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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-01-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 14 January 2009 Issue No: 3095


  • [01] Greek, Russian PM's discuss natgas supply issue
  • [02] PM Karamanlis confers with education minister
  • [03] FM briefs party reps at nat'l foreign policy council meeting
  • [04] FM to present Greek OSCE presidency priorities in Vienna
  • [05] Gov't on economy, ammo trans-shipment
  • [06] Alavanos tables question on gov't response to Gaza crisis
  • [07] SYN leader meets with Palestinian Organizations in Greece
  • [08] Synaspismos' political secretariat convenes
  • [09] Greece participates in Rome meeting on illegal immigration
  • [10] Ex-Israeli minister details positions on Gaza military operations
  • [11] FinMin on deposits guarantee bill
  • [12] Transport minister meets public sector managers
  • [13] Farm ministry prepares new reforms programme
  • [14] Bulgarian PM: Link-up with TGI natgas pipeline a priority
  • [15] Slovakian ambassador on eurozone entry
  • [16] Consumer protection NGO releases '08 figures
  • [17] Greek industrial import price index down 0.1 pct in Nov
  • [18] Successful auction of state notes
  • [19] Foreign investors' participation in ASE down to 47.8 pct in December
  • [20] Greek stocks end 1.41% down on Tues.
  • [21] ADEX closing report
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates: Wednesday
  • [24] Ecumenical Patriarch refers to 'audacity of hope' in describing overseas Hellenism
  • [25] Prof. Ligomenides new Athens Academy president for 2009
  • [26] Noted US archaeologist Stephen G. Miller to present 'Plato at Olympia' on Wed.
  • [27] Papoulias receives group seeking salvage of sunken cruise ship off Santorini
  • [28] Suspect nabbed while planting firebombs in Thessaloniki
  • [29] Forged Greek passports confiscated by Albanian police
  • [30] Operation to rescue illegal immigrants in boat off Crete
  • [31] Abducted convict out on leave found dead
  • [32] 5.3R earthquake jolts Crete
  • [33] Cloudy and rainy on Wednesday
  • [34] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greek, Russian PM's discuss natgas supply issue

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis had a telephone conversation on Monday morning with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, at the latter's initiative, to discuss the issue that has arisen with the supply of Russian natural gas to the European countries, including Greece.

    During the 15-minute discussion, the Russian prime minister outlined to Karamanlis the views from the Russian side's perspective.

    Karamanlis expressed his concern over the problems that have ensued in the supply of Russian natural gas to Europe, and especially to Greece.

    The Greek premier also expressed the hope that Putin would do everything feasible so that a lsting solution to the matter will be given, on the basis of what was agreed at Monday's extraordinary meeting of EU energy ministers in which Greece was represented by development minister Costis Hatzidakis, so as to ensure natural gas supply to the countries of Southeast Europe, including Greece.

    During their discussion, the two prime ministers also reviewed bilateral coope- ration, which they ascertained was progressing smoothly, in the energy, economy and tourism sectors, and in general in all sectors of common interest.

    [02] PM Karamanlis confers with education minister

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Tuesday with new Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos to discuss matters concerning the crucial issue of education.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Spiliotopoulos said that one of the priority topics was the process of high school pupils' to the "next step, which is the university".

    He said that those matters would be the subject of a national dialogue on education, "a dialogue that, from the first moment, we stated that we are approaching without previously made decisions".

    "We are open, and will be open, in the framework of this dialogue, to all the members of the education community, to all political and social groups. Therefore, we are going to a dialogue that is tabula rasa from the beginning." he said.

    In later statements, Spiliotopoulos said "surprises, upsets or decisions taken in advance are not allowed in the education sector".

    [03] FM briefs party reps at nat'l foreign policy council meeting

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis discussed developments in the Middle East, Greek-Turkish affairs and the Greek OSCE presidency with party representatives within the framework of the National Foreign Policy Council meeting at the foreign ministry on Tuesday.

    Bakoyannis said an in-depth discussion was held on the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations, while she reiterated that these relations are never aligned and that 2008 was a year of stagnation.

    As regards 2009, the foreign minister said Greece's target is an improvement in relations with the neighbouring country, saying it is steadfast on this target but that "we are also expecting a response from Turkey."

    Focusing on the climate of consensus prevailing during the meeting, the minister said "it is proved once again that we Greeks, when we have major goals, and defending national issues is a major goal, have the possibility, with a very good dialogue, of serving this common target together."

    [04] FM to present Greek OSCE presidency priorities in Vienna

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will outline the priorities of Greece's presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at the permanent council of the group's 56 member-states on Thursday.

    Bakoyannis is due to arrive in the Austrian capital at noon on Wednesday.

    Immediately after her arrival, the Greek foreign minister will have a working meeting with the members of the permanent Greek delegation, whose offices in central Vienna will be officially inaugurated by her in the afternoon.

    On Thursday morning, the Greek foreign minister will present the Greek OSCE presidency's priorities at its permanent council plenum, which will be presided over by Greek Amb. Mara Marinaki.

    At the end of the permanent council session, Bakoyannis will give a press conference before attending an official reception in her honor, with the participation of the heads of the OSCE's institutions, its secretary general and the leaders of the delegations of the 56 member-states.

    Greece assumed the OSCE's presidency for 2009 on Jan. 1, taking over from the previous presiding country, Finland, and it will be handing it over to Kazakhstan at the end of the year.

    [05] Gov't on economy, ammo trans-shipment

    The government spokesman on Tuesday dismissed criticism that recently announced government initiatives in the education sector are part of a pre-election campaign package, stressing that there is no such issue.

    Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros also touched on the controversial issue of university asylum, where he simply noted that relevant laws are in effect.

    Regarding the same-day auction of state bonds, he referred the question to the relevant finance minister.

    Meanwhile, Antonaros referred to repeated statements by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and to an announcement by the US Pentagon as regards the cancellation of a trans-shipment of ammunition -- via the Greek port of Astakos (in western Greece) -- to a US military stockpile in Ashdod, Israel.

    "The Greek side never allowed such a transport," he stressed, and referring to the Greek stance on the Middle East issue, he cited recent comments by the foreign minister.

    [06] Alavanos tables question on gov't response to Gaza crisis

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary head Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday tabled a question for Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in Parliament again demanding that the government reply to reports that Greek ports are being use for the transfer of military supplies from the United States or other countries to Israel.

    Alavanos also asks whether the Greek government intends to undertake specific initiatives, on the national and EU level, to persuade Israel to cease military operations in Gaza.

    [07] SYN leader meets with Palestinian Organizations in Greece

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras charged on Tuesday that a genocide was being conducted against the Palestinian people, in statements after a meeting with the Coordinating Committee of the Palestinian Organizations in Greece.

    Tsipras added that "this genocide is not taking place to wipe out the Hamas leadership, as they (Israel) are saying, but in order to wipe out the very idea itself of the existence of a Palestinian state", noting that "we are already in the 60th year of Israel's occupation of Palestine".

    The SYN leader called on the Greek government to come out of its "deep slumber" and take initiatives at international level, to recall Greece's ambassador to Israel and annul the military cooperation accord with Israel, "and chiefly to stop all thought of providing facilitation to this military attack via the Greek ports and airports".

    Referring to a US Pentagon announcement on Monday that the trans-shipment of ammunition to a US military stockpile in Ashdod, Israel via the Greek port of Astakos "will not take place" due to the fact that the destination port was very close to the combat zone, Tsipras said that "even for such things to be said is out of time and place".

    "All provision of such assistance will be postponed and cancelled because the Greek people will not allow it,regardless of what the Greek government does," Tsipras said, adding that "a first response will be given on Thursday in Astakos, where the people of Aetoloakarnania are preparing a block that will send a message to the US and the EU, and chiefly to the Greek government".

    "No inch of Greek land, no port, no airport, will be at the disposal of the criminals," Tsipras stressed.

    [08] Synaspismos' political secretariat convenes

    The political secretariat of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party convened on Tuesday and decided to hold a party permanent congress on Feb. 6-8 to discuss a programme and the preparations for the Euroelections.

    The secretariat also decided to propose to the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party the holding of a major rally at an indoor arena in Athens on Monday, which was accepted. Synaspismos leader Alexis Tsipras will be the speaker.

    Also discussed was the assumption of initiatives by the party for the Palestine self-rule areas, as well as for the sectors of education, health and the economy.

    [09] Greece participates in Rome meeting on illegal immigration

    ROME (ANA-MPA/Th. Andreadis-Syngelakis)

    The interior ministers of Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta met here on Tuesday to certify a united initiative with the signing of an official document, an institutional and political initiative aimed at combatting illegal immigration and intensifying cooperation between these four countries on a closer basis.

    The document contains proposals to the European Commission and the European Union's Czech presidency. Its details will be examined during the EU's informal council of interior ministers to be held in Prague on January 15.

    The Greek government was represented at the meeting in Rome by Deputy Interior Minister Athanasios Nakos, who said that the document was prepared speedily and it is very important for Greece that has 18,000 kilometres of coasts and over 9,000 islands and islets.

    [10] Ex-Israeli minister details positions on Gaza military operations

    A well-known former Israeli minister and currently high-ranking Likud party cadre on Tuesday detailed the Israeli perspective and positions in the ongoing military operations in Gaza, during the first press briefing at the Israeli embassy in Athens since Israel's military offensive began.

    Former minister Limor Livnat, who served as a prominent Cabinet minister in both the Netanyahu and Sharon governments of the 1990s and until 2006, echoed Israeli leadership's position that the IDF's campaign on the ground, air and sea of Gaza aims directly at ending Hamas' ability to fire rockets into southern Israel and to prevent weapons smuggling into the densely populated Palestinian enclave.

    Livnat expressed her deep regrets for the civilian losses caused by the military operations, but noted that Israel is obliged to protect its citizens. The former education repeatedly emphasised that Hamas fired twice as many rockets and missiles at Israel after Israeli forces evacuated Gaza in 2005.

    Along those lines, she said she regretted her support of the Sharon government's decision to disengage from Gaza.

    "They (Hamas) did not use the area for peace, but for attacks," she said.

    Asked about the prospects of international inspectors in and around Gaza to monitor any future ceasefire or truce agreement, Livnat said that "inspections by other countries, when ready, may be good. Inspections by Egypt may not be enough; definitely the US (should be involved) and maybe the Europeans."

    " We do expect that the EU and Europeans to balance their declarations and see both sides, and not to compare Hamas with the Israeli military" she said, which charging that the group, Hamas, is no different from the terrorists organizations al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

    Financial News

    [11] FinMin on deposits guarantee bill

    Finance and Economy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, said he is open to proposals and, at the same time, praised parties' stance regarding the arrangement for compensating businesses damaged during the recent events in Athens.

    The minister also underlined the need for supporting small and medium-size businesses with the aim of preserving their jobs.

    Participating in the discussion at the Parliamentary Finance Committee on the bill concerning the Deposits and Investments Guarantee Fund (TEKE), which had been tabled by his predecessor George Alogoskoufis, Papathanasiou placed emphasis on achieving the greatest possible consensus between parties and added that he meant this.

    Noting that he is still at a briefing stage, and for this reason his presence in Parliament has a symbolic character, he proceeded with an improving, as he termed it, amendment, according to which "contributions given to TEKE by banks will not be considered expenditures, but will be part of their capital assets so that there will be no revenues lost from the public sector."

    [12] Transport minister meets public sector managers

    Transport Minister Evripidis Stylianidis will have a number of meetings Tuesday with heads of public sector companies and organizations falling under the authority of the ministry of transport and communications. The guidelines to be presented by the minister are aimed at reducing expenditures in the public sector while ensuring improved services for the citizens.

    Stylianidis is scheduled to meet with a delegation of transport ministry employees, followed by a meeting with President and CEO of Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA), the management of Thermal Buses S.A. (ETHEL) and the presidents and CEOs of Athens-Piraeus Area Trolley Buses (ILPAP) and Athens Piraeus Electric Railways (ISAP).

    Earlier in the morning, the minister had a meeting with Hellenic Organization of Communications (OTE S.A.), CEO Panagis Vourloumis.

    [13] Farm ministry prepares new reforms programme

    New Agricultural Development and Food Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis held a meeting on Tuesday with the participation of all the Parliamentary deputies of the ruling New Democracy party from the prefectures in Thessaly, central Greece, for an examination of "the ministry's strategic targets and new role."

    The meeting focused on a reformist programme that will place special importance on young farmers and that is being prepared by the ministry in the framework of the new agricultural policy.

    [14] Bulgarian PM: Link-up with TGI natgas pipeline a priority

    SOFIA (ANA-MPA/B. Borisov)

    Link-up of its natural gas distribution network with the Turkey-Greece-Italy (TGI) pipeline remains a priority for Bulgaria, the country's prime minister Sergei Stanishev said in statements on Tuesday, adding that another priority was the construction of four new linkups of its grid with that of Romania.

    He noted that the deliberations for the hook-up of the Bulgarian grid with the TGI pipeline, through the counstruction of a 115 kilometer long new pipeline between the Greek town of Komotini and the Bulgarian city of Dimitrovgrad, budgeted at 125 million euros, have been ongoing for a year.

    Speaking at a press conference after an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, Stanishev also said that talks would continue with Greece for the construction -- in the mid-term -- of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at some Greek port.

    Stanishev expressed hope that the recent critical developments (referring to the energy crisis) would help speed up the materialization of the plans for link-up among the Bulgarian, Greek and Romanian grids, with EU support, which he said that Bulgarian energy minister Petar Dimitrov had been authorized to request officially at Monday's meeting of the European energy ministers.

    [15] Slovakian ambassador on eurozone entry

    Slovakia's transition to the eurozone as of January 1, 2009, is considered smooth and was a development that the country had strived for and achieved with social accord, successfully implementing all the criteria set by the European Union.

    The country's entry into the eurozone, apart from its great economic significance, also has a symbolic and political dimension, since the country of 5,379,000 inhabitants, that is ranked 22nd among the countries of Europe, once belonged to the eastern bloc and is the only country in central and eastern Europe that has joined the eurozone.

    The above was deduced from remarks made by the ambassador of Slovakia to Greece in a meeting with journalists on Tuesday, during which he referred to the significance and the benefits resulting from his country joining the eurozone.

    Financial News

    [16] Consumer protection NGO releases '08 figures

    The Consumer Protection Centre (KEPKA), a non-profit NGO based in Thessaloniki received more 12,000 individual complaints by citizens in 2008, practically matching the number of complaints handled in 2007.

    The tax imposed on a second residence toped the list (2,855 complaints, corresponding to 23.69 percent of all grievances) followed by telecoms providers (1,438 complaints or 11.93 percent).

    The agency handled 1,348 complaints for defective products (11.18 percent) in 2008 -- a decline compared to 2,010 complaints in 2007 -- followed by banking products (credit cards, loans) with 1,228 complaints (10.19 percent) and guaranteed-consumer services (665 complaints or 5.52 percent).

    Following the centre's intervention and the settlements reached, consumers received compensations totaling roughly 234,100 euros, a 7-percent increase compared to 2007.

    [17] Greek industrial import price index down 0.1 pct in Nov

    Greece's composite import price index in the industrial sector fell 0.1 pct in November 2008, compared with the same month in 2007, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the index was down 2.4 pct in November from October 2008 and attributed the 0.1 pct annual decline of the index to an 1.4 pct increase in import prices from Eurozone countries and a 2.0 pct decline in import prices from other countries.

    [18] Successful auction of state notes

    Greece on Tuesday successfully completed an auction of short and medium-term notes, raising 2.550 billion euros from the market, the Public Debt Management Organisation said.

    In an announcement, the organization said that the auction was oversubscribed as bids submitted totaled 13.2 billion euros, sharply up from two billion euros which was the value of the issue. The Greek state raised 1.170 billion euros from the sale of three-month notes, 780 million euros from six-month notes and 600 million euros from 12-month notes. The average weighed interest rate for the three-month note was set at 2.40 pct (from 2.61 pct the Euribor rate), 2.46 pct for the six-month rate (2.67 pct) and 2.67 pct for the 12-month note (2.74 pct the Euribor).

    The Greek state also auctioned a 52-week note, worth 500 million euros, with its interest rate set at 2.67 pct. Bids submitted totaled 3.235 billion euros, up 6.47 times the asked sum. The auction was made through the market's primary dealers and settlement date was set Friday, Jan. 16, 2009.

    [19] Foreign investors' participation in ASE down to 47.8 pct in December

    Foreign investors cut their participation in the Athens Stock Exchange to 47.8 pct in December, from 48.7 pct in November and 51.78 pct in December 2007, official figures showed on Tuesday.

    On the other hand, Greek investors were gradually rising their participation in the market's capitalization to 51.1 pct in December 31, up around one percentage point from a month earlier.

    The value of transactions in December totaled 2.7 billion euros (down 34.9 pct from November), while the market's capitalization was 69 billion euros (down 5.2 pct from a month earlier). The composite index of the market fell 6.6 pct in the month for a net loss of 65.5 pct in 2008.

    December's turnover was 65.7 pct down compared with December 2007, while average daily turnover in December was 128.7 million euros, sharply down from a 414.7 million figure in December 2007.

    Active codes totaled 61,639 in December, raising the total number of active codes during the year to 401,889, down 7.3 pct compared with 2007.

    The Greek stock market's capitalization totaled 69 billion euros, down 64.9 pct from December 2007. The capitalization of the FTSE-20 index was 46.8 bln euros (down 5.6 pct from the previous month), of the FTSE 40 index was 5.01 billion euros (down 17.5 pct) and of the FTSE 80 index was 4.2 bln euros (up 2.7 pct).

    Foreign investors were net sellers in December, with capital outflows totaling 381.6 million euros, while net inflows by Greek investors totaled 289.6 million euros. Foreign investors accounted for 52.3 pct of total trading activity in the Greek stock market.

    [20] Greek stocks end 1.41% down on Tues.

    Greek stocks remained under strong pressure at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index losing 1.41 pct to end at 1,844.43 points. Turnover was an improved 120.3 million euros, of which 2.5 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower, with the Travel (3.47 pct), Financial Services (3.19 pct0 and Commerce (2.57 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Healthcare (3.37 pct) and Media (0.51 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 1.59 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.85 pct down and the FTSE 80 index eased 0.98 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 140 to 60 with another 47 issues unchanged.

    [21] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising slightly to 46.102 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.50 pct, with volume of 8,067 contracts worth 37.988 million euros and 22,851 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,620 contracts worth 7.760 million euros with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,568), followed by Eurobank (403), PPC (322), OPAP (698), GEK (537), Alpha Bank (810), Marfin Popular Bank (1,336) and Mytilineos (507).

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 505 million euros on Tuesday, of which 180 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 325 million were sell orders.

    The 32-year benchmark bond (Sept. 20, 2037) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 160 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds eased to 239 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 5.37 pct and the German Bund 2.98 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates fell afresh. The 12-month Euribor rate was 2.73 pct, the six-month rate 2.67 pct, the three-month rate 2.61 pct and the one-month rate 2.32 pct.

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates: Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.336

    Pound sterling 0.918

    Danish kroner 7.511

    Swedish kroner 11.011

    Japanese yen 119.49

    Swiss franc 1.497

    Norwegian kroner 9.533

    Canadian dollar 1.645

    Australian dollar 2.003

    General News

    [24] Ecumenical Patriarch refers to 'audacity of hope' in describing overseas Hellenism


    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) used the title of Barack Obama's best-selling book, "The Audacity of Hope", to describe overseas Greek communities and especially the venerable Patriarchate's efforts to survive in Istanbul.

    "We could speak even more of hope's audacity. The one who has the strength, the courage; the Christian, whose faith in Christ allows him to hope when everyone else sees chaos, despair and darkness," he stressed.

    Bartholomew addressed at a dinner hosted in his honor by the historic Bosporus metropolis' district of Tatavla, where he referred to the bonds between the Church and the community.

    [25] Prof. Ligomenides new Athens Academy president for 2009

    Professor Panos A. Ligomenides is the newly-elected Athens Academy president for 2009. The new president will be installed on Thursday, January 15, at 7:00 p.m. during a public Academy session.

    Panos A. Ligomenides was born on April 3, 1928 in Piraeus, Greece. He is a Professor Emeritus of the University of Maryland, USA, and has been a Life (Regular) Member of the Academy of Athens since 1993, and is the President of the Center for the Greek Language (Ministry of Education), and of the Hellenic Language Heritage.

    Professor Ligomenides has worked in the USA as a researcher at IBM Corporation, as Professor of the Universities of Stanford, UCLA, Maryland, and of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain. He has been the Vice-President (Research) of Caelum Research Corporation, Technical Consultant of many Corporations, and of Public Organizations. He has been credited with many honorary distinctions, such as Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering, Outstanding Educator of America, and Ford Foundation Fellow. Professor Ligomenides has a remarkable research and an extended published scientific record.

    [26] Noted US archaeologist Stephen G. Miller to present 'Plato at Olympia' on Wed.

    Noted US archaeologist, academic and philhellene Stephen G. Miller will be on hand in Athens Wednesday afternoon for a presentation of the English-language edition of his work "Plato at Olympia", an illustrated children's book on the connection between athletics, philosophy and the "unsuspected archaeological treasures in the basement".

    The presentation will take place on the roof cafe of the Eleftheroudakis bookshop on 17, Panepistimiou Ave.

    Prof. Miller, a distinguished Univ. of California at Berkeley professor with nearly 40 years of excavation experience in Greece, will be introduced by Brady Kiesling.

    [27] Papoulias receives group seeking salvage of sunken cruise ship off Santorini

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received a coordinating committee of the Santorini residents at the presidential mansion, with the meeting focusing on efforts to salvage the sunken "Sea Diamond" cruise ship, which is still lying on the bottom of Santorini's internationally renowned Caldera.

    [28] Suspect nabbed while planting firebombs in Thessaloniki

    A 26-year-old man was arrested at dawn on Tuesday while allegedly planting a homemade explosive device -- consisting of camping gas canisters -- outside the municipal police building in the Evosmos municipality of western Thessaloniki.

    State and local government buildings and agencies are often vandalised and attacked in a similar fashion, namely, with homemade incendiary devices, and usually in the pre-dawn hours. The man, already a suspect in a number of arson attacks in the fall of 2007, is being questioned by police, while an investigation is underway to locate an accomplice who managed to flee the scene after the device detonated.

    In November 2007, the same 26-year-old -- reportedly a self-styled "anti-state" activist -- together with another man and woman was accused of three firebomb attacks against a used car dealership, two public utility vehicles and a bank branch.

    [29] Forged Greek passports confiscated by Albanian police

    Over 200 forged Greek and Albanian documents, passports and birth certificates as well as EU member-state identity cards and 90 official seals of foreign national agencies, among them of the Greek Embassy in Tirana, were confiscated by Albanian police.

    Two people involved in the scheme were arrested during a police raid in the "forgery factory" in the Albanian capital.

    [30] Operation to rescue illegal immigrants in boat off Crete

    The Harbour Corps, together with the Air Force and Navy, launched an operation on Tuesday evening to rescue 56 illegal immigrants on board a 10-metre boat sailing in the sea region between the islands of Crete and Milos.

    The operation began at about 8 in the evening when a call was received by the 112 international distress board that a boat with illegal immigrants on board was in danger in the specific region.

    Later on, the pilot of a C-130 cargo aircraft announced that he had spotted the vessel, but that Harbour and Navy ships would be necessary to rescue those on board, while not ruling out the possibility of their rescue by air.

    [31] Abducted convict out on leave found dead

    A 63-year-old expatriate Greek from Egypt who was abducted by two gunmen outside his home in the Athens coastal district of Helliniko on Monday evening was found dead on Tuesday afternoon.

    The victim, who was serving a lengthy prison sentence for drug-related convictions at a correctional facility on Crete, had been given a 10-days furlough. He was found in extreme north Athens district of Dionysos, beneath the same-name mountain peak, with fatal head wounds.

    Police believe the motive behind the killing was personal differences related to illegal dealings.

    [32] 5.3R earthquake jolts Crete

    A moderate earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale jolted the island of Crete on Tuesday morning, but no damage was reported.

    The earthquake, which was recorded at 8:12 a.m. with its epicenter in the sea region southeast of Crete, jolted the town of Sitia and the tire Lassithi prefecture, and was also felt throughout the island and in the southern Aegean.

    Seismologists said that the trembler was normal seismic activity for the region.

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Cloudy and rainy on Wednesday

    Cloud and rain and southeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 4-9 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 18C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with southeasterly 6-8 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 10C to 15C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 4C to 8C.

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

    Shipowner Pericles Panagopoulos' abduction and the ongoing Turkish provocations in the Aegean Sea dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Hours of agony for Panagopoulos".

    APOGEVMATINI: "(Manpower Employment Organisation) OAED-registered unemployed will be hired in public sector".

    AVGHI: "US to send phosphorus bombs to Israel via Greece".

    AVRIANI: "Gang that executes death contracts behind Panagopoulos' abduction".

    CHORA: "The list of targets - Alert in ELAS (Greek Police) and terror over new abductions".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Four Turkish Fantom's flew over Farmakonissi at a low altitude as the KYSEA (Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence) convened".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Government fears a 'hot' incident in the Aegean".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Panagopoulos' life in danger - Greeks shocked from the new abduction-thriller".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Hours of agony for the ill shipowner ".

    ESTIA: "Zero opposition - Main opposition PASOK undermines the legitimate government".

    ETHNOS: "Mafia-style abduction - Panagopolos' life in danger".

    KATHIMERINI: "Shipowner's brazen abduction - 74-year-old Panagopoulos the victim - Police inverstigations in the dark".

    LOGOS: "Crucial test for the economy - The state wants to collect 2 million euros through the issue of state interest-bearing bonds ".

    NIKI: "Nervous breakdown in police - The kidnappers seek immense ransom".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The slaughteres of the Palestianians tp use Astakos port in Western Greece as a supplies replenishment base".

    TA NEA: "We want the ransom - Kidnapping without any traces - Agony for Panagopoulos' life".

    TO VIMA: "The wealthy targets - The industrial world is upset".

    VRADYNI: "Shipowner Pericle Panagopoulos a victim of abduction".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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