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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 23 August 2013 Issue No: 4441


  • [01] PM: Socially weaker strata to be protected from home foreclosures
  • [02] SYRIZA party on home foreclosures issue
  • [03] DIMAR party on auctions issue
  • [04] PM Samaras discusses investment opportunities with Saudi billionaire prince
  • [05] DM Avramopoulos holds meeting with Saudi Arabian Prince
  • [06] Venizelos meets with ECB official
  • [07] 'SYRIZA fixated on devaluing Greece's progress,' gov't spokesman says
  • [08] SYRIZA leader Tsipras addresses party supporters on Kerkyra island
  • [09] New broadcaster supervisory council convenes, elects chairman
  • [10] SYRIZA's Tsipras pledges to re-establish ERT, if his party came to power
  • [11] KKE party leader criticises mergers, closures of hospitals
  • [12] KKE's Koutsoumbas telephones health minister
  • [13] KKE leader in Thessaloniki on 13, 14 Sept.
  • [14] Public high school teachers meet with Education Minister, will go ahead with strikes
  • [15] Turkish aircraft intercepted in the Aegean
  • [16] EBRC discusses funding of joint Greek energy projects with minister
  • [17] Tax evasion hits 100 pct on the islands of Amorgos, Paxi and Symi
  • [18] Attica Group posts higher revenues, reduced losses in first half
  • [19] State hospitals in Attica to hold work stoppage on Friday, 11 am-3 pm
  • [20] OAEE calling on private health care providers to pay pre-2012 debts
  • [21] ADEDY plans strike, ralllies on Aug. 29, Sept. 7
  • [22] Greek stocks lose 0.63 pct on Thursday
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Assistance for damage caused by Fthiotida earthquakes
  • [25] Youth orchestra to perform at ancient Ephesus following Turkish city's invitation
  • [26] Fire on Cephallonia under control after threatening village
  • [27] Wildfire in Asprovalta, Thessaloniki receding
  • [28] Five-year-old girl drowns on Zakynthos island
  • [29] Hotel robbed at port of Rafina
  • [30] Cloudy on Friday
  • [31] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM: Socially weaker strata to be protected from home foreclosures

    Home owners with defaulted mortgages who cannot pay their debts because of the economic crisis will not lose their homes, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Thursday, following a meeting with government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis.

    "The main homes of socially weak citizens and of those who are proven unable to service their debts because of the crisis will be absolutely protected," Samaras said. "This is non-negotiable. Period," he added.

    The PM said that "the government is considering a series of regulations that will protect economically weaker strata, prevent abusive behaviour and protect mortgage credit, to the benefit of all Greeks."

    Following the meeting, Venizelos said in a written statement that "the issue is not the foreclosures, but that mortgage credit start operating again to the benefit of the whole economy."

    He also reiterated the PM's statements of weaker strata being protected from losing their homes and said available data showed "there is no problem" and "there are very few people taking advantage of the situation, who are really not in real need but hide behind those who need to be protected."

    [02] SYRIZA party on home foreclosures issue

    The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), referring to a meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday morning, stressed that the two political leaders are buying time to plan the gradual deregulation of home foreclosures, while implementing with blind and absolute insistence the criminal policy that is leading more and more citizens to unemployment and despair and households to inability to pay off their loan commitments.

    SYRIZA said that the obvious continuation of a freeze on auctions is not enough. This should be accompanied by policies in support of overindebted households with a partial or total writeoff of their loan commitments, it said, with the idea of protecting the weaker and restarting of the economy, as described in SYRIZA's relative law proposal.

    [03] DIMAR party on auctions issue

    The Democratic Left (DIMAR) party, in an announcement on Thursday regarding the decision by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos on the partial lifting of the ban on auctions, stressed that "in the period of crisis that hounding Greek society, the protection of the primary residence must constitute a compulsory option for the state".

    The party added that "the government's commitment that only cunning exploiters will be excluded from the lifting of auction bans - meaning those who are not paying despite having bank deposits - if it is not accompanied by very strict criteria, entails the risk of dragging down classes of society that are provenly unable to pay".

    [04] PM Samaras discusses investment opportunities with Saudi billionaire prince

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met billionaire Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, on Thursday to discuss investment opportunities, government officials told Reuters.

    "It was a customary visit, there is interest in investing in Greece," said a government official who declined to be named.

    The prince, who ranks 26th on the Forbes global ranking of billionaires, owns large stakes in Citigroup and Apple Inc. among other companies, Reuters reports.

    A nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, bin Talal is also the owner or part-owner of luxury hotels including the Plaza in New York, the Savoy in London and the George V in Paris.

    The Saudi prince's investment vehicle, Kingdom Holding, is seeking out new targets to diversify its global portfolio and has asked investment banks to identify possible acquisition targets around the world.

    [05] DM Avramopoulos holds meeting with Saudi Arabian Prince

    Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met in his office on Thursday with His Excellency Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.

    During the courtesy call, Avramopoulos and the Saudi Arabian Prince discussed issues concerning relations between the two countries.

    [06] Venizelos meets with ECB official

    Government vice president and foreign minister Evangelos Venizelos met on Thursday with Joerg Asmussen, member of the European Central Bank (ECB) who is paying an official visit to Athens,

    There were no statements after the meeting.

    [07] 'SYRIZA fixated on devaluing Greece's progress,' gov't spokesman says

    The main opposition (Radical Left Coalition) party SYRIZA is fixated on trying to devalue any positive result for Greece in the last year and any positive outlook for the country from now on, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou charged on Thursday.

    The spokesman was responding to a SYRIZA announcement that sharply criticised Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for "dreaming of a Greece subjugated to memorandum directives," and repeating its call for overturning the government and the memorandums signed with Greece's creditors.

    Primary surpluses and Greece's exit from the crisis means that the "memorandum period" for the economy is coming to a close, Kedikoglou said, but everyone understands that except for SYRIZA, who is continuing its doom and gloom forecasts.

    "SYRIZA came as far as protesting that the police on Wednesday put an end to illegal occupation of space at the National Polytechnic University after thirty years. What Greek society was asking for, for years now, SYRIZA condemned. But the Greek people have now understood the party's role and does not follow its ravings and no longer trusts it," the spokesman concluded.

    [08] SYRIZA leader Tsipras addresses party supporters on Kerkyra island

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras addressed a call for "a decisive, uncompromising and unyielding struggle to overturn the memoranda [rescue loan agreements] and bring about the great change the country is in need of." He was addressing an open gathering of party supporters on the Ionian island of Kerkyra (Corfu) on Thursday evening.

    "The dilemmas facing us are both clear and relentless: We will either overturn these memoranda now or we shall crawl for years in misery and indignity", Tsipras said, adding that if bold decisions were not taken now, Greeks will live in a debt colony, sending children abroad as migrants and being ruled by the troika of lenders' inspectors.

    Tsipras once again warned the government to refrain from lifting a ban on primary homes foreclosures, and reiterated that a revision of the rescue loan agreement and a growth orientation of European Union funds were the sole just and viable solution for Greece and its people.

    He stressed that contrary to the New Democracy and PASOK parties, SYRIZA had mapped out what he called a comprehensive national plan.

    The main opposition leader arrived on Kerkyra on Thursday morning and toured a number of villages in the Lefkimi area and met with locals to discuss their concerns.

    He later visited the Issous area, which is being considered for sale by the state privatisation agency TAIPED. On Friday, Tsipras is scheduled to meet with Kerkyra local authorities.

    [09] New broadcaster supervisory council convenes, elects chairman

    The supervisory council for public radio and television convened for the first time on Wednesday and elected its officers.

    Theodore Fortsakis was elected council chairman, with Andreas Zoulas as alternate chairman. The council discussed issues related to the operation and set-up of the new state broadcaster, NERIT.

    "Our main concern is to guarantee the transparency of the process and the independence of the new broadcaster from any governmental intervention, so that it operates along the lines of international radio and television agencies," Fortsakis told ANA-MPA.

    The council will meet to select the managing director and members of the future broadcaster's board of managers, following an open invitation for applications for the positions.

    Meanwhile, the transitional broadcaster DT (Public Television) - which replaces the ERT broadcaster shut down by the government in June - broadcast for the first time at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, starting with a news programme, while it also transmitted Champions League football sports games. On Sunday it will show the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix and from August 27 to 29 it will cover the Acropolis basketball tournament from the Olympic Stadium (OAKA).

    The Council of State Committee of Suspensions on Wednesday rejected a petition calling for the revocation of the decisions shutting down ERT and breaking work contracts.

    [10] SYRIZA's Tsipras pledges to re-establish ERT, if his party came to power

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Thursday pledged that when his party came to power it will re-establish a strong public broadcaster. He was speaking from the Ionian island of Kerkyra (Corfu), where he visited Greek Radio (ERA) installations and met with former employees who were laid off in early June after public broadcaster ERT was shut down by the government.

    Tsipras said that when Greek people gave his party the mandate to govern, the now defunct ERT will be reinstated "to the institutional framework of a strong Greek radio and television, a strong ERT brand name..."

    Such a public broadcasting company, Tsipras underlined, "will be really public, reliable, pluralistic, objective and not a 'memorandum' mouthpiece, such as the one that just started transmitting programmes [i.e. the new Public Television], which we believe is a sad development that does not honour democracy in our country."

    Replying to Tsipras' comments, Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said "whatever SYRIZA does not it calls it illegal and unconstitutional, but the courts of course have a different opinion."

    "But SYRIZA substitutes even the courts," he added ironically.

    [11] KKE party leader criticises mergers, closures of hospitals

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas, speaking after meeting a delegation of the Development Federation of Western Attica on Thursday, said that "the mergers and closures of hospital units all over the country are creating an explosive situation for working-class families that are already experiencing great barbarity from the antipopular measures of the government and all the previous governments".

    He added that a further worsening of the problem will be created, particularly in the region of Western part of greater Athens with thousands of unemployed and thousands of working classes suffering from poverty and privation.

    "The solution being proposed by the region's agencies and the KKE lies in the entirely opposite direction from the one being implemented by the New Democracy-PASOK coalition government," Koutsoumbas said, calling for additional hirings of medical staff, upgrading of clinics, and other measures helping health centres operate properly instead of below capacity, as they are now doing.

    [12] KKE's Koutsoumbas telephones health minister

    Western Athens residents and local bodies' concern over the issue of shutting down or merging public hospitals has been conveyed to Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas, who called him on the telephone on Thursday after a series of meetings the latter had with locals and municipal authorities.

    People in western Athens suburbs are especially concerned about the Aghia Varvara hospital, believing that severe cuts would lead to a shut-down, Koutsoumbas said.

    He added that this, as well as the closure or merger of other public hospitals, would have negative repercussions as it would deprive working families of health services, particularly in an area with a population of over two million and severely hit by unemployment and poverty.

    [13] KKE leader in Thessaloniki on 13, 14 Sept.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas will visit Thessaloniki on 13 and 14 September within the framework of the 78th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (TIF).

    On Saturday 14 September, Koutsoumbas will address the 39th KNE-Odigitis Festival (KKE youth organisation) that will be held at the former military camp Pavlos Melas in Thessaloniki

    [14] Public high school teachers meet with Education Minister, will go ahead with strikes

    A meeting between representatives of the Greek Federation of Public High School Teachers (OLME) and Education Minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos on Thursday resulted in a disagreement, as the teachers will go ahead with strikes following the start of the new academic year on September 11.

    Arvanitopoulos told the OLME board that "no teaching position is under threat." He added that "the process of transfers of excess staff to cover shortages elsewhere is being carried out smoothly and teachers' preferences are being taken into account."

    The minister said that schools and universities will operate normally while he said that teachers placed on lists to be transferred to Health Ministry positions (60 percent of all teaching transfers) were in subjects related to health.

    [15] Turkish aircraft intercepted in the Aegean

    A formation consisting of six Turkish aircraft and an isolated aircraft of the CN-235 type entered the region of the Northern and Southeastern Aegean on Thursday and carried out two infringements of Air Traffic Rules in the Athens FIR and two violations of Greek Air Space, according to an announcement by the National Defence General Staff.

    "All the aircraft, two of which were armed, were intercepted and identified in accordance with international rules, according to standard practice," the announcement said.

    Financial News

    [16] EBRC discusses funding of joint Greek energy projects with minister

    The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRC) is focusing on investing in energy infrastructure, Bank alternate director Antonis Bartzokas said in a meeting he held Thursday with Development and Competion Minister Costis Hatzidakis.

    The official said that EBRC, whose membership includes 64 countries, will include on its funding 2013 agenda projects of interest to Greece that include the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) of natural gas and the Greek-Bulgarian Natural Gas Interconnector (IGB).

    The bank is also considering alternate funding for businesses contributing to the greater Balkan area, and collaborated on the matter with the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and the Federation of Northern Greek Industries (SVVE).

    "EBRC's boosting shots into Greek enterprises with a Balkan presence are more than useful, especially at these critical times," Hatzidakis said. The Ministry "tries to exhaust every possibility so that businesses and our economy enter a new and better phase the soonest possible."

    [17] Tax evasion hits 100 pct on the islands of Amorgos, Paxi and Symi

    Tax evasion on the Greek islands of Amorgos, Paxi islands and Symi reached 100 percent followed by the popular island of Santorini with 96 percent, according to data released on Thursday by the Finance Ministry's Financial and Economic Crime Unit, SDOE.

    In 1,265 checks conducted from August 6 to 18 August, SDOE inspectors found 5,668 violations by 586 individuals, most of which related to non-issuing of receipts for goods or services.

    On average, violations amounted to 46.65 percent of businesses checked, while specific locations in Greece show a surge of such transgressions.

    A sampling of the data released includes the following rates of violations: Amorgos (in the Cyclades), Paxi (Ionian Sea) and Symi (Dodecanese) - all three were at 100 percent, topping all areas; Santorini (96.4 pct), Evia island (85 pct), Rhodes (81 pct), Mykonos and Andros islands (80 pct), Paros and Antiparos (77.80 pct each), Crete (62.90 pct), Tinos island (60 pct) Attica prefecture (54 pct) and Halkidiki (34 pct).

    [18] Attica Group posts higher revenues, reduced losses in first half

    Attica Holdings S.A. (Attica Group), member of Marfin Investment Group (MIG), on Thursday announced its financial results for the first half of 2013, which show consolidated revenues of 106.71 mln euros compared to 102.66 mln euros in 1st half 2012.

    Losses before interest, taxes, investing and financial results, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped significantly at 0.94 mln euros against 10.76 mln euros in the same period last year.

    The increase in consolidated revenue is attributed mainly to the winter sailings of the newly built Blue Star Patmos, operating in Piraeus-Chios-Mytilini route.

    The substantial improvement in operating results is mainly attributed to the containment of administrative expenses, selling and distribution costs, as well as, to the active fleet employment aiming to improve fleet capacity utilization.

    An additional factor that contributed positively in operating results was the reduction in fuel oil price which resulted in overall reduction in fuel and lubricants costs by 4.4 mln euros against the same period in 2012.

    Losses after tax were contained to 21.06 mln euros against 29.90 mln euros in the period January to June 2012.

    The company pointed to the fact that the first half of each financial year is weaker in terms of traffic volumes for passenger shipping, compared to the second half which includes the summer period.

    Attica's results are reported under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and as at June 30, 2013, total equity stood at 328.98 mln euros (350.37 mln euros as at December 31, 2012) and fixed assets (vessels) at 641.03 mln euros (706.73 mln euros as at December 31, 2012). As at June 30, 2013 Attica's cash balances stood at 13.39 mln euros (16.00 mln euros as at December 31, 2012). The total debt of the Group during first half 2013 was reduced by 49.07 mln euros.

    The Group's first half 2013 results include interest and other financial expenses paid of 6.89 mln euros against 6.81 mln euros in the same period last year, and depreciation charges of 12.90 mln euros against 13.18 mln euros in the first half 2012.

    [19] State hospitals in Attica to hold work stoppage on Friday, 11 am-3 pm

    All state hospitals in Attica will hold a work stoppage on Friday, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., to protest changes in hospital staffing. The National Federation of Public Hospital Workers (POEDIN) will also rally outside the Health Ministry at 12 nooon on Friday.

    Their action is supported by the Federation of Hospital Doctors of Greece (OENGE), who are saying that the government's mobility plan, involving transfers and gradual layoffs in the public sector, will completely derail employee relationships in the National Health Service (ESY).

    OENGE president Dimitris Varnavas said, "It is criminal to break apart hospitals and hundreds of ESY clinics, when the percentage of patients using to the public health system exceeds 40 percent, when 170 beds in ICU units are unavailable - endangering 40 intubed patients on a daily basis because they cannot be admitted to ICUs - when the waiting period at emergency admissions often exceeds eight hours and when booking an appointment at the regular ESY outpatient services sometimes exceeds a year."

    Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis has reiterated that there will be no layoffs of staff placed on temporary suspension of duties, prior to a transfer or layoff.

    [20] OAEE calling on private health care providers to pay pre-2012 debts

    The Self-employed and Professionals Insurance Organization (OAEE) is calling on private health care providers to begin paying their debts that matured prior to January 1, 2012.

    According to a relevant announcement, OAEE, is implementing the prime minister's directions and given priority to collecting debt payments with additional staff to speed up the processes involved.

    [21] ADEDY plans strike, ralllies on Aug. 29, Sept. 7

    Civil sector umbrella labour union ADEDY will hold a strike and rally on August 29 as part of actions to protest layoffs and shutdowns of public services.

    In an announcement on Thursday, ADEDY noted that "it will not remain inactive before the 'death' of civil services the mass layoffs."

    On Monday, its board will convene with federation representatives to decide on the escalation of their mobilisa-tions that are initially scheduled to peak on Saturday 7 September with a demonstration at the Thessaloniki International Fair.

    Finally, on August 30, the ADEDY board will convene to decide on further mobilisations for September.

    [22] Greek stocks lose 0.63 pct on Thursday

    Stock prices on the Athens Stock Exchange moved lower on Thursday, as negative investor sentiment returned after yesterday's gains, with the basic index losing 0.63 pct, at 898.08 points. National Bank and OPAP withstood pressures. Turnover was thin, at 24.79 million euros.

    The Large Cap index dropped 0.55 pct, while the Mid Cap index lost 0.82 pct.

    National Bank (2.78 pct), OPAP (2.50 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (0.82 pct), Corinth Pipeworks (0.49 pct) and Folli Follie (0.28 pct), were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while MIG (-5.32 pct), Jumbo (-4.19 pct), Viochlco (-3.87 pct), Alpha Bank (-3.67 pct) and METKA (-3.13 pct), were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 75 to 45, with another 18 issues unchanged.

    Pasal (19.66 pct), Pairis (12.86 pct), Andromeda (10.00 pct) Livanis Publications (9.95 pct) and Tiletypos (9.58 pct) were top gainers, while Chatzikraniotis (-25.26 pct), General Bank (-20.00 pct), Medicon (-19.83 pct), Forthnet (-19.50 pct) and Attica Holdings (-12.94 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -2.82%

    Commercial: +0.29%

    Construction: -1.35%

    Oil & Gas: +0.46%

    Personal & Household: -3.29%

    Raw Materials: -0.99%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.18%

    Technology: -0.58%

    Telecoms: -0.44

    Banks: -0.71%

    Food & Beverages: -0.24%

    Health: +0.24%

    Utilities: -0.41%

    Financial Services: -3.02%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.47

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.29

    Coca Cola HBC: 20.70

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.36

    National Bank of Greece: 2.96

    Eurobank Properties : 7.10

    OPAP: 7.37

    OTE: 6.72

    Titan: 14.65

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a marginal premium of 0.08 pct on Thursday, with turnover at a low 8.465 million euros.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,980 contracts worth 6.133 million euros, with 46,342 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,786 contracts worth 2.333 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank (2,203), followed by Alpha Bank (2,026), Piraeus Bank (778), OTE (504), GEK (416), PPC (336), Eurobank (258), Intralot (165), Jumbo (155), OPAP (119), Mytilineos (107) and MIG (100).

    General News

    [24] Assistance for damage caused by Fthiotida earthquakes

    Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and Infra-structure General Secretary Stratos Simopoulos paid a visit Thursday with state inspectors to the mainland towns that registered serious damage from a series of earthquakes on August 7, to review damages and brief residents of renewed inspections in order to claim state assistance.

    The officials, along with two New Democracy and a main opposition SYRIZA deputies, met with residents and officials in the towns of Amfiklia, Drymea, Tithronia and Regini, all in the greater Lamia region, and said that an inspector's branch would open in Amfiklia and assessments issued for the whole area on damages sustained in order to be used for aid applications.

    The Organisation of Antiseismic Planning and Protection director said that two information sessions would be offered at Amfiklia and Regini to brief area residents, as the seismic activity in the area has not ceased. "Up to Wednesday night," he said, "the area had experienced a total of 889 tremors."

    State assistance to repair homes damaged by a series of earthquakes in the Fthiotida prefecture on August 7 will consist of 40 percent of free aid and 60 percent of tax-free loans, according to the Infrastructure Ministry. The details will be determined by a joint ministerial decision of the Infrastructure and Finance Ministries, it added.

    A total of 1,566 inspections of buildings were carried out by 70 state inspectors, who ascertained that 940 of them (60 percent) were habitable and 626 uninhabitable (40 percent). All of the region's schools, as well as the public and municipal/community buildings and churches were included in these inspections.

    [25] Youth orchestra to perform at ancient Ephesus following Turkish city's invitation

    Fifty members of the Dion Youth Orchestra, from Pella prefecture in northern Greece will perform on the site of ancient Ephesus in Turkey on September 4, at the invitation of the City of Selcuk.

    The concert will wrap up the Dion Youth Orchestra programme for this summer, which includes 100 young people aged 7 to 20 from the areas around Dion, a major archaeological site and museum location, the Dion Centre of Letters and Arts press officer, Grigoris Papachristos, said.

    The orchestra has already performed in Athens, Thessaloniki, and the Pieria, Imathia and Serres prefectures. Its last concert in Greece for the season will take place on August 30, at the castle of ancient Proerna in the Fthiotis prefecture.

    [26] Fire on Cephallonia under control after threatening village

    A fire that broke out early on Thursday at the village of Karouza on Cephallonia island was set under control by Thursday afternoon.

    The blaze spread rapidly due to strong winds and reached the village of Karavado, which was placed on alert by the fire brigade for possible evacuation.

    Three water-bombing helicopters and a strong team of firefighters remain in the area to put the fire out.

    [27] Wildfire in Asprovalta, Thessaloniki receding

    A wildfire burning in a low vegetation forest since Thursday afternoon in Asprovalta, Thessaloniki, was in the evening reported to be abating.

    Four water-bombing aircraft and a helicopter, as well as ten fire engines with their crews and a team of 14 fireman on foot have been battling with the flames.

    The fire broke out in rough terrain near Egnatia Highway, but posed no threat to residential areas.

    [28] Five-year-old girl drowns on Zakynthos island

    Playing in the sea has turned into tragedy for a 5-year-old girl who drowned at noon in Ammoudi, on the Ionian island of Zakynthos (Zante).

    The incident occurred at 2:30 p.m. in the beach near the house the girl's family stayed. The Port Authority was notified shortly before 3 p.m. and an ambulance arrived shortly afterwards.

    According to reports, the girl drowned while playing with some other children in the sea. Bathers and a nurse rushed to help, but it was too late as the child was already unconscious. She was transferred to hospital where doctors confirmed her death.?

    [29] Hotel robbed at port of Rafina

    Four hooded persons used crowbars to rob the Avra hotel in the coastal resort town of Rafina.

    According to the Rafina Port Authority, the perpetrators isolated the employee on duty, entered an adjacent room and removed a safe that they placed in a vehicle driven by an accomplice.

    After also removing a box containing 3,000 euros from the reception office, they made their getaway.

    Weather forecast

    [30] Cloudy on Friday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 18C and 35C. Fair in Athens with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 24C and 34C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 21C and 32C.

    [31] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: TV zombies in view of elections.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Atrocity- Hundreds died in attack with chemicals against Damascus' suburbs.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Banks against home foreclosures.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The timetable of the lessons in High school.

    ESTIA: Taxes suspend wealth production

    ETHNOS: The lists of 'available' (employees) in National Health System.

    IMERISSIA: Messages of optimism for permanent solution to the Greek problem.

    KATHIMERINI: Mild regulation for home foreclosures.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: What will change in 'business housing' status.

    RIZOSPASTIS: 'New loan or new haircut' a pseudo-dilemma for the people.

    TA NEA: How we will receive the new support package.

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