|Friday, 15 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-01-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greek PM meets visiting Japanese counterpart in Athens
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis met visiting Japanese counterpart Yoshiro Mori on Saturday evening, for talks that lasted one and a half hours.
Mori arrived in Athens for a two-day official visit, his first to Greece.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Simitis said that bilateral relations between Greece and Japan were excellent and that he had accepted an invitation to visit Japan.
According to the Greek premier, as an equal member of EMU with high rates of development, Greece could act as a springboard for businesses interested in penetrating the euro-zone. The two premiers also noted important opportunities for bilateral cooperation in tourism and culture.
Simitis informed Mori about the course of Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue, where he said Japan could have a positive influence for progress as a member of the G-8 group.
Mori conveyed Japan's warmest thanks for the quick release of the Japanese tourists taken hostage during a bus-hijacking in November, while he announced that Japan would be donating more than one billion dollars for the reconstruction of the Balkans.
The Japanese PM also hailed Simitis' "serious efforts...with regard to Greek-Turkish relations" while saying that Greek-Turkish rapprochement was vital for stabilizing Eastern Europe.
He added that a mixed state and private-sector delegation would be arriving in Greece from Japan as soon as possible to promote tourism-related issues in view of the Olympic Games in 2004.
 Severe weather front sweeps across Greece, 'medi-copter' missing
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)Two people died and another six were presumed dead on Sunday evening in weather-related fatalities in the wake of a ferocious storm front that swept through Greece.
Widespread flooding in the lowlands of Attica and Corinth prefectures was reported, while practically all vessels remained docked in ports as gale force winds churned seas.
In the late evening, authorities continued an air/sea search for a missing "medi-copter" with five people on board, as the aircraft went down between the island of Kea and Cape Sounion in the west-central Aegean, SE of Athens.
According to later reports, debris believed to be from the helicopter was spotted 10 nautical miles from Sounion. The chopper went off radar screens at 6:10 p.m. local time.
Besides the two pilots - the first identified as Italian national Antonio Bagari -- a doctor, one nurse and a 75-year-old heart attack victim, being rushed from the island of Patmos to Athens, were on board.
Elsewhere, an eight-year-old girl remained missing late Sunday and was presumed dead after being swept away hours before by a squall and into three-meter waves off a remote harbor on the Ionian island of Zakynthos.
Tragically, the child's mother and uncle were drown after they jumped into the sea to save her moments before attempting to take a "family photo" at water's edge on the tiny harbor of Aghios Leontios.
Additionally, eight deaths were reported in two separate roads accidents around the country. In the first, five people died when a taxicab carrying them overturned on the 35th kilometer of the Tripoli-Sparta highway, southern Greece. Three people died near Thermopylae, on the Athens-Lamia highway, in a collision involving two cars and a truck.
Torrential rains and storms over the Peloponnese, the eastern mainland and Evia island are expected to continue throughout the early morning hours before moving east. Heavy snowfall is also forecast for mountainous regions on the mainland.
Earlier in the day, inclement weather shut down ferryboat traffic, including the Rio-Antirrio route that connects the Athens-Patra highway with northwest Greece.
Heavy snowfall was reported in the mountains of Drama, Xanthi, Kavala and Serres prefectures of northern Greece, where temperatures ranged between -6C and 7C.
 Yugoslav president to pay official visit to Greece this week
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)Federal Yugoslavia President Vojislav Kostunica will be arriving in Athens on Tuesday for his first official visit to Greece.
During his stay, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will receive Kostunica at 11:00 a.m. and the two will give a joint press conference at 12:30 p.m.
Just before 1:00 p.m. the Yugoslav president will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis at his office and the two will make statements at 1:45 p.m. A working dinner offered by the prime minister will follow.
At 3:20 p.m. on the same day, Kostunica will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, after which he will visit the Acropolis and the Athens Town Hall, where he will meet with Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.
At 5:30 p.m., he will make his way to Parliament for a meeting with Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis, followed by a meeting with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis at 6:00 p.m., with Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos at 6:30 p.m. and with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga at 7:00 p.m.
Finally, the Yugoslav president will attend an official dinner at the Presidential Mansion and is due to leave for Belgrade at 11:30 p.m.
 ND leader calls for 'dynamic opposition' in light of upcoming party congress
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday called for a "dynamic opposition" and proposals for the party's future development "without personal squabbling", during an address to ND's central committee.
Karamanlis stressed that all of the party's cadres must leave "animosities, misunderstandings and personal ambitions aside, regardless of how well-founded they may be ... in order to not become the indirect water-bearers at the mill owned by the group that governs and their intertwined allies."
Additionally, in an indirect reference to high-ranking ND cadre and former minister Dora Bakoyianni, the ND leader reiterated that he would not accept any violation of the party's charter, noting that "accusations and recommendations for deviations aren't possible."
In a later reply to Karamanlis' statements, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas charged that ND's "leadership of de-feat" is again turning to what he called "allegations against the government even for its (ND) internal problems".
"We're dealing with the promotion of the government's work and New Democracy is going about its petty political hobby," he said.
Bakoyianni avoids confrontation with Karamanlis in address to ND Central Committee meeting: A meeting of main opposition New Democracy's Central Committee continued on Saturday with addresses from high-ranking cadre Dora Bakoyianni and ND party member George Voulgarakis.
In her speech, Bakoyianni avoided direct confrontation with ND leader Costas Karamanlis, who had spoken earlier, but called for wide-ranging, sweeping reforms within the party's structure and even for it to be refounded.
Voulgarakis called for more effective opposition by the party, which he said needed faster reflexes and better follow-through.
Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas rejected attacks on the government made by Karamanlis during his address to the Central Committee earlier, saying that he could not blame his party's internal problems on a generalized crisis of institutions and society.
 PM to decide on new sports general secretary on Tuesday, Culture Minister says
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that he would discuss the appointment of a new general secretary for sports with Prime Minister Costas Simitis when they met next Tuesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Balkans Athletics Federations' conference in Thessaloniki on Saturday, the minister also noted that his relations with Deputy Sports Minister George Floridis were "deep and meaningful".
Venizelos added that the procedure for selecting a new sports general secretary would be the same as that used for appointing general secretaries to other ministries.
He refused to confirm that one of his former associates, George Angeloudis, would be offered the job, saying that "one does not make proposals to the prime minister through the media".
He denied any problems in his relations with Floridis, saying that the issue was "fabricated by those who are discomfited by the existence of a well-planned and systematic government policy for sports."
Asked to comment on the Greek students attending university in Yugoslavia and the concerns for their health, the minister said that the concern of their parents was absolutely understandable and respected but that the government was doing to do what was necessary for the absolute safety of everyone as quickly as possible.
"We (the government) will not expose any soldier, student or citizen to danger," he said.
 Ousted former minister attacks Simitis during interview with Sunday paper supplement 'Vimagazino'
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)An open attack on Prime Minister Costas Simitis was launched by ousted former culture minister Theodoros Pangalos on Sunday - through the pages of the "Sunday Vima" supplement "Vimagazino" - in which he claims that the only bank managers would now re-elect Simitis and PASOK to power.
Simitis sacked Pangalos as culture minister in November for criticizing the government. He had also been forced to resign as foreign minister some years ago over the Ocalan affair.
In the interview, Pangalos criticizes the premier's decision as a tactical mistake " in which he cut off one of his own fingers" and blames the prime minister's immediate environment for cutting Simitis off from his associates.
He also makes it clear that he is no longer a "great fan" of the prime minister.
The Attica deputy also claims that the prime minister "makes grave mistakes in choosing people" and criticizes his reactions to a proposal by PASOK deputy Theodoros Tsoukatos for a guaranteed minimum income, saying that the insensitive stance he showed there damaged his chances of re-election.
"Who wants to show Simitis with such a face, who will re-elect PASOK and Simitis prime minister? Bank managers?" he asks.
Pangalos also criticized the policy of rapprochement and appeasement with Turkey, saying it had brought no results.
Asked about the new party announced by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, Pangalos forecast that it might get a double-figure percentage provided Avramopoulos did not make any serious mistakes.
 PASOK Central Committee Secretary says he will not stand for re-election
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis announced that he would not be standing for re-election, through an interview with the paper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia" published on Sunday.
"I have no ambition to succeed myself as secretary," he told the paper.
Asked whether he might contend for the position of Athens Mayor, Skandalidis said that the time was not ripe for such a discussion.
"I neither said that I wanted it nor am I thinking about it, nor does this choice of people concern PASOK at this time. The Athenians are not discussing who they will have as mayor in 2003."
He also denied having "orchestrated" the expulsion of PASOK deputy Theodoros Tsoukatos from party organs.
 European Peoples' Party adopts favorable resolution for Cyprus
BERLIN, 15/01/2001 (ANA - P. Stangos)Europe's Christian Democrat leaders on Saturday unanimously adopted here a resolution on Cyprus, expressing support for the island republic's EU accession even if a settlement to Cyprus' political problem isn't reached beforehand.
The European Peoples' Party, in its resolution, expresses support for UN efforts underway to resolve the protracted Cyprus problem "on a federal basis, with one and single international personality, with one and single citizenship and a single sovereign and undivided state".
Greek main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis as well as Cyprus' ruling Democratic Rally party, participated in the EPP conference.
"We confirm our obligation towards a permanent solution of the Cyprus problem and the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. A political solution, which demands the constructive participation of all parties concerned, will promote the accession course. But if this solution is not achieved before the conclusion of entry talks, then, and according to the European Council's decisions in Helsinki, the decision will be taken without the above-mentioned precondition," the resolution said.
 Cyprus defense minister to visit Greece for talks with Greek counterpart
NICOSIA, 15/01/2001 (ANA)Cyprus Defense Minister Socrates Hasikos will be arriving in Athens on Sunday for a three-day visit, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported, during which he will have talks with Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
The two men will discuss all issues related to Cyprus' defense, including the island republic's contribution to the European defense force, as well as information that the US-made M-40 and 8-A5 tanks used by the Turkish occupation forces on Cyprus use missiles containing depleted uranium.
 Canadian minister calls for return of Parthenon Marbles to Greece during UK visit
LONDON, 15/01/2001 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)Canadian Transport minister Steve Ashton, also the head of a Canadian committee campaigning for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, visited these historic monuments at the British Museum in London on Saturday, on the sidelines of an official visit to the UK.
In statements to reporters that covered the visit, Ashton said that he had visited the Acropolis the previous week and "understood that what we are trying to achieve as a committee in Canada is absolutely correct and fair."
The Canadian minister said that the return of the Marbles to Greece would act as recognition of all that Greece has offered the world and that the committee aimed to have them returned to the Parthenon before the Olympic Games in 2004.
"Objectivity is one of the traditions of the British people and I believe that this will help in returning to Greece the most important monuments of global civilization," he said.
 Morgan Stanley report says Athens bourse is now under-priced and predicts return of foreign capital in 2001
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)A report by the international rating house Morgan Stanley published on Thursday has termed 3,700 points as a realistic level for the Athens Stock Exchange's general index and is urging investors to re-enter the market.
The report is signed by John Paul Smith and Manolis Leontakis and predicts that foreign capital will enter the Greek bourse in the second half of 2001, while it considers any purchase below the 2900-point level a bargain.
According to the report, institutional and private investors had pushed the market up to untenable levels in the summer of 1999, with private investors being particularly hard hit by the subsequent drop in stock prices. The writers predict that selected stocks should now begin to show their worth.
 Business welcomes changes to ASE operation announced by National Economy ministry
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)Business welcomed a series of measures for the Athens Stock Exchange announced on Friday by Deputy National Economy Minister Christos Pachtas, describing them as positive.
The Association of ASE Listed Companies, in an announcement on Saturday, welcomed the measures and referred to the particular importance of some of these, such as the re-purchase of shares by a company with only a partial plenum of its General Assembly.
Among the measures announced by the minister are:
1. Introduction of lending to customers by stock brokerages
2. Gradually deregulation of stock price fluctuation limits
3. Extension of ASE operating hours
4. Possible introduction of special traders in ASE stock
5. Preparations for the introduction of international accounting standards
6. A revision and adaptation of the contents of the Briefing Bulletin, which is linked with the listing of companies or share capital increases.
7. The reduction of quorum levels at a company general assembly from 75 per cent to 25 per cent for the re-purchase of own stock.
8. The ASE will begin to monitor the market on-line in real time and act to control undesirable behavior by stock brokerages through cooperation with the Bank of Greece.
9. The start of a training program for internal controllers of stock brokerages
10. Monitoring for stocks that must be listed under supervision.
11. Abolishing the trading floor at the ASE.
12 Using web sites to keep the investing public constantly informed about the course of the main stocks of every ASE listed company.
13. Constant monitoring of the use of capital raised by listed companies on the ASE, with deadlines for using the capital raised.
14. Total deregulation of fluctuation in the price of rights and completion of their conversion to electronic form.
15. Merger of the Athens Derivates Exchange (ADE) and Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) in 2001 to a single market.
 Papantoniou says merger of two Greek economic ministries is now a realistic prospect
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that the two ministries over which he presides could well be joined into one in an interview with the newspaper "Imerisia" on Saturday.
"The issue of a merger has arisen at various times and I think there are now grounds for proceeding, because there really is a surfeit of ministries," Papantoniou said.
He also expressed the view that the planning of economic policy should be unified.
"This has, of course, happened in practice in Greece because my presence in both ministries in the past seven years has contributed precisely to good coordination of economic policy. Now this can also be established institutionally, through a merger, apart from gathering the briefs of the two ministries in one person, in one minister," Papantoniou explained.
The two main axes of economic policy in the euro-zone era, the minister said, would be to improve competitiveness and promote social justice.
With regard to the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), he ventured that it suffered from excessive political intervention and that it was now time "to let the markets do the talking".
At another point in the interview, Papantoniou encouraged mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector, saying that he was anxious for the competitiveness of the Greek economy and banking system, while he predicted that at the end of the next two or three years there would be four or five banking groups in Europe.
 German skinheads attack ethnic Greek in Munich
BERLIN, 15/01/2001 (ANA - P. Stangos)A 31-year-old Greek man, who was brutally beaten by five neo-Nazi skinheads Friday night outside a Munich restaurant, was reported out of danger on Sunday.
The unidentified man, a resident of the Bavarian capital, was taken to hospital with head injuries. Another group of about 10 men, led by two Turkish immigrants passed by the scene, came to his aid and repulsed the five skinheads.
Police arrested 15 youths in relation to the incident.
 Team of army doctors visits Xanthi village, offers free treatment
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)A team of military doctors and nursing staff, equipped with a mobile dentistry unit, visited the village of Kotyli, Xanthi on Saturday and offered free medical treatment to local residents, as well as a free lecture on communicable diseases, precautions against these and prevention.
Also accompanying the team was an army vet who talked with local stockbreeders about the problems that concerned them, on animal hygiene and ways of prevented animal diseases.
 Homemade firebomb set off outside offices of Thessaloniki Appeals Court judiciaries' Association
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)A homemade explosive device went off outside the offices of the Association of Thessaloniki Appeals Court Super-visors around midnight on Friday and set fire to the wooden door at the entrance.
The blaze was put out by the fire department, which said the device had been made up of two gas canisters, only one of which exploded.
 Greek athletes among the best according to sports magazine
Athens, 15/01/2001 (ANA)Three of Greece's top athletes at the recent Sydney Olympics were picked as among the best in their competitions for 2000 by the noted sports magazine "Track and Field News".
Greece's 200-metre gold medallist Kostas Kenteris was chosen as the best in his category, while 100-metre sprinter Katerina Thanou was picked second in the world behind track veteran Marion Jones. Finally, shot putter Anastasia Kelesidou was chosen as the third best female in the sport for 2000.
 Chinese Vice President begins official Cyprus visit on Monday
NICOSIA, 15/01/2001 (CNA/ANA)Vice President of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao arrives here on Monday for a three-day official visit during which he will have top-level meetings aiming at strengthening relations between the two countries.
Hu's visit to Cyprus is part of a five-country tour to the region, including Jordan, Iran, Syria and Uganda, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry has said.
Hu will have official talks Monday afternoon with President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides, with the participation of Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Finance Minister Takis Klerides and Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis.
Later on the Chinese Vice President will meet with President of the House of Representatives Spyros Kyprianou, while in the evening Hu and his wife will attend a state banquet given in their honor by President Clerides and the First Lady.
Tuesday evening Hu and his wife will attend a dinner in the southern coastal town of Limassol given in their honor by Mayor Demetrios Kontides.
Among officials accompanying him on his tour is China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ji Peiding.
According to a report by the Chinese news agency Xinhua, a spokeswoman for the country's foreign Ministry has said Vice President Hu "will further the mutual understanding, friendship, consensus and cooperation" between China and the five countries included in the tour.
She said that "Hu will also exchange views with leaders of the five countries on major international and regional issues, including the Middle East situation", adding that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has always been concerned about developments in the region. Hu and his seven-member delegation leave Cyprus on Wednesday.
The delegation includes the country's ambassador Song Aiguo, Deputy Director General of the CPC Central Committee General Office Yiang Yikang and Vice Minister of the State Development Planning Commission Wang Yang.
Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Sun Quangxiang, Deputy Director General of the Policy Research Office of the CPC Central Committee and the Governor of the China Import and Export Bank Yang Zilin are also part of the delegation.
 Five ancient tombs discovered on Cyprus, in occupied parts of island
NICOSIA, 15/01/2001 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Five ancient tombs dating from the Geometric period have been discovered in the Turkish occupied parts of Cyprus near Larnaca, according to reports in the Turkish-Cypriot press.
The tombs were apparently discovered during excavations to lay water pipes.