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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-20

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

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

August 20, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Oswald offers reassuring words for Athens 2004 preparations
  • [02] ATHOC security advisor cites 'misquotes', statements out-of-context
  • [03] FM Papandreou condemns attack in Baghdad on UN building
  • [04] Gov't wants to control spending, boost lower-end incomes with next budget
  • [05] Faliraki given another 'black eye' as rape charges filed against hotel owner
  • [06] German tourist drowns
  • [07] Overseas Cypriots to meet in Cyprus
  • [08] Tourism Minister: Quality of tourism industry should be upgraded

  • [01] Oswald offers reassuring words for Athens 2004 preparations

    Athens, 20/08/2003 (ANA)

    The IOC’s ‘point man’ for supervising Greek organizers’ preparations for the 2004 Games reiterated here on Tuesday that he would again vote for Athens if given the chance.

    IOC Coordinating Commission head Denis Oswald made the statement during a month that has so far seen five Olympic ‘test events’ completed at venues and on the streets (cycling) of Athens.

    Oswald, speaking at ATHOC’s headquarters in the Greek capital, stressed that the Lausanne-based IOC is satisfied with the holding of the “test events” so far. Unforeseen mishaps, such as extremely high winds during a rowing championship and even a food poisoning incident involving Germany’s junior team, got things off to a precarious start, although the second week of events concluded with nary a blemish.

    IOC Director of Sports Gilbert Felli stressed, in fact, that organizers should be proud of the way they hosted the “test events” – rowing, archery, canoe/kayak, cycling and equestrian events.

    An unprecedented media focus on Athens more-or-less began in earnest this month with the one-year countdown for the Games commencing on Aug. 13, especially regarding concerns over unfinished projects, security and cost overruns.

    Despite his upbeat words of praise, Oswald’s leitmotif of “not even a day” to lose was again uttered.

    Asked about security, Oswald coyly answered with a question, asking reporters if they believed “what was written”? – an allusion to a series of critical articles recently on Athens’ security preparations.

    As far as delayed venues and projects are concerned, namely, the Karaiskaki football stadium, the Athens tram network as well as a massive centrepiece glass/metal dome over the main Olympic Stadium (OAKA), Oswald simply reiterated the very tight deadlines involved. However, he cautioned that surrounding landscaping must be completed as well.

    He nevertheless appeared confident that both Karaiskaki and the OAKA dome will be successfully completed on time.

    As per the actual test events, he said: ''We are quite satisfied with the conduct of the test events. In general terms we are quite happy with what we have seen.''

    ''Greeks, when it comes to important things, can make miracles,'' he concluded.

    Asked whether he was concerned over a possible power blackout during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, similar to what had happened a few days ago in the United States, Oswald said ''I raised this issue in the meeting I had with Prime Minister Costas Simitis who assured me that already all the necessary action has been taken for this danger to be averted.''

    [02] ATHOC security advisor cites 'misquotes', statements out-of-context

    Athens, 20/08/2003 (ANA)

    ATHOC’s high-profile chief security advisor on Tuesday charged that the respected London daily “Guardian” attributed statements to him -- concerning security for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games – that he never made.

    Peter Ryan, who also headed up Sydney’s security in 2000, added that other media took several of his comments “out of context” -- comments, he admitted, that should have been stated differently.

    In statements to the press on Monday, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and government spokesman Christos Protopapas cited “financial interests” as fuelling the press reports.

    In a press release on Tuesday, ATHOC stressed that rumors do not yield any social benefits, adding that the organization has a great responsibility to maintain its cool, while reiterating that security is the “number one” priority for the Games.

    Finally, organizers simply reiterated that Greece is spending a whopping 600 million dollars on security and implementing unprecedented international cooperation for such an event.

    [03] FM Papandreou condemns attack in Baghdad on UN building

    Athens, 20/08/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou condemned the attack against the United Nations building in Baghdad on Tuesday that claimed the lives of 17 people.

    Speaking of behalf of the Greek government and people, in which he expressed warmest condolences to the families of the victims and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for the death of Brazilian diplomat and UN Special Representative to Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello.

    ''We strongly condemn the bomb attack at the UN building in Baghdad, which resulted in the death of many innocent people, including UN Special Representative Mr. de Mello. This act is a blow to the role of the UN in the reconstruction and consolidation of peaceful life in Iraq,'' Papandreou said in his message.

    According to latest information given to publicity by UN representatives in both New York and Baghdad, more than one hundred people were injured in the attack, when an explosives-trapped cement track blasted outside the UN building, where approximately 300 people work.

    Sergio Vieira de Mello, a highly-respected UN official, is believed to have been the target of the attack.

    [04] Gov't wants to control spending, boost lower-end incomes with next budget

    Athens, 20/08/2003 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Tuesday inaugurated a series of meetings with other top government officials in the light of compiling a 2004 state budget.

    According to sources, the government will attempt to walk a tightrope of controlling spending while at the same time boosting the income of ''financially weaker groups'', i.e. pensioners, the unemployed etc.

    ''The government's economic policy in the coming months will primarily focus on development and employment,'' Christodou-lakis said after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday.

    The same tone was also set by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos in his statements to a state-run channel on Tuesday, where he stressed that ''voters are not convinced with talk about provisions or even with last-minute provisions''.

    ''We should have planning for the period 2004-2008, a very crucial period'', Venizelos said.

    Athens Bourse: Closing Prices

    The Athens Stock Exchange's general index on Tuesday was down 3.29 percent to end at 2,240.38 points, with turnover totaling 244.5 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose marginally 0.03 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0,33 percent lower and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 0.88 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 217 to 107, with another 46 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover

    at 133.14 mln euros Tuesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.03% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.33 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (2,604)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 133.14. mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers

    outstrip sellers on Tuesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.32 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 15 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (860 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 3.09 bln euros

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of August 19 2003

    Parities in euro

    Banknotes

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,115 1,089

    [05] Faliraki given another 'black eye' as rape charges filed against hotel owner

    Athens, 20/08/2003 (ANA)

    The boisterous youth-dominated resort of Faliraki remained squarely on the international limelight early this week, especially with regards to British media, with the latest criminal incident involving shocking allegations that a 65-year-old local hotel owner raped an 11-year-old British girl.

    The man was arraigned before a local magistrate on Monday evening, who ordered his incarceration pending trial. Judicial officials cited evidence collected by police, including statements by the girl and her mother, to remand the suspect in custody. He was transferred to a jail on the island of Kos.

    Meanwhile, stepped up police patrols in the up-until-now “lawless” “party zone” for mostly young British tourists caused one 18-year-old woman’s arrest on charges of indecency late Tuesday, more than a week after a 17-year-old Peterborough, England teen’s murder landed Faliraki and Rhodes onto news programs and newspapers across the continent.

    She was handed an eight-month suspended term that can be bought-out for 4.40 euros a day. A bail pending appeal was also set at 2,500 euros.

    [06] German tourist drowns

    Athens, 20/08/2003 (ANA)

    A German national drowned Monday afternoon off a beach in Polychonos, Halkidiki prefecture, authorities said.

    The name of the victim was given as Helmut Hausler. An investigation is pending.

    Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, yet another bear attack was reported in a remote region of Ioannina prefecture, NW Greece.

    A horse was mauled in the attack, days after a bear tried to raid pig farm in the mountainous area.

    On the brighter side, reports of bears in Greece’s highlands are a positive development after the near extinction of the large mammal species in the SE European country.

    [07] Overseas Cypriots to meet in Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 20/08/2003 (ANA) (CNA/ANA)

    The 13th World Congress of Overseas Cypriots will meet here August 25-28 while the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) will convene August 27-28.

    According to a World Federation of Cypriots (POMAK) statement, President Tassos Papadopoulos will declare the opening of the conference, which will also be addressed by President of the Special Interparliamentary Committee of the Greek Parliament on Overseas Greeks Gregoris Niotis and Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Magriotis.

    The conference will be addressed by Foreign Minister George Iacovou who will brief delegates on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, POMAK president Haris Sofoklides, PSEKA president Philip Christopher, World Council of Hellenes President Andrew Athens, Bishop of Kykkos Nikiforos and political party leaders or their representatives.

    A preliminary schedule said that House President Demetris Christofias will address the opening of the PSEKA conference where he will inform overseas Cypriots on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and the island's accession to the European Union. Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides will also address the conference.

    Press and Information Office Director Yiannakis Solomou and Cyprus News Agency Director Themis Themistocleous will inform delegates on the news services provided to overseas Cypriots.

    Among the issues, which the conference will examine, are education among overseas Cypriots, cultural issues, international relations and cooperation with non-governmental organizations.

    Deliberations will conclude on Thursday with the adoption of resolutions. A press conference will be given on Friday morning.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

    [08] Tourism Minister: Quality of tourism industry should be upgraded

    NICOSIA 20/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Yiorgos Lillikas expressed his determination to implement the strategic plan for the quality upgrading of the tourism industry on the island to the levels which existed before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the US.

    Speaking after his first meeting on Tuesday with the new board of the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO), in the presence of the organization’s Director-General Phryne Michael, Lillikas said the aim of the planning will not be to lower prices in an effort to attract more tourists, but to grant a higher standard of services.

    The minister said that a series of measures and training programs will be announced soon aiming to upgrade the Cyprus tourism industry.

    CTO chairman Fotis Fotiou said the organization fully supports this aim, noting the CTO will work with the minister to achieve the strategic goal.

    "The aim will not be any other than improving the quality and

    services which will make the Cyprus tourist package more attractive and competitive," he added.

    He also said that Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos will convene in the next weeks a special meeting at the Presidential Palace to deal with the problems faced by Cyprus tourism.


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