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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-06

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

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

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 Issue No: 4426

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras carries out surprise visit to EOPYY headquarters
  • [02] PM Samaras to depart for Washington on Monday, meet Obama on Thursday
  • [03] Cyprus President Anastassiades speaks with PM Samaras ahead of latter's trip to US
  • [04] Venizelos meeting with Albanian PM Edi Rama
  • [05] Gov't hopes to meet end-Sept. deadline to lay off 12,500, minister says
  • [06] Health minister unveils plans for staff mobility, changes to hospitals
  • [07] Transitional public broadcaster to operate within fortnight, minister says
  • [08] NERIT Supervisory Council members announced
  • [09] SYRIZA slams gov't policy, FinMin's positions
  • [10] Labour ministry adopts PASOK proposal for payment of social insurance contributions
  • [11] Deputy foreign minister to visit Beirut in search for leads on abducted metropolitans
  • [12] Albanian PM visiting Greece unofficially
  • [13] Lesvos mayor meets with Cyprus' EDEK party president
  • [14] State budget shortfall for first six months of 2013 is resolvable, Alternate Fin Min says
  • [15] Rhodes, Zakynthos register rise in tourist numbers
  • [16] KKE confirms sale of 902 TV channel
  • [17] OAED employees launch two-day strike to protest "mobility scheme"
  • [18] Alexandroupolis revives 'Wine Celebration' event
  • [19] McDonalds to remain in Greece, Premier Capital confirms
  • [20] Civil aviation industrial action called off
  • [21] Greek stocks end marginally higher on Monday
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [24] Athens hosts World Congress of Philosophy for the first time
  • [25] Suspended sentence for nightclub owner's daughter for flouting SDOE closure order
  • [26] Sewage treatment plant on trial operation on Limnos
  • [27] Arcadia bans travelling through forestland to Friday
  • [28] Marathonas fire gradually dying down, authorities report
  • [29] Fire destroys centuries-old olive groves in Amfissa, central Greece
  • [30] Fire near Thessaloniki airport extinguished
  • [31] ATM smash-and-grab theft in Peania, Athens
  • [32] Overdue taxes lead to arrest of 77-year-old businessman
  • [33] Fair on Tuesday
  • [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras carries out surprise visit to EOPYY headquarters

    In a surprise visit to the headquarters of the National Organisation for the Provision of Health Services (EOPYY) on Monday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras chaired a government meeting called by Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis and stressed that EOPYY must step up efforts to settle its outstanding debts to health service providers by the end of the year.

    "Greece is like a desert waiting for a drop of rain. And the overdue debts are that drop. Don't delay [their payment]," Samaras told the heads of EOPYY social insurance funds. The prime minister did not conceal his displeasure at the delays in settling EOPYY's debts as a result of slow bureaucracy.

    "We are in a state of emergency. During an emergency, don't tell me that you've sent a letter," he said.

    The meeting was also attended by Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, Deputy Health Minister Antonis Bezas and the heads of the social insurance funds involved, as well as of departments responsible for EOPYY's overdue debts. In addition, those present included the mayor of Maroussi and the head of the Athens Medical Association Giorgos Patoulis.

    Out a total 1.9 billion euro in outstanding debts owed by EOPYY to health service providers, only 500 million euro have been disbursed so far and the remaining 1.4 billion euro remain to be settled even though their disbursement has been approved. In order to speed up procedures for paying such debts, the meeting decided that all relevant state services will be at the disposal of those involved to help with immediate payment, that the staff required to speed up the process will be loaned to the social insurance funds from other state services, that supplementary assistance will be sought from private audit firms in order to clear debts in any social insurance fund unable to cope and that legislation further simplifying debt settlement processes will be passed in Parliament before the end of August.

    According to Georgiadis, the end of the month will be the first turning point showing whether social insurance fund managements are making the necessary progress to pay all outstanding debts by the end of the year.

    The prime minister also gave orders for a follow-up meeting at the end of August to assess whether the measures agreed were being carried out, warning fund governors that keeping their posts will depend on making the required progress.

    [02] PM Samaras to depart for Washington on Monday, meet Obama on Thursday

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to depart for Washington late on Monday night, where he will meet U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday.

    The premier's itinerary will include meetings with journalists from the Washington Post and New York Times, a one-day trip to New York on Wednesday for talks with Greek-American investment groups and his meeting with Obama on Thursday, at around 10:00 p.m. Greek time.

    Immediately after meeting the U.S. President, Samaras will again visit New York for a succession of meetings on Friday with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, representatives of the Greek-American community and the head of the American Jewish Committee David Harris. He will also visit Ground Zero and the site where the new St. Nicholas Church is being erected.

    [03] Cyprus President Anastassiades speaks with PM Samaras ahead of latter's trip to US

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA / A. Viketos)

    Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastassiades on Monday had a long telephone communication with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras ahead of the latter's meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington on August 8.

    Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianides said that the two leaders discussed the Cyprus problem, adding that Samaras will convey to Obama the positions and views of President Anastassiades in terms of developments in the Cyprus problem.

    The Cypriot president underlined the importance of the proposal concerning Famagusta, which is expected to contribute to the success of the efforts made for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the spokesman underlined.

    [04] Venizelos meeting with Albanian PM Edi Rama

    Greece-Albania bilateral relations and regional issues were the focus of discussion during a meeting between government vice-president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Albanian prime minister elect Edi Rama, who is on a private visit to Athens.

    The two men have known each other for several years and have been cooperating in the ?Progressive Alliance?, established last May in Leipzig by political parties belonging to the Socialist International.

    They agreed on laying the foundations for a new dynamic advance of Greece-Albania relations, immediately after the official takeover of power by Rama, winner of the recent elections in Albania, on September 9.

    Foreign Ministry sources told the ANA-MPA that Venizelos is very likely to visit Tirana soon, where his contacts will include a meeting with his Albanian counterpart.

    [05] Gov't hopes to meet end-Sept. deadline to lay off 12,500, minister says

    The government expects to have completed the gradual layoff of 12,500 civil servants by the end of September, Administrative Reform and e-Governance Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told private Mega TV on Monday.

    Mitsotakis said the ministries had responded to their commitment to the prime minister by turning their lists in on time.

    Under the process, civil servants leave work with pay, which is gradually reduced until they are formally laid off. The process is part of Greece's commitment to its troika of lenders to reduce staff in the public sector.

    Mitsotakis said that by the end of July 4,200 staff had been placed on the programme and a decision had been made on the 3,000 municipal police, while the remaining staff will be placed on the programme by end September.

    The minister also spoke about the so-called mobility process, part of the same commitment to changes in the civil sector, that transfers excess staff in one service to cover needs in another.

    "In a first phase, nearly 2,000 civil servants have been transferred, and many of them are happier at their new positions compared to their old ones," he said.

    [06] Health minister unveils plans for staff mobility, changes to hospitals

    Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis on Monday unveiled the ministry's plans for staff mobility and changes in the status and use of Attica and Thessaloniki regional hospitals. The minister underlined that most of the hospitals will be upgraded rather than shut down, while none of the staff will be laid off except those found to have submitted forged qualifications or those facing misconduct charges.

    In terms of staff mobility, he said this would affect 1,618 employees from the ministry's central services, staff at hospitals due to be merged or change use and 210 IKA doctors working part-time and with "non-exclusive" employment.

    The minister announced that he will sign joint ministerial decree with Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday outlining the time frame for the mobility scheme and a three-member committee will then begin staff evaluations on August 13. This process is due to be completed a week later on August 21 and a list of names posted on August 23. Staff will then be given from August 25-31 in order to "make their choices, which will be respected". From August 31 and until September 16, all employees will have been moved to their new positions.

    Commenting on staff reactions to changes and reorganisation in hospitals, Georgiadis dismissed them as unjustified and stressed that the hospitals were not closing but being improved in order to provide a better service to the public. He accused "extra-hospital centres" of being behind the protests and warned those participating in the protests that they "must understand that they are committing a disciplinary offence in the midst of [the mobility scheme], which will be taken into account in their evaluation."

    The hospitals due to lose their status and change use include Attiki, Polykliniki, Patission, Amalia Fleming, Spiliopouleio and Agia Varvara in Athens and the Infectious Diseases, Special Ailments, Chest Ailments and Panagia in Thessaloniki. These will either be merged with other larger hospitals or be converted into health centres, hospices or out-patient clinics.

    [07] Transitional public broadcaster to operate within fortnight, minister says

    The transitional public radio and television agency will start broadcasting within the next two weeks from the premises on Katechaki Avenue, Deputy Minister for Public Radio and Television Pantelis Kapsis told private Mega TV on Monday.

    He also said that the hiring of 2,000 for the transitional agency will be completed when former ERT employees vacate the now-defunct broadcaster's headquarters in Aghia Paraskevi. The premises have been occupied by former staff since ERT was shut down in June.

    Kapsis added that in the transitional agency at least 80 percent of the staff will come from the old ERT.

    So far, he noted, 8,000 applications had been filed, of which over 1,000 were filed by former ERT staff. The application deadline is August 9, Friday.

    [08] NERIT Supervisory Council members announced

    Deputy Minister for Public Radio & Television Pantelis Kapsis and Minister of State Dimitris Stamatis on Monday announced the members of a new public broadcaster supervisory council already sent to the cabinet for approval.

    The proposed New Greek Radio, Internet & Television (NERIT) Supervisory Council members are Anna Damianidi, Andreas Zoulas, Tatiana Karapanagioti, Loukas Karitinos, Simos Simopoulos, Theodoros Fortsakis and Christos Homenidis.

    According to an announcement, establishing the supervisory council is a "first major step for the implementation of the recently passed legislation on the New Public Radio-Television".

    The main goal is to institutionally safeguard its independence and its reorganization based on meritocracy and transparency and to ensure that it will perform its public mission in the best possible way, the announcement noted.

    [09] SYRIZA slams gov't policy, FinMin's positions

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Monday lashed out at government policy in the sectors of health and public administration, underlining that hospitals and schools are being shut down, organizations are being scrapped and civil servants are being laid off.

    SYRIZA accused Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis and Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of implementing tough memorandum ideologies calling "for a small and weak state, without resources and social policy".

    The party noted that, based on recent figures, Greece has the smallest public sector in the eurozone and EU, underlining that the privatization of the public sector should stop immediately.

    SYRIZA will protect state social services, prevent across-the-board layoffs and the indiscriminate persecution of public sector employees, a party announcement underlined.

    The main opposition party also lashed out at Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, saying that he admires his German counterpart "Mr. Schaeuble and is in tune with him as regards the catastrophic memorandum policy of extreme austerity".

    According to SYRIZA, Stournaras was again "blackmailing society with human sacrifices in the name of loan tranches" and together with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had made a commitment to the country's creditors to implement the new measures in September.

    [10] Labour ministry adopts PASOK proposal for payment of social insurance contributions

    Government coalition partner PASOK on Monday expressed satisfaction in response to the settlement announced by the ministry of labour according to which, private companies owing social insurance contributions for the year 2013 will be able to pay them off in12 installments.

    PASOK underlined that through constant interventions made in and out of Parliament it had repeatedly called for the implementation of such a settlement noting, however, that it should be in effect for all social insurance funds and not just for the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA).

    [11] Deputy foreign minister to visit Beirut in search for leads on abducted metropolitans

    Deputy Foreign Minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos on Monday said that he intends to soon visit Beirut in order to continue efforts to find and free two abducted Orthodox clerics of Aleppo in Syria. The minister announced his plans in a telephone conversation with Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch John X.

    Gerontopoulos hopes to follow up related initiatives begun by the Greek foreign ministry during a visit by former deputy foreign minister Costas Tsiaras to the region.

    The two clerics, the Greek Orthodox metropolitan of Aleppo Pavlos and the Syriac Orthodox metropolitan of Aleppo Yohanna Ibrahim, were abducted last April near the Turkish-Syrian border and their fate since that time remains unknown.

    [12] Albanian PM visiting Greece unofficially

    Newly-elected Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is paying a private visit to Athens on Monday, where he is meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the Maximos Mansion government headquarters.

    Rama is later meeting with government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos at the Foreign Ministry at 1:00 p.m.

    [13] Lesvos mayor meets with Cyprus' EDEK party president

    Cyprus' EDEK party President Yiannakis Omirou was received on Monday by Lesvos Mayor Dimitris Vounatsos.

    The meeting with the EDEK president, currently on a visit to the northeastern Aegean island, focused on local administration issues.

    Financial News

    [14] State budget shortfall for first six months of 2013 is resolvable, Alternate Fin Min says

    Any target shortfalls registered in the first six months of this year are resolvable, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said Monday, as he presented the preliminary data on the execution of the state budget during July, making the "national target of achieving primary surplus by the end of the year" more feasible.

    The state budget net revenues, before returns, came to 4.769 million euros, 600 million euros or 14.3 percent higher since July 2012 (4.172 million euros) and by 118 mln or 2.5 pct over the monthly target of 4.651 mln.

    Staikouras called the result very encouraging, given the shortfall of revenues from personal income tax (which were below target by 285 mln or 33.7 pct for the month, attributed to extensions in income tax filing and therefore processing of income tax returns) and from direct taxes of past years (which fell by 56 mln or 29.9 pct in July against the target, because of the delayed notifications sent out to collect the Property Tax 2011).

    Staikouras said that revenues from tax filed by legal entities surpassed the monthly target by 82 mln euros or 48.3 pct, which proves that the shortfall of the last two months, created by the extension of income tax filing deadlines, is covered.

    Indirect taxes were 247 mln euros or 11 pct over targets, while revenues from the Public Investment Programme came to 2.215 mln, more than triple the target of the month (700 mln), because of revenue from the European Union, which shows, he said, that Greece is beginning to absorb EU structural funds better.

    State budget revenues came close to 7 billion euros, the minister said, which more than covered the shortfall of revenues registered the first six months of the year.

    In additional data he gave, Staikouras said that tax return amounts to 314 mln, higher by 21.4 pct over June, and 12.7 pct above target, encouraging liquidity.

    Above-mentioned revenues do not include the 1.500 mln from the transfer of returns on Greek bonds from European central banks (the Securities Market Programme, or SMPs), which was included in the 4 bln. euros following the Eurogroup decision on July 8. In the future, these revenues will be included in the state budget; they are expected to reach 10 bln. in total by 2025. They are used entirely to cover the fiscal gap, therefore are deposited directly in a segregated account and are not part of the targets of the fiscal adjustment programme, Staikouras clarified.

    Wrapping up, Staikouras said that "the execution of the state budget in an environment of deep recession and historically bloated unemployment allows for restrained and realistic optimism in terms of the public revenues."

    [15] Rhodes, Zakynthos register rise in tourist numbers

    The number of arrivals at popular islands rose in July, according to separate reports, for Rhodes and Zakynthos.

    In the popular Dodecanese island of Rhodes, there were 9.2 percent more tourists arriving on charter flights in July this year (378,380) than in July last year (346,493). Most countries of origin numbers showed a rise, with that of Russia topping all (57.54 percent more tourists this year).

    Most tourists came from the United Kingdom, Russia and Germany. Despite the rise in numbers, however, store sales were still low.

    In the Ionian island of Zakynthos the number of charter flights rose by 12.8 percent, according to the Civil Aviation Service. This July, 690 charter flights brought 118,397 passengers to the island, while last year the numbers were 620 and 104,977, respectively.

    [16] KKE confirms sale of 902 TV channel

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has officially confirmed that it sold its privately-owned 902 television channel, an information that had already leaked to some media since Sunday.

    In a press release issued on Monday afternoon, KKE noted: "We ended up opting for the sale [of 902] in order to pay the television channel's debts. The sale regards infrastructure, equipment and company cars. The title and verbal and audio signals remain the party's property."

    KKE said that the sale will enable 902 to pay the money owed to employees and social security funds. It noted that during the four past years of Greece's economic crisis, the company operating 902, Radioteleoptiki, and its employees made tremendous efforts to support the TV station, but it was impossible to avert its financial collapse.

    The press release did not provide information on the buyer of 902.

    [17] OAED employees launch two-day strike to protest "mobility scheme"

    Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) employees on Monday held a demonstration in downtown Athens in the context of their two-day industrial action against the government-implemented employee "mobility scheme" affecting 250 of their colleagues.

    OAED employees held a sit-in demonstration at the organization's offices in the southern suburb of Alimos, while a similar protest is scheduled for Tuesday in the central offices of the organization.

    Protest marches were held to the ministries of administrative reform and labour.

    [18] Alexandroupolis revives 'Wine Celebration' event

    More than 25,000 people visited the premises of the seven-day revival of the "Wine Celebration" in northeastern Alexandroupoli on Sunday.

    The event was last organised in the city 25 years ago by the National Tourism Organisation of Greece (EOT) and was revived by the city and local agencies.

    It involved 27 cultural associations from the Evros prefecture, and included wine sampling and folklore performances. Entrance was 2 euros.

    [19] McDonalds to remain in Greece, Premier Capital confirms

    McDonalds will remain in the Greek market, according to an announcement issued on Monday by the fast-food restaurant's developmental licensee in Greece, Premier Capital Hellas. The announcement was made after Premier Capital and a local franchisee agreed to close the last McDonald's restaurant in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

    Premier Capital Hellas explained that the specific Thessaloniki restaurant was operating under the management of a local McDonald's franchisee and not under its own control. Following the closure of the Thessaloniki restaurant, Premier Capital Hellas is looking for premises for a new McDonald's in the city as a priority in its plans for growth.

    [20] Civil aviation industrial action called off

    The civil aviation authority union federation OSYPA announced on Monday that it called off its industrial action planned from Friday August 9 to Sunday August 11.?

    It said the decision was taken in the context of "honest dialogue with the leadership of the ministry of Infrastructure," and particularly with minister Michalis Chrysohoides.

    The strikes were aimed at protesting the inclusion of Civil Aviation Authority employees under the so-called mobility scheme for public servants.

    "We believe that our action proves once again that our intention and objective is to help with tourism promotion and development, not destruction," OSYPA said, adding that it hoped this would be realised by those institutionally responsible for the sector.

    [21] Greek stocks end marginally higher on Monday

    Greek stocks ended marginally higher in mainly lacklustre trade on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market just 0.13 pct up to end at 917.75 points. Turnover remained a low 35.05 million euros.

    The Large Cap index rose 0.27 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.40 pct higher. The Personal Products (3.89 pct) and Construction (2.61 pct) and Industrial Products sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (-4.25 pct) and Health (-2.65 pct) suffered the greatest losses.

    Jumbo (4.82 pct), Metka (3.49 pct) and Ellaktor (3.17 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (-4.52 pct), Intralot (-2.96 pct) and Piraeus (-2.80 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 68 to 56 with another 23 issues unchanged. Audiovisual (20.47 pct), Euroconsultants (19.34 pct) and Kathimerini (19.31 pct) were top gainers, while Spider (-19.44 pct), SATO (-18.18 pct) and Attica Holding (-14.19 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.70%

    Commercial: -1.09%

    Construction: +2.61%

    Oil & Gas: -0.11%

    Personal & Household: +3.89%

    Raw Materials: +0.05%

    Travel & Leisure: -4.25%

    Technology: -0.80%

    Telecoms: +0.85%

    Banks: -0.44%

    Food & Beverages: +0.99%

    Health: 2.65%

    Utilities: -0.63%

    Financial Services: +1.08%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Piraeus, Alpha Bank, National Bank, MIG and Eurobank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.47

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.79

    HBC Coca Cola: 21.18

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.56

    National Bank of Greece: 2.56

    Eurobank Properties : 7.05

    OPAP: 6.76

    OTE: 7.08

    Piraeus Bank: 1.04

    Titan: 15.60

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The August contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 1.51 pct on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 12.876 million euros.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,706 contracts worth 10.619 million euros, with 50,825 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,681 contracts worth 2.257 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (3,363), followed by National Bank (684), Piraeus (762), Eurobank (513), MIG (531), OTE (827), PPC (331), OPAP (228), HBC Coca Cola (73) Hellenic Exchanges (135), Titan (43), Mytilineos (149), Hellenic Petroleum (94), Intralot (145), GEK (424) and Jumbo (73).

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.3257

    Pound sterling 0.864

    Danish kroner 7.455

    Swedish kroner 8.761

    Japanese yen 130.62

    Swiss franc 1.235

    Norwegian kroner 7.855

    Canadian dollar 1.378

    Australian dollar 1.491

    General News

    [24] Athens hosts World Congress of Philosophy for the first time

    An audience packed Herod Atticus Theatre on Sunday evening to attend the official opening of the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy, the first ever to be held in Greece.

    "This congress opens a window to humanity, it is an asset that comes to stay in our lives, especially at these difficult times," said Constantine Voudouris, University of Athens philosophy professor and chairman of the congress' organisational committee.

    William McBride, president of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies which sponsors the congress every 5 years, said he had felt very moved when Athens was declared the next hosting city at the last congress (in Seoul in 2008), as it is considered the cradle of Western civilisation. "There is no place more fitting than this to hold the congress," the University of Purdue professor said.

    Also speaking were Athens Mayor George Kaminis and Culture Minister panos Panagiotopoulos.

    The congress will run until August 10 and lecture sites include the University of Athens School of Philosophy, Pnyx, Aristoteles' Lyceum and Plato's Academy, among others.

    There are 2,000 people registered to attend the congress.

    [25] Suspended sentence for nightclub owner's daughter for flouting SDOE closure order

    A Polygyros Court on Monday passed a 15-month jail sentence, suspended for three years, on the daughter of a Kallithea, Halkidiki nightclub owner, finding her guilty of defying a closure order imposed by the SDOE financial crimes squad for tax offences. The club's temporary manager was acquitted in the same case.

    The woman admitted that she had known the club had been temporarily closed as a penalty but denied having broken the SDOE seal and opening the club, saying the decision had been made by her father due to economic pressures. The temporary manager denied all knowledge of the SDOE order and claimed he was simply a friend of the owner.

    The court accepted his explanation and voted to acquit him, while the woman was judged guilty and sentenced, then released when she filed for appeal. Authorities are continuing to search for the nightclub's owner, who has disappeared.

    [26] Sewage treatment plant on trial operation on Limnos

    The trial operation of a sewage treatment plant on the northeastern Aegean island of Limnos is under way and will continue for a year, allowing for necessary adjustments to be made before it goes into full operation, it was announced on Monday.

    According to Limnos Mayor Antonis Hatzidiamantis, the project was launched five years ago but it was interrupted for two-and-a-half years due to lack of funds. "The operation of the plant will truly relieve Myrina and upgrade the environment and the local people's quality of life," he said.

    [27] Arcadia bans travelling through forestland to Friday

    The prefecture of Arcadia, central Peloponnese, has issued a ban on travel in the forested areas of the prefecture of Arcadia, the central part of the Peloponnese peninsula, from August 5 to 9 (Monday to Friday), for reasons of fire prevention, according to a decision by the deputy regional director Vangelis Giannakouras. The ban will end at 10:00 p.m. on Friday.

    The regions affected by the ban include all of Mt. Menalon, the forest of Skyritida, the whole of Mt. Parnon national forest, and the regional forests of Tripoli, in the centre of the Peloponnese.

    Only roads leading to villages will be exempted.

    [28] Marathonas fire gradually dying down, authorities report

    A wildfire that has damaged at least six houses in the Avra settlement near Marathonas, on the east coast of Attica, has been gradually dying down since the afternoon, the fire brigade said on Monday. Water-bombing aircraft have stopped overhead flights as night falls but a strong force remains on the ground to fully put out individual blazes still burning in the area.

    Houses in the area were evacuated earlier on Monday as a precaution after the fire broke out at around noon. Fanned by strong winds, the fire careered out of the control and divided into two fronts, with firefighters initially unable to prevent the southern front moving toward the region of Souli, though they stopped its spread to the west.

    A total of 60 firefighters with 30 fire engines and 15 firemen on foot assisted by volunteers, four water-bombing aircraft and four helicopters were deployed against the blaze.

    [29] Fire destroys centuries-old olive groves in Amfissa, central Greece

    A major fire that broke out at 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning in the olive groves of Amfissa, near the Delphi archaeological site in central Greece, has spread quickly and is burning its way through thousands of ancient olive trees, some of them centuries old.

    Fifty firefighters operating 19 fire engines and firemen on foot assisted by four water-bombing aircraft are battling the blaze that is burning out of control, fanned by strong winds blowing in the region.

    Traffic has been interrupted in the Sernikaki intersection between Amfissa and Itea as a result of the fire.

    According to the Fire Brigade, the nearby villages are not in any danger but volunteers have called on local people to be on the alert in order to prevent the fire from spreading during the night.

    [30] Fire near Thessaloniki airport extinguished

    A fire that broke out near Thessaloniki's "Macedonia" airport on Monday has been extinguished, the fire brigade reported later the same day. The fire began in dry grasses near the airport and spread to a car scrap yard, where the stacked vehicles went up in flames. It was finally extinguished by a team of eight fire engines and 20 fire men.

    [31] ATM smash-and-grab theft in Peania, Athens

    Unidentified individuals drove a stolen private truck into the glass entrance of MEC exhibition center in Peania district, greater Athens, in the early morning hours on Monday and made off with a bank ATM machine and an undetermined amount of cash, police announced.

    The stolen truck was later found burned and abandoned in the district of Menidi. The ATM machine was also found open and empty of cash.

    [32] Overdue taxes lead to arrest of 77-year-old businessman

    Overdue taxes exceeding the amount of 16 million euros have led to the arrest of a 77-year-old businessman by Thessaloniki police on Monday. The arrestee, member of a general partnership active in the photography business, appeared before a public prosecutor.

    Weather forecast

    [33] Fair on Tuesday

    Generally fair, with temporary cloudiness on the mainland from midday on. Mostly northerly winds, from 4 to 5 Beaufort, rising at sea as high as 8 Beaufort in the Cyclades and Crete. Temperatures ranging from 20C to 35C. In Athens, generally fair with north-northeasterly winds from 5 to 6 Beaufort, rising temporarily to 8. Temperatures from 24C to 33C. In Thessaloniki, generally fair, with some cloudover on higher elevations in the aftrnoon. East-southeasterly winds 3 to 4 Beaufort. Temperatures from 22C to 34C.

    [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: "New property tax is harsher"

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Memorandum changes in junior high and high schools"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "State hiring council (ASEP) protects 195,000 civil servants only"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Staff in armed and security forces can go on pension after 24.5 years of work"

    ESTIA: "The economy can't be dictated to"

    ETHNOS: "A night of grand tax evasion" in Halkidiki peninsula

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Needed: Measures to cover 10.9 bn gap for 2014-2015"

    TA NEA: "Law of the jungle: No receipts issued at nightclubs"

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