves up against corruption from the first moment, an enemy that we are continuing to fight relentlessly, uncompromisingly, daily and without any 'reductions' because it is the first priority for your future also," he said.
According to the minister, corruption had become so pervasive that it had even come to govern human relations, since the mechanisms of social censure had ceased to operate. He also underlined that the government intended to combat corruption through the law and would not show leniency, regardless of party allegiances.
 Development minister to meet Russian industry, energy ministerDevelopment Minister Dimitris Sioufas will meet with Russian Industry and Energy Minister Victor Khristenko in Athens on Tuesday to discuss the two countries' relations in energy and industrial sectors.
Sioufas and Khristenko, along with their Bulgarian counterpart Asen Gagauzov, are the signatories to a March 2007 inter-state agreement for the construction, management and operation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.
The agreement has already been ratified by the Greek Parliament and the Russian Duma.
A development ministry press release on Monday reminded that the procedure for ratification by the Bulgarian Parliament is in its final stage and is expected to be concluded in the coming days.
 Meeting on Greece-Albania cooperation in agricultureA meeting for the further development of cooperation between Greece and Albania in the agricultural sector was held in Kastoria, northern Greece, on Saturday, organised by Kastoria Prefecture, the Office of the European Parliament in Greece, the Region of Western Macedonia and Mesopotamia Municipality.
Particular emphasis was given to the prospects of cooperation in the sector of alternative cultivations (such as aromatic plants and tea) and stockbreeding.
Ruling New Democracy (ND) party Eurodeputy Ioannis Glavakis referred to "the enormous prospects of cooperation between the two countries in the agricultural sector," giving as an example the production of apples and beans.
 Six hikers dead, two missing after being swept away by torrent on Lousios RiverAt least six hikers were killed and two were still missing on Sunday evening after a group of 18 hikers were swept away by a torrent on the Lousios River in Arcadia prefecture the previous evening, according to rescuers. Earlier reports that one of the two missing hikers had been spotted and help was on the way could not be corroborated by authorities.
According to officials, a group of 18 hikers from Athens, after visiting the nearby towns of Dimitsana and Stemnitsa, set off for a walk along the riverbed and an ascent of a waterfall, and were swept away by a torrent of water and mud due to rainfall a little while earlier as they attempted to cross the river.
Searchers, who continued non-stop throughout the night, have so far recovered six bodies and rescued another 10 hikers, while two were still missing.
The bodies have been taken to Pan-Arcadian Hospital in Tripolis for identification by relatives. The survivors were also taken to the hospital, where they were given first aid treatment, while three were hospitalised overnight for precautionary reasons.
The fire brigades and police forces of Tripolis, Megalopolis and Vytina immediately mounted an extensive search and rescue operation by land and air to locate the hikers after the torrent on Saturday afternoon, while EMAK emergency rescue teams rushed to the area from Athens and Patras, aided by four Super Puma all-weather helicopters. Teams of army commandos (LOK) as well as volunteer organisations from all over the Peloponese and other parts of the country also rushed to the area to join the operation.
Civil Protection secretary general Panayiotis Fourlas also arrived on the spot on Friday evening to coordinate the efforts, accompanied by Fire Brigade inspector for southern Greece K. Kakos and brigade deputy chief Fotis Papas.
Police psychologists were also at the scene to provide support to the relatives of the victims.
The Tripolis Security police were also questioning the owner of the agency that organised the ill-fated excursion, while the Tripolis prosecutor has ordered a preliminary investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in a press statement, expressed its deep grief for the loss of lives in the Lousios incident.
It also demanded an investigation into whether the company that organised such excursions and extreme sports in the region had ensured and abided by the elementary rules for the safety of the participants.
Two arrested over accident
Police on Monday announced that two people have been arrested and charged over the tragic trekking accident that cost the lives of at least six hikers on the swollen Lousios River.
By order of a Tripolis, southern Greece, public prosecutor, police arrested the co-owners of the excursion firm "K. Christopoulos-L. Moraitis, Special Tourism" -- based in Karytaina, Arcadia prefecture in the central Peloponnese -- which organised the ill-fated trekking holiday that cost the life of six people. One of the two owners of the company had been the guide for the unfortunate hiking excursion.
The two were charged with multiple counts of manslaughter and causing bodily harm through negligence.
 Italian hiker rescued from Vikos GorgeA 65-year-old Italian-Belgian man that fell down a 20-metre drop into the Vikos Gorge while hiking with a friend was delivered to doctors at Ioannina Hospital injured but still conscious early on Monday morning, roughly 12 hours after his fall.
Search and rescue teams led by the 5th EMAK emergency rescue unit from Ioannina had succeeded in pulling the man up after after rescue workers had laboured for roughly nine hours to find and retrieve him.
Sixteen people had climbed down into the gorge in order to retrieve him, then carried him up in a stretcher via inaccessible and treacherous paths to the village Vikos, where an ambulance was waiting to take him to hospital. The man had fallen at around noon and arrived in Vikos at around 23:00.
During his fall, the Italian had injured his head, legs and ribs but was still conscious on his arrival in the village, where he thanked all those that had taken part in the rescue operation.
The two Italians had set off at around 8:00 on Sunday from Monodendri to cross the Vikos Gorge and were experienced mountain hikers. At some point, however, they lost their orientation and found themselves on an extremely narrow path, where the victim slipped and fell from a height of some 20 metres.
His friends calls for help were heard by two doctors from Thessaloniki that were also hiking in the area, who arrived and gave the fallen man first aid, as well as calling the authorities to mount a rescue operation.
 Search and rescue mounted for missing illegal immigrantA rescue operation was mounted in Igoumenitsa, northwestern Greece on Monday in order to find a 20-year-old Albanian illegal immigrant who was swept away while trying to cross the Kalamas River.
Participating in the search is the 5th EMAK emergency rescue unit from Ioannina, the Igoumenitsa fire department and local police.
The 20-year-old man was with a group of seven illegal immigrants from Albania that tried to cross the river and illegally enter Greece late on Sunday night. On reaching the other bank, his companions discovered that he was no longer with them.
They informed the police at Sagiada in Thesprotia, who launched a search that the EMAK rescue unit joined on Monday morning.
So far, no trace of the missing young man has been found. Police are considering a number of possibilities, including that the man may have been swept away to inaccessible regions and come to shore at another point along the river, far from where his companions got out, or even that he might have returned to the Albanian side of the border.
 New rescue squad unit operates in KomotiniPublic Order Minister Vyron Polydoras inaugurated the operation of the 4th Special Unit for the Confrontation of Disasters (E.M.A.K.) at the 5th kilometer of the Komotini-Xanthi National Highway, in Komotini, northern Greece, on Saturday.
According to a Public Order Ministry press release, present at the ceremony of the new emergency and rescue squad unit were, among others, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, Xanthi deputy Filippos Tsalidis, Kavala deputy Dimitrios Christofiloyiannis, Rodopi deputy Chrysa Manolia, Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Secretary General Michalis Angelopoulos, Komotini Mayor Dimitrios Kostakis, Fire-brigade Chief Lieutenant-General Andreas Kois and senior officers of the Armed Forces and of the Security Corps.
 Athens Metro line extended from Monastiraki to EgaleoThe operation of the extension of line 3 of the Athens Metro from Monastiraki to Egaleo began at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Until Monday, passengers will not pay a ticket.
The Egaleo-Syntagma route will be covered in 7.5 minutes and it is estimated that it will serve 80,000 passengers daily.
The Monastiraki-Egaleo line was inaugurated on Thursday by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias who stressed that the line must start operating immediately, something which occurred, given that all the test runs were completed successfully.
 Tourists from Serbia, Bulgaria, FYROM flock to northern GreeceA great number of tourists from Serbia, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have flocked to northern Greece these past few days, crossing into Greece with coaches and private cars.
They took advantage of the three-day vacation period leading to the Holy Spirit religious holiday on Monday, May 28.
The main bulk of the tourists headed to the shores of Pieria and Halkidiki.
A senior customs officer at the Serres border post told the ANA-MPA on Saturday said that over the past two days, tourist arrivals from Bulgaria increased by more than 60 per cent compared to the previous weekend, while on Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., sixty coaches with visitors from Serbia and FYROM passed from the Evzones customs post.
 SAE president addresses Greek federations of Europe eventWorld Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) president Stefanos Tamvakis addressed a meeting of the Greek Federations of Europe, held in Paris from May 26-27.
He urged the federations "to utiliķe the strength of SAE so as to put forward their requests to the Greek state and for them to be implemented, given that the new law strengthens the role of the world organization and its effort to express the basis of Overseas Hellenism."
The two-day event was organized with the support of the Greek foreign ministry's general secretariat for overseas Hellenism.
 Three arrested on counterfeit money chargesThree people have been arrested in Thessaloniki for posession of counterfeit euro bills, police said on Sunday.
They said a young man was arrested by police after forged 500-euro and 200-euro bills were found in his posession.
During questioning, the man said he had procured the counterfeit bills from two 40-year-old men at a Thessaloniki nightclub, who were tracked down and also arrested.
The three detainees will be brought before a public prosecutor.
 Unidentified individuals toss hand-grenade at Athens suburb houseUnidentified individuals threw a hand-grenade at a house in Athens' coastal suburb of Glyfada at 2 a.m. on Saturday.
The explosion caused material damage to the exterior of the house as well as to a private car which was parked at the pavement.
The house, located at Ifigenia Street, belongs to a 65-year-old man.
Police attribute the attack to personal differences.
 People trafficking ring broken upPolice in Kilkis, northern Greece, have broken up a ring that smuggled illegal immigrants into Greece, arresting five people traffickers and detaining 13 illegal immigrants in the agricultural region of Pontoiraklias.
Border guards at the Polykastro border crossing on Saturday arrested four Georgian and Russian citizens, all of Greek descent, who were transporting 13 illegal immigrants they had smuggled into the country in a truck, as well as the Albanian driver of the truck.
The illegal immigrants had paid 1,500 euros each to be transported to Thessaloniki.
During the process of the investigation, two private cars and the truck were seized, as well as six mobile phones.
 Cars, shops damaged by hooded youths in ExarhiaTwo cars, two shop windows and two dumpsters were damaged by some 20 hooded youths at around 2:00 in the morning in the Athens district of Exarhia on Monday.
Police said the culprits were on their way back from a concert at Exarhia Square.
 National Bank branch in Athens attacked with explosivesUnidentified individuals placed an explosive device comprised of gas canisters outside a branch of the National Bank of Greece at the junction of Spyrou-Patsi and Serron Streets at the Athens suburb of Peristeri at 11 p..m. on Friday night.
The explosion caused material damage to the exterior of the bank.
 Mostly cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather with some scattered showers are forecast in most parts of Greece on Tuesday. Temperatures will range from 12C to 28C. Winds southwesterly, light to moderate.
Sunny in Athens, with temperatures ranging between 15C and 28C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki and temperatures ranging from 14C to 27C.
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