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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-02-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

February 12, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] New bill to strengthen capital markets, business activity
  • [02] Papandreou in Istanbul on Tues., Wed.
  • [03] PM briefed on proposed weapons procurement contracts
  • [04] Protopapas: PM's agenda for the week
  • [05] PASOK announces Papoutsis for Athens
  • [06] Karamanlis decries state of public health care; gov't reaction
  • [07] NATO anti-sub exercise between Ionian, Sicily
  • [08] Labor minister Reppas meets Italian, Romanian counterparts
  • [09] Anomeritis inaugurates regional coast guard administration office in Volos
  • [10] ND honorary president on Greek-Turkish dialogue
  • [11] Coalition leader calls for parliamentary debate on media
  • [12] Synaspismos deputy represents FM in FYROM Olympic Truce talks
  • [13] Mikhail Gorbachev visits Athens mayor
  • [14] Event in honor of former Cyprus parliament president
  • [15] National Bank to open its first branch in Yugoslavia
  • [16] Turkish deputy FM in Athens for meeting on bilateral economic cooperation
  • [17] EU Commission to propose importation of foreign skilled labor, scientists
  • [18] Greek bond market sees improved turnover, spread fall
  • [19] Protopapas welcomes cessation of farmers' roadblocks
  • [20] Greek stocks end lower on Monday
  • [21] IOC Coordinating Committee president optimistic on Olympiad
  • [22] ATHOC satisfied with volunteerism applications
  • [23] Premier to look into composer Theodorakis' name omission in Salt Lake City event
  • [24] Fourth annual Kokkalis Program forum at Harvard concludes
  • [25] Government says talks will show who wants a solution
  • [26] FM Kasoulides arrives in Turkey for joint EU-IOC forum
  • [27] Patriarch particularly interested in Cyprus peace process

  • [01] New bill to strengthen capital markets, business activity

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Monday submitted to parliament a draft legislation titled "Measures to strengthen the capital market and to promote business activity".

    The draft bill envisages, among others, the introduction of International Accounting Standards (IAS) on balance sheets, quarterly results for all companies listed in the Athens Stock Exchange and provisionally for all other societe anonymes in the country.

    All companies will have to adopt the new accounting practices by 2003.

    The draft bill also envisages measures to improve transparency in financial relations between the state and state enterprises (in line with European Commission's directives), to regulate activities of Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE), to amend the operation of a New Economy Growth Fund and to regulate the operation of shipping companies.

    It also includes incentives to promote company mergers in the country, such as a 10 percent reduction for the first year and a five percent reduction for the second year of the tax factor for non-listed companies that will emerge from the merger of other companies by December 31, 2004.

    The government is seeking to facilitate a process to create strong financial companies and to improve their competitiveness.

    The same incentives (10 percent and five percent reduction of the tax factor for the first two years, respectively) are envisaged also for listed companies that will absorb one or more societe anonymes.

    The same measures are also covering agriculture cooperative organizations that will announce merger deals.

    Spending in scientific and technological research will be deducted from companies' net profit, only for the period from now until December 31, 2004, according to the new draft legislation.

    The government also announced that it was abolishing all incentives - tax and custom facilities - offered to foreign commercial and manufacturing companies based in Greece, as they were in contrast with EU regulations.

    [02] Papandreou in Istanbul on Tues., Wed.

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Developments in the Balkans and the long-standing Cyprus issue dominated a brief meeting over the weekend between Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his US counter-part Colin Powell on the sidelines of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Afterwards, Papandreou departed for Istanbul, where he is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.

    In the Turkish metropolis, Papandreou will attend sessions of the Islamic Conference as an observer, while meetings with Ecumenical Patriarchate Vartholomeos and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem are also scheduled on the sidelines of an international forum on East-West cultural ties.

    A foreign ministry spokesman on Monday added that Papandreou will remain in Istanbul on Wednesday to attend a meeting of representatives from Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Greece focusing on the Euro-Atlantic prospects of the first two.

    Protopapas: Cem letter does not affect effort for Greek-Turkish dialogue: Athens' decision to explore the possibility of dialogue with Turkey was not affected by a letter sent to the European Union by Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Monday.

    "There is a sincere desire on our part to explore the possibilities of finding a solution to the issue of the continental shelf (in the Aegean) and to discuss other matters that are relevant to good neighborly relations," the spokesman added.

    Commenting on the letter itself, which referred to possible solutions for the Cyprus problem, Protopapas said that this essentially reiterated positions held previously by Ankara and he noted that Turkey's EU course was linked to its contribution to solving the Cyprus problem.

    Commenting on statements by Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, he said the tension created by such statements was obviously related to negotiating tactics.

    Finally, Protopapas said that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides had been officially briefed on Cem's letter.

    According to sources, Cem's repeated Turkish positions for a Cyprus settlement on the basis of two independent entities, with the argument that the two communities could not co-exist.

    The letter was sent a few days ago to EU foreign ministers, the EU Commission and to representatives of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    Greek FM's meeting with Dutch counterpart rescheduled: A meeting over dinner between Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Dutch counterpart Jozias van Aartsen will not take place on Monday as originally planned, the foreign ministry announced.

    The announcement said the meeting would take place on the sidelines of the OIC-EU Joint Forum in Istanbul.

    [03] PM briefed on proposed weapons procurement contracts

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday was briefed by the country's defense minister on the financial details concerning various weapons procurement programs, with the latter adding afterwards that final decisions will be taken in the next few months by the government top defense and security (KYSEA) body.

    National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who shifted to the post from the national economy ministry last Autumn, also mentioned decisions regarding the purchase of a new electronic counter-measures system for fighter planes; a mid-range trans-port plane and a long-anticipated order for the Greek army's new main battle tank (MBT).

    Asked by reporters if Washington has pressed its European allies for an increase in defense spending, Papantoniou merely noted that the US administration has asked for increases at levels already being allocated by Greece.

    [04] Protopapas: PM's agenda for the week

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis met Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou at 13:15 pm on Monday to discuss preparations for a meeting of the government's foreign policy and defense council KYSEA on arms procurements, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.

    Earlier on Monday, the prime minister had also met with the head of ruling PASOK's group in the European Parliament, Giorgos Katiforis.

    On Tuesday, Simitis is scheduled to meet Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos at 10:00 am, PASOK Central Committee General Secretary Costas Laliotis at noon and Deputy Culture Minister Nasos Alevras at 13:10 to discuss preparations for the Olympics. On Wednesday there will be the regular meeting where the prime minister briefs President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, followed by a meeting at noon with Education Minister Petros Efthymiou and at 12:30 pm with the head of the Cypriot party DHKO, Tassos Papadopoulos.

    After chairing a cabinet meeting focusing on the state of the media and the progress of the government's program on Thursday, Simitis will meet the outgoing head of the Greek Air force general staff Lt.-Gen. Dimitrios Litzerakos at 14:30 pm.

    On Friday, apart from the regular prime minister's question time in Parliament in the morning, Simitis is also scheduled to meet the Cyprus House of Representatives president Dimitris Christofias at 11:30 and to address a meeting of regional general secretaries at Zappeion Hall in central Athens at noon.

    [05] PASOK announces Papoutsis for Athens

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Former European Commissioner and current Athens-area deputy Christos Papoutsis will be ruling PASOK's candidate for the upcoming mayoral race in Athens, the party announced on Monday.

    In making the announcement, PASOK secretary Costas Laliotis added that the until recently merchant marine minister will be received by Prime Minister Costas Simitis at his office on Tues-day, whereas he voiced his complete disagreement with certain assessments claiming the mayoral race will undoubtedly tilt to main opposition New Democracy's side if Dora Bakoyianni decides to enter.

    "No election battle is lost from the on-set," Laliotis said, adding that anyone that underestimates Athenian voters' power will be surprised by the election results.

    Meanwhile, in terms of a possible Bakoyianni candidacy, the high-profile deputy and former minister will reportedly meet this week with ND leader Costas Karamanlis.

    While press speculation over the past few months has repeatedly cast Bakoyianni as ND's candidate in Athens, no official announcement has been made, either by the main opposition party or the one-time minister.

    Protopapas rules out Pangalos' expulsion, welcomes Papoutsis' nomination: There was no question that ruling PASOK MP Theodoros Pangalos might be expelled from the party, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Monday in response to questions.

    Speculation that the outspoken MP might be expelled by Prime Minister Costas Simitis began over the weekend after Pangalos once again came out with highly controversial statements criticizing the government and said that the country was 'ungoverned'.

    "The country is being governed well, the ship is sailing in calm waters and the captain has a firm grip on the wheel," Protopapas added.

    The spokesman also welcomed the news that former merchant marine minister and one-time EU commissioner Christos Papoutsis had been nominated as candidate for the Athens mayor's office, saying that it was "particularly positive".

    [06] Karamanlis decries state of public health care; gov't reaction

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis continued his recent trend of surprise visits to Attica-area hospitals and public clinics on Monday, with the Sotiria facility in eastern Athens the latest stop.

    At the hospital, Karamanlis spoke with patients, doctors and administration officials, while he toured several wings and departments.

    In statements to reporters afterwards, Karamanlis vehemently criticized the government over what he called the "sad state" of state-run health care in the country, while also referring to poor maintenance and out-dated equipment at Sotiria itself.

    However, he praised the staff and employees of the hospital, saying that without their efforts the facility would be non-existent.

    Gov't reaction: In later statements, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said, "it's well known that problems existed and exist in the hospitals.

    "However, the Greek people can see for themselves the huge effort at upgrading the health care sector being undertaken today, and the government will steadfastly insist on the completion of this effort."

    [07] NATO anti-sub exercise between Ionian, Sicily

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's armed forces general staff on Monday verified that an annual NATO anti-submarine exercise, code-named "Dogfish 2002", will take place between Feb. 14 and Feb. 27 in the central Mediterranean, and specifically between the Ionian Sea and the southeastern coast of Sicily.

    Air and naval forces from 11 alliance countries will participate, including France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the UK, the United States and Canada.

    Greece will participate with a submarine and a naval support aircraft.

    [08] Labor minister Reppas meets Italian, Romanian counterparts

    MADRID, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Labor and Social Security Minister Dimitris Reppas met on Monday with his Italian and Romanian counterparts on the sidelines of the seminar "Meeting on Employment in Europe" which is taking place in Madrid in the framework of the Spanish EU presidency.

    Reppas and his Italian counterpart Robero Maroni discussed issues of Greek-Italian cooperation in the employment sector. They gave particular emphasis on issues of social protection, mainly in southern Europe, which has specific differences compared to northern Europe.

    They also discussed new strategies for employment which should be made during the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003 and during the six-month Italian EU presidency immediately afterwards.

    The two ministers discussed the need for improving and amending existing plans and strategies in order for there to be an adequate confrontation of the problem of unemployment in Europe.

    Reppas analyzed with his Romanian counterpart Marian Sarbu issues concerning the seasonal employment of Romanian workers in Greece.

    The seminar in Madrid ends on Tuesday.

    [09] Anomeritis inaugurates regional coast guard administration office in Volos

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis on Monday inaugurated the second regional coast guard administration located in the port city of Volos, central Greece.

    This new administrative level, when completed, will include a total of six regional administration offices, which will constitute an intermediary level between the ministry and the local coast guard units.

    [10] ND honorary president on Greek-Turkish dialogue

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis, referring to Greek-Turkish relations, on Monday night reiterated his steadfast positions for dialogue but under preconditions and terms, referring to his agreement with late Turkish president Turgut Ozal which among other things included, as he said, respect for the sovereign rights and the international treaties.

    Mitsotakis noted that the dialogue with Ankara "frightens me only when it is done by unprepared and unsuitable people."

    He added that "on this dialogue you cannot compel the other to say what you want. Each person says what he wants and this stupidity which has been invented by PASOK that we only discuss about the continental shelf is time to be abandoned. And if the Turks ask for unacceptable things we should reject them without discussion."

    He assessed however that if the Cyprus issue is solved, there will be a different positive atmosphere in bilateral relations.

    In an interview with Antenna TV channel's program "Kokkino Pani", the former prime minister said he was displeased with the present level of television.

    Mitsotakis differentiated himself from the position of ND concerning the attack directed against President Kostis Stephanopoulos concerning the issue of illegal gambling, saying "let's not seek centers of powers lying outside institutions which do not exist in the specific case and let's think substantively that nobody is above control."

    However, Mitsotakis also reiterated publicly that his statements and the remarks that he had made did not concern President Stephanopoulos whose ethics and political integrity he does not dispute.

    [11] Coalition leader calls for parliamentary debate on media

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress party leader Nikos Constantopoulos, in a letter to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis called for an off-the-agenda parliamentary debate "on the situation currently prevailing in the media."

    Constantopoulos said that "due to the limitations of parliament's regulation he submits the request for the discussion to take place at the government's initiative."

    He said that the present situation is "problematic and provocative" and that the problem "cannot be solved with so-called self-regulation."

    [12] Synaspismos deputy represents FM in FYROM Olympic Truce talks

    SKOPJE, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) deputy Maria Damanaki arrived here on Monday in her capacity as ad hoc representative of the International Olympic Truce Vice-President and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    She delivered a letter from Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos to his Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) counterpart Boris Trajkovski, and a letter from Papandreou to his counterpart Slobodan Casule.

    Damanaki met with Trajkovski, who signed the Olympic Truce agreement and met with Casule with who she discussed issues relating to the implementation of the truce.

    As part of her visit, she also met with the representative of the Democratic Party of the Albanians in FYROM Meduh Thatsi.

    [13] Mikhail Gorbachev visits Athens mayor

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, visited Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Town Hall on Monday, the reason being the new institution under the auspices of the Athens municipality with which personalities from the sectors of literature, politics, art and business are given awards.

    Addressing Gorbachev, Avramopoulos praised his personality and historic role. He further said that Gorbachev, together with other personalities, is creating a world movement aimed at contributing to the strengthening of democratic institutions and shaping a new political proposal for man, the world and democracy.

    On his part, Gorbachev said he had a very interesting discussion with Avramopoulos, adding that "it is not by chance that we have both undertaken new initiatives, creating political parties. I have founded the 'Green Cross', a democratic party, and Mr. Mayor the 'Free Citizens Movement'."

    He said that these parties should undertake initiatives to enable society to be protected from extreme phenomena, bring a clear conscience to citizens, seek interests and help a balance in the world.

    [14] Event in honor of former Cyprus parliament president

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Vassos Lyssarides, former Cyprus House of Representatives president and former leader of the EDEK Socialist Party and of the Social Democrats Movement (KISOS) was honored on Sunday night in Athens by the Union of Cypriots of Greece (EKE).

    The speakers at the event referred to the important social and political work of Lyssarides and to his great contribution to the Cyprus cause.

    Professor Andreas Dimitriou who presented the Cypriot politician, said that Lyssarides was distinguished for his positive words and actions and for being progressive.

    Among the speakers was ruling PASOK party deputy Christos Papoutsis who stressed the importance of maintaining collective conscience and awareness.

    Papoutsis said Lyssarides was and remains a symbol, the symbol of the man who defends his positions beyond compromises and that is why he always had the respect of all the world, from the Socialist International to the Arab world.

    Lyssarides, who received an honorary plaque by the president of EKE, Professor Andreas Voskos, referred to the history of Cyprus over the past decades and expressed his concern over the outcome of current direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    [15] National Bank to open its first branch in Yugoslavia

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece expects to contribute in further developing Greek-Yugoslav economic relations with a plan to expand in the neighboring country.

    The bank will officially launch its first branch in Yugoslavia next Monday in a ceremony to be attended by Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, NBG's governor Theodore Karatzas and other Greek businessmen.

    National Bank is the first Greek bank to expand in the country, in the framework of a strategic plan to become a powerful regional player in the wider Balkans market.

    With this move, National Bank will be present to all Balkan countries, with a leading position in Bulgaria and FYROM.

    Greek exports to Yugoslavia, based on figures released by the Greek embassy in Belgrade, totalled 218 million US dollars in 2001, up 65.4 percent from 2000, while imports totalled 63.3 million dollars, a decline of 15.3 percent.

    Oil and oil products were the main Greek exports to Yugoslavia, accounting for 117 million US dollars, followed by fruits and vegetables, non-iron metals, plastic materials and tobacco. Imports included metals, rubber products and plastic materials.

    Several Greek companies have already invested in Yugoslavia with many others seeking to expand in the neighboring country, in the wake of a privatization process launched by the Yugoslav government.

    Greek investments include: - Delta Dairy: with an investment dating from 1997. The company is the leader in the ice-cream market with a market share exceeding 50 percent. It owns an ice-cream production factory and a distribution network with more than 12,000 sales points. - Titan Cement: the company announced the acquisition of a 70 percent equity stake in Yugoslav cement company Kosjervic and plans to invest 28.5 million US dollars to increase production capacity from 600,000 tones to 800,000 tones annually. - Hellenic Telecommunications Organization: it acquired a 20 percent stake in Telecom Serbia in 1997 and seeks to increase its customer base in mobile telephony. - Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co: it owns a bottling factory in Belgrade and a distribution network around the country. Mytilineos Group: the group has signed a cooperation contract, ending in 2004, with RTB-BOR, a metal and mining group in Serbia - the second largest copper processor in western Europe. - Hellenic Petroleum, Public Power Corporation and Athens Medical Group have announced plans to expand in Yugoslavia.

    Greek investments in the country are expected to be given a boost after implementation of a Greek law on the Financial Restructuring of the Balkans, soon to be submitted to parliament.

    [16] Turkish deputy FM in Athens for meeting on bilateral economic cooperation

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Turkish Undersecretary for foreign trade Kursad Tuzmen arrived in Athens on Monday to attend the first meeting of the Greek-Turkish Ministerial Committee for Economic Cooperation the following day.

    Participating in the Tuesday meeting on the Greek side are Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos from the government, and a number of high-ranking officials from the foreign ministries of Greece and Turkey.

    The meeting will focus on bilateral cooperation in foreign trade, energy and industry, with talks bound by the framework of bilateral economic agreements signed by Greece and Turkey in transport, commerce and shipping.

    [17] EU Commission to propose importation of foreign skilled labor, scientists

    BRUSSELS, 12/02/2002 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    The European Commission proposed the massive importation of skilled workers and scientists from third countries to fill the huge void existing today in many productive sectors and especially in those of cutting edge technologies.

    The office of Greek Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, who is in charge of employment affairs, drafted an ambitious program, which will be presented on Wednesday by the Commission's President Romano Prodi.

    [18] Greek bond market sees improved turnover, spread fall

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    A rise in turnover and a further shrinking of a yield spread with the German benchmark bonds were the main features of Greece's electronic secondary state bond market in January, the Bank of Greece said in a report on Monday.

    Turnover totalled 42 billion euros in January, from an average of 26 billion euros in 2001, and more than double compared with the same month last year (20 billion euros).

    Investors' interest focused on six- and 10-year bonds, which accounted for 46.36 percent of total turnover in January, or 48.02 percent of buying orders. The 10-year bond, maturing in May 2011, recorded the biggest turnover, at 5.193 billion euros, of which 49.30 percent were bids and 50.70 percent were offers.

    Bond prices, in the short- and medium-term sector of the yield curve, followed the European and US markets trend, as a wave of recent economic data showed that a global economic slowdown was nearing its end.

    The decisions by the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve to leave interest rates unchanged in both sides of the Atlantic, pressured bond prices, mainly in the short- and medium-term curve. Also, worries over a risk of an inflation hike in the eurozone depressed bond prices.

    Three-year state bonds fell by 61 basis points and five-year bonds eased by 73 bps. The 10-year Greek benchmark bond ended in January at 99.49, from 99.795 in January 10, 2002, yielding 5.31 percent from 5.27 percent, over the same period. Prices, however, rose by 20 to 91 basis points in the 15-year and 20-year durations.

    The Greek yield curve flattened in January with the spread between three-year and 20-year bonds shrinking to 115 basis points in January from 139 bps in December.

    The average yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds fell to 37 basis points from 38 bps over the same period.

    The central bank said the Greek bond market's prospects were favorable in the coming months.

    ADEX reports 25 percent rise in January turnover: Turnover in the Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) increased by 25 percent in January, compared with the previous month, with the number of future contracts traded in the market totalling 333,086 from 266,710 over the same period.

    The daily average transactions in futures and options contracts rose by 2.0 percent to 7,570 contracts per day in January from 7,409 in December, ADEX said in its monthly report.

    The value of turnover in equity futures and options contracts rose by 22.19 percent in January from the previous month, in contrast with a 14.07 percent decline in the value of turnover in the Athens Stock Exchange in the same month.

    ADEX said that the number of customer-investors' codes rose 4.9 percent in January, or 449 new codes, totalling 9.582.

    [19] Protopapas welcomes cessation of farmers' roadblocks

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    An end of protests by farmers after two weeks of picketing and alternating roadblocks was welcomed on Monday by government spokesman Christos Protopapas, who said the government hoped for fruitful dialogue with farmers on organizing their activities.

    Protopapas said that important progress had been made toward solving farmers' problems and that the final price for cotton would be particularly satisfactory, as would be the compensation for damages due to bad weather.

    He noted, however, that there was still a long way to go before the sector achieved the necessary level of competitiveness.

    [20] Greek stocks end lower on Monday

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended the first trading session of the week lower on the Athens Stock Exchange, with a wave of profit taking reversing an initial advance of prices late in the session.

    The general index ended 0.64 percent lower at 2,511.18 points, with turnover a disappointing low Dr 24.2 billion, or 71 million euros.

    The Construction and Telecoms sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (1.14 percent and 1.14 percent, respectively). The Food-Beverage and IT sectors were the only to score gains (0.18 percent and 0.02 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.46 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 0.83 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.78 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 228 to 85 with another 50 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded shares were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Alpha Bank, Giannousis, Agricultural Life and Panafon

    Bond Market Close: Prices nose up in scant trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished higher in slim trade focusing on 10-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.23 percent, and the spread over German bunds was 39 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 925 million euros. Buy orders accounted for the lion's share of turnover.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures at premium: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange ended higher on Monday to close at a premium, bucking the trend on the main market, traders said.

    Changing hands were 5,698 contracts on turnover of 33.6 million euros. The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 0.46 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks lost 0.83 percent.

    [21] IOC Coordinating Committee president optimistic on Olympiad

    SALT LAKE CITY, 12/02/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Denis Oswald, president of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordinating Committee, said in a statement to the Athens News Agency (ANA) on Monday that any further delay in preparing the 2004 Athens Olympic Games projects should be avoided to enable a distinguished Olympiad to take place.

    Oswald said "a great deal of time was lost at the beginning and as a result we now have a very strict timetable aimed at ensuring that everything will be ready on time."

    He further said that if the preparation goes ahead without further delays "being Greeks, you will be able to present the magic of the Games, taking advantage of your cultural heritage. But first you need the basic installations. You must transport the athletes. You must give them hospitality. If this takes place, then you will be able to use your inventiveness to organize distinguished Games."

    Referring to the course of Greece's preparation so far and whether it justifies optimism, Oswald said "I have always been very positive and optimistic and I am convinced that in the end we shall have very beautiful Games."

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, commenting on Oswald's statements, said "the IOC and Mr. Oswald, being the head of the coordinating committee, are our closest associates in the course towards 2004. The organizing plan is common. The IOC is interested in the success of the 2004 Games because it also needs a symbolic and ideological renewal and we are, on our part, realizing the organizing of the Games as a possibility for modernizing the country."

    [22] ATHOC satisfied with volunteerism applications

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Applications by volunteers for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games had amounted to 37,258 as of January 31 to date, according to information provided by the Organizing Committee (ATHOC), members of which expressed satisfaction over participation to date.

    Out of the 37,258 applications, 14,900 were submitted immediately after the concert for volunteerism held at the indoor Athens Olympic Stadium, while the remaining 22,358 sent until now are applications by private citizens and agencies.

    ATHOC members explained that the applications' processing will be completed in a few days time and information on people wishing to join the 2004 volunteer movement will be publicized.

    About 60,000 volunteers will be required during the Olympic Games, while it has been assessed that the number of candidates from which the volunteers will be selected should be at least double the figure.

    [23] Premier to look into composer Theodorakis' name omission in Salt Lake City event

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis undertook the responsibility to personally investigate the reasons why the name of renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was omitted, during the presentation of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games inaugural ceremony, by Greek state television despite the fact that the composer's "Canto Olympico" had a prominent place in the musical background of the event.

    According to sources, the premier spoke with Theodorakis by telephone and expressed his deepest dissatisfaction with this occurrence.

    On his part, Theodorakis called the omission an "ugly act" on the part of ERT against him.

    ERT (the Hellenic broadcasting corporation) on the other hand, expressed its regret and apologized to Theodorakis in a public announcement on Sunday, saying that "the mistake was corrected with the inclusion of special mention in the central newscasts of both ET1 and NET on Saturday night".

    Earlier in the day, on Monday, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga asked from Foreign Minister George Papandreou to have the ministry investigate the case and provide explanations regarding the true cause of the "unacceptable stance toward Mikis Theodorakis" on the part of the Winter Olympics organizing committee, to delete the name of the composer although his musical work was to be performed.

    "The whole development of this case shows that it is not a technical mistake or an omission, but specific American political intervention in the work of the organizing committee. NET's (Greek state television) apology cannot replace or cover up the real problem," a KKE announcement said.

    On his part, Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Monday that the omission of the composer's name was an oversight committed by the organizers of the Games.

    He added that he looked into the case and was told that because of the fact that all musical works performed were of short duration, it was hard to discover the mistake in the catalogue during the time the event was in progress.

    According to reports, the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games representative apologized on Monday for the omission, to the representative of the Greek national television ERT crew that was on hand for the live coverage of the event.

    On Sunday, ERT issued a press release apologizing for the "unfortunate event, which was due to a serious omission - on the part of the organizers - from the printed program of the inaugural ceremony, and as a result the Greek commentators did not recognize the musical work".

    [24] Fourth annual Kokkalis Program forum at Harvard concludes

    Athens, 12/02/2002 (ANA)

    The fourth annual scholars' workshop, organized at Harvard's European Studies Center by the Kokkalis Program for Southeast and Central-Eastern Europe, wound up over the weekend.

    The two-day forum's goal was to bring together young researchers from a wide spectrum of social and political fields, all interested in the Balkans.

    This year's forum was divided into four themes, namely, public administration and social policy; traditional and new security issues; politics, culture, and their historical context, as well as language and national identity.

    [25] Government says talks will show who wants a solution

    NICOSIA, 12/02/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said on Monday that the negotiating table would prove which side actually wanted a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Commenting on fresh allegations by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that the Greek Cypriot side was creating a crisis with the purchase of fighter helicopters, Papapetrou said that President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the demilitarization of the island still stands and that all Turkey had to do was accept it.

    "Who supports the talks in practice with constructive approaches and who proves his wish for a solution is proved at the negotiating table. That is where the test takes place, that is where every-thing is judged", the spokesman added.

    President Clerides and Denktash are currently engaged in face-to-face talks to solve the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Papapetrou expressed hope that Denktash would prove at the end of the process that he wishes for a solution.

    Asked if this meant that Denktash had not indicated such a wish when the dialogue started, Papapetrou said a process is judged as a whole and not bit by bit.

    Commenting on a "Turkish Daily News" report on American pressure on the Greek Cypriot side regarding the purchase of Russian helicopters, which according to the article obstructs the talks, Papapetrou said one could find many excuses to cut off the talks if one wanted to.

    "Our position is that the talks must continue intensively and in a spirit of consensus to reach a solution", he added.

    Regarding reports that pressure had been exerted in the direction of removing Cyprus Republic military equipment, Papapetrou reiterated an earlier statement by President Clerides that no pressure had ever been exerted, either by the Americans or others.

    [26] FM Kasoulides arrives in Turkey for joint EU-IOC forum

    NICOSIA, 12/02/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides flew to Turkey on Monday from Athens, to represent the Republic of Cyprus at a two-day joint forum of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the European Union (EU), which begins in Istanbul on Tuesday.

    On Monday afternoon, Kasoulides paid a visit to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    Some 17 foreign ministers from countries of the OIC and about another 17 ministers from EU and candidate countries participate in the forum. Present at the meeting will be the General Secretaries of the Council of Europe, the Arab League and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    Kasoulides will address the forum on Tuesday morning.

    [27] Patriarch particularly interested in Cyprus peace process

    ISTANBUL, 12/02/2002 (CNA/ ANA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos reiterated here on Monday his particular interest in Cyprus and the peace process, saying he morally encourages every effort aiming at peaceful coexistence of men and peoples who have different civilizations and religions and he expressed the hope that the current peace talks on Cyprus will lead to a just and viable settlement.

    In his remarks, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who met on Monday with the Patriarch, said tolerance and respect of civilizations could help establish peace in Cyprus, noting that if there is a response from the Turkish Cypriot side to the open mind and the constructive disposition of the Greek Cypriot side at the talks, then a solution can be reached.

    He said the Patriarchate "blesses and encourages morally every effort which aims at finding a peaceful coexistence of men and peoples with different civilization and religion" and that many efforts of the Patriarchate have as their objective the consolidation of peace.

    Kasoulides said the fight against terrorism could not be allowed to be turned into a conflict of civilizations and religions and added that "we back this philosophy and our presence here is telling proof of this support."

    He thanked the Patriarch for his support and the initiatives the Church takes to promote dialogue among civilizations.


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