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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-03-21

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

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

March 21, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis addresses ND's Central Committee, vows to 'continue struggle against vested interests'
  • [02] Sunday of Orthodoxy celebrated in Athens, President Papoulias attends liturgy
  • [03] Koumoutsakos says Greece wishes investigation into sale of real estate of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem
  • [04] Australian prime minister Howard to visit Athens next month
  • [05] SPD senior official favors postponement of start of Turkey-EU accession talks
  • [06] Anti-war rally held in central Athens
  • [07] Peace demonstrators stage protest at US base at Souda, Crete
  • [08] SYN sets up new grouping
  • [09] Greek wines promoted in 6th int'l wine festival in Washington
  • [10] Greek-Bulgarian meeting in Drama for the protection of Nestos River
  • [11] Women's Union of Greece holds event in Alexandroupoli on the European Constitution
  • [12] Panhellenic congress of Sarakatsani associations to be held in Alexandroupoli
  • [13] European conference of Black Sea youth to be held in Frankfurt
  • [14] 1st Int'l Festival of Educational Films to be held in Patras
  • [15] Drug arrests in Athens
  • [16] 15-year-old schoolboy charged with trafficking child porn on Internet
  • [17] British MEP calls on Straw to retract statements on Cyprus recognition

  • [01] PM Karamanlis addresses ND's Central Committee, vows to 'continue struggle against vested interests'

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing a meeting of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's Central Committee on Saturday, sent a clear and categorical message that the government will continue its struggle against vested interests.

    "We committed ourselves to the citizens to brush aside the gray of corruption, to strengthen the essence and quality of democracy. We committed ourselves to these and we will not abandon them. We are abolishing the laws of vested interests, we are advancing measures which place a barrier to bad management and waste, we support the institutions, we safeguard institutionally the State," Karamanlis said.

    "The struggle against vested interests is a struggle for the collective interest. And we will win this struggle, the difficulties invigorate our determination. The citizens will be the winners in the clash against corruption, immunity and hypocrisy," he added.

    The prime minister launched an attack against the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), saying that "while we respond to our obligation, some others choose to undermine" and he explained that "while we, along with the main opposition party, voted the constitutional regulation for the main shareholder, today it is us who support it and they undermine it, we struggle for transparency and they abandoned what they committed themselves, they reached the point of claiming that those who support constitutional order do not strengthen the country's prestige."

    Karamanlis also spoke on the continuation of his economic policy. "We said the truth on the economy and we undertook a difficult effort. The situation which we inherited from the past is difficult, the debts are enormous, the deficits are great, the absence of basic structural changes is a problem," he said.

    Describing the situation, Karamanlis said that Greece has no more margins for delays, it must go forward and for it to go forward changes and reforms are needed. He also spoke about privatization, noting that it would reduce public debt, attract foreign investments, strengthen competition and create new jobs.

    The prime minister further referred to the ratification of the European Constitution by Parliament, saying that it is an historic step in the road of the common European future.

    In his speech, he referred to Greek-Turkish relations, stating that "we support Turkey's European prospects", clarifying however that this road depends first of all by Turkey itself and from its response to the fundamental European criteria and the prerequisites placed each time for its next step.

    He underlined that "I hope in a creative discussion with my Turkish counterpart in the coming days and it is self-evident that we are awaiting the soonest possible Turkey's response to the obligations it has undertaken for the Customs Union Protocol."

    The prime minister also referred to Greece's relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and particularly the pending name issue. "Despite the negative stagnation of many years their position has been accepted on an international level for a mutually accepted solution through substantial dialogue and I hope there will be a response by the other side," he said.

    Meimarakis: ND Central Committee Secretary Evangelos Meimarakis, addressing the meeting, referred to the issue which has arisen with the law of the "main shareholder", at the same time launching an attack against PASOK.

    He attributed the issue to systematic disinformation and clarified that "we are obliged to tell society that all these things do not concern the specific law, as some are attempting to present, but the government's obligation to support Article 14 Paragraph 9 of the Constitution."

    Meimarakis, directing himself to PASOK, asked "on what issue does it believe that Greece is accused by the European Union, what did PASOK do for so long and what is it's present position, what is it trying to defend."

    He said that "now all are concerned because the law through the implementation of the Constitution is now being implemented," adding that it protects competition and strikes the heart of vested interests.

    Furthermore, he said that if PASOK ''wishes to defend the Constitution and not something else then it is obliged to align itself with the government.''

    He said "the citizens call on us to stand upright, to give the battle in the European Union and win. With our support we accompany (Interior Minister) Prokopis Pavlopoulos to Brussels and we wish him good luck."

    [02] Sunday of Orthodoxy celebrated in Athens, President Papoulias attends liturgy

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Sunday of Orthodoxy, the first Sunday of Lent, was celebrated in Athens on Sunday with a liturgy at the Athens Cathedral, attended by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    The feast celebrates the end of the iconoclastic controversy that had raged on and off since 726 AD, and the restoration of the veneration of icons on the first Sunday of Lent in 843 AD, and thus the "triumph of Orthodoxy".

    Papoulias read out the Orthodox Creed, and the Our Father.

    Later, Papoulias hosted the customary luncheon for Archbishop Christodoulos and the members of the Standing Holy Synod, at the Presidential Mansion, which was also attended by Education and Religious Affairs minister Marietta Yiannakou.

    Speaking at the event, Papoulias noted that the Sunday of Orthodoxy had special reference to respect of the established boundaries in the relations between Church and State, since the celebration of the triumph of Orthodoxy was linked with the lifting of the tragic consequences from the confusion in roles and authorities during the long period of the iconoclastic controversy.

    He said the lack of dialogue had at the time played a role in the cohesion of the people, but was equally timely today, because the value of distinct roles was timeless.

    The overstepping of boundaries causes unpleasant and dangerous consequences in the function of Society, Papoulias said, adding that the country's Constitution set out the distinct roles. He further called on the Hierarchs to meet the demand of society for "catharsis" of the Church.

    In reply, the Archbishop congratulated the new President of the Republic on the assumption of his duties, and assured Papoulias that the Church would be at his disposal and at his side to achieve unity among the people.

    Praising Papoulias' long experience in public life, the Archbishop thanked the President for his reference to the distinction of roles, and assured him that the Church was well aware of the distinct roles as wet out by the Constitution.

    "Respect on both sides is that which guarantees the good coexistence of Church and State," Christodoulos added.

    [03] Koumoutsakos says Greece wishes investigation into sale of real estate of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    Foreign Ministry Spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Sunday that Greece wishes the "immediate investigation" into the issue of the sale of real estate belonging to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

    At the same time he announced that a delegation of experts will be sent which will contribute to the "speedy investigation" of the issue.

    Specifically, and after the publication by the foreign press of information of the sale of real estate owned by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem which are located in particular and important areas of the city, Koumoutsakos said that Greece respects the self-administration of the Patriarchate and does not intervene in administrative issues which are regulated both by legislation and centuries-old traditions.

    "However, Greece which never denied its moral responsibilities towards the Patriarchate and its faithful, is ready to contribute with all the interested parties in the speedy investigation of the issue with the sending to Jerusalem, tomorrow, Monday, March 21, of a group of experts," Koumoutsakos said.

    The Patriarchate of Jerusalem in an announcement on Saturday night termed as groundless and void the authorization given to the missing former employee of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Nikos Papadimas, because it was not given by the Patriarch.

    The announcement was prompted by an article in an Israeli newspaper which said that hotels and real estate of the Patriarchate in the old city had been sold to Jewish investors.

    [04] Australian prime minister Howard to visit Athens next month

    MELBOURNE 21/3/2005 (ANA-Hatzimanolis)

    Australian prime minister John Howard on Sunday announced that he will visit Greece next month.

    Howard made the announcement while addressing thousands of Greek-Australians at the Sydney Opera House in an event marking the March 25th Greek national holiday, organized by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

    It is expected that the Australian premier will visit Athens en route to Gallipoli for celebrations marking the 90th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, during World War I.

    According to diplomatic sources, Howard will meet in Athens with Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [05] SPD senior official favors postponement of start of Turkey-EU accession talks

    BERLIN 21/3/2005 (ANA/P. Stangos)

    The European affairs representative of the German Social Democratic Party's (SPD) Parliamentary Group, Gunther Glozer, in an interview to a German newspaper said on Sunday that he was in favor of the postponement of the start of Turkey's accession talks with the European Union "if the stillness prevailing regarding the reforms and the demoralization continues."

    He underlined that "if the backtracking continues until October, then we must have the courage to postpone the negotiations."

    It is the second case of a senior SPD politician who disputes the support by the government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the start of accession talks on October 3.

    On Saturday, the President of the Socialist Group of the European Parliament and head of the German Eurodeputies, Martin Schultz, placed in doubt the start of the Turkey-EU accession talks, referring not only to the slackening of the Turkish government's reforms zeal but also to the necessity of the diplomatic recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Ankara.

    [06] Anti-war rally held in central Athens

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    Hundreds of people took part in an ant-war rally held in central Athens on Saturday on the occasion of the completion of two years since the intervention in Iraq.

    The rally was jointly organized by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), the Athens Labor Centre (EKA), schools of Athens University, municipalities and other groups.

    Slogans included "No to war, stop the occupation in Iraq, freedom to Palestine and no participation by Greece in the war operations of NATO and the European Union."

    The demonstrators gathered at Syntagma Square and then marched to the U.S. Embassy.

    [07] Peace demonstrators stage protest at US base at Souda, Crete

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    Members of peace organizations from all over the island of Crete on Sunday staged a peaceful demonstration outside the US naval base at Souda.

    The demonstrators gathered in the centre of the town of Hania, and in a motorcade march rode to the gates of the base, where a strong contingent of police had been deployed for precautionary reasons.

    The approximately 200 demonstrators chanted anti-NATO and anti-American slogans, and called for the closure of the base. They also burned an effigy of US president George Bush.

    The demonstrators further adopted, by voice vote, a resolution containing the demands of the protestors.

    An anti-war concert was also staged.

    [08] SYN sets up new grouping

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    "Leftwing Renewal" is the name of the new grouping of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) or "tide of ideas" as they themselves name it and which was set up on Sunday by a Panhellenic meeting in which more than 300 members of Synaspismos participated.

    The commitment of the new grouping is to work as a "tide of ideas" with collective terms, complete transparency and respect for the internal affairs and statute of the party.

    The recommendation was made by Yiannis Balafas and more than 20 participants spoke.

    Messages were sent by the historic leaders of the Left, Leonidas Kyrkos and Panos Dimitriou.

    [09] Greek wines promoted in 6th int'l wine festival in Washington

    WASHINGTON 21/3/2005 (ANA/T. Ellis)

    Greek wines were promoted in the 6th Wine Festival in Washington which was held in the conference centre of the U.S. capital.

    The festival was held under the auspices of the Washington Post newspaper and attracted more than 2,400 commercial visitors - marking a 53 per cent increase over last year - as well as about 8,000 friends of wine from the broader metropolitan region of Washington. The visitors of the Greek pavilion queued during the two days of the festival and declared impressed from the quality of the Greek wines and particularly impressed by the variety of grapes. The Greek participation was organized by the company "All About Greek Wine", which presented wines from its 23 winery members, covering the most important winery regions of Greece.

    [10] Greek-Bulgarian meeting in Drama for the protection of Nestos River

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Prefecture of Drama in northern Greece and the branch Eastern Macedonia of the Geotechnical Chamber of Greece held an international event on Saturday on the theme "Greek-Bulgarian meeting for the protection of Nestos River".

    Addressing the meeting in the city of Drama, Deputy Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Alexandros Kontos underlined the need for closer cooperation between Greece and Bulgaria so as to stop the pollution of the waters of the river which pass through the two countries. He further said that in light of Bulgaria's accession to the European Union, it was necessary for the neighboring country to adapt its national legislation to the parameters of the EU.

    The deputy minister referred to the good relations between Greece and Bulgaria these past years and to the efforts which have been made for this purpose. Kontos underlined: "Many times, a proper neighbor, a friend who cares and is really interested, is even better than a relative."

    The rapporteurs, distinguished Greek and Bulgarian scientists, noted that Nestos River had great ecological, economic and development importance in the broader region, therefore it is necessary for there to be Greece-Bulgaria inter-state cooperation for the river's protection and the proper management of its waters.

    [11] Women's Union of Greece holds event in Alexandroupoli on the European Constitution

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    The "European Constitution" was the topic of an event which was held in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece on Sunday by the local branch of the Women's Union of Greece in cooperation with the municipality.

    Guest speakers at the event were former minister and main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) deputy Evangelos Venizelos and the head of PASOK's parliamentary group in the European Parliament, Eurodeputy Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou who was recently elected Secretary of PASOK's National Council.

    "We changed a page, PASOK again comes forward, it is entering a new victorious course. Our priority is to be able to express a new political proposal for our country and people. A proposal which will answer to the needs of our era and of our people and at the same time be able to make our party open, appealing and close to the citizen," Xenoyiannakopoulou said.

    To a question whether a referendum on the European Constitution should be held, Venizelos said that "PASOK has proposed with a decision by its congress its holding with the given fact its position in favor of the European Constitution. Not because it is ideal or because it gives a solution to the major problems of Europe and the European integration but because it is an important and necessary step."

    [12] Panhellenic congress of Sarakatsani associations to be held in Alexandroupoli

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Panhellenic Organizing Congress of Sarakatsani Associations will be held in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece, from March 25-27.

    Taking part in the congress will be representatives of 42 associations from Greece, 19 from Bulgaria and two from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), while there will also be representation of associations existing in the United States.

    [13] European conference of Black Sea youth to be held in Frankfurt

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Federation of Associations of Black Sea Greeks in Europe (OSEPE) and its Coordinating Youth Committee will organize the 12th European Conference of Black Sea Youth in Frankfurt from April 2-3.

    The conference of Black Sea youth constitutes an institution of OSEPE and its youth and every year gathers more than 350 youth, aged 15-35, from all over Europe.

    Each conference covers historic issues concerning youth and humanity and is held just before the annual European Festival of Youth Black Sea Dances, giving the opportunity to the youth to become better acquainted with their history, to get to know each other and actively participate in the activities of the federation.

    [14] 1st Int'l Festival of Educational Films to be held in Patras

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    With the production of a documentary entitled "Look who are talking", the students of the three classes of the senior high school of Kalambaki, in Drama, northern Greece, will take part in the 1st International Festival of Educational Films which will be held in Patra, Peloponnese, from May 15-20.

    The students, with their coordinators Stelios Lazaridis and Katerina Hatoudi, will answer questions concerning life at school. They will criticize the way lessons are taught and the way schools operate.

    [15] Drug arrests in Athens

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    A 43-year-old Turkish national was arrested in Athens on Saturday, charged with illegal importation, via the Evros border region, and trafficking of substantial quantities of heroin and cocaine, police said on Sunday.

    The Turkish man is accused of selling the drugs to substance addicts in the Attica prefecture.

    Police found in his possession and confiscated 512 grams of heroin, 50 grams of cocaine, and two mobile phones with which he contacted the addicts.

    Investigations were continuing for ascertain whether other individuals were also implicated in the dealings.

    In a separate incident, four other people -- three men and a woman -- were also arrested Saturday in Attica prefecture charged with trafficking substantial quantities of narcotic substances, mainly cocaine and cannabis, to drug addicts in the prefecture.

    Police found in their possession and seized 218 grams of cocaine, 1.5 kilos of cannabis, two precision scales, 2,000 euros as the product of drug trafficking, and two mobile phones.

    [16] 15-year-old schoolboy charged with trafficking child porn on Internet

    Athens, 21/3/2005 (ANA)

    A case file has been drawn up against a 15-year-old schoolboy on charges of trafficking a child pornography program via Internet, police said on Saturday.

    The case file will be submitted Monday to an Athens prosecutor for juvenile offences, they added.

    The boy admitted to the charges after specially-trained internet crimes police officers traced the web page's origins to the minor's home. The boy was apparently uploading child pornography since February 18, 2005.

    A search of the boy's home turned up six CD ROMs, one of which contained the uploaded files, which were confiscated, together with a PC hard disk.

    The boy, speaking to police, attributed his actions to an effort to impress his schoolmates.

    [17] British MEP calls on Straw to retract statements on Cyprus recognition

    NICOSIA 21/3/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    British conservative MEP Theresa Villiers has condemned British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's remarks after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul regarding the recognition of Cyprus by Turkey and demanded that Straw retract these statements.

    ''It is inconceivable for a country to start accession negotiations whilst failing to recognize all the existing EU members,'' Villiers noted according to a press release issued by her office on Saturday, adding that he wrote to Straw demanding that he retract his comments and highlighting ''the real sense of anger and betrayal felt by so many Cypriots.''

    Straw had said that the issue of recognition of the Cyprus Republic by Turkey would be resolved in the context of Turkey's full membership of the EU.

    Villiers said the British Labor government ''is so blinded by its desire to see Turkey become a member of the EU that they are prepared to just ignore fundamental issues.''

    ''Labor has so often promised action on Cyprus but they break their promises time and again,'' Villiers added.

    According to Villiers, the issue of whether Turkey got a date to open accession negotiations was a hugely important bargaining chip which British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the EU could have used powerfully to put pressure on Turkey to pull its troops out of Cyprus.

    ''The only concession Turkey gave in exchange for a date was to promise to recognize the government of Cyprus. Now it looks as Labor is going to let them get away without even fulfilling their promise on recognition,'' Villiers said.


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