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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou seeks debate on family finances
  • [02] Papariga calls for hiring of contract workers
  • [03] Australian fugitive Tony Mokbel arrested in Athens
  • [04] Greece, China boost tourism relations

  • [01] Papandreou seeks debate on family finances

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Wednesday requested an off-the-agenda debate on "family finances" to be held in Parliament.

    In a letter addressed to Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda, he stressed that the family budget had suffered successive blows as a result of government policy.

    Papandreou stated that Greek households were experiencing the so-called "third week syndrome" and were unable to meet their basic needs with dignity with their monthly paycheck.

    "Family income shrinks each year that New Democracy stays in government," Papandreou said, making a special reference to unemployment among women and the young, high prices and taxation that were leading those on medium and low wages to an impasse.

    He also stressed that families were forced to pay from their own budget for goods and services such as healthcare, education and social insurance because these were underfunded by the government.

    Over-borrowing had become part of the everyday life of Greek households, a situation that the government was treating with indifference, Papandreou added.

    He concluded by accusing the government of anti-social and unfair policies that undermined the interests of the Greek family and the country‚s growth.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    [02] Papariga calls for hiring of contract workers

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Wednesday called for the permanent hiring of various categories of public sector contract workers fulfilling standing and continuous tasks -- including at state-run utilities -- in the country, workers whose numbers over the past decade reached into the hundreds of thousands.

    Papariga made the statement, echoing her party's standing policy, during a tour of the working-class Egaleo district in west Athens.

    In reference to general elections in the country, set for March 2008, Papariga said the "working classes and all the other popular strata must reach their conclusions and condemn (ruling) ND and (main opposition) PASOK, which ahead of elections are promising benefits that are outdated, even by 1950s-era criteria."

    [03] Australian fugitive Tony Mokbel arrested in Athens

    Greek authorities on Wednesday confirmed the arrest of wanted Australian fugitive Antonio (Tony) Mokbel, 41, who appeared before a public prosecutor and was officially charged.

    They said Mokbel was arrested in the Athens suburb of Glyfada and was wanted in Australia in connection with serious drugs and homicide cases.

    The charges brought against him by Greek authorities involve the use of fake documents, which constitutes a misdemeanour under local laws. Because he was caught in the act, he faces trial before a special police court where he is expected to seek a continuance.

    According to police, the 41-year-old Australian national was using a wig as a disguise at the time of his arrest and was carrying a fake passport and driving licence, while he had presented himself as a shipping firm employee.

    He is also to appear before a extradition prosecutor at an Athens appeals court on Wednesday evening, since there are outstanding warrants for his arrest that require his extradition to Australia.

    According to an ANA-MPA correspondent from Melbourne, the news of Mokbel's arrest was headline news in the Australian media and earned praise from Australian authorities for the Greek police.

    The Victoria State Police had offered a one-million Australian dollar reward for information leading to the capture of Lebanese-born Mokbel, who has been wanted since March 19, 2006, just before he was sentenced by a Melbourne court for cocaine trafficking. In addition to other charges, meanwhile, Mokbel also faces trial for the murder of a prominent member of the Australian underworld and is a suspect in several more killings during a gang war that left 30 people dead.

    The process for his extradition to Australia is already underway.

    According to the reports, drug trafficking in Australia had earned him an estimated 40 million dollars and roughly half of the money was channeled abroad. He was also involved in the production of ecstasy (XTC) pills and a police had found quantities with an estimated street value of 78 million Australian dollars in a raid on his lab.

    As soon as the news of his arrest in Greece was out, police in the State of Victoria raided a number of houses in Melbourne belonging to members of his family or friends and arrested 14 individuals.

    Caption: Australian fugitive Tony Mokbel (right) in handcuffs, flanked by plainclothes police officers, was led before a public prosecutor in Athens on Wednesday, June 6 2007, and charged with using a fake documents. Mokbel was arrested by Greek police in a cafeteria in the Athens suburb of Glyfada on Tuesday, June 5 2007.

    [04] Greece, China boost tourism relations

    Greece and China on Wednesday agreed to a series of actions aimed to boosting bilateral tourism relations, beginning with a finalised date on holding a joint Greek-China commission on tourism in October.

    The issue was discussed during a meeting between Greek Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli Petralia and her Chinese counterpart Shao Qiwei. The two ministers agreed that Greece would host Chinese journalists and tourism school students from China during the summer.

    Greece will be the honoured country in Beijing international trade exhibition, June 21-23, with China organising a Greek cultural year in 2007.

    Speaking to reporters, Sho Qiwei praised the very good cooperation between the two parties and noted that each meeting resulted to something very important.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Fani Palli-Petralia.

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