|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-11-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 5 November 2007 Issue No: 2740
 PM Karamanlis, FinMin discuss course of economy, state budgetPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis discussed the course of the economy and of the state budget, as well as the finance ministry's legislative work, during their meeting at the Maximos Mansion on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Alogoskoufis said that the course of the economy is positive, as is the case with the course of growth and of employment and the development of all the main economic indexes.
The minister also said that the economy's development prospects and its positive course in the future as well are secure due to the reforms carried out in past years.
He further said that the course of the state budget is satisfactory which, as he said, will close in accordance with the predictions contained in the draft plan and data to be presented in the final plan will also be based on the revised GDP.
Alogoskoufis stressed that the deficit remains below 3 percent in 2007, despite the fact that we must jointly consider the European Union's contribution due to the revision of the GDP. He added that the targets set for 2008 remain as they have been described in the draft plan.
As regards the course of his ministry's legislative work, Alogoskoufis said that all bills tabled before the elections that had not been ratified are now in the process of being ratified.
Lastly, Alogoskoufis said that the pensions bill has been tabled in Parliament and will be discussed in the coming weeks, while the bill on the National Social Cohesion Fund on combatting poverty will be tabled in the next two weeks.
 PM Karamanlis holds talks with Commissioner Stavros DimasPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis held talks at the Maximos Mansion on Saturday with the European Commission's Commissioner for environmental affairs Stavros Dimas.
Speaking after the talks, Dimas said that they discussed issues concerning the environment, adding that the prime minister is greatly interested in the state of the environment in the country and in Europe, as well as all over the world.
Dimas said that emphasis was placed on the issue of climatic changes, whose repercussions will be more serious in the future.
The Commissioner also referred to the four heat waves that struck the country during the summer, to the disastrous wildfires in August and to the wildfires in California as well, saying that climatic changes are affecting our way of life.
Also discussed was the issue of water shortage in the country that also affects, as Dimas said, the agricultural sector.
 Interior minister condemns FYROM's intransigence over name issueInterior and Public Order Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, speaking at a press conference in the northern city of Katerini on Saturday, referred to the commencement of talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the issue of the neighboring country's name and said that "there will not be the slightest discount regarding the claiming of what belongs to our country."
Pavlopoulos stressed that "Greece is pursuing good neighbourliness and it has supported the state of Skopje in every way, as was the case in the summer with the wildfires. On the part of Skopje, however, there is an unacceptable intransigence with regard to resolving an issue which, in any case, they created. We will make no discounts and we are not permitted to do so."
The interior minister further said that "it is the time for Skopje, not to make concessions, because one makes concessions when something belongs to you. They must realize reality and understand that instead of claiming names that do not belong to them and history that they did not write, it would be better for them to see how peoples can solve their real problems."
 Australia will not recognise FYROM as 'Macedonia', minister repeatsMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA - S. Hatzimanolis)
In an interview with the Greek community newspaper "Neos Kosmos" on Sunday, Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer repeated that his government has no intention of recognizing the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by the name 'Republic of Macedonia'.
He said that Australia continues to use the term FYROM and has adopted the positions of the United Nations, adding that this "measure is temporary until there is an agreement between Athens and Skopje".
 Papandreou expresses concern over developments in PakistanPASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou on Sunday expressed "grave concern" over measures taken on Saturday by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who declared a state of emergency in his country, that "distance the country from the path of Democracy and a State of Law, stability and development."
Papandreou added that "it is an imperative need that the government acts in accordance with the Constitution and observes its commitment for free and fair elections. The only convincing response to extremism and to extremist acts is respect for the Constitution and the State of Law, as well as confidence in the people and their ability to decide on their future through free and fair elections."
 Stylianidis continues Peloponnese tourEducation Minister Evripidis Stylianidis continued a tour of the Peloponnese on Sunday afternoon, arriving in the town of Argos accompanied by deputy education ministers Spiros Taliadouros and Andreas Lykourentzos in order to inaugurate a new Life-Long Learning Centre.
In his speech at the inauguration, Stylianidis stressed that learning must never end and outlined a goal of "people-centred education that does not exclude anyone from knowledge even in the remotest part of the country, because one of the basic political goals of the ministry is digital convergence".
Touring other areas of the Peloponnese the previous day, Stylianidis had also had attended the 56th Congress of University Rectors with Deputy Education Minister Spiros Taliadouros.
The congress chairman Prof. Constantine Dimopoulos later said that the meeting had been held chiefly to report any problems or flaws with the new framework legislation for university operation and suggest ways of correcting these to the ministers attending. Dimopoulos also noted that the law for research contained many positive elements, while a second law on postgraduate studies was being evaluated by the academic community, which would submit its proposals.
Regarding private Greek colleges offering franchise courses from European universities, Dimopoulos noted that their mode of operation was often "unacceptable" and stressed the need for strict control of their operation.
Stylianidis congratulated Dimopoulos and the Peloponnese University on the organization of the congress and noted that relations between universities and the ministry were governed by trust. He also stressed the government's willingness to cooperate in ironing out any problems arising in the implementation of the framework law for higher education, saying that the ultimate goal was speed and full autonomy for universities.
He also noted the ministry's willingness to help university's on building infrastructure and ensuring absorption of funds, adding that the government wouldunveil its proposed legislation for franchise courses and colleges as soon as this was ready.
The minister ended his visit to the prefecture of Messinia on Sunday by visiting a construction site of the Technological Educational Institute of Kalamata and attending a meeting at the prefecture's headquarters with Messinia Prefect Dimitris Drakos and Kalamata Mayor Panagiotis Nikas, who outlined the problems faced by the region in terms of education.
 Nov. 11 new beginning for PASOK, Papandreou says at end of nat'l conferencePASOK party leader George Papandreou, making his closing address at the end of the party's three-day national conference at an indoor stadium in Paleo Faliro on Sunday, said that November 11 -the day on which elections will take place for the party's leadership- will "constitute a new beginning for PASOK and a new and real hope for Greece."
Summing up the message emerging from the conference, Papandreou said "politics will win, democracy will win, PASOK will win."
He also attacked the government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, saying that "they are concerned" by the development of procedures in PASOK.
Papandreou further said that the decision of "PASOK as a whole is to turn the crisis into a breath of redemption and to open a new cycle," while adding that PASOK will not betray, it will not disappoint and it will not deny the expectations of the people.
The leader of PASOK went on to say that PASOK "does not wish to be a party of the establishment having a fake socialist identity, without a will for changes, without strength to reverse and without a spirit. Neither we nor the Greek people want this PASOK."
Papandreou said that PASOK will defeat its bad self on Sunday and will defeat the Right in the next elections. The time has come, he added, to say yes to PASOK of change and of reversal, to PASOK that can defeat New Democracy "and whoever Karamanlis whenever he decides to go to the polls." "Nobody can threaten us, extort us or count on the crisis or the doubting of our unity," he noted.
Lastly, Papandreou said that "the reason why the prime minister is in a hurry to submit the electoral law is not only the mutinies of his deputies but, mainly, the development of procedures in PASOK that he sees developing in a way that confirms the real strength of PASOK and the strategy of its upcoming victory."
 Venizelos says national conference showed a PASOK speedily assimilating defeatPASOK party leadership contender in elections due on November 11, Evangelos Venizelos, speaking in his closing speech at the end of the party's three-day national conference on Sunday, said that the conference also showed a "PASOK that speedily 'assimilates' defeat" and does not seek the basis and the causes of its crisis in election percentages and the disruption of its relations with the social classes.
Venizelos said that two images emerged during the conference that must be recorded, "the one being the extension of PASOK's problem, the view investing in defeat, and the other being the view of the prospect of victory and of the response to the needs of the people."
He further said that all the proposals tabled met with no response and mentioned his own proposal for a joint interview by the three leadership contenders at the party's head office, focusing exclusively on the invitation to citizens for the November 11 election.
Lastly, Venizelos spoke of a "patriotic, popular, radical PASOK" that will be specific and have a clear European socialist leftist policy, without submission to the "perplexity of Atlantic Europe that renders the continent a hostage of the European Central Bank."
 Skandalidis says PASOK must represent progressive, Leftist proposalPASOK party leadership contender in the November 11 elections, Costas Skandalidis made his closing address at the party's three-day national conference on Sunday, saying that PASOK "is not a protest party but it must represent a progressive and Leftist proposal," adding that the development of the country and the prosperity of the people is a steadfast option of the progressive and ruling Left.
Skandalidis said that if PASOK goes to the elections as it is today, will not be able to rule, that is a "PASOK of deputies who are insecure and are thinking of the next day, PASOK of the potential leaders who want to get a better position for the future, of officials of all kinds who do not want the nomenclature of all kinds to be upset."
He also stressed that PASOK has distanced itself from society and November 12 must be a course towards the people, adding that the people are anxious and fear the prolonged governance of the country by New Democracy and demand the regrouping of PASOK.
PASOK members and officials continued to address the party's National Conference on Sunday morning, referring to the causes for PASOK's election defeat and many declaring their support for one of the three candidates.
Among Sunday's speakers was former minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who did not clearly back any of the three and said the primary goal should not be the election of a new leader but to create a framework of proposals for changing the party - a call also picked up by PASOK Political Council member Paris Koukoulopoulos and several others.
Historic party member and former Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis adopted "equal distances" from the two main contenders, criticizing both those that blamed George Papandreou for PASOK's defeat but also noting his disagreement with those attacking Venizelos, because he said that "this made a target, after our possible failure, out of the next party president".
Senior party member and former minister Vasso Papandreou stressed the need for mass participation and flawless execution of the vote on November 11, saying that these would judge the success of the election process, while noting her support for George Papandreou.
Others declaring support for Papandreou on Sunday included former ministers like Christos Papoutsis, Nikos Sifounakis and Miltiades Papaioannou, former European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, as well as party officials and MPs like Giannis Dimaras, Vaggelis Papachristos, PASOK MEP Mary Matsouka, Drama MP Christos Aidonis, Alexis Mitropoulos, Christos Polyzogopoulos, Thanassis Tsouras, Katerina Batzeli and PASOK spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis.
Openly in the Venizelos camp were National Council member Stefanos Manikas, former minister Christos Verelis who said that PASOK was an '80s party that needed to modernize for the 21st century, Political Council member Nikos Bistis, former minister George Floridis and Tonia Antoniou.
Earlier in the weekend, on Saturday afternoon, the party organized a successful simulation of the election process to be followed on November 11, with the transmission of the results on a computer network and checks against possible double voting. A simulated double voting attempt was instantly detected and rejected by the system.
The simulation was monitored by many of the 3,500 computer operators that will take part in the election, who were earlier addressed by Papandreou and Venizelos.
Papandreou stressed that not even the Greek State had attempted what PASOK was doing with this system, which he described as more advanced and perfected than an equivalent process used in Italy.
Venizelos raised the issue of participation rates, stressing that a large number of citizens had to be persuaded to cast their vote because "they are voting for the future of the country" and that the target should be to raise the one million votes cast in 2004 with two million votes in 2007.
"If we don't exceed one million, we will have a negative omen for PASOK's future," he added.
 PASOK will remain united, Venizelos tells 'Aggelioforos' newspaperA contender for the leadership of main opposition PASOK, high-ranking MP Evangelos Venizelos underlined in an interview with the Thessaloniki-based Sunday newspaper "Aggelioforos tis Kyriakis" both his conviction that the party will remain united after the internal election of November 11 and that anything negative said about him will be forgotten on the following day.
He stressed, however, that the current crisis in PASOK was a result of losing the election by a large margin that was lower than the percentage it received in 2004, against what he called "the worst government since [the restoration of democracy in 1974]".
The 'wager' now for PASOK was persuading voters to participate in the party's internal elections, while the great danger ahead was not the party's fragmentation but the gradual shrinking and erosion of its support base and a "reconciliation with successive defeats", Venizelos added.
Asked to list ten priority issues for the country, Venizelos placed education at the top of the list, followed by social insurance, the national health system, unemployment, security, public administration, a new developmental model, environmental awareness, regional organization of the state, a new agricultural economy, innovation, the quality of goods and services and, finally, national strategy.
 PASOK's Diamantopoulou speaks to ANA-MPAHigh-ranking main opposition PASOK official and former EU commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou said in an interview with the ANA-MPA on Sunday that the party needed a president who could "unite its grassroots and express the whole spectrum from the Left to the Centre."
Expressing her support of incumbent leader George Papandreou in the internal party vote in November for the election of a new leader, Diamantopoulou said PASOK's perspectives as described above, "can be served comparatively better by the extension of current President George Papandreou's term." She explained that she uses the term "extension because many things have been done without capitalising on them and many things have not happened and he (Papandreou) promised that they will happen.
 Telemahos Hytiris gives interview to ANA-MPAFormer minister and Parliamentary Deputy of the main opposition PASOK party Telemahos Hytiris, speaking in an interview with the ANA-MPA, said that "the winner of PASOK's election process must summon all the members on a united course after November 11, so that those defeated will not feel strangers in the party where they have served," adding that "this is the wager for the party today."
Asked why tension has been created during PASOK's election campaign, he said "for two reasons objectively. The one is the unprecedented way with which this open process is taking place. In most parties the election of a president takes place at a congress. The second is that it is taking place with direct broadcasting. The mass media, and the electronic ones in particular, are broadcasting everything, and it is natural."
Commenting on press reports that in the event that Evangelos Venizelos loses the party leadership election a party split may take place and possibly the creation of a new party, Hytiris said "I know Vangelis Venizelos very well. We have been friends since 1989, we have worked together closely and I do not believe that he would want a party of his own at all cost."
 Loverdos analyses election defeat at PASOK national conferencePASOK party Deputy Andreas Loverdos said at the party's national conference, that is taking place at an indoor stadium in Paleo Faliro, on Saturday that the greatest consequence of the election defeat is that Costas Karamanlis will rule the country for a few more years and nobody has assumed responsibility for this.
Loverdos further said that it is the duty of all party cadres to take up a clear position and not remain silent, while criticizing party leader George Papandreou for asking for a blank cheque again since he has not clarified what he will do if he wins the leadership elections.
 'Social Left' tables proposal during PASOK national conferenceThe "Social Left" tabled its proposal on how PASOK should be, during the party's national conference on Saturday, stressing that the "Social Left" will support for the party's leadership the candidacy that will be closer to its views.
The text was signed, among others, by Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Antonis Kotsakas and Nikos Yiannopoulos.
The "Social Left" proposes the transformation of PASOK into a party whose patriotic character, social image and political autonomy will constitute non-negotiable achievements and not an undesirable burden.
The announcement added that PASOK "can find once again its revolutionary enthusiasm and the struggling flame of the years of its innocence, to rally once again, to inspire, to lead and to mobilize for new political and social struggles. A PASOK that will contribute to the creation of the new democratic, progressive and social majority."
 Papandreou to address event on 'Greece of knowledge and culture'PASOK party leader George Papandreou will attend and address an event at a downtown Athens hotel on Monday evening, titled "Greece of knowledge and culture."
The event is being organized to honor people belonging to the sectors of science, letters and arts.
 KKE's Papariga notes 'possibilities' in post-election climateIn an interview with the Sunday issue of the left-wing paper "Rizospastis", Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga carried out an in-depth analysis of the political climate following the latest general elections and noted that "post-election developments contain possibilities for the popular movement".
Pointing to the current crisis in main opposition PASOK - which she predicted would continue after the party's leadership election - and the difficulties being faced by the government with its slim majority and internal frictions, Papariga said that the situation had arisen "under the influence of popular discontent, of the positive and hopeful elements highlighted in the popular vote, independent of the fact that the popular anger and experienced were not fully expressed".
She underlined that the problems in the two main parties should not for a moment allow the need for popular uprising against an "anti-working-class storm of government measures" to take second place.
Papariga also commented on the possible role of the smaller opposition parties Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), saying that both seemed to be waiting for the moment when their assistance would be sought by one of the two larger political factions, PASOK in the case of SYRIZA and ruling New Democracy in the case of LAOS.
 President Papoulias attends PanEpirote Confederation conferencePresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday addressed the two-day conference of the PanEpirote Confederation of Greece, referring to the "momentous resistance of the Greek people during the Nazi occupation".
He said the events of those days still moved those seeking in the past for the road to the future during his address at the Athens Concern Hall on Sunday.
According to Papoulias, "the barbarity of Nazism demonstrated to everyone of the basic, timeless principle of European culture, that must not be forgotten: there are no excuses for barbarity, there are no excuses for torture".
He also again raised the issue of German war reparations to the families of the victims of Nazi occupation, which has been outstanding since the end of World War II.
 Deputy minister announces simpler procedures for business start-upsDeputy Development Minister Stavros Kalafatis on Sunday announced that procedures for setting up a new commercial enterprise would be drastically simplified and the number of documents needed greatly reduced, in an interview appearing in the Thessaloniki-based Sunday newspaper "Macedonia tis Kyriakis".
He said that the government was now considering the creation of 'Business Service Centres' that would handle the issue of licences, to be set up at each prefecture.
 Business delegation from Australia to visit GreeceMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA - S. Hatzimanolis)
A business delegation from Australia is scheduled to visit Athens next Saturday, the first ever to be funded by the Victoria state government. It will be led by Victoria State's Greek-Australian minister for industry and state development Fanos Theophanous, while its aim is to improve trade ties and increase Australian investment in Greece.
Theophanous announced that he would be received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias during the visit, as well as Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas and a number of Greek ministers.
During his stay, he will also present a cheque of 250,000 Australian dollars offered by the Victoria state government to aid the victims of the mega-fires that swept through Greece last summer.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.459
Pound sterling 0.700
Danish kroner 7.513
Swedish kroner 9.327
Japanese yen 168.22
Swiss franc 1.686
Norwegian kroner 7.905
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.363
Australian dollar 1.582
 Classical Marathon ends in Athens; athlete injured by tramThe 25th Athens Classic Marathon was concluded successfully beneath an overcast sky on Sunday, with Kenya's Benjamin Kiprotich Korir coming first for the men with a time of 2:14:40 and 37-year-old Svetlana Ponomarenko of Russia winning the women's race with a time of 2:33:19. The end of the race was marred, however, by the injury of an athlete who was hit by a tram near the finish line.
The best Greek runner and 11th in the overall line-up was Giorgos Karavidas of AEK with a time of 2:23:51, who also won the Panhellenic Championship held at the same time as the marathon.
The "Classic" marathon held in Athens was based on the legendary run carried out by the ancient runner Pheidippides when he ran all the way from the battlefield of Marathon to the ancient city of Athens to bring news of the Greek victory over the Persians and traces the actual route he is believed to have taken. Pheidippides' effort inspired the modern Marathon event, which covers roughly the same distance as that between Marathon and central Athens and was created for the first-ever modern Olympic Games of 1896.
This year's race was not without its own drama, however, when one of the athletes taking part was seriously injured by an oncoming tram close to the finish line at the Panathenian Stadium.
According to police, the injured athlete was a member of the Kenyan team born in 1979 and had failed to turn left at the Panathenian Stadium where the race ended but continued going straight ahead, running into the tram at the junction of Vassilissis Olga and Ardittou streets.
The injured man was taken to the KAT accident hospital in a serious condition and an inquiry was launched to see if the required safety regulations had been observed by the authorities.
 Drug trafficker arrested in ThessalonikiPolice arrested a 35-year-old drug trafficker in the region of Kalamaria in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday night after finding him in possession of five packets of cocaine having a total weight of 456.5 grams.
According to an announcement by the police, the arrested man had turned his home into a place for "processing, packaging and concealing drug substances," since two precision scales and various other processing tools were also found on the premises.
Last October, police in Thessaloniki arrested a total of 25 people for drug trafficking, who were found in possession of about four kilos of heroin and about half a kilo of cocaine.
 "Agapi Einai" wins Thessaloniki Greek Song FestivalThe hip-hop song "Agapi Einai" won the first prize at the Thessaloniki Greek Song Festival held at the weekend. It was composed by Diveno, with lyrics and vocals by Komis X and backing vocals by Vassiliki Alexiou.
The second prize was won by the song Elegia composed by Antonis Kyzoulis, with lyrics by Danai Mastrogianni and vocals by Irene Toumbaki, while third prize went to the song "Aretousa" composed by Giannis Melabianakis, with lyrics by Vassiliki Knitou and vocals by Dimitra Ligopsychaki.
Kyzoulis' Elegia also won the judges' prize for the best composition, while Knitou won the prize for best lyrics for Aretousa, which also won the prize for best performance.
Awarding the first prize, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas announced that his ministry would assist the state broadcaster ERT and the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in the organisation of the next Thessaloniki song festival in October 2008.
 Cyprus President critical of British stanceNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President Tassos Papadopoulos over the weekend criticised Britain over its stance on Cyprus, saying it had once more been unfair to the Republic in addition to putting into question the credibility of its guarantor rights.
"There is a general malaise following the strategic partnership agreement between the former colonial power Britain and the current occupation power, Turkey. I would like to believe that this agreement was not prompted by reprisals because of the 1931 uprising and the anti-colonial struggle in the mid 1950s against British rule," he said, as he unveiled a memorial to the October 1931 popular uprising.
The president reiterated his commitment to work hard for a solution that is right for Cyprus but not to sign any political settlement which would not safeguard the minimum but self-evident inalienable rights of the people as a whole.
He said the memorial is a sign of respect to those killed during the 1931 uprising - known as Octovriana - as a remembrance of that special historic event and of the duty to continue the struggle that would bring justice to the country.
The partnership agreement commits Britain and Turkey to take forward work on ending what the Turkish Cypriots call "isolation" and to encourage others in the international community to join them in their efforts.
In the document, London and Ankara say they will work within the UN, the EU and bilaterally to promote direct commercial, economic, political and cultural contacts between the UK, the EU and the Turkish Cypriots.
They will also provide "continued help for "TRNC" authorities/universities in their attempts to engage with the Bologna process" and will uphold "the right of representation of the Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament."
Cyprus gained its independence after the 1955-59 struggle. Britain, Turkey and Greece are, according to the treaties that established the Republic, the three guarantor powers of the country's territorial integrity and independence. Britain has retained two military bases on the island.
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