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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-06-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 2 June 2008 Issue No: 2908


  • [01] PASOK unveils 5 proposals at party event on World Environment Day
  • [02] PM Caramanlis to meet Moldovan counterpart on Monday
  • [03] Deputy FM Petros Doukas arrives in Moscow
  • [04] Health minister addresses party event in Thessaloniki
  • [05] Culture minister visiting Crete
  • [06] ONNED Central Committee holds fourth session
  • [07] Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos in Veria
  • [08] Athens to present Medal to Cyprus' Lyssarides
  • [09] 62nd Panmacedonian Union of America congress ends
  • [10] Tourism, merchant marine ministers on high prices
  • [11] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday
  • [12] Unusual robbery at Athens super market
  • [13] Aristotelio University rector discharged from hospital
  • [14] Illegal immigrant injured by gunshot
  • [15] Museum of Marble Craft inaugurated on Tinos island
  • [16] Thessaloniki demonstration for bicyclists', pedestrians' rights
  • [17] 55th Acropolis Rally ends with Loeb triumph
  • [18] Government focuses on bicommunal dialogue
  • [19] DIMITRA military manoeuvres to be held June 5 - 8

  • [01] PASOK unveils 5 proposals at party event on World Environment Day

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou issued a ' lasting and constant' appeal to the country' s social and political forces for ' broad alliances' so that ' tomorrow' s PASOK government' , whose focus would be ' green develop-ment' , could change the country, addressing an event on Saturday night organized by his party' s Europarliamentarians, together with the PASOK sector for the environment, at Syntagma Square in central Athens to mark the UNEP-designated World Environment Day, which is observed on June 5 each year.

    Papandreou also unveiled five proposals for environmental protection, with the focus on the establishment of an autonomous ministry for the Environment.

    He stressed the need for a new strategic plan for the country based on Greek Development, while accusing the New Democracy government of promoting the perception of individualism and lawlessness.

    Papandreou further invited the social and political forces to a ' program dialogue and collaborations' , and on the leaders of the parties of the ' other Left' to assume their responsibilities, warning that ' those who rule out, rule themselves out' .

    In addition to an autonomous Environment Ministry, Papandreou also proposed energy conservation in buildings and vehicles through the establishment of appropriate incentives and conditions; support of businesses turning 'green' with specific incentives; support of all forms of renewable energy sources throughout the entire country; and bold policies and legislation, with volition and principles, that would give new incentives for environment-friendly technologies and proper training for the youth.

    Elaborating on his proposals, Papandreou spoke of "quality tourism" through highlighting the uniqueness of every destination. Citing the island of Zakynthos as an example, he said that the Caretta caretta loggerhead sea turtle (one of the last remaining natural habitats of the Caretta caretta in the Mediterranean) could become an attraction theme, with proper events, while in Ioannina health tourism could be highlighted.

    Papandreou said that social justice was necessary because the downgrading of the environment was a political tactic that hurt the small and medium income earners and the poor citizens, such as in the Assopos River region, where pollution of the waters forces local residents to leave.

    On the quality of life and democracy that needs to be safeguarded, Papandreou said that possible introduction of nuclear energy would limit the independence of the country and the citizens, since it would intensify the police state in order to ensure the public health during the transport and storage of toxic wastes.

    The PASOK leader said that Greece has two options, to be either the tail or a pioneer, adding that Greece must be a leader in this global necessity for quality of life and move ahead to productive investments with security and certainty.

    The theme of the open event was the environment, energy and climate change, with other speakers including PASOK Eurodeputies Anny Podimata, Katerina Batzeli and Evangelia Tzambazi, the party's secretary for environmental issues Spyros Kouvelis, and representatives of Greenpeace and the WWF, and live links with local television networks of the periphery for presentation of the local environmental problems.

    Also in attendance was the prefect of fire-ravaged Ileia, K. Kafiras, to whom the president of the European Parliament's European Socialist Party (PES) group Martin Schulz symbolically gave 218 olive trees, representing the number of the group's Eurodeputies.

    [02] PM Caramanlis to meet Moldovan counterpart on Monday

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis will be meeting with his visiting Moldovan counterpart Zinaida Greceanii at noon on Monday, it was announced on Sunday. Talks will focus on bilateral issues and regional developments.

    FM Bakoyannis interviews on Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus issue, FYROM

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis said that there were major differences in Greek-Turkish relations, but "we will continue, through dialogue, the effort to resolve them" while, with respect to FYROM, she expressed hope that "reason will prevail" on the part of Skopje and that "they will look to the European 'present' of the 21st century, and also to the future that we must build together", in an interview with To Vima daily appearing in the newspaper's Sunday edition.

    In a separate interview with the Cypriot newspaper "Politis", Bakoyannis stressed the necessity for Turkey to take seriously into mid the international belief that the solution to the Cyprus problem must be a "Cypriot" solution.

    Bakoyannis, who is due in Cyprus on June 12 on an official visit, praised the excellent cooperation and constant contact with the island republic's new president, Demetris Christofias, and stressed that the constructive messages "steadfastly transmitted" by Christofias had contributed to improving the image of the Greek Cypriot side internationally.

    She further stressed that the preparation of the groundwork -- for direct talks between Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat -- currently underway, was an essential process for achieving progress, and was not being done simply for the sake of appearances.

    Further, Cyprus' capacity as a full member of the European Union facilitates the finding of a mutually acceptable solution, she added.

    Bakoyannis said she opposed "manufactured timetables" in the new effort currently underway for a Cyprus solution, while she also described Greek-Turkish relations as "a marathon, and not a 100 meter dash", and stressed that resolution of the Cyprus issue was a fundamental parameter for full normalisation of Greece's relations with Turkey", adding that "it is self-evident that a solution would give great impetus in that direction".

    On the political crisis in Turkey, Bakoyannis said that "it is not an alibi for inertia and intransigence on the Cyprus issue and in Greek-Turkish relations".

    Asked to comment on the feasibility of the vision voiced on occasion by the present-day president of Turkey that, following a resolution of the Cyprus issue, the three countries (Greece, Turkey and Cyprus) could form a kind of political and economic front within the European Union, Bakoyannis replied: "The vision of three countries that have fully normalised their relations and are cooperating in the framework of the European Union, as members of the European family, is the vision of all of us. It should, therefore, comprise the driving force for Turkey to work honestly for resolving the Cyprus issue and to forge ahead on the path of the changes and reforms required by its European prospect and course".

    [03] Deputy FM Petros Doukas arrives in Moscow

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th.Avgerinos)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas said in interviews with the Russian state-run ITAR-TASS and RIA-Novosti news agencies, as well as with the bimonthly periodical "Ellada" (Greece), which is published in Moscow and belongs to Greek interests, that Greek-Russian political and economic relations are at their best point and the possibilities of developing both trade and investments are very extensive.

    Heading the biggest ever business mission to date, with over 300 participants so far, Doukas arrived in Moscow on Sunday and on the sidelines of the Greek-Russian business conference he will be having contacts over the next two days with members of the Russian government, Parliament and the municipality of Moscow, as well as with business agencies.

    Referring to the Greek-Russian business forum, that he will be inaugurating on Monday with his counterpart, the co-chairman of the interministerial cooperation committee and Agriculture Minister of Russia Alexey Gordeev, Doukas reassured that "such initiatives encouraging and supporting business contacts will continue in the future as well" and hailed the fact that bilateral economic relations are being gradually extended to a wide range of sectors, from energy and tourism to cooperation in high technology.

    "Cooperation between capital and know-how from the two countries is a guarantee for effective cooperation, from which the business communities of both countries will benefit greatly," Doukas told RIA-Novosti, commenting on relations being developed by Greek technological parks, such as that in Patra, with Russian technological foundations and universities.

    Speaking to ITAR-TASS, Doukas said that Greece looks forward to the extension of the agreement on the procurement of natural gas with Russia even beyond the year 2040, terming as "undoubtable" Russia's role in securing Greece's energy safety, as well as that of Europe, and assessed that, as has been determined in consultations between the two countries' leaders Vladimir Putin and Constantine Karamanlis, both the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and the agreement on Greek participation in the South Stream natural gas pipeline are proceeding towards their implementation.

    [04] Health minister addresses party event in Thessaloniki

    Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos addressed an event organised in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, by a local prefectural committee of the ruling New Democracy party on Friday evening, stressing that the government is forging ahead with restructuring and upgrading the health system.

    Referring to the new law on procurements that has been ratified in Parliament, Avramopoulos spoke of a great reform in what had been applied in the health sector so far and of a bold initiative that will rationalise the procurements system.

    As regards the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the minister said that he is waiting for the results of Sunday's elections in the neighbouring country with great interest and expressed the hope that the new government that will emerge will not continue the policy of intransigence.

    Avramopoulos also deplored the recent incidents taking place in universities, saying that the reforms in education must go ahead, while on the question of high prices he said that the government is making considerable efforts to tackle it, as far as possible, since an international economic crisis is going on.

    [05] Culture minister visiting Crete

    Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis, concluding his visit to locations falling under the jurisdiction of his ministry, said on Saturday that the island of Crete is a top priority for the ministry due to its cultural heritage.

    The minister also pledged initial funding amounting to 500,000 euros for the Archaeological Museum in Iraklio and the Fort of Koule. As regards the rest of the funds that will be required, the minister said that an effort will be made to obtain funds from the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF).

    He added that this is a public commitment because the Archaeological Museum of Iraklio and Knossos are gems for the island.

    Liapis also visited the Pancritio Stadium and was given a guided tour of its premises, accompanied by local officials, and said that the stadium will be handed over to the municipality of Iraklio in a month at the most.

    [06] ONNED Central Committee holds fourth session

    Ruling New Democracy party affiliated ONNED youth group President George Papanikolaou strongly condemned recent incidents taking place in universities, that resulted in the injuring of the rector of the Aristotelio University of Thessaloniki and of university security guards.

    "Policy cannot be exercised with crowbars and stones," he said, adding that "when there is a risk for life and a felony the police are entitled to intervene."

    Addressing the fourth session of ONNED's Central Committee in Athens at noon on Saturday, Papanikolaou said that "asylum has become one of the most distorted institutions and instead of protecting the free expression of views, it is being used abusively by the hooded thugs to muzzle every contrary voice by force."

    [07] Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos in Veria

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos is in Veria, northern Greece, to attend the 14th Pavlia events in honour of the Apostle Paul.

    On Sunday morning, he officiated at the service held at the Podium of Apostle Paul and, addressing the congregation, said that "pharisaism has no place in Christian life".

    At noon, he addressed the conference held for Dimitris Vikelas, the first president of the International Olympic Committee, while in the afternoon he was due to visit the Panagia Soumela

    Monastery at Vermio and at 8 in the evening he was to be attending an artistic event organised in Veria as part of the 14th Pavlia events.

    [08] Athens to present Medal to Cyprus' Lyssarides

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis will present the City of Athens Medal of Honor and Benefaction to veteran Cypriot politician Dr. Vassos Lyssarides, former president of the Cyprus House of Representatives, and honorary leader of Cyprus' Social Democratic Movement (EDEK).

    The award ceremony will take place at noon on Monday at Athens' City Hall.

    [09] 62nd Panmacedonian Union of America congress ends

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    The 62nd congress of the Panmacedonian Union of America ended here on Saturday with the re-election of Nina Gatzouli as the Union's president and the ratification of a resolution stressing that "we shall never accept any name for FYROM (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) that will contain the term 'Macedonia' or its derivatives."

    The delegates declared their "steadfast opposition" to the recognition of FYROM by the United States with the name "Republic of Macedonia" and called for "continuous propaganda on irredentism that is being emitted by FYROM, including the appropriation and distortion of the Greek cultural heritage of Macedonia, to stop completely."

    During the official dinner, Archbishop of America Demetrios was honoured with the "Filippio Award." Receiving the award, the primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America called on the delegates and the expatriates in general to confront FYROM's propaganda "that has infiltrated government services and public libraries in the United States."

    Greek Ambassador to the United States Alexandros Mallias said on his part that "your decision to honour Archbishop Demetrios with the 'Filippio Award' gives it a splendour and a moral base."

    Financial News

    [10] Tourism, merchant marine ministers on high prices

    The high cost of living requires the mobilisation of everyone, tourism development minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said in an interview with Apogevmatini daily, appearing in the newspaper's Sunday edition, noting that the government, with a series of measures, was giving its own response to a social problem whose resolution is the product of constant efforts over a long period of time, and from one day to the next.

    Petty politics, he warned, had not place in such big and important matters that concern everyone.

    Spiliotopoulos further reminded that it was also the duty of the citizens to display the proper consumer conscience, by turning their backs on profiteers.

    The battle against the high cost of living was also the proper opportunity for businesses to prove their own corporate social responsibility, he added.

    In a separate interview with the same newspaper, merchant marine and island policy minister George Voulgarakis said that he was in continuous talks with coastal shipping owners, aimed at a "self-containment" of fare prices at low levels.

    He also noted that his ministry has increased subsidies to the sector by 20 million euros in order to assist the ship routes to the country's remote islands, and expressed satisfaction that two shipping lines have already responded to his appeal for a freeze on fares throughout the summer season, adding his hope that more ship companies will follow suit.

    [11] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.563

    Pound sterling 0.792

    Danish kroner 7.518

    Swedish kroner 9.402

    Japanese yen 165.05

    Swiss franc 1.640

    Norwegian kroner 7.971

    Canadian dollar 1.550

    Australian dollar 1.634

    General News

    [12] Unusual robbery at Athens super market

    An unusual robbery took place at the Sklavenitis super market in Harilaos Trikoupis street in the Athens district of Exarchia at noon on Saturday, when about 20 people entered as customers and filled trolleys with food and other items and left the premises without paying. Before leaving, they threw down leaflets with slogans against high prices.

    [13] Aristotelio University rector discharged from hospital

    Aristotelio University of Thessaloniki rector Anastasios Manthos was discharged from the AHEPA hospital on Saturday after undergoing treatment for injuries he sustained during scuffling breaking out at the university last Wednesday.

    Manthos must avoid doing any activity for two more days, while his health is expected to recover fully in about three weeks, according to a statement made to the ANA-MPA by AHEPA hospital director Dimitris Gakis.

    "He is suffering from inflexibility of the neck, due to the injury he sustained and amnesia as to what had happened and had caused his injury," Gakis said.

    According to the hospital's director, the injury in the neck might have been caused by a blunt instrument, but this could not be ascertained since the patient refused to have a medical examination.

    [14] Illegal immigrant injured by gunshot

    A young Albanian national was seriously injured at dawn on Sunday as he attempted, together with other compatriots, to illegally enter Greece, near the Greek-Albanian border, with a gunshot wound by an Albanian "Tokarev" pistol, the signature firearm of the Albanian drug mafia, police said.

    The young man was shot in the Oreinos plane in Ioannina, and was taken by his compatriots to a nearby house belonging to an animal-breeder', who in turn alerted police and an ambulance.

    The injured man was rushed to the Ioannina University Hospital, where he underwent lengthy surgery, after which he was reported to be in a non-life threatening condition.

    According to testimonies by the group of illegal immigrants, they were using flashlights to find their way in the darkness when they were spotted by drug traffickers who mistook them for border guards and fired three shots at them.

    The Orienos plane is regularly used by Albanian drug traffickers and their cohorts in Greece.

    The local police were investigating the incident, while the Albanian police authorities were also informed, and were investigating on the Albanian side of the border to locate the perpetrators of the shooting.

    [15] Museum of Marble Craft inaugurated on Tinos island

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias inaugurated the Museum of Marble Craft on the island of Tinos on Saturday.

    The Museum, built by the PiraeusBank Group's Cultural Foundation, contains exhibits presenting the technology of marble crafting.

    Marble is a material that holds a significant place in Greek architecture and art from antiquity to the present, while Tinos has, throughout the centuries, been known worldwide for its marble craftsmen.

    Addressing the event, tourism development minister Aris Spiliotopoulos that cultural expression is the strongest and most substantial projection of Greece outside its borders, as it highlights not only the country's identity but also its future potential and, in that light, the materialisation of initiatives such as that of the Marble Craft Museum in Tinos, they play an important role "in our efforts for the developmental prospect of our country, as the incentives are given for creation among the local society, and its unique cultural identity is projected".

    From within the history of marble, Greek and foreign visitors to the Museum will become acquainted with the architecture and art of Greece, and will understand that Greece is not only sun and sea, but a country with a rich cultural heritage that remains alive, and is a strong ally to the efforts for establishing Greece among the top tourism destinations, Spiliotopoulos added.

    Brief greetings were also addressed by merchant marine, Aegean and island policy minister George Voulgarakis and interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

    [16] Thessaloniki demonstration for bicyclists', pedestrians' rights

    Thessaloniki residents of all ages staged a demonstration with bicycles on Sunday throughout the city's streets, in demand of bicycle lanes and facilitation for pedestrians and along the northern Greek capital's car-jammed roads.

    The demonstration, organised by the Ecological Movement of Thessaloniki, the 'Podilatis' bicyclists' association and the Union for Pedestrians' Rights, joined by other similar movements, demand commuter rights for bicyclists, pedestrians and people with mobiility difficulties.

    Thessaloniki prefectural councillor and Ecological Movement member Michalis Tremopoulos, who took part in the demonstration, said that the number of people using bicycles as a means of transportation was growing constantly.

    According to the organisers, the mobilisation marked the 25th anniversary of the first bicycle demonstration organised in Greece by the Ecological Movement of Thessaloniki, on June 1, 1983 during which 13 bicyclists were arrested on charges of blocking traffic.


    [17] 55th Acropolis Rally ends with Loeb triumph

    The 55th Acropolis Rally came to an end in Tatoi at noon on Sunday with the special extra special course and with a triumph for Sebastien Loeb.

    The French driver of Citroen won the Greek race of the World Championship for the second time (the first was in 2005), leaving behind Petter Solberg of Norway with a Subaru and the Finn Mikko Hirvonen with a Ford.

    The winner of the extra special race was Dani Sordo of Spain with a Citroen who clocked 3:30.0, followed by Hirvonen (3:33.2) and Manch Ostberg of Norway with a Subaru (3:34.1).

    The Greek with the best performance in the general standings was Lambros Athanasoulas with a Subaru, who finished with a total time of 4 hours 45:02.7. Following were Dimitris Nasoulas (29th in the general standings) and Grigoris Nioras (31st).

    Cyprus Affairs

    [18] Government focuses on bicommunal dialogue


    The Greek Cypriot side concentrates its efforts on the dialogue, which began in April at bicommunal level, to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, leading to a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.

    This was stressed Sunday by Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, who warned that the solution of the Cyprus problem will not be an ideal arrangement but a compromise.

    Stephanou was speaking at the funeral of Greek Cypriot Andreas Mateides, who was killed during the Turkish invasion of 1974 and was listed as missing since then. His remains have been recently identified with the DNA method.

    "We know that the solution will not be an ideal one, it will be a compromise. But we persevere and insist that the solution is functional, viable and does not annul fundamental principles," he said.

    Stephanou added that President of the Republic Demetris Christofias pursues a solution which will free Cyprus of the Turkish occupation and the Turkish occupation army, stop illegal settlers from coming to Cyprus and reunite Cyprus and its people under a bizonal, bicommunal federation with one sovereignty, one nationality and one international personality.

    Moreover, he said that President Christofias is working for a solution that will restore and safeguard human rights and the fundamental principles for all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    "These are the basic principles for a Cyprus solution. President Christofias is working hard to achieve a solution based on these principles, with determination and flexibility," he said.

    Stephanou noted that "as a result of our initiatives, the international community has renewed its interest in a solution of the Cyprus problem and stagnation has ended".

    Referring to the bicommunal discussions which began in April between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides, in the framework of technical committees and working teams, he said that the discussions "aim at preparing the ground for negotiations between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader towards a comprehensive solution".

    "Today, we concentrate our efforts on this goal", he noted.

    He said that first of all the two communities in Cyprus should cooperate in order to reach a commonly acceptable solution and secondly the international community should exert pressure on Turkey, which "is an obstacle in efforts to reach a settlement."

    Referring to the humanitarian issue of missing persons, he said that establishing the fate of each and every missing person remains a priority for the government.

    "The relatives of the missing persons have the right to know if their loved ones are alive," he stressed.

    In the past few years, the Committee on Missing Persons has exhumed remains from graves on both sides of the divide. These are identified with scientific methods and are returned to the next of kin.

    Greek Cypriots have been missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion and Turkish Cypriots since intercommunal strife in the early 1960s.

    [19] DIMITRA military manoeuvres to be held June 5 - 8


    Large scale military manoeuvres, code-named ''DIMITRA 2008'', will be held June 5-8, a press release issued by the Cyprus Defence Ministry has announced.

    The manoeuvres will be directed by the National Guard General Staff and relate to the implementation of the National Guard's system concerning administration.

    The manoeuvres will comprise two phases in the government controlled areas of the island, which has been divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    Formations of regular units and other units will participate in the exercises. In addition to that, reservists will have to present themselves at their units.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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