|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-03-28
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Weekend News Bulletin
Monday March 28, 2016
 Greece celebrates March 25 Independence Day anniversaryThe March 25 anniversary of Greece's Independence Day and the war to shake off Ottoman rule launched in 1821 was celebrated throughout the country on Friday, with a grand military parade in central Athens serving as the highlight of events marking the holiday.
The parade passed before President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and other dignitaries, including Parliament President Nikos Voutsis, government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis, Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the head of the Union of Centrists Vassilis Leventis and the leadership of the armed forces and security forces.
For the first time, the parade also included a demonstration of two unmanned aircraft operated from MAN vehicles, while there were also demonstrations by the Greek Air Force flying in formation above.
In a message for the anniversary, President Pavlopoulos urged all Greeks to stand together in order to successfully withstand the challenges presented by the times and secure a better future for Greece and the younger generations.
He noted that apart from the dramatic consequences of the very acute economic and social problems, Greece was also facing unprecedented refugee flows as a result of its geographic location at the European Union's external borders, which are its own borders guarded with sovereignty by itself. Following the example of its ancient ancestors toward supplicants and in accordance with the Christian values of love and solidarity, Greeks were treating the refugees on humane terms, Pavlopoulos said.
"The ruthless terrorists, conversely, especially after the recent horrendous terrorist attack in the heart of Europe, in Brussels, we treat as brutal criminals, enemies of humanity and repellent servants of the new barbarism seeking to strike at the core of culture and democracy," he added, noting that Greece demands the same of its European partners.
The EU had an obligation to fully respect its founding principles and values and to behave in response to the refugee issue in accordance with its spiritual, political and legal culture, if necessary by isolating and imposing sanctions on the extreme choices of partners seized by anti-humanitarian and anti-democratic phobic syndromes that are in no way compatible with European ideals," Pavlopoulos said.
 U.S. President Barack Obama sends message marking March 25 Independence Day holidayU.S. President Barack Obama addressed a message of support for the Greek people and the Greek government, noting their steadfast assistance to the floods of refugees arriving in the country, and the shared values uniting Greece and America, in a proclamation marking the 195th anniversary of Greek Independence Day, celebrated each year on March 25.
"The Greek people have faced extraordinary challenges in recent years, yet they remain steadfast in their resilience and perseverance. In response to an ongoing refugee and migration crisis, Greece is providing humanitarian assistance to countless men, women, and children seeking freedom from persecution and violence. As Americans, we stand with Greece as partners, friends, and NATO allies, and the Greek American community serves as an important bridge that helps bring us together," Obama said in his proclamation.
The full proclamation signed by Obama on Thursday is given below:
"Inspired by ancient Greece's example, America's Founding Fathers drew on Hellenic principles to guide our democracy in its nascence. Nearly half a century after the Stars and Stripes first flew over our country, a flag was raised on a mountaintop in Greece, and a revolution spawned that would bring democracy back to its birthplace and lay the cornerstone of the close relationship enjoyed by our two nations. On the 195th anniversary of Greece's independence, we celebrate the friendship between our countries and honor the contributions that Greek Americans have made to our national character.
Our common histories are reflected in our shared values. Throughout our storied pasts, our peoples have upheld the fundamental ideals we cherish by working together to safeguard the foundation of democracy upon which both our nations are built. Greeks and Americans have long stood shoulder-to-shoulder in defense of freedom, and today, the Greek American community carries forward the legacy of past Greeks who enlightened our world by continuing to enrich our society in unique ways. Driving generations, the hope that incited both our revolutions still burns in the hearts of Greek Americans and in all those across our country who seek even greater opportunity for our children and grandchildren.
The Greek people have faced extraordinary challenges in recent years, yet they remain steadfast in their resilience and perseverance. In response to an ongoing refugee and migration crisis, Greece is providing humanitarian assistance to countless men, women, and children seeking freedom from persecution and violence. As Americans, we stand with Greece as partners, friends, and NATO allies, and the Greek American community serves as an important bridge that helps bring us together. At our core, we share deep ties of culture and family, and respect for the fundamental rights of democratic States. Through good times and bad, we share a common commitment to security and liberty for people around the world. On this day, let us reflect on nearly two centuries of strong bonds between our nations, and let us recommit to working together to strengthen our respective democracies.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 25, 2016, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
 President Pavlopoulos' message commemorating those serving in Greek politics"The real politician is the one that shows, at all costs, his personal example. Not the one that mercurially adapts to the daily life of populism," President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Sunday, in his message for the nationwide memorial of those serving as representatives of the Greek people.
The only titles of honour that were capable of bringing honour to those involved in public affairs, in the democratic sense, were an unselfish contribution toward the public interest and, as such, an honourable poverty that served as a model of political ethics, Pavlopoulos said.
 Rumours that border would open divide Idomeni refugees into two 'camps', cause tensionA rumour that the borders were about to open was the cause of tension on Sunday in the refugee and migrant camp in Idomeni, next to Greece's northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with the refugees and migrants split into opposing camps: those that believed the rumours and those trying to dissuade them.
The two sides were ranged against each other on the railway tracks in the no-man's land, with one group determined to cross the border and the other trying to explain that the border was not about to open and that it was futile.
Calm was eventually restored by Sunday afternoon, after some intense arguments and heated moments, monitored by a strong police presence on both sides of the border. The Greek police, with announcements in Arabic and Farsi, tried to dissuade people from gathering, warning that the border will not open and that their lives would be in danger if they attempted to cross.
Those massing at the border included people in wheelchairs and everyone was holding hands and waving white paper napkins in order to demonstrate - as they said - their peaceful intentions. Many were holding placards with the message "Don't strike us," "Freedom of movement is everyone's right," "Open the Borders" and "No violence. We only want to pass."
Those gathering on the lines since early on Sunday were not only refugees and migrants from the camp but also from the relocation centres, such as Nea Kavala and Giannitsa, who had heard the rumours.
"We heard that the borders will open today and we came to pass. They told us that the Red Cross is with us and 500 journalists from all over the world," said a young Syrian that had come with a group from Giannitsa earlier on Sunday. Italian activitists that arrived in Idomeni on Saturday and were reportedly among those inciting the refugees to attempt to cross the border on Sunday denied connection with the rumour.
 Albanian police arrest seven Syrians crossing via Greek-Albanian border, return to GreeceGJIROKASTR (ANA-MPA/ P. Barkas) The Albanian police have announced the arrests of seven Syrian refugees that entered Albania via the Greek-Albanian border near the Kakavia border crossing.
Along with the seven Syrians arrested on Saturday, Albania authorities also arrested an Albanian national that had undertaken to smuggle them to third countries for 300 euros each. The refugees were tracked using thermal cameras that Albanian authorities have installed along all possible refugee crossing points along the length of the Greek-Albanian border.
According to the Albanian police, the group of Syrian refugees was returned to Greece via Kakavia.
 ND spokesman threatens to sue Gerovassili for slander over 'blackmail links' statementMain opposition New Democracy spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Saturday announced his intention to sue government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili for slander, among others, over her statements in response to an "Ethnos" article concerning his relations to journalists accused of setting up an extortion racket.
Replying, the prime minister's press office urged Koumoutsakos to "also submit with his law suit against the government spokesman, who did the self-evident in asking for explanations, all the invoices - both those that have been published and those that have not been published - concerning the paid relations between ND and those accused in the blackmail case."
The announcement noted ND's silence in response to a barrage of articles revealing that the main suspects in the blackmail case had been on the party's payroll.
"The invoices for 18,000 a month from ND's accounts office have been published. No explanations have been given," it noted.
Koumoutsakos had reacted to a statement made by Gerovassili on Saturday, where she said that ND and the spokesman needed to give "very clear answers concerning their relationship with those implicated in the blackmail case." Gerovassili cited an "Ethnos" article revealing close ties between the journalists accused in the case and Koumoutsakos. She had also noted earlier revelations that ND had made regular payments of large sums to the individuals involved.
"Mr. Koumoutsakos, who in equivalent cases would have already demanded resignations, is obliged to give a very clear answer about the kind of relations he had with the accused for blackmail and the kind of services he was buying from them, both he and his party," Gerovassili said.
In his reply, Koumoutsakos accused the spokeswoman of a "gross, Goebbels-inspired attempt to link completely unrelated things" and one that proved the government was trying to stage a mud-slinging contest and division ahead of a Parliament debate on justice issues next Tuesday.
"At a time when the government is destroying the country, the ongoing discussions of an elected MP and party spokesman with a journalist, taking place at an unrelated time and not having the slightest connection with justice, are being recorded by state services, published and then deliberately distorted by the government spokeswoman," Koumoutsakos said.
 For the first time there is a legal route for refugee to reach Europe, Migration Policy Minister Mouzalas tells 'Epochi'This is the first time that there is a legal route for refugees to reach Europe, Greece's Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas pointed out in an interview with the newspaper "Epochi" regarding the EU-Turkey agreement for refugee flows.
In the interview published on Saturday, Mouzalas pointed out that the agreement allowed the resettlement of refugees directly from Turkey, without them having to undergo the hazardous Aegean crossing in flimsy boats. There was also provision for the relocation of those trapped in Greece, he added, noting that this was essential to the implementation of the agreement since the alternative was "many Idomeni camps".
Asked whether Greece's understaffed asylum service will be able to cope with the increased numbers, Mouzalas said the service will be reinforced with a substantial number of new staff, as well as 2,000 expert personnel that will be sent from Europe, so that with the collaboration fo all the procedures will be carried out directly on the islands where the refugees and asylum seekers arrived.
Regarding the 30,000 additional places for hosting refugees announced by the government, Mouzalas said these would be "open temporary accommodation structures" providing a basic minimum in terms of decent living conditions, such as shelter, food, water, hygiene facilities and access to a doctor.
He said that other more permanent facilities will follow, modeled along the lines of the Elaionas refugee centre, and that the Syrian and Afghan families will be separated, while local authorities will also be involved in the effort.
Mouzalas repeated that the people currently staying at Idomeni must be persuaded to relocate to other facilities with more suitable conditions.
 Economy Minister, ND and Potami leaders, attend Venizelos memorial on CreteAn event commemorating early 20th century Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos, as well as his son and three-times Greek prime minister Sofoklis Venizelos, was held in Hania, Crete on Sunday. Among those attending were Economy Minister George Stathakis, main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis and opposition Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis, who each hailed Eleftherios Venizelos as a reformer and visionary, who had fought to make Greece strong and modern.
Speaking at the end of the annual political memorial service, Stathakis noted that 80 years had passed since the death of Eleftherios Venizelos, who had founded all the modern institutions of the Greek state and had "consistently served the ideas of democracy, equality and creating a strong and proud Greece."
Mitsotakis similarly hailed him as a brave politician that had "dared to modernise Greece, to implement bold reforms, a man whose personal clock was synchronised with the clock of history."
Theodorakis praised his vision and noted that Greece had need of a great many like him, prepared to fight bravely for the major changes that had to be made, in order to "build a strong economy without parasites."
 Alt. Defence Minister briefed on progress to expand Elaionas refugee centreAlternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas on Sunday visited the refugee and migrant hospitality centre in Elaionas and was briefed on the progress of work to expand the centre.
The minister expressed satisfaction with the work, congratulating all involved and especially the armed forces for their part in this effort.
 At least 9 arrested for supplying forged documents to migrants, refugees on KosAt least nine foreign nationals have been arrested on the island of Kos as alleged members of a criminal ring supplying forged documents to migrants and refugees, according to an announcement on Sunday.
The first arrests were carried out by coast guard officers on the island on Saturday, assisted by a special missions team, after raids on the suspects' homes revealed evidence of their activities, including computers, cameras, a large number of forged official documents and a large number of mobile phones and SIM cards.
The authorities were first alerted to the possible presence of the counterfeiting ring after intercepting a 29-year-old foreign national carrying an envelope with what appeared to be forged asylum application forms and other official documents, in order to sell these to migrants and refugees.
 No new refugees arrive in Piraeus, where 5,330 currently find shelterThere were no new arrivals of refugees and migrants at Piraeus port on Sunday, where a total of 5,330 have already taken shelter within port facilities and buildings, or in tents set up outside. Conditions in recent days have been especially difficult due to the rain and low temperatures.
Doctors warned that the current weather conditions favour outbreaks of respiratory diseases, especially in children, and local authorities officials said that the Migration Policy ministry must set up state structures to inform the refugees and migrants staying at the port about their options, so that they might be persuaded to move to alternative accommodation.
 Baby girl born in tent in Idomeni refugee and migrant campA baby girl was born inside one of the tents at the refugee and migrant camp in Idomeni, at Greece's northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), to a 24-year-old woman from Kobani in Syria.
The little girl was born on Saturday, the third child and third girl in the family. According to relatives living in the next-door tent, it was a very quick labour lasting less than half an hour, and the baby had already started to emerge by the time the doctors arrived.
The family's journey had started from Kobani in Syria and they had hoped to reach northern Europe.
The non-governmental aid organisation Medecins du Monde took charge of mother and baby, who were transferred to a local hospital.
 Police re-open Axios River bridge to Idomeni refugee and migrant campGreek police on Sunday re-opened the bridge over the Axios River leading to the migrant and refugee camp in Idomeni, after closing off access earlier in the day. The bridge had been barred to coaches and vans filled with activists that were heading toward the camp.
 Refugees and migrants in Greece at 50,256 on SundayThe total number of recently arrived refugees and migrants in Greece had risen to 50,256 by the latest count, the Greek Coordinating Body for Management of the Refugee Crisis announced on Sunday. More than half of these, or 28,518, were being hosted in facilities in northern Greece, it said.
A total of 4,668 individuals were registered on the Greek islands of the Aegean, with the highest number on the island of Lesvos (2,463).
Attica was currently hosting 14,150 people, of which 5,330 were staying at the port of Piraeus, while a total of 2,920 were in central Greece.
The numbers at the refugee and migrant camp in Idomeni had fallen to 11,500 people based on the latest count, while another 8,690 were divided among the three refugee facilities in Kilkis.
The numbers given by Greek authorities had risen by only 20 since Saturday, while they had fallen slightly on the islands and at Idomeni.
Efforts to decongest the overcrowded camp at Idomeni and persuade people to accept alternative accommodation in more structured reception facilities at the relocation centres resulted in the departure of three coaches bound for Imathia and Pieria on Saturday, while a total of eight left Idomeni on Friday, six bound for Imathia and two for Pieria.
After concerted efforts by the UNHCR to inform the refugees and migrants how they could move to the temporary relocation centres, more than 600 people had expressed an interest in moving on Friday, in order to escape the very poor conditions at the Idomeni camp.
New arrivals at the Greek islands dropped sharply on Friday and Saturday, with roughly 150 mainly Pakistani nationals arriving on each day, mostly on the island of Lesvos.
Those still detained in the hotspots on the three islands, in accordance with the EU-Turkey agreement for those arriving after March 20, include 1,493 people at the Lesvos hotspot, 1,245 at the Chios hotspot and 125 at the hotspot on Samos.
 Aegean announces cancellation of all flights to Brussels until March 30Aegean Airlines on Saturday announced the cancellation of all scheduled flights to and from Brussels until March 30 as the airport will remain closed. The airline said that it will instead carry out emergency flights to and from Lille airport in northern France on March 29-30, in order to facilitate its passengers.
The flights will take place on the following days and times:
Date Flight Route Time
Mar. 29 A3 628 Athens-Lille 8:30-10:40
Mar. 29 A3 629 Lille-Athens 11:30-15:30
Mar. 30 A3 628 Athens-Lille 8:30-10:40
Mar. 30 A3 629 Lille-Athens 11:30-15:30
Aegean asked passengers to call the phonelines 801 11 20000 (local call from landline) and (+30) 210 6261000 (from mobile) in Greece, the phone line (+32) 275 34710 in Belgium and the phone line (+33) 170 031323 in France or to contact their local travel agent in order to change or book tickets, before they depart for Lille airport.
Passengers will have to make their own arrangements to reach and leave Lille airport, Aegean said, noting that there is a good and frequent train connection between Brussels and Lille.
The airline will make changes to existing tickets without charge and give full refunds in the case of cancellations for passengers that booked tickets to or from Brussels until March 21, with an initial travel date up to March 31, 2016 and a new flight date up to May 31, 2016.
 Greece's Petrounias wins gold in men's rings at Gymnastics World ChampionshipsGreek athlete Eleftherios Petrounias on Saturday won the gold medal in the men's rings event at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Qatar.
Petrounias received a telegram from President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos congratulating him on his latest victory and thanking him for helping to promote Greece and acting as an example for young people in the country.
Congratulations also came from Parliament President Nikos Voutsis, on behalf of the Greek Parliament, who noted that this latest distinction was an honour for Greece "and fills us with joy and pride" and congratulating all members of the mission.
 Looking back: National Archaeological Museum celebrates 150th anniversary since its foundationThe birth of Greece's National Archaeological Museum was first announced on April 27, 1866 by the Chief Guard of Antiquities Zissis Sotiriou - one of the fighters of the independence war of 1821. The announcement notified all Greeks that a new "Museum of All Greeks" was to be erected on the land donated by Eleni Tositsa on Patission Street and also urged anyone hoarding antiquities in their home to donate them, in order to enrich the new museum's collection.
Sotiriou was appointed to his position in 1863 and oversaw the building of both the first Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum. The building's foundation stone was officially set in 1866, in a grand ceremony attended by King George the First, ministers, MPs and crowds of people, which marked the culmination of an effort lasting over three decades, with many false starts and dashed hopes along the way.
It would take another 23 years, however, for the building to be erected, initially starting with the west wing. The museum is now celebrating the 150th year since its foundation and has planned a series of events throughout the year to mark the anniversary and the sometimes tumultuous course over the last century and a half.
 Weather ForecastLight cloud is forecast in most parts of the country early on Monday, with a possibility of rain from the afternoon. Weak mainly southerly winds, ranging from 3-7 Beaufort, and temperatures from 1C to 18C. Rainy on the Cyclades islands and Crete, with north northwesterly winds turning to westerly winds of 4-5 Beaufort and temperatures from 8C to 16C. In Attica, light cloud turning to rain from the afternoon, with temperatures between 8C and 17C. Sunny in Thessaloniki, becoming overcast later in the day, with temperatures between 5C and 16C.
 Athens Headlines at a glanceAVGHI: Eight 'hot' files with names and surnames in Tsipras' hands before the Parliament debate
DIMOKRATIA: What's coming!
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Alert in Greece also over jihadist strikes
EPOCHI: Trade in terror or partnership agreement?
ESTIA: The Left rewrites history
ETHNOS: The final plan for taxation
KATHIMERINI: The 'black holes' in EU security
KONTRA NEWS: Kyriakos (Mitsotakis, ND leader) has assigned ND's programme to a Simitis man!
PARON: Stournaras 'killing' the market by keeping files on all who have 500-euro notes
PROTO THEMA: They made a HOTSPOT out of the Polytechnic too
PRIN: Sowing terror and reaping freedoms
REAL NEWS: The country suffocating!
RIZOSPASTIS: Popular mobilisation and action the only answer
TO VIMA: Greece defenceless
VRADYNI: They are levelling the middle class with taxes
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