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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-10

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] EU Commissioner Kyprianou meets with Greek leadership
  • [02] Jailed judge to sue Greek state for loss of income
  • [03] Gov't on continuing garbage strike

  • [01] EU Commissioner Kyprianou meets with Greek leadership

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received visiting European Commissioner for health and consumer protection Markos Kyprianou. During the meeting, Papoulias asked to be briefed on the progress being made in the "very important and sensitive" health sector.

    Kyprianou noted that health and consumer protection were two issues that greatly interested all European citizens:

    "One can never say that things are at a perfect level but in Europe we have reached a very good level of protection," he told Papoulias.

    Earlier, the EU Commissioner met separately with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader Geoprge Papandreou for talks on health and consumer protection issues.

    After his meeting with the prime minister -- which was also attended by health and social solidarity minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and development minister Dimitris Sioufas -- Kyprianou told reporters that he briefed Karamanlis on matters falling under his jurisdicion, with an emphasis on the present situuation concerning the avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak, as well as consumer protection.

    Kyprianou said ther was a "good cooperation", which would be continued at both bilateral level and at Council of Ministers level, adding that the cooperation with Greece was "satisfactory" and that "we are all working for the best implementation of the measures".

    The Commissioner said that the EU's preparation for confronting the bird flu problem was "at the highest level worldwide".

    Caption: Greek President Karolos Papoulias, right, greets visiting EU Commissioner Markos Kyprianou at the presidential mansion on Monday, April 10, 2006. ANA-MPA / O. Panagiotou.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] Jailed judge to sue Greek state for loss of income

    Convicted former first instance court judge Evangelos Kalousis, who was sentenced to a 3 1/2-year term for taking bribes in a trial-rigging scam, is taking recourse in the European Court of Justice and suing the Greek state for three million euros for loss of salaries and pension, it was announced on Monday.

    A three-member appeals court on April 5 sentenced former justice Kalousis to serve three and a half years in prison for taking bribes in order to release suspected drug dealers from jail. The court found Kalousis guilty of demanding 50 million drachmas in 2001 in order to arrange the release of G. Iatridis, who was then facing narcotics-related charges. Kalousis was acquitted of a charge of breach of duty, again connected to the Iatridis case, with the court finding that it had not been proved that Kalousis, then an examining magistrate, had proceeding with actions as a magistrate on the instructions of third parties. The former judge denied the charges and claimed that the case against him was "fixed" and based on "lies and libel". Among the witnesses in the case were Iatridis and his ex-wife, a U.S. national that was also facing drugs charges. They confirmed that Kalousis had asked for bribes in order to secure their release from prison. Court decisions are still pending for criminal and misdemeanour charges against the former judge concerning his participation in a trial-fixing ring.

    In his recourse to the European Court, Kalousis claims his remanding in custody was "invalid and illegal", and accuses the judicial functionairies that handled his case of succumbing to "expediencies and journalistic dictatorship".

    Kalousis is seeking 3 million euros in indemnities from the Greek state for the loss of his salary and pension, claiming that his life has been "totally destroyed".

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [03] Gov't on continuing garbage strike

    The issue of a nationwide strike by local government employees, primarily responsible for the heaps of garbage on major cities' streets over the past week, was cited during a press briefing by the government spokesman on Monday, although the latter clarified that there was no intention to issue a civil mobilisation order ending the industrial action.

    Alternate spokesman Evangelos Antonaros added that a relevant announcement by the interior ministry proves that municipal workers' demands have been met, while adding: "The government is taking all the necessary steps to protect public health and legality without harming trade union rights."

    Moreover, he noted that whoever wanted to return to work should have the right to do so, an answer in response to a press query on whether the government was planning to institute a "striking-breaking system".

    "Those responsible for the situation (tons of rubbish on city streets) should consider their responsibilities..." the spokesman added.

    In a related development, a meeting on Monday between representatives for striking garbage workers and Deputy Interior Minister Athanassios Nakos failed to turn up a solution.

    Workers in municipal sanitation services are demanding that they be immediately included in the category of ?heavy and unhealthy? professions, something that would translate into extra pay and earlier retirement.

    On his part, Nakos reiterated that the ministry is committed to a dialogue between the workers' union, POE-OTA, the state and the union of municipalities and local governments (KEDKE) by mid June over the specific issue.

    The union's executive committee is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to continue the almost week-long strike.

    Finally, the head of Thessaloniki's first instance courts, Panayiotis Ioannidis, on Monday ordered law enforcement authorities of greater Thessaloniki to arrest anyone blocking the transport of garbage to a local landfill, a decision that comes on the heels of an incident between striking workers and city officials overnight. Riot police and around 100 striking workers are currently positioned at garbage collection depot in the northern city.

    Caption: Residents pass by heaps of garbage rotting on Athens' streets on Monday, April 10, 2006, due to a continuing strike by municipal workers. ANA-MPA / S. Pantzartzi.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.


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