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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-08-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 10 August 2009 Issue No: 3267


  • [01] Examining magistrate on Siemens Hellas case to go to Germany
  • [02] Papandreou visits fire-stricken village on Rhodes
  • [03] Greek Cypriot POWs' remains identified in mass grave in occupied village
  • [04] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [05] Diving tourism: The mysterious allure of the deep
  • [06] Old factory in Trikala becomes local history and culture centre
  • [07] Four arrested in migrant-smuggling operation
  • [08] Burglar trapped in bank
  • [09] Wildfires in Megara, Keratea
  • [10] Forest fire near Nea Makri
  • [11] Man tries to set police officer on fire
  • [12] Euro-Med seminar in Halkidiki
  • [13] Sunny, windy on Monday
  • [14] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
  • [15] Iacovou: Progress achieved at talks does not satisfy us Politics

  • [01] Examining magistrate on Siemens Hellas case to go to Germany

    Athens special examining magistrate Nikos Zagorianos, who is investigating the Siemens bribery and kickbacks scandal in Greece, will be going to Germany in the next few days in order to be briefed on progress in the extradition of Siemens Hellas former CEO Michalis Christoforakos to Greece.

    A justice ministry announcement said that minister Nikos Dendias, following a telephone contact on Saturday night with Areios Paghos (Greek supreme court) prosecutor Ioannis Tentes on the latest facts regarding the extradition request, approved Zagorianos' trip to Germany at ministry expense.

    [02] Papandreou visits fire-stricken village on Rhodes

    Main opposition leader George Papandreou, on holiday on the island of Rhodes in the Dodecanese island complex, southeastern Aegean, on Friday night visited the village of Laermon in Lindos municipality which had been devastated by wildfires last summer, where he met with local residents and was briefed by local officials on the problems and delays in the restoration of the fire-stricken areas.

    Papandreou criticised the government for lack of prevention, coordination, staffing and ability to immediately face the crisis, as well as for lack of funding for the reconstruction of the area.

    The PASOK leader said that such situations cannot be faced "with patches", adding that a plan was required.

    He stressed that central but also decentralised planning, coordination and political volition are necessary -- rather than a 'clientele mentality' and wasteful spending -- through the proper use of the Greek people's money.

    The attitude needed was one of comprehensive restructure, he continued, adding that it was necessary to provide an economic prospect, green development, association of the reconstruction with new forms of productive identity, from tourism to the farming sector.

    This, Papandreou explained, requires an overall planning "because we will not leave thise areas to their fate", and in order to give a prospect to them.

    [03] Greek Cypriot POWs' remains identified in mass grave in occupied village

    The remains of five Greek Cypriot prisoners of war (POWs) missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus that were found in exhumations being carried out by the Investigation Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) at a mass grave in the Turkish-occupied village of Tziaos, have been identified through DNA testing.

    The news drew reactions from Greek political parties on Sunday.

    The five POWs, who were serving in the National Guard's 398th Infantry Battalion, were photographed by a Turkish journalist at the time they were taken prisoners and are photographed kneeling with their hands behind their heads, circled by Turkish soldiers.

    The photograph, taken on August 1974, the day they were taken prisoner, has appeared many times in the Cypriot and international press. The Turkish photographer was arrested by the National Guard two days later, and the photographic material was found in his possession. The photographer afterwards published the photographs in the Turkish daily Milliyet.

    Xenophon Kallis, assistant to the Greek Cypriot member of the CMP, said that the remains of 14 more persons were found in the same mass grave, but have not yet been identified.

    The president of the Pan-Cyprian Committee of Relatives of Undeclared POWs and Missing Persons, Nikos Theodosiou, said that "now it has been proved that the Turks were executing prisoners of war".


    Main opposition PASOK officer on foreign affairs Andreas Loverdos said that this was a "blood-curdling confirmation of what we feared and validly supposed had happened".

    "It is a hair-raising confirmation of the aspect of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, an aspect which Turkey not only does not leave in the past to be forgotten, but on which it is founding its future as well. With the assistance of the forces that are opposing Europe's political unification and are using Turkey as a pivot for this," Loverdos added.

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) officer for foreign policy Panos Trigazis said that "this is horrendous news that brings to the forefront one of the darkest sides of the Turkish invasion, and the need to verify the fate of all the missing persons of the Cyprus tragedy of 1974".

    "This major human, ethical and political issue underlines the need for intensification of the efforts for peace in Cyprus, the implementation of international legality in the Cyprus issue and a just solution of the problem in accordance with the UN resolutions," Trigazis added.

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) spokesman Costas Aivaliotis said that the supporters of Turkey in the political system "received the answer of reality, with the tragic finds in Cyprus".

    "Turkey's behavior, through the ages, remains the same: witness to this is borne by its history, its actions, its crimes. Moments such as these bring back to mind the genocide of the Pontian (Black Sea) Greeks, the Armenians, the Asia Minor Greeks, as well as the cowardly killings by Attila (code-name of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus)," Aivaliotis said, adding that "on the other hand, we must bring Turkey into the EU, as desired by Ms. (foreign minister Dora) Bakoyannis and Mr. (prime minister Costas) Karamanlis.

    Financial News

    [04] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.447

    Pound sterling 0.863

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 10.383

    Japanese yen 137.99

    Swiss franc 1.541

    Norwegian kroner 8.821

    Canadian dollar 1.566

    Australian dollar 1.729

    General News

    [05] Diving tourism: The mysterious allure of the deep

    The mysterious allure of the deep and life in the depths of the sea have kindled the imagination of many, but only few have the ability to experience them. Underwater photography, however, has brought the wondrous world of the deep closer to the 'landlubbers'.

    The Greek seas are rich in such photographic material, and underwater photography in Greece was permitted, through legislation, just a few years ago, according to the president of the Kavala-based Panhellenic Center for Underwater Photography Research and Technology, Ioannis Stamatiadis.

    Taking advantage of the 2005 legislation allowing recreational diving throughout the country, with the exception of designated archaeological areas, the local government administrations in Northern Greece have launched a campaign to attract "diving tourists".

    The local government of Kavala, northern Greece's second largest city and the principle seaport of eastern Macedonia, is organising the 1st International Underwater Photography Competition, with the top four entrants overall winning a week-long, all expenses paid diving holiday in the town of Limenaria on the nearby island of Thassos.

    The competition is open to divers over the age of 18, who must submit three entries to the Center by August 26.

    The photographs are separated into three categories: Man and the Sea, Microphotography, and Landscapes in the Sea.

    The entries will be judged by a committee of experts, and the winning entries will be announced on September 8.

    The winners will enjoy a series of diving events in various areas of the island for underwater photography, as well as excursions for photography on land.

    [06] Old factory in Trikala becomes local history and culture centre

    The old "Kliafa" cold storage facilities built in Trikala in 1926 were converted into a History and Culture Centre following a decision by the company management in 1996.

    The 1,500-sqm facilities, where the soda beverages plant, ice factory and cold storage buildings were housed for decades, were preserved with their distinct architectural characteristics and machinery.

    The endeavor has taken up an educational character with a special programme focusing on local history implemented by the Kliafa History and Culture Centre. A total of 1,698 primary and secondary education schoolchildren attended the local history courses offered at the centre between Oct. 2008 and May 2009 which will continue its research and publishing programme with a book on the city's economic life between 1881 and 1960.

    The book will include information on the local tobacco trade, the private banks operating in the region and the old factories (State Tobacco Factory, Agathoklis Matsopoulos Mills, Tegopoulos Textiles, Stamatopoulos Electrical Co, etc).

    [07] Four arrested in migrant-smuggling operation

    Thessaloniki Police on Sunday broke up a migrant-smuggling ring in a coordinated operation with the Alexandroupolis police.

    The people-traffickers, three foreign nationals aged 27-29, were arrested in Xirokrini, near Thessaloniki, as they prepared to pick up a group of 25 illegal migrants, including five minors, who were arriving in Xirokrini from an agricultural area in Soufli, Evros prefecture, near the Greek-Turkish frontier.

    Authorities have also arrested a 19-year-old man involved in the same ring.

    Investigations were continuing to locate other possible accomplices.

    [08] Burglar trapped in bank

    A would-be burglar was found trapped in a National Bank branch in the Kesariani district of Athens by the branch director and police on Saturday night.

    According to police, the 30-year-old burglar, a foreign national, had sneaked into the bank, most likely on Friday, and went to the chamber where the bank's vault and safe-deposit boxes located and broke into several safe-deposit boxes.

    As he tried to leave, however, the bank's security system was triggered and the security alarm went off.

    The branch's director, alerted by police, rushed to the bank as did a strong police contingent. They found the burglar locked inside the bank, with valuables from the safe-deposit boxes in his possession.

    The burglar was arrested and taken to a police lock-up facility.

    [09] Wildfires in Megara, Keratea

    Two wildfires that broke out earlier in the afternoon near Megara and Keratea were reported as having been contained on Sunday evening.

    The fires, on the 5th kilometer of the Megara old national highway and in the region of Rountzeri, near Keratea, were quickly contained by strong teams of firefighters.

    The Megara blaze was being tackled by a team of 27 firefighters with 9 fire engines, assisted by two water-dropping airplanes and a helicopter, while the Keratea fire was being combated by a team of 39 firefighters with 13 fire engines.

    [10] Forest fire near Nea Makri

    A fire broke out just after noon on Saturday in a forest expanse in small coastal village of Agia Marina, near the seaside resort of Nea Makri outide Athens.

    A strong team of 36 firefighters with 12 fire engines and groups of firefighers on foot were battling the blace, assisted by two water-dropping helicopters and two airplanes.

    [11] Man tries to set police officer on fire

    36-year-old man, who is believed to have psychological problems, unsuccessfully attempted to set fire to a police officer in the town of Lagyna near Soufli, Evros prefecture.

    The man doused the police officer with gasoline, and was arrested as he tried to set fire to the officer with rags and a lighter.

    The man was arrested before he managed to set the officer on fire by police who arrived on the scene after being alerted earlier that the man had attacked and lightly injured a 45-year-old man on a moped with an iron crowbar and had also damaged a car.

    The detainee is due to be taken before a public prosecutor.

    [12] Euro-Med seminar in Halkidiki

    A Euro-Mediterranean Postgraduate Seminar opens on Tuesday in Halkidiki, northern Greece.

    The seminar, to be held in the primary school in the town of Kalandra, on Kassandra, the first of the three 'fingers' of the Halkidiki Peninsula, will be opened by Thessaloniki Aristotle University (AUTH) rector Anastasios Manthos.

    Weather Forecast

    [13] Sunny, windy on Monday

    Sunny weather is forecast for most parts of the country on Monday, with northerly winds reaching a velocity of 7-9 beaufort in the Aegean.

    Sunny and windy in Athens, with 5-7 beaufort winds, and temperatures ranging from 22 C to 32 C.

    Overcast, with local showrers and chance of local storms throughout the day in Thessaloniki, improving in the evening, and winds of 3-5 beaufort, with temperatures ranging from 20 C to 27 C.

    Overcast with local showers and scattered storms in western and central Macedonia, Thessaly, Evia and the eastern Peloponese, and overcast in eastern Macedonia and Thrace, and western Greece, with chance of scattered showers.

    Sunny and windy in the Cyclades, Crete, the Dodecanese and the islands of the eastern Aegean.

    [14] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The political situation, the economy and election speculations were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Seven 'angels' unwanted - 'Adoptions' file: Bureaucracy aids the illegal trade in infants".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Nine categories of encroached land to acquire deeds - The landscape clearing up due to the National Land Registry".

    AVGHI: "Government playing its last cards".

    AVRIANI: "100,000 contract civil servants on PASOK's black list - PASOK announced it would dismiss them when it becomes government".

    CHORA (weekly): "Upsets in taxation, social security, labor relations".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The clash over the party's future leadership becoming increasingly visible in PASOK".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Winter as of...August - Storm of economic measures being prepared by government, after the piecemeal benefits, in view of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF, where the prime minister traditionally unveils economic policy for the following year), under the pressure of the EU".

    ETHNOS; " 'Secret' hirings planned in Security Corps, Army and Rural Police - They're throwing the...Army into the elections battle, too".

    KATHIMERINI: "The deficit a catalyst for political developments - Speculation of (early general) elections in the autumn, if ruling ND recovers popularity, or in March due to (non) election of President".

    LOGOS: "This year's TIF 'basket' (of benefits) will be a small one - Trade unions preparing their reactions".

    NIKI: "The benefits a veil for the new economic measures - The 2010 budget an unsolved riddle for the government".

    PARON (weekly): "George (PASOK leader Papandreou) wants (current environment, town planning and public works minister) Souflias (for President of the Republic, in order to gain inroads with ruling New Democracy voters) -That's why he's 'pressing' for Papoulias (current President) to step down".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Preparation for counter-attack against the anti-popular plans".

    TO VIMA: " 'Big Brother' for all the ministers - Government leadership sending observers (to each ministry), in the face of the picture of dissolution and confusion of authorities", adding that prime minister Costas Karamanlis is planning to reorganise the government's General Secretariat by staffing it with specialised personnel and sub-teams of experts to each ministry. The teams, although formally accountable to the ministers, will in fact be coordinated and monitored by the government headquarters.

    VRADYNI: "All the changes in salaries, pensions, taxes - The new measures being advanced by the government.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [15] Iacovou: Progress achieved at talks does not satisfy us


    There has been progress at the negotiations for the Cyprus problem which however does not satisfy the Greek Cypriot side, since it has been expecting more progress, Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou has said.

    In statements to the London Greek Radio (LGR), as the first round of direct UN-led talks held between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has just wrapped up, Iacovou said that Christofias shares this view as well, and expressed hope that "there will be a better spirit during the second round, so that the progress which we want is achieved".

    Iacovou, who is attending the talks as Christofias' aide, said that despite the fact that many issues had been agreed during the preparation for the talks, Talat opened most issues from the beginning during the direct talks between the two leaders and so the whole process was delayed.

    Asked if the international community, the UN and the EU, are expected to be engaged more actively in the talks, during the second round, Iacovou noted that there has been an agreement among the two sides and the UN Secretary General as regards the process, providing that the negotiations will be conducted between the two communities of Cyprus and that the UN General Secretariat will facilitate the process.

    He also underlined that "we had excluded the tight deadlines, as well as arbitration, due to the painful experiences which the Greek Cypriot side had" in the past.

    Iacovou noted that at a certain stage of the talks that has not been reached so far, EU experts could provide their expertise on some technical issues with the consent of the two sides.

    As regards the issue of the opening of Limnitis crossing point, Iacovou said that this is a major project, noting that the construction of the road there will require some time.

    He said that on Monday he will visit the area with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's adviser Ozdil Nami.

    On June 26, Christofias and Talat reached an agreement to open the Limnitis crossing point. For the past 45 years, Greek Cypriot residents in the area of Limnitis, on the northwest, have to travel to Paphos, on the western coast, and Limassol, on the south, in order to reach the capital Nicosia. Opening a crossing point at Limnitis would make this journey far shorter. In the recent past, several crossing points to and from the island's northern Turkish occupied areas have opened to facilitate the movement of people.

    Christofias and Talat have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 3, 2008, with an aim to reunite the island, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

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