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President of Greece K. Papoulias Receives Slovakian Counterpart

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias (left) received his Slovak counterpart Ivan Gasparovic on Tuesday, who is on a three-day visit to Greece. After the meeting, Papoulias stated that they discussed bilateral and European issues, underlining that the EU has an obligation to its principles and history to contribute to the creation of a new global economic system that will guarantee transparency and development. He also stated that he briefed his Slovak counterpart on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, pointing out that it is time for the wall dividing Nicosia, the last dividing wall in Europe, to fall. Other topics of discussion included the potential for more Greek investments in Slovakia, mainly in the sector of services and the exploitation of Slovakia’s mineral springs. President Ivan Gasparovic was awarded the City of Athens’ Gold Medal of Merit on Tuesday, by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. Athens News Agency: Greek, Slovak Presidents Meet; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Slovakia 

Celebrating Greece’s entry into World War II

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece celebrated the 68th anniversary of the country’s entry into World War II on Tuesday, which marks with a traditional military parade in Thessaloniki, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and the country’s political and military leadership. The parade wound up the annual three-day series of events held in Thessaloniki. In his statements, President Papoulias stated that “when the people and military, united, confronted the enemy, today we are also ready not only to confront any threats but to work and cooperate in order for the Balkans to be a place of peace, cooperation and cordial understanding.” Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis stressed that “… Greece is now building the future with an integrated European awareness of understanding and cooperation, and always undertakes initiatives so that all the countries of the wider region may accede to Euroatlantic institutions, providing that they fulfil the criteria and rules of good neighbourliness.” In Athens and in the rest of the country, the holiday was celebrated with the customary student parades. Athens News Agency: Greece celebrates anniversary of WWII entry

Greece: Maria Callas Honored by the Prespes Festival

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The 2008 Prespes festival celebrated its 20 years of life on August 29-30. As is the case every year, events were held in the remains of the basilica on the island of Aghios Achilleios in the Mikri Prespa lake. This year’s festival was of special importance, given that guests included President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyannis – Bakoyannis sent a message of friendship and collaboration to neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  An exhibition of Maria Callas memorabilia opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the city of Florina. Showcasing Maria Callas memorabilia (previously on display at the Greek Parliament in Athens), the exhibition was inaugurated in the presence of choreographer Maria Hors and curated by acclaimed set designer Yiannis Metzikoff. During the opening ceremony, President Papoulias honoured filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, whose work has often been set in the region’s remote landscapes. The programme featured tributes to Greek songwriters Vassilis Tsitsanis and Stelios Kazantzidis among other events, while participants included Dionysis Savvopoulos, Eleni Karaindrou and Goran Bregovic. Kathimerini daily: Art and Politics Come Together at Prespes Festival

Greece: A Joyful Anniversary

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Hellenic Parliament held a special session on July to mark the 34th anniversary since democracy was restored to Greece after a seven-year dictatorship fell on July 24, 1974. During the “Third Hellenic Republic” political life had been normalised and democratic institutions consolidated. Nowdays, according to the 2007/8 UN Human Development report, Greece ranks 24th  among 177 countries. Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas, representatives of the government and the political parties in Parliament paid homage to the people that had struggled against the junta rule, highlighting the fact that the Cyprus problem was still unsolved 34 years later and stressing the need for a just and viable solution. On the occasion, President of the Republic Karlolos Papoulias held the annual anniversary banquet. Athens News Agency: Restoration of Democracy anniversary ; BBC: Greek Military Rule Gives In to Democracy; Konstantinos Karamanlis Archive: The Restoration of Democracy, 1974-77

From Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  In 2004, the Olympic Games returned to Greece, the country of their birthplace, and Athens, the city of their revival in modern times. In 2008, Beijing is hosting the Olympic Games for the first time in its pioneering history as a seat of authority and government as well as culture and learning. Greece and China have benefited from a favourable development of friendly cooperation cooperation in political, economic, and cultural affairs. On the political side, top government officials have paid many visits to China, the latest being the one of President Karolos Papoulias last June. Concerning economic prospects, Greece can constitute a potential base of operations, from where China could expand its business in the EU, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Shipping leaves much room for economic cooperation and the latest Cosco Pacific Ltd’s deal over Piraeus port inaugurates a fruitful synergy in the broader field.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece’s relations with China; mediainfo2004.gr: From Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008; Press and Communication Office – Beijing: www.grpressbeijing.com  
                                                     Greece @ 2008 Olympics
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, and General Secretary of Information Panos Livadas are in Beijing for the Olympic Games. Greece will participate in the XXIX Olympic Games of Beijing with 156 athletes, 84 men and 72 women. 22-year-old gold medal winner in the 2004 Olympic Games judoka Ilias Iliadis will be the flag bearer of the Hellenic delegation during the Opening Ceremony, at the Olympic Stadium. Hellenic Olympic Committe: www.hoc.gr; SportInGreece.com: Olympics 2008

Presidend of Republic of Greece Concluded Austrian Visit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias concluded a four-day visit to Austria on Sunday. Earlier in the day, while referring to Turkey, Papoulias had stressed the importance of a solution to the Cyprus issue for the European Union, as well as the political irrationality of 40% of a member-state being under military occupation by a candidate-member, namely Turkey. While in Vienna, Papoulias inaugurated an exhibition titled “Antiquity and Modernisation – Classic Memories in Modern Greek Art,” at Vienna’s modern art museum on Saturday evening. The exhibition includes 53 works by noted Greek artists, painters and sculptors and will last until Aug. 24. This exhibition kicked off the Cultural Year of Greece in China  in October 2007.   Athens News Agency: Papoulias ends visit to Austria; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek-Austrian Bilateral Relations

Environment: Top Priority for the Greek Government

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The “Athens Summit on Climate Change and Energy Security” (www.athens-summit.com) – the world’s first major international conference focused on the new paradigm of climate and energy security – opened yesterday, held under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias. A key objective of the summit is to formulate the Athens Declaration, an EU-Mediterranean 2020 Partnership to jointly achieve at least 20% energy savings and generate 20% energy from renewable energy sources by 2020. President Karolos Papoulias, who has spoken out in the past on environmental issues, used the opportunity to stress that last summer’s wildfires were an ecological disaster, adding that “the prevention apparatus has a great responsibility for it not to be repeated.” He emphasised that without institutional independence in environmental policy, it is difficult for effective action to be taken within the government. “The worsening of environmental problems is such that it requires the need for coordinated efforts to be assumed at a global level.”       Continue reading

Archbishop Christodoulos passes away, four-day mourning announced

christodoulos-pased-away.jpg  A four-day period of mourning was announced on Monday following the death of Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who passed away at dawn at the age of 69 following a 7-month battle with cancer.The Interior ministry announced that all public service buildings would fly flags at half-mast, while public services and schools would remain closed on the day of the late Archbishop’s funeral.The ministry further announced that the funeral would be held with full honors of Head of State at Athens’ First Cemetery, and at State expenditure.The body of the Archbishop will lie in state for three days at the Athens Cathedral’s chapel.  Continue reading