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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou, Christofias visit Artemida
  • [02] Samaras urges grass-roots elections at ONNED
  • [03] Shot security van guard dies of injuries
  • [04] Papoulias meets Christofias

  • [01] Papandreou, Christofias visit Artemida

    In a ceremony on Sunday attended by visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, the tragedy-stricken village of Artemida, completely rebuilt with money donated by Cyprus, was officially delivered to its inhabitants. The village had been completely destroyed in mega-fires that raged through the Peloponnese and the prefecture of Ileia in the summer of 2007, during which 23 of Artemida's inhabitants lost their lives.

    "For decades now, during the problems faced by the Cypriot people, it was a habit to call Cypriots our brothers. Today, they have proved this themselves through their actions," Papandreou stated at ceremony.

    "During difficult times we are not alone. As in the past, so in the future Greece will stand beside Cyprus and whole-heartedly support its efforts for a just solution to unite the island," the Greek premier added.

    Christofias, likewise, noted that "when Greece runs to Cyprus' aid at difficult times and shows solidarity with Cyprus, then it should be considered a matter of course that Cyprus, with the powers it possessed, should come to the aid of Greece."

    The Cyprus president said that the reconstruction project in Artemida had a total budget of 14 million euros, which included flood prevention works, support and safety works and aesthetic improvements for the village. In addition to the various works, Cyprus had decided a series measures for the financial support of local farmers that were gradually beginning, and had approved the building of a central sewage system.

    Papandreou said that his own visit was a follow-up of a visit to fire-stricken regions last October, to indicate that his pledge for hope after the disaster would be translated into action.

    He said a number of measures were being planned for the prevention of forest fires and to improve protection against them, a report on which was due at the end of the month. Among these he listed a reorganisation of the fire brigade, purchase of new vehicles and equipment, creation of new airborne units and updated protection plans.

    The ceremony ended with the unveiling of the new village square, to be henceforth named Cyprus Square, in the presence of the delegation from Cyprus, the government and local government officials.

    Papandreou and Christofias had earlier deposited flowers at shrines set up just outside the village in memory of the victims of the fires, as well as visiting a new oil press and one of the houses rebuilt with funds from Cyprus.

    The premier and Cyprus president were each presented with an olive sapling by the village, as well as the key to the municipality of Zaharo, to which the village belongs.

    [02] Samaras urges grass-roots elections at ONNED

    Addressing main opposition New Democracy's youth group ONNED on Sunday, ND leader Antonis Samaras urged the young supporters of ND to follow the example of their elders and allow the grass-roots to elect ONNED's new leader.

    "Open wide the doors of your organisation also and feel the same love and response from the ordinary ONNED member that ND felt when it changed everything, electing a president from the grass roots," Samaras said.

    He was also scathing about the performance of ruling PASOK's government during its first 100 days in office, saying that even high-ranking members of PASOK complained about the "incompetence, dithering, confusion, and contradictions" displayed in that time.

    Samaras particularly dwelt on the government's proposed bill for giving migrants the right to acquire Greek nationality and stressed that "the more they try to make the Greek people forget their identity and history, the more they make Greeks rally around their values and ideals".

    He underlined that Greece was currently the only country faced with uncontrolled waves of migrantion and that the current government was rushing to legalise everyone and thus attract even greater numbers.

    Urging the government to reconsider, he said that ND's position was that Greece adopt the same system currently existing in Germany, introduced under the social-democrats of Gerhard Schroeder.

    ND's leader also noted that there were areas where the current government was doing well and that ND would give credit where this was due and not follow PASOK's previous tactic of opposing everything indiscriminately, without offering solutions.

    He indicated his own intention to break with some of ND's past practices in creating a new course for the party, noting that this might lead to reactions from certain quarters. While noting that no one could doubt the work done by past ND governments, he stressed that he only now paid heed to the general demand that ND should change, stop dwelling on the past and tackle the problems of the future.

    [03] Shot security van guard dies of injuries

    A 45-year-old security van guard that was shot in an attempted robbery on Saturday afternoon died in hospital a few hours later. The unlucky security guard was shot in the head and chest by armed robbers just after picking up the day's earnings from a branch of the Jumbo toy shop chain on Vari-Koropi Avenue.

    Police say that victim was shot through the head by an automatic weapon, possibly a Kalashnikov rifle, because shells from that type of weapon were found at the scene. The man was inside the security van at the time and the bullets are believed to have pierced the door frame to hit him in the head.

    The attempted robbery began after the slain guard and two colleagues had climbed back into their vehicle and were about to set off. They were set on by two unidentified armed men that blocked their exit using a pair of stolen vans that they had set on fire and then started shooting against the armoured van.

    The other two guards suffered minor respiratory problems as a result of inhaling smoke from the two blazing vehicles but did not open the doors, so the would-be robbers were finally forced to give up and flee on motorbikes being driven by two accomplices.

    The injured man was taken to Asklipio hospital in Voula, where he later died, while police are still searching to locate and arrest his attackers.

    [04] Papoulias meets Christofias

    Visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias was received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias upon his arrival in Athens on Saturday night.

    The two men had a 45-minute meeting that focused on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue.

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