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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-02-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM visits Evros, inspects damage caused by floods along river
  • [02] Cypriot UN ambassador denounces Turkish 'construction frenzy' in occupied Cyprus
  • [03] State Department: No change in U.S. policy on recognition of occupied Cyprus
  • [04] Explosive device at Patriarchate an armed hand-grenade, Turkish police say
  • [05] PM: Government's goals are competitiveness and progress, with citizens supported by State
  • [06] Church of Greece Hierarchs end meeting, decide to set up Supreme Examining Council

  • [01] PM visits Evros, inspects damage caused by floods along river

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday morning visited areas flooded by the Evros River, whose rising waters swept over its banks to inundate crops and threaten houses the previous day.

    Karamanlis was briefed on the extent of the damage at Mandras near Didymotichos, which was hardest-hit by the floods, by regional authority general secretary Mihalis Angelopoulos and Evros Prefect Nikos Zambounidis.

    In statements afterwards, the premier stressed that the entire machinery of the state, local authorities, regional authorities, the Civil Protection General Secretariat, the Armed Forces, the police and the emergency services had mobilised promptly and effectively, declaring a state of emergency in the area before a serious problem arose and thus avoiding the worst.

    Immediately after his visit to Evros, Karamanlis departed for a scheduled trip to the island of Samothrace, which was also hard hit in a recent wave of bad weather, where he is due to visit the local archaeological site and museum and speak at the local Arts Centre.

    [02] Cypriot UN ambassador denounces Turkish 'construction frenzy' in occupied Cyprus

    NEW YORK (ANA - P. Panagiotou) The Cypriot ambassador to the United Nations Andreas Markoyiannakis denounced Turkish occupation authorities in northern Cyprus for embarking on &quot;frenzy of construction&quot; on Greek-Cypriot properties in the occupied territories, in a letter addressed to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

    He also accused Ankara of &quot;even greater arrogance&quot; after the April referendums, in which Greek-Cypriots had rejected the Annan plan for reuniting Cyprus.

    In his letter on Friday, the Cypriot ambassador stressed that the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops from the island is &quot;not on Turkey's daily agenda&quot;, in flagrant violation of successive resolutions by the UN Security Council, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly that called for unconditional withdrawal, irrespective of any political solution.

    Pointing to statements by Turkish generals that &quot;not even one Turkish soldier will leave Cyprus unless the Cyprus problem is solved&quot;, he further accused the occupation regime of unacceptable activity that sought to create new accomplished facts with respect to Turkish settlers and Greek-Cypriot property on the island.

    According to Markoyiannakis, taking their cue from the Annan plan that would have only partially restored the legal rights of Greek-Cypriot refugees to return to their homes and property while allowing Turkish settlers to continue to live in the same, Ankara had launched an unprecedented and frenzied drive for the development and sale of Greek Cypriot-owned properties in the occupied north, as well as illegally importing more settlers from Turkey on the pretext that they were construction workers.

    [03] State Department: No change in U.S. policy on recognition of occupied Cyprus

    WASHINGTON (ANA - A. Ellis) U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Friday underlined that a recent visit to the occupied northern territories of Cyprus by a U.S. business delegation and the U.S. commercial attache in Ankara did not signal a change in U.S. policy on recognition of the Turkish-occupied territories on Cyprus.

    Asked if he considered the visit legal, Boucher described it as a &quot;normal business and economic visit&quot;.

    &quot;It doesn't have any legal implications or any implications for our policy of recognition,&quot; he added.

    Asked to clarify why the United States was now proceeding with such business trips after avoiding them for the past 30 years, the spokesman said the U.S. was now making an effort to &quot;end the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots&quot; and considered economic exchanges and activity to be one way to do that.

    [04] Explosive device at Patriarchate an armed hand-grenade, Turkish police say

    ANKARA (ANA - A. Abatzis) The explosive device found in the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar and neutralised by a Turkish bomb squad earlier on Saturday was an armed hand-grenade, Turkish police reported.

    According to an ANA correspondent in Ankara, the unexploded grenade was spotted on the roof of St. George's Church within the Patriarchate grounds by a crew of window-cleaners.

    Turkish police said the grenade may have been thrown any time in the past month but went unnoticed because it did not explode.

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate has been the target of similar attacks several times in the past, with grenades lobbed from the area behind the grounds and always landing near the same spot on the roof of the church. Past attacks have been accompanied by explosions.

    Commenting from Athens, Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos unequivocally condemned the incident and said that Greek diplomatic and consular authorities in Ankara and Istanbul had already conveyed their deep concern over the incident to Turkish authorities and asked for stronger security measures around the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    [05] PM: Government's goals are competitiveness and progress, with citizens supported by State

    A competitive country, a society that produced and progressed and a State that was close to its citizens were the three main political goals of the government, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Saturday as he addressed a gathering on the island of Samothrace.

    The premier also referred to the situation left in its wake by the previous PASOK government, saying that his government's policy was to restore fiscal stability and the reliability of the Greek economy without transferring this burden onto its citizens.

    &quot;Our country now faces many serious problems, since hidden debts and public deficits have led to a major fiscal problem. The reforms and changes that have for many years been needed to the state and the economy have not been carried out. Our competitiveness declined; our exports were shrinking; development was limited only to certain sectors and did not spread to the whole country; regional and social inequalities were widening; unemployment was and remains the greatest social ill in our country; bureaucracy and corruption had become a scourge of society; the State had turned its back on the citizens,&quot; Karamanlis said.

    He stressed that the government wanted to deal with the problems at their roots and would initiate a series of &quot;bold institutional interventions, a revolution of quality&quot; in all aspects of public life, the state and its services. As examples, he cited the government's recent tax reforms, the new development bill and a new and simpler set of rules for business start-ups.

    [06] Church of Greece Hierarchs end meeting, decide to set up Supreme Examining Council

    The Hierarchs of the Church of Greece, a body including all metropolitans and bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church, ended a crucial meeting spread over two days on Saturday evening with a decision to set up a Supreme Examining Council that will look into all complaints involving high-ranking members of the clergy.

    The proposed Council, whose task will be to investigate charges and make recommendations to the Holy Synod, will be headed by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece and include among its members vice-presidents from the Supreme Court, the Council of State, the State Audit Council and the State Legal Council.

    The Holy Synod is to present its proposals for the Council to the government, which has the power to create such the body.


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