|Monday, 9 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-02-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Parliament rejects 'No Confidence' motion against economy minister
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Parliament rejected in the early hours of Friday a 'No Confidence' motion against National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou tabled by the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party concerning the Athens Stock Exchange's bad performances.
One hundred and fifty four deputies from the ruling PASOK party voted against the motion, 125 from ND and the Coalition of the Left and Progress (SYN) voted in favor, while 8 deputies from the Communist Party and one independent declared themselves present. Twelve deputies were absent from the 300-member House.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the result of the vote was "expected" and a vote of confidence for the government and its economic policy.
Addressing the House before the vote, Simitis accused the New Democracy party of resorting to political exploitation and cultivating confusion and fear with negative, as he said, impact on the course of the Athens Stock Exchange.
The premier said that the government's steadfast policy was that the Stock Exchange "is not an aim in itself".
"We have condemned and we still condemn the mentality of easy wealth. The bourse is not a place of gambling, but a tool for development. The mentality of development is not connected with the mentality of gains in stock exchanges. There are profits and losses," he said.
Answering to criticism that the government did not intervene to protect investments, Simitis said that what was important was for small investors to acquire "an investment culture".
No government has the magic power to intervene in the markets, he concluded.
ND leader blames premier, economy minister for bad performance of the Bourse: Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, addressing the no confidence motion debate concerning National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou in Parliament on Thursday night, blamed Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Papantoniou for the situation prevailing at the Athens Stock Exchange.
"There is a huge economic catastrophe for an entire world. There are dramas, deaths and suicides. Is there no shame? Nobody is moved, nobody blushes and nobody resigns?" he said.
Karamanlis focused on investors who lost their money and, addressing Papantoniou, said "those responsible for the drama, instead of giving explanations, are pretending to be those who are denouncing. It is far-fetched for you to speak of stabs in the back. One does not speak of ropes in the home of the trapped."
He further spoke of "unprecedented political fraud and gambling with Costas Simitis playing the role of croupier."
Karamanlis said the Capital Market Committee has great responsibilities and cautioned deputies on the vote they will be giving.
"You can upgrade the national economy minister's shares with your vote. You are entitled to. You can send your own message to the victims of the stock exchange. It is your choice. You can watch or break bubbles. However, we all have the duty not to forget that when tolerance is married to a cover-up, impunity is created. The state of impunity can go no further. Officials of your party said that. There is always a solution in democracies," Karamanlis said.
National economy minister says New Democracy envious of government for its two latest election victories: National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, addressing Parliament on Thursday night during the no confidence motion debate against him, attributed the motion to the main opposition New Democracy party's envy of the government for its victories in the two latest elections.
"The economy went very well. There is development and a decrease in inflation and this has disarmed you. Thanks to the success of the economy you lost two elections and you want to get revenge from the government," he said.
"The stock exchange does indeed reflect the image of the economy. However, this relationship is divided by the indicator's circumstantial, although big, fluctuations. There are fluctuations but they do not revoke the course of the economy," Papantoniou said and reminded of similar increases and decreases in capital markets abroad.
Referring to the opposition's argument that he and other members of the government, at the time of the decrease, had strengthened the illusions of small investors with their statements, Papantoniou recalled an interview by ND leader Costas Karamanlis, when the indicator at the stock exchange was at its highest point, in which he claimed that "the stock exchange is at a stage of strong development and it will flourish even more in the future."
Communist party leader calls on working classes not to expect anything from stock exchange: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga, addressing Parliament on Thursday night during the no confidence motion debate concerning National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, said the New Democracy party's no confidence motion debate "is one of the most prearranged discussions to take place in Parliament" since neither of the two major parties has a reason to touch the nucleus of the problem.
Papariga said the best thing the working classes could do is not to expect anything from the Athens Stock Exchange and they should not replace their struggle with the expectation that they will be among those who will gain.
She said the stock exchange is an apparatus for collecting capital and, explaining her party's position not to vote for either side, said it would have every reason to place responsibility on the government and the minister "if we believed that enlarged support for the no confidence motion would help the people."
Former ND president accuses premier of ASE woes: The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) has healthy companies on its list, which will do well if the exchange recovers, former prime minister and main opposition New Democracy honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis said on Thursday, during discussion on a no confidence motion against National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, tabled by New Democracy.
He said that investors that trusted their money in those healthy companies would not lose their money, adding that ND accused the government "because it did not shield the exchange and those that invested in stocks which were 'bubbles' lost their money".
The motion, he said, was tabled, not to overthrow the government or sack a minister, rather it was tabled as "it is the pinnacle act of loyal opposition and it is an effort - however desperate - to note the weaknesses of the government".
Mitsotakis also said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis was more to blame than Papantoniou, since he could have "grabbed him (Papantoniou) by the ear and remove him".
He stressed that ND reserved the right to table a no confidence motion against the whole government.
PM comments on Thursday evening's 'no-confidence' motion against minister: Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday reportedly emphasized to members of his cabinet that voting against a no-confidence motion - aimed at the national economy minister -- in Parliament later in the day equaled a "vote of confidence" for his government.
The main opposition New Democracy party tabled the no-confidence motion against National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou this week amid often-vehement criticism over the yearlong slide on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE).
The prime minister's comments reportedly came during a four-hour cabinet meeting.
A final vote in the 300-deputy Parliament is expected at around midnight.
Meanwhile, the government spokesman blamed ND for the recent appearance of PASOK campaign posters from the previous elections on Athens' streets, posters that touted the bourse's gains throughout most of 1999.
Spokesman Telemachos Hytiris jested that the main opposition party should assume the task of putting up PASOK's posters in the next elections.
 Government concerned over extremist attacks in southern Serbia, calls on int'l community to take steps
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Greece on Thursday expressed concern over the ongoing attacks by Albanian extremists in southern Serbia and the Kosovo town of Mitrovica, and called on the international community to take immediate steps to end the violence.
Foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said the Greek government was "particularly concerned" over the "continuing attacks by Albanian extremists against Serbs in southern Serbia and in Kosovska Mitrovica" and called on the international community for "immediate steps to end the violence".
Beglitis said the ongoing attacks caused concern in Greece "because they could contribute to destabilization of the wider region in southern Serbia" but also in FYROM, noting that Greece was "vitally interested" in "restoration of calm and termination of the destabilizing actions" and therefore "calls on the international community, the UN as well as KFOR (the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo) to take all the necessary steps for the termination of the attacks".
The foreign ministry spokesman stressed that UN Security Council resolution 1244/99 "must concern all the sides", adding that its "selective application" was "not acceptable".
Beglitis further strongly condemned Tuesday's violence in Mitrovica and the destruction of the local Orthodox church, and called on the "(Albanian) Kosovars and KFOR to take all the required measures to protect the peacekeeping forces in Kosovo and the Orthodox monuments".
A group of about 300 Kosovo Albanians attacked the Orthodox church of St. Savvas in Kosovska Mitrovica late Tuesday in a flare-up of violence, and some 60 members of Greece's contingent to KFOR guarding the church fired warning shots in the air before a group of Danish peacekeepers arrived and helped disperse the protestors.
Beglitis said that foreign minister George Papandreou had discussed the situation in Presevo and southern Serbia with Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica recently in Davos, and with Yugoslav foreign minister Goran Svilanovic in a telephone conversation.
The ministry spokesman said the situation in Kosovo and southern Serbia was also discussed by Papandreou at meetings with his Swedish counterpart Anna Lindh in Stockholm recently and by phone with the new FYROM foreign minister Srgjan Kerim.
The problem was further discussed between Papandreou and UN secretary general Kofi Annan who, according to foreign ministry sources, told the Greek minister he would hold discussions with all the sides involved on the situation in the region.
First 30 replacements of returning Greek KFOR members head for Kosovo: The first group of 30 Greek servicemen have departed for Kosovo to replace peacekeepers who have requested to return in the wake of the depleted uranium (DU) scare, defense ministry sources said Thursday.
The servicemen will be replacing members of the Greek contingent to the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR) who have submitted requests to cut short their tour of duty following recent concern that depleted uranium used in ammunition dropped by NATO during its 1999 campaign in Yugoslavia was causing cancer-related diseases among peacekeepers.
The Greek government has said that all requests for repatriation would be honored.
 PM Simitis calls for intensification of efforts for preparation of 2004 Olympic Games
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday called for the intensification of efforts to achieve a speedier and more effective preparation of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games during a marathon cabinet meeting.
According to reports, Simitis warned his ministers of possible complacency and called on relevant ministers, including Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, to brief the cabinet on their actions and their ministries' planning for the preparation of the Olympiad and in light of a new visit to Athens by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation on February 15.
Venizelos said after the cabinet meeting that in organizing the Olympic Games "our country's ability is being put to the test" and termed the Olympiad a paramount undertaking for the modernization of Greece.
He said "the Olympic Games are not only projects, as is mistakenly being noted", adding that they are something more "there are telecommunications, marketing, new technologies, volunteerism, training, culture and, above all, sports preparation."
Venizelos also said the 2004 Olympic Games do not concern the Attica basin alone but all of Greece and referred to the program "Greece 2004" concerning sports infrastructures all over the country and costing 300 billion drachmas which will be covered by the 3rd Community Support Framework.
 Tourism policy to cover four-year period until 2004
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)The cabinet on Thursday discussed a document on Tourist Policy 2000-2004, presented by Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, outlining the main directives of government policy in the tourist sector until the 2004 Olympic Games.
Acting government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said later the discussion on this sector had to take place now to provide adequate time for decisions and measures to be taken before the tourist period begins.
Addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting, Christodoulakis said the main target of tourist policy is to maintain high rates of tourist arrivals and to develop new tourist products.
The extension of the tourist period is a basic target of tourist policy. A main characteristic of Greek tourism is that 75 percent of tourists visit Greece over a period of three and a half to four months.
Christodoulakis said Greece would seek to undertake the World Tourist Organizations conference in 2003 so as to upgrade its tourist services in light of the Olympic Games.
 FM Papandreou and Algerian counterpart discuss visit to Greece by Algerian president
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Belkhadem on Thursday discussed the preparation of Algerian President Abdelaziz Buteflika's visit to Greece in the coming months. Belkhadem praised bilateral political relations and expressed the wish that "economic relations will reach the corresponding level."
Papandreou said relations between the two countries are excellent, adding that he and Belkhadem discussed agreements to be promoted in the coming months with the purpose of having them signed during the Algerian president's visit to Greece.
The agreements concern avoidance of double taxation, cooperation in shipping, tourist cooperation and assistance for transportation between the two countries, while the Algerian foreign minister announced that a joint business council would be created shortly.
Apart from bilateral relations, the two foreign ministers discussed issues regarding relations between the European Union and Algeria and the Barcelona process on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.
Papandreou, commenting on the situation in Presevo in southern Serbia, said he has constant consultations with all the sides involved and with important international officials.
In parallel, specific proposals are being processed concerning the region's security and surveillance both by KFOR and the Yugoslav authorities.
 Sofia paper says Bulgarian FM in Greece next week
SOFIA, 02/02/2001 (ANA - B. Borisov)Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova will reportedly visit Greece on Feb. 8 and 9 for talks expected to focus on the opening of three new border crossings between the two Balkan neighbors, a local daily reported here on Thursday.
No official confirmation has as yet been issued in either Athens or Sofia.
According to the daily "Trud", Mihailova will meet with her Greek counterpart George Papandreou and be received by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
The newspaper claimed that work on the Goce Delcev crossing (towards the Greek town of Drama) has already begun, whereas the other two projects lacked funding. It also quoted Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hombach, as saying recently that funding from relative EU programs is pending.
 Albright congratulates Greek FM on Greek-Turkish drug arrest and rapprochement
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has written to Foreign Minister George Papandreou to congratulate him on a joint drug bust by Greek and Turkish authorities, who discovered a ship with a large load of heroin.
According to an announcement by the foreign ministry on Thursday, Albright also encouraged Papandreou to continue cooperating with Turkey in the fight against organized crime and said that the US wanted this to continue.
She also congratulated Papandreou for his efforts in trying to ensure a climate of de-escalating tension and peace between Greece and Turkey, noting the courage and will shown by the governments and particularly the foreign ministers of the two countries for the creation of a climate of mutual trust.
Albright has also sent a similar letter to the Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, according to ANA reports from Ankara.
 National defense minister to participate in 37th Conference on Political Security in Munich
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)The 37th Conference on Political Security will take place in Munich on February 2-4 and will focus on inter-Atlantic relations, European security and defense identity, German foreign policy and security policy at the beginning of the new century, Russia's role in world politics, the shaping of joint European security with Russia and bilateral relations with Russia on the part of Asia.
National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who will participate for Greece, will leave for Munich on Friday afternoon and will address the conference on Saturday afternoon.
Among others, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, NATO secretary general George Robertson and the European Unions representative for, will attend the conference foreign and security policy issues Javier Solana.
German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping and the governor of Bavaria will be giving luncheons for the participants.
 Government spokesman, referring to former PM Mitsotakis, says speaking with innuendos of terrorism not a responsible position
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Acting government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris, referring to a televised interview by former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis on Wednesday night that the problem of terrorism would have been resolved had his government stayed in power another six months, on Thursday said speaking with innuendos about terrorism on television is not a responsible position by a former prime minister. Mitsotakis was in power between 1990 and 1993.
Commenting also on Mitsotakis' remark that the terrorists were in prison, Hytiris said he remembers that only newspaper directors were in prison.
Hytiris said the government does not intend to summon Mitsotakis to ask him for information in his possession, adding that the former prime minister himself did not ask to brief the government.
 Turkish FM visits Skopje, holds talks with FYROM counterpart
SKOPJE, 02/02/2001 (ANA - M. Vichou)The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem held talks here on Thursday on bilateral cooperation and regional conditions.
Kerim noted that the two countries view each other as strategic partners, while Cem reiterated Ankara's support for its bid to enter NATO and called on the authorities of (FYROM) to submit an application for full accession to the European Union.
 Agriculture ministry organizes conference on forest fires
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)The Agriculture Ministry and the National Agricultural Research Foundation on Thursday organized a one-day conference for the protection of forests from fires and the management of forestlands after the destructive effects of fires.
The conference was part of the "Agrotica 2000" exhibition-taking place at the Thessaloniki Helexpo Center.
According to data made public during the conference, 375,000 acres of forest was burned last year in Greece, while the median of the decade was 250,000 acres and the median for the last 40 years was 75,000 acres.
 Greek Euro MP calls for new EU attitude toward N. Africa
BRUSSELS, 02/02/2001 (ANA - B. Demiris)The Mediterranean African countries have to be considered as part of Europe, if the European Union policies in the region are to succeed, PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannis Souladakis said, on Thursday.
Speaking to the plenum of the Europarliament, Souladakis - member of the Europarliament's foreign affairs committee - said, "the countries of North Africa, on the other side of the Mediterranean, are part of Europe and this attitude should be the basic axis of the Mediterranean policy of the European Union".
He accused Union member-states for exercising an elitist policy in the Mediterranean and called for a total wipe out of what he called the "marks of the recent colonialism", which will lead to a certain failure of the Mediterranean policy of the Union. "During the 21st century we should confront the other side of the Mediterranean as part of Europe, so we will not hear cries from the past, such as Hannibal ante portas or Delenta es Cartago," he said.
 KKE deputy Pattakis resigns to assume Europarliament seat
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Yannis Pattakis submitted his resignation from the parliamentary post on Thursday to take up his new responsibilities as Euro parliamentarian for the party in replacement of Yannis Theonas.
Pattakis was named in November to replace Theonas after the latter departed from the party and gave up his EuroMP post in dispute over the expulsion of three high-ranking KKE members.
Theonas had said at the time that his resignation from the Europarliament post would be effective in January 2001 and only on condition that the party's decision on his successor guaranteed that the salary he received as Eurodeputy would go to the party's coffers.
Takis Tsiogas from Thessaly, who is chairman of the Larissa Labor Center and a board member of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), will replace Pattakis in the Greek parliament.
 Greece, Bulgaria conclude agreements on mobile telephony and road improvement
SOFIA, 02/02/2001 (ANA - B. Borisov)Greek Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis led a delegation here in talks with Bulgarian government vice-president Petar Zotev on Thursday.
Talks included Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) International Investments Ltd. interest in mobile telephony in the country and the development of road and rail infrastructure that concern both countries.
Specifically, Verelis spoke of OTE's acquisition of a mobile telephony license in Bulgaria and related investments, saying, "we discussed the importance of the license OTE has, for mobile telephony and we feel that the organization (OTE) will be active in other sectors as well, as soon as conditions allow it".
Discussions also included the development of the European route 10 crossing Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, reaching all the way to Austria.
"Regarding route 10, it is an important opportunity for all Balkan countries to develop conditions of economic cooperation in Central Europe, as well as the conditions of easy connection between them with all the positive results," Verelis said.
 Six non-binding offers submitted for privatization of Olympic Airways
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Credit Suisse First Boston, the Swiss bank operating as an adviser for the Greek government on the privatization of Olympic Airways, received six non-binding offers on Wednesday, the last day of the time limit provided. The offers concern the acquisition of a majority package (51-65 percent) in the Olympic Airways' group.
According to an announcement by the bank on behalf of the Greek government on Wednesday, the non-binding offers submitted will be evaluated to determine the extent of the group's reorganization before the privatization process and have a list of possible investors prepared who will move on to the phase of submitting binding offers. Binding offers are expected to be called for by the end of March 2001.
The six parties showing interest (there has been no official announcement) are the private airline company AXON (a member of the Liakounakos group), Cyprus Airways (the only international airline company to submit an offer), shipowner St. Restis, the Japanese Sanwa bank, the American charter airline company "Chrysler Aviation" and the Australian Integrated Airlines Solutions.
 Transport minister says tram and suburban railway a considerable breather for Athens
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis on Thursday said the tram and the suburban railway would provide a considerable breather for Athens.
Verelis was speaking at the end of negotiations with the European Commission on the operational program named "Railways-urban communications and airports 2000-2006."
The program's total budget amounts to 1.65 trillion drachmas, while the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund will participate with a stake amounting to about 50 percent.
Its strategic aim is the completion of high-speed railway lines having European specifications on the main Athens-Thessaloniki and Athens-Patras routes.
On completion of the projects, travel on the Athens-Thessaloniki route will last three hours and 50 minutes and on the Athens-Patras route two hours.
 Greek assistant professor elected president of European Network of Renewables
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)The European Network of Renewables (EnR) during a meeting of its administrative council at Seville, Spain, on January 26, elected as its president assistant professor Dimosthenis Agoris, president of Greece's Center of Renewable Sources of Energy (KAPE). The event proves recognition on the part of the European Union's EnR national energy centers of the work being done in Greece for renewable sources of energy and KAPE's role in sectors such as in the aeolic, solar and hydroelectric sectors, sources said.
Agoris will proceed in forming a team for strategic planning which will convene in Lisbon in April.
 Greek stocks end lower on profit taking
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)Equity prices ended lower on Thursday reversing a two-day rally, which pushed the general index 7.23 percent higher on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Traders described the correction as a healthy reaction of the market and noted that selling orders were easily absorbed throughout the session.
The general index ended 0.52 percent lower at 3,247.87 points, off the day's lows of 3,228.25 points. Turnover was an improved 271.20 million euros, or 92.412 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.59 percent higher at 1,893.83 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index eased 0.47 percent to 339.89 points.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 7,210.36 -0.18% Leasing: 498.34 -1.06% Insurance: 1,276.32 +1.88% Investment: 1,299.53 -1.78% Construction: 1,266.04 -0.19% Industrials: 1,954.26 -0.78% Miscellaneous: 2,229.72 -0.45% Holding: 3,390.92 -0.66%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 2.25 percent higher at 266.75 points.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 256 to 72 with another 31 issues unchanged.
Elval, Alpha Bank, Viohalco, Eurobank and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.
Leading shares' closing prices (in euros): National Bank: 39.44 Alpha Bank: 34.80 Commercial Bank: 51.00 Eurobank: 21.54 Piraeus Bank: 15.16 Lambrakis Press: 10.46 Altec: 6.04 Titan Cement (c): 40.12 Hellenic Telecoms: 17.30 Panafon: 7.42 Hellenic Petroleum: 10.00 Attica Enterprises: 6.28 Intracom: 19.92 Minoan Lines: 5.16 Viohalco: 11.00 Hellenic Bottling: 19.22
Equity futures end lower, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Thursday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based, traders said.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 0,59 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0,47 percent higher.
Turnover was 71.6 million euros on 9,241 contracts traded, the dealers said.
Bond prices edge up in moderate trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished slightly higher in moderate trade with interest again focusing on 20-year paper, dealers said.
The new Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.34 percent from 5.36 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 725 million euros (around 247 billion drachmas) from 760 million euros in the trading day before.
Buy orders accounted for around 65 percent of turnover.
Euro/dollar reference rate rises to 94.06 cents: The European Central Bank set its euro/dollar reference rate at 94.06 cents on Thursday, up from 92.67 the previous day, pushing the US dollar/drachma rate to 362.26 drachmas.
The ECB also set the euro/yen rate at 108.70 yen (3.13 drachmas), the euro/sterling rate at 63.71 pence (534.84 drachmas), the euro/Swiss franc at 1.5327 francs (222.32 drachmas) and the euro/Cyprus pound rate at 57.93 cents (588.20 drachmas).
 Greek doctors offer aid to India's earthquake stricken
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)The Greek chapter of the "Doctors of the World" non-govern-mental organization continued for a second day on Thurs-day to provide healthcare services for the earthquake victims at the Bhuj, India at the Gujarat region.
The non-profit organization is planning to ship 3,000 blankets and six tons of medical supplies to the region, along with a team of orthopedic doctors, officials of the organization said.
 Police locate runaway Fla. teen lured to Greece via the Internet
Athens, 02/02/2001 (ANA)A 15-year-old Florida girl reported missing since late August -- apparently lured to Greece by a man she met on the Internet -- has been found in the northern port city of Thessaloniki after a large-scale police search and extensive local media coverage. According to police on Thursday, Lindsay Erin Shamrock was found late Wednesday night in an apartment in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city. She was taken the city's police headquarters until procedures for her return to the United States are completed.
However, police said they had not located 35-year-old German-Greek national Franz Konstantin Baehring, a Thessaloniki resident who is accused of luring the minor to Greece after meeting her on the Internet
An arrest warrant has been issued for Baehring in Florida on charges of interfering with parental custody, a charge Greek authorities have said they will honor.
Shamrock was reported missing on August 28 from her hometown of Mulberry, some 65 kilometers east of Tampa. She allegedly flew to Greece using a US passport in the name of Dawn Arnder, 17.
Shamrock and Baehring apparently communicated over the Internet over a period of several months before she ran away from home, police said.
Another two people have been arrested in the US on charges of helping the girl get to Greece, according to wire reports.
US embassy: Meanwhile, the US embassy on Thursday issued a press release in the afternoon expressing its gratitude to the public order ministry and Greek police for their efforts in locating Shamrock.
"I am delighted that Ms. Shamrock has been found in good health. This case illustrates the excellent cooperation that exists between the FBI and the Greek legal authorities, who worked in tandem on this case for several months," US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns noted in a statement.
 American journalists' club protests attack on Turkish Cypriot newspaper
NEW YORK, 02/02/2001 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)The New York based Overseas Press Club of America sent a letter to the Turkish President condemning the bomb attack against Turkish Cypriot newspaper AVRUPA and the acts of the local illegal regime in the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus in silencing the opposition press.
The letter sent on Jan. 12 the organization noted "we write to denounce the recent bombing that destroyed the main installations of the Turkish Cypriot opposition newspaper AVRUPA".
"The attack follows on the heels of another act of intimidation, the court order against AVRUPA that sought US$ 260,000 for an allegedly defamatory report about Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader," the letter stated.
"It would appear that the bombing was yet another attempt by the Denktash regime and the Turkish occupation army to silence the voices of those in the Turkish Cypriot community who desire nothing more than an end to oppressive tactics that stand in the way of a peaceful reunification of Cyprus," the letter stressed.
"We implore you to strongly condemn activities such as the one directed against AVRUPA ... Attempts to stifle freedom of expression can only worsen your country's image among nations," the letter concluded.
In a related development, the magazine "Cartoon News" also published in New York, dedicated the central comment of the November-December 2000 issue to Cyprus' long and peace-loving history.
The comment introduces Cyprus to its readers noting "you will be fascinated to find out why we chose Cyprus, it is the only country in the world that never attacked its neighbors and 'never' in Cyprus means 10,000 years".
The opinion peace written by the magazine's editor in chief Ranen F. Lurie recollects the Turkish invasion and occupation since 1974.
 President Clerides holds talks with US ambassador
NICOSIA, 02/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)Developments in the Cyprus question and the forthcoming decision by Cyprus Airways to purchase new aircraft were the main items on Thursday's agenda of a meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and US Ambassador in Nicosia Donald Bandler.
"One of my roles here as Ambassador is to make sure that every American company interested in doing business in the Cyprus market has an equal and fair chance to win in a competitive decision on commercial factors," Bandler said after the 60-minute meeting, which he described as "excellent."
Replying to questions, he said it would be premature to say that the recent visit to the island by UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto was a failure.
"De Soto is involved in a mission and continues that work, we continue to work behind the scenes with others in the international community on behalf of this process," he said.
The UN official had meetings here with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash but could not announce the continuation of the UN-led proximity talks at his press conference on Monday, before leaving the island. He said he would report to the Secretary-General and take it from there.
Bandler said he discussed with President Clerides a range of other issues and concerns relating to international politics.
Cypriot medical team to fly to India to give assistance for earthquake
victims NICOSIA, 02/02/2001 (CNA)A six member medical team from Cyprus is flying to India on Monday to help local doctors to deal with the problems they have to face in the aftermath of the terrible earthquake that hit the country last week.
"We intend to work in hospitals with teams of local doctors in areas which have suffered most from the earthquake and as far as we gather there are many injured people," Eleni Theocharous, president of the organization "Doctors of the World" Cyprus branch told CNA on Thursday.
She said three surgeons, two pediatricians and an orthopedic surgeon will make up the Cypriot team, which will also carry medicine with it to the stricken areas.
Theocharous said they would not be taking foodstuff with them because the cost is prohibiting.
She said the team has managed to raise funds and sponsorship for the trip.
This is not the first time Cypriot doctors, members of the Doctors of the World, have rallied to the assistance of suffering human beings anywhere around the globe.