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

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK blames gov't for prices
  • [02] Alavanos meets port employees
  • [03] Expats back Penteli reforestation

  • [01] PASOK blames gov't for prices

    Main opposition PASOK on Tuesday blamed the government and its "erratic" policies for a rapid rise in prices on the Greek market in recent years. PASOK's 'shadow' development minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis said that ruling New Democracy's spell in government brought about "absolutely negative results in terms of restraining prices on the market and protecting the income of citizens". The MP and former minister was responding to the statements made by members of the government after Tuesday's meeting of the inner cabinet.

    He also pointed out that the government was constantly trying to shift responsibility for rising prices on others rather than itself, most recently blaming consumers themselves for failing to show restraint and overspending.

    According to Chrysohoidis, Greece was now among the three most pessimistic countries in the EU, had one of the highest inflation rates in the Eurozone and Athens had in 2007 climbed 30 places in the rankings for the most expensive big cities in the world.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of the exterior of main opposition PASOK party's headquarters in downtown Athens.

    [02] Alavanos meets port employees

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader and Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party leader Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday met with the Federation of Port Employees of Greece (OMYLE), after which he accused the government of "selling off everything".

    Alavanos said that although the country's ports were profitable enterprises, "the government is proceeding to their sale, to their sell-out", but "not in order to relieve the state budget".

    The SYRIZA leader further criticised the government on its proposed reforms in the social security system.

    [03] Expats back Penteli reforestation

    The replanting of burnt pine forests on historic Mount Penteli, north of Athens, is to begin on Sunday in a reforestation drive backed mainly by Greek-American and Cypriot businesspeople based abroad. Among their number is easyGroup founder and chairman, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who was knighted in 2006 for his services to entrepreneurship.

    The initiative to reforest areas of Athens stricken by last summer's destructive fires was launched last summer with the support of locally based journalists, British embassy staff and many others that joined their efforts with those of the agricultural development ministry and the Attica Reforestation Directorate.

    It gained new impetus with the support of the Greek diaspora organisation "Plant Your Roots in Greece" and the "Independent Reforestation Movement", formed last year. The first phase of reforestation will begin on Mount Penteli at the Kokkinara location, on the boundaries of the Nea Penteli and Kefalari districts.

    Taking part in Sunday's tree-planting drive will be Deputy Agriculture Minister Constantine Kiltidis and representatives of the two organisations with volunteers from Greece, local mayors and municipal councillors and senior staff from the British embassy in Athens.

    "Plant Your Roots in Greece" is a non-profit foundation established in Chicago in 1991 that now operates with the support of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and the Hellenic American National Council. It has been very active in Greece since 1999, and is planning a second round of tree plantings during 2008 at the archaeological site of Dion, Pieria prefecture, and on the Cassandra peninsula of Halkidiki prefecture, which was devastated by wildfires in 2006.

    The organisation has also launched a campaign to raise money for the restitution of Mount Taygettus, in extreme southeastern Greece near Sparta, a region that hosts one of the most important ecosystems in the country.

    Mount Penteli in Athens was chosen as the starting point for these reforestation drives because of its symbolic importance as the source of marble quarried during antiquity to build the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis as well as its importance for the environment in the congested greater Athens area.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph from a reforestation drive by the Greek fire brigade in the coastal area of Rafina in Attica.


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