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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government's strategy in Education
  • [02] PASOK on Zachopoulos scandal
  • [03] Port privatisation ratified

  • [01] Government's strategy in Education

    Issues pertaining to the education ministry were discussed on Tuesday during an Inner Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    After the meeting, Education Minister Evripides Stylianidis told reporters that he briefed the Inner Cabinet on strategy for the education sector, in which the top priority was a comprehensive plan for developing "smart schools" in the period 2008-2012.

    He said the funds for the construction of 1,233 schools throughout the country have already been planned and secured, while priority was also on completing or upgrading existing school buildings and their equipment.

    Stylianidis announced that he had presented to the Inner Cabinet an innovative policy platform entitled "The Greek, a citizen of Europe - The Greek, a citizen of the world".

    He explained that the policy was founded on five collections of measures for human-centred, environmental education, multilingualism, knowledge of the Greek language, digital convergence, education, culture and sports.

    Each one of those actions was accompanied by a comprehensive study carried out by relevant institutions, and contained specific targets, the minister. Referring to human-centred education as an example, he explained that it contained interventions for persons with special needs and the socially sensitive groups, while environmental education aimed at sustainable development and instilling an environmental conscience in the younger generation.

    Stylianidis further said that the advancement of the Greek language, and multilingualism among Greeks, was the third target area, while the fourth concerned digital convergence, which aimed at eliminating "digital illiteracy", and promoting the use of new technologies in the education system.

    He also said that culture and sports were elements intertwined with the identity of the modern-day Greek and needed to be cultivated by the education system.

    Development minister Christos Folias said, in turn, that he discussed progress regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project with the prime minister, adding that the agreement on establishing the international company for the project would possibly be signed by the end of the week in Sofia, so that the project could begin.

    All the procedures have been completed, and the road was opening up for the project, Folias said.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] PASOK on Zachopoulos scandal

    Main opposition PASOK on Tuesday insisted that the revelations concerning former culture ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos had a strongly political hue and could not be dismissed as a sex scandal.

    "PASOK told the Greek people frankly from the first that the Zachopoulos affair was a deeply political affair, a [New Democracy] affair and not a [sex scandal]. From the first moment we have asked the prime minister and the government to tell the whole truth," PASOK spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis said.

    He also stressed that the latest round of, as yet unconfirmed, revelations concerning the head of the Special Audit Service (former economic crimes unit SDOE) Spyros Kladas and a ruling party MP demanded that the government state its position. Pointing out that Kladas had so far failed to make an official denial of the allegations, Ragoussis added that these would be a "foremost issue" if proved true.

    "The country can no longer wallow in this mire, which for Greece's poor fortune is linked to the inner core of the prime minister's [circle]," he said, adding that PASOK MPs intended to table a question in Parliament on this issue later on Tuesday.

    Asked if PASOK agreed with the allegations made by TV journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos about Kladas, Ragoussis said the main opposition demanded that the government state its own position first and would then unveil its position depending on developments.

    Government's reply

    Responding to PASOK's spokesman, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos denied suggestions that the government had engaged in suspect deals.

    "Contrary to the practice of PASOK governments, the present government does not enter into transactions with anyone. The laws are upheld and no one is above the law," he stressed.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of main opposition PASOK's spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis.

    [03] Port privatisation ratified

    The board of Thessaloniki Port Organisation on Tuesday approved a plan to privatise the port's container terminal facilities, even as minor scuffles broke out between police and protesting port workers taking part in a rally outside the main gate of the port. The Port Organisation's board ratified a tender for the concession of exploitation rights to the container terminal, following a similar decision taken by the Piraeus Port Organisation last week. Speaking to ANA-MPA, Lazaros Kanavouras, chairman of Thessaloniki Port Organisation expressed confidence that the board has done an excellent job in drafting the privatisation tender and noted that the full text of the tender will be posted on the Internet on Wednesday. Kanavouras said the privatisation of the container terminal will benefit the workers and noted that the management was willing to satisfy workers' demands as much as possible. He noted that the board's decision highlighted the state's determination to proceed with the port's privatisation. Meanwhile, port workers said they planned to annul both decisions and announced labour mobilisation actions from January 31. The Federation of Greek Chemical Industries on Tuesday expressed its concern over problems likely to emerge as a result of strike action in the country's two largest ports, saying this action could negatively affect the operation of the sector. Speaking to reporters, Armodios Giannidis, president of the Federation, said the sector suffered huge cost and operation problems, since its activities focused more on exports. Caption: Riot police remove a protestor setting up a banner during a blockade set up by workers at Thessaloniki port to protest against plans for the privatisation of its container terminal on Tuesday, January 15, 2008. ANA/MPA - Nikos Arvanitidis
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