|Thursday, 6 August 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 9, 2003
 Inflation drops to 3.6 ptc in July
Athens 09/08/2003 (ANA)Consumer price inflation was at 3.6 percent year on year in July 2003 against the same month of 2002, down from 3.8 percent year on year in June 2003, the Greek National Statistics Service (GNSS) said on Friday.
The GNSS attributed July's figure versus the same month a year earlier mainly to a rise of 7.4 percent in foodstuffs and non-alcoholic beverages in products including cereals, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, mineral water, and soft drinks.
In addition, prices in the hotels, cafes and restaurants category increased by 4.5 percent; and education fees also rose by 4.5 percent, the GNSS said in a statement.
In addition, the consumer price index for July 2003 posted a 1.9 percent decline month on month from June.
The harmonised consumer price index in July rose by 3.5 percent versus the same month of 2002.
Harmonized inflation fell by 2.1 percent in July against June this year, the statement said.
 Papandreou expresses sorrow for forest fire victims in Portugal
Athens 09/08/2003 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday sent a letter to his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Martins Da Cruz in which he expressed his grief for the victims and the huge damage left behind by the extensive and devastating forest fires in Portugal.
Papandreou also expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.
 New U.S Consul General in Thessaloniki
Athens 09/08/2003 (ANA)A diplomat with experience in Greek and Balkan affairs has been appointed as the new U.S. Consul General in Thessaloniki, replacing John Koening who has been transferred to Brussels.
Alec Mally, who is due to officially assume his new duties in the coming days, arrived in Thessaloniki from Pristina where he served these past two years as attache of the American diplomatic mission.
Earlier he was the head of the U.S. State Department's Greek Bureau, while in the past he also worked at the Political and Economic Department of his country's embassy in Athens.
During the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mally served in the State Department's South-Central Europe Bureau as head of the working group which dealt with economic issues of the region.
The new consul is married with Greek actress Ioanna Gavakou.
 Alpha Bank posts higher HI earnings
Athens 09/08/2003 (ANA)Alpha Bank, a blue chip on the Athens bourse, said on Friday that its consolidated earnings after tax and minorities in the first half of 2003 rose to 118.3 million euros, marking a 62.3 percent rise against the same period a year earlier.
The bank attributed the rise in earnings mainly to dynamic growth in network business, wider interest rate margins, and favourable earnings from financial transactions.
Net banking revenue (net revenue plus commissions) rose by 11 percent in comparison with the first half of 2002, management said in a statement.
 Third day of World Junior Rowing Championships takes off on time
Athens 09/08/2003 (ANA)Favorable weather conditions on Friday permitted the World Junior Rowing Championships (FISA 2003) racing to start on time at 6.30 a.m. at the Olympic Rowing centre at Schinias, northeast of Athens.
The third day of the racing is held with all repechages and two semi-finals, while crews finishing first in each series will secure participation in Saturday’s finals.
Gust winds on Thursday forced 2004 Olympic organizers and FISA leadership to jointly call off the second day’s races, while winds on Wednesday had wreaked havoc on rowers.
 ATHOC chief comments on weather-related problems at Schinias
Athens, 09/08/2003 (ANA)Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki on Friday attended a meeting here with World Rowing Federation (FISA) chief executive Matt Smith and the heads of national rowing delegations from around the world. The meeting was held at the conclusion of a third day of races at the World Junior Rowing Championships at the Schinias Rowing Centre, the first “test event” of 2003, and following two days of tournament-wreaking high winds at the site.
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said ATHOC was not happy with the recent weather conditions this week at the rowing site, which she described as unprecedented during the past 11 years.
"Athens 2004 is doing everything possible to adjust its mecha-nisms to current conditions,'' she said, while predicting that ''conditions during the same period next year will be much better".
On his part, FISA’s Smith praised the ATHOC team for what he said was its astonishing flexibility and adaptability to the severe weather conditions.
"I have not seen anything like it during my tenure at FISA'', he said.
The rowing championships are scheduled to conclude on Saturday, with crews going directly from repechages to finals, weather permitting.
 Noted Greek writer Samarakis dies at 84
Athens 09/08/2003 (ANA)Renowned Greek author Antonis Samarakis died on Friday at his holiday home in Pylos, the Peloponnese at the age of 84.
Born in Athens in 1919, Samarakis was a law school graduate and participated in the Resistance during the German occupation.
Widely read by Greek teenagers, he was honored with many distinctions for two of his books, the collection of short stories "Arnoume" (I Deny) and the novel "Lathos" (Mistake), while his early works have been translated into 30 languages, turned into films by French directors and into TV series in American television.
He was a member of UNICEF and Greece's first goodwill ambassador for the children of the world.
Speaking about Samarakis, a government spokesman said that he had been a distinguished member of the Greek society and a role-model for three generations of Greeks.
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Greek literature grieved for the demise of a brilliant teacher and an excellent ambassador of Greek culture, adding that Samarakis will remain in the hearts of all Greeks as one the sweetest and most genuine figure of Greek letters
 Lesser-known 'N17' defendant reaffirms his innocence
Athens, 09/08/2003 (ANA)The final session before the trial of 19 “November 17” terrorist suspects resumes on Aug. 20 wound up on Friday with a final statement by one of the lesser-known and younger defendants, who pleaded with the three-justice court that his only involvement with the terror band was the fact he was on friendly terms with two of the Xiros brothers.
Dionysis Georgiadis reiterated that he was a friend of Savvas and Vassilis Xiros, while he agreed to rent an apartment for the former as a favour, due to the fact he was staying at Savvas Xiros’ Athens-area residence, as he said. The apartment in question, on Damareos street in east Athens, later turned out to be a “N17” safehouse.
Moreover, he denied in taking part in any “N17” actions, telling the court that he was against using violence as a means of change in society. “If I wanted to change the world I would go to UNESCO or UNICEF, and I would not go to either (ruling) PASOK or (main opposition) New Democracy, nor would I go to “November 17”, Georgiadis said. PASOK and ND are Greece’s two major political parties.
In other statements, he said he only saw accused “N17” top assassin Dimitris Koufodinas only once at a cafe, where the latter picked up Savvas Xiros.
The court later rejected a motion by Georgiadis’ attorneys to throw out his pre-trial confessions and statements to judicial magistrates. Similar to a handful of other “N17” defendants, including all three Xiros brothers, Georgiadis claims he was sub-jected to “psychological pressure” and “blackmail” by authorities.
The closely watched “N17” bench trial reconvenes on Aug 19, with a court session scheduled for the next day.
 Drivers face fines for speaking on cell phone while driving
Athens, 09/08/2003 (ANA)Apart from parking and speeding fines, drivers now face the like-lihood of getting a ticket for speaking on their mobile phone while driving.
Since last Thursday, police have embarked on a campaign in the Athens region to stop the "drive-and-speak-on-the-phone" habit of modern Athenians, and according to officials, as many as 423 fines were imposed in only one day in central Athens roads. The fine for speaking on the phone while driving is 31 euros.
 Spokesman: Turkish side considers repercussions with the EU
NICOSIA 09/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here Friday the Turkish side had considered the repercussions with the European Union by deciding to postpone the signing of a ''customs union agreement'' between Turkey and the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.
Chrysostomides told CNA that the signing of any ''customs union agreement'' between Turkey and the bogus state is ''illegal and a provocation for Europe and the international community.''
Invited to comment on the postponement of the signing, which was expected to take place on Friday, Chrysostomides said the Turkish side ''has taken into consideration the wider international scene mainly at the EU, because such a 'customs union' would be a provocation not only against Europe but also against the international community and a continuation of the flagrant violation on the part of the occupation power (Turkey).''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.
 Spokesman says UN Secretary-General reconfirms positions
NICOSIA, 9/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here Friday the statement made by the UN Secretary-General's spokesman on Thursday in New York is a repetition of Kofi Annan's positions on Cyprus and it shows that the Secretary General is ready to continue his good offices mission on Cyprus.
Invited by CNA to comment on Thursday's statement by Fred Eckhard where he repeated the Secretary General is ready to exercise his good offices mission to help reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem when both parties and both motherlands show a genuine commitment to come to terms, Chrysostomides replied:
''There is a repetition of the Secretary-General's positions. It is clear that he is appealing to the intransigent side which is (Rauf) Denktash and Turkey because our side reiterated many times that it is ready to resume negotiations on the substance on the basis of the Annan Plan, to find a mutually acceptable solution that will allow all legitimate citizens enjoy all the benefits of accession to the European Union.''''The Secretary-General looks set to conti-nue his good offices'' mission on Cyprus, the Cypriot official added.
 Mavroyiannis presents credentials to UN chief
NICOSIA, 09/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis on Thursday presented his credentials to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations.
According to an official press release issued on Friday, Mavroyiannis expressed the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to negotiate in the context of Annan's proposals to reach a compre-hensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, while Annan reassu-red of his continuous interest in Cyprus and his dedication to efforts to reach a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem.
Mavroyiannis conveyed to Annan the warm greetings and gratitude of President Tassos Papadopoulos and the Cyprus people for UN efforts and Annan's recent attempts to reach a settlement based on UN resolutions.
Annan asked Mavroyiannis to convey to President Papadopoulos his warm greetings and reaffirmed his continuous interest in Cyprus and his dedication to efforts to reach a peaceful solution.