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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-08-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 13 August 2008 Issue No: 2969


  • [01] Transport Minister on OSE's reconstitiution
  • [02] FM Bakoyannis to attend EU General Affairs Council
  • [03] UN envoy Nimetz to hold separate FYROM issue meetings on Wednesday
  • [04] FM spokesman on Gruevski's letters
  • [05] PASOK spokeswoman on FYROM issue
  • [06] PASOK leader Papandreou addressed meeting of party cadres on Paros
  • [07] Education Minister on World Youth Day
  • [08] Patriarch Theodoros II plea for peace in S.Ossetia
  • [09] Finance Ministry on growth rate, decrease in unemployment
  • [10] Greek stocks up by 0.52 pct Tuesday
  • [11] ADEX closing report
  • [12] Greek bond market closing report
  • [13] Foreign Exchange rates: Wednesday
  • [14] Archaeological sites in the moonlight
  • [15] Full Moon events at the Archaeological site of Dodoni
  • [16] Couple shot at in Thessaloniki, man dies, woman in critical condition
  • [17] Wildfire in Vitsi, Kastoria, under control; couple in southern Greece arrested on arson charges
  • [18] US thanks Greece for assisting in California wildfires
  • [19] Special guard slightly injured in accident at Athens Municipal Police building
  • [20] Illegal migrants arrested near the Turkish borders
  • [21] Drug peddling arrests in Thessaloniki
  • [22] Fair on Wednesday
  • [23] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [24] UNSG's Special Adviser to be present at start of negotiations
  • [25] Cyprus protests Turkish violations to UN Politics

  • [01] Transport Minister on OSE's reconstitiution

    Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hadzidakis presented on Tuesday Hellenic Railways' (OSE) reconstitution plan .

    The plan, that will be completed by 2010, targets to the creation of a secure transport facility, friendly to the environment and with a specific financial running.

    According to Hadzidakis, the main axis of the OSE re-establishment effort is security, transparency, clarification and development. Moreover, in the framework of intergovernmental agreements a cooperation between OSE and France's Railways Organization will take place and French experts will come to Greece to contribute to the development of the new security infrastructure.

    [02] FM Bakoyannis to attend EU General Affairs Council

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will be participating in the European Union's extraordinary General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council on Wednesday August 13, 2008, that will be held in Brussels, according to an announcement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. It added that the Council will focus on developments in the Caucasus.

    [03] UN envoy Nimetz to hold separate FYROM issue meetings on Wednesday

    The UN's Secretariat disclosed on Tuesday that the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Matthew Nimetz, will hold separate meetings tomorrow, Wednesday, in New York with representatives of both sides.

    It was added that the meeting with the FYROM side will take place in the morning. The delegation will include Martin Protoger, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, and Ambassador Nikola Dimitrov, FYROM's principal negotiator for the name issue. The meeting with the Greek side will take place during the afternoon and include Greece's main negotiator, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis.

    [04] FM spokesman on Gruevski's letters

    Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos gave a short response to reporters dubbing as "ludicrous" the new letters addressed by FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN SecGen Personal Envoy for the Greece-FYROM talks Matthew Nimetz.

    Koumoutsakos made the one-word comment in response to questions as regards information that appeared in the FYROM press according to which, the FYROM PM is raising in his letters the issue of an alleged "Macedonian Orthodox Church" while maintaining that the name of Thessaloniki's Macedonia International Airport should also be on the table.

    Matthew Nimetz, the UN special envoy assigned to mediate the dispute between Greece and FYROM as regards the latter's name, has invited the negotiators of the two countries, Ambassadors Adamantios Vassilakis and Nikola Dimitrov respectively, on August 14-15 in New York for a new round of talks.

    [05] PASOK spokeswoman on FYROM issue

    Main opposition PASOK party alternate spokeswoman Maria Karaklioumi said on Tuesday that what Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is requesting in his letter to UN mediator Matthew Nimetz is "absurd."

    She said that the ony issue to be discussed with the neighbouring country is the name issue, adding that PASOK is speaking of a name with a geographical qualifier for all uses and not of any double name form.

    Karaklioumi pointed out that PASOK is also stating its case on this issue on the basis of national interest as well and recalled the position observed by PASOK leader George Papandreou before the Bucharest summit, as well as the fact that the party's leader had said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis should not have replied to the letter addressed to him by FYROM's prime minister, because "if he replied, he would be accepting that there are other issues on the dialogue table as well, apart from the issue of the name."

    [06] PASOK leader Papandreou addressed meeting of party cadres on Paros

    Main opposition PASOK party will implement "a political attack plan in the near future until the next elections that will include specific initiatives," according to its leader George Papandreou.

    Addressing a meeting of party cadres Monday on the island of Paros, Cyclades Islands' complex in central Aegean, Papandreou stressed that the goal is to make the people believe in politics again and help them regain their lost hope.

    He also called on local PASOK party officials to keep a record of the problems faced this year by the Cyclades Islands and undertake initiatives for their solution.

    Opening his speech, Papandreou referred to developments in Georgia and South Ossetia stressing that the atmosphere created is very sad, pointing out that there is war instead of a truce, considering that the Olympic Games are underway. He also added that PASOK condemns any action or activity held in violation of International Law.

    [07] Education Minister on World Youth Day

    Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis stated on Tuesday on the occasion of The World Youth Day "The future belongs to youth and for this reason young people must be offered the ground and role to mould it. Our responsibility is to invest and support youth's education and that's what we are doing with our policy" he added.

    World Youth Day brings out the problems the young people confront throughout the world and according to an Education Ministry's annoucement, we specifically emphasise on the celebrations targetting to sensitise the young on the environment's protection and the climate's changes.

    [08] Patriarch Theodoros II plea for peace in S.Ossetia

    Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II, in a message on Tuesday, made a dramatic plea to both sides for peace in S. Ossetia.

    "We urge the countries of Russia and Georgia, that belong to the same religion, to put aside weapons and violence and talk with the principle of what is best for the peoples," Patriarch Theodoros stressed, adding "We beg God of peace and love, to watch over the war zone and serenity to prevail over the opposing sides.

    Financial News

    [09] Finance Ministry on growth rate, decrease in unemployment

    The Finance and Economy ministry stressed in an announce-ment on Tuesday, referring to the latest data provided by the National Statistics Service on growth and unemployment, that "the latest data on growth and the decrease in unemployment prove the impetus given to the Greek economy by the economic policy and the reforms of the past years."

    The ministry added that "despite the negative repercussions of international economic developments, economic growth remains double that of the eurozone's average, while the downward trend of unemployment is continuing, that had been remaining at levels in the region of 10 percent for many years until 2004. Today, unemployment is at its lowest level in the last 25 years."

    However, the announcement underlined that the data do not justify complacency, many of the Greek economy's longstanding structural problems still remain and the fiscal situation, despite progress achieved in past years, is fragile and the structure of markets, combined with international hikes, maintains inflation at high levels.

    The ministry further noted that fiscal adjustment must continue, as well as strict adherrence to the programme of reforms.

    [10] Greek stocks up by 0.52 pct Tuesday

    Greek stocks increased slightly in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index of the market ended the day with gains at 3,345.18 points, 0.52 percent up, with turnover rising to 165.2 million euros.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Telecommunications (+1.53 pct), Health (+1.15 pct), Banks (+0.,82 pct) The FTSE 20 index increased by 0.65 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.49 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index increased by 0.14 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 100 to 96 with another 78 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.08%

    Industrials: +0.71%

    Commercial: -0.61%

    Construction: -0.88%

    Media: -1.45%

    Oil & Gas: -0.13%

    Personal & Household: -0.27%

    Raw Materials: +2.28%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.82%

    Technology: +0.17%

    Telecoms: +1.53%

    Banks: +0.74%

    Food & Beverages: -0.17%

    Health: +1.15%

    Utilities: -0.17%

    Chemicals: -0.27%

    Financial Services: -0.87%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Piraeus Bank and Marfin Popular Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 18.78

    ATEbank: 2.44

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 19.00

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.02

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.36

    National Bank of Greece: 30.98

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 15.04

    Intralot: 9.16

    OPAP: 23.72

    OTE: 13.30

    Piraeus Bank: 18.10

    Titan Cement Company: 25.26

    [11] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a small discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover 56,390 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.22 pct and the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 1.94 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 5,621 contracts worth 51,342 million euros with 33,463 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was worth 20,130 million euros with 20 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 3,596 contracts worth 4,553 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank (466), Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (426), National Bank (376), Bank of Cyprus (275) and Bank of Piraeus (232).

    [12] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.237 million euros on Tuesday, of which 540 million were buy orders and the remaining 697 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 810 million euros.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved higher. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.30 pct, the two-day rate jumped to 4.33 pct, the one-week rate to 4.45 pct, the one-month rate rose to 4.51 pct, the three-month rate to 5.01 pct, the six-month rate to 5.18 pct and the 12-month rate was 5.34 pct.

    [13] Foreign Exchange rates: Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.502

    Pound sterling 0.790

    Danish kroner 7.519

    Swedish kroner 9.464

    Japanese yen 165.28

    Swiss franc 1.634

    Norwegian kroner 8.076

    Canadian dollar 1.606

    Australian dollar 1.718

    General News

    [14] Archaeological sites in the moonlight

    Special events will be held in archaeological sites in Trikala Prefecture, central Greece, to celebrate this summer's last Full Moon on August 16.

    The events titled "In the moonlight - Archaeological sites and monuments under the Full Moon" are hosted by the culture ministry and the general secretariat of antiquities and cultural heritage. Three archaeological sites, the Byzantine Castle in the city of Trikala, the archaeological site of Meteora and the arch bridge of Portaikos in Pili will remain open for the public until late at night offering a unique experience to stargazers and romantics wishing to marvel at the August Moon.

    [15] Full Moon events at the Archaeological site of Dodoni

    Cultural events will be taking place at the archaeological site of Dodoni on Saturday 16 August, organised by the Culture Ministry on the occasion of August's Full Moon, under the title "Under the moonlight". The Dodoni archaeological site will remain open on Saturday between 8 noon until 1 after midnight and admittance will be free for the public.

    [16] Couple shot at in Thessaloniki, man dies, woman in critical condition

    A 35-year-old man was killed by a gunman who opened fire at him and his female companion, 35, at a pizza place in Neapolis, Thessaloniki.

    The couple from Armenia were shot at by an unidentified man who fled the scene on foot. The victim, who had multiple injuries in the abdomen and chest, died soon after being rushed to a hospital, while his companion is listed in critical condition after undergoing surgery for multiple gunshot wounds in the abdomen and legs.

    A police investigation is underway for the arrest of the culprit. Personal differences are not ruled out as the causes of the deadly assault.

    In a separate incident on Sunday evening, also in the district of Neapolis, an unidentified man opened fire with an airgun against a young couple inside a parked car. No injuries were reported.

    [17] Wildfire in Vitsi, Kastoria, under control; couple in southern Greece arrested on arson charges

    A wildfire in the municipality of Vitsi, Kastoria Prefecture in northwestern Greece, was put under control late Monday after burning 100 stremma of forestland and 200 stremma of grassland in the region of Fotini. A fire-fighting force of 11 fire engines and 74 firemen participated in the efforts to extinguish the blaze assisted by one water-dropping aircraft and two helicopters.

    Meanwhile, a couple were led before a prosecutor in Gythio, southern Greece, accused of arson. A 59-year-old farmer and his 48-year-old wife were arrested after eye-witnesses caught them in the act of setting fires along the Gythio-Sparta motorway.

    [18] US thanks Greece for assisting in California wildfires

    United States' Embassy in a press release on Tuesday thanks Greece for assisting in California wildfires.

    The full text of the release:

    "Responding to a request for assistance from the US government, a team of Greek firefighters went to California July 15 through August 9 to work with their American counterparts in fighting the recent wildfires in that state. The request came after a year of mutual cooperation on wildfire assistance between Greece and the US, and was part of the National Response Framework's Emergency Support Function. On August 8, the firefighters also met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who expressed his deep appreciation for the assistance provided by Greece.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent a letter to Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis thanking her for Greece's assistance. "Greece's immediate response to our call for help exemplifies our countries' long history of standing together in times of need...Please convey my gratitude to the firefighters and their families for their courage and selflessness and to the Greek people and government for their steadfast support and generosity" said Secretary Rice in her letter.

    [19] Special guard slightly injured in accident at Athens Municipal Police building

    A special guard was slightly injured by a splinter from a bullet on Tuesday, when a gun in the hands of a colleague of his accidentally discharged as they were changing shifts at the building housing the Athens Municipal Police in Armodiou street in Athens.

    According to the Police, as they were changing shifts, one of the special guards attempted to empty his weapon but pulled the trigger accidentally and a bullet that had remained in the chamber hit the floor, resulting in one of the splinters striking his colleague, who was taken to hospital to receive first aid as a precautionary measure.

    [20] Illegal migrants arrested near the Turkish borders

    Twenty five illegal migrants from Asia were arrested on Monday by border guards in the region of Evros, near the borders with Turkey. The illegal migrants were riding in two abandoned trucks. In the first truck that was spotted near the village Aghios Vassilios were hidden 13 Pakistanis and in the second 12 men from Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The driver abandoned the truck on the Alexandroupolis-Komotini motorway.

    The two drivers escaped and are sought by local police.

    [21] Drug peddling arrests in Thessaloniki

    Police arrested on Monday a 50year old man in Thessaloniki, northern Greece for drug peddling. In his possession were found 279 drug pills, 2 methadone pills and 261grams of methadone in liquid.

    Later, in a separate incident Thessaloniki police arrested a 35year old man who possessed 34 drug pills, 5.4 grams of heroine in small packets, a small quantity of hashish and a precise scale.

    According to police the two men are members of a drug trafficking ring.

    Both men were sent before a public prosecutor.

    Weather forecast

    [22] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather with northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 4-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 36C. Fair in Athens, with 4-6 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 21C to 36C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 35C.

    [23] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The explosive situation in Caucasus, the Hellenic Railways (OSE) reform plan promoted by the government, the hidden surcharges in credit cards and loans and how they affect consumers were the main front-page items in Tuesday's dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "What are they feeding us anyway - Hundreds of dangerous foodstuffs traced daily".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Back to the Russia-USA cold war - Russians deny invading Georgia, the Georgians contradict them - Rumours that the Russian army has occupied key cities".

    AVGHI: "War spreads in Georgia - War of impressions with dead and refugees".

    AVRIANI: "Russian advance into Georgia aiming at the absolute control of oil and natural gas pipelines".

    CHORA: "Georgian President with a gun to his head - (Russian PM) Putin - (US President) Bush raise the war temperature".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Diplomatic marathon for peace in the Caucasus to stop the White Bear revenge".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Arrogant governors of (public utility companies) DEKO-Organizations - Damage (ruling party) New Democracy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Cheap baits, expensive interest rates - Credit card pitfalls - Banks highlight the interest free period and hide surcharges of over 20 percent in fine print".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Russia roars - Europe rushes to mediate - US responds with messages".

    ESTIA: "Growth is slowed down - Down 3.4 percent in the second quarter of 2008".

    ETHNOS: "In line for 1,997 golden job positions - Hiring fever in tax offices, banks, in the fall".

    KATHIMERINI: "Russian advance in Georgia - Moscow: No plans to enter Tbilisi - Saakashvili: My country is cut in half".

    LOGOS: "Russia rejects unilateral ceasefire - Putin-Bush confrontation with war operations in Caucasus in the background".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Imperialism, NATO and the EU are guilty for the bloodshed in South Ossetia".

    TA NEA: "Five star heavy taxation on real estate, private cars, electricity in September".

    TO VIMA: "OSE breaks into three pieces clearing the way for private investors - Announcements expected".

    VRADYNI: "At the edge of the abyss - Russia and the United States with the finger on the trigger".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [24] UNSG's Special Adviser to be present at start of negotiations


    UN Secretary General's special adviser for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, will be present at the start of direct negotiations on September 3rd, in Nicosia, between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities.

    Deputy UNFICYP Spokesman Captain Thomas Pavlik told CNA on Tuesday that Downer, former Australian Foreign Minister, would be present at the start of the negotiations between the leaders of the two communities, President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Diplomatic sources have also told CNA that Downer would be present for the start of the talks, during which the leaders will not discuss matters of substance, but they will agree on the procedure to be followed during the negotiations, which aim at reuniting Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    Downer will return to the island on September 10th to participate in the beginning of substantive negotiations, which according to the same sources, will start on September 11th.

    Between his first and second visit to the island, Downer will visit European capitals, most probably Athens, Ankara, London and Brussels.

    The same sources have told CNA that the leaders would be meeting once a week but did not rule out the possibility of more frequent meetings, or perhaps no meetings at any given week, "depending on President Christofias' programme."

    President Christofias' negotiating team will consist of Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou but more people are likely to join the team, according to the same sources.

    The two community leaders agreed on July 25 to begin direct talks to find a negotiated settlement which has eluded interlocutors and mediators alike for more than three decades.

    [25] Cyprus protests Turkish violations to UN


    Cyprus has protested to the UN new violations of its airspace and Nicosia FIR (Flight Information Region) by Turkish fighter jets.

    According to an official press release, a letter dated 1 August 2008 was sent by Charge d' affaires of the Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the UN, Louis Telemachou to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council.

    The letter drew attention to the violations of the national airspace of Cyprus and Nicosia FIR by military aircraft of the Turkish Air Force recorded from 2 June to 29 July 2008.

    In his letter, Telemachou strongly protested the violations and appealed "for their immediate cessation," noting that ''the non-observance by Turkey of rules and regulations governing air traffic constitutes a serious threat to the safety of air flights in the region and a breach of its international obligations."

    ''At the same time, its attempt to upgrade, contrary to Security Council resolutions, an illegal secessionist entity in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus, to the detriment of a sovereign country, member of the United Nations and the European Union, constitutes a blatant violation of international law and United Nations resolutions, with serious ramifications for the peace and stability of the region.''

    The Cypriot diplomat stressed that Turkey instead of promoting a policy of separation and undermining Cyprus, ''it should finally heed international law and respect without any preconditions the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, in accordance with UN resolutions thus contributing to the maintenance of stability and prosperity in the region.''

    The letter was circulated as a UN document on Monday, August 11 2008.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third. Turkey has refused to implement numerous UN resolutions calling for the immediate withdrawal of its occupation troops from Cyprus.

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