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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis, Erdogan holds talks in Ankara
  • [02] New electoral law passed
  • [03] Pope invites Alexandria Patriarch
  • [04] Verdict in 'balcony leap' case

  • [01] Karamanlis, Erdogan holds talks in Ankara

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis began a milestone official three-day visit in Ankara on Wednesday, as private talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan dominated his first day in the Turkish capital.

    In brief statements to reporters, Karamanlis stressed that 2008 will be important for strengthening relations between the two countries and will be a "window of opportunity" to boost ties in all sectors.

    Erdogan welcomed Karamanlis and pointed out that it is the first visit by a Greek prime minister to Ankara in 49 years.

    Speaking after their talks, which lasted for an hour more than had been initially been scheduled, Erdogan emphasised that leaders attract greater attention when they dare to "reject taboos", while stressing that an intensive dialogue has begun between the two countries since 1999, and particularly over the last five years.

    The Turkish prime minister further said that 2008 will also be important for the Cyprus issue, noting that talks must be resumed, and that the guarantor powers and "homelands" (i.e. Greece and Turkey) must encourage.

    Caption: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis (R) during a welcoming ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, 23 January 2008. Karamanlis is in Turkey for a three-days official visit, the first of a Greek premier since 48 years. ANA-MPA/EPA/STR

    [02] New electoral law passed

    The Interior Ministrys bill on the amendment of electoral law 3231/2004 was passed by Parliaments plenum on Wednesday.

    The government majority was in favour while the opposition parties voted against it.

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos defended the bill, stressing the need ?for political and governmental stability with the maintenance of the proportional representation system,? while he noted that the government ?does not proceed in opportunistic changes of the electoral law and this is why it brings it to the start of its tenure.?

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos criticised the government terming it ?hostage and subservient of big foreign and local interests.?

    Alavanos claimed that ?we live at the end of the era of bipartisanship,? adding that ?there is an alignment and identity of views between the two big parties in order for this system to be kept, and on this basis, the electoral laws of the (ruling) New Democracy party and (the main opposition) PASOK are being introduced.?

    In his reply, Pavlopoulos said, ?Dont be sure Mr. Alavanos that what helps a party is the electoral law. Its not the electoral law which helps, but life itself.?

    Pavlopoulos also criticised PASOK, charging it that ?it escaped from the revised process, invoking a coup vote, because those days PASOK was rattled domestically over Article 16.?

    New Democracy (ND) party rapporteur Constantine Gioulekas noted that the government, "brings at the beginning of its tenure an electoral law which makes clear the terms of the political game, thus overturning practices of the past with petty party logic."

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) rapporteur Spyros Halvatzis noted that his party "categorically rejects the theories regarding stable governments because their final target is for the European Union's policy in favour of big interests to continue at length."

    [03] Pope invites Alexandria Patriarch

    Pope Benedict has invited Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros to visit the Vatican, in a letter delivered by the Catholic Church's Nuncio in Cairo, Bishop Michael Fitzgerald.

    In the same letter, the pontiff describes the meeting he will have with Theodoros as "important and significant".

    During the visit, the Patriarch will also meet with the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper.

    The date of the visit will be determined in the near future.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Pope Benedict

    [04] Verdict in 'balcony leap' case

    A court in Hania on Wednesday unanimously found a 34-year-old British man not guilty by reason of temporary insanity in the death of his 6-year-old son, during the former's failed suicide attempt in August 2006. However, the court ordered that he be committed to a psychiatric ward, after ruling that Hogan remains a threat to society.

    The first instance felony court, comprised of three judges and four jurors, accepted an earlier recommendation by the case's prosecutor.

    John Hogan stood accused of killing his six-year-old son and injuring his infant daughter when he leapt off a Cretan resort hotel's fourth-floor balcony near the eastern resort town of Ierapetra.

    Hogan's ex-wife told the court on Monday that a vicious row between the couple erupted just prior to Hogan leaping off the 12.7-metre drop with his two children in his arms.

    Based on the initial report of two state-appointed psychiatrists that examined Hogan by prosecutor's order, a judge had ordered his incarceration in the Korydallos (Athens) penitentiary's psychiatric ward until the time of his trial. Hogan reportedly attempted to take his own life once again in Korydallos and his attorney, in fact, said his client attempted to commit suicide on four different occasions.

    Caption: John Hogan is appears outside a court in the Crete port city of Hania on Monday, Jan. 21, 2008. , 21 2008. ANA-MPA / STEFANOS RAPANIS

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