|Friday, 19 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 21, 2003
 Gov't delegation announces relief measures on Lefkada
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)The government will put up a relief package amounting to 30 million euros to the earthquake-stricken Ionian island of Lefkada, according to Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis, with the possibility to extend the package if need be.
Skandalidis, who headed a government delegation that met with local officials on Lefkada on Wednesday, announced the relief measures to be taken by the government to help local residents.
All families whose homes have been found to be temporarily unsuitable or dangerous for living will receive a one-off financial assistance of 600 euros, while families whose homes have collapsed and need to hire another place will get a rent assistance amounting to 235 - 355 euros per month. The rent subsidy will apply for a period of up to two years for home owners and six month for renters.
Measures to help people rebuild their homes include a subsidy of up to 1/3 of the total amount needed, with the remainder granted in the form of a 15-year interest-free loan.
The owners of homes that are found to be non-repairable will be exempt from repaying the remaining amounts of housing loans.
The government delegation that visited Lefkada included National Economy Deputy Minister Christos Pachtas and Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Deputy Minister Yiannis Tsaklidis.
 Gov't condemns Tuesday's suicide bombings in Baghdad, Jerusalem
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)The government spokesman on Wednesday condemned what he called ''unacceptable terrorist attacks'' in Baghdad and Jerusalem on Tuesday. Following similar statements by Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday night, spokesman Christos Protopapas also expressed condolences over the deaths of several dozens victims in the two attacked, which also claimed the life of UN Special Representative to Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello.
''Violence does not solve problems, neither does it contribute to peace. On the contrary, it heightens confrontations'', Protopapas said, adding: ''We should all contribute to the peaceful settlement of the problem through the international community.''
PM's letter of condolences to Annan: Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday sent a letter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan offering his condolences for the murderous attack against the UN headquarters that cost at least 20 lives, among them UN representative in the Iraqi capital Sergio Vieira de Mello.
"Greece condemns in the most definite way such heinous acts of terrorism against people, who worked for peace and security in Iraq," Simitis added.
 ND's Karamanlis meets local gov't representatives, gov't reaction
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)Daily life problems facing local communities around Greece have been the centre of a meeting on Wednesday between main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis and the board of the Central Association of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE).
Local communities and their elected leaders know better than anyone else their daily problems and consequently can suggest the most effective solutions, Karamanlis said after the meeting.
He added that ''the phenomenon of the state misappropriating legitimate funds earmarked for the Local Government is an insult to the Local Government itself and its mission.''
''We believe in the capabilities of Local Government. But in order for the Local Government to perform its role, it needs a helper state,'' Karamanlis noted.
On his part, government spokesman and Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas responded by saying that "I hope that next time Mr. Karamanlis, when speaking to the Local Administration, will not force us to remember the title of the movie film 'Look Who's taking'. Because its they that walked out from the Parliament during discussion for the instituting of funding for the local administration".
"Because it is him (Karamanlis) that with his vote in 1992 agreed in cutting funds from the Local Administration," Protopapas added.
 Gov't says 19 PASOK MPs have answered the PM's call for transparency
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)The government spokesman on Wednesday said 19 PASOK deputies had so far followed the lead of Prime Minister Costas Simitis in submitting statements regarding their stock market transactions.
Simitis, amid heightened criticism by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, announced a series of initiatives to increase transparency in early June, calling on all ruling PASOK MPs and ministers to declare all their financial investments from 1998 until 2000 for verification by the Capital Markets Commission.
''This is a political act that boosts transparency and provides us with the opportunity to prove that ND's criticism is un-substantiated," spokesman Christos Protopapas said.
 Tsohatzopoulos meets market reps on products prices
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Wednesday that the measure of recommended prices would not be extended to other products apart from bottled mineral water and soft drinks.
Speaking after a meeting with food industry and supermarket businesses representatives, Tsohatzopoulos said that his ministry would soon carry out an investigation into pricing methods for a number of products to compare Greek prices with other European Union member-states.
''Our target is to set equal competition terms in the market.and the strict supervision of the market through inspections and dialogue with market representatives are two methods to attain our aims,'' stressed the minister.
However, the measure to impose recommended prices would very likely lead to price increases in the specific products, according to the president of the Food Industry Association Dimitris Daskalopoulos and the president of the Supermarket Businesses Association Pantelis Pantelidakis, a view also shared by the Consumer Institute (INKA).
Tsohatzopoulos said that there should be self-restraint to keep prices increase within reasonable limits. Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)
 New development draft bill insufficient, SBBE says .
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)Northern Greece industrialists are unsatisfied with a draft bill amending the development draft law, arguing that it can neither lead to a reversal of the prevailing negative investment climate nor overcome regional inequalities.
During a press conference on Wednesday in Thessaloniki, president of the Northern Greece Association of Industries (SBBE) Dimitris Symeonidis said the impact of the new arrangement on the competitiveness of Greek businesses would be neutral to negative, to the degree that the enhancement of employment is linked to the creation of new job positions.
He further said that the new law continues to favor only the very large investments, neglecting older enterprises, while holding the government's advisors responsible for not taking in account SBBE's stands.
[ Greek tourism board comments on situation in rowdy Faliraki
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)Greece's state-run National Tourism Organization (GNTO) on Wednesday warned that it will take action against any tour operators spoiling Greece's image as a tourism destination or the quality of tourism services in the east Mediterranean country.
A relevant GNTO press release came in the wake of a series of raucous incidents involving mostly young British holiday-makers at the Faliraki resort on the Dodecanese island of Rhodes, which culminated in the slaying of a Peterborough, England teen by another British man during a brawl this month. Several arrests related to the same incident as well as a subsequent crack-down by police even led to a handful of tour operators being questioned about the practice of ''bar crawling'' or ''bar hopping''.
''Greece will resist tour operators that sell packages at ridiculously low prices and attract tourists who cause problems without offering any significant benefits,'' the press statement read.
The statement was a reply to recent letters from a well-known London-based travel agency's ''Club 18-30'' subsidiary, which apologizes for the ''isolated incidents'' at Faliraki and other places on Rhodes, the release said.
Protests from GNTO have prompted a letter from the British embassy in Athens to the president of the organization, expressing absolute understanding and indirectly condemning the behavior of the British tourists, according to the release.
''Beyond their letters of apology, the tour operators who are responsible for bringing this type of tourism (to Greece) should prove that they mean it. GNTO is not focusing on attracting more mass tourism, but on diversifying the product and enriching it with new quality elements and keep Greece competitive'', the release concluded.
 Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 80.56 mln euros WednesdayEquity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers on Wednesday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of August 20 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,119 1,094
 Terror suspect confesses to bank robbery; denies involvement with N17
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)The closely watched trial of 19 "November 17" terrorist suspects resumed on Wednesday after an almost two-week recess where it left off, namely, with defendants offering rejoinder statements after months of testimony by scores of witnesses.
It was defendant Theologos Psaradellis' turn on Wednesday, who first admitted to participating in a 1983 robbery blamed on the previously elusive ultra-leftist terror gang. The 60-year-old retiree reiterated that he helped rob a bank - along with a man authorities have identified as a deceased "N17" member - in order to "finance" a book about his brand of politics. However, he denied participation in another two bank robberies authorities charge his involvement.
As far as the one heist he does confess to, Psaradellis said he did not know he was involved with "N17", moments after saying his political beliefs, as a Trotskyite, clashed with the urban terrorist band's "views and practices".
Referring to the global political situation vis-a-vis his own role, Psaradellis claimed his persecution was an "attempt to strike and slander the Fourth International movement, because", as he added, "its appeal is constantly growing on an international level."
Speaking in a specially modified prison courtroom at the Korydallos penitentiary, Psaradellis continued his politically-driven statement by noting that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks "imperialists dubbed anyone that was simply shouting anti-American slogans 'a terrorist', ultimately aiming to drown out any voices against the classless system that has come into existence with the prevalence of globalization."
"N17" is responsible for more than two-dozen assassinations as well as numerous bombings and rocket attacks in Greece since December 1975.
Meanwhile, in a related development, 13 defense attorneys warned that they will abstain from representing their clients for three days to protest what they called the illegal extension of a temporary order of incarceration against one defendant.
Anestis Papanastasiou, an unassuming mid-level bank employee from Thessaloniki, was the last individual, albeit secondary suspect, arrested in the case. His incarceration was summarily extended this month in a procedure questioned by many legal experts here.
 Composer Theodorakis honored in Melbourne
Athens, 21/08/2003 (ANA)A special event was organized on Tuesday evening at a hall of Victoria's State Parliament in Melbourne, Australia in honor of Greece's renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis' contribution to music and the arts, as well as politics.
Greek-Australian Tourism Minister and Undersecretary for Multicultural Affairs Yiannis Pantazopoulos spoke about the work of the world famous composer, expressing his great joy for the forthcoming performance of the ''Mikis Theodorakis Choir'' at Melbourne's International Festival, in October.
 FM Iacovou to attend Informal General Affairs and External Relations Council
NICOSIA, 21/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)Foreign Minister George Iacovou will represent Cyprus at the EU Informal General Affairs and External Relations Council, to take place at Riva del Garda, Italy on September 5-6, with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini presiding.
The informal meeting of the European Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs is a traditional occasion for exchanging views on important issues concerning the Union's activities, in particular in the sector of institutional reforms and treaty modifications as well as in that of European Union foreign policy.
Ample space is being set aside to discuss the passage from the Convention to the Intergovernmental Conference, which the Italian Presidency has suggested should open on October 4. Along the issue of constitutional negotiations, importance is being given to the document on European security strategy, illustrated by the EU High Representative for the CFSP, Javier Solana.
 Vieira de Mello has served in Cyprus
NICOSIA, 21/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative to Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed at Tuesday's attack at the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, has served in Cyprus after the 1974 Turkish invasion.
A UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) officer told CNA on Wednesday that De Mello served on the island towards the end of 1974 until March 1975 as Assistant Chief of Mission of UNHCR for projects in the north, with special duties to help Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas.
De Mello's duties were to meet the immediate needs of the Turkish Cypriots, including distribution of food and blankets.
Another UNHCR officer was at the time responsible to meet the needs of Greek Cypriot displaced persons.