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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-19

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

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

September 19, 2003


  • [01] Foreign ministry: ICAO agreement unrelated to military activity
  • [02] DM on Aegean air corridor issue; opposition MPs react
  • [03] FM arrives in Stockholm to attend memorial event for slain Swedish counterpart
  • [04] Gov't defends draft law for new town planning codes, illegal buildings
  • [05] Mitsotakis calls 'price freeze' announcements a 'fiasco' Athens,
  • [06] DM speaks of change in political climate, swing in public opinion
  • [07] Deputy FM to visit Mariopolis on anniversary of city's foundation
  • [08] ND leader criticizes poor rail services after surprise spot check
  • [09] ND leader has dinner with Athens Archbishop Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)
  • [10] Karamanlis to visit ethnic Greek communities in southern Ukraine
  • [11] Coalition party leader holds talks with Italian leftist leaders
  • [12] Russia, Greece mark 175th anniversary of diplomatic relations
  • [13] Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praises FM Papandreou
  • [14] Greek economy to grow by 4.0 pct this year
  • [15] Greece one of greatest beneficiaries of EU funds in 2002
  • [16] Greek current account deficit up 17.6 pct in Jan-July
  • [17] Hellenic Railways announces 3.4 mln euro project
  • [18] Greek-Turkish business meeting in Chios, Sept 20
  • [19] Consumers group denounces companies' "price freeze" policy
  • [20] Transport ministers conclude meeting on European axis 8 in Bari
  • [21] Petrola's shareholders OK merger with Hellenic Petroleum
  • [22] Greeks queasy about credit card, internet purchases
  • [23] Greek stock end lower on Thursday
  • [24] ATHOC head briefs Greek president on 2004 preparations
  • [25] Cuban Sports Minister and former Olympic medalist Juantorena in Thessaloniki
  • [26] Rendi bus bombing "intended to kill', attorney asserts in N17 trial
  • [27] Press minister's case vs publisher postponed until end 2004
  • [28] Four Bulgarians arrested, contraband ethyl alcohol for bootleg liquor seized
  • [29] UN Refugee High Commission satisfied with circular on handling of detainees
  • [30] Romanian justice ministry to organize meeting of Balkan justice ministers
  • [31] Three immigrant smugglers referred to regular investigator
  • [32] 7th 'World Heritage Cities' symposium to be held on Rhodes
  • [33] Cyprus government welcomes EU position on so called 'agreement'
  • [34] Cyprus government demands return of fenced area of Famagusta

  • [01] Foreign ministry: ICAO agreement unrelated to military activity

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    In an announcement released on Thursday, the foreign ministry strongly refuted any links between an ICAO agreement establishing 14 new air-corridors in the Athens Flight Information (FIR) and the activities of Turkish military aircraft in the Aegean, stressing that the ICAO process ''neither did nor could broach such issues''.

    Put out in response to questions tabled by MPs in Parliament earlier in the day, the announcement clarified that the new measures created 14 new international air corridors at higher and lower levels in the eastern and southern sectors of the Athens FIR that served both international air traffic and the Aegean islands.

    The ministry categorically denied that the agreement granted space for military exercises to Turkey near the Limnos airport, noting that Greece had steadfastly parried all past Turkish attempts to entangle issues concerning military activity within Aegean international airspace with issues concerning air traffic control within the framework of the ICAO. It also noted that air-corridors had never in the past presented an obstacle to the provocative activities of Turkish military aircraft in the Aegean or averted violations and infringements on their part.

    The ministry argued that the objections voiced to the Letter of Agreement (LoA) signed by the two sides were misleading since this was a standard way of deciding technical measures between neighboring air traffic control centers, regardless of nationality.

    Greece had rejected Turkish proposals for an LoA in the past because Turkey had demanded that this be preceded by bilateral talks, the announcement added.

    The ministry stressed that the new agreement served Greece's interests in several ways, not least by increasing the volume of traffic that could use the Athens FIR in view of the Olympic Games and creating new air-corridors that served the Greek islands and were recognized by the ICAO, as well as unblocking a hiatus in developing air-corridors within the Athens FIR due to Turkish vetos within the ICAO.

    In view of this, the ministry said Greece would now scrap air-corridor UJ60, which it had established unilaterally in defiance of ICAO regulations in the 1980s in response to Turkish vetos.

    ''With the new measures we have imposed our views, we have made these air-corridors international and unanimously recognized within the framework of the multilateral procedure within the ICAO, and free of all objections. It is natural, after such a development, to go ahead and formally settle this outstanding difference with the ICAO at the same time as the new air-corridors come into force. Our position is made stronger when we act in accordance with international procedure and international law,'' the announcement said.

    [02] DM on Aegean air corridor issue; opposition MPs react

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's defense minister was the latest top government official here to comment on the recent ICAO-brokered deal between Athens and Ankara regarding commercial air corridors over the Aegean, as he stressed that the agreement in no way involves military aircraft.

    Minister Yiannos Papantoniou echoed statements by both the government spokesman and the foreign ministry a day earlier, namely, that military aircraft of Greece and Turkey are not covered in the agreement, only civil planes.

    "Military activities by Greece and Turkey, respectively, remain within the framework that exists until today. Absolutely no change has been made," he said.

    Moreover, he reiterated that the Hellenic Air Force will most assuredly continue to intercept Turkish aircraft that infringe on the Athens FIR and, of course, violate ones that Greek airspace over the Aegean. Greece maintains 10-mile airspace boundaries for its territories.

    Finally, Papantoniou said more violations by Turkish warplanes were recorded in the first half of 2003 than in the corresponding period of 2002.

    On his part, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis dismissed the notion that airspace within the Athens FIR would be ''managed jointed'', while he called on anyone alleging the opposite to prove their claims.

    Yiannitsis also charged that acknowledged air corridors, whether international or local, had never prevented illegal Turkish air force activities. ''It is not correct to confuse the achievement of our goal for improving the Athens FIR network ... with this issue.'' Opposition: Meanwhile, the opposition on Thursday continued to criticize the agreement, which was announced on Monday by the ICAO.

    Deputies from all three opposition parties in Parliament - main opposition New Democracy, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) - tabled relevant questions in the legislature demanding information about the deal. Additionally, two ruling PASOK deputies, former minister Yiannis Kapsis and one-time independent Kyriakos Spyriounis, called for an official briefing by the government for members of Parliament's defense and foreign affairs committee.

    [03] FM arrives in Stockholm to attend memorial event for slain Swedish counterpart

    STOCKHOLM, 19/09/2003 (ANA-F.Karaviti)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, visibly moved, left a rose on Thursday night outside the department store in Stockholm where Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was fatally stabbed last week.

    Hundreds of Swedes and other people visit the spot every day to leave flowers and write a few words in the book of condolences.

    Papandreou arrived in the Swedish capital to attend the memorial event organized by the Swedish government on Friday.

    The foreign minister will be one of the main speakers together with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and European Foreign Policy Commissioner Chris Patten.

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell was also due to participate, but he will not ultimately attend the event due to bad weather harassing the eastern states of the United States.

    [04] Gov't defends draft law for new town planning codes, illegal buildings

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday defended a newly announced draft law covering a series of closely watched building code and town planning changes and regulations, many aimed at legalizing thousands of illegally built structures around the country (mostly residences and country homes) a problem that has continued to plague Greece for decades.

    Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and convened to discuss the bill, the government spokesman said the measures are not a prelude to legalization, but a major step towards harmonizing the country's town planning uniformity.

    Spokesman Christos Protopapas said the government's intention was to simplify the process for issuing building permits and to register most currently unlisted and illegal buildings.

    As part of the "social aspect" of the measures, Protopapas said, "within this framework the new measures do not steer society into illegality, as some claim, but they comprise a first step in bringing order to the issue of building."

    He also said the measures were aimed at the lower income levels of society.

    The government has excluded illegal structures built on beachfronts, archaeological sites, forestlands, ravines that act as floodways, natural parks or areas set aside for reforestation.

    Asked about legal concerns aired at the Cabinet meeting by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis, the government spokesman said it was not uncommon for points of law to be raised by ministers that are also well-versed in law (Venizelos, among others, is a constitutional law expert), "those (views) are not disagreements, however, but the essence of a discussion."

    As far as the all-important electrical connection to several thousand such structures currently excluded from the national grid, Environment and Town Planning Minister Vasso Papandreou said a connection with the power company will not mean a de facto legalization of the buildings, which will only come with inclusion into a town planning zone.

    The bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament shortly.

    The government expects some 300,000 illegal buildings to acquire power and water supply if the bill is passed. However, those structures will not be legalized unless they are within town planning limits or in an area governed by a town planning zone. Another exception is if the buildings are the owner's primary residence and are under 120 square meters in size.

    In a first reaction, the Coalition of the Left said the draft bill simply ''trades on the hopes'' for owners of illegal buildings, while the Simitis government's latest initiative completes its ''pre-election anti-environmental charter''.

    [05] Mitsotakis calls 'price freeze' announcements a 'fiasco' Athens,

    19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Honorary New Democracy president and former Prime Minister Costas Mitsotakis was the latest top politician to comment on the high-profile announcements this week, mainly by major supermarket chains, citing a freeze in prices.

    Speaking in Parliament during debate about a bill on street trading and outdoor markets, Mitsotakis called the agreements over a freeze as nothing more than a "fiasco".

    As far as the actual draft bill itself, he sharply criticized the fact, as he said, that it was tabled with such delay, while pointing to a "poor choice" of time, "concurrent with the beginning of the pre-election campaign".

    On their part, the government's ministers countered that the bill will finally deal with a wide spectrum of issues affecting street markets and peddlers.

    [06] DM speaks of change in political climate, swing in public opinion

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Thursday spoke of a change in the political climate and of a swing in public opinion.

    Speaking from Sytia where he concluded a two-day tour of eastern Crete, Papantoniou said:''The political climate is changing. There is a swing in public opinion regarding the assessment of the government's efforts during the four year period we are going through and the prospects which are linked with the results of the forthcoming general elections.''

    Papantoniou, during his speech at the Sytia Cultural Centre, launched an attack against the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, stating that ''the ND systematically refuses and obstructs any effort for the progress of the country because this party is based on refusal and has no positions.''

    [07] Deputy FM to visit Mariopolis on anniversary of city's foundation

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister for expatriate affairs Yiannis Magriotis is to visit the city of Mariopolis in the Ukraine on Friday to attend events organized by the local Orthodox community to celebrate the 225th anniversary since the city's foundation and the city's founder, Greek Metropolitan Ignatios.

    On Saturday he will inaugurate the Medical Centre set up by the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) in the area, while on Sunday he will travel to the capital Kiev to inaugurate the new premises of the Greek Embassy in the Ukraine.

    He will depart from the Ukraine on Monday after visiting the Lavras Monastery and depositing a wreath at the Ypsilanti Monument and meeting with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for humanitarian affairs Dmytro Tabachnyk and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Yelchenko.

    [08] ND leader criticizes poor rail services after surprise spot check

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis slammed the poor level of services offered by Greek railways after a surprise spot inspection on Thursday during which he took a train ride from Peloponnesus station to Aspropyrgos.

    Karamanlis said the infrastructure and service offered by the state-run Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) were far below standards in the rest of Europe, while he claimed that billions of drachmas in Community funds were being lost through non-transparency, bad management and financial 'black holes'. He said OSE's accumulated losses amounted to 1.2 trillion drachmas, while 600 billion drachmas available from the EU had been lost by the government in 1998.

    Transport minister criticizes ND leader for statements on state of railways: Statements by main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on Thursday on the state of Greek railways drew strong reaction from Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis.

    Karamanlis had made his statements after a short trip from Athens to Aspropyrgos on a Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) train.

    Speaking in Bari, Italy, where he arrived for a meeting of ministers participating in the European axis 8, Verelis said Karamanlis chose a section of the old Athens-Peloponnese route which is being restored and not one of the many projects completed which prove that the modernization of OSE has not been derailed but, on the contrary, is moving with ever-increasing speed.

    The transport minister said projects being carried out are taking place with quality which has been repeatedly examined by European Union bodies and has been found to be excellent.

    He added that a total of 23 projects have been completed to date with tunnels 30 kilometers long, as well as over 400 kilometers of renovated tracks delivered for use, resulting in a considerable decrease in the duration of trips.

    [09] ND leader has dinner with Athens Archbishop Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos had dinner together at the Archbishop's home in Filothei, it was announced on Thursday.

    The dinner took place on Wednesday night and was held in return for a dinner given by Karamanlis at his home in December for Christodoulos.

    Associates of the main opposition leader avoided releasing details of the talks at the dinner but stressed that there were no problems in relations between ND and the Archbishop and did not rule out another meeting between the two men in Brussels, where Christodoulos and Karamanlis will both be speaking at a European People's Party conference.

    [10] Karamanlis to visit ethnic Greek communities in southern Ukraine

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis will lead a high-ranking party delegation to a visit to the southern Ukraine over the weekend, with several events involving the ethnic Greek communities of Odessa and Mariupol planned.

    [11] Coalition party leader holds talks with Italian leftist leaders

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Nikos Constantopoulos held successive talks in Rome, Italy, on Thursday with Communist Refoundation Party Secretary General Fausto Bertinotti, Democratic Party of the Left Secretary General Piero Fascino and the President and Secretary General of the Party of Italian Communists Armando Cosutta and Oliviero Diliberto respectively.

    According to an announcement by the Coalition party, a coincidence of views was ascertained and an agreement on joint action on a series of important issues during the meeting between Constantopoulos and Bertinotti.

    In a joint statement at the end of their talks the need was stressed for speeding up procedures for the European Party of the Left with an alternative proposal on building Europe.

    Constantopoulos and Bertinotti also condemned the decision taken by the Israeli government to drive President Arafat out of Palestinian territory, as well as the veto raised by the US at the UN on this issue.

    [12] Russia, Greece mark 175th anniversary of diplomatic relations

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in a message to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou on Thursday that Russia intended to build up cooperation with Greece, according to an Itar-Tass dispatch from Moscow.

    Russia and Greece "have never made their relations a hostage of political intrigues," the Russian foreign minister wrote in his message on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Greece.

    Ivanov said that the two countries had always understood and "supported each other in times of trouble".

    Russia is "grateful to Greece for its constructive interaction at the United Nations and other organizations on questions of strengthening peace, stability and security, safeguarding democracy and human rights and freedoms as well as on the struggle against international terrorism and new challenges."

    The Russian foreign minister put special emphasis on Greece's effective support for Russia's efforts aimed at closer integration with the European Union.

    [13] Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praises FM Papandreou

    NEW YORK, 19/09/2003 (ANA - P. Panayiotou)

    Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praises Foreign Minister George Papandreou for his diplomatic initiatives to help solve the Kosovo crisis in her book published on Wednesday.

    The book, titled ''Madame Secretary:A Memoir, by Madeleine Albright'', describes her political experience as the first woman secretary of state of the US.

    It contains a lengthy reference to the Balkan crisis and the Kosovo war in particular.

    [14] Greek economy to grow by 4.0 pct this year

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    The IMF, in its semi-annual World Economic Outlook released in Dubai ahead of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, said that the world economic growth was picking up but the pace and strength of the recovery was still fragile.

    The fund urged policy-makers around the world not to drop their guard and maintained its world growth outlook of 3.2 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2004.

    The IMF raised its forecast for Japan although it noted that the world's second-largest economy has not yet fully escaped from a decade-long stagnation.

    The IMF said the world's economy still faced risks and policy-makers could not be complacent, noting that the fledgling recovery had not produced more jobs, while a possible housing price bust in several countries posed another danger, especially as historically low interest rates tick higher.

    The IMF said the United States will lead a global recovery despite weak labor markets and considerable excess capacity. The U.S. economy is expected to expand 2.6 percent this year and 3.9 percent next.

    The fund halved its 2003 GDP growth for Europe to just 0.5 percent and expects only 1.9 percent growth in 2004.

    [15] Greece one of greatest beneficiaries of EU funds in 2002

    BRUSSELS, 19/09/2003 (ANA/G.Daratos)

    Greece was one of the greatest beneficiaries of European Union funds in 2002, according to a report released by the Commission on Thursday.

    In terms of distribution of operational spending from the EU budget per member state in terms of size of population were Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain, which are the cohesion countries.

    In terms of absolute figures, the greatest beneficiaries were Spain, France, Germany and Italy, the report said.

    In 2002, Greece received 2.637 billion euros for its agricultural sector; almost two billion euros from structural funds; and 203 million euros for the development of other domestic policies, it added.

    [16] Greek current account deficit up 17.6 pct in Jan-July

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's external trade balance worsened further in the first seven months of 2003, with the country's current account deficit rising by 17.6 percent compared with the same period last year, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.

    In its report, the central bank said that the country also witnessed a substantial decline in receipts from the European Union (down 17.1 percent) and a 9.6 percent fall in tourist foreign exchange in the January-July period this year. Greece also recorded a net outflow of 163.3 million euros in foreign investments.

    The current account deficit widened to 5.776 billion euros in the first seven months of 2003, up from 4.910 billion euros last year, despite an increased surplus in the balance of services and a reduction in the trade deficit (excluding fuel).

    The Bank of Greece said these positive developments were offset by a widening of deficits in the fuel balance and the balance of incomes over the same period.

    The country's trade shortfall (excluding fuel) fell by 384 million euros in the January-July period, while import payments fell by 106 million euros. Net payments for fuel imports rose by 572 million euros in the same period.

    The deficit in the balance of incomes widened by 560 million euros, reflecting increased net payments for interest, dividends and profits.

    The financial transactions balance saw its surplus rise to 5.87 billion euros in the first seven months of 2003, reflecting a net inflow of 10.520 million euros in portfolio investments (money invested to Greek bonds).

    Greece's direct investment balance showed a net outflow of 580 million euros in the January-July period, while the ''other investments'' balance a net outflow of 8.022 million euros over the same period.

    [17] Hellenic Railways announces 3.4 mln euro project

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) on Thursday unveiled a project, worth 3.4 million euros, of modernizing its railroad network in the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region with the aim to offer improved services to its passengers.

    The project is expected to be completed in August 2004.

    Under the plan, OSE will modernize its entire network from the city of Drama to the eastern borders of the country and to fully renovate the railway station in the city of Alexandroupolis.

    [18] Greek-Turkish business meeting in Chios, Sept 20

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek industrialists will meet their Turkish counterparts in a conference to be held in the island of Chios on Saturday, 20 September to discuss bilateral trade issues.

    The meeting will be held on an initiative by the Greek Industries' Union in the framework of a cooperation agreement with its Turkish counterpart TUSIAD.

    The conference will be held on the occasion of a "Second High Advisory Council" conference held by TUSIAD in Izmir, Turkey, September 18-19. Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, chairman of the Greek Industries' Union, will attend the conference.

    The Turkish delegation to visit Chios includes 80 businessmen.

    [19] Consumers group denounces companies' "price freeze" policy

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    INKA, the country's largest consumer group, on Thursday denounced as a fraud a decision by Carrefour super-market to freeze its prices from September 15 to January 15.

    The group said in a statement that a promotional campaign launched by the company advertised "frozen" prices that have been raised by around 5.73 percent in advance.

    Meanwhile, the National Confederation of Hellenic Trade said on Thursday that recent business practices by several companies were lacking ethical basis and were trapping both the Greek government and consumers.

    [20] Transport ministers conclude meeting on European axis 8 in Bari

    BARI, 19/09/2003 (ANA - D. Kambasis)

    A meeting between the transport ministers of Italy, Greece, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria, the Turkish delegation was absent, was concluded here on Thursday with the adoption of two proposals by Greece regarding the construction of European axis 8, which will link Bari with Durres, Skopje, Sofia, Burgas and Varna.

    The meeting was held in the framework of Italy's European Union presidency.

    The proposal by Greece for priority to be placed on the opening of two vertical axes linking axis 8 with the Egnatia motorway at the sections between Krystalopigi-Siatista and Ormenio-Alexandroupoli was accepted at the meeting.

    Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis said data on the progress of work on axis 8 must be given at regular intervals and in parallel gave information on the progress of work on the vertical links with the Egnatia motorway, saying the Siatista-Krystalopigi section has been completed by 37 percent, while another 19 percent is under construction.

    The section between Ormenio and Alexandroupoli has already been constructed with upgraded specifications.

    Another decision was also taken on promoting the Greek initiative on the development of the Adriatic-Ionian sea corridor which will link Greece's western gateways (Igoumenitsa and Patra) with Italian ports in the Adriatic, with the development of a modern and effective system of combined transport.

    [21] Petrola's shareholders OK merger with Hellenic Petroleum

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Shareholders of Petrola SA on Thursday approved a merger by absorption into Hellenic Petroleum SA.

    Both firms are Athens-quoted.

    The move will strengthen the position of both oil companies in Balkan and southeast European markets, company officials told shareholders.

    In addition, synergies, economy of scale and profitability would increase through joint operation of the two firms adjoining refineries in Elefsina and Aspropyrgos, the officials said.

    [22] Greeks queasy about credit card, internet purchases

    BRUSSELS, 19/09/2003 (ANA/B.Demiris)

    Greeks are wary of using credit cards or buying through the internet, according to a European Union survey released on Thursday.

    The level of confidence of Greeks in electronic payments was 25.83 percent lower than the bloc's average; and their level of confidence ranked lowest, the Commission's survey said.

    [23] Greek stock end lower on Thursday

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks resumed their downward trend on Thursday, as lack of fresh buying activity left stock shares vulnerable to liquidation pressures in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index fell 1.98 percent to end at 2,021.51 points, with turnover a moderate 138.1 million euros.

    All sector indices ended lower with the Textile (4.13 percent), IT Solutions (3.22 percent) and Publication (2.86 percent) sector suffering the heaviest percentage losses.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 2.08 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.61 percent lower and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index plunged 2.65 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 288 to 44 with another 26 issues unchanged.

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

    Bond Market Close: Buyers lag sellers on Thursday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.28 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 12 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (770 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 3.0 bln euros


    Closing rates of September 18 2003

    Parities in euro


    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,138 1,112

    [24] ATHOC head briefs Greek president on 2004 preparations

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    The head of the Athens Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) Gianna Angelopoulos on Thursday paid a visit to President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos in order to brief him on the progress of preparations for the 2004 Games in Athens.

    Emerging from the meeting, Angelopoulos said that it was important for the president to be briefed regularly on the progress of Olympic preparations as the "first citizen" in the country, while noting that Stephanopoulos invariably showed a keen interest in the work being carried out for the Olympics, both in her visits to him and during his own visits to ATHOC headquarters.

    During her visit, Angelopoulos also presented the president with copies of the medals and mascot for the Paralympics.

    [25] Cuban Sports Minister and former Olympic medalist Juantorena in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Cuban Sports Minister and former Olympic Games gold medalist Alberto Juantorena and Cuban Parliamentary Deputy and Olympic Games medalist Anna Fidelia Quirot were welcomed and honored in Thessaloniki, northern Greece on Thursday.

    They visited the city at the invitation of the Greco-Cuban Friendship Federation, the Union of Macedonia Soccer Clubs, the municipality of Agios Pavlos and Agapios Sahini's municipal group ''Thessaloniki Now.''

    They were also honored during special events by Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis and Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos.

    Juantorena later spoke to the Athens News Agency (ANA) on sports and political issues.

    Responding to a remark that he has not changed at all since his last visit to Greece five years ago, he said ''I always preoccupy myself with sport and it is my way of life. I apply myself to physical and spiritual well-being, I run and play basketball, just like Anna Fidelia Quirot does, as well as the biggest part of the population in our country.''

    On the classic question of what will happen in Cuba in the post-Castro era, Juantorena said ''I have replied millions of times to the same question and all must realize that he is a great personality, a natural leader of a global stature who, after Monkada, succeeded in achieving and securing the independence of our people. However, Fidel shared power with the people and the Cuban people are continuing the revolution. We shall continue on this path because our social and political system has proved to be the one that can survive.''

    [26] Rendi bus bombing "intended to kill', attorney asserts in N17 trial

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    The 1987 bombing by November 17 of a civil aviation bus carrying US servicemen intended to take lives, the attorney representing the driver Konstantinos Plataras argued before the court on Thursday.

    Attorney Nikos Georgouleas, who began the day's proceedings before the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court hearing the case, referred to the conditions in which the attack was made and insisted that the culprits intended to inflict mortal injuries on those aboard.

    He was followed by attorney Sakis Kehagioglou who represents both Plataras and former minister George Petsos.

    Kehagioglou referred to the terror group as the ''murderous Left'' and said it chose its victims in order to win the approval and support of sections of the population that opposed specific foreign powers and powerful economic interests.

    The court was next addressed by the daughter slain public prosecutor Constantine Androulidakis, who was murdered by N17 in January 1989.

    Despina Androulidaki concentrated on refuting the group's claim that its actions were political crimes, saying that taking the life of a person who was simply doing his job honestly and properly could not be considered a political act.

    She said her father was an easy target for the terrorists since he had no security protection.

    She was followed by the attorney for the Androulidakis family Vassilis Dimakopoulos, who noted the discrepancy between the ideology and principles cited by the defendants and their behavior in court.

    During Thursday's session, meanwhile, the defendant Savvas Xiros said he was satisfied with the report submitted to the Athens First-instance public prosecutor by neuropsychiatrist Dionysia Valianatou, in which she corroborates his claims regarding the conditions of his treatment at Evangelismos Hospital, and announced that he was ending a hunger strike begun six days earlier.

    [27] Press minister's case vs publisher postponed until end 2004

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    The hearing of a defamation suit filed by Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas against newspaper publisher George Kouris and architect Lili Xynarianou was postponed until December 2, 2004 by an Athens first-instance court on Thursday, after Xynarianou asked that it be considered simultaneously with her counter-suit against the minister over the same incident.

    Protopapas is seeking 1.5 million euros in compensation from Kouris and Xynarianou over an article appearing in the newspaper ''Avriani'' put out by Kouris, in which it is alleged that he received 200 million drachmas in illegal campaign funds from the Altec group of businesses for the 1996 and 2000 elections.

    Xynarianou has filed a counter-suit against the minister in which she seeks 300,000 euros for alleged slander and defamation against her by Protopapas.

    [28] Four Bulgarians arrested, contraband ethyl alcohol for bootleg liquor seized

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Four Bulgarian nationals were arrested by Greek customs officials Thursday morning in northern Greece after smuggling some 16 tons of ethyl alcohol into the country destined for the manufacture of bootleg liquor.

    According to Customs sources, the customs authorities in central Macedonia and in Thrace had received information over the past two months that a ring of smugglers was smuggling quantities of ethyl alcohol from Bulgaria into Greece, and then selling it to illegal distilleries manufacturing bootleg liquor.

    During an operation late Wednesday night, customs officials spotted a truck with Bulgarian license plates on the Thessaloniki-Athens national highway, in Larissa prefecture, and escorted the truck to the customs inspection facility in Thessaloniki.

    During the inspection, customs officials found 94 plastic barrels containing 16 tons of ethyl alcohol in the truck, and its driver, Iliev Yuliyan Pektov, and co-driver, Georgiev Milen Vasilev were arrested. The cargo had been declared to customs as being ''raw material for detergents''.

    Customs officials also arrested another man and a woman, also Bulgarian nationals, who were in a car accompanying the truck -- identified as Iliev Iliya Petkov and Hristova Zorka Krasteva -- while three Greek nationals implicated in the case were wanted.

    Authorities believe the ring started its smubbling activities in May 2002, and has since smuggled an estimated 250 tons of ethyl alcohol into Greece in 18 runs, resulting in the loss of 2.5 million euro for the Greek state and the EU.

    According to the accompanying documents, the cargo was declared as being quantities of a chemical substance for the manufacture of soap, due for delivery to a non-existent company in Thessaloniki.

    47 illegal immigrants detained on Ikaria island Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA) Coast guard officials detained 47 illegal immigrants on the island of Ikaria on Thursday, who were disembarked on a remote stretch of beach by Turkish boat-runners.

    The Turkish immigrant-smugglers disembarked the immigrants, including three children and seven women, at Karkinagri before fleeing, while local police were combing the area for possible more illegal immigrants. Five of the illegal immigrants were Palestinians, 20 were Somalians and the rest were from Afghanistan, police said after initial questioning.

    The detainees were to be taken to nearby Samos island later in the day.

    [29] UN Refugee High Commission satisfied with circular on handling of detainees

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    The UN High Commission for Refugees declared its absolute satisfaction with a recent circular issued by the Greek Police chief on the handling of detainees and of foreigners in particular.

    The circular, appealing to all police authorities in the country, reminds of Greece's international commitments on human rights and, among others, includes instructions concerning the rights of people requesting asylum.

    According to the circular, police are called on to closely observe instructions contained in it and, in particular, to be extremely sensitive in the cases of vulnerable people, who include refugees, people requesting asylum and foreigners in general.

    [30] Romanian justice ministry to organize meeting of Balkan justice ministers

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Romania's justice ministry, continuing the initiative by Greek Justice Minister Filippos Petsalnikos, will organize the 2nd Meeting of Balkan Justice Ministers in Romania between September 20-22.

    Petsalnikos leaves for Romania on Saturday.

    According to an announcement by the justice ministry, the first step towards cooperation between Balkan countries to strengthen communication between the legal systems of these countries and the consolidation of principles of a state of justice in this region, was taken in Kastoria, northern Greece, on September 21 last year during the first meeting between Balkan justice ministers, organized by Greece's justice ministry.

    The 2nd meeting between Balkan justice ministers will focus on developing international and regional judicial cooperation between Balkan countries in the framework of their convergence with European norms, as well as on strategies for the judicial reconstruction of these countries.

    [31] Three immigrant smugglers referred to regular investigator

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    Three immigrant smugglers brought before a public prosecutor in Gythion, southern Greece, on Wednesday have been referred to a regular investigator for felonious acts.

    The immigrant smugglers, two Greeks and an Egyptian who were the crew of the boat ''Filotimo'', had been arrested on the same day for carrying 22 illegal immigrants from Egypt to Marmari in the Gulf of Messinia.

    According to one of the two Greeks, they had picked up a total of 50 illegal immigrants from Egypt, 28 of whom disembarked in the southern region of the Cretan prefecture of Hania where they were arrested.

    [32] 7th 'World Heritage Cities' symposium to be held on Rhodes

    Athens, 19/09/2003 (ANA)

    The 7th international symposium of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) under the aegis of UNESCO will take place in the Medieval Town of Rhodes on September 23-26, with the participation of hundreds of mayors and other representatives of historic cities around the world.

    The theme of the symposium will be "Keeping Heritage Alive. Education and Training for the Preservation and Management of Cultural Heritage".

    A press conference on the symposium was held in Athens on Thursday by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni, Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    A separate forum for young people aged 16-19 that were selected by the World Heritage Cities will be held on the sidelines of the symposium, who will discuss and propose programs for protecting 'fragile' historic cities with the active involvement of young people.

    [33] Cyprus government welcomes EU position on so called 'agreement'

    NICOSIA, 19/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides on Thursday described the European Commission's reaction regarding the so-called ''framework agreement'' for a ''customs union'' between Turkey and the illegal regime in the occupied north of Cyprus as completely right.

    Invited to comment on the Commission's position that the ''agreement'' does not comply with the provisions of the customs union between Turkey and the European Union and the fact that the Commission had asked Turkey to re-evaluate it, the spokesman said ''the EU considers any agreement illegal, according to international law and UN resolutions, and believes it cannot possibly have any contents or validity.''

    He said the agreement ''is contrary with the existing customs union between Turkey and the EU.''

    The spokesman said the so-called ''framework agreement'' ''is an 'agreement' signed by Turkey with Turkey which controls the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus and this is what the EU reiterates.'' He said the ''agreement'' is legally and politically non-existent and perhaps this is why Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul pulled back saying the ''agreement'' will not be placed before Turkey's National Assembly.

    ''The EU's reaction is totally correct.'' the spokesman added. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

    [34] Cyprus government demands return of fenced area of Famagusta

    NICOSIA, 19/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government demands the return of the town of Famagusta to its legitimate citizens, as provided by the UN resolutions and the high level agreement of 1979.

    Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides made this statement on Thursday in response to remarks on Wednesday by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash concerning ''new initiatives'' on the Turkish part, including the opening of the fenced area of Famagusta.

    The spokesman said that Denktash has repeatedly made statements about the opening of Famagusta, but never made such a gesture.

    ''What he adds in his proposal is that the area will be also under UN administration. In any case, he insists that that the area should come under Turkish Cypriot administration.''

    ''This is not acceptable, what we insist is that the town of Famagusta be returned to its legitimate citizens, as provided by the high level agreements and the UN resolutions,'' Chrysostomides said. Regarding Denktash's statement that the Rizokarpaso Gymnasium in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus cannot operate for only seven Greek Cypriot pupils, the

    Spokesman said that the Third Vienna Agreement and UN resolutions provide for the right to education.

    He indicated that the prevention of the right to education was a violation, according to the European Court of Human Rights. Chrysostomides said although Denktash's suggestions will be noted down, what will also be taken into account ''is the systematic ethnic cleansing he insists on in the Karpass area and the fact that he says only a few pupils have remained in the area, shows his policy of ethnic cleansing and ousting of the people of Karpass.''

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