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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] US President hosts int'l roundtable, meets with alternate culture minister
  • [02] Athens Municipality takes measures to protect citizens against heatwave
  • [03] Athens tram completes first year of operation

  • [01] US President hosts int'l roundtable, meets with alternate culture minister

    Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia represented Greece at the International Democratic Union (IDU) roundtable hosted by US President George W. Bush in Washington on Tuesday morning (local time).

    According to Petralia, Bush "confirmed the very good relations the two countries maintain" and referred to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis as a "good friend" and "a very good politician."

    Furthermore, Bush once again praised the Greek government on the successful staging of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and placed particular emphasis on the fight against terrorism, Petralia said.

    Petralia also briefed the American president on the IDU Women's Conference, which will be held in Athens October 7-9, and was reassured of his support.

    Finally, the Greek minister also met with Under Secretary for Political Affairs and former US Ambassador to Greece Nicholas R. Burns.

    Petralia and Burns discussed utilisation of Olympic venues and the possibility of the two countries cooperating closely on cultural issues.

    [02] Athens Municipality takes measures to protect citizens against heatwave

    The Municipality of Athens announced a series of measures aimed at protecting the city's residents from the heatwave predicted to sweep through the country on Wednesday, with temperatures in Athens expected to reach 40 degrees centigrade.

    Specifically, the municipality announced that the 19 Friendship Societies and the 6 municipal health centres which operate throughout Athens and which are air-conditioned, will remain open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesday and for as long as the heatwave persists.

    The Athens Municipality Health Service also recommends that the elderly and those suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory problems stay out of the sun, in cool areas, avoid physical exertion and consume sufficient amounts of water.

    It has also asked that citizens who have relatives with health problems or who know of elderly people living alone, check on them regularly throughout the day in order to ensure their safety.

    [03] Athens tram completes first year of operation

    The Athens tram on Tuesday completed its first year of operation, during which it has apparently succeeded in winning over more customers but is still making a loss.

    An overview of the tram's first year was made at a press conference held by operators Tram SA on Tuesday to mark the anniversary, who presented figures for passenger traffic and outlined plans to extend the tram line to the centre of Piraeus and Voula.

    Operators also noted that the accidents seen in the early days of the tram's operation had now dropped off, as people became accustomed to its presence. They attributed the early problems to an insufficiently long pilot operation period, given that the tram used very advanced technology.

    According to the figures, there has been a sharp rise in passengers using the tram in the summer, from an average of 35,000 per day to 48,300 passengers per day. They said this was mainly due to those using the tram to go to the beaches closest to the capital on the southeast coast and to young people that used the 24-hour tram service to go to coastal nightclubs.

    In spite of this, the tram is expected to continue operating at a loss. It posted operating losses of six million euros during its first six months in 2004, with losses of 11 million euros forecast for 2005. This was attributed to the low cost of the ticket, which only covers 25 per cent of outlay, while profitability is expected to rise once the tram reaches Piraeus. The tram company said that this would bring an additional 35-40,000 passengers per day, allowing it to break even.

    They said the extension to Voula was expected to be completed in a year, while that to the centre of Piraeus in 2008, due to the complications presented by the layout of the city. Funds for both projects have already been approved by the 3rd Community Support Framework, while about 24 million euros will be spent on both projects for redevelopment.

    The company currently employs a staff of 505, of which 120 are drivers that were trained in Germany. Wages and personnel costs come to 14 million euros a year and account for 70 per cent of the company's operating costs.

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