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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece, China to promote closer economic relations, FinMin says
  • [02] Hotel under scrutiny for child deaths loses licence
  • [03] Papandreou honored for Olympic Truce effort
  • [04] Gov't: Time for schools to resume normal operation

  • [01] Greece, China to promote closer economic relations, FinMin says

    Greece and China were forging closer economic and trade relations, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters during a presentation of results of his official visit to China last week, the minister said his talks with Chinese officials in Beijing and Shanghai focused on starting direct flights between Athens, Beijing and Hong Kong, the opening of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki to Chinese products and cooperation between the Athens Stock Exchange with the stock markets of Shanghai and Hong Kong.

    Alogoskoufis, accompanied by Economy Deputy Minister Christos Folias, met in Beijing with the governor of the Bank of China, and the ministers of finance and trade.

    He announced that a Chinese national carrier would begin direct flights between Athens and Beijing in the next few months and noted that Greek cargo ships were currently transporting 50 percent of China's imports and 60 percent of China's imports in oil. He stressed that Greece's two largest ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, are envisioned as transit cargo hubs between China and Southeastern Europe as well as the Mediterranean.

    In Shanghai, the Greek minister met with the president of the stock market and agreed to promote cooperation between the two cities' capital markets through "stock basket" trading. Alogoskoufis said the Hong Kong's commerce and financial service would soon open a representation bureau in Greece and noted that progress was made in talks to avoid double taxation between the two countries.

    Caption: Greek FinMin George Alogoskoufis is shown during a visit to the Hong Kong exchange in late October 2006. ANA-MPA / STR.

    [02] Hotel under scrutiny for child deaths loses licence

    The operating licence of the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia, Corfu, where two UK children died of carbon monoxide poisoning last week, has been temporarily revoked by the Regional Tourism Service for the Ionian Islands, by order of Greek Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia.

    The licence will be revoked permanently if an investigation currently underway proves that the hotel was liable in the deaths of the two children, who were on holiday with their father.

    The bodies of Christianne and Robert Shepherd, 7 and 6, were found in the bungalow suite the family had rented last Thursday, while their father, Neil, 38, and his partner, Ruth Beatson, 28, were transported in a comatose condition to a Corfu city intensive care unit. Doctors said the two adults were conscious on Saturday afternoon and recovering.

    An autopsy on the two children identified carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause of death, with the investigation focusing on an emission leak into their room from a poorly ventilated utility room adjacent to the suite.

    Caption: The bungalow suite where the tragic incident unfolded on Corfu. ANA-MPA photo / H. Hondroyannis.

    [03] Papandreou honored for Olympic Truce effort

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou received an award Monday night from the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) for his role as the driving force in reviving the idea of an Olympic Truce, during a gala in Geneva marking the 125th anniversary since the federation's foundation.

    The award was presented to Papandreou by FIG president Bruno Grandi, who spoke warmly of the PASOK leader's efforts and stressed that the award, an olive branch, represented the symbol of peace.

    Papandreou, who was invited by the federation to attend the 125th anniversary events in Geneva running from Oct. 26-31 attended by many personalities, 30 Olympic champions and 24 world champions, stressed the importance of the Olympic Truce and the immense effort that must be made by everyone for peace, citing particularly the cases of Iraq, Lebanon and Guantanamo.

    "We must say 'no' to ethnic enmity and seek the other road, one that leads to peace, as the ancients did, as Pierre de Coubertain and Dimitris Vikelas did, as Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge do every time they inaugurated or inaugurate Games," Papandreou stressed.

    ANA-MPA file photo of Papandreou.

    [04] Gov't: Time for schools to resume normal operation

    The problems are being solved and it is time for schools to operate normally, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said on Tuesday in comments on the problems in education.

    Noting that the government had given these problems serious consideration, he said that the first priority must now be to restore the smooth operation of education on all levels.

    According to the spokesman, the national union federations representing primary and secondary school teachers, DOE and OLME, respectively, were on Wednesday expected to submit their proposals on how teaching hours lost as a result of the strike might be made up.

    Regarding the draft bill for higher education prepared by the government - now being discussed before the appropriate parliamentary committee - Antonaros underlined the government's determination to go ahead with reforms and repeated the government's appeal to all the sides involved to participate in the dialogue on the bill.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Antonaros.

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