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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-07-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 30 July 2007 Issue No: 2657


  • [01] Greek president says Cyprus issue must be solved on basis of UN, EU principles
  • [02] Interior Minister Pavlopoulos main speaker memorial event in Cyprus
  • [03] Papoulias attends memorial service for Archbishop Makarios
  • [04] President Papoulias meets Cyprus' Christofias, Kasoulides
  • [05] PM Karamanlis arrives in Paris for talks with French President Sarkozy on Monday
  • [06] PASOK committee discusses battle against fires
  • [07] KKE SG Papariga visits burnt forest expanses in Salamina
  • [08] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday
  • [09] Fires continue to wreak havoc throughout Greece
  • [10] Russian reinforcements arrive at Elefsina
  • [11] Fire at Ioannina hospital, near children's ward
  • [12] Major fire in Alexandroupolis placed under partial control
  • [13] Three men arrested in Peloponnese for arson
  • [14] Foreigner suspected of attempted arson arrested
  • [15] Exodus of vacationers for August holidays
  • [16] Two sisters found dead in ravine
  • [17] Woman killed in car crash
  • [18] Twenty-seven persons arrested after attack against Mont Parnes casino
  • [19] Hot and sunny on Monday Politics

  • [01] Greek president says Cyprus issue must be solved on basis of UN, EU principles

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)

    Visiting President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday evening addressed the philological memorial service marking the 30th anniversary since the death of Archbishop Makarios III.

    "Turkey' s desire to become a member of the European Union is for Cyprus and Greece an important conjuncture to be used for the Cyprus issue to be solved on the principles of the United Nations and of the European Union, with respect to human rights of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots," Papoulias said.

    "This course is a one-way road, there is no other direction we can follow," Papoulias underlined, adding, "this is what Makarios wanted, this is the legacy which he left to his people."

    President Papoulias described Makarios, who was the first president of the Cyprus Republic, "as a prominent figure of Hellenism, a personality of world radiance and respect, who had the privilege and historic burden to lead Cyprus to independence."

    The philological memorial event was held at the University of Cyprus, in the presence of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, House President Demetris Christofias, government officials, clerics, judges, military officials and foreign diplomats.

    Turkey's strategic objectif is to enter the European Union while at the same time insists on maintaining occupation troops in Cyprus, Papoulis said. "We are not willing to accept this paradox and we call on our European partners not to accept it either," Papoulias added.

    "We extend a helping hand to Turkey for it to advance in its accession course. Not, however, on its own conditions but on the conditions set by the international community and on the basis of European principles," President Papoulias concluded.

    [02] Interior Minister Pavlopoulos main speaker memorial event in Cyprus

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)

    Greece's Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos was the main speaker at the philological memorial event at the University of Cyprus here on Sunday evening, marking the 30th anniversary since the death of Archbishop Makarios III.

    Pavlopoulos made important points on the stance of Greece, Cyprus, the United Nations and the European Union on the Cyprus issue.

    The interior minister, speaking in the presence of Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, political party leaders and foreign diplomats, said that the 30th memorial service for Archbishop Makarios "gives the possibility for the peoples and leaderships of Greece and Cyprus to send a double strong message:

    "Firstly, towards the international community and its organizations and particularly the United Nations: That in view of the bitter experience of Cyprus, no 'compromises' are considered, which dynamite the very foundations of international law.

    "The second strong message which must be sent to the European Union is that every further tolerance of the presence of occupation troops in Cyprus, every stone of walls of partition, which tear its body, is on one part an open wound for the very European acquis communautaire and on the other hand, yet another painful source of democratic deficit for the European construction, in its entirety," the Greek interior minister said.

    "The European Union is obliged to make clear, urbi et orbi and in practice, to all those who have the ambition to reach its flanks, that the road in this direction passes through the full respect and unconditional recognition of every one of its members. Therefore, of Cyprus as well," Pavlopoulos added.

    "On the contray, each blow against the prestige of a member-state is a blow against the European Union itself and a sign of decline of the course towards its institutional and political integration," the Greek interior minister noted.

    Referring to the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, Pavlopoulos noted that "he continuously exists among us in spirit, as a symbol."

    [03] Papoulias attends memorial service for Archbishop Makarios

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos)

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday attended a memorial service marking the 30th anniversary since the death of Archbishop Makarios, who was Cyprus' first president, on August 3, 1977 at the St Kykkos Monastery where he was buried.

    The memorial service was also attended by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and the island republic's military and political leadership.

    A memorial tribute to Makarios was delivered by Kykkos Metropolitan Nikiforos, who noted that "if he had been allowed to live, at precisely that crucial moment, the course of things would have been different and Cyprus would be different today".

    Nikiforos also commented on Papoulias' presence at the memorial service, saying that it was "proof of Greece's continued interest in the tragedy and the struggle of Cyprus, on the final outcome of which depends the further course of the Nation".

    Following the service, Papoulias and Papadopoulos together visited and laid laurel wreaths at Makarios' grave, situated near the monastery.

    The two presidents also met on Saturday evening after Papoulias arrived on Cyprus on Saturday for the three-day events commemorating Makarios.

    Answering reporters' questions, Papoulias said that "everything had been warm, friendly and patriotic".

    In an exclusive interview with the Cypriot newspaper "O Fileleftheros" that was published on Sunday, meanwhile, Papoulias referred extensively to the Cyprus problem and stressed that relations between Greece and Turkey could never be fully normalised as long as this remained unsolved.

    "The wound of the Cyprus issue imparts its own special weight on Greek foreign policy also," Papoulias said, adding that the event was a decisive factor in ensuring the full alignment of Athens and Nicosia.

    Recounting his own experiences as foreign minister of Greece and his encounters with some 12 Turkish foreign ministers, he stressed the role of the military "deep state" in Turkey and said that this gave Turkey's foreign policy a remarkable continuity and consistency but did not necessarily make it free of mistakes.

    He also noted that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan now faced the challenge of freeing itself from being a hostage of this "deep state" and that the results of the latest general elections gave the Turkish premier the popular mandate to proceed down this path.

    "The rise of nationalism, however, as this was expressed with the return of the Nationalist Movement Party to Parliament is not a good omen. Also of exceptional importance is the presence of Kurdish MPs, because the Kurdish issue has taken on explosive dimensions. Time will tell, therefore, if the time has come for an internal revolution in Turkey," the Greek president added.

    Regarding the chances of such an "internal revolution" taking place, Papoulias merely pointed out that Turkey was at a turning point where it wanted to proceed on a path of European accession but, in order to achieve this, needed to "resolve its contradictions".

    "In a European country there cannot be a danger or threat of a coup. A European country is governed by those that the people have chosen," Papoulias stressed, adding that Turkey had a "long road ahead" before it became European.

    At other points in the interview, he also noted that the Greek Cypriots had a right to decide their future without being pressured and that the vast majority of them had rejected the Annan plan, while adding that a solution to the Cyprus issue be based on the the rules of international law and the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

    [04] President Papoulias meets Cyprus' Christofias, Kasoulides

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)

    Visiting President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, who is in Cyprus for memorial events marking the 30th anniversary since the death of Archbishop Makarios III, on Sunday afternoon had successive meetings with House of Representatives President and left-wing AKEL Secretary-General Demetris Christofias and DHSY Eurodeputy Ioannis Kasoulides.

    Along with President Tassos Papadopoulos, Christofias and Kasoulides are also candidates in the presidential elections which will be held in the island republic in February 2008.

    [05] PM Karamanlis arrives in Paris for talks with French President Sarkozy on Monday

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/N.Melissova)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived here on Sunday afternoon for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy Monday at the Elysee Palace.

    Karamanlis will be arriving for the meeting at 12:30 while talks are expected to focus on European Union policies with emphasis on the EU Reform Treaty, the prospects of further EU enlargement, Turkey, European policies in Western Balkans, European energy policy, the common handling of climate change and the problem of immigration. The two leaders will also discuss the French proposal for the founding of a Mediterranean Union and Middle East developments.

    On a bilateral level, further reinforcement of economic ties will be discused, while the two sides will explore ways of cooperation in the handling of fires and their consequences.

    After the talks, President Sarkozy will host a working luncheon for the Greek prime minister followed by a press conference of the two leaders.

    At 09:30, Karamanlis will meet with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon at Matignon Mansion.

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will be present at both meetings. At 19:00, the Greek premier will be meeting with former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

    In a separate programme on Monday, Foreign Minister Bakoyannis will meet at 18:00 her French counterpart Bernard Kouchner for talks centred on European, regional and bilateral issues. Emphasis is expected to be given on Kosovo and the Middle East.

    [06] PASOK committee discusses battle against fires

    The special committee set up by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou to monitor developments at the fires that are currently ravaging the country met in Athens on Sunday afternoon.

    Headed by PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos, it proposed a series of positions that should be adopted by PASOK and also specific initiatives that might be undertaken by PASOK's leader.

    The committee was one of two set up by Papandreou during the past week in response to the destructive fires and the ecological crisis that he says they have triggered.

    In addition to Venizelos, participants in the meeting included PASOK's Parliamentary Group secretary Dimitris Reppas, the party's press spokesman Petros Efthymiou, its head for justice and public order issues Alekos Papadopoulos and the head for public works and environment issues, Andreas Loverdos.

    In statements to reporters afterwards, PASOK Spokesman Petros Efthymiou said that political responsibilities for the fires "fall on the government as whole."

    "Firstly, it is the prime minister, the government as a whole and the competent ministers (Interior Prokopis) Messrs. Pavlopoulos, (Public Order Vyron) Polydoras and (Agricutlture Evangelos) Basiakos, that are judged," Efthymiou added.

    He also said that his party regarded the issue of fires as "a national crisis", that it "steadfastly seeks consensus and that is the reason why Mr. Papandreou had proposed a meeting of political party leaders."

    On his part Venizelos attributed to the government an "unprecedented irresponsibility" in handling a problem "which was known and expected since the autumn of 2006" reminding also of "some initiatives by the main opposition party."

    Government spokesman

    Responding to PASOK, Minister of State and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said "in only four weeks, the country had to face 2,753 fires. Neighbouring, Balkan and European, countries are facing the same and greater problems. PASOK is the only party which attempts to take advantage of unprecedented natural disasters. But environment needs a responsible policy and should not serve party expediencies."

    On his part, ruling New Democracy (ND) central committee secretary Lefteris Zagoritis said that "citizens have memory. They do not forget the more that 600,000 acres of burnt land in the 1998 and 2000 fires that have been exempted from reforestation by PASOK governments"

    [07] KKE SG Papariga visits burnt forest expanses in Salamina

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga on Saturday visited the burnt forest expanses at Aghios Nicholaos on the island of Salamina, off Pireaus.

    "Here from Salamina, where there are problems with fires, we want to express our solidarity to the Fire Brigade, the fire-fighters, permanent and seasonal workers and to criticise the government which should have already met their demands, salary increases and the permanency of the seasonal workers.

    "In the final analysis, the government should do so at this very moment, when the fire-men, throughout the country, are giving an enormous battle," Papariga said.

    "The fire-men are giving a heroic battle, far away from their families, their lives are in danger and the conditions are unbearable. And this is not an issue which will pass away, it is not seasonal, every year we have such battles, this year even more so. The government, therefore, is obliged to fully meet their demands," Papariga added.

    Financial News

    [08] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.376

    Pound sterling 0.677

    Danish kroner 7.500

    Swedish kroner 9.301

    Japanese yen 163.42

    Swiss franc 1.665

    Norwegian kroner 8.104

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.457

    Australian dollar 1.596

    General News

    [09] Fires continue to wreak havoc throughout Greece

    The destructive forest fires that have burned vast swathes of the Greek countryside during the past month, even claiming surviving pockets of forest and open land on the fringes of Greek cities, continued their destructive course on Sunday.

    A major fire broke out in the afternoon in a residential area of Stamata, just north of Athens in the prefecture of Attica, and is threatening a number of homes.

    A force of 45 firemen and 15 vehicles, assisted by four airplanes and one helicopter from the air, are trying to get the blaze under control.

    In central Greece, on the north flank of Mount Parnassus in the prefecture of Fthiotida, another fire began between the villages of Amfiklia and Tithorea just after 13:00 in an area of sparse fir forest under unexplained circumstances.

    The location is not easily accessible to fire-fighting forces on the ground, since there are no roads and it is about two-three hours away on foot, and is being combated mainly by two small fire-fighting aircraft parked at Lamia airport, which are unable to approach the area, however.

    They have also been joined by two helicopters that are trying to contain the intensity of the fire, which is moving relatively slowly because the trees are spread out and winds are light.

    The fire-fighting effort on several fronts in western and central Macedonia in northern Greece is continuing, some of which are continuing to burn after several days.

    A fire at Assiros in Thessaloniki was reported to be under partial control, with 25 firemen, nine fire-engines and a force of 12 men on foot battling the flames.

    Efforts were still underway by some 40 firemen, 16 vehicles and 32 men on foot to control a fire at Fteri in Pieria, which had spread from a blaze that started at Velventos in Kozani several days before.

    Elsewhere in the prefecture of Kozani, fires were also raging in the Servion municipality, though this was not a threat to inhabited areas and the fire-fighting force here consisted of 10 men assisted by one fire-engine.

    A fire in a hard-to-reach forest area of Velventos was reported to be subsiding after the efforts of a strong fire-fighting force consisting of 20 fire-engines and 120 firemen on foot.

    In the prefecture of Florina, the fire brigade is still trying to put out fires at the community of Krystallopigi near the areas of Barba-Sfika and Smardesi that was being tackled by 31 firemen using seven fire-engines. Both blazes are out of control and the ground force is expecting assistance from fire-fighting aircraft from the air.

    In the northwestern Greek prefecture of Kastoria, blazes at Kotyli are still alight and are being combated by 24 firemen with five fire-engines and two local authority fire-fighting vehicles, assisted by a force of nine soldiers and one helicopter.

    The fire on Mount Grammos is also continuing to incinerate forest at the position Goulios and is being combated by a force of 15 firemen, four fire-engines, two local authority vehicles, 18 soldiers, volunteers from the commando's club and one helicopter.

    Fires that are blazing strongly are also underway at Konitsa and in the prefecture of Thesprotia.

    Elsewhere fires appear to be subsiding but are not necessarily under control, including blazes in the prefectures of Kastoria, Grammos, Zakynthos, Achaia, Kozani, Kefallonia, Chios, Drama, Messinia, Kavala, Corinth, Viotia and Fthiotida.

    In Achaia, meanwhile, the fire department said that it had evidence pointing to two suspects for the fires that broke out at Mamousia and Kounina in the region surrounding the two of Egio, a 26-year-old man and a 77-year-old woman, who were being charged with deliberate arson.

    [10] Russian reinforcements arrive at Elefsina

    The first of the Russian fire-fighting aircraft sent to assist in fighting the fires raging throughout the country arrived at Elefsina airport at 16:07 on Sunday. The aircraft are being sent as reinforcements, following an official request made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The aircraft is an Be-200 amphibious jet that can take up to 12 tonnes of water and took off earlier today from Varna airport in Bulgaria.

    Also due in Elefsina after taking off from Bulgaria at 16:25 is the first MI-8 fire-fighting helicopter sent by Russia, which is expected to arrive in Elefsina at 21:00 on Sunday night.

    A second helicopter of the same type is being refuelled at this moment at Varna to continue its journey toward Elefsina, where it is expected to arrive late on Sunday night.

    [11] Fire at Ioannina hospital, near children's ward

    A fire broke out shortly after midnight on Sunday in a linen cupboard at the Hatzikosta Hospital in the city Ioannina in northwestern Greece. The cupboard was just five metres away from a children's ward, which contained seven children.

    It was promptly put out by hospital staff before the fire brigade arrived, while the children's ward was evacuated as a precaution and five children transferred to Ioannina's university hospital because of the smoke and fumes.

    The hospital director said the children's ward will be shut down for a few days so that it can be cleaned and any patients should be sent to the paediatric clinic of the University Hospital.

    The fire brigade is investigating the cause of the fire.

    [12] Major fire in Alexandroupolis placed under partial control

    A major fire that broke out early Sunday afternoon in the region of Sykorahi-Avra, in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, was placed under partial control in the evening.

    Scores of acres of arable land, a paddock and a major expanse of wheat land were burnt to ashes.

    Taking part in the battle to extinguish the devastating fire were 15 fire-engines with 120 fire-men, army vehicles with 60 men, fire-fighting aircraft and a helicopter.

    Present at the scene of the fire was Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Region secretary-general Michalis Angelopoulos, Evros prefect Nikos Zabounidis and Alexandroupolis mayor George Alexandris, while the entire coordination effort was headed by Fire Brigade commander Christos Roufos.

    Earlier, the fire seemed to threaten the village of Avra and consequently the authorities warned the inhabitants of the possibility of their evacuation. Finally, however, with the intervention of a fire-fighting helicopter, the fire was restricted and the village was not evacuated.

    The fire was expected to continue to rage into the night.

    [13] Three men arrested in Peloponnese for arson

    Three men were arrested for arson in the Peloponnese on Saturday.

    Two men were arrested in Patras for setting forest fires in Achaia Prefecture. They were identified as H.G., aged 26, and A.P., aged 77.

    The public prosecutor charged them of arson with intent and referred them to the magistrate.

    A third, man, identified as A.G., was arrested and led before the public prosecutor for the fire which occurred on July 25 in an arable and forest expanse at Gortynos Municipality of Arkadia Prefecture.

    [14] Foreigner suspected of attempted arson arrested

    Police officers of the Assiro Police Department in the prefecture of Thessaloniki, central Macedonia, arrested a 27-year-old foreigner at 10 p.m. on Friday night in the region of the municipality of Lahana, on suspicion of attempted arson.

    Before the arrest, an employee of Lahana Municipality charged that he saw the suspect walking around a landfill at Dorkada, holding a 40-centimetre-long piece of cloth, a lighter, cigarettes and a mobile phone and when he saw the employee, he fled.

    [15] Exodus of vacationers for August holidays

    The first wave of vacationers for the August holidays began on Saturday morning with increased movement on the national highways, ports, airports, inter-city buses and trains.

    On Saturday, 32 ships were due to depart from the port of Piraeus and 18 from the port Rafina for the Aegean islands and Crete, while on Sunday, another 32 ships will sail from Piraeus and 18 from Rafina, transporting tens of thousands of travelers.

    Increased movement is also observed at Athens International Airport, while capacity reaches nearly 100% in aircraft, inter-city buses and trains, with extra schedules added to meet increased passenger demand.

    [16] Two sisters found dead in ravine

    After an all-night search by Police in Trikala, northern Greece and by the prefecture's Fire Brigade, two sisters were found dead on Saturday morning in a ravine about 200 metres deep, one kilometre before the village of Aghia Paraskevi (Tzourtzia) of Trikala.

    The sisters were identified as Maria and Athanassia Malemi, aged 40 and 41, respectively.

    The two unfortunate sisters had departed on Friday afternoon from Trikala by car and headed for Trikala's Aghia Paraskevi, where they never reached.

    Their whereabouts were lost and communication with their family was halted at 8:30 p.m on Friday, when a search was launched to locate them.

    Investigations by the Pyli Police Department showed that a traffic accident occurred and particularly that the vehicle overturned and fell into the ravine.

    [17] Woman killed in car crash

    A car driven by a 30-year-old woman from Ioannina, northern Greece, went off its course on the Egnatia Highway at the junction of Neohori, while it was heading from Igoumenitsa to Ioannina.

    During the crash at an obstacle near the road, the car caught fire, while the driver and her two children, aged six and three, who were slightly injured, were dragged out of the burning car by other motorists. However, the driver's mother, aged 53, was killed.

    The Igoumenitsa Traffic Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

    [18] Twenty-seven persons arrested after attack against Mont Parnes casino

    Twenty-seven persons were arrested on Sunday afternoon after a six-hour manhunt launched by police in the mount Parnitha, following an attack against the Mont Parnes Casino earlier in the day, police sources said on Sunday evening.

    Using a helicopter, strong police forces managed to locate the culprits who were trying to escape following paths in the mountain, before arresting them near Thrakomakedones.

    The arrested are being interrogated and will appear before a public prosecutor probably on Monday.

    A group of some 20 anti-establishment activists attacked the Mont Parnes casino on Mount Parnitha on Sunday morning at about 9:30, lobbing red paint at private cars and at a coach parked in the grounds outside.

    The culprits then fled the scene and police have set up road blocks on all roads leading away from the site in an attempt to intercept and arrest them.

    Weather Forecast

    [19] Hot and sunny on Monday

    Hot and sunny weather, with temperatures up to 38C and winds of about 4-5 Beaufort, is forecast throughout the country on Monday. Sunny weather in Athens, with winds reaching 4-5 beaufort and temperatures ranging from 26C to 38C. Same in Thessaloniki, with some cloud in the afternoon and temperatures ranging from 23C to 37C.

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