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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-07-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 13 July 2009 Issue No: 3243


  • [01] President Papoulias calls on FYROM: Abandon irredentism
  • [02] PM Karamanlis in Madrid on Monday
  • [03] Papandreou addresses 12th Symi Symposium
  • [04] Papandreou: five priorities for the economy
  • [05] SYN's Tsipras addresses Central Committee, urges end to introspection
  • [06] SYN CPC approves Tsipras proposals
  • [07] Australian Liberal Party official due in Athens
  • [08] Opinion poll
  • [09] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [10] President at Dion event honouring Pandermalis
  • [11] Court blocks demolition of buildings near New Acropolis Museum
  • [12] Police operation in makeshift migrants' camp in Patras port
  • [13] Arrests of people traffickers, illegal migrants
  • [14] Investigation ordered into alleged bribe of prison guard by inmate
  • [15] Gunman attacks police guarding PASOK offices
  • [16] Police catch ring for credit-card, extortion scams
  • [17] Three injured in drive-by shooting at Omonia
  • [18] Memorial for victims of Turkish invasion held in Thessaloniki
  • [19] Coast guard intercepts illegal migrants at sea
  • [20] Bomb set outside former minister's home
  • [21] OSE work stoppages on Monday
  • [22] Greek U-19 team takes the silver
  • [23] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

  • [01] President Papoulias calls on FYROM: Abandon irredentism

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias called on the FYROM leadership to abandon its "irredentist visions" and the "looting of Greece's historical and ethnic legacy" and to accept a "mutually acceptable solution on the name issue that will respect history", in a greeting he addressed at the closing ceremony on Saturday night of the 10th International Convention of Macedonian Associations and the 63rd Convention of the Pan-Macedonian Association of the United States, held at the Alexander the Great International Memorial Foundation in Litochoro, Pieria prefecture.

    Papoulias called on the FYROM leadership to 'finally manifest the necessary political volition" and to take part in the negotiations "with the required constructive spirit, without and ethnicist practices, to the benefit of the prosperity and progress of its citizens".

    The President thanked the overseas Macedonians for the "strength and determination with which you defend not only the cause of Macedonia but also all the causes of our country", adding that "all you overseas Macedonians, and all the overseas Greeks, have actively proven your faith in Greece and in the power of Hellenism".

    "We all share a common vision for our country's future and the future of the Balkans" for peace, prosperity, economic growth and cooperation in the framework of the United Europe," he added.

    [02] PM Karamanlis in Madrid on Monday

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis will be in Madrid on Monday, for talks with his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the leader of Spain's opposition Popular Party, Mariano Rajoy.

    The premier will return to Athens later in the afternoon on the same day.

    Karamanlis is also due to visit Rome on Wednesday.

    [03] Papandreou addresses 12th Symi Symposium

    Greek men and women were currently experiencing a major national crisis, main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou stressed on Sunday as he opened the 12th Symi Symposium taking place on the Aegean island of Skiathos.

    According to Papandreou, this crisis was economic, a crisis of institutions and values but also a crisis in major foreign policy issues concerning Greece.

    Greek society was going through a time of great insecurity that the government appeared unable to cope with, since it lacked a plan and the necessary will and courage, he added.

    Concerning the latest revelations concerning organised crime, Papandreou said that the developments were "surprising" and referred to an increase in corruption and crime to levels that had created a massive crisis for society.

    PASOK's leader attributed the problems to the concentration of wealth in the hands of a very few people that also controlled the mass media.

    He stressed that PASOK was ready to make radical changes, while not losing sight of its responsibilities.

    Papandreou noted that the Symi Symposium provided an opportunity for discussion with people that had knowledge of similar problems and wanted to assist PASOK's effort to bring about a change in course. He ended by saying that in PASOK "we know and are ready to change course".

    [04] Papandreou: five priorities for the economy

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Saturday outlined his party's five priorities and planned measures for the economy, in an article printed by the Greek newspaper "Kosmos tou Ependyti".

    Papandreou accused the government of being responsible for the current dire economic straits and fiscal irregularity in Greece, saying it had adopted measures that were wrong and ineffective. He stressed the need for "political will" to back a political and economic cleansing of Greece and cited five priorities for achieving these targets.

    The top priority, according to PASOK's leader, was to launch a plan for an immediate reorganisation of the economy, providing liquidity to the market and increasing public investment, with emphasis on green development and a more competitive economy.

    Next he called for the support of employment and ways to reduce unemployment through measures to subsidise employment, protect labour rights and support the unemployed.

    Other priorities listed by Papandreou was a fair redistribution of the tax burden, including a replacement for the uniform property tax ETAK, a proper management of public wealth marked by transparency, accountability and drastic reduction of wasteful spending, as well as a framework for supervising markets that would break cartels and combat high prices.

    [05] SYN's Tsipras addresses Central Committee, urges end to introspection

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras addressed a meeting of SYN's Central Political Committee on Saturday, which met to assess the results of the European Parliament elections and prepare the party's plans for the coming period. During this he urged an end to introspection and said that SYN should convene a conference in the middle of September to prepare for elections.

    "The Central Committee of the party is convening after a period of intense activity. It is clear that we are up against serious problems. Problems that we are obliged to overcome through solutions that synthesise viewpoints," he stressed.

    Tsipras underlined that the role of the Left was not to focus on itself but to provide a "shield of social solidarity" for the weaker members of society against problems that were continuing to get worse, irrespective of whether SYN resolved its internal problems or not.

    He also warned that the government, backed by main opposition PASOK, was planning new and even tougher policies that sought to pass the cost of the economic crisis onto working people by cutting back on their labour and social insurance rights and reduce welfare spending, while giving employers and big capital a free hand to exploit their workforce.

    He accepted a share of responsibility for the leadership crisis in the party after the poor election result, promising that he would refrain in the future from fuelling such confrontations and seek to overcome problems in a democratic way, through compromise and consensus.

    He also ruled out a merging with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) alliance representing the party in Parliament or SYRIZA's conversion into a single party, while stressing that a strong SYN meant a strong SYRIZA.

    [06] SYN CPC approves Tsipras proposals

    The Central Political Committee of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party on Sunday approved a proposal by SYN leader Alexis Tsipras to hold a Standing Congress in mid-September. This is to work on SYN's proposal to the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) alliance for a pre-election platform for the upcoming general elections, as well as discussing the re-election of the party's political secretariat.

    An announcement issued shortly after a two-day meeting of the CPC said the body had by a large majority approved a text assessing the results of the European Parliament elections, SYN's policy platform and the party's envisaged course in the run-up to the general elections.

    It also elected Dimitris Vitsas as the new SYN Central Political Committee Secretary by 83 votes for and 31 blank votes.

    [07] Australian Liberal Party official due in Athens

    Ted Baillieu, the Australian Liberal Party's opposition leader in the state of Victoria, will visit Athens this week.

    Baillieu, who is accompanied by Liberal Party Greek-Australian MP and shadow minister Nick Kotsiras, will meet with representatives of the Greek government and political parties.

    [08] Opinion poll

    Main opposition PASOK was leading by 5.3 percentage points over ruling New Democracy, while respondents appeared split on whether early general elections should be called, according to an opinion poll conducted by MARC, the results of which appeared in the Sunday edition of Ethnos newspaper.

    More specifically, with respect to voter intent, 34.5 percent of the respondents said they would vote for PASOK if elections were held the following Sunday, against 29.2 percent for ND, 7.1 percent for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 3.6 percent for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance), 5.8 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and 3.0 percent for the Ecologists-Greens, while the invalid/undecided vote exceeded 15 percent.

    Asked whether early general elections sould be called, 40.8 percent of the respondents said elections should be held immediately or in the autumn, whereas 39.4 percent wanted elections at the end of the ND government's current four-year term, while 15.7 percent opted for March when parliament was due to vote for a new President of the Republic.

    Financial News

    [09] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.401

    Pound sterling 0.864

    Danish kroner 7.506

    Swedish kroner 11.090

    Japanese yen 129.24

    Swiss franc 1.526

    Norwegian kroner 9.156

    Canadian dollar 1.634

    Australian dollar 1.808

    General News

    [10] President at Dion event honouring Pandermalis

    An event honouring the Professor Dimitrios Pandermalis, the archaeologist who unearthed some of the most important ancient finds of the past 40 years and the curator of the New Acropolis Museum, was held in the Dion Archaeological Park in Pieria on Saturday, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    The finds made by Professor Pandermalis and his team in the area were instrumental in turning an unknown and predominately agricultural region into a site of major archaeological importance and historical research, which accompanying benefits for the local inhabitants.

    In recognition for his contribution, the Dion Municipality issued an album about Pandermalis entitled "Dion 1970-2009: The Place and People".

    Pandermalis noted that Dion was a 'magical place' since antiquity, that was full of archaeological 'treasures'.

    [11] Court blocks demolition of buildings near New Acropolis Museum

    Demolition orders for two listed buildings at numbers 17 and 19 on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street in Athens, near the New Acropolis Museum, have been cancelled by the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court. This accepted a petition by local residents that the two buildings remain standing and found that a culture ministry decision to remove them from a list of cultural heritage monuments was not legally sound.

    The building at Dionysiou Areopagitou 17 was a noted 1930s example of Art Deco that has been protected by a preservation order since 1978 and as a work of art since 1988. That at number 19 is a prime example of the neoclassical architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Greece. The management of the museum had asked for their demolition because they border on the museum and partially obstruct the view from the museum to the Acropolis.

    A petition by the Civil Society Monumenta for the protection of turn-of-the-century buildings on the corner of Makrygiannis 10 and Hatzichristou 21 was rejected by the court, however. The court approved demolition orders for these buildings issued by the Athens municipality as legally justified.

    [12] Police operation in makeshift migrants' camp in Patras port

    Police in the western port city launched a sweep operation on Sunday morning to evacuate a makeshift camp set up by migrants from Afghanistan along the coastal road Iroon Politechniou.

    Patras Security Police officers entered the camp in the morning and began an inspection of the migrants' papers. A total of 44 minors were found, and were taken to hospitality facilities for underage youth, while 15 migrants who had legitimate documents were put up at a local hotel.

    Another 15 migrants lacking travel documents were detained.

    While the inspection was in progress, a fire broke out in the camp from reasons as yet unknown, and spread quickly due to combustible material, although propane canisters had been removed from the area.

    A strong team of firefighters rushed to the scene and contained the blaze before it spread to nearby apartment buildings. The fire burned tens of makeshift shelters, but no injuries were reported.

    At the same time, unidentified persons set fire to four state cars, ATMs and the entrance of a court building.

    The inspection was later extended to the southern part of the port, where migrants from mostly African countries have established a makeshift camp. All migrants lacking legal travel documents were detained.

    [13] Arrests of people traffickers, illegal migrants

    Four people traffickers were arrested, and 25 illegal migrants, including six minors, were detained on Saturday in the wider region of Thessaloniki during a coordinated operation by Alexandroupolis police and the Thessaloniki police's illegal migration unit.

    The illegal immigrants, who were headed for Athens, had in the early morning hours sneaked across the border into the Soufli region, where they were spotted by authorities, however, and placed under discrete surveillance.

    A 34-year-old Greek man and three foreign nationals who were conveying the illegal migrants were arrested, and their cars were seized.

    [14] Investigation ordered into alleged bribe of prison guard by inmate

    Justice minister Nikos Dendias has ordered a Disciplinary Preliminary Investigation, following reports on a television news program, into the alleged case of a Larissa Prison guard receiving a bribe from an inmate, it was announced on Sunday.

    [15] Gunman attacks police guarding PASOK offices

    Attica Security and the anti-terrorist squad are continuing a search for the individual that opened fire on policemen guarding the offices of main opposition PASOK on Harilaou Trikoupi Street, police authorities said on Saturday.

    The incident occurred on Friday night, as a police platoon were boarding a bus on Dervenakion Street at the end of their shift. The culprit emerged from behind a rubbish bin and fired shots against the bus windscreen. Witnesses do not report hearing a shot, indicating that the gun was equipped with a silencer.

    The attacker was wearing Bermuda shorts, a T-shirt, a hat and a surgical mask over his face, so that his features could not be made out. The policemen got off the bus and gave chase but the culprit fired warning shots against them and managed to escape toward Exarchia Square on foot.

    Anti-terrorism squad officers consider that the incident was an isolated action rather than a hit by an organised terrorist group but one that causes great concern. Police were bringing in suspects until late on Friday night and Saturday morning in attempts to find the individual involved but all were later released as no evidence was found against them.

    [16] Police catch ring for credit-card, extortion scams

    Police on Saturday reported dismantling a group involved in credit-card fraud and extortion rackets.

    Members of the ring were arrested on Thursday in the Athens suburb of Halandri and in central Athens. They included a 35-year-old Greek man, a 50-year-old Greek woman and a 28-year-old Moroccan suspected for repeated counts of blackmail and fraud in the past year. Another two foreign nationals and a third Greek man are also being sought in connection with the ring's activities.

    The ring operated by stealing credit cards from sent to the rightful cardholders by mail and then, once they had the card details, they would phone banks to report the cards lost and ask for new ones. Once they received the new PIN numbers, they would withdraw money. If they were unable to activate the cards, they would then telephone the card holders and use various threats in order to demand money.

    Three such cases have been reported and in one the culprits vandalised their victim's car.

    Through these methods, the ring is estimated to have made some 50,000 euros.

    In raids on the homes of the suspects, police found 50 stolen credit cards, eight blank cards used for creating "clone" cards, 2,600 euros, 11 mobile phones, nine SIM cards, a switchblade, a small amount of cannabis and other evidence.

    The suspects were led before a public prosecutor to be charged and are scheduled to appear before an examining magistrate on Tuesday.

    [17] Three injured in drive-by shooting at Omonia

    Three foreign nationals were injured at around dawn on Saturday in a drive-by shooting in central Athens, at the junction of Piraeus Street and Sokratous Street in Omonia Square. Three individuals in a passing car shot against a Nigerian and two Iraqi men standing on the corner, causing them a number of injuries, and then sped away.

    The injured men were taken to hospital for first aid and have named individuals that they believe may be responsible. Police have attributed the attack to personal differences.

    [18] Memorial for victims of Turkish invasion held in Thessaloniki

    An annual memorial service for those who died during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus was held on Sunday in Thessaloniki.

    Addressing the ceremony, Cyprus communication and works minister Nicos Nicolaides noted the need for keeping alive the memory of the dramatic events of that period, stressing that "only on the basis of the historic truth is the required popular unity ensured to carry on the struggle against the invasion and occupation of a sector of the Republic of Cyprus" but also to avert similar efforts at dissolving democracy in the future.

    He also appealed to the Turkish Cypriot community to respond in suit to President Demetris Christofias' 'honorable and sincere proposals" so that, through dialogue, the road will open for finding a viable solution that is in agreement with the principles of international and European law.

    He further stressed that one aspect of the issue was the fate of the missing persons, which remains "an open wound", as well as that of the enclaved, which are a daily reminder of the problem and maximise our responsibilities for a must solution to the Cyprus issue.

    A similar service was due to be held in the Thessaloniki suburb of Kalamaria on Sunday night.

    [19] Coast guard intercepts illegal migrants at sea

    A group of 28 illegal immigrants, consisting of 27 men and one woman were intercepted by the coast guard on Saturday morning, in waters east of the islet of Oinousses. The group lacked valid travel documents and were placed under arrest.

    They told coast guard officers that they had set off from the coast of Turkey in an inflatable dinghy that they deliberately sank when they saw the coast guard patrol boat approaching, so that they would be rescued.

    The immigrants were taken to Chios Prefecture Hospital for precautionary medical examinations.

    Another group of 30 illegal immigrants, consisting of 19 men, four women and seven children, were also picked up and placed under arrest by the Samos coast guard on Friday morning, in waters 3.8 nautical miles northwest of the islet. The group lacked valid travel documents and were placed under arrest. They also claimed to have set off from the coast of Turkey in an dinghy that they sank when the coast guard patrol boat was sighted.

    Greek authorities also arrested five foreign nationals in the port of Patras one Friday evening. Three men were arrested for displaying fake travel documents in an effort to board a ferry bound for Italy, while a 34-year-old foreign national was placed under arrest for transporting a 31-year-old with fake travel documents, also placed under arrest, in his car.

    [20] Bomb set outside former minister's home

    A makeshift explosive device went off at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday in the yard of the building occupied by former deputy interior minister Panagiotis Hinofotis in Paleo Faliro. The explosion caused only minor damage and no injuries.

    No organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, though two warning telephone calls had been made 20 minutes before the explosion to the police emergency response service and ALTER television channel by an unidentified individual, allowing police to take precautionary measures.

    The device was relatively weak and had been placed in a cooking pot. According to police, this method and the wiring used were reminiscent of the Armed Revolutionary Action (ENEDRA) group that has claimed responsibility for two similar devices, also placed in cooking pots, in the past.

    [21] OSE work stoppages on Monday

    Problems are anticipated on Monday in the Hellenic Railways (OSE) network for passengers due to rolling three-hour work stoppages called by the Panhellenic Federatin of Rail Workers (POS).

    No domestic OSE itineraries of passenger or merchant trains will be carried out on Monday, while only the international routes will be operating normally, according to an announcement.

    As for the Suburban railway (Proastiako), only five routes on the Piraeus-Kiato-Piraeus itinerary will be carried out, while there will also be reduced number of Proastiako routes on the Liossion-Airport line.


    [22] Greek U-19 team takes the silver

    Greece's under-19 basketball team placed second in the World U19 Basketball Championship in New Zealand, losing 80-88 to the US in the final on Sunday.

    The scorers for Greece, in the final against the unbeaten American team, were: Sloukas 17, Pappas 16, Kaselakis 15, Papanikolaou 12, Giankovic 8, Katsivelis 5, Mantzaris 3, Sarikopoulos 2, Papantoniou 1and Georgakis 1.

    The bronze medal was won by Croatia, which beat Australia 87-81.

    A telegram congratulating the team on their victory and medal was sent by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, while Deputy Interior Minister for media issues Costas Gioulekas congratulated the team and their coach in a statement.

    [23] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The economy, political developments, and continuing revelations on the recently arrested gang of abductors and hired killers were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The mafia's collaborators - 'Explosive' names - The EYP's (National Information Service) telephone surveillance tapes of the conversations among the gang members are bringing more arrests".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Audits beginning on 130,000 businesses - State estimates it will collect 5 billion euros from 640,000 natural and legal entities".

    AVGHI: "SYN leader proposes convening of party's Standing Congress in September".

    AVRIANI: "Minister in the then Simitis (PASOK) government in 1996 secured Tromboukis' (a public works sub-contractor and one of the two gang leaders of the abduction ring, together with an inmate in Trikala prison, P. Vlastos) release from prison and immediately assigned to him contracts worth billions in the state 'Themis Construction' company's projects".

    CHORA: "Two people in witness protection program 'burn' the mafia and its connections".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The world of the underworld - Mafia Greek-style - The tentacles reaching out from inside the prisons and their underground connections with authority".

    ETHNOS: "Opinion poll: For the first time, the majority wants early general elections and is not expecting anything from Karamanlis".

    KATHIMERINI: "Government optimistic on arrest of terrorists".

    LOGOS: "Prime minister planning with March as the horizon, although he cannot rule out early general elections in the autumn".

    NIKI: "The government's last cards before the elections: Law and order, Social security, and Education".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The aggressiveness of the Capital intensifying - New anti-labor raid on labor relations and social security rights".

    TO VIMA: "The secret agreement between Almunia (EU Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs) and Papathanassiou (Greek economy and finance minister) - Deep cuts in expenditures, but no new taxes".

    VRADYNI: "The new regulations and final decisions on the 'heavy and hazardous' professions and consecutive social security".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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