|Wednesday, 14 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-08-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 5, 2006
 Development ministry launches energy-saving campaign
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)The Development Ministry's Energy and Natural Wealth Department, in cooperation with the General Secretariat for Consumers, on Friday began a broad campaign of public awareness on the potential which Greece's household consumers have in saving energy, without reducing their standard of living.
Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, accompanied by development ministry secretary-general Nikos Stefanou, the Consumers' secretary-general Thanassis Skordas and ministry officials, took part in the campaign of briefing citizens on energy-saving.
Pamphlets entitled "Energy-Saving", were distributed at Athens' Syntagma Square Metro Station.
The distribution of the pamphlet will continue in the coming weeks in Attica., in the whole of Greece and during the period of the Thessaloniki International Fair.
After the event, Sioufas said:"We need energy-saving because energy is not endless. The potential of energy-saving is in the hands of the citizens and of the households. And the more citizens are briefed, so much the better."
To reporters' questions whether there was a threat of a blackout, the minister said that all necessary measures have been taken for sufficient energy and for the safety of the system.
 Greece to use 20% alternative energy sources by 2008, minister says
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)At least 20 percent of Greece's energy requirements will be covered by sources other than oil by the year 2008, Deputy Development Minister Anastasios Nerantzis stated in Hania on Friday.
"By 2008, in accordance with Community commitments we have undertaken and by government choice, at least 20 percent of the energy needed by the country will be produced by renewable sources, for example the sun, wind, biomass and sources other than oil," he said in response to questions.
Nerantzis also pointed out that gradually making Greece less dependent on oil made the attempt to switch to alternative energy sources profitable as well as important, in view of constantly rising oil prices.
The deputy minister also referred to the government's deregulation of the Greek energy market, with legislation that opened up power production to companies other than the state-run Public Power Corporation (PPC), and the government's developmental law, which he said had proved to be highly effective in practice and had benefited dozens of businesses.
 PASOK leader and SI president Papandreou to visit Finland on Monday
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and President of Socialist International (SI) George Papandreou will visit Finland on Monday, following an invitation by Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.
He will meet with Tuomioja, whose country currently holds the EU rotating presidency, on Monday afternoon and later attend a dinner hosted by the Finnish minister, with the participation of politicians and foreign ministers from the Scandinavian countries.
PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis announced on Friday that Papandreou will also meet Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, who is co-president of SI's Committee for the Middle East.
Talks at the dinner and at the meetings, will focus on the Middle East and Iran as well as on Turkey's EU accession course, given that during the Finnish EU presidency crucial decisions are expected, and the Cyprus issue.
Athanassakis recalled previous telephone talks which Papandreou had with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, in light of the forthcoming meeting with the Finnish foreign minister.
The PASOK spokesman also said that in the contacts in Finland the future of Europe will be discussed.
The spokesman reiterated "the need for an immediate ceasefire and a truce in Lebanon" and added that "in this need, the international community has not as yet responded with decisions it must take."
 Greek delegation calls for EU peace initiative in Lebanon
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)The 13-member Greek delegation made up of representatives of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party (SYN), trade union organizations and peace movements conveyed their impressions of the situation in the Middle East in a press conference in Athens upon their return from Lebanon after an eight-day visit.
They stressed that the situation in south Lebanon and south Beirut is tragic, pointing out that the bombing should stop and the EU states should undertake initiatives aimed at a ceasefire and the restoration of Lebanon. They condemned Israel’s stance maintaining that it seeks to establish a buffer zone in south Lebanon by killing civilians in order to serve its own interests. They also pointed out the emerging risks for a generalized armed conflict in the region with religious overtones.
They referred to the meetings they had with the Lebanese President and political party representatives as well as to their participation in Sunday’s antiwar demonstration and their visits to hospitals, refugee camps and south Beirut districts.
 Twenty six Greeks arrived safely in Cyprus from Lebanon
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)A total of 26 Greeks coming from Lebanon arrived in Cyprus on Friday morning on board the Greek Navy tank landing vessel “Rhodes” and immediately boarded an Olympic Airlines flight to Athens.
The Greek nationals were among a total of 268 people transported by the Greek Navy vessel.
Two other ships, the “San Swan” and the cruise ship “Princesa Marissa”, also sailed into the port of Larnaca, Cyprus coming from Beirut with 309 and 780 passengers respectively.
 Greek Rescue Team humanitarian aid to Lebanon
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)The Greek Rescue Team on Friday announced that it will send 3.2 tons of humanitarian aid, consisting of pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, bottled water and fruit juices, in response to a government appeal for relief aid to the suffering people of Lebanon.
People from all over Greece responded eagerly to the calls for assistance and the humanitarian aid will be transported to Lebanon in cooperation with the Greek Foreign Ministry on board a Greek Navy vessel. Members of the Greek Rescue Team will distribute themselves the aid items to ensure the mission’s effectiveness.
The collection of donations by local Greek Rescue Team branches across Greece is continuing, as a second larger mission is scheduled to follow soon.
 PAME response to the Thessaloniki Jewish Community
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)The Thessaloniki secretariat of the PAME trade union movement, affiliated to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), rejected criticism by the Thessaloniki Jewish Community regarding incidents during an anti-war protest, when photographs with images of the war in the Middle East were put up on the Thessaloniki Greek Jews Holocaust Monument.
In a statement issued on Thursday, PAME accused the Jewish community of remaining silent regarding the situation in the Middle East and underlined that the photographs of Lebanese and Palestinian children massacred by the Israelis were used to pay homage to the victims of fascism, the old one and the current one.
Anti-war demonstrations in support of the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon were held in Thessaloniki on Tuesday organized by PAME and the Committee for International Detente and Peace as well as by the Alliance, Stop the War in cooperation with leftist organizations. The local Palestinian community was also represented in the demonstrations.
The demonstrations' organizers condemned the murderous attacks on the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon, called for the withdrawal of the foreign military forces and wished that the bloodshed will end soon.
The demonstrators marched to the US consulate and burned US and Israeli flags in a show of protest. Many protesters marched to the Holocaust Monument dedicated to the Greek Jews and some of them broke the police line and posted photographs on the monument portraying the horror of war.
The Thessaloniki Jewish Community reacted with a statement condemning the incidents and the effort to desecrate the monument pointing out that the monument, inaugurated in 1997 by then Hellenic Republic President Constantine Stephanopoulos, was dedicated by the Greek State to the 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki killed by the Nazis. Any attempt to associate it with other events is inappropriate and an insult to the memory of innocent victims, concluded the statement.
 Interior minister to visit Rhodes this weekend
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos is to visit the Aegean island of Rhodes on Saturday and Sunday, arriving on the island on Saturday afternoon.
According to an announcement by the North Aegean Region authority, Pavlopoulos will meet Dodecanese Prefect Yiannis Maheridis and the board of the local municipalities' union to discuss issues concerning Dodecanese island local authorities.
On Sunday, accompanied by North Aegean Region General Secretary Haralambos Kokkinos, Pavlopoulos will inaugurate the Kameiros municipal stadium and the new town hall at the Atavyros municipality.
 Over 50% of funds to sell Emporiki stock
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis said on Friday that over half of shareholders among social insurance funds were willing to sell their stock in Athens-quoted Emporiki Bank to Credit Agricole of France, which is seeking to buy at least 40% of the state credit institution through a public offering.
"I cannot make estimates. What I do know is that above 50% of fund shareholders are responding to the public offer - that is to say the bodies supervised by the employment ministry will be above 50%," the minister said in reply to a reporter's question.
 Credit Agricole ups stake in Emporiki Bank
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)Credit Agricole of France SA said on Friday that it held directly approximately 15.60% of Athens-quoted Emporiki Bank.
In a statement to the capital market commission, Credit said that on August 3 it acquired 2,176,117 common ordinary voting shares in Emporiki at euro 25 each, representing approximately 1.64% of voting rights.
Before the purchase, the French bank directly held around 13.96% of stock and indirectly about 0.10% of voting rights.
Workers at Emporiki Bank are staging a strike from August 1 to August 7 in protest at the government's privatization process for the state-run bank.
On Tuesday, the government accepted an offer from Credit Agricole for the acquisition of 11% of stock the state holds in Emporiki as part of a public offering called by the French bank.
The public offering aimed at amassing at least 40% of Emporiki's shares ends on August 7.
 Unions see cenbank pressure in Emporiki sale
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)The General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) on Friday charged Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas with trying to persuade the central bank's pension fund to sell its stock in Athens-quoted Emporiki Bank to Credit Agricole of France, which is trying to buy at least 40% of the state bank.
"The Bank of Greece's governor should immediately restrict his role and actions within the framework of the law and of the constitution," GSEE, the country's largest union umbrella, said in a statement.
 Greek Consumer Price Index rises 3.8% in July yr/yr
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)The general consumer price index in Greece increased 3.8% in July 2006 relative to the same month in 2005, the Greek national statistics service (NSS) reported on Friday.
At the same time, the CPI in July compared to the previous month fell 0.6%.
According to the NSS, the increase was mainly attributable to a rise in petrol and heating oil prices which accounted for roughly one percentage point of the total increase.
 New CPI figures confirm price hikes in basic goods, PASOK says
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)Responding to the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for July on Friday, the main opposition party Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) said these confirmed rising prices for basic goods and services, such as food, rents and utility rates.
PASOK development, competitiveness and consumer policy sector chief Theodoros Pangalos and PASOK Parliamentary group development coordinator Christos Papoutsis said the figures effectively debunked government attempts to blame the wave of price hikes "on fuel and watermelons".
They noted that the 3.8% CPI increase announced on Friday by the national statistics agency concealed a 5.8% increase in prices for food and 7% increases in rents and household services.
They also pointed out that the European CPI had remained more-or-less level in spite of rising oil prices, whereas the Greek CPI was climbing every month.
"The government should look beyond water melons and radishes. The main culprit for the situation is itself and the price-hiking climate it has created with its 'tax raids' and higher utility rates, as well as its tolerance of widespread price gouging on basic consumer goods," the PASOK official added.
 Inflation out of control, SYN official says
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)The sharp rise in the official consumer price index for July confirmed that inflation in Greece was careering out of control, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) official Panagiotis Lafazanis stressed on Friday.
Lafazanis, who is in charge of the party's economic and social policy, also noted that the price hikes for basic goods bought by the vast majority of consumers were actually much higher than the official figure indicated.
"High prices first and foremost strike those on low salaries, who are the biggest victims, since the disgraceful collective agreement signed by the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) is looting their income," he said.
 Former judge Stathis sentenced to 86 years, fined €71,020
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)An Athens criminal appeals court on Friday handed down a prison sentence of 86 years to former first-instance court judge Leonidas Stathis and ordered him to pay criminal fines of €71,020 after he was found guilty of a string of corruption charges.
These included charges of bribery and money-laundering - known in Greece as 'legalizing income from illegal activities'.
Effectively, this means that Stathis will have to serve up to 25 years in jail, the maximum jail time allowed under Greek law.
The panel of three judges also stripped Stathis of his political and voting rights for a space of three years.
Alongside the former judge, the court convicted seven of another 10 defendants in the case, all of them lawyers who were found guilty of complicity in the acts of money-laundering and bribery, and acquitted the remaining three.
They were all handed down a suspended sentence of four years in prison after the court accepted mitigating circumstances in their case and were set free pending an appeal.
For Stathis the sentence was effective immediately and he will be returned to prison, where he was held earlier as a remand prisoner, to serve the remainder of his sentence.
 The Tagarades landfill fire did not affect air quality
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)The fire at the Tagarades landfill that burned for days last month did not affect air quality in the wider region, stated Thessaloniki mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos on Friday while presenting the airborne particles’ count provided by the air pollution monitoring stations.
Papageorgopoulos stated in a press conference that the level of airborne particles, both in Thessaloniki and the regions of Vasilika and Tagarades, is much lower than the permissible limits.
Papageorgopoulos also referred to the “Traditional handicraft and urban development” program carried out by the municipality of Thessaloniki within the framework of the EQUAL EU initiative and to the 818,000-euro restoration works at the Thermi Baths Park to be completed in the spring of 2007.
 Man arrested for immigrant smuggling
Athens 5/8/2006 (ANA)A 55-year-old man, member of a ring that provided false documents to foreigners wishing to travel to Scandinavian states illegally, was arrested on Thursday at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport.
The man was spotted together with two Iraqi women and the child of one of them, while attempting to pass through boarding checks and leave Greece illegally.
The man intended to travel with them to Sweden via Vienna and used forged Greek passports with the photos of the two women and the child in order to get boarding passes.
 Cyprus asks EU to set up mechanism to handle possible Lebanese refugee influx
NICOSIA 5/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Coordinating Committee responsible for handling the emergency situation, which has arisen from the crisis in Lebanon, briefed the members of Diplomatic Missions in Cyprus on the efforts of the competent Cypriot authorities to assist the rescue operations from war-stricken Lebanon and the safe repatriation of foreign nationals.
The meeting took place here Friday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nicosia where diplomats were informed by Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Alexandros Zenon and Minister Plenipotentiary and General Coordinator of the Managing Committee established to handle the situation Homer Mavrommatis.
During a press conference after the briefing, Zenon reminded the position of the Cyprus government as regards the hostilities in Lebanon, noting that "there should be an immediate ceasefire before a peacekeeping force is developed" noting it must have strong mandate from the Security Council.
"We strongly condemn the disproportionate use of violence on the part of Israel, even if we consider Hezbollah to have a responsibility for the current situation. We condemn the disproportionate use of violence because it results with the death of civilians, who have nothing to do with Hezbollah’s activities", he said, adding that Cyprus favors a political settlement.
The FM official also remarked that Cyprus will not be able to face a possible refugee crisis if there is not a cessation of hostilities in Lebanon and asked the European Union to help set up a mechanism for resolving collectively the problem.
''Our position,'' Zenon said, ''is that the management of the situation should be undertaken at a European level'', because ''Cyprus cannot anymore by itself, though it has responded until now to the crisis, accept a temporary or permanent stay in its territory of persons who probably do not have the means to accommodate their needs".
Asked about the people transferred to Cyprus by the US government, Mavrommatis said there are still 92 persons on the island who are staying at the moment, at hotels and some of them do not have enough money to remain there until their applications for entering the US are processed.
On the same issue, Zenon told journalists that Director of the Cyprus problem division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoulli made a representation to the US Embassy in Nicosia, reminding the Cyprus government's position that the country transferring people from Lebanon to the island is also responsible to repatriate them.
''They have to undertake their responsibilities,'' Zenon said expressing the view that the USA Embassy will address the issue.
Zenon assured that Cyprus will put at the EU and international community's disposal its services and infrastructure for sending the humanitarian aid to Lebanon.
''The idea is to bring humanitarian aid to Cypriot ports with the responsibility and expense of the countries that provide it, and after that the aid will be sent to Lebanon by ships provided by the Greek Navy,'' Zenon said adding the Cyprus government has already sent to Lebanon medicines worth 60.000 Cyprus pounds (around 120,000 US dollars) while a further 100.000 Cyprus pounds have been allocated for humanitarian aid.
Coordinator of the Managing Committee established to handle the situation Homer Mavrommatis said Cyprus has received until now 54.250 people and right now, there are on the island 400 Canadians waiting to depart Saturday evening and 20 Germans who also are going to depart Saturday.
Mavrommatis also said next Monday the French war ship ''Mistral'' is expected to arrive carrying 1,000 French nationals from Lebanon.
On behalf of the Health Ministry, the Emergency Department Director at the Nicosia General Hospital Costas Antoniades said the medical services of the Cyprus Republic examined, among other, 90 patients aboard the ship ''Ierapetra'' as well as 680 persons at Larnaca and Limassol ports, 399 patients at camps, while 40 persons were admitted into the hospitals.
Antoniades said the medical services have also provided the necessary assistance to a pregnant woman from Lebanon and helped her give birth to a baby girl Friday morning. The woman has been transferred to Cyprus from Lebanon by the American government.
Police Deputy Chief for Support Charalampos Mavros said the Police responded from the start of the crisis and is on alert to prevent illegal aliens from entering Cyprus.
 Cyprus to decide on participation in Lebanon peace force if asked
NICOSIA 5/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said Friday that the Republic of Cyprus would decide whether or not it
would participate in a peacekeeping force for Lebanon if and when the UN decides to establish such a force and calls on Cyprus to contribute.
Regarding Turkey's involvement in the force, Pashiardis said he suspected the only reason its contribution was requested is Ankara's unquestionable specialization in creating crises.
Asked if Cyprus would participate in a peacekeeping force in Lebanon, Pashiardis said this has not yet been decided. ''The UN will take this decision and, if and when the UN invites the Republic of Cyprus to participate, then the appropriate decision will be taken.''
To a comment that Turkey has expressed its willingness to lead this peacekeeping force, Pashiardis said Turkey had been invited to the Rome meeting on the Middle East.
''I do not know the exact reasons for which Turkey was invited and participated in this meeting, nor of course do I know the reasons why some people want the involvement of Turkey in efforts to solve the escalating crisis in Lebanon and peace in the region. I can only assume that the sole serious reason is Turkey's unquestionable and recognized specialization in issues of invasion, victimization of refugees and ways of creating refugees,'' he said.
 Spokesman says no date yet for Papadopoulos-Talat meeting
NICOSIA 5/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Cypriot Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said Friday that a date has not been set for a meeting between President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to review work done so far on a technical level in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, adding that it was not important how the meeting was requested but that the meeting takes place.
Pashiardis noted that by the time the meeting is arranged there will be a catalogue of issues to be discussed on the technical level, which will include all issues on the lists the two sides have already submitted.
The spokesman said that in the proposal for a meeting of the leaders of the two communities it was suggested that the meeting took place after August 10.
He noted the Greek Cypriot side's contribution could be considered ''given and certain.''
Asked about the final list of issues for discussion, Pashiardis said ''it does not have to be agreed on'' and that ''all the issues included in this catalogue will be up for discussion.''
Pashiardis did not elaborate, noting that ''it is our commitment not to make public, talk about or comment on anything concerning the meetings of the representatives of the two leaders,'' who began their meetings earlier this week to prepare the ground.
He added however that the implementation of all which has been agreed ''is not exclusively up to us, but depends on the other side as well.''