|Tuesday, 4 August 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-01-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>January 17, 2005
 Inclement weather hits most of Greece, with rain, snow and gale-force winds
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)A heavy front of inclement weather struck Greece on Sunday, with snowfall in the eastern part of the country, rainstorms and gale-force winds. The weather conditions have caused problems in car circulation, requiring the use of show chains on tires in several parts of the country, while strong winds also caused a marine accident in the port of Lesvos island, fortunately with no injuries.
More specifically, snowfall was recorded in eastern Thessaly and Sterea (central) Greece, and even on high ground in Attica prefecture, while there were gale-force winds on the Aegean islands, and a ban was issued on ferry sailings from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina to the Cyclades, Aegean and Argosaronic Gulf islands, Crete and the Dodecanese. All ferry ports were also closed throughout Greece.
First snowfall of the year in Attica: Attica faced its first snowfall of the year, and the current winter, resulting in minor problems on high ground. Traffic police said snow chains were necessary for roads on Mt. Parnitha, from the Villia turn-off, and along the Athens-Thebes old national highway towards Villia.
Traffic circulation was closed from the Villia junction towards Psatha and Porto Germenos, due to thick fog, while there was also fog and strong wind in Penteli, although traffic conditions were normal there.
Snow was over a meter (foot) deep a few kilometers north of Lamia, and only cars with show chains were able to head towards Domikos, Amfissa and Karpenissi, while most of the rural road network in western Fthitis prefecture, Domikos and Amfiklia also required snow chains.
The inclement weather was also intense in the Peloponnese, characterized by snowfall, strong winds and low temperatures, while heavy snow has also covered the centre of Tripolis, although traffic was relatively normal as snow plows were working non-stop to clear up the roads.
Marine accident: A freighter ship, the "Arion", carrying 18 fuel tanker trucks, was swept by strong winds at noon on Sunday in the port of Mytiline (Lesvos island) as it was maneuvering to dock at the port. The Arion, with the right side of its stern, rammed into the left side of the bow of the freighter vessel "Panaghia Krimiotissa", which was anchored at port.
According to port authorities, the Arion's propeller dragged the Panaghia Krimniotissa's anchor changes, causing severe damage to the latter.
At present, efforts were being made to stabilize both freighters to avert their being swept out to the open sea by the strong winds. A tugboat was also on stand-by to move the Arion when the weather conditions permitted it.
 Turkish patrol boat violates Greek waters off Imia
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)A Turkish coast guard patrol boat on Saturday violated Greek territorial waters near the uninhabited Imia islets in the eastern Aegean, sources said.
A Hellenic Coast Guard vessel ordered the patrol boat to leave when it was spotted 500 miles off the easternmost Imia isle at 11:00 hours; but the Turkish vessel remained in Greek waters until 13:50 hours, the same sources said.
Officers of a Greek navy gunboat who monitored the incident will provide the foreign ministry with evidence.
The rocky Imia islets, located near the island of Kalymnos, sparked a crisis between the two countries in 1996 when Turkey disputed Greek sovereignty over the rocky outcrops, and by extension, over the area's territorial waters and continental shelf.
Later in the day, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said in a statement: "This type of behavior is handled by means of a consistent practice in line with the requirement - without exception - of respect for European principles and regulations."
 UN mediator on FYROM name issue to visit Skopje, local media says
Skopje 17/1/2005 (ANA/N. Fragopoulos)UN secretary general Kofi Annan's special mediator in the New York talks between Greece and FYROM on the FYROM name issue, Matthew Nimetz, will visit the FYROM capital of Skopje in the next few days for talks with the government regarding FYROM's positions and proposals on the issue, according to the local media.
According to the private television station A1 in Skopje, Nimetz decided to visit Skopje after the latest meeting between Greece's permanent ambassador to the UN, Adamantios Vassilakis, and FYROM ambassador to Washington DC, Nicolas Dimitrov, at the UN headquarters on Friday, which was mediated by Nimetz in the framework of the on-going dialogue aimed at finding a mutually acceptable solution to the FYROM name issue.
Diplomatic sources in FYROM, cited by the local media, said that during Friday's meeting Dimitrov had formally tabled a "dual name" proposal that provides for the use of FYROM's disputed constitutional name of "Republic of Macedonia" in its international contacts, and finding a mutually acceptable name for bilateral contact with Greece.
 Cypriot president to visit Greece
NICOSIA 17/1/2005 (ANA/G Leonidas)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos is to pay a two-day working visit to Greece starting on January 25, invited by the premier, his office said on Saturday.
On the first day of his trip, Papadopoulos is scheduled to hold talks on the current status of the Cyprus issue with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
 17 EU member countries to meet in Athens on EU resources and policies for 2007-2013
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)Representatives of 17 European Union member countries will meet in Athens on Monday to exchange views on the EU resources and policies to be financed by the EU for the 2007-2013 period.
The meeting, being held on the invitation of Greece's deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis, is the latest in a series of initiatives on the subject, according to a foreign ministry announcement.
Taking part in the meeting will be European Affairs deputy ministers and senior representatives from the 10 new EC member states, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, Finland and Greece.
During the sidelines of the working meeting on Monday, and also on Tuesday, Valinakis will have bilateral talks with his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and Portugal, the ministry announcement said.
 Deputy defense minister Michaloliakos reiterates gov't determination for transparency in all sectors
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)The government's determination for transparency in all sectors of public administration was stressed once again on Thursday by national defense deputy minister Vassilis Michaloliakos.
He also said that ONNED -- the ruling New Democracy party's youth organization -- was the spearhead of the fight against special interests.
"ONNED does not want a 'green' state dressed in 'blue' clothes," Michaloliakos said, addressing an event hosted by the ONNED branch for Arcadia prefecture, in the town of Tripolis, marking the 30th anniversary of the organization's establishment.
Michaloliakos said that the ND government had "inherited" corruption in all sectors of public administration from the preceding government, noting that, following his assumption of the post of national defense deputy minister, he had invalidated contracts, thus achieving a 50 percent reduction in costs, with the holding of new, open competitions.
Regarding imminent armaments programs, Michaloliakos reiterated the government's commitment to boost the domestic defense industry.
Referring to his years in ONNED, Michaloliakos, a former ONNED president, said that whatever he had done in the past and would do in the future, ONNED would remain the most important landmark in his life.
 Main opposition against farmers' blockades
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)A regional agricultural bureau of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) said on Saturday that it opposed farmers' road blockades with tractors and other extreme forms of protest as a means of improving sector conditions.
The bureau in Larissa, an agricultural area, issued the statement after a meeting with PASOK deputies from the prefecture of Thessaly.
Speakers also sharply criticized the government's farm policy, saying it was the first time that income from farm produce across the board had dropped.
Larissa farmers announced on Friday that that would stage rallies, accompanied by their tractors. In the past, protesting farmers have blockaded major highways.
 PM, finmin debate EU line on Greek deficit overrun
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Saturday discussed a possible European Union recommendation that the government should take extra measures to lower the country's fiscal deficit to below the bloc's ceiling of 3.0% of gross domestic product.
No statements were made after the meeting.
EU finance ministers are to meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the executive Commission's proposal for additional deficit-reduction measures in Greece.
Ministry sources said the government was hopeful that the EU would accept its pledge to lower the deficit over two years through the 2005 budget, and show understanding of a reluctance to adopt new measures.
The ministers were likely to ask the Commission to put forward a new proposal allowing more time for compliance, as EU authorities were showing more flexibility in alignment of national economic policies following disclosure that many member countries had breached the 3.0% ceiling, the sources added.
 Bourse authorities query rise in Pegasus stock
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)Athens bourse authorities have reportedly asked Pegasus Publishing SA to explain a surge in the company's stock in recent trading sessions.
In a letter to Pegasus, authorities pointed out that the sharp rise appeared to have been fuelled by market talk that the Bobolas family planned to sell the firm to entrepreneur Theodoros Angelopoulos.
The company's stock finished limit-up +(20%) in the week's last two trading sessions on the Athens Stock Exchange, to finish at 2.88 euros on Friday with 100,000 outstanding buy orders. The share has risen by 55.86% since the start of the year.
Also showing rises on Friday were two companies in which Pegasus holds a stake: Teletypos, up 9.71%; Aktor, up 9.40%; and Hellenic Technodomiki, up 10.11%.
Pegasus, whose holdings include the Ethnos and Imerissia daily newspapers, magazines, and a chunk of stock in Mega TV, is expected to reply before Monday's opening.
 Gov't wants unified store opening hours, not deregulation
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Saturday that the government was seeking a unified, national system of store opening and closing hours, not deregulation as critics have claimed.
"I want to clear up a major misunderstanding. The government has never talked of deregulation. Because deregulation would mean impunity," the minister told reporters during a visit to Crete.
"A country that wants to be modern can no longer have so many time schedules," the minister added.
 EU mayors meet in Paris, at Athens Mayor Bakoyannis proposal, to coordinate SE Asia relief efforts
Paris 17/1/2005 (ANA/O. Tsipira)An extraordinary meeting of mayors of the EU capitals and other cities worldwide was held in Paris on Saturday, at the proposal of Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis, to coordinate their action for aid to the earthquake and tsunami-stricken regions of SE Asia.
The meeting, attended by a total of 21 mayors, was also attended by a representative of the UN Secretary General responsible for humanitarian action, a European Commission representative, and representatives of local government organizations from the stricken regions.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, which was convened in a record 10 days following Bakoyannis proposal, the Athens mayor expressed satisfaction over the impressive response to her initiative on the party of her colleagues.
"We will remain in constant contact in order to coordinate our actions. It is an important start," she said, noting that there were immense problems in the region and that the situation was chaotic, which made the relief efforts difficult.
However, she continued, it was hoped that the mayors' initiative would have a specific and measurable outcome.
Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe said that the mayors' action was oriented first towards a listing the needs of the stricken areas by the Barcelona-based 'Cities and United Local Government' organization, in cooperation with the UN and the local government organizations of SE Asia, which would help in the coordination of the efforts.
He said that special priority would be placed on the children, in collaboration with UNICEF and the UN, with the aim of creating the appropriate infrastructures, such as schools and orphanages, to help rehabilitate the children into their environment.
At the same time, foster care for the children would also be encouraged. As Bakoyannis explained, foster care had nothing to do with adoption. With little money, she said, any citizens who so desired could undertake the care of a child who had lost its parents in the disaster.
Further, cooperation was also urged among cities and also between cities and communities, so that there could be consistent monitoring and organization of the services and infrastructures, such as providing potable water for all, medical care, and support for economic activity and professional assistance for light industries.
It is noted that Athens will take "under its protection" three villages in Sri Lanka.
The mayors also decided to set up a data bank to list the human potential in experts so that there could be immediate and effective confrontation in the event of future disasters.
Further, the ministers decided that all municipalities that had the practical ability would contribute the cost of lighting for one day to the stricken areas.
Asked where the money would be found for the materialization of the above goals, and particularly Athens' "adoption" of the three villages in Sri Lanka, Bakoyannis replied that the City of Athens has donated 50,000 euros, which would be forthcoming from its citizens.
"We Greeks have a surplus in humanitarianism and feelings. Greece's contribution is remarkable, as our country is the 7th in the world with respect to its contribution. This explosion of humanitarianism will have duration, I believe, and it also shows something else, which is perhaps the most hope-bringing message that arose from this meeting: that we are still a world of solidarity despite the problems and weaknesses appearing internationally, and that our peoples have a very deep sense of solidarity," Bakoyannis said.
"This," she added, "is the biggest hope for tomorrow".
The mayors will hold a follow-up meeting in the first half of June in Beijing.
 Greek cruise ship to Sri Lanka, carrying aid for tsunami victims
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)The Ocean Monarch, a cruise ship donated by Magestic International Cruises, is to set sail for Sri Lanka from the port of Piraeus within 48 hours, carrying six hundred tones of Greek aid for victims of the tsunami that hit southeastern Asia last month.
After a 14-day voyage, the vessel will dock in the port of Colombo to deliver food, clothing, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and drinking water, and then set sail for the northern harbor of Trinkomale where it will remain as floating clinic for two months.
A staff of 25 volunteers will perform surgery and offer a wide range of other medical and post-trauma counseling services to tsunami victims.
The voyage was arranged by the ministries of foreign affairs, employment and social protection, health and social support, defense, and merchant marine; by the Church of Greece; and by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The Red Cross has provided 10 volunteers and a surgeon aboard ship, and the merchant marine ministry five divers to handle safety. Also taking part are volunteers from NGOs, including Doctors of the World, the Greek Rescue Group, and the Church of Greece's Solidarity group.
Blessing the ship on Sunday before its voyage was Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who welcomed cooperation between church and state.
Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis told the ceremony that reprehensive of the United Nations and other world organizations were pleasantly surprised at the extent of Greek aid offered by the state and the public.
"Greece, in a concentrated, organized and unifying campaign, has once again sent a message to the whole world that it is present in international crises," Stylianidis said.
Also attending were the president of the Greek Red Cross, Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos, and representatives of the armed forces.
 'The Treasures of the Benaki Museum' exhibition to tour Australia from April 2005 to June 2006
Melbourne 17/1/2005 (ANA/S. Hatzimanolis)An exhibition titled "The Treasures of the Benaki Museum", with exhibits from the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, Byzantine and Modern Greek periods will tour Australia from April this year to June 2006, it was announced on Sunday.
The exhibition's tour of Australia is the result of contacts between the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, whose chairman is Greek-Australian Nikos Papanastasiou.
In 2,000 -- the year of the Sydney Olympic Games, the same museum hosted the archaeological exhibits sent by Greece's culture ministry and, last year, it in turn sent to Greece an exhibition of Aborigine art, which was hosted at the Benaki Museum in Athens.
The exhibition will be sent to Sydney in April, where it will remain at the Powerhouse Museum until the end of August. It will then move on to the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, where it will be on display from October 2005 to the end of January 2006, and from there to the Maritime Museum in the city of Freemantle, in western Australia, where it will remain until June 2006.
 Authorities punish two soccer clubs after fan violence
Athens, 17/1/2005 (ANA)Disciplinary authorities on Saturday slapped harsh penalties on soccer clubs Olympiakos Piraeus and Panionios following fan violence in which 14 policemen were hospitalized.
At the end of a two-day hearing, soccer's disciplinary panel deprived both clubs of three points and ruled that last Sunday's match would not be replayed. The two teams were ordered to play their next four home games behind closed doors.
In addition, Olympiakos was fined 300,000 euros and Panionios 100,000 euros.
Two fans arrested during last Sunday's violence were given a five-month suspended sentence and ordered to report to police before and after each match.
Olympiakos' chairman, Socrates Kokkalis, sharply criticized the penalties, saying authorities had no evidence that the clubs were responsible for the violence. He pledged to appeal the verdict.
 Cyprus Spokesman: Murder of T/Cs 'heinous'; has nothing to do with free areas
NICOSIA 17/1/2005 (CNA/ANA)Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides described as 'heinous' Saturday's murder of three Turkish Cypriots in the government controlled areas of the Republic, noting however that it appears the motives and differences were economic and have nothing to do with the free areas.
Fifty-two year old Elmas Ali Guzelyurtlu was found on Saturday morning in a ditch near his vehicle and his wife Zerrin, aged 50, and his 16-year-old daughter Ayce were in the backseat. All three had been shot from close range in the head.
Guzelyurtlu was a banker and businessman who had fled to the free areas in 2000 with his family after his bank collapsed during the financial crisis in the occupied areas.
Speaking Sunday on the sidelines of a gathering for the Cyprus Union of Journalists children for the New Year, Chrysostomides said it was a heinous crime, the motives of which appear to be financial and other and are related to differences which have nothing to do with the free areas.
The spokesman said the Cyprus police is doing everything possible to solve the case and if investigations need to be carried out in the Turkish occupied north of the island these will be done through the UN.
Meanwhile, Coroner Panicos Stavrianos was carrying out post mortems on the bodies of the three victims.
The murder predominated the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot press on Sunday, referring to Guzelyurtlu financial dealings.
Police Chief Tasos Panagiotou told the press Saturday night that initial investigations show that the culprits had originally aimed at abducting the victims. However, their plans had changed and they shot them on the side of the motorway.
 Israel's Ambassador says position on Cyprus remains unchanged
PAPHOS 17/1/2005 (CNA/ANA)The Israeli government's stance on the Cyprus problem remains the same, Israel's ambassador in Nicosia Zvi Cohen Litant has said.
In statements after meeting Friday Paphos Mayor Fidias Sarikas, Litant told CNA his country would like to give a chance for positive results with the election of Mahmoud Abbas to the Palestinian leadership.
Asked whether there will be any positive elements in the Middle East peace process with the election of Abbas as the new leader of Palestine, Litant said ''we would like very much to give it a chance and with the support of the international community we might see some positive elements and positive reaction towards the continuation of the peace process in our area''.
Litant said there is a new government in Israel, which aims to continue the peace process and to do everything possible to go forward. ''We do hope that the Palestinians will reciprocate and the first thing that they have to do is to fight all the different terrorist groups who are being obstacles to peace'', he said.
The Israeli diplomat referred to the ''unfortunate example'' on Thursday night when three suicide bombers attacked the Canny Passage to Gaza and six people were killed, adding ''we suffer every day, our villages and towns around Gaza, are suffering everyday from rockets and shattering grenades etc, and suicide bombers''.
The Israeli Ambassador expressed a hope that Abbas will be able to overcome these organizations and ''hopefully we should have a new government in the Palestinian Authorities with whom we can finalize this peace effort''.