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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM calls off-the-agenda debate on education
  • [02] Share capital increase for Loulis Mills
  • [03] Athens OKs Russian exercise in Aegean (recasts)
  • [04] PM congratulates new Belgian counterpart Van Pompuy
  • [05] Papandreou with Abbas on Gaza
  • [06] Humanitarian aid departs for Gaza
  • [07] PMI at record low in Dec. 09

  • [01] PM calls off-the-agenda debate on education

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has requested the holding of an off-the-agenda Parliamentary debate on the subject of education, in a letter on Friday to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas.

    In his letter, Karamanlis underlined that "the issue of education in all its aspects and at all levels, and particularly with regard to tertiary (higher) education, is an exceptionally important matter that requires a priority discussion in the national parliament, so that all the political forces may take a stance.

    "This is so because the future and the course of education require common positions, to the degree possible, as they are a timeless issue and do not concern only decisions of the government at any given time. For this reason, I request the holding of an off-the-agenda discussion, as per Article 143 of the Parliamentary Rules of Order."

    [02] Share capital increase for Loulis Mills

    The general assembly of Loulis Mills S.A. shareholders on Friday approved a share capital increase of 8.31 million euros with an increase in the nominal value of each share by 0.50 euros.

    [03] Athens OKs Russian exercise in Aegean (recasts)

    Greece's armed forces national defence general staff (GEEThA) on Friday announced that the Russian aircraft carrier "Adm. Kuznetsov", currently sailing in the southeastern Mediterranean, has requested use of areas within the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) in order to conduct aeronautical exercises.

    Greece's Civil Aviation Authority (YPA) approved the request, with the Russian air/sea exercises scheduled to take place southeast of the major Dodecanese island of Rhodes on Jan. 3, 4, 8 and 10, and south of the large island of Crete on Jan. 11, a GEEThA announcement stated.

    [04] PM congratulates new Belgian counterpart Van Pompuy

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday conveyed his congratulations to new Belgian Premier Herman Van Pompuy.

    In his letter, Karamanlis, amongst others, expresses his hope that already excellent Greek-Belgian relations will be further strengthened in the bilateral as well as multilateral level, while he noted his confidence that bilateral cooperation will continue towards the promotion of a common European future.

    [05] Papandreou with Abbas on Gaza

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou had a telephone conversation on Wednesday night with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and also with Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos for the second time in the past three days.

    Papandreou's ongoing contacts with officials who can play a role in resolving the renewed crisis in the Middle East are part of an initiative undertaken by Socialist International, which goes one step further than the proposals for an immediate ceasefire and truce in proposing the convening of a regional conference.

    The SI proposal for a regional conference has been met positively by all the officials with whom Papandreou has spoken thus far. In addition to Abbas and Moratinos, Iranian FM Manuchehr Motaki was also positively oriented to the proposal, according to reports.

    The regional conference, under the SI proposal, would focus on peace in the wider area of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, including an immediate ceasefire and truce between Israelis and Palestinians. The conference would deal with such matters as the West's relations with Iran and Syria, aimed at achieving lasting peace throughout the entire Middle East, so that it will cease comprising a cause of clashes among the countries of the region.

    [06] Humanitarian aid departs for Gaza

    Two Greek C-130 military airplanes took off on Thursday with a cargo of 280 tons of humanitarian aid destined for the relief of the injured people in the Gaza Strip, in one of the first foreign aid missions to Palestine in the wake of Israeli bombings.

    The C-130s, manned by a five-member crew each, departed on Thursday afternoon from the military airport at Elefsina airbase for Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, carrying one of the largest Greek despatches of blood and blood by-products ever organized, as well as IV drips, antibiotics and other medicinal supplies. In Tel Aviv, the aid will be turned over to the World Health Organization (WHO) by a doctor of the Greek National Health Operations Centre (EKEPY), for the wounded Palestinians in Gaza.

    Foreign ministry secretary general Theodoros Skylakakis, who holds the developmental assistance portfolio, EKEPY director Panos Efstathiou and Air Force General Staff (GEA) chief Yiannis Yiangos were at Elefsina military airport ahead of the airplanes' departure.

    "The Greek aid is one of the first missions that will arrive in Gaza," Skylakakis noted and thanked, on behalf of the foreign ministry, the Hellenic Red Cross, the City of Athens, the Doctors of the Heart organization and the health ministry.

    "We are sending blood. We are sending assistance, which is crucial in this very difficult situation being faced by the people of Palestine, the people of Gaza," Skylakakis said, adding that a larger despatch of humanitarian assistance was being planned for the next stage, to be sent by ship.

    Caption: A Greek serviceman loads humanitarian aid from Greece for Gaza onto a C-130 military aircraft at the Elefsina air base, west of Athens. (ANA-MPA / K. Mavrona)

    [07] PMI at record low in Dec. 09

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to an all-time low in December 2009, reflecting a shrinking production, new orders and employment rates in the manufacturing sector of the country. The PMI index fell to 41oints, down from 42.3 in November.

    However, analysts said the country was still faring slightly better than European counterparts, whose indicators are below the 40-point mark.

    New orders fell for the third consecutive month in December, reflecting a further weakening of demand both from domestic and foreign markets. Commenting on the figures of the Greek PMI, the Markit firm said Greek manufacturers continued to shed staff at a rapid pace during Dec, with the seasonally adjusted index falling to a

    series record low.

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