|Friday, 16 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-06-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 4 June 2007 Issue No: 2609
 Premier Karamanlis addresses first ND pre-conference, says changes and reforms shall continuePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed his ruling New Democracy party's first pre-conference at the Ioannis Vellidis convention centre at the city of Thessaloniki's International Fair on Sunday and pledged that changes and reforms shall continue both before and after the elections (elections are normally due in the country in March 2008).
"The ND government turns its commitments into practice. Reliability and consistency in its policy is its difference from (the main opposition party) PASOK," Karamanlis stressed.
Referring to PASOK's leader George Papandreou, who will also be visiting Thessaloniki on Monday, the prime minister said that he welcomes him because Thessaloniki is highlighting this major political difference existing between ND and PASOK, the difference between words and deeds.
"For 10 years PASOK, being in government, used to promise the same things every September at the (Thessaloniki) International Fair. It promised a Metro, but we saw no Metro. It promised an undersea tunnel, but we saw no undersea tunnel. It promised an extension of the airport, projects at the port, hospitals. But we saw nothing of all this. 10 years of promises and false words. 10 years of mockery," the prime minister said.
Karamanlis further said that Papandreou will now have the opportunity of seeing the projects that the government has started and is creating in three years alone.
"Because the Metro has begun. And the airport is being extended. And the port is changing. And the undersea tunnel is starting. And two new hospitals are being built," Karamanlis stressed.
The prime minister expressed the hope that Papandreou will also follow him to the other cities where ND will be holding pre-conferences.
"Let him come then, to Larissa and to Iraklio and to Yiannena and to Patra and to Nafplio. Let him follow us to every corner of the country. So that he can have a close look at what reliability in politics means. To discover what it means to honour your commitments to the citizen. What it means, instead of big words and promises in the air, to carry out projects that improve the quality of life of citizens in their day-to-day lives," Karamanlis further said.
The prime minister noted that "there are those who are stuck with yesterday and, on the other hand, there are we who, day-by-day, are improving the present and building strong foundations for a better tomorrow for all."
Karamanlis will be leaving for Athens on Sunday, but he will be returning to Thessaloniki on Monday afternoon to address a dinner of the Balkans Economic Forum, organised by the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece and the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce.
PM Costas Karamanlis visits Thessaloniki International University installations
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday visited installations that will host the International University in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, saying that Thessaloniki, Macedonia and Greece are gradually developing into centres of education, culture, research and innovation.
Karamanlis visited the installations accompanied by Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou, immediately after arriving in the city at noon on Saturday. He was welcomed there by Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Kalantzis, deputies, Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis and Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos.
The prime minister met with the members of the International University's Administrative Council and was given a guided tour of the installations, that are being rented by the PASEGES union in the region of Thermi and will be temporary until the new ones are created in the municipality of Mihaniona.
Speaking to reporters after the tour, Karamanlis said "the International University will begin to operate here in Thessaloniki in early 2008. This workable building we are visiting will cover the tutorial needs of postgraduate students from countries of southeastern Europe and from Greece for the years to come in economic sciences, humanitarian studies and new technologies."
The prime minister added that "the International University, with integrated pre-graduate and postgraduate study programmes will be finally established on its own premises in the new university city of Mihaniona."
 PM Costas Karamanlis visits Langadas motorway projectPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis visited the Langadas motorway in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Saturday where work is being carried out to improve traffic.
"What we are presenting to citizens, to all Greek women and to all Greeks is our work, our effectiveness and our consistency," Karamanlis said.
The prime minister added that work finished on the Langadas motorway will be opened to traffic in September, pointing out that "in three months, Thessaloniki will have a motorway entrance of European specifications. A modern and safe motorway."
Karamanlis was briefed on the state of projects being carried out by the regional governor of Central Macedonia George Tsiotras.
 PM gives interview to Greek community newspaper in U.S.NEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking in an interview with the Greek community newspaper of New York "Ethnikos Kyrikas", referred to the decision to give Greeks living abroad the opportunity to vote.
"It is a responsible act that signals, in the best possible way, the passing to a new era of participation and globalism," he said.
Asked to comment on the fact that he was repeatedly moved during his visit to Australia, the prime minister said "you can't help being deeply moved...when you feel the enthusiasm that is caused by even hearing the word:Greece."
Lastly, Karamanlis said that "without being able to give exact dates, as you can imagine, I am confident that I will have the opportunity to visit the United States again and, of course, to meet the Greeks of America. I look forward to it with great joy."
 PASOK leader addresses rally in AmfissaMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed a rally in Amfissa, central Greece, on Sunday, underlining his party's readiness to rule the country, criticising Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the government and wondering whether the country is being ruled by the prime minister or by a wretched establishment.
Papandreou made two personal commitments during his address. The first is the implementation of PASOK's programme that, as he said, has been prepared and is feasible.
He said that the second commitment is the reversal of conceptions and structures and of an establishment that has trapped the political system so that it cannot represent the Greek people genuinely and democratically.
Papandreou called on citizens not only to bring down the government in the coming elections (they are normally due in March 2008), but to change this political system as well, that the people cannot stand.
"The government is now being faced with the wrath of the young generation, since it toyed with it, just like it toyed with education. New Democracy and Mr. Karamanlis came to power with promises, promising everything for everyone and turning into a government of scandals and coverups," Papandreou said.
"This government will lose the elections with a simple opponent. The truth, that the Greek people are now aware of," he added.
Lastly, referring to PASOK's programme, Papandreou said that the top priority will be to redistribute wealth to benefit the weak and to create a new social agreement for the labour market and employment that it will honour and observe in full.
 KKE leader visits Karditsa, criticises both mainstream partiesCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a press conference in Karditsa, central Greece, on Sunday and criticised both mainstream parties for their policies, as well as the small Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party.
Referring to the ruling New Democracy party, Papariga said "ND is doing what its historic class role is dictating to it. To serve with consistency, regardless of the level of its capability, capital, Greek, European and international."
As regards the main opposition PASOK party, the KKE leader said "it is trying to convince that it will safeguard the social economy of the market" and pointed out that "this model has never existed and it never will."
Lastly, commenting on the Coalition party, Papariga said that it has a programme that is distinguished for its small differences with socialdemocracy and, referring to two-party rule, stressed that "we are struggling and working for an alliance and cooperation from the point of view of principles."
 Synaspismos leader addresses meeting of party's prefectural committeeThe 6th meeting of the Prefectural Committee of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Syanspismos) came to a close of Sunday with an address by party leader Alekos Alavanos. The discussion at the two-day meeting focused on the party's preparations in light of the general elections.
In his speech, Alavanos launched an attack against bipartisanship.
He referred at length to the policies adopted by the ruling New Democracy (ND) government and the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), claiming that "not only are the political margins of bipartisanship being exhausted and one can see this from the anxious seeking of a date for the elections, and probably a change in the electoral law for these elections, a new electoral law for the next elections, but most probably the most optimistic element is that society begins to become aware of this 'end of an era'."
He noted that the disputes between the two major parties "have nothing to do with education, the environment nor the separation of the church and the state."
Naturally, he pointed out, "the government's role is different, which has an initiative in the reactionary reforms, from that of the main opposition party," noting that "the main struggle of bipartisanship is seen on the field of corruption, of non-transparency, in the covering-up and simply the roles have been reversed."
 ND party leading PASOK by 1.4 pc, poll showsThe ruling New Democracy party is leading the main opposition PASOK party by 1.4 percent, according to a telephone poll carried out by the Metron Analysis company with 1,000 people all over the country on May 30-31, that was published in the newspaper "Imerisia" on Saturday.
According to the poll, ND gets 33.4 percent of preferences, PASOK 32, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 6.8, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party 3.6 and the out-of-Parliament Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party 4.4, while the undecided vote stands at 17 percent.
As regards the question of when should the next elections take place (they are normally due in March 2008), 58.6 percent said they should take place in 2008 and 35.6 percent in autumn.
An estimated 47.7 percent prefer the creation of a single-party government and 47.3 percent the creation of a government composed of more than one party.
The electorate's "degree of satisfaction" amounts to 43.2 percent for Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and 27.1 for PASOK leader George Papandreou, while on the question of who is most suitable to be prime minister, Karamanlis gets 44.7 percent of preferences and Papandreou 25.4.
 President Karolos Papoulias ends visit to RussiaPresident Karolos Papoulias on Saturday laid a wreath at the Monument erected in memory of those who fell during the 1941-1944 seige of Leningrad, present day Saint Petersburg, ending his official visit to the Russian Federation.
President Papoulias wrote in the visitors' book "never again war, never again barbarism. This is the call of all who fell and who suffered in this heroic city."
Earlier in the day, President Papoulias attended an avent at the State Saint Petersburg University, where the president of the Modern Greek Studies Faculty, Fatima Yeloeva, spoke of Greece's history, using as an example the work of Kavafi in an extremely moving speech about the "soul" and the "voyage" of Greece that brought tears to the eyes of the Greek President.
President Papoulias, who met President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and other officials during his visit to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, is returning to Athens at the end of his visit.
 Mediterranean Forum session concluded in RethimnoThe 14th Ministerial Session of the Mediterranean Forum came to an end in Rethimno, on the island of Crete, on Saturday with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis terming it "very successful."
The 11 foreign and deputy foreign ministers expressed grave concern over the worsening of the situation in the Middle East and stressed the need for the European Union's role for peace in the region to be noted, while agreeing to the need for wider Euro-Mediterranean cooperation with energy and immigration being the initial sectors.
The Mediterranean Forum adopted a joint announcement for the first time in years. Speaking at a press conference at the end of the session, Bakoyannis termed it "a political document that covers with clarity and fullness all the issues we discussed."
Bakoyannis "analytically briefed" her counterpartrs on the aims of her visit to the Middle East in the coming days and on Greek foreign policy in general, according to which "Greece must be present in the region as a member-state of the European Union, as a country with great knowledge of the wider region and as a country that is acceptable as an honest and equal interlocutor."
The foreign minister pointed out that "we must intensify our efforts in the Middle East. Europe has a role to play and it must play it effectively."
Bakoyannis also held bilateral talks with French Deputy Minister for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet, focusing on the proposal made by newly-elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the creation of a Mediterranean Union.
 Culture minister comments on antiquities issueCulture Minister George Voulgarakis, referring to a report appearing in the Sunday newspaper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia" on three antiquities detected in a museum in Atlanta in the United States, said that a systematic effort is being made at the ministry to register antiquities taken out of the country in an illegal way and to claim them to the degree that evidence exists enabling the process to be successful.
Noting that the antiquities in question are part of this framework, Voulgarakis said that they have been the focus of the culture ministry's attention for some time and preparatory action has been taken, through these procedures, so that they can be claimed and brought back.
Lastly, the culture minister stressed that they are very important findings that have been taken out of the country illegally and evidence exists that can substantiate the country's claim.
 Education minister addresses 4th ONNED-DAP pre-conferenceEducation and Religion Minister Marietta Yiannakou addressed the 4th ONNED-DAP-NDFK pre-conference in Athens on Saturday and said "let us change everything together for the sake of the new generation."
Yiannakou said in her address that things are changing and accused of conservatism those who do not realise this and are reacting to reforms, while noting that "nobody has managed as many reforms as we have."
The pre-conference, the last before the congress of the New Democracy party-affiliated youth organisation ONNED, was held on the theme of "Reforms in higher education." Addresses were also made at the conference by ND's Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis and ONNED's President George Papanikolaou.
Zagoritis said in his address that ND is exercising a policy for all and not for the few, stressing that the party's success is based on common struggles with its youth.
 Athens mayor gives interview to Cypriot newspaperNICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos)
Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, speaking in an interview with the Cypriot newspaper "O Fileleftheros", said that "the island has been the hostage of shortsighted mentalities, opportunism and the domestic consumption of most, if not all, of the sides either directly or indirectly involved. This must stop."
Kaklamanis further said that Cyprus is a European Union member-state and it must increase its presence in Euroatlantic structures in every possible way, adding that the European Union and occupation forces are incompatible meanings.
 Transport minister addresses broadband conferenceTransport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis on Saturday addressed the 2nd international conference on "Global Dynamics of the Broadband Internet", organised by the National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT), referring to initiatives taken by his ministry in this respect.
Commenting further on the broadband issue, Liapis said it is a basic element of development policy for the government that has termed 2007 broadband year, reiterating that the citizen is always the focal point of efforts.
The minister also stressed the positive repercussions created for the national economy, education, health and employment and pointed out that the government is aiming at speeding up the rate of broadband access to the Internet and the balanced distribution of benefits and the avoidance of phenomena of digital exclusion, particularly for remote regions in the country.
Lastly, Liapis conceded that despite progress achieved by the country over the past two years in broadband dissemination, the distance separating the country from the European average is still great and more intensive and focused action is required.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.354
Pound sterling 0.684
Danish kroner 7.508
Swedish kroner 9.390
Japanese yen 165.12
Swiss franc 1.664
Norwegian kroner 8.175
Cyprus pound 0.587
Canadian dollar 1.445
Australian dollar 1.634
 Minister of State on death of journalist Kostis ChristodoulouMinister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Saturday extended his condolences to the family of deceased journalist Kostis Christodoulou.
Roussopoulos said in a statement that "Kostis Christodoulou served journalism with consistency and distinguished himself with his character and modesty."
The minister added that "being a man of proportion, a kind friend of all and of younger journalists in particular, he always bent over the manuscript and news with love, respecting principles and values that promote journalism as a function."
PASOK party spokesman on death of journalist Kostis Christodoulou
Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Petros Efthymiou on Saturday expressed his condolences over the death of journalist Kostis Christodoulou.
"The long and remarkable course of Kostis Christodoulou, in the sector of the media, was noted by character, consistency and dedication to the principles and rules of journalistic ethics, but above all he was and we shall remember him as a dignified man and friend," Efthymiou said.
 Lecture in Washington on 'Greek Vases in the Realm of Dionysos'WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/L. Papantoniou)
A lecture was given at the Greek Embassy in Washington by art historian Aaron Paul on the theme "Greek Vases in the Realm of Dionysos: Aspects of Myth and Daily Life".
The first part of the lecture was dedicated to the depiction in vases of the daily life of the ancient Greeks. Paul noted that these vases constitute for contemporary historians "a window to the past", offering information on the daily life of the Greeks of classical Antiquity.
The second part of the lecture centred on Dionysos, god of wine and entertainment. Through the presentation of various wine jugs, Paul referred to the mythical life of Dionysos. Particular reference was made to the symposiums of ancient Athens, to the habits with which they were connected, as well as the way with which the ancient Greeks enjoyed wine.
The lecture was flanked with the presentation of photographs, coming mainly from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and New York's Metropolitan Museum.
 New Traffic Code measures go into effectPublic Order Minister Vyron Polydoras and Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis arrived at the intersection of Mesogion and Katechaki avenues on Sunday morning on the occasion of measures contained in the new Traffic Code going into effect as of Sunday.
Polydoras said in a statement that the implementation of the new Traffic Code is the new beginning for a new road attitude and pointed out that "I wish to tell you that from the point of view of traffic police we shall be fair. Our instructions to the traffic police is for the law to be observed."
The public order minister also said that "we are hoping for a considerable success that will remove us from the top positions in the case of road conduct and accidents that we have in Europe and go to the bottom positions."
Liapis said on his part that a new effort is beginning to change the mentality of the Greek motorist, but stressed that "we don't want to punish anyone. On the contrary, we want to prevent lethal traffic accidents and, unfortunately, we have the privilege in all of Europe of coming first in lethal traffic accidents."
 Greeks sensitive about environment but love carsGreeks love cars, they produce large quanties of refuse without participating in any kind of recycling, but declare that they are sensitive about the environment.
Research carried out by V-PRC/Public Issue in cooperation with WWF Hellas, in light of International Environment Day on June 5, showed that the Greeks feel concerned about the state of the environment, but they do not believe that they have a share of responsibility for this situation.
While 57 percent of respondents declared themselves informed on environmental issues and one out of two believes that he protects the environment as far as he is concerned, 54 percent declare that they travel in the city exclusively by car, 58 percent have never tossed their refuse into recycling bins and 44 have never consumed biological products.
 Police locate taxi driver involved in ugly incident with British soccer fanGreek police on Saturday said they have identified a 45-year-old taxi driver accused of first trying to overcharge a British soccer fan before roughing him up and later fleeing with the man's luggage, an incident that occurred in an east Attica (greater Athens) seaside resort a day before last month's Champion's League final in the Greek capital.
The May 22 incident and allegations made by the British man and his family generated a negative hiccup for the host-city in the otherwise flawless holding of the Champions League final, while setting in motion a determined police investigation to locate the driver.
According to reports, the taxi driver disputed the version given by the British fan. Authorities have launched legal proceedings against him, although an arrest was not made as the period allowed for a first instance arrest has passed.
The British man, accompanied by his family, arrived at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport on May 22 to attend the European Champions League Cup final between Liverpool of England and Milan of Italy.
The taxi driver reportedly told police that when the incident occurred outside a hotel in the coastal resort of Mati, he left in haste because other British soccer fans were nearby and he feared being attacked. He also claimed that when he later "discovered" he had taken the family's suitcases he left the luggage off a street in a remote road a few kilometers away, believing that someone would find them and hand them over to police. The suitcases were never found, however.
The Briton, who had come to Greece with his children, said he had taken the taxi from the airport to their hotel in Mati, a ride that would normally cost anywhere from 20 to 30 euros maximum depending on traffic. When they arrived, the driver allegedly demanded 95 euros, resulting in the altercation.
The incident generated a firestorm of criticism in the east Mediterranean country over the behavior of some taxi drivers, particularly ones that stake out airports, ports, train stations and monuments frequented by foreign tourists.
 Office of former PM Costas Simitis broken intoA burglary occurred at the office of former prime minister Costas Simitis in Acadimias street in downtown Athens at dawn on Sunday.
Police announced that the alarm went off at 4:40 a.m. and that a patrol car arrived shortly afterwards, but the police left after ascertaining that the main entrance to the office was intact.
The company, however, that had provided the building with the alarm system notified the former prime minister's security staff, who checked the premises and found out that the balcony door had been opened. They told police that the office was in order and that it was not ascertained that something had been stolen.
 Policeman shoots civilian in thigh during quarrelA policeman serving at the precinct of Oreokastro in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, was arrested after shooting and injuring a civilian in the thigh during a quarrel on Sunday.
According to an announcement by the police, the incident occurred outside the building housing the precinct at 8:45 in the morning. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment and his life was not in danger.
 Lianokladi wildfire under partial controlA wildfire that broke out along the Athens-Lianokladi railway route on Saturday morning was reported under partial control late in the afternoon and has been limited to two fronts that are slowing down. Travel by rail between Athens and Thessaloniki, Macedonia, that had been disrupted as a result of the fire has been resumed.
Police have arrested the two drivers of a freighter train that had been heading for Lianokladi and had reportedly being "spreading fire" and handed them over to the fire brigade that is carrying out a preliminary enquiry. An inspection of the train, that has been immobilised at Lianokladi station, has also been ordered.
The wildfire started at about 11 in the morning when the freighter train travelling from Athens to Thessaloniki started spreading very hot pieces of metal at various locations it was passing, resulting in fires breaking out in at least 25 cases. Dozens of fires broke out along a distance of 10 kilometres, six of which spread very quickly.
According to initial assessments made by the fire brigade, the land affected by the wildfire, although having a great length, does not exceed about 70-80 acres.
 Two illegal immigrants rescued off Lesvos, three missingA Harbour Authority vessel rescued two illegal immigrants, who declared themselves as being of Palestinian origin, in the sea region three nautical miles east of the port of Mytilene, on the Aegean island of Lesvos, on Saturday morning.
The illegal immigrants told officers who rescued them that they were travelling with three other men in plastic boat that was being towed by a Turkish speedboat with a Turkish navigator, who abandoned them and destroyed the vessel they were travelling in.
Harbour Authorities have launched an operation in the sea region to locate and rescue the three missing men.
 Cruise ship strikes pier at Tinos port, passengers safeThe cruise ship "Serenade", Bahamas-flagged but Cypriot-owned, struck a pier while entering the port of the Aegean island of Tinos on Saturday morning. A gash was created above sea-level on the port side of the vessel's bows.
No pollution was created as a result of the accident, but the ship will not be allowed to sail before it obtains a certificate of seaworthiness from the relevant authorities.
The cruise ship was carrying 671 passengers and 258 crew, none of whom were harmed, and was on a cruise from Cyprus to islands in the Aegean and the city of Thessaloniki.
 Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos organises vigil on FYROM name issueThessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos organised a vigil at the Agios Dimitrios Cathedral in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday night on the issue of the name of the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Anthimos said "the peaceful and spiritiual event for our country is an expression of the spirit of the people, who believe in God and in his interventions."
Stressing that the vigil would end at 1 a.m. on Saturday, Anthimos added that "let us pray to God tonight to vindicate the efforts that our country is making through its politicians, diplomacy, officials and the spirit of our people."
 Greece beats Hungary 2-0 in European Championship qualifying matchThe Greek national soccer team beat Hungary 2-0 in a European Championship Group Three qualifying match played at the Pangritio Stadium in Crete on Saturday night. The goals were scored by Fanis Gekas (16) and Giourkas Seitaridis (29).
In other matches played on Saturday for the same group, Bosnia edged Turkey 3-2 and Norway hammered Malta 4-0.
Standings after six games played for each team:
Greece 15 points
 Greece will play its next match against Moldova on Wednesday, again at the Pangritio Stadium.Weather forecast
 Cloudy on MondayCloudy weather is expected in most parts of the country, with local showers and storms. Winds variable. Temperatures in Athens ranging between 18C and 32C and in Thessaloniki ranging from 17C to 30C.
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