|Tuesday, 28 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 23, 2003
 ATHOC chief inaugurates IOC conference in Athens
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)ATHOC Chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki on Friday welcomed 395 delegation chiefs from 191 countries that will participate in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, with an optimistic message about the success of the Event.
''Our optimism does not mean that we are not aware of the problems which we might be called to confront. On he contrary, it is based on recent experience which has taught us that focus and determination will help us overcome all hurdles'', she said.
The head of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee offered a detailed analysis of the Olympic preparations and promised that the Games next year will be ''unique in History''.
On the first day of the seminar, ATHOC officials also briefed the delegation chiefs on the venues that were put to test during the pre-Olympic trial events in August.
Executive Director Organizing Committee Marton Simitsek said that approximately 1,280 athletes participated in the events held in Athens this month, while a total of 1,322 ATHOC personnel, 1,973 volunteers, 5,120 contractors and several security personnel had been employed at seven venues.
''I will not say we were satisfied with everything that we tested'', Simitsek said, adding ''We will be satisfied only after the Closing Ceremony of the Games.''
Athens 2004 Consultant Spyros Kapralos offered an analysis of the Games Services sector.
The seminar, which will run from August 22 through 24 will allow NOC chefs de mission the opportunity to clarify questions they may have in a number of issues and also tour some of the venues.
It marks the first time that representatives from East Timor and Kiribati will participate at such a session, will also be attended by representatives of Torino 2006 and Beijing 2008 organizers.
 Papariga tours Ionian island of Lefkada
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)The government's relief package offered to the residents of the earthquake-stricken Ionian island of Lefkada is grossly insufficient, Greek Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said on Friday while touring the island to inspect the damage left behind by last week's strong tremor.
She added that even a non-expert could see that many homes needed to be rebuilt, stressing that the 600 euros allocated to each family by the state or the interest-free loans were insufficient measures to rebuild the island.
Papariga also condemned the government for not taking any measures for those who remained jobless as a result of the quake.
 Ecumenical Patriarch visits Zakynthos Island
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Friday visited the Western Greek Island of Zakynthos, where he was met by scores of metropolitans and hundreds of faithful.
Vartholomeos arrived at the island to participate in the St. Dionysius celebrations, as he is the island's protector Saint.
Representatives of the Churches of Crete, Cyprus and other churches and Patriarchates sent representatives to the island for the events.
 Vartholomeos to meet with Erdogan next Thursday
ISTANBUL 23/08/2003 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are scheduled to hold their first official meeting next Thursday, Aug. 28, at the latter's Ankara official residence.
Erdogan took up his duties last April, but the officials' heavy schedule prevented them from fixing a meeting.
Vartholomeos, who has recently had a meeting with Turkey's Foreign Minister and Deputy PM Abdullah Gul and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu, has already voiced his concerns over the Greek minority's problems with regard to charitable institutions and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Vartholomeos had an accidental but warm meeting with Turkey's main opposition leader Deniz Baikal at Istanbul's 'Kemal Ataturk' airport, while the Ecumenical Patriarch was departing for a visit to Greece.
 Greek weekly economic review
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)The government's economic policy in the months ahead will focus on economic growth and employment with focus on social cohesion and speedier procedures in remaining privatizations and structural reforms, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said during the week under review.
He was speaking to reporters after a meeting of the government's economic team chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis to agree on economic policy for the next few months.
Mr Christodoulakis also stressed that the government was trying to find a balance between restraining public spending and supporting lower incomes in the country, ahead of drafting a state budget for 2004.
In other headline news this week:
Retail banking will remain in the centre of competition in the domestic banking sector throughout the new 12-month period starting September, banking analysts said.
Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed that the government would not expand its measure of imposing indicative selling prices on other food and drink products except water and refreshments.
Greece's general government debt fell to 103.6 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product at the end of June from 105.5 percent at the end of 2002, the country's general accounting office said this week. The office estimated it could achieve a budget target of reducing the general government's debt to 100.2 percent of GDP in December.
Greece's mutual funds' industry reported a 2.64 percent increase in its total asset on August 18, totalling 31 billion euros, up one billion euros from the end of July. The industry reported inflows totalling 442 million euros over this period.
Greece ranks eighth in the world in overnight stays for conferences, according the UK magazine "Meeting and Incentive Travel".
The magazine report said that Greece and Athens in particular was expected to record the biggest growth in conference tourism in the future.
 Spokesman believes Thessaloniki trade fair will go well despite 'black flags'
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)Government spokesman Christos Protopapas, responding to the hoisting of ''black flags'' at the Thessaloniki Town Hall and other town halls in the prefecture to protest over the financial situation prevailing in local government organizations, said on Friday he hoped that New Democracy (ND) party-affiliated Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos will not be influenced by the action ''and finally choose the role of the first citizen of the city'' during the Thessaloniki International Fair.
The decision to hoist the black flags in protest was taken with a majority vote at a board meeting of the Regional Association of Local Government. It was noted voted by the faction affiliated to the ruling PASOK party.
 ASE ends week 5.46 percent higher
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks surged to new record highs for the year in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, pushing the general index above the 2,300 level.
Buying activity spread to all categories of shares, although focused remained on blue chip stocks particularly banks.
The general index ended 1.50 percent higher at 2,310.52 points with turnover an improved 187.8 million euros. The index ended the week with a net gain of 5.46 percent.
The IT Solution, Insurance, Construction and Food-Beverage sectors suffered losses (0.61 percent, 0.38 percent, 0.31 percent and 0.22 percent, respectively).
The Investment, Textile, Cement and Wholesale sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (exceeding 2.0 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 1.66 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.97 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.85 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 207 to 120 with another 44 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 115.51 mln euros Friday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Friday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of August 22 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,098 1,073
 First of 'Thesprotia' group of N17 defendants maintains innocence
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)The latest defendant in the “November 17” trial to offer his final rejoinder again denied all charges against him, something he has done since his arrest last summer.
Speaking before the special appellate-level three-judge court on Friday, Iraklis Kostaris – one of a handful of “N17” suspects dubbed the “Thesprotia group” because of their kinship ties and origin from the eponymous NW Greece prefecture – stressed that he rejects violence as a means for social change, and that he categorically denies the charges against him.
In other statements, Kostaris claimed officers of anti-terrorism unit pressured him that he would be handed over to US and British authorities or implicated in other “N17” assassinations if he did not cooperate. He also claimed he was pressured to admit to being a member part of a group influenced by Yannis Serifis, one of the 19 suspects on trial and the only defendant out on bail.
In citing referring to the deadly ultra-left terror band, Kostaris said “someone would have to have a lot of time on his hands … I worked all the time and I had a family to feed.”
Finally, a question by a prosecutor on why he did not seek legal recourse against those individuals that implicated him in the “N17” investigation provoked an outburst by Savvas Xiros, the first suspect arrested in the “N17”.
Nearly half of the 19 defendants on trial on numerous felony counts have provided or been called to make rejoinders at the closely watched trial. Out of the three Xiros brothers being tried, Savvas refused to make a statement and answer related questions, while his younger brother Vassilis refused to continue reading from a prepared statement. The latter’s difficulty in reading a hand-written text caused sneering and derogatory remarks by many of the victims’ attorneys participating in the trial, whereby he vehemently refused to continue after a brief recess.
 Archbishop of Athens receives honorary doctorate from Warsaw University
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Friday was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the Warsaw University School of Theology at the auditorium of the main campus.
During the ceremony, Orthodox Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland Savvas stressed that the Greek prelate was being accepted by Poland not only as an Orthodox Church leader but as an ecumenical personage.
On his part, Christodoulos underlined the efforts of the Church of Greece to maintain the Christian Heritage of Europe, by tabling three proposals to the constitutional assembly that was drafting Europe’s Constitution.
 OA plane forced to land due to engine problems, flight delayed
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)An Olympic Airways (OA) airplane bound for Berlin with 72 passengers aboard on Friday was forced to make an emergency landing at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport 10 minutes into the flight.
Engine problems had earlier forced a two-hour delay in flight OA163 from its originally scheduled take-off at 08.30.
Besides frustrated passengers, no other incidents were reported.
OA was making efforts to put the passengers on other Berlin-bound flights, an airport spokesman said at press-time.
 Mild quake felt in northern Greece on Friday
Athens, 23/08/2003 (ANA)An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale on Friday morning was felt at the coastal areas lining the southern part of the Sithonia leg of Halkidiki peninsula, northern Greece, causing alarm among the residents, however, no damages.
A spokesman for the Geophysics Laboratory at the University of Thessaloniki said the tremor was recorded at 6.55 a.m. and that its epicenter was at 120 kilometers southeast of the northern Greek port-city of Thessaloniki.
Seismologist Costas Papazahos told the ANA that the tremor was part of regularly occurring minor seismic activity in the area.
He said the specific fault, a branch off the Northern Aegean fault, is regularly causing tremors of comparable magnitude.
Papazahos said that Friday's tremor was no cause for alarm.
 Government repeats readiness to resume negotiations
NICOSIA 23/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides on Friday expressed the Greek Cypriot side's readiness to resume negotiations for a Cyprus settlement before May 1st 2004 when Cyprus will enter the European Union.
Commenting on a statement by the leader of the newly established Turkish Cypriot ''Solution and EU Party'', Ali Erel that after the so called ''elections'' in the occupied areas he will invite President Tassos Papadopoulos to accept the Annan Plan, the spokesman replied that the ''invitation for negotiations for us is nothing more than acceptance of the position that, yes, we want negotiations.''
Chrysostomides, who was speaking after meeting British MPs Rudi Vis, Syd Ramson and Nick Hawkins, said that ''if the Turkish side wants negotiations, then like I and the President of the Republic have said many times, we are ready to resume negotiations on the substance of the Annan plan for a final solution to the Cyprus problem, even before 1st May 2004.''
''If this is not possible, then our efforts will continue with the same dedication, for a solution even after May 2004,'' the spokesman added.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.
 Government hopes no Greek Cypriot will resort to illegal 'compensation committee'
NICOSIA 23/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides on Friday expressed hope that there will not be any Greek Cypriots who will resort to the so called ''compensation committee'' set up in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.
The spokesman said that if there are ''applications'' to the illegal ''committee'', the government will be able to handle the development, when the issue will be raised before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The spokesman expressed certainty that the ECHR ''will reject'' Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's machinations, which ''are contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Convention of Human Rights.''
Chrysostomides further assured that the government's efforts ''will continue with the same determination and desire to reach a solution the soonest, irrespective of the result of the so called 'elections' (in the Turkish occupied areas), so that all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can enjoy the benefits of accession to the EU.''
Invited to comment on statements by leader of the Democratic Party in the occupied areas, Serdar Denktash, that he has 35 ''applications'' by Greek Cypriots for compensation to the so called ''committee'', the spokesman said Rauf Denktash and his son's efforts to get ''applications'' were clear when the so called ''president'' of the committee said he did not have any before him.
 British MPs to ask their government to take specific line on Cyprus
NICOSIA 23/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)British MPs said they will encourage their government to take specific lines and to put pressure on the Americans to get a solution to the Cyprus problem so that the island will enter the EU in May 2004 united.
Labor MPs Rudi Vis and Syd Rapson and Conservative Nick Hawkins were speaking after meeting left wing AKEL spokesman Andros Kyprianou on Friday.
They will remain on the island until next week to attend the Overseas Cypriots Conference and hold more meetings with political party leaders and Foreign Minister George Iacovou.
Rudi hoped the "end-game" for a solution to the Cyprus problem by May 2004 has reached "as we hope it will be a united island."
Hawkins said all parties in Britain "recognize there is a huge opportunity in view of the accession."
He said the MPS will "be taking a clear message back to the UK Parliament when we reassemble on the 8th of September" and "ensure that Britain plays a full part in making progress towards a just solution to the Cyprus problem."
Rapson said it is "very important to understand the very details of what's going on in this complex issue" and "encourage our government to take specific lines and to put pressure on the Americans as well."
Kyprianou said he asked the MPs to intensify their efforts to reach a solution, which will be just, viable and functional. He also asked them to urge Turkey to move from its intransigent positions so there can be a solution based on UN resolutions.