|Saturday, 10 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-08-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 12, 2006
 Gov't raises 4.5 bln euros from privatization
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)A number of privatizations of state-owned companies, recorded since the Karamanlis government's assumption of power in March 2004, have generated 4.59 billion euros in revenues - a figure that includes the most recent sale of Emporiki Bank - money that goes directly towards high-profile efforts to reduce the public debt, according to the economy ministry on Friday. Government officials again reiterated this week that privatizations are a primary economic goal, with the emphasis on the restructuring and smoother running of the economy itself as well as state-run companies eyed for future privatization.
In the wake of the successful sale of state-run Emporiki to France's Credit Agricole, other prospects repeatedly cited by the economy ministry's leadership include facilities belonging to the Tourism Development Co. (ETA), the Greek Public Gas Corp. (DEPA) and a better exploitation of state-owned real estate properties.
The government has also reiterated that it hopes the privatization program is boosted through the implementation of a legal framework on public-private sector partnerships.
 FM Bakoyannis represents Greece at UNSC meeting on Lebanon
NEW YORK, 12/8/2006 (ANA-MPA/A.Panagopoulos)Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was expected to represent Greece at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Lebanon due to start at 1:30 Saturday Greek time, at a ministerial level.
A draft resolution agreed upon by the U.S. and France was distributed Friday night at the UN headquarters.
Bakoyannis had earlier in the day took part in a lunch at which also present were UN Secretary General Koffi Anan, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, as well as heads of the diplomatic representations of the countries members of the Security Council.
 Tourism minister: UK developments should not affect arrivals to Greece
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)The government on Friday reiterated that Greece enjoys a high degree of security, with Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia noting from Hania, Crete, that developments in Britain will no affect tourism arrivals here.
She also said the successfully hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games consolidated the view that Greece is an absolutely safe travel destination.
Addressing local tourist sector representatives at the Hania Chamber, she stressed that the increased number of tourists visiting the country is partly due to a successful ad campaign overseas.
During her visit to Hania, the minister visited the Greek National Tourism Organization offices and met with local government representatives.
 KKE comments on security measures at London's airports
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Friday, following the latest events in London, said that "at the time when Israel is escalating its murderous raids against the people of Lebanon, at the same time a new wave of terror-hysteria is being cultivated with centers the governments of Great Britain and of the United States."
The announcement was referring to the measures being taken since Thursday morning by the British authorities who increased security measures in the country's airports.
The British government is taking security measures following the arrest of several people suspected of planning terrorist attacks against passenger planes.
According to the KKE, towards the terror-hysteria which they have launched, everyone should be suspicious and not believe in the 'data' which are given by the secret services and the allegations of governments of imperialistic countries. The announcement added: "Nobody should forget that the imperialistic forces used terrorism as a pretext to launch unjust wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and today, as a spearhead, Israel against the peoples of the Middle East."
 Flights between Thessaloniki and Britain normalized
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)Flights from and to Britain from "Macedonia" airport in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, are normalized.
Olympic Airlines' regular flight took place as normal on Friday morning, but also that of British Airways which arrived from Britain and returned to country at noon through Gatwick airport. According to instructions by British Airways, passengers' hand luggage was loaded as normal at the airport along with the other luggage.
A total of 239 people departed for Britain on Friday. On Saturday, apart from OA's and BA's regular flights, there will also be a charter flight. Measures at "Macedonia" airport continue to be strict.
 Greek humanitarian aid to Lebanon continues
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)A Hellenic Air Force C-130 transport plane was scheduled to depart from an airbase west of Athens on Friday afternoon loaded with 10 tons of humanitarian aid for Lebanon, the eighth such mission coordinated by the foreign ministry's Hellenic Aid program.
Foodstuffs, medicines and baby food, collected by the ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece's NGO "Solidarity", the Greek Red Cross and the Doctors of the World organization will be flown to Larnaca Airport on Cyprus, before being delivered to war-ravaged Lebanon aboard the Greek military transport carrier "Chios".
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry's Hellenic International Development Cooperation Department (Hellenic Aid) has already contributed 260,000 euros towards relief efforts in Lebanon.
 Syn MP condemns arrest of Palestinian parliament speaker
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda on Friday briefed Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) parliament spokesman Fotis Kouvelis on the statements she made, in her capacity as vice-president of the Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary assembly, condemning the arrest of Palestinian parliament speaker Abdel Aziz Duaik by Israeli forces last Sunday in Ramallah.
Kouvelis, in a letter addressed to Benaki-Psarouda, called for the release of the Palestinian leader, while noting that Greece's Parliament has an obligation to express its displeasure to the Israeli government over the ‚Äúunprecedented move", as he said. He also called for the immediate release of Aziz Duaik and other Palestinian deputies.
 Interior minister says 'government is determined to support the regions'
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in the course of an press conference he gave at the Aegean and Island Policy Ministry, on the occasion of his visit to the island of Lesvos, stated on Friday that "the government is determined to support the regions to that they do not lose anything at all from what they had in the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF)."
Pavlopoulos criticized the previous governments of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) that "they did not care to prepare, even rudimentarily, the country for the coming challenges," adding that "the New Democracy government had to quickly undertake initiatives so as to cover lost ground and lost time, in the best possible way for the country's interests."
As he stressed, "the coordinated and systematic efforts which were made from 2004 onwards, show that, following the revisions which were made, the course of our regional development is proceeding satisfactorily."
The interior minister said that "added to the overall resources of the Regional Operational Program of the northern Aegean 2000-2006, following the revisions which were made in the past two-and-a-half years, were another 32 million euros."
 Bidders shortlist for Athens metro extension
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)Attiko Metro SA, operator of the Athens underground, on Friday released a shortlist of companies eligible to bid for extension of a metro line.
The three firms, which have until October 16 to submit technical and financial bids, are as follows:
The winner will complete construction of two stations in Holargos and build one from scratch in Aghia Paraskevi, Attiko Metro said in a statement.
A winner is due to be named at the end of the year with construction starting early in 2007, the statement added.
 Montenegro ends contract with Hellenic Petroleum
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)Athens-quoted Hellenic Petroleum SA said on Friday that the government of Montenegro informed JPK, a subsidiary, that it would unilaterally terminate an agreement on rights for oil and gas exploration and production in the offshore area of Ulcinj
"Management of Hellenic Petroleum, during the last couple of years, had repeatedly negotiated with the government of Montenegro for necessary adjustments to the institutional framework governing the Oil and Gas E&P in the country, so as to harmonize it with the international practice, as the existing framework made it economically unattractive and unfeasible for Hellenic Petroleum or any other international oil company to carry out the required expensive exploration works," the parent firm said in a statement.
"This had also been the main reason why the previous foreign investor had not proceeded with the respective investments either," the statement said.
 Farm output, input prices up
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)The Agricultural Output Price Index recorded a rise of 9.6% in June 2006 versus the same month a year earlier, the Greek National Statistics Service (GNSS) said on Friday.
The input index rose by 3.4% in comparison with June 2005, GNSS said in a statement.
The Agricultural Price Indices offer information on trends in selling prices of agricultural products (output) and in purchase prices of agricultural production (input).
 Cosmote Balkan subsidiary gets top marks
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)A Bulgarian subsidiary of Athens-quoted Cosmote SA has been named the neighboring country's most successful company among 50 enterprises in a ranking carried by Business Week.
Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile EAD is wholly owned by Cosmote.
The Top-50 ranking is compiled twice a year by Standard & Poors to single out the most dynamic and successful companies.
 Alpha Bank hikes rates after ECB rise
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)Athens-quoted Alpha Bank said on Friday it would rise its lending and deposit rates in the wake of a new 25 basis-point rise in base European Central Bank rates.
Due to rise by 25 basis points effective on Monday are interest on deposit and savings accounts; the bank's minimum lending rate; consumer credit floating rates; and the floating mortgage rate, management said in a statement.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks nose up
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)The Athens share index closed at 3,816.79 points, showing a rise of 0.27%. Turnover was 162.1 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.31% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed unchanged; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.77% up.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 156 to 96 with 52 remaining unchanged.
Foreign Exchange Rates:
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.287
 Traffic measures for exodus during Feast of the Assumption period
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)Traffic police are on the alert since Friday morning at the Athens-Corinth and Athens-Lamia national highways to facilitate drivers who are expected to leave Athens over the weekend and during the Feast of the Assumption (August 15) period.
At the same time measures are being taken at ports, at suburban bus stations and at airports.
The Attica Traffic Police announced that crews will be on the alert at the national highways to carry out checks on the eventuality of dangerous violations, such as speeding and dangerous maneuvering, as well as in the city for violation of the red light, for the purpose of preventing traffic accidents.
 Centre for the care of the elderly inaugurated in Lesvos
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)The Zahario centre for the care of the elderly, "Aghia Paraskevi", was inaugurated at the region of Aghia Paraskevi on the north-eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Friday.
The centre was inaugurated by Archbishop of America Dimitrios, in the presence of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Aegean and Island Policy Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis.
The ultra-modern centre, which is ready to host the island's elderly people, is a donation by Greek-Americans Emmanuel and Mary Zahari who completely financed the building of the centre, in memory of their parents.
 Greece's Periklis Iakovakis wins gold medal in European championships
ATHENS, 12/8/2006 (ANA)Greece's Periklis Iakovakis won on Thursday evening the gold medal in the men's 400m Hurdles during the European championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Iakovakis ended in a time of 48.46, in front of Marek Plawgo (Poland) 48.71 and Rhys Williams (Britain) 49.12.
 UN dismisses Turkish Cypriot criticism of its representative to Cyprus
NICOSIA, 12/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)The United Nations in Cyprus expressed Friday dismay and surprise for statements by the so-called prime minister of the pseudo state Ferdi Sabit Soyer regarding UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Cyprus Michael Moller. "The United Nations in Cyprus views with dismay and surprise Mr. Ferdi Sabit Soyer's public and factually incorrect criticism of the UNSG's Special Representative to Cyprus", a UNFICYP press statement said.
It noted that the Secretary General's Special Representative maintains and enjoys a wide range of contacts throughout Cyprus, including excellent working and personal relations on both sides.
"He remains fully committed to assisting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to reach a just and durable solution to the Cyprus problem", the press release concluded.
Soyer had stated that since Moller assumed his duties in Cyprus he has had no contact with the Turkish Cypriot civil society, academics or the Turkish Cypriot Media and warned that if he "continues the same tactic then the Turkish Cypriots will do and say a lot".
He also accused Moller for acting as if Turkish Cypriots do not exist and that he gives the impression that he acts in favor of the Greek Cypriots.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, principle aides of the two leaders in Cyprus, Tasos Tzionis and Rasit Pertev, met again in the office of SRSG Michael Moller to continue work on implementation of the 8 July agreement.
An UNFICYP statement said that their meetings will continue after a short August break.
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on July 8th 2006, 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.
 EU commitment is total in solution of Lebanon crisis, says Solana
NICOSIA, 12/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Javier Solana, the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy said Friday the commitment of the European Union in the solution of the Lebanon crisis is total.
Speaking to reporters during a stopover in Larnaca on his way to Beirut for his third trip to the Middle East since the start of the conflict, Solana said he is going to Lebanon to see how to help and hoped the UN Security Council will soon approve a resolution to end the crisis.
"I will go to Beirut to see how the situation evolves, to talk to the PM, to the government, to see how we can help", he said, adding that he hoped that "there will be a resolution soon" at the UN.
"I will go later to Israel to see how we can help, if a resolution is approved how we can implement it in a sustainable manner", he remarked.
He said having a resolution approved the soonest possible was the first priority, adding that there are also on the ground humanitarian and political problems which have to be solved in Lebanon and in Israel.
To a question if he is optimistic, Solana remarked that "optimism is not a word I try to use these days". He said he preferred to use "the word realism, I am constructive and a realist".
Asked how the EU can help, Solana said the "commitment of Europe is total" and the EU was playing a very fundamental role in both the political and humanitarian effort.
After Lebanon, Solana will travel to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He is expected to stop over in Cyprus on his way back from Lebanon.
 Stationing of foreign troops at British Bases follows specific procedure
NICOSIA, 12/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Any stationing of foreign troops at the British Bases follows a specific procedure through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said here Friday Defense Minister Fivos Klokkaris.
Invited to comment on a report published in Friday‘s edition of 'Simerini' newspaper that a number of American marines have flooded the British Bases at Akrotiri, Klokkaris said that a specific procedure is being followed when it comes to the stationing of foreign troops at the British Bases.
Member of the House Defense Committee Aristos Aristotelous said the government is aware that the "Bases are in a state of alert", noting however that it is "unacceptable for the Bases to be used for any other purpose other than for the defense of Britain. The use of the Bases to serve any other power which is involved in the Middle East crisis is not justified", he added.
"We are demanding the British show the befitting respect towards the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus and inform the state before any such action", Aristotelous added.
Britain has retained two military bases (Dhekelia and Akrotiri) in Cyprus since 1960 when the island obtained its independence from British colonial rule.