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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-04-30

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] LAOS leader in Nicosia: Cyprus issue at new turning point
  • [02] Drug arrests in Crete, Arta
  • [03] Robber killed in shootout with police, linked with 2009 murder of police officer (adds police announcement)
  • [04] Samaria Gorge opens for 2010 season on Saturday
  • [05] Eurogroup meets Sunday
  • [06] Droutsas, Babacan address conf.
  • [07] Nimetz briefs UN Sec.Gen
  • [08] Karatzaferis in Cyprus
  • [09] Stocks end 2.22pct up

  • [01] LAOS leader in Nicosia: Cyprus issue at new turning point

    Nicosia (ANA-MPA) -- Greece's Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis said that the Cyprus issue was entering a new turning point, speaking in Nicosia after a meeting with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on Friday evening.

    Karatzaferis, who arrived in Nicosia earlier in the afternoon on a two-day visit to Cyprus, also said that "we need to recruit our best ideas".

    "We have a new negotiator on the other side, who is moving on an entirely different track," Karatzaferis said, referring to the new Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu who "won" the recent illegal elections in the occupied part of the island.

    He expressed belief, however, that "with the appropriate handling, we can turn every disadvantage into an advantage".

    [02] Drug arrests in Crete, Arta

    A 27-year-old Albanian woman was arrested on Friday in the port of Heraklion, on the island of Crete, with three kilos of heroin in her possession.

    Acting on a tip-off, Heraklion drug squad police were waiting for the woman in the port by boat, and allowed her to board a taxi so as to follow her to her home.

    Police arrested the woman as she exited the taxi, and found and confiscated six small packets of heroin weighing a total 3.068 kilos in her travel bag, as well as 2000 euros in cash coming from drug dealing.

    A house search also turned up 27,500 euros in bank remittances to Albania and a bankbook with 15,000 euros in deposits, which were also seized.

    In a separate incident in Arta, two local residents were arrested after police found 504 narcotic pills in their possession.

    [03] Robber killed in shootout with police, linked with 2009 murder of police officer (adds police announcement)

    An armed robber was killed and three policemen were injured in a shootout in Thessaloniki on Thursday night, during a supermarket hold-up.

    The gunman stormed into the supermarket in the Evosmos district shortly before 10:00 p.m. on Thursday after it had closed to shoppers and only employees were inside, grabbed nearly 50,000 euros from the safe and attempted to flee, but was detected by a local resident who immediately alerted the police.

    A strong team of police officers rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area, trapping the robber as he was exiting the supermarket.

    The robber started shooting against the police in an effort to escape, who returned the fire, wounding him.

    Despite his wounds, the robber threw a handgrenade at the police officers, three of whom were lightly injured by shrapnel.

    The wounded robber was rushed to AHEPA Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, while the three wounded officers were taken to a nearby military hospital and were reported in a non-life-threatening condition.

    Police arrested a woman of foreign nationality, who was an accomplice of the perpetrator and was waiting for him in a getaway car outside the supermarket. Three pistols, two handgrenades and a kalashnikov firearm were found in the car.

    Police investigating the case have information implicating the dead robber with the murder of 30-year-old police officer Spyros Theodorou in April 2009 in the central Athens district of Kypseli.

    The 30-year-old officer Theodorou was shot at close range by an unidentified gunman in the early hours of April 3, 2009, in the Grava neighborhood of Kypseli, and his 26-year-old partner was injured in the incident. The police officers belonged to the then newly-set up motorcycle patrol teams and were familiarizing themselves with their beat, and were dispatched to investigate a report that a car theft was in progress. Theodorou approached a suspect on a motorcycle and was asking for his papers when a woman approached them, claiming that the suspect was a friend of hers and drawing the attention of the officers, at which time a second man who had not been initially perceived sneaked up behind the officers and fatally shot Theodorou in the nape of the neck and the second officer in the head, who was wearing a helmet and escaped with lighter injuries.

    The two suspects grabbed the officers' weapons and mobile phones and sped off on the motorcycle.

    The woman, who was taken in for questioning, was later charged with aiding the escape of a criminal.

    Thessaloniki police HQ announcement

    A Thessaloniki police headquaters announcement later said that the dead robber was a 34-year-old foreign national for whom a series of arrest warrants for homicide, multiple counts of attempted homicides, robberies, illegal possession and use of firearms and assault of police officers had been issued in the past.

    Police said that the dead gunman, together with his arrested brother, had fatally wounded Theodorou and taken his service pistol.

    Also, the deceased had also fired repeatedly against police officers as they were chasing him on his motorcycle after resisting a call for a routine check on the night of October 29, 2009 in the Metamorphosi suburb of Athens.

    Further, an international arrest warrant had been issued for him by the Ukraine authorities for robbery and embezzlement.

    In addition, one of the pistols found in the getaway car in Thursday's incident had been taken by Theodorou's injured partner in Kypseli, while the car and its licence plates were stolen in February 2010 from the Patissia district of Athens and Alimos suburb respectively.

    Police said that in Thursday's incident, the perpetrator broke the front glass panel of the supermarket and held the employees at gunpoint, grabbing 47,650 euros from the strongbox, while his female accomplice remained in the getaway car outside.

    The woman will be taken before a public prosecutor.

    [04] Samaria Gorge opens for 2010 season on Saturday

    The world-famous Samaria Gorge on the southern Aegean island of Crete, one of the longest gorges in Europe, opens to visitors for the 2010 season on Saturday.

    As of Saturday, entry will be permitted throughout the entire length of the main footpath, from Xyloskalo to Aghia Roumeli.

    The Samaria Gorge, a national park in Chania prefecture in southwest Crete and a major tourist attraction of the island, was created by a small river running between the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) and Mt. Volakias.

    The 16 kilometer-long gorge starts at an altitude of 1,250 meters at the northern entrance in the settlement of Omalos (Xyloskalo) and ending at the shores of the Libyan Sea in Aghia Roumeli.

    The actual walk through the Samaria National Park is 13 kilometers long, but the trekker has to walk another three kilometers to Aghia Roumeli from the park exit, making the hike 16 kilometers.

    The most famous part of the gorge is the "Iron Gates" stretch, where the sides of the gorge close in to a width of only four meters and soar to a height of 500 meters.

    The gorge became a national park in 1962, chiefly as a refuge for the rare "kri-kri" Cretan goat, which is largely restricted to the park and an islet just off the shore of Aghia Marina.

    There are several other endemic species in the gorge and surrounding area, as well as many other species of flowers and birds.

    [05] Eurogroup meets Sunday

    Brussels (ANA-MPA) -- Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, has called an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Sunday, at 5:00 p.m. Greek time, to take decisions on the EU support mechanism for the Greek economy, a spokesman for Juncker announced in the Belgian capital on Friday.

    The spokesman said that the ministers will discuss the outcome of the currently ongoing negotiations in Athens between a team of the so-called "troika" comprising European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials with the Greek authorities.

    Junker and EU Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn will hold a joint press conference after the meeting.

    [06] Droutsas, Babacan address conf.

    Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas spoke of the new model of cooperation between Greece and Turkey that will be embarked upon during Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's official visit to Athens on May 14-15, addressing an Economist international conference in Athens on Friday.

    Droutsas, who was on the same panel with Turkish deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, stressed that when the will exists, stereotypes and prejudices of the past as well as mutual suspicion in bilateral relations can be overcome.

    Asked on the prospect of a mutual reduction in defence expenditure by the two countries on opposite sides of the Aegean, Droutsas noted that "this is the vision and the ultimate goal of our foreign policy, and it is worth working toward this in a systematic way".

    He added that he had brought up this matter a few minutes earlier in his address to the conference, when he spoke of the "real benefit that will arise from the channeling of a part of our national wealth from armaments spending to other developmental sectors of the economy".

    Replying to the same question, Babacan said that the perception of the threat in the region does not concern only the two countries, but was pushing and pressing for a nuclear-free region.

    "Our vision is to see open borders, free movement of goods and people, and a reduced sense of danger," he added.

    Addressing the conference, Droutsas stressed that peaceful resolution of differences contributes to consolidating stability and security at regional level, adding that security and stability were the main prerequisites for economic growth.

    He noted that in 1999, when the Greek-Turkish rapprochement commenced, trade relations between the two countries skyrocketed: "We began with 600 million euros in transactions, and today our trade exchanges exceed 3.5 billion euros. The contacts of the society of the citizens increased and the first channels of regular contact and communication were created".

    He also noted to the institutionalised schemes of bilateral military cooperation both in the context of NATO and at bilateral level, stressing, however, that much remains to be done in that area.

    Droutsas further stressed that Turkey's European prospect was of catalytic importance for Greek-Turkish relations, as this would normalise the friction points. "Besides, respect of good neighborhood and the peaceful resolution of differences are among the fundamental accession prerequisites and priorities," he said, adding that Turkey's accession to the EU would contribute decisively to the cementing of security, stability and development in SE Europe.

    With the new model of cooperation to be inaugurated by prime ministers George Papandreou and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "new structures and schemes will be created in the context of a structured cooperation, with the (newly-formed) High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council and the participation of a variety of ministers from both sides," Droutsas added.

    Babacan, in his own address to the conference, assessed Greek-Turkish relations in a variety of sectors, noting that the relations have become very different from what they were a decade ago.

    "There is a visible, substantial improvement and cooperation is broader in many areas," Babacan said, and called premier Papandreou the Greek side's "architect" of the rapprochement.

    He spoke of the new chapter and new "tool" that will help bilateral relations proceed to the next phase, the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, the two prime ministers with 8-10 ministers from each side that will convene annually to examine a broad range of issues.

    Babacan said that much can be accomplished with the creation of synergies in the sectors of energy, culture, education and banking. "Thus, we will overcome some difficult matters, and I think that the political climate will be very significant," he stressed, while he also mentioned the gradual increase in trade between the two countries, with Greek investments of 6 billion dollars in Turkey, and expressed hope that his country will reach the same level.

    He said that Turkey's EU accession process was important for Turkey to come increasingly closer to the European structure but also for the reforms process and just state inside his country.

    Babacan further recalled that when he was finance minister, the Turkish economy was in a very bad state in 2002. Back then, he added, Turkey was borrowing at a 66 percent interest rate and its debt was 80 percent of GDP, but a few years later, after tough choices and decisions, the interest rates fell and immense structural changes and reforms were made in the banking sector. "We were very tough with the bankers, I must admit. Because we lost much due to the banking crisis in 2000, one-third of our GDP was lost within the space of one year. We introduced the sense of personal responsibility for the banks and their directors. In other words, if they did not follow the rules and the bank had problems, the directors and owners were responsible with their own wealth".

    He also said that Turkey was one of the few countries that began an "exit strategy" in September 2009 "and we saw positive results".

    "For countries with a high debt, fiscal cutbacks help in the expansion of economic growth...from the moment there is confidence, then development will follow," he concluded.

    Caption: Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas (L) and Turkish deputy prime minister Ali Babacan (R) arrive at an Economist conference in Athens, which they both addressed. (ANA-MPA/O. Panagiotou)

    [07] Nimetz briefs UN Sec.Gen

    New York (ANA-MPA) -- UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon met in New York on Thursday with his personal emissary in the FYROM name talks, Ambassador Matthew Nimetz, to discuss the current state of the talks, according to an announcement by the secretary general's spokesman.

    The announcement noted that Nimetz met separately in the past week with the FYROM negotiator Ambassador Zoran Jolevski and Greek negotiator Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, in the framework of the talks between the two sides, in order to hear their views on the current status of the talks.

    [08] Karatzaferis in Cyprus

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis arrived in Nicosia on Friday afternoon on a two-day visit to Cyprus.

    While in Nicosia, Karatzaferis will have meetings with the political leadership of Cyprus.

    On Friday evening, the LAOS leader is due to meet with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

    [09] Stocks end 2.22pct up

    Stocks ended up on Friday, with the composite index up 2.22 percent to end at 1,869.99 points, with the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks up 2.07 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.23 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index up 0.15 percent.

    The biggest gains were in Public Utilities, up 5.74 percent; and Food & Beverage, up 4.32 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Health, down 2.34 percent; and Financial Services, down 0.43 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 4.61 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 2.57 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 1.32 percent.

    Of the stocks traded, 94 were up, 75 were down, and 59 were unchanged.


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