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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-07-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Thursday, 2 July 2009 Issue No: 3234

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cabinet approves new senior judiciary appointments
  • [02] Karamanlis meets with EU parliament president
  • [03] Greek Parliament president honours European Parliament president
  • [04] Tsoukatos out on bail; denies Siemens bribe charge
  • [05] PASOK spokeswoman on Tsoukatos issue
  • [06] PASOK seeks Parliamentary probe of Siemens case
  • [07] Swedish ambassador outlines Stockholm's EU presidency priorities
  • [08] NATO links name dispute to FYROM invitation to join
  • [09] Draft bill lifting pre-paid mobile accounts' anonymity passes Parliament com't
  • [10] 3rd CSF completed with full absorption of funds
  • [11] Employment minister holds talks with bank employee federation directorate
  • [12] PASOK reps meets with Emporiki Bank employees' union
  • [13] Court for Citibank customer in Lehman Brothers bonds' case
  • [14] Intralot signs supply contract with Surinam
  • [15] Greek plastics sector's profits down 52% in '08
  • [16] Alpha Bank names A. Pilavios as new GM
  • [17] Greek stocks end 1.22 pct higher
  • [18] Greek bond market closing report
  • [19] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [20] Smoking ban enters into effect in Greece
  • [21] Journalists to observe three-hour work stoppage on Thursday
  • [22] Data Protection Authority presents 2008 report
  • [23] American actor Tom Hanks visits new Acropolis Museum
  • [24] Illegal immigrants, traffickers, arrested at Evros delta
  • [25] Volunteer drive to water new trees on Mt. Hymettus
  • [26] Elderly owner of folklore museum slain inside premises
  • [27] 5.9R quake jolts southern Crete
  • [28] Cloudy, rainy on Thursday
  • [29] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] Cabinet approves new senior judiciary appointments

    Justice minister Nikos Dendias on Wednesday announced the judicial functionaries who will be replacing their retiring colleagues in the senior positions in the country's three highest courts: the Areios Paghos (Supreme Court), the Council of State and the Court of Auditors.

    Speaking after a Cabinet meeting chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis, the justice minister said that the Cabinet unanimously approved his recommendations for the new presidents and vice presidents of the three high courts.

    As such, Areios Paghos vice-president George Kalamidas was promoted to the rank of president of the Greek supreme court, while Dionyssis Giannakopoulos, Mimis Grammatikoudis, Dimitris Patinidis and Theodora Gorini were named vice-presidents, and Ioannis Tentes was named Supeme Court Prosecutor.

    Council of State vice-president Panayotis Pikrammenos was promoted to the Council's presidency, while councillors Philokti-mon Arnaoutoglou, Nikos Sakellariou, Dimitris Petroulias and Athanassios Rantos were promoted to vice-presidents.

    [02] Karamanlis meets with EU parliament president

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday received visiting European Parliament President Hans Gert Pöttering at his Maximos Mansion office in Athens.

    Afterwards, Karamanlis underlined the long-standing friendship he has with the current Euro-parliament president.

    "His lengthy contribution to this institution and his valuable experience has been the most powerful guarantees for a successful presidency," Karamanlis said in reference to Pöttering's tenure.

    According to the Greek premier, implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, increasing the role of the European Parliament, the Union's enlargement, as well as the problem of illegal immigration was discussed.

    On his part, Pöttering expressed his thanks towards the Greek government and opposition for their support of the Lisbon Treaty. He also spoke warmly of Karamanlis and thanked Greek Parliament president Dimitris Sioufas for the latter's dedication to Europe, as he said, adding:

    "Countries that have not yet ratified the Lisbon Treaty should look to Greece as an example," a reference to the rapid ratification of the treaty by the country's Parliament.

    [03] Greek Parliament president honours European Parliament president

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas bestowed on European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering the Gold Medal of Greek Parliament during a special honourary event held in Parliament on Wednesday.

    Addressing Pottering, Sioufas praised his work "for a Europe that will be more effective, more democratic, more social" and took the opportunity to stress the need for a reassessment, at European level, of one of the main messages of the recent Euroelections: the issue of the extensive abstention.

    "56.9 percent of European voters (about 206 million Europeans) did not turn up to exercise their democratic obligation. This issue must make us very sceptical," the Parliament president said.

    On his part, Pottering expressed his admiration "for Greece, for Athens, the craddle of Democracy" and thanked the Greek Parliament president for the honour bestowed upon him.

    [04] Tsoukatos out on bail; denies Siemens bribe charge

    Former PASOK official Theodoros Tsoukatos, who served as a political advisor to ex-prime minister Costas Simitis, was prohibited from leaving the country and released on a 100,000-euros bail on Wednesday after testifying before a special examining magistrate investigating the ongoing Siemens kickbacks and bribery case.

    Tsoukatos testified on charges of passive bribery and legalisation of revenues from illegal activities (money laundering). According to an indictment, Tsoukatos received the sum of one million deutschemarks through the accounts of third parties between Feb. 4 to May 25 1999, when he was a member of the PASOK central committee and advisor to the then prime minister. He is also charged with serving as a go-between for then Siemens Hellas CEO Mihalis Christoforakos and forwarding the money to high-ranking officials of state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) of that time as well as other unidentified persons.

    Christoforakos, a fugitive from Greek justice, was recently arrested in southern Germany on an international warrant issued by Greek judicial authorities.

    Siemens was a major contractor to the Greek state at the time.

    In a written deposition he submitted to the examining magistrate, Tsoukatos denied all the charges against him and described the charge sheet as being "impressively vague, completely unlike me, and contrary to all the evidence in the case file".

    Tsoukatos said he had received Christoforakos at his political office, in an appointment arranged by his office, on Oct. 20, 1998 and had discussed a variety of politics-related matters with him.

    According to Tsoukatos, Christoforakos had expressed, during that meeting, his company's desire to contribute to PASOK's fundraising campaign for the party's congress and the upcoming European Parliament elections, "without asking for anything in return or linking it with any corporate activity whatsoever".

    Tsoukatos said he accepted the offer, provided the money did not originate from suspicious quarters or illegal activities and did not entail exchanges, "because no election campaign costs only the sums declared and no official ledger reflects the precise financial state (revenues-payments) of a political party".

    He added that, during another visit, Christoforakos cited the precise amount as being one million deutschemarks.

    Tsoukatos further said he turned over the money to the party, and validated fundraiser tickets (receipts) for the corresponding amount, insisting in statements to reporters that the money was spent on PASOK's campaign despite the party's standing denial. PASOK officials have, since Tsoukatos' admission that he took the contribution from Siemens Hellas, repeatedly said there is no record of any such sum being deposited in the party's accounting books.

    According to Tsoukatos, however, the absence of such a record was hardly surprising and there was always significant disparity between official records and monies entering campaign funds.

    "Everyone knows full well that no large donation (above the then legal limit of 10 million drachmas or 15,000 euros at present) is recorded in the official books. If this happened, the books would not pass inspection by Parliament and the consequences would be - apart from the legal penalties for breaking the law on party funding - a reduction by 50 percent of the annual state funds to the political party (today amounting to 22 million euros)."

    Tsoukatos said he felt "betrayed" by PASOK, saying its new leadership should have sought out the unofficial records of that time and spoken to the individuals involved:

    "I was not alone, it is here that I am alone," he stressed.

    [05] PASOK spokeswoman on Tsoukatos issue

    Main opposition PASOK party alternate spokeswoman Maria Karaklioumi, commenting on Wednesday on the issue of former PASOK official Theodoros Tsoukatos, who, earlier in the day, testifyied before a special examining magistrate investigating the ongoing Siemens kickbacks and bribery case, said that PASOK had reacted immediately.

    "Let me remind you, on the one hand, of the decisions by PASOK's president on the suspension of the party status of Tsoukatos and of (former PASOK minister Tasos) Mantelis and, of course, to remind you of the checking of books. A check was made of the books for that period in which no such entry was found. As far as this allegation is concerned, that I am also learning from the report as well, it is something that Mr. Tsoukatos also confirms," she said.

    Called on to comment on statements made by Tsoukatos after testifying that "if PASOK asked him, as a party, he would say where the money is" and on the observation by the press that Tsoukatos is implying that "this money cannot be entered in the official party books of any party and of PASOK, of course, firstly because it exceeds what is prescribed by law and, therefore, there are consequences, and secondly that fundings in election periods also take place in other ways," the spokeswoman said that "PASOK has made very specific proposals on transparency in the funding of parties and it is the only party whose budget is entered in the Internet, while it is also checked by Parliament's chartered accountants."

    Karaklioumi added that "the only books that PASOK has on the economic management of that period are those that were checked and which we invoke."

    [06] PASOK seeks Parliamentary probe of Siemens case

    Main opposition PASOK on Wednesday announced that it will ask for an emergency session of the full 300-member Parliament and seek a vote on setting up a Parliamentary investigation committee to look into the Siemens kickbacks and bribery scandal. The announcement was made to reporters by PASOK deputy press spokeswoman Maria Karaklioumi.

    "The Siemens affair poisons the political life of the country and this demands an immediate probe and the full revelation of the thruth," the PASOK spokeswoman said.

    Karaklioumi also accused the government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of "refusing to accept the proposal for the setting up of a Parliamentary investigation committee which PASOK had tabled three times" in the past.

    The spokeswoman also presented to the press a list of the party's revenues book regarding the period January-May 1999 where, as she said, no incomes are registered from PASOK's economic campaign.

    In the same list, revenues are appearing which regard the period August-October 1999, while there are two registrations for the months of November and December.

    A Parliament's emergency session and the setting up of a Parliamentary investigation committee "is the least that can be done so as to have the political system rid of any shadow," Karaklioumi added.

    [07] Swedish ambassador outlines Stockholm's EU presidency priorities

    Economic issues and ways to tackle the international financial crisis will be the main priorities of the Swedish EU Presidency over the next six months.

    Special attention will be given to the monitoring of the banking sector and unemployment, a nagging problem across Europe.

    Swedish ambassador to Athens Hakan Malmqvist outlined the key-points of the Swedish EU presidency in a press conference on Wednesday.

    He underlined that Sweden is concerned about unemployment, which currently has risen to 10 and 11 pct, compared to a previous 3-5 pct, characterising it as a major challenge. Other issues included in the Swedish EU presidency priorities are the climate change, institutional issues, Europe's foreign relations and cooperation in the sector of justice.

    The Swedish EU presidency has underlined that the challenges are many, considering that the EURO of 27 member-states and roughly 500 million people is very different from the European community that was founded 50 years ago.

    The issue of illegal migration will also be discussed in the EU Ministerial Council meeting chaired by Sweden.

    [08] NATO links name dispute to FYROM invitation to join

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    NATO on Wednesday urged Skopje to continue reform efforts and resolve the outstanding name dispute with Greece, saying that both were conditions for extending an invitation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to join the Alliance.

    This was concluded at the NATO-FYROM Council in Brussels, attended by FYROM's Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki and its Defence Minister Zoran Konjanovski, which discussed NATO's annual progress report on FYROM.

    On the name dispute with Greece, they essentially repeated the conclusions of the NATO summits at Strasbourg and Bucharest, where NATO member-states agreed with Greece's positions to postpone an invitation to Skopje on the grounds that it had failed to satisfy criteria for good-neighbour relations due to the ongoing name issue.

    [09] Draft bill lifting pre-paid mobile accounts' anonymity passes Parliament com't

    Deliberations over a draft bill envisioning the mandatory listing of Greece-based pre-paid mobile phone users' names and other particulars was concluded in a relevant Parliament committee on Wednesday.

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party MPs along with LA.OS party MPs voted in favour of the draft bill, while the Communist

    Party (KKE) and Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) representatives voted against. MPs for main opposition PASOK reserved the right to air their observations during a full Parliament debate at the first summer legislative session (100 MPs represented).

    Transport and Communications Minister Evripides Stylianidis made it clear to members of Parliament's social affairs committee that the draft bill does not include provisions registering mobile phone devices themselves, or precluding the operation (via roaming) of pre-paid phones in Greece with mobile telephony providers based in countries where pre-paid accounts are anonymous.

    Stylianidis also did not immediately respond to a request by representative of mobile phone providers for a few months' delay in implementing the measure, following its projected ratification by Parliament.

    A PASOK rapporteur expressed reservations over the lack of dialogue preceding the tabling of the draft bill, as he said, as well as the lack of a common EU-wide policy for pre-paid phones.

    Financial News

    [10] 3rd CSF completed with full absorption of funds

    The largest part of the 3rd Community Support Framework covering the 2000-2006 Programm Period was successfully concluded on Tuesday and the full absorption of EU funds anticipated was achieved without even one euro being lost.

    More specifically, 9 out of 13 Regional Operational Programmes were completed and two of the 11 Sector Operational Programes. These Programmes had been given an extension by the European Commission until June 30, 2009, due to the special conditions that had resulted from the global monetary crisis.

    Finance and Economy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said "the completion of the 3rd Community Support Framework with the full absorption of funds is the resounding response to the Cassandras who all this time had not become weary of danger talk. It is primarily the vindication of a great effort."

    [11] Employment minister holds talks with bank employee federation directorate

    Employment and Social Solidarity Minister Fani Palli-Petralia held talks on Wednesday with the directorate of the Federation of Greek Bank Employee Unions (OTOE), focusing on issues concerning bank employees. The meeting was also attended by Employment Secretary General Dimitris Kontos.

    "I responded to OTOE's appeal for a meeting to enable us to see the issues that working people in the banking sector are facing, particularly in this difficult economic conjuncture. We had the opportunity to have a very extensive discussion, an analytical and in-depth one. I wish to say clearly that on the part of the Employment ministry we are in favour of collective negotiations, in favour of collective agreements which we consider a basic pylon for the labour market, as well as for social cohesion and social solidarity," the minister said after the meeting.

    Commenting on the meeting, main opposition PASOK party Employment and Social Solidarity political representative, Evi Christofilopoulou, said "at last, the Employment ministry's leadership met with OTOE. The verbal expression of her 'sensitivity' alone either constitutes a conscious option of a Pontius Pilate function or covers up the secret option of the systematic undermining of the basic democratic right to collective negotiations."

    [12] PASOK reps meets with Emporiki Bank employees' union

    Main opposition PASOK economy sector spokeswoman and MP Louka Katseli expressed concern on Wednesday vis-a-vis announcements of cost-cutting measures by the management of Emporiki Bank, referring to a further shrinking of activities by the one-time state-run bank.

    Katseli made the comments after meeting with the bank employees' union at PASOK's initiative.

    [13] Court for Citibank customer in Lehman Brothers bonds' case

    A First Instance Court in Thessaloniki issued a decision Wednesday in favor of a Citibank customer who lost money by acting on the bank's advice to invest in Lehman Brothers products. The court ruled that the plaintiff was entitled to be refunded for the lost capital he had deposited in a Citibank account, plus any interest this would have accumulated.

    According to Court decision No. 19932/09, the plaintiff was entitled to a full refund from the bank, while the decision was effective immediately and before a final decision on any appeal lodged by the bank.

    [14] Intralot signs supply contract with Surinam

    Éntralot on Wednesday announced the signing of a facilities management contract with Suriname Holdings Ltd. for the management of lottery operations in Surinam for a period of 15 years.

    Under the terms of the contract, Intralot will also supply the main system, terminals and peripheral appliances, gaming software, maintenance and marketing services.

    The Republic of Surinam is located on the northeast coast of South America with a population of 500,000 and an annual per capita income of around 5,600 US dollars.

    [15] Greek plastics sector's profits down 52% in '08

    Greece's plastics industry's net profits fell 52 pct in 2008, or by 36.8 million euros compared with 2007, with almost two in three enterprises reporting either profit declines or losses during the year. Loss-making enterprises accounted for 26 pct of total enterprises in the sector, according to a survey based on the balance sheets of the 131 largest plastics industries with sales of more than 3.0 million euros in 2008.

    The sector, including 97 profitable and 34 loss-making enterprises, recorded net profits of 33.7 million euros in the year, from 70.5 million euros in 2007, with pre-tax profits falling by 39.4 million euros.

    The survey showed that the 97 profitable enterprises' sales totaled 1.29 billion euros, or 67.8 pct of the sector, while sales grew 3.5 pct reflecting higher raw materials' prices in the first half of 2008.

    Production cost's rise was larger than sales, with gross margin falling to 20.2 pct in 2008 from 20.5 pct in 2007 and gross profits rising by 7.3 million euros to 385.8 million euros.

    Pre-tax, interest, depreciation and amortization earnings (EBITDA) fell to 218.7 million euros last year, down 3.0 pct from 2007, while EBITDA margin dropped to 11.5 pct from 12.2 pct over the same period, respectively. Pre-tax profits fell by 42 pct in 2008.

    These figures, combined with a 14.1 pct decline in the volume of production of plastic products in the first four months of 2009, confirmed that the Greek plastics industry was seriously hit by a global adverse economic environment.

    [16] Alpha Bank names A. Pilavios as new GM

    Alpha Bank on Wednesday announced the hiring of Alexios Pilavios as general manager of the bank, supervising private banking, mutual funds, asset management and securities operations in the bank.

    Alexios Pilavios is the former president of Greece's Capital Markets Commission.

    [17] Greek stocks end 1.22 pct higher

    Greek stocks continued moving higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, in line with other European markets. The composite index rose 1.22 pct to end at 2,236.98 points, with turnover at 186.6 million euros, of which 30.3 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Utilities (5.38 pct), Oils (4.24 pct) and Constructions (3.67 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Chemicals (0.84 pct) and Industrial Products (0.61 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.97 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.09 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.28 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 110 to 102 with another 47 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.10%

    Industrials: -0.61%

    Commercial: +0.71%

    Construction: +3.67%

    Media: +2.17%

    Oil & Gas: +4.24%

    Personal & Household: +0.39%

    Raw Materials: +0.88%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.88%

    Technology: +3.18%

    Telecoms: +1.56%

    Banks: +0.04%

    Food & Beverages: +1.23%

    Health: +1.58%

    Utilities: +5.38%

    Chemicals: -0.84%

    Financial Services: +1.19%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Public Power Corp (PPC) and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

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

    Alpha Bank: 7.62

    ATEbank: 1.57

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.70

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.89

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.30

    National Bank of Greece: 19.35

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.85

    Intralot: 4.41

    OPAP: 19.10

    OTE: 11.07

    Bank of Piraeus: 7.16

    Titan Cement Company: 19.50

    [18] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 697 million euros on Wednesday, of which 501 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 196 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 445 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 164 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 5.04 pct and the German Bund 3.41 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved further down. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.49 pct, the six-month rate 1.30 pct, the three-month rate 1.08 pct and the one-month rate 0.74 pct.

    [19] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.420

    Pound sterling 0.863

    Danish kroner 7.505

    Swedish kroner 10.805

    Japanese yen 137.62

    Swiss franc 1.536

    Norwegian kroner 9.051

    Canadian dollar 1.635

    Australian dollar 1.762

    General News

    [20] Smoking ban enters into effect in Greece

    A smoking ban went into effect throughout Greece on Wednesday, prohibiting smoking in all enclosed spaces and public services. The ban is in enactment of a relevant law by the Health and Social Welfare Ministry aimed at promoting the health of smokers and non-smokers alike.

    Health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos noted in a message that "smoking is the biggest contributor to the mortality rate in Greece, causing 20,000 deaths annually, while passive smoking is responsible for the loss of 700 lives each year".

    The law also prohibits the sale of tobacco to and by minors, the use of tobacco products in all enclosed public spaces, airports, public transport stations and on public transport means, and snack shops, etc. Smoking areas may be designated provided the areas are separated from the rest of the premises and have special airing installations put in.

    Violations of the prohibition on selling tobacco products to minors carry fines of up to 1,000 euros, which is doubled for a second-time offence, and could lead to rescinding of a licence to sell tobacco and alcohol and a fine of up to 20,000 euros for a third-time offence.

    Violation of the smoking ban carries a first-time fine of up to 500 euros, depending on the severity of the transgression.

    [21] Journalists to observe three-hour work stoppage on Thursday

    The board of the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) issued an announcement on Wednesday, calling on all journalists employed in the daily Press, public and private radio and television, the Internet, press offices and the public sector to observe a three-hour work stoppage from 12 noon until 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 2.

    The announcement noted that "journalists and all working people in the mass media sector are determined not to allow themselves to become scapegoats on the altar of business games and the exercising of power by ownership."

    Lastly, it said that employers, the government and the parties must assume the grave responsibilities that they have for the crisis.

    [22] Data Protection Authority presents 2008 report

    The head of the Hellenic Data Protection Authority Christos Geraris on Wednesday presented the authority's annual report for 2008, saying it had processed 1,838 cases, queries for information and other types of transactions during the last year.

    In 24 of the Authority's 69 decisions in 2008, it imposed penalties for violating data protection laws and imposed fines amounting to 673,000 euros.

    According to Geraris, the authority would have to double the number of staff it employed over the next three years due to the heavy work load, while he also recommended a change in laws founding the authority in order to make it more efficient.

    He also underlined the need for new legislation for processing applications for access to public documents and stressed that the Authority should further develop its preventative activity.

    Geraris also warned that court efforts to abolish the anonymity of bloggers might cause problems if they failed to take into account existing legislation, while criticising new legislation for identifying the users of prepaid mobiles for its failure to involve the authority, adding that the amount of information being requested was "excessive".

    [23] American actor Tom Hanks visits new Acropolis Museum

    Oscar-winning American actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson visited the new Acropolis Museum at noon on Wednesday.

    The American actor was given a guided tour of the Museum by Culture Minister Antonis Samaras and expressed his admiration both for the premises and the Museum's exhibits.

    The visit took place "incognito", without the presence of reporters and television crews.

    [24] Illegal immigrants, traffickers, arrested at Evros delta

    Three immigrant-traffickers and 14 illegal immigrants were arrested early on Wednesday morning by police patrolling the Evros River delta on Greece's extreme northeastern border, in two separate operations.

    Border police spotted a boat on the Evros delta, with one immigrant-trafficker and six illegal immigrants on board. When the trafficker realised that police had seen him, he attempted to use his revolver against them but was promptly disarmed and arrested by the officers, who realised what he was trying to do.

    The second group - two immigrant traffickers carrying eight illegal immigrants - was arrested a little while later, at roughly the same location.

    Police confiscated the boats and their engines, as well as the revolver used by the first immigrant trafficker.

    [25] Volunteer drive to water new trees on Mt. Hymettus

    This coming Sunday, the "Citizens Initiative for the Protection of Mount Hymettus" is organising a major volunteer drive to water thousands of trees planted during the winter on the mountain that encircles Athens to the east. Members of the public have been invited to gather at the Vyronas Municipality forest protection guard post, next to the Saketa army base, at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.

    The group also demands further measures to protect the forest on Mount Hymettus, such as abandoning plans to build new roads and highways and abolition of zones allowing construction of buildings for public use, stressing that Hymettus forests should remain wild and not be turned into an "urban park" of the kind envisioned in a presidential decree for the Athens 'Regulatory Plan'.

    [26] Elderly owner of folklore museum slain inside premises

    An 80-year-old man was found brutally murdered late Tuesday night in a private folklore art museum he maintained in the Peania municipality, east of Athens proper.

    The victim was bound and gagged and had sustained three gunshot wounds in the head.

    There were no signs of a forced entry although the premises had been searched, police said. The likelihood of a robbery is not ruled out and according to police investigators, the victim probably knew the assailant or assailants.

    [27] 5.9R quake jolts southern Crete

    A moderate earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale jolted southern Crete shortly after noon on Wednesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

    The earthquake was recorded at 12:30 p.m. in the sea region south of Crete.

    The trembler was felt in the southern coasts of Iraklion and Lassithi prefectures, and lesser so in the city of Heraklion.

    Weather Forecast

    [28] Cloudy, rainy on Thursday

    Cloudy weather and possible local showers, and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 15C and 33C. Cloudy in Athens with possible local showers, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 20C to 33C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 29C.

    [29] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The ban on smoking in all public areas that enters into effect Wednesday and the Siemens scandal were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Wednesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Greece without cigarettes! Prohibition of smoking in enclosed spaces, public services, etc. as of today (Wednesday, July 1)".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Investment boom in energy - 13.5 million euros by PPC (Public Power Corporation) by 2014 - Warm message by prime minister Costas Karamanlis".

    AVGHI: "The market stifling - Retail turnover collapsing, banks 'choking' households and businesses".

    AVRIANI: "Michalis Christoforakos' (fugitive Siemens Hellas former CEO who was recently arrested in Germany on an international arrest warrant issued by Greece) two CDs will determine the outcome - Terror in political parties and among senior political officials over the anticipated storm of revelations".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The smoke lights fires - General ban until the public spaces, companies and shops adapt".

    ESTIA: "Disengagement of the Presidential election - What PASOK and Papandreou had said".

    ETHNOS: "University entry exams' base passing grades on upward spiral".

    KATHIMERINI: "Increased pressure on Turkey - (European Commission vice president responsible for justice, freedom and security issues Jacques) Barrot: We have ascertained complicity among people-traffickers and local authorities (in Turkey)".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The people must demand their rights, now - No more wasted time on the new burning measures".

    TA NEA: "German prosecutor to Christoforakos: Hand over the CDs with all the names (of the kickback and bribe recipients)".

    TO VIMA: "Siemens 'pandemic' hits the parties - Worry, awkwardness, reactions".

    VRADYNI: "Record rise in base passing grades for the popular (university) Schools".

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


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