Browse through our Interesting Nodes of Greek Newspapers & Magazines A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-23

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Team of ministers to fire-ravaged Chalkidiki
  • [02] Papandreou launches scathing attack on government
  • [03] Bakoyannis arrives in Beirut
  • [04] Fires still raging in Chalkidiki, Peloponnese

  • [01] Team of ministers to fire-ravaged Chalkidiki

    A team of ministers will be visiting fire-ravaged Kassandra, the first finger of the Chalkidiki peninsula in northern Greece, to meet with local officials and decide on measures to be taken in the wake of the disaster, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced on Wednesday.

    Making up the government team are Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalatzis, Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos, Deputy Health Minister Thanassis Yiannopoulos and Deputy Environment Minister Themistokles Xanthopoulos.

    Roussopoulos also repeated that state services had not been lax or lacking in coordination in their response to the fire, while congratulating fire-fighters and ordinary citizens that had assisted in the battle against the blaze.

    Regarding the country's fleet of fire-fighting aircraft, several of which were out of service for repairs and maintenance when the fire broke out, Roussopoulos confirmed that the public order ministry was concerned and had begun processes for renewal of the fleet.

    A similar government team will also be visiting the other major fire that broke out during the height of the heatwave in Lakonia, the spokesman added.

    As the fire raged on for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, firefighting efforts were now concentrated in an inaccessible forested area on the southwestern tip of Kassandra. The massive forest fire that broke out Monday afternoon has already devastated 40,000 stremma (10,000 acres) of virgin pine and fir forest and olive groves, while hundreds of firemen, backed by 75 fire engines, 20 water trucks and firefighting planes and helicopters continue to battle the flames.

    According to firefighters, one of the fronts extinguished on Tuesday, between the villages of Mola Kalyva and Aghia Paraskevi, was rekindled at about 3:00 a.m. Wednesday as wind velocity increased once again, leading to the evacuation of two hotels in the area for precautionary reasons.

    A strong land force succeeded in containing the fire, while four Canadair planes and two helicopters resumed water-dropping operations at the first light of day.

    The front, which extended an estimated three kilometers, was constanty changing direction due to the wind, hampering the firefighting effort, but Fire Department officials were optimistic that the fire would be substantially contained during the day if wind velocity did not increase further.

    PM confers with Nat'l Education Council chief on reforms

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday met with National Council on Education president Thanos Veremis, with whom he discussed the reforms in the AEI (universities) being advanced by the government.

    Veremis told reporters after the meeting that he had sought the discussion with the prime minister in order to outline his views on the reform, and reiterated his position that the election of the university Rectors should be through 'universal vote', in other words with the participation of all the students and not only by their "political party-affiliated" representatives, as is presently the case.

    Veremis said that "those who have nothing to do with the parties, and chiefly the students who are attending the classes, come and protest, and they, too, must express themselves".

    He said that the prime minister is determined to proceed with the reform, but added that Karamanlis did not express his intentions with respect to the timing during their meeting.

    Veremis said that the prime minister agreed in principle with the education ministry's preliminary draft that was released earlier in the summer, adding that Karamanlis had not expressed any view on prospective changes, while he also passed off as "ridiculous" the calls for dialogue from a zero basis since "we have been discussing for two years".

    He further said that many people who did not belong, politically, to the ruling New Democracy party also desired and wanted the reforms to proceed.

    "Even if only half the reforms are advanced, it will be a gain," Veremis said.

    [02] Papandreou launches scathing attack on government

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou launched a scathing attack on the government, during an address at a meeting of the coordinators of his party's parliamentary group on Wednesday.

    Papandreou opened his address saying that "our thoughts are with the thousands of our compatriots and foreign visitors living through a real tragedy due to the fires in Chalkidiki, Mani and Arcadia", adding that "the Greek family has suffered through a hot summer of high prices, and then the real fires came to prove that the Right-wing re-establishment of the State was the dissolution of the State".

    He said the ND government was incapable of guaranteeing the safety of the citizens, the common wealth and the ecological tradition and history of the country, whereas the preceding PASOK governments had also faced immense problems with the fires, but had proceed with a full reorganisation of the Fire Brigade, the organisation of firefighting, equipping the Brigade ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and the acquistion of the biggest airborne firefighting fleet in Europe, "the biggest part of which, however, today remains riveted on the ground".

    He accused the government of oligory in confronting the fires, and called for responsibilities to be attributed, where they existed, for inadquacy, faulty estimation of the situation, delayed reaction, lack of coordination among the State services, unacceptable management of the airborne fleet, bad programming and maintenance of the aircraft, and lack of adequate dissemination of the aircraft.

    Papandreou charged that there were deficiencies in the Fire Brigade staff due to partisanship, the retirement of capable officials on party criteria, and promotions of unqualified 'political friends', and also criticised ministers of refusing to assume the responsibilities.

    The main opposition leader further accused Karamanlis of being "nowhere to be seen" because he was a prime minister who is afraid of difficulties, adding that the ecological destruction sent a message, in view of the planned revision of the Constitution, against the downgrading of the environment through amendment of the relevant Article.

    Papandreou further said that this summer has been exceptionally difficult for the Greek households, as many citizens were unable to go on summer holiday due to their financial situation, while those who were able to go on vacation were faced with the unprecedented inability and irresponsibility of the government in guaranteeing basic services such as transport to tourism destinations, and referred to what he called the unacceptable isolation, by sea, of many islands and even of Thessaloniki.

    He said the government had acted "like a burglar" in the middle of the summer, imposing new taxes on real estate, fuel and electricity rates, while it was at the same time unable to confer with the social agencies. "The Greek family is seeing a further reduction in its buying power, unprecedented high prices, and is facing an overborrowing that is bringing immense profits to the banks," Papandreou said.

    The PASOK leader called on his cadres to engage in systematic work and coordinated action so as to "win the confidence of the citizens, confront the tragic policies of ND, win the electoral battles we have ahead, so as to pave the way for a course of development with social cohesion, justice and solidarity".

    [03] Bakoyannis arrives in Beirut

    BEIRUT (ANA-MPA - Ch. Poulidou)

    He asked for Greece to support the lifting of the blockade against Lebanon, the cessation of hostilities that are still continuing and to intercede with Israel so that it implemented UN Security Council resolution 1701.

    Bakoyannis expressed condolences for the many Lebanese civilians killed in the fighting and arranged to meet her Lebanese counterpart in Beirut again "in a new era of peace".

    In addition to Salloukh, the Greek foreign minister had successive meetings with Lebanese Parliament Speaker and leader of the Shiite party Nabih Berri, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Beirut's Orthodox Metropolitan Ilias.

    Wrapping up her meetings in Beirut, Bakoyannis stressed that it had been a "particularly interesting visit from which a clear message emerged: that implementation of the Security Council resolution will be difficult but must take place in order for the necessary steps of progress to follow."

    She also expressed satisfaction that Greece's contribution both during the crisis and in the process for preserving the peace had been recognised.

    The first stop of Bakoyannis three-day tour of the Middle East, carried out in preparation for Greece's assumption of the rotating monthly UN Security Council presidency on September 1, was in Cyprus.

    Bakoyannis arrived in Nicosia on Tuesday afternoon and departed Wednesday morning for Lebanon, while her next stops are Jordan and Israel.

    She departed Beirut for Amman on Wednesday afternoon, where she is scheduled to meet with Jordanian officials as well as Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently on a visit there.

    While in Cyprus, she noted that the country played an "exceptional, important and strategic role" in the recent Middle East crisis. She stressed the Cypriot people's humanitarian response and hospitality in responding to the needs that arose from the crisis in Lebanon, while highlighting the swift reaction of both Greece and Cyprus to the crisis and their contribution to the evacuation of local residents and foreign nationals fleeing the war zone.

    "Greece and Cyprus were and are present, responding to the sentiments of their peoples," Bakoyannis said, adding that her Middle East tour sought to "examine the situation at first-hand".

    During a working dinner hosted by Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos on Tuesday night, the two officials exchanged views on and reviewed developments in the Middle East, the Cyprus issue, and EU-Turkey relations, in view of the EU progress report for Turkey to be issued in October.

    Bakoyannis will seek to contribute to diplomatic efforts for the full implementation of UNSCR 1701 during her meetings with Middle East government officials and will also press for full respect of the fragile truce recently agreed, in order to allow the distribution of humanitarian aid.

    Other goals of the trip include the support and reinforcement of the Lebanese government, understanding Israel's security concerns, attempting to establish a permanent and lasting solution for the Palestinian problem, and promoting efforts for peace.

    [04] Fires still raging in Chalkidiki, Peloponnese

    Firefighting efforts in the Kassandra leg of Chalkidiki peninsula were being concentrated Wednesday in an inaccessible forested area on the southwestern tip of the peninsula's first leg, as a massive forest fire that broke out Monday afternoon blazed into its third day, having already devastated 40,000 stremma (10,000 acres) of virgin pine and fir forest and olive groves, while hundres of firemen, backed by 75 fire engines, 20 water trucks and firefighting planes and helicopters continued to battle the flames.

    The fire continued to rage on 6-7 independent fronts on Tuesday night and, although the initially near-storm force winds of 6-7 beaufort velocity had abated, firefighting efforts continued to be hampered by thick smoke covering the region.

    According to firefighters, one of the fronts, between the villages of Mola Kalyva and Aghia Paraskevi, was rekindled at about 3:00 a.m. Wednesday as wind velocity increased once again, leading to the evacuation of two hotels in the area for precautionary reasons.

    A strong land force succeeded in containing the fire, while four Canadair planes and two helicopters resumed water-dropping operations at the first light of day.

    The front, which extended an estimated three kilometers, was constanty changing direction due to the wind, hampering the firefighting effort, but Fire Department officials were optimistic that the fire would be substantially contained during the day if wind velocity did not increase further.

    The situation was gradually improving in the eastern section of Kassandra, where the devastating fire broke out at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Kassandra forestry officials told ANA-MPA on Wednesday that more than 40,000 stremma of forest had burned, while damage and destruction to homes, tourism infrastructures and agricultural installations was also immense.

    There were also isolated fronts, in ravines and inaccessible areas, between the tourist towns of Kryopigi and Pefkohori, which were also being battled by land forces.

    Finally, in the southeastern section of Kassandra, electricity and water supply was being gradually restored, as local residents began taking account of the damages and losses.

    Meanwhile, fires continued to blaze unabated in several areas of the Peloponnese, such as Lakonia, Mani and Arcadia.

    The fire in Lakonia prefecture was burning for the fourth day on Wednesday, extending from Gythio to Areopolis, burning homes, farm cultivations and forest expanses.

    Some 220 firefighers, backed by 45 fire engines, four firefighting planes and a helicopter, were battling the blaze.

    Despite optimism earlier in the day that the fire would soon be brought under control, an increase in wind velocity was now hampering the firefighting effort.

    Civil Protection secretary general Panayotis Fourlas arrived at the fire front in the morning to help the Peloponnese Fire Brigade officials coordinate the operation.

    Meanwhile, another fire in a forested area near Chrysovitsi village in Arcadia prefecture has been contained, while a second fire in the area was still raging in a forested expanse on Mt. Mainalos. The Mainalos fire was being battled only by land forces, as all aerial forces were assisting the firefighting efforts in the two major fires blazing in Mani (Lakonia prefecture) and Kassandra (Chalkidiki peninsula).

    The mayors of Megalopolis and Trikolonon appealed to the relevant ministries on Wednesday that aerial means be despatched immediately to help in the Mainalos fire, otherwise the mountain's famed fir forest was in immediate threat of destruction, while Arcadia Prefect Dimitris Constantopoulos reiterated the appeal in a telphone contact with interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.


    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    ana2html v2.01 run on Wednesday, 23 August 2006 - 14:30:30 UTC