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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-27

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Shootout between police, robbers after bank hold-up in Corinth
  • [02] Smokovo Baths, a centuries-long history with a monastic tradition
  • [03] ASE opening: Big decline

  • [01] Shootout between police, robbers after bank hold-up in Corinth

    -PA/A shootout took place between police and bank robbers after a hold-up in Corinth on Wednesday shortly before noon.

    Three gunmen, armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed a Eurobank branch in Corinth and grabbed an as yet unknown amount of money from the tellers at gunpoint. But the robbers ran into police as they fled the bank, and opened fire on the police officers with their Kalashnikovs before speeding off in a black jeep.

    Police chased after the jeep in patrol cars, and one of the patrol cars caught fire as the robbers continued to fire at the police during the chase. The crew of the patrol far managed to get out of the burning car uninjured, while the robbers sped off and evaded arrest.

    A manhunt has been launched by police to locate the gunmen, while reinforcements were currently on the way from Athens to join in the investigation.

    [02] Smokovo Baths, a centuries-long history with a monastic tradition

    The Smokovo Baths, or Spa, in Karditsa, Thessaly prefecture, central Greece, have a centuries-long history and monastic tradition and today are one of the most well-known therapeutic spa tourism in Greece, while the thermal waters' therapeutic properties have been known since antiquity.

    The Smokovo Spa, with its five hot mineral springs, is situated in the region of ancient Menelais (today's Menelaida municipality), in the traditional village of Smokovo (renamed Loutropigi, meaning spring source), which lies at an altitude of 450 meters on the slopes of St. Elias hill on the Agrafa mountains (the southernmost part of the Pindus range), in an environment rich with vegetation, as it is surrounded by forests thickly wooded with fir, oak and chestnut trees, as well as abundant waters.

    It was in 1662 that the monks Moschos and Fraggos Stravoenoglou -- Smokovite archons, according to tradition -- developed the springs, building makeshift installations and baths. Later, Ali Pasha of Ioannina would regularly visit the Baths, together with Mahmut Pasha for therapeutic purposes, and gave their names to two of the springs.

    According to the archives of Menelaida municipality, in 1882 the springs passed into the proprietorship of the Greek state, which leased them to private concerns for their exploitation. In 1903, the springs were leased to a Karditsa politician named Tertipis on a 20-year concession. It was at that time that the Karditsa-Smokovo road and the area's first hotels were built.

    In 1923, the Karditsa General Enterprises Society took over the exploitation of the springs for 25 years, which built a modern, for the era, balneotherapy (facility.

    In 1943, during the Nazi occupation of Greece, a team of SS officers blew up the installations because the ELAS (Greek People's Liberation Army) Officers' School was hosted there. The facility was leased by the National Tourism Organisation of Greece (GNTO) to a private individual, with the obligation of rebuilding the spa, while under a 1983 contract exploitation of the springs was turned over to the Loutropigi community.

    The spa's thermal waters come from five springs, with a natural temperature of 37-40.2 C, and are channelled to the hydrotherapy facility. The waters are sulphurous alkaline, and are considered ideal for arthritic and rheumatic disorders, chronic rheumatism, sciatica, neuralgia, muscle aches, ailments of the respiratory tract, gynaecological disorders and skin diseases. The method of treatment is bathing and inhalation.

    The Smokovo Baths today are state-of-the-art, and since June 2009 the new renovated SPA complex opened which, in addition to the therapeutic treatments also offers visitors wellness and relaxation treatments, as it sports a swimming pool, a fully-equipped gym, two conventional and two diathermal saunas, two hamams (steam baths), and two relaxation massage rooms, while the hydrotherapy spa has individual inhalation rooms with 22 machines as well as an inhalation room for groups, a nasal showers chamber, and 53 private baths that become jacuzzis (hydromassage) at the touch of a button.

    Specialised staff is also on hand during the treatments, while the spa center is currently open from June 1 to October 15, although extension of the spa season is being mulled. Throughout the rest of the year, the spa hosts organised groups of visitors.

    The therapeutic properties of warm minister springs have been known in Greece since antiquity, not only by experience but also scientifically. The ancient Greeks were well aware of the therapeutic quality of hydrotherapy (techniques of therapeutic bathing and use of water) and balneotherapy (therapeutic bathing in medicinal and thermal springs), which were used not only for treatment purposes but also to enhance physical condition.

    Indicatively, as early as the 5th century BCE, the historian and physician Herodotus (484-425 BC) observed that different natural mineral springs, in various parts of Greece, had different therapeutic properties. He developed a rudimentary system for differentiating the therapeutic indications of various types of mineral waters. He also recommended that courses of spa therapy be undertaken, for 21 days on end, at certain times of the year, and differentiated that warm baths should be made in the spring and cold baths in the summer.

    Hippocrates (460-377 BC), the Father of Medicine, was also the father of hydrotherapy and balneotherapy. He was very much interested in the therapeutic properties of various waters, which he saw were either rain fed, as in lakes or marshes, or from subterranean aquifers, as in mineral springs that come bubbling out of the rocks. He theorized that their differing curative properties came from their differing contents of various minerals, like iron, copper, silver, gold or sulphur.

    Today, therapeutic tourism is an alternative form of tourism combining holidays with preservation of physical and mental well-being.

    [03] ASE opening: Big decline

    Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Wednesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 1.74 percent, standing at 2,017.03 points at 11:00 a.m., and turnover at 19.484 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the biggest gains in Chemicals, up 0.42 percent and Mass Media, up 0.17 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Financial Services, down 3.22 percent; and Banks, down 2.00 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 2.10 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 1.09 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 0.16 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 28 were up, 50 were down, and 17 were unchanged.


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