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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Five bids in Olympic Airlines sale tender
  • [02] Israeli film festival opens in Athens
  • [03] US, Greek officials pay final respects to former Archbishop of America
  • [04] Greek GDP grew 4.2 pct in 4th quarter 2004

  • [01] Five bids in Olympic Airlines sale tender

    The government has received five bids in an international sale tender for a majority stake in national carrier Olympic Airlines, ministers said on Thursday.

    The binding offers accompanied by letters of guarantee, which were received on Wednesday, the deadline in the tender's second stage, were from all groups that expressed interest in the first phase: Aegean Airlines of Greece; Olympic Investors (Greek-American); Sure Estates (the Netherlands); Intra (owner of Deutsche British Airways); and Klesch (UK).

    Releasing the names to reporters on Thursday were Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Transport Minister Michalis Liapis.

    The government's consultant in the sale, London-based Lazard, a global investment bank, will study the bids. Negotiations will then begin, the ministers said.

    "There is time pressure, and pressure from the European Union," Liapis noted.

    According to Alogoskoufis, the process will be difficult due to financial constrictions and EU constraints.

    In a statement on Wednesday, management of Aegean Airlines said that due to chronic problems in the state-owned Olympic, major legal and operational difficulties were involved in the privatisation attempt.

    As a result, if acquisition negotiations were to begin, agreement could only be reached if a viable solution was found to provision of quality services and competitive retail prices, the statement said.

    [02] Israeli film festival opens in Athens

    The Israeli embassy and Greece's culture ministry are jointly organising a "Spotlight on Israeli Cinema" film festival this week at a movie theatre (Trianon Filmcenter) in downtown Athens.

    The official opening of the festival was held Thursday with the screening of "Turn Left at the End of the World" (2004) by director Avi Nesher, who attended the event.

    The movie deals with the story of Jewish immigrants from India and their efforts to assimilate into Israeli society through the friendship of two girls.

    The film won kudos at the Taormina International Film Festival and was the number one box office production in Israel last year.

    For the entire programme of the festival access the site. The festival is open to the public. Invitations can be found at the movie theatre.

    [03] US, Greek officials pay final respects to former Archbishop of America

    NEW YORK (ANA/P.Panagiotou) - US and Greek officials gathered at the Holy Trinity Church in Manhattan on Thursday to pay their final respects to former Archbishop of America Iakovos, who died at the age of 94 on Monday.

    Speaking first at the funeral, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos described Iakovos as "a great and unprecedented leader of Orthodoxy, a flagbearer for peace, a true Greek patriot, and a champion of human rights."

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsionis, who represented Greece at the funeral, referred to Iakovos' attributes - his charismatic personality, as well as his spiritual stature which gained him the respect of political leaders.

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also present at the funeral service, spoke about Iakovos' contribution towards encouraging tolerance and coexistence among the people in the US. Specifically, Bloomberg referred to Iakovos' daring decision to march with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in Alabama in 1965. Since then, Iakovos was regarded by Americans as one of the country's major leaders.

    US Senator Paul Sarbanes also spoke about the former archbishop's important work, emphasising that "he was a symbol of the Greek-American community and fought for the grand, human ideals."

    Archbishop of America Demetrios also spoke briefly, conveying a message from Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos from the Phanar. In his letter, Vartholomeos stated that Iakovos possessed international prestige and had honoured the Church by giving genuine expression to Orthodoxy.

    Demetrios added that Iakovos' Greek patriotism never stopped him from being an upstanding US citizen.

    Former New York mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani also attended the service, as did other Greek officials and senior clergy.

    The historic prelate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America (now Archdiocese of America), died in Stanford, Connecticut where he was hospitalised with acute respiratory problems.

    Iakovos, born on the island of Imvros, served as Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of America for 37 years, until his resignation in July 1996. He was succeeded by Archbishop Spyridon, who served in the post for three years, followed by the current Archbishop, Demetrios.

    [04] Greek GDP grew 4.2 pct in 4th quarter 2004

    Greece's Gross Domestic Product fell by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004 compared with the previous quarter, Eurostat said on Thursday.

    The EU's statistics agency said Eurozone's GDP grew 0.2 percent while EU-25 GDP rose 0.3 percent over the same period. Lithuania (2.1 pct), Ireland (2.0 pct), Estonia (1.3 pct) recorded the biggest percentage increases in 4th quarter GDP, while Italy, Slovenia (0.1 pct each), Portugal (0.3 pct), Germany (0.2 pct) and Greece (0.1 pct) recorded the biggest percentage declines.

    Greek GDP grew 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, compared with the same period in 2003, while GDP grew by 1.6 percent and 1.9 pct in Eurozone and the EU, respectively.

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