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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-12-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

December 27, 2002


  • [01] Four dead, 5 missing in latest migrant-smuggling incident
  • [02] Messages by Orthodox religious leaders
  • [03] Karamanlis couple visit drug rehab centre, Archbishop tours juvenile facility
  • [04] Bank of Greece to sign agreement with Yugoslav Central Bank
  • [05] ETBALeasing in 20.9 mln euros contract with Carrefour
  • [06] ISAP work stoppage on Fri., Mon.
  • [07] Greek stocks end flat on Christmas eve
  • [08] Athens on French decision preventing tanker's passage
  • [09] Rio-Antirrio ferry route reopened
  • [10] Turkish Cypriot rally calls for Denktash to quit

  • [01] Four dead, 5 missing in latest migrant-smuggling incident

    Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    The latest maritime accident involving migrant smuggling was reported early Wednesday morning, Christmas Day, south of Hios, with authorities later saying another body of an illegal immigrant was recovered, bringing the number to four, while another five missing.

    According to the coast guard, the incident occurred after an inflatable craft attempting to ferry over a group of illegals from the opposite Turkish coast sank just off the eastern Aegean island. Another 14 would-be migrants were rescued, while search efforts by the coast guard and the Hellenic Navy were continuing in the early afternoon amid rough seas.

    Amongst the survivors is a local man suspected of piloting the migrant-laden vessel. He was identified as Nikolaos Panagopoulos, 42.

    Authorities were alerted to the sinking vessel's position, near the rocky islet Venetico, by an anonymous caller possibly using a mobile phone.

    Stepped up patrolling of Greece’s sea lanes has been ordered over the last few days, as migrant smugglers operating from Turkey often try to take advantage of holiday season to sneak mostly Third World nationals onto Greek or other EU countries’ territory.

    A total of 163 illegal immigrants, mostly Kurds, were plucked from a grounded vessel late Monday night off the southwestern coast of Corfu, in the northwest Ionian Sea.

    The bodies of three would-be migrants, including a child, were also recovered from the same sea region on Monday.

    [02] Messages by Orthodox religious leaders Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    Eastern Orthodox religious leaders issued their traditional Christmas and New Year’s wishes this week, emphasizing the significance of Christ's birth for Christianity and its faithful, among others. Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos noted in his message cited what he stressed is the “light of knowledge” brought about by Christ’s birth.

    On his part, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos noted that “Christ is born everyday, offering to those that wish it, salvation”.

    Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios concluded his message by calling for greater generosity and efforts by all to allay poverty around us, with the goal being a society of true solidarity.

    Finally, the Patriarch of Jerusalem Irineos concluded his message by calling for all religious leaders in the strife-torn region to work towards peace efforts in order for all residents there to live in peaceful harmony.

    [03] Karamanlis couple visit drug rehab centre, Archbishop tours juvenile facility

    Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and his wife Natasa toured a juvenile substance abuse rehabilitation centre in the eastern Attica town of Rafina on Thursday, the day after Christmas, meeting with patients and staff.

    “We’re with these young people because they have the mettle to resist, to dream of something better, and to fight for life. They say ‘no’ to drugs each and every day,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos visited a juvenile detention centre at Avlona, northern Attica prefecture, on Christmas Day, speaking to young people and handing out gifts.

    [04] Bank of Greece to sign agreement with Yugoslav Central Bank

    Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    The Bank of Greece and the National Bank of Yugoslavia are expected to sign a memorandum of cooperation on Friday, 27 December, in the framework of strengthening the efficiency of supervision of the banking system by the Greek central bank.

    The agreement will be signed in Belgrade by Bank of Greece governor, Nikolaos Garganas and his Yugoslav counterpart, Mladan Dinkic. The memorandum of cooperation between the two central banks envisages the mutual exchange of information and helping the work of supervisory authorities, thus facilitating the operations of Greek or Yugoslav banks with activities in both countries.

    The Bank of Greece has already signed similar agreements with authorities in Albania and Bulgaria and is expected to sign more agreements with Romania and Turkey.

    [05] ETBALeasing in 20.9 mln euros contract with Carrefour

    Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    ETBALeasing SA on Tuesday announced the signing of a real estate leasing contract with Carrefour, the French supermarket chain, worth 20.917 million euros.

    The sale and lease back contract has a duration of 15 years and covers a building in the Paleo Faliro suburb of Athens.

    [06] ISAP work stoppage on Fri., Mon.

    Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    Train drivers at the ISAP urban rail line (Piraeus to Kifissia) will hold a four-hour work stoppage on Friday and Monday, between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in demand of bigger pay hikes than projected in a collective bargaining agreement as well as various institutional demands.

    [07] Greek stocks end flat on Christmas eve

    Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended flat the last trading session before the Christmas holidays with buying interest focusing on medium capitalization stocks in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

    The general index ease 0.15 percent to 1,765.16 points, with turnover a low 58.4 million euros.

    The Publication, Textile and Food-Beverage sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (2.36 percent, 1.76 percent and 1.31 percent, respectively), while the IT Solutions, Investment and Construction sectors suffered the heaviest losses (1.42 percent, 0.79 percent and 0.59 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.26 percent, the FTSE/ASE Small Cap 80 index eased 0.10 percent and the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.45 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 162 to 131 with another 60 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -0.38%

    Telecoms: -0.04%

    Insurance: -0.05%

    Investment: -0.79%

    Construction: -0.59%

    Textiles: +1.76%

    Industrials: -0.05%

    Holding: +1.17%

    Base metals: +0.12%

    Minerals: -0.28%

    Publishing: +2.36%

    Retailing: -0.05%

    Information Technology: -0.38%

    IT solutions: -1.42%

    Wholesale: +0.71%

    Food & Beverages: +1.31%

    Refineries: -1.47%

    Real Estate Management: -0.18%

    Parallel Market for smaller cap stocks: +0.27%

    Selected shares from the MSCI index

    closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 11.76

    Coca Cola: 13.62

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 11.08

    Vodafone: 5.38

    Aluminium de Grece: 17.40

    Public Power Corp: 13.30

    National Bank of Greece: 13.66

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.70

    Commercial Bank of Greece: 14.64

    Intracom: 4.46

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization: 10.62

    Titan Cement Company (common): 36.22

    Motor Oil: 6.58

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Klonatex, Cosmote, Sex Form, Eurobank and Themeliodomi.

    [08] Athens on French decision preventing tanker's passage

    Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    Two Greek coast guard officers are expected to visit the jailed captain of the ill-fated “Prestige” tanker this week at the Texeiro prison in Coruna, northwest Spain.

    The initiative follows a decision by Greece’s merchant marine minister.

    Minister George Anomeritis has also contacted his Spanish counterpart about jail conditions under which Capt. Apostolos Magouras is incarcerated, as well as the issue of a pending final report regarding the “Prestige’s” sinking off the coast of Galicia.

    The latest press reports involving the sunken Prestige and its leaking crude pointed to high winds driving a massive oil slick toward French waters.

    The Prestige, laden with 77,000 tones of fuel oil, sprang a leak on Nov. 13 before snapping in two and sinking six days later, marking the worst environmental catastrophe to hit Spain's rich fishing grounds off its northwest coast.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, a decision by French authorities this week to prevent the passage of a Greek-flagged oil tanker within 200 nautical miles of French territory sparked a protest by the vessel’s owners, the Avin International S.A. firm and the ministry.

    The single-hull tanker had departed Norway loaded with 42,000 tons of fuel oil and was headed to the Mediterranean via the English Channel when French authorities ordered it away from French shores in the aftermath of the Prestige disaster.

    However, the shipping firm said the vessel, launched in 1986, meets all international regulations and standards as well as EU directives for ocean-going tankers. Avin added that it is also listed in a EU member-state’s shipping registry.

    According to a press release, Greece’s merchant marine ministry said it considers the decision “excessive” and inconsistent with provisions of international law.

    CoS ruling on security forces

    The CoS, the highest administrative court in Greece, ruled that constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion, the right to exercise one’s religious conscience and convictions, as well as Greek citizens’ right to assume public sector positions, are not violated by the provision.

    The CoS assembly cited Article XIII of Greece’s Constitution, whereby a citizen cannot avoid his obligations to the state or disobedience to the laws of the land due to his religious convictions, by adding that exclusion from the state sector is allowed when religious convictions – which the candidate explicitly declares – either partially or completely prevent his ability to carry out the duties and obligations foreseen in the specific state service.

    [09] Rio-Antirrio ferry route reopened

    Athens 27/12/2002 (ANA)

    Authorities have allowed the sailing of ferry boats connecting the Peloponnese with western Greece (the Rio-Antirrio route) after weather conditions improved, according to a coast guard press release.

    [10] Turkish Cypriot rally calls for Denktash to quit

    NICOSIA, 27/12/2002 (Reuters/ANA)

    Tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots gathered on Thursday for one of the biggest rallies ever seen in the Turkish occupied northern part of the divided capital calling for Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to quit.

    Denktash is blamed by opposition figures for blocking progress on a new U.N. peace plan that aims to reunite the island before it joins the European Union in 2004.

    "Denktash will not put his signature to peace," Ali Gulle, a union leader, told a crowd in the main square in Turkish-held northern Nicosia.

    "Enough...No one believes in you, Denktash, no one trusts you any longer. Resign and open the way to peace," Gulle said.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded in 1974. Only Ankara recognizes the self-declared "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus".

    The United Nations has put forward a blueprint for a comprehensive settlement of the protracted Cyprus problem. Efforts to reach agreement on the plan at an EU summit this month at which Cyprus was officially invited to join the bloc failed. The U.N. is now pushing for agreement by the end of February.

    "Yes to the plan, yes to the EU," the demonstrators chanted, some holding olive branches, others waving EU flags.

    "We want something to finally happen. We have been prisoners here for the past 40 years," said 70-year-old Ahmet Hasan.

    Thursday's demonstration was the latest of several organized in recent months by unions and other non-governmental organizations which want an end to the island's division.

    "The capacity of this square is approximately 25,000 people.

    With much of the crowd unable to enter the square there are well over 30,000 people here," said Kutlay Erk, "mayor" of the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia.

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