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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-26
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Parties issue messages for WWII entry anniversary; president in ThessalonikiPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias arrived in the northern port city of Thessaloniki on Thursday to attend three-day celebrations marking the feast day of the city's patron saint, Aghios Demetrius (St. Demetrius), the anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule (1912) and the anniversary of Greece's entry into WWII (1940).
At noon, Papoulias laid a wreath at a memorial to a war hero near the city eponymous White Tower.
Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki on Thursday said that the Oct. 28 anniversary was an opportunity to recollect the heroic events of 1940, including Greece's defiant 'no' to the Axis powers, its victory against invading Italian forces and Greek resistance during the Nazi occupation (1941-1944).
On its part, the Communist Party issued a message referring to the "people's no" in the face of Italian fascism and imperialism during WWII, while referring to the present by again stressing the party's unequivocal opposition to the creation of private, non-profit universities in the country.
The Coalition of the Left on Thursday hailed Greece's historic 'no' vis-a-vis an Axis demand on Oct. 28, 1940 and Greece's struggle against fascism and for national independence during WWII.
Caption: Greek President Karolos Papoulias inspects a military honour outside Thessaloniki's main Orthodox Cathedral, St. Demetrius, on Thursday, Oct. 26, the feast day of the city's patron saint. ANA-MPA photo / P. Makridis.
 Greece set to host IGF next weekTransport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis referred to the goals, expectations and benefits stemming from the first Internet Governance Forum, IGF, to take place in Athens from October 30 to November 2 after his successful efforts to this end during the UN-organized World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Tunis last year.
The overall theme of the UN-sponsored forum to be formally opened by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be Internet Governance for Development and will be attended by approximately 1,200 representatives of governments, the private sector, the society of citizens, academics and scientists, who will exchange views on Internet governance.
Liapis stated that the goal of the forum, which will be an annual event, is to promote and facilitate an open and multilateral dialogue for the adoption of joint policies and the establishment of an institution that will monitor the Internetās operation away from government interventions. Also, the forum participants are looking forward to adopting common principles and rules for the orderly and legitimate operation of the internet.
ANA-MPA file photo
 UN Day celebrated with Greek culture, musicGreek poetry and music featured at the UN Day annual concert that took place Wednesday evening at the UN General Assembly auditorium to mark the 61st anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, which was organised by Greece for the first time.
The concert, entitled "Greece: Poetry and Music", was praised by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who thanked the Greek government and the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation who helped "for us to be all together at this concert," which was performed by the 62-member National Symphonic Orchestra of the Greek Radio and Television foundation (ERT) and leading artists at the hall of UN General Assembly, after midnight Greek time.
The anniversary concert, a tribute to culture and peace entitled "Greece: poetry and music", commemorated the 61st anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, as well as Greece's participation in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term covering the 2005-2006 period.
The United Nations Day concert was organised by ERT with the assistance of a grant from the Alexandros Onassis Foundation, under the aegis of the Greek foreign ministry, and was broadcast by satellite over an area spanning America, Australia and South Africa, while it will be broadcast in Greece on Thursday from 19:00-21:00 in the evening.
Leading artists, including renowned Mexican tenor Ronaldo Villazon and Greek solists Fotini Darra, T. Apostolou and A. Smyrnakis, performed at the concert of music inspired by the works of poets George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis -- Greece's two Nobel poetry laureates -- and Constantine P. Cavafy, composed by Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hatzidakis, Spyros Samaras, Dimitris Lagios and Dimitris Papadimitriou.
The concert was attended by Annan, UN officials, permanent representatives to the UN and hundreds of diplomats of the organisation's 192 member-states, including officials of the political and cultural life of the United States and Greece. The Greek government was represented by Minister of State and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos.
In a written message, Annan stressed that "Every year, men and women from wherever they come from, wherever they belong, celebrate the Day of the United Nations," noting: "Even though the United Nations is an Organisation of States, the rights and freedoms which it defends and promotes belong to all. In order for it to accomplish its mission, the UN needs the support of all the people, wherever they are. And this is valid either when we give the battle against illnesses and hunger, either when we promote the human rights and justice, either when we struggle against terrorism, either when we build peace, either, finally, when we try to make the UN more effective and accountable to those people for the good of whom it was created and exists."
The president of the 61st session of the UN's General Assembly, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, in her own message on the occasion of the concert, noted:"This year, the theme of the Day of the United Nations is the Olive, world symbol of peace from ancient times. It is therefore self-evident why two olive branches surround the globe as the symbol of the United NJations. Thus, the Olive is continuously linked with our Organisation."
The president of this year's session of the UN General Assembly expressed her gratitude to the Greek government, noting that "the National Symphonic Orchestra of ERT, which includes some of the most well-known musicians and performers, will interpret verses written by the greatest contemporary Greek poets."
The President of the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation, Antonis Papadimitriou, gave a press conference at the Foundation's Cultural Centre in Manhattan on Tuesday. Also present at the press conference were Shashi Tharoor, UN deputy secretary-general for communication affairs, ERT president and managing director Christos Panagopoulos, and Greek Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis.
 Greece opens new tourism bureau in MoscowThe number of Russian tourists to Greece increased by 50 percent in 2006, nearing the 200,000 mark, Greek officials said here on Thursday during the inauguration of a new National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) bureau in the Russian capital.
In a brief address at the ceremony, visiting Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia referred to stepped up efforts to slash red tape and the waiting period needed to issue tourist visas for Russian nationals. Other Greek officials noted that the minimum waiting period, according to Schengen Pact procedures, is now applied for tourist visas to Russian citizens.
On her part, Petralia said the wait period for tourist visas issued by the Greek embassy in Moscow has been reduced to 48 hours, whereas an average of 1,800 visas are issued on a daily basis.
The issue of the visa is particularly sensitive for Moscow, with the city's mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, also calling for a simplification of procedures.
"Russians visiting Greece for tourism are prosperous middle-class citizens, and a simplification of visa procedures would mean a measurable increase in their number," he said following talks with the Greek minister.
Finally, Petralia said a promotional campaign to showcase Greece begins in the Russian market next month, whereas the Greek side is also aiming to strengthen its presence in various exhibitions and events in the country.
She also invited Luzhkov to Greece to attend a tourism-related trade show in Thessaloniki.
Caption: Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, centre, inaugurates the new GNTO bureau in Moscow on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / P. Stolis.
 Court dismisses suit against striking teachersAn Athens first-instance court on Thursday threw out an motion filed by a parent against the teachers union strike, asking that it be declared illegal and improper.
The court said the lawsuit was too vague as regards the high school teachers union, OLME, and unacceptable with respect to the primary school teachers union, DOE.
With regard to the complaint against DOE, the court said that this was completely unfounded since the plaintiff's daughter did not attend a primary school and was not affected by the primary school teachers' strike.
The suit was filed by the father of a girl attending a public high school that has been taken over by a group of students there.
Caption: A scene from a recent rally by striking teachers in downtown Athens. ANA-MPA photo / S. Pantzartzi.
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