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

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

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

Thursday, 8 August 2013 Issue No: 4428

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras visits Washington Post offices, attends CSIS working lunch
  • [02] PM should seek 'package-solution' for Greece, DIM.AR says
  • [03] Former ERT journalists announce special broadcasts covering PM's trip to U.S.
  • [04] Deputy Education Minister: Most teachers on mobility plan to be placed at Health Ministry
  • [05] SYRIZA accuses government of seeking to destroy the social state
  • [06] Managerial team for Public Television announced
  • [07] Environment and Energy minister on Greece, Cyprus, Israel energy cooperation
  • [08] TAP environmental, social impact study sent to environment ministry
  • [09] Funds available for green rooftops on public buildings, Environment Ministry says
  • [10] SDOE shuts down taverna on Crete after tax inspection incident
  • [11] Mytilineos Group reports improved H1 results
  • [12] Transit sea cruise passengers on the rise, Piraeus Port Authority says
  • [13] Foreign investors cut participation in ASE in July
  • [14] Greek stocks end flat on Wednesday
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [17] Varybobi fire fully contained; wildfire in Ermionida
  • [18] Man arrested in Varybobi forest as he tries to set fire
  • [19] Charges filed against 60-year-old arrested in Varybobi
  • [20] Houses not threatened by wildfire in Ermionida
  • [21] More than 300 residences partly damaged in Lamia tremor
  • [22] Fire drill on passenger ferry in Piraeus a success
  • [23] Turkish businessman arrested for debts owed to the state
  • [24] German man arrested for spying is remanded in custody pending his trial
  • [25] Nat'l Observatory's Geodynamic Institute to get new building by 2015
  • [26] New earthquake jolts Amfiklia near Lamia, central Greece
  • [27] Fair on Thursday
  • [28] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras visits Washington Post offices, attends CSIS working lunch

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/N. Armenis)

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday launched the programme of his official three-day trip to the US with a visit at the ?Washington Post? offices and a meeting with the editorial staff of the American newspaper, who in an in-depth discussion showed particular interest on all latest developments in Greece.

    The Greek premier later attended a working lunch with 15 influential figures of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

    Samaras is scheduled to travel for a few hours to New York where he will dine with 20 senior executives of investment groups, which manage assets of some 850 billion euros, aimed at discussing investment opportunities opening up in Greece.

    Several of the companies invited to attend the meeting are already active investors in Greece, while others are looking into making investments in the near future.

    In this specific context, the meeting will also be attended by Greece's the Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis, who would brief potential investors on the country's new favourable investment legislation.

    Government sources have expressed the view that Samaras' visit to the US is taking place in a particularly positive conjuncture for Greece.

    At the same time, members of the Greek delegation speak of an upgrade, on the US side, of the Greek prime minister's visit, on the occasion of Samaras' meeting with US State Secretary John Kerry, as well as because of the composition of the delegation of US officials scheduled to attend his meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House.

    Specifically, the US delegation will comprise Treasury Secretary Jacob Liu, US Ambassador to Athens Daniel?Bennett?Smith, national?security adviser Susan Rice, global economy adviser and former IMF official Karoly Atkinson and White House executives on European affairs Karen Donfried and Michael Sesams.

    Samaras' meeting with the US president will also be attended by White House chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

    [02] PM should seek 'package-solution' for Greece, DIM.AR says

    In an announcement about Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' trip to the United States, the opposition Democratic Left (DIMAR) party on Wednesday urged the prime minister to use his contacts during the visit "to immediately promote a 'package' solution that will extricate the country from disastrous austerity policies."

    "The prime minister's meetings with the U.S. political leadership, given the strong U.S. presence in the International Monetary Fund, must be used to immediately promote a package solution that will extricate the country from the disastrous austerity policy. Basic elements of this policy must be link the adjustment programme to growth and restructuring of debt to make it sustainable".

    In separate announcements, DIMAR also criticised PASOK attacks on former administrative reform minister Antonis Manitakis, as well attempts to link the mobility scheme with layoffs carried out across-the-board without any proper evaluation of staff and structures.

    "Only if the government changes stance and raises the issues again in negotiations with the troika can there be a course correction and a relaunch of administrative reform," the party said.

    It also stressed that achieving a primary deficit must come about by tackling tax evasion and a reduction of inefficient spending and corruption and not by further reductions in wages, pensions and benefits.

    [03] Former ERT journalists announce special broadcasts covering PM's trip to U.S.

    Journalists laid off when the government shut down Greece's former public broadcaster ERT on Wednesday announced from ERT's still-occupied premises that they will broadcast special programmes reporting on the meetings between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on Thursday evening.

    The former public broadcaster's staff union POSPERT and the journalists involved said that the broadcasts will include reports by correspondents in Washington and an analysis of what the Greek side hopes to gain during Samaras' trip and what the Samaras-Obama talks are likely to cover concerning Greek debt, the economy, energy and Greece's geopolitical role.

    [04] Deputy Education Minister: Most teachers on mobility plan to be placed at Health Ministry

    Most of the educators placed on the mobility plan will be absorbed by the Ministry of Health, Deputy Education Minister Symeon Kedikoglou told private Mega station on Wednesday.

    Kedikoglou said of 2,000 teachers and administrative staff, about 1,300 will go to the Health Ministry, another 300 will go to municipalities and the rest will be hired on hourly wages at technical schools.

    He also said that the next round of mobility would include some of the university administrative staff.

    Kedikoglou did not commit to an end in across-the-board measures in all ministries. "I cannot rule out the possibility," he said of further measures, "because we have delayed a lot, and we are paying for the fact that for a year we had in this critical Ministry (of the Interior) a minister of the Democratic Left (DIMAR), who did not believe in this change very much - and anything you don't do on time, returns in a much harsher form."

    DIMAR was the third coalition member, with New Democracy and PASOK, before resigning over civil service layoffs.

    Asked about the draft law on technical training schools, he said it had been preceded by five years of talks and would bring significant changes.

    The minister also charged the main opposition party, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), with inciting educators to strike in September.

    [05] SYRIZA accuses government of seeking to destroy the social state

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Wednesday lashed out at the government with accusations that its goal is "to destroy the social state".

    "The statements made by the ministers of the government of Prime Minister Samaras leave no room for misinterpretation," SYRIZA noted, adding that "the memorandum policy sacrifices the sectors of local administration, education and health, leading thousands of people to unemployment and depriving a desolate society of the last bastions of social protection."

    According to SYRIZA, the troika of the country's creditors and the government are getting ready to sacrifice everybody and everything after the summer.

    [06] Managerial team for Public Television announced

    Deputy Minister for Public Broadcasting Pantelis Kapsis on Wednesday appointed the managerial team that will assist Gkikas Manalis, formerly the head of the scrapped public broadcaster ERT, in running a transitional public broadcaster in the months until the permanent broadcasting company is ready to go on the air.

    Taking over as head of news is Vassilis Thomopoulos, in charge of the television programme is Dimitris Sofianopoulos, head of technical services will be Aris Kontizas and head of Financial Services will be Christos Koupelidis.

    Financial News

    [07] Environment and Energy minister on Greece, Cyprus, Israel energy cooperation

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)

    Cooperation between Cyprus, Greece and Israel on energy issues can be a factor of stability in the wider region and help increase prosperity in the three countries, Greek Environment, Energy and Climatic Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis said on Wednesday.

    In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency in light of the signing in Nicosia on Thursday of a mutual understanding memorandum between the three countries on energy and water resources issues, Maniatis said that such cooperation undoubtedly constitutes a considerable step, while expressing the conviction that it will be followed by more similar steps in many other sectors of the three countries' economy.

    Replying to a question on the Greek Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Maniatis said that "its enacting constitutes a big priority of Greek foreign policy. Greece's prime minister and foreign minister are handling the issue of promoting the Greek EEZ in absolute responsibility and full coordination."

    Maniatis also described as considerable the EuroAsia Interconnector project that is expected to link Israel, Cyprus, Crete and the Peloponnese in 2016 and will be of a capacity of providing 2000 MW of electric power.

    The Greek minister referred to developments in the Cypriot EEZ as well, stressing the indisputable sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus. "Athens and Nicosia will continue to jointly handle Turkish and other pressures effectively on the distribution of the natural gas resources prior to a resolution of the Cyprus issue," Maniatis said.

    [08] TAP environmental, social impact study sent to environment ministry

    The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) consortium, which has undertaken the construction and exploitation of the pipeline transporting natural gas from Azerbaijani gas fields to Europe via Greece, on Wednesday announced that a study on the environmental and social impact of the pipeline's construction has been sent to Greece's environment, energy and climate change ministry.

    The announcement said that the comprehensive Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) has been carried out jointly by Greek and international experts in accordance with Greek laws and in compliance with the international best-standard practice as laid down by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

    Submission of the final ESIA report is the culmination of a collaborative process with Greek authorities, which has previously seen the submission of the Scoping Report and Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (PEIA) for the Western TAP Section in Greece, and the Scoping Report for the Eastern TAP Section in Greece. In July 2013 the environment ministry concluded TAP's ESIA completeness review and authorized it to start the official public disclosure process. Following ESIA approval, Greek authorities will issue the Environmental Terms Approval Decision, necessary for TAP to commence construction activities.

    Rikard Scoufias, TAP's Country Manager in Greece, said that he was very pleased with the submission and stressed TAP's "commitment to an open and transparent dialogue" that will continue during the public disclosure process to commence on September 16, promising to incorporate the views and comments of communities affected by the pipeline project.

    Some 100 ESIA public disclosure meetings will be conducted by a combined team of TAP contractors (E.ON New Build and Technology), local sub-contractors (Asprofos, Exergia) and TAP representatives between 16th September to 18th October. .

    The TAP will start at the Greek-Turkish border in Evros and follow a route parallel to the existing natgas network up to Thessaloniki, where it will strike northwest toward the Greek-Albanian border. Its total length on Greek territory will be 543 kilometres and will include a compression plant in Evros and possibly a second in Serres if a decision to double capacity is made.

    Based on the current proposed route, the pipeline will pass through seven Natura 2000 areas where techniques that avoid digging of trenches to cross rivers will be used. Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and last 3.5 years.

    [09] Funds available for green rooftops on public buildings, Environment Ministry says

    Local government and state agencies can draw on funding to create green rooftops, the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry said on Wednesday.

    Nearly 15 million euros will be available through the Business Programme on the Environment and Sustainable Development, part of the Greece's effort to disburse EU structural funds, to create "green rooftops on public buildings".

    The programme can be used by schools (from pre-kindergarten to grade schools), music schools, cultural centres, swimming pools and other public entities in urban areas.

    "The improvement in citizens' quality of life is a basic priority of all ministry actions, both through programmes implemented and through legislative initiatives," Alternate Environment Minister Stavros Kalafatis said.

    Green rooftops would result in "economising in energy, increasing greenery in urban spaces and reducing gas emission from the greenhouse effect," he said.

    The implementation is expected to reduce heating and cooling expenses of buildings throughout the year and improve the microclimate in the area where each building is located, as well as to reduce pollution.

    In Athens, a rooftop garden was created on top of the Ministry of Finance, at Syntagma Square.

    [10] SDOE shuts down taverna on Crete after tax inspection incident

    Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) members checking businesses on the island of Crete for tax evasion were forced to leave by owners and customers of a taverna in Archanes, in the Iraklio region, according to reports.

    The inspectors returned on Wednesday morning with an order for a shutdown of the taverna for a month, "by decision of the Finance Minister," it said in its announcement, while adding that the inspection on the premises will continue. The ministry said the decision was taken according to the law and after "it was determined that owners of the business were instrumental in interrupting the inspection."

    The taverna owners were charged with refusing to show their ledgers to the inspectors, while witnesses said that no more than three receipts were issued to customers on the day of the check, which was held during a local religious holiday (Afenti Christou).

    SDOE, part of the Finance Ministry, has intensified its checks in popular tourist destinations on the islands this summer.

    [11] Mytilineos Group reports improved H1 results

    Mytilineos Group on Wednesday said its consolidated turnover totaled 730.8 million euros in the first half of 2013, up 2.3 pct from 714 million euros in the same period last year.

    The company, in a statement, said that EBITDA totaled a record 102.2 million euros in the January-June period, up 28 pct from last year. This was only partly reflected in net after tax and minorities earnings, which rose 47pct to 12.5 million euros in the first six months of 2013, from 8.5 million euros last year.

    The group also showed a reduction in net borrowing in the first half of 2013, which was reduced by 170 million euros due to positive cash flows and reduction of VAT owed to the state, falling from 725 million euros to 555 million euros.

    METKA's turnover eased to 289.9 million euros in the first half, from 298.7 million euros last year, EBITDA eased to 45.3 million euros. Net after tax and minorities earnings totaled 46.4 million euros, down from 40.2 million euros in 2012.

    The metals and mining sector of the group reported a turnover of 224.5 million euros in the first six months of 2013, down from 232.6 million euros last year, although EBITDA returned to profits of 9.7 million euros from losses of 0.3 million euros last year.

    The energy sector's turnover rose to 219.7 million euros from 198.5 million euros last year, accounting for 30 pct of the Group's turnover. EBITDA rose to 48.6 million euros, from 33.5 million euros in 2012, boosted by the launch of Korinthos Power unit.

    [12] Transit sea cruise passengers on the rise, Piraeus Port Authority says

    Transit sea cruise passengers using the Port of Piraeus rose 11.72 pct in the seven-month period of January-July 2013 compared with the same period last year, it was announced on Wednesday.

    However, the sea cruise general index rose by only 6.02 pct due to the cancellation of scheduled voyages by the cruise ship "Zenith" following a fire on board the vessel while it was sailing off the coast of Genoa, the Piraeus Port Authority S.A. announced.

    [13] Foreign investors cut participation in ASE in July

    Foreign investors' participation in the capitalization of the Athens Stock Exchange in July eased to 28.5 pct, from 34.7 pct in June, while their participation in the Greek capital market - excluding the capitalization of shares owned by Hellenic Financial Stability Fund - was 43.16 pct, down from 48.14 pct in June.

    Foreign investors were net buyers with capital inflows totaling 59.63 million euros, while Greek investors were net sellers with capital outflows of 39.21 million euros.

    Foreign investors accounted for 47.5 pct of all transactions in the market, up from 45.3 pct in June, while Greek investors accounted for 31 pct of transactions, up from 33.7 pct in June. The value of transactions totaled 951.47 million euros in July, down 22.7 pct from June, but up 79.3 pct compared with July 2012. Average daily turnover was 41.37 million euros in July, down from 64.79 million euros in June, but up compared with 24.12 million euros in July last year.

    The number of active investor codes fell to 27,045 in July, sharply down from 84,940 in June, but up compared with 24,086 in July 2012. The market's capitalization totaled 46.01 billion euros in July, 21.8 pct down from 58.83 billion euros in June but sharply up (93.3 pct) compared with July 2012.

    [14] Greek stocks end flat on Wednesday

    Greek stocks ended flat on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with the composite index of the market stabilising and retaining accumulated gains of 6.81 pct made over the last six sessions. The composite index closed marginally up by just 0.02 pct to end at 925.95 points, while turnover was a low 30.23 million euros.

    The Large Cap index rose 0.26 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.34 pct lower. Folli Follie (1.63 pct), National Bank of Greece (1.59 pct), EYDAP (1.48 pct), Coca Cola HBC (1.44 pct) and OPAP (1.29 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Intralot (-6.59 pct), OTE (-2.10 pct) and Frigoglass (-1.77 pct) were top losers.

    The Commerce (1.61 pct), Foods (1.43 pct) and Technology (1.43 pct) sector indices posted the higest percentage gains in the day while Telecommunications (-0.75 pct), Utilities (-0.81 pct) and Construction (-0.75 pct) posted the greatest percentage losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 84 to 47 with another 15 issues unchanged. Fieratex (23.89 pct), Pasal (20.00 pct) and NEL (10.34 pct) were top gainers, while Ioniki Hotels (-20.00 pct), AXON Holding (-19.79 pct) and Atti-kat (-14.29 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -0.14%

    Commercial: +1.61%

    Construction: -0.75%

    Oil & Gas: -0.46%

    Personal & Household: +0.50%

    Raw Materials: +0.13%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.41%

    Technology: +0.75%

    Telecoms: -2.10

    Banks: +0.44%

    Food & Beverages: +1.43%

    Health: +0.39%

    Utilities: -0.81%

    Financial Services: -0.85%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, National Bank, OPAP and Piraeus Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.46

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.60

    HBC Coca Cola: 21.10

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.60

    National Bank of Greece: 2.55

    Eurobank Properties : 7.10

    OPAP: 7.09

    OTE: 7.00

    Titan: 15.63

    [15] ADEX closing report

    The August contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.35 pct on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining at a low of 8.672 million euros.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,048 contracts worth 6.410 million euros, with 52,053 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,488 contracts worth 2.710 million euros, with investment interest focusing on GEK (1,163), followed by Alpha Bank (709), PPC (623), Piraeus Bank (519), OTE (511), National Bank (458), Mytilineos (397), Intralot (389), Eurobank (207), OPAP (205), Ellaktor (121), Viohalco (96), Hellenic Petroleum (95), Jumbo (88), Hellenic Exchanges (71), Coca Cola HBC (50), Coca Cola HBC (50), Metka (42), Eurobank Properties (32), Frigoglass (23), Titan (22), Motor Oil (22), Sidenor (21), MIG (13), Terna Energy (17), Folli Follie (5), Corinth Pipeworks (5) and OLP (2).

    [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.350

    Pound sterling 0.872

    Danish kroner 7.569

    Swedish kroner 8.857

    Japanese yen 131.15

    Swiss franc 1.250

    Norwegian kroner 8.018

    Canadian dollar 1.407

    Australian dollar 1.510

    General News

    [17] Varybobi fire fully contained; wildfire in Ermionida

    The major forest fire in Varybobi, northwest Athens, has been extinguished, while another wildfire broke out at noon in the region of Pigadia in Ermionida, the Fire Department announced on Wednesday.

    The Varybobi fire was contained after damaging houses, threatening the Olympic Village and disrupting the area's power supply. Sixty firemen and 30 fire engines remain in the region for precautionary reasons.

    The fire in Ermionida is burning its way through shrubs and olive trees away from populated areas. Firefighting efforts are being hampered by the strong winds blowing in the region. Twenty two firefighters with 10 fire engines and another 10 firemen on foot, assisted by four water-bombing aircraft, are battling the blaze.

    Meanwhile, another fire that broke out on Tuesday night in a forest region in Dervenakia, Argolida prefecture, in southern Greece, is showing signs of abating.

    [18] Man arrested in Varybobi forest as he tries to set fire

    A 60-year-old man was arrested late on Tuesday night as he was trying to set a fire in the forest of Varybombi, northwest of Athens.

    Police are investigating to see whether he is also responsible for a huge blaze in the same forest that broke out on Monday night and spread to other areas, damaging houses, threatening the Olympic Village and disrupting the area's power supply.

    The man was found by a patrol on a side street of the Athens-Lamia national highway, at the 18th km, outside a car with no licence plates. When the police checked him, they found him holding tree branches and a canister full of flammable liquid.

    The large Varybobi blaze took nearly 130 firefighters with over 60 vehicles to fight, aided by scores of army, municipal and private citizen volunteers, along with firefighters from other cities of Greece. Because of high winds and multiple fronts in remote areas, it was placed under partial control with difficulty.

    [19] Charges filed against 60-year-old arrested in Varybobi

    Criminal charges of attempted arson were filed against a 60-year-old on Wednesday, following his arrest near the Athens-Lamia national highway in the region of Varybobi on Tuesday night. At the time of his arrest, the suspect had in his possession kindling, a canister of flammable liquid and lighters. He will now go before an investigating magistrate to testify.

    [20] Houses not threatened by wildfire in Ermionida

    A wildfire that broke out at noon on Wednesday in the region of Pigadia in Ermionida continues to burn its way through shrubs and olive trees toward the small villages of Akti Hydra, Agia Kiriaki and Plepi without posing a threat to residential areas, according to the Fire Brigade.

    Firefighters on land assisted by six water-bombing aircraft are trying to contain the blaze before it reaches any villages.

    [21] More than 300 residences partly damaged in Lamia tremor

    Residents in many villages in the earth-quake stricken region of Fthiotis, central Greece are still evaluating the damage left behind by Wednesday's tremors, the strongest of which measured 5.1 on the Richter scale, at 12.06, as seismic activity continued in the evening. The quakes are mostly felt in some Amfikleia villages and Kamena Vourla's Regini village, where extensive damage has been reported.

    Despite the reassurances offered by experts for aftershock activity, as well as by engineers on the safe condition of buildings, many villagers in the area remain in the streets, with some of them preparing to spend the night either in public buildings, such as schools, or in relatives' homes.

    Damage has been reported to more than 300 residences, either minor or in some cases more serious. According to reports so far, two uninhabited houses have collapsed in the Amfikleia village of Drymaia, and another one has been severely damaged in Kato Tithorea. The latter was being used as a home by a family of foreigners with a young child, who neighbours said managed to get out of the rubble after the tremor by themselves.

    Based on data collected by the region's local councils, approximately 150 houses have been declared partly damaged in the Molos-Agios Constantinos municipality, 80 of them in the Regini village.

    Also, more than 150 houses have sustained partial damage in Amfikleia region villages, but the number is expected to rise in the coming hours, as a large part of owners were away at the time of the tremor.

    Following inspections in the area, municipal engineers did not appear worried about the condition of buildings, noting that no special measures needed to be taken to evacuate any residences.

    At the same time, local council employees using special equipment were working to remove rocks from a number of streets which fell as a result of the earthquake.

    [22] Fire drill on passenger ferry in Piraeus a success

    A fire drill was successfully conducted on board a ferryboat in the port of Piraeus on Wednesday with the participation of the Coastguard, the Fire Brigade and EKAB ambulance service.

    Based on the scenario, the ship's crew had to put out a fire that had broken out for unknown reasons on one of the decks of the passenger ferryboat "Blue Star 2".

    The fire drill was carried out in the presence of Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and the Coastguard leadership.

    [23] Turkish businessman arrested for debts owed to the state

    A 59-year-old Turkish national was arrested at the port of Mytilene, on the island of Lesvos, at noon on Wednesday for debts owed to the Greek state amounting to 7,004,272 euros.

    The Turkish businessman was arrested immediately after disembarking from a ferry on the Mytilene-Ayvalik route, that belongs to a company in which he is a shareholder. Police carried out the arrest at the order of the Economic Crime Prosecuting Authority.

    The 59-year-old's brother had been arrested last October for debts to the state amounting to 6.3 million euros and had been sentenced to five years in prison, suspended upon appeal.

    [24] German man arrested for spying is remanded in custody pending his trial

    A 72-year-old German national, a retired engineer, arrested last week on the east Aegean island of Chios on espionage charges after being caught spying on a local military facility, will be held in custody pending trial, it was announced on Wednesday.

    His attorney said that the defendant's testimony was completed late on Tuesday evening and that he has accepted all charges against him. He also said that his client was very cooperative from the beginning and has revealed the individuals with whom he collaborated, as well as, the way in which he acted.

    The suspect will be transferred to a correctional facility soon and, according to his lawyer, a request will be made to Greek authorities to replace detention with some other restrictive measure.

    The 72-year-old was arrested when he was seen photographing an army camp on the island in the morning of Friday, August 2. Two cameras and memory cards were found in his possession, containing photographs of the army camp, a dam and roads surrounding another military installation on the island.

    In a subsequent raid on the suspect's home in the main town of Chios, Greek authorities had found three lap-tops, two cameras, 14 memory cards, five USB flash drives, five tourist maps of the island, two cell phones and a pair of binoculars with a built-in camera.

    Based on the evidence collected, the German national was taking photographs of installations, infrastructure and works carried out by the Greek Armed Forces and the Public Power Corporation (PPC), as well as ports, bridges and other features on the island for the past three years. According to testimony given by the suspect, he was taking the photographs on behalf of a group of unidentified Turks that approached him in the summer of 2010 and offered to pay him for the photographs he had taken.

    He told police that he went into retirement in Bonn, Germany about 10 years ago but moved to Turkey after his divorce, where he stayed for six years. Due to problems with his social insurance fund, which did not cover the costs of a health problem he developed, he moved to Chios about four years ago. According to his statements to police, he was approached by two unknown Turks in 2010, who asked him to take the photographs they asked for in exchange for a fee ranging from 500-1,500 euros for each mission. The material was then sent via an encoded e-mail that he then deleted, or was picked up by five Turkish nationals that were all unknown to him, either on Chios or in Turkey.

    [25] Nat'l Observatory's Geodynamic Institute to get new building by 2015

    The new Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens will be completed by 2015, Attica regional director Yiannis Sgouros announced on Wednesday.

    Sgouros said the new building on top of the Koufos hill of Mt. Pendeli will cost 5.7 million euros and will upgrade the Observatory's services, allowing it to operate its national network of seismographs without problems.

    The building will be energy efficient, cover 2,511 square metres and include four levels. It will house research and administrative offices, specially designed rooms for the seismographic machinery, an amphitheatre, a rest place and a new hall for the analysis of earthquake data.

    Funding comes from the Regional Business Programme for Attica, drawing on EU infrastructural funds.

    The Observatory is the oldest research centre in Greece and housed on the Hill of the Nymphs, near the Acropolis, in a building designed by Danish architect Theophilus Hansen and built in 1842.

    It includes the Institutes for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing; of Geodynamics; and for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development. It is overseen by the Ministry of Culture's General Secretariat for Research and Technology.

    [26] New earthquake jolts Amfiklia near Lamia, central Greece

    Seismic activity continued in central Greece on Wednesday, with Amfiklia jolted by yet another earthquake at 16:44, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale. The quake came from the same epicenter that gave two strong tremors earlier at around noon, alarming residents in the greater area of Lamia, northwest of the Greek capital, but causing only limited damage.

    The strongest of the earthquakes, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, was recorded at 12:06 and was felt as far away as Athens, in addition to the greater region of Fthiotis prefecture, in Viotia and Evia.

    Geo-dynamic Institute Director Konstantinos Makropoulos said that over 60 aftershocks have been recorded so far, two of which registered higher than 4 on the Richter scale.

    According to geology professor Efthymios Lekkas, the first earthquake that struck at 12:03 registered 4.1 on the Richter scale, and the second one at 12:06, registered 5.1. Their epicenter was near Amfiklia (Fthiotis prefecture), northwest of Athens and at a depth of 10 km under the surface of the earth. According to Lekkas, the area is known for its seismic activity.

    The quakes resulted in landslides, especially at Amfiklia and near the towns of Kamena Vourla and Tithorea.

    Weather forecast

    [27] Fair on Thursday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 2-8 beaufort. Temperatures between 19C and 37C. Fair in Athens with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures between 24C and 33C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 21C and 34C.

    [28] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: "Death knoll for high school" (with new draft law)

    DIMOKRATIA: "Arson with precise planning" (about Varybobi fire)

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "A Europe of solidarity" (Jurgen Habermas' speech in Athens)

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Losing jobs by court decision" (for contractors in the public sector)

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Two out of three pensioners gets no more than 1,000 euros a month"

    ESTIA: "Giving birth to political crises" (opposition parties, especially SYRIZA)

    ETHNOS: "University entry baselines for 40 popular study programmes"

    IMERISSIA: "Energy triangle" (Greece-Cyprus-Israel)

    KATHIMERINI: "Defence line against the troika" (ahead of September review)

    LOGOS: "Varybobi left in ashes"

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Inflation down, food and energy prices way up"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "New attack planned against insurance funds issue"

    TA NEA: "For whom the bell tolls" (local government layoffs)

    VRADYNI: German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent away the Russians.

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