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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-07-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

July 31, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Seismologists meet to discuss charting the Anatolia fault
  • [02] Army air force obtains new transport helicopters
  • [03] ND leader meets section-heads, ND Education coordinator
  • [04] ND's Kaklamanis slams gov't plans for OAED reform
  • [05] President inaugurates telemedicine center on Gavdos island
  • [06] Athens court examines German appeal for suspension of real estate auction
  • [07] Free fruit and vegetables for Attica's poor
  • [08] Athens Mayor attends AHEPA conference, wraps up visit to Puerto Rico
  • [09] Strengthening Greek economy's compe-titiveness imperative Report
  • [10] Credit expansion to private sector accelerates in May
  • [11] Western Greece to get Dr 84 bln in projects
  • [12] EU warns Greece over delay in info laws for new cars
  • [13] Coalition of Left opposes privatization of Hellenic Petroleum
  • [14] Stocks start the week with losses
  • [15] All 115 fires that broke out over past 24-hours contained by Monday
  • [16] Athens 2004 announces arrangements in health sector
  • [17] Interior minister announces local elections on December 2

  • [01] Seismologists meet to discuss charting the Anatolia fault

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    Seismologists from research centers in the United States, Greece, Turkey and Italy met in Thessaloniki on Monday to discuss charting the North Anatolia fault. This extends from the Sea of Marmara to the northern Aegean and is responsible for several strong earthquakes in the eastern Mediterranean region.

    At a press conference afterwards, the scientists participating said a second meeting would he held in Istanbul in two months time, and the results of the two meetings would be used to draw up a plan for undersea research in the Aegean and Marmara seas.

    This in turn will be submitted to the Greek and Turkish governments to issue the necessary licenses. The cost and duration of the research has not yet been decided and it is expected to get underway in six months time.

    A formal cooperation agreement allowing for joint seismic research in the northern Aegean and the Sea of Marmara off Turkey will be signed on Thursday in Greece's main port city of Piraeus.

    The four-nation seismic research cooperation was agreed in September 2000 on the sidelines of the UN Millennium Summit and a memorandum of cooperation was signed at the time, while a recent meeting between Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem in Kusadasi reaffirmed that it would go ahead as arranged.

    Taking part in the research will be Thessaloniki's Aristotelion University on behalf of Greece, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory on behalf of the US, the Marmaris Research Center on behalf of Turkey, and Bologna University's Marine Geology Institute on behalf of Italy.

    The main aim of the joint scientific research agreement is cooperation in preventing the consequences of natural disasters and to study the seismogeny and geophysical state of the region.

    The Observatory's Adjunct Professor Art Lerner-Lam explained that the Northern Anatolia Fault that extended from Turkey to the northern Aegean, which gave off the disastrous 1999 earthquake in Turkey, had many similarities with the San Andreas Fault in California and was responsible for most of the catastrophic seismic phenomena in the northern Aegean.

    Because a section of the Northern Anatolia fault ran beneath the Sea of Marmara and the northern Aegean, direct observation and charting of the fault by geologists was extremely difficult, and consequently the countries situated around the area provided a "natural laboratory" for studying the fault, Lerner-Lam said.

    Big earthquake expected from Anatolia fault in next 30 years: The northern Anatolia fault is expected to produce a major earth-quake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale sometime in the next 30 years, a Turkish scientist revealed during a press conference in Thessaloniki on Monday.

    He said the quake could well be powerful enough to trigger seismic reactions in surrounding areas.

    Thessaloniki University Geology professor Eleftheria Papadimitriou pointed out, however, that earthquakes of 7.0 or more Richter had occurred in the past in the northern Aegean without greatly affecting mainland Greece.

    She conceded, however, that such an earthquake could have consequences for the Aegean islands.

    The press conference was held after a meeting of seismologists from research centers in the United States, Greece, Turkey and Italy to discuss charting the fault, which extends from the Sea of Marmara to the northern Aegean and is responsible for several strong earthquakes in the eastern Mediterranean region.

    The four-nation seismic research cooperation was agreed in September 2000 on the sidelines of the UN Millennium Summit and a memorandum of cooperation was signed at the time, while a recent meeting between Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem in Kusadasi reaffirmed that it would go ahead as arranged.

    Taking part in the research will be Thessaloniki's Aristotelion University on behalf of Greece, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory on behalf of the US, the Marmaris Research Center on behalf of Turkey, and Bologna University's Marine Geology Institute on behalf of Italy.

    Life gradually returning to normal on Skyros after last week's earthquake: Life was returning to normal on Skyros on Monday as the residents recovered from a strong earthquake that hit the central Aegean island last week that damaged scores of homes and the water supply network and caused panic but no injuries.

    According to the Skyros Municipality, of the 459 applications for inspections of homes that were submitted after Thursday's 5.7 Richter earthquake, 370 have already been conducted, resulting in the designation of five houses for demolition and another 46 as repairable.

    Water is currently being shipped to the island by Navy vessels since the earthquake caused a rupture in the main reservoir and along the pipe network. Seismologists predicted that a few more days were needed for the magnitude of the aftershocks to subside enough to allow for new drillings.

    Seismologists described the post-quake activity as normal, noting that 83 of the more than 200 aftershocks since the main quake Thursday registered a magnitude of over 4.0 Richter.

    Moderate earthquake jolts Skyros: A moderate earthquake measuring 5,4 on the Richter scale was recorded at 18:25 on Monday afternoon in the sea region north of the Aegean island of Skyros.

    The quake is an aftershock of a larger tremor, or 5,7 on the Richter scale, which occurred last Thursday in the same area.

    The epicenter is pinpointed some 140 kilometers northeast of Athens, or in the sea region north of the Aegean island.

    No damages or injuries were reported.

    EOT president says Skyros to join social tourism program: The National Tourism Organization (EOT) on Monday announced a series of incentives to boost tourist activity on the island of Skyros, which on July 27 had been hit by a strong earthquake measuring 5.7 points on the Richter scale, following an order by Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis.

    According to EOT President Evgenios Yiannakopoulos, Skyros will now join other areas in the country that meet specific statutes in the framework of the Social Tourism Program, (designed for areas suffering from unexpected incidents).

    In a related development, main opposition New Democracy MP and party's responsible for tourism affairs, Anastasios Liaskos, called on the government to take urgent measures to aid the quake stricken area of Skyros because, as he said, the island depends greatly on tourist revenue for its survival.

    Some of the measures proposed include a special set of regulations that would include tourism facilities and hotels under Law 2601/98, as well as a hike in subsidies that would quickly revitalize the Social Tourism Program.

    [02] Army air force obtains new transport helicopters

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Monday attended a ceremony at Pachi airport, in the region of Megara, during which three new Chinook CH-47D transport helicopters were included in the newly established army air force brigade.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Tsohatzopoulos said investments by the armed forces for their infrastructures and armaments result in an increase in jobs and the development of an advanced technological capacity in the sector of the Greek defense industry.

    Replying to a questioner later, Tsohatzopoulos said the argument put forward by some that the economic cost of the armed forces removes the possibility of the Greek people's economic and social development is "stale, outrageous and mistaken."

    Tsohatzopoulos also said a draft law will be tabled in Parliament in autumn which will secure a university education for armed forces cadres at the air force, army and navy academies.

    Another four helicopters of the same type are expected to join the army's air force by the end of October. The total cost of the program, which is part of the 1996-2001 armaments program-me, amounted to 120 billion drachmas.

    The new Chinook helicopters can carry 33 parachutists, or 44 passengers, or 50 soldiers or 24 wounded people on stretchers.

    Moreover, the new armaments program for the 2001-2005 period anticipates the further strengthening of the army's air force with 24 Apache helicopter gun ships.

    [03] ND leader meets section-heads, ND Education coordinator

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis urged members of his party to behave responsibly and modestly on Monday, during a meeting with the party's Educational Affairs Committee coordinator, section heads and their deputies.

    He said that education and unemployment were top priority issues, since these were the main concern of public opinion, and that the Olympic Games in 2004 were a serious national issue.

    He asked party cadres to present their policy proposals ahead of the prime minister's economic speech, traditionally made each September during the Thessaloniki International Fair, by August 20.

    [04] ND's Kaklamanis slams gov't plans for OAED reform

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    The government's proposals for reforming the state employment agency OAED were roundly criticized by New Democracy's Social Affairs Committee Coordinator Nikitas Kaklamanis on Monday, who dismissed them as an elaborate scheme for laying hands on EU funds and hiring party cronies through the 'back door'.

    In the name of reform, he added, the government intended to create a top-heavy organization with three subsidiaries, without planning or prospects, and temporarily pull the wool over the European Commission's eyes to receive money from the European Social Fund.

    He further charged that the new structure would justify an armada of specialists and managers on high salaries that would be appointed directly by the minister, bypassing normal procedures for hiring in the public sector.

    Gov't responds: Defending the government's proposals for reforming the state employment agency OAED, and after being criticized by the main opposition New Democracy party, the ministry of labor said on Monday the "New Democracy party has, yet again, decided to given a 'battle' with inactivity and arterio-sclerosis as its flag."

    The ministry said that everyone must understand that the new draft law promotes the re-establishment of OAED with the purpose of it becoming a modern and productive state agency that will serve and support the needs of all workers, as well as offer opportunities and employment to all the unemployed.

    "The arrangement for the new OAED materialized after a year of systematic scientific scrutiny and dialogue with social bodies and organization workers," the announcement said.

    On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas charged the main opposition party of searching for "flags of opportunity to cover its indigence in programs".

    He said the criticism did not surprise the government since the main opposition party "is again aiming to create and maintain a morbid climate in the political world, as well as in the business sector".

    [05] President inaugurates telemedicine center on Gavdos island

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived on the island of Gavdos, the southernmost point in Greece and the European Union, on Monday to inaugurate the operation of a telemedicine station installed in the island's surgery.

    Arriving by helicopter at 11:00 a.m. Stephanopoulos was warmly greeted on the tiny island, whose permanent inhabitants are no more than 40.

    The president was accompanied by Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis and Hellenic Telecoms (OTE) president Nikos Manasis, as well as local officials from Crete.

    The telemedicine station was installed by OTE and is directly linked with the Hania General Hospital and Iraklion's Venizelion Hospital on Crete and the Agia Sophia Children's Hospital in Athens.

    In a brief address, Stephanopoulos urged the state to show greater interest in the problems of remote regions.

    "We are aware of the uncertainty that exists in these places and the lack of care in an hour of need that may arise. And also how important it is for this to be counteracted so that residents of remote regions stay at home."

    [06] Athens court examines German appeal for suspension of real estate auction

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    An Athens court on Monday examined an appeal by the German state requesting the suspension of an auction for buildings housing the Goethe Institute and the German Archaeological Academy.

    The court decided to uphold a temporary order issued by an Athens court freezing auction processes for the German state's two buildings until a final court decision is reached.

    An Athens court had paved the way for the auctioning of the Goethe Institute and the German Archaeological Academy with two rulings, against which the German state had appealed. The appeal will be discussed on September 4, 2001.

    Relatives of victims massacred by German occupation forces in the town of Distomo, during WW2, have set, according to court rulings, September 12, 2001, as the date for the auction.

    [07] Free fruit and vegetables for Attica's poor

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    Enough free fruits and vegetables to support at least 50 families living on or below the poverty line in each Attica municipality every week are to be given to local authorities by street market vendors under an agreement signed on Monday with Deputy Development Minister Milena Apostolaki.

    Two street market vendor unions signed the memorandum of cooperation, as well as the head of the Local Union of Attica Municipalities and Communities (TEDKNA).

    Local authorities will be in charge of collecting the produce, choosing the beneficiaries, delivering to the beneficiaries and dealing with any problems that may arise.

    [08] Athens Mayor attends AHEPA conference, wraps up visit to Puerto Rico

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Sunday wrapped up his visit to Puerto Rico, where he attended the proceedings of the 79th international conference of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA).

    During his stay, he visited the capital San Juan and held talks with Greek expatriates there.

    Before wrapping up his visit, the Athens Mayor announced that the 80th International AHEPA Conference will be held in Athens under the auspices of the Athens municipality and expressed the hope that the conference will "mark a new beginning" for Greek expatriates.

    Before returning to Greece, Avramopoulos made a stopover in southern Florida where he met members of the Greek community there, as well as local officials.

    [09] Strengthening Greek economy's compe-titiveness imperative Report

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    The taking of additional measures to strengthen the competitiveness of the Greek economy is considered imperative to increase the influx of direct foreign investments, according to a report published in the Bank of Greece's latest Economic Bulletin.

    The report registers the immediate promotion of major infrastructure projects, the speeding up of structural changes, the further reforming of the educational process with the purpose of achieving the qualitative upgrading of the supply of labor and the simplification of the present complicated and time-consuming bureaucratic procedures as being measures for strengthening competitiveness.

    It says that the limited influx of foreign investments into Greece is linked both to economic factors (small domestic market, difficult access to the European market, cultural characteristics and the low level of growth in other Balkan countries) and to the failure of taking suitable policy measures in time, such as fiscal restructuring and structural changes.

    [10] Credit expansion to private sector accelerates in May

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    Credit expansion to the private sector in May accelerated by 32.6 percent year on year against a 30.5 percent rate of increase a month earlier, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.

    The rise was due mainly to an increase in loans to commerce and industry with the rate of increase in lending to households and consumer credit showing a slowdown, the central bank said in its monthly bulletin, released on Monday.

    [11] Western Greece to get Dr 84 bln in projects

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    Western Greece is to implement projects worth 84 billion drachmas under the Third Regional Business Program.

    The sum is the largest yet for the area.

    [12] EU warns Greece over delay in info laws for new cars

    BRUSSELS, 31/07/2001 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission on Monday decided that Greece and seven other EU countries are to be warned for failing to pass and publish legislature on providing consumers with information on fuel conservation and carbon dioxide emissions in new cars, as required by a 1999 EU directive.

    The deadline for introducing the legislation, which aims to give consumers correct information in matters of fuel economy and emissions when buying new cars, was on January 18.

    The warning is to be sent as a "reasoned opinion", which a-mounts to a highly detailed second warning that explains why a country is believed to be in violation of EU regulations and gives a specific deadline within which a country must respond. If a satisfactory response is not received, the Commission can then refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

    [13] Coalition of Left opposes privatization of Hellenic Petroleum

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress said on Monday that it opposed the government's plan to privatize a majority holding in Hellenic Petroleum SA, relinquishing control of the listed energy group to private owners.

    Under a legal amendment the government sent to parliament last week, the floor for the state's holding in the company, a heavily traded stock on the Athens Stock Exchange, would drop to 35 percent from 75 percent through a change in Hellenic Petroleum's statutes.

    The Coalition accused the government of selling stock in order to meet a budget shortfall, which should be covered through growth policies and a radical overhaul of the tax system.

    The share sale would also lead to a rise in the retail price of petroleum products, the party said on a statement.

    Earlier this month, the country's largest trade union umbrella group called on the government to scrap its plan to sell a fresh 15-30 percent stake in the firm due to the ensuing loss of state control.

    The request by the General Confederation of Labor of Greece, which represents nearly a million workers in the private and public sectors, was made in a letter to National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis.

    Previously, Christodoulakis had said that the shares would be sold to a strategic investor in the same sector, and that the move would allow Hellenic Petroleum to go global, also reinforcing its presence in the Balkans.

    Appointed to sound out the market for the new round of privatization were UBS Warburg and National Bank of Greece, the minister said.

    [14] Stocks start the week with losses

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse dropped sharply on Monday in the wake of five straight rising sessions that had driven up the market by 8.86 per cent after an earlier slump.

    The general share index shed 2.03 per cent to end at 2,673.98 points.

    Turnover was 616.3 million euros, fuelled by a block trade of 471 million euros in Interamerican that represented the sale of 25 percent of company stock to Eureko, a Dutch multinational.

    The market has been trying to consolidate after breaking through key resistance at 2,640 points last week.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 2.21 percent lower; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 1.90 percent down; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities lost 1.72 percent.

    Decliners led advancers at 285 to 60 with 32 issues remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Fitco and Interamerican.

    Bond prices nose down in scant trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished lower in slim trade.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.38 percent, and the yield spread over German bunds was 48 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 370 million euros.

    Sell orders accounted for the bulk of turnover.

    Equity futures end lower: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange ended lower on Monday, tracking a slump in the main market.

    Traded were 7,650 contracts on turnover of 52.6 million euros, traders said.

    [15] All 115 fires that broke out over past 24-hours contained by Monday

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    A total 115 fires, of which 71 in forest and farmland, which broke out throughout the country over the past 24 hours had all been contained by Monday morning, the Fire Brigade said.

    A Fire Brigade spokesman told ANA that one of the biggest of the fires had broken out shortly after noon Sunday in a forested area in Vronderou, Prespes, near Florina, and had been contained by dawn Monday after 29 firefighters and 30 soldiers, assisted by nine fire engines, five firefighting planes and a helicopter waged an all-night battle with the blazes.

    Public Order minister Michalis Chrysohoidis rushed to the area to help coordinate the firefighting effort.

    The second major blaze, the spokesman said, broke out in Platy, Akrotiri on Mt. Athos about an hour after midnight. A team of 15 firefighters and 50 soldiers, assisted by five fire engines, three firefighting planes and a helicopter, managed to bring the fire under control after a six-hour battle with the blaze.

    [16] Athens 2004 announces arrangements in health sector

    Athens, 31/07/2001 (ANA)

    The main burden of medical services during the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be shouldered by the Olympic Village's Multiclinic with about 1,000 visits a day, according to an announcement by the Organizing Committee on Monday.

    This was result of a study of data obtained during the three previous Olympiads (Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney), which were carried out at the medical services department of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee.

    The health sector will keep a considerable number of hospitals on constant duty during the Olympiad.

    According to the strategic plan prepared in cooperation with the health ministry. Athens hospitals declared Olympic hospitals are the KAT (mainly for the treatment of athletes), Evangelismos (mainly for members of the Olympic Family), Georgios Gennimatas and the Nikaia general state hospital (both mainly for spectators).

    Seven more general hospitals and seven special hospitals will also be on standby in Athens, where the main bulk of athletes, Olympic Family members and spectators will be concentrated during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    [17] Interior minister announces local elections on December 2

    NICOSIA, 31/07/2001 (CNA/ANA)

    Election for municipal and local authorities will take place in Cyprus on December 2 and 16, respectively, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said here Monday.

    Speaking after a meeting on election issues, Christodoulou said that polling for the election of school boards and the Pancyprian Refugees Committee will take place on 9 and 16 December respectively.

    Christodoulou noted that several issues had to be sorted out with regard to the December elections to avoid any possible confusion or problems.

    Referring to elections for the Turkish occupied areas of the island, he said that constituents of those areas would elect their Municipal authorities but elections for local authorities to elect community leaders will probably not take place.

    Christodoulou explained that the terms in office of community leaders in the island's occupied areas would probably be extended by six months to a year.

    The minister said more meetings on the December elections would take place to ensure that everything is in order on polling day.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.


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