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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Strong quake rocks Greece, damages reported
  • [02] PM in Austria on Mon.

  • [01] Strong quake rocks Greece, damages reported

    An uncharacteristically strong earthquake rocked much of southwest Greece on Sunday afternoon, with local seismologists pinpointing an intensity of 6.5 on the Richter scale, which would possibly make it the strongest quake recorded in modern Greece's history. The earthquake was recorded at 3:26 p.m. (13.26 GMT) local time. The tremor was felt as far away as Athens, some 230 kilometers to the east of the reported epicentre.

    Two quake-related fatalities was reported in Achaia prefecture, with one death attributed to a collapsed roof collapsed, along with more a dozen injuries in the same community. A couple provincial roadways were also blocked off in the region from cracks in the pavement and at least one landslide.

    The head of Greece's Earthquake Risk Assessment Committee, Prof. Gerasimos Papadopoulos, speaking outside the Athens Observatory to several dozen reporters and television crews, said the earthquake was shallow, roughly 10 kilometres in depth and with an epicentre near the town of Andravida -- 30 kilometres southwest of the western port city of Patras in southwest Greece. The earthquake was the strongest to hit the area since 1802, according to reports.

    The quake also lasted between 20 to 25 seconds, according to the first eyewitness accounts. A strong aftershock of 4.7 on the Richter scale was felt at 3:55 p.m. (local time).

    Press reports from the Ionian isles and Ileia prefecture on the mainland of western Peloponnese noted that local residents have exited their homes.

    At least one decades-old building was reported to have collapsed in Patras, with the majority of calls for assistance from the fire brigade coming from Ileia and Achaia (Patras) prefectures. Four families members that were reported as trapped under the rubble of an older one-storey residence in the Ileia prefecture of Vartholomio were rescued by firefighters.

    A nationwide mobilisation of civil defence and fire brigade units commenced after the natural disaster.

    Caption: A quake-damaged home in the Kato Achaia community in the western Peloponnese, southern Greece, hours after a 6.5 on the Richter scale quake shook much of the east Mediterranean country in the eary afternoon. ANA-MPA / YIOTA KORBAKI.

    [02] PM in Austria on Mon.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was briefed on Saturday by Employment and Social Insurances Minister Fani Palli-Petralia regarding the all-important course of pension reform for the country's creaky social security sector.

    Afterwards, Petralia said three pension funds have merged by June 1, with another 28 funds merged by Aug. 1. She pointed to Oct. 1 as the date for completely various mergers of Greece's numerous state-run pension funds. Moreover, she flatly dismissed opposition criticism that funds' reserves have decreased, saying the planned mergers do not affect funds' guaranteed reserves.

    Meanwhile, the prime minister will be in Austria on Monday, where he will be received by Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and Vice-Chancellor Wilhelm Molterer. Additionally, the Greek PM will meet with the head of the Austrian Peoples Party (├VP) Wolfgang Sch├╝ssel.

    On Tuesday, Karamanlis will be in Salzburg to watch the Greece-Sweden match for the Euro 2008 football championship first round.

    Caption: File photo of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. ANA-MPA

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