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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM confers with dev't minister on 2008 planning
  • [02] KKE leader on Middle East
  • [03] No aftershocks reported
  • [04] Epiphany celebrated in Greece
  • [05] Olympiakos again tops standings
  • [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] PM confers with dev't minister on 2008 planning

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Monday with development minister Christos Folias for a routine exchange of views and planning for the new year that has commenced. Folias told reporters after the meeting that they also reviewed the developments of the year that passed.

    Replying to a question on spiralling prices, Folias noted that the international conditions were conducive to high prices, with oil, cereals and milk prices creating appreciating trends, and adding that the government was monitoring the situation, intervening where necessary, and making inspections.

    "In no instance will we allow illicit profiteering to take the upper hand," he said, adding that the government was also drafting additional measures "which will help in the direction of containing any appreciation tendencies".

    Meanwhile, national economy and finance minister George Alogoskouris, in an interview with an Athens newspaper, called for "social responsibility" in the negotiations for the new collective labor agreement.

    In an interview with the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos newspaper, Alogoskoufis stressed that the Greek economy was "shielded" with respect to growth, and that a substantial developmental boost was anticipated in 2008, but added that, in his opinion, inflation posed the biggest risk.

    Alogoskoufis further said that the wage and salary increases to be decided in the framework of the new collective labor agreement between the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and employer organisations needed to improve incomes on the one hand, but without leading to a "vicious circle on inflation", warning that it would be to no one's benefit to have excessive increases that would re-stoke inflation, which the economy cannot withstand.

    Asked whether the 2008 state budget could be implemented, given the intense fluctuations in the international environment, Alogoskoufis said the international uncertainties were incorporated in the planning, and reiterated his warning on inflation, stressing that "the strongest risk we face is the conversion of some conjunctural international price increases into permanent inflation", adding that tackling this risk was not only a matter for the government, but of all the social partners as well.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] KKE leader on Middle East

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a meeting of Communist and Labour parties from the Middle East in Athens on Saturday, stressing that new and important developments are expected in 2008 for the entire region of the Middle East.

    Papariga further said that the new element is that competition that had always existed between the United States, France, Germany and Britain has now been widened since these powers now consider Russia, China and India as being competitors.

    She added that their competition is expanding all over Southeastern Asia continuously, it is becoming tense and is taking on the character of war, coup d'etats and assassinations.

    Referring to the United States in particular, Papariga pointed out that they are having a tough time in Iraq and Lebanon, but "they have offset difficulties in the region by promoting their positions in the Balkans," adding that the military presence of the United States and of NATO has increased greatly with troops and bases in all Balkan countries.

    CAPTION: ANA-MPA file photo of KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga.

    [03] No aftershocks reported

    Greek seismologists appeared on Monday reassuring about the possibilities of aftershocks from a powerful earthquake that rattled most of southern Greece on Sunday morning.

    "We had a calm night. Our predictions that the danger has passed were verified," the director of the Geodynamic Institute in Athens, George Stavrakakis, said on Monday morning in reference to the 6.5 on the Richter scale quake that jolted most of Greece on Sunday morning.

    According to the University of Athens' Geodynamic Institute, the quake, recorded at 7:14 a.m. local time, was pinpointed in the southeastern Peloponnese, roughly between the towns of Sparta and Kyparissia, with its epicentre in the coastal area south of the town of Leonidio in Arcadia prefecture, about 150 km south-southwest of Athens. The quake's epicentral depth was recorded at some 70 kilometres below the earth's surface.

    The quake was felt throughout most of the Greek mainland all the way up to the northwestern city of Ioannina; in the Ionian islands, as well as on Crete in the south.

    No injuries or serious damage were reported.

    "If the quake had been close the surface, with a depth of 15 to 20 kilometres, then an aftershock would have followed, measuring 6 on the Richter scale, and there would have been consequences," Stavrakakis said, echoing an assessment by other noted Greek seismologists.

    He explained that earthquakes with such an epicentral depth, regardless of their magnitude and the fact that they are widely felt, produce insignificant post-quake activity and do not result in substantial damage, concurring with statements by other seismologists.

    Stavrakakis further said that the quake emanated from the Myrtoon Sea off the eastern Peloponnese, which occasionally generates tremblers of such a magnitude.

    Leonidio mayor Dimitris Tsigounis told ANA-MPA that there appeared to be no damage resulting from the quake, which he described as "unprecedented for the region".

    [04] Epiphany celebrated in Greece

    <!--

    Epiphany was celebrated throughout Greece on Sunday, with the traditional blessing of the waters ceremonies, as swimmers dove into the cold waters to retrieve Crosses cast in by Orthodox priests.

    The main celebration was again held in the port of Piraeus, officiated by Metropolital Serafeim of Piraeus and Faliron, and attended by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, parliament vice-president Anastasios Nerantzis, employment and social protection minister Fani Palli-Petralia, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, among others.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis attended the blessing of the waters ceremony in the seaside town of Rafina, where he lives.

    The premier further noted the need for respect of our fellow human beings who were far from their homeland, seeking a better future in Greece. "In a difficult conjunction for the whole world, the first thing we must do is to daily forge our unity as a people, and our cohesion as a society," he said.

    At the beginning of the ceremony, Karamanlis released a dove, the symbol of peace, into the air.

    A similar ceremony was held in central Athens, at the Reservoir, attended by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis.

    Ceremonies were held throughout Greece, as well as in many cities abroad with large Greek communities.Caption: The annual Epiphany service was again held in Tarpon Springs, Florida on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008, in picturesque Spring Bayou, part of the so-called "Greek village" in the south Florida town before 25,000 people, a ceremony officiated by Archbishop of America Demetrios. ANA-MPA / DIMITRIS PANAGOS.

    -->

    [05] Olympiakos again tops standings

    Olympiakos Piraeus again climbed atop the Greek first division (Super League) standings on Sunday following AEK Athens' painful 2-1 loss away to this season's "Cinderella team", Asteras Tripolis. AEK fell to second place, one point behind Olympiakos, along with Panathinaikos Athens, as the latter pulled out a 91st minute win over lowly Apollon Kalamaria with a penalty kick that was hotly contested by the visiting team. Olympiakos won on Saturday 2-1 away against Iraklis Thessaloniki.

    Results of all Super League soccer matches played over the weekend:

    Iraklis Thessaloniki - Olympiakos Piraeus 1-2

    Veria - Levadiakos Livadia 3-1

    Xanthi - Ergotelis Crete 1-0

    Atromitos Athens - Panionios Athens 0-2

    OFI Crete - Aris Thessaloniki 0-1

    Panathinaikos Athens - Apollon Kalamaria 1-0

    Asteras Tripoli - AEK Athens 2-1

    PAOK Thessaloniki - Larissa 1-0

    Standings after 15 weeks of play:

    Olympiakos 34 points

    Panathinaikos 33

    AEK 33

    Asteras 28

    Aris 25

    PAOK 23

    Panionios 22

    Atromitos 21

    Xanthi 18

    Larissa 15

    Iraklis 15

    OFI 14

    Veria 14

    Apollon 13

    Levadiakos 12

    Ergotelis 9

    [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The 6.5 Richter magnitude earthquake that jolted most of Greece on Sunday morning, with its epicentre near Leonidio, southeastern Greece, and the developments in the Zachopoulos affair after the injury of one of his lawyers on Friday by a passing truck dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Miracle! The strongest earthquake without consequences (damage or casualties)".

    APOGEVMATINI: "We were saved from a tremendous disaster - People terrified by strong earthquake near Leonidio".

    AVRIANI: The paper refers to the Zachopoulos affair and an 'extortion ring' under 'ultra-right protection'.

    CHORA: "Application of new real estate tax".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Individuals 'above suspicion' involved in a sex-politics-financial thriller (Zachopoulos affair)".

    ELEFTHEROS: "They (Education Ministry) print books in Turkish language - Government gives up to Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan's 'blackmail' ".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Zachopoulos lawyer's 15-page delirium -He left 4 letters before his suicide attempt".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Zachopoulos affair turns into thriller - Maximos Mansion (government headquarters) in a tight corner".

    ESTIA: "Moral decline phenomena - Shocking revelations brought to light over Zachopoulos affair".

    ETHNOS: "Government's alibi in Zachopoulos affair falls to pieces".

    TA NEA: "A letter raises new questions".

    VRADYNI: "New 'fall', new questions - Second suicide attempt in Zachopoulos affair".


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