|Sunday, 16 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-12-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>December 29, 2003
 Greece sends rescue unit, aid to SE Iran
Athens , 29/12/2003 (ANA)Two Hellenic Air Force transport planes departed for Kerman airport in southeastern Iran on Saturday afternoon carrying 20 rescue unit personnel, two specially trained dogs as well as pharmaceuticals and other aid for the quake-ravaged residents of Bam.
According to latest wire service reports on Saturday, Iranian officials said the death toll in Bam, an ancient city some 200 kilometers from Kerman, could reach 40,000.
Meanwhile, the Cypriot government announced that it will donate $100,000 to the Iranian government as aid to the beleaguered residents of Bam.
Additionally, Nicosia also has offered to send emergency crews to SE Iran as well as rescue equipment.
Iranian embassy collects aid here: The Iranian embassy in Athens on Sunday thanked local donors for their support of quake victims in the Bam district of SE Iran. The embassy also said it was preparing to coordinate the dispatch of humanitarian aid towards the country, with pharmaceuticals, tents and blankets high on the list of demands.
Finally, a local bank account will be set up soon to collection financial assistance.
Meanwhile, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos spoke by phone on Sunday with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in order to convey his personal condolences as well as those of the Cypriot government and people.
Financial and humanitarian aide by the island republic towards the quake-ravaged Bam district was also discussed.
 Stephanopoulos message stresses solution to Cyprus problem
Athens , 29/12/2003 (ANA)Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos over the weekend stressed that Cyprus’ membership in the European Union creates viable hopes that the entire population of the island will benefit from this development, in a holiday message sent to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
He also conveyed his wish for a comprehensive, just and viable solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions, the Union’s acquis communautaire and complete respect of human rights.
 Venizelos on internal PASOK developments
Athens , 29/12/2003 (ANA)Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos over the weekend said unremitting speculation over internal developments within ruling PASOK, namely, the issue of whether a leadership succession is imminent or not, is “tiresome and does not help in anything”.
He added that such speculation merely weakens the ruling party and the element of surprise, “it would be good if we waited the prime minister’s planning”.
However, he clarified that such planning does not only within the premier’s domain, saying responsibility belongs to all of PASOK’s top cadres. Venizelos, who spoke from his election district in Thessaloniki, said such responsibility is not only applicable to PASOK and the party’s success in the upcoming general elections, but towards the country as a whole.
 ND's Sioufas refers to 'ruling group' behind PASOK developments
Athens , 29/12/2003 (ANA)High-ranking main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Dimitris Sioufas on Sunday referred directly to a “ruling group” within the government in his comments vis-a-vis heightened speculation over various succession scenarios for PASOK’s leadership and the prime minister’s seat.
Speaking from the central town of Karditsa, Sioufas said:
“Everything that is happening, everything that is being planned by the government’s ruling group has nothing to do with society and its problems. These (developments) are taking place far from society, they are merely communications ploys; political tricks that will not be able to disorient citizens from their substantial and daily problems,” he said.
Moreover, Sioufas said ND’s strategy will remain constant, a strategy he said that is characterized by an “uncompromising clash with corruption, vested interests and the lack of meritocracy.”
“To the medieval machinations we, in contrast, offer continuity and a sense of responsibility,” he added.
 Montenegro police adviser arrested at airport
Athens , 29/12/2003 (ANA)Greek authorities on Sunday said a senior Montenegro police adviser was arrested 24 hours earlier at the Athens airport after a handgun and five rounds were found in his carry-on luggage.
Nedeljko Boskovic, 64, was detained shortly after attempting to pass a metal detector check and prior to boarding a flight back to Podgorica, Montenegro.
According to reports, he carried a firearm permit good for Montenegro but invalid in Greece.
He is due to face a local prosecutor.
 OA flight attendants on strike this week
Athens , 29/12/2003 (ANA)The flight stewards’ union of state-run Olympic Airways on Sunday announced another two 48-hour strikes for this week, part of continuing industrial actions by employees opposed to government plans to separate the national air carrier’s operations.
The latest strike will last until Tuesday, when the union’s leadership convenes again.
The flight attendants are the only remaining employee sector of the debt-ridden carrier not to accept the company’s latest reorganization, namely, separation into a new independent subsidiary, Olympic Airlines, and the early retirement of 260 stewards.
Scheduled OA flights affected by the strike will reportedly be covered by the new Olympic Airlines branch, Olympic Aviation – which covers domestic routes – as well as by Macedonian, OA’s charter subsidiary.
 Two seamen given jail time for cigarette smuggling
Athens , 29/12/2003 (ANA)A first instance court on the Cyclades island of Naxos on Saturday sentenced the Ukrainian skipper of North Korean-flagged freighter to 23 months in prison after his earlier conviction on cigarette smuggling charges.
The vessel’s second-in-command was sentenced to 22 months for the same conviction, while the remaining crewmembers were acquitted.
Authorities a day earlier seized 35 tons of contraband cigarettes, some 1.1 million packs, aboard the freighter, which was stranded off the holiday island of Santorini, in the southern Aegean Sea.
The vessel, identified as the “Elisabeth”, had departed Port Said, Egypt for Bar, in Montenegro. Bills of lading claimed it carried a cargo of cement, instead of the “Dorchester” and “Sovereign” brands of cigarettes loaded in its hold.
The convicted men were identified as Victor Shepel, the skipper, and first mate Volodymyr Izmaylov.