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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-08-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Police capture two who escaped during an Amygdaleza detention centre riot
  • [02] More than 250 homes declared unsafe in Fthiotida
  • [03] Funds available for green rooftops on public buildings, Environment Ministry says
  • [04] OPAP sells 33 pct stake to Emma Delta
  • [05] State to disburse another 32 million to settle medical debts to doctors, clinics

  • [01] Police capture two who escaped during an Amygdaleza detention centre riot

    ANA-MPA -- Two Pakistani nationals, who escaped from the Amygdaleza facility for illegal migrants in Attica during a violent riot on Saturday night, were arrested, it was announced on Monday. They were captured after being spotted by police on Parnitha Avenue late on Sunday night.

    Illegal migrants held in Amygdaleza facility had rioted in response to an announcement that the maximum detention period at the centre will be extended to 18 months, from the current 12 months.

    A search for the arrest of more illegal migrants that managed to escape during the commotion continues.

    According to police, ten foreign nationals were found to be missing during a head count on Sunday, following the violent riots that continued until the early hours of Sunday morning.

    Police are conducting an investigation into the incident and have definitely confirmed the participation of some 41 inmates in the riots.

    The problems at the centre, where migrants are held while waiting to be deported, began at around 21:10 on Saturday night during the distribution of meals. Groups of individuals from a total of 1,620 migrants held at the centre suddenly attacked the guards, throwing stones, bottles of water filled with gravel and other objects. Others set fire to bags of rubbish, mattresses and huts.

    A large police operation was mounted, with reinforcement sent by the Attica General Police headquarters, and order was restored about an hour after midnight.

    Ten police officers were injured by stones and other objects thrown at them while no injuries of the foreign nationals have been reported. There was also extensive damage to the detention centre facility, such as broken doors, windows, and mirrors, while eight of the huts were burnt down.

    Police have arrested 17 nationals of Pakistan, 9 of Afghanistan, 14 of Bangladesh and one Moroccan national on suspicion of participating in the riots, while an investigation is underway into the possible participation of others. Those arrested are to be charged with rioting, causing grievous bodily harm, resisting authority, attempted escape and causing damages. They will be led before an Athens prosecutor.

    [02] More than 250 homes declared unsafe in Fthiotida

    ANA-MPA -- More than 250 homes have been declared unsafe by government inspection teams visiting the villages of Fthiotida after last week's slew of strong earthquakes, it was announced on Sunday.

    Inspection teams have been reinforced with extra staff from other areas of Greece in the last two days, so that damage assessment might be completed by Monday, the ministry said. Experts expect that the number of homes that will finally be deemed unsafe will probably exceed 350 when the process is complete.

    Meanwhile, seismic activity continues around the villages of Reggini, Modi, Xyliki, Tithronio and Mendenitsa, where more than 300 aftershocks have made the earth literally tremble underfoot since the phenomenon began. Many local residents have taken refuge with relatives or are camping outdoors, abandoning homes declared unsafe by ministry inspection teams. Even church services were held outdoors on Sunday, due to fears of more earthquakes and damage sustained by churches in previous quakes.

    In addition to private homes, damage has also been sustained by many businesses and local residents are starting to clamour for state assistance - with Infrastructure Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis and Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras both promising a prompt response from the state on Friday.

    Some 40 tents were sent to Drymaia from Larissa on Saturday for the use of those made homeless and medical units have been set up in Reggini and Drymaia to cover the needs of the region.

    According to archaeologists, there is little evidence of damage to archaeological remains, including the Mendenitsa Castle, though more extensive damage has been recorded in at least three churches. Inspections of public buildings and schools are continuing, so that repairs can be carried out before the start of the school year in September.

    [03] Funds available for green rooftops on public buildings, Environment Ministry says

    ANA-MPA -- Local government and state agencies can draw on state funding to create green rooftops, the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry said on Wednesday.

    Nearly 15 million euros will be available through the Business Programme on the Environment and Sustainable Development, part of the Greece's effort to disburse EU structural funds, to create "green rooftops on public buildings".

    The programme can be used by schools (from pre-kindergarten to grade schools), music schools, cultural centres, swimming pools and other public entities in urban areas.

    "The improvement in citizens' quality of life is a basic priority of all ministry actions, both through programmes implemented and through legislative initiatives," Alternate Environment Minister Stavros Kalafatis said.

    Green rooftops would result in "economising in energy, increasing greenery in urban spaces and reducing gas emission from the greenhouse effect," he said.

    The implementation is expected to reduce heating and cooling expenses of buildings throughout the year and improve the microclimate in the area where each building is located, as well as to reduce pollution.

    In Athens, a rooftop garden was created on top of the Ministry of Finance, at Syntagma Square.

    [04] OPAP sells 33 pct stake to Emma Delta

    ANA-MPA -- The sale contract turning over 33 percent of the state gaming organisation (OPAP) to private Emma Delta, a Cyprus-based equity fund, was signed on Monday, the state privatisation agency TAIPED announced.

    The contract is worth 652 million euros - 622 million in cash and 30 million in ten equal and annual instalments, with the first transaction taking place following an approval by the competition surpervising authorities.

    [05] State to disburse another 32 million to settle medical debts to doctors, clinics

    ANA-MPA - Nearly 32 million euros' worth of debts to medical doctors and health sector providers carried by state health services provider EOPYY will be repaid as of Monday, August 12, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis announced Thursday.

    The payment follows an initial disbursement of 163.7 million euros on August 1 to OPAD, the civil servants' healthcare fund, to pay for debts due before December 31, 2011 to doctors and health service providers.

    The repayment is part of pressure applied on Greece to settle outstanding state debts, an issue that led to an unannounced visit by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to EOPYY headquarters on August 5 to ask for immediate settlement.

    As of the beginning of August, a total 1.9 billion euro in outstanding debts were owed by EOPYY to health service providers, with only 500 million euro disbursed so far. The remaining 1.4 billion euro remain to be settled even though their disbursement has been approved.

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