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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-04-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM warns speculators: The loaded gun is on the table
  • [02] FIFA World Cup trophy in Athens in context of 2010 World Tour
  • [03] Alternatives for Halki Seminary
  • [04] Terrorism investigation
  • [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] PM warns speculators: The loaded gun is on the table

    Prime minister George Papandreou warned speculators that a "loaded gun" is "on the table", stressing that activation of the EU support mechanism for the Greek economy is not Greece's first choice but "if it is needed, it is there", in an interview appearing in a Sunday newspaper.

    The interview appeared just hours before an extraordinary teleconference of eurogroup finance ministers to "concretize" the EU support mechanism for the Greek economy, in order to work out the details of how the safety net for Greece will work if Athens opts for its activation.

    "We waged a battle so that there will be a European support mechanism, and we won it," he said, noting that after the latest developments, with the terms of the support mechanism clarified, "the gun on the table is loaded, and the speculators know this...consequently, we have a safety net".

    "Greece's place is in the eurozone," the prime minister stressed in his interview with the Sunday edition of To Vima newspaper, adding that "any other scenario is ludicrous".

    Papandreou further said that it remains to be seen whether the support mechanism will convince the markets, but if it doesn't it is there to be used.

    "We have not lost a minute" in the effort to bring Greece out of the quagmire that it was led to by "mistakes, omissions and decades-long mentalities", and which was "exacerbated to an inconceivable degree between 2004 and 2009", Papandreou replied to a question on opposition claims that the government procrastinated in taking measures.

    "Never before has a Cabinet been so productive in draft laws tabled in parliament," Papandreou noted.

    Indicating his PASOK government's intentions on economic and social policy, the premier stressed that "all the fronts" need to be opened up today" because "I believe that we must make the changes now so that they will yield in 2-3 years".

    "This government is called on to do the hardest and the most in the shortest time possible. Some changes will inconvenience all of us, from how a minister functions to how the civil servant will function, but for the better," he explained.

    Regarding the ministers, Papandreou said that the pre-elections pledge for "evaluation and accountability everywhere and for all" still holds true while, to a question on public disagreement by government officials, he noted that "this is within the framework of the dialogue required by collective work" and added that it was surprising to many that discussions of substance take place in his Cabinet, which was not so in the past.

    On the civil servants, he noted that life-long tenure is consolidated by the Constitution, but with amendment of the disciplinary system "the regime of impunity will cease to exist", while meritocracy will be restored, and all the Public Administration directors will be selected on the basis of merit, without party influence.

    As for the burden that the civil servants will shoulder with the recent measures, Papandreou noted: "I have said repeatedly that our decisions are by necessity, not by choice".

    Papandreou said that the big wager, not only for the government but for the Greek society itself, was dual: "To best make use of the country's inexhaustible potential for the production of wealth, but also to distribute that wealth fairly".

    [02] FIFA World Cup trophy in Athens in context of 2010 World Tour

    Tens of hundreds of soccer fans of all ages thronged to the Athens Olympic complex (OAKA) to get a glimpse of and be photographed next to the FIFA World Cup trophy during a three-day stopover in Athens on the trophy's world-wide tour ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa that kicks off on June 11.

    The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour began its journey from the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland on September 21, 2009 and will visit a total of 83 countries, travelling a total of 138,902 kilometers, more than three times the circumference of Earth.

    During the Trophy Tour, fans are given the chance to enjoy a rare close-up view of the authentic FIFA World Cup Trophy and also have the opportunity to have a souvenir photo taken of themselves with the trophy, view a special 3-D movie showcasing memorable moments of the FIFA World Cup, participate in interactive displays and enjoy other entertainment

    The 2010 FIFA World takes place in South Africa , kicking off on 11 June. It is the first time the 32 final teams are competing for the world's most sought after trophy on the African continent. The final will be played on 11 July 2010 at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.

    [03] Alternatives for Halki Seminary

    The creation of a Theological Seminary in Alexandroupolis or another area in Greece close in proximity to Istanbul, and recourse to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, are a few of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's options in the Halki School of Theology is not reopened, as repeatedly promised by the Turkish government, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said on Saturday in reply to questions by Turkish reporters.

    The alternative solutions were presented by the Ecumenical Patriarch in reply to press questions during a luncheon hosted by Bartholomew for a group of Turkish newspaper columnists on the occasion of the Orthodox Easter.

    [04] Terrorism investigation

    Counter-terrorism police were continuing on Sunday a major coordinated operation and house searches in Attica prefecture and the periphery launched at dawn the previous day, while at least six people have been taken in for questioning and developments expected, according to police sources.

    The sources said that the operation marked the opening of a new chapter in the issue of terrorism, and would be extensive, with continuous developments expected.

    At least six people, among them one or two women, who are believed to be members of a terrorist group, were currently being interrogated by counter-terrorism police.

    The operation included a series of house searches and, according to the sources, terror proclamations, hand-written notes referring to a terror group's text and material that could be used to construct bombs were found in one of the houses searched, in the Athens district of Nea Ionia. Other houses have also been searched in the coastal town of Galazia Akti and a number of other points in Athens, the sources said.

    As of noon Sunday, the six detainees have not been arrested, but arrest warrants are expected to be issued later in the day by the prosecutors overseeing the terrorism investigations.

    Police seized the material found in the houses searched, which will be compared with evidence found at sites of recent terror attacks and in previous searches of safehouses.

    Commenting on a relevant police announcement Saturday, main opposition New Democracy (ND) shadow Citizens' Protection minister, MP Nikos Dendias said that "every positive development in the battle against terrorism can only have the universal support of the political world and the Greek society".

    [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The concretization of the EU support mechanism for Greece and the Employment ministry's bill on the social security system were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Turkey 'shipwrecks' in the Aegean".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Four-speed real estate".

    AVGHI: "From Papandreou's socialism to the...barbarity of the IMF".

    CHORA: "The Athens 'vultures' who are investing in the country's bankruptcy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The IMF entering our pockets".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Endurance test for Greece and the euro - Key-plan for support, with the sharks lying in wait".

    ETHNOS: "Shock-therapy for the 'spreads virus' with...IMF prescription".

    KATHIMERINI: "Countdown to (recourse to) IMF-EU".

    LOGOS: "Waiting for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Management of the 'impasse' and 'enrichment' of the agenda".

    NIKI: "We've loaded the gun - Hard poker between government-speculators on the support mechanism".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Struggle for our needs, clash with the 'rescue' of capital".

    TO VIMA: "The gun is now loaded - Premier's interview with to TO VIMA on all issues".

    VRADYNI: "Cutbacks on pensions - Who will see their incomes reduced".

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