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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-03-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

March 12, 2002


  • [01] Greece tables five-point initiative to EU for peace in the Middle East
  • [02] EU Foreign Ministers Council examines Barcelona summit
  • [03] Greek church leaders meet with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican
  • [04] PM to meet visiting Iranian president, go to Barcelona this week
  • [05] Gov't spokesman: Early elections proposal 'wishful thinking'
  • [06] Avramopoulos calls for early elections
  • [07] Skandalidis: Voters to get electoral roll numbers in June
  • [08] Greek, Dutch PMs' initiative for SMEs
  • [09] GSEE eyes social security reform positions going into talks with gov't
  • [10] OTE telecom repeats denial of wrongdoing in Bulgarian deal
  • [11] French interest in eco-tourism, cultural routes in Greece
  • [12] Gov't holds talks in the north on Balkan reconstruction plan
  • [13] Funding of research on EU ministers' agenda
  • [14] Greece to host World Congress of Information Technology
  • [15] Party leaders' incomes announced on Monday
  • [16] Greek, Portuguese consumers feel more protected abroad
  • [17] Greek stocks end lower on Monday
  • [18] ATHOC president meets education minister
  • [19] U.S. Ambassador talks with ATHOC's Spanoudakis on security
  • [20] Kaklamanis inaugurates Armenian organizationís conference
  • [21] 'Athens News' to celebrate 50th year, first year as weekly
  • [22] Gov't briefed on joint Greece-Turkey Euro 2008 bid
  • [23] President Clerides to participate in Barcelona EU Council
  • [24] Spokesman says increased military role of British Bases not welcomed
  • [25] Papapetrou says there are 115,000 settlers in the occupied areas

  • [01] Greece tables five-point initiative to EU for peace in the Middle East

    BRUSSELS, 12/03/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday tabled a five-point proposal for a way out of the Middle East crisis to the European Union's General Affairs Council that convened here.

    The proposal - which will be discussed during the Barcelona summit due to begin on Friday - aims at initially establishing a common position for the EU's member-states and also to set the stage for the international community's efforts in the region.

    The Greek proposal calls for an immediate end to violence, to which the EU can contribute, along with the visit of U.S. presidential envoy General Anthony Zinni and the change of stance on the part of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

    It also calls for the immediate initiation of peace talks, after the truce, taking in mind all the bilateral talks held to date and the UN.

    The Greek proposal resubmits the recent French proposal for elections to be held among Palestinians, which could isolate extremists and provide renewed support for Yasser Arafat.

    As for Israel, the proposal calls for the use of the newly formed peace movements established in Israel and for the economic support of groups of the Israeli population that will possibly face a negative impact from the agreements.

    The fifth point of the proposal calls for the promotion of Arab consent to enable the reaching of a mutual recognition between the Arab states and Israel, based on relevant initiatives by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The way toward this goal was described as passing through the Arab League.

    The point is also made that Arafat should be allowed to have full freedom of movement and to participate in the upcoming Arab League summit, while it calls for the EU to contact all the other members of the international community that play an important role in the region, such as the USA, the UN and Russia.

    The Greek proposal focused particularly on the importance of Arafat's freedom of movement, as the Palestinian leader has been hampered by Israel's ban.

    [02] EU Foreign Ministers Council examines Barcelona summit

    BRUSSELS, 12/03/2002 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers convened here on Monday and examined the preparation of the EU's Barcelona summit and current international issues. Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis represented Greece.

    Speaking to Greek reporters, Papandreou said Prime Minister Costas Simitis intends to brief heads of government and state in Barcelona during a dinner on how Greece evaluates the framework of discussions, which should be held in the EU to facilitate the finding of a solution to the pending issue of EU-NATO relations on the so-called "European army".

    Papandreou said it will be an in principle briefing to his counterparts, adding that an upcoming meeting will be held between the civil directors of the Greek and Spanish foreign ministries and the EU's high commissioner on defense and foreign policy issues Javier Solana.

    He further said that preliminary discussions will be held at the present stage and that Greece intends to submit specific proposals in the near future.

    On the question of issues to dominate the Barcelona summit, Giannitsis said they will concern the various measures member-states will have to take to strengthen the European economy's competitiveness, as well as an account of measures already adopted.

    Giannitsis further said the so-called Social Summit will convene in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon with the participation of the EU troika (meaning the prime ministers of Denmark, Spain and Greece), the 15 member-states' labor ministers and social partners, namely representatives of various social groups and institutions who will set out their views.

    He also said the substantive discussion will take place on Friday when the ''15'' will assess existing weaknesses and delays concerning targets determined at the Lisbon summit.

    Giannitsis added that the finding of a solution will be sought for longstanding issues such as the consolidation of invention diplomas and the deregulation of energy markets.

    He noted that the EU's failure to fully achieve targets set at the Lisbon summit is due to a certain degree to world economic developments, particularly the recession of the past year.

    [03] Greek church leaders meet with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican

    ROME, 12/03/2002 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakou)

    A delegation of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greece on Monday met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.

    The meeting was part of a series of contacts of the Vatican with other churches concerning the current developments in the European Union regarding the Christian identity of Europe.

    The Pope received the Greek delegation in his personal office and following the meeting Metropolitan of Attica Panteleimon, who was heading the delegation, said that this was an initial meeting, "a first stage in the effort to find the common ground of spiritual struggles in Europe".

    According to a press release issued by the Church of Greece, the Pope noted that "we have the duty to confront the problems of the world in dynamic and positive way and to look for solutions. We have the duty to communicate the Christian testament we inherited."

    The Pontiff stressed the "special responsibility of the Greek Orthodox Church, which safeguarded the inheritance of faith and Christian life and is a rich source from which the Western Church derived the liturgy, spirituality and its internal judicial code".

    "We ought to deepen our cooperation and to work together in order to profess strongly the voice of the Gospel within Europe," the head of the Catholic Church said.

    Panteleimon gave a message from Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos to the Pope, in which the Greek prelate said that without disregard for the "dogmatic realities and teachings that separate us and stand obstacles to our joint prayer and communion, we are in a position to cooperate on a social, cultural, educational, ecological and bio-ethical level for the benefit of humanity."

    Following their meeting with the Pope, the delegation met with Cardinal Ratzinger, president of the Vatican's Christian education committee, and handed him a message from Christodoulos.

    The Cardinal expressed his joy over the meeting and stressed that it was very important for the two churches to cooperate in confronting common problems that matter to modern societies.

    Panteleimon said that during Christodoulos' tenure many committees were formed to work on issues of faith and modern social problems and stressed that it is about time for the exchange of experiences and methods for their confrontation.

    [04] PM to meet visiting Iranian president, go to Barcelona this week

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held successive meetings on Monday with Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced.

    On Tuesday at 10:00, Simitis will meet PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis, after which he will chair a meeting of PASOK's Executive Bureau at noon. At 19:00 on Tuesday, the prime minister will meet visiting Bosnian Prime Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija.

    The following day, Wednesday, the premier will start the day at 10:00 by chairing a ministerial meeting to prepare for the European Union summit in Barcelona, while at 18:00 he will meet Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, due in Athens on an official visit.

    On Thursday, Simitis will depart for Spain to attend the informal EU Summit in Barcelona, where he will stay until Saturday.

    On Tuesday next week, the prime minister is to meet President Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos for the regular presidential briefing, while on Tuesday night he will attend a session of Parliament to discuss the ratification of the Nice Treaty.

    PM discusses EU summit with finance minister: Prime Minister Costas Simitis discussed the preparation of the European Union's upcoming Barcelona summit and the results of the latest ECOFIN meeting with Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Monday.

    In a statement after the meeting, Christodou-lakis said that the main issue to be discussed at the Barcelona summit is the need to speed up structural changes to enable Europe to improve its performances in growth, competitiveness and employment.

    [05] Gov't spokesman: Early elections proposal 'wishful thinking'

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Monday passed off as "wishful thinking" a call by main opposition New Democracy MP Prokopis Pavlopoulos for early general elections to be called.

    Noting that the advancement of a reform project always entailed problems, Protopapas said that the government was "here to confront the difficulties".

    [06] Avramopoulos calls for early elections

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Outgoing Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday repeated his demand for early elections, during a press conference he held to mark the first anniversary of his new party's creation.

    The former career diplomat, who founded the Movement for Free Citizens (KEP) a year ago amid extended local media coverage, charged that the government is "taking one step forward and three steps back", all to the detriment of the country's major problems.

    He also called on the main opposition New Democracy party -- which backed his campaigns for Athens' town hall in the previous municipal elections - to demand early elections in order to "clear the murky political situation".

    In pressing for a decades-old demand by several smaller leftist parties, Avramopoulos proposed changes to the election law towards the direction of making it more representational, as well as the creation of 200 one-seat voters' districts out of 300 MPs in Parliament.

    Finally, he added that his still untested party's goal is to win the general elections, while noting, however, that KEP is open to post-election cooperation with one or the other major parties (PASOK and ND).

    "Our doors are open if it's for the public and national good, but we will not accept pre-election haggling or machinations," he stressed.

    KEP leader says Greece is tired of corruption: Free Citizens Movement (KEP) leader Dimitris Avramopoulos, speaking at an event in Athens on Monday evening on the occasion of the first anniversary of the founding of his party, accused the PASOK government of being weak and the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party of exercising inadequate opposition.

    Avramopoulos said that ''all those who are participating in KEP are free and not worn out and at the same time they have promised that they will proceed for a new Greece, for a new beginning, with all those citizens who express themselves freely and not through customer relations with politics and parties. Greece is tired of corruption and a lack of transparency and it is ready to say no to easy solutions and compromises.''

    Projected at the event were messages by European liberal leaders who wished KEP a good performance in the next parliamentary elections, as well as KEP's entry to the European Parliament's European Liberal Group, which, according to Avramopoulos, will take place in Brussels on April 4.

    [07] Skandalidis: Voters to get electoral roll numbers in June

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Registered voters will be receiving cards notifying them of their individual electronic voter numbers from local authorities within June, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis announced on Monday during a seminar for mayors on the new electoral rolls.

    Under the new system, voter booklets will be abolished starting from the upcoming local government elections and voters will each be issued with an electronic personal code that will remain the same throughout their lifetime, which they will present at the ballot box along with their identity cards.

    Skandalidis said a review of the electoral rolls was continuing and would be completed by June, and that the electoral rolls would then be finalized by the end of June.

    The minister noted that this was essentially the first thorough review in the last 40 years and that under the new system the lists of voters would be reviewed every two months.

    Skandalidis also reported that 502 out of 1,033 municipalities had so far sent lists of multiple registrations on the rolls to the ministry for removal. He urged the gathered mayors to deal with this as a priority issue, stressing the need to ensure the greatest possible transparency.

    [08] Greek, Dutch PMs' initiative for SMEs

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Dutch counter-part Wim Kok have undertaken an initiative regarding small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), it was made known on Monday.

    In a joint letter to Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, Simitis and Kok stressed the particular importance of the role of the SMEs, which the noted were the crux of Kosbon's strategy for a more competitive and knowledge-oriented economy, Greece's government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.

    He said the Greek and Dutch premiers pointed out that the greatest possible attention should be placed on ensuring free access to knowledge, capital and technology, and also on ensuring unobstructed business activity.

    Simitis and Kok further noted that because in certain areas the problems of the SMEs developed into problems of social cohesion and balanced European growth, networking needed to be advanced, as well as reduction of the cost of and access to information infrastructure, mobility and spreading of technology, and access to professional consultancy services.

    The two premiers also called for intensification of the efforts to improve the business environment, encouragement of the Commission to draft a Green Book on entrepreneurship, and the organization of a conference of ministers (responsible for SMEs and entrepreneurship) during the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003.

    Govít, SMEs in compromise deal on tax settlement: Greece's Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Monday announced a compromise deal with representatives of smaller- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) over settlement of past tax cases, averting strike actions threatened by the union of Greek SMEs.

    Under the deal, the government and the union agreed to an automatic settlement of over five million tax cases for the period 1993-1998, and 1999-2001.

    The settlement covers around 740,000 businessmen in the sector and self-employed, with the finance ministry hoping to raise revenues of around 1.5 trillion drachmas.

    [09] GSEE eyes social security reform positions going into talks with gov't

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    The leadership of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) on Monday said it was heading into Tuesday's talks with the government over the all-important social security reform issue with a "specific framework of demands" but without scheduled strikes on the horizon.

    GSEE's positions going into talks with Labor and Social Insurances Minister Dimitris Reppas were finalized during Monday's board meeting.

    Among others, unions affiliated with GSEE will reportedly request clarifications regarding government positions, with retirement age limits, early retirement for working mothers and percentages involving trilateral funding (employees, employers and the state) of pension funds. GSEE officials pointed on Monday to a 10 to 15-day deadline for the government to respond to their queries, in order to the country's largest umbrella labor group to consult with ADEDY, the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council, and labor organizations representing Greece's largest state-run utilities and banks.

    "As president of GSEE I will not accept positions that are detrimental to the rights of insured employees. The confederation will proceed towards dialogue and will demand a clearing of the situation; something that will need a certain amount of time," GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos.

    [10] OTE telecom repeats denial of wrongdoing in Bulgarian deal

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, on Monday repeated its denial of wrongdoing in connection with a Bulgarian state tender, countering a newspaper's allegations to the contrary.

    The Kathimerini newspaper again claimed that OTE had rigged the outcome of a Bulgarian state tender with another bidder, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), in the wake of a similar report last week.

    In July 2001, OTE launched a mobile phone network in Bulgaria through a local subsidiary after winning the tender two years before.

    The Kathimerini newspaper claimed that OTE and TIM had made a secret agreement that the Greek telecom would get the permit, and that a Greek subsidiary of the Italian firm, Stet Hellas, had played a role in the alleged deal.

    OTE's management said in its second statement since last week that the company had not entered into agreements with third parties in order to secure the Bulgarian mobile phone permit.

    It charged that the aim of the newspaper's reports was to hurt the company by presenting it in a damaging light; and that the method used was to create false links between the tender and irrelevant business involving OTE and Telecom Italia.

    Documents used by the newspaper to support its case of wrongdoing in the tender in reality derived from attempts by the two firms to resolve financial differences dating back to 1996, including a wrangle with Stet Hellas over connection charges to OTE's network, which has recently been resolved.

    An audit commissioned by OTE's management that was conducted by Ernst & Young and Arthur Andersen showed that no payments had been made to Telecom Italia between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2002, beyond regular two-monthly clearances of mobile phone bills to Stet Hellas.

    ''This verification demonstrates in the most official manner that the (newspaper) reports against OTE are baseless and inaccurate, in order to put to an end to the promotion of these slanderous and unfounded assertions, which, unfortunately, the newspaper in question is continuing to make,'' the statement said.

    Last week, OTE said it had forged other alliances and commercial links with the Italia Telecom Group in Greece and abroad due to the operation of Stet Hellas in Greece, which is a customer of OTE through the mobile connection charges it pays.

    ''The newspaper's bid to distort reality and link past pacts with the Bulgarian mobile phone tender - agreements that were legal and irrelevant to the issue - and the ensuing adverse impression created over legality and transparency, have hurt the OTE group's prestige and its shareholders' interests,'' the first statement said.

    Globul, a local subsidiary, runs OTEís mobile phone network in Bulgaria. The system covered 20 percent of the population in the first phase of operations under the terms of the Bulgarian government license.

    The country's main cities have since received the service, raising the total to 40 percent of the population.

    Inquiry into alleged OTE bribe to rival bidder for Bulgarian license: An inquiry was launched by the Athens public prosecutor's department on Monday, following press reports that Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) had paid off a rival firm to withdraw its bid in a tender for a Bulgarian mobile phone network license that OTE was interested in.

    The allegations appeared in the Athens newspaper ''Kathimerini'', which claimed that the Italian telecom Italian Mobile had received 3.5 billion drachmas (10.3 million euros) to back down.

    The investigation will be headed by first instance public prosecutor Ioannis Provataris.

    [11] French interest in eco-tourism, cultural routes in Greece

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    French tourists are increasingly interested in eco-tourism and cultural routes in Greece, French ambassador Jean Maurice Ripert told Development Deputy Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos on Monday.

    The French ambassador, escorted by the embassy's commercial attache Bernard Ould Yahoui, visited Mr. Georgakopoulos at his office in the Greek National Tourism Organization to discuss preparations of a meeting with his French counterpart, Jacques Brunhes, on March 14 in Paris, in the framework of an international conference on "Tourism, Ethics and Globalization".

    Mr. Georgakopoulos will travel to Cannes on March 13 to visit an International Real Estate Trade Fair. Hellenic Tourist Real Estate SA, a subsidiary of Greek National Tourism Organization, is participating in the trade fair.

    The Greek minister also met with Chinese trade attache Mrs. Sui Hui to discuss promoting tourist cooperation between the two countries.

    [12] Gov't holds talks in the north on Balkan reconstruction plan

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday held a fresh round of consultations in Thessaloniki on the country's economic reconstruction plan for the Balkans.

    Loverdos met the representatives of local trade groups in the northern port city in order to hear their views.

    Among officials he met were leaders of the Association of Exporters of Northern Greece and Association of Industries of Northern Greece.

    [13] Funding of research on EU ministers' agenda

    BRUSSELS, 12/03/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    European Union countries' directions and goals regarding the sixth Community framework program for the exploitation of modern technologies was on the agenda Monday of discussions by the member-states' ministers holding the research portfolio.

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos represented Greece.

    On his part, the Greek minister cited the need to retain at least a 25-percent funding percentage for member-states' research programs.

    [14] Greece to host World Congress of Information Technology

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Greece will host the 14th World Congress of Information Technology in Athens in May 2004, three months before the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, attracting more than 3,000 representatives and international personalities from the world of information and telecommunications technology.

    Athanassios Pouliadis, chairman of SEPE (Greek Union of Information and Communications Enterprises), told a news conference on Monday, that the chairman of WITSA, J. Newstrom, awarded SEPE with the WITSA Perpetual Trophy for organizing the 14th World Congress of Information Technology in Athens in a ceremony during the 13th congress in Adelaide, Australia.

    Pouliadis said this was a significant success of the Greek Union and an honor for Greece since the world congress was the sector's most significant global event.

    The world congress aims to brief delegates over future trends in information and telecommunications technology and creating the ideal environment and conditions to attract new investments and forge partnerships in the sector.

    [15] Party leaders' incomes announced on Monday

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his wife Daphne possess considerable real estate, while main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis prefers investments in bonds and interest-bearing state bills, according to information on party leaders' incomes and assets publicized on Monday.

    On the other hand, the only property of Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga are two small apartments she jointly owns with her husband. Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos is in possession of state bonds of a great value.

    Karamanlis has the highest income (64.5 million drachmas), followed by Simitis (50.9 million) and Constantopoulos (32.5 million), while Papariga deposited all her parliamentary income with the party's Central Committee funds. No change appeared in the assets of Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas.

    [16] Greek, Portuguese consumers feel more protected abroad

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek and Portuguese citizens believe that their consumer rights are not sufficiently protected in their countries, more than any other European citizen, a survey by the European Commission said on Monday.

    The survey, conducted on the occasion of celebrating the Consumer Day in Europe (March 15), was based on a sample of 15,043 European citizens in the period January 14-31.

    The survey revealed that only 21 percent of Greeks and Portuguese think that their consumer rights were satisfactorily protected in their countries in cases of a difference with the supplier of a product or a service.

    Consumers in Finland said they felt more secured (82 percent), followed by the British (75 percent), while a total of 56 percent of European consumers said they were satisfied with the degree of protection they have.

    Italian, Greek and Portuguese consumers said they felt more satisfied over protection offered to them when they visited other EU member-states (with rates of 57 percent, 49 percent and 36 percent, respectively).

    [17] Greek stocks end lower on Monday

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended Monday's session lower on the Athens Stock Exchange, succumbing to mild profit taking as investors preferred to cash in last week's gains.

    The general index ended 0.48 percent down at 2,436.25 points, with turnover a low 104.8 million euros.

    The Insurance, IT and Textile sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (1.97 percent, 1.40 percent and 0.90 percent, respectively), while the Retail, Investment and Holding sectors scored the biggest gains (0.50 percent, 0.29 percent and 0.02 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.52 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.67 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.50 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 202 to 104 with another 51 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded shares were Piraeus Bank, Klonatex (common), Panafon and Hellenic Telecoms.

    Derivatives contracts rise in February: The number of contracts traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange rose by 15 percent in February to total 383,290 against 333,086 in the previous month, market authorities said on Monday.

    The average daily number of trades in futures and options rose by 26.6 percent to total 9,583 contracts from 7,570 in January, the authorities said in a statement.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures down, tracking shares: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange dropped in brisk trade on Monday, tracking a decline in the main market.

    Blue chip contracts finished at a 0.30 percent premium from 0.70 percent in the previous session.

    Turnover was 56.4 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 0.52 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks lost 0.67 percent.

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

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.49 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 31 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.4 billion euros.

    Buy orders accounted for the bulk of turnover.

    [18] ATHOC president meets education minister

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki held consecutive meetings on Monday night with Education Minister Petros Efthymiou on Olympic training at schools and the volunteerism program and Athens mayoral candidate Christos Papoutsis.

    Later, Efthymiou expressed satisfaction over progress being achieved in relevant education ministry programs and called on opposition parties to assist in the success of the Olympic Games.

    Daskalaki then met with Papoutsis whom she briefed on the Olympiad's preparation. Papoutsis said afterwards he will do all in his power to back volunteerism and will try to pass the message and significance of volunteerism to all Athenian citizens.

    Papoutsis also referred to the problem of garbage in Athens, saying that apart from appropriate organization to confront terrorism during the Olympic Games, the problem of garbage should be tackled with equal seriousness.

    [19] U.S. Ambassador talks with ATHOC's Spanoudakis on security

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller expressed his satisfaction over the talks he had with the managing director of the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC), Yiannis Spanoudakis, on the issue of security at the Olympiad, at ATHOC's headquarters on Monday.

    After the meeting, Miller said that until 2004, he will visit the Olympic Committee many times.

    Asked whether the standards in the security program will change following the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Miller said that the United States does not set standards, noting that ''this is the responsibility of Greece, Greece is the basic player in this issue.''

    In reply to a question on the issue of terrorism, Miller said that the issue does not only concern Greece but the whole world and must be dealt with seriousness, responsibility and cooperation.

    Miller will be visiting the Organizing Committee again on Tuesday to discuss the promotion of baseball in Greece with the company's adviser Spyros Kapralos.

    [20] Kaklamanis inaugurates Armenian organizationís conference

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis on Monday inaugurated the 67th Congress of the Armenian Support Organization taking place in Athens, calling for measures to ameliorate social injustices that fostered terrorism and to close the huge gap between rich and poor.

    ''We live in an international environment that is threatened as much by terrorism as by the violence inflicted on defenseless peoples and which fosters terrorism and religious fanaticism. The way to deal with the great threat of terrorism is not through revenge or more wars, which will create new victims,'' he said.

    [21] 'Athens News' to celebrate 50th year, first year as weekly

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    The English-language newspaper "Athens News" on Tuesday celebrates the 50th year since its foundation in 1952 by Yiannis Horn and its first year since becoming a weekly with a special anniversary event at Zappeion Hall in central Athens.

    According to an announcement by the paper, the "Athens News" was for several years the only English-language daily in Athens and in later years, prior to becoming a weekly, the only English-language daily in Europe outside of Britain. Starting from an initial circulation of 800 copies, it managed to survive decades of trials, tribulations and rival publications under the direction of Yiannis Horn, who died in October 1999.

    In the late '80s, however, the paper suffered from falling circulations that hit the press sector in general, and Horn decided to sell to the Lambrakis group in 1993.

    Presently, the "Athens News" has a circulation of 18,000 copies a week throughout Greece and is estimated to have some 30,000 readers per issue. It was also the first Greek newspaper to have its own website, which is visited by 50,000 readers a month.

    [22] Gov't briefed on joint Greece-Turkey Euro 2008 bid

    Athens, 12/03/2002 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry on Monday was briefed by the Greek Football Federation's (EPO) leadership over its joint bid, in unison with its Turkish counterpart, to host the Euro 2008 soccer championship.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis met at the foreign ministry with EPO President Vassilis Gagatsis and Deputy Sports Minister Yiannis Kourakis to discuss the groundbreaking bid by the two countries' national soccer bodies.

    Another meeting is scheduled in the next few days at the deputy sports minister's office.

    [23] President Clerides to participate in Barcelona EU Council

    NICOSIA, 12/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides leaves on March 14 for Spain to take part in the Barcelona European Council to be held between March 15-16, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou announced here on Monday.

    This is the first time ever the EU has invited the candidate countries to participate in its deliberations.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Finance Minister Takis Klerides and the government spokesman will accompany President Clerides.

    [24] Spokesman says increased military role of British Bases not welcomed

    NICOSIA, 12/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The government would not welcome at all any move by the British Bases on the island, which would pose a risk to the Republic, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Monday.

    He also said the government is monitoring very carefully developments in this issue, following statements by a senior British military officer that he discussed developing Cyprus into ''a forward operating base.''

    ''We have not been formally informed about any plans to upgrade the British Bases on the island. Our long standing position is that we do not favor at all any move or activity in the area of the Bases which would put at risk either the Republic of Cyprus or its people,'' Papapetrou said.

    [25] Papapetrou says there are 115,000 settlers in the occupied areas

    NICOSIA, 12/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou confirmed on Monday that there are 115,000 settlers from Turkey in the occupied Northern part of Cyprus.

    Papapetrou, who was commenting on a news item in the Cyprus daily ''Phileleftheros'' which said that 115,000 settlers are now living illegally in the occupied areas, said the issue was brought up for discussion by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides in his direct talks on the Cyprus problem with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

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