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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-01-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

January 4, 2005


  • [01] PM Karamanlis says '2005 is a year of major changes, of reforms everywhere'
  • [02] Greek aid to tsunami-stricken areas worth one million euros so far, foreign ministry says
  • [03] C-130 returns from relief mission to tsunami-stricken Southeast Asia
  • [04] State broadcaster ERT holds telethon for South Asia disaster
  • [05] PM Karamanlis as of Tuesday begins round of meetings with ministers and deputy ministers
  • [06] EU Commissioner and Greek environment minister discuss environmental issues in Greece
  • [07] FM Molyviatis visits Foreign Ministry's Cryptographic Service
  • [08] Turkish warplanes violate national air space
  • [09] Karamanlis briefed by economy minister; Alogoskoufis refers to critical 2005 budget
  • [10] Greek gov't seeks more efficient control of public spending
  • [11] Gov't aims to ensure fair competition in domestic markets
  • [12] Greek stocks welcome 2005 with 1.38-pct rise
  • [13] Athens Stock Exchange opening: New Year trading opens with profits
  • [14] Archbishop Christodoulos lashes out against 'corrupted' Christmas, pagan Santa
  • [15] Academic D. Nanopoulos appointed President of the National Council of Research and Technology
  • [16] Woman injured in mystery shooting in Sfakia, Crete
  • [17] Annual Red Cross hospitality program in its 11th year
  • [18] Al-Jazeera's broadcast editor guest speaker at Athens University seminar
  • [19] Local gov't association expresses opposition to stadium proposal for Goudi site
  • [20] Cypriots one of five missions of Doctors of the World in SE Asia

  • [01] PM Karamanlis says '2005 is a year of major changes, of reforms everywhere'

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday attended a reception hosted by the Athens Commerce and Industry Chamber (EBEA) to mark the New Year.

    In statements to reporters on arrival at the reception, Karamanlis said:"2005 is a year of major changes, of reforms everywhere. In the Economy, the State, Education, in Health. We are carrying the burdens of yesterday, without shifting them on the citizens. With the 'housecleaning' and reorganization of the Economy, we are creating conditions for dynamic and stable development in all sectors, throughout the country.

    "The basic aim is a competitive economy, which produces more and creates new jobs. An effective and reliable state close to the citizen.

    "With the individual at the epicenter of our policy, we are working so that day by day the citizens ascertain tangible results in the improvement of their daily life."

    EBEA hosts reception to herald the New Year

    The Athens Commerce and Industry Chamber (EBEA) held a reception at a central Athens hotel on Monday to herald the New Year.

    Present at the reception were President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, National Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni and many other officials.

    In statements to reporters, Alogoskoufis appeared optimistic about the New Year. He noted that following the 2004 Olympic Games, 2005 would be a "crucial" year. He added, however, that "the target is economic growth and greater competitiveness in order to tackle the problems of unemployment and public finances." The economy minister also expressed optimism that "with the economic policy and the impetus of the economy, we will go well."

    In reply to demands by the business world for greater efforts to be made in order to restrict state expenditures but also for reforms which will further strengthen private initiative, Alogoskoufis noted that the structural changes will proceed with moves by the government, such as tax reform and the development law which will help the private sector.

    On his part, EBEA President Drakoulis Fountoukakos stressed that 2005 will be a milestone year for the Greek economy "because the policies which will be advanced and the speed with which they will be implemented will determine whether in the coming years the Greek economy, apart from the bet of fast growth, will manage to achieve substantial progressive steps in the sector of employment and competitiveness, sectors in which we have lagged behind all our other partners in the Euro-zone."

    [02] Greek aid to tsunami-stricken areas worth one million euros so far, foreign ministry says

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek foreign ministry on Monday issued a press release detailing its actions and efforts to assist Greek nationals in the tsunami-stricken areas of Southeast and South Asia, as well as aid provided to the half dozen of so nations devastated by last week's catastrophe.

    According to the ministry, Greece has provided one million euros worth of emergency aid, services and cash to stricken countries so far. The aid is being distributed based on the European Commission Humanitarian Office's prioritization as well as information provided by local diplomatic missions in the affected countries.

    Additionally, two Hellenic Air Force C-130 "Hercules" transport planes have ferried physicians, rescue personnel, "Hellenic Aid" humanitarian aid (12 tones) and diplomatic staff to three countries -- the Maldives islands, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The effort was overseen by the ministry's international developmental cooperation office in coordination with the six NGOs. Among others, Athens has sent 25 members of the EMAK emergency and rescue unit to Thailand.

    In terms of providing assistance to Greek nationals in the stricken areas, the ministry reminded that a chartered Olympic Airways passenger jet was the first airplane dispatched by a foreign government to reach the Thai resort of Phuket - a statement aimed directly at criticism by certain opposition newspapers last week.

    Greek NGOs active in the aid efforts include the Church of Greece's Allilegii (solidarity); Doctors of the Heart; Doctors of the World; Evropaiki Prooptiki (European Prospect); the Thessaloniki Rescue Unit and the Volunteer Society of Greek Fire-fighters and Conservationists.

    Finally, the ministry notes, the next step is to coordinate efforts with NGOs at collecting private donors' aid and a television marathon on Tuesday aired by Greece's state-run radio-television network.

    [03] C-130 returns from relief mission to tsunami-stricken Southeast Asia

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    The military C-130 aircraft, which completed 45 hours of flight time on its first relief mission to the tsunami-stricken region of Southeast Asia, returned to Elefsina at 5 p.m. Monday, bringing back several members of the Greek mission. Everyone on board said they were "happy" since they were able to provide medicine, water and tents to their fellow human beings, suffering from the consequences of a tsunami which hit the region on December 26.

    "We feel lucky and happy that we were able to provide some assistance to those devastated in Southeast Asia," the C-130 pilot said.

    Among those returning was Father Ignatius, representing "Solidarity", a non-government organization of the Church of Greece. Ignatius called on the Greek people "to continue supporting our fellow human beings who need it and who are now facing a new enemy - epidemics." Ignatius also emphasized the excellent coordination achieved by the Foreign Ministry and Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, in gathering and distributing humanitarian aid.

    [04] State broadcaster ERT holds telethon for South Asia disaster

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    The state radio and television broadcaster ERT has organized a telethon beginning on Tuesday and ending early on Wednesday morning to raise money for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck countries around the Indian Ocean on the day after Christmas.

    From 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday all programs broadcast by ERT will be adapted to form part of the telethon, with frequent trailers showing the numbers of the accounts that ERT has opened to collect aid for the victims of the disaster, while the entire state broadcaster's staff has been enlisted to aid in the effort.

    The money collected will be delivered to the foreign ministry, which will send it to the United Nations via bilateral and multilateral agreements. Radio stations operated by the state broadcaster will also contribute to the effort, with NET 105.8 taking part throughout the day, with link-ups to the Second Program 103.7, ERA SPORT, ERA Local Stations and ERA 5 in shortwave.

    Donations can also be sent via a cell phone using an SMS message, with each SMS costing one euro. Senders should type in the world 'Asia' and send their SMS to the number 4536. Thousands of viewers have already been in touch with ERT and have sent one or more SMS messages. Alternatively, donations can be deposited at the following bank accounts:

    Emporiki Bank - 84977667

    National Bank of Greece - 180 / 47047032

    ALPHA BANK - 115-00-2002-018887.

    Donations can either be deposited directly or the offers can first be announced on NET television or the radio station NET 105.8.

    Viewers can call to make offers in the telethon at the call centre 210-95.56.400. At Syntagma Square and Athens airport, meanwhile, NET will set up special pavilions where members of the public can make donations.

    Attica municipalities donate 15,000 euros for victims of SE Asia disaster

    The Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of Attica (TEDKNA) on Monday announced that it will donate 15,000 euros for the relief of residents in Southeast Asian countries struck by the earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26.

    [05] PM Karamanlis as of Tuesday begins round of meetings with ministers and deputy ministers

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis as of Tuesday will begin a round of meetings with ministers and deputy ministers, aimed at determining the priorities per sector and the immediate confrontation of problems of day-to-day living.

    On Tuesday, Karamanlis will meet with the political leadership of the Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralization Ministry, on Wednesday with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, National Bank of Greece Governor Takis Arapoglou and with the political leadership of the Foreign Ministry, on Friday with the political leadership of the Economy and Finance Ministry and on Monday with the minister and deputy ministers of the Development Ministry.

    On Wednesday afternoon, the prime minister will depart for the island of Karpathos where the following day he will attend the Epiphany Day celebrations.

    On Monday, Karamanlis communicated by phone with Environment Minister Dimitris Sioufas to exchange best wishes for the New Year and they agreed to meet in the coming days.

    [06] EU Commissioner and Greek environment minister discuss environmental issues in Greece

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Greek European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas on Monday had a meeting with Environment Minister George Souflias in Athens for an in-depth discussion on environmental issues related to Greece.

    After the meeting, Souflias said they had an extremely important and constructive discussion during which they had agreed to cooperate closely to tackle important environmental problems.

    Asked whether Greece conformed to the dictates of the Kyoto Treaty that came into effect on January 1, he said that Greece is currently waiting for EU approval of a greenhouse gas emissions distribution plan that it submitted to the European Union last week and would implement any improvements suggested.

    Responding to other questions, meanwhile, he told reporters the ministry had started looking into setting up a warning system for tsunamis in Greece but noted that there was only a single recorded case of a tsunami in Greek seas, during the 1950s.

    Dimas described his meeting with Souflias as constructive, providing an opportunity to exchange ideas on how environmental problems could best be tackled, especially with regard to the national plan for the distribution of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity issues, protection of wildlife, protection of the Zakynthos national park and the Caretta Caretta sea turtle and problems with open dumps that needed to be solved and primarily concerned local government.

    [07] FM Molyviatis visits Foreign Ministry's Cryptographic Service

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Monday visited the Foreign Ministry's Cryptographic Service where an Emergency Operation Team has been set up and is operational.

    On the occasion of his visit, he expressed his appreciation to all the ministry's staff for their work and contribution in the effective handling of the emergency situation following the devastating earthquake and tsunamis which struck Southeast Asia on December 26.

    [08] Turkish warplanes violate national air space

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    The Turkish air force again on Monday resorted to violating Greece's national air space.

    According to press reports, five formations of Turkish warplanes entered the Aegean on Monday without submitting flight plans and in nine cases violated the national air space in the North and Central Aegean and between the islands of Rhodes and Megisti.

    In all cases, the 16 Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by corresponding Greek fighter jets.

    It was reported that two of the Turkish aircraft were armed.

    [09] Karamanlis briefed by economy minister; Alogoskoufis refers to critical 2005 budget

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis began his official duties of the New Year with a briefing by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, with the hour-long meeting at the premier's office focusing on government planning in the economic sector.

    Afterwards, Alogoskoufis told reporters that the challenge for 2005 will be to continue to record high growth rates in the post-Olympics period "in order to deal with unemployment and social problems".

    Moreover, in an indirect criticism of the previous PASOK governments and following continued "finger-pointing" between the government and the main opposition over a high-profile fiscal audit, Alogoskoufis underlined the importance of successfully implementing the 2005 budget. He said the 2005 budget's significance lies in the fact that for the first time Greece will record a deficit within the framework mandated by the European Union.

    [10] Greek gov't seeks more efficient control of public spending

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek Economy and Finance ministry on Monday warned it would automatically revoke all credit lines on projects included in the Third Community Support Framework programs that failed to show any progress this year.

    A ministry circular said that credit handouts to all programs funded by the European Union and included in the government's regular budget should be approved with great care and noted that public spending on community programs were approved on the precondition of securing community funds first. The ministry underlined that any program that was not timely implemented it would lose its state credit line.

    The Greek government is seeking to achieve both a more efficient absorption of EU funds and to better control public spending.

    [11] Gov't aims to ensure fair competition in domestic markets

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Monday announced stricter measures to ensure fair competition in the domestic commerce, manufacturing and export-import sectors, such as implementing Greek and Community laws, intensifying customs, tax and labor inspections as well as promoting a closer cooperation between the public and private sectors.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Adam Regouzas, Development ministry officials and representatives of businesses and small- and medium-sized enterprises, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said the government was poised to show that "the state is present and monitors the market".

    Commercial and manufacturing agencies are complaining over the impact on the businesses by a huge inflow of illegally imported foreign goods into the country.

    [12] Greek stocks welcome 2005 with 1.38-pct rise

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Greek stocks jumped 1.38 percent in the first trading session of 2005, pushing the market to its highest closing in more than three years at the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Buying focused on blue chip stocks, particularly in the bank and telecommunications sectors, with turnover an improved 138.9 million euros. The composite index ended at 2,824.67 points, up 1.38 percent; the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 1.76 percent; the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.64 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.88 percent.

    Sector indices ended mixed. Publications suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (-1.65 pct), followed by IT Solutions and Textiles (1.37 pct and 1.26 pct, respectively). On the other hand, the telecoms sector jumped 2.37 percent, followed by the banks (2.19 pct) and Insurances (1.44 pct).

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 204 to 84 with another 57 issues unchanged.

    [13] Athens Stock Exchange opening: New Year trading opens with profits

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Equities were up at the opening of the trading on Monday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), the first session of the New Year, with the general share price index up a 0.55 percent at 11:10 a.m., standing at 2,801.53 points, and turnover at a hefty 12.3 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were mixed, with the biggest gains in Telecoms, up 1.33 percent; Banking, up 0.53 percent. The biggest losses were IT Solutions, down 0.98 percent, and Textiles, down 0.91 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 0.62 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.28 percent, and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index was up 0.26 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 67 were up, 49 were down, and 47 were unchanged.

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: +1.74%

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: +0.64%

  • Total market turnover: 58.38 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers lead sellers

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond: 3.77 pct yield

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 3.365 bln euros

    [14] Archbishop Christodoulos lashes out against 'corrupted' Christmas, pagan Santa

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, head of the Greek Orthodox Church, on Monday deplored the "corrupted" image of Christmas that he said was spreading "like an avalanche" throughout the world in recent decades, even through schools.

    Giving the opening address at the first Christian Union of Teachers conference on education, Christodoulos stressed that many people were not actually celebrating the birth of Christ but the arrival of presents and the decorating of the Christmas Tree, which was "imbued with magical properties".

    He also deplored the trend to confuse the western-inspired figure of Santa Claus with the Orthodox saint "Aghios Vassilis", saying that the red-robed elderly gentleman from the North Pole was an "ancient remnant of pagan mythology" that had nothing to do with the saint of the Orthodox Church.

    "Unfortunately, in our country we have rechristened Santa Claus of the western Europeans as Aghios Vassilis. It is not necessary for me to remind you all that the Greek prelate of the Orthodox Church, Saint Vasileios the Great, originated from Caesaria in Cappadocia on the Black Sea. He was thin because he was an ascetic and young, since he passed away at 48 and thus his beard did not have time to become white."

    According to Christodoulos, Santa Claus was a German corruption of the name Saint Nicholas, while the fat, red-cheeked figure with the white beard, originally dressed in white but recently clad in red by the dictates of Coca Cola, was none other than the ancient Scandinavian god of the Year, which was why he lived in the North Pole.

    The Archbishop was particularly scathing about experts, such as teachers, psychologists and sociologists that advised parents to encourage their children's belief in Santa Claus and thus "with the guilty tolerance of today's 'Christians' to replace the truth of the Bible and faith in the true God with faith in Santa Claus.

    [15] Academic D. Nanopoulos appointed President of the National Council of Research and Technology

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Academic Dimitris Nanopoulos was appointed President of the National Council of Research and Technology (ESET) on Monday, following a nomination by Secretary General of Research and Technology Yiannis Tsoukalas and a decision by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas. The other members of ESET, distinguished in their respective scientific fields, were also appointed on Monday.

    ESET is the country's leading organization which formulates and implements policy in the field of research and technology.

    Nanopoulos is the fourth, most-recently cited theoretical physicists of all times, according to a Stanford University study. Specifically, Nanopoulos' work has been cited 27,545 times, while the famous physicist S.W. Hawking ranks 20th with 16,394 citations.

    [16] Woman injured in mystery shooting in Sfakia, Crete

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    A young woman aged 22 was injured on Monday when a hooded man inexplicably opened fire on the car that she and other members of an off-road vehicles club were riding in. The incident occurred on the Tauris plateau in the municipality of Sfakia on Crete. According to witnesses, before disappearing the shooter yelled out: "This is grazing land".

    The woman was returning from a trip with another 70 members of a 4X4 car club on the plateau, which went up in 31 cars to a location on the mountain called Niato to cut a traditional Greek New Year's cake.

    According to club bursar and Doctor Nikolaos Havredakis, the group was on their way back to a local tavern across the plateau when one of the cars had a flat tire. After repairing the flat and just as the car was preparing to set off again, its occupants suddenly found themselves face-to-face with a hooded man and a dog.

    Without any hesitation or warning, the unknown man suddenly emptied his rifle, which was armed with large shells, onto the car. The shots shattered the windscreen, while he also hit a woman passenger in the shoulder and injured one of her lungs. The attacker then disappeared while the occupants of the car were trying to help the injured woman.

    Havredakis called emergency services, gave the woman first aid and drove her to Vam, where she was picked up by an ambulance and taken to Hania Hospital. She is currently in an intensive care unit, where doctors say that she is out of danger.

    The Sfakia police department has initiated an inquiry to find the culprit.

    [17] Annual Red Cross hospitality program in its 11th year

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek Red Cross' 11th annual hospitality program for children from war-ravaged areas of the former Yugoslavia concludes on Tuesday.

    To date, some 14,000 families from around Greece have participated in the joint initiative (Greek and Serbian Red Cross organizations) since it first began. The 2004-05 program commenced on Dec. 20, with local families hosting children between eight and 15 years old.

    Visiting children will depart on Tuesday from the Athens rail terminal.

    For any last minute information, call the Red Cross at (210) 3621681 and 3615606.

    [18] Al-Jazeera's broadcast editor guest speaker at Athens University seminar

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    Dr. Yasser Thabet, Broadcast Editor of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Satellite Television, will be the guest speaker at a seminar on journalism ethics organized by the University of Athens' Department of Communications and Mass Media and the association of magazine and web editors ESPHT on January 11.

    Thabet holds an MA in journalism from the University of Wales' Centre for Journalism Studies and a PhD in journalism from Barrington University in Alabama.

    [19] Local gov't association expresses opposition to stadium proposal for Goudi site

    Athens, 04/01/2005 (ANA)

    The association of Attica prefecture municipalities and communities (TEDKNA) on Monday expressed its opposition to the prospect of a new football stadium being built at the Goudi site of east Athens.

    The site, along with land at coastal Helliniko vacated by the former airport, is being considered for a new football stadium by the Panathinaikos Athens club. Both large tracts of vacant land have repeatedly been touted over the years by local authorities and the central government as future "metropolitan parks" in the congested and densely populated greater Athens area.

    The Goudi site was formerly hosted a few military depots and warehouses off Katehaki Boulevard.

    Panathinaikos currently plays its home games in a small and antiquated pitch off Leoforos Alexandras Avenue, across from the general police headquarters of Attica and the Aghios Savvas hospital.

    A relevant TEDKNA letter has been addressed to Public Works and Town Planning Minister George Souflias expressing opposition to a stadium at Goudi.

    Athens' other major football club, AEK, has also been hampered over the past two years from beginning construction of a new stadium on the spot where its old one stood in the Nea Philadelphia district. Management woes, lack of guaranteed funding and, more importantly, court challenges by the current mayor in the district and several dozen local merchants, among others, have blocked construction of a new AEK facility.

    [20] Cypriots one of five missions of Doctors of the World in SE Asia

    Nicosia, 04/01/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot medical and paramedical staff is among many members of the international humanitarian organization Doctors of the World (DOW) who are in Southeast Asia, inoculating people and giving first aid.

    A DOW press release on Monday said that 34 doctors, nurses, psychologists and administrative staff from five different missions are in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Cyprus has sent five medics and paramedics to Galle, Sri Lanka as well as tones of medical supplies.

    French, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese medical staffs are also in Sri Lanka, working in different areas, hit by the strong earthquake and the huge tidal waves that have killed 150,000 people in the region and left thousands missing.

    DOW teams are trying to get a clearer picture of the tragedy that has struck Southeast Asia and have as their priorities in providing medical care and health living conditions to those in need.

    The press release appeals for donations with a view at buying the specific drugs that are needed to contain the risk of disease.

    Each mission has a separate fund and the local branch of the DOW distributes the funds collected directly to the people who need it.

    Drugs bought by the local branch of the DOW are delivered to the volunteers of the organization on site and then the Cypriot members of the DOW distribute the medical supplies or use them on site, according to the needs of the people in the area they are working in.

    The immediate needs call for mobile water cleansing machinery, inoculation, setting up camps and medical centers with one thing in mind as their priority - to save as many human lives as possible, the press release says.

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