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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou on clash with Simitis
  • [02] Spike in illegal migration cited
  • [03] Pindos beckons astronomers

  • [01] Papandreou on clash with Simitis

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou reiterated that he was determined to no longer tolerate differentiations with the party's policy by party cadres who "raise their own personal banners", in a high-profile interview published by a mass circulation Athens daily on Tuesday, days after his stern rebuke of former premier Costas Simitis, his predecessor at PASOK's helm.

    "I was not the one who chose for us to return to introversion. I was not the one who made a move that gave rise to questions on our political volition and targets," Papandreou said, referring to his recent political "ostracism" of the former two-term prime minister from the PASOK's parliamentary group, which although considered by many analysts "a de facto expulsion" is nevertheless unofficial, as Papandreou did not formally inform the Parliament's president that Simitis is expelled from PASOK Parliamentary group, saying this was in deference to Simitis' lengthy political career and his "contribution to the party".

    "I, too, serve and guarantee the party's unity", he said in explaining that his move was aimed precisely at averting the rationale of a crumbling PASOK. "PASOK cannot be broken up," he added.

    Asked whether his move was a "clearing of accounts", Papandreou replied that "there is no such issue".

    "I have systematically and collectively led PASOK to the formulation of a new platform and new priorities for the country. And these differ on many issues from the priorities and policies of Mr. Simitis," Papandreou said.

    He said PASOK's focus was on the everyday problems of the citizens, together with a developmental vision that takes advantage of Greece's comparative advantages.

    The clash between the current and former PASOK leaders came in the wake of Papandreou's decision to back ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by main opposition PASOK while at the same time calling -- from Parliament's podium -- for the agreement to be put to a referendum. Simitis sharply criticised the move in a letter to Papandreou, which was publicised the same day.

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

    [02] Spike in illegal migration cited

    A total of 170 illegal migrants, among them 20 minors, were transported by smugglers onto a handful of eastern Aegean islands between June 13 and 16, Greek authorities said on Tuesday. The would-be migrants were intercepted by the Greek coast guard, which has intensified patrols in the eastern Aegean in light of statements by the illegal immigrants that they are being ferried over to Greek and EU territory from the opposite Turkish coast. According to the Ministry of Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy, a total of 45,411 illegal migrants and 1,194 smugglers have been intercepted between 1997 and 2007 throughout the Aegean. Based on a brief presentation of the problem on the ministry website, Greece is facing a considerable inflow of illegal migrants, a phenomenon that has intensified as a result of major socio-economic and political changes in various Asian and African countries, combined with factors such as Greece's geographic position, its long coastline, the large number of Greek islands and rocky islets and its proximity with EU hopeful Turkey. In 2007, the islands that received the bulk of illegal immigrants trying to enter Greece were Samos (2,626), Lesvos (2,569), Leros (975), Hios (848), Kos (575) and Kalymnos (304).

    Caption: A group of illegal immigrants, identified as Palestinians, rest as they are detained in a community centre in Charakas on the large Crete island on 10 June 2008. The foreign nationals were dropped off on a remote beach near the large port city of Irakleio by migrant smugglers. ANA-MPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

    [03] Pindos beckons astronomers

    European astronomers in search of "dark regions" on the planet to make observations of the universe easier, away from the artificial light emissions of major urban centres, have discovered the Pindos mountain range running across much of the Epirus province, with Mt. Orliakas in Grevena prefecture, a particularly good spot. One of the darkest spots in Europe lies at an altitude of 1,400-1,600 meters on Mt. Orliakas and by 2012 will be the site of an observatory being built in the region, following recommendations by NASA astrophysicist Thanasis Economou who hails from the area. A second observatory will be built on Mt Holomontas, in Halkidiki prefecture of northern Greece, at an altitude of 1,060 meters. A region on Mars, in fact, has been named Orliakas by Economou, who is also one of the designers of parts of spacecrafts that have reached the "Red Planet" and several astronomy instruments built. The 2.5-3 million-euro observatory, featuring a state-of-the-art telescope, will be open both to scientists, students and amateur astronomers. Meanwhile, the noted astrophysicist will address an audience in Grevena on Aug. 8, followed by stargazing events in several local villages.

    Caption: Visitors walk around the biggest telescope in Greece on Mt. Helmos in the western Peloponnese, in a file photo dated 21 August 2007. The telescope is named "Aristarchos" after the ancient Greek astronomer. ANA-MPA/GIOTA KORBAKI.

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