|Wednesday, 29 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-08-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 18 August 2008 Issue No: 2972
 Greece picks up first medals in BeijingGreek athletes won their first medals at the ongoing 2008 Beijing Olympic Games over the weekend, with one big hopeful, Chryssopigi Devetzi winning a bronze medal in the women's triple jump on Sunday after jumping 15.23 metres in her second attempt. The gold medal was won by Francois Bangot-Etonet of Cameroon with 15.39 metres and second place by Russia's Tatiana Lebedeva of Russia with 15.32.
Meanwhile, Greece's first medal, a third-place showing, was won in the women's sailing in Yngling category. The three-woman crew featured Sofia Bekatorou, the skipper, along with Sofia Papadopoulou and Virginia Kravarioti. The gold medal was won by the British crew and the silver medal by the Dutch team.
Finally, rowers Vassilis Polymeros and Dimitrios Mougios on Sunday did one better by picking up the silver medal in the men's lightweight double sculls finals, behind rowers from Britain.
High-profile doping instance
On a negative note, Greece's 2004 gold medallist in the 400-metre hurdles, Fani Halkia, departed from Beijing on Sunday after a first sample of a doping test performed by WADA came up positive for the prohibited substance M3.
Halkia, who was due to participate in the hurdle heats, was obliged to leave the Olympic Village shortly after 11 p.m. on Saturday (Beijing time).
The second sample was examined on Sunday without anything being publicised, although an announcement is expected.
The case of Halkia, who denied during a press conference that she had used banned substances, will be examined on Monday by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) disciplinary committee, while further developments are expected on Tuesday when the IOC executive committee will convene.
 'We don't want dirty medals', EOE president saysBEIJING (ANA-MPA/D. Efstathiou)
Greek Olympic Committee (EOE) President Minos Kyriakou, speaking to the ANA-MPA at the "Greek House" here over the weekend in the wake of the new doping case appearing in Greek athletics, said that "we want pure sport, we don't want dirty medals."
Kyriakou stressed that "what is our philosophy? We want pure sport, we don't want dirty medals. If we can't have fair medals, then we shall have mass sports The EOE will continue checks at an even more intensive rate until the phenomenon of those who use substances, cheating their fellow athletes and the Olympic movement is eliminated as much as possible, of course.
"not all athletes are doped. Sport is not dirty in its entirety. There is the category of those who undermine sport and we are chasing them all the way. The EOE has quadrupled checks and expenditures for doping control. From 2004 until today, and with our own resources, we have spent an amount in excess of half a million euros for doping checks. For the first time, all athletes were subjected to four checks before the Olympic Games."
Kyriakou also said that he will seek re-election for a second four-year tenure in the upcoming elections, while stressing that the EOE will call on the government to enforce stricter penalties for athletes guilty of doping.
SEGAS athletics federation on doping issue
The SEGAS athletics federation issued an announcement on Sunday, on the occasion of the first positive sample found in a doping test carried out on Halkia, expressing its profound regret over the development.
"SEGAS expresses its profound regret over the new blow dealt at Greek sport and at athletics in particular, with the positive first sample of Athens Olympic Games gold medallist Fani Halkia," the announcement said.
"In no way can these isolated cases change the overall splendid image of Greek athletics," it went on to say, adding that "unfortunately, it is being proved once again in a very painful way that the struggle against doping is long and difficult."
 PM Karamanlis attends Feast of the Assumption religious holidayPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis made a statement on the island of Tinos on Friday on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption religious holiday.
"August 15 for Greeks has a double meaning. We honour the Feast of the Assumption, one of the greatest and most grand celebrations of Orthodoxy, and at the same time, the anniversary of the sinking of the frigate "Elli" (68 years ago, on August 15, 1940.)
"Today's celebration, a celebration of hope and humanity, is an opportunity to evaluate the principles which give meaning to our life and must direct our collective action.
"In today's difficult international situation, the challenge is clear and concerns all of us, to work with responsibility, decisiveness and effectiveness, so that peace, cooperation, solidarity to prevail in the world and in our societies.
"The Greeks, with faith in their strength, look forward. We confront the present challenges and place the firm bases for a better future for all. With firm steps, united in the major and important matters, we are proceeding on the road of work and progress," the prime minister said.
PM to receive interior minister on Monday
Meanwhile, Karamanlis will be holding talks with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday morning in the first meeting to be held at the Maximos Mansion after the August 15 holiday period.
 Archbishop Ieronymos officiates on TinosArchbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos officiated on the island of Tinos on Friday on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption religious holiday.
Present at the service, held at Evangelistria Cathedral, were President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, accompanied by their spouses, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, deputies, clerics and thousands of pilgrims.
 Papandreou chairs meeting of Cyclades party cadresMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou chaired a meeting of party cadres of the Cyclades islands complex at the Tinos Cultural Foundation on Friday, saying that major sectors such as education, health and coastal shipping are in a state of overall disdain.
Papandreou criticised the government of trying to impose a climate of general apathy and indifference, as he said, adding that it is PASOK that can provide Greece and the Greeks with vision and hope again.
The PASOK leader also said that it will make its presence felt on a daily basis, regardless of when elections will be taking place, since the party's aim is to be prepared to assume the responsibilities of the country's governance.
 Financial aid for ethnic Greeks in Southern Ossetia war zoneVLADIKAVKAZ (ANA-MPA/Than. Avgerinos)
The distribution of financial aid, amounting to 500 euros, that is being provided by the Greek government for every ethnic Greek in the embattled zone in Southern Ossetia has been started by the General Consul of Novorossisk Theodoros Economou-Kamarinos, who has arrived in Vladikavkaz in Northern Ossetia.
In cooperation with the "Prometheus" society of Ossetian Greeks and its President George Aslanidis, the Greek general consul has registered about 52 ethnic Greeks who lived in Tskhinvali and the surrounding region and most of whom are refugees and have moved to other locations.
 Greek NGO sends medical aid to S. OssetiaThe NGO Hellenicare on Sunday announced the dispatch of pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies to the South Ossetia war zone via a medical centre of Tbilisi.
The president of Hellenicare, Andrew Athens, expressed a hope for an immediate cessation to the violence in the region, and for diplomatic efforts to lead to a peaceful and just solution.
The Hellenicare programme is partly financed by the US State Dept. It was founded in Chicago in 1997 by Athens, first president of World Council of Hellenes Abroad. (SAE), and is active in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Albania.
 Health minister inaugurates new hospital wingHealth and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos inaugurated the new wing of the Anousakio Hospital of Kisamos, on the island of Crete, on Saturday in the presence of former prime minister and New Democracy party Honourary President Constantine Mitsotakis, who stressed that the government must manage funds at its disposal in a productive way.
The ceremony was held in the presence of local authorities and the Archbishop of Crete Irineos.
 Traffic measures for return of holidaymakersThis year's mass exodus on the occasion of the August 15 religious holiday was the biggest in the last few years, while authorities have ordered traffic police on full alert from Sunday and until next Sunday, Aug. 24, when the biggest wave of holidaymakers is expected to return. Special measures have also been taken at all ports throughout the country.
Road networks will be monitored in various sectors, while restrictions for preventing or extinguishing wildfires will also be taken into consideration since the wildfire protection period is at its peak.
Sections of motorways with the greatest frequency in traffic accidents will have an increased police presence.
Lastly, upgraded measures will be applied at the entrances and exits of major urban centres, airports, ports and stations and traffic policemen will be present at toll gates to provide advice on facilitating traffic
 Founding conference of SAE's Youth NetworkPRETORIA (ANA-MPA/S. Papadopoulou)
The founding conference of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) Youth Network for Africa and the Middle East continued in Pretoria on Friday, second day of the meeting.
The problems faced by the overseas Greeks within the framework of the societies they live in but also the youths' concerns for the present and the future were discussed by a group of 35 young participants.
Discussion focused on the teaching of the Greek language in the countries they live in, the more effective communication between the youth and ways to deal with the problems.
In a message to the delegates, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis stressed that "the Greek language and Greek civilization is recognized, appreciated and spread throughout the world."
On his part, SAE president Stefanos Tamvakis said that "through the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, we aim at the organization of a dynamic, creative youth who will represent and convey the positions and visions of the young generation."
The conference's sessions will conclude on Saturday with a debate on Greece's national issues.
 Real estate value assessmentThe Finance and Economy ministry has publicised decisions regarding the way with which the objective value of real estate will be assessed and on which the Single Real Estate Duty will be determined.
Objective values are set for 876 municipalities and communities lying outside the system, while the ministry is instructing taxation services to communicate with taxpayers in the event that mistakes are ascertained in the relative statements.
By decision of Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Antonis Bezas, building site values per square metre in municipalities and communities are being set for 2008, in regions where the system of the objective assessment of value is not being applied, exclusively for the need of imposing a Single Real Estate Duty on private persons.
 Foreign Exchange rates: MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.502
Pound sterling 0.801
Danish kroner 7.518
Swedish kroner 9.458
Japanese yen 164.67
Swiss franc 1.634
Norwegian kroner 8.07
Canadian dollar 1.590
Australian dollar 1.714
 August Full Moon celebrationThe Culture Ministry opened 72 archaeological sites, monuments and museums all over the country on Saturday night, the night of the August full moon, which also coincided with a partial lunar eclipse.
The initiative was part of efforts to familiarise the public with archaeological sites and with the country's cultural heritage in general.
 Drug arrests on MykonosA 26-year-old arrested in 2005, together with another 27 people for providing protection for night clubs in Patras, western Greece, as being a member of a ring disrupted by the police, is reportedly the leader of a gang selling drugs on the island of Mykonos.
The man, who had been set free with restrictive measures, was arrested by police in Mykonos on Friday afternoon, together with his female companion and three other men in the region of Rohari.
 Toxic materials to be burntThe camp where the 644 Mechanised Battalion is stationed in Mitrovica was evacuated as a purely precautionary measure on Saturday, since toxic materials found in three trucks at a factory in the wider region a week ago were due to be burnt, according to the National Defence General Staff.
The toxic materials have not yet been burnt, while a commander and his staff members are staying in the camp, while French experts are probing the composition of the air.
The order has also been given for two Greek groups of experts to travel to the region, if necessary, to assist the efforts of the French.
Meanwhile, the unit's staff has been safely deployed north of Mitrovica.
 Illegal immigrants on SamosA new illegal immigrants centre on the island of Samos is reaching its limits and over the last three days it has been treating 380 people of various nationalities.
Over this period more than 260 illegal immigrants have succeeded in passing through the Mykali straits from Turkey and disembarking at various locations on the island, while the authorities are doing what they can to stop the new wave of illegals.
An Italian vessel is also at the island in the framework of the European programme.
 Wildfire risks in certain regions on MondayThe General Civil Protection Secretariat announced on Sunday that a great risk of wildfires (danger category 4) will exist in the regions of Corfu, Cephallonia, Lefkada, Zakynthos and Messinia on Monday.
The Secretariat has notified state and local authorities in the above regions to be on the alert to prevent the possibility of wildfires breaking out.
Consequently, outdoor activities that might start a fire through negligence are forbidden, such as burning dry grass and branches, using machinery that create sparks and throwing away lighted cigarettes.
 Fair on MondayFair weather with northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 4-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 38C. Fair in Athens, with 4-5 beaufort northwesterly winds and temperatures ranging from 23C to 37C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 22C to 34C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glancePolitical developments in the country, scenarios on early elections, the state of the economy and the crisis in the Caucasus dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "EKAS changing. Plan for 7 instead of 4 income scales".
APOGEVMATINI: "What is changing in housing loans. The banks were obliged to adjust to new developments".
AVGHI: "Long-term crisis. American-Russian relations in new phase".
AVRIANI: "Storm in PASOK over Alex Rondos".
CHORA: "The shadows of missiles covering Europe".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The dilemmas of Athens in the new 'Cold War'".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Pavlidis affair. The file by prosecutor G. Economou was sent to Parliament but oddly enough it was shelved".
ETHNOS: "Mammoth offers in real estate market. Unprecedented crisis opens 'windows' to opportunities".
KATHIMERINI: "The secrets of the Caucasus. Beginning of a new Cold War or a regional crisis of a limited extent?"
LOGOS: "Benefits with a sense of measure as well as tax measures. Announcements by Karamanlis at TIF a blend of 'hot, cold'.
PROTO THEMA: "Prices on the beach 70% up. Fiasco also with ceiling on oil that they are setting after the...holidays".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Labour rights the target of capital and governments. Internal operational regulations for businesses".
TO VIMA: "Additional taxes on incomes and property. New categories of taxpayers in the Tax Service's net".
VRADYNI: "'73,450 hirings as of autumn. All the new jobs that will open in September".
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