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

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece to provide humanitarian and food aid to hurricane-devastated New Orleans
  • [02] Japanese business delegation visits Greece
  • [03] Transport Minister rejects reports over mergers in public transport sector
  • [04] Youth Parliament ends with praise from PM and President

  • [01] Greece to provide humanitarian and food aid to hurricane-devastated New Orleans

    Greece will provide emergency humanitarian and food assistance to the wider area of New Orleans in the US, which has suffered heavy damage from the devastating Hurricane Katrina, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos told a regular press briefing on Monday.

    Roussopoulos said that the Greek foreign ministry has undertaken an initiative to provide emergency humanitary assistance to help amelieriate the repercussions and provide aid to the hurricane victims and for restoration of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrine in the wider area of New Orleans.

    He said the Greek assistance included emergency humanitarian and food aid via the European Union, the despatch of a team of EMAK rescue workers, and the despatch of two passenger ships to provide shelter for the coming months to locals left homeless by the hurricane, adding that the offer was immediately accepted by the US authorities.

    Roussopoulos added that the foreign ministry was in constant contact with the US State Department, via the Greek diplomatic delegations, to advance requests for locating Greek Americans in the devastated area put forward by their relatives in Greece.

    A foreign ministry announcement later said that the ministry, in an expression of the sentiments of solidarity of the Greek people with the US citizens suffering from the catastrophic events of Hurricane Katrina, offered from the first moment to contribute to confronting the repercussions, providing assistance to the victims, and restoration of the damages, with emergency humanitarian aid.

    The ministry said the Greek offer included emergency humanitarian and food aid, the despatch of an EMAK disaster confrontation team to the area to help in rescue operatins and the transportation of the population, and also the dispatch of two cruiseships to provide shelter to the homeless over the coming months.

    The announcement said that US embassador to Greece Charlies Ries communicated on Sunday with Greek foreign minister Petros Molyviatis, to whom he conveyed US president George Bush's warmest thanks and the gratitude of the American people for the offer of aid, and particularly the active solidarity displayed by the Greek government and people from the very first moment to the residents of the stricken areas.

    The coordination and materialisation of the emergency assistance operation has been undertaken by the foreign ministry's Hellenic Aid (YDAS) service, the ministry announcement said.

    [02] Japanese business delegation visits Greece

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Monday met with a group of Japenese businessmen and discussed ways to attract more Japanese investments to Greece.

    The meeting, with Nippon Keidanren - Japan‚s largest employers‚ union - followed the Greek minister‚s visit to Japan in May during the EXPO 2005 world fair.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Alogoskoufis said the talks reaffirmed increased interest by Japanese businesses for Greece and for the country‚s role as a centre in Southeastern Europe. The Japanese interest focused on transportation, electronics, IT and the auto industry. Japanese businessmen were briefed on the government‚s economic policy such as a tax reform, corporate taxes, a new development law, joint ventures between public and private sectors, improving infrastructure in Northern Greece and market deregulation.

    Alogoskoufis stressed Japanese businessmen‚s interest for the energy and tourism sectors. ?The general climate coming from the meeting is that this interest will not take long to become real economic initiatives and direct investments,? the Greek minister said, adding that Japanese were very careful in their investment decisions.

    He noted that there were no specific investment interest and added that the companies themselves would announce any such decisions. He stressed, however, that the detailed and focused questions made and the composition of the delegation proved Japan‚s increasing interest for Greece. ?They are examining Greece as a potential hub for Southeastern Europe, which is exactly the Greek government‚s strategy, to develop the country as a centre for the wider region,? Alogoskoufis said.

    The two sides also discussed ways to begin direct air flights between Athens and Tokyo.

    [03] Transport Minister rejects reports over mergers in public transport sector

    Greek Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis on Monday categorically dismissed recent press reports over a wave of mergers between public transportation enterprises, saying these reports were inaccurate.

    Speaking to reporters in Thessaloniki, Liapis said all public transport enterprises and organisations would continue their operation as independent public sector enterprises, although he stressed that a single agency would be created to coordinate transport actions between them.

    The Greek minister reiterated that public transport enterprises should offer cheaper services to citizens and announced that the government would continue subsidising public transport fares.

    Liapis was speaking to reporters during the first trip of a new railway service line linking Athens with Thessaloniki in four hours and 15 minutes. The Greek minister said that Hellenic Railways was constantly upgrading its services making railways a more competitive means of transportation in the country.

    [04] Youth Parliament ends with praise from PM and President

    The 10th Youth Parliament was concluded on Monday by Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, who said the teenage "parliamentarians" had brought a "breath of youth, energy, freshness and uncorrupted thinking" into Parliament.

    "The views you presented express the pulse of our times and we will study them through the detailed minutes, making note of ideas and proposals useful for our work," she noted, addressing the 350 high-school students from Greece, Cyprus and abroad.

    Delegations of the students also met with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, who said he had been impressed by their passion, involvement and the concerns they expressed, and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    The prime minister also praised the teenagers for the high level of their arguments and proposals, saying that he considered the Youth Parliament to be a successful institution that he intended to develop further.

    "Some of your proposals were realistic and we will look into them. I heard some of your thoughts on how it can be made ven better and they are interesting," he added.


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