|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 8, 2005
 Storms and strong winds cause extensive damage to Thassos, Kavala and Xanthi
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)The island of Thassos "is licking its wounds" following the heavy storms and strong easterly winds which swept the area on Saturday night through Sunday.
Up until Sunday afternoon, crews from Thassos municipality and men from the Fire-brigade tried to salvage 30 cars which were swept into the sea in the area of Limenaria. Some of them were salvaged.
The entire eastern part of Thassos is facing serious problems due to the inclement weather conditions which prevailed on the island. In region of Kallirahi, due to a landslide, traffic came due to a halt resulting for many hours at dawn the island being cut off in two.
For hours, the Fire brigade was trying to pump out water from basements and houses which were flooded but also to facilitate drivers to transfer their cars far from the flooded regions.
Thassos Mayor Constantine Kapolas said many animals drowned, trees were uprooted and destruction was caused to cultivation.
In Kavala, northern Greece, crews of the Kavala Prefecture and the Fire brigade were pumping out water from houses.
At noon, crews from the Kavala Prefecture opened a section of the mountainous road network towards Orinos prefecture, which was closed due to a landslide caused by the rain.
The damage was also significant in Drama where hail caused great damage to vineyards in Doxatos.
In the prefecture of Xanthi, the Toxotes-Xanthi rail link was disrupted due to floods and was restored at noon. However, the problem still remains at the bridge of Kosynthos river, which, as was made known by the Greek Railways Organization (OSE) will be restored early Monday morning.
The Xanthi Fire brigade throughout the day on Sunday received more than 80 calls for the pumping out of water from the flooded houses.
Heavy storms and hail follow heat wave: Serious problems were created in many regions of northern Greece due to heavy rainstorms and hail which followed a week-long heat wave throughout the country.
The storms began on Friday evening and were continuing through Saturday, while the rain was expected to move down to central Greece, the Cycladic islands and the Aegean and parts of the Attica region.
In the village of Kalhas in Komotini, northern Greece, a stream overflowed and the Fire brigade rescued six persons, who found refuge on the roofs of their homes, as well as 70 sheep.
In the prefecture of Halkidiki, the Fire brigade received 15 calls to pump out water from the city of Polygyros. In Nea Apollonia of Thessaloniki, a shepherd nearly lost his life when the stream overflowed by the gushing waters which swept in their way many of his goats which drowned.
Meanwhile, extensive damage was caused to many vineyards in Myrtofytou, in the municipality of Eleftheron due to heavy hail which struck the region.
The hail also damaged many agricultural vehicles, while minor damage was caused to the provincial road network of Eleftheron Municipality from the fall of trees.
The weather is expected to improve on Sunday.
 Voulgarakis says investigations to track down the arsonists of southern Attica 'are on a good road'
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, in an interview with the Sunday edition of "Vima" newspaper, said that the investigations to track down the arsonists of southern Attica "are on a good road."
Voulgarakis, having first praised the systematic coordination of the relevant authorities for the extinguishing of the last week's fire, said about the course of the investigations: "We are not at point zero.. We have, I believe, quite a good picture. We shall see...."
The public order minister announced the signing of a cooperation agreement with China, which will host the 2008 Olympic Games, "in an international environment, particularly fluid," with the purpose of exchanging experiences on security issues, in the course of his second visit to Beijing in September.
Referring to the new anti-terrorist law which will be tabled in Parliament, Voulgarakis called on the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) to be "responsible, above partisanship and to maintain a consistent stance, as did the New Democracy as opposition three years ago."
At the same time, Voulgarakis assured that the new measures will maintain the balance between security policies and the protection of individual rights.
Furthermore, referring to the Security Studies Centre, he observed: "Its operation does not only concern economic sizes and benefits. It is also connected with our country's image abroad and the role it can play as a nucleus of security and development in the broader region."
Finally, commenting on the election of a candidate mayor who garners 42 percent from the first Sunday, Voulgarakis said its safeguards the credibility of the system and rids the citizens of the hassle of them going successively to the ballot box.
 PASOK leader Papandreou on EU-Turkish relations and national issues
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, in an interview to the Sunday edition of the "Vima" newspaper, said that at the EU summit last December, "the government lost the opportunity for a safe framework and road map for Euro-Turkish relations to be formed, in combination with the issues of our own particular interest." He said "We had repeatedly warned about this."
Papandreou said that "in reality the opportunity was lost because the effort and a strategy of years was abandoned."
He added: "We see the results today, in front of a dilemma for Greece and Cyprus to stop Turkey's European course, which for us constitutes a decisive choice, or for this course to be supported, having accepted adverse faits accomplis. I stress that nobody can overlook the fact that Cyprus is a full and equal member of the European Union and Turkey is a candidate country. These roles cannot be ignored and more so overturned. With this as a fact, the government is obliged to organize its diplomatic moves in the time ahead of us. With specific goals, initiative and diplomatic mobility in every direction. It is obliged to simply stop watching the developments as a spectator and a non-participant third party, a stance which until today only causes damage to the country."
 Papandreou calls for 'transparency everywhere and for all'
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, in an interview with the Sunday edition of the "Proto Thema" newspaper, called for "transparency everywhere, transparency for all and social accountability."
Papandreou said: "This is my position. This is the position of PASOK. This is what the Greek citizen wants, who demands new ethics in politics. It is self-understood that the declarations of the source of income of politicians must be complete and precise, and must be checked thoroughly, for the protection of the politicians themselves and of politics. Within the framework of the proposal of eight points for transparency which I have tabled many months ago, this crucial issue is included very specifically. But the New Democracy government, as usual, is playing deaf. The social accountability requires for all the data and their checks to be made public."
 Papandreou expresses condolences over death of former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, in a telegram to the wife of former British Foreign Secretary and former President of the European Socialist Party, Robin Cook, expressed his "sorrow and sincere condolences" over Cook's death and stressed "his particular contribution to the European and international political scene."
 Kefaloyiannis: Gov't' subsidy for building of new ships for routes to boarder and peripheral islands
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)The building of new ships for routes to the boarder and peripheral islands will solve the problems of the type "Rodandi" and "Romilda", Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said in an interview to the Sunday edition of "Eleftherotypia".
Kefaloyiannis stressed that for the withdrawal of the "old" ships which is enforced by Greek legislation, following the "Samina" tragedy, Greece is threatened by the European Union with referral to the European Court if it persists on their withdrawal, due to the age limit of 35 years.
The minister also said that the government is subsiding the building of news ships for the boarder and peripheral islands, with a loan of three billion euros which it secured from the European Investments Bank. He said that under consideration ifs the institution of special privileges with the granting of free tickets for the transport of inhabitants of boarder and peripheral islands. He added that "passenger traffic this year has increased by 30 per cent," and stressed that in the months of July and August 2.5 million passengers will leave from the port of Piraeus to the islands.
Shipping services ran smoothly on Sunday; Kefaloyiannis inspects port of Piraeus: The shipping services are proceeding normally since Sunday morning from and to the port of Piraeus, while delays occurred on certain routes on Saturday,
Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Sunday afternoon inspected the country's main port and was briefed by the harbor master and other port officials, especially these past few days when passenger traffic was increased due to the summer holidays.
On Saturday there were long-hour delays on the routes operated by the ferries "Dimitroula", "Romilda" and "Zakinthos".
Meanwhile, as announced by the Merchant Marine Ministry, by decision of Kefaloyiannis the fine imposed for lack of timely briefing of passengers by shipping companies for delays in departures and arrivals of ships will be tripled.
According to the same announcement, the fines which have been imposed only by the Piraeus Port Authority to shipping companies and shipping agents for the non-briefing of passengers for delays by ships, amount to 528,247 euros.
Kaklamanis says 18,000 people will be employed in hospitals during ND's term in office
Minister of Health and Social Solidarity Nikitas Kaklamanis, in an interview with the Sunday edition of "Chora" newspaper, said that at least 18,000 people will be employed in hospitals as permanent staff, during the New Democracy (ND) party's four-year term in power.
Kaklamanis announced tenders in late September for the building of three hospitals. Among them are the National Centre for Transplants which will have 200-250 beds. The second concerns the building of a hospital in Athens with 700 beds, in place of a corresponding old hospital, and the third is the Thessaloniki Pediatric Hospital with 500 beds.
He clarified that the new hospitals will be incorporated in the National Health System (ESY), and the citizens, through their insurance funds, will have free access to them.
Finally, he termed as an "innermost desire" his candidacy as mayor of Athens, reiterating that he will discuss the issue with the prime minister, following final decisions of current mayor Dora Bakoyannis.
 SYN on designs for privatization of Olympic Airlines
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) on Saturday attributed responsibility to the governments of the New Democracy and of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement over designs for the privatization of Olympic Airlines, in response to press reports regarding the procedure for the sale of the company.
"In essence ND and PASOK are exerting pressure these past few years for the country to surrender from a national air transport policy."
Synaspismos, having evaluated that the approval of the memorandum places in the final stretch the privatization of Olympic Airlines, reiterated its proposal for a broad democratic and national dialogue to be held.
 Trawler with illegals runs aground south of Crete
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)A 15-metre-long trawler, with 126 illegal immigrants and crew aboard, was located at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, grounded in the gulf of Platia Peramata, between the region of Lenta and Kalon Limenon, south of Crete.
Searches began immediately on land and sea by Harbor Authority officials, police officers and volunteers, who, with the help of ropes managed to disembark 125 of the 126 people to the shore, while one of them, in his effort to abandon the vessel which later sank, drowned.
The illegal immigrants and the crew were transferred to the village of Atiskari, are well in health, and are temporarily hosted in a primary school.
The illegal immigrants declare that they are Egyptians, Pakistanis and from Bangladesh, while the investigations are continuing by ships of the Harbor Corps and an Air Force helicopter for the location of any other survivors.
 Turkish driver arrested for transporting three illegal immigrants
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)A Turkish car driver was arrested on Sunday by border guards in Lavara, Didymotiho, northern Greece for illegally transporting three fellow-countrymen illegal immigrants into the country.
The Turkish trafficker had entered Greece legally from the border post Kypon, Evros and latter picked up the illegal immigrants, with the purpose, for pay, to advance them to the interior of the country.
All the arrested will appear before the Orestiada public prosecutor.
 Orfanos on Greece's undertaking of int'l athletic events, start of new soccer season
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)Deputy Culture Minister for Sport, in statements to the radio station SuperSport on Saturday, referred to the undertaking of the 2006 World Athletics Cup in Athens and the European Cup (B' group A' category men/women) which will be held the same year in Thessaloniki.
He noted that the success of the 2004 Olympic Games showed confidence in Greece worldwide, hence the hosting of these major events by the country in 2006.
Thessaloniki is also bidding for the Euro 2012 and the Mediterranean Games in 2013.
Orfanos also referred to the new 2005-2006 Greek First Division soccer season, expressing optimism that "we will see a better spectacle."
 Roussopoulos comments on IOC's decision for annual int'l throwing events at Ancient Olympia
Athens, 8/8/2005 (ANA)Greece, utilizing on the basis of an integrated plan its upgraded image, is responding with success the challenges of the times and to the high expectations of the international community and is becoming an international centre for sport and culture, Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Sunday.
Roussopoulos was commenting on the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the hosting of annual international throwing events (shot-put, hammer-throw, discus, javelin) at the Ancient Stadium in Olympia.
Roussopoulos said that the decision vindicates the systematic efforts made for the utilization of the heritage left by the 2004 Olympic Games.
 Cyprus desires friendly relations with US administration
PAPHOS 8/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)The government of Cyprus desires to have friendly relations with the US administration, Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrystotomides has said, expressing hope that the US government will convince its citizens, influenced by other decision-making centers, to stop visiting Cyprus Turkish-occupied areas through an illegal point of entry.
He reiterated that the Cypriot government makes every effort so that the international community will recognize the illegality of the 1974
Turkish invasion and the fact that the Republic of Cyprus is a sovereign state which is entitled to determine its legal ports of entry.
He said the team of members of the US Congress and Senate staff which will pay an illegal visit to the occupied areas is funded by private organizations.
''The fact that this flight is conducted after a private initiative reduces the political significance of this action,'' the spokesman added, noting however that this action still dissatisfies the Cyprus government.
Commenting on press reports that US members of the Congress and Senate are bribed by Turks and Turkish-Americans to defend Turkish interests, Chrysostomides said there may be some fundings, adding however that ''we must not forget that the US is a country governed by the rule of law.''
He said he could not confirm relevant press reports and that the Cyprus government was looking into this issue.