|Monday, 21 January 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-11-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Politicians and government lay wreaths in honor of November 17 student uprising
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Events to commemorate the anniversary of November 17, the day on which junta forces crushed a 1973 student uprising in the Athens Polytechnic and killed several protestors, were being held throughout the Greek capital on Friday amid a heavy police presence.
Security measures are particularly tight since the anniversary is habitually marked by violent clashes between police and groups of self-proclaimed anarchist youths. Hundreds of university staff and students are guarding the Polytechnic grounds to prevent these groups from barricading themselves inside the Polytechnic - where they have asylum from police - while other Athens university schools will remain shut. Up to 3,000 police officers are also stationed in the area. Events traditionally culminate in a march to the US Embassy to protest against US support for the 1967-1973 military junta.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis marked the anniversary by laying a wreath in a Zografou cemetery on the grave of 17-year-old student Diomedes Komninou, who was murdered on November 17, 1973. Other members of the government laid wreaths on a monument in memory of the student martyrs at Athens Polytechnic, alongside hundreds of Athenians who came to lay flowers for the fallen students.
Among the first was Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who laid a wreath early in the morning, followed by Education Minister Petros Efthymiou.
An unexpected tribute came from Cyprus Parliament speaker Spyros Kyprianou, who laid a wreath and said that the Polytechnic uprising had triggered the fall of the junta. He also said that the greatest price for the junta had been paid by the heroes of the Polytechnic and by Cyprus, while he expressed the hope that true freedom, democracy and human rights on Cyprus would soon be restored.
Greek Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis laid a wreath shortly before noon, at the head of a Parliament delegation, while parliamentary deputy George Kalos laid a wreath on behalf of main opposition New Democracy.
Both Kaklamanis and Kalos were jeered and derided by a band of youths.
Representing the government was Foreign Minister George Papandreou, while the Communist Party of Greece was represented by deputy Antonis Skyllakos and the Coalition of the Left and Progress by party leader Nikos Constantopoulos.
Speeches etc are expected to continue late into the afternoon, while the march to the US Embassy is due to begin at 4:00
The celebrations came to an end on Friday with a march to the well-guarded US embassy in Athens.
The march started at 4 p.m. and was headed by a group of students carrying the Polytechnic's bloodstained flag. Two hours later it reached the US embassy, where police prevented demonstrators from approaching the building, and ended at about 7 p.m.
At the end of the march, members of the ruling socialist PASOK party's youth organization were attacked with stones and sticks near Mavili Square, close to the US embassy, by other youths. However, the troublemakers were swiftly isolated and driven away.
An American flag held at the head of the march was daubed with swastikas instead of stars, while slogans chanted were anti-imperialist and, primarily, anti-American and became stronger in front of Parliament and the US embassy.
In a customary statement made on the arrival of the head of the march in front of the US embassy, a female medical student said, among others, the heightening of anti-Americanism expressed in front of the American embassy shows that the Greek people "will always struggle against the war of American, European and Greek imperialism."
All streets from where the march passed were heavily guarded by police. Streets close to the demonstrators' route to the US embassy were closed to traffic, while public buildings were also guarded.
 PASOK denounces attack on party youth organization members
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)In an announcement on Friday night, the PASOK party denounced the attack with stones and sticks against members of the party's youth organization during the Polytechnic anniversary march held earlier in the day.
"PASOK denounces with indignation and anger the so-called 'leftists' of the extra parliamentary left who attacked, reviled and injured members of the PASOK youth organization during the Polytechnic march today," the announcement said.
 Gov't says it will ratify int'l land mine pact under certain conditions
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)The government on Friday announced that it would have no problem ratifying an international agreement foreseeing the abolition of anti-personnel land mines "as long as necessary conditions are formulated."
National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos made the statements in Parliament in reply to a tabled question over Athens' intent concerning the 1997 Ottawa Convention on the "Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Landmines." "Our country is not procuring new mines and has begun the process of cleaning current land mine fields," Tsohatzopoulos said, adding however, that he is referring to a "gradual" elimination of land mines because neighboring Turkey has not signed the same agreement.
In closing, he again reiterated that Greece will ratify the agreement on humanitarian grounds and because Greek-Turkish relations are continuing to improve, as he noted.
 Tribute to martyr Georgakis in Ilioupolis museum
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)A event paying tribute to the memory of Costas Georgakis, who died protesting for democracy in Greece in 1970, took place on Thursday night at the National Resistance Museum in Ilioupolis. Georgakis had sent himself alight in Genoa in 1970 to protest against the military junta that was then in power in Greece.
 L.A. Times claim that US, Britain are anxious over "Athens 2004" securityWASHINGTON D.C. 18/11/2000 (ANA - T. Ellis)
The United States and Britain are anxious about the safety of their athletes and citizens that will arrive in Greece to attend the "Athens 2004" Olympic Games, an article in the Los Angeles Times, a California daily claimed. "Concerns over terrorism in Greece have surfaced over the last few weeks in the United States and Britain as Olympic officials turn their focus to Athens and the 2004 Games," LA Times staff writer Allan Abrahamson, claimed.
"The safety of U.S. and British athletes, officials and spectators is under review as security experts assess the risk from a left-wing, vehemently anti-American terrorist group called 17 November. It is Greece's deadliest, Europe's most elusive," he added.
The article noted the November 17 victim Dimitrios Angelopoulos in Athens street in 1986, calling him a close relative of Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee President Yianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
The article also reprinted statements by former CIA director R. James Woolsey and International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch expressing their worries over security issues in Athens.
"Unless Greece breaks the power of 17 November within the next year or two, I would predict that there are going to be a large number of Americans and Britons . . . who are going to worry about whether or not their athletes and spectators are going to find 17 November as part of their reception committee in Athens in 2004," Woolsey said according to the article
Abrahamson noted that "aiming to ease international anxieties, Greek officials have insisted in recent weeks that the Games will be carried out in 'absolute security."
But added that "seven months ago, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said the situation in Greece was the worst organizational debacle he'd seen in his 20 years atop the IOC."
"Other Olympic officials ticked off their worries over security and dissatisfaction with other issues, including the city's transport system, the pace of venue construction and the number of available hotel rooms," the writer claimed.
He made mention, however that "in public, senior Olympic officials discount the possibility of moving the Games elsewhere. Jacques Rogge, the influential IOC delegate from Belgium who heads the coordination commission, says flatly, 'There is no Plan B.'"
On the other hand he claimed that "behind the scenes, however, anxiety over Athens is considerable, and Seoul and Los Angeles are often mentioned as the most likely sites to take the Games on short notice."
Abrahamson also used an one Olympic insider, speaking on condition of anonymity who allegedly said "I don't want this franchise we've spent  years building up getting [messed up] by Greeks who can't get their act together".
He stressed that "the security issue, after the massacre during the 1972 Munich Games of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, has been sensitive in the run-up to virtually every Olympics since".
The article made note of Greek officials who said that "the Saunders slaying as a turning point. Simitis promised to take the necessary steps to 'eradicate the scourge of terrorism' and Foreign Minister George Papandreou has vowed that the government will cooperate with British authorities and find Saunders' killers."
The writer also noted that "In Washington in September to sign an agreement broadening cooperation between the FBI and Greek police in fighting terrorism and other crimes, Michalis Chrysohoidis, Greece's minister for public order, said the nations were taking steps to end a "climate of distrust" on terrorism issues. He also told reporters that fighting terrorism was a "top political priority" in Greece and that the government had increased the reward to $4.2 million for information leading to arrests of members or the dismantling of N17."
 IOC chief cites confidence over 2004 preparations
WARSAW, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Soon to retire International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Juan Antonio Samaranch appeared confident here on Friday of Athens' ability to successfully organize the 2004 Olympics.
In addressing the general assembly of European countries' Olympic committees, Samaranch reiterated his vote of confidence towards the Greek government and the 2004 organizers.
"The 2004 Games will take place in Athens. I have complete confidence in the people of Athens, the Greek government and the organizing committee (ATHOC)," the one-time Spanish diplomat said, just four days before a high-ranking IOC delegation arrives in Athens to gauge the progress of preparations thus far.
Stinging criticism by Samaranch in mid April over delays raised eyebrows in Athens and generated quick responses from the government as well as a subsequent shake-up in ATHOC's leadership.
The powerful IOC president at the time tersely stated that the 2004 Games would be in "danger" unless Greek organizers made "drastic" changes by the end of the year. However, he later qualified his unprecedented warning the same day during at a press conference in Lausanne by saying: "I cannot imagine the Games will not be held in Athens... We hope after this warning all things will be in the right way."
In a related development, Greek courts issued the first rulings this week against Internet sites using the 2004 Games' emblem and other Olympics-related banners without authorization.
 Athens pressing for improvements in EU-Turkey partnership text
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Greece is apparently promoting improvements in the text of a proposed EU-Turkey partnership agreement, an issue the Union's foreign ministers are expected to discuss on Monday in Brussels.
Along those lines, a recent Europarliament resolution -- 429 in favor, 24 against and 78 abstentions -- calls on Turkey to withdraw its occupation forces from the northern part of Cyprus.
"...the points mentioned in the resolution give Turkey the opportunity to prove, as a candidate state, that it has the volition and ability to gradually, but steadily adapt to the spirit and letter of European principles and values," Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi stated on Friday.
"Just as with the other candidate states the same holds true for Turkey; its progress will be recorded, based on its (Turkey) relationship with the Union, in the annual progress report that takes the Euro parliaments decisions into consideration," she added.
In terms of the resolution approved by the Euro parliaments plenary, besides calling for the withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces from Cyprus, the votes requests that the European Council ensure that all candidate-states respect the territorial integrity of EU members. The resolution also praises the recent commencement of contacts aimed at developing Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) between Athens and Ankara.
 Athens mayor to attend official presentation of major projects by municipality of Istanbul
ISTANBUL, 18/11/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos will attend the official presentation of the municipality of Istanbul's major infrastructure projects on Saturday.
Avramopoulos was due in Istanbul on Friday evening from Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and will attend a dinner given in his honor by the Mayor of Istanbul Ali Mufit Gurduna.
The projects to be presented concern water supply and drainage and are part of the "Master Plan 2040" program aimed at securing water supply for the city's population.
The program inaugurated by Gurduna anticipates a series of important infrastructure projects until 2040 on upgrading and extending water supply and drainage systems.
 Tsohatzopoulos: Hellenic Airforce accident rate on par with most modern airforces in the world
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)The Hellenic Air Force's accident rate was at the same level as the most modern airforces in the world, national defense minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told parliament on Friday.
"The accident rate of the Hellenic Airforce is at the same level with the most modern airforces in the world, despite the fact that Greek operators (pilots) are obliged to fly more hours as they face quasi conditions of war," Tsohatzopoulos said in reply to a question tabled in Parliament by main opposition New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyanni following last week's crash of an F-16 fighter jet while on a training flight that cost the life of its pilot.
Tsohatzopoulos said that newer flight simulators (for fighter planes) ordered by the Airforce in 1997 had not been "fully taken delivery of" as they were currently at the testing stage. The minister blamed the manufacturer for the delay, and initiated that sanctions would be imposed on the company for failure to meet its contractual obligations.
The minister explained that the human factor was primarily responsible in such accidents, accounting for 70 percent of the incidents, while 30 percent was attributed to unforeseeable factors such as weather conditions, equipment failure, etc.
Tsohatzopoulos added that the training of the Greek operators followed the same models and standards in effect for all the airforces of the world.
Bakoyanni, who holds the foreign and defense portfolio in the main opposition party's "shadow government", said that flight safety was not functioning effectively, noting that seven accidents involving airforce jets had occurred in the past year, causing the death of nine operators.
 Albania pledges to improve human rights legislation
TIRANA, 18/11/2000 (ANA/Reuters)Albania pledged on Friday to draw up improved citizens' rights legislation following Greece's complaints over the mistreatment of the ethnic Greek minority in the south of the small Balkan country, which culminated in violence during the October local elections.
"The prime minister expressed his conviction that Albania will compile and apply an advanced legislation, one of the most progressive in Southeastern Europe...The legislation would further improve the rights of all Albanian citizens," an Albanian government spokesman said.
Greece reacted strongly to the unfair treatment of ethnic Greeks in Albania during last month's elections warning that country that such behavior could damage its relations with the European Union. Ethnic Greeks in Himara complained that police kept them away from polling stations. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had said there were "serious irregularities" in the area. Greece's Foreign Ministry General Secretary George Savaidis on a visit to Tirana told Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta that Tirana had to review its legislation on minorities if it wanted to get closer to the EU.
EU member Greece has cited alleged voting violations during October local elections in and around the Greek speaking town of Himare, on Albania's western coast.
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou has written to European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten about what he said was a serious lack of democracy in Albania and a need to respect the rights of the Greek minority. The EU is expected to send a committee in early 2001 to discuss a cooperation agreement with Albania.
 Papandreou answers Karatzaferis charges of altering Greek-Albanian border
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday that Albania's failure to respect the principles on which its bilateral relations with Greece were built would not only create problems in its relations with Greece but also with its European course.
Papandreou was responding to a question put by independent deputy George Karatzaferis about delineating the Greek-Albanian border.
Answering Karatzaferis' question more specifically, Papandreou said that Greece and Albania had both signed an friendship and cooperation agreement proclaiming their intention to preserve existing borders between their countries in 1996. This was followed by a 1998 initiative, the minister explained, to step up cooperation between the Greek and Albanian defense ministries on maintaining and increasing border lookouts.
Under this agreement, he said, a joint Greek-Albanian committee met every four months to discuss this issue, with the next meeting scheduled to take place in Ioannina on November 22-23.
Papandreou stressed that there was no issue of changing borders.
Karatzaferis responded with very strong words and accused the minister of lying, claiming that through the above process, one border post, water-supply pipes, fields and property had passed over to the other side of the border.
Papandreou replied in more low-key fashion, saying that "Greece is now a country that is proud and independent, which wins its battles in a more effective way than in older times which brought the country to tragic moments, such as Cyprus."
At another point, Papandreou also said that agreements between Greece and Albania specifically stress respect for fundamental human and minority rights as a condition for good bilateral relations. "This also means the Greek minority, whether they live in Himare or anywhere else," he said.
 Albanian government spokesman publicises Albanian PM's replies to Greek PM's letter
GJIROKASTER, 18/11/2000 (ANA - P. Barkas)Albanian government spokesman Thoma Gelci on Friday publicized the replies given by Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta to a letter by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, delivered on Wednesday by Greek Foreign Ministry Secretary General Savvaidis.
On the question of Greece's position on Albania's foreign policy, Gelci said Meta clarified the Albanian government's position which "considers Greece, as well as Italy, as strategic partners of Albania."
Referring to the cancellation of the military agreement between the corresponding defense ministries (resulting in the withdrawal from Albania of the Greek force in Tirana last August) which constituted another part of Simitis' letter, Meta clarified that "this was the result of technical and not political problems."
Gelci also said the Albanian Prime Minister did not accept that "there are blocked Greek investments in the country, because Albanian reality by itself speaks of Greek investments on the increase."
 Development minister chairs meeting in light of Monday's EU Council of Agriculture Ministers
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Consumers are increasingly concerned over the "mad cows" disease and its repercussions for health, while ministries involved in the issue indicated they are expecting the undertaking of relevant initiatives and the enactment of unified measures at European Union level.
Meanwhile, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis chaired a meeting of government officials on Friday in light of the EU's Council of Agriculture Ministers on Monday. Referring to unilateral measures afterwards, Christodoulakis said "we believe they are not effective necessarily."
"There should also be unified handling policies in a unified market. This is the position which the relevant Agriculture Minister Mr. Anomeritis will support, who is already in Brussels in light of the Fisheries Council which took place yesterday and that of Agriculture which will take place on Monday," he added. It was further noted that all control regulations imposed by the EU are strictly adhered to in Greece.
 Greece's current account deficit jumps in July-August
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Greece's current account deficit jumped to 344 billion drachmas in the July-August period, from a surplus of 163 million euros in the same period last year, official figures showed on Friday. This negative development is attributed to soaring oil prices in international markets and to a significant rise in imported car and machinery prices.
The country's current account deficit rose by 41 percent to 4.618 billion euros, from 2.256 billion last year. Fuel imports totaled 3.2 billion euros in the January-August period, up from 1.2 billion the same period last year, while imports for cars and capital equipment exceeded 18 billion drachmas. Export revenues totaled 6.9 billion drachmas, leaving the country's trade balance with a shortfall of 14.2 billion euros, up from 10.2 billion in 1999.
Greece's services balance showed a surplus of 5.5 billion euros in the first eight months of 2000, up from 4.6 billion euros last year, reflecting higher revenues from transport services. The country showed a net outflow in direct investments, both in the July-August and the January-August periods, and a net inflow in portfolio investments. The financial transactions' balance showed a surplus of 5.6 billion euros, up from a surplus of 768 million last year. Greece foreign exchange reserves totaled 14.9 billion euros at the end of October.
 Investors will show interest in Olympic Airways, government says
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Investors will show interest for Olympic Airways' healthily parts, Transport Minister Christos Verelis said on Friday.
Speaking in parliament, Verelis urged OA's workers to help in an effort to privatize the national carrier and reiterated that Olympic Airways would be relocated to a new Athens airport in Spata by March 1, 2001.
Main opposition political party ND's deputies accused the government of intendedly demeriting the airline company to sell its healthy parts to vested interests.
 EAB privatization tender annulled
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)A tender for the partial privatization of the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) was annulled Friday by the government, after offers failed to meet financial and other conditions. A new call for tenders will be issued at a later date, national economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou said.
 Greece lowers ferry age-ceiling, calls for EU limit
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis said on Friday that Greece would lower the age-ceiling for passenger ships to 30 years from the current 35 years in 2006. Papoutsis in November had asked the European Union's executive Commission to introduce a ceiling in the 15-nation bloc, which currently has no ruling on the age of ferries. Individual member countries also have no age limit. He also sought EU measures to restrict passenger shipping in adverse weather conditions.
 Enterprise Oil to begin exploration in Ioannina in 2001
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Enterprise Oil is to begin exploring for oil in the prefecture of Ioannina in the second half of 2001, its general director, Ivan Inchenko told reporters in Ioannina on Friday. The 57,000 square meter site for exploration is next to a national highway linking Ioannina and Kozani.
 Papantoniou to present Greek economic prospects to German Chambers next week
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)National Economy and Finance Minister, Yiannos Papantoniou, will present Greek economic developments and prospects after EMU entry to a seminar organized by the German Chambers' Union next Tuesday in Berlin.
During his three-day visit in Berlin, Papantoniou will meet with Economy Minister Dr. Werner Muller and Finance Minister Hans Eichel and with German business representatives. The Greek minister will inaugurate a "Greek Week" in Germany, organized by the German Chambers' Union.
 Pouliadis gets stake in travel software manufacturer
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Pouliadis & Associates said on Friday it had bought a 40 percent stake in Panasoft, a manufacturer of software applications for airlines and travel agents.
Panasoft's Travel Force package has been sold to countries including Cyprus, Germany and France. It includes a ticketing application.
 Greek stocks fall to new year lows
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Equity prices ended the last trading session of the week sharply lower, pushing the general index to new lows for the year on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Blue chips came under strong pressure leading the market's decline. Panafon fell 4.51 percent, Hellenic Telecoms dropped 3.77 percent, Alpha Bank eased 3.21 percent and Eurobank fell 2.48 percent. On the other hand, smaller capitalization stocks showed greater resistance. The general index ended 1.87 percent lower at 3,411.76 points, breaking its previous record close for the year at 3,429.64 in August 30, 2000. The index showed a net loss of 5.72 percent in the week. Turnover was a low 55.85 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 2.04 percent lower at 1,942.03 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index eased 0.35 percent to 414.69 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 0.04 percent lower at 361.31 points.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 203 to 123 with another 30 issues unchanged. Hellenic Telecoms, Piraeus Bank, Papastratos, National Bank and Alpha Bank were the most heavily traded stocks.
 Equity futures end down, tracking Athens bourse
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Friday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 2.12 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.49 percent lower.
Turnover was 18.092 billion drachmas.
A total of 3,710 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 14.7 billion drachmas.
On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 1,966 contracts changed hands on turnover of 3.3 billion drachmas.
 Greek bond spreads stable below 69 basis points
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Greek bond spreads remained stable below 69 basis points on Friday, reaffirming the domestic market's stable condition, despite limited activity due to a half-day holiday in the country.
Traders said buying interest for Greek securities focused on 10-year and 20-year bonds. Turnover totaled 14 billion drachmas. The Greek 10-year bond yield closed at 5.86 percent while the German 10-year Bund's yield was 5.16 percent.
In the domestic interbank market, short-term rates rose due to tigher liquidity conditions in the market. National Bank's over-night rate rose to 8.5 percent. Its two-day rate was 8.5 percent while the one-month and the 12-month rates were stable at 7.20 percent and 5.50 percent, respectively.
The drachma eased against the US dollar and the euro currency at the day's fixing to 396.930 drachmas per dollar and to 340.200 drachmas per euro.
 Greece to auction 12-month T-bills next Tuesday
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)The Greek state will auction a 12-month treasury bill issue in paperless form, worth 50 billion drachmas, and a three-month T-bill issue, worth two billion drachmas, next Tuesday, November 21.
Settlement date was set Friday 24, November. The finance ministry will pay a 0.45 percent and a 0.15 percent commissions for the two issues, respectively.
 Archbishop of Tirana inaugurates conference on "Christian Art and Culture in Albania"
TIRANA, 18/11/2000 (ANA)A three-day international scientific conference on "2000 years of Christian Art and Culture in Albania", organized by the Albanian Orthodox Autocephalous Church, opened here on Thursday. A total of 48 speakers will address the event, 14 of whom are non-Albanians.
Inaugurating the conference, Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios said, among others, "at this present difficult phase in its reconstruction Albania, parallel to the political and economic effort, needs to obtain inspiration and strength for its further course and progress from the best seams of its cultural tradition."
 Times refers to Byzantine Empire's treasures in New York Metropolitan Museum
NEW YORK, 18/11/2000 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)A front page report in the Times' cultural supplement on Friday refers to the importance of the New York Metropolitan Museum's new halls which are presenting treasures of the Byzantine Empire.
The focal role played by the Byzantium in the course of the globe's cultural history was reminded, while it was stressed that the exhibition has been established in the museum's central halls.
The report said the exhibition aims at and succeeds in proving that Byzantine culture was a cultural phenomenon in constant movement which produced two golden ages.
 Video-game arcade owner gets employee to bomb rival arcade chain
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)A video arcade owner was arrested on Friday on charges of hiring someone to bomb his competitor's premises. Police said that Ioannis Boletsis, 57, had asked his 31-year-old Bulgarian employee Ivan Alexandrov to set bombs in video arcades owned by Christos Vaxevanakis.
In Boletsis' possession, police discovered two revolvers, one handgun, one miniature pistol disguised as a key-chain, 600 shells, 359 tapes recording tapped telephones conversations, as well as typed and hand-written official complaints. In the Bulgarian's house, meanwhile, police discovered a double-barrelled shotgun, a knife, tens shells and 600,000 drachmas.
Vaxevanakis and Boletsis both owned chains of rival video-game arcades in Athens and Piraeus, which were in direct competition.
At some stage, Boletsis told his Bulgarian employee to set explosive devices in Vaxevanakis' arcades, the first being set on July 26 on Satomvriandou Street in Athens. Two eye-witnesses saw Alexadrov in the area after the explosion and positively identified him afterwards.
Meanwhile, two similar explosive devices went off on August 3 and October 10 in Vaxevanakis' arcades in Tavros and Piraeus, causing only material damage.
In addition to the above charges, Boletsis was also charged with illegally tapping telephone lines belonging to lawyers, police and businessmen and of making anonymous complaints about police officers to the authorities to create problems for them. Two such anonymous complaints were found in his office.
 Couple arrested for selling fake invoices to companies to use in tax fraud
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Police arrested a couple in Athens on Friday on charges of providing fake invoices to enable businesses to mislead the tax department.
Christos Stathis, 56, and his wife Maria, 48, would ask for a 14-per-cent cut of whatever sum the invoice was made out for. They were caught when an undercover officer presented himself as a businessman with tax problems and asked for a fake invoice of 235 million drachmas. Stathis agreed to do it in return for nearly 33 million drachmas.
The transaction was made with marked notes, and Stathis and his wife were arrested immediately afterward. After searching their house, police also seized the fake invoices, a fake contract and notes regarding the illegal transaction, various bank books and cheque books, two Liberian passports, one of them diplomatic, and a Brazilian passport with Stathis' picture made out in his name.
In addition, they found the seals of various companies, as well as the seals and signs of the Central African Republic's consulate. Similar signs were found in the couple's offices. According to the foreign ministry, neither were registered consuls of the Central African Republic.
Police have also called in the government's financial crimes squad to seize all the company books and carry out an investigation to determine the total amount of the fake invoices, and how they managed to avoid making VAT payments on the invoices they issued.
 Three arrested on cigarette smuggling charges
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)Three men, including a policeman and a Bulgarian national, have been arrested in northern Greece on charges of cigarette smuggling, Thessaloniki police said Friday.
They said Thomas Argyropoulos, a policeman stationed at the Xirolimni police station in Kozani, Bulgarian national Ivan Kerasov, and Thessaloniki resident Achilleas Sarmis were arrested on charges of smuggling large quantities of contraband cigarettes and are believed to belong to a widespread cigarette smuggling ring.
Police said in an announcement that the three detainees maintained a large warehouse in Sarmis' name in Neochorouda village, outside Thessaloniki, where they hid the contraband cigarettes and loaded them onto trucks destined for foreign countries.
A police raid at the warehouse turned up three trucks with Bulgarian license plates loaded with 648,000 cartons of duty-free cigarettes, and another 378,800 cartons of cigarettes hidden in the warehouse.
A search later of an office belonging to Argyropoulos in downtown Thessaloniki, from where the deals for the cigarette smuggling activities were arranged, turned up 33 million drachma and 10,000 US dollars in cash, bank books with deposits totaling 30 million drachma, a ledger listing numerous deals for the contraband cigarettes, two unlicensed pistols, and a licensed service revolver belonging to Argyropoulos.
The cash, bank books, ledger and firearms were all confiscated.
 Turkish immigrant smugglers arrested
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)The Coast Guard on Friday arrested two immigrant smugglers from Turkey off the coast of Cos island after a chase, local port authorities said.
They said Turkish nationals Glirleyik Ergun 29, and Cankart Barbaros, 24, were arrested following a chase at sea after they refused to stop for a search when their speedboat, with a high-powered engine, was spotted in the Psalidi sea region without navigation lights.
The authorities said the two men accelerated and tried to head back to the Turkish coast when they were spotted, ignoring calls by a local patrol boat to stop.
The speedboat was immobilized after a chase and warning shots were fired by the patrol boat, and was escorted to port, where it was confiscated.
The two men confessed during questioning that they had disembarked 19 illegal immigrants, including 2 children and 2 women, on a remote beach on Cos.
The detainees were due to be taken before a public prosecutor, while an extensive search was launched to locate the illegal immigrants.
 Migrant smuggler, four Iraqis nabbed in NE Greece
Athens, 18/11/2000 (ANA)A 21-year-old Rhodopi man was arrested on charges of migrant smuggling on Friday after four Iraqi illegals were discovered in his car.
Border guards on the 30th kilometer of the Komotini - Xanthi roadway stopped the passengers and vehicle.
The suspect was identified as Hussein Ibrahim, from the community of Arsakeio, Rhodopi prefecture. All four men were arrested and expected to face a local prosecutor.
Another man is also wanted in relation to the incident.
 Swedish FM holds meetings on UN-led Cyprus proximity talks
NICOSIA, 18/11/2000 (CNA/ANA)Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, told a joint press conference with her Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, in Nicosia on Friday that she had conveyed the message to both sides on the island that they must be constructive in the context of UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus problem, and reiterated that the European Union has decided not to set a settlement as a precondition for the island's accession.
Lindh, whose country will be presiding over the European Union for the first half of the year 2001, said that her country would keep the 15-nation's bloc enlargement as a top priority.
Kasoulides pointed out that Lindh "has been very interested in developments on the question of the solution of the problem of Cyprus".
He said they discussed the Cyprus problem and settlement efforts, as well as the island's European Union accession source, adding that Sweden "considers the enlargement process as one of the main important tasks of its presidency where all the difficult chapters for negotiations will open".
The Cyprus foreign minister also said "Cyprus is looking to-wards the next semester, in order to be able to provisionally conclude negotiations in a substantial number of chapters and we wish and we are sure that we are going to witness a very successful presidency for the next six months".
Lindh, who met earlier with President Glafcos Clerides, said she was "now making a tour to all the candidate countries", as last week "we received the report from the Commission about enlargement" and "we thought it was very important to get the assessment from the candidate countries themselves".
She added "Sweden is giving enlargement a big priority, it is our main and first priority for the Swedish presidency, so we attach great importance to the possibility both to try to conclude as many chapters as possible, to try to start with the difficult issues
concerning the negotiations as soon as possible, so as to be able to conclude them as soon as possible".
Asked if she was satisfied with the strategy presented by the Commission on enlargement, Lindh said "it is an important paper but I do think it is important to have a possibility to start with some difficult questions".
Lindh noted that "our main principle is that we think all countries should be treated according to their own merits" and that "one should not try to keep the countries together but work with differentiations so as soon as any country is ready to open or close chapters they should have the possibility to do so".
Regarding Cyprus' peace process in relation to its European Union accession course, Lindh said "we have to stick to what we have already decided in Helsinki" and that "of course everybody in the European Union wants to see a political solution for Cyprus but at the same time we decided in Helsinki it is not a precondition".
Replying to questions, Lindh said it was "very important that we now stick to the UN-led talks" and pointed out that the European Union position "has been defined in the Helsinki decision".
"We are just supporting the UN-led talks and we want to see their outcome. From the European Union perspective we try not to comment upon the different steps in the UN-led talks. That is now the task of the Secretary General and his Special Adviser to continue the UN-led talks. We will support him. Our decision was in the Helsinki conclusions. If we are supposed to address all the different steps on the way there, I am afraid there might be a risk that we will make more confusion in the talks", she said.
Asked about her meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the Swedish Foreign Minister said "I had the same message for Denktash that I think everyone and he has to be very constructive in the UN-led talks. We are all hoping for a political solution but at the same time in Helsinki we decided it is not a precondition but it will facilitate and of course everyone is opting for a political solution".
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island.
UN-led proximity talks, separate meetings of the UN with President Clerides and Denktash, began last December, aim at reaching a comprehensive settlement.
 Interior minister says influx of illegal immigrants to Cyprus has increased
NICOSIA, 18/11/2000 (CNA/ANA)Interior Minister, Christodoulos Christodoulou, said on Friday that over the past few months there has been an increased influx of illegal immigrants to Cyprus, mainly from Middle East countries.
He said the problem has been causing concern to Cyprus authorities and that a meeting has already been scheduled for senior officers, in the presence of President Glafcos Clerides and Ministers, to examine all aspects of the matter and take further measures, to prevent illegal immigrants disembarking and to deport those who make it to the shores of the island.
Speaking after a meeting of the House of Representatives Interior Committee, Christodoulou said he is scheduled to visit Syria and Lebanon to discuss the problem and ways to cooperate in order to effectively tackle the situation.
Replying to questions regarding the 45 illegal immigrants who arrived four days ago, Christodoulou said they left a Syrian harbor in two boats, noting that 35 of them have already been taken to an area in the Nicosia Central Prisons, with special arrangements and facilities.
Among them are 29 Syrians and four Iranians. Christodoulou said he has already contacted the Syrian authorities, to have the immigrants deported there, as provided for in a bilateral agreement.
 Clerides receives former UN Representative
NICOSIA, 18/11/2000 (CNA/ANA)Former UN Special Representative in Cyprus Gustave Feissel has described as very useful a project by the US Embassy in Nicosia aimed at promoting relations and tolerance between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
Feissel, who was received on Friday by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, told the press he came to Cyprus because he had been asked by the US Embassy "to be helpful in the project to promote greater tolerance between the two communities", adding he took advantage "to pay a courtesy call" to president Clerides.
Asked to be more specific on his own role in the project, he said. "the US Embassy has been active in promoting activities which would encourage better relations, greater tolerance between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, and I was asked to be helpful in some aspects related to that and I think it is a very useful endeavor".
"They have the strategy, they have the program, they just asked me to be helpful on some aspects of it", Feissel noted.
Asked whether he has been briefed on developments on the Cyprus problem, he said "one hears things". However, he said he is not "really up to date on what is happening", as he is not involved in the efforts for a solution.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.