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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-07-28

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM begins Mount Athos tour, expresses support for monasteries
  • [02] Bakoyannis on the Rome Conference
  • [03] PASOK leader meets Greek ombudsman
  • [04] Lavrio chemical plant charged
  • [05] Candlelight protest over Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon

  • [01] PM begins Mount Athos tour, expresses support for monasteries

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday expressed the government's support for the work of the 20-odd all-male monasteries on the Mount Athos peninsula, during his first stop on an official tour of the self-governing monastic community known in Greece as the "Holy Mount" or Agion Oros.

    In his reply to a welcome by the governor in the Athos capital of Karyes, Karamanlis said Mount Athos was a "spiritual reference point for Orthodox Christian culture and at the same time a symbol of the elevation of human existence."

    In a later event, a representative of the monastic community presented the premier with a memorandum that stressed the concern of the community's administration for the preservation of "genuine Agion Oros life" and the preservation of the spiritual and material elements that make it up.

    In this, the monks also referred to the issue of a group of zealot monks occupying the Esfigmenou Monastery, in defiance of court rulings ordering them to leave, who continue in their refusal to acknowledge the authority of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Mount Athos.

    They asked the government to "discourage illegality" for the state to adopt a clear position.

    Karamanlis was also asked to support the community's efforts to induct Mount Athos programmes into the 4th Community Support Framework funds offered by the EU.

    The prime minister pledged that work to restore monuments, preserve relics and protect the natural environment would be ensured within the 4th CSF, while he also promised to give careful consideration to the monks' requests for legal protection of the peninsula's special self-governing status, to secure its border and supervise its security.

    Afterwards, the premier and his party sat to a dinner given in the premier's honour by the Holy Community and departed for the Agia Lavra Monastery.

    On Friday evening, they are due to move on to the Vatopedi Monastery where they will spend the night, and the tour will conclude with a visit to the Iviron Monastery at midday on Saturday.

    Karamanlis arrived in Karyes shortly after midday to a welcome with head of state honours, accompanied by Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis, Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis and Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias. Also in the premier's party were senior government officials, MPs and local government officials.

    [02] Bakoyannis on the Rome Conference

    The Rome Conference was important, with obvious repercussions on a humanitarian level, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said upon her arrival at Ioannina, in Epirus west Greece on Friday.

    Bakoyannis was to open the proceedings of the 1st World Conference of Epirotes living abroad in the city later the same evening.

    An agreement has been reached, added Bakoyannis, for immediate humanitarian intervention in Lebanon and better coordination because no time should be lost before aid reaches the suffering Lebanese people. She added that efforts will continue at EU and UN Security Council level to have an immediate ceasefire and a new timetable toward a lasting peace course in the region.

    Bakoyannis added that she is not in a position to say if a solution will be found soon adding that intense efforts continue and hopefully all parties involved will be persuaded that war cannot be a solution.

    [03] PASOK leader meets Greek ombudsman

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday met the Greek Ombudsman George Kaminis and stressed his party unflagging support for the institution, whether it was in the opposition or as a government.

    "The Ombudsman's annual report notes and denounces enclaves of untransparency in public administration, enclaves that, in other words, strike the fundamental rights of our citizens and whose presence is unacceptable in a democratic State," Papandreou said.

    "The Ombudsman's office is an institution created and supported by PASOK, the worked both with Mr Diamantouros and with Mr. Kaminis with great success and was approved by the citizens of the country," he added.

    A similar institution had also been created within PASOK - an ombudsman of the members and friends of PASOK - to make the party's internal operations accountable and defend the rights of its friends and members, Papandreou announced.

    "Our basic principle is transparency everywhere and, unfortunately, the present government is defined by two related concepts: untransparency and mismanagement, which obviously form part of the concept of refounding the state - or the 'shadow state' of the Right - and reach their peak expression in the phone-tapping case and the Pakistani abduction scandals," PASOK's leader said, stressing that his party would steadfastly oppose "practices of untransparency, mismanagement and cover-ups" so as to protect the rights of the citizens, the democratic operation of the State and the normal functioning of democratic institutions.

    [04] Lavrio chemical plant charged

    The Lavrio chemical plant that was the scene of a major and highly polluting fire earlier this week was slapped with criminal charges by the Athens first-instance court prosecutor on Friday, after the operating permits for four storage tanks at the plant proved to be fake.

    Among them were the storage tanks filled with solvents that had caught fire and released a variety of toxins, many of them possible carcinogens, into the atmosphere around the coastal town of Lavrio.

    The charges against HIMA S.A. are for fraud and forgery, an announcement said and the case has already been referred to an examining magistrate, who will read out the charges to specific individuals suspected of involvement in drafting the fake permits.

    [05] Candlelight protest over Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon

    Women from various political and professional backgrounds gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Athens on Thursday night to protest against the "mass murder of non-combatant women and children" caused by the undiscriminating bombardment of Lebanon by Israeli forces, with its high civilian casualties.

    Dressed in black and carrying lighted candles, they demanded an end to the war and an immediate international summit organised by the United Nations to create a viable Palestinian state.

    A delegation representing the protest organisers, the Women's Initiative for Support to the Women of Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, stuck a protest resolution on the door of the Israeli Embassy and set up a symbolic human chain outside the entrance.

    The protestors also handed out flyers to passing cars bearing photographs of a child injured in the Lebanon bombardment and ended the protest by lighting candles on the road in the shape of a peace sign.


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