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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-11

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

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

September 11, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Simitis unveils ''social charter'' plan
  • [02] ND leader says PM's 'social charter' just a rehash of 2000 program
  • [03] Papandreou arrives in Cyprus, sees new momentum for political solution
  • [04] Cyprus president receives FM, discussions focus on Cyprus problem
  • [05] Papandreou, Iakovou meeting covers 'wide range of issues'
  • [06] FM meets with Turkish Cypriot political leaders
  • [07] FM expresses solidarity to Sweden's FM, for attempted assassination
  • [08] Greek nationals detained in Turkish occupied Kyrenia
  • [09] Greece-Russia cooperation accord on combatting crime tabled in parliament
  • [10] Athens reacts angrily to Oswald 'concerns' over Greek elections
  • [11] Papariga views elections 'as battle for a more general political confrontation'
  • [12] Sept. 11 will be remembered as 'the day the world changed for ever'
  • [13] Greece steadily converging with the rest of EU, report says
  • [14] Building activity up 8.5 pct in Jan-May
  • [15] Greek investments up 8.9 pct in second quarter
  • [16] EU Commissioner hopes to extend anti-discrimination law outside workplace
  • [17] Piraeus Bank named as Greece's top bank in 2003
  • [18] Program to combat joblessness launched in Achaia
  • [19] Greek stocks end higher on Wednesday
  • [20] Death toll in Evros River illegal immigrants incident reaches 23
  • [21] Prosecutor ridicules, condemns N17's actions
  • [22] Gov't to allow several illegal buildings to hook up to public utility grids
  • [23] EU's constitutional history begins with Europarliament's approval, Tsatsos says
  • [24] Police find and uproot crop of cannabis plants
  • [25] Two immigrant smugglers arrested, 20 illegal immigrants detained
  • [26] Italian composer Piovani to perform on Delos Island
  • [27] Festival at ancient theater of Vouthrotos in S. Albania
  • [28] G/C and T/C parties stress need for early Cyprus solution

  • [01] Simitis unveils ''social charter'' plan

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday unveiled a ''Social Charter'' plan aiming to accelerate the country's convergence course with the rest of EU in the next four years through implementing 10 big goals and a series of commitments to benefit businesses and lower income earners in the country.

    The ''Social Charter'' will be the basis of a dialogue process with businesses and unions, he said.

    ''Greece overcame to a large degree all delays during the previous two four-year periods and it is now setting a priority to accelerate real and social convergence in the period 2004-2008. To achieve convergence we need a plan, an effort and a result, elements not only included in a Convergence Charter but in government policies in the previous eight years,'' Mr. Simitis said.

    ''We believe in the future, we have experience, a vision and a plan that the country needs and we move towards building a strong Greece,'' the Greek premier told reporters during a press conference at Zappeion Hall.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday unveiled a ''Social Charter'' plan aiming to accelerate the country's convergence course with the rest of EU in the next four years through implementing 10 big goals and a series of commitments to benefit businesses and lower income earners in the country.

    The ''Social Charter'' will be the basis of a dialogue process with businesses and unions, he said.

    ''Greece overcame to a large degree all delays during the previous two four-year periods and it is now setting a priority to accelerate real and social convergence in the period 2004-2008. To achieve convergence we need a plan, an effort and a result, elements not only included in a Convergence Charter but in government policies in the previous eight years,'' Mr. Simitis said.

    ''We believe in the future, we have experience, a vision and a plan that the country needs and we move towards building a strong Greece,'' the Greek premier told reporters during a press conference at Zappeion Hall.

    The ''Convergence Charter'' was a framework of dialogue designed to lead the country to convergence with EU's average rates in economy and society, he said. ''It is a road map for the big leap forward opening new potential and offering answers to the question of how to achieve convergence, how to further reduce social imbalances, or which policies offer new growth resources,'' Mr. Simitis noted.

    The prime minister stressed that the plan was designed to achieve a goal of raising average real wages in Greece to 90 percent of the EU's average by 2008.

    The Greek Prime Minister is expected to present a regional convergence charter in the next few weeks.

    He said that the government has secured funding of its convergence policies and cited a ''peace dividend'', as he described, to Education, a ''stability dividend'' to Healthcare and Welfare and a ''restructuring dividend'' to taxation.

    The Greek premier stressed that increased spending on education, expected to reach 5.0 percent of the country's GDP by 2008, and would be saved through a reduction of defense spending, already underway.

    The Healthcare and Welfare sectors will be funded through a reduction of the country's public debt, while a more efficient combatting of tax-evasion would ease tax burdens on wage earners and pensioners.

    The 10-point action plan envisaged by the social charter included: -a goal to reduce unemployment to 6.0 percent of the workforce by 2008, -equal opportunities and security for all while preserving social cohesion through an increase of social spending to 30 percent of GDP by 2008 leading Greece above the EU average rate, -boosting business activity and investments through simpler administrative procedures and at a lower cost, gradually lowering the profit tax factor for businesses and supporting 15,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises, -boosting economic competitiveness, speeding up structural reform and promoting privatizations, -focusing on education with the aim to offer an education system for all Greeks and raising education spending to 5.0 percent of the country's gross domestic product, -building modern infrastructure in transport and energy networks in the country, -protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable growth through raising production by renewable sources to 10 percent of total energy in the country by 2008, -adopting policies for strong local societies, -offering new modern state governance policies, and -ensuring equal opportunities for all. ''We will not leave anyone behind,'' Mr. Simitis stressed.

    The prime minister noted that the convergence charter was designed so that the country would not diverge from its obligations as described in an EU's Stability and Growth Pact.

    [02] ND leader says PM's 'social charter' just a rehash of 2000 program

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Sticking to his tactic of lightning ripostes to the government, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday dismissed the 'Social Charter' announced minutes earlier by Prime Minister Costas Simitis as just a rehash of the same things promised by Simitis in 2000.

    Speaking after a meeting of ND policy coordinators, Karamanlis said that the prime minister was now basically promising to deliver by 2008 the things that he had earlier promised to deliver now in his 2000 program statements.

    This was the first time that a government and prime minister advertised their failure and the first time that a premier claimed to be proud of not sticking to any of his commitments, Karamanlis added.

    Among examples cited by Karamanlis were a government pledge for convergence to 80 per cent of average EU GDP by 2004, whereas Greek GDP was now only 67.8 per cent of the EU average, or the government's promise to create a network against poverty and exclusion, when six out of 11 Greek regions were currently among the poorest in Europe and had the highest rate of poverty among all EU countries.

    He also noted high rates of inflation and unemployment, despite government pledges to create 300,000 new jobs in 2000-2004.

    The ND meeting focused on the announcements that Karamanlis will make at TIF on Saturday, when he will outline his positions on the economy and on social policy.

    Protopapas responds to ND's criticism Over ''Convergence Charter'': Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Wednesday responded to main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis' criticism of the ''Convergence Charter'' announced by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, saying that the agony of ND for the ''Charter'' became a panic.

    He disputed the data Karamanlis presented and stressed that it does no honor to him or to his party to use such unreliable data ''to base the baseless claims'' he made.

    Protopapas said that Greece is converging with the European Union ''at a time that ND and Mr. Karamanlis diverge more and more so from reality''.

    ''We will not deal with them further; we will leave them in the policy of the continual footnote they chose, the policy they continued with today. This, in any case, befits them,'' he said.

    Opposition blasts government's social, economic charter: The Communist Party of Greece on Wednesday called a social and economic charter announced by the government a rehash of existing policies that had already hurt the public.

    The charter aims to align Greece with European Union policy.

    ''This famous convergence charter is no more than a continuation of the same anti-people's policy, or a worse version, that has been given another name,'' the party's leader, Aleka Papariga, told reporters in Thessaloniki.

    ''It's a mockery that embellishes the conditions experienced by workers in other European Union countries at a time when poverty and unemployment are the scourge of many groups of workers. In addition, rights have been abolished,'' Papariga said.

    The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis of using populism and hypocrisy to woo voters.

    ''What is being promised is the same as was promised before national elections in 2000, and never materialized,'' party leader Nikos Konstantopoulos said.

    Social charter on right track but dialogue needed, unions say: The General Confederation of Workers of Greece said on Wednesday that the government's social and economic charter for alignment with European Union policies was on the right track, but consultations and collective bargaining were needed.

    ''The government's statements are positive, as they set as a target real convergence and how to achieve it,'' the confederation's president, Christos Polyzogopoulos, told reporters.

    ''Quite a few of the proposals should be put to dialogue and collective bargaining, which is essential in order to obtain clear commitments from the parties involved concerning their obligations and duties,'' Polyzopoulos said.

    [03] Papandreou arrives in Cyprus, sees new momentum for political solution

    NICOSIA, 11/09/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas/CNA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said here on Wednesday that Cyprus and Greece can look to the future with self-confidence, noting that current circumstances create a new momentum for a political settlement in Cyprus.

    Speaking on his arrival for two days of talks with the Cyprus government, Papandreou said it was pivotal for Cyprus to be very involved within the European Union, which it will join in May 2004, and added that Cyprus can play a very significant role in the Middle East and the Arab world as an EU member. ''No solution is not an option,'' he said.

    Welcoming Papandreou to Cyprus, Foreign

    Minister Giorgos Iakovou said there are many current issues to discuss, apart from the political question, and praised the ''harmonious'' bilateral ties.

    ''We have set out common goals and joint policies to follow,'' he said.

    Iakovou thanked Papandreou and Greece for its unwavering support and solidarity over the years in the peace effort and Cyprus' bid to join the EU.|

    The Greek Foreign Minister will have talks with his Cypriot counterpart Giorgos Iakovou. Later on Wednesday he will be received by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos who will host an informal dinner for Papandreou at his residence, in a Nicosia suburb.

    [04] Cyprus president receives FM, discussions focus on Cyprus problem

    NICOSIA, 11/09/2003 (ANA - Ch. Poulidou)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Wednesday received Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and discussed issues related to the Cyprus problem and the island republic's European course.

    Following the meeting, and responding to a question about the expected ''surprise'' by Turkish Cypriot community leader Rauf Denktash, Papadopoulos said that ''it is not the first time that such a thing is foretold, Mr. Denktash who is responsible for the failure, let him undertake an initiative''.

    He declined any further comment.

    On his part, Papandreou said that he and the president had a very constructive discussion ''in the framework of the new era Cyprus' accession to the European Union created,'' stressing that there was a "qualitative difference" in the manner in which the international community regarded Cyprus.

    ''The Cyprus issue is high on the agenda of the international community, the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots are inspired by a common vision, while in the final analysis there is a developing course of Turkey's accession to the European Union. Thus there is a new dynamic that must be utilized,'' Papandreou said.

    [05] Papandreou, Iakovou meeting covers 'wide range of issues'

    Nicosia, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Talks held here on Wednesday between Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iakovou and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou covered ''a wide range of issues of mutual interest,'' Iakovou said after the meeting.

    The two ministers were accompanied by delegations from their respective ministries during the meeting.

    The talks on the first day covered certain aspects of the Cyprus problem, Cyprus' progress toward EU harmonization, individual legal suits filed by Greek-Cypriots at the European Court of Human Rights and the progress made by Cyprus in fully complying with the EU 'acquis communautaire'.

    In addition, Iakovou said, the meeting discussed Cyprus' role within the EU after accession, especially in the wider region of the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

    Papandreou underlined in his statements to reporters the new dimension that Cyprus' membership of the Community added to bilateral relations with Greece.

    "Our bilateral relations will increasingly be governed by the new dimensions given by our joint participation in the EU," he said.

    Papandreou refused to answer questions regarding the interpretation given to the United Nations peace plan for Cyprus by Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    [06] FM meets with Turkish Cypriot political leaders

    Nicosia, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou met with the Turkish Cypriot opposition party leaders, on the sidelines of a lecture the Greek minister will deliver at Ledra Palace Hotel in the buffer zone on Wednesday.

    Papandreou met with Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat, United Cyprus Party leader Izet Izcan, Community Freedom Party leader Housein Angolemli, Peace and Democracy Movement leader Moustafa Akintzi, Party of the Solution and of the European Union leader Ali Erel and Nationalistic Justice Party leader Ali Riza Yiorgiun.

    The Turkish Cypriot leaders thanked Papandreou for his contribution to the improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations and for his effort to resolve the Cyprus problem, while during their talks they underlined as very significant the need to maintain the timetable of the Turkish European course and especially the mutual EU-Turkish commitments.

    They also noted their wish for a solution of the Cyprus issue based on the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan and expressed their concern over the mechanisms Turkish Cypriot Community leader Rauf Denktash is developing in light of ''elections'' in the Turkish occupied north.

    Papandreou's lecture was attended by educators' unions from both communities of the island republic. During the lecture, Papandreou underlined the value of Cyprus' accession to the European Union, which is a ''Union of citizens and states, principles, solidarity and peace.''

    ''We want to welcome to the EU a Turkey that will have resolved the Cyprus issue and will fulfill the Copenhagen Criteria,'' Papandreou stressed.

    [07] FM expresses solidarity to Sweden's FM, for attempted assassination

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday expressed his solidarity to his Swedish counterpart Anna Lindh, who suffered an assignation attempt earlier in the day in Stockholm.

    ''We are close to Anna, she has our solidarity and our love… we were together all day yesterday with Anna,'' Papandreou, who was in Stockholm on Tuesday to support the ''yes'' vote in a referendum for the country's accession to the Eurozone, said.

    ''I was informed that Anna Lindh is out of danger. I wish her a good recovery. We are close to her,'' he concluded.

    [08] Greek nationals detained in Turkish occupied Kyrenia

    NICOSIA, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Three Greek nationals were detained in Kyrenia, at the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus, on Wednesday by officers of the pseudostate, on charges of espionage while Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who is visiting Cyprus, ordered the Greek ambassador in Cyprus to file a demarche with the United Nations and request their immediate release.

    On his part, following a scheduled meeting with Papandreou, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said that the issue was examined by the Cyprus authorities, adding that the arrest was ''unjustified and baseless'' and that Athens and Nicosia were in contact with the United Nations in efforts to achieve the immediate release of the detained.

    According to sources the three Greek nationals are members of the Anogia Municipality of Crete's Rethimnon prefecture, who were visiting the Municipality of Yialousa, as the two towns were to be twinned.

    As initial reports stated, the occupation forces in northern Cyprus claimed that they were detained as they were holding a photographic camera.

    [09] Greece-Russia cooperation accord on combatting crime tabled in parliament

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    A cooperation agreement between Greece and the Russian Federation on combatting crime was tabled in parliament on Wednesday for ratification.

    The agreement provides for the development of cooperation and provision of mutual assistance in the prevention and containment of terrorism, organized crime, the trafficking of arms, nuclear weapons, radioactive materials and explosive materials, the illegal manufacturing and trade of narcotic substances, economic crime, people trafficking, prostitution, human organ trafficking, and crimes related to illegal migration and other serious criminal activity.

    According to the introductory report, the agreement is of particular importance as Russia plays a key role in international affairs and constitutes an important factor of stability in the wider region, particularly given the fluid situation in many countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

    The introduction further notes that Russia has a large number of nuclear weapons, which could prospectively become the object of theft and smuggling, while ''it is an undisputable reality that organized rings of illegal trade and people-smuggling to the countries of Western Europe, extending also to Greece'' are active in Russia.

    [10] Athens reacts angrily to Oswald 'concerns' over Greek elections

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Athens on Wednesday reacted angrily to published statements by a top IOC official in charge of overseeing the 2004 Games, who more-or-less expressed, concern about a possible change in the organizers’ leadership following general elections in Greece next spring.

    Speaking to the “Frankfurter Allgemeine” daily over the weekend, IOC vice-president Denis Oswald cited a danger of a reshuffle of top organizers following the Greek elections – expected to come just months before the Games begin on Aug. 13, 2004 -- regardless of whether ruling PASOK is re-elected or not.

    “IOC President Jacques Rogge is responsible to deal with Mr. Oswald, not I,” was the comment by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, whose portfolio includes many 2004-related projects and initiatives.

    No official reaction was available from the Athens 2004 Olympic organizing committee (ATHOC), although sources close to its leadership merely noted that the IOC executive is solely responsible for his words and actions.

    Main opposition New Democracy also criticized Oswald’s comments: Another annoying aspect for Greek organizers is the fact that Oswald praised preparations just three weeks ago while leading yet another IOC inspection team in Athens, saying characteristically that the Games were finally on track after years of delays.

    [11] Papariga views elections 'as battle for a more general political confrontation'

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, speaking in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki International Fair, said her party views the forthcoming general elections ''as a battle for a more general political confrontation.''

    Addressing a gathering of supporters and members of the party, Papariga said the opinion polls have no affect on the KKE, despite that they show the magnitude of public dissatisfaction.

    ''What we count is that there are many people who want to take the step forward, but they hesitate and need to be encouraged to be at the forefront of the electoral confrontation,'' the KKE leader said.

    Papariga will visit TIF on Thursday and later give a press conference.

    On his part, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas visited the TIF complex and the Helexpo building on Wednesday night. He was briefed by Helexpo Vice-President Dimitris Koskosidis on Thessaloniki's bid to host EXPO 2008.

    Tsovolas toured TIF's pavilions, including EXPOHOUSE as well as the stand of the Athens News Agency and Macedonian Press Agency at pavilion 19.

    [12] Sept. 11 will be remembered as 'the day the world changed for ever'

    New York, 11/09/2003 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    ''September 11 is henceforth a day of memory and recollection,'' New York Governor George E. Pataki said on Wednesday in statements to the Athens News Agency.

    ''We will never forget the people who were lost, the tremendous personal sacrifices and the countless acts of heroism which will always remind us of September 11, 2001 as the day the world changed for ever,'' Pataki said, adding that ''these heroes will always be in the hearts and minds of the citizens, not only of the state of New York, but also of all the world.''

    To a question by the ANA on what has changed in New York, the Governor said ''the New Yorkers have shown incredible psychological strength, as well as the ability to be united in front of a tragedy.''

    Pataki, through the ANA, expressed his admiration ''for the creativity of the Greek element of New York and its important contribution in the development and progress of our state.''

    Concluding, Governor Pataki said ''all must know that New York is open to all, but it will never surrender its freedom and will not yield to any provocations and threats.''

    [13] Greece steadily converging with the rest of EU, report says

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece is achieving both economic and social convergence with other EU member-states in a systematic way and with satisfactory rates, a report by Economy and Finance ministry said on Wednesday.

    The report stressed that Greece was growing more rapidly compared with other developed countries, and in particular EU member-states.

    Investments, a driving engine for the economy, were steadily rising in the last few years, with an expected annual rise of 9.5 percent in 2003 compared with an average growth rate of less than 1.0 percent in the eurozone. The Greek figure mainly reflects a steady rise in public investments.

    Foreign investments, however, remained at low levels as the country failed to attract foreign capital because of a volatile macro-economic environment, heavily regulated markets, bureaucracy and the small size of the domestic market.

    The report on "Greece converges with the EU", stressed that bureaucracy and the market's small size were major discouraging factors in attracting foreign investments.

    The report also revealed that Greece recorded a big increase in labor productivity and in particular the highest labor productivity rate in the EU in the period 1994-2003.

    The report included the ministry's goals for the next four year, envisaging a reduction of defense spending to 3.0 percent of GDP by 2008 from 4.5 percent currently, raising spending on education to 5.0 percent of GDP by 2008 from 3.5 percent currently, raising spending on healthcare and welfare to 4.0 percent of GDP by 2008 from 2.7 percent currently and reducing the country's public debt to 85 percent of GDP by 2008 from around 100 percent currently.

    [14] Building activity up 8.5 pct in Jan-May

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Building activity rose steadily in Greece in the first five months of 2003 compared with the same period last year, official figures showed on Wednesday.

    A report by the National Statistics Service said that building activity rose 2.8 percent (measured by the number of permits), and 8.5 percent in volume in the January-May period.

    Crete (10.3 percent), southern Aegean (8.6 percent), north Aegean (7.1 percent) and Attica (6.7 percent) recorded the biggest percentage rises on permit numbers.

    Central Greece (46.7 percent), western Macedonia (30 percent), central Macedonia (12.4 percent) and Attica (4.7 percent) recorded the biggest percentage rises on volume.

    [15] Greek investments up 8.9 pct in second quarter

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek investments rose 8.9 percent in the second quarter of 2003, compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Wednesday.

    A NSS report said that the rise in investments over the April-June period contributed to a 1.8 percent increase in total output demand, as the growth rate in domestic investments was almost double the country's gross domestic product growth.

    NSS said that Greek GDP grew 4.5 percent in the second quarter, compared with the same period last year, after rising 4.3 percent in the first quarter.

    Exports rose by 1.0 percent in the April-June period, while imports increased 1.6 percent over the same period, the report said.

    [16] EU Commissioner hopes to extend anti-discrimination law outside workplace

    BRUSSELS, 11/09/2003 (ANA - G. Zitouniati)

    Greek European Commissioner for Employment Anna Diamantopoulou on Wednesday announced her intention to prepare an EU directive that will extend anti-discrimination measures for women outside the workplace.

    She was speaking at a public debate on this issue that took place at the European Parliament here. This was chaired by PASOK MEP Anna Karamanou, a member of the Euro-Parliament's Committee for Women's Rights, while several social and women's rights participated.

    [17] Piraeus Bank named as Greece's top bank in 2003

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Athens-quoted Piraeus Bank was named as the bank of the year in Greece for 2003 by The Banker, a magazine published by the Financial Times.

    The criteria used were financial data, profitability, and efficiency along with quality factors including technological innovation and overall strategy, Piraeus Bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

    [18] Program to combat joblessness launched in Achaia

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    The government has launched a program to employ 2,000 people in the prefecture of Achaia, the largest scheme yet in the region.

    Employers in the private sector and local government will receive a subsidy for employing 1,500 long-term jobless, women and school leavers.

    The remaining 500 unemployed will receive self-employment subsidies.

    [19] Greek stocks end higher on Wednesday

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended a highly volatile session higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, ending a several-day decline in the market.

    The general index rose 0.61 percent to end at 2,075.21 points, after falling as much as 2.5 percent to 2,009.06 points one hour before closing bell.

    Traders said the market's reaction during the last one hour of trading and the fact that the general index found strong support at the 2,000 level was offering hope of a gradual recovery in stock prices.

    The Telecommunications and Cement sectors were the only ones to suffer losses (0.49 percent and 0.17 percent, respectively), while the Textile (3.07 percent), Retail (3.05 percent) and Publications (2.90 percent) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.80 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index jumped 1.63 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.33 percent higher.

    Turnover was heavy 475.1 million euros, of which 260 million euros accounted for a block trade in Alpha Bank. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 234 to 100 with another 34 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: +2.01%

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Alpha Bank, National Bank of Greece, Public Power Corporation, and Vodafone.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 221.5 mln euros Wednesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.80% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +1.63 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (5,006)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 221.5 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Wednesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.38 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 12 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (800 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.9 bln euros

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of September 10 2003

    Parities in euro

    Banknotes

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,126 1,100

    [20] Death toll in Evros River illegal immigrants incident reaches 23

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    The number of bodies believed to be of illegal immigrants who drowned while attempting to sneak into Greece from Turkey across the Evros River continues to rise and has reached 23, local authorities said Wednesday early evening.

    On Tuesday, authorities discovered 12 bodies along the banks of the river, marking the border between Greece and Turkey, while an ongoing search operation has turned up another 11 bodies.

    In a related development, authorities believe that the body of a young woman discovered four days ago down stream, also belongs to the group of those discovered the past two days.

    According to initial estimates by medical examiner Pavlos Pavlidis, the 23 victims -- 21 men and two women between the ages of 25 and 35 -- had been dead for approximately four days, and the cause of death was drowning. They were all of Asian descent. Authorities believe that either the boat they were using to cross the river overturned, or a rope that had been tied on the two sides of the shore across the river broke off as they were attempting to cross the water.

    The bodies were taken to the Alexandroupolis University Hospital for post mortems.

    [21] Prosecutor ridicules, condemns N17's actions

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    The chief prosecutor at the “November 17” trial on Wednesday continued his acerbic barrage against many of the suspects connected to the notorious terror group, although he did offer a surprise recommendation to acquit one of the more high-profile defendants due to an expiration in the statute of limitations.

    Prosecutor Christos Lambrou continued his closing argument by saying that no proof was presented in court to substantiate the charge that long-time anti-state and labor activist Yiannis Serifis remained in the terror band after 1983. Savvas Xiros – the first N17 suspect captured after a bomb went off in his hands -- named Serifs as N17’s “recruiter” in initial confessions to police, statements he later recanted as being the product of duress and torture. Serifis was acquitted in the late 1970s on terrorism-related charges in another high-profile trial at the time following a split decision by a mixed jurists-jurors panel.

    Another acquittal recommendation by Lambrou involved the last suspect arrested in the investigation, 42-year-old Anestis Papanastasiou, an unassuming mid-level bank employee from Thessaloniki and a cousin of another N17 defendant. Anestis Papanastasiou landed in jail early in the year after a hand-drawn map of a remote Greek military base found in an N17 safe house was traced back to him. Fingerprints on a book found at a safe house were also matched to him.

    Lambrou blamed Nikos Papanastasiou as responsible for landing the latter’s cousin in the current predicament.

    Conversely, he called for guilty verdicts on two counts of armed robbery against Theologos Psaradellis, a lesser suspect who admitted to one bank robbery in the early 1980s in order to “finance” a book on Trotskyism.

    Citing the testimony of several French witnesses in defense of Psaradellis, the prosecutor countered:

    “If robbery to fund the publication of a Trotskyite book isn’t acceptable in Paris, neither is it here … These intellectuals didn’t think that here, in the Balkans, human life has the same value, and is just as precious as it is in Paris … And, we here, also feel the same pain. We have our values and we will not allow any devaluation.”

    Lambrou, meanwhile, continued to ridicule the notion that the terror group’s crimes were politically motivated, before advising the three appellate justices presiding over the case to ignore any possible defense motions to recognize the absence of “base motives” in the terror group’s actions.

    “They even reached the point of claiming that bank robberies by N17, including bank robberies accompanied by the blood from the victims, were political robberies, something that is completely contradictory, given the fact that the group was not a liberation movement.”

    “With their blurred and distorted reasoning they tried to identify their criminal instincts and obsolete Stalinist theory with political crimes. Their various political motives cannot be humble, but rather ignoble. Hitler also had political-ideological motives when he committed genocide and bloodied the planet. Could anyone grant him extenuating circumstances? he asks.

    While Lambrou has recommended guilty verdicts for most of the 19 defendants, he cited the elements of remorse for at least two, Patroklos Tselentis and Costas Telios, both of whom have stuck by their original confessions while also offering testimony in court about many of their co-defendants, and of the elusive terror group’s inner workings.

    Lambrou, one of two prosecutors at the trial, on Tuesday also recommended a conviction on a lesser charge for the lone female defendant, Aggeliki Sotiropoulou.

    In continuing his condemnation of the group well into a second day of his closing argument, Lambrou charged that N17’s actions had a detrimental effect on the country’s economy and working class.

    “Who will bring their capital, their know-how, to a country that appears gripped by anarchy? N17 created unemployment and unrest. Who investigated the magnitude of ruin caused by these people to the businesses of Athanasiadis, Angelopoulos, Momferatos and Peraticos?” the prosecutor said in citing four well-known Greek industrialists and one publisher assassinated by the terror band.

    Referring to a series of post office bank robberies blamed on N17, the prosecutor claimed that the booty went directly into the pockets of Alexandros Giotopoulos, the alleged N17 mastermind, Dimitris Koufodinas, the group’s reputed top assassin, and the others.

    “Do you really think they didn’t know from which pockets it (money) came from? That money was made by the people, it was taken from wallet of working people so that the slothful, unemployed but bon viveur Alexandros Giotopoulos could live well,” he said. Alternate prosecutor Vassilis Makris is expected to address details of defendants’ alleged criminal activity on Thursday.

    [22] Gov't to allow several illegal buildings to hook up to public utility grids

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Thousands of buildings built without planning permission stand to benefit from an imminent government decision that will allow them to hook up to the water and electricity grids if they are within areas that were subsequently added to the general town plan, sources said on Wednesday.

    According to the same sources, this will be achieved through the issue of ministerial decrees sometime within September, while Environment and Town Planning Minister Vasso Papandreou will speed up procedures for drawing up general town plans and studies in an omnibus bill due to be tabled in Parliament by the end of the month.

    The bill will seek to give a final solution to the problem of illegal construction that has plagued thousands of families for many years, among them many repatriated Greeks from the former Soviet Union.

    According to the minister, these illegal buildings are the only residence of several of these families, since the State had not ensured that they were shown where they could legally build.

    She stressed, however, that there would be no legalization of permit-less constructions built within the limits of water courses, archaeological sites, beaches, forest land and environmentally protected areas of exceptional natural beauty.

    The omnibus bill will also contain other measures regarding town planning matters.

    [23] EU's constitutional history begins with Europarliament's approval, Tsatsos says

    VIENNA, 11/09/2003 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Greek Eurodeputy Dimitris Tsatsos on Wednesday termed as historic the approval of the report on the European Constitution draft by the Europarliament's Committee on Constitutional issues.

    The PASOK Eurodeputy, one of the two members of the Europarliament to help draft the report on the new constitution, said, in an exclusive interview to the ANA, that for the first time in Europe's history an intergovernmental conference, begins its sessions with a draft of a constitution prepared with many internal compromises, but with an unquestionable harmony.

    He added that he hopped for the approval of the report by the plenum of the Europarliament, during its session on Sept. 24, adding that with that approval the constitutional history of the European Union begins.

    [24] Police find and uproot crop of cannabis plants

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    A hidden cannabis crop numbering 870 plants in total was located and uprooted by police in Hania, Crete on Wednesday.

    The field was spotted during a helicopter sweep of a remote location above Lake Kourna.

    Police are now looking for those responsible for sowing the plants.

    [25] Two immigrant smugglers arrested, 20 illegal immigrants detained

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Twenty Palestinian illegal immigrants were detained and two Greek immigrant-smugglers were arrested on Wednesday after their boat was spotted earlier in the day off the coast of Kyparissia, merchant marine ministry sources said.

    Port officials arrested 63-year-old Dionyssis Maroulis and 54-year-old Apostolis Skarlatos, who were crewing the Greek-registered tourist boat "Georgina", following a search for the vessel by three coast-guard boats, which finally led the Georgina to port in Kyparissia.

    The 20 illegal immigrants were given shelter in the town's indoor gymnasium by local authorities, while the Greek smugglers were being questioned by the local port authorities.

    Coastguard authorities believe the two men are part of an immigrant-smuggling network transporting illegal immigrants to Greece from the Turkish coast.

    [26] Italian composer Piovani to perform on Delos Island

    Athens, 11/09/2003 (ANA)

    Italian composer Nicola Piovani and Israeli pop signer Noa will perform on Delos Island on Saturday evening, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced on Wednesday, saying that the performance is part of the Cultural Olympiad.

    The performance will take place on a wooden temporary theater and will include the debut of the composer's ''Island of Light'' creation, which was written exclusively for the Cultural Olympiad. Seating will be limited to 1,390 people.

    [27] Festival at ancient theater of Vouthrotos in S. Albania

    GIROCASTER, 11/09/2003 (ANA - P. Barkas)

    The ancient theater of Vouthrotos in southern Albania came to life again for the needs of an international festival of theater with the participation of performer groups from Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain and the Netherlands.

    The festival began on Sept. 3rd and will conclude Sept. 12th, while six of the eight plays preformed were ancient Greek classics.

    [28] G/C and T/C parties stress need for early Cyprus solution

    NICOSIA, 11/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Leaders and representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties ''underlined the need for an early, just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem'' as well as ''their commitment to continue supporting intercommunal rapprochement at all levels.''

    Their position is included in a joint communique issued at the end of their meeting on Wednesday at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace, by the Slovak Embassy which is hosting the meetings, and said the next meeting would be held on October 15.

    Replying to questions, Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat said there are still obstacles in communication, including the requirement to show passports, noting that the Turkish Cypriot parties would like this to ''stop, if we are to build trust between the two communities.''

    Democratic Rally (DISY) Vice President Kate Clerides described the meeting useful, noting that all ''burning issues were examined behind closed doors.''

    She said they talked about the forthcoming European elections, adding they hoped a solution is found before 1st May 2004 so that a unified state can come forward to vote.

    The Greek Cypriot parties, which took part, were leftwing AKEL, DISY, Democratic Party, Movement of Social Democrats EDEK, United Democrats, Cyprus Green Party, the Fighting Democratic Movement ADIK and the Eurodemocratic Reformist Party. The Turkish Cypriot political parties were Patriotic Unity Movement, the Peace and Democracy Movement and RTK.

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


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