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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-11-13

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

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

Saturday, 13 November 2010 Issue No: 3644

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Papandreou in Paris for Socialist International session
  • [02] PM to chair gov't meeting ahead of Paris visit
  • [03] 'Vote for hope', ND leader Samaras tells electorate
  • [04] Government spokesman replies to ND leader
  • [05] Samaras tours Peristeri
  • [06] DM visits IV army corps HQ
  • [07] Parliament fact-finding com't in Munich for Siemens probe
  • [08] ELIAMEP discussion on Kosovo issue
  • [09] Final decisions on 2011 budget plan next week
  • [10] FinMin on economy's stabilisation programme
  • [11] GDP down 4.5pct in Q3 (flash estimate)
  • [12] Greece to auction 3-month T-bills on Tues.
  • [13] Tunisian envoy on Crete this month
  • [14] Titan receives presigious Dupont Safety Award
  • [15] Import price index up 4.9% in Sept.
  • [16] National Insurance names new CEO
  • [17] UGS donation to Fire Brigade
  • [18] Stocks end flat on Fri.
  • [19] Greek bond market closing report
  • [20] ADEX closing report
  • [21] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [22] Traffic lights problem to be resolved over weekend
  • [23] Neo-classical bldg. eyed as new Goulandris Foundation museum in Athens
  • [24] Exhibition of Modern Ecclesiastical Art, Architecture and Painting opens in Athens next week
  • [25] 9 arrested for beating in troubled inner city district
  • [26] Arrests in murder of Egyptian nationals
  • [27] Investigation ordered into Rizaj threats in court
  • [28] 'Gaza Road to Hope' vessel remains anchored in Piraeus port
  • [29] Fatal car-train collision in central Greece
  • [30] Body of missing 80-year-old sports journalist found in Troizina
  • [31] Driver in Albanian bus accident remanded in custody
  • [32] 3 foreign inmates escape from prison farm
  • [33] Secretary of sports on 'fixed match' issue
  • [34] Rainy on Saturday
  • [35] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] PM Papandreou in Paris for Socialist International session

    Prime Minister, PASOK party President and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou will chair the sessions of the Socialist International's Council that will be held in Paris on November 15-16.

    The Council's opening will be addressed by OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria and the President of the French Socialist Party Martine Aubry, while Papandreou's address will follow.

    Three main issues will be discussed during the Council: Global economy: planning a viable recovery for the benefit of all; handling the repercussions of climatic change: an urgent need for a substantive agreement in light of the Cancoon Conference and overcoming conflicts: strengthening democracy and security.

    The session of the Socialist International's Council coincides with the start of the French Presidency at the G-20.

    In the next meetings of the G-20, many issues will be discussed that preoccupy the socialists, such as the adoption of a global tax for monetary transactions and for "green growth", the balancing of the monetary system and the better coordination of international organisations for recovery from the economic crisis sooner.

    During the Council, the prime minister will be having a bilateral meeting with the French Socialist Party's president, as well as with other leaders who will be attending the Council.

    The Council will be held at the OECD's building and will be attended by about 400 leaders and representatives from the Socialist International's member parties.

    [02] PM to chair gov't meeting ahead of Paris visit

    Prime Minister George Papandreou will chair a government meeting in Parliament on Saturday ahead of a state budget presentation and his visit to Paris for a Socialist International (SI) council meeting.

    The meeting in Parliament will be attended by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, Defence Minister Evangelos Veni-zelos, Regional Development and Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, Infrastructure, Transport & Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas, Labour & Social Insurance Minister Louka Katseli, Health & Social Solidarity Minister Andreas Loverdos, Minister of State Haris Pamboukis and Deputy FinMin Filippos Sahinidis.

    While in the French capital, the premier will have a meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday.

    Papandreou's visit to Paris takes place shortly after the G-20 Summit in Seoul and amidst heightened developments in Europe.

    [03] 'Vote for hope', ND leader Samaras tells electorate

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, in a message to the electorate on Friday on the second round of local government elections on Sunday, said "vote for hope."

    Samaras said that the second round of the elections is the leading political moment of this confrontation and the elections were political from the beginning and now they are becoming even more political.

    The ND leader further said that it has now been confirmed that the memorandum was a mistake and that "economically it did not produce results and was unjust socially."

    He mentioned that "all indicators are out of every control and despite the sacrifices imposed by the government, it only managed to decrease the deficit very little."

    "And now they are preparing new extraordinary measures that will also not produce results but will create greater harm," he said, adding that society and the economy cannot stand such a thing.

    "Don't do it for any party. Do it for the country and your children. The extortions have collapsed now. Vote for hope," Samaras concluded.

    [04] Government spokesman replies to ND leader

    Government spokesman George Petalotis, commenting on the statement by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, said that "with his known unknown magical way, Mr. Samaras is promising again the annulment of the deficit without sacrifices."

    Calling on the citizens to select on Sunday "the mayors and elected regional governors who believed and who believe in real decentralisation, in power close to the citizen, in the revolution of Kallikratis and not those who resist every big change for the country", the government spokesman attributes to the "intraparty insecurity of Mr. Samaras" the manifestation of "danger talk and extremity."

    Petalotis also reminded that "the ND government after commiting a crime on national wealth, deserted, eliminated the future of our children -that Mr. Samaras is invoking today with exreme hypocrisy- and exercised a policy of insensitivity, clientele management, covering up of truth and irresponsibility."

    [05] Samaras tours Peristeri

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras toured on Friday the city of Peristeri, western Attica prefecture.

    Samaras walked around the Peristeri commercial center and talked with local shop owners about the economic crisis. He listened to their problems and the decline of turnover in the market and the danger of more businesses shutting down.

    ND leader, accompanied by party deputies, met also with young people.

    [06] DM visits IV army corps HQ

    Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos visited the IV army corps headquarters in Xanthi, NE Greece, on Friday.

    In statements he made after a briefing on activities and potential, Venizelos said "expectations are high", adding that "in a period of uncertainty" the Greek people want to be sure that they "can count on the armed forces to safeguard national integrity, independence and dignity".

    [07] Parliament fact-finding com't in Munich for Siemens probe

    A delegation of Greek MPs, members of a Parliament fact-finding committee on Siemens slush fund furor, is currently in Munich to question former Siemens executive Michael Kutschensreuter.

    Kutschensreuter has accused one-time Siemens Hellas CEO Mihalis Christoforakos of giving money to local politicians.

    [08] ELIAMEP discussion on Kosovo issue

    Optimism that a "good decade" will succeed years of misfortune for Kosovo was expressed on Friday by Kosovo politician and journalist Veton Surroi, who spoke in Athens in a panel discussion sponsored by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP).

    Surroi, who addressed the panel as the foreign policy board chairman in Pristina, stressed that the international court's decision, namely, that Kosovo's declaration of independence is not in violation of international law brought the issue from the UN to Brussels.

    Referring to dialogue suggested by the international court between Serbia and Kosovo leaders, Surroi stated that Kosovo's position will be that its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity are non-negotiable.

    Defining the dialogue, he said it should be a binding negotiating process and not exploratory in nature. He stressed that it should concern Belgrade-Pristina relations and their Euro-Atlantic future, adding that Brussels should assume the role of a negotiator and not be just a mediator.

    Addressing the discussion on the topic of "the Future of Kosovo after The Hague", retired Greek diplomat and special ELIAMEP advisor Alexandros Mallias said dialogue on the definitive status of Kosovo should be called an "initiative for the next generation", stressing that it concerns Serbs and the Kosovars, who will live side-by-side as European citizens.

    He also referred to the "Agenda 2014" initiative being promoted by the Greek government as a follow up to the "Thessaloniki Agenda", through which the EU accession prospect for the Balkan states was launched. (ANA-MPA)

    Financial News

    [09] Final decisions on 2011 budget plan next week

    A round of talks between the Greek government and troika experts is entering its final stage next week, with final decisions expected to be reached over taxation and spending of a new budget.

    A determining factor for these decisions will be the revised figures for the country's budget deficit for 2009, to be published by Eurostat on Monday. The same day, the head of the troika group of experts will arrive in Athens for a regular inspection of the Greek economy ahead of approval of the third tranche of a support loan to Greece, worth 9.0 billion euros.

    According to information, Eurostat will raise the country's budget deficit above 9.0 pct of GDP, from 7.8 pct envisaged in the budget draft plan. Covering this difference will be the subject of continuous meetings between the government's economic team and the troika group early next week, based on commitments included in a memorandum signed between Greece, the IMF, the EU and the ECB.

    Final decisions are expected by Wednesday, as the government is expected to table its budget plan for 2011 to Parliament on Thursday. The budget plan will envisage measures to raising tax revenues and cutting public spending. Decision will cover issues such as: raising VAT rates from 11 pct, restructuring of public sector enterprises aimed at cutting spending, implementing a single payroll system in the public sector, reducing spending by a Public Investments Program and savings in the health system.

    [10] FinMin on economy's stabilisation programme

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou categorically denied a report by the Dow Jones news agency, that invoked anonymous government sources stating that the government will announce new measures amounting to 4.5 billion euros with the 2011 budget.

    Speaking Friday to the night news bulleting of Mega TV channel, Papaconstantinou said that the economy's stabilisation programme "has not missed the target at all," as certain reports mention, stressing that fiscal adjustment will near this year the extremely large percentage of 6 percent of GDP and in absolute figures it will be greater than 14 billion euros.

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, as he said, had said that "in 2009 the deficit would be 10 billion euros and it was ultimately 35 billion euros, and we are reducing it to 20 billion euros. We have done more than we had committed ourselves on for the decrease of the deficit."

    Asked whether there shall be cutbacks for public utility employees, the minister said that for every public enterprise there shall be a restructuring plan for it, in accordance with the conditions prevailing in each one, so that the deficits that they have totalling 1.7 billion euros will not continue.

    [11] GDP down 4.5pct in Q3 (flash estimate)

    Greece's GDP decreased by 4.5 percent in the third quarter (Q3) of 2010, according to flash estimates of quarterly national accounts released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Friday, with the Greek economy continuing to move at high negative growth rates.

    According to ELSTAT, available data indicate that in the 3rd quarter of 2010, the Gross Domestic Product GDP) decreased by 4.5% in comparison with the 3rd quarter of 2009 and by 1.1% in comparison with the 2nd quarter of 2010.

    As already reported, the GDP rate of change between the quarters of 2009 and 2010 should be treated with caution, due to the discontinuity of General Government data series. This issue will be addressed by the end of the year, with the backwards revision of General Government data, an ELSTAT release said.

    The significant decrease recorded in final consumption expenditure and gross fixed capital formation, has contributed to the decline of GDP. At the same time, the improvement in the external trade balance has partially offset the effect of the above factors, ELSTAT said.

    The quarterly GDP estimates for the period Q1 2004 - Q4 2009 are revised according to the new annual estimates (2004-2009) of September 2010. The revision of the data for this period, in combination with the revision of the General Government accounts, have resulted in new estimates for the first two quarters of 2010, ELSTAT concluded.

    [12] Greece to auction 3-month T-bills on Tues.

    Greece will auction a three-month Treasury bills issue on Tuesday, Nov. 16, seeking to raise 300 million euros from the open markets.

    The Public Debt Management Organisation, in an announce-ment, said settlement date for the issue will be Friday Nov. 19 (T+3), while the interest of the Treasury bills issue will be calculated with the time basis ACT/360. The auction will be held with competitive bids from the primary dealers of the Greek electronic secondary bond market. The organization will also accept non-competitive binds up to 30 pct of the issue. No commission will be paid.

    Greece successfully auctioned a six-month T-bills issue last Tuesday, raising 390 million euros from the market, although at a higher interest rates.

    [13] Tunisian envoy on Crete this month

    Tunisian ambassador Moncef Hajeri will attend sessions of a Partenariat one-day seminar in the Cretan port-city of Irakleio on Nov. 24.

    A memorandum of understanding will be signed on the sidelines of the seminar between the Cap Bon chamber of Tunisia and the Irakleio Chamber of Commerce, along with contacts between local entrepreneurs and Tunisian visitors.

    The Tunisian business delegation's visit to Crete comes within efforts to boost trade relations between the North Africa country and the large east Mediterranean island.

    Amb. Hajeri will also meet with local chamber officials.

    [14] Titan receives presigious Dupont Safety Award

    Greece's Titan Group, one of the leading cement producers in the world, has been awarded the prestigious Dupont Safety Award for 2010 in the category of Cultural Evolution.

    The annual DuPont Safety Awards reward the most significant projects in safety, led either by individuals, companies or organisations and considers programs, projects or contributions in the field of safety in the workplace or in society in general. It also includes printed works containing important innovations or implementations of improvements connected to safety.

    The award was presented to Titan for its new cement manufacturing line in Beni Suef, Egypt, which represents a substantial upgrade for Egyptian safety models and has been called one of the safest working places in Egypt, with more than 1,300 employees.

    [15] Import price index up 4.9% in Sept.

    Greece's import price index in the industrial sector rose 4.9 pct in September, after a decline of 1.7 pct recorded in the corresponding month last year, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Friday.

    The statistics service said the index was down 0.8 pct in September from August 2010, after a decline of 1.0 pct recorded in the same period in 2009.

    The statistics service attributed the 4.9 pct annual rise of the import price index to a 1.3 pct increase in Eurozone prices and an 8.7 pct rise from third countries.

    [16] National Insurance names new CEO

    National Insurance, a member of National Bank Group, on Friday named Yiannis Katsouridis as new chief executive, replacing Minos Moyses whoc resigned citing personal reasons.

    Leonidas Theoklitos, chairman of the company, said the new board's aim was to enhance the National Insurance's leading role in the domestic market during a very difficult period for the country's economy. Katsouridis, 43, has worked for National Bank Group in Greece and abroad and has a very good knowledge of the investment market, the stock market and the sales department.

    [17] UGS donation to Fire Brigade

    The Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) donated 111 motorcycles and equipment to the Fire Brigade during a special event held on Thursday evening at the Fire Brigade Academy premises in the northern Athens suburb of Kifissia.

    The government was represented by Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis.

    [18] Stocks end flat on Fri.

    Stocks ended flat during the last trading session of a volatile week at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday. The composite index rose 0.24 pct to end at 1,497.20 points, after losing as much as 1.55 pct during the day. The index was down 0.70 pct in the week. Turnover was a low 77.191 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.52 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.19 pct higher and the Small Cap index eased 0.06 pct.

    Cyprus Bank (2.52 pct), Viohalco (1.90 pct) and Motor Oil (1.35 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (2.30 pct) and PPC (0.89 pct) were top losers.

    Banks (1.43 pct) and Technology (1.28 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (2.78 pct) and Travel (1.91 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 72 to 70 with another 61 issues unchanged. Alpha Trust (9.88 pct), Eurobrokers (9.68 pct) and Haidemenos (9.29 pct) were top gainers, while Ikona-Ihos (14.29 pct), Altec (14.29 pct) and FHL Mermeren (9.50 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.55%

    Industrials: -0.13%

    Commercial: +0.30%

    Construction: +0.25%

    Media: +0.66%

    Oil & Gas: +0.49%

    Personal & Household: -0.99%

    Raw Materials: +0.27%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.91%

    Technology: +1.28%

    Telecoms: +1.18%

    Banks: +1.43%

    Food & Beverages: -0.48%

    Health: -2.78%

    Utilities: -0.89%

    Chemicals: -1.11%

    Financial Services: -0.06%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Alpha Bank and DEH.

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.61

    ATEbank: 0.77

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.27

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.20

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.41

    National Bank of Greece: 7.34

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.35

    OPAP: 12.32

    OTE: 6.00

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.23

    Titan: 15.66

    [19] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 891 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Friday, from 918 bps on the Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.42 pct and the German Bund 2.51 pct. Turnover in the market was a low 45 million euros, of which 27 million were buy orders and the remaining 18 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 19 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.54 pct, the six-month rate 1.27 pct, the three-month 1.04 pct and the one-month rate 0.85 pct.

    [20] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.83 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover at 47.726 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 11,397 contracts, worth 39.444 million euros, with 32,116 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 16,585 contracts worth 8.282 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (5,191), followed by Eurobank (1,274), MIG (910), OTE (1,197), Piraeus Bank (2,481), Alpha Bank (1,909), Marfin Popular Bank (661), Cyprus Bank (480) and ATEbank (251).

    [21] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.382

    Pound sterling 0.857

    Danish kroner 7.513

    Swedish kroner 9.433

    Japanese yen 113.49

    Swiss franc 1.346

    Norwegian kroner 8.198

    Canadian dollar 1.396

    Australian dollar 1.394

    General News

    [22] Traffic lights problem to be resolved over weekend

    A problem that has arisen with the operation of several traffic lights in the wider Athens area will be solved within the weekend, public works secretary general Yiannis Economidis told ANA-MPA on Friday.

    He said that the problem was not extensive as presented (by the media), noting that it concerns some 20 junctions in the center of Athens and another 10-15 in surrounding municipalities.

    The problem that has arisen in the traffic lights' operation should be treated comprehensively, together with the Siemens company, but also with the delay in the Metro expansion works, Economidis said.

    Relevant decisions for overall resolution of the problem will be taken in the immediate future, at government level, he added.

    The issue of the traffic lights has two parameters, those that concern the system's overall junction equipment, regulators, controls, etc., and the second parameter concerning the disposable materials, bulbs, wiring, etc., he explained, adding that a major section of the traffic lights system has been undertaken by Siemens.

    At the present, a tender has been completed for the maintenance of the traffic lights network, which was won by a different company which, over the next 2-3 days, will normalise the system, and wherever junction material (controls, etc.) will be transferred from other parts points of the network, Economidis continued.

    However, he added, a definitive solution should be found in the problem with Siemens, which is responsible for the largest proportion of the junction equipment and the network.

    The transport, infrastructure and networks ministry further intends to go ahead with two more tenders, one for junction equipment (regulators, controls, etc.) and one for conventional material (lights bulbs, etc.) so that there will be no problem with maintenance of the network.

    As regards the Metro works, the stations to Elliniko and to the other extensions have progressed by 80-90 percent, but Siemens' participation, which has won the tender for the traffic technology, is delaying the completion and a solution needs to be found. Economidis said.

    He said that an ad hoc committee has conducted a relevant study, adding that the procedures will be transparent, and the final say belongs to the Cabinet.

    [23] Neo-classical bldg. eyed as new Goulandris Foundation museum in Athens

    The culture ministry-affiliated committee of modern monuments on Thursday evening unanimously approved restoration of a neo-classical building in the west Athens district of Pangrati with the intention of serving as the Vassilis and Eliza Goulandris Foundation's new modern arts museum in the Greek capital.

    The building will be renovated to host works by several well-known artists, including Picasso, Van Gogh, Rodin, Gauguin, Braque, Degas and Giacometti.

    Moreover, the future museum is projected as a venue for hosting major international travelling exhibitions.

    [24] Exhibition of Modern Ecclesiastical Art, Architecture and Painting opens in Athens next week

    An exhibition of Modern Ecclesiastical Art, Architecture and Painting opens on Tuesday, November 23, at the Museum of Byzantine and Christian Art in downtown Athens.

    The exhibition, hosted in tandem with the 2nd Scientific Symposium on Modern Greek Ecclesiastical Art organised by the University of Athens' School of Theology, will feature works by contemporary architects and iconographers.

    The museum was founded in 1914 and houses more than 25,000 exhibits, including rare collections of pictures, scriptures, frescoes, pottery, fabrics and manuscripts, and copies of artifacts from the 3rd century AD to the late medieval era.

    Situated at 22 Vassilissis Sophias Avenue, it is considered one of the most important Byzantine Art museums in the world.

    The exhibition will run through November 28.

    [25] 9 arrested for beating in troubled inner city district

    Nine Afghan nationals were arrested Wednesday evening in the inner city Aghios Panteleimonas district of central Athens following charges by a local resident charging that he was beaten with rocks, wooden planks and other objects by the suspects.

    The man went to the Aghios Panteleimonas police station to lodge the complaint and took police to a spot outside the building where Muslim migrants hold prayers, where he pointed out specific suspects as the perpetrators, who were arrested on the spot.

    Earlier, tension had risen at the same spot as local residents had congregated there, with police intervening to avert further incidents.

    The detainees were led before a public prosecutor on Thursday. (ANA-MPA)

    According to a related press release, joint sweeps by police, municipal police, the economic crimes bureau and the prefecture through the central Athens over the past two days led to at least two buildings being sealed. The buildings were used to house illegal immigrants, in which 22 illegals were arrested in one instance, while a Somali national was charged with a felony count after six different passports were found on his possession.

    Furthermore, 205 individuals and 15 Internet cafes were checked, four of which lacked any operating license. One-hundred and five people, all considered as undocumented foreigners were detained inside the cafes. Another 29 foreign women were arrested in the two-day sweep on street prostitution charges.

    [26] Arrests in murder of Egyptian nationals

    Three foreign nationals were arrested and one is wanted by police in connection to the homicide of a 40-year-old Egyptian electrician, whose body was found cut into pieces inside a suitcase abandoned next to a garbage dumpster in Athens's Kallithea district last May.

    The suspects are two 30-year-old Palestinians and a 35-year-old Algerian, while a 25-year-old Iraqi is still wanted, police said on Friday.

    During questioning it was revealed that the Algerian had planned the murder in revenge because the victim had won an installation contract in a new building, a job sought after by the suspect.

    The three suspects have reportedly confessed, while the 25-year-old Iraqi, who is wanted, allegedly fled the country soon after the incident.

    [27] Investigation ordered into Rizaj threats in court

    Authorities on Friday said that an investigation has been launched into the threats made the previous day by convict Alket Rizaj to a judge that was handing down his sentence, in which Rizaj referred to a specific terrorist group.

    The case will be handled by an appeals court prosecutor, while there will also be an investigation by the counter-terrorism squad.

    On hearing the judge on the bench read out a guilty verdict for himself and his female companion Aspasia Mitropia for a Hollywood-style prison break involving a helicopter - the second such prison escape by the same convict - Rizaj became enraged and flung a tissue in the face of prosecutor Yiannis Angelis saying: "You will be dealing with the Revolutionaries' Sect. You'll see".

    [28] 'Gaza Road to Hope' vessel remains anchored in Piraeus port

    All crew members and passengers aboard the ship "Strofades IV" were reported to be well and safe on Friday when the vessel anchored at the port of Piraeus. According to the London-based 'Road to Hope' charity the ship was meant to take aid to Gaza but broke its moorings at the Libyan port of Derna and set sail for Greece instead, with at least 10 activists on board that were being held against their will.

    Six Britons, two Irish, one Nigerian and one Moroccan national, activists of the aid organisation, were on board the vessel when it arrived in Piraeus, as well as seven Libyan port officials and the 16-member crew comprised of 10 Ukrainians and six Egyptians.

    Greek port authorities boarded the vessel at 11:15 a.m., where it was ascertained that the organisation's members and ship's crew were well in health.

    According to reports, the vessel broke mooring when a pay dispute broke out between the owner company and activists for the conveyance of trucks loaded with humanitarian aid to an Egyptian port.

    An announcement by owners Ionian Bridge later on Friday claimed that the activists had boarded the vessel without having any written contract or charter-party. While 'Road for Hope' claimed to have paid for transporting the aid, no written contract or charter had been received, it said.

    The shipping firm's announcement also reported a "tense atmosphere" aboard the vessel at Derna and said that Libyan authorities had not responded to a call for assistance. The captain, fearing for the safety of the ship and crew, then set sail for international waters while informing authorities in Malta, the operations room at the Greek Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries ministry and the Greek foreign ministry.

    [29] Fatal car-train collision in central Greece

    The driver of a private car was killed on Friday morning near the Karditsa train ttation, central Greece, in a collision with an oncoming train, the second such accident recorded in two days.

    The collision occurred when the car's driver ignored the signal and sound system activated at a flat crossing to warn of an approaching train.

    Rail operator Trainose S.A. expressed deep regret for the incident, urging car drivers and pedestrians to be extra cautious when crossing railway tracks.

    On Thursday, a 30-year-old mother of two from Neohori in Xanthi, northeast Greece, was seriously injured when an inter-city bus collided with an oncoming train.

    The accident occurred at the Neohori junction when the bus was trapped between signal bars inside the rail crossing.

    The woman was not a passenger on the bus but was helping its driver avoid collision by attempting to manually lift the bar and allow the vehicle to get out of the way.

    [30] Body of missing 80-year-old sports journalist found in Troizina

    The body of an 80-year-old sports journalist that had been missing for nearly two weeks was washed up in the sea at the municipality of Troizina in the northeast Peloponnese. His remains were identified by family members on Friday.

    The coast guard launched a search for the journalist was launched at sea when he was reported missing a week ago, after setting sail from the island of Serifos in a powerful, plastic-hull speedboat the previous Monday. The journalist was bound for the island of Kalamaki, a trip that he apparently carried out every year at around the same time.

    When he failed to arrive a search was launched and his boat was found capsized and half-sunk in seas off the island of Milos, around the islet of Falkonera.

    [31] Driver in Albanian bus accident remanded in custody

    TIRANA (ANA-MPA - I. Paco)

    The Greek intercity bus driver whose vehicle veered off the road and fell down a 120-metre cliff was remanded in custody by an Albanian court on Friday. Nine people were killed and 41 injured during the Monday night accident, which involved an Ioannina KTEL bus on a trip from Tirana to Athens.

    The court judged that the driver was responsible for the accident and rejected his defence lawyer's request that he be released on bail of 10,000 euro. The driver's lawyer claimed that the bus had veered off the road after impact with another vehicle but the court was not convinced.

    The accident occurred near the Albanian town of Tepelene during a heavy rainstorm on Monday night, at a very narrow section of the Tirana-Kakavia road between Tepelene and Ballsh. The bus had set off from Tirana at 7:00 p.m. about two and a half hours earlier. According to the driver, a truck had been blocking the road at that point and he had braked suddenly to avoid it but the rain had made the road surface slippery and caused the bus to swerve and fall off the road.

    [32] 3 foreign inmates escape from prison farm

    A manhunt is underway to capture three Albanian inmates who escaped last Tuesday from Tiryntha prison farm in southern Greece (near the ancient Tiryns site), where they were serving time for minor offences. All three were set for deportation.

    The trio reportedly managed to escape after opening a hole in the roof of their cell. While still on the roof they were spotted by a prison guard who sounded an alarm and averted the escape of more prisoners, considering that more than 20 individuals were held in the same cell in the specific wing of the medium-security correctional facility.

    An inquiry was in progress in the afternoon to determine the conditions under which the jailbreak took place.

    Soccer

    [33] Secretary of sports on 'fixed match' issue

    General Secretary of Sports Panos Bitsaxis on Friday referred to the issue of football games played in Greece in 2010 that are suspected of being "fixed", as charged by UEFA.

    Speaking on an Athens-area sports radio, he said the relevant file has been forwarded to a prosecutor for further investigation. Bitsaxis underlined that "we should not make any rushed judgments," and added that the "shadow" cast is heavy and should be dissolved, calling on professional football to "organise its activity on a healthy basis."

    He added that UEFA has pointed at a total of 39 "suspicious" football games played in Greece, but this "does not mean that all 39 of them will be proved to be corrupt or suspicious," adding that "this 'shadow' does not concern only Greece".

    He stressed that the Special Audit Service continues its efforts for the reform of professional football and sports finances, adding that the Greek Football Federation (EPO) also moves toward this direction, pointing out, however, that this is a "hard-to-solve type of crime".

    Weather Forecast

    [34] Rainy on Saturday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 5C and 23C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 21C. Fair in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 14C to 20C.

    [35] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Concerns -- mainly aired by the press -- over EU-ECB-IMF 'troika' pressure for the imposition of additional austerity measures and whatever alliances ahead of the second round of local government elections on Sunday mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Lay-offs in public utilities, enterprises".

    AVGHI: "The 'memoranda' leading to bankrupt Europe".

    AVRIANI: "Let illegal migrants enter Greece freely".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Exit (firings) for thousands in public sector opens".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "1.5 million beneficiaries threatened in social security funds".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Heating oil price hikes as of January 2011".

    ESTIA: "Prime Minister has lost part his power".

    ETHNOS: "Hard rock (politicking) for Sunday's ballots".

    IMERISSIA: "Irish virus infects euro".

    KATHIMERINI: "What the government is afraid of".

    LOGOS: "Unemployment skyrockets to 12.2% in August".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Tax police and immediate court date for huge tax evasion cases".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "All in Syntagma square for Communist Party rally".

    TA NEA: "25 years of work the key in public sector".

    TO VIMA: "Government gets prepares to give battle with troika".

    VRADYNI: "Unemployment a nightmare"

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