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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-08-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 1 August 2011 Issue No: 3852


  • [01] Education sector, tax system reform and utilization of public property, are the government's priorities, PM Papandreou says
  • [02] FM in London on Monday
  • [03] ND leader Samaras on the Eurozone decision
  • [04] KKE leader to meet with FinMin
  • [05] Taxi owners decide to continue strike, rally on Monday
  • [06] Taxi owners to blockade tolls at Rio-Antirrio bridge
  • [07] Makeshift tents removed from Athens' Syntagma Square; 8 arrests
  • [08] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [09] Epidaurus audience gives Kevin Spacey a standing ovation
  • [10] Elytis centenary celebrations on Lesvos
  • [11] Lavrentiadis denies implication in embezzlement scandal
  • [12] International drug trafficking ring dismantled; 123 kg of cocaine seized
  • [13] Frontex vessel picks up 60 illegal migrants from Cretan coast after being disembarked by migrant-runners
  • [14] 10 million contraband cigarettes seized on Thursday, finance ministry says
  • [15] Contraband cigarettes seized in Igoumenitsa
  • [16] Major fire threatening villages, monastery in Ioannina
  • [17] Major wildfire on Crete contained
  • [18] Wildfire rages on Corfu; Rethymno wildfire recedes
  • [19] Seismic activity continues near the village of Rio, southern Greece
  • [20] Four tourists arrested for paying bar tabs with counterfeit money
  • [21] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
  • [22] President Christofias urges for unity

  • [01] Education sector, tax system reform and utilization of public property, are the government's priorities, PM Papandreou says

    The education sector reform, the tax system reform and promoting economic growth through the utilization of public property are the three priorities set by Prime Minister George Papandreou for the next 12 months.

    In an interview with Bloomberg News, PM Papandreou underlined that the country needs radical reforms to make the economy more viable thus leading to stability.

    [02] FM in London on Monday

    Greek foreign minister Stavros Lambrinidis will visit London on Monday, according to a ministry announcement.

    Lambrinidis will have a working lunch with his British counterpart, foreign secretary William Hague.

    The Greek foreign minister will also give an interview on BBC's television programme "Hard Talk".

    [03] ND leader Samaras on the Eurozone decision

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras characterized the Eurozone agreement as "short-lived relief" maintaining that it does not constitute a solution or a way out of the country's problems.

    In an interview with Kathimerini's Sunday edition, Samaras acknowledged the positive impact of the debt settlement but expressed strong concern about "a selective default stain in return for a very limited debt reduction". He also said that there is a strong likelihood that the international markets will be firm in their position that the Greek debt is not sustainable and start seeing a new debt restructuring.

    Samaras clarified that he will not vote for the new agreement if there are no radical changes in the government policy.

    He also stated that his party is ready to govern and called for early elections.

    On the taxi sector issue, Samaras repeated that ND is in favour of the sector's deregulation under certain rules, including the population to taxi number ratio criterion. The ND leader sent a strong message to the striking taxi owners, stressing that their mobilizations are unfair to those who are affected by them.

    [04] KKE leader to meet with FinMin

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga will meet at 2:30 on Monday afternoon with government vice president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, at Papariga's request.

    The meeting was scheduled following a request by Papariga, according to a KKE announcement, which added that the party leader "will ask the minister to be briefed on matters concerning the crisis, the debt and the IMF".

    [05] Taxi owners decide to continue strike, rally on Monday

    Taxi owners on Sunday decided to continue their indefinite strike, currently in its fourth week, following a meeting of their federation.

    "We will continue our moblisations until the problem is resolved, Attica Taxi Owners Federation (SATA) president Thymios Lymberopoulos announced after the meeting.

    "We will continue with mobilisations, but we must avoid mistakes such as those in Piraeus where colleagues threw oil into the streets," Lymberopoulos said, and appealed for calm-headedness.

    He accused transport minister Yiannis Ragoussis and the Federation of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) of "dynamiting the climate".

    Taxi owners will hold a really outside the transport ministry on central Messogion Avenue in Athens at 10:00 on Monday morning.

    [06] Taxi owners to blockade tolls at Rio-Antirrio bridge

    Taxi owners in Achaia and surrounding regions have decided to blockade the tolls on the Rio Antirrio bridge linking the Peloponnese with northwestern Greece on Monday.

    They announced that they had decided an indefinite blockade of the tolls on the bridge, staring on Monday morning at 8:00 a.m., and of the road tolls at Rio on the Patras-Corinth highway.

    On Sunday, taxi owners in the area had allowed motorists to go through the tolls on the bridge and at Rio without paying.

    [07] Makeshift tents removed from Athens' Syntagma Square; 8 arrests

    City of Athens municipal employees assisted by police in the early morning hours of Saturday dismantled the makeshift campsite set up in Syntagma Square over two months ago by the so-called movement of the "indignants".

    The cleanup operation was launched at 4:00 a.m. and was completed four hours later at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.

    Police arrested 8 people -- 4 Greeks, 2 French, a German and a Romanian -- accused of violating environmental protection laws.

    A day earlier, Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis had stated that the remaining "campers" have no relation with the movement of the "indignants".

    An urgent preliminary investigation on the situation in Syntagma Square had also been ordered by First Instance Court prosecutor Eleni Raikou.

    Financial News

    [08] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.447

    Pound sterling 0.887

    Danish kroner 7.561

    Swedish kroner 9.204

    Japanese yen 112.25

    Swiss franc 1.158

    Norwegian kroner 7.853

    Canadian dollar 1.375

    Australian dollar 1.324

    General News

    [09] Epidaurus audience gives Kevin Spacey a standing ovation

    Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey on Friday night gave a stunning performance as "Richard III" in the ancient Epidaurus theatre in Peloponnese, southern Greece, winning a standing ovation from the audience.

    The Bridge Project production of "Richard III" directed by Sam Mendes and starring Kevin Spacey, will be performed at the ancient Epidaurus theatre again on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31.

    [10] Elytis centenary celebrations on Lesvos

    A series of cultural events are being on Lesvos island to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nobel Literature Prize winning poet Odysseas Elytis (1911-1996), a descendant of the island's eminent industrial Alepoudelis family.

    Elytis, born Odysseas Alepoudelis on November 2, 1911 in Heraklion, Crete, was regarded as a major exponent of poetic modernism in Greece, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1979 for his "Axion Esti".

    To mark the centenary anniversary, 2011 has been declared 'Elytis Year' by Greece's culture and tourism ministry.

    The venue of the events, from July 29-31, is the historic Vrana traditional Oil Press on the island of Lesvos, which re-opened as an Industrial Museum in 2009 after extensive restoration works that lasted three years by the Archipelagos Society.

    The Vrana Olive Oil Press, one of the first steam-powered factories from the industrial revolution of Lesvos, dates back to the 19th century.

    Built in 1887 in Papados village, in the Bay of Yera, the impressive stone and marble Press belonged to Nikolaos Vranas, Elytis' grandfather, and was in operation up to the early 1970s, while the olive oil it produced was traded throughout Greece and in Istanbul on the opposite Turkish coast on the Bosporus Strait.

    The Vrana Oil Press-Museum is a rare architectural monument and living proof of Lesvos' major industrial development in the second half of the 19th century, and of Elytis' origin.

    The events included the inauguration on July 29 of a thematic exhibition titled "Elytis' Lesvos' which will be on permanent display at the Museum.

    Another event was the world premiere of a musical work composed by George Kouroupos specifically for the centenary celebrations at the Vrana Museum, based on Elytis' poem "The Moon of Mytilene". The world premiere took place in the Museum's small courtyard on Friday, immediately after the inauguration of the thematic exhibition. Due to the limited space, the inauguration and first performance were by invitation only,with a repeat performance on Saturday. Lyric performers Spyros Sakkas and Daphne Panourgia took part in the performance, during which poems by Elytis were read out by the late poet's companion and poet Ioulita Eliopoulou.

    A larger concert, also free to the public, will be held on Sunday in the Museum's large courtyard, during which popular singer Alkistis Protopsalti will perform pieces from Elytis' first poetry collection "Prosanatolismoi" (Orientations, 1939), put to music by Elias Andriopoulos, which made her known to the Greek public 27 years ago.

    [11] Lavrentiadis denies implication in embezzlement scandal

    Businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, a major shareholder in Proton Bank, on Sunday denied any involvement in a 51 million euros embezzlement case that, according to press reports, the Greek money-laundering watchdog is currently investigating.

    In a statement, Lavrentiadis charged that the exploitation of his alleged involvement was an attack by a network of interests that seeks to control developments in the banking sector during an extremely critical period, adding that his business activities have always been "absolutely legal".

    Lavrentiadis categorically denied any accusation and involvement in such activities, calling the reports "ungrounded and extremely slanderous".

    In that direction, the announcement continued, Lavrentiadis asks for the immediate investigation by the Bank of Greece of such expediencies, adding that he will not remain a simple spectator in the case and will cooperate with the authorities so that light will be shed on the case in which his name has been implicated, and reserves all legal rights so that "the slanderers and all those hidden behind them will receive the reply they deserve".

    According to press reports, the head of the money-laundering watchdog, Supreme court prosecutor Panagiotis Nikoloudis on Wednesday issued a decision from which it arises that a 51 million euros embezzlement is being investigated, in which members of the Proton Bank board of directors are implicated. The decision, the reports said, call for a freeze on the movement of all bank accounts owned by Lavrentiadis and another seven people who have served on the bank's board.

    [12] International drug trafficking ring dismantled; 123 kg of cocaine seized

    Three local men from the city of Florina, NW Greece, are among the members of an international drug trafficking ring that operated in Greece, Serbia and fYRoM and attempted to smuggle 123 kg of cocaine through the seaport of Thessaloniki. Other nine members of the ring were also arrested, five in Serbia and four in fYRoM.

    Authorities had received information that the drugs were hidden in a container from Bolivia which, according to its accompanying documents, was carrying agricultural machinery. The container with the drugs was spotted at the seaport of Thessaloniki on June 19.

    The three Greeks arrested are a bank director, a bank employee and a customs officer serving at the Customs Office of Niki, who had undertaken to study the way the cocaine would be transported from Thessaloniki to fYRoM and then to Serbia.

    Authorities also arrested a woman, a Serbian national, who lived together with the bank employee, after finding in their possession a small quantity of hashish and cocaine. A gun and a large number of cartridges were found in the house of the customs officer.

    The Greek authorities acted in cooperation with Britain's SOCA, the United States' DEA, Serbian and fYRoM authorities.

    [13] Frontex vessel picks up 60 illegal migrants from Cretan coast after being disembarked by migrant-runners

    A Frontex vessel arrived Saturday evening at the port of Souda, Crete, with 60 illegal immigrants who had been spotted earlier in the day on the coast of Spatha, in Hania.

    The migrants included two pregnant women, one of which was in an advanced condition, as well as 20 minors and their parents.

    The two pregnant women and a lightly injured migrant were taken by ambulance to Hania hospital, while the rest of the migrants were put up at the old City Hall in Souda pending inspection of their data.

    The local authorities supplied water and food to the migrants.

    According to authorities, the migrants had been on the beach for at least 30 hours, after being disembarked by a migrant-running vessel.

    After they were spotted, an Irish Frontex vessel in the port of Souda headed to the area to pick up the migrants and bring them to Souda.

    [14] 10 million contraband cigarettes seized on Thursday, finance ministry says

    A total of 10 million contraband cigarettes were seized on Thursday by Thessaloniki customs officials, a finance ministry announcement said late Saturday night.

    The ministry said that the unpaid taxes corresponding to the contraband totaled 2,416,208 euros.

    Thessaloniki customs authorities on Thursday seized a container with contraband cigarettes in the northern Greek port.

    Police said the shipment had set off from Egypt, with Greece as its final destination.

    According to accompanying documents, the container was supposedly transporting bathroom fixtures.

    [15] Contraband cigarettes seized in Igoumenitsa

    A total of 250,000 packs of contraband cigarettes destined for Italy were seized by port authorities in Igoumenitsa, northwest Greece, late on Friday night.

    The cigarettes were found hidden in a refrigerator truck from Bulgaria carrying frozen potatoes. The truck driver, a Bulgarian national, was arrested.

    Foreign national arrested for stealing briefcase, extorting money for return of contents to owner

    A 33-year-old foreign national was arrested in Thessaloniki on Sunday after a Greek citizen filed a complaint that the man had stolen his briefcase and then tried to extort money to return the contents.

    The briefcase, which was stolen in downtown Thessaloniki, contained important documents and 1,000 euros in cash.

    The thief originally asked 100 euros from the owner to return the contents, but returned only part of the contents and asked another 50 euros to return the rest of the objects.

    The foreign national was arrested in downtown Thessaloniki during his second meeting with the victim, who was to pay the 50 euros for the return of the rest of the objects contained in his briefcase.

    [16] Major fire threatening villages, monastery in Ioannina

    ? major forest fire broke out at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday in the area of Kranoula, in the Ioannina prefecture of northwestern Greece, burning a large expanse of forest and local wildlife.

    The fire also threatened homes and the monastery of Aghia Paraskevi, skirting the mountainside to approach the village of Aspraggeloi in the Zagorochoria district, a popular tourism destination famous for its verdant slopes, quaint villages and beautiful landscapes.

    A team of fire-fighters on the ground, water-bombing aircraft and one helicopter were battling to put out the blaze.

    [17] Major wildfire on Crete contained

    A wildfire that broke out on Thursday night in the southern part of Rethymno, Crete, was reported as having been fully contained on Sunday noon, after burning thousands of stremma of forest and grazing land, olive groves, sheep pens and animals, and threatening tens of homes in villages in the municipality of Aghios Vassilios.

    A strong team of 11 fire engines with a 35-member crew and another 11 firefighters on foot remained at the site for precautionary reasons to deal with possible rekindling on minor fronts that were still smoking.

    The blaze was one of the largest in the area in recent years, and the second one to break out in the area in the space of two weeks.

    The Fire Brigade was investigating the possibility of arson.

    [18] Wildfire rages on Corfu; Rethymno wildfire recedes

    A wildfire broke out earlier on Saturday on the Ionian Sea island of Corfu burning olive groves and grassland near the villages of Skripero, Alimatades, Doukades and Troumbeta.

    Fire fighters are trying to contain the blaze that burns in the central part of the island fanned by strong 7 Beaufort velocity winds.

    Meanwhile, a major wildfire that broke out in an inaccessible area in Rethymno on the southern Aegean island of Crete last Thursday night has receded.

    A total of 56 fire fighters and 26 fire engines, as well as, 20 firemen on foot, three water-bombing helicopters and an aircraft, remain in the region to prevent new outbreaks. The fire has destroyed hundreds of hectares of farm land.

    [19] Seismic activity continues near the village of Rio, southern Greece

    Minor earthquakes continue along a fault in the seabed near the village of Rio, close to the port city of Patras in southern Greece.

    The latest and strongest of the quakes was recorded on Friday night just before 11:00 p.m. and measured 4 on the Richter scale followed by weaker tremors.

    The quakes are being felt in Rio, Patras, Antirrio, Nafpaktos and other towns and cities in the region because their epicentre is close to the earth's surface.

    The seismic activity started ten days ago and the phenomenon is being monitored by seismologists.

    [20] Four tourists arrested for paying bar tabs with counterfeit money

    Four Dutch tourists aged 20 to 24 were arrested on Sunday on the island of Crete for possession of counterfeit bills.

    After complaints that the tourists were paying drinking tabs at a bar in Hersonissos, in Heraklion prefecture, police launched a surveillance and located the Dutch nationals, who were positively identified by the bar's 40-year-old owner as the customers who over the past two days had paid their bills with counterfeit banknotes of 50 euros and 20 euros denominations.

    Police found 11 fake bills of 50 euros denomination and five fake bills of 20 euros denomination in their possession, and 1,055 genuine euros in cash of various denominations which they received in change from their transactions at the bar and at other similar establishments in the area.

    A search of their accommodations turned up another 900 euros from the above transactions.

    [21] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    Speculation on the terms of the new bailout loan for Greece dominated the main front-page headlines in Athens' newspapers on Sunday

    AVGHI: "Looting in August - Endless taxes, extraordinary fees, new salary cuts comprise the government policy and strategy that attempts to take the Greek people by surprise".

    AVRIANI: "Half the newspaper publishers and many bankers will go to jail if Lavrentiadis, who fled Greece knowing the storm was about to break, opens his mouth about the money laundering system".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Chancellor with super-authorities next to Papandreou, inspectors for ministers and governmental decisions".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The secret measures of the new Memorandum".

    ETHNOS: "Hot August - Privatisations with fast-track recipe".

    KATHIMERINI: "European Commission task force in open line with Maximos (government headquarters".

    REALNEWS: "5 explosive conditions for the new loan".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Development for the people means battle for its own rule".

    TO ARTHRO: "The ball is in Greece's court".

    TO VIMA: "What do you want? Do you want me to sell the Peloponnese? - Papandreou's statement at eurozone summit reveals in the most dramatic way the position in which he and the country found themselves".

    VRADYNI: "Deep cuts in retirement superannuity and auxiliary pensions as of September".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [22] President Christofias urges for unity


    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias on Sunday called for unity in the political arena.

    Speaking to the press after the memorial service held for the first President of Cyprus, the late Archbishop Makarios III, President Christofias reminded all of the advices and guidance of the late Archbishop.

    "Unity wanted", President said, following a ceremony at the tomb of Archbishop Makarios where he laid a wreath, underlining that "the most important lesson and advice we must draw from him at these really crucial moments, is the need for unity".

    Replying to a question whether him and DIKO party leader reached an agreement for a reshuffled government, during Saturday night's meeting, the president said today we pay tribute to Archbishop Makarios".

    President Christofias and DIKO leader Marios Garoyan met for a second time Saturday night and they agreed to hold a new meeting in the next few weeks to discuss the future of the coalition government.

    A memorial service took place earlier, in the presence of Party leaders and representatives, MPs, MEPs etc. The New Army Chief as well as the Police Chief also attended.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS

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