|Monday, 20 May 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-07-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 18 July 2007 Issue No: 2647
 Inner Cabinet discusses new framework for research and technologyThe new institutional framework for research and technology, to be tabled shortly in parliament, was approved by the Inner Cabinet on Tuesday during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
The draft law constitutes one of the most major reforms promoted by the new governance, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas told reporters after the meeting. Sioufas was the draft law's sponsor, together with Education Minister Marietta Yannakou and Deputy Minister of Development Yannis Papathanasiou.
The objective is to make Greece competitive in the knowledge economy, improve its performance and keep abreast with international developments on research and technology, Sioufas said, adding that the draft law focuses on innovation issues, invests in knowledge and research, and allows for the optimum utilization of the country's scientific minds.
The draft law on research is based on three axes: the promotion of cooperation programmes among universities, research centers and major organizations (national and international); research incentives for scientists and innovators; and promotion of new technology entrepreneurship.
Sioufas said that the key to making up for lost time and limiting the system's weaknesses is cooperation among universities, research centers and the business community.
Education Minister Yannakou referred to the close cooperation with the ministry of development over the past two years, and stressed that the draft law on research and technology upgrades the role of the ministry of education while offering an opportunity for optimum utilization of domestic and foreign scientific minds.
 New Europe Review publishes Bakoyannis' interviewThe New Europe Review published in its latest edition an interview by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, according to a ministry press release on Tuesday.
Bakoyannis notes that European Union member-states should speak "with a single voice" in order to deal with international and regional problems. The minister also presents Greece's positions on the European Treaty, Kosovo and Turkey.
 Government, PASOK comment on deaths at Perama shipyardReplying to questions regarding the deaths of two workers at the Perama shipyards, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday underlined the increased frequency of precautionary inspections ordered under the present government.
"When we have two deaths we cannot pretend not to hear. But, an institutional framework for protection was created and is being observed. As an example, there was a recent ministerial decision that made daily inspections mandatory. As a result, there were 482 precautionary inspections carried out in the first six months of 2007 - more than one a day, in other words - work on ships was interrupted 50 times and high fines were imposed in 19 cases," Roussopoulos said.
An announcement along similar lines was issued by Deputy Employment Minister Gerassimos Giakoumatos, who said that an order making increasing inspections to one a day was issued in October 2006, whereas under previous rules inspections were only carried out twice a week.
"We proved with actions but also changes to the law that we respect the toil of the worker, strengthening the inspection framework and the observance of hygiene and safety measures, introducing for this purpose constant inspections in a particularly sensitive and dangerous area, such as the Perama shipyard zone," the minister said.
According to the announcement, the tanker "Alicia Craig" had been inspected on July 11-12 and had presented a certificate that it was "gas free" but not in the areas where the tragic incident took place. The inspection team had found problems in the ship's safety measures and had given stern warnings to those responsible to comply.
A four-member team from the Labour Inspectors' Corps was at the site of the accident from the start in order to find out the conditions under which it occurred, the announcement added.
According to main opposition PASOK spokesman Petros Efthymiou, however, the accident revealed a "breakdown in the fundamental functioning of the state".
He particularly slammed the statements made by Giakoumatos regarding the accident in Perama, especially a reference to the late PASOK politician George Gennimatas who had introduced the twice-weekly inspections at the shipyards.
Stressing that Gennimatas' measures were "the first major step in specifying policies for inspection and to ensure conditions of labour, life and health for workers," he also referred to measures introducing daily, systematic inspections by the Labour Inspection by then labour minister Miltiadis Papaioannou in 1998.
He also accused ruling New Democracy of opening the way for more accidents by scrapping a register of firms involved in ship building and repairs.
 State services responded well to Hymettus fire, Roussopoulos saysQuestioned about the forest fire that broke out next to the Hymettus orbital highway and Kareas ring road the previous day, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday stressed that state services had responded quickly and in a well-coordinated way.
Replying to criticism about "differing estimates" regarding the extent of the damage caused by the fire, meanwhile, he said that the number of fires was announced by the fire brigade with press releases.
He also rejected claims that fire-engines had been prevented from reaching the fire by the measures imposed by traffic police, saying that such a charge was "unfitting".
"It is obvious that there was heavy traffic on Katechaki yesterday, which was made worse as a result of the fire, so one can appreciate the problems that arose," he added.
About the fate of the burnt forest, Roussopoulos stressed that "the assurances given by the prime minister absolutely hold. Of course, it remains to prove them in practice and this will be proved." He was responding to a question pointing out that the Church and the Vyronas muncipality intended to raise large buildings in the burnt areas.
Responding to criticism that arsonists appeared to have a free run to do as they pleased, the spokesman said that it was impossible to post a policeman every 20-50 metres along a road, especially when three fires broke out simultaneously in the middle of the day along a busy highway.
He also noted that the government was waiting for the results of an investigation into whether the fires were the result of arson.
To a question on the results of a VPRC poll, in which 63 percent of those asked said the government bore responsibility for the delay in dealing with the Parnitha fire, the spokesman remarked only that it was an "interesting poll, whose results we will study".
At the same time, he called for "sensitivity by all" and stressed that fire was not something that concerned only the government of the time or the state generally.
 Roussopoulos comments on planned measures for opinion pollsReporting on the results of an inner cabinet meeting on Tuesday, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos referred to a draft bill on research and technology but also to a draft bill that he presented himself concerned with measures for holding opinion polls.
"This draft bill will be tabled in Parliament within the week," Roussopoulos told reporters, noting that it included a series of measures that did not exist before that were designed to make opinion polls on political issues, which were linked with elections and referenda, work in the best possible way.
As an example, he said that the new institutional framework allowed opinion polls throughout a government's four-year term but that the data must be collected using a specific sample that was not less than 1,000 people. Research firms were also obliged to list the data, the methods used to collect this, the way that an intention to vote or statement of vote was recorded (e.g. exit poll), the questionnaire used, the identity of the poll and the company's registration number with the National Radio and Television Council (ESR).
According to the spokesman, the final word will rest with the ESR, while companies conducting opinion polls will be obliged to observe the framework of criteria set up by the international union ESOMAR.
Regarding the final stage before elections, Roussopoulos said that the publication of opinion poll would be forbidden in the last 15 days before an election so that the voters would not be influenced as they arrived at the ballot box.
In addition, companies will be obliged to submit all the data from their surveys to Parliament's Institutions and Transparency Committee once a year and this would then be posted on the Internet at the end of the year by the General Secretariat for Information and Communication.
The draft bill will also introduce stiff penalties for those violating the law, including prison sentences of up to six months and fines ranging from 30,000-300,000 euros.
Commenting on the draft bill for research and technology approved by the inner Cabinet on Tuesday, meanwhile, Theodoros Roussopoulos stressed that this was an area that the government considered very important.
"We want it to work more efficiently within universities and in the area of research, because this is the major wager of our time," Roussopoulos said.
 Common EU position on FYROM to be presented TuesdayBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/B.Demiris)
The European Union-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Association Council will convene here next Tuesday with the Portuguese Presidency presenting the common position adopted by the 27 member-states.
The common text, which will be presented to FYROM's foreign minister, contains positive references to the Greek positions regarding the neighbouring country.
The EU common position notes, among other things, that the Council encourages Skopje to maintain good neighbourly relations, asking for FYROM's steadfast commitment for cooperation with all its neighbours and to avoid actions which could influence negatively good neighbourly relations.
Furthermore, the Council, noting that no progress has been achieved regarding the pending issue of FYROM's name, calls on the Skopje government to deploy new efforts by adopting a constructive approach for the finding of a mutually acceptable solution under the UN auspices, thus contributing to regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations.
The text also reiterates that regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations constitute an important part of the process leading to EU partnership.
 Papandreou points to 'complete breakdown' in certain state functionsMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday referred to what he called a complete "breakdown in certain crucial state functions", amid a barrage of wildfires in the country this month and while speaking before his party's Parliamentary council.
Papandreou, the former foreign minister, said the lacklustre response, as he charged, to the fires stems from a perception by the ruling New Democracy government that the state is ripe for "plunder".
The PASOK leader further charged that the recent wildfires reveal a lack of prevention, planning and coordination, while charging that the government is "identified" with an attack on the social state and public domain.
He also referred to a personnel shortage in the fire brigade, lack of meritocracy and "persecutions" based on political affiliation.
Turning to other issues - as the session mostly focused on matters falling within the interior and public administration ministry's portfolio - Papandreou decried what he called the under-funding and "collapse" of all levels of education; the skyrocketing of private health care costs for the average family and a "complete failure" of the government's economic policy.
In other matters, Papandreou reiterated his accusation that the government's has a "hidden agenda" involving social security reforms, while outlining PASOK's position in favour of granting eligible expatriate Greeks the right to vote in the nationwide tally, without the votes, however, counting towards the election of deputies in specific voting precincts.
Other issues up for discussion at the PASOK parliamentary council included developments in Turkey and Cyprus.
 Papandreou visits Kyrkos in hospitalMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou visited veteran leftist politician Leonidas Kyrkos in hospital earlier on Tuesday.
Leaving the hospital, Papandreou stated that he wanted to express his support to a very good friend and was happy to see that the course of his health is positive, according to his attending doctors.
Kyrkos was admitted to Alexandra Hospital in Athens on Sunday after suffering a heart attack.
 Government comments on decision in DEKA caseCommenting on a court's decision to stop prosecution against seven former board members of the Public Securities Company (DEKA) because the statute of limitations had expired, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday noted that there was no reason for PASOK to gloat.
"The substance of the case was not judged. What was judged was its writing off that was defined by a law passed by PASOK and concerns political figures," he pointed out.
The spokesman said he had no information on whether a procedure to reverse the decision on the DEKA case might be begun, pointing out that these were initiated by justice.
The three-member criminal appeals court in Athens on Monday ruled in favor stopping the prosecution against DEKA's former board members based on the statute of limitations after the start trial had been repeatedly postponed over the past year for various reasons.
The seven defendants faced a repeat trial on charges of breach of faith, compounded by laws on embezzlement of public funds.
The seven were accused of using DEKA funds from March until April 2000 to purchase large quantities of blue-chip stocks in largely state-controlled enterprises, such as the National Bank of Greece (NBG), Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and others, in order to drive up the Athens stock market in the run-up to the 2000 general elections, incurring significant losses for DEKA when share prices on the Greek bourse later slumped.
An appeals court ruling one year ago had allowed the accused to walk away from the charges by converting them to misdemeanours, for which the statute of limitations had expired, on the grounds that DEKA was a societe anonyme company with legal autonomy from the state.
This decision was later reversed by the Supreme Court, however, which found it was based on a misinterpretation and wrongly applied statutes concerning embezzlement of state assets, since DEKA's property was simultaneously the property of the Greek State.
 KKE SG Papariga presents proposals for protection of forestsCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga in a press conference on Tuesday presented proposals for the protection of forests from fires which are due mainly to arson.
The proposals include:
- For all the anti-forest laws to be abolished. The reforestation to include all the burnt expanses and not only those which have formally been described as forest regions.
- For forests to pass to public ownership, in contrast to ownership by companies and by the Church, evn through expropriations.
- For the abolition of all decisions which were taken for certain major projects which block free earth which can be converted to greenery.
- For the New Democracy (ND) party laws 998 of 1979 and of PASOK's in 1987 to be declared as damaging and to be abolished.
- For the executive law of 2003 to be considered harmful and which is being implemented by the ND. For ND's anti-forestry constitutional reform to stop.
- Particularly for Parnitha, the status of the National Forest to also include the broader region at Tatoi.
 SYN's Alavanos visits IkariaCoalition of the Left (SYN) president Alekos Alavanos criticized the government policy on maritime transport speaking on the island of Ikaria on Tuesday, on the fourth day of his tour of Samos Prefecture, eastern Aegean.
The government's maritime transport policy has suffered a shipwreck in the Aegean, said Alavanos, adding that it has unconditionally surrendered to ship-owners as a result of the new monopoly created in the coastal shipping sector and the overpriced ticket fares.
Alavanos called for state supervision in the sector of maritime transport, pointing out that special attention should be given to remote islands.
The SYN president met earlier on Tuesday with local authorities on Ikaria and attended celebrations commemorating the 95th anniversary of the island's liberation from the Ottoman Turks.
On Wednesday, he is scheduled to visit the Ikaria Hospital and meet with management and personnel, while later in the evening he will address a gathering in Aghios Kirikos and early on Thursday will depart for Athens.
 Eurobarometer finds majority of Greeks against globalisationBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
The latest Eurobarometer survey has Greek respondents at the top of the EU's list of most negative citizens regarding globalisation, as the poll found that a mere 29 percent of Greek respondents view globalisation as positive, as opposed to 82 percent of Danish respondents who view globalisation as beneficial -- the highest percentage of any of the EU member-states.
According to the 67th Eurobarometer survey, one out of two Greek respondents believes globalisation will lead to the relocation of companies to countries with a cheap workforce.
Conversely, 73 percent said they viewed competitiveness as a positive force, while 54 percent said they also view reforms as positive.
 Complaint filed against Ecumenical Patriarch for using his titleISTANBUL (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas)
A Turk of Bulgarian descent has filed a complaint with an Istanbul public prosecutor against Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I for continuing to use the title "Ecumenical", according to reports by the Turkish media on Tuesday.
The charge was filed by one Bujidar Cipov, who said that the Patriarch was "in violation of his religious obligations" and was in defiance of a Turkish Supreme Court ruling which said that his role was confined to representing the small Greek Orthodox community in Turkey.
According to Cipov, the Patriarch was "setting himself above the law and scorning Turkish justice and constitutional institutions".
Legal circles said the public prosecutor has not acted on the complaint, apart from giving the report a protocol number.
Cipov is apparently an associate of the man who originally initiated court action against Patriarch Bartholomew and other members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Holy Synod because they removed him from the Bulgarian community's church and then from the priesthood.
He lost a trial where he contested the Ecumenical Patriarchate's jurisdiction over the Bulgarian Orthodox community in a lower court in Istanbul and an appeal before the Supreme Court in Ankara but, in reasoning attached to its judgement, the Turkish Supreme Court rejected the request but found that the Lausanne Treaty had stripped the Patriarchate in Istanbul of its ecumenical status.
According to the traditions of the Orthodox Church, which is made up of a number of autonomous and independent patriarchates, the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul enjoys the status of the "first among equals" and enjoys a spiritual rather than administrative or political primacy among them.
 Papoulias receives WWF-Hellas chiefPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received the chief executive officer of the Greek branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Dimitris Karavellas, who briefed him on issues concerning the environment, a particularly sensitive topic in the east Mediterranean country in light of a barrage of devastating wildfires this month.
The meeting, which lasted 30 minutes, had been requested by the environmental advocacy group in order to brief Papoulias on its positions concerning protection of Attica prefecture's environment and on the adverse future entailed by the climatic changes in the planet. Papoulias, who recently expressed his own grave concerns on the issue, responded with an immediate appointment.
After the meeting, Karavellas said the president had displayed particular sensitivity on the matter of the environment. He said the Greek president showed a very strong interest with respect to the Mt. Parnitha National Park, which was recently devastated by a massive forest fire.
"We had the opportunity to extensively discuss our global campaigns and our positions regarding the recent destruction of the last remaining green space in the Attica basin (greater Athens area)," Karavellas said, adding that the president "assured us that he will be our ally and supporter in everything we attempt to do in the interests of the environment".
 Greek merchant fleet statisticsThe Greek merchant fleet numbered 2,025 vessels, with an overall capacity of 35,609,983 gross registered tonnage (grt), in May 2007, according to figures released Tuesday by the National Statistical Service of Greece (ESYE).
Of those 2,025 vessels, 630 were freighter ships, accounting for 14,234,293 grt, 484 were tankers accounting for 19,735,712 grt, and 911 were passenger and other vessles, accounting for 1,639,978 grt.
 Bill passed in principle on reshaping of code regarding S.A.sA Development Ministry bill on the reshaping and amendment of the code regarding S.A. companies was passed in principle in Parliament on Tuesday.
In favour of the bill were the New Democracy (ND) and Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) deputies, while it was voted against by the representative of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos).
Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, noting that he was open to any proposals aiming at the bill's improvement, said that the bill was a modern institutional framework, simple and friendly to entrepreneurship.
KKE rapporteur Vera Nikolaidou claimed that in the name of the reduction of bureaucratic procedures, the administrative control and supervision by the state is being abolished, thus facilitating the immunity of businesses.
Synapismos rapporteur Yiannis Dragasakis expressed objection to the effectiveness of the bill.
 Tourist enterprises urge action to end strikes at archaeological sitesThe Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) has urged Culture Minister George Voulgarakis to take immediate action to end a labour dispute with striking staff at Greece's archaeological sites, in a letter sent to the minister on Tuesday.
"It is not hard to appreciate how much Greek tourism is damaged by such events but also the prestige and credibility of our country and what a bad impression this makes," SETE wrote.
The association also repeated an older proposal to introduce a system of an emergency skeleton staff for archaeological sites, along the lines of public utilities.
"The State's inability to deal effectively with the continual strike action of the staff guarding archaeological sites causes justified disappointment and anger in a large number of our visitors," SETE noted.
 Federation of Businesses and Industries presents its new emblemThe Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) presented its new emblem in Athens on Tuesday evening.
During the presentation, the federation's president Dimitris Daskalopoulos said that the new emblem pinpoints the will for the unified expression of the business community and comes to include the change of the charter and the renaming of SEB to Federation of Businesses and Industries.
 Student enrollment in technological tertiary educationA total of 136,967 students enrolled in institutions of higher technological education in Greece in the winter semester (first semester) of academic year 2006-2007, while 9,973 enrolled in the spring semester (second semester), according to data released Tuesday by the National Statistical Service of Greece (ESYE).
The students who completed the semester studies but owed final examinations in individual courses numbered 89,097.
Of the 136,697 students enrolled in the first semester of the academic year, 67,386 were men and 69,311 were women, ESYE said.
Also, the teaching personnel at the institutions of higher technological education numbered 10,815.
 Bank of Piraeus completes 1.25-bln-euro securitization issueThe Bank of Piraeus on Tuesday announced the successful completion of a securitization issue of housing loans, worth 1.25 billion euros, through Estia Mortgage Finance II Plc, a UK-based company.
The securitization, the second by the Greek bank since 2005, is aimed at further diversifying and expanding its financing sources. Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's Investors Service rated the securitization issue at AAA.
The bookbuilding process was 1.5 times oversubscribed totaling 1.8 billion euros and the final distribution covered 40 institutional investors in 12 countries, with 95 pct of the issue offered to international investors. The issue was accompanied by a series of roadshows in Europe's main financial centers.
UBS Investment Bank was the coordinator of the securitization, while Barclays Capital, UBS Investment Bank and DZ Bank AG were underwriters of the deal.
 Intracom Telecom signs 1.6-mln-euro contract with PolkomtelIntracom Telecom, a member of Sitronics Group, on Tuesday signed a contract with Polkomtel, one of Poland's three mobile telephony operators for the expansion of an existing Signaling Monitoring System of the company.
The 1.6 million euros contract envisage the supply of a modern, integrated solution based on the acceSS7 system by Agilent Technologies. The project will be completed by the end of 2007, while the contract also includes an 1-million-euro option to further expand the system.
Polkomtel offers its services through three brands: Plus GSM, Simplus and Sami Swoi.
 S&B Group buys German unit for 4.0 million eurosS&B Group on Tuesday announced the signing of a final agreement to acquire a betonite processing factor in German paying 4.0 million euros.
The purchase of the unit from OMYA GmbH will be made through S&B Group's subsidiary in Germany, S&B Industrial Minerals GmbH.
The betonite factor is located in the Neuss port at the river Rhine and has an annual production capacity of 50,000 tons.
S&B said the acquisition will strengthen its production capacity and further facilitate its efforts to distribute its products around the world.
 Greek stocks end 0.47 pct lowerGreek stocks remained under mild pressure for the second consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index fell 0.47 percent to end at 5,069.87 points, with turnover a massive 847.25 million euros.
Most sectors moved lower with the Chemicals (1.53 pct), Insurance (1.44 pct) and Oil (1.22 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while the Raw Materials (2.04 pct), Food/Beverage (1.13 pct) and Media (0.22 pct) scored gains.
The Big Cap index eased 0.48 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.25 percent higher and the Small Cap index fell 0.26 percent.
Douros (11.24 pct), Alapis (10.46 pct) and Alpha Grisin (6.75 percent) were top gainers, while Techniki Olympic (12.50 pct), Klonatex (9.09 pct) and Atermon (6.58 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 169 to 104 with another 36 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.22%
Personal & Household: -0.77%
Raw Materials: +2.04%
Travel & Leisure: -0.83%
Food & Beverages: +1.13%
Financial Services: 11,701.05
The stocks with the highest turnover were Vivartia, National Bank, Marfin Investment Group and Titan.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 25.00
Public Power Corp (PPC): 22.60
HBC Coca Cola: 34.02
Hellenic Petroleum: 11.76
Emporiki Bank: 20.90
National Bank of Greece: 45.20
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 26.64
Titan Cement Company: 40.78
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 3.24 billion euros, of which 1.71 billion were buy orders and the remaining 1.53 billion euros were sell orders.
The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.46 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.22 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.86 pct and the German Bund 4.64 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were largely unchanged. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.08 pct, the two-day rate was 4.08 pct, the one-month rate 4.10 pct and the 12-month rate 4.58 percent.
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices traded at a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover a moderate 128.098 million euros.
The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.43 pct, while the July contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.20 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 7,049 contracts worth 94.467 million euros, with 42,082 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 498 contracts worth 19.747 million euros, with 1,690 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 5,978 contracts worth 13.882 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Mytilineos' contracts (691), followed by PPC (138), OPAP (298), Piraeus Bank (229), National Bank (517), Alpha Bank (497), Titan (554), Intracom (353), Intralot (278) and Marfin Popular Bank (354).
 Foreign Exchange Rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.388
Pound sterling 0.678
Danish kroner 7.500
Swedish kroner 9.234
Japanese yen 169.41
Swiss franc 1.668
Norwegian kroner 7.947
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.449
Australian dollar 1.588
 5.4 Richter quake rocks KozaniAn earthquake measuring 5.4 points on the Richter scale occurred at 9:23 p.m. on Tuesday in western Macedonia and was particularly felt in Kozani and Grevena.
According to the Geophysics Institute of Thessaloniki University, the quake's epicentre was located 18 kilometres southwest of Kozani, from the same area where an earthquake measuring 6.6 points on the Richter scale had occurred in 1995.
There were no reports of damage.
 Fire at Athens suburb placed under control shortly after breaking outA fire which broke out at Patima Vrilissia, which threatened to destroy one of the last green parts of Penteli, was placed under control since 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The fire started earlier in the evening in the forest, near Penteli Avenue, but it was dealt with in time by a strong fire-brigade force, the municipality's water tanks and by volunteers.
The mayors of Vrilissia and Penteli said they believe that the fire was an act of arson.
 Fire near Patras placed under controlA fire which burnt scores of acres of arable and forest expanses in the municipalities of Messatida and Vrahneikon, just a few kilometres away from Patras, in the Peloponnese, was placed under control on Tuesday night.
The fire started near the region of Kallithea of Messatida Municipality and due to the prevailing strong winds flared up fast, while the radius of the fire was more than five kilometres.
The fire later spread to Vrahneikon Municipality, threatening inhabited regions.
Taking part in the operation to extinguish the massive fire were 24 fire-engines with 75 men, 40 men on foot, five fire-brigade aircraft and a helicopter, which were supplied with water given that the sea was quite near.
 Fires reported in Attica, other areas in GreeceTwo wildfires were reported shortly after 15:00 on Tuesday at Alepochori in west Attica and on the island of Salamina, opposite Perama in the Saronic Gulf.
The fire on Salamina broke out in a forested area at Selinia and is being combated by 27 firemen and nine fire-engines on the ground, assisted by two fire-fighting aircraft and one helicopter in the air.
The fire in Alepochori broke out near the port of Mavrolimni between Alepochori and Schinos. According to the evidence gathered by the fire brigade, the fire started near the road and spread to the nearby pine forest. This is again being combated by a fire-fighting force on the ground and from the air.
Meanwhile, the fire brigade said that a fire in the Halandri ravine at the end of Fragokklisias Road was quickly put out before it had inflicted much damage.
Still burning was a fire that broke out at 13:00 in pine forest at Psachna in Evia, near Aghia Triada, where 27 fire-fighters, nine fire-engines, two airplanes and a helicopter have again been deployed to tackle the blaze.
Also unchecked is a fire at Paliro in Mani, near Cape Tainaros, that is burning through dry grasses in an inaccessible area, and another that broke out at around 14:00 in the NATO area in Agrinio, where grazing land and olive groves were on fire.
A fire that broke out around noon in forest at Lygia near Nafpaktos was reported to be under partial control by 14:30, as was a wildfire at the Mantem Lakko in Halkidiki prefecture, northern Greece.
Another fire that broke out alongside the train tracks in Kilkis due to a spark from a passing train was also under control by Tuesday afternoon, the fire brigade said.
The fire burned through 2 hectares of dry grasses and another 2 hectares of farmland where crops had already been harvested.
Train services along the line were interrupted for safety reasons while the fire was still underway, causing delays.
 Conviction handed down in bank robbery case involving self-styled anarchistAn Athens appeals court on Tuesday handed down a concurrent 25-year prison sentence against a high-profile defendant apprehended during a botched bank robbery in downtown Athens in January 2006, as the man is reputably part of a self-styled anarchist cell blamed for a string other armed robberies.
Yiannis Dimitrakis was convicted for the National Bank robbery that took place on the day he was apprehended following a midday shoot-out with police through the streets of Athens. He was also found guilty of two counts of attempted manslaughter, participation in a criminal gang and illegal possession and use of a firearm, among others.
Conversely, Dimitrakis -- who was shot in the leg during the exchange with police -- was acquitted in another six bank robbery cases and of money laundering charges due to insufficient evidence. Additionally, the three-judge court ordered the seizure of around 43,000 euros discovered in a bank deposit box leased by Dimitrakis.
The case generated heightened local attention as Dimitrakis had repeatedly cited his "anti-state" and self-styled anarchist viewpoints as motives for his criminal actions, as support ranged from posters in central Athens calling for solidarity to various slogans on walls to even attacks and vandalism against bank branches by dozens of masked self-styled youths in recent weeks, including one instance in Irakleio, Crete.
 Crete police report sixth theft of cashpoint machine this yearPolice on Crete said the sixth theft where an entire cashpoint machine was pulled out of a wall and taken away occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning at Perama Mylopotamos in Rethymno.
The unknown thieves stole a loading machine from the Perama football ground, where construction works were underway, and used it to pull the cashpoint machine out of the wall of a National Bank of Greece branch at Perama.
They then loaded the cashpoint machine onto a pick-up truck that had also been stolen from Perama on July 10 and drove away. Leaving the town, they also attempted to dislodge a second cashpoint machine from a branch of ATEBank in Perama using the same method but were unsuccessful.
Police later found the pick-up truck in mountains around Mylopotamos at around noon.
At the time the cashpoint was taken, the Perama police patrol car was responding to a call from Sisses, where a shooting against the front of a business had been reported. Police have not ruled out the possibility that the shooting in Sisses was a deliberate diversion by an accomplice of the cashpoint thieves, in order to ensure that they could operate without police intervention.
 Drug-related arrests in southern GreeceTwo people were arrested for drug possession in Tripolis, Peloponnese, southern Greece, police said on Tuesday.
An individual in the municipality of North Kinouria was arrested after police found 990 grams of heroin hidden by him in an abandoned house. A second drug-related arrest was made in Tripolis after police found 3.5 kilos of heroin and 457 narcotic pills in the possession of another individual.
In a separate incident, a 43-year-old man recently released from jail was found dead in his apartment in Kalamata, southern Greece. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death while a police search revealed 483.2 grams of cocaine stashed in the apartment.
 General Assembly of European Paralympics Committee to be held in Crete in SeptemberThe General Assembly of the European Paralympics Committee will be held in Iraklio, Crete, on September 14-15.
In view of the upcoming general assembly, a meeting was held in Iraklio on Tuesday between Greek Paralalympics Committee President Spyros Stavrianopopoulos, Secretary-General Christos Angourakis and other officials and Iraklio Prefect Vangelio Schinaraki and Deputy Prefect Popi Daskalaki so as to prepare in the best possible way the assembly.
During the two-day period in September, Iraklio will host 150 delegates from all of Europe and missions from Beijing, London and Vancouver, for the purpose of them acquiring experiences given that the three cities will host the next Olympics and Paralympic Games.
 Sunny, windy on WednesdayHot weather and strong winds are forecast throughout most of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 22C and 37C. Sunny weather in Athens, with winds reaching 5-6- beaufort and temperatures ranging from 23C to 35C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 22C to 37C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe fire in Hymettus (Kareas) and the court ruling on (Public Securities Company) DEKA were the main front-page items in Tuesday's dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Politically motivated arson - Four fires erupted simultaneously within a distance of 600 meters in Kareas".
APOGEVMATINI: "Provocation by arsonists - Several midday fires set simultaneously in Kareas forest".
AVGHI: "Arsonists and private interests devour Hymettus as well - The flames threatened populated areas".
AVRIANI: "Statute of limitations invoked to free from charges the few indicted on the Athens Stock Market looting case - (Main opposition party) PASOK and (ruling party) ND did not want the truth to shine".
CHORA: "Green light for 33,000 hirings of contract workers and 7,000 tenured employees - The new draft law".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Hymettus' turn to burn after Penteli, Parnitha, Chalkidiki, Mani, Evia".
ELEFTHEROS: "Investors' wrath over the DEKA acquittal - The criminal appeal court puts an end to the stock market scandal".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Crime in Hymettus - (Public Order Minister Vyron) Polydoras, local mayors and residents blame arsonists - Kesariani and Vyronas threatened by flames".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "State-tolerated crimes - Hymettus in flames following Parnitha".
ESTIA: "Hymettus in flames two weeks after the disaster in Parnitha".
ETHNOS: "Charred government - Unprecedented inefficiency - Hymettus saved by miracle".
KATHIMERINI: "State and citizens do not care about the forests according, to the VPRC and SKAI opinion poll".
LOGOS: "Hymettus up in flames - Private homes threatened by the fire".
NIKI: "Rampant land-grabbers - Kareas burned midday".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The deaths of the two workers are political crimes - Double crime in the Perama shipyard".
TA NEA: "Arsonists caught them by surprise".
TO VIMA: "Night-time scheming to manipulate gasoline prices - The gas station trick".
VRADYNI: "Arsonists burned Hymettus again - Timely and effective reaction by the state mechanism - The fire broke out in four places - Explosions heard, flares found".
 President Papadopoulos will not sign disastrous solutionNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has stressed that he would not sign a settlement that would be disastrous for Cyprus, adding that he has no intention of contributing to an unacceptable solution in Cyprus for the sake of securing "certificates of good behaviour".
Speaking during an event on Monday at the Presidential Palace to commemorate the anniversaries of the 1974 coup and the Turkish invasion, President Papadopoulos said ''if some want to accuse me of being intransigent or to consider me an obstacle to their designs on Cyprus, I am not willing to contribute, knowingly, to an unacceptable solution of the Cyprus problem just to secure an honourable mention and to elicit a certificate of allegedly good conduct.''
"I have no ambition to be a president of any kind of solution. My ambition is to hand to the people a good and viable solution, even a bitter and painful settlement, a compromise which shall be, at least, functional and viable," he added.
He said ''if the goal is to close the Cyprus issue so that it will not exist anymore and if the goal is to say 'yes' when we have to say 'no', then we had an opportunity in 2004 and we have that opportunity now, if of course we accept all that the Turkish side demands.''
This, he pointed out, "is not an opportunity for a solution but an opportunity for dissolution,'' adding that ''those who still believe that we lost an opportunity in 2004, the truth is that we lost an opportunity to be lost as a state and as Hellenism in Cyprus.''
In April 2004, the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriots (76%) rejected a UN-proposed solution plan, saying it would lead to the dissolution of the Republic and allow Turkey to have a say in the affairs of the country. The Turkish Cypriots approved the plan.
''We remain firm and honest in our pursuit for a bizonal bicommunal federation but we do not accept a solution of a disguised dichotomous confederation. We seek a settlement which would reunite the people and our country, the economy, society and institutions but we reject a divisive and dead-end solution which would threaten the future of Cypriot Hellenism,'' President Papadopoulos said.
He said he would reject an arrangement which would legitimize Turkey's crime and render permanent, in cosmetic language, the consequences of the 1974 Turkish invasion.
The president wondered if indeed Cyprus was ever offered a fundamentally just, functional and viable solution, which was turned down by the people.
He also said that Cyprus, as an EU member, deserves a better future and its people the right to live in the land of their ancestors.
"We have a responsibility to those who have passed away, the living and the generations to come. We, as a passing generation from this land, have no right to condemn future generations, by signing any kind of solution simply to close the question of Cyprus," he stressed.
Referring to the anniversaries of the coup and the invasion, President Papadopoulos said that form the painful remembrance of this tragedy the people of Cyprus must be determined to safeguard the Republic and demand their rights.
''It is our duty not to buckle, not to kneel but to strive and struggle for the rights of our people, for a viable and functional settlement, for a better and happier tomorrow for our homeland,'' he concluded.
The event, which was attended by House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias, Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II, Ministers, leaders and representatives of political parties, dignitaries and others, began with a short film of the coup and the invasion. The president's speech was followed by a performance by Greek singer Charis Alexiou.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied the island's northern third.
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