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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-20

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

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

September 20, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] 2004-2008 a period of 'major goals and high risk', PM Simitis says
  • [02] FM attends memorial service for Sweden's Anna Lindh
  • [03] Gov't denies 'angling for votes' via town planning bill
  • [04] Country not in pre-electoral period, gov't spokesman says
  • [05] ND's lead over PASOK in opinion polls decreasing, Costas Simitis preferred as PM
  • [06] Karamanlis leads ND delegation in Ukraine
  • [07] Chrysohoidis says Athens is now turning its attention to Cyprus issue
  • [08] Large-scale 'Parmenion' military exercise ends on Friday
  • [09] Greece lags behind in adopting EU internal market laws
  • [10] Petrol station owners renew threat of strike action
  • [11] Price ceiling for fuel to take effect on islands
  • [12] Greek stocks end week 2.08 percent lower
  • [13] ATHOC to hire around 6,000 unemployed people
  • [14] ND reaction
  • [15] ATHOC head briefs KKE party leader on Olympic preparations
  • [16] Conference on Olympic truce in Athens; message from Arafat
  • [17] UNICEF: Greece among developed countries with lowest child mistreatment rates
  • [18] N17 court hears attorneys for Bakoyiannis, Turkish diplomats
  • [19] Parliament president inaugurates conference on 'Mass Media and Culture'
  • [20] Two miners killed when mine shaft collapses in region of Amfissa
  • [21] Athens journalists denounce persecution of 'AFRIKA' newspaper
  • [22] Euro-court overturns appointment of EU institution's secretary-gen.
  • [23] Carlos Fuentes in Athens
  • [24] University scholarships for 14 Bulgarian students awarded
  • [25] Trial for Faran factory collapse postponed until Feb. 4
  • [26] Greece ready to build F-1 circuit, minister says
  • [27] Cyprus government wants complete demining of buffer zone
  • [28] Special House session adopts EU harmonization laws and regulations

  • [01] 2004-2008 a period of 'major goals and high risk', PM Simitis says

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    The four-year period of 2004-2008 would be a period of ''major goals and high risk'', Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Friday, inaugurating the port of Igoumenitsa.

    ''It will be a four-year period of high risk because the (fate of the) major national and social goals will be judged within a fluid and uncertain international environment,'' the premier said.

    He explained that in the focus during that period would be the national issues, convergence in all sectors, which he said would result in a reduction of unemployment, increase in real incomes, and all-around reinforcement of the protection of the economically weak.

    The premier accused the main opposition New Democracy party of double-speak, confusion, popularism, exaggeration and misleading the public opinion.

    He further described his recently-announced Economic and Social Convergence Charter as a ''roadmap for the giant leap forward, for the definitive change of Greece, a guarantee of security for the future''.

    The premier said that the first goal for the 2004-2008 period was acceleration of the country's real and social convergence with the other EU countries''.

    While in Igoumenitsa, Simitis also inaugurated the new court buildings in the town and emphasized in his speech the government's efforts over the past years to protect and bolster transparency within the state and public life.

    "We are overcoming the obstacles and staying focused on our goal, which is to instill and constantly protect the public's sense of confidence in Justice," he said.

    He said the justice system and the effort to ensure speed, efficiency and quality in the administration of justice was a central goal in government policy.

    NDspokesman criticizes PM's Igoumenitsa statements, gov't spokesman replies:Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Friday criticized statements by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the town of Igoumenitsa, northern Greece, saying ''Mr. Simitis is insulting the intelligence of citizens by claiming arrogantly that only he knows how to govern.''

    According to Roussopoulos, the prime minister with his stance ''apart from exposing himself, does not convince anyone with his old-party populism as well.''

    The ND spokesman further said citizens ''are not trapped by his extortionate dilemmas and irresponsible talk of dangers and they are not misled by election promises made thousands of times and which, during the eight years of his tenure as prime minister, he should have implemented but did not.''

    Replying to Roussopoulos, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said the ND spokesman's ''abuse'' against the prime minister ''prove both ND's panic and the low level of ethics in the election campaign it is planning.''

    In turn, Roussopoulos replied ''Mr. Protopapas' statement renders it obvious that the Simitis government has chosen in advance to raise the tones of confrontation and draw new dividing lines. We shall not follow it. We shall leave it alone to yesterday.''

    [02] FM attends memorial service for Sweden's Anna Lindh

    STOCKHOLM 20/9/2003 (ANA - F. Karaviti)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday bade his last farewell to slain Swedish colleague and personal friend Anna Lindh bearing an olive branch to symbolize peace and democracy - values that he said Lindh had personified in life through her example.

    Papandreou was among the many world leaders and foreign ministers who flocked to Stockholm City Hall on Friday to honor the memory of Sweden's murdered foreign minister, who was stabbed by a knife-wielding assailant in downtown Stockholm on September 10 while shopping without bodyguards and died of her wounds the next day.

    In a moving funeral oration during which he recalled many personal moments with Lindh, Papandreou said she had fundamentally understood the meaning of democratic values, from which she had never strayed and always upheld.

    ''The cynic may say she was naive in the courage of her convictions; she was naive to trust. I say she was brave enough to trust. That she led by her example - to the last moment in her life. However we may answer to the pain we feel today, we will truly honor her memory by never undermining the values of the open societies we have created,'' Papandreou said.

    He also recalled Lindh as a person who had represented her country's finest traditions of democracy and openness:

    ''We politicians don't seem to have the time to show our emotions. You were an exception. Your sunny smile expressed the warmth in your soul...Your common touch was a gift. You touched our hearts and our minds, you simply touched our conscience. Daring, being honest, remaining loyal to your beliefs, demanding transparency, demanding openness and always expressing this with passion.

    ''And Anna, in this you personified your country, Sweden.''

    The Greek minister stressed Lindh's struggle for Europe, noting that all of Europe was there to honor both her and Sweden, ''which has contributed so much to this democratic Europe we are building together. From the Baltics to the Balkans''.

    ''Dear Anna, you leave behind a wonderful husband Bosse, and two beautiful children David and Fillip. They can never bring back the magnificent woman, wife and mother called Anna. But I want to let you know that your European family is here. In full force. Your family now has a much wider family. It is Europe.''

    Among those who spoke at the memorial service were Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, European Commissioner for external affairs Chris Patten and Swedish Commissioner Margot Wallstrom.

    Also present at the service was Sweden's royal family, while Greece was represented by Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, Greek European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou and parliamentary deputy Cosmas Sfyriou for the PASOK party.

    Anna Lindh's funeral service, limited to an intimate family circle, will be held on Saturday.

    FM's statements after memorial :

    Immediately after the memorial service, Papandreou made the following statement to reporters:

    "I came to Stockholm to represent Greece, but also all Greeks that have come to love Sweden for its great contribution to democracy during difficult times for our country. We mourn today for the unfair loss of a friend, Anna Lindh, whom we all loved and believed in. Anna Lindh contributed worldwide, not just to her country or to Europe. She worked for peace and human rights and was a great friend of Greece. She contributed decisively to the expansion of the European Union and always supported our just cause with regard to Cyprus and Turkey.

    Above all, she was a very good friend, whom we have now lost".

    [03] Gov't denies 'angling for votes' via town planning bill

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Friday defended the draft bill regulating town planning issues announced the previous day by the government and denied that it was ''angling for votes'' through the measures.

    ''Those now protesting over our initiative to settle issues that concern the relief of simple people and the protection of public health should save their crocodile tears, since if we had not proceeded with this move they would now be accusing the government of lacking social sensitivity. Enough of this hypocrisy, we are instituting rules for transparency and efficiency with respect for people and their needs,'' Protopapas said.

    Replying to criticism that the measures were a pre-election vote-catching ruse, Protopapas said that the critics had not understood that the government was proposing a new and comprehensive system for issuing planning permission that was transparent and allowed effective control.

    Responding to questions, meanwhile, he said that municipalities retained the right to knock down unauthorized buildings, noting that Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis had promised to immediately release funds needed by local authorities for such demolitions.

    [04] Country not in pre-electoral period, gov't spokesman says

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    The government spokesman denied that the country was in a "pre-electoral period", adding that current prime minister and ruling PASOK party leader Costas Simitis would head PASOK's electoral effort for the next general elections.

    "We are not in a pre-electoral period," government spokesman Christos Protopapas said during a press briefing, in reply to a comment by a journalist that the prime minister's address earlier in the day in Igoumenitsa had a "pre-electoral tone".

    Protopapas said that the political climate reflected the "positive course" of PASOK, which was the result of "the political moves and initiatives of the government", adding that completion of those initiatives would create the conditions for a new electoral victory by PASOK in "the elections in the spring" of 2004.

    Questioned on a press report that Simitis would undertake a "European role", Protopapas said that Simitis would head PASOK's electoral effort, noting that this had been clarified by the prime minister himself during his recent press conference at the Thessaloniki International Fair.

    [05] ND's lead over PASOK in opinion polls decreasing, Costas Simitis preferred as PM

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party is maintaining its lead over ruling PASOK by about seven percentage points, according to opinion polls to be published in Athens dailies on Saturday, but the gap between the two parties is narrowing as election year draws near.

    According to reports, an opinion poll prepared by the Metron Analysis company to be published in the Athens daily ''Ethnos'' on Saturday gives ND 39.3 percent and PASOK 32.2, while on the question of which party the public believes will win the next election ND is leading PASOK by 54.5 percent to 31.6.

    The percentage of undecided voters amounts to 14.1 percent and according to the same poll Prime Minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis is considered more suitable for the premiership than ND leader Costas Karamanlis by 39 percent to 35.7.

    An opinion poll by the Opinion company to be published in Saturday's edition of the newspaper ''Eleftherotypia'' gives ND 38.1 percent and PASOK 30.6, while the prediction for the winning party gives ND 51 percent and the ruling party 32.5. The undecided vote amounts to 16.3 percent, while Simitis is preferred as prime minister by 43.3 percent against 40 for Karamanlis.

    According to other reports, yet another opinion poll by the Rush company to be published in the newspaper ''Kathimerini'' on Saturday gives ND 37.9 percent and PASOK 30.2.

    [06] Karamanlis leads ND delegation in Ukraine

    ODESSA 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis led a high-ranking party delegation during a visit here on Friday, as he begins a three-day tour of ethnic Greek communities in the southern Ukraine.

    A museum dedicated to the Filiki Etairia (Society of Friends), a secret organization of ethnic Greeks active in several parts of Europe and dedicated to throwing off dour Ottoman rule before the 1821 War of Independence, was the first stop on Karamanlis’ itinerary. The Filiki Etairia was founded in Odessa in 1814.

    The ND leader called the western Black Sea port city a historic site for Hellenism, as it kept alive the flame of independence for more than two centuries.

    “Today, as Europe expands, at a time when it is debating its first constitutional convention, it is very important for us Greeks to remember just who we are; and what obstacles we faced. I believe that Greece and Hellenism can, even more swiftly, find their way to the European Union’s vanguard.”

    The ND delegation also visited the mausoleum of Ecumenical Patriarch Grigorios V, who was hanged by the Ottoman Turks on April 10, 1821 at the onset of the Greek revolutionary struggle.

    [07] Chrysohoidis says Athens is now turning its attention to Cyprus issue

    NICOSIA 20/9/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    The Secretary of the Central Committee of Greece's PASOK ruling party, Michalis Chrysohoidis, assured the political leadership of Cyprus here on Friday that ''following the achievement of the great target of (Cyprus') accession to the European Union, the attention of Athens is now turning to the Cyprus issue itself.''

    Speaking at a press conference after concluding a visit to the island republic, Chrysohoidis stressed that he ascertained during his contacts a full identity of views on national issues with all the political parties ''which are characterized by maturity.''

    Referring to the Euroelections, Chrysohoidis said that PASOK will give a joint battle with the Social Democrats (EDEK), under the same common umbrella of the European Socialist Party. Replying to a relevant question, he termed as a possible development the intention of the Democratic Party (DHKO) to join the European socialists.

    The PASOK delegation concluded its visit and departed for Athens.

    [08] Large-scale 'Parmenion' military exercise ends on Friday

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    The large-scale military exercise codenamed ''Parmenion'' was completed successfully on Friday.

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, accompanied by National Defense General Staff Chief George Antonakopoulos, watched part of the exercise on Thursday night from on board the frigate ''Spetsai'', which was sailing in the central Aegean.

    The exercise's scenario included the recapturing of a rocky islet.

    The defense minister sent a wireless message of congratulations to all the participants in the exercise and praised the contribution of professional soldiers towards upgrading the armed forces' effectiveness.

    Fleet Chief Thomas Katopodis gave Papantoniou as a gift the Enfield rifle he had been provided with when he had served in the Greek Navy.

    The exercise, including 3,800 reservists, was completed on the island of Samos and in the Evros region in northern Greece. It cost 17 million euros compared to 20,341,000 euros in past years.

    [09] Greece lags behind in adopting EU internal market laws

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Greece continues to be in the list of European Union member-states lagging behind in harmonizing their national law to community directives promoting a single internal market, the European Commission said on Friday.

    The EU executive, in its latest report on national progress in promoting internal market in the EU, stressed that Greece recoded a deficit in adopting community law to a rate of 3.4 percent of total EU directives.

    Austria recorded the highest rate (4.4 percent), followed by Italy (4.2 percent), France (3.8 percent), Portugal (3.5 percent) and Ireland (3.4 percent).

    On the other hand, Denmark (0.8 percent) and Spain (1.3 percent) recorded the best performances and are the only member-states to achieve a target of maintaining a deficit in adopting EU law to an average rate of 1.5 percent. These two countries have harmonized at least 98.5 percent of EU internal market legislation into their national laws.

    A total of eight EU member-states (Austria, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Germany and Luxembourg) are recording a more-than-double average deficit in implementing community legislation. The 1.5 percent deficit target was agreed at the Stockholm EU Summit in March 2001 and was reaffirmed at the Barcelona Summit in 2002.

    EU state and government leaders also agreed in Barcelona a "zero tolerance" target, demanding that no community directive will be pending integration with national legislation two years after. Greece, Denmark, Portugal and Finland are the only countries to meet the deadline.

    [10] Petrol station owners renew threat of strike action

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's petrol-station owners on Friday announced they would begin strike actions from next week protesting against a decision by the country's finance ministry to back out from an agreement reached on September 9 over the use of electronic cash registers by petrol-stations.

    The federation of petrol station owners, in an extraordinary meeting, authorized its member-unions to declare a strike action next week.

    Petrol station owners already have called off a strike action 10 days ago following agreement with the government.

    Gas station owners agreed to install electronic cash registers at the pumps compatible with tax department regulations; and a price ceiling will be set in two weeks on liquid fuel in Corfu, Crete, the Dodecanese islands, Arta, Ioannina and the Cyclades islands.

    [11] Price ceiling for fuel to take effect on islands

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    A government-ordained price ceiling on fuel will go into force in the near future in nine prefectures, including four on the island of Crete, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Friday.

    The ceiling will lie one cent above average prices in Attica to cover transport costs, and will last for a month, the minister told a news conference on Crete.

    The move takes effect when the government decision is published in the government gazette, he added.

    [12] Greek stocks end week 2.08 percent lower

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    The expiring of September contracts in the Athens Derivatives Exchange offered some respite to share prices in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, with buying activity intensifying steadily during the last hour of trading in the market.

    The general index ended 0.88 percent higher at 2,039.38 points, off the day's highs of 2,045.79 points, after changing directions eight times during the session. The index ended the week with a net loss of 2.08 percent.

    Turnover was an improved 148.1 million euros. The Investment index was the only one to end lower (-0.37 percent), while the Holding (4.91 percent), Publication (4.33 percent) and Construction (3.49 percent) indices scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.41 percent, while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 indices soared 3.08 percent and 3.29 percent, respectively.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 284 to 62 with another 20 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover

    at 174.8 mln euros Friday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.41% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +3.08 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (6,627)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 174.8 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers

    match sellers on Friday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.29 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 12 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (630 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.1 bln euros

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of September 19 2003

    Parities in euro

    Banknotes

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,140 1,114

    [13] ATHOC to hire around 6,000 unemployed people

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Around 6,000 unemployed people, between 18-40, will be offered temporary contracts ranging from three to 11 months for positions within the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC), according to a plan unveiled on Friday by ATHOC and the labor ministry.

    Under the plan, presented by Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas, ATHOC president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and Man-power Employment Organization (OAED) governor Yiannis Nikolaou, ATHOC will hire 5,785 university, high school and technical school graduates that are currently registered as unemployed.

    The program aims to ensure that ATHOC fields the necessary -- both in numbers and skills -- staff during the Games.

    Angelopoulos told reporters that Athens organizers' staff now total 1,800 people and that the Games would require around 6,000 people.

    On his part, the Minister Reppas said the program was included in EU co-financed projects and budgeted at more than 17 million euros. He said college graduates will be paid around 1,310 euros per month, while high school and technical school graduates will be paid around 1,000 euros per month.

    [14] ND reaction

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    In a sharply worded reaction, main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Fani Palli-Petralia said the program was merely a ''pre-election trade of hope with an Olympic backdrop''.

    Palli-Petralia, who oversees the Olympic Games sector for the main opposition party, charged that the government has reneged on promises to keep the 2004 Games out of its campaign strategy.

    [15] ATHOC head briefs KKE party leader on Olympic preparations

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Athens Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) head Gianna Angelopoulos on Friday visited Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga to brief her on the progress of preparations for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

    After the meeting, Papariga said the party was concerned over the high cost of the Games, saying it had greatly overrun the budget, and whether the legitimate security needs of the Games might be used as a pretext to install a police and military system of intervention and surveillance that would later act against the freedoms of the Greek people.

    "Unfortunately, life has shown that great events are often crossed with political choices and directions and used in order to painlessly pass bad political choices," she said.

    Both the security aspect and the finances of the Games are issues handled by the Greek government rather than ATHOC.

    [16] Conference on Olympic truce in Athens; message from Arafat

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    A conference on ways to promote and permanently establish the institution of an Olympic Truce during the Olympic Games was held in Athens on Friday, organized by General Secretariat for Sports, the Greek Olympic Champions Association, the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (TEDKNA) and the 'Amfiktyonia' Network.

    Among the speakers were Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, the mayor of Ancient Olympia and former minister Yiannis Skoularikis and others, while a message was read out from Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

    In the message, Arafat expressed support for a worldwide truce during the Olympic Games in Athens, while condemning the actions of the Israeli government in Palestinian territories and its decision to expel Arafat.

    ''Based on our belief that violence is not the solution, we will insist on the choice of peace, because it is the right choice for both the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples,'' the message concluded.

    [17] UNICEF: Greece among developed countries with lowest child mistreatment rates

    NEW YORK 20/9/2003 (ANA - P. Panayotou)

    Greece was listed among the developed countries with the lowest percentages of violence against children, according to a study released by UNICEF's Innocenti Research Center carried out in the 27 OECD states.

    According to the results of the report, released in New York by UN spokesman Fred Eckhart, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Norway had the lowest rate of adult maltreatment of children under 15 years of age.

    The rates were nearly quadruple for Belgium, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Hungary and France.

    The highest number of child deaths as a result of violence and neglect were recorded in Mexico and the US, closely followed by Portugal

    The report said an average of 3,500 children die from abuse every year in the 27 countries -- who include all 15 members of the European Union and some due to join next year, as well as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    While in Spain one in a million children met this fate and in Greece two in a million, in France, Poland and the Netherlands it was five in a million. However, in the United States and Mexico the figure was 22 in a million.

    [18] N17 court hears attorneys for Bakoyiannis, Turkish diplomats

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    The ongoing trial of 19 suspected ''November 17'' terrorists continued on Friday with the arguments of attorneys representing civil suits in the case of slain MP Pavlos Bakoyiannis, Turkish diplomats Omer Haluk Sipahioglou and Deniz Bulukbasi and former National Bank governor Mihalis Vranopoulos.

    First to address the court was attorney Olga Tsolka for the Bakoyiannis case, while among those in the courtroom was the daughter of the murdered MP Alexia.

    Tsolka argued that the defendant Iraklis Kostaris was among those who shot Bakoyiannis on September 26, 1989, noting that he appears to have received large sums as a ''bonus'' in the organization’s records.

    ''These were quadruple the amount received by Thomas Serifis and Kostas Karatsolis. His reward was in accordance with his activity,'' she asserted.

    She said the defendants had employed tricks to confuse eye-witnesses to the murder in the courtroom, since when they were called to identify the person they had seen, Kostas Karatsolis had risen instead.

    She also stressed that Alexandros Giotopoulos had been proved to be the leader of the organization beyond all doubt and that despite denying his involvement, he could not bring himself to actually condemn the group's actions.

    The second attorney for the Bakoyiannis family, Panagiotis Vasilakopoulos, called the murder of the unarmed and unprotected MP the ''height of cowardice'' but asked the court that to show leniency to repentant members of the group, in accordance with the law.

    Next to address the court was the attorney Aris Tzanetis, representing the murdered diplomats and Vranopoulos.

    He expressed conviction that Giotopoulos had decided all N17 hits, and called him an ''immoral leader'' that manipulated the fixations of his followers to take human lives and further his own goals.

    He said the court should convict those cited for these crimes in the indictment but asked that Dimitris Koufodinas in addition to Giotopoulos be charged as moral instigator of the Sipahioglou murder.

    [19] Parliament president inaugurates conference on 'Mass Media and Culture'

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis inaugurated the 3rd conference on ''Mass Media and Culture'' on Friday night, stressing that ''unfortunately, the television scene is barbaric today.''

    Kaklamanis said ''I do not want to refer to examples. Whoever is living in our society is aware of them, in any case. However, I want to stress that the problem of the continuing downgrading of the quality of the mass media is exclusively a political problem.''

    The main speakers on Friday were main opposition New Democracy party Parliamentary representative Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Communist Party of Greece Deputy George Hourmouziadis, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Nikos Constantopoulos and Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) party leader Dimitris Tsovolas.

    The conference is due to last until Sunday.

    [20] Two miners killed when mine shaft collapses in region of Amfissa

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Two miners were killed on Friday evening when a section of a mine they were working in collapsed and buried them in the region of Amfissa, central Greece.

    The two miners killed were identified as Efstathios Papas, 34, and Spyros Delios, 48.

    Colleagues of the unfortunate miners, who had been employed for years at the Varytini silver ore mine, rushed to the scene and managed to free Papas who, however, was already dead.

    Firemen and police who also arrived at the scene pulled out Delios who was also dead.

    No other miner was reported injured as the two fatalities were working together as a pair at the scene of the accident.

    [21] Athens journalists denounce persecution of 'AFRIKA' newspaper

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    The Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) in an announcement on Friday condemned the new wave of persecutions against journalists of the Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper ''AFRIKA''.

    As has been disclosed, more than 100 charges have been brought against 15 journalists of the newspaper which opposes the occupational regime in the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.

    The journalists in question have been charged with ''insulting the command of the Turkish security forces and Turkish Cypriot community leader Rauf Denktash'' by publishing articles which supposedly ''make the people lose its love for the army.''

    [22] Euro-court overturns appointment of EU institution's secretary-gen.

    BRUSSELS 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    A European Court of Justice has for the first time ever rescinded the appointment of a European Union department’s secretary- general, with the Court throwing out the appointment of Vincenzo Falcone as the top civil servant of the “the Committee of the Regions”.

    The Court reportedly found that his appointment was plagued by “suffered from severe irregularities”.

    Founded in 1994, the committee is the Union’s youngest institution. The decision marked the first time that a challenge to such a senior EU appointment has been successful.

    The challenge was filed by Greek citizen Spyros Pappas, a former secretary-general of the European Commission.

    [23] Carlos Fuentes in Athens

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Renowned Mexican novelist, playwright, essayist and short-story writer Carlos Fuentes was a guest speaker at an event Thursday night in the "Book Stoa" in central Athens.

    The legendary author of "The Old Gringo", "The Death of Artemio Cruz" and "The Years with Laura Diaz" told a packed audience that "in order to progress, we must accept the multi-culture reality and not be afraid of difference and variety but, conversely, cultivate it".

    [24] University scholarships for 14 Bulgarian students awarded

    SOFIA 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Greece’s ambassador here on Friday presented full scholarships to 14 Bulgarian teens for their study in Greek universities.

    “I am certain you will have an excellent education in Greece,” ambassador Prokopios Mantzouranis said during a brief ceremony here.

    Among the recipients is the first foreign female cadet expected to study at the Hellenic Air Force’s technical academy.

    [25] Trial for Faran factory collapse postponed until Feb. 4

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    The trial hearing for the collapse of the Faran factory building in a devastating 1999 earthquake in Athens was postponed until February 4, 2004 on Friday, due to health problems faced by one of the main defendants.

    Eight people were killed during the factory's collapse, for which five people now face charges.

    A court-appointed coroner said that the 86-year-old board chairman and founder of the pharmaceutical company, Dimitris Katsikas, could not be moved from hospital, where he was admitted two days ago suffering from acute abdominal bleeding.

    [26] Greece ready to build F-1 circuit, minister says

    Athens 20/9/2003 (ANA)

    Greece is one step closer to building a Formula One circuit, Development Deputy Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos said on Friday.

    Mr Georgakopoulos, speaking in parliament, said that a presidential decree envisaging the standards of the circuit was almost ready and stressed that the government already has passed a law under which all circuit installations could be characterized as tourist infrastructure and enjoy increased state subsidies.

    "Today, we can build a Formula One circuit in Greece," the Greek minister said. He was responding to a proposal by ND opposition party's parliamentary speaker, Mr Prokopis Pavlopoulos, to promote speed car races in the country citing the example of Turkey (the neighboring country hopes to host the first Formula One race in four years).

    Mr Georgakopoulos also defended the government's policy in promoting Greek tourism abroad and said that tourism authorities were seeking to promote forest village tourism in the country, to facilitate visa issuing for Russian tourists visiting Greece and to develop golf courses around the country in cooperation with French company AFIP.

    [27] Cyprus government wants complete demining of buffer zone

    NICOSIA 20/9/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government wants to clear all the landmines in the buffer zone with the cooperation of the UN, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here on Friday.

    Commenting on a statement made by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash about the demining of the buffer zone, the spokesman noted that when Denktash refers to the subject he sets his own rules and conditions aiming to achieve recognition of his illegal regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    In a meeting with Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Chief of Mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz, Denktash had expressed his readiness for the demining of the buffer zone, the Turkish Cypriot press reported here Friday.

    At the same time, the spokesman reiterated the government's opposition to the arrival of independent observers to monitor December's illegal elections in the Turkish occupied areas.

    Asked to comment on reports that a number of Ambassadors discussed the issue with Turkish Cypriot parties, Chrysostomides made it clear that the government will not endorse such a development.

    ''The government has the responsibility to preserve the state's entity. It will not consent to the arrival of observers to monitor the poll in occupied Cyprus,'' he said.

    The Turkish Cypriots declared a UDI (unilateral declaration of independence) in the areas of Cyprus occupied by the Turkish army since 1974 but no state, except Turkey, recognizes this illegal regime.

    The UN has described the UDI ''legally invalid'' and called on all states not to facilitate it in any way or recognize any other state in Cyprus except the Republic of Cyprus.

    The government considers the ''parliamentary elections'' in the north illegal and any observer mission that is asked to monitor them could be interpreted as offering support to Denktash's regime.

    [28] Special House session adopts EU harmonization laws and regulations

    NICOSIA 20/9/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus House of Representatives, in an extraordinary session, adopted here Friday forty laws and another forty regulations within the framework of the island's harmonization with the acquis communautaire.

    General Secretary of the Environmentalist - Ecologists Movement, George Perdikis abstained from the voting, expressing environmental concerns over the harmonization laws.

    EU Harmonisation Coordinator Takis Hadjidemetriou who was present at the plenary session expressed his satisfaction and congratulated the deputies.

    ''I would like to express my warmest congratulations to the House of Representatives for the hard work required to present today a significant number of bills and regulations and adopt them almost unanimously,'' Hadjidemetriou said.

    He paid special tribute to the efforts made by the House European Affairs and Environment committees in advancing the bills dealing with harmonization.

    The passing of all these laws and regulations, Hadjidemetriou said, "was very significant because they are linked to the implementation of the acquis communautaire and the progress report which Cyprus will submit to the European Union that will draft the final report on the island's progress towards harmonization."

    The EU Harmonisation Coordinator travels to Brussels on Wednesday, heading a delegation to brief European Commission officials for Cyprus overall harmonization progress.


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