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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-09-03

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

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

Tuesday, 3 September 2013 Issue No: 4450

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras and government vice-president discuss foreign policy issues, economy
  • [02] Main opposition 'deeply confused and in delirium' over Syria, gov't spokesman says
  • [03] SYRIZA party leader meets with Russian ambassador
  • [04] KKE party leader meets with Iranian ambassador
  • [05] KKE party sg discusses Syria with Cuban ambassador
  • [06] Independent Greeks leader briefed by foreign minister
  • [07] DUI party president holds meetings with FM, DM
  • [08] Judges are not intimidated by terrorism, Justice Minister Athanassiou says
  • [09] Private, public sector trade unions to hold protest rally on Saturday
  • [10] Former minister of Cyprus to be extradited to Greece over Tsohatzopoulos court case
  • [11] Police bans Golden Dawn rally in Patra, on public safety grounds
  • [12] Greek PMI jumped to 48.7 points in August
  • [13] Trade union report offers bleak picture for employment prospects in Greece
  • [14] EOT pavilions receive distinguished in Chinese expo
  • [15] Thessaloniki to claim part of the Indian tourism market
  • [16] Eurobank completes acquisition of Hellenic Postbank and Proton Bank
  • [17] National Insurance reports record profits
  • [18] Eurolife Insurance reports improved H1 results
  • [19] Greek company produces 6-metre carbon fibre boat
  • [20] Intralot wins new contract in Australia
  • [21] Most active securities firms in August
  • [22] ELVO employees to hold rally, protest march on Tuesday
  • [23] Greek- listed companies' turnover down 7.2 down pct in H1
  • [24] Greek stocks end flat on Monday
  • [25] Greek bond market closing report
  • [26] ADEX closing report
  • [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [28] European youth exchange programme focuses on nine muses
  • [29] Wildfire in Agios Merkourios in Afidnes
  • [30] Police officer alleged to be member of burglary ring
  • [31] Fair on Tuesday
  • [32] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras and government vice-president discuss foreign policy issues, economy

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and PASOK party leader and government vice-president Evangelos Venizelos held a meeting at the government headquarters (Maximos Mansion) on Monday afternoon to examine an array of current affairs.

    According to PASOK party sources, foreign policy issues and developments in Syria in particular were on the table, as well as issues regarding Egypt and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonis (fYRoM). This part of the discussion was also attended by deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas.

    Issues concerning the restructuring of state company Greek Defence Systems (EAS) were also discussed.

    The same sources said that the updating of the New Democracy and PASOK policy agreement was "on a good path", as the two leaders also discussed the issue.

    Lastly, the two leaders discussed ways to support the real economy and enterprises.

    [02] Main opposition 'deeply confused and in delirium' over Syria, gov't spokesman says

    Statements on Syria by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party spokesman Panos Skourletis revealed his party's "deep confusion, endless lack of responsibility and delirium without limits," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on Monday.

    The government spokesman was responding to party comments recently charging the government with irresponsibility and a refusal to discuss its stance on a possible invasion of Syria. In an interview to private radio on Friday, Skourltis had also said that the government was building "relations of full subservience to the strongmen of this planet" and it was "unaceptable" for Greece to get involved in the war.

    Referring to statements made by SYRIZA two years ago, Kedikoglou said that at the time the party was asking the international community to isolate "the bloodthirsty Assad regime", while now it "condemns" those who are isolating the Assad regime.

    [03] SYRIZA party leader meets with Russian ambassador

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras held a meeting on Monday with Russian Ambassador Vladimir Chkhikvishvili, focusing on latest developments in the region and the crisis in Syria in particular, bilateral Greek-Russian relations and the scheduling of Tsipras' visit to Moscow.

    The meeting was held at SYRIZA's head office, by request of the Russian embassy.

    [04] KKE party leader meets with Iranian ambassador

    The ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran Behram Behrouz met on Monday with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas and expressed the concern of Iran's government over the situation in Syria, stressing that it is the Syrians whose responsibility it is to decide about their future.

    According to an announcement by KKE, the Iranian ambassador said among other things that "the facts say that the Assad regime had no reason to use chemical weapons. Even the claim by the US that they do not need the report of the UN inspectors shows that they have taken decisions".

    Koutsoumbas outlined KKE's positions and stressed the party's categorical opposition to a military intervention, as well as rejected the excuses used for such an eventuality, while providing a briefing on mobilisations that the party has organised and on the initiatives it has taken.

    Koutsoumbas also pointed out that "the attack on Syria will aggravate the situation in the region, and this concerns both Iran and other countries".

    [05] KKE party sg discusses Syria with Cuban ambassador

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas held a meeting on Monday with Cuban ambassador to Greece Osvaldo Martinez, who expressed Cuba's strong concern over the situation in Syria, adding that Cuba "is watching the imperialist propaganda which is the antichamber of the attack for the imperialists' dream of Syria's control to be fulfilled".

    The Cuban ambassador said that "control of Lebanon is being pursued through the control of Syria and the path opens for Iran" and that "the natural resources are the target".

    "Regardless of the stance one adopts vis-a-vis the Syrian government, the Syrian people are the sole competent in handling developments in their country," the Cuban envoy noted.

    On his part, Koutsoumbas briefed the Cuban ambassador on his party's positions and action against the planned military attack. He stressed KKE's basic principle: "the Syrian people are the only competent in handling the country's problerms and we have an obligation to oppose the intervention of the US and the other imperialist forces".

    [06] Independent Greeks leader briefed by foreign minister

    Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos on Monday met with Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    The two officials' meeting focused on the developments in Syria as well as on Venizelos' imminent visit to Egypt on Thursday.

    After the meeting, Kammenos said that they agreed that the parliament must be briefed by Venizelos on the Syria developments within the next days, particularly regarding the Christian population and the Antioch Patriarchate, while examining the UN's positions.

    Kammenos underlined the importance of Venizelos' official visit to Cairo in relation to Greece's energy policy and the determination of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and requested from the government to clarify its position, noting that "several opinions leaking from individual officials from the prime minister's office create problems and do not facilitate the mapping of national policy".

    [07] DUI party president holds meetings with FM, DM

    Ali Ahmeti, president of the ethnic Albanian DUI party which participates in the FYROM government coalition, speaking after visiting Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday, expressed the possibility that UN special envoy for the Greece-FYROM issue Matthew Nimetz visiting the region again soon.

    Speaking to foreign reporters, Ahmeti stressed the need for his country to become a member of the EU and NATO soon and underlined that Greece has declared its support in this but is requesting that the longstanding pending issue of FYROM's name close first.

    Ahmeti declined to reply to the question of whether Nimetz, when he next visits, will have a new proposal or will insist on the old one.

    Earlier, Ahmeti met with Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. No statements were made after the meeting.

    [08] Judges are not intimidated by terrorism, Justice Minister Athanassiou says

    "The Greek judges have proven that they exercise their duties courageously and with a sense of responsibility and objectivity," Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou said on Monday, commenting on a letter bomb attack that burst into flames at the home of a court of appeals examining magistrate on Sunday night.

    He underlined that the members of the judiciary are not intimidated by acts of violence aimed at hurting their morale and noted that such acts should be condemned by society as a whole.

    The attack occurred in the northeastern suburb of Holargos at 9:00 p.m.; no injuries were reported.

    [09] Private, public sector trade unions to hold protest rally on Saturday

    Private and public sector trade unions will hold a joint rally at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in Thessaloniki, the day of the formal opening of the 78th International Trade Fair (TIF) by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

    In a press conference held in Thessaloniki on Monday in the presence of northern Greece's labour union centres presidents, private sector umbrella union GSEE general secretary Nikos Kioutsoukis noted that "workers fight to avert and overturn the memorandum policies".

    GSEE organising secretary Vangelis Moutafis underlined that "trade unions are after policies and not individuals" referring to the fact that the protest rally will take place on Saturday afternoon and not in the morning when the 78th TIF will be formally opened by the prime minister.

    Centre of Thessaloniki Labour Union (EKTh) president Panagiotis Tsaraboulidis noted that northern Greece is a "champion" in unemployment and that workers have gone "bankrupt".

    Serres Labour Union president Alkis Apidopoulos said that people in Serres are looking for jobs in Bulgaria because wages are higher there and Komotini Labour Union president Pantelis Magalios charged that closed down factories are being looted and their machinery is shipped to Bulgaria.

    Kozani Labour Unions president Athanassios Koliopoulos referred to the high unemployment rate that reached 75 pct among the city's young people.

    Based on figures provided by the labour unions of northern Greece, unemployment in the city of Thessaloniki reached 36 pct, in Giannitsa 56 pct, Drama 50 pct, Rodopi 46 pct, Serres 42-46 pct, Xanthi 40 pct, Evros 40 pct, Kozani 38 pct, Kastoria 35-40 pct, Florina 38 pct (80 pct among the young), Veria 35-36 pct, Edessa 35 pct, Halkidiki 35 pct during the winter and 20 pct in the summer.

    [10] Former minister of Cyprus to be extradited to Greece over Tsohatzopoulos court case

    NICOSIA (ANA-A. Viketos)

    Cyprus' Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the extradition of former interior minister Dinos Michailidis, wanted in Greece as a defendant in the money laundering and armaments procurement court case against former defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    Michailidis will be detained until he is extradited, which is expected to happen in 10 days at most.

    The Nicosia Rural Court, where the appeal was tabled by Michailidis' lawyers, is expected to rule on September 4 on the extradition of Michailidis' son Michalis to Greece, to be tried for the same case.

    [11] Police bans Golden Dawn rally in Patra, on public safety grounds

    Public safety reasons have led the Achaia, Peloponnese police head to ban a rally planned for Tuesday by the far-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party in the city of Patra.

    The police said it wanted to prevent any likely violent incidents during the rally, after certain reactions were raised upon the announcement of the event.

    A police announcement said that "intelligence by Greek police services confirmed that anarchist activists would express their opposition to the rally in a violent way."

    The Golden Dawn replied in a press release by saying that "if officials of the Public Order and Citizen Protection Ministry cannot control and capture a handful of troublemakers, then they should resign."

    The party added that the rally will take place on Tuesday, but in different location. It will be held outside its local offices.

    Financial News

    [12] Greek PMI jumped to 48.7 points in August

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) jumped to 48.7 points in August, from 47 points in July, to its highest level in 44 months, offering evidence of improving conditions in the country's manufacturing sector.

    Production levels continued falling in August, although at the slowest pace since December 2009, helped by improved flows of new orders. New orders from foreign customers recovered in August, after falling significantly in July. Employment levels, however, continued falling steadily, although the pace of decline slowed in August. Pending work levels fell at a slower pace in the month, the slowest pace since September 2008. Supply purchases fell moderately, while inventories shrank but a slower pace in August.

    Import prices grew more rapidly in August, recording the highest rate so far this year.

    The PMI index measures business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector while readings below 50 a shrinking sector.

    [13] Trade union report offers bleak picture for employment prospects in Greece

    The Labour Institute of GSEE -the country's largest trade union umbrella- on Monday offered bleak estimates for employment prospects in the country. In a report on Greek economic prospects, to be officially released within the next few days on the occasion of the 78th Thessaloniki International Fair, the Institute said it would take at least 20 years to create one million job positions and to reducing the unemployment rate below 10 pct of the workforce.

    The report said that any investments to be made in the medium-term will create the so-called "no-job growth" as they would cover activities such as high technology or other sectors not requiring a high number of employment. The report said that wage earners have lost around 25 pct of the purchasing power of their incomes and forecast that if wage pressures were to be continued purchasing power losses could reach 50 pct by 2014. Wage and self-employed workers' incomes fell by 41 billion euros in the last three years, while domestic demand levels have fallen to 1999 levels. The report noted that the country's fixed capital reserve has fallen for the first time since the end of the civil war in the period 2011-2013.

    [14] EOT pavilions receive distinguished in Chinese expo

    The Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) received the top prizes for best booth design and best organizing team in the China Guangdong International Tourism Industry Expo held in Guangzhou on August 30-September 1.

    Five Greek exhibitors displayed their products in a 72-sqm pavilion, in the context of the efforts made to reinforce the Greek presence in the Chinese tourism market, focusing on the southern provinces that display strong economic activity and extroversion.

    [15] Thessaloniki to claim part of the Indian tourism market

    Thessaloniki aspires to win over part of the large Indian tourism market, estimated to 10 million tourists, in the context of a collaborative effort between Greek and Turkish tour operators.

    Until recently, Indians, who are very fond of the Greek history and the personality of the ancient king Alexander the Great, did not include northern Greece in the list of their most popular vacation destinations due to the absence of an air route between Thessaloniki and cities like New Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai.

    This is not the case anymore considering that Turkish Airlines flies daily to Thessaloniki from Istanbul and therefore, the city can be included in travel packages to Athens or Istanbul available to Indian tourists flying Turkish Airlines.

    A familiarization trip to Thessaloniki was arranged by the Turkish travel agency ASIT and Turkish Airlines for 11 Indian tour operators offering them an up-close look of the city and what it has to offer to tourists.

    Indian tourists travel to Europe frequently both for business and tourism. They prefer the "all inclusive" packages and their most popular destinations in Greece are the islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

    [16] Eurobank completes acquisition of Hellenic Postbank and Proton Bank

    Eurobank on Monday announced the completion of the transfer of Hellenic Postbank's and Proton Bank's shares from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund to Eurobank.

    The transaction was completed in line with a binding agreement reached between Eurobank and HFSF in July 15 for the purchase of 100 pct of a new Hellenic Postbank and new Proton Bank.

    Eurobank said the acquisitions will enhance its position in the Greek banking system, creating significant synergies of around 200 million euros annually, resulting basically from the integration of central services, IT systems and a reduced funding cost. The unification process of the two banks is expected to be completed in the next nine months.

    [17] National Insurance reports record profits

    National Insurance on Monday announced historic record profits and an expanded market share in the first half of 2013.

    The company said after tax profits totalled 87.7 million euros in the January-June period, up from 4.6 million euros in the same period last year, while pre-tax profits jumped to 72.2 million euros from 9.1 million euros over the same period, respectively.

    National Insurance said its premium production totalled 324 million euros in the six-month period, down from 337 million euros in the same period last year.

    Premium production in the life insurance business rose 7.5 pct to 190.8 million euros and in the damage sector production fell to 133.1 million euros, from 159.6 million euros in 2012.

    The management's primary targets are boosting its capital base, restructuring its operation and maintaining its profitable course with the aim to adjust with a Solvency II directive.

    [18] Eurolife Insurance reports improved H1 results

    Eurolife Insurance on Monday reported improved results in the first half of the year, with premium production rising 11 pct to 153 million euros, compared with the corresponding period in 2012. Pre-tax earnings jumped 53 pct to 42 million euros in the January-June period, with life insurance production totaled 108 million euros, up 7.0 pct from last year, while pre-tax earnings jumped 79 pct to 26 million euros.

    Premium production in general insurance totaled 44 million euros, up 23 pct from 2012, while pre-tax earnings rose 24 pct to 16 million euros.

    [19] Greek company produces 6-metre carbon fibre boat

    A Greek company has created a six-metre lightweight boat entirely out of carbon fibre, giving it an edge over heavier boats, it was announced on Monday.

    Trygons SA, a pioneering sports equipment design and production company, said the boat weighed 145 kg - as opposed to 800 kg for a similar conventional boat - and uses a 30-hp engine, as opposed to 150-hp on other boats, using half the fuel.

    The company plans to test the boat in collaboration with Technohull SA at a one-day test run next week, from the mainland to Santorini island in the Aegean.

    A lot of the equipment is made by the company in-house and has been used in record-achieving diving events and underwater filming.

    [20] Intralot wins new contract in Australia

    Intralot Gaming Services Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Intralot Australia Pty Ltd, was awarded a contract for the supply and development of a video-lotto service in the state of Victoria, Australia.

    The new service, to be offered through around 27,500 VLTs in entertainment and casino halls in the state, will begin operations in December 1, 2015. Intralot will manage the service by 2027. Intralot has won a 15-year contract for the supervision and management of an existing VLT gaming system in the state of Victoria.

    [21] Most active securities firms in August

    Eurobank Equities topped the list with the most active securities firms in the Athens Stock Exchange in August, with a market of 12.72 pct, followed by NBG Securities (11.59 pct), Euroxx (10.54 pct), Alpha Finance (8.40 pct) and Piraeus Securities (7.25 pct).

    Eurobank Equities remained at the top of the list in the January-August period, with a market share of 15.61 pct, followed by NBG Securities (11.68 pct), Euroxx (9.54 pct), Piraeus Securities (7.3 pct) and Investment Bank (6.76 pct).

    [22] ELVO employees to hold rally, protest march on Tuesday

    The rally and protest march of Hellenic Vehicle Industry (ELVO) employees from the Thessaloniki court building to the Macedonia-Thrace ministry will take place on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, as it was initially scheduled, the union of employees president Theodoros Aliongas said on Monday.

    Speaking to ANA-MPA, Aliongas explained that this latest decision was taken to enable the employees' representatives to meet with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Theodoros Karaoglou before he leaves for Athens to participate in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' upcoming meeting with production representatives in light of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    The aim is for them is to present their demands and concerns to the minister so he may to convey them to the prime minister.

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) deputies Despina Haralambidou and Litsa Amanatidou from Thessaloniki expressed their support for the struggle of the ELVO employees.

    [23] Greek- listed companies' turnover down 7.2 down pct in H1

    Greek-listed companies' turnover fell by 7.2 pct in the first half of 2013 to 34.71 billion euros, an analysis by Beta Securities said on Monday.

    After tax earnings soared 244 pct to 6.295 billion euros, helped by extraordinary profits recorded by banks from negative values resulting from a series of acquisitions and deferred taxes.

    Operating earnings fell 17.5 pct to 2.866 billion euros in the January-June period.

    Beta Securities said that from a total 216 listed companies, 78 reported profits and 138 losses. From the profitable companies, 22 managed to boost their profits, 23 saw their profits decline, while 33 returned to profits from losses. Among loss-making companies, 48 saw their losses rise in the six-month period, 65 cut their lsoses and 25 fell to losses from earnings.

    PPC, Aegean Airlines, Hellenic Exchanges, Plaisio, Sarantis, METKA, Autohellas, Iaso, Piraeus Port, Kyriakidis, Kanakis, FFGroup, Profile, Iktinos, MLS, Perseus, Karatzis, Elton Chemicals and Crete Plastics were among the listed companies which recorded the biggest percentage gains. OTE, Frigoglass, Thrace Plastics saw their gains fall, while MIG, Forthnet, Parnassos, Pegasus, Altec, Alumil, Dionic, Axon, Nutriart, Sprider, Dias Aquaculture, Selonda, Sfakianakis, Sidenor, Halcor and GEK-Terna suffered the heaviest percentage losses in the six-month period.

    [24] Greek stocks end flat on Monday

    Greek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, unable to hold on to early gains which pushed the composite index of the market up to the 910-point level. The index finally ended at 899.19 points, off 0.08 pct. Turnover remained a low 30.92 million euros. The Large Cap index rose 0.40 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.90 pct lower.

    Athens Water (7.64 pct), Coca Cola HBC (3.36 pct), Motor Oil (2.55 pct) and METKA (2.41 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Titan (3.20 pct), Folli Follie (2.94 pct), Jumbo (2.63 pct) and National Bank (2.61 pct) were top losers.

    The Food (3.32 pct), Utilities (1.56 pct) and Oil (1.20 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while the Commerce (2.94 pct), Constructions (2.34 pct) and Personal Products (2.10 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 59 to 54 with another 19 issues unchanged. Boutaris (20 pct), AXON Holdings (20 pct) and Teletypos (19.91 pct) were top gainers, while Selonda (15.63 pct), G.E. Demetriou (8.16 pct) and Lavipharm (6.90 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -0.12%

    Commercial: -2.94%

    Construction: -2.34%

    Oil & Gas: +1.20%

    Personal & Household: -2.10%

    Raw Materials: -0.62%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.05%

    Technology: -0.44%

    Telecoms: +0.44

    Banks: -1.15%

    Food & Beverages: +3.32%

    Health: -0.88%

    Utilities: +1.56%

    Financial Services: -0.19%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.513

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.17

    Coca Cola HBC: 21.21

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.91

    National Bank of Greece: 2.98

    Eurobank Properties : 6.49

    OPAP: 7.50

    OTE: 6.87

    Piraeus Bank: 1.10

    Titan: 14.21

    [25] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased slightly to 8.45 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 8.49 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.35 pct and the German Bund 1.90 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates remained almost unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.55 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.45 pct, the six-month rate was 0.34 pct, the three-month rate was 0.225 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.129 pct.

    [26] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.59 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover at 6.629 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,619 contracts worth 4.067 million euros, with 46,859 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,567 contracts worth 2.562 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (2,451), followed by National Bank (1,409), Piraeus Bank (1,298), Eurobank (221), MIG (115), OTE (489), PPC (848), OPAP (194), Viohalco (107), Mytilineos (84), GEK (399), Eurobank Properties (90) and Ellaktor (79).

    [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.340

    Pound sterling 0.860

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish krone 8.853

    Japanese yen 133.06

    Swiss franc 1.250

    Norwegian kroner 8.129

    Canadian dollar 1.411

    Australian dollar 1.49

    General News

    [28] European youth exchange programme focuses on nine muses

    Thirty-five young people from seven countries will spend a week in northern Greece on a European exchange programme focused on the arts and culture.

    The programme will run from September 3 to 11 at Varikos, in Pieria prefecture, as part of the "Muses in Action - European Youth Exchange" programme, funded by the European Commission.

    The young people are coming from Greece, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. The programme will examine European art and culture through nine units named after the muses Clio (history), Calliopi and Erato (poetry), Euterpe and Polymnia (song), Thalia and Melpomeni (theatre), Terpsichore (dance) and Urania (skywatching).

    [29] Wildfire in Agios Merkourios in Afidnes

    A wildfire was burning since late Monday afternoon in a forested expanse in the region of Agios Merkourios, Afidnes, northeastern Attica. The Fire Brigade said scattered homes in the area are out of danger.

    The blaze, fanned by moderate winds, is being fought by 35 firemen with 25 fire engines, four water-bombing aircraft and two helicopters.

    [30] Police officer alleged to be member of burglary ring

    A police officer was arrested on Monday alleged to be member of a robbery and burglary ring.

    The 44-year-old suspect who is an officer at the Athens police headquarters is, according to police, member of a ring of Kazakhstani nationals that held up and robbed trucks loaded with cigarettes and other products from distribution centres in Aspropyrgos. They also broke into jewellery shops by opening holes on the walls of adjacent shops.

    According to police spokesman, another six individuals aged 26 to 36 were also arrested. Two more persons are also wanted, a 32-year-old from Kazakhstan alleged to be number two in the gang and another 41-year-old man.

    The police officer has been suspended and a sworn administrative inquiry has been ordered.

    Police said that the policeman's role in the gang was to inform the leader of police actions and movements in the areas the gang was active and on the course of the investigations.

    The gang is alleged to be responsible for a jewellery store burglary on August 6 in the Acharnes suburb of Athens, where the loot was 200,000 euros' worth jewellery and 2,000 euros in cash.

    The arrested have been sent to Athens prosecutor.

    Weather forecast

    [31] Fair on Tuesday

    Fair with some local cloudcoverage and rain possible on higher elevations in the north and east; clear over the Aegean islands. Winds mostly northwesterly, from 3 to 5 Beaufort, rising to 7 in Macedonia and the eastern Aegean. Temperatures from 19C to 35C, to 31C at the Aegean and on Crete. In Athens, fair with some cloudcover later in the day. Variable winds 3 to 4 Beaufort and temperatures from 21C to 33C. In Thessaloniki, the same, with northwesterly winds rising to 7 Beaufort at night. Temperatures from 19C to 29C.

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

    DIMOKRATIA: Maximos mansion (government's headquarters) examines all burning issues.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Bargain pensions.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: The list with the names of 12,500 civil servants that will be set in the mobility scheme will be ready on September 16.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Pension at the age of 58 for 600,000 insured in IKA (major social security fund)

    ESTIA: National conciliation must be sought.

    ETHNOS: Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis accuse doctors that instead of generics they insist on prescribing original medicines.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Markets get prepared for a difficult September.

    TA NEA: Plans for cheaper heating oil.

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


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