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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-11-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] ND candidates' campaigns on Sat.
  • [02] Minoan and Aegean style frescoes discovered in Israel
  • [03] Cyprus' occupation must end
  • [04] Greek battalion to stay in Kabul
  • [05] Thessaloniki Film Festival
  • [06] New flu vaccine safe

  • [01] ND candidates' campaigns on Sat.

    The race for the new leadership of main opposition New Democracy (ND) is heating up, with the November 29 election date less than three weeks away, and the three candidates accelerating their campaigns.

    Candidate Antonis Samaras, the former culture minister, will tour on Saturday Pella prefecture and in the afternoon will address a rally in Giannitsa and and later in Krya Vryssi.On Sunday he will visit the northern Greek prefectures of Imathia, Pieria and Halkidiki.

    Former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, who is currently on Crete will address a rally in Heraklio.

    The prefect of Thessaloniki and candidate Panagiotis Psomiadis, on Saturday will tour the cities of Ioannina, Preveza and Agrinio.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of candidate for ND leadership Dora Bakoyannis(L), candidate Antonis Samaras(R) and candidate Panagiotis Psomiadis(C).

    [02] Minoan and Aegean style frescoes discovered in Israel

    Archaeologists from the University of Haifa, who are conducting excavations in the city of Tel Kabri, found Minoan style frescoes, similar to those discovered in the Aegean islands of Crete and Santorini dating back to the 17th century BC. These are the first such frescoes to be discovered in Israel.

    According to scientists' estimations, the wall paintings in the Canaanite palace in Kabri are a conscious decision by the city's rulers who wanted to adopt the Mediterrenean culture rather than the Syrian and Mesopotamian art styles adopted by other cities in Canaan.

    In an earlier excavation, another fresco similar to those of Santorini was unearthed, but the new discoveries established the fact that the first fresco was not a coincidence but that the ancient city of Tel Kabri not only had developed commercial relations with the Aegean and Minoan world but wanted to come close to and be associated culturally with these civilisations.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of the Minoan palace of Knossos on the island of Crete.

    [03] Cyprus' occupation must end

    Greece's foreign ministry on Saturday issued a statement on the occasion of the bleak 26th anniversary of the declaration a pseudo-state in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus, sternly warning that the Cyprus problem is "still an issue of invasion an occupation of an independent country, which is member of United Nations and European Union."

    Athens also stressed that "this preposterous condition must be ended".

    "Nov. 15, 1983 remains a black page for those who respect international laws; Greece supports the President of the Republic of Cyprus (Demetris) Christofias' efforts to bring about an agreed solution. A solution for Cyprus, without guardians, that will lead to the end of the Turkish occupation on the island and reunification of the island, allowing Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to live together in a secure, free and a prosperous environment, as guaranteed by Cyprus' participation (as a member) in the European Union."

    Caption: ANA-MPA/EPA file photo of Greek-Cypriot students holding up a banner "Shame on the pseudo state" during a demonstration in Nicosia/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

    [04] Greek battalion to stay in Kabul

    The government on Friday made a series of decisions concerning Greece's contribution to international NATO and EU military missions sanctioned by the UN Security Council - including that the Greek force in Afghanistan should remain stationed in Kabul - during a meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    KYSEA took unanimous decisions clarifying the country's positions on Greece's military and other contribution to such missions, which were later announced by National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    Regarding Greece's contribution to the NATO force in Afghanistan, the Council decided that the Greek Battalion (TESAF) - which numbers 122 troops and includes an engineering company, two teams of eight health workers and a support and security team - will remain in Kabul and will not be moved to another location in that country.

    Greece will increase its funding toward the NATO force, however, giving three million euros to the Afghan Army Reconstruction Fund. Venizelos, who described the move as a "multiply useful gesture," said that the extra spending will be offset by savings on the cost of moving the existing Greek Battalion, which will not finally take place.

    Greece has already offered 600,000 euros to the French-British initiative for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) helicopter unit and 800,000 euros to a Hungarian initiative for putting together a reconstruction team.

    Greece will also send an additional 19 trainers to help train the 201st Afghan Corps, who will be incorporated in the NATO structure, with the Alliance taking responsibility for their safety along with the other three Greek trainers already sent.

    In addition to the above, Greek will take over management of Kabul airport from April until October 2010, providing 53 executive staff. Two Greek officers and four Greek military police are currently serving at the airport.

    Athens had also agreed to send up to two teams of eight health officers to man NATO hospitals if this is requested by ISAF command.

    In January 2009 there had been a decision to possibily move the Greek Battalion in Afghanistan from Kabul to Herat provided certain conditions were met, or even the much more dangerous region of Farah. The move would have required equipping the battalion with armoured vehicles and would have taken place in December 2009.

    According to Venizelos, the specific conditions set for the move had not been met and this view was confirmed by KYSEA during Friday's meeting. Greece's defence minister clarified that the departures of the military officers will begin once the conditions are met and security guarantees are provided.

    In addition to the above, KYSEA also decided to extend Greece's participation during the year 2010 in the EU anti-piracy operation code-named Atalanta, providing one Navy frigate, and in the NATO anti-terrorism operation Active Endeavour, providing one Navy unit and flights by Greek aircraft.

    Greece will also take over command from 2012 of the NATO Response Force, which will have the NATO Deployable Corps - Greece (NDC-GR) as its headquarters. This force is available and when fully deployed numbers 2,900 personnel. In this framework, in 2010 Greece will contribute an airborne battalion and Greek officers under the Danish command, in the same proportion as that decided by Denmark for 2012.

    Commenting on the KYSEA decisions, Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis said that Greece had to continue making its presence felt, politically and militarily, in international affairs. KYSEA on Friday reaffirmed the country's international position and credibility, he added. We will defend our country's strong position in international organisations with the defence of national and public interest as our only compass, he said.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos

    [05] Thessaloniki Film Festival

    Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos inaugurated on Friday night the 50th Thessaloniki Film Festival pledging that a new bill on Greek cinema would soon be ready for consultation with interested parties.

    The minister also said 2009 would signal the "end of an era in which art was silent, since by accepting the muzzle of state subsidies, it stopped biting. It stopped questioning power. It stopped protesting."

    President of the festival, actor George Corraface also addressed the inauguration event.

    [06] New flu vaccine safe

    Health and Social Solidarity Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou on Friday reassured the public over the safety of the H1N1 vaccine, pointing out that she herself will be vaccinated even though she does not belong in any of the high-risk population groups.

    Addressing a one-day conference on the theme of "Vaccination against the H1N1 novel influenza pandemic", held in Thessaloniki's Ippokratio Hospital, the minister pointed out that all possible measures are being taken to protect public health and deal effectively with the likelihood of a pandemic.

    Xenoyiannakopoulou stated that a "pilot vaccination" programme is already underway in many of the country's hospitals, while the vaccination of medical and hospital staff will be officially launched on Monday. The vaccination of high risk population groups will begin on Nov. 23.

    Referring to the safety of the vaccine, she underlined that there is no reason of concern, adding that vaccination will take place within the framework of a European plan. Vaccination in other 15 European countries is already underway for several weeks and no serious problems have been reported, she said.

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