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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-03-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Tsipras and Athens Mayor George Kaminis discuss Athens redevelopment plans
  • [02] Parcel bomb sent to IMF also mailed from Greece, says minister

  • [01] Tsipras and Athens Mayor George Kaminis discuss Athens redevelopment plans

    Meeting Athens Mayor George Kaminis at the Maximos Mansion on Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised the government's support for initiatives to make Athens a safe and sustainable city. He stressed that Greece's capital needed "metropolitan-scale" interventions that aimed to improve quality of life for its residents.

    Acknowledging that the greatest burden in this effort fell on the shoulders of local authorities, Tsipras also noted a necessity for in-depth discussion with the agencies and organisations involved. It was up to the municipality to make the final decisions, the prime minister added, "provided we ensure an adequate legal framework and economic viability."

    The prime minister also referred to the city's tourism development, saying that "we must all act together given that Athens is becoming an attractive tourist destination."

    Kaminis thanked the prime minister for the invitation and asked for close cooperation between primary and secondary-level local government with central government.

    "Athens is presented with a great opportunity, since it has seen an increase in tourism for the third successive year," the Athens mayor pointed out. It must grasp this opportunity and not give visitors the impression of an unsafe city, emanating an aura of urban decay, he added.

    "I have much to share with you, both regarding the legal aspects and the financial aspects," Kaminis said.

    In statements to reporters as he was leaving the meeting, the Athens mayor said that a redevelopment plan that would demolish the football stadium on Alexandras Avenue will not go ahead unless all the parties involved were on board, adding that there was "nothing specific" from FC Panathinaikos or the amateur Panathaikos sports club. "Everything has been discussed, everything is on the table and we will discuss everything with the people of Panathinaikos," he said.

    Replying to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) about tourist traffic and efforts to make Athens an attractive destination, Kaminis reported a "positive response" from the prime minister and said there will be cooperation with the ministry responsible for the homeless and drug-dependent to improve the current situation. He also noted that the municipality was already running urban renewal projects, such as that in the commercial centre.

    He said the meeting with Tsipras had given him an opportunity to discuss the city's issues and stressed the importance of cooperation.

    According to reports in the Greek press, four major urban redevelopment projects that will transform the centre of Athens are currently under discussion. They include an overhaul of the historic city centre from Syntagma to Kerameikos, a new park on Alexandras Avenue on the site of the old FC Panathinaikos Stadium, which is to be demolished, a refurbishment of Goudi Park and the construction of a new stadium for Panathinaikos, and a redevelopment of Elaionas to build new sports facilities. A government meeting chaired by the prime minister was held to discuss these plans on Wednesday, with Attica governor Rena Dourou attending.

    [02] Parcel bomb sent to IMF also mailed from Greece, says minister

    The parcel bomb sent to the offices of the Internationals Monetary Fund (IMF) in Paris which wounded one woman was sent by Greece and the sender cited on the package was New Democracy spokesman Vasilis Kikilias, Alternate Citizens Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said on Thursday, speaking at the evening newscast of ANT1 TV channel.

    He said the intended recipient was the Director of the IMF Europe Office, Jeffrey Franks.

    Toskas said Kikilias was briefed about these developments, adding that the senders address was an old one used by ND's spokesman. Asked about why the use of the names and addresses of politicians on the bomb parcels, the minister said the perpetrators possibly see it as a way to "offend the political system".

    "We're determined to deal with all these things and we're doing all we can," Toskas said, adding that it is too early to come to any conclusions on the incident. He also pledged to improve security and detection where needed.

    At the same time, French authorities earlier sent the Greek police copies of the photographs from the site of the explosion in Paris, following a request sent via the French police liaison in Athens. The photographs show the room where the booby-trapped parcel exploded after the attack but there is no trace of the envelope - which disintegrated in the explosion.

    The incident in Paris came just one day after German authorities intercepted and neutralised a parcel-bomb sent from Athens and on the same day that the terror group "Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF)" claimed responsibility for the attack on Schaeuble through a post on anti-establishment website Indymedia.

    Concern in Greece and Europe is heightened by references in the CCF proclamation to the creation of an "international conspiratorial network of FAI and CCF cells in dozens of countries" and a pledge "to strike at the structures and individuals of the system of power with even greater passion and persistence."

    Investigating officers said the same terror group attempted to send letter bombs to a number of politicians in Europe, including one intercepted at the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and one addressed to then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi that was intercepted at Rome airport. More booby-trapped letters had been sent by the group at that time but were intercepted before they left Greece - including one addressed to then prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

    German authorities informed the Greek police that the parcel bomb in Berlin contained 31 grammes of gunpowder used for fireworks and a detonating mechanism. Experts said that the type and quantity of explosives used was insufficient to do serious damage and that the goal of the perpetrators was to make a symbolic gesture and cause an upheaval.

    An investigation is also underway to trace the path of the parcel-bomb sent to Berlin, in which the police hope that the ultra-modern screening equipment that Hellenic Post recently had installed at the Athens airport will be able to provide assistance. Among others, the equipment keeps records of all mail that is screened and these will now be scanned to see if the parcel addressed to the German finance minister is listed. Greek authorities are also investigating which external post box in Athens the parcel was sent from, in order to check whether the sender was recorded by CCTV.


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