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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece awaits outcome of local elections
  • [02] Cyprus sees 'exemplary' ties with Greece
  • [03] First heroin press found in Greece
  • [04] Pope's explanation on Islam accepted

  • [01] Greece awaits outcome of local elections

    Greeks and registered European Union nationals cast their ballots in local elections around the country on Sunday with most of the country's 9,820,875 registered voters due to turn out between sunrise and sunset. The findings of exit polls were expected early in the evening.

    "All preliminary work and preparations have been completed for municipal, community and prefectural elections to be held," Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos announced a day earlier.

    In Greece, voting in elections is compulsory with exemptions under the law including the elderly over 70 years of age, and people residing more than 200 kilometres from the area in which they are registered to vote.

    On the electoral list are 4,743,553 men, or 48.3% of the total; and 5,077,322 women, representing 51.7%. Youth aged 18 this year and voting for the first time account for 0.17% of voters.

    A special register of European citizens eligible to vote contains 8,921 people, mostly from the United Kingdom (2,984), followed by Germany (1,823), Cyprus (768), Italy (684), Poland (604) and the Netherlands (490). Lowest in the ranking are Malta and Slovenia with one voter.

    More than 18,000 police have been assigned from Saturday to guard the country's 24,710 ballotting centres, which open at 0700 hours and close at 1900 hours.

    [02] Cyprus sees 'exemplary' ties with Greece

    Ties between Athens and Nicosia are "exemplary", Cypriot foreign minister George Lillikas said in an interview published on Saturday.

    The minister told the Vima newspaper that the island republic would no longer give Turkey the green light in its bid to join the European Union if Ankara failed to meet its commitments; and would employ its right of veto at the negotiating table chaired by the 25-nation bloc's Finnish presidency.

    "The government will not concede a third time, even if it remains alone among its 24 EU partners," Lillikas warned.

    "We are in full harmony with Athens. We have discussed many angles of our tactics and strategy...We have never attributed any problems to the Greek government, and we would never seek to burden any problem on the Greek government," he underlined.

    Asked if Cyprus' credibility would be harmed should it maintain its threat of a veto and then back down, Lillikas replied: "If Turkey persists in its current policy, we have no other choice. But what we say, we mean. It is not our purpose to have a crisis," he said.

    "A Turkish journalist and a Turkish diplomat asked me what we have to gain if the two 'trains' crash. My reply was...Nothing, unfortunately nothing," the minister added.

    Also on Saturday, Lillikas held talks in Athens on Cyprus and Turkey with the leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement, George Papandreou.

    [03] First heroin press found in Greece

    A press for the preparation and packaging of heroin was found for the first time in Greece, the Attica Drugs Squad said at the weekend.

    Complete with attachments, the machine with a capacity of handling 10 tonnes of heroin was found in a makeshift workshop for adulterating drugs in an apartment block located in the Athens suburb of Kesariani, police said in a statement.

    The find was made during a raid last week that unearthed major quantities of drugs.

    Arrested on Thursday were three Albanian nationals in whose possession were found 29 kilos of unprocessed cannabis. A Greek was also detained, and a fourth Albanian is wanted.

    In addition to the heroin press, confiscated were 14.5 kilos of heroin, eight kilos of an unidentified powder, and measuring scales, the statement said.

    [04] Pope's explanation on Islam accepted

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew has accepted an explanation by Pope Benedict of statements the pontiff made last month that provoked a storm of protest among Moslems.

    In an interview to the Thessaloniki Sunday Angeliophoros newspaper, Orthodoxy's spiritual head said Benedict's response that he had been misunderstood was "adequate."

    Bartholomew welcomed what he called dedication to the unity of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches by the Pope, who is due to visit Istanbul, where the Patriarchate is based.

    In early September, Benedict quoted Manuel II Palaeologus, a 14th century Byzantine emperor, as saying that Islam was evil and had been spread by the sword, triggering angry protests across the Moslem world.

    Benedict has since said that he did not agree with the emperor he quoted, and that his comments were misunderstood.

    The Pope also urged Moslem, Jewish and Christian leaders to improve dialogue and promote "authentic respect" among cultures and religions.

    Bartholemew is due to visit the northern port city of Thessaloniki on October 20.

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