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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-05

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

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

August 5, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] New 2004 Olympic rowing centre unveiled
  • [02] Opposition left parties to launch common action for proportional representation
  • [03] Gov't confirms re-entry of returning immigrants into Greece
  • [04] Gov't due to unveil development bill on Tuesday
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos says price checks on Greek islands will be carried out
  • [06] Hellenic Post Offices shows H1 earnings rise
  • [07] Stocks rise, led by smaller cap paper
  • [08] Greece proposes joint exhibition of the Parthenon Marbles
  • [09] British Museum denies discussions on the return of the Parthenon Marbles
  • [10] ''N17'' trial hears statement by Tselentis
  • [11] August ''full moon'' cultural events and concerts at archaeological sites
  • [12] Hash haul in the sea area off Corfu
  • [13] Forest fire raging in Nea Makri
  • [14] Central Bank announces lifting of exchange restrictions
  • [15] Cypriot towns participate in MEDA energy project

  • [01] New 2004 Olympic rowing centre unveiled

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    The countdown to the 2004 Athens Games continued on Monday at a distant venue that has epitomized the challenges and obstacles faced by Athens organizers (ATHOC) – the Schinias Olympic Rowing Centre.

    The nearly completed Schinias facility, northeast of Athens proper, opened its doors with a high-profile ceremony 48 hours before the World Rowing Junior Championships (FISA 2003) begin, as Schinias will host the first Olympic 'test event' of 2003.

    Speaking to reporters before an opening ceremony complete with a parade of athletes, ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said the inaugural ''test event'' of 2003 is a chance to evaluate procedures, human resources and facilities a whole year before the Games, ''in a world-class sports facility that was created in an area where the environment was neglected and where an old airstrip was found, while at the same time, the wetlands and the surrounding forestlands were returned to their original state.''

    Meanwhile, IOC executive and Athens 2004 coordination commission chairman Denis Oswald, in his capacity as FISA's president at the ceremony, however, thanked ATHOC for its efforts.

    The new venue, which lies only a stone’s throw away from the ancient battle field of Marathon, initially caused a modern-day ''battle” between environmentalists (part of Schinias lies on a previous poorly treated wetlands), historians and archaeologists, on the one side, and the Greek government and ATHOC, on the other. The IOC and even the European Commission, in the end, approved of ATHOC's choice of Schinias.

    The latter side won out, and after the venue's completion in late October to late November this autumn, according to ATHOC Executive Director Marton Simitsek, it will have completely transformed the area.

    Simitsek added that more than 960 people (ATHOC personnel, volunteers and security staff) will work during the Games, while some 642 individuals (athletes, judges and sports federation officials) have been accredited. He noted that the venue was de-livered to ATHOC on July 27, with the organizers setting up air-conditioned tents for some operations that will be replaced by pre-fabricated buildings for next year's Games.

    The rowing ''test event'' begins on Wednesday and lasts until Friday, with a total of 46 countries and more than 550 athletes participating.

    [02] Opposition left parties to launch common action for proportional representation

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Syn) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos and Communist Party leader Aleka Parariga during a telephone communication on Saturday agreed to launch common action, after the end of August, to promote the proportional representation election system, sources said.

    Moreover, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) party leader Dimitris Tsovolas on Monday gave a positive response to a written Syn invitation for ''common action by all parties of the Left to establish pure proportional representation as the country's election system'', a DHKKI release said.

    [03] Gov't confirms re-entry of returning immigrants into Greece

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday said all returning immigrants who have already submitted appropriate documentation along with their request for a permanent residence permit will be allowed to re-enter Greece, with the exception of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FY-ROM) citizens for whom a special order is pending.

    Loverdos, in a written reply to a question tabled in Parliament by Synaspismos deputy Maria Damanaki, said all immigrants will be allowed "to cross the border into Greece upon displaying their passports and proper certification that they have submitted their documents for the issuance of a residence permit in Greece."

    "According to a decision issued by Public Minister George Floridis on 31 July 2003, the temporary residence permit and the document certifying the submittal of a request to renew residence and work permit are considered temporary residence titles, since they constitute documents legalizing the temporary residence of their owners in Greece until 30 October 2003", the minister's reply added.

    [04] Gov't due to unveil development bill on Tuesday

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    The government is due to unveil a new development bill on Tuesday that aims to provide a stable tax regime for the next decade and boost employment through raising subsidies for job creation.

    In addition, the bill will simplify procedures for vetting in-vestments, and improve incentives for large investments and for investments by companies operating abroad.

    The bill also raises grants for tourism investment, and decouples job creation incentives from grants for high technology investments or for the creation of manufacturing units for new pro-ducts.

    Furthermore, companies will be able to opt for tax-exempt reserves for investments under the previous development law instead of receiving tax breaks.

    The provisions of the bill have been designed to assist regional development and boost overall competitiveness of the economy.

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos says price checks on Greek islands will be carried out

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Monday that price checks on Greek islands would be carried out starting this week by joint units of the Trade General Secretariat, Greek Tourism Organization and Financial Crime Squad.

    Speaking from Thessaloniki, Tsohatzopoulos said that dear food and accommodation prices have mainly been detected on islands, where fuel prices are also unjustifiably high.

    The minister said that those enterprises selling dearly have officially received the message that the situation can not go on for long, and that such companies may face referral to the Com-petition Committee.

    In reply to a question regarding expensive market prices, Tsohatzopoulos said the government was preparing certain arrangements to introduce common rules for all in the market. He added that the specific draft bill would be tabled in parliament late August or early September.

    Meanwhile, commenting on disagreements within the ranks of the ruling PASOK party over the proposed electoral law, Tsohatzopoulos said that in a democratic party there were often differing approaches on some new proposals.

    [06] Hellenic Post Offices shows H1 earnings rise

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    Hellenic Post Offices SA said on Monday that net earnings in the first half totalled 11.0 million euros, up 13.52 percent on the same period a year earlier.

    Turnover was 227.8 million euros, showing a 10.55 percent in-crease on the first half of 2002, management said in a statement.

    [07] Stocks rise, led by smaller cap paper

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished higher on Monday, fuelled by buyers in small and medium capitalization shares, traders said.

    The general share index gained 0.72 percent to end at 2,190.90 points. Turnover was 204.2 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.53 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 1.96 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities finished with gains of 2.49 percent.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 238 to 91 with 44 issues remaining unchanged.

    Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers on Monday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.35 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 17 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (365 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.9 bln euros

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 64.5 mln euros Monday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: +0.53% percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: +1.96 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (600)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 64.5 mln euros

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of August 4 2003

    Parities in euro

    Banknotes

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,139 1,113

    [08] Greece proposes joint exhibition of the Parthenon Marbles

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos speaking to reporters on Monday said that the Greek position regarding the return of the Parthenon Marbles, currently housed in London's British Muse-um, to Greece was very simple and consistent.

    ''Within the framework of common cultural traditions and close cultural ties between the two countries, we propose the establishment of a joint exhibition of the Parthenon Marbles'', the minister said, adding ''The Marbles can in that way be in Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games through cooperation between the British Museum and the New Acropolis Museum.''

    ''A positive British response to the Greek proposal would be both a cultural and a political initiative of ecumenical dimensions'', the minister concluded.

    The marble sculptures, originally part of a frieze that decorated the ancient temple of the Parthenon on the Athens Acropolis, were removed in the 19th century by Lord Elgin and are now on display at the British Museum in London. Greece has campaigned for their return for the last two decades but the British Museum refuses, claiming that the marbles were legally obtained and are better protected in Britain.

    [09] British Museum denies discussions on the return of the Parthenon Marbles

    LONDON 05/08/2003(ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    The British Museum issued a release denying that on-going talks between museum representatives and Greek archaeologists focused on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, according to a report published in last week's ''Sunday Times''.

    According to the museum's release, the discussions are not focusing on a possible relocation of the Marbles, but on other areas of academic and cultural cooperation, such as a British Museum loan of important antiquities to be on display next year in Greece within the framework of the Cultural Olympiad.

    The British Museum stressed that its position with regard to the Parthenon Marbles remained unchanged, adding that Museum officials did not in any case perceive permanent return of the Marbles to Greece.

    The marble sculptures, originally part of a frieze that decorated the ancient temple of the Parthenon on the Athens Acropolis, were removed in the 19th century by Lord Elgin and are now on display at the British Museum in London. Greece has campaigned for their return for the last two decades but the British Museum refuses, claiming that the marbles were legally obtained and are better protected in Britain.

    [10] ''N17'' trial hears statement by Tselentis

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    Patroklos Tselentis, one of the 19 suspects in the ''November 17'' terrorist group trial, told the court in his statement on Monday that he had taken part in the Post Office Savings Bank robbery in July 1988, along with Dimitris Koufontinas, Vassilis Tzortzatos, Savvas Xiros and alleged leader of the ''N17'' group Alexandros Giotopoulos.

    According to Tselentis, during the hold-up, Xiros remained outside the Savings Bank wearing ear-phones and pretending to be listening to a walkman but he was actually monitoring police radio frequencies. Giotopoulos at the time was standing near by, Tselentis added in his statement.

    The defendant said that in bomb attacks or killings, the group was very careful not to hit anybody or anything else but their actual targets, while he added that when they abandoned a stolen car after an attack, they usually left in it empty cigarette buts or packs that they picked up from the street ''to mislead or make fun of the police.''

    Tselentis, as he did in his preliminary statement, denied he had been neither involved in the attempted killing of Robert Chand nor a Marinopoulos supermarket robbery.

    After the court adjourned its session for Tuesday, angry-tempered Giotopoulos told reporters Tselentis' testimony was ''dictated'' so that he could take advantage of the benefits offered by the law on terrorism.

    During his preliminary examination, Tselentis had said that he knew Giotopoulos by the name of ''Petros,'' but had giver no further details about his role in the terrorist group.

    [11] August ''full moon'' cultural events and concerts at archaeological sites

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    The culture ministry for the fifth consecutive year will organize cultural events and concerts at some 62 archaeological sites around the country to celebrate regal August s full moon, scheduled for the evening of Aug. 12, with sites remaining open to the public from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

    The Acropolis in Athens, the Temple of Aphaia on the Saronic island of Aegina, the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, ancient Olympia and the prehistoric settlement of Poliohni on the eastern Aegean island of Lemnos will also remain open to the public, although no events are planned.

    Admission is free to all "full moon" events and concerts.

    [12] Hash haul in the sea area off Corfu

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    Two Albanian men were arrested on Sunday in the sea area north of the Ionian island of Corfu after found in possession of 70 kilos of hashish which police believe was smuggled into the country from neighboring Albania.

    The two men were spotted by electronic surveillance instruments aboard a speedboat heading toward the northwestern part of the island and when they were approached for a check by a Corfu port authority patrol boat they turned east and took off heading for Albanian waters.

    The patrol boat gave chase and the two suspects and their illicit cargo were seized when during the race their speedboat capsized.

    The two men will be taken before a public prosecutor in Corfu.

    [13] Forest fire raging in Nea Makri

    Athens 05/08/2003 (ANA)

    A forest fire in the region of Nea Makri, eastern Attica is raging since 7:20 p.m. on Monday.

    The fire started from an inaccessible point in the region of Anatoli in a forest with pine tress between Nea Makri and Dionysos.

    On the spot are ten fire engines with 30 firemen, two planes and three helicopters which are trying to keep the fire under control before it spreads.

    Strong winds in the area are hampering the work of the firemen.

    [14] Central Bank announces lifting of exchange restrictions

    NICOSIA 05/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus Central Bank has announced the lifting of certain exchange restrictions, in the context of the preplanned gradual lifting of all restrictions by Cyprus' accession to the European Union in May 2004.

    A Central Bank press release on Monday notes that the lifting of the restrictions is occurring earlier than the deadline agreed on with the EU and will have an immediate effect.

    The restrictions lifted concern current international exchanges, personal expenses, international cards, capital transfers and ex-change restrictions for non-residents of Cyprus.

    Regarding current international exchanges, all remaining restrictions are lifted, specifically those concerning prepaid imports, foreign currency in cash to be sent abroad for local purchases and payments to non-residents.

    On personal expenses, all exchange restrictions regarding the issuing of currency to be used for personal expenses of residents of Cyprus traveling abroad for business, recreation, study or medical treatment purposes, are lifted.

    Furthermore, the issuing of international cards for Cyprus residents and payments of exchanges carried out with these cards are liberalized.

    Regarding capital transfers, all exchange restrictions are lifted on immigration exchanges, as well as money gifts from parents to children permanently living abroad.

    Restrictions on investments, foreign bank deposits, and purchasing of mutual funds, insurance products and houses abroad, will continue to be in effect.Also, non-residents of Cyprus will be able to participate in bank capital shares on the Cyprus Stock Exchange, while income from the sale of assets and stocks will now be able to be turned into foreign currency.

    After the lifting of these restrictions, those remaining concern the short-term renting of houses in foreign currency, loans to non-residents of Cyprus in Cyprus pounds, the free exchange of Cyprus pounds into foreign currency and the partial capital transfers.

    These remaining exchange restrictions will be lifted when Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU in May 2004.

    [15] Cypriot towns participate in MEDA energy project

    NICOSIA 05/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Two coastal towns of Cyprus, Limassol and Paphos, participate in the Euro Mediterranean Partnership Project (MEDA) called ''Energy and Urban Environment in the Mediterranean Coun-tries''.

    The project aims to enable local authorities to become more familiar with the technologies and tools of energy planning to-wards an energy efficiency management policy in Mediterranean cities.

    For this reason a number of seminars have been organized and two more will take place in October regarding urban transport management.

    Among the eleven pilot cities are Alexandria, Alger, Beirut and Damascus. French, Greek, Spanish and Italian organizations also participate in this project.

    The project's Follow up Committee met recently in Barcelona to look to the work that needs to be completed before the project ends in November.

    Spain's National Agency for Renewable and Energy Efficiency (IDAE) is coordinating the project.


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