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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-29

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Major gas leak following rupture of pipeline near Thessaloniki
  • [02] Reform policy to continue, FinMin says
  • [03] Papoulias satisfied with Oman, UAE visits
  • [04] OTE reports 445.5-mln-euro net profit in Jan-Sep

  • [01] Major gas leak following rupture of pipeline near Thessaloniki

    Authorities in northern Greece on Wednesday were reacting to a "large-scale industrial accident" following a major propane leak at a Hellenic Petroleum (EL.PE) pipeline in the Sindos industrial district west of the port city of Thessaloniki earlier in the morning.

    A cloud reportedly formed at the site of the leak, and EL.PE technicians and firefighters were dousing the pipeline with water.

    For precautionary reasons, electricity supply to the area was discontinued and workers at other industrial units in the area were evacuated. There are no homes in the area.

    The accident occurred during maintenance works, when human error resulted in an excavator rupturing the pipeline.

    EL.PE technicians have opened up water lines to flush out the pipeline with seawater in order to enable the necessary repair work.

    Caption: Firefighters and refinery workers sealed off the Sindos industrial district, west Thessaloniki, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, following a major propane leak in the area. ANA-MPA / Megapress / G. Fotiadis.

    [02] Reform policy to continue, FinMin says

    Fiscal adjustments will not end with a reduction of the budget deficit below 3.0 pct of GDP, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday, adding that the country's large public debt needs more efforts - although at a slower pace - to produce balanced or surplus budgets by 2012.

    Speaking to reporters, the minister emphasized the necessity for reforms, and underlined that this effort must be continued. "The results of reforms so far are positive, but that does not mean we have completed a reform programme," he stressed.

    Efforts to achieve fiscal adjustment will continue, public spending will be contained and tax-evasion will be combatted, Alogoskoufis said. He also focused on a policy of tax reform, a restructuring of the public sector and completing of a dialogue regarding social insurance reform. Alogoskoufis noted that a privatisation plan for the Piraeus Port Authority would not be discussed at an inter-ministerial meeting.

    Furthermore, he said that the privatisation initiative was the exclusive responsibility of the merchant marine minister.

    Commenting on the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, held on Monday and Tuesday, the Greek minister said the "25" ministers agreed to raise funding to third countries through European Investment Bank funding.

    [03] Papoulias satisfied with Oman, UAE visits

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias expressed satisfaction over the results of his official visits to Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the past week and upon his return to Athens on Wednesday.

    "It was an important trip, and we achieved what I had hoped for, namely, opening the doors for Arab countries in Greece. Their response was positive," Papoulias told reporters on the airplane during a return flight to Athens from Dubai, the last stop of the visit.

    Referring to the political aspect of his talks in Oman and the UAE, Papoulias said the officials he spoke with were concerned with what was taking place in the wider region, with the greatest problem being the war in Iraq. He also said leaders in the region were sceptical of the current US policy in Iraq.

    He also voiced his personal opinion that Syria and Iran should be involved in negotiations regarding the Iraq crisis, and expressed satisfaction that the Baker Committee and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have acknowledged the need for such an approach.

    Papoulias further said that Arab officials he met told him that they were closer to the Greeks and Greece, spiritually and emotionally, than with other countries of northern Europe.

    Finally, Papoulias announced that he also planned to visit other Arab countries in the near future, such as Jordan, whereas Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will visit Athens.

    [04] OTE reports 445.5-mln-euro net profit in Jan-Sep

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) on Wednesday reported a 5.6 pct increase in its consolidated turnover in the January-September period this year to 4.302 billion euros, while net profits rose to 445.5 million euros from a loss of 296.7 million euros in the same period last year.

    Operating expenses fell by 19 percent to 3.433 billion euros, the organisation said.

    Parent turnover rose 1.8 pct to 2.057 billion euros, operating expenses fell by 37.6 pct, while net profits rose to 331 million euros from a loss of 233.8 million euros in 2005.

    OTE said its nine-month results showed a general improvement of its financial situation with both fixed telephony and broadband services steadily expanding, while Romtelecom remained an "open wound" to the organisation.

    Cosmote Group reported a 26.2 percent increase inits nine-month turnover to 1.630 billion euros and a 7.3 pct rise in net profits to 273.9 million euros.

    OTEnet reported an 18.6 pct increase in turnover to 68.3 million euros, while its broadband customer base totalled 466,000 at the end of September.

    Romtelecom reported a 4.2 pct decline in its turnover and 56.4 pct drop in net profits to 41.6 million euros.

    Armentel, sold recently to a Russian telecoms group for 342 million euros, reported a 38.2 pct increase in its nine-month turnover to 112.9 million euros and a 21.8 pct rise in net profits to 31.3 million euros.


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