|Friday, 13 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 7, 2003
 Gov't to send development bill to parliament in September
Athens 07/08/03(ANA)The government is to send its new development bill to parliament in September, officials said on Wednesday.
The government has distributed the bill to trade groups for feedback before the final draft goes to parliament.
In an introduction to the bill, the finance ministry said that following a favorable performance by the economy in recent years, a policy of raising grants was unwarranted.
More grants would also run contrary to tax reductions already implemented, a policy of implementing fiscal discipline, and pledges made to the European Union of gradually reducing state subsidies.
The bill aims to provide a stable tax regime for the next decade, boost employment through raising subsidies for job creation, increase regional growth, and spur competitiveness.
The bill will simplify procedures for vetting investments, and improve incentives for large investments and for investments by companies operating abroad.
It 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 products.
Furthermore, companies will be able to opt for tax-exempt reserves for investments under the previous development law instead of receiving other tax relief.
 Tenders for creation of computer labs in 93 special schools
Athens 07/08/03(ANA)The Education Ministry has proclaimed four open international tenders budgeted at 2,400,168 euro for the creation of computer labs in 93 special schools, with the necessary networking and hardware.
The labs will be accompanied with the required special supportive equipment, according to the degree of disability of the students which use them.
 Spending on advertising up 23.4 pct in July
Athens 07/08/03(ANA)Spending on advertising rose by 23.4 percent in July against the previous month, to total 130.8 million euros, a market researcher said on Wednesday.
The figure covers the core advertising outlets of television, magazines, newspapers and radio, Media Services SA said in a statement.
The bulk of spending was on magazines at 54.6 million euros, followed by television at 41.9 million euros, the statement said.
 Auto Hellas acquires Bulgarian auto firm
Athens 07/08/03(ANA)Athens-quoted Auto Hellas SA said on Wednesday that it had acquired Bemal Auto Ltd, owner of a Hertz franchise in Bulgaria, for one million euros.
Bemal owns Autotechnica Ltd, which holds the national franchise to Hertz in Bulgaria, also importing Seat and Audi auto-mobiles to the Balkan country, Auto Hellas said in a statement.
 Mediterranean business conference in November
Athens 07/08/03(ANA)A Mediterranean business conference will be held in the port city of Piraeus on November 28 to December 4 with delegates from European and Arab countries in the region.
Arranging the Euro-Mediterranean Business Meeting are the Greek ministries of foreign affairs, transport and communications, development, agriculture and merchant marine, working with the Foundation for Mediterranean Cooperation.
 Athens bourse suspends trade in Seafarm Ionian
Athens 07/08/03(ANA)Athens bourse authorities on Wednesday suspended trade in Seafarm Ionian SA in order to protect investors until the state of the firm's finances becomes clearer.
Earlier in the day, Seafarm had announced that it was unable to pay shareholders a dividend payout totalling 60,000 euros.
It also said recently that creditor banks had halted a five-year syndicated loan of 15 million euros that was arranged in February 2002 to help finance the company's investment plan and restructure short-term borrowing.
In addition, bourse authorities on Wednesday cited reports of unusual movement in Seafarm's stock over the last few trading days.
The lead manager of the cancelled loan to Seafarm was Piraeus Bank. Also taking part were Commercial Bank of Greece, National Bank of Greece, General Bank of Greece, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Investment Bank of Greece, Agricultural Bank of Greece, Hellenic Bank and Attica Bank.
Seafarm had said that efforts to seek a solution to the firm's financial problems were continuing, and that there was no immediate pressure for repayment.
 Volume of derivatives trade rises in July
Athens 07/08/03(ANA)The number of contracts traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange rose by 2.04 percent in July 2003 from the previous month to total 987,218 transactions, market authorities said on Wednesday.
 Stocks drop in continuing correction
Athens 07/08/03(ANA)The Athens bourse finished lower on Wednesday in a second straight correction to successive rises, with the market maintaining support at 2,150 points, traders said.
The general share index shed 1.26 percent to end at 2,154.58 points. Turnover was 204.6 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.95 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 1.71 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities finished with losses of 1.14 percent.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 249 to 82 with 39 issues remaining unchanged.
Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Wednesday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 84.5 mln euros Wednesday
Equity Index Futures:
Closing rates of August 6 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,148 1,122
 Olympic ‘test events’ launched at new Olympic Rowing Centre
Athens 07/08/03 (ANA)The countdown to the 2004 Athens Games began this week on Monday at a distant venue that has epitomized the challenges and obstacles faced by Athens organizers (ATHOC) – the wind swept 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) began on Wednesday, as Schinias this week hosts the first Olympic 'test event' of 2003.
Speaking to reporters before an opening ceremony complete with a parade of flag-waving athletes, ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said the inaugural ''test event'' of 2003 is a chance to assess procedures, human resources and facilities a whole year before the Games.
“Wherever you go in Greater Attica, you will see for yourselves that preparations for the Olympic Games are creating new roads of public transport, new stadiums and new green areas, thus leaving a legacy to residents,” she said, before directly referring to Schinias.
“Out of an environmentally degraded district with a dilapidated airport, we have created a world-class sports facility, nor is this all. We have returned a wetland and woodlands that constitute a significant bird sanctuary to their original state. All this land has been designated a (national) park for citizens to enjoy throughout the years that will follow the successful celebration of the Olympic Games”.
On his part, International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president and Athens 2004 coordination commission chairman Denis Oswald, in his capacity, however, as FISA’s president, thanked ATHOC for its efforts and the creation of the Schinias venue.
The new venue, which stands only a stone’s throw away from the ancient battlefield of Marathon, initially caused a modern-day “melee” between environmentalists (part of Schinias lies on the poorly maintained wetlands), historians and archaeologists, on 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 on Monday -- it will have completely transformed the area.
Simitsek added that more than 960 people (ATHOC personnel, volunteers and security staff) are set to work during the Games, while some 642 individuals (436 athletes along with judges and sports federation officials) have been accredited. He noted that the venue was delivered to ATHOC on July 27, with the organizers setting up air-conditioned tents for most of the auxiliary operations, all to be replaced by pre-fabricated buildings during next year's Games.
The rowing ''test event'' began on Wednesday and lasts until Saturday, with a total of 46 countries and more than 550 athletes participating.
On the “down side”, two negative elements plagued the first “test event” of 2003, namely, weather conditions (high winds) and the still under-construction main roadway leading to Schinias, which also happens to be the Classical Marathon route from the eponymous township in north-eastern Attica prefecture to downtown Athens.
High winds hampered many of the crews at Wednesday’s trial, with some quad boats even overturning in the new rowing canal. Beyond the wind factor, though, temperate summer-time weather (sunny skies with temperatures in the low to mid 30sC) was a welcome development. “Strong tailwind conditions were an understatement as the racing day of heats began barely minutes after sunrise,” was the phrase used in the FISA press release.
The Athens-Marathon highway, however, continued to be a formidable “thorn” in planning for the Games, as practically the entire stretch is today a worksite. The roadway, which falls under the government’s responsibility, also connects Athens with the Schinias venue and a “press village” at the Aghios Andreas beachfront resort, besides being the seminal marathon route.
 Athens Paralympics promoted in Canada's World Blind Championship
MONTREAL 07/08/03 (ANA - I. Frangouli)A delegation of the ATHOC General Directorate of Paralympic Games, headed by director Ioanna Karyofylli, paid a visit to Quebec City, Canada, July 31 to August 2, to operate a promotional stand for the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games and distribute information material during the World Blind Championship, held at Quebec, August 1-12.
The delegation also visited the ''Greek Flame'' festival, organized by the local Greek community.
Karyofylli said that the presentation of the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games made during the Quebec event to the national delegations was quite important given the large participation - 1360 athletes from 55 countries.
She added that all Athens 2004 Olympic Games facilities will be used for the Paralympics and that extensive sports and transportation infrastructure for people with disabilities is now ready in Athens, while private companies are encouraged to become accessible to such people.
In addition, Kariofylli said that Greece abolished the room and board charges for handicapped athletes to encourage participation by poor nations.
As many as 4,000 athletes from 141 countries are expected to participate in the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, while pins and posters have been made readable with the Bright blind system.
 N17 trial: Kondylis confirms Giotopoulos' threats against Tselentis
Athens 07/08/03 (ANA)The “November 17” (N17) terrorist group trial continued on Wednesday, with the Athens Three-Justice Special Appellate Court hearing for the third day the confession of Patroklos Tselentis, one of the 19 defendants.
Tselentis told the court that as a matter of principle, the terrorist band wanted all of its members to take actively part in killings, for solidarity purposes.
He added that he never feared punishment or any other reaction by the group when he decided to withdraw from N17.
The defendant was examined by the victims’ attorneys and the attorney’s of those defendants that Tselentis referred to in his testimony.
Meanwhile, Alexandros Giotopoulos, the alleged leader of the N17 group, accepted a proposal put forth on Tuesday by lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos, to be cross-examined along with Tselentis. However, Giotopoulos said he would like to have a face-to-face examination with Tselentis after the completion of his own statement.
Upon the completion of Tselentis’ statement, presiding judge Michalis Margaritis called on Giotopoulos to take the stand and be cross-examined with Tselentis.
Giotopoulos’ refusal provoked a reaction by public prosecutor Christos Lambrou, who asked him: “Don’t you care about proving your innocence?”
Judge Margaritis asked Giotopoulos’ lawyers to examine Tselentis, and first one to take the stand was Yiannis Rahiotis.
In reply to Rahiotis’ questions, Tselentis said that in his initial pretrial statements he did not refer extensively to Giotopoulos because he did not remember well and because authorities focused their questioning primarily on his own activity within the group, not on Giotopoulos’ role.
Tselentis further accused Giotopoulos of trying to charge him with the killings of policeman Christos Matis and publisher Nikos Momferatos.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) Alexandros Giotopoulos was trying to persuade Vassilis Tzortzatos and Pavlos Serifis, in jail, that I was the one who killed Matis and Momferatos,” Tselentis told the court.
During a break of the hearing, Giotopoulos told reporters that Tselentis was deliberately lying and said he intended to make questions to his co-defendant.
Rahiotis told the court that Tselentis' confession was an attempt to support and document the charge of moral complicity attributed to Giotopoulos for the vast majority of N17 actions.
Rahiotis' comments created an intense atmosphere in the court-room with verbal exchanges between victims' and defendants' attorneys, provoking an intervention by judge Margaritis.
Meanwhile, chaos was also created for some time after an unexpected interruption by defendant Sotiris Kondylis, who stood up and told judge Margaritis that Tselentis' statements about threats against himself were true.
Margaritis asked Kondylis to further explain, but Giotopoulos stood up and shouted that ''everything is a lie.''
''Some months ago there was a rumor in here and was also writ-ten in the papers that I was threatening Tselentis. I met him on the stairs and told him: What's all this you are saying about? Why are you lying? And he (Tselentis), lowered his head.''
Responding to that, Tselentis said: ''Some time ago Giotopoulos told me 'if you tell anything, others will tell that you killed Matis'. Last night, Giotopoulos was trying to persuade Vassilis Tzortzatos and Pavlos Serifis that I was the one who killed Matis and Momferatos. Kondylis happened to pass by. I asked him: 'Sotiris did you hear?' And he said 'Yes, I did'.''
Margaritis later asked Kondylis to further explain his statement, but the defendant only confirmed the incident that Tselentis had described earlier involving Giotopoulos, Tzortzatos and Serifis, saying that he would further expound on the specific matter in his own confession.
Tselentis' testimony will be continued and expected to conclude on Thursday.
 Local ICOMOS chapter head demands halt to construction of new Acropolis museum
Athens 07/08/03 (ANA)The Greek division of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has called for the immediate end to all construction work for a new Acropolis Museum and urged the creation of reliable and effective pollution controls to allow for the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles.
Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday, local ICOMOS chapter president Nikos Agriantonis said on-going Greek-British negotiations for the return of the Parthenon Marbles were misplaced and superficial.
He charged that 'poor handling' of the issue has led to reverse reaction at the international level, culminating in a joint conference of December 2002, when some of the world's leading museum directors declared that they would not return ancient artifacts to the countries of origin, citing their museums' universal character and large numbers of visitors.
ICOMOS is an official advisory body to UNESCO and to the World Heritage Committee on the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
 Resumption of negotiations way to solution, says President
UNITED NATIONS 07/08/03 (CNA/ANA)The best way to make headway in the Cyprus issue is to resume negotiations with a view at reaching a viable and functional solution as soon as possible, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has stressed, reiterating his readiness to engage immediately in substantive talks on the basis of a UN peace plan.
In a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, President Papadopoulos points out that there is no lack of confidence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots but what is lacking is a comprehensive settlement.
The Cypriot president also stresses that both communities on the island should indicate at the beginning of the talks their acceptance of Annan's peace plan as the basis for further negotiations in order to achieve a settlement, consistent with the Security Council resolutions.
''I am certain that you share my position that the best hope for us to proceed forward is through the resumption of negotiations, aiming at reaching a viable and functional solution as soon as possible. I have repeatedly expressed my readiness to immediately engage in substantive negotiations on the basis of your plan of February 26, 2003,'' the president said in his letter to Kofi Annan, dated July 18, in response to a letter Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had sent to Annan on July 11, which was also communicated to the president. Papadopoulos reiterated that ''if any resumption of the talks is to be meaningful I believe that both communities should indicate at the outset that they accept your plan as the basis for a further negotiating process, within the framework of your good offices mission, in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem as provided for in relevant Security Council resolutions.''
He points out that ''Denktash's approach, as defined in his letter, follows the logic of his letter to me of April 2, 2003, by which he attributed the stalemate at the Hague to ''the 'socio-psychological' dimension of the problem and especially the deep crisis of confidence between the two sides'', a view that is obviously unfounded.''
Papadopoulos notes that after the deadlock at the Hague, Denktash has consistently engaged in an effort to eliminate every prospect for the resumption of the talks on the basis of the Annan plan and to disorient both international and Turkish Cypriot public opinion about who is to blame for the failure of the talks and the current stalemate.
The Cypriot President noted that the discussions on confidence-building measures held in 1993-1994 resulted in a deadlock solely due to Denktash's insistence on pursuing his objective to promote the acknowledgement of his secessionist entity, he set up in 1983 in the areas of Cyprus Turkey occupies since its troops invaded in 1974.
''The interaction witnessed recently between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots following the partial lifting of restrictions on the freedom of movement, which have been imposed by the occupation regime over the last 29 years, has provided concrete and sound evidence that no lack of confidence exists among ordinary people and has unambiguously shown that what is really lacking is a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem,'' he stresses.
The president's letter circulated as a document of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, after Cyprus' Charge d'Affaires George Kasoulides addressed a letter to Annan.
 Cyprus tells EU of Turkish intentions for 'customs union'
NICOSIA 07/08/03 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Wednesday that the Cyprus government has brought to the EU's attention the intention of the Turkish occupation regime and Turkey to sign an ''agreement'' for a so-called ''customs union'' between them.
Chrysostomides said the government has raised the issue of the impact this illegal action will have on the EU-Turkey customs union agreement, adding that the matter will also be taken to the United Nations.
''The government has already raised the issue with the EU, mainly to examine how this illegal measure affects Turkey's customs union with the EU. The matter will also be raised before the UN,'' he said.
The spokesman noted that Turkey's actions indicate yet again her policy of support to the Turkish occupation regime in Cyprus.
Replying to questions, the spokesman said these actions were probably a reaction to Cyprus' accession to the EU.
Asked if the government had assessed the implementation of measures to support the Turkish Cypriots, Chrysostomides said this was done periodically, noting that there would be no further measures yet.
He added that there were some difficulties in the implementation of current measures, mainly due to Turkish demands.
Replying to questions, Chrysostomides said EU officials were expected on the island in September for production monitoring purposes, in order to facilitate trade.
 Cyprus submits Accession Treaty ratification instrument
NICOSIA 07/08/03 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus' Ambassador to Rome Alexandros Zenon submitted on Wednesday on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus the ratification instrument of Cyprus' Accession Treaty with the EU, signed by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos on July 28.
Speaking during the ceremony, Zenon referred to the political significance of Cyprus' accession to the EU and enlargement in general, noting that the Cyprus House of Representatives unanimously ratified the Accession Treaty.
The ceremony took place at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of Cyprus' Embassy in Rome staff and senior ministry officials.
Cyprus is the third acceding country to submit the ratification instrument in Italy. The first two were Malta and Poland.
 US Ambassador: very feasible to reach a settlement by May 2004
NICOSIA 07/08/03 (CNA/ANA)US Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson believes that it is ''very feasible'' to clinch a deal on a comprehensive settlement by May next year, before Cyprus joins the European Union, saying that many factors are conducive towards this direction.
In an interview with CNA, on completion of nearly a year since he presented his credentials, Klosson said the US wants to see a change of perspective on the part of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and indicated that a new negotiator for the Turkish Cypriot community might be a breath of fresh air to the talks.
The Ambassador said the US is and will remain an active player in the peace effort and stressed that there can be no political settlement without US participation in this process.