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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-07-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] President Papoulias in Israel
  • [02] 11 killed in Cyprus munitions explosion
  • [03] 75 wildfires reported
  • [04] First summer heatwave
  • [05] ASE opening: Decline

  • [01] President Papoulias in Israel

    Tel Aviv (ANA-MPA/F. Karavviti) -- Greek President Karolos Papoulias called for a viable and comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem that would be founded on the creation of an independent and democratic Palestinian state coexisting peacefully with Israel, after a meeting in Jerusalem on Monday with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

    Papoulias, who on Sunday began a three-day state visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, stressed after talks with Peres that "for Greece, Israel's security is an essential and required parameter of a solution", and noted that the upgraded relations between Greece and Israel could bring multiple benefits to the two peoples and also to the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean.

    The Greek President further noted the developments in the Arab world, speaking of "the beginning of a change that run through the geopolitical status quo in the wider region" and which, however, "should not draw our attention away from the need to resolve the Middle East issue".

    On the economic crisis in Greece, Papoulias said it was an unprecedented situation in the country's modern history, but added that "we are facing a systemic crisis of the euro, which cannot be dealt with with of-the-cuff last-minute solutions".

    Papoulias stressed the need for the EU leaders to manifest the political volition and "reach immediately a comprehensive strategy that will deal with the inherent inconsistencies of the monetary union".

    The President expressed satisfaction with the new momentum in Greece-Israel relations which, he said, "have as their firm foundations the common historic experiences and challenges that our two peoples have faced and continue to face in their ages-long history".

    He further noted the joint decision to institute the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council, the first meeting of which is due to take place in the coming months.

    Papoulias also stressed the prospects of bilateral commercial and economic relations and the attraction of investments.

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    [02] 11 killed in Cyprus munitions explosion

    ANA-MPA/Greece on Monday expressed grief over a dawn accident at a naval station on Cyprus that has claimed the lives of at least 11 people, and said it was on stand-by to provide all assistance needed.

    "On the part of the Greek government and Prime Minister, I wish first of all to express our deepest condolences, solidarity and support to the Cypriot Hellenism, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, the government and all the political forces over this tragic event that has shocked Cyprus and Greece and has resulted in the death of Cypriot citizens. To the families of the dead, I express our deep grief and most heartfelt condolences," Greek defence minister Panos Beglitis said.ana-mpa

    Beglitis said he has already spoken with his Cypriot counterpart, defence minister Costas PapaCostas, to whom he conveyed Greek prime minister George Papandreou's condolences and solidarity, as well as Greece's and the Greek defence ministry's "readiness to provide every assistance necessary".ana-mpa

    The minister said he and the Greek National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) chief were in constant contact with Cyprus National Guard chief Lt.-Gen. Petros Tsalikides, who was keeping them abreast on the tragic event.

    Several powerful explosions occurred a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. at the "Evaggelos Florakis" Naval Base at Zygi, near Limassol, where 98 containers of explosives were stored. The explosions resulted after two of the containers caught fire, according to Cyprus police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos.ana-mpa

    According to Cypriot military sources, the 11 victims include five firefighters, four members of the National Guard and two sailors, but it is feared that the death toll may rise to 15, while at least 35 people have also been injured, three of which seriously.

    Tsalikides, who is at the scene of the disaster, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that "we're trying to manage the crisis", and spoke of a "large-scale disaster" after ammunition, stored in containers, caught on fire.

    According to Tsalikides, the ammunition had been confiscated nearly three years ago from a ship.ana-mpa

    Sources added that the munitions in storage had been confiscated in 2009 from the "Monchegorsk" that was sailing from Iran to Syria.

    The explosions caused extensive damage to the nearby Vassiliko power station, the largest of Cyprus' three power plants, resulting in extensive power shortages all over Cyprus, and also rocked nearby communities, causing extensive damage, with nearby Mari village suffering the brunt of the damages.

    A deep crater was caused on the spot of the blast.

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    [03] 75 wildfires reported

    ANA-MPA/A wildfire broke out on Monday morning on Zakynthos island.

    The fire is burning a forested area between the villages of Volimes and Anahoritria, on the northern side of the island and, according to the Fire Brigade, residential areas are not endangered.

    Eight fire engines with an 18-member crew as well as two water dropping airplanes and a helicopter are taking part in the operation.ana-mpa

    Meanwhile, a fire that broke out on Evia island on Sunday has been partly contained.

    Seventy five wildfires were reported throughout Greece in the last 24 hours. All of them were under control as of noon Monday.

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    [04] First summer heatwave

    The first heatwave of the summer is due to start on Monday. The National Meteorological Service said that the temperature will reach 39C and temperatures will remain high for several days.

    Due to weather conditions and strong northerly winds the state mechanism will be on alert because of high risk of fires in many parts of the country.

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    [05] ASE opening: Decline

    Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Monday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 1.84 percent, standing at 1,228.02 points at 11:15 am.

    Individual sector indices were moving downward with the only gains in Commerce, up 0.71 percent, and Construction, up 0.17 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Banks, down 3.32 percent; and Financial Services down 2.65 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 2.51 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 1.52 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 0.94 percent.

    Of the stocks traded, 15 were up, 45 were down, and 9 were unchanged.

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