|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 12, 2005
 Tourism sector performing well, Tourism Minister says
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)Minister of Tourism Development Dimitris Avramopoulos said that the Greek tourism sector is in good shape in comments he made after briefing Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the sector's performance during the 2005 summer period on Thursday morning.
The positive results, according to Avramopoulos, are due to the comprehensive strategy and planning adopted and executed, while preparations for next year are already under way.
According to the ministry and based on information gathered from international and independent authorities, tourist arrivals to Greece in 2005 are expected to rise by more than 10% in comparison with 2004.
Avramopoulos says that this is the result of prompt preparations and a targeted advertising campaign.
The ministry is planning on launching the advertising campaign for 2006 early in order to continue improving performance.
However, he did emphasize that more needs to be done by way of radical changes aimed at upgrading the quality of Greek tourism and said that the ministry is cooperating with the private sector in this direction.
Finally, among the ministry's immediate priorities is draft legislation regarding spa/wellness tourism. The bill will most probably be tabled in Parliament in September.
 Karamanlis briefed by ND sec't; Meimarakis refers to local gov't election change
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday received ruling New Democracy party's secretary, Vangelis Meimarakis, for talks focusing directly on the premier's upcoming address at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) as well as local government issues -- the latter just more than a year before scheduled municipal and prefectural elections.
Asked by reporters afterwards about the prospect of mayoral candidates being elected in the first round with 42 percent or more of the vote -- a proposal that has emerged on the political landscape over the past few months -- Meimarakis reminded that ND's pre-election positions plainly cited the prospect of a first-round election with less than 50 percent of the vote.
In backing the idea for such an electoral change, the high-profile ND secretary and deputy said it moves towards a more representational system and precludes "political deals" in the second round.
Finally, Meimarakis said it was inconceivable that a mayor cannot wield power with a 41 or 42-percent backing by voters when central governments in the country deal with much more complex and serious issues after winning elections with the same percentages.
Reactions: In a later reply to Meimarakis' statements, a main opposition PASOK spokesman said every party and local government entity, including the ND-affiliated mayors of the largest municipalities in the country, oppose the electoral change.
Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis also called on the government to clearly state its position on whether it will pursue such a change ahead of next year's local elections, while reiterating PASOK's opposition to the proposal.
On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) again expressed its support for the establishment of a simple representational system in local government polls to elect municipal and prefectural councils, with mayors and prefects subsequently elected by a council majority. Moreover, KKE ruled out any discussion, by its cadres, over the proposal.
Finally, a Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party spokesman charged that ruling ND was "tailoring an election suit to fit its needs, and in general, to fulfill the needs of a two-party system..."
 Cyprus' Papadopoulos on working visit to Athens on August 18 ahead of EU's decision regarding Turkey's negotiating framework
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos will be coming to Athens on a working visit on August 18, his office announced on Thursday.
The Cypriot President is visiting Greece following recent developments surrounding the Cyprus issue and ahead of the European Council meeting scheduled for August 25 when the European Union will respond to Turkey's refusal to recognize the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus although it signed the protocol extending its customs union to the 10, new EU members including Cyprus on July 29.
Papadopoulos will meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at 12:30 p.m. A working lunch will follow.
 Cyprus' FM does not preclude cooperation with Athens ahead of EU decision regarding Turkey's accession negotiation framework
NICOSIA 12/8/2005 (ANA/A.Viketos)Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiorgos Iakovou did not preclude the possibility of a high-level meeting between Athens and Nicosia to coordinate strategy ahead of the European Union's decision regarding the negotiation framework for Turkey's accession, in statements he made during a press conference here on Thurs-day.
Iakovou told reporters that Greece and Cyprus are in constant and close cooperation, but refused to comment on the possibility of a visit either by President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos to Athens in August or a visit by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Nicosia.
Instead, Cyprus' foreign minister said that the government spokesman will make the announcement if and when such a visit is decided upon.
However, according to sources in Athens, Papadopoulos will be visiting Greece next week for talks with the country's political leadership.
According to the same sources, the Greek premier may also visit Cyprus.
 Papoulias to attend several Epirus event during three-day weekend
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will visit the Pogoniani district near his hometown of Ioannina, NW Greece, over the weekend to participate in an annual reunion of local residents.
On Monday, during the Feast of the Virgin religious holiday, Papoulias will travel to the Molyvdoskepasti Monastery, near the mountainous town of Konitsa.
Finally, on Tuesday the Greek president will visit the village of Kommeno, Arta prefecture, to participate in an annual memorial service in remembrance of the community's destruction during WWII.
 Economy ministry urges more efforts to boost economic growth
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)"We are moving in a satisfactory course which means that progress in a reform program would further benefit the economy," Greece's Economy and Finance ministry said in a report on Thursday.
A ministry report stressed that the government should not ease back since problems needed alertness while it urged for more efforts and cooperation between government ministries to achieve their goals.
The Economy and Finance ministry said its policy priorities for the rest of the year were promoting joint ventures between public and private sectors, a new operating framework for public enterprises, a dialogue over the country's pension system and drafting a new national growth program for the period 2007-2013.
The ministry report also called for more efforts to ensure a more efficient use of the public sector's real estate assets, more privatizations (including a flotation of Post Savings Bank and the Athens Airport), a stricter control of public spending and combatting bureaucracy.
 Olympic Airlines announces fuel surcharge on its fares
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)Olympic Airlines on Thursday announced a surcharge on its fares in an effort to counterbalance part of additional cost due to rising fuel prices.
International oil prices surged to new all-time highs on Thurs-day, surpassing 65 US dollars per barrel.
Olympic Airlines said, starting Monday 22 August, its domestic flights' fare would be six euros higher, excluding flights to remote Greek islands, while, starting Tuesday 16 August, all intercontinental flights (New York, Montreal, Toronto, Johannesburg) will be 8 euros more expensive per trip.
The Greek national carrier, in an announcement, noted that it did not put a fuel surcharge on its domestic fares for almost a year.
 Peach farmers suspend road blockade after new price offer
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)Peach growers on Thursday suspended a blockade of a key northern highway after canning industries made a fresh offer on wholesale prices.
Canneries agreed to buy peaches from farmers at 0.20 euros a kilo after originally offering to pay 0.19 euros against a farmers' demand of 0.23 euros.
Farmers dismantled their barricade on a national road linking the northern port city of Thessaloniki to Edessa but vowed to press for an industry purchase price of 0.22 euros during talks with the government on Wednesday.
 Greek stocks ease on profit taking
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)Greek stocks eased slightly on Thursday as investors took early profits after Wednesday's sharp advance in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The composite index ended 0.42 percent lower at 3,309.62 points with turnover a moderate 174.7 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.32 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.45 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.24 percent lower.
The IT and Mining-Cement sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (1.0 pct and 0.91 pct, respectively), while the Base Metals and Publications sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (0.89 pct and 0.73 pct, respectively).
 Alternate culture minister on utilization of the Olympic installations
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)Alternate Culture Fani Palli-Petralia, in an announcement on Thursday on the occasion of the first anniversary since the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, referred to the work which has been done to the present on the handling and maintenance of the Olympic installations.
As noted by the alternate culture minister, the Olympic installations have already returned to the central government and the long-term plan for their utilization is being implemented by the government.
She noted that the law for the utilization of the Olympic installations has been passed, while already, the greatest part of the portable property of the Olympic Games has been delivered.
Palli-Petralia said that Greece has set a world record: the Olympic installations returned from the Organizing Committee to the central government in six months, while in Sydney, which hosted the 2000 Olympic Games, it needed up to two years for the Olympic installations to be delivered to it and for the effort for their utilization to start. In Barcelona, 12 months were needed.
 Evros River water level recedes
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)The water level of the Evros River in northeast Greece on Thursday reached the 5.26 meter-mark, slightly below the emergency limit of 5.7 meters.
However, a dike in Pythio gave way resulting in the flooding of 3,000 stremmata (1 stremma is equivalent to 1,000 square meters) of fields.
Additionally, the rail connection between Orestiada and Dikaia continues to be out of order as a result of flooded tracks. The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) has commissioned buses to service passengers.
Torrential rains in Bulgaria last week led to the rising water level of the Evros River.
 Tatoulis tours museums, archaeological sites on Lesvos
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis arrived on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Wednesday for a tour of several of the island's archaeological sites and museums. Tatoulis was at the head of a delegation of culture ministry officials, deputies elected from the large island and local government officials.
 Authorities consider alternative shelter for 98 illegals rescued off Crete
Athens, 12/8/2005 (ANA)Authorities in Hania prefecture of Crete on Thursday continued to consider the best possible temporary shelter for 98 illegal immigrants rescued off a fishing trawler late Wednesday evening.
Hotel occupancy in the prefecture was reported at near 100 percent, whereas police precincts in the surrounding area were also judged as unsatisfactory, leaving only a building in a local municipality as the only option for their temporary shelter.
According to media reports the same day, police noted that the migrants were headed for Italy before their vessel issued a distress warning while sailing south of the large Greek isle. Additionally, authorities believe the 98 illegals are mostly Egyptian nationals and not Palestinians, as they initially claimed.
Three Ukrainian nationals, meanwhile, have reportedly been charged with migrant smuggling in the case.
According to reports, the entire group is expected to be transferred to a shelter near Lavrio, southeast of Athens.
Skipper of trawler carrying illegals held in custody: The skipper of a trawler carrying 119 illegal immigrants which ran aground in Platia Peramata, southern Crete, at dawn on Saturday, was held in custody on Thursday after giving testimony to the Iraklion public prosecutor. One of the illegals was drowned in his attempt to abandon the vessel which finally sank.
The man denied he was the skipper and said he was one of the illegal immigrants and had paid 1,000 euros to reach Italy.
Six of the crew of the vessel were held in custody on Wednesday.
 ICAO position on illegal flights to occupied areas remains unchanged
NICOSIA 12/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)The position of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as far as Cyprus is concerned has not changed and the organization continues to follow the UNÔs policy on
Cyprus, its President Assad Kotaite has said, adding the illegal airport at Turkish occupied Tympou is not included in the list of international airports.
According to an official statement, in a reply letter dated 9th August to Cyprus' ambassador to Washington and the island's representative to ICAO Evripidis Evriviades, Kotaite stressed that all members of ICAO should act according to the existing conditions of safety for international flights as they have been set out by the organization.
He said that according to the Regional Air Navigation Plan (European region), the Nicosia Air Traffic Control Centre is responsible for the entire Nicosia FIR.
In his letter, Evriviades had referred to the illegal flights of Azeri planes to the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus last month.
Kotaite's position has been repeated in an earlier letter to Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou.