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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-10-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Avramopoulos announces ND leadership candidacy
  • [02] Cut backs in fleet of state vehicles
  • [03] Dock workers to continue strike
  • [04] Remote islands air routes
  • [05] Fires in north Evia, Malesina
  • [06] ASE opening: Big rise

  • [01] Avramopoulos announces ND leadership candidacy

    Dimitris Avramopoulos announced his candidacy for the post of president of the New Democracy (ND) party on Tuesday night, stressing in an announcement that "it is a historic obligation of all of us to create a new, modern, centre-Right party that will meet the spirit of the times and express with directness the expectations of the rank and file and of society."

    Avramopoulos stressed the need for "a new start for the party with hope, unity and perspective" and made special reference to his proposal on the election of an ND president by the party's social base.

    "My proposal on the election of the new President of New Democracy by our social base is the only path for us to change era. To deepen democracy and give a voice and a role to the society of citizens which is looking forward to us. It is the only way for us to secure the unity and perspective of our party. There is no stronger legality than the selection of the citizens," Avramopoulos said.

    Former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis also announced her candidacy for the post on Monday.

    [02] Cut backs in fleet of state vehicles

    Interior, Decentralisation and e-Government Minister Yiannis Ragoussis on Tuesday announced cutbacks in the fleet of state vehicles, as well as in their running and maintenance costs. He said that the measure aimed to drastically reduce wasteful state-sector spending and that Prime Minister George Papandreou had already been advised of his intentions.

    "The government received a mandate from the Greek people to change everything and this is what it will do, starting with the major issue of cutting back waste," he stressed.

    He said that there were currently 57,000 state-owned vehicles registered in the interior ministry's records, which cost taxpayers 350 million euros a year. Ragoussis pledged to drastically reduce this number and announced that no new cars would be purchased by the state for the next three years.

    The minister said that all state services having more than five cars at their disposal will have to immediately justify why these are necessary or else make do with just five.

    Ragoussis also announced plans to replace government vehicles using conventional technology with hybrid vehicles having engines up to 1600 cc that will be bought through leasing agreements in order to restrict costs for spare parts.

    The interior ministry also intends to impose a 30 percent reduction in fuel costs for the state fleet and will scrap 88 of the 250 cars used by state officials. For travel within the centre of Athens, only cars with 1600 cc engines will be used, while travel outside Athens will be carried out in vans by preference, as used in the prime minister's recent visit to the Olympic facilities in Elliniko.

    According to Ragoussis, a drastic reduction in the number of state vehicles and their gradual replacement by hybrid cars will also significantly ease environmental pollution and traffic problems in Athens, based on a study carried out by the National Technical University of Athens transportation department. This found that of a total of 6.5 million trips occurring daily in the Attic basin, 2.6 million trips are carried out by state vehicles.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Interior, Decentralisation and e-Government Minister Yiannis Ragoussis

    [03] Dock workers to continue strike

    Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli concluded a meeting on Tuesday evening with representatives of Piraeus port workers who are on strike. Speaking after the meeting, Katseli said "the discussion is continuing, our aim is for a solution to be found for the smooth functioning of the port. At the moment we are in the middle of the dialogue."

    The 1,500 dock workers are striking to demand a 'freeze' on an agreement to lease the profitable container terminal to the Chinese firm COSCO, which installed itself in the port on October 1.

    The dock workers' union OMYLE said that its members will strike on October 14-16 and also refuse overtime work this Saturday and Sunday.

    [04] Remote islands air routes

    The government will announce an invitation for tenders for the 24 subsidised air routes to Greece's remote islands very soon, possibly within a week, according to the Infrastructure, Transports and Networks ministry on Tuesday.

    Infrastructure, Transports and Networks minister Dimitris Reppas stressed while briefing ministry reporters that residents served by the subsidised routes will not be left without air transport services.

    The ministry said that the tender will be called under conditions of absolute transparency, based on the EU standards and conditions, so that the servicing of the inhabitants of those regions may continue smoothly.

    Reppas and deputy minister Nikos Sifounakis held meetings on Monday night with representatives of seven airlines that had taken part in the previous tender, which was annulled due to the elections, and with the civil aviation authority.

    The minister said the bidding competition will be over by the end of the month and that the issue will have been settled before the end of the year. For problems arising in the meantime, the civil aviation authority had undertaken to make arrangements with the interested parties for solutions that would cover the needs of all sides.

    The minister did not rule out a further meeting with airlines once the civil aviation authority had presented its proposals, while also announcing future plans to change the legal framework governing the civil aviation authority so that it became an independent body.

    [05] Fires in north Evia, Malesina

    A fire broke out at 16:30 on Tuesday in a pine forest in the Lihada region of north Evia. Thirteen fire engines manned by 39 firemen, two teams of fire-fighters on foot, six water-bombing aircraft and one helicopter have been sent to put out the flames.

    The fire brigade said that the fire was not near inhabited areas and that no homes were at risk.

    Fire fighters had earlier managed to put out another fire that had broken out at 3:00 in a residential area in Theologos, Malesina. Fanned by strong winds, this had reached right up to the yards of homes in the area before it was put out by firemen and local residents.

    [06] ASE opening: Big rise

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Wednesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 1.64 percent, standing at 2,853.91 points at 10:45 a.m., and turnover at 49.5 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly upward across the board, with the biggest gains in Health, up 3.12 percent; Banks, up 2.86 percent; and Financial Services, up 2.46 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Insurance, down 2.22 percent; Commerce, down 0.21 percent; and Mass Media, down 0.06 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 2.28 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 1.48 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 1.27 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 99 were up, 21 were down, and 24 were unchanged.

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