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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-09

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] President Papoulias receives country's first 'secure' passport
  • [02] Veteran journalist Karapanayotis dies
  • [03] Implementation of reforms top priority for new year

  • [01] President Papoulias receives country's first 'secure' passport

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday was presented with the country's first new-style passport from the Greek Police's (ELAS) new passport service, bearing the symbolic number "1".

    Papoulias visited the passport issue service, which has passed to the Greek Police as of the New Year, on Monday morning and, after a tour of the facility, expressed satisfaction that the Greek citizens would be facilitated in their travels with secure travel documents, such as the new passports.

    The President received his passport from public order minister George Voulgarakis, who noted that the secure passports were a wager that Greece must win, "and I believe that we are winning it".

    Also present at the ceremony was foreign minister Petros Molyviatis.

    Police chief George Aggelakos outlined the security features of the new passports. He noted that the security features were in three tiers, while there were also seven different features that made counterfeiting of the new passports virtually impossible.

    The security features of the new passports include a watermark, unique thematic designs, and invisible designs that appear only with the use of specialised equipment.

    According to ELAS, 1,575 new-style passports have been issued to date from 138 services, including the Consular offices.

    The goal is for Greece to be removed, by October, from the list of countries whose travel documents are easily counterfeited.

    Pictured is President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias (L) receiving the country's first new secure passport from public order minister George Voulgarakis. ANA/P. Saitasi.

    [02] Veteran journalist Karapanayotis dies

    Veteran journalist Leon Karapanayotis died on Sunday at the age of 74, a hear after suffering a stroke. Messages of condolences were issued by the country's political leadership.

    Karapanayotis, who was born in Athens in 1931 and studied political sciences in France and Switzerland, worked at the Lambrakis Publishing Organisation (DOL) since 1953, where he had served as editor-in-chief of the To Vima newspaper, and later as editor-in-chief and publisher of Ta NEA newspaper.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias expressed deep grief over the death of Karapanayotis who, he said, with his high morals, respect for journalistic ethics, and critical views worked for the projection of his principles and visions, making a priceless contribution to journalism and tendering it into a true function.

    Papoulias conveyed his condolences to the deceased's family and the entire journalistic family.

    Minister of state and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that Karapanayotis' death would be felt not only in TA NEA newspaper, for which the deceased's personal seal had been decisive, but to the entire world of the printed press.

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said Karapanayotis had served journalism in an exemplary manner for more than half a century, and had been a restless intellectual, a man of deep knowledge and views on the political and social issues, and a conscientious democratic citizen with his own personal contribution to the struggles for democracy and progress.

    Papandreou said that the deceased had been a family friend, and a personal friend of his father -- the late PASOK founder and former prime minister Andreas Papandreou -- adding that Karapanayotis' advice in many critical and historic moments had been priceless.

    Parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki also expressed deep grief, personally and on behalf of parliament, over the death of Karapanayotis, who was chairman of the ethics committee of parliament's television station. She said the deceased had for half a century faithfully served the free information of the citizens, while his seemly and creative career in the press, his respect of the journalistic ethics and his intellectual cultivation comprised an important legacy in today's difficult times.

    In a message of condolences, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos expressed his own and his party's condolences to the deceased's family and the journalistic family, noting Karapanayotis had been firmly devoted all his life to journalism as a function, and his dedication to democracy and his contribution to public dialogue were universally acknowleded.

    [03] Implementation of reforms top priority for new year

    The government's first priority for 2006 is the implementation and yield of the reforms adopted last year, and chiefly the reforms concerning the collaborations between the public and private sector, national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis said in an interview with Apogevmatini newspaper appearing in the paper's Sunday edition.

    He announced that within the next two weeks the three inter-ministerial committees that have been set up -- on denationalisations, on public-private sector collaboration, and on the DEKO public utilities, noting that the denationalisations programme needed to be advanced, chiefly with respect to the banks, while a strategy needed to be set out with respect to the collaborations, and a streamlining programme needed to be drafted by the loss-making DEKO.

    Alogoskoufis said incomes policy in the public sector should perhaps be uniform, explaining that, in enterprises that belonged 100 percent to the state and were not listed on the Athens bourse, and mainly in those that were loss-making, "it is clear that the salary increases cannot be higher than those given in the public sector", which he said would be around the inflation rate.

    "In other words, the incomes policy in the public sector should possibly be uniform," Alogoskoufis said.

    He further proposed that court rulings on salaries and pensions should not have retroactive application -- vis-a-vis the dialogue on the planned revision of the constitution -- stressing the need to protect fiscal management from court decisions.

    Alogoskoufis further proposes new constitutional rules so that provisions concerning protection of the environment would not act as disincentives for investments.

    Regarding the election of President of the Republic, he proposes a simple majority (in the 300-member parliament), and that failure by the House to elect a new president (under the existing procedures) should not result in early general elections.

    Under Article 32 Paragraph 3 of the Greek constitution, the candidate receiving two-thirds of the vote from the 300-member House (200 votes) in a roll-call vote is elected President of the Republic for the new four-year term. In the event a two-thirds majority is not achieved in the first round, the vote is repeated five days later. If a two-thirds majority is not achieved in the second round, the vote is repeated five days later, and the candidate amassing three-fifths of the vote (180 votes from the 300 MPs). If parliament fails to elect a new President in the third round, then the House is dissolved within 10 days of the third round of voting, and early general elections are called.

    Under Paragraph 4 of the same Article, the new parliament arising from the early general elections is mandated to elect the new President of the Republic immediately after it is formed. Paragraph 4 also provides for three rounds of voting. A majority of three-fifths (180 votes) is required in the first round, but in the event of failure, the vote is repeated five days later and the candidate who receives the absolute majority (150+1 votes) is declared President of the Republic. In the event of failure to elect a President in the second round, a third round, or run-off, is held five days later between the two candidates who amassed the most votes in the second round, and the candidate amassing the relative majority (largest number of votes) is declared President of the Republic.


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