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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-02-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens' new int'l airport to open March 28, premier says
  • [02] Next 6 months to determine 2004 Games' quality
  • [03] FM Papandreou says closing the issue of FYROM's name without new problems being created an imperative need
  • [04] FM Papandreou meets US Senate committee in view of lighting of Special Olympic Games flame
  • [05] ADEDY response to Interior ministry on 'means declaration' row
  • [06] Main opposition leader criticizes gov't policies on education, calls for changes
  • [07] ND proposal for committee to look into naturalizations to be debated on Tuesday
  • [08] Vice Admiral George Theodoroulakis new Navy chief
  • [09] Deputy foreign minister and Israeli ambassador discuss developments in Israel and Middle East peace process
  • [10] ND deputy pessimistic about course of Cyprus problem on Hania tour
  • [11] Greek-Americans call attention to Greek military efforts, in letter to US cabinet members
  • [12] President Stephanopoulos meets Ljubljana Mayor and Avramopoulos
  • [13] Greek stocks end the week with gains
  • [14] Salomon sees a rise in underlying inflation
  • [15] Gov't to wholly privatize ETBAbank
  • [16] Metka gets PPC power plant deal
  • [17] Petzetakis, Ideal in 'smart' buildings alliance
  • [18] National Real Estate repurchases 4.58 percent of its equity
  • [19] Maillis offshoot successfully completes Romania IPO
  • [20] Greek Merchant Marine Minister reaffirms Nov 2002 deregulation date
  • [21] Greek embassy in Japan to organize "Greece Meets Yokohama" business event
  • [22] North Aegean region prefects to discuss implementing 3rd CSF on Tuesday
  • [23] Interior ministry circular orders civil service to switch to electronic records system for applications
  • [24] Olympic Airways announces discount fares for European destinations
  • [25] Italian tourism to Greece seen 10 pct up in 2001
  • [26] Archaeological sites' unification to be finished by 2004, gov't says
  • [27] 'Pirate' TV station shut down by authorities
  • [28] President of the Republic presents awards to doctors for combatting cancer
  • [29] Catholic Nuncio in Athens visits Greek Archbishop
  • [30] Seminar for olive oil
  • [31] Cyprus Airways on short-list in process of privatization of Olympic Airways
  • [32] Lord Mayor of London to visit Cyprus next week

  • [01] Athens' new int'l airport to open March 28, premier says

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Athens' new Eleftherios Venizelos international airport will commence operation on March 28, prime minister Costas Simitis told parliament on Friday.

    Responding to criticism from main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and PASOK deputy for Attica prefecture Yannis Yiannakis, Simitis said that "everything is in place so that on Wednesday, March 28, the new international airport Eleftherios Venizelos will begin operation".

    Simitis said the new airport was "complete, safe and reliable" and "an airport that fulfills the international specifications and flight safety conditions".

    He conceded, however, that the airport would require "adjustments" during the initial stage of operation, noting that "there is no airport in the world that operated impeccably from the first moment, without requiring some 'breaking-in'".

    Simitis added that the airport's initial capacity for aircraft and passengers would be equal to that currently of the existing international airport at Hellenikon, and by the summer capacity would increase by another two-thirds.

    As for the airport's safety, the premier said the radio-navigation assistance equipment had been tried, while the ground facilities guaranteed the safe facilitation of passengers and aircraft and the relevant state agencies had stated they were ready to relocate to the new airport.

    Simitis also said that access to the airport would also be "satisfactory", presenting to the 300-member House a study by Athens Polytechnic University professor Frantzeskakis according to which the 'commuting balance' would be equal to that at the present international airport.

    "It is an airport that distinguishes the country's geostrategic position, contributes to development, and honors Greece," the premier said.

    Replying to criticism from New Democracy, Simitis said the new airport was one of the most modern worldwide, and its air navigation equipment among the most state-of-the art on a global scale. It was also the largest public works project to be completed in Greece, with a budget of 700 billion dr.

    [02] Next 6 months to determine 2004 Games' quality

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    The IOC on Friday stressed that starting construction of several 2004 Olympics-related venues in the next six months is its greatest concern, as one top executive reiterated here that most other preparations are proceeding smoothly.

    "We need to begin construction in the next few months. This is the most important issue, the rest is going fine," IOC vice-president Jacques Rogge told a press conference in Athens.

    The influential International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president arrived in Athens this week at the head of an IOC delegation to gauge progress for the Games, his second official visit in less than four months. During a November inspection the IOC effectively reversed its stinging criticism, issued in April, over organizers' delays and red tape.

    Rogge, who spoke with high-profile ATHOC chairwoman Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki at his side before dozens of reporters, pointedly said that the next six months would determine the quality of the 2004 Olympics, "as there is no issue of moving the Games" to another country.

    He stressed that 25 percent of the sports venues remained to be built - including the Olympic Village - with "the acid test" being to sprout the projects from the ground up over the six-month period.

    Rogge, expected to vie for outgoing IOC chief Juan Antonio Samaranch's job, downplayed local press reports of dissension between Athens organizers (ATHOC) and various ministries involved in overseeing projects or related infrastructure works.

    In fact, he said he was pleased by cooperation amongst organizers, the government and amongst individual ministries, saying he discerned "no sign of conflict".

    The question of rumored friction between Angelopoulos-Daskalaki-led ATHOC and ministry leaderships due to the former's pressure to speed up projects and side-step bureaucracy was the focus many a front-page in the Athens dailies on Friday.

    On her part, the former Greek deputy said it was ATHOC officials' "responsibility to point out, when necessary, all of the delays and to propose solutions.

    "We all have our personal responsibility and I categorically respect the work of all... and there's no personal problem with anyone," she said.

    Security concerns: Rogge also emphasized that "all that's humanly possible is being done" in terms of security for the Games.

    "We were totally reassured by the information we have," he said, one day after holding more than half a dozen meetings with top Greek officials, including Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    "We had a very good discussion on security, and as you know, that is our (IOC) No. 1 concern," he said, before praising the level of funds earmarked for security, integration of law enforcement agencies and agreements with foreign governments on the matter.

    The annoying specter of terrorism in what remains one of Europe's most crime-free cities has consumed much of the government's and ATHOC's attention over recent months, with officials this week promising the IOC to form an Olympics task force comprised of special security units and a city-wide surveillance camera network.

    Concerns over security and deadlines for completing venues have dominated talks between the IOC and ATHOC of late, highlighted in local headlines and attracting international attention as the world's media slowly begins to focus on the Athens Games' preparations and modern Greece itself.

    The IOC delegation arrived on the heels of a government decision to cancel construction of a multi-sports venue at the Faliro Delta site - where the current decades-old Athens horse track stands - and instead build separate venues at a nearby seaside strip and on land vacated by the old Athens airport further south on Athens' upscale coastline.

    Asked if the emphasis on meeting construction deadlines and delays may overshadow the historical significance of returning the 2004 Olympics to their ancient birthplace and the city that hosted the first modern Games in 1896, Rogge said, "Greece, and Athens in particular, has something special to offer the Olympics... The Olympics are returning to their roots. This is unique and no other country in the world can offer this."

    Projects pending: As far as the remaining uncompleted venues are concerned, a 74-billion-drachma Olympic equestrian center, as previously announced, will be built near the Markopoulo township, east of Athens proper and only a short distance from the new Athens international airport.

    According to a timetable, construction will begin this August, with test events scheduled for May 2003 and final delivery by December 2003.

    Regarding the complicated issue of relocating the current 1950s-era Athens horse track - situated on a coveted tract of near coastline land known as the Faliro Delta - Greece's sports under-secretary said plans to exploit the site will be taken in cooperation with the environment and town planning ministry along with adjoining municipalities.

    The government had announced last November that the current Athens horse track would be relocated in the Markopoulo area, although plans to build a multipurpose sports complex in its place were scrapped last month.

    A new indoor arena to host the Olympic weightlifting competitions - an increasingly popular sport in Greece due to a series of sterling performances by Greek athletes in the last three Games - will be built at the Selepitsari site of Nikaia, a mostly working-class municipality north of the port of Piraeus. Construction for the 15-billion-dollar project is due to begin in May, with testing events set for February 2003 prior to final delivery in December that same year.

    Another indoor arena, expected to host the ping-pong and widely popular gymnastics events would be built, also as expected, at the Veikou site, in northern Athens and only a few kilometers from the Athens Olympic Stadium. This venue is budgeted at 15 billion drachmas and is set to begin in July, with the same completion dates listed as the previous projects.

    The all-important press center -- expected to cater to between 5,000 and 6,000 non-broadcast sportswriters and journalists -- will be built at the Maroussi site, within walking distance of the Olympic Stadium and at a cost of 10 billion drachmas. The completion date was given as December 2003.

    Finally, a new 30,000-seat soccer stadium outside Irakleio, the largest city on the island of Crete, was announced for the hosting of preliminary rounds of the football competition. This project was budgeted at 17.4 billion drachmas, with construction expected to begin in August and completion by December 2003.

    "We're very pleased with ATHOC; they have clearly understood the lessons of the Sydney Games. We are also thrilled by their marketing campaign in a country of 10 million," Rogge said in the beginning of his address.

    [03] FM Papandreou says closing the issue of FYROM's name without new problems being created an imperative need

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said in Parliament on Friday the closing of the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name without any new problems being created is an imperative need.

    "We should all realize that closing the issue of FYROM's name in a way not creating new problems and not leaving loose ends is an imperative need," he said in reply to a question from PASOK Deputy Stelios Papathemelis.

    Papathemelis called on Papandreou to clarify whether reports claiming the use of the term "Macedonia" together with a word such as "Northern" or "New" as possible options were true. He said nobody would use such a name just as nobody uses the name FYROM at present.

    Papandreou avoided going into details since discussions in the framework of the UN are underway and said relevant reports are "guesswork", adding that "there are no deadlocks since the political will to find a solution exists" on both sides.

    "Greece has a strategic interest in stability and security in the region and from no change in existing borders. A solution to the name will contribute to the further development of bilateral relations, wider stability in the region and its speedier accession to Euroatlantic structures. We have repeatedly stressed that the solution cannot come with hegemonism or by force, or with buyouts, packages, etc. Such solutions would not be viable," he said.

    "The level of our relations is so good that it enables us to negotiate a solution which will not humiliate anyone. However, we should all realize that closing the issue is an imperative need," Papandreou added.

    [04] FM Papandreou meets US Senate committee in view of lighting of Special Olympic Games flame

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday held talks with a US Senate committee, headed by Senator Ted Stevens, visiting Greece in view of Saturday's lighting of the Olympic Flame for the Special Winter Olympic Games to take place in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2001.

    Papandreou discussed all issues concerning the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with the US senators and briefed them on Greek-Turkish relations, developments regarding the Cyprus issue and the Balkans.

    [05] ADEDY response to Interior ministry on 'means declaration' row

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    The civil servants' umbrella union, ADEDY, reassured its members on Friday that it could protect them from "arbitrary prosecution" in response to a veiled government warning that there would be repercussions for those who didn't submit a mandatory means declaration for public sector workers.

    "ADEDY wants to categorically and absolutely assure workers that it has the means to protect them against arbitrary prosecution, both by law and as a union," an announcement said.

    The announcement followed statements by Deputy Interior Minister Leonidas Tzannis that implied there would be "consequences" for those who failed to submit the declarations.

    The trade union accused the ministry of "losing its cool" and claimed there was a "crisis of confidence in the political leadership" on behalf of the civil service. They also doubted the government's claim that 90 per cent of civil servants had already submitted the means declaration, placing the number closer to 30 per cent. A great number of the declarations submitted, ADEDY reps predicted, would prove to just refer readers' to tax statements.

    The trade unionists also reiterated their concerns about violation of privacy and talked about the possible "utilization of the personal data of 1,500,000 citizens for unrelated reasons."

    They said they had instructed their members not to complete the declaration forms but to state that their tax statements contained all the real data.

    The issue of privacy and constitutionality has also been raised by ADEDY in court, through the Council of State.

    According to an opinion poll published on February 1, almost all Greeks think that the public sector is characterized by a high rate of corruption.

    A total of 92.5 percent of those polled believed that heavy corruption existed and 78.6 percent backed the government's decision to introduce mandatory means declaration for public sector workers, according to a poll conducted by Kappa Research and carried in the Ethnos Sunday paper.

    Of those who backed means declaration, 38.3 percent believed that the scheme would greatly help to restrict corruption, and 34.9 percent said it would have a fair impact.

    Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou had ordered means declaration a few weeks before, sparking the ire of ADEDY, as well as the creation of a committee to protect the confidentiality of employees' means data.

    Of those polled, 34.8 percent reported that they had witnessed instances of corruption by state sector officials; and 64.4 percent said they had not.

    Ranking top for presumed levels of corruption were tax offices, followed by ministries, hospitals, education, the Public Power Corporation, the town planning division and local government.

    [06] Main opposition leader criticizes gov't policies on education, calls for changes

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday criticized the government's educational policies and proposed solutions based on his parties positions, during a conference organized by ND on the party's course to its March congress. He accused the ruling party for failing to reform the educational system so as to meet the demand of Greece's changing economy, saying that the failure stemmed from "amateurism, lack of planning and conflicting policies."

    In turn, Karamanlis proposed changes to the system making it flexible to the needs of the job market and called for policies that would make Greece into the educational center of southeastern Europe.

    [07] ND proposal for committee to look into naturalizations to be debated on Tuesday

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    A proposal by main opposition New Democracy for a Parliamentary committee to investigate illegal naturalizations will be debated in the House on Tuesday, February 27.

    [08] Vice Admiral George Theodoroulakis new Navy chief

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Vice Admiral George Theodoroulakis on Friday assumed the duties of Navy General Staff chief from Vice Admiral George Ioannidis during a ceremony in Piraeus. Theodoroulakis was previously chief of the fleet. The national defense ministrys civil and military leadership attended the ceremony.

    [09] Deputy foreign minister and Israeli ambassador discuss developments in Israel and Middle East peace process

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis and Israeli Ambassador to Athens Ran Curiel on Friday discussed developments in Israel, the course of the Middle East peace process following the election of Ariel Sharon to the premiership and the setting up of the new government.

    They also discussed the succession issue at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Special emphasis was placed on the Patriarchate's autonomy and the policy of principles and not persons applied by the two governments.

    Niotis reiterated the Greek government's great interest in maintaining the Patriarchate's Greek Orthodox character for historical and cultural reasons.

    [10] ND deputy pessimistic about course of Cyprus problem on Hania tour

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Things are not going well with the Cyprus problem according to main opposition New Democracy deputy Dora Bakoyianni. Speaking during a two-day tour of Crete's Hania prefecture on Friday, Bakoyianni said she had noted a "disturbing stagnancy" in Cyprus talks and that Turkish intransigency was cause for concern.

    The ND politician also claimed that Turkey currently suffered from internal problems because there were two opposing tendencies within it, the isolationists and the Europhiles, and there was no way of knowing how this conflict would finally resolve itself.

    Conversely, she was upbeat about Cyprus' EU accession prospects, saying that the negotiations were going well and that the island republic satisfied all criteria for joining. She also said it was "encouraging" that Europe now appeared to realize that Greece was not responsible for the impasse in solving the Cyprus problem.

    [11] Greek-Americans call attention to Greek military efforts, in letter to US cabinet members

    WASHINGTON, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    The National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH), a United States based non-profit organization, addressed a letter to US President George W. Bush and members of his cabinet, highlighting Greece's recent military history.

    The letter stressed Greece's struggles for freedom and support for international causes sponsored by the United States, including well-known action in the Second World War and lesser-known efforts such as the participation of "38 Greek soldiers ... in the military operations on the shores of Tripoli," which contributed to the "US Marines Hymn".

    The press release issued by the CEH noted that the letter stressed Greece's efforts in military conflicts, such as the Korean War, to provide a better understanding of Greece's psyche to the Bush cabinet, as many of its members served with high rank and distinction in the US Armed Forces.

    [12] President Stephanopoulos meets Ljubljana Mayor and Avramopoulos

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday received Viktorija Potocnic, the mayor of Ljubljana in Slovenia, who was accompanied by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    [13] Greek stocks end the week with gains

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Equity prices continued moving higher for the seventh consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday with turnover improving significantly, a sign of improved investors' sentiment in the market.

    Traders said a wave of profit taking in Alpha Bank, following disappointing results for the previous year, initially pushed the general index to 3,182.24 points, but strong buying interest for smaller capitalization stocks finally pushed the index higher at the end of the session.

    The general index ended 0.52 percent higher at 3,221.37 points, with turnover at 241.32 million euros, or 82.229 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.15 percent higher at 1,858.14 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 2.97 percent to 373.24 points.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 6,875.69 -0.69% Leasing: 518.29 +0.88% Insurance: 1,302.17 +1.59% Investment: 1,296.22 +0.21% Construction: 1,445.55 +4.41% Industrials: 1,990.32 +1.59% Miscellaneous: 2,439.97 +4.09% Holding: 3,522.50 +2.16%

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks soared 6.65 percent to 292.87 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 326 to 21 with another nine issues unchanged.

    Alpha Bank, National Bank, Eurobank, Hellenic Telecoms and Cosmote were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Leading shares' closing prices (in euros): National Bank: 38.44 Alpha Bank: 32.28 Commercial Bank: 50.44 Eurobank: 20.48 Piraeus Bank: 15.04 Lambrakis Press: 12.96 Altec: 7.76 Titan Cement (c): 38.06 Hellenic Telecoms: 16.70 Panafon: 6.82 Hellenic Petroleum: 9.70 Attica Enterprises: 7.06 Intracom: 20.58 Minoan Lines: 5.38 Viohalco: 10.94 Coca Cola Bottling: 19.00

    Equity futures end mixed, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished mixed on Friday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based, traders said.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 0.15 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 2.97 percent higher.

    Turnover was 54.8 million euros on 8,899 contracts traded, the dealers said.

    Bond prices end down in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Friday finished lower in heavy trade, dealers said.

    The new Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.37 percent, the same as a day earlier.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 56 basis points from 54 basis points the day before.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.0 billion euros (around 370 billion drachmas) from 1.20 billion euros (about 408.9 billion drachmas) in the previous session.

    Sell orders accounted for the bulk of turnover.

    [14] Salomon sees a rise in underlying inflation

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Greece's underlying inflation rate is likely to rise in January as a result of secondary effects from a rise in oil prices, meaning that the government must tighten its fiscal and incomes policy, Salomon Smith Barney said on Friday.

    In a weekly market report to customers, the international investment house added that carrying out structural changes to the economy, especially dispensing with ailing enterprises, was the key to maintaining fiscal equilibrium and lowering debt.

    [15] Gov't to wholly privatize ETBAbank

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    The government intends to wholly privatize listed ETBAbank, in which it currently holds a controlling 65.5 percent stake, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Friday.

    Addressing the investment bank's shareholders, Christodoulakis said that a financial consultant would sound out the market to decide on the timing and method of sale.

    A tender to find a consultant will be called next week with a deadline for bids of March 20, he added.

    [16] Metka gets PPC power plant deal

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Metka, a subsidiary of the Mytilineos Group, has won a supply and installation contract from the Public Power Corporation for an electricity plant on Crete, it said in a statement on Friday.

    Metka, which is active in the power market, is listed on the Athens bourse along with its parent company.

    [17] Petzetakis, Ideal in 'smart' buildings alliance

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    AG Petzetakis SA and Ideal SA, which are both listed on the Athens bourse, have formed an alliance to create 'intelligent' buildings that are electronically networked, the two firms said in a statement on Friday.

    The companies have created SmartDom, a new product that embodies telecommunications infrastructure in the home or workplace, allowing full use of the new technologies, the statement said.

    [18] National Real Estate repurchases 4.58 percent of its equity

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    National Real State SA, a member of National Bank of Greece Group, on Friday announced it has repurchased 4.58 percent of its equity capital through the Athens Stock Exchange in the period from December 27, 2000 to February 9, 2001, following on a decision by an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting last December.

    A company statement said that National Real Estate would begin a new round of repurchases of its shares, at a maximum price of 2,500 drachmas per share, in the market from next Monday, February 19,

    [19] Maillis offshoot successfully completes Romania IPO

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    MI Maillis (Romania), a subsidiary of the listed Greek firm of the same name, has successfully completed an initial public offer in Romania to enter its stock exchange, the parent company said on Friday.

    The subsidiary tapped the market for the equivalent of 1.46 million US dollars, which will be used to help fund its investment plan, Maillis said in a statement.

    Maillis Romania will become the first firm from abroad to gain listing on the Bucharest bourse through a public offer, the statement added.

    The IPO advisor was Alpha Finance Romania, a member of the Greek Alpha Bank Group.

    [20] Greek Merchant Marine Minister reaffirms Nov 2002 deregulation date

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Greek Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Friday reaffirmed the November 1, 2002 date for the deregulation of the domestic passenger-shipping sector.

    Speaking in parliament, Papoutsis said the government would seek consensus and bipartisan agreement on a new draft bill, currently at its final stage.

    He also said that a draft bill on the restructuring of Greece's Port Police would envisage increasing Port Police's force to 10,000 men by 2004, from 4,300 currently, and that 1,040 would be hired in 2001.

    [21] Greek embassy in Japan to organize "Greece Meets Yokohama" business event

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    The Greek embassy in Tokyo's Economic and Trade Affairs office will organize a business event in Yokohama on May 24-27, according to an announcement by the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with the Yokohama Industrial Development Corporation (IDEC).

    Trade contacts with Japanese visitors will be held on the first day of the event, to be open to the public over the next three days, while businesses participating will be able to sell their products.

    [22] North Aegean region prefects to discuss implementing 3rd CSF on Tuesday

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Prefects of the north Aegean region will meet on the island of Lesvos on Tuesday to discuss implementation of the 3rd Community Support Framework, focusing on demands to simplify procedures and provide adequate staff to the prefectures.

    Samos Prefect Thalassinos Thalassinos will also speak on internal communication between the region's three prefectures and the prospects opening up for the region through the EU's Amsterdam Treaty.

    [23] Interior ministry circular orders civil service to switch to electronic records system for applications

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    An interior ministry circular released on Friday ordered all government ministries, general secretariats, regional and prefectural authorities to switch over to an electronic system for recording applications from the public by August 2001, instead of the present manual system.

    The measure comes under the "Information Society" program inducted in the 3rd Community Support Framework. The final aim of the program is to have the civil service using electronic records systems for applications by September 3, 2001 and to generalize the use of faxes, e-mail and word-processing programs to create documents. They will also make it mandatory for all text to be published in the government gazette to be sent in electronic form, accompanied by a computer disc.

    [24] Olympic Airways announces discount fares for European destinations

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Olympic Airways on Friday announced new discount fares for its European destinations for return tickets purchased for the period between February 19 and March 31, 2001, and for a limited number of seats.

    The discount fares are valid for a minimum stay of one weekend and a maximum of 14 days.

    OA's flights from Athens and Thessaloniki to Munich, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Zurich, Geneva, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Vienna and Copenhagen will cost 68,900 drachmas, excluding airport taxes.

    Flights to Amsterdam, Marseille, Milan, Naples and London will cost 84,900 drachmas, excluding airport taxes.

    [25] Italian tourism to Greece seen 10 pct up in 2001

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Italian tourism to Greece is likely to rise by more than 10 percent in 2001 from a year earlier, Eugenios Yiannakopoulos, the head of the Greek National Tourism Organization, said on Friday.

    Yiannakopoulos said the estimate was based on information from the representatives of major Italian tour operators he met at a tourism trade fair in Milan.

    [26] Archaeological sites' unification to be finished by 2004, gov't says

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    The unification of Athens' archaeological sites should be completed in time for the Olympic Games in 2004, the government said on Friday.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis told reporters that all works related to the project were progressing at a satisfactory pace, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    When completed, the unification will link all the city's notable monuments and ancient sites, allowing visitors to go from one to the other on foot on paths going through parkland.

    "It is a charming archaeological promenade," Venizelos said on the planned unification, adding that construction of the project within the archaeological sites themselves has progressed.

    He also noted that two streets surrounding the Athens Acropolis have already begun to be closed to vehicular traffic and will soon be delivered to pedestrian traffic.

    Laliotis said that the unification of the archaeological sites concerned the center of the city, the history of the city and the course around the cities sites, aiming to upgrade the quality of life in Athens and better serve the visitors.

    [27] 'Pirate' TV station shut down by authorities

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    An illegal television station, broadcasting on UHF channel 39, was shut down Thursday on orders of a state-controlled telecommunications committee.

    The move apparently signals a toughening of the government's stance towards illegal broadcasters, following several attempts to close down "pirate stations" over the years via the judicial route, especially in northern Greece.

    The frequency used by the "06" station had been reserved for exclusive use by the armed forces, whereas a microwave wireless link between a makeshift studio and broadcasting tower reportedly used a frequency reserved for a third generation mobile telephony system (UMTS). Equipment was also confiscated, reports state.

    Licenses for the UMTS system are expected to be issued in the first half of the year.

    No information was provided regarding possible indictments or arrests of any individuals in relation to the incident.

    [28] President of the Republic presents awards to doctors for combatting cancer

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday presented the "Hope 2001" awards of the Greek Society of Friends of Children with Cancer to Cancer League member Prof. Herbert Jungers and medical doctor Christine Janine of the "Every one has their own Everest" organization.

    Both scientists were chosen on the basis of their work against cancer occurring in young children.

    Daphne Simitis, Prime Minister Costas Simitis' wife, and the Greek Society of Friends of Children with Cancer President Marianna Vardinoyianni were among those who attended the ceremony.

    At the end of the ceremony, Vardinoyianni announced that on June 19 and 20, world famous electronic music composer Jean-Michel Jarre will perform in Athens for a UNESCO benefit, premiering his composition "The Hymn to Acropolis and the Ancient Greek Spirit."

    [29] Catholic Nuncio in Athens visits Greek Archbishop

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    The Vatican's Nuncio in Greece Paul Abet was received on Friday by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and discussed the efforts of the Roman church to confront what it called attempts to remove religion from European institutions, as was removed from the European Charter of Rights.

    According to sources the two men also discussed Pope John Paul II's wish to visit Greece and pray on the Pnyx hill, thus paying homage to Apostle Paul.

    The same sources said that the Nuncio would renew his request for the Papal visit to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, the executive committee of the church, at the end of the month, before the next meeting of the Synod.

    In the past, the Greek Church expressed its reservation toward a Papal visit, but did not refuse such a visit if the Pope was to enter Greece as a state and not a religious leader.

    [30] Seminar for olive oil

    Athens, 17/02/2001 (ANA)

    Olive oil is a unique product, a particularly healthy food and a preventive and curative product for a wide variety of illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases, prostate and other forms of cancer, a seminar on "Olive Oil and Health" held in Athens said on Friday.

    The seminar was organized by Olive Oil Friends' Club Filaeos and was attended by scientists and researchers.

    ND's honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis, addressing the seminar said his own good health was largely attributed to the consuming of olive oil.

    Agriculture Minister, George Anomeritis, stressed the economic significance of the product on the country's farm economy and said the ministry supported the club's initiatives.

    [31] Cyprus Airways on short-list in process of privatization of Olympic Airways

    NICOSIA, 17/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Airways has been short-listed with another three companies in the process of privatization of Olympic Airways, it was officially announced here on Friday.

    Cyprus Airways had submitted a non-binding proposal to participate in the process together with another five companies. The proposal was submitted to Credit Swisse, which acts as a consultant to the Greek state.

    "We are now going to enter into the new phase which involves access to data on Olympic Airways and contact with company members prior to the submission of an economic proposal in late April," a press conference heard on Friday.

    Cyprus Airways aims at obtaining over fifty per cent of stakes in Olympic Airways.

    [32] Lord Mayor of London to visit Cyprus next week

    NICOSIA, 17/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)

    Lord Mayor of London David Howard will be in Cyprus next week on a visit, which he hopes, will "strengthen the many close links in the financial services industry between Britain and Cyprus."

    During his three-day stay, beginning February 21, the Lord Mayor will call on President Glafcos Clerides and will meet the Ministers of Finance, Commerce and Foreign Affairs, the Cyprus chief negotiator in the European Union accession talks, the Central Bank Governor and the chairman of the Cyprus Stock Exchange.

    "I express the support of the City for Cyprus' accession to the EU," the Lord Mayor said in a statement prior to his arrival.

    "London and Cyprus have extremely close ties, both in business and education. I hope my visit will cement this relationship," he added.

    During his stay the Lord Mayor, who is also the City University Chancellor, will help launch the British Council's "Education UK-the best you can get", celebration.

    He will also be the keynote speaker at a symposium, will meet Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades and will plant a sapling oak tree as a gift from the City of London to the people of Cyprus to commemorate the Third Millennium.

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