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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-12-27

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Foreign ministry praises adoption of UNSC Resolution 1738
  • [02] Greece's Ambassador Vassilakis hails adoption by UNSG of Resolution 1738
  • [03] Christmas carols for political leaders; PM Karamanlis in Florina
  • [04] PM Karamanlis visits resort of Nymfeo in Florina
  • [05] Christmas Day messages; Greece's municipalities support homeless and needy
  • [06] Health Minister Avramopoulos visits Athens hospitals
  • [07] Archbishop Christodoulos hosts luncheon for immigrants
  • [08] PM had successive meetings with finance, education ministers
  • [09] FM Bakoyannis on general elections, Cyprus issue
  • [10] Deputy DM visits Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • [11] PASOK leader to visit Kallithea police station
  • [12] Citizens disappointed with gov't and PASOK, poll shows
  • [13] Foreign Exchange Rates
  • [14] Massive exodus for Christmas
  • [15] Traffic measures for return of Christmas excursionists
  • [16] New Democracy, PASOK MPs visit Thessaloniki markets
  • [17] Car fatally injures pedestrian
  • [18] Armed robbery at petrol station in Petralona
  • [19] 90-year-old man shoots foreign thief in Crete, injures him badly
  • [20] Rethymno broker disappears with clients' money
  • [21] Turkish motorship continues its journey; skipper rejects Greek help
  • [22] Weather Forecast: Low temperatures throughout the country
  • [23] Cloudy and frosty on Wednesday
  • [24] The Sunday editions of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] Foreign ministry praises adoption of UNSC Resolution 1738

    The foreign ministry on Sunday praised a unanimous decision, a day earlier, by the UN Security Council to pass Resolution 1738 in support of greater protection of journalists and mass media staffers in war zones and areas of conflict.

    The ministry also noted that the decision emanates from an initiative undertaken by the Greek UNSC presidency last September, an initiative actively promoted by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    In a recent interview, Bakoyannis dedicated the government's efforts to the memory of late Athens-based journalist Yiannis Diakoyannis.

    [02] Greece's Ambassador Vassilakis hails adoption by UNSG of Resolution 1738

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greece's Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, on Tuesday hailed the unanimous adoption last Saturday by the United Nations Security Council of Resolution 1738 (2006) for the protection of journalists in war zones.

    Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, declared that "the adoption of the resolution is the culmination of an effort which started by the foreign minister of Greece and which from the start was firmly supported by the foreign minister of France."

    Ambassador Vassilakis stressed that "the joint efforts of Greece and France to raise this current and important issue before the Security Council have as an objective to sensitize international public opinion to the dangers faced by journalists, the professionals and the members of the mass media, when they carry out their reports from war zones."

    Greece's permanent representative at the UN added that "we view that today's resolution is a decisive step in the right direction and sends a clear message to all the sides of the armed clashes that journalists and members of the mass media must be protected, in accordance with international law and the international humanitarian law."

    Concluding, Ambassador Vassilakis noted that "despite the fact that Greece's tenure as non-permament member at the Security Council is reaching its end, we will continue to observe the issue closely and we hope that it will constitute an indication for all the non-permament members, both current and future, that their voice counts and that each member can play an active and constructive role in the work of the Security Council."

    [03] Christmas carols for political leaders; PM Karamanlis in Florina

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his family spent the Christmas holiday in the northwestern prefecture of Florina, an increasingly popular winter destination in the east Mediterranean country.

    On Sunday, several local groups sang Christmas carols for the prime minister, whereas Karamanlis and his wife Natasa handed out gifts to the carolers.

    Costas and Natasa Karamanlis later strolled through the town of Florina before attending a reception in their honor hosted by local and prefectural officials.

    Meanwhile, in Athens, the annual tradition of Christmas caroling witnessed most political leaders receiving groups of carolers.

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou received carolers at his party's headquarters, exchanging gifts with the groups, which hailed from several parts of Greece.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga also greeted carolers at her party's headquarters, while Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos enjoyed carols by a choir of children of Filipino guest workers in Greece.

    Groups of carolers sent by clubs and societies from various areas of Greece on Saturday visited Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki in order to sing traditional Christmas carols, including a group from Crete and an association of Pontian Greeks from southern Greece and the islands.

    Other carolers to visit Benaki were children living at the 'Smile of the Child' hostels and the childrens' choirs of the Greek police headquarters, as well as the Greek Scouts Corps.

    The Parliament president offered the carolers good-luck charms from the Thrace Museum.

    [04] PM Karamanlis visits resort of Nymfeo in Florina

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, along with his wife Natasha, their two children and ruling New Democracy (ND) party deputy Nikos Kortsaris, on Tuesday visited the resort of Nymfeo, in Florina, western Macedonia.

    The inhabitants of Nymfeo, which is at an altitude of 1,250 metres, warmly received the prime minister and offered him gifts.

    Karamanlis and his family are in the prefecture of Florina since Saturday night, on a private visit.

    [05] Christmas Day messages; Greece's municipalities support homeless and needy

    The birth of Christ was celebrated by Christianity on Monday throughout the world with devoutness.

    In their Christmas Day messages, the heads of church referred to the meaning of the days.

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos in his Christmas Day message noted that "we must begin from today a new life worthy of the call of Christ."

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos stressed that "Christmas is an opportunity for our spiritual growth, for the cohesion of the family and the interception of the new order of sovereignty which changes the stable values of our culture."

    Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios referred to the problems faced by families in the modern era.

    Meanwhile, the Athens Municipality, as well as other municipalities of the country, offered "luncheons of love" to the homeless and the needy.

    The Greek Red Cross did likewise. They distributed food from the foundation's installations at 3rd September Street in Athens.

    [06] Health Minister Avramopoulos visits Athens hospitals

    Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday, Christmas Day, visited the installations of the Hellenic National Centre for Emergency Care (EKAB), the Athens "Girokomio" Home for the Elderly, the "Aghia Sophia" Children's Hospital and the Metaxas Anti-Cancer Hospital.

    In statements after his visits, according to a ministry press release, Avramopoulos said "social solidarity is one of the basic priorities which not only the state, but also society itself, has henceforth set, with the objective of hammering strong bonds of cohesion and solidarity among our fellow people."

    He added:"Christmas, holidays, are days of joy and optimism. It is, however, also hours where the lonliness of certain people sends messages to all of us. And this is what our presence here declares. To share these hours with those people, where the times, circumstances, nature, has denied them the most important part of life, health. And to feel the care, warmth, the humanity of all of us. With first the state itself."

    [07] Archbishop Christodoulos hosts luncheon for immigrants

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos hosted a "Christmas luncheon of love" in honour of immigrants living in Greece, at the hotel "ACRPOL" in Athens' Omonia Square on Tuesday.

    According to a press release by the Archbishopric, tens of immigrants with their families attended the luncheon. It was organised by the non-governmental organisation of the Church of Greece "Solidarity".

    Addressing the immigrants, Christodoulos said:"Refugees is not a new phenomenon. Particularly in our country, many immigrants have come these past twenty years in an effort to make their lives again. In the beginning, Greek society confronted the immigrants with reservation. What was needed was the intervention of various agencies and mainly of the Church. The Greeks learnt to accept the immigrants with respect and love and to secure their rights."

    [08] PM had successive meetings with finance, education ministers

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday had successive meetings with Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou.

    Alogoskoufis made no statements after the meeting, which focused on economic affairs, while Yiannakou said that they had a general discussion on the results of the dialogue on education and her ministry's prospects.

    According to the minister, their overall assessment was that the dialogue held was exceedingly constructive, while she stressed that this was the first time that such a in-depth, exhaustive dialogue on these issues had taken place in Greece and this would help society understand what was best for everyone.

    Asked to comment on the reactions to the government's plans for revising article 16 of the Constitution so as to allow the foundation of private, non-profit universities in Greece, largely opposed by academics and students themselves, Yiannakou said that this was the exclusive responsibility of Parliament and that MPs would each vote separately and by name.

    Regarding press reports concerning the recognition of degrees awarded by foreign university branches or franchised centres operating in Greece - which Greek authorities have so far refused to recognise - Yiannakou said that this was demanded by an EU directive concerning the rights of professionals and has been in effect since 1989.

    [09] FM Bakoyannis on general elections, Cyprus issue

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, in an interview she gave to Sunday's edition of "Eleftherotypia" newspaper, sees recourse to the polls, at any moment, if there are reactions to the changes which the ruling New Democracy (ND) party is advancing.

    However, she views that the general elections will be conducted normally, at some moment, towards the end of the four-year tenure.

    Bakoyannis also announced that there will be new mobility in the Cyprus issue in 2007, both on a United Nations level, as well as in the European Union.

    Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, the foreign minister assessed that no major decisions will be taken before the Turkish general elections next November.

    Meanwhile, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, in an interview he gave to Cyprus' "Haravghi" newspaper, stressed that Nicosia "is determined to resist with all the means it possesses, the overturning which is being advanced by European Union member-states for the upgrading of the (Turkish Cypriot) pseudo-state."

    President Papadopoulos stressed that "the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is being used as an alibi by Turkey so as not to implement its European obligations."

    To a question whether he ascertained an identity of positions between the EU and the Anglo-Americans, Papadopoulos answered negatively. The Cyprus president added that "a small group of EU member-states "openly support, even in violation of the principles on which the EU's existence and operation is based on, Turkey's unimpeded accession."

    [10] Deputy DM visits Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Deputy Defence Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos on Monday, Christmas Day, visited the headquarters of the Multinational Task Force - North, of the operation "Althea", in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina', where he met with the Greek contingent stationed there .

    According to a defence ministry press release, Michaloliakos was given a tour of the headquarters, was briefed on the work of MTF-N and particularly of the Greek contingent, the members with whom he exchanged gifts and best wishes.

    Following his visit, the deputy defence minister said:"Greece's position is of particular geostrategic importance. Geography is a factor which unavoidably affected and affects the foreign policy of every country."

    Michaloliakos further noted:"For our country, being really the cross-road between East and West, the point of reference of three continents and various cultures and post-war ideologies, its defence preparedness and the seeking of allies for the securing of its national sovereignty was necessary."

    [11] PASOK leader to visit Kallithea police station

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou will visit on Wednesday the Police Station at the Athens suburb of Kallithea. He will be meeting with the chief, officers and policemen to discuss problems they face in implementing their duties.

    [12] Citizens disappointed with gov't and PASOK, poll shows

    Citizens are disappointed with the New Democracy (ND) government and with the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), according to an opinion poll conducted by RASS company and which appeared in Sunday's edition of "Paron" newspaper.

    Specifically, 79.7 per cent declare that they are disappointed by PASOK leader George Papandreou and 67.2 per cent by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    The ND party is leading PASOK by 2.5 per cent and specifically with 34.7 per cent against 32.2 per cent for PASOK. They are followed by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 6.9 per cent, Coalition of the Left Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) 3.3 per cent and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 2.6 per cent.

    On who will win the general elections, 52 per cent said the ND would, while Karamanlis is leading Papandreou as to who is most suitable for prime minister.

    [13] Foreign Exchange Rates

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.329

    Pound sterling 0.676

    Danish kroner 7.513

    Swedish kroner 9.060

    Japanese yen 157.5

    Swiss franc 1.615

    Norwegian kroner 8.242

    Cyprus pound 0.582

    Canadian dollar 1.536

    Australian dollar 1.692

    General News

    [14] Massive exodus for Christmas

    Thousands of excursionists, despite the bad weather, abandoned the major cities for their Christmas holidays.

    Most of them travelled to the country's tourism destinations and abroad.

    This year, more than 250,000 excursionists preferred to spend Christmas in European capitals and exotic islands.

    The weather on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was quite sunny but cold.

    Excursionists heading north on the Athens-Lamia highway had to negotiate a 10-kilometre tailback outside Aghios Kostantinos on Saturday, as the record exodus for the Christmas holidays continued, with journey times extended by as much as two or three hours.

    Traffic police said they were forced to periodically interrupt traffic going into Athens in order to accommodate the huge volume of traffic heading up from the capital on the northbound lane.

    The stretch of road at Aghios Konstantinos is a bottleneck that causes problems whenever traffic is heightened, since recent roadworks have reduced its width to one lane in each direction that comes right after a two- and three-land highway.

    In northern Greece, the sunny weather was also driving Thessaloniki residents to the countryside in droves but so far without major problems, while inter-city bus stations said that all bus routes, including additional services, were leaving 100% full. According to KTEL bus station president Christos Lioupas, an estimated 150,000 passengers were expected to travel from Thessaloniki to areas throughout Greece over the holiday.

    Traffic was also higher than in previous years at Thessaloniki's New Railway Station and at 'Macedonia' airport.

    According to authorities, Thursday marked the start of a record exodus for the Christmas period in past years, during which hundreds of thousands of excursionists left Greece's larger cities during the holidays.

    Most of them travelled to the provinces and abroad. More than 250,000 Greeks spent Christmas in European capitals, in tourism destinations and exotic islands.

    At Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport, from December 22-28 there will be more than 300 extra flights and another equal number is estimated to be made during the New Year period.

    However, those who enjoy winter sports and planned to have a white Christmas in one of the ski centres of Europe and Greece must have been quite disappointed, as the lack of snow is unprecedented for this period.

    [15] Traffic measures for return of Christmas excursionists

    Traffic police on Tuesday were taking extra measures at both the national highways to facilitate the return of the Christmas excursionists.

    About 290,000 cars abandoned Athens during the Christmas period, according to data from the tolls.

    There was also an increase in the inter-city bus and train stations.

    About 50,000 Greeks decided to spend Christmas abroad.

    Entry is forbidden at both highways to trucks weighing more than 1.5 tonnes, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

    [16] New Democracy, PASOK MPs visit Thessaloniki markets

    Teams of ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK MPs visited markets in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Saturday, holding talks with shop owners and consumers doing their Christmas shopping.

    According to New Democracy's Costas Gioulekas, the problems were well known but the government was making a great effort to address them.

    "A lot has been done and we are still in the middle of a course that will bring a good result for the country in the end," he said.

    PASOK's Yiannis Magriotis visited markets in Modiano and Kapani, where he reported that shopkeepers were "more desperate than ever" as a result of reduced buyer traffic and the reduced purchasing power of consumers.

    "Consumers are equally disgruntled, especially those having middle or low incomes," he said.

    [17] Car fatally injures pedestrian

    A 41-year-old man was fatally injured on Saturday morning on the Liti-Lagada road in Thessaloniki when he was run over by a car driven by a 23-year-old driver.

    [18] Armed robbery at petrol station in Petralona

    Two men armed with guns held up the 59-year-old attendant at the EKO petrol station on Hamosternas road in Petralona at 2:00 in the morning on Saturday and got away with 600 euros. In addition to holding the attendant at gunpoint, the two robbers also struck and injured him on the head with the butt of a gun. They made their getaway on a motorbike.

    [19] 90-year-old man shoots foreign thief in Crete, injures him badly

    A 25-year-old national from Moldova attempted to rob a 90-year-old man from Vamou Municipality, Crete, on Tuesday, while he was sleeping.

    The elderly man became aware of his presence and shot him in the stomach with an old rifle which he possessed.

    Police announced that the culprit went through an unsecured entrance into the bedroom with the intent of stealing.

    However, the owner of the house became aware of him and in his effort to prevent the young man, shot once with a double-barreled hunting rifle, injuring him badly in the stomach.

    The 25-year-old man is being hospitalised at Hania Hospital, while the elderly man was arrested.

    The Moldovan over the past two years lived in Hania and helped the 90-year-old man in farm work.

    [20] Rethymno broker disappears with clients' money

    The owner of a Rethymno brokerage has disappeared with his family and hundreds of thousands of euros given to him by clients to invest on the stock exchange, it was reported on Saturday.

    A lawyer representing several of the investors involved in the case said that his clients had been looking for the owner of the brokerage since Monday, after they discovered that their stock had been sold without them receiving any money.

    [21] Turkish motorship continues its journey; skipper rejects Greek help

    A Turkish motorship with a five-member crew which had sent out an SOS signal on Tuesday while sailing 10 nautical miles southeast of the islet "Prasonisi", a region which is within the Greek Flight Information Region (FIR), despite the stormy seas prevailing in the international waters of Rhodes, has set sail for "a safe harbour."

    According to the Navy General Staff, the Turkish skipper refused the help offered him by the crew of the Super-Puma helicopter which arrived in the region of Rhodes' islet, saying that he will overcome the bad weather and continue his journey.

    The Greek search and rescue helicopter hovered above the small Turkish cargo ship until it was sure that there was no danger for the motorship.

    [22] Weather Forecast: Low temperatures throughout the country

    The weather worsened throughout the country on Tuesday with the main characteristic being the significant drop in temperatures, the snowfall in mainland Greece and the gale force northly winds in the Aegean.

    In quite a number of regions, there was frost in the morning hours as temperatures in northern Greece touched -6C. Snow is also expected to fall in the mountainous regions of Attica prefecture while there is a possibility of temporary snowfall in Athens as well.

    The weather is expected to improve on Wednesday, but temperatures will remain at low levels.

    Traffic is going smoothly and only in the Florina-Kastoria provincial road cars are using snow chains.

    [23] Cloudy and frosty on Wednesday

    Cloudy and frosty weather will prevail throughout the country on Wednesday with sleet and light snowfall in Thessaly, the eastern mainland, Evia, eastern Peloponnese, the Cycladic islands and Crete. Gale force northerly winds in the Aegean will gradually subside. Snow or sleet in the mountainous regions. Winds northerly, northeasterly, very strong to gale force. Temperatures in Athens from -2C to 6C; and in Thessaloniki between -3C and 5C.

    [24] The Sunday editions of Athens' dailies at a glance

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: Open on Sundays - Proposal by retailers to development ministry

    APOGEVMATINI: FinMin's holiday gifts. Beneficiaries include families with two children, lower-income taxpayers and SMEs

    AVGI: Post-1974 democratic era framework disputed

    AVRIANI: Invasion of foreign investors in bourse

    CHORA: Increases in salaries, pensions for 2007

    ELEFTHERI ORA: Then: The God Child in a dirty manger warmed by animals. Today: Others in the snow of Gstaad, the casinos and nothingness

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Full house for gambling and its repercussions. Three support centers already in operation

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: The Athens daily banners yet another front-page article on the possibility of early elections, citing June or October 2007

    EPOCHI: Youth again the enemy. Conservative forces want to block youth from the left

    ETHNOS: (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis forced to play his 'early elections' card

    KATHIMERINI: Consumption, gambling and loans. Roughly four billion euros spent on Christmas shopping. 46.9 percent of households in debt to banks

    LOGOS: Ballots with reforms as the 'dilemma'

    NIKI: Karamanlis' alibi. He'll refer to 'completion of government work' to calling early elections in 2007

    RIZOSPASTIS: (Ruling) New Democracy, (main opposition) PASOK the primary defenders of big interests

    PARON: Opinion poll shows 79.7 percent disappointment for (PASOK leader) George (Papandreou) and 67.2 percent for (PM) Costas Karamanlis

    PROTO THEMA: Banks unrelenting even during holidays. 3,500 foreclosures of residences during Christmas

    VIMA: 2007: What's changing in Greek economy

    VRADYNI: 10+1 changes in pensions, lump sum payments


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