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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-12

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

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

August 12, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Merchant marine minister announces series of measures for Thessaloniki Port
  • [02] Magriotis tours Alexandroupoli region
  • [03] First batch of FYROM political refugees take advantage of 'visit permits'
  • [04] U.S. State Dept. spokesman responds to NYT related report on Greece
  • [05] ND blasts gov't over food poisoning during rowing 'test event'
  • [06] Greek industrial production up 2.8 pct in June, yr/yr
  • [07] Greek gov’t bond prices fell significantly in July
  • [08] Greek stocks end lower on Monday
  • [09] Historic Marathon township opens Olympics info bureau
  • [10] "Greek Flame" Festival in Montreal promotes Athens 2004 Game
  • [11] Gov't denies it acknowledges British 'ownership' of Marbles
  • [12] Hail ruins crops in Larissa, Trikala
  • [13] Cypriot parties condemn 'agreement' between Turkey and illegal regime

  • [01] Merchant marine minister announces series of measures for Thessaloniki Port

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister George Paschalidis on Monday announced measures for the development of the Thessaloniki Port S.A., which includes the expansion of the 6th Pier over the 2003-2007 period, at a cost of 20.5 million euros.

    According to the plans announced by the minister, Pier 6 will be extended an extra 500 meters to achieve a 15-meter depth capability, so as to serve larger vessels, while on August 22, a meeting will take place between officials of the finance and merchant marine ministries to discuss proposals for the best possible development of Piers 1 and 2.

    Paschalidis also announced that the government was studying the issue of the Thessaloniki Port S.A.’s loading and services section, with the proposal being tabled to bring in private companies that would undertake the excess work of the port, in the event that the Federation of Greece’s Port Workers agrees with such a development.

    In concluding his announcements, concerning the Thessaloniki Port, the minister underlined that his ministry will aid the efforts to restructure and decongest the port side road network, based on a proposal for funding through a unified agency that will manage the Thermaikos Gulf, also dealing effectively with sea pollution.

    [02] Magriotis tours Alexandroupoli region

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis on Monday visited the border town of Alexandroupoli, a visit within the framework of ruling PASOK party tours of provincial regions around Greece.

    Magriotis had a meeting with prefectural and local authorities, as well as local PASOK cadres.

    Speaking during a political gathering in the afternoon, the deputy minister noted that PASOK's pre-election mobilization had already been under way, which - as he put it - it would end up in the party's victory.

    Magriotis referred to the development path the region of Thrace was on and the support it had by the government, as well as to the necessity to intensify the ruling party's work in all sectors, with an emphasis on regional development.

    He added that all PASOK forces must be stimulated to open up a social and political dialogue to formulate the party's program for the coming four-year tenure.

    ''The objective would be social and regional convergence,'' Magriotis said.

    On Tuesday, the deputy minister is scheduled to address the ''VI Congress of Thracian Hellenism''.

    [03] First batch of FYROM political refugees take advantage of 'visit permits'

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    Ten elderly Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) nationals, identified by the Greek state as political refugees dating back to the Greek civil war (1946-49) era, have legally crossed into Greece over the past 24 hours following a government decision to issue visit permits on humanitarian grounds.

    Conversely, the foreign ministry noted that a bus carrying such individuals was prevented from crossing the Niki border post because none had proper visas for entry into EU member-state and Schengen Pact member Greece.

    However, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos stressed Athens will continue to allow visits by such political refugees until the autumn.

    “As we had previously announced, implementation of the humanitarian measure for the issuance of visit permits for (travel to) Greece to political refugees who reside in FYROM began yesterday (Sunday), and everything is proceeding smoothly and without problems,” Loverdos said in a press release.

    The Greek deputy FM also stressed that the measure involves political refugees excluded under a 1982 law. The permits are good for 20 days, while the provision lasts from Aug. 10 to Oct. 30, 2003.

    Loverdos said Athens has requested that visitors taking advantage of the measure use new FYROM travel documents, namely, newly issued passports issued by the land-locked state to Greece’s immediate north, as well as necessary entrance visas.

    The foreign ministry will review the measure after its conclusion in order to decide whether it is repeated, Loverdos said

    The Greek government officially announced the decision on Sunday.

    Finally, the foreign ministry said all 10 individuals taking advantage of the measure passed through the Niki border post and were traveling by themselves.

    [04] U.S. State Dept. spokesman responds to NYT related report on Greece

    WASHINGTON 12/08/2003 (ANA – T. Ellis)

    U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker on Monday directed journalists to study the recent U.S. report entitled “Patterns on Global Terrorism”, when asked to comment on the recent report of the New York Times concerning Greece, among other countries.

    Speaking in response to a question that concerned the same NYT report on activities of Al Qaida in Greece, Reeker also referred to the U.S. State Department report, saying that those positions express the U.S. government’s stance, while he referred the question on the safety conditions of the Athens airport to the FAA.

    Last week the New York Times published a report that claimed that the terrorist organization Al Qaida was active in the region of Greece, which, a position however not shared by the U.S. State Department report on Greece, while the same report lauded efforts of the Greek government in combating terrorism.

    [05] ND blasts gov't over food poisoning during rowing 'test event'

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Monday severely criticized the government over a food poisoning incident at a near-Athens hotel last week that forced Germany's junior team to withdraw from the World Junior Rowing Championships at Schinias, the first Olympic ''test event'' of 2003.

    ''For two years now we have been pointing out to (Prime Minister Costas) Simitis' government and his supposedly competent ministers that our country's preparation in terms of public health protection measures, and specifically in terms of the program 'Health 2004', is, at best, inadequate,” ND deputy Nikitas Kaklamanis stated in a press release on Monday.

    Kaklamanis, who oversees ND's social affairs sector and is a physician by training, charged that ''it took a food poisoning and an international embarrassment for the country -- which was the subject of negative press by the international media -- before competent ministers and agencies woke up and ordered inspections that should have been carried out long ago.''

    The ND deputy also said the government bore a huge responsibility and could not hide behind a judicial probe that has been initiated over the incident.

    Moreover, he demanded that the government provide answers to the following questions:

    -- How many and which hotels have been selected for the 2004 Games?

    -- Have the necessary health inspections been carried out, and what are the results?

    -- Was the specific hotel where the food poisoning incident occurred properly licensed to operate a restaurant?

    -- Had Athens 2004 organizers selected the specific hotel and has it received any funds for upgrading its infrastructure?

    [06] Greek industrial production up 2.8 pct in June, yr/yr

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's composite industrial production index, measuring production in the mining, manufacturing and electricity-natural gas-water sectors, rose 2.8 percent in June compared with the same month last year, for an increase of 1.3 percent in the first six months of 2003, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.

    NSS said that mining production fell 8.2 percent, reflecting the closure of a mining factory in Halkidiki, manufacturing production rose 2.0 percent and electricity-natural gas-water production jumped 7.0 percent in June.

    [07] Greek gov’t bond prices fell significantly in July

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    International government bonds' prices continued falling in July, returning all gains recorded in May and during the first two weeks of July, remaining on a correction course after investors began reviewing their forecasts over developments in the monetary policy in the US, the Greek central bank said on Monday.

    In its monthly report on the bond market, the Bank of Greece said that Greek government bonds, traded in the domestic electronic secondary market, suffered significant losses, ranging between 59 and 264 basis points, in July, reversing all gains recorded in the period from mid-April to mid-June.

    The 20-year Greek bond, maturing on October 22, 2022, suffered the heaviest monthly losses, ending at 112.29, down from 114.93 in June. The 10-year benchmark bond ended at 102.95 (yielding 4.22 percent) from 104.96 (3.98 percent) in the previous month.

    The average yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German government bond fell to new historic lows at 13 basis points, from 15 bps in June.

    At the end if July, the yield curve flattened slightly reflecting higher yields in the short-term in July, with the five-year bond yield curve rising by 28 bps in July, compared with a 21 bps rise in short-term bonds (three year), while the long-term bond yield rose by 19 bps in July.

    The yield spread between the three- and the 20-year bond fell to 216 bps in July from 218 bps in the previous month.

    Trading activity in the Greek electronic secondary market remained intense in July, with turnover rising to 60.34 billion euros, very near the year record of 61.94 bln euros in June, sharply up compared with a turnover of 46.24 billion euros in the same month last year.

    From a total of 10,561 orders executed in July, offers accounted for 52.77 percent, with the remaining 47.23 percent being bids, the central bank's report said.

    Long-term bonds, particularly 10-year maturities, remained at the focus of investors' attention in July, attracting 78 percent of total turnover.

    [08] Greek stocks end lower on Monday

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended the first trading session of the week near their intra-day lows in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, reflecting a wave of profit-taking during the last 15 minutes of trading in the market.

    The general index fell 0.69 percent to end at 2,132.22 points with turnover an improved 132.7 million euros.

    The retail sector was the only one to score gains (up 0.15 percent), while the Textile, Insurance and Publication sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.39 percent, 2.33 percent and 1.57 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.79 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.56 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 1.34 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 248 to 84 with another 35 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 90.06 mln euros Monday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.79% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.56 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (2,233)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 90.06 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers on Monday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.22 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 15 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2012 (495 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.17 bln euros

    [09] Historic Marathon township opens Olympics info bureau

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    The historic township of Marathon, in north-eastern Attica prefecture, opened an Olympic Games information bureau on Monday during a ceremony attended by some 1,500 local residents, municipal officials and even Athens 2004 (ATHOC) executives.

    Modern-day Marathon township includes the area where the historic ancient battle between Athens’ citizen army and an invading Persian force took place, as well as two 2004 Olympics venues, the Schinias Rowing and Canoeing Centre and an outdoor stadium where the Marathon race will begin.

    In a brief address, ATHOC Managing Director Ioannis Spanoudakis emphasized that organizers remain steadfastly optimistic over the success of next year’s Games due to the fact that ongoing preparations are at the same level or even ahead of other host-cities preparations a year before the Olympics.

    He also referred to related infrastructure works proceeding in the Marathon district as a result of the Olympic Games, including the establishment of an environmentally friendly national park on land that includes and surrounds the new rowing and canoeing venue.

    Mayor Evangelos Mexis represented the municipality.

    [10] "Greek Flame" Festival in Montreal promotes Athens 2004 Game

    MONTREAL 12/08/2003 (ANA – I. Frangouli)

    The “Greek Flame” festival of Greek community of Montreal, which was dedicated to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, closed its doors on Sunday evening, having attracted some 100,000 visitors.

    The organizers of the festival promised to institute the festival as a yearly event and be included in the city’s guide of big festival, rivaling those famous events that made Montreal a tourist attraction, such as the Jazz Festival and the Comedy Festival.

    The festival was also a proving ground for new products in the Canadian market, which witnessed the quality of Greek wines and foods that, would have been very hard to promote otherwise.

    [11] Gov't denies it acknowledges British 'ownership' of Marbles

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Monday reiterated its position regarding the return of the Parthenon marbles from “British exile”, denying that it has acknowledged the British Museum’s proper legal title to them.

    ''Greece's position is simple and clear. We are not raising the legal issue regarding ownership of the Marbles because we are seeking a friendly and consensual solution'', Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in a press release circulated on Monday. He said Athens sought the uniform display of the Marbles inside an envisioned new Acropolis Museum – on land across from the Parthenon --and in direct visual contact with the ancient temple, either in the form of a long-term loan or in the form of a British Museum section within the new museum.

    Venizelos' statement was made in reply to a letter from the Director of the British Museum, Neil McGregor, published a day earlier in London’s ''Sunday Times'' newspaper, which claimed that the Greek government had acknowledged that the British Museum has proper legal titles to the Marbles and ''no longer disputes ownership''.

    The Parthenon Marbles, often referred to in the West as the “Elgin Marbles”, are portions of friezes atop the 2,500-year-old Parthenon that were sliced off in the early 19th century by British envoy Lord Elgin. He subsequently transported the Marbles to England with the “questionable approval” of local Ottoman authorities occupying the sleepy village of Athens at the time -- some two decades before the Greek War of Independence.

    [12] Hail ruins crops in Larissa, Trikala

    Athens, 12/08/2003 (ANA)

    Thousands of cotton and corn farms in the regions of Larissa, Pharsala and Tyrnavos were damaged by hail Sunday afternoon.

    Local authorities and agronomists visited the hail-stricken areas on Monday, and according to initial estimates, 70 to 100 percent of production in the specific areas has been ravaged.

    Deputy Agriculture Minister Fotis Hatzimichalis is expected to visit the area on Tuesday afternoon, at the head of a ministry delegation.

    Meanwhile, for the third time in five years, farmers are in despair in the Trikala district, where hail has also caused complete damage to approximately 750 acres of cotton and corn cultivations.

    Producers are demanding an immediate and objective estimate of the damage and a reform of compensation regulations to allow for a 100 percent, one-off payment of compensation.

    [13] Cypriot parties condemn 'agreement' between Turkey and illegal regime

    NICOSIA 12/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot political parties have strongly criticized the ''framework agreement for a customs union" signed on Friday between Turkey and the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus.

    The parties branded the signing of the so-called agreement ''illegal'' and urged European political groups and institutions to react to this provocative act.

    Leftwing AKEL party spokesman Andros Kyprianou said this is an illegal act, which is against the relevant UN Resolutions and in defiance of a peace plan put forward by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with an aim to achieve a comprehensive solution to the longstanding Cyprus problem.

    He said the signing of the ''framework agreement'' raises many questions regarding Turkey's intentions about its European Union aspirations.

    Opposition rightwing Democratic Rally party President Nicos Anastassiades noted that the ''framework agreement for a customs union" exposes Turkey to the EU.

    Anastassiades said he will denounce this illegal and provocative act to the European People's Party (EPP), of which his party is a member.

    This ''agreement'' is meaningless since Turkey is the occupation power in the island's northern territory.

    Socialdemocrat EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou has sent letters to European Socialist Party President Robin Cook and European Parliament Socialist Group President Baron Crespo denouncing the signing of the ''agreement'' between Turkey and the bogus-state.

    Omirou asked for the intervention of the European Socialists and the reaction of the EU appropriate institutions.

    First Vice-President of United Democrats George Christofides said the ''agreement'' between Turkey and the Denktash regime is ''an another indication of the contradictory policy Ankara follows on the Cyprus problem.''

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

    Papadopoulos: 'Turkey has signed an agreement with Turkey': The so-called ''framework agreement for a customs union'' between Turkey and the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus will cause problems to Ankara's European aspirations, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has stressed.

    Speaking after a memorial service on Sunday for the Greek Cypriots killed in the 1964 bombing of Tillyria by the Turkish airforce, President Papadopoulos said the ''agreement'' signed by Turkey and the bogus-state on Friday ''is empty of content,'' noting that actually it was signed between Turkey and... Turkey.

    President Papadopoulos explained that according to an international court decision the pseudostate is subordinate to Ankara thus any action or agreement the regime signs is illegal.


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