|Tuesday, 21 May 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-08-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 20 August 2007 Issue No: 2675
 Karamanlis adamant that commitments will be fulfilled; candidates address gatheringsPolitical party leaders on Sunday essentially inaugurated the campaign for the Sept. 16 elections, with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressing supporters at a rally in the northern town of Drama on the occasion of a ceremony naming an amphitheatre in the township in honor of his namesake and uncle, late statesman Constantine Karamanlis.
Karamanlis reiterated that not one of his government's commitments is being abandoned.
"The first step is the immediate implementation (following the elections) of draft laws already tabled in Parliament. We are creating a national social cohesion fund, we will be granting, from the beginning of 2008, the large family allowance to families with three children; we are increasing the unemployment allowance even more and, of course, we are increasing the EKAS allowance and the pensions of the Farmers Pension Fund (OGA). All this, of course, constitutes basic ingredients of the next budget," the prime minister said.
Referring to the Sept. 16 elections, Karamanlis spoke of a crucial juncture, since, as he said, decisions will have to be taken that will have an impact on the future of the country and of its children.
"There is only one path for us, the path of work and of results, the path of changes and of reforms," he further said, adding that "we are calling on the Greeks to ratify this strategy with their vote in the elections. We are forging ahead for a new and strong mandate to enable us to continue and to complete the strategy of changes and of reforms."
Finally, Karamanlis accused the opposition of having a nihilistic attitude towards the work of his government. He predicted that tension and polarisation on the part of the opposition will heighten in the near future -- stressing that his New Democracy party will not follow this path.
"It is our decision to leave them alone on the downhill path that they are following. The citizens have condemned these practices and reject them. We are defending the mild political climate; we are turning our backs on practices that have led to dissention in the past. We are looking ahead. We respect all citizens. We are proud of our work and we shall continue the reforms and changes that the country needs," the prime minister said.
Karamanlis also made a brief account of the government's work, stressing that the positive results of his government's policy have been recognised by international organisations and by the country's partners in the European Union.
 "New change necessary", Papandreou tells party cadresOn his part, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou addressed a meeting of his party's national council on Sunday, where he said that all Greeks are demanding a change for a better life.
"In 27 days, Greece will turn a page and the new government of PASOK will get to work on the day after the elections. The time for a new change has come, that is a national mandate. All Greeks are demanding change so that our lives can get better," he said.
Papandreou said New Democracy is leaving because it disappointed the citizens and created a great deal of insecurity, indignation and anger amongst the citizenry.
The PASOK leader said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who stated that he would tidy up the economy, is unable to close this year's budget or to create a new one.
He also cited what he called the government's "incompetence" and of "the dissolution of the state apparatus as was proved by the wildfires."
According to Papandreou, ND is concealing its programme and is asking for a blank cheque: It has a secret plan but it has no programme and for this reason it will get no blank cheque. It will not make the rich even richer and the poor poorer.
Meanwhile, in comments to an Athens daily, published on Sunday, Papandreou stressed the party's readiness to assume the great responsibility of the country's governance.
Papandreou said that PASOK's government will be based on a "great political majority of the centre-left" and will work for the fair distribution of income, for growth that respects the environment and "to lead Greece to the future that we deserve in the international community and in United Europe."
In a related development, Papandreou met with on Sunday evening, after the end of the party's council session, with one-time top Simitis government aide Michalis Neonakis. The latter had demanded last week to be included as a PASOK candidate in Rethymno, Crete, although indications surfaced that PASOK's leadership would rule out his candidacy. Neonakis had been accused and subsequently exonerated of dubious trading on the Athens Stock Exchange during the infamous 1999 "bourse bubble" period.
In a written statement, Papandreou said "Michalis Neonakis has greatly contributed to our movement (i.e. the PASOK party) for a very long period of time That's why today, with his stance at the session of the national council, he contributed in the strengthening of our prospects, with which we open the way for victory on Sept.16 Michalis Neonakis will continue to be with us in this struggle as well."
ND spokesman responds to Papandreou comments
Ruling New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Constantine Arvanitopoulos, in his debut at the post, on Sunday evening responded to earlier statements made by Papandreou.
"The president of PASOK, in his speech today, supposedly revealed the truth, however, he terribly distorted it in an effort to nullify the government's work, and he resorted to extremism and polarisation; without any self-criticism for the mistakes and oversights of the governments in which he participated in," Arvanitopoulos said.
"However, the citizens have a memory and judgment. We shall not follow the slippery path of extremism. We shall proceed with calm and arguments," the ND spokesman added.
 KKE leader addresses gathering of young couplesCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a gathering of young couples on Sunday, saying that "simple radical protest" can be expressed with votes for her party and a critical stance towards all that has taken place in the country in past years and concerns young people.
Papariga referred to the problems mainly experienced by young people and to the overall political climate in light of the Sept. 16 elections and spoke of "the substantive solution to the political problem of the country that not only concerns the governance of the country by the New Democracy party and by PASOK, but by the power of monopolies, of capital."
She went on to say that "we appeal to young people, to the younger ages, the young couples, to those who will vote for the first time or for the second and have an initial experience and we call on them with their vote against ND and PASOK and in favour of KKE to state that we know what you are. You shall pay."
Lastly, Papariga said "we are struggling, and we mean it literally, for the young generation to have full rights in their lives; the right to have a family freely. In studies, in health, in prevention, in the environment during holidays, full rights in all issues."
 Alavanos visits Piraeus, outlines coastal shipping policyCoalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Alekos Alavanos on Sunday visited the port of Piraeus and outlined the policy of his Syriza group (the radical left coalition). He said that the policy proposed by his coalition focuses on the country's geographic particularity (i.e. numerous islands of all sizes) and the "social nature" of the needs that coastal shipping is being called on to satisfy.
Alavanos further noted that what is required is not profiteering in coastal shipping, but coastal shipping that will be socially responsible, safe and financially viable.
He also stressed the need for strong coastal shipping that will provide speedy and safe links with the islands and for a decrease in fares, while also proposing the creation of an agency to supervise and control transportation services.
Meanwhile, in a newspaper interview published the same day, Alavanos said society is going to the elections without knowing details of the draft budget, or a report on the social insurance issue and without knowing the Zorbas report regarding the "huge scandal by ND" concerning the bonds.
Lastly, referring to criticism directed against his party by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Alavanos stressed that "SYRIZA (the radical left coalition) may be an opponent for KKE, but for us the permanent opponent are the policies of New Democracy and two-party rule."
 LA.OS party leader visits senior citizens' centresEuro-MP George Karatzaferis, the founder and president of the out-of-Parliament Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, visited senior citizens' centres in the Attica prefecture on Sunday, outlining his party's programme for a viable national pension, the health programme and welfare issues concerning the elderly.
According to an announcement by the party, the joint request of the elderly is "more dignity for the veterans of life by the state."
 Democratic Revival leader addresses gathering in ThessalonikiThe leader of the newly formed Democratic Revival party, former PASOK deputy Stelios Papathemelis, addressed a pre-election gathering Thessaloniki, on Sunday evening, where he voiced support for the strengthening of a welfare state.
"The state must give solutions to the problems of unemployment, high cost of living and the economy," he said.
He proposed "the shaping of a national strategy which will be based on the preventative strength of the country to be respected by enemies and friends."
 Athens to offer aid to exptariates in quake-ravaged PeruThe families of Greek origin whose homes were damaged by the recent devastating earthquake in Peru will be provided with financial aid by Greece, following a decision by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
The request for financial aid to enable the homes of the quake sufferers to be repaired was submitted to Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis by the President of the Greek community in Peru, Harisios Vardakas.
The deputy foreign minister, according to an announcement by the foreign ministry and after communicating with the foreign minister, informed Vardakas of the Greek government's decision to provide financial aid amounting to 4,000 dollars for each family whose home collapsed.
 Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos leaves for U.S.Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos left from the Elefsina military airport on Saturday morning aboard a flight to Miami, Florida, to undergo liver transplant surgery.
The Archbishop's departure was attended by Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Education and Religion Minister Marietta Yiannakou, Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, the leader of the out-of-Parliament Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party George Karatzaferis and many senior clergymen.
Speaking before his departure, Christodoulos revealed that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis gave him his personal amulet when he visited him on Friday night to help him return in good health.
He thanked Karamanlis and his government for their interest and referred in particular to the love of the people that strengthens his internal spiritual power.
The Archbishop further referred to the work of the Church during his absence and stressed that the Holy Synod will be addressing all issues.
Archbishop Christodoulos added that he will be in constant contact with the Holy Synod, from where he will be, and called for the prayers of all, as well as for their love and interest.
 Tension after CD peddler jumps to his deathThe death of a 25-year-old Nigerian street peddler selling bootleg CDs, who jumped off the first floor of a coffee house to flee from what he assumed were two plainclothes policeman, generated a brief street protest in the district of Kalamaria in Thessaloniki Saturday evening by a group of African nationals.
A brief confrontation with police arriving at the scene ensued before the incident ended. A subsequent police probe indicated that the two men were not policemen.
 Man prosecuted for Penteli wildfireA 57-year-old man arrested as being responsible for the devastating wildfire on Mount Penteli earlier this week was prosecuted on Saturday for "continuous arson in a very large forested and reforested area, from which danger was created for people and for other people's belongings."
The man, who denies the charge and claims that he was in a coffee house when the fire broke out, was the father of a volunteer fireman who had died while trying to extinguish a blaze in a factory in Penteli.
 Police arrest man for possession of hashish, antiquitiesPolish arrested a 69-year-old Italian national in Karlovasi, on the Aegean island of Samos, on Friday while he was receiving a package carefully concealing 71 grams of hashish. An ensuing search of his home also revealed 162 ancient items that he had been keeping. The drugs and the antiquities were confiscated.
 Three arrested for possession of counterfeit banknotesThree people were arrested at dawn on Saturday as they were preparing to use 2,000 euros in counterfeit banknotes in the northern city of Serres. They were found in possession of 40 counterfeit 50-euro banknotes.
The three, two men and a woman aged 32,35 and 22 respectively, were arrested after the police had received information about their activities over the past few days.
 Nine wounded in shootout between two familiesLongstanding enmity between two gypsy families that was rekindled in a coffee house in the city of Alexandria, in northern Greece, on Friday night erupted in a shootout with nine people being wounded on Saturday.
Three members of the one family fired on the home of the other family with hunting rifles and two members of the family under fire retaliated by using their own hunting rifles.
The shooting resulted in nine people being wounded and being taken to hospitals in the cities of Veria, Yiannitsa and Thessaloniki for treatment. One of the perpetrators was arrested, two are in hospital under guard and two others are still at large.
 Border guards arrest 3 traffickers, 10 illegalsBorder guards in northern Greece at dawn on Sunday arrested three alleged migrant traffickers and 10 illegal immigrants.
A 52-year-old resident of Piraeus, a 32-year-old Syrian national and a 28-year-old Iraqi were charged with migrant smuggling.
The illegals were reportedly picked them up from an unknown point on the Greek-Turkish border with the intention of transporting them to the country's interior.
The border guards confiscated two vehicles and five mobile phones. The three suspects were led before a Xanthi Public Prosecutor.
 Foreign Ministry condemns hijack of Turkish aircraftNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/CNA)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus condemned the hijacking which took place on Aug. 18, 2007 on an aircraft of the Turkish private airline Atlas - Jet, which departed from an illegal airport in the occupied by Turkish troops area of Cyprus and pointed out that Tymbou airport does not conform to the international safety regulations.
In an official announcement issued on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry points out that "the flight of the Turkish private airline Atlas - Jet heading to Istanbul, departed from an illegal airport located in the area which is occupied by the Turkish troops and which is not under the control of the legal Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus."
The Foreign Ministry also stress that "the fact that the operation of the illegal Tymbou airport does not conform to the international safety regulations or to the Civil Aviation Regulations, since it operates in an illegal secessionist entity, has repeatedly been pointed out by the Republic of Cyprus to all international organizations as well as to the international community."
Furthermore, the Ministry says that all legal entrance and exit points of the Republic of Cyprus operate under complete safety and in accordance with the international air navigation regulations on the basis of International Conventions which have been signed by the Republic of Cyprus.
36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS