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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-07-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM to meet supreme courts' leaderships Monday
  • [02] Spiliotopoulos: exam system has reached its limits
  • [03] No more immigrants say 93 pct of Greeks in survey
  • [04] Dragon houses symposium held in Styra
  • [05] Patriarchs join for mass

  • [01] PM to meet supreme courts' leaderships Monday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will hold successive meetings with the leaderships of the Supreme Court, the Council of State and the Auditing Council on Monday. He will be meeting with the Supreme Court president and vice president at 12 noon, with the Council of State president and vice president at 12:30 p.m. and the Auditing Council president and vice president at 1 p.m.

    On Friday, the Prime minister conferred with merchant marine minister Anastassis Papaligouras, and later received the presidium of the Union of Greek Shiowners (UGS).

    Papaligouras told reporters afterward that the discussion focused on the impact of the global credit and financial crisis on the shipping sector, and the problem of piracy at sea.

    The minister stressed that the safety of the crews and the ships was of grave concern, given that Greece is the world's number one maritime power, adding that Greece was a contributor to the EU's anti-piracy force (EUNAVOR) off Somalia for confrontation "of the anachronistic phenomenon of piracy in the 21st century".

    The EU in November 2008 formally launched an anti-piracy security operation (EUNAVOR) off the Somali coasts, in its first-ever naval mission, dubbed Operation Atalanta, under which EU ships also help protect UN and other vessels transporting aid to the area.

    They also discussed the issue of maritime training and ways of attracting youth to the shipping profession and incentives for keeping the graduates of the maritime academies in the profession.

    The prime minister later received the UGS presidium, headed by the Union's president Theodore Veniamis, on a courtesy call.

    Veniamis said in reply to press questions after the meeting that the repercussions from the crisis in Greek shipping were "controllable".

    He also said that they had a "very good exchange of views" and also discussed the piracy problem.

    [02] Spiliotopoulos: exam system has reached its limits

    "I don't think there is anyone who does not admit that the present examination system has reached its limits," Education and Religious Affairs Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said in an interview printed by this Sunday's edition of the newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis". He had been asked about the reforms envisioned to the current system for university entrance examinations.

    The government's intention was to create a reliable, technical exam system and an examination authority that was above dispute, with universities participating in the selection of their students, he said.

    "The aim is a system that will gradually restrict and finally eradicate the need for extra tuition outside schools," he added.

    According to Spiliotopoulos, the government hoped that the dialogue on reforming upper secondary schools and the exam system will have arrived at final conclusions by the autumn and that it could then proceed to make them into law.

    Commenting on the current state of education, the minister said that the time for changes and reforms had come several years ago but "it took some people several years to realise this".

    At the same time, he opposed the abolition of asylum in universities and said that Greece had an obligation under European law to incorporate directives that would legalise franchise colleges or 'Liberal Studies' centres.

    [03] No more immigrants say 93 pct of Greeks in survey

    An overwhelming majority of people in Greece believe that the country cannot accept any more immigrants, according to a survey carried out by the firm Public Issue and printed in the Sunday issue of the newspaper "Kathimerini".

    Asked if Greece had reached the limit of immigrants that it can accept, 93 percent of people answered 'yes' and only 4 percent said 'no'. Another 3 percent replied 'don't know, won't answer'.

    The newspaper noted the conservative swing in attitudes toward migration and pointed out that 72 percent of those asked consider that immigration policy is "less strict than it ought to be". In response to the same question the previous year, fewer than 65 percent agreed with that view.

    Asked to evaluate the impact of migration on Greece, 62 percent of those asked in 2009 consider it "probably harmful", up from 54 percent in the previous year.

    [04] Dragon houses symposium held in Styra

    The first international symposium on the mysterious 'dragon houses' of Evia - a Greek island quite near the coast of Attica - was held in the municipality of Styra in the south of the island over the weekend. Some of the best known examples of the dragon houses - megalithic buildings who origin and method of construction are shrouded in mystery - are found in this part of the island.

    The three-day symposium entitled "Styria Gaia" attracted some of the top researchers of the Archaic, Neolithic and early Bronze Age eras in Greece.

    "We hope this symposium will be the start of a worldwide promotion of the dragon houses, an effort that is a life goal for me," said Styra Mayor Sofia Moutsou as she inaugurated the symposium at the Town Hall.

    The megalithic remains (whose defining characteristic are the massive stones used in their construction) are usually found in isolated, inaccessible spots on the flanks and summits of mountains in the area around Styra and Karystos.

    They are built of enormous pieces of schistolith and most are roughly rectangular in shape, though there is one circular dragon house in the 'Laka Palli' region of Styra. Both their precise age and their use by the ancient inhabitants of the region have so far defied discovery.

    Several foreign archaeologists, most of them having long experience of excavation in Greece, were among those attending, in addition to a large number of academics from Greece.

    The symposium, which ends on Sunday, was organised by the Styra municipality under the aegis of the University of the Aegean (Mediterranean Studies section) and sponsored by the Tourism ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO).

    Caption: A typical example of a dragon house, on a mountainside just outside the village of Kapsala, in the Styra municipality of southern Evia. ANA-MPA - Vassilis Kalalougas

    [05] Patriarchs join for mass

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas) Visiting Moscow and All Russia Patriarch Kirill I joined Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the mass at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar on Sunday, in what he later described as "the most important event of our visit".

    The new Russian Patriarch further reinforced the message of unity that his visit is designed to promote and referred to the strong historic bonds between the two Churches, in ritual and in the monastic traditions they observed.

    "Our common tradition is the steady basis of our joint witness toward the modern world," Patriarch Kirill added.

    "To the conditions in which religion is pushed to the sidelines of social life, when even the meaning of sin itself is eradicated, when traditional moral values are radically revised and on the base of the economy we place the principle of profit, we have an obligation to unite our efforts to defend the rules of the gospel and formulate a universal Orthodox reply to the challenges of the times," he stressed.

    In his reply, Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the important decisions taken by the Fourth PanOrthodox PreConsciliar Conference at Chambesy in Geneva, praising the constructive cooperation and the contribution of the Moscow Patriarchate in the success of this conference, which manage to resolve one of the most thorny problems for the course of the Orthodox Church.

    Bartholomew stressed that the administrative organisation of the Orthodox Church into independent Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches "in no way implies that we constitute Churches and not a Church".

    "The Orthodox Church does not, of course, have a primacy in power but it does not lack a coordinating organ, one that does not impose but expresses the unanimity to the local Churches," he said, adding that this ministry was "humbly practised by long and holy tradition" by the Patriarchate in Fanar in full compliance with the dictates of Orthodox ecclesiology.

    Patriarch Kirill stated that his "peaceful visit" to Fanar was the first of a series of visits to the Orthodox Churches around the world and "a good start for renewing the brotherly relations in Christ of the two great Orthodox Patriarchates of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ".

    "We must not forget that the Russian Church is linked by special ties to the first in the order of the holy Diptychs Patriarchal Throne of Constantinople. From this we received the enlightenment of the light of faith and the principles of scholarly wisdom, temple-building and agiography, the service and the whole variety of the ecclesiastical structure," he added.

    Caption: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (L) and Moscow and All Russia Patriarch Kirill I (R) joined for the mass held on Sunday at the Church of Agios Georgios in the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar. ANA-MPA - Dimitris Panagos

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