|Thursday, 15 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-08-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 17, 2006
 Foreign ministry on possible Greek contribution to
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)The foreign ministry on Wednesday announced that the Greek government is examining prospects for contributing to a UN peace-keeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) within the framework of relevant discussions at the United Nations and within the European Union. In the announcement, the ministry reiterates that Athens immediately mobilized to evacuate Greek and third country citizens from Lebanon as well as to dispatch humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people.
KKE opposes Greek participation in Lebanon multinational force: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Wednesday, expressed its absolute opposition to Greece's participation in the multinational force to be sent to Lebanon, adding that the announcement issued by the foreign ministry on the issue "reveals that the government has already made its decisions."
KKE called on the government "even at the last moment, not to proceed along the dangerous path of even more active participation in imperialist plans against the peoples of the Middle East."
It further said that the position of KKE is that "in no way and form must Greece either participate or provide any kind of services for the military force that will be sent to Lebanon with the label of the UN. This is not a peacekeeping force but a force of occupation and of promoting aggressive plans."
 Moscow praises Greek effort to evacuate Russian nationals from Lebanon
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Russia's ambassador to Athens expressed his government's thanks to Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis this week for Athens' efforts at evacuating Russian citizens from Beirut to Cyprus aboard Greek vessels. In a letter, Ambassador Andrey Vdovin conveys Moscow's "sincere gratitude" for the Greek government's effective role in evacuating the 250 Russian nationals from the war-ravaged country. Additionally, the ambassador requested a meeting with Karamanlis.
 Polydoras on new regime for protests in central Athens; sharp opposition reaction
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras on Wednesday announced that he has invited political parties, local government authorities, trade unions, the mayor of Athens, chambers of commerce and at least four Athens mayoral candidates to join a public debate on formulating a new regime for holding demonstrations and rallies in downtown Athens.
Polydoras stressed that such protests, even those with only a handful of protesters, cause severe inconvenience to residents and visitors because of traffic jams due to closed roadways.
While emphasizing citizens' right to protest as being absolutely respected, he added that freedom of movement and the exercise of peaceful activities should also be respected.
One proposal by the minister is to reserve one traffic lane for small demonstrations in order to prevent traffic chaos.
Opposition response: In response to Polydoras' call, both leftist parties in Parliament, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), issued a sharp attack against the minister immediately after his announcement.
Both parties also flatly ruled out any possibility of participating in such a forum, while warning against any move to curb protest rallies in the Greek capital.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos concludes visit to Lesvos
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos concluded his visit to the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Wednesday with a visit to the refugee cemetery at Agia Kyriaki.
The Ecumenical Patriarch also visited a reception centre for the temporary stay of refugees from the coast of Asia Minor, on the other side of the sea, speaking to them, listening to their grievances and wishing them a good return to their homeland.
Speaking at the officers' club, shortly before leaving for the island of Samos, Vartholomeos said "we sincerely desire Greek-Turkish friendship and cooperation, for the achievement and consolidation of which we are always praying."
 Gruevski comments on FYROM 'name issue'
SKOPJE, 17/8/2006 (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)The likely next prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Gruevski, who received a mandate to form a new government after the July 5 general elections, this week, backed a mutually acceptable solution to the "name issue" that does not, however, constitute a "threat" to the landlocked country's constitutional name, as he said.
Gruevski made the comments during a televised interview to a private TV channel in Skopje on Tuesday.
He added that his government will seek to increase already booming economic and political relations with Greece.
Meanwhile, Antonio Milososki, considered a front-runner for the foreign ministry post in a Gruevski government, told a Skopje daily on Wednesday that there will be no deviation from the official policy followed by the country regarding the outstanding name issue.
 S. Korean president in Athens early next month
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Republic of Korea President Roh Moo-hyun, accompanied by his wife, will arrive for a formal visit to Greece on Sept. 3-5 at the invitation of Republic President Karolos Papoulias.
 Greek, Turkish tourism ministers to meet on Lesvos
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Thursday will meet with her Turkish counterpart Atilla Koc on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, following an invitation by the former towards the latter.
Afterwards, both ministers are expected to travel to the opposite Turkish coast and the resort city of Aivali.
 Greek and Portuguese communist party delegations discuss Middle East
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)The situation prevailing in the Middle East dominated talks held on Wednesday between a Greek Communist Party (KKE) delegation, headed by party leader Aleka Papariga, and a Portuguese Communist Party delegation, headed by its Secretary General Jeronimo de Sousa.
According to an announcement by KKE, the two delegations exchanged views on the situation prevailing in the two countries and the problems faced by working people "due to the assault they are sustaining from the forces of capital" and the response of the popular labor movement.
Also discussed, according to the announcement, was the situation prevailing internationally, and in the Middle East in particular, while they also expressed solidarity for the struggling peoples of Lebanon and Palestine and for the "pacifist forces of resistance that are active in Israel."
 EU clears Credit Agricole buyout of Emporiki Bank
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Paris-based Crédit Agricole S.A. announced on Wednesday that it had received clearance from the European Union's executive Commission for the acquisition of control of Emporiki Bank of Greece S.A.
A public offer to shareholders of Emporiki was reported on July 13 to the Commission, which issued its decision on 11 August, the French bank said in a statement.
The Bank of Greece has already approved the buyout.
Completion of the off-the-exchange transfer and the settlement of Emporiki shares tendered by 7 August took place on 16 August, the statement added.
 GDP increase in second quarter of 2006
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Greece's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 4.1 percent in the second quarter of 2006 compared to the second quarter in 2005, according to figures released on Wednesday. The same increase was recorded in the first quarter of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005.
According to the National Statistics Service, the increase is due to a 4.7 percent rise in the end demand of the economy.
Meanwhile, investments recorded a noteworthy 14 percent rise in the second quarter of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005.
The investment rise contributed 2.6 percent to the economy’s end demand increase.
Imports increased by 6.6 percent and exports dropped by 0.7 percent in the second quarter of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005.
Spending on end consumption rose by 3.5 percent in the second quarter of 2006 compared to the second quarter of 2005, contributing 2.2 percent to the rise in the end demand of the economy.
 Cretan Plastics buys Russian firm
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Athens-quoted Cretan Plastics SA announced on Wednesday that it had purchased 85% of Stalker GC of Russia.
The target company based in St Petersburg manufactures master batches, which are raw materials to color and improve plastic products, Cretan said in a statement.
The acquisition was made through Cretan's wholly owned Cypriot subsidiary, Rainbow Technologies Ltd, the statement added.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise, overtake 3,900 pts
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)The Athens share index closed at 3,915.88 points, showing a rise of 1.50%. Turnover was 259 million euros. The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.64% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.07% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.73% up.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 148 to 102 with 61 remaining unchanged.
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank of Greece, Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank, ATEbank and OPAP.
Foreign Exchange Rates:
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.289
Pound sterling 0.681
 Alexandria Patriarch thanks National Bank for funding of Patriarchal Library restoration
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa on Wednesday described as a major benefaction the decision by the National Bank of Greece to take over the funding of the Patriarchal Library restoration works which are scheduled to get underway shortly and be completed in a year.
In a letter to National Bank of Greece Governor Takis Arapoglou, the Patriarch expressed his deepest gratitude for the assistance offered, stressing that treasures of global and pan-religious interest were kept in the Patriarchal Library.
The Patriarch personally thanked Arapoglou, a Greek Egyptian, stressing the huge contribution of the Greeks born in the country of the Nile to the Christian Orthodox Church of Africa.
 Metropolitan of Corinth dies at 87 years of age
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Metropolitan Panteleimonas of Corinth died early Wednesday in his summer home on the island of Lesvos, at the age of 87.
The late Metropolitan, who died at 6:30 a.m. in Sigri, western Lesvos, was facing serious health problems recently.
The funeral will be held at the church of Aghios Therapontas in Mytilini, while the Metropolitan will be buried at the Leimonos monastery in central Lesvos, in accordance with the deceased's wishes.
 Ferry rams into pier in Mytilini, passengers all well
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)A car/passenger ferry en route from Alexandroupolis to Rhodes, with several island stopovers in between, rammed into the pier in the port of Mytilini, on the island of Lesvos, on Wednesday morning, suffering some damage, but all 193 passengers on board were safe and well.
The ferry 'Samothraki' rammed into the pier in the port of Mytilini, which caused a depression of approximately 40 centimeters to the vessel's bow, resulting in the prohibition of its sailing pending inspection.
The Samothraki, which belongs to the SAOS shipping company, is carrying out subsidized routes, and was carrying out the route Alexandroupolis, Limnos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kalymnos, Kos and Rhodes.
 Three immigrant smugglers arrested in Evia
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Three foreign immigrant smugglers were arrested by harbor officials in the sea region of "Bambakies Koutroula" in Evia, eastern Greece, on Wednesday morning. Earlier, 12 illegal immigrants had been spotted near the beach.
The immigrant smugglers had been on board the 10-metre Ukrainian-flag sailing boat "Karina" and had refused to obey the crew of a coast guard vessel who had wanted to carry out a routine inspection on their vessel.
 Earth tremor jolts Evia in eastern Greece
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)An earth tremor measuring 4.6 points on the Richter scale occurred at 9.56 p.m. in the region of Evia, in eastern Greece, on Wednesday. According to the Geophysics Laboratory of Thessalonica’s Aristotelio University, the tremor's epicenter was located 10 kilometers north of the town of Aliveri, in southern Evia. The jolt was also felt in the Attica prefecture.
 British couple's argument results in death of 6-yr-old son
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)An argument between a British couple holidaying in Ierapetra, on the island of Crete, turned into a family tragedy late Tuesday night, resulting in the death of the couple's six-year-old son.
According to police, the couple had an argument late Tuesday, after which the 32-year-old British man grabbed the son and the couple's two-year-old daughter and jumped off the fourth floor room they were staying in.
The toddler suffered light injuries, while the man was seriously injured, and was currently hospitalized under guard at the Ierapetra General Hospital.
The Ierapetra police department was investigating the incident, which occurred shortly before midnight Tuesday.
 Man arrested over bomb hoax in Thessalonica
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)A 45-year-old was arrested over a bomb hoax on Tuesday aimed at delaying the departure of a train passenger.
According to the Thessalonica police, the man on Tuesday afternoon telephoned the Hellenic Railways (OSE) offices in Athens from a public phone outside the Thessalonica Railway Station and told the operator that the Thessalonica-Athens train scheduled to depart at 4:30pm would never reach Athens.
A team of bomb experts searched the train but no explosive device was found.
Police said that the 45-year-old was spotted at the Thessalonica Railway Station because he was acting suspiciously, and during questioning he admitted his action. He explained to police that he had a personal dispute with a passenger on the specific train and resorted to the bomb hoax in an effort to delay his departure.
 Athens opens up airconditioned municipal facilities during heatwave
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)The City of Athens on Wednesday announced special measures and recommendations ahead of a heatwave that was forecast to hit the capital and other parts of Greece beginning on Friday.
An announcement by the City of Athens said that a total of 26 airconditioned municipal facilities would be open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. beginning on Friday, for as many days as the heatwave lasts.
It said that all 19 of the municipality's airconditioned Friend-ship Clubs and its 7 airconditioned Municipal facilities throughout the city would be open to the public.
The City of Athens further advised the public and particularly elderly citizens and people with cardiorespiratory problems to avoid exposure to the sun, to remain in shaded and cool areas, to avoid physical exertion, and to consume plenty of water.
It further appealed to citizens who have relatives with health problems or know of elderly and other individuals who live alone, to contact them frequently throughout the heatwave.
 Landfill fire in N. Greece
ATHENS, 17/8/2006 (ANA)Yet another fire was reported Wednesday at the Asprovalta landfill, near Thessalonica, following a similar blaze over the weekend.
Over the past three months, a total of nine fires have been recorded in various northern Greece landfills, while 130 fires have been recorded in the wider region's landfills since 1998.
Meanwhile, firefighters in Crete prevented a major crisis at one of the largest flour-producing plants on the large island, after managing to control a fire that broke out early Wednesday morning at the plant's animal feed storage area.
An investigation is pending on the causes of the fire.
 Spokesman: A Cyprus solution is associated with the country's reunification
NICOSIA, 17/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)The ultimate solution of the Cyprus problem is associated with the reunification of the country, the people, the institutions and the economy, pledged here Wednesday Deputy Minister to the President and Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis, after accepting a resolution of the Morphou Municipal Council and the Morphou Organizations.
He said that President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos is working consistently and responsibly towards this kind of a solution. On his part, Mayor of Morphou Charalambos Pittas said that the people of Morphou want a more active involvement on the part of the permanent members of the Security Council in order to take all necessary measures to lift the illegality and the occupation of Cyprus' northern third, including Morphou.
Pashiardis pointed out that the Cyprus problem is not solely a Morphou, Famagusta, Kyrenia or Karpasia issue.
"The ultimate solution of the Cyprus problem is associated with the reunification of the country and the people, the reunification of the institutions and the economy. I want to assure you that the President of the Republic is working for this form a solution, consistently and responsibly," the spokesman said.
Pashiardis expressed the Greek Cypriot side's commitment to the agreement of July 8, 2006.
On July 8th, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari and agreed to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and those that concern substantive issues.
"The effectiveness of this procedure does not solely depend on the constructive stance of our side," he added.
Pashiardis repeated that a solution will be one of compromise, noting however that "this compromise cannot imply the sale of rights nor can it be identified with the total submission to the complete injustice."
"The solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation which we accepted and insist on, under no circumstances can be a by-name of the partition or a disguise of federation," the spokesman underlined.
The Mayor of Morphou said that through the resolution, the people of Morphou are demanding a more active involvement of the Security Council. The five permanent members "have the power and responsibility to work in a consistent manner for a solution to the national problem," he added.
A Morphou Municipal Council delegation, headed by the Mayor, handed the resolution to the embassies of the five permanent members of the Security Council as well as to the Embassy of Finland, which chairs the EU this term, condemning the continued Turkish occupation and calling on the governments of these countries to exert pressure on Turkey to restore human rights in Cyprus through a fair solution to the Cyprus problem.
Accepting the resolution, US Embassy representative Gregory Makris said that the US remains an ally in efforts to find a solution.
Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Andrey Nesterenko said that Russia's position is known as well as its firm support in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, and expressed the hope that "soon we will see Cyprus reunited."
In statements, Pittas said that the five permanent members of the Security Council are more sensitive on issues concerning international law, which is not being implemented in Cyprus.
The resolution was also handed to a House of Representatives official and will be conveyed to the Speaker Demetris Christofias.
The resolution describes as "totally unacceptable and a disgrace to humanity" the present situation on the island. "We believe that your government can exert pressure upon Turkey to change its attitude and work towards a just solution to the Cyprus problem. We believe that you can press for the restoration of the basic human rights of all the Cypriots. Such a solution should be based on the decisions of the UN and not clash with the fundamental principles of the EU."
It notes a solution should guarantee "one single sovereignty, territorial integrity of the legitimate Republic of Cyprus, the withdrawal of all Turkish troops, the right of all refugees to return to their homes and properties which are now occupied, the safeguarding of the three basic freedoms (freedom of movement, settlement and right to property), ascertainment of the fate of all missing people, the implementation of the 3rd Vienna Agreement concerning the enclaved Greek Cypriots and the restoration of the violated human rights of all the legitimate inhabitants of Cyprus."
 Cyprus: Not aware of plan on occupied ports
NICOSIA, 17/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)''We are not aware of such a plan,'' stated Cyprus Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pasiardes when invited to comment on Wednesday's article in the British newspaper ''The Independent'' that ''a plan to transfer authority over northern Cyprus ports to the UN has emerged from frantic diplomatic efforts to resolve the stand-off between the EU and Turkey.''
According to the paper ''the move, being canvassed by EU officials, is designed to help avoid a breakdown in talks over Ankara's bid to join the EU. But it could also help to heal the 30-year rift over the divided Mediterranean island.''
''We are aware of the article, but we are not aware of any such plan," said the Cypriot official when asked to comment on the article filed from Brussels by Stephen Castle.
The Independent says that ''under the proposals being discussed, the UN could control key northern Cypriot ports, such as Famagusta. Goods would be shipped with UN paperwork and customs declarations, rather than those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus - which are anathema to the official Cypriot government in Nicosia. The new arrangements could give Turkey enough of a concession to lift the ban on Greek Cypriot ships and planes.''
The paper adds that ''detailed proposals concerning control of ports have yet to be put forward and the Cypriot government is likely to be suspicious. It could come under pressure from other EU member states not to obstruct the plan.''
The Independent quotes one EU diplomat confirming ''that UN control of Turkish Cypriot ports is seen as a potential solution to the looming crisis with Ankara. The issue is coming to a head because Turkey is being threatened with suspension of its EU membership talks in the autumn unless ports are opened to all EU vessels.''
The crisis stems from the EU's insistence that Turkey lift a ban on Cypriot-registered ships and planes entering its ports and airports.
Ankara has refused to do so unless there is an easing of the so-called economic embargo on the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, which is not internationally recognized. Only Ankara has recognized the illegal state in the areas occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.
Earlier this year EU Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn warned of an imminent ''train crash'' in Europe's relations with Turkey, demanding that it implement its promise to extend a customs union to all EU member states, including Cyprus, which joined the bloc in 2004.
 Greece to honor former Cypriot FM
NICOSIA, 17/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)The Greek government will honor Cyprus' former foreign minister George Iacovou, in recognition of his services to Greek and Cypriot overseas.
An honorary distinction will be presented to Iacovou by Greece's Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, during a special ceremony at the Greek Ambassador's residence in Nicosia, on August 22.
Kassimis will be in Cyprus on the occasion of the annual meetings of the Central Councils of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) and the International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), from 23-25 August, in Nicosia.
World Youth Federation of Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK) will hold its third world congress during this period as well.
President Tassos Papadopoulos will open the conference in the morning of August 23. The same night, the Cypriot President will give a reception at the Presidential Palace, in honor of the participants.