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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-06

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

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

August 6, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Minister sees inflation below 3.8 pct in July and beyond
  • [02] EU approves grant for study on Greece, Italy natgas link
  • [03] Deputy agriculture min. visits Rodopi, Evros
  • [04] Embassy: Visas required for transit through US airports
  • [05] Automobile sales rise in July vs previous month
  • [06] Mutual fund assets rise in July
  • [07] Everest gets syndicated loan
  • [08] Tselentis offers more damning testimony against other 'N17' defendants
  • [09] ''Imported'' bears raid Drama region
  • [10] Spokesman says Turkey's dealings with regime illegal
  • [11] More Cypriots crossed divide in July than in May, study says
  • [12] Cypriot official in Rome for talks with Italian Presidency
  • [13] British Bases to get new Administrator

  • [01] Minister sees inflation below 3.8 pct in July and beyond

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    Inflation will fall below June's figure of 3.8 percent as price declines have been noted in basic goods, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Tuesday.

    The minister told a news conference he was optimistic that inflation in July and beyond would show a declining trend.

    Using a European Union index, average price rises for services in 2002 were 5.2 percent and 3.1 percent for goods, expected to drop to 2.1 percent in 2003, he said.

    Due to improved corporate earnings, the government was expecting firms to show price restraint. Talks with the market on keeping prices down under a ''gentlemen's agreement'' employed in the past would begin shortly, Tsohatzopoulos added.

    The government would also step up market controls following the recruitment of inspectors in September, rein-forced by part-time employees to be hired in local government.

    The minister also rapped companies for failing to state indicative prices on bottled water and soft drinks as required by law; and several bottlers had been reported to the fair competition commission for a failure to comply.

    In addition, 15 gas stations would be penalized for overpricing gasoline in tourist areas.

    Finally, the minister warned gas station owners that the government would slap a price ceiling on liquid fuels in certain locations if overpricing continued.

    Profiteering had been reported mainly in tourist destinations and rural areas that had few gas stations and little competition, Tsohatzopoulos said.

    [02] EU approves grant for study on Greece, Italy natgas link

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    The European Union has approved funding of 930,000 euros for a study on an undersea natural gas pipeline between Greece and Italy.

    Endorsement was given by the EU's committee for economic aid for trans-European energy networks to a proposal from Greece's Public Gas Company (DEPA) and Edison of Italy requesting a 50 percent grant for the study.

    The pipeline would represent continuation of a link between Greece and Turkey for which DEPA and Botas of Turkey are currently carrying out an engineering study, also receiving 50-percent EU funding of 4.0 million euros.

    A natural gas link between Turkey, Greece and Italy would assist southeastern Europe. Demand for natural gas has been reported from consumers in Italy, including Edison, and from companies elsewhere in Western Europe.

    [03] Deputy agriculture min. visits Rodopi, Evros

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    Deputy Agriculture Minister Vangelis Argyris began a two-day tour of the northern Greece prefectures of Rodopi and Evros on Tuesday morning, which falls within the context of instructions given by Prime Minister Costas Simitis to government members to embark on a campaign of daily contact with farmers.

    In statements he made in Komotini, Argyris said that the organizational structure adopted by farmers in the country's border regions of Rodopi and Evros with regard to products such as asparagus and cotton, is an example of the way that Greek farming should follow to get the best benefits from the new EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), making Greek products stronger in international markets.

    Argyris was scheduled to deliver a speech on Tuesday evening at an open gathering in Aigeiros.

    On Wednesday, the deputy minister will hold a series of contacts with representatives of farmers.

    [04] Embassy: Visas required for transit through US airports

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    The US embassy in Athens on Tuesday circulated a press release noting that “the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State … suspended two programs that allow certain international air passengers to travel through the United States for transit purposes without first obtaining a visa. The programs, known as the Transit Without Visa program (TWOV) and the International-to-International transit program (ITI), have been suspended. The action takes effect at 11:00 a.m., Saturday August 2, 2003. (Note: All times are U.S. EDT). This action does not affect U.S. citizens or citizens from visa waiver countries.”

    The press release noted that travelers planning on traveling via a US airport should apply for a visa from the consular section at the US embassy in Athens.

    [05] Automobile sales rise in July vs previous month

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    Automobile sales in Greece rose in July to 25,938 against a month earlier, up 5.6 percent, the Association of Automobile Importers and Representatives said on Tuesday.

    Sales were down 10.9 percent on July 2002, the association said in a statement.

    Leading the pack was Toyota with 2,521 cars sold. Ranking second was Hyundai with sales of 2,180 sales, the statement added.

    [06] Mutual fund assets rise in July

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    Total assets of Greek mutual funds were 30.2 billion euros on July 31, up 3.44 percent from the end of the previous month, the Union of Institutional Investors said in a monthly report released on Tuesday.

    Mutual fund assets began a recovery in March, which has continued steadily until July.

    Since the start of the year, mutual fund assets have risen by 19.12 percent, or 4.85 billion euros, the report said.

    [07] Everest gets syndicated loan

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    Everest Holding & Investment SA, an Athens-quoted chain catering outlet, on Tuesday obtained a five-year syndicated loan of 13.6 million euros, the company said in a statement.

    The loan was arranged by EFG Telesis Finance SA with eight other banks, the company said in a statement.

    Everest will use the loan as bridge financing for the acquisition of 49 percent of Olympic Catering SA, it added.

    Stocks drop in correction

    The Athens bourse finished lower on Tuesday in a correction to successive rises, traders said.

    The general share index shed 0.41 percent to end at 2,182.00 points. Turnover was 220.2 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.68 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.78 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities finished with gains of 1.27 percent.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 193 to 138 with 39 issues remaining unchanged.

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Tuesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.29 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 17 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 5-yr, expiring May 2013 (861 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 3.0 bln euros

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of August 5 2003

    Parities in euro

    Banknotes

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,142 1,116

    [08] Tselentis offers more damning testimony against other 'N17' defendants

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    The first “November 17” suspect to uphold his initial pretrial confessions and statements to authorities continued his eye-brow raising court testimony on Tuesday by saying the elusive terror-band at one time even considered opening a restaurant or fast-food outlet in order to shy away from armed robberies.

    Patroklos Tselentis took the stand for a second day in a row on Tuesday at the trial of 19 “N17” suspects, 24 hours after he positively identified the man police charge was ultra-leftist terrorist group’s “Primus inter pares” cadre, Alexandros Giotopoulos or a.k.a “Michel Economou”.

    Giotopoulos has denied any involvement with “November 17”, while a handful of defendants that provided final statements to the same court last week directly or indirectly offered testimony that the self-described translator was not a member.

    Tselentis, identified in the voluminous indictment as the “N17” operative known as “ Alekos” or “Tenias“, is the first defendant out of five not to claim that authorities threatened or tortured him into providing confessions or information about other terror suspects.

    Tselentis, 43, also identified Dimitris Koufodinas, the defendant authorities accuse of being the notorious terror band’s operatio-nal chief.

    Queried by prosecutors over Tselentis’ testimony, Koufodinas merely replied that ‘some of it is true and some of it is false”.

    In other statements, Tselentis said that Giotopoulos, the Paris-educated son of a well-known 1930s-era Trotskyite in Greece, had acted out of “ideological” reasons only, that he “accepted dialogue” but did not accept views and conclusions of others, and referred to him as “somewhat elite”.

    As per Koufodinas, a self-styled beekeeper who lived under an assumed identity since the early 1980s, Tselentis used a term to denote that he was of a working-class background and mentality, while also describing him as persistent, ethical as well as introverted. He said Koufodinas lived in the band’s safehouses throughout the mid-1980s and with money gathered by the group.

    Asked about N17’s hierarchy, he answered that reality was illustrated in practice, adding that Giotopoulos and Koufodinas were individuals with “special skills”.

    “He’s a very intelligent man, Tselentis, he realized that in order to make a trade he would need to talk about Giotopoulos,” was Giotopoulos’ reply.

    In other matters, Tselentis said he never saw any women in the terrorist group and that he did not know Theologos Psaradellis, one of the ''19'', and a defendant that only admits to participating in a bank robbery. Additionally, he says he never heard the name Yiannis Serifis mentioned by “N17” members. Serifis, a noted leftist and anti-state labor activist once tried and acquitted of similar terrorism charges in the late 1970s, also maintains his innocence.

    Conversely, he said he saw defendant Nikos Papanastasiou on a few occasions during his early participation with the deadly terror gang.

    As far as the group’s habits and organization is concerned, Tselentis said members often met once a month in outdoor areas (i.e. cafes) where they discussed matters using code words. Communication by phone was prohibited, whereas numerous safehouses were kept so that no one member knew all the locations.

    In case a member was apprehended, the other members were obliged to evacuate the safehouses they knew of, and they were advised to avoid making any statements to police for at least 24 hours.

    Members were also ordered to never leave behind a wounded fellow comrade, Tselentis said, noting that in case of minor injuries “we would have to take him along with us, while if it was more serious we would take him by car and leave him outside a hospital before fleeing.”

    His testimony continues on Wednesday.

    [09] ''Imported'' bears raid Drama region

    Athens 06/08/03 (ANA)

    Three mules belonging to a local stock farmer were mangled by bears and eventually drowned in the mountainous Melissohori village, Drama, Monday evening.

    Stock breeders said that in the past few weeks there have been in the region an increased number of raids by bears entering Greek territory from the south of neighboring Bulgaria.

    Apart from the bears, last month the same area was raided by wolves, which farmers say also come from Bulgaria.

    [10] Spokesman says Turkey's dealings with regime illegal

    NICOSIA 06/08/03 (CNA/ANA)

    Whatever dealings take place between Turkey and the occupation regime are illegal, government spokesman Kypros Chry-sostomides said here on Tuesday, when invited to comment on reports about the imminent announcement of a ''customs union'' between Turkey and the regime in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Asked what the government intends to do, the spokesman said ''Cyprus' permanent appeal to all directions over the illegality of the occupation and our demand to end the occupation will continue until the Cyprus problem is solved and the illegality of the occupation ceases.''

    Chrysostomides said Turkey is ''the only country that recognizes the illegal regime and any dealings that take place between Turkey and the occupation regime are part of the wider frame-work of occupation on the one hand, and the illegal declaration of the regime on the other.''

    ''There is no way to control these dealings,'' he said, adding that ''from the very first day of the invasion and occupation there has been a regime which is being ruled by the law of armed conflict. The same regime continues to exist today. Whatever dealings take place between Turkey and the occupation regime are part of a framework of illegality,'' the spokesman added.

    Chrysostomides further said these dealings were ''proof of the support of the Denktash policy by the official Turkey.''

    According to Turkish media, Turkey is proceeding with the signing of a ''customs union'' with the regime, reacting to Cyprus' signing of the Accession Treaty with the EU.

    For this reason, the so-called ''association council'' between Turkey and the occupation regime will convene on Friday with the participation of five ministers from Turkey, who will pay an illegal visit to the occupied areas of the island.

    The Turkish Cypriot unilateral declaration of independence was declared ''legally invalid'' by UN Security Council resolution 541 of November 1983, which called on all states not to recognize the self-styled regime and not to facilitate it in any way.

    Only Turkey, whose troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third, has recognized the bogus state.

    [11] More Cypriots crossed divide in July than in May, study says

    NICOSIA 06/08/03 (CNA/ANA)

    The number of Greek Cypriots who intend to revisit the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus, following the partial lifting in restrictions in the freedom of movement last April, is increasing, according to a study conducted by the Statistical Service

    between 11 and 13 July 2003. Also, the majority of Turkish Cypriots asked said they would visit the free areas again.

    According to the study conducted among 2,534 Greek Cypriots who had traveled to the occupied areas in 794 groups and 1,294 Turkish Cypriots who had visited the free areas in 430 groups, 61% of the Greek Cypriots asked intend to revisit the occupied areas, compared to 45% asked in May when the first study was conducted.

    Regarding Turkish Cypriots, 94% maintain their intention to re-visit the free areas.

    According to the results of both studies and movement from 23 April 2003 until 13 July 2003, the total expenditure of Greek Cypriots in the occupied areas is estimated at 5,523,000 Cyprus pounds and that of Turkish Cypriots to 3,133,000 Cyprus pounds.

    On average Greek Cypriots spend 9.81 pounds per person compared to 7.38 in May. This increase came from spending at nightclubs, from 1.72 pounds to 3.81 pounds, and from 2.12 pounds to 3.90 pounds at restaurants.

    On the other hand, on average a Turkish Cypriot spends 8.89 pounds compared to 7.19 pounds in May. This increase is due to the purchase of foodstuff and drinks from supermarkets.

    Turkish Cypriots' spending at restaurants was down from 2.74 to 2.08 pounds, as well as on clothing and footwear, from 1.77 in May to 0.69 pounds in July. Between 23 April and 13 July a total of 552,880 Greek Cypriots visited the occupied areas while 403,577 Turkish Cypriots came to the free areas of the Republic.

    In July 40% of Greek Cypriots had visited the occupied areas four and more times, while the percentage during the first study was only 12%.

    The percentage of Greek Cypriots visiting the occupied areas for the first time was significantly down to 16% compared to 43% in May.

    Similarly, 78% of Turkish Cypriots have visited the free areas four and more times, while 49% of them had crossed to the southern controlled areas more than ten times.

    The percentage of Turkish Cypriots visiting the free areas for the first time was down to 4% compared to 27% in May.

    According to a study in June at Larnaca Airport, 4.1% of tourists who resided in the free areas visited the occupied areas, spending on average 12.70 pounds per person and a total of 136 thousand pounds for the month.

    The interviews were conducted at the crossing points.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [12] Cypriot official in Rome for talks with Italian Presidency

    NICOSIA 06/08/03 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Sotos Zackheos, has briefed the EU Italian Presidency on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the island's EU ac-cession course.

    The Ambassador, visiting Rome at the invitation of the Italian Presidency, held talks with Rocco Cangelosi, Director General of European Integration at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference and on bilateral issues of European interest, an official press release said.

    [13] British Bases to get new Administrator

    NICOSIA 06/08/03 (CNA/ANA)

    Major General PTC Pearson is the new Administrator of the British Bases in Cyprus, a press release issued by the Bases said here on Tuesday.

    He assumes his duties on September 5 in succession of Air Vice Marshal TW Rimmer.


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