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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-11

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Eight bodies, believed to be economic refugees from shipwreck in Turkish waters, recovered off Samos by Greek Coastguard (updated)
  • [02] Five bodies, believed to be economic refugees from shipwreck in Turkish waters, recovered off Samos by Greek Coastguard
  • [03] Brown bears in Greece fell into hibernation one month later
  • [04] Promachonas closed to all vehicles
  • [05] Public sector strike
  • [06] ASE opening: Big rise
  • [07] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Eight bodies, believed to be economic refugees from shipwreck in Turkish waters, recovered off Samos by Greek Coastguard (updated)

    ANA-MPA/The bodies of eight persons, believed to be economic refugees, were recovered on Thursday by coast guard officers in the region of Potokakios on the eastern Aegean island of Samos.

    Authorities believe the bodies were from a shipwreck reported on Wednesday night by one of a group 10-12 passengers of a plastic boat that overturned in the area, inside Turkish national waters.

    A man was spotted and picked up by a Georgia-flagged merchant ship that was sailing in the vicinity at the time.

    As soon as the survivor was brought on board the merchant ship, he said that he, together with 10-12 other fellow nationals, had been in a plastic boat that overturned due to adverse weather conditions.

    An alert was immediately issued and a Super Puma all-weather helicopter took off to scour the area for possible survivors. Gale force winds of 9 beaufort, though, did not allow coast guard boats to join in the search.

    However, Coast guard officers were scouring the coast throughout the night, and in the morning spotted five bodies. Three more bodies were found in the same area later in the morning. Among the victims are a woman and a young girl.

    The search was continuing on Thursday, and port authorities did not rule out the prospect that the number of people originally on the plastic boat is smaller, or that the victims were from a different incident in the same region.

    The survivor was taken by the merchant ship to the Turkish port of Kusadasi.

    [02] Five bodies, believed to be economic refugees from shipwreck in Turkish waters, recovered off Samos by Greek Coastguard

    ANA-MPA/The bodies of five persons, believed to be economic refugees, were recovered on Thursday morning by coast guard officers in the region of Potokakios on the eastern Aegean island of Samos.

    Authorities believe the bodies were from a shipwreck reported on Wednesday night by one of a group 10-12 passengers of a plastic boat that overturned in the area, inside Turkish national waters.

    A man was spotted and picked up by a Georgia-flagged merchant ship that was sailing in the vicinity at the time.

    As soon as the survivor was brought on board the merchant ship, he said that he, together with 10-12 other fellow nationals, had been in a plastic boat that overturned due to adverse weather conditions.

    An alert was immediately issued and a Super Puma all-weather helicopter took off to scour the area for possible survivors. Gale force winds of 9 beaufort, though, did not allow coast guard boats to join in the search.

    However, Coast guard officers were scouring the coast throughout the night, and in the morning spotted the five bodes.

    The search was continuing on Thursday, and port authorities did not rule out the prospect that the number of people originally on the plastic boat is smaller, or that the victims were from a different incident in the same region.

    The survivor was taken by the merchant ship to the Turkish port of Kusadasi.

    [03] Brown bears in Greece fell into hibernation one month later

    Unseasonably warm temperatures in Greece this year have resulted in the brown bears living in the wild falling into winter hibernation a month later than usual. Wild bears this year started going into hibernation in mid-January, whereas bears in captivity went into hibernation in mid-December, according to the Arcturos non-profit wildlife protection organisation.

    Winter hibernation is crucial for the bear, as it protects the animal from the lack of food in nature caused by adverse weather conditions and, in addition, during the two-month hibernation period the female gives birth to one-two, and more rarely three, cubs, which are born blind and without fur and weigh just 350-400 grams, Arcturos' Vasso Petridou told ANA-MPA.

    Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up in a suitable hillside. Females, or she-bears, den while pregnant and give birth during this winter rest, usually to a pair of cubs. Brown bear cubs nurse on their mother's milk until spring and stay with her for some two and a half years-so females only reproduce once every three years.

    Bears will hibernate when food is scarce and the temperature is too cold. They can sleep for months without eating, drinking, or urinating. They will usually make a den in a cave or under a fallen tree and cover themselves with leaves and other brush. Mother bears will awaken to give birth, typically in mid to late January, and take excellent care of the cubs in the den.

    What bears do is actually called "winter lethargy". According to scientists, "true hibernation" is an inactive sleep-like state some animals enter into during the winter. During hibernation, body temperature is lower than normal. Heart beat and breathing slow down tremendously.

    Bears only experience small changes in heart rate, metabolic processes and body temperature, heart rate only drops from forty to seventy beats per minute down to eight to twelve beats per minute and metabolism only drops by half, whereas a ground squirrel, for example, when going into "true hibernation", its body temperature may drop to the freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius) or slightly below. During the period of dormancy, a bear's temperature drops less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit from a normal temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

    [04] Promachonas closed to all vehicles

    Protesting farmers blocking the Promachonas border post, at midnight Thursday allowed for a few hours the passage of trucks to and from Bulgaria. The subzero temperatures and the continuous rainfall in the area were instrumental in the farmers' to temporarily open the roadblock to allow the truck drivers, who had been waiting for over three days, to cross the border.

    The border was afterwards closed again to all vehicles by the farmers, who warned that they will harden their stance.

    Promachonas border post is the last remaining farmers' roadblock in Greece, and was in place on Thursday for the 24th consecutive day.

    Farmers mobilisations in the prefecture of Larissa, and Thessaly in general, came to an end on Wednesday after over 20 days of labour action. Tractors began being withdrawn from the roadblocks at Mikrothives, Platykambos and Tyrnavos as of noon, while in the afternoon and following a meeting at the Nikea roadblock, the coordinated withdrawal of tractors from the specific location on Thursday was also decided.

    Farmers are expressing their disappointment over the handling they received both on the part of the relevant minister and the government in general, while speaking of a suspension of mobilisations and giving a rendez-vous at Kileler where the 100th anniversary of the farmers' uprising will be celebrated this year.

    [05] Public sector strike

    Public sector employees staged a 24-hour strike on Wednesday in protest to austerity measures announced by the government that involve changes to income, taxation and social security policy and include salary freezes and cutbacks in benefits.

    Protest demonstrations and marches are scheduled throughout the day in downtown Athens and Thessaloniki and throughout Greece for the duration of the strike, which has been called by the civil servant unions' umbrella federation ADEDY, and backed by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated trade union movement PAME.

    The strike has grounded all flights, since the country's air traffic controllers and civil aviation electronics engineers are also participating in the strike.

    Addressing a PAME demonstration in Athens' central Syntagma Square, KKE leader Aleka Papariga warned that if the workers failed to "break this storm of measures" and "conform with the government's dictates, even worse things will be forthcoming in a year's time", referring to the government's announcements on social security, incomes and taxation policy.

    She called on workers to disregard the government's talk about the state of the economy, saying the measures were aimed to salvage the bankers, shipowners, industrialists and big-time merchants.

    "Don't believe them. Turn your backs on them," she urged.

    The PAME protestors later marched to the Employment ministry.

    PAME has also called on workers to take part in a 24-hour nationwide strike on February 24 that has been called by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), being held for the same reasons.

    Caption: A view of the Athens international Airport on Wednesday 10 February 2010. A 24h strike has grounded all flights, since the country's air traffic controllers and civil aviation electronics engineers were also participating in the strike.ANA-MPA/KATERINA MAVRONA

    [06] ASE opening: Big rise

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Thursday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 1.78 percent, standing at 1,974.65 points at 11:15 a.m., and turnover at 25.2 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving upward nearly across the board, with the only losses in Industrial Products, down a marginal 0.05 percent.

    The biggest gains were in Banks, up 3.25 percent; and Public Utilities, up 2.03 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 1.99 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 1.16 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 1.21 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 63 were up, 7 were down, and 19 were unchanged.

    [07] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Prime Minister George Papandreou's meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris and the latter's backing for a rescue of the Greek economy, the crucial EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday at which France and Germany are expected to propose a rescue plan for the Greek economy, the changes in the taxation system and the minimum amount of receipts required to secure the tax-free ceiling, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Main opposition New Democracy (ND): "Government's measures drying up the market".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Average pension reduced by up to 500 euros - Which categories of insured citizens will be affected by the new system".

    AVGHI: "Germany's and France's support under conditions - Berlin and Paris assume responsibility to rescue the Greek economy on condition of harsh political and economic terms".

    AVRIANI: "We 'bribed' them and now we relax - We bought six frigates from France and 30 Eurofighters from Germany to obtain their support".

    CHORA: "Dim light in the 'City of Light' - Sarkozy's political support for the rescue of the economy".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Three provisions curtail pensions".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "How much money we will lose with the new measures - Who are affected by the abolition of the special reduced taxation of non-salary revenues from benefits".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The secrets of the receipts - Taxation: Who will lose and gain, and how much".

    ESTIA: "Finishing blow to the economy - The taxes will intensify the recession".

    ETHNOS: "Receipts nibbling away at the tax reliefs".

    IMERISSIA: "French-German life jacket - Rescue plan with strict conditions".

    KATHIMERINI: "Dramatic deliberations on the rescue".

    LOGOS: "Thriller over the European aid ...to the Greek economy".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "European solutions for the Greek problems".

    NIKI: "Cartel comprising 30 companies preying on the country".

    TA NEA: "Secret tax for the medium incomes - How the receipts chisel away the tax-free amount".

    TO VIMA: "Up to 1,200 euros penalties for fewer receipts! - Traps for low incomes and couples".

    VRADYNI: "Ray of optimism - Europe's support plan for Greece".


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