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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-26

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

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

August 26, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM's program through Friday
  • [02] Gov't spokesman on latest political initiatives
  • [03] Rapporteurs submit report on draft of Constitutional Treaty
  • [04] Koulouris announces more measures to tackle high market prices
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos meets hoteliers to discuss hotel room upgrade plans
  • [06] Shipping foreign exchange inflows up in Jan-June
  • [07] Greece 10th most favorite tourist destination for Americans
  • [08] Stelios Kanakis reports 5.11 pct rise in 1st half turnover
  • [09] Fugitive Russian media magnate Gusinskiy remanded in custody
  • [10] 'N17' trial delayed until Wed. due to defense attorneys' protests
  • [11] Rain helps fire fighters put out Xanthi forest fire
  • [12] British police heads for Faliraki
  • [13] Overseas Cypriots pledge to continue efforts for a Cyprus settlement
  • [14] President addresses overseas Cypriots congress

  • [01] PM's program through Friday

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday morning held successive meetings with his communication team, Town Planning, Environment and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou and Education Minister Petros Efthymiou, a government spokesman announced.

    Spokesman Christos Protopapas said the meetings were held to prepare for a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

    On Tuesday, the prime minister will have a meeting with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis and his advisor Socratis Kosmidis, to discuss the process for auditing the ''statements of assets'' submitted by PASOK deputies.

    Later on Tuesday morning, Simitis will meet with Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, while in at noon, he will chair an inter-ministerial committee on Olympic preparations.

    On Tuesday evening, the premier will meet with PASOK Secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis.

    On Wednesday morning, the premier will hold a meeting with National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, to be joined later by Chrysochoidis.

    Early on Wednesday afternoon, Simitis will have a meeting with Foreign Minister George Papandreou, to be followed by a meeting with the presidium of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB).

    On Thursday, the prime minister will chair a cabinet meeting focusing on education issues, while later in the day he will meet with Minister of State Alekos Akrivakis and PASOK deputy Nikos Levogiannis.

    On Friday morning, Simitis will meet with Christodoulakis to discuss a "social convergence charter", while early in the afternoon he will meet with the leadership of the Greek General Confederation of Labor.

    Finally, on Sept. 2, there will be a meeting of the government committee in charge of economic policy, while on Thursday, Sept. 4, the government cabinet will review the program for the next semester.

    [02] Gov't spokesman on latest political initiatives

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    A government spokesman on Monday said initiatives taken in early June by Prime Minister Costas Simitis to increase transparency were a ''political choice and a political act''.

    "I don't believe anybody will fail to understand that the initiative for the submittal of 'statements of means' constitutes a transparency attack against those who want to cast a shadow on the political world and on PASOK'', spokesman Christos Protopapas said during his regular press briefing.

    Replying to a question regarding the opposition's actions in response to the government's proposal for reforms on the election law, Protopapas said any view on modernizing the current political system would be useful.

    "Initiatives from the Left toward that direction are positive'', he said, adding that relative actions or thoughts ''do not cancel the need for a stable government."

    Cyprus: Protopapas reiterated that Athens viewed the United Nations-brokered plan for Cyprus as the basis for a dialogue and stressed it was the only proposal that had been recently submitted by the UN.

    ''The policy followed by (Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash leads the Cyprus issue to an impasse, and it is contrary to Turkey' wishes for accession to the European Union'', he said in reply to a question regarding the issuance of 50 thousand identification cards by the T/C pseudo government to settlers on the northern part of the island.

    On the extradition of Russian businessman Vladimir Gusinskiy: Replying to a question regarding the arrest on Saturday of Russian businessman Vladimir Gusinskiy by Greek authorities at Athens airport, Protopapas said the arrest had taken place within the context of a bilateral agreement between Greece and Russia and ''on the basis of an updated arrest warrant issued by the Russian authorities.''

    Gusinskiy, the former chief of the Media-Most Holdings, one of Russia’s largest private broadcast networks, arrived in Athens aboard a flight from Tel-Aviv, before being arrested on warrants issued via Interpol.

    According to reports, Gusinskiy has been wanted since late 2000 in connection with a multi-million-dollar money laundering and loan fraud.

    Protopapas said the judicial authorities would decide on the extradition or not of the Russian businessman.

    [03] Rapporteurs submit report on draft of Constitutional Treaty

    BRUSSELS, 26/08/2003 (ANA - A. Simatos)

    Eurodeputies Dimitris Tsatsos and Jose Maria Hill Robles, on behalf of the European Parliament, presented at the Committee on Institutional Issues here on Monday an assessment report of the draft of the Constitutional Treaty which was processed by the Convention for the Future of Europe.

    In their report, the two rapporteurs noted the need for the balance achieved with the draft constitution, formulated by the Convention for the Future of Europe, to be maintained.

    Tsatsos, however, noted that ''there are some weak points in the text of the draft constitution.''

    [04] Koulouris announces more measures to tackle high market prices

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    Deputy Development Minister Kimonas Koulouris announced on Monday a number of legislation initiatives aimed at controlling high market prices, while a ministerial decision signed provides for steep increases in administrative fines and penalties for breeches of market regulations.

    Koulouris said that inspections carried out by his ministry in August in more than 80 boat restaurants, canteens and buffets have resulted to 50 cases being referred to a public prosecutor and/or local prefectural authorities.

    In addition, out of 200 car-parking businesses inspected during the same month, 60 are being referred to a public prosecutor.

    The deputy minister stressed that inspections would intensify in various market sectors, while the ministry is to hold contacts with representatives of all business sectors.

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos meets hoteliers to discuss hotel room upgrade plans

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    A delegation of the Chamber of Hoteliers of Greece met on Monday with Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, as well as Deputy Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos and Secretary General Dimitris Georgakis, for a discussion on the inclusion of all ''B'' or lower class hotels under a subsidy program aimed at upgrading hotel rooms in view of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    The subsidy amounts to 3,000 euros per hotel room, while so far only 15 applications have been submitted in relation to the program. The program's funds are sufficient to cover for a large number of applications to improve the quality of hotels rooms.

    An announcement by the Hoteliers Chamber said that the proposal was accepted by the Development Minister, while stressing that hoteliers are facing extensive pressure by travel agents to put prices down, which puts the quality of services offered at stake.

    [06] Shipping foreign exchange inflows up in Jan-June

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's shipping foreign exchange inflows totalled 4.606 billion euros in the first six months of 2003, up from 4.269 billion euros in the salem period last year, Merchant Marine Ministry said on Monday.

    A ministry statement said that shipping foreign exchange inflows was 786.3 million euros in June, up from 627.2 million euros the same month in 2002.

    [07] Greece 10th most favorite tourist destination for Americans

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    Greece ranks 10th in the list of most favorite tourist destinations in the United States ahead of Switzerland and Spain, National Tourist Organization (GNTO) said on Monday.

    A GNTO announcement said that a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal showed an improvement in Greece's position in the list, climbing to 10th place this year, up from 14 in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

    GNTO said that this improvement showed also that a new promotion campaign in the US was starting to bear fruit. Australia was the most favorite tourist destination for American tourists, followed by the UK, Italy and France. New Zealand ranked seventh. Another US newspaper, the New York Times, in an article published recently, did not include Greece among possible terrorist action targets.

    [08] Stelios Kanakis reports 5.11 pct rise in 1st half turnover

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    Stelios Kanakis ABEE, a listed bakery, pastry and ice-cream ingredients' distribution company, on Monday reported a 5.11 percent increase in its first half turnover to 5.545 million euros from 5.275 million euros in the same period last year.

    Pre-tax profits rose 5.67 percent to 652,000 euros in the January-June period from 617,000 euros last year.

    The company said its bank debt totalled 431,000 euros, while its total liabilities fell to 2.209 million euros from 5.263 million euros in the first six months of 2002.

    Profit taking reverses rally of prices in ASE

    Greek stocks ended lower on Monday as a wave of profit taking late at the session reversed a multi-day advance of prices to new 2003 highs on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index fell 0.77 percent to end at 2,292.80 points, with turnover a high 195.2 million euros.

    The Textile, Holdings and Publication sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.63 percent, 2.59 percent and 2.53 percent, respectively), while the Food-Beverage (3.18 percent), Investment (2.83 percent) and Bank (1.38 percent) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.27 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 0.60 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 1.87 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 249 to 89 with another 28 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Alpha Bank, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, National Bank of Greece, Notos and the Bank of Cyprus.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover

    at 83.265 mln euros Monday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.27% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.60 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (2,001)

    Total turnover in derivatives market: 83.265 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers

    outstrip sellers on Monday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.28 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 14.2 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (495 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 1.390 bln euros

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of August 25 2003

    Parities in euro

    Banknotes

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,097 1,072

    [09] Fugitive Russian media magnate Gusinskiy remanded in custody

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    Russian outlaw media magnate Vladimir Gusinskiy, 51, on Monday was ordered held with a temporary incarceration order by an appellate level prosecutor in Athens.

    The former chief of the Media-Most Holdings, one of Russia’s largest private broadcast networks, arrived in Athens aboard a flight from Tel-Aviv on Thursday, shortly before being arrested on warrants issued via Interpol. He was traveling with both Russian and Israeli passports.

    According to reports, Gusinskiy has been wanted since late 2000 in connection with a multi-million-dollar money laundering and loan fraud, that according to some press reports, tops the 250-million-dollar mark. Greek authorities said Russia’s embassy in Athens was notified of the arrest.

    The man had been detained in Spain almost two years ago, although courts there rejected Russia's extradition request in April 2001.

    [10] 'N17' trial delayed until Wed. due to defense attorneys' protests

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    The closely watched “November 17” trial on Monday was interrupted until Wednesday after defense attorneys representing most of the 19 “N17” defendants decided to refrain from court proceedings to protest the continuing incarceration of one defendant beyond a six-month temporary incarceration order.

    Monday’s development, threatened throughout last week's court process, caused an immediate response by presiding judge Mihalis Margaritis, who warned that the 18-month period allowed by Greek law for completing court proceedings was at risk of expiring, something he said would embarrass the entire country.

    On his part, prosecutor Christos Lambrou requested a two-day recess of the trial to allay any concerns that the 19 defendants are not being properly represented at the trial, before criticizing what he called ''the manner in which defendants are defending themselves.''

    The decision to abstain from the court procedures for three days was not unanimous among the defense, however, as attorneys for Patroklos Tselentis and Costas Telios did not sign a relevant petition to the court to protest Anestis Papanastasiou’s continued incarceration. Both Tselentis and Telios have stood by their initial confessions to authorities, while repeatedly citing remorse for their involvement in the ultra-leftist terror band.

    Papanastasiou himself apparently shied away from the protest, telling the three-judge special appellate-level court that it was more important to him that the trial continue and conclude, thereby allowing a relevant judicial council to rule on the extended incarceration order “without any pressure”.

    Papanastasiou was the last suspect arrested (January 2003) in connection with the notorious urban guerrilla group. Attorneys for the 41-year-old bank employee argued this month that a six-month temporary order of incarceration for their client had lapsed, whereby he should have been set free while on trial. Most of the defense attorneys representing defendants in the trial later said his continued incarceration was an “illegal extension” of the original order.

    Prior to his arrest, Papanastasiou lived as an unassuming mid-level bank employee in Thessaloniki. His incarceration was summarily extended this month.

    Police arrested Papanastasiou, the cousin of alleged N17 co-founder Nikos Papanastasiou, after detecting his fingerprints on a map showing an army camp in northern Greece, as well as on several notes found in the terror band’s safe houses. He attributed the evidence to coincidence, claiming the map was stolen from his home.

    [11] Rain helps fire fighters put out Xanthi forest fire

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    A major forest fire broke out on Monday noontime in a mountainous Xanthi region, northern Greece, which according to reports originated from two or three remote points at the same time.

    The fire initially was intensified by strong winds, resulting to many acres of forest and bush expanses being burnt to ashes. However, a rain that started later offered great help to Xanthi and Drama fire fighters.

    Authorities are to carry out an inspection into the causes of the fire, without having ruled out the event of arson.

    [12] British police heads for Faliraki

    Athens, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    A team of British police officers are due to arrive this week in Greece to work with local authorities, in a move more or less expected, following a series of attention-grabbing incidents involving mostly young British holiday-makers on the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu.

    The British team will first go to Rhodes' town of Faliraki, the boisterous youth-dominated resort which in the past month remained squarely on the international limelight, especially after three alcohol and drug related deaths involving young British tourists -- one fatal stabbing, a suspected drug overdose and one man crushed underneath a garbage truck.

    The British team's arrival was widely reported last week.

    Similar to measures against combatting football hooliganism, the British side is expected to share information with the Greek authorities on the British nationals involved in the Faliraki incidents.

    Corfu will also come under authorities' scrutiny -- especially the resort town of Kavos -- although no serious incidents have been reported there, sources said.

    [13] Overseas Cypriots pledge to continue efforts for a Cyprus settlement

    NICOSIA 26/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Overseas Cypriots assured here Monday they will continue in a more coordinated manner, along with the Cyprus government, the common struggle for a solution of the protracted Cyprus problem.

    The assurances were given during the Overseas Cypriots' World Congress which President of the Republic Tassos Papadoupoulos opened on Monday in the presence of members of his Cabinet, representatives of the Greek government and the Greek parliament, leaders or representatives of Cypriot political parties, Kykkos Bishop Nikiforos on behalf of the Cyprus Orthodox Church and high-ranking officials of Cypriots and Hellenes abroad.

    Addressing the congress Foreign Minister George Iacovou said the Overseas Cypriots Division at his ministry will be upgraded while an advisory board will be in touch with the overseas Cypriots organizations in an effort to solve the problems the communities face.

    As regards the Cyprus problem, he noted that efforts to end the unacceptable international illegality on the island continue to stumble on the continuing Turkish intransigence.

    Iacovou praised the unequivocal support which Greece offers to Cyprus' just cause, expressing ''the great appreciation we feel for the effort made on the part of the Greek government, the Greek people and Greeks wherever they live for the reunification of our island, under conditions of freedom, security and democracy for all its inhabitants.''

    As regards overseas Cypriots he noted that their presence here indicates not only their appreciation but also their continued interest and love for their country.

    World Federation of Cypriots President (POMAK) Haris Sofoklides expressed the need for a better and closer cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organizations to promote Cyprus' national issue and to tackle more effectively problems of overseas Cypriots.

    He also noted that the upgrading of the Overseas Cypriots Division proves the government's interest and the work it carries out in fully responding to the needs of Cypriots of diaspora.

    International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) President Philip Christopher said ''Cyprus and its people deserve nothing less than what Europeans, Americans and other freedom loving countries enjoy.''

    ''Today as Cyprus is a member of the EU there are new doors and new windows of opportunity that should be explored in regards of the solution of the Cyprus problem,'' Christopher noted.

    He also noted that the recent easing of restrictions in the freedom of movement ''has created some perceptions in political circles in our countries,'' that the Cyprus problem has been solved and said ''our conference comes at a critical time'' adding that ''we are here to receive your advice as to how we move forward from this point on.''

    World Council of Hellenes (SAE) President Andrew Athens referring to the Cyprus problem said ''we would have been at a great disadvantage and probably much worse if we had not struggled all these years. The tree of liberty and justice does sprout fully grown. It needs nourishment and steady growth, long struggles and sacrifices,'' he added.

    ''All of us we'd like to leave here with a clear and precise idea of what we should do and what direction we should take. United we will further our cause,'' Athens said calling on overseas Cypriots and Hellenes to be united.

    Gregoris Niotis, President of the Special Interparliamentary Committee of the Greek Parliament on Overseas Greeks said that the Annan plan is the only ''fundamental basis to settle the Cyprus problem'' and warned of the dangers in the event it is abandoned, adding however that the plan must be changed.

    He also noted that the recent signing of the so-called framework ''agreement'' of ''customs union'' between Turkey and the illegal regime in the occupied north of Cyprus constitutes ''a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and principles and decisions of the EU'' and expressed the wish that a new effort for the resumption of talks will be made in autumn.

    Niotis expressed the Greek government's support in efforts to solve the Cyprus issue and conveyed President of the Greek Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis' solidarity.

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Magriotis underlined that Turkey's EU course goes through Nicosia and Athens, the solution of the Cyprus problem and the Greco-Turkish disputes.

    He pointed out that the signing of the so-called framework agreement of ''customs union'' between Turkey and the illegal regime creates statutory implications and drives Turkey away from its goal to start accession negotiations with the EU.

    POMAK youth organization President Menikos Kouvaros, elected last year, said they have put in effect an Internet forum to communicate and coordinate the activities of young people around the world and so far have received over 1,400 messages.

    He also noted that overseas Cypriot youth are in contact with the Cyprus government and the University of Cyprus to help young people to learn the Greek language.

    Kykkos Bishop Nikiforos referred to the Cypriot youth of Diaspora and described the organizing of their first congress here this week, hopeful.

    As regards the Cyprus problem he noted that a wrong solution would constitute ''an open wound'' threatening Hellenism with new adventures.

    He said the Church supports Turkish Cypriots in the goal for a common homeland, free and without any occupation troops.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    [14] President addresses overseas Cypriots congress

    Nicosia, 26/08/2003 (ANA)

    President Tassos Papadopoulos has said that improvements on a UN peace proposal for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus would allow Nicosia to have a real say in European Union affairs.

    Opening the 13th World Congress of Overseas Cypriots in Nicosia on Monday, he said there is an urgent need for a solution which may be a painful compromise but which should be viable and functional.

    The president called on overseas Cypriots to intensify their efforts towards reaching a just and viable solution and assured them that the Greek Cypriot side accepts the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations.

    The president said overseas Cypriots have a serious contribution to make and noted that ''the potential of overseas Hellenism is larger than that which has so far been expressed."

    ''The improvements and amendments we are seeking on the Annan plan, which sooner or later will be made, do not deprive the Turkish Cypriots of any of their rights,'' he stressed.

    The president said that ''the UN Secretary General neither doubts nor misinterprets this crystal clear position and he agrees that our observations on certain points are within the framework of his plan.''

    ''If the final solution of the Cyprus issue is not absolutely just but it is necessarily a painful compromise, then the solution must by necessity be viable and functional,'' he underlined, pointing out that a fragile settlement would lead to disastrous adventures.

    Papadopoulos said Cyprus wants to be an active and constructive partners in the European Union and not a downgraded member state with a quiet role.

    ''The improvements we wish to see on the Annan plan will allow for our compliance with the acquis communautaire and for our substantive participation in decision making in the EU,'' the president said.

    ''The government is proceeding with changes and the implementation of a specific policy that will aim to offer proper services to overseas Cypriots," he said, adding that ''what the overseas Cypriots can do and what we can do must be combined and with a joint plan of action and common strategy gather our forces and place them at the disposal and the service of our common struggle for the justification of our homeland and our people."

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said the Greek Cypriot side has ''a clear and definite position, as opposed to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who dismissed the Annan plan both at The Hague and later on," declaring it ''dead and buried''.

    ''Our position, then and now, is that we accept the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations, without terms or preconditions," the president added.

    Referring to the easing of restrictions on the free movement of citizens across the divide, President Papadopoulos said this was ''an effort of the Turkish side to wriggle out of the deadlock that it brought about itself and to create impressions that in Cyprus there are two separate and sovereign entities."

    ''These ulterior moves of the Turkish side had a success and a failure. They succeeded in proving that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can live harmoniously together and that the Turkish allegations that the could not were just a myth that has collapsed.

    And they failed to prove that this was a solution or even steps in the direction of a solution of the Cyprus problem," the president said. He reiterated that he would strive to exploit every possibility and opportunity for a just settlement of the Cyprus problem through negotiations on the plan for a solution submitted to the sides by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan earlier this year.

    The president noted that Greece and overseas Cypriots support the government in its efforts to reach a settlement. ''Continue and strengthen this support of yours with unity, patience, persistence, determination and faith," he added.

    Finally, the president wished the overseas Cypriots every success in their conference and assured that the conclusions of the Congress would be studied by the government.


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