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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-08-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 11, 2006


  • [01] FM Bakoyannis has phone talks with U.S. and French counterparts
  • [02] PM briefed by tourism development minister
  • [03] PASOK responds to minister's statements on tourist arrivals to Greece
  • [04] Greek warship to evacuate more civilians from Lebanon
  • [05] OA flights to UK gradually restored following 'green light' by British authorities
  • [06] IFJ accuses Israel of obstructing journalists in southern Lebanon
  • [07] Alogoskoufis praises Emporiki head Provopoulos in wake of Credit Agricole purchase
  • [08] Tourism minister Petralia on a two-day visit to Crete
  • [09] New airport terminal opens at Rhodes airport
  • [10] Greek exports to Syria double in 2005
  • [11] Coca-Cola HBC shows higher H1 profit
  • [12] Athens hotel occupancy rate raises
  • [13] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop
  • [14] Suspect arrested in tourist's rape
  • [15] Network issuing fake documents disbanded
  • [16] Drug arrest in Florina
  • [17] Greek Cypriot side committed to July 8th agreement
  • [18] Turkish side's allegations on PKK unfounded
  • [19] Exhibition on illicit trade of antiquities

  • [01] FM Bakoyannis has phone talks with U.S. and French counterparts

    NEW YORK, 11/8/2006 (ANA-MPA/A. Panagopoulos)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had telephone talks from New York on Wednesday night with her U.S. and French counterparts, Condoleezza Rice and Philippe Douste-Blazy, respectively, and discussed developments in the crisis in Lebanon.

    Consultations at the United Nations are continuing so that an agreement can be found on a draft resolution, while the possibility of a decision being reached on Friday is not excluded.

    The U.S. Secretary of State is expected in New York in the event that an agreement is reached and it is possible that she may host a dinner on Thursday night to her counterparts who are at the United Nations' head-quarters.

    Bakoyannis concluded her contacts with all the involved parties and on Wednesday afternoon met with her counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, during which all the developments were discussed, as Greece undertakes the presidency of the UN Security Council in September and other important decisions on Lebanon but also on the Middle East are expected to be taken.

    The Greek foreign minister also met with UN Undersecretary for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari and discussed developments in the Cyprus issue.

    If developments permit, a report on the course of the Cyprus issue may be submitted at the Security Council.

    [02] PM briefed by tourism development minister

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Thursday with Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli Petralia, who briefed the premier on the ongoing season in terms of all-important tourist arrivals and projected revenues.

    Petralia referred to very positive figures so far concerning tourist arrivals and hotel bookings.

    Responding to a question regarding the terror scare in British airports, Petralia cited the high-level of security in Greece as demonstrated by the successful hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    [03] PASOK responds to minister's statements on tourist arrivals to Greece

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    The main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Thursday afternoon responded to the meeting held earlier in the day between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia and to the latter's reference regarding positive figures so far concerning tourist arrivals to Greece.

    "Unfortunately, the situation in Greek tourism is not as presented by the minister with her statements today," said PASOK's Parliamentary Group development coordinator Christos Protopapas and the party's tourism development representative Panagiotis Sgouridis.

    They called on the government not to rest on the positive "momentum" from the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, but "to promote specific measures for the upgrading and support of the competitiveness of Greek tourism."

    [04] Greek warship to evacuate more civilians from Lebanon

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    More humanitarian aid to Lebanon as well as another evacuation of civilians from the war-ravaged region to Cyprus, organized by the Hellenic Navy, will be completed in the following hours.

    According to the Greece's national defense general staff, 68 tons of humanitarian aid and four UN vehicles were being unloaded early Thursday afternoon from the Hellenic Navy landing vessel "Chios" at the port of Beirut.

    Some 400 civilians, including 40 Greek nationals, will be subsequently transported by vessel to Cyprus.

    [05] OA flights to UK gradually restored following 'green light' by British authorities

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    Olympic Airlines flights to the United Kingdom are being gradually restored following the "green light" which was given by the British authorities, who on Thursday morning increased security measures in the country's airports.

    The British government had taken emergency measures following the arrest of several people suspected of planning terrorist attacks against passenger jets.

    An OA flight was due to depart at 6 p.m. for London's Heathrow Airport, while the night flight to Manchester will be carried out as normal.

    From early afternoon, OA employees started to notify by phone the passengers who were due to travel with the company, to arrive at Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport so as to board the plane.

    On its part, British Airways recommends passengers who have as their destination London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, before heading for the airport, to first telephone at 801 11 56000, so as to be briefed if and when the flights will take place.

    Meanwhile, increased security measures are being taken since Thursday morning at "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport as well as at the country's other airports which carry out charter flights or scheduled flights abroad.

    Checks at the points of entry to the aircraft are strict, especially with regard hand luggage which passengers take with them on board the plane.

    [06] IFJ accuses Israel of obstructing journalists in southern Lebanon

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has accused Israel of implementing "a tactic of hidden" war and of threatening the mass media, the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) announced on Thursday.

    The IFJ's charges were conveyed to all its members.

    IFJ denounces the tactic of "hidden" war which Israel is implementing and of threatening the mass media and demands the lifting of the new restrictions which the Israeli armed forces have imposed in southern Lebanon and who obstruct the free movement of journalists and employees in the mass media in the war-zone region.

    [07] Alogoskoufis praises Emporiki head Provopoulos in wake of Credit Agricole purchase

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis met with Emporiki Bank president and CEO George Provopoulos on Thursday, following the successful privatization of the state-run bank with its purchase by France's Credit Agricole.

    Alogoskoufis praised Provopoulos for his management since taking over as bank president in 2004 and for adhering to procedures in an impeccable manner, as he said, during the period prior to the bank's sell-off.

    [08] Tourism minister Petralia on a two-day visit to Crete

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia will visit the prefectures of Hania and Rethymno on the large island of Crete beginning on Friday.

    Petralia will meet with local authorities and hoteliers' representatives, while she is also scheduled to visit the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) offices in the city of Hania as well as inaugurating a tourist information centre in Rethymno.

    During her stay on the island, the minister will be honored for contributing to the successful hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games and the country's tourist development.

    [09] New airport terminal opens at Rhodes airport

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    Transport Minister Michalis Liapis inaugurated a new terminal at Rhodes' Diagoras Airport on Thursday during a ceremony attended by Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis, Environment, Public Works Deputy Minister Themistoklis Xanthopoulos and local officials.

    Four new passenger departure gates will operate in the new terminal, which covers 8,000 square meters, while an additional 20,000 square meters are under construction to increase the airport's capacity during peak hours. According to Liapis, the projects under construction will be completed by early 2007.

    [10] Greek exports to Syria double in 2005

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    Greek exports to Syria totaled 157.4 million euros in 2005, up 104% from the previous year, the foreign ministry said on its website.

    The volume of trade between the two countries was 177 million euros in 2005, up 87% from a year earlier. In 2002, bilateral trade was 48.6 million euros.

    Imports from Syria rose by 12% in 2005 to total 19.5 million euros, the ministry added.

    [11] Coca-Cola HBC shows higher H1 profit

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    Athens-quoted Coca-Cola HBC said on Thursday that underlying operating profit (EBIT) rose to euro 276 million in the first half of 2006, up 11% on a year earlier.

    Underlying net profit totaled euro 191 million, marking a 19% increase on first-half 2005. Underlying EPS was euro 0.79, up 18%, management said in a statement.

    Volume, excluding acquisitions, totaled 830 million unit cases, rising by 10%, the statement said.

    In the second quarter of 2006, volume, excluding acquisitions, was 491 million unit cases, up 10%.

    Second-quarter underlying operating profit (EBIT) was euro 221 million, up 11% from the same period in the previous year with underlying net profit at euro 171 million, up 17%, the statement said.

    Coca-Cola HBC is one of the world's largest bottlers of products of The Coca-Cola Company and has operations in 28 countries serving a population of over 540 million people.

    The company's are also listed on the London and Australian stock exchanges with American Depositary Receipts quoted on the New York Stock Exchange.

    [12] Athens hotel occupancy rate raises

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    The average hotel occupancy rate in Athens rose by 10% in the first half of 2006 against the same period a year earlier, the Union of Attica Hoteliers said on Thursday.

    The figure was the highest rate of increase in Europe, the union said in a monthly report.

    [13] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    The Athens share index closed at 3,806.67 points, showing a decline of 1.21%. Turnover was 172.3 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.03% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.36% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.10% down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 176 to 81 with 49 remaining unchanged.

    Foreign Exchange Rates:

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

    U.S. dollar 1.296

    [14] Suspect arrested in tourist's rape

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    A 54-year-old Athens man has been charged with rape following allegations made by 22-year-old American tourist, police announced on Thursday.

    The woman told police that the alleged suspect, whom she had met during a ferryboat trip from the island of Karpathos to Rhodes, led her to a remote beach on the latter island before raping her at knife point.

    The victim reported the attack to the Lindos police station, southern Rhodes, on Wednesday afternoon, with the suspect arrested hours later.

    [15] Network issuing fake documents disbanded

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    A network of Indians who issued fake documents to immigrant fellow-countrymen or from other Asian countries in Germany and in other western European countries, was disbanded following a coordinated operation between the German and Greek authorities

    Two people of Indian origin were arrested by Attica police on Wednesday, while another fellow-countryman, who is believed to be the mastermind of the gang, is being sought.

    The members of the network maintained a telephone calling centre at Agisilaou Street in Athens, which they had opened legally in order for foreigners to make telephone calls. However, there, for more than a year, they accepted visits by foreigners to whom they supplied fake documents, at a high price, for them to depart for Germany.

    [16] Drug arrest in Florina

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    A total of 9.8 kilos of unprocessed hashish was seized by police in the town of Florina, northwest Greece.

    According to authorities, officers stopped a truck in the district of Pili and after searching the vehicle found the drugs hidden inside. The driver was arrested and led before a local prosecutor.

    [17] Greek Cypriot side committed to July 8th agreement

    NICOSIA, 11/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Deputy Minister to Cyprus President and Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes said the Greek Cypriot side remains committed to the agreement of the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus reached on July 8th and looks forward to a viable, functional and mutually accepted settlement on the basis and the framework of a bicommunal, bizonal federation.

    Invited to comment statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat who spoke about "a new state on the basis of political equality and a new partnership", he said Talat's statements simply reiterate the usual Turkish provocations.

    He said that Talat arbitrarily determines the final form of a Cyprus settlement, at a time when a new process aiming to achieve a mutually accepted settlement through substantial negotiations is underway.

    "Talat puts the cart before the horse, forejudges and betokens the end of this procedure in the way he desires it," he added.

    Pashiardes said that any reference or discussion on the Annan plan, which has been rejected, "is academic".

    "What we have before us is the agreement of July 8th and this agreement does mention neither the Annan plan nor the Gali ideas nor the De Guellar index," he added.

    "The two communities are called and engaged to implement this agreement and our side is working consistently for the implementation of this agreement and I want to believe with effectiveness and with all good will and faith," he added.

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on July 8th, during a meeting here in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari, to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day to day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    [18] Turkish side's allegations on PKK unfounded

    ATHENS, 11/8/2006 (ANA)

    Pashiardes also said that the time the Turkish Cypriot time has chosen to reiterate the not substantiated allegations that the Greek Cypriot side backs PKK comes at a period during which the process agreed on July 8 is evolving, adding that "surely this choice of the Turkish Cypriot side does not help the procedure of the positive climate during the meetings of the two leaders' representatives."

    He said that "we denounce these baseless allegations by the Turkish Cypriot leadership for a so called support to PKK by our side with letters to the United Nations."

    "The first letter was sent on August 3rd and the second will be handed over today (Thursday) by Mr. Tzionis (Director of Cyprus President's Diplomatic Office) during their meeting (of the representatives of the two leaders), demanding that the Turkish Cypriot side withdraws or proves these allegations," he said.

    Pashiardes noted that "a few days ago Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat deemed it was right to bring forward again the scenario of the baseless and unfounded allegations by Ankara for a backing of PKK by our side," noting that his spokesman also reiterated this issue the other day.

    He said that "the time the issue is brought forward by the Turkish side cannot be accidental, noting that the Turkish side has never surely proved the validity of its allegations and never handed over, as it alleges, concrete information towards the UN that show any imminent or eminent relation of the Cyprus government with PKK".

    Pashiardes noted that these allegations violate the spirit and the substance of the July 8th agreement.

    And because the Turkish Cypriot side cannot prove things that don't exist and it is difficult for it to withdraw baseless allegations, at least it must stop talking about an issue that does not contribute to the normal development of the process agreed upon on July 8th.

    He reiterated that our side remains fully consistent to this process, making every effort for it to be fruitful and effective, irrelevant of any allegations of the Turkish Cypriot community leadership.

    Invited to say if recent statements by Talat's spokesman try to reverse the agreement of July the 8th, he said he did not wish to make any assessment for the expediency of the allegations and the comments on the part of the Turkish Cypriot leadership.

    [19] Exhibition on illicit trade of antiquities

    NICOSIA, 11/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The Cyprus Museum in Nicosia plays host to an exhibition about the illicit trade of antiquities in Greece, Cyprus and elsewhere in the world. The exhibition will last until 25 August 2006.

    It will then move to the Benaki Museum in Athens, where it will be on display from 12 September until October 2006.

    The exhibition is co-organized by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication of the University of Aegean, the 37th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Corinth, Greece, and the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre of the University of Cambridge.

    According to the website of the Cyprus Antiquities Department "the removal of the Parthenon Marbles by Lord Elgin, in 1801, is famous. What is less well known is the extent of the looting of archaeological sites around the world today: that the majority of antiquities which appear for sale on the art market have been illegally dug and smuggled out of their country of origin."

    The steadily increasing number of museums in the US and the rising demand for antiquities by private collectors in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia have exhausted the supply of legal antiquities.

    Few objects of the old collections, built up during the eighteenth century, are appearing on the market. The trade relies mainly on trafficking, theft and pillage.

    In contrast to the Elgin Marbles, the context and provenance of these objects will never be known.

    The escalating plunder of the world's archaeological heritage has not gone unnoticed by the international community. In 1970, UNESCO adopted the "Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property". In 1972, after its ratification by four countries, the Convention went into effect. Today, 109 countries have adopted the Convention. The US signed in 1983; Great Britain in 2003.

    After the UNESCO Convention, museums, collectors and dealers still trading in antiquities of unknown provenance, began to use forged documents to cover their actions. As it was becoming increasingly difficult for western museums to buy antiquities, new large private collections were formed, containing previously unseen antiquities of unknown provenance. These collections, in turn, were exhibited, borrowed, or bought by important museums in the West.

    Although the acquisitions made by large museums have been widely criticized, looting in Africa, Asia and Latin America has become more destructive due to the rise of art market prices.

    In Greece, for example, due to the extensive looting of the Cyclades, the chance to find out more about the use and role of Cycladic idols and the history of these islands during the Bronze Age was lost.

    Similarly, the destruction of Cyprus's cultural heritage intensified after the Turkish invasion in 1974. The antiquities trade spiraled out of control in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus. It is estimated that 15,000-20,000 Byzantine icons, mosaics and wall-paintings have been stolen.

    In general, the international trafficking of antiquities flourishes in countries where political instability or war prevails. The illicit excavation and theft of antiquities has been especially severe in countries such as Lebanon, Somalia, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The looting of ancient sites for commercial gain has become the most serious threat to the world's cultural heritage.

    "The looting of archaeological sites is still widespread, and in some countries so severe as to undermine any hope of establishing a proper history of these lands. Let us remember that the most important loss occasioned by looting, is the loss of information. With the destruction of such sites the context of the finds is lost, even if the finds survive..." says Lord Colin Renfrew, an archaeologist, according to the Antiquities Department website.

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