|Monday, 16 September 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-02-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Old Athens airport will definitely be turned into a park, premier says
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)The old Athens airport at Ellinikon is to be turned into a park when the new international airport at Spata goes into operation, Prime Minister Costas Simitis confirmed on Wednesday after a government meeting attended by all the ministers involved.
"We have decided that there will be a Metropolitan green space there. It will be a big park. The largest in Europe, I believe," the prime minister said.
The 480 hectares of open space that will be freed up when the old airport is scrapped, combined with improvements to the sea front from Piraeus to Vouliagmeni, will transform the present aspect of Greece's capital, Simitis added.
He clarified that certain areas would be set aside for specific Olympic sports facilities until 2004 and during the Olympic Games in Athens, but that these would be temporary and would not interfere with the park's recreational uses.
The premier also referred to a Greek Air force factory currently within the bounds of the Ellinikon site, saying that this would continue operating in the same area for another two years and then be relocated. He then announced that the landing and take-off runways at the airport would be scrapped in a year's time.
Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, meanwhile, said that the air force installations currently at Ellinikon would be transferred to Elefsina.
Participating in the meeting were Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou, Environment Minister Costas Laliotis, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Transport Minister Christos Verelis, Deputy Sports Minister George Floridis and Olympic Games General Secretary George Kartalis.
Airport-affiliated workers' federations had staged a rally on Tuesday to protest the government's plans to scrap the old airport's facilities and create a park.
 National economy minister counter-attacks in ASE issue
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)The Athens Stock Exchange's (ASE) transformation to maturity from the level of a developing market caused the index to drop over the past year, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Wednesday in his defense, during a "no confidence" motion discussion initiated by main opposition New Democracy.
He called attention to similar cases in Ireland and the new German market, saying that the ASE was in limbo because high-risk funds departed for developing markets and low risk funds did not yet come to invest in Greece due to the international crisis. He accused ND leader Costas Karamanlis of saying in the past that the "future, short and long term, of the ASE would be even more fruitful," in interviews during the high days of the stock exchange.
Papantoniou also pointed out that as long as small investors do not sell their stock the financial loss they suffered would only be one of accounting that would be overturned once the stock market begins to recover.
He accused ND of "attempting to destroy confidence (in the stock market) causing the exact opposite (of the desired) result. It turns the accounting losses into real one...of using, without shame, all means possible to further drop the ASE index and damage the government".
"The governments of PASOK under (late premier) Andreas Papandreou and (current premier) Costas Simitis, achieved all the aims they set, in contrast with the ND government of 1990-1993, which failed on all counts. It is comical for you to accuse the government for the failure of the economic policy," he concluded.
ND Deputy Pavlopoulos criticizes government and Prime Minister for situation in stock exchange: Main opposition New Democracy party Deputy Prokopis Pavlopoulos, addressing a "no confidence" motion Parliamentary debate against National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Wednesday, criticized the government and Prime Minister Costas Simitis for the situation prevailing at the stock exchange, if they support Papantoniou, and said ND is seeking "political and not penal responsibilities."
He accused Papantoniou of distorting reality, adding that "he is trying to make the entire government jointly responsible and to degrade the huge economic and political scandal of the stock exchange."
Pavlopoulos said that even if he gets a vote of confidence, Papantoniou has one escape route, resignation.
"It is the last service he can offer to his government and the country," he said.
Communist Party: Communist Party of Greece representative says party will vote "present" at no confidence motion vote Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Parliamentary representative Orestis Kolozov, addressing a "no confidence" motion debate in Parliament on Wednesday initiated by the main opposition New Democracy party against National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, said KKE "will not support either of the two" and will vote "present."
"It is an illusion that the stock exchange is an apparatus for redistributing income either in favor of small investors or in favor of the big ones. The stock exchange is an apparatus for collecting capital in which the big fish eats the small. However, the many only realize this in times of crisis," he said.
"The two parties (PASOK and ND) are deceiving the people in a bipartisan game," he said, adding that PASOK is implementing a policy favoring big capital, which includes support for the stock exchange as an essential institution in capitalist development, but ND also expresses the same logic and for this reason it did not prevent the people from activation in the capital market.
Coalition of the Left to vote against minister in no confidence motion: The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) on Wednesday announced its intent to vote against National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou during Thursday's "no confidence vote" in Parliament.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) initiated a "no confidence" motion on Tuesday against the minister, accusing him of personal responsibilities for the drop of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) index.
"We will vote against Papantoniou for the policies the government exercised regarding the ASE, since nothing can become an alibi for the enormous personal political responsibilities he bears, as part of his ministerial responsibilities," Synaspismos party leader Nikos Constantopoulos said.
He said that ruling PASOK speculated politically on the increased value of the ASE index, adding that "small investors are called to pay for the political gambling of the government. ND wants to speculate politically with the use of the index's drop, while small investors will have to once again pay the damage."
In a related development, Synaspismos Deputy Maria Damanaki issued a written statement disassociating herself from her party's line, saying that she was not briefed before the official announcement.
She added that she could not support a political move of the "conservative party" in Parliament.
 Greek PM's visit to Delhi still standing, Athens sends aid to quake stricken
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)India's ambassador to Athens on Tuesday briefed reporters on the biblical destruction in his country's Gujarat state following a massive earthquake that struck India's southwestern corner on Friday, and in light of a five-day visit to Delhi by Greece's premier next week.
According to Ambassador Gurdip Singh Bedi, postponement of a planned visit by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and a high-level delegation of ministers and Greek entrepreneurs were considered and rejected, "the business of government must continue", he stressed.
He also thanked the Greek government, opposition parties and local citizens for their solidarity to Gujarat's quake stricken, citing the dispatch of two plane-loads of humanitarian aid, worth 300 million drachmas, and a commitment for another 100 million in aid (?1 equal 340.75 drachmas).
"We're extremely grateful and would like to acknowledge the aid given by Greece to the people of India," the ambassador said.
Simitis isn't scheduled to tour the quake-stricken Gujarat state, he said, noting that infrastructure has been completely wiped out in the area, which borders Pakistan. Instead, Simitis' itinerary includes Delhi and meetings with the central government, the western city of Jaipur, home to India's nascent marble industry, and the famed industrial port city of Bombay.
Echoing official Indian government statements, Bedi said the death toll from the 7.9 on the Richter scale trembler stands at 20,000 and may rise as high as 100,000. He also gave estimated damages at $3.3 billion.
"Entire villages have been flattened, I mean completely flattened, without one building standing," the ambassador said, adding that pharmaceuticals and building materials are now needed. He also advised people wishing to make monetary contributions to send cheques to the embassy or to the Indian prime minister's relief fund.
Simitis' tour comes on the heels of several high-level visits between Greek and Indian officials, including visits to the subcontinent by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos and by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou last month.
Simitis is expected to sign a series of economic agreements related to avoidance of double taxation, diplomatic passport usage, protection of investments and cooperation in the field of agriculture.
Finally, Greek Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis will travel to the Indian city of Bangalore on a separate visit in the first week of February for talks focusing on bilateral defense industry cooperation.
 Greek ambassador to Belgrade visits southern Serbia for talks with representatives of state coordinating body
BELGRADE, 01/02/2001 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)The Greek Ambassador to Belgrade Mihalis Spinellis on Tuesday conveyed the Greek government's concern over the tense situation in southern Serbia and the risk of a new crisis breaking out in the central Balkans, while visiting the region and holding talks with representatives of the state coordinating body created to coordinate efforts aimed at resolving the crisis and composed of representatives of the government of Yugoslavia and Serbia.
Spinellis assessed that, parallel to efforts aimed at defusing the crisis, it is essential that initiatives are undertaken for the region's political, economic and cultural development, saying that the international community will not permit a change in borders since such a development will lead to new conflicts in the Balkans.
He further said that political activities are underway to stabilize the situation in the Presevo valley, adding that European Union representatives are in constant contact with the governments of Serbia and Yugoslavia, as well as with representatives of the Albanians' political leadership.
 PM Simitis holds talks with group of PASOK deputies and accuses ND of wanting to ruin economy
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday held talks with a group of PASOK deputies and accused the main opposition New Democracy party of attempting to degrade the government's performance in the economy with its motion for a vote of censure against National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou. He added that with its motion it is virtually aiming at ruining the economy.
Simitis said the criterion for government policy in the economy cannot be the performances of the stock exchange but the real progress of the economy, adding that the government's main concern over the current four-year term is handling unemployment, while the target of maintaining a stable economic environment is also important.
Replying to talk of vested interests by the opposition, Simitis said the government has opened a front against corruption and added that "we are all judged by our actions and by the work we offer in serving the public interest."
 US State Department expresses dissatisfaction over Kaklamanis' critical remarks
WASHINGTON, 01/02/2001 (ANA-T. Ellis)The US State Department on Wednesday officially expressed its dissatisfaction over last week's critical statements by Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis regarding US-Greek cooperation in combatting terrorism.
"We were surprised and disappointed by the fact that Mr. Kaklamanis defined in this erroneous manner the anti-terrorist cooperation between the two countries," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, adding: "I would like to underline that we are closely cooperating with the Simitis government in order to support its efforts against terrorism. We absolutely respect Greek sovereignty and state authority. We have been helping Greece in this sector for many years now. We have also expressed strong public support to Greece's anti-terrorist efforts, especially after last year's assassination of a British official. We have made clear that we absolutely support the safe holding of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004".
"We are very close partners and we believe that Mr. Kaklamanis is out of touch with what is happening regarding the excellent relations between the two states," Boucher said. "The accusation that we are in a certain way using terrorism to undermine the Olympics is simply erroneous and I will dismiss it," he concluded.
 Dep. US ambassador visits NATO sub-headquarters near Larissa
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)The deputy US ambassador to Greece on Wednesday visited the NATO sub-headquarters (JC SOUTHCENT) in Tyrnavos, near the central city of Larissa.
US diplomat J. Michael Cleverley met with the base's commander, Lt.-Gen. Emmanuel Mantzanas, for a briefing over the sub-headquarters' mission and activities.
Additionally, he met with US armed forces personnel serving at the base.
 US president replies to letter of congratulations from former premier Mitsotakis
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)US President George Bush expressed a "special interest" in the course of the Cyprus problem and the Middle East, in his reply to a letter of congratulations sent by former Greek premier and New Democracy leader Constantine Mitsotakis.
In his reply made public on Wednesday, the new US leader expresses certainty that relations between Greece and the US will become closer and said he shared a special interest in developments on the Cyprus issue and the Middle East.
In his letter, Mitsotakis had referred to the new US administration's policy in the Balkans, where he said mistakes had been made by all sides in recent years, and to the Cyprus problem, where he called for continuing the policy that the US and Greece had implemented in 1990-1992, at a time when Mitsotakis' was premier.
 Former PM Mitsotakis says had his government survived another six months the problem of terrorism would have been resolved
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)Former Prime Minister and main opposition New Democracy party Honorary President Constantine Mitsotakis, speaking in a television interview, said on Wednesday "had my government stayed for another six months the problem of terrorism would have been resolved."
Mitsotakis, who was prime minister between 1990 and 1993, said "the terrorists were in prison at the time. Many had been arrested", but avoided saying whom he meant and added that the composition of courts with jurors and judges whose life was being threatened could not convict them.
He said that when the PASOK party came to power in 1993, it not only abolished his government's legislative framework but also "took care to help the people who were being charged." He insisted that a new legislative framework is necessary to tackle terrorism.
On the question of the stock exchange, Mitsotakis said that if he headed ND he would be tougher with the government and criticized Prime Minister Costas Simitis for failing to go ahead with structural changes, denationalizations and market deregulation.
"The bitter fruits are coming now. God and justice wants them to taste them," he said.
 Albright thanks Turkish FM for cooperation with Greece in narcotics case
ISTANBUL, 01/02/2001 (ANA - E. Aretaios)Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright thanked her Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem for his contribution in cooperation with Greece against narcotics trafficking.
The Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that according to a US embassy press release in Ankara, Albright thanked Cem through a letter, last Monday, expressing her satisfaction over the confiscation of 500 kilos of heroin last December in Athens, following a joint operation of Greek and Turkish authorities.
"This cooperation will continue and such will be the example for further cooperation between Greece and Turkey," Albright stated in the letter, according to Anadolu.
 Greek embassy in Belgrade expresses surprise over statements by Yugoslav Central Bank governor concerning secret bank accounts
BELGRADE, 01/02/2001 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)The Greek embassy in Belgrade expressed surprise on Wednesday on recent statements by Yugoslav Central Bank Governor Mladzan Dinkic who, after meeting Hague International Court prosecutor Carla del Ponte, said it is cynical for the international community to be requesting Yugoslavia's cooperation with the court at a time when certain countries, such as Switzerland, Greece and Cyprus, are refusing cooperation to detect secret bank accounts belonging to Slobodan Milosevic and his aids.
"If this statement was conveyed accurately we express our surprise because such a request was never made to the Greek government," a Greek embassy announcement said, adding that the Greek government's readiness for cooperation on all issues with international bodies and with the friendly country of Yugoslavia is known.
Dinkic's statements also caused reactions in Cyprus.
 Spata airport still set to open in March-no date yet
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)A new international airport being built for Athens is still set to open in March, despite minor setbacks that will be resolved, government, airport and civil aviation officials said after a meeting on Wednesday.
Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis declined to confirm a rumored opening date of March 28 in reply to a reporter's question, saying that the airport would open, as announced, in March.
Laliotis and Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis are due to meet again in coming days, when an official starting date is due to be announced.
 Greece to begin implementation of Balkan reconstruction plan in Albania
TIRANA, 01/02/2001 (ANA - I. Patso)The Greek plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans will be first implemented in Albania and the funds allocated to that country will total 50 million euro, to be spent over the next five years, Greek National Economy Deputy Minister Yiannis Zapheiropoulos said on Wednesday.
Zapheiropoulos is on a visit in Albania to participate in the 8th conference of the joint ministerial committee on the economic, industrial and technical cooperation between the two countries that concluded on Wednesday.
The implementation will begin with Albania as it is the only country of the region to have submitted complete plans. "These plans are the result of frequent contacts and bilateral cooperation of the two governments," Zapheiropoulos said.
Greece and Albania concluded this round of contacts with the signing of a joint cooperation protocol on the economic and industrial sector.
 Greek stocks jump 3.98 percent higher, sentiment improves
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)Equity prices jumped 3.98 percent higher on Wednesday reflecting a substantial rise in turnover and the reappearance of domestic institutional investors in the market.
Traders said a rise in turnover above 60 billion drachmas was evidence of an improving climate in the market in the last two sessions and noted that gains were evenly spread among market sectors.
The general index ended 3.98 percent higher at 3,264.76 points, with turnover at 188.51 million euros, or 64.236 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 3.93 percent up at 1,905.15 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 3.55 percent to 341.50 points.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 7,133.44 +3.81% Leasing: 503.67 +1.59% Insurance: 1,252.79 +2.93% Investment: 1,323.14 +3.34% Construction: 1,268.39 +0.54% Industrials: 1,969.56 +4.89% Miscellaneous: 2,239.76 +4.71% Holding: 3,413.40 +5.42%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 260.88 points, up 1.38 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 283 to 56 with another 19 issues unchanged.
Hellenic Bottling, Hellenic Telecoms, Alpha Bank, National Bank and Panafon were the most heavily traded stocks.
Leading shares' closing prices (in euros): National Bank: 39.60 Alpha Bank: 34.82 Commercial Bank: 51.92 Eurobank: 21.24 Piraeus Bank: 15.30 Lambrakis Press: 10.46 Altec: 6.20 Titan Cement (c):
39.92 Hellenic Telecoms: 17.48 Panafon: 7.50 Hellenic Petroleum: 10.22 Attica Enterprises: 6.40 Intracom: 20.02 Minoan Lines: 5.22 Viohalco: 11.06 Hellenic Bottling: 19.44
ASE launches investor information center: The Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday launched an investor services center aiming to better inform investors over the market's operations and to promote a stock market culture in the country.
Investors will be offered information covering the market's institutional and regulation framework, securities' transactions, brokerage firms and listed companies' obligations towards the public and the work of a Capital Markets' Committee.
The call center will operate on a daily basis, including the weekends, from 900 pm to 2100 am.
Investors can seek information by telephone, fax, mail or e-mail.
Equity futures end up, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished higher on Wednesday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based, traders said.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 3.93 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 3.55 percent higher.
Turnover was 57.2 million euros on 7,307 contracts traded, the dealers said.
Bond prices edge up in moderate trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished slightly higher in moderate trade with interest again focusing on 15-year paper, dealers said.
The new Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.36 percent from 5.39 percent a day earlier.
The yield spread over German bunds was 56 basis points from 58 basis points in the session before.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 760 million euros (around 180.5 billion drachmas) from 530 million euros (about 180.5 billion drachmas) in the trading day before.
Buy orders accounted for around 65 percent of turnover.
Euro/dollar rate rises to 92.93 cents: The European Central Bank set its euro/dollar reference rate at 92.93 cents on Wednesday, up from 91.63 cents the previous day, pushing the US dollar/drachma rate to 366.67 drachmas.
The ECB also set the euro/yen rate at 107.87 yen (3.15 drachmas), the euro/sterling at 63.67 pence (535.18 drachmas), the euro/Swiss franc at 1.5302 (222.68) and the euro/Cyprus pound rate at 57.87.
 Listed firms rap politicians over bourse behavior
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)A newly created trade group for listed companies on Wednesday asked the government and the opposition to tighten up their policy and behavior in order to aid the slumping Athens Stock Exchange.
Firstly, the government had to acknowledge that a social problem had arisen concerning the bourse, and that the situation should be classed as an emergency for resolution by all parties concerned through the establishment of a formal council, said Ion Steriotis, president of the Association of Athens Bourse Listed Companies.
Steriotis told a news conference that National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou had provided what he called "one-sided" briefings, failing to communicate with the range of parties involved in the market.
Papantoniou is currently the object of a censure motion in parliament brought by the main opposition New Democracy party.
Secondly, the opposition should present its own proposals for the solution of financial and social problems that are linked to the bourse. In addition, the opposition should refrain from launching accusations against listed companies when it lacks concrete data, Steriotis said.
Listed firms forecast better outlook for bourse: The outlook for the ailing Athens Stock Exchange is robust with institutional investors from abroad showing interest in selected, quality stocks that are currently under priced, Ion Steriotis, president of the Association of Athens Bourse Listed Companies, said on Wednesday.
The investment houses abroad had already begun to advise their customers to buy into the paper, Steriotis told a news conference.
He said that the Athens general share index could come close to 5,000 points in two months from around 3,000 points at present, if bourse authorities took the right measures for the market and completed their planned reorganization.
 Taxi fares to increase on Thursday
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)Taxi fares will increase on Thursday with the base tariff increasing to 80 drachmas per kilometer from 76, while the starting charge remains 250 drachmas. The double tariff at night remains 150 drachmas since it increased on January 1 this year.
People coming from ports, bus and train stations will pay an additional 200 drachmas instead of 150 and people going to or coming from an airport will pay an additional 400 drachmas instead of 300.
Each piece of luggage carried in a taxi will cost 100 drachmas instead of 50, the minimum fare remains 500 drachmas and the double night fare applies from midnight until 5 a.m.
Fares on inter-city buses will also increase 5 percent as of Thursday.
 Portfolio investment firms show asset value drop
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)The country's 17 portfolio investment firms showed a decline in their net asset value to 852.6 billion drachmas on January 26, 2001 from 961.9 billion drachmas on December 29, 2000, the Union of Institutional Investors said on Wednesday.
The index for portfolio investment firms showed a drop of 7.7 percent between December 29,2000 to January 26, 2001, against a fall of 9.4 percent on the Athens Stock Exchange's general share index, the union said in a statement.
 Projects worth 110 billion drachmas to be carried out at port of Piraeus over 2001-2004 period
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) President Costas Maniatopoulos and general director Haralambos Psaraftis said on Wednesday that according to data collected receipts for 2000 will exceed estimates and the fiscal year will produce a profit.
Movement at the containers terminal exceeded 1,150,000 TEU compared to 965,000 TEU in 1999, increasing by 19 percent. TEU is a unit for measuring containers.
It is the first time in OLP's history that movement exceeds one million TEU. In 1996, movement was 575,000 TEU, meaning that movement doubled in four years.
Meanwhile, OLP SA has budgeted projects worth 110 billion drachmas over the 2001-2004 period to enable it to function effectively in the new environment.
Projects worth 12.3 billion drachmas will serve passenger movement, 13.6 billion the movement of containers, about 11 billion the serving of cruise ships and 3.7 billion building maintenance.
 Unique photo exhibition at CoE focuses on Holocaust of Greek Jews
STRASBOURG, 01/02/2001 (ANA)A unique photo exhibition entitled "Holocaust of the Greek Jews - The Persecuted and Saviors" will premiere here next month.
The prolific exhibition - organized by the press ministry in cooperation with the Jewish Museum of Greece - will be presented in Strasbourg's "Palace of Europe" from Feb. 12-26 by the press office of Greece's Permanent Representation to the CoE, before traveling to other cities in Europe and North America.
The exhibition, comprised of 170 WWII-era photographs, is divided into 18 themes, with accompanying texts and captions in French and English, projected slides and modern artwork.
Among others, the exhibition's goal is to better inform European public opinion on the Holocaust in Greece during the Nazi occupation, and within the context of the ancient and historical presence of Jews in the Hellenic world.
Greece, which hosted the largest Sephardic Jewish community in the world prior to the war, mainly in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, was virtually unblemished by anti-Semitism, a fact that made Greek Jews' experience somewhat different from the rest of the Jewish communities in occupied Europe.
According to the memoirs of E. Sevillias in his book "Athens-Auschwitz", "...all of us had heard about the poor behavior they (Germans) had shown towards the Jews everywhere, but our knowledge about this was little and confused. Additionally, the Jews of Greece had no idea of what anti-Semitism was, because they had never known it in this blessed land."
The 18 themes of the exhibition include:
- A brief presentation of Greek Jews' historical course from late antiquity to 1940
- The German occupation (1941-44)
- The banishment of Thessaloniki's Jews
- The banishment of Jews from NE Greece
- Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Damaskinos' official protest
- The issuance of fake police ID cards - Angelos Evert
- Zakynthos, the island of the brave
- Avenues of escape and salvation
- Greek Jews in the national resistance
- The banishment of Jews from the rest of Greece
- Concentration camps
- The survivors - Yesterday and today
- The silent witnesses - Artifacts from the Greek Jewish communities
- Greeks among the "Righteous of Nations"
- The Jewish Museum of Greece - The Holocaust
- Educational programs and museum events on the Holocaust Jewish communities in Greece today.
 Local Amnesty Int'l welcomes officially abolition of death penalty
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)The Greek branch of Amnesty International on Wednesday welcomed a constitutional amendment passed by the Greek Parliament last week, which effectively abolishes the death sentence except during times of war.
The last execution in Greece took place in the early 1970s, during the reign of a seven-year military junta, when a man convicted of murdering his family was shot by a firing squad.
Specifically, the amendment to Article 7 of the Constitution says:
"The death sentence will not be imposed, except in cases where this provided for under the law for crimes that are carried out during times of war and are related to it."
Amnesty International in Greece welcomed the amendment as an important step toward abolishing the death penalty on a European and international level.
The group underlined, however, that it continues to support and struggle for totally abolishing the death sentence in Greece, even in time of war.
According to Amnesty International's recent annual report, executions were carried out in 34 countries during 1999, while there were prisoners facing death sentences in at least 55.
 Authorities investigate plutonium, americium cache found near Thessaloniki
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)Investigators have information they can use to uncover the details of the origin of the radioactive material found near the city of Thessaloniki, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.
Economic crime squad officers last weekend found containers with three grams of plutonium and americium buried only about 10 to 50 centimeters underground in the northern Thessaloniki suburb of Asvestohori.
The Thessaloniki prosecutor declined to give detailed information on the origin of the material or suspects in a case that seems to involve international smugglers of the highly dangerous elements that may be used in the construction of weapons.
The radioactive material was taken under heavy guard to Athens' Demokritos Atomic Energy Research Laboratory.
The local mayor and citizens have expressed concern over ground water quality and asked for the extensive investigation of all surrounding areas.
 Greek peacekeepers disperse church attackers in Kosovo
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)Greek peacekeepers dispersed a group of protesting Kosovo Albanians throwing rocks and firebombs at an Orthodox church in the town of Mitrovica in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo, Greek military sources said Wednesday.
They said a group of about 300 Kosovo Albanians attacked the church of St. Savvas in Kosovska Mitrovica late Tuesday in a flare-up of violence during which two Kosovo Albanians were killed in a grenade attack Monday.
Some 60 members of Greece's contingent to the international Kosovo peacekeeping force (KFOR) guarding the church fired warning shots in the air before a group of Danish peacekeepers arrived and helped disperse the protestors, the sources said.
They said no one was injured in the incident, which lasted about three hours, and no damage was caused to the church.
 Greek police now say runaway US teen is probably in Thessaloniki
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)Greek police said on Wednesday that a missing American teenager from Florida was probably in Thessaloniki.
Lindsay Erin Shamrock, 15, was reported as missing from the township of Mulberry, south of Tampa, on August 28 last year and is believed to be with a 36-year-old German man, Franz-Konstantin Baehring, that she had been in contact with through the Internet for some time prior to her disappearance.
American authorities have arrested two people in connection with the 15-year-old's disappearance, including Robert Arnder, 41, the father of 17-year-old Dawn Arnder, whose passport Shamrock had used to enter Greece in mid-September. Arnder now faces charges for several hundred counts of sexual harassment, statutory rape and similar crimes against minors.
According to Associated Press, the other person arrested was Martina Marie Crivaro, 24, of Lakeland, Florida, who is accused of bringing the girl the airline ticket to Ohio and driving her to Tampa for her flight.
Baehring, a former convict who had recently been in prison for fraud, had apparently presented himself to the young girls as a child psychologist in charge of a foundation dealing with children and as the owner of a Greek island.
Greek investigators said that the girl had contacted her mother and friends in America through two Internet cafes in Athens.
The staff at the two cafes in question, however, has no recollection of the girl but remember seeing Baehring. Police therefore surmise that he sent the messages on her behalf.
Authorities in Polk County, Florida, have already issued an arrest warrant for Baehring, who resides in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on charges of interfering with parental custody.
A police announcement described Shamrock as 1.60 meters tall, slim, with brown hair and brown eyes. Police ask anyone with any information regarding the missing girl to call at their missing persons department in Athens at 642 2936 and 642 0139, or at the protection of minors sub-department at 642 9893 and 646 4925.
 Archaeological council requests military base's removal
Athens, 01/02/2001 (ANA)The influential Central Archaeological Council (KAS) on Wednesday unanimously requested that a military base in the southeast Peloponnese be moved, as it reportedly sits atop a series of significant archaeological finds and remnants of a Byzantine-era settlement.
However, during the same session KAS' members approved a request by the base's command, near the town of Gytheio, for the building of a "light, above-ground construction" to serve as a mess hall for the facility's servicemen.
 Austrian library to host Greek literature exhibition
VIENNA, 01/02/2001 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)Greek literature will take center stage at the Austrian National Library here, from next Wednesday and until March 10, as the "Greek Literature in German translations" opens its doors to the public. The Library, along with the Greek Culture Institute of Berlin and the Greek embassy in Austria organized the exhibition, showcasing all Greek literature translated, published and circulated in the German language.
 President Clerides dismisses Deputy Chief of Police
NICOSIA, 01/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)President Glafcos Clerides announced on Wednesday his decision to end immediately the services of the Deputy Chief of Police Nicos Serdaris in connection with an inquiry into a prolonged delay in the consideration of tenders for the purchase of radars for the surveillance of the Republic's coasts.
"I have concluded that there is a collective responsibility in the unacceptable delay for the evaluation of tenders by the technical evaluation committee," President Clerides said, adding that a one-member commission of inquiry into the matter found Serdaris' testimony "untruthful in substantive points and a testimony of evasion, he tried to cover himself."
The president said he intends to consult with the Chief of Police and the Minister of Justice and Public Order for the appointment of a new Deputy Chief of Police "very soon."
He explained that the commission of inquiry, consisting former judge Demetrakis Stylianides, is at a better position to assess the credibility of witnesses than anybody else.
"Taking into account the assessment of Serdaris' testimony and because his testimony was considered not truthful and one of evasion, I decided that he can no longer remain in the post of the Deputy Chief of Police, and I am therefore terminating his services," the resident announced.
President Clerides said a report by the Attorney General would show whether others also bear responsibility for the long delay in the process of evaluating the tenders.
 UNFICYP doctor visits Greek Cypriot "detained" by Turkish Cypriot regimeNICOSIA, 01/02/2001 (CNA)/ANA)
A doctor from the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) on Wednesday visited Greek Cypriot Panicos Tziakourmas, who is a diabetic and is being treated in a hospital in the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia.
UNFICYP Acting Spokesman Charles Gaulkin told CNA that Tziakourmas' "blood sugar level has come down and he is feeling better", noting that the Force's doctor visits the Greek Cypriot regularly.
Gaulkin said Tziakourmas would remain in hospital "at least until tomorrow".