|Saturday, 24 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-08-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 16 August 2010 Issue No: 3567
 Political leaders attend Aug. 15 religious servicesThe annual religious holiday of the Dormition of Virgin Mary was celebrated on Sunday throughout the country.
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias traveled to the Ionian island of Lefkada and attended a mass at the Church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary in the Vassiliki township.
Prime Minister George Papandreou attended a church service at Ekatontapyliani Church on the Cyclades island of Paros, which was officiated by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.
After the liturgy, the premier stressed importance of the holiday in the Eastern Orthodox faith.
"We are witnesses to a very difficult year for Greece, our country, which however, with a collective effort and sacrifice has made the first steps. We succeeded in our first targets to overcome the crisis," Papandreou said, adding: "not only will we succeed in overcoming the crisis but we will turn it into hope; an opportunity to reform our country in order to turn it into a prosperous and strong Greece."
Papandreou also referred to the church service at the historic Panaghia Soumela monastery in Trabzon, Turkey, noting that it is a very important and historic event for Greeks hailing from the Pontus region of the southeastern Black Sea, and for all Greeks, an event which highlights a spirit of cooperation and peace between the Greek and the Turkish people".
Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras attended a liturgy at the monastery of Eloni, near the Leonidio district in the eastern Peloponnese.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis attended a mass at the Panaghia Soumela monastery -- named in honour of the Trabzon site -- in Vermio, northern Greece.
Finally, government vice president Theodoros Pangalos represented the government at the celebration that took place on the island of Tinos at the Church of Dormition of Virgin Mary.
 Patriarch pleased with Panaghia Soumela initiativeTRABZON (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stressed here on Sunday his appreciation of the Turkish government's overtures, following a Dormition of the Virgin (Theotokos) liturgy at the historic Panaghia Soumela monastery for the first time in 87 years.
Bartholomew also specifically praised Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the initiative, saying Sunday's mass in the Black Sea region of Trabzon has done "more than any other for the minorities and the Patriarchate."
He also called the event "a gift of God."
Finally, Bartholomew said the Patriarchate was more optimistic than in the past over the prospects for the reopening of the Halki School of Theology, as he pointed to positive statements by Turkish government vice president Bulent Arinc.
 PM speaks by phone with Egyptian, Palestinian Authority leadersGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou has held telephone conversations with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and the Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa, all ahead of his meeting on Monday in Athens with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reports from the Greek capital stated.
 Papandreou condolences to China regarding floodsPrime Minister George Papandreou on Friday sent condolences to Chinese PM Wen Jiabao following the devastating floods that ravaged NW China over the past few days.
"It was with great sorrow that I was informed of the huge disaster that was provoked by the torrential rainfalls in northwest China , resulting in the loss life and a large number of missing and homeless people. On the part of the Greek government I would like to express to you and to victims' families my sincere condolences and my compassion".
 Gov't denies new austerity measures in the works"Despite of what is said the state budget is being executed within stated target. We are, safely, one billion euros below the initial target," an announcement by the finance ministry stated on Friday, in reaction to a series of press reports claiming that additional austerity measures will be imposed, or that the European Commission, IMF and ECB "troika" have demanded cutbacks in private sector salaries.
In the announcement, the ministry stresses that the budget deficit fell by 39.7 percent, two percent more that the annual target.
 Gov't spokesman condemns vandalism at cemeteryA government spokesman on Saturday categorically condemned a spate of vandalism at a Muslim cemetery in Komotini, northeast Greece .
"In societies there exist certain marginal groups that invest in hatred and conflict, who are afraid of differentness and are guided by conspiracy theories. These actions are absolutely condemnable and against our national interests. These are remnants of the past, a past which Greece has forever left behind," spokesman Giorgos Petalotis, who hails from the Komotini district, emphasised on Saturday.
 Ethnic Greek's murder in Himare sparks protests, Athens reactionThe death of a 37-year-old ethnic Greek man in the coastal Albanian town of Himare on Thursday, who was reportedly run down for speaking Greek in his own shop, sparked a demonstration by local residents, who blocked a busy main highway for several hours on Friday morning in protest.
According to eyewitness reports from the township, Aristotelis Goumas was rammed by a car while riding his motorcycle and fatally injured. Three Albanian men from the central Albanian town of Vlore reportedly first confronted him in his shop, before assaulting him and finally crashing their car into his motorcycle.
Three suspects were charged in the incident, as Albanian authorities initially arrested six men, while local media on Friday referred to a traffic accident instead of a possible homicide. No police press release was issued.
In statements after the deadly incident, Himare Mayor Vassilis Bolanos emphasized that this is "a premeditated crime, as the perpetrators had been provoking the victim for days." Bolanos also referred to phenomena of ethnic intolerance, which he said harm Albanian society.
In Athens, foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said the incident and information that the alleged perpetrators acted out of ethnic prejudice have unnerved the ethnic Greek minority in the neighbouring country
"Such unacceptable and criminal acts aim to generate ethnic tension, with unforeseen consequences, and to undermine Greek-Albanian bilateral relations . The Albanian government must guarantee the proper and swift dispensation of justice, something that will comprise the only answer, in practice, to the reasonable concerns of the Greek national minority in Albania," the spokesman added.
Finally, Delavekouras said the Greek foreign ministry is closely and continuously monitoring all of the issues affecting the Greek minority in Albania, underlining that the respect and protection of ethnic Greeks' rights and security, beyond the self-evident obligation of the Albanian government, is also mandated by international law and the European acquis communautaire, "for which Albania desires integration".
The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also sharply condemned the incident and called on Athens to take all necessary measures to ensure that a full investigation and subsequent judicial actions are taken.
 Leftist parties on visit by Israeli PM to GreeceThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in reaction to Monday's planned visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his scheduled meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou, charged on Sunday that the PASOK government is assuming "great responsibilities since, continuing the policy of New Democracy, it not only supports politically, but is developing military cooperation with Israel with joint exercises and agreements."
KKE also called on the people of Athens to participate in a demonstration at the War Museum on Monday afternoon and an ensuing march to the Israeli embassy in Athens.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party issued a similar announcement, stating that the government's foreign policy is moving along "slippery paths ... it is looking at the past and not the future, during a period where international balances are changing."
 Greek hotel prices down 10pct in August compared with last yearHotel prices in Greece were down 10 percent compared with August 2009, according to figures on price comparison internet sites.
The island of Mykonos, however, was the most expensive island in Europe in August, with average hotel prices at 243 euros per night.
Compared to August last year, average hotel prices were down 10 percent in August this year, with the average price at 119 euros per night.
 Last holidaymakers leave citiesAugust's last holidaymakers' exodus escalated on Friday, with the last travelers due to leave the urban centers on Saturday.
The ferries have reported 100 percent capacity, with the most popular destinations being the islands of Tinos and Paros, where the August 15 feast of Virgin Mary is highly celebrated. According to Pireaus Port authority more than 95,000 passengers are expected to leave from Pireaus on Friday and Saturday.
A total of 497 flights and 30 charter flights are scheduled to depart from Athens International Airport on Saturday, with the most popular destinations being Heraklion (Crete), Santorini and Rhodes.
Police have taken precautionary measures on the national roads to prevent accidents.
According to the Weather Bureau, the weather will be hot and temperatures over the following days will reach 40C on the mainland and 37C on the islands
 West Nile virus patients' condition satisfactoryThe head of Thessaloniki Infectuous Diseases Hospital Petros Seridis on Thursday announced that a child is among the patients who are hospitalised, infected with the West Nile virus.
According to Seridis, the child's and the others patients' condition is good.
Meanwhile the Perfectural Authority of Imathia, northwestern Greece, announced that on Friday the local Epidemiology Committee will convene on the issue of West Nile virus.
Imathia Prefect Costas Karapanagiotidis said to ANA-MPA that a spraying programme is underway.
"No panic. Up till now our prefecture has done whatever should be done. The spraying programme in areas with many mosquitos is underway. We will continue the spraying for a month and will extend it to all the regions of Imathia in cooperation with the authorities " concluded Karapanagiotidis .
 Fires on Crete, KythiraA wildfire broke out on Saturday at the Aghia Moni site on the island of Kythira island, in the southeastern Aegean, and was reported as still in progress on Sunday.
A fire brigade unit reportedly contained two of the blaze's three fronts over the night.
Another wildfire was reported in Ierapetra, Crete, burning brush land in the Selakano site. One water-dropping helicopter and 10 fire engines along with a unit of fire-fighters were dispatched to the scene.
A wildfire broke out in a forested area near Vari, southeast of Athens, on Sunday. The blaze was being fought by 30 fire-fighters, backed by 10 vehicles, a helicopter and two fixed-winged aircraft.
Other wildfires were reported in Themelio, in the NW prefecture of Thesprotia.
Lastly, the wildfire breaking out near the Peania cave in Attica were extinguished.
 Veria National Library awardedThe "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" bestowed its "Access To Learning Award ("ATLA" to the National Library of Veria (northern Greece).
The award, which is accompanied by a one million dollar cash prize, was bestowed to the Veria National Library as the "most successful library model in Greece and throughout the world".
According to an Education Ministry announcement, Veria's library candidacy was among the final three that were shortlisted from over 250 candidacies from all over the world.
The candidacies were appraised by the Foundation's evaluators from abroad.
 Aliakmonas River youth festival rescheduledThe "Aliakmonas River Youth Festival" this year will take place in early September. The festival was originally scheduled for July but it was postponed due to adverse weather.
The festival is organised for the third consecutive year by Veria prefecture and is rescheduled for 3-5 September.
 Elderly man dies of West Nile virusA hospitalised 80-year-old man infected with the West Nile virus died on Sunday in a Thessaloniki hospital. The elderly man was the third victim of the rare virus.
According to hospital's director, the man was hospitalised in critical condition and had a series of serious medical problems.
Eight people infected by the virus continue to be hospitalised; four are in perfect health; three patients are listed as stable while one man's condition is deemed as more serious.
 Two foreign nationals arrested for murderThe perpetrators of a 2-year-old Pakistani's murder on August 6 in Nea Kios, Argolis prefecture, northern Peloponnese were arrested on Friday on Evia island. The victim was found dead by a fellow countryman in the basement where he was living.
Argos police, acting on a tip-off and after conducting an investigation in cooperation with Evia police, located on Wednesday in Kymi, on Evia, two Pakistanis who were suspected of the homicide.
During the examination the two suspects aged 27 and 21 confessed to having attacked the victim with axes and fatally injuring him. The perpatrators, who were living with the victim in the basement, said that they killed their compatriot for personal and financial reasons.
The Nafplio prosecutor will issue an arrest warrant.
 Arrests made in baby selling attemptA 22-year-old woman from Bulgaria was arrested and charged on Friday with attempting to sell her three-month old baby on the large island of Crete .
Another six individuals, also Bulgarian nationals, were arrested and charged as accomplices.
The woman and her infant resided in the township of Paleohora, Hania prefecture.
Following a tip-off, two police officers posed as a couple interested in purchasing the baby. A final price of 14,000 euros was agreed to.
Another Bulgarian national is wanted in connection with the case.
 Tourist coaches used in migrant smuggling ringPolice in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Saturday reportedly broke up a migrant trafficking ring using foreign tourist coaches to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country.
Following a tip-off, authorities stopped and searched two tourist coaches on Friday on the Thessaloniki-Kilkis national road, finding 11 illegals, including two minors, hiding in a special crypt above the hand luggage space.
The goal was to transfer the illegals to a second bus. The first vehicle had departed from Georgia , while the second coach was heading to Athens .
Both drivers, aged 51 and 27, as well as a 55-year-old foreign national were arrested. All of the suspects are due to face a local prosecutor.
 Cannabis plantation located near ThessalonikiThe Police Drug Squad located in a countryhouse at Vassiloudi village near Thessaloniki, northern Greece, 205 cannabis plants and 385 pots with cannabis seeds ready for cultivation.
The 56-year-old owner of the countryhouse was arrested together with a 41-year-old Ukranian and a 30-years-old Pakistani. The three suspects were alleged to jointly have maintained the plantation.
Two packets of hashish totalling 43.3 grams was found on the spot.
During a raid in the 56-year-old suspect's other house at Stavroupoli in Thessaloniki, police confiscated a small quantity of hashish while in the 41-year-old suspect's residence they found five cannabis plants and a pistol belonging to the suspect's 20-year-old son, who was also arrested.
 Drug bust in HaniaHania Drugs Squad arrested on Thursday a 22-year-old local man, charged with drug dealing. Hania police had information that the suspect possesses and is trafficking drugs in the wider Hania region and put him under discreet surveillance.
According to police the suspect was arrested in the act while he attempted to remove from a hideout at an under construction building terrace a makeshift package of heroin totaling 195grams, and an electronic precision scale with traces of heroin on its surface.
 Heroin arrests in HaniaA 40-year-old woman from Bulgaria and her 22-year-old daughter were arrested on Saturday near the Cretan port city of Hania and charged with felony drug dealing, following a tip-off.
Police found 30 makeshift packets containing 150 grams of heroin in the possession of the mother, while a search of the pair's residence uncovered 220 grams of heroin, 35 grams of cocaine, a precision scale with traces of heroin on its surface, several tools for cutting and packaging drugs, three mobile phones and 370 euros deriving from drug dealing.
 Fair on MondayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 20C and 41C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 25C to 40C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 25C to 38C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glanceThe economy and recurring press scenarios regarding new austerity measures, Patriarchical mass at the historic Panaghia Soumela monastery in the Trabzon province of NE Turkey after 88 years as well as ubiquitous speculation over a government reshuffle mostly dominated the headlines.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "After 88 years, Turkey gives permission for mass in Panaghia Soumela".
APOGEVMATINI: "160,000 hectares in town planning".
AVGHI: "Government reshuffle - wrapped with new harsh measures".
AVRIANI: "Scandals shake Archbishop Ieronymos".
CHORA: "Tougher days before us".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos and other Metropolitans stand accused".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Cutback No 2 in benefits".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Reshuffle, new measures and new promises".
ETHNOS: "Two-billion-euro scam with prescription drugs uncovered".
KATHIMERINI: "Absurdity: Public enterprises' debts at 19.4 billion euros".
LOGOS: "New hike in VAT".
PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Government still appoints pro athletes as gardeners in public sector".
Real News (weekly): "Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis calls former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Rally with Communist Party of Greece, with your action and your vote".
VIMA: "Alarm over recession".
VETO: "Prime Minister via the reshuffle starts from beginning".
VRADYNI: "All new regulations for taxis".
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