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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Pope's condolences read out
  • [02] Papandreou with party MPs
  • [03] Sales turnover up 5.2% in Nov.
  • [04] FM to meet Rice on Feb. 14

  • [01] Pope's condolences read out

    Pope Benedict XVI has sent a telegram to Metropolitan Serapheim of Karystia (southern Evia) and Skyros, the temporary prelate of the Church of Greece's Holy Synod, expressing his condolences for the death of Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, while praising the late ecclesiastic leader's work towards Orthodox-Catholic rapprochement.

    In his telegram, whose arrival was announced on Wednesday, Pope Benedict stressed that he is spiritually close to all those mourning the death "of this distinguished pastor of the Church of Greece" and expressed his gratitude for the Orthodox leader's efforts to achieve friendlier ties between the churches of East and West.

    "The fraternal greeting which His Beatitude gave my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the latter's visit to Athens in May 2001, and the return visit of Archbishop Christodoulos to Rome in December 2006, opened a new era of cordial co-operation between us, leading to increased contacts and improved friendship in the search for closer communion ..." Pope Benedict wrote.

    The Pope also offered his prayers and those of "Catholics around the world"? "that the Orthodox Church of Greece will be sustained by the grace of God in continuing to build on the pastoral achievements of the late archbishop, and that in commending the noble soul of His Beatitude to our heavenly Father's loving mercy you will be comforted by the Lord's promise to reward His faithful servants".

    The Archbishop's funeral this Thursday will be attended by a Vatican delegation headed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

    Caption: A file photo dated 14 Dec. 2006 shows Pope Benedict XVI (R) and Archbishop Christodoulos meeting at the Vatican. Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece, passed away in the early morning of 28 January 2008. ANA-MPA/EPA/DANILO SCHIAVELLA

    [02] Papandreou with party MPs

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou met on Tuesday evening with the party's MPs from the region of Thessaly, central Greece, underlining the importance placed by the party on regional development.

    Papandreou placed emphasis on the developmental potential of Thessaly and called on the deputies, also in light of the party's congress in March, to highlight PASOK's strategy and proposals, with the participation of local officials and social agencies as well.

    On their part, the deputies outlined the "serious social and economic problems" facing prefectures in Thessaly, "the most important being serious delays in the implementation of basic infrastructure projects, a decrease in farming income, environmental degrading and the lack of intervention to achieve integrated management for water resources."

    The deputies also focused on "the need for unity to be consolidated within PASOK, the prospects for a victorious reconstruction and outlook of the democratic party".

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou (C) with party MPs from the region of Thessaly at his office in Parliament on Tuesday 29 Jan. 2008. ANA-MPA/PANTELIS SAITAS

    [03] Sales turnover up 5.2% in Nov.

    Greece's retail turnover index (in current prices) rose by 5.2 percent in November 2007 compared with the same month in 2006, the National Statistics Service said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the retail turnover index was up 10.7 pct in November 2006. NSS attributed the 5.2 pct increase in the index to an 8.0 percent increase in the food category index and a 3.0 pct rise in the other goods category index.

    The retail sales volume index (turnover in fixed prices) rose 1.9 pct in November, after a 6.8 pct increase in November 2006. The November 2007 figures reflected a 3.8 pct rise in food category and a 0.7 pct increase in other category.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo dated Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. ANA-MPA / SIMELA PANTZARTZI.

    [04] FM to meet Rice on Feb. 14

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is due to arrive in the United States on Feb. 12, and will meet with US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice two days later, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos announced on Wednesday.

    Koumoutsakos, speaking to reporters during a regular press briefing, said that although Bakoyannis' itinerary was still being planned, meetings in Washington with Rice on Feb. 14 and with US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley on Feb. 13 have already been finalised, as well as an address on Feb. 14 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), during of an event being organised in her honor.

    Regarding the items on the agenda for the Bakoyannis-Rice meeting, Koumoutsakos was reserved, saying it was too early to elaborate, but noted that it was customary that the entire spectrum of bilateral matters as well as issues of wider regional and international interest are discussed.

    Koumoutsakos added that there would be particular reference to the western Balkans, the future status of Kosovo and the ongoing process for finding a mutually acceptable solution to the FYROM "name issue".

    Replying to a question, Koumoutsakos said the meeting with Rice had been requested by the Greek side.

    Bakoyannis will fly to the United States directly from Valletta, Malta, where she will be attending the EU ministerial meeting with the Arab League on Feb. 11.

    Caption: Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis (R) with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Athens on Tuesday, April 25, 2006. ANA-MPA / P. SAITAS.

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