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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece to pledge 600,000 to global fight against bird flu
  • [02] Gov't announces support package for poultry industry
  • [03] Three injured in bank robbery shootout in Athens

  • [01] Greece to pledge 600,000 to global fight against bird flu

    Greece will pledge 600,000 to the global fight against bird flu during the International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Influenza, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis announced on Monday in response to press questions.

    He said the money would be given by the ministry's international developmental aid organisation Hellenic Aid, via the Greek health ministry delegation that will attend the conference in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    Stylianidis made the statements after a meeting with Bulgarian Deputy Regional Development and Public Works Minister Dimcho Mihalevsky in Athens.

    A Greek delegation headed by Deputy Health Minister George Constantopoulos had arrived in Beijing on Monday to attend the international conference on bird flu.

    Constantopoulos was accompanied by senior foreign ministry and health service officials.

    The aim of the conference is to assess the needs that exist and support programmes for coordinated action against bird flu in countries affected or at risk through a funding framework with the contribution of all countries.

    During his visit to China, Constantopoulos will also have talks with China's health minister.

    [02] Gov't announces support package for poultry industry

    The government on Monday announced a package of measures aimed to support the ailing domestic poultry industry, currently reeling from the threat of a bird flu epidemic in neighbouring Turkey.

    Labour Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos and Agriculture Deputy Minister Alexandros Kontos, signed the measures, which include:

    - a temporary suspension of social insurance contributions for a period of 13 months (September 1, 2005 to September 30, 2006) and favourable payment procedures in the future,

    - a rescheduling of past debts by the industry (including write-off of 50 percent of added fees),

    - suspending all enforced measures (both administrative and legal) against firms and producers in the sector.

    Speaking to reporters, Kontos again echoed health officials statements, namely, that there was absolutely no danger from consuming Greek products.

    [03] Three injured in bank robbery shootout in Athens

    Three people, including one passer-by, were injured in a shootout after a bank robbery at a branch of the National Bank of Greece in the centre of Athens at 12:50.

    A bank security guard and one of the four armed robbers were injured in the abdominal region and chest, respectively, while a passerby was shot in the leg by a ricocheted bullet. All three were taken to the Athens State General Hospital, where the security guard is currently undergoing surgery.

    According to eye witnesses, four men in black entered the bank just before 13:00 and held staff and customers at gunpoint, forcing them to hand over a significant sum of money before leaving on foot. They were followed by the bank security guard, however, who caught up with one of the men in the Hatzichristou arcade just before Panepistimiou Street.

    The security guard called on the robber to surrender but the latter attacked him and they exchanged fire, injuring each other and a passing lottery-ticket seller.

    The other three men managed to escape onto busy Panepistimiou Street with the loot of the robbery, where they tried to hijack an environment ministry car by shooting at the glass to get the driver and passenger out. They found their way barred, however, by a Syntagma police station patrol car and other police cars that quickly arrived on the scene.

    As police tried to get members of the public to safety, more shots were exchanged and the robbers managed to get away. Reports that one of the robbers was injured in the second shootout have not been confirmed by police, who have now launched a hunt for the other three robbers.

    According to authorities, the man in custody is a 28-year-old that has been brought in for suspected participation in violent incidents before. Police are also investigating the possibility that the four men that took part in Monday's robbery are in fact members of the five-man "gang of in black" that have carried out six major bank robberies in the past two and half years, whose total loot is estimated to exceed 500,000.

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