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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-05-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 2 May 2011 Issue No: 3776


  • [01] Papoulias inaugurates Nebojsa Tower in Belgrade
  • [02] FM on Syria violence
  • [03] PM to receive Omonia party leader
  • [04] Minister announces new police service for protecting minors
  • [05] Finance ministry amendments on privatisations, OPAD and banks
  • [06] Small turnout for Labour Day rallies
  • [07] PPC staff union confirms plans for rolling 48-hour strikes
  • [08] May Day marks beginning of Spring
  • [09] Three questioned over Marfin Bank fire last May
  • [10] Resistance figure Santas dies
  • [11] Seven-year-old fireworks victim dies of injuries
  • [12] Customer shot dead during super market robbery
  • [13] Small plane crashes, 2 dead
  • [14] A Czech 'pirate ship' in Flisvos
  • [15] Train-car collision results in fatality
  • [16] Gang armed with crowbars loots 'Plaisio' store in Exarhia
  • [17] Follow-up crime sweep in central Athens, 47 arrested
  • [18] Two attacked, car set on fire in Thessaloniki
  • [19] Man shot in Glyfada, dies of injuries
  • [20] Dynamite attack in central Athens
  • [21] Thirteen arrested for Cup Final clashes
  • [22] Scattered cloud on Monday
  • [23] Athens Newspaper Headlines Politics

  • [01] Papoulias inaugurates Nebojsa Tower in Belgrade

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA - N. Pelpas)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Serb President Boris Tadic on Friday jointly inaugurated Belgrade's landmark Nebojsa Tower.

    Recently renovated with money partially provided by the Greek state, the tower was the prison in which pre-independence struggle theorist Rigas Velestinlis (also known as Ferraios) was put to death by Ottoman authorities in 1798.

    Papoulias arrived at Nebojsa Tower accompanied by his wife, where he was received by Tadic and his spouse.

    Following the official inauguration, the two presidential couples toured all four levels of the new museum that is dedicated to the struggles of the Greek and Serbian nations to shake off dour Ottoman yoke. The second level of the tower contains exhibits on the life and work of Rigas Ferraios.

    In speeches at the inauguration, Papoulias stressed Ferraios' role as a 'forerunner of the idea of European unification' and said its roots lay in ideas of freedom based on education, equality before the law and state, justice and peace, friendship and cooperation between countries of the Balkans and Mediterranean.

    Tadic highlighted the Greek state's financial contribution toward the project, noting that the money given by Athens to restore the tower was the largest sum ever received by Serbia from abroad for a cultural project.

    The two presidents then had a private meeting at the Serb presidential palace, during which Papoulias assured Tadic that Greece will not abandon efforts for Serbia's accession to the European Union, after which there was a reception in honour of the Greek delegation that included Culture & Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis. Wrapping up his visit to Belgrade, the president was also received by Serbian Patriarch Irinej.

    The renovation of Nebojsa Tower was funded by Greece and the municipality of Belgrade and carried out over two years, at a cost 1.8 million euros. The Greek state, via the Greek foreign ministry international developmental aid service 'Hellenic Aid' contributed 1.38 million euro toward the project.

    Nebojsa Tower is a medieval structure built by Hungarians on the ruins of an older Roman tower dating from the 1st century A.D. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times in its history.

    [02] FM on Syria violence


    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Friday called for Syria's leadership to stop the violence on the streets of the country, during his talks here on Mideast and North Africa developments with Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias

    "It is with great concern that we heard today's (Friday) news; another use of violence against citizens," Droutsas said, adding: "I again call on the leadership of Syria to end violence and respect the wishes expressed by the people of this country for reforms."

    As regarding Libya, the Greek minister reiterated Athens' position over a pressing need for serious efforts to find a solution.

    "We aren't going to see results only through military means, and the international community is obliged to seriously and responsibly make efforts towards the direction of a political solution," he stressed.

    Finally, he categorically condemned Thursday's terrorist attack in Marrakesh, as well as any other forms of violence. "Allow me to assure Morocco and its people that Greece is next to them with solidarity," he said. (ANA-MPA)

    [03] PM to receive Omonia party leader

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday will receive the president of the Omonia political party in Albania, Vassili Bolano, and the president of the Union for Human Rights Party, Vangeli Doule.

    [04] Minister announces new police service for protecting minors

    Deputy Citizens' Protection Minister Manolis Othonas on Sunday announced plans for a special Greek Police service dedicated to the protection of minors throughout Greece.

    In statements made in Rethymno, Crete he stressed that the state's duty was to create an environment of safety for all citizens and especially vulnerable social groups such as children and underage individuals.

    Othonas said the new police team will operate on the basis of a specific plan that will cover all aspects of protecting minors and enforcement of laws designed to protect them.

    He said the decision was spurred by the sudden death of 16-year-old Stella Akoumianaki from alcohol consumption on Holy Saturday.

    "The protection of minors and the role of the State and police services must approach and touch on issues that concern illegal child labour, the verbal and physical abuse of minors and not just be third parties but also within the school environment or by the family itself," the deputy minister said.

    At the same time, he noted that the issue of protecting minors was not just or even mainly a police matter but one that required strong social institutions within the family and at school.

    Financial News

    [05] Finance ministry amendments on privatisations, OPAD and banks

    A number of amendments were tabled in Parliament by the finance ministry on Friday, dealing with privatisations, the Greek statistical authority ELSTAT, the civil servants' health care fund OPAD and the absorption of bank subsidiaries by their parent company.

    These include an amendment proposing that all funds generated through the privatisation, sale or other form of exploitation of state enterprises be used exclusively to pay down debt. It also proposes that the environment and transport ministers participate in the committee for restructuring and privatisations.

    It further outlines special procedures for hiring financial consultants through a three-member committee for assigning projects, another three-member committee for monitoring and executing contracts and a five-member committee to check on the legality of project assignment procedures.

    The amendment concerning OPAD calls for the payment of 90 percent of its debts toward health care service suppliers in order to restore the smooth provision of medical care for OPAD insured. It further gives social insurance funds access to the electronic prescriptions data base in order to check the implementation of laws concerning pharmaceuticals and health care services and impose penalties when these are broken.

    Penalties are imposed by the Health Care Providers' Coordinating Council based on the reasoned reports submitted to it.

    The amendment concerning banks allows a credit institution carrying out a restructuring plan and absorbing a financial services company in which it owns 100 percent of the stock to transfer any losses incurred to the books of the credit institution and offset these against any profits that arise in the next three years.

    [06] Small turnout for Labour Day rallies

    Roughly 3,500 protestors turned up for the May 1 Labour Day rally against the Memorandum organised by Greece's largest trade union organisations - the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union ADEDY. The rally began at around 11:00 a.m. in Syntagma Square.

    There had earlier been another rally organised by the Communist-affiliated PAME trade union faction, which had begun at Syntagma Square at 10:00 a.m.

    A separate rally and marched to Parliament was also organised by the party ANTARSYA, individual unions and organisations of the non-Parliamentary Left.

    [07] PPC staff union confirms plans for rolling 48-hour strikes

    The board of the Public Power Corporation's staff union GENOP on Friday confirmed that it plans to hold rolling 48-hour strikes if the government goes ahead with plans for the further securitisation of the PPC.

    The union said the launch of the strikes would be based on when the government decided to table the relevant omnibus bill in Parliament, while stressing that the strikes would many days before this happened.

    It also repeated a call to other unions and organisations to adopt a position on whether they agreed to the further privatisation of Greece's power utility.

    General News

    [08] May Day marks beginning of Spring

    A 50-square-metre mosaic of 7,000 plants and flowers, donated by the greenhouse cooperatives of the greater Athens area, were put on display in Kotzia Square, in front of the Athens City Hall, on Sunday, May 1, 2011. May 1, the traditional beginning of Spring, was celebrated around the country on Sunday with lawn & garden shows as well as the collection of wild flowers for the making of floral wreaths, as custom dictates.

    [09] Three questioned over Marfin Bank fire last May

    Greek authorities on Friday announced that three people have been brought in for questioning concerning the fire set at a branch of Marfin Bank in Stadiou Street on May 5 last year. The fire was set during a massive protest against austerity cuts taking place in the city centre and caused the deaths of three bank employees, including a woman that was pregnant at the time.

    No arrest warrants have been issued against the three so far, with a decision on whether their detainment should be converted to arrest expected when an examining magistrate has taken their testimony. Meanwhile, police will conduct a search of their homes to seek additional evidence.

    Earlier on Friday, police had sent a hefty file of evidence gathered over a year-long investigation into the fire, which seems to point to anti-establishment activists. This includes video footage from surveillance cameras along Stadiou Avenue where the bank was set on fire and also from an attack on the nearby bookshop Ianos.

    The cameras show a group of people that broke away from a block of anti-establishment protestors at Ianos and then split into two parties.

    It also includes eye-witness accounts that confirm the same conclusions about who was involved in the attack.

    The public prosecutor has returned the evidence file at the request of police, however, extending the period of the investigation and agreeing to the detention of the three brought in for questioning. Two of these are suspected of involvement in attacking the bank and a third in the attack on Ianos.

    [10] Resistance figure Santas dies

    One of the two men who secretly climbed atop the emblematic Acropolis Hill in central Athens and took down the Swastika in the early morning hours of May 31, 1941 - a defiant and extraordinarily symbolic act of resistance at the beginning of the Axis occupation of Greece (1941-44) - died on Saturday at the age of 89.

    Apostolos Santas passed away in Athens.

    Together with Manolis Glezos, the then teenaged Santas was highly praised during the last decades of his life for the unprecedented act of resistance.

    Santas was born on the Ionian island of Lefkada in February 1922, settling with his family in Athens in 193, before finishing high school in 1940 and successfully entering the Athens law school.

    "It was the first gasp of resistance ? Two 18-year-olds toyed with history; they saw a symbol and decided to become symbols, themselves," a Greek Parliament resolution proclaimed in 2008, during a plenum session honoring the two men.

    Santas joined the wartime resistance in 1942, taking part in several battles against German and Italian forces in Greece's mountainous provinces before being injured in 1944. Unfortunately, the bloody Greek Civil War (1946-49) lead to his exile on remote isles in the Aegean. Santas eventually fled to Italy and received political asylum in Canada, where he lived until 1962.

    He returned to Greece in 1963.

    "I never sought out publicity ? We (himself and Glezos) did not comprise the resistance by ourselves; thousands of brave people, men and women, were killed; they were all anonymous," he stated recently.

    [11] Seven-year-old fireworks victim dies of injuries

    The seven-year-old that was hit in the face by a naval flare during the midnight mass on Easter Sunday has died of his injuries, doctors reported on Friday.

    The boy was admitted to Agia Sophia children's hospital in central Athens with severe head trauma and facial injuries after a flare fired by a 25-year-old celebrating the Resurrection landed in the courtyard of the Church, near the boy's face.

    The incident occurred in Drosia, Halkida where the young boy was attending church with his parents.

    The 25-year-old man was placed under arrest and taken before a public prosecutor, who charged him with causing serious bodily harm, causing explosions and breaking laws on the use of fireworks.

    Letting off flares and fireworks that are very often home-made, even firing shots in the air, is a custom associated with the Easter resurrection mass throughout Greece and one that often results in serious injuries and sometimes deaths every year.

    [12] Customer shot dead during super market robbery

    A 59-year-old firefighter was shot dead during a botched super market heist in the western city of Patras early Saturday afternoon.

    According to reports, the man was shot after trying to prevent two gunmen from robbing the store.

    The two suspects fled the scene, with no reports on whether they made off with any money.

    [13] Small plane crashes, 2 dead

    Two people died on Friday when a single-engine, propeller-driven aircraft crashed into a sea region off the resort of Porto Heli, in southern Greece.

    The training plane had taken off from an airfield in Megara, west of Athens proper, with a 60-year flight instructor on board and an unidentified foreign national as a passenger.

    Reports are pending on the cause of the accident.

    [14] A Czech 'pirate ship' in Flisvos

    A replica of a legendary Caribbean privateer ship, the "La Grace", docked at the Flisvos marina in southern coastal Athens on Saturday and was christened on Sunday, May 1 -- an event aimed to promote the Czech Republic and the Republic of Slovakia and to showcase the maritime tradition of central Europe.

    The vessel, which will offer cruises in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, is an authentic replica of a brig from the second half of the 18th century. Her construction is based on the plans published in Architectura navalis mercatoria from 1768 by a Swedish admiral Fredrik Henrik af Chapman.

    The name "La Grace" was also used a century earlier for the corsair vessel commanded by noted Czech emigrant, entrepreneur and politician Augustin Herman during the latter's raids in the Caribbean and Central America. The replica was built in Suez, Egypt throughout 2010 by Czech and Slovak volunteers using traditional techniques. (ANA-MPA)

    [15] Train-car collision results in fatality

    A train-car collision on Friday in the north-central town of Kalabaka left the driver of the car dead, according to a statement by railways operator (TrainOSE) on Saturday.

    As is typical of such accidents, initial reports point to the car's driver attempting -- unsuccessfully -- to pass a rail bar crossing in front of the train's path.

    [16] Gang armed with crowbars loots 'Plaisio' store in Exarhia

    A gang of roughly 30 people armed with crowbars stormed into the computer hardware shop 'Plaisio' in Exarhia and made off with an unknown quantity of lap-tops and money that they forced staff to hand over, while inflicting extensive damage.

    The incident occurred on Thursday evening, while the gang succeeded in getting away and disappeared. Police have launched an investigation to find and arrest the culprits.

    [17] Follow-up crime sweep in central Athens, 47 arrested

    Another 47 people were placed under arrest following yet another police sweep to clean up petty crime in central Athens on Thursday evening, following a similar operation on Wednesday.

    Police patrols carried out 980 spot checks on individuals, 203 vehicles and 16 shops in the city centre, detaining a total of 326 people and arresting 47.

    Of those arrested, 24 face drug-related charges, one was an illegal migrant and now faces deportation, three were arrested for illegal gambling and three had outstanding court convictions for theft and six people were charged with violating laws on prostitution.

    Police confiscated various small quantities of cannabis and heroin, and 299 narcotic pills and wrote out 83 tickets for traffic violations.

    The raids also led to the discovery of a 1,000 square metre warehouse on Constantinoupoleos Street containing large quantities of counterfeit brand-name clothing. A further 1009 contraband and counterfeit goods were confiscated during inspections by mixed teams of state police and municipal police.

    [18] Two attacked, car set on fire in Thessaloniki

    Two Greek men aged 27 and 28 years old, respectively, were attacked by a group of around 50 people that torched their car using fireworks.

    The incident occurred late on Saturday in Thessaloniki, at an event attended by the two men at the former Kodra amy based in Kalamaria.

    Neither of the two men were injured because they managed to get into the car but this was completely incinerated in a fire caused by fireworks thrown by unknown assailants.

    The Kalamaria security police are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the attack.

    [19] Man shot in Glyfada, dies of injuries

    A 23-year-old Greek man was shot and fatally injured in the chest by unknown drive-by shooters at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday in Glyfada.

    The young man had been standing in the courtyard outside Agios Pavlos Church at the time and was rushed to Asklipio Hospital in Voula where he died of his injuries.

    Police have launched an inquiry in order to find the motives for the attack and locate the culprits.

    [20] Dynamite attack in central Athens

    An explosion caused by sticks of dynamite thrown onto the balcony of a 1st-floor apartment shook central Athens in the early hours of Sunday, at around 1:20 a.m.

    The attack on the apartment at Pindos 54 damaged the balcony windows and broke glass panes in nearby apartments.

    Police attribute the attack to personal differences.


    AEK wins football Cup

    AEK Athens won the 2010-2011 Greek Super League Cup on Saturday evening after downing a determined Atromitos Athens side 3-0, amid a hooliganism-marred final played at the Athens Olympic Stadium before more than 55,000 spectators.

    Winning the football Cup for AEK more-or-less salvaged a lackustre season for the popular yellow-&-black side in the Super League championship, whereas outsider Atromitos reached the Cup finals for the first time in the team's history. The west Athens side narrowly avoided relegation during the regular season. (???-?PA)

    AEK went ahead in the 28th minute on a header by match MVP Nikos Lymberopoulos, a goal that incensed the Atromitos side as the scorer was in an offside position when he nailed the ball into the net.

    Atromitos fared better at the start of the second but failed to equalise, leading to two AEK goals in the 78th and 85th minutes.

    Hooligans interrupted play at several instances by ominously charging towards the pitch, despite a heavy riot police and private security presence. In fact, several minutes of injury time were ignored, with the referee concluding the game just after the 90th minute of play when mostly youthful AEK supporters finally made it onto the field.

    [21] Thirteen arrested for Cup Final clashes

    A total of 13 people have been arrested and will go before a public prosecutor on Sunday, following clashes between police and rampaging football supporters before and after the AEK-Atromitos Cup Final match the previous day.

    Authorities said that 22 police officers were injured during the clashes, of which five remain in the 401 military hospital for treatment.

    The match between AEK Athens and Atromitos at the OAKA stadium had to be ended early after hooligans poured onto the pitch and was marred by violence both before and after the game, when supporters of AEK and Panathinaikos came to blows.

    Police reported that at 5:10 on Saturday a large number of AEK supporters attacked police stationed at at the corner of Alexandras Avenue and Harilaou Trikoupi street in Athens with petrol bombs, flares and stones in an attempt to reach a Panathinaikos supporters' clubhouse nearby. Earlier, AEK and PAO supporters had exchanged verbal insults as the former passed the clubhouse.

    A second group of AEK supporters on mopeds and motorbikes coming from the direction of Zografou also vandalised two police patrol cars and other parked cars, the PAO clubhouse and clashed with a small group of PAO supporters that were there at the time.

    At 7:00 p.m. there followed an attack by PAO supporters on two coaches carrying AEK supporters to the game as they drove up Alexandras Avenue, while they also attacked a police platoon that moved in to protect the coaches.

    Weather forecast

    [22] Scattered cloud on Monday

    Scattered cloud with intervals of sunshine is forecast throughout Greece on Monday, with possible showers after nightfall. Winds mostly westerly, from 3-6 Beaufort. Temperatures will range between 6C and 26C. Sunny in Attica, with temperatures from 12C to 25C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 9C to 23C.

    [23] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    Economic issues again mostly topped the headlines in a handful of Saturday edition Athens dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS: "Reduction of up to 30 percent in lump sum pension bonus".

    AVRIANI: "Return to drachma with voluntary exit from eurozone

    ETHNOS: "Silent strike by physicians, suppliers at state hospitals".

    KATHIMERINI: "Greek citizens changing views over state-run utilities and enterprises, as well as over tenure: 74 percent in favour of privatisations, according to poll".

    VRADYNI: "Insurance guide: When it's fortuitous to retire private, self-employed sector."

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

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