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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK unveils 'Black Book' listing gov't blunders and let-downs; Roussopoulos responds
  • [02] Russian President Putin on pilgrimage to Mt. Athos monastic community

  • [01] PASOK unveils 'Black Book' listing gov't blunders and let-downs; Roussopoulos responds

    Main opposition PASOK on Friday released a 128-page publication that it dubbed the "Book of Unreliability", in which the party lists a series of what it says are blunders, broken promises and outright lies by the present government. Unveiling the book, PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said that the government was revealed as unreliable and as having deceived the electorate, while noting that the book would continue to follow the government "month by month and day by day". He said the book showed that there had been a full reversal of every pre-election promise made by the government and its every announcement had been either a lie, an unkept promise or a mistake.

    Noting that the book could just as easily be entitled the "Handbook for the Good Liar", Athanassakis said that it would continue to grow because the government had not changed its tactics.

    Responding later in the day, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that "with its 'Black Book', PASOK and its president have given their opposition arguments the hue of reaction and conservatism. Reaction to every change and reform, while perpetuating the distortions, rigidities, practices and beliefs of the 20 years of PASOK governmenance".

    According to Roussopoulos, the book only served to highlight PASOK's own actions, omissions and failed promises when in government.

    "Greek men and women have condemned PASOK's governments for the things they did and failed to do over 20 years; for the hidden debts and deficits, for unemployment and high prices, for untransparency and corruption, for bureaucracy and party-politics, for the crime of the stock market, for Olympic Airways and the Land Register," he stressed.

    According to Roussopoulos, the electorate supported the government in its effort to carry out necessary reforms and changes needed by the economy and demanded by society. "Because they know full well that reforms are a one-way street that will lead to a truly humane, just and social state," he said.

    PASOK's own unreliability and its lack of counter-proposals and positions were highlighted even more by this attempt, 18 months after the elections, to blacken and denigrate the real and effective work of a government that will be judged by its citizens at the end of its four-year term, Roussopoulos concluded.

    [02] Russian President Putin on pilgrimage to Mt. Athos monastic community

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday paid a visit to the Mt. Athos monastic community, under draconian security measures, where he received a warm greeting. Putin, the first Russian leader to visit Mt. Athos, a worship site that is extremely respected and loved in Russia, reached Karyes, capital of the monastic community, shortly after noon on Friday, arriving from Sithonia in the Halkidiki prefecture, where he met with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday evening. President Putin had twice scheduled such a pilgrimage to Athos in the past -- in December 2001 and in September 2004 -- but the visit was cancelled both times.

    The first visit was cancelled to to inclement weather conditions on Mt. Athos at the time, and the second visit was cancelled due to the hostage crisis at a school in the North Ossetia capital of Beslan when Chechen rebels took over the elementary school, in which more than 300 children and adults were killed.

    The Athos monastic leadership greeted Putin in a stately ceremony in accordance with the Byzantine ritual. The Russian president was greeted by the head of the Holy Assembly, Pavlos, who escorted Putin to the entrance of the Protatos church, where the Superiors of the community's monasteries, the representatives of the monasteries to the Holy Community, and the members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's exarchy were awaiting him.

    Putin greeted all the monks one by one before entering the Church, where he lit a candle, worshipped the revered Axion Esti icon of the Virgin holding the Child Jesus, and attended a Te Deum.

    Responding to the greeting by Pavlos, Putin expressed gratitude for being given the opportunity to visit Mt. Athos, which he described as a "special site for the Orthodox Christians and the entire Christian world".

    "In Russia, we have always respected and have great respect for the people who take up the monastic life here. Russia has always had strong bonds with Mt. Athos. All its spiritual roots are linked with Mt. Athos. In my country, all the social strata have great respect for Mt. Athos," Putin said.

    The next stop on Putin's itinerary was the building of the Holy Community, after which he visited the Iviron monastery, followed by a visit in the afternoon to the Panteleimon monastery, which is inhabited by Russian monks.

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