|Saturday, 20 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September,27 2003
 Papandreou stresses need for upgrading, strengthening UN's role in world
NEW YORK 27/09/2003 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)Foreign Minister George Papandreou, addressing the UN General Assembly on Friday, stressed the need of upgrading and strengthening the role of the UN, which must have the ''leading role'' in shaping global developments, security and peace issues.
Papandreou referred to the statement by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for the need to create new institutional frameworks for a more effective functioning and mission of the international organization’s bodies.
''The legitimacy of the United Nations is at the heart of this debate. If we are to convince the more powerful in this world that unilateralism does not pay, we need to show that multilateralism is effective. We need to prove that organizations such as ours can deal effectively with threats to our peace and security,'' the foreign minister said.
''We fully endorse the Secretary General's proposal for the reform of the United Nations...The role of the Security Council is paramount, and its composition must be more representative in order to ensure full trust in its authority and legitimacy...The UN can become central in safeguarding humankind's security, peace and prosperity,'' he added.
The foreign minister spoke of the prospect of Iraq's reconstruction and presented the positions of Greece and the European Union regarding the ''responsibility and work'' the UN must have.
"It is only possible to bring lasting peace in Iraq, if we all work together," Papandreou underlined.
He mentioned the efforts of Greece and Turkey to create a ''new era'' in relations between the two neighboring countries and referred specifically to the latest agreement on the removal of landmines.
On the question of Cyprus, Papandreou reminded that ''the island is divided due to the Turkish invasion and occupation of 1974'' and underlined the fact that Greece supports the secretary general's efforts for a solution based on the resolutions of the UN and the principles of the European Union.
Papandreou said a solution ''is possible'' by May 1, when Cyprus will become a full member of the EU.
''Over the years, Greece actively supported the efforts of the Secretary General for a comprehensive settlement, in conformity with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the principles on which the EU is founded (acquis communautaire). These resolutions must be implemented. We will not give up hope until all Cypriots can live together in harmony and security, in a federal state with a single citizenship, without foreign troops in its territory. On May 1, 2004, Cyprus will fulfill its major ambition of becoming a full member of the EU. We hold out the hope that the Turkish Cypriot population will also enjoy the security and prosperity that the EU accession will bring. It is possible,'' Papandreou noted.
During his address, Papandreou also referred to the problems of the Middle East and of terrorism and concluded by focusing on the resolution on the Olympic Truce on the occasion of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
 FM Papandreou included in EV50 as one of Europe's top diplomats
BRUSSELS 27/09/03 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou this week was voted as one of 50 Europeans who most influenced the continent’s agenda over the past year, as he was included in the third annual “EV50” list published by the “European Voice” weekly here.
A 10-member panel, which included three former European prime ministers (Wilfred Martens, Carl Bildt and Mart Laar), selected Papandreou as one of five individuals for its “Diplomat of the Year” honors. Javier Solana, Guenter Burghardt, Miguel Angel Moratinos and Hans Blix were also honored in the same category.
The “European Voice” is also giving the public the opportunity this year to select the top European Commissioner, Diplomat, Statesman, Visionary etc. – 10 categories in all -- with voting done either online www.ev50.com or through a ballot from printed by the Economist Group-owed and Brussels-based European Voice.
European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros, who formerly headed up the same post in Greece, was also one of the 10 panel members.
 Alternate FM expresses optimism for Greece's election to UN Security Council
NEW YORK 27/09/2003 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis on Friday expressed his optimism over the prospects of Greece's election to one of the non-permanent positions to the United Nations' Security Council.
Following contacts at the sidelines of the 58th UN General Assembly, the minister, speaking to the ANA, said that ''the climate for our country is positive and in all contacts I realized that there is respect and recognition for Greece's role in the Balkans, in Europe and in its general efforts toward international security and peace''.
Greece and Denmark were nominated on the part of Europe, for a non-permanent position on the board of the Security Council. Yiannitsis underlined that Greece secured at least 100 votes.
According to the minister, Iraq, the role of the UN and the crisis in the Middle East dominated the discussions of the General Assembly.
''The issue of Iraq is the main case that is on the minds of the members of the United Nations. The question is, how can there be convergence in the way the problem is handled between the US and some of the basic members of the Security Council, as well as the non-permanent members.'' Yiannitsis said.
''Everyone recognizes, even those that were pro-war, that developments in Iraq are not those they had hopped for. In any case it does not seem that there is an easy solution and the efforts for the approval of a new resolution by the Security Council is expected to take a long time,'' he added.
As for the role of the UN, the minister underlined that ''it became apparent that there is concern over the course of the UN, on how it will be able to reform, so as to play a more effective role''.
Concluding, Yiannitsis stressed his concern regarding the findings of the special meeting on AIDS, noting that ''the AIDS problem has taken huge proportions and its confrontation is not only a matter of finances. It is serious social, economic and political issue''.
 PASOK secretary says party making efforts for implementation of ME road map
Athens 27/09/2003(ANA)Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Athens Abdallah Abdallah held talks on Friday with ruling PASOK party secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis, who said PASOK was making special efforts for the implementation of the road map in the Middle East, as well as for peace and the prevalence of stability and peaceful coexistence between peoples in the region of the Middle East.
Chrysohoidis also said the government, through international organizations and the European Union, supports the implementation of the road map which ''must constitute an object for negotiating in the near future to enable the peoples in the region to live in peace.''
The Palestinian ambassador outlined the situation currently prevailing in Palestinian territory and said PASOK, in the framework of the European Socialist Party and the Socialist International, has the ability to play an important role in the promotion of the road map's implementation and the activation of the apparatus for the sending of observers so that both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, can comply with the map's conditions.
Abdallah said ''we are at a very crucial moment'', adding that the government of Israel ''with its irrational policies, and which has been condemned worldwide, might take drastic steps and for this reason we must take preventive measures for the benefit of both, the Palestinians as well as the Israelis.''
 ND leader to make tour of Evros prefecture over weekend
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis will be making a tour of the border prefecture of Evros over the weekend.
Karamanlis will arrive at Dimokritos airport in Alexandroupoli on Saturday afternoon and his first stop will be the 16th mechanized infantry division at Didimotiho where he will be briefed on the activities of units.
At 7 p.m. he will be addressing an event organized by his party in a square in the town of Orestiada.
On Sunday morning the ND leader will visit the Evros prefect and afterwards he will attend a meeting of local social partner representatives at the Chamber of Commerce in Alexandroupoli.
Karamanlis' tour of the prefecture will end at noon on Sunday with a visit to the Metropolitan of Alexandroupoli Anthimos.
 New bill will enhance protection of forests, agriculture minister reiterates
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Providing further clarifications about a planned government bill on the protection of forests, Agriculture Minister George Drys on Friday reiterated that the new measures would not declassify forests but enhance the level of protection afforded to them under the law.
He also noted that the bill, the details of which will be unveiled next week, was absolutely aligned with the new Constitution.
Speaking at a press conference in Thessaloniki, Drys said the new bill would put an end to problems caused by unclear points in the law that usually worked against the interests of the State.
He said the bill would complement the new Constitution by specifying the ''necessary size'' of areas to be classified as forest, based on the recommendations of expert scientists.
''The Constitution states that for an area to be forest or forested it must have the necessary surface area,'' Drys said.
According to scientists, the minimum surface area needed to define land as forest was 0.3 hectares, he added.
 Opposition parties see cover-up in 'Express Samina' shipwreck case
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)In an announcement marking the 3rd anniversary since the sinking of the passenger ferry "Express Samina" - in which 80 people lost their lives - the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said the government had failed to fulfill its promise to bring those responsible to justice.
On the contrary, an attempt was underway to cover up responsibility for this crime, the party claimed.
Complaints of "systematic efforts to cover up the causes and the guilty in this huge crime" were also made by the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party, which said that responsibility for the shipwreck was shared by the government and ship owners.
 Greek economy to grow slightly faster in 2003, gov’t says
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday met with Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis to discuss a draft budget plan for 2004, ahead of a cabinet discussion on the issue next week.
The meeting was also attended by professor Gkikas Hardouvelis, director of the Prime Minister's economic team.
Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Mr Christodoulakis said that the meeting reaffirmed that this year's economic growth rate would be slightly higher from an initial target, 3.8 percent, "a development showing that Greek economy performed better than early forecasts despite international pressures early in the year."
The Greek minister stressed that high economic growth rates would be maintained next year, around 4.0 percent.
Mr Christodoulakis said that the meeting also discussed progress of a structural reform program. He said that the government was expecting bids from a candidate strategic partner for the state-owned Public Gas Enterprise on Monday and stressed that the government would soon proceed with a new flotation of Public Power Corporation, the privatization of Tourist Real Estate and a full privatization of Athens Water Company.
Meanwhile, official figures from the finance ministry on Friday showed that borrowing by public enterprises so far this year totalled 2.075 billion euros, compared with an annual target of 2.744 billion euros, of which 1.110 billion were enjoying the guarantee of the Greek state.
 Credit expansion accelerates in July, central bank report
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Credit expansion to businesses and households accelerated in July with the growth rate rising to 18.5 percent, up from 18.0 percent in the previous months, the Bank of Greece said on Friday.
Lending to households, mortgage and consumer loans, slowed slightly in July but continued growing with high rates (28.6 percent). Bankers said that if the current rate was maintained until the end of the year, Greek households' debt would exceed 25 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, up from 22.4 percent in 2002.
Mortgage loans, totalling 24.3 billion euros, grew with an annual rate of 29.4 percent in July, while consumer loans totalled 10.87 billion euros, recording an annual growth rate of more than 22.0 percent.
Credit card lending accounted for 52.6 percent of total consumer lending in July, the central bank said in its monthly report.
The Bank of Greece said that savings deposits rose 9.6 percent in July from the same month last year, while time deposits rose a spectacular 25.8 percent over the same period.
 Greek trade deficit up 22.7 pct in 1st half
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)The Greek trade deficit rose 22.7 percent in the first six months of 2003 to 11.295 billion euros, from 9.208 billion euros in the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
NSS, in its provisional report on the country's trade balance, said that excluding imports of fuel, the trade deficit rose by 1.414 billion euros in the January-June period, up 18.6 percent from the corresponding period in 2002.
Imports-arrivals totalled 17.169 billion euros in the first half of the year, up 16 percent from last year (14.797 billion euros), while exports-deliveries rose 5.1 percent to 5.873 billion euros from 5.586 billion euros.
The figures cover only merchandise trade and exclude trade in services.
 Greece urges closer tourism cooperation in Black Sea region
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Greek Development Deputy Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos urged for multilateral state actions and joint initiatives for the development of tourism.
Addressing a meeting of Black Sea Economic Cooperation's member-states in Baku, Azerbaijan, Mr Georgakopoulos stressed that Greece was ready to contribute immediately to this effort with a series of initiatives, such as joint presentation at the Thessaloniki International Tourism Fair to be held October 30-November 2, a meeting of an experts' commission on tourism in Thessaloniki and expanding cooperation with the European Union.
The Greek minister urged all Black Sea bloc members to sign an "Olympic Truce" initiative and to adopt actions that would expand cooperation in economic and social levels in the region.
The meeting included delegations from Russia, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Albania, Croatia and Azerbaijan.
 Eurodrip in preliminary deal with Ethiopian firm
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Athens-quoted Eurodrip SA said on Friday that it had made a preliminary agreement with Ethio Agri-CEFT Plc of Ethiopia through a subsidiary of the Greek firm, National Drip.
A final agreement would lead to design, supply and construction of a flower production farm in Ethipia, 45 kilometres from the African country's capital, Addis Ababa, Eurodrip said in a statement.
 Communications experts chosen for Greek bid to host Expo 2008
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Consortiums Comm Group-Exandas and Clever Bank SA have been chosen to handle communications in Thessaloniki's bid to host the international Expo 2008 trade fair, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Haris Kastanidis said on Friday. The project will be equally divided between the two groups, Kastanidis told reporters. Senior officials of the Bureau of International Exhibitions are currently visiting the northern port city in connection with its bid.
 Greek economic weekly review
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks remained under pressure for one more week with the general index losing 13.5 percent from its 2003-high of 2,310 points recorded in the last days of August.
The index is 70 percent down from its all-time highs of 6,400 points recorded in September 1999.
In other headline news this week:
Bank lending to Greek households grew 28.6 percent in July, a rate slightly slower compared with the same month last year. However, bankers stressed that if the current growth rate was maintained by the end of the year, Greek households' debt would exceed 25 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, up from 22.4 percent last year. Official figures, released by the Bank of Greece, showed that consumer loans grew more than 22 percent in July, while credit card borrowing accounted for 52.6 percent of total consumer loans. Savings deposits rose by 9.6 percent in July from the same month last year, and time deposits soared 25.8 percent over the same period.
Greece's trade deficit jumped 22.7 percent in the first half of 2003 compared with last year to 11.295 billion euros from 9.209 billion euros in 2002.
Hellas Jet, a new airline company of Greek-Cypriot interests, was officially launched this week. The new company will begin daily scheduled flights from Athens to London, Paris, Brussels and Zurich, using Airbus A320-232 aircrafts. Cyprus Airways (49 percent), Omega Bank (26 percent) and European Capital Investments BV (25 percent) - a subsidiary of Alpha Bank, are the company's shareholders.
National Bank of Greece announced a deal to buy 81.6 percent in Banca Romaneasca for an undisclosed sum. The Romanian bank operates a network of 25 branches around the country and has assets totalling 140 million euros. The Greek bank aims to raise its network to 40 branches.
Greece's National Tourism Organization president Yiannis Patellis said he expected a recovery in tourism next year because of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Mr Patellis said that the tourism sector employs around 300,000 people directly and another 200,000 indirectly. He said the sector could create another 200,000 jobs by 2010.
Greek listed companies raised 26.8 billion euros from the stock market in the period 1999-2002, Greece's Capital Markets' Commission said in a report. Initial public offerings totalled 9.37 billion euros, while another 17.43 billion euros were raised from the market. The report said that 33.3 percent of raised capital was invested, 36 percent was used in acquisitions, 16 percent as equity capital and 13 percent as debt reduction plans.
Shipping foreign exchange totalled 5.444 billion euros in the first seven months of the year, up from 5.034 billion euros in the same period in 2002, the Bank of Greece said.
 Greek stocks end week 1.86 pct down
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks ended the last trading session of the week sharply lower with the market testing the 2,000-point support level once again as investors seemed reluctant to open new positions in the market despite the fact that several shares were currently looking very attractive.
The general index ended 1.28 percent lower at 2,001.50 points, for a net loss of 1.86 percent. Trading was a moderate 109 million euros.
The Retail, IT Solution and Base Metal sectors were the only one to end in positive territory, while the Textile (3.42 percent), Publications (2.73 percent) and Construction (2.68 percent) sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.22 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 1.41 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.47 percent down.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 271 to 56 with another 38 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover
at 83.3 mln euros Friday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers
lag sellers on Friday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Day's Total Market Turnover: 3.4 bln euros
Closing rates of September 26 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,157 1,131
 IOC chief dismisses concerns that elections may affect Olympic preparations
LAUSANNE 27/09/2003 (ANA - D. Kalabakas)International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge on Friday responded directly to high-profile statements earlier this month by his subordinate Denis Oswald, particularly comments by the latter on possible repercussions to urgent Olympic preparations from a regularly scheduled general election in Greece next spring.
“Elections will not affect preparations for Olympic Games, nor will create any delay,” he said in a mini press conference with mostly Greek reporters.
Speaking a day after Athens organizers (ATHOC) briefed the IOC's executive committee here over the upcoming Games, Rogge also noted that preparations have been underway in and around Athens for seven years now, a period in which it would be impossible to not hold elections.
The specific statement by Oswald, who heads the IOC’s coordinating commission for the 2004 Games, was that a campaign and pre-election period in Greece would make “our work” more difficult in light of the Athens Games. The eyebrow-raising quip, part of an interview of Oswald published by the “Frankfurter Allgemeine” mass daily earlier this month, generated heated reaction and criticism by practically all of the east Mediterranean country's political forces.
Rogge emphasized that no repercussions were felt from elections in Australia before the holding of the 2000 Sydney Games, while adding:
“I will not condemn or criticize Denis Oswald. His interview in the German newspaper is history. I have full confidence in him,” the Belgian IOC chief stressed.
 Police baffled regarding motives of attack on Mazarakis
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Police on Friday said they were still baffled as to the motives of a hit against Greek businessman Nikos Mazarakis, 61, who was the victim of a near fatal attack outside his home in Anixi, Attica the previous night.
Mazarakis was shot in the neck at 21:10 on Thursday night by two men on a motorbike armed with a 7.65-calibre handgun, who immediately sped away.
He is now recovering at the 'Red Cross' hospital, where doctors say he is out of danger, while police are hoping that his testimony to investigating officers will shed light on the case.
Shortly after the hit last night, Mazarakis said the culprits might have intended to rob him but police have more or less ruled out this possibility and believe the attack was a settling of personal or professional differences.
They are also seriously considering the possibility that the two men were hired hit men.
Investigating officers are puzzled by the fact that the single shot against Mazarakis hit him in a potentially fatal spot that only sheer luck allowed him to survive.
They are considering two alternative theories about the attack: either that the shot was intended to kill and the attackers believed they had completed their mission when they saw him fall or possibly were unable to fire a second shot; or else that they had intended to simply intimidate Mazarakis but shot too high.
The family of the victim claim that he had no major differences nor received threats from anyone, though police sources said that Mazarakis had recently come into conflict with a competitor who had issued threats against him but that the dispute was later resolved.
Mazarakis is a ship-owner with a fleet of four to five small freighters, two of which are currently under repair.
 Last addresses by civil suit attorneys in N17 trial
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Friday's session of the ongoing ''November 17'' trial ended early as the last attorneys representing civil suits against the terror group presented their arguments in court.
Attorney Vassilis Heirdaris, representing a civil suit brought by the Marinopoulos Supermarket regarding a robbery in which one of its employees was brutalized, said the behavior of the defendants in the courtroom had been unacceptable and asked for their exemplary punishment.
Next to address the court was Mihalis Dimitrakopoulos regarding the bomb attack on the Pentelikon Hotel, who asked that Aggeliki Sotiropoulou be acquitted with respect to the specific act and expressed doubts as to whether she was part of the terrorist outfit.
On the alleged leader of the group, Alexandros Giotopoulos, the attorney argued that he was not the leader of the N17 in the strict sense of the word but had imposed his opinions on the other members through his ideological and theoretical superiority, acting as the moral instigator of their crimes.
The last attorney to address the court was Yiannis Yiannidis, representing civil suits for the murders of ND MP Pavlos Bakoyiannis, Turkish diplomats Deniz Bulukbasi, Cetin Giorgiu and Omer Sibahioglou and former Bank of Greece governor Mihalis Vranopoulos, as well as the attack against businessman Vardis Vardinoyiannis.
He noted that several questions about the reasons and conditions of the Bakoyiannis murder remained unanswered, 14 years after his death.
According to Yiannidis, there was an overwhelming body of evidence to Giotopoulos' guilt, including 32 references to his action by nine of his fellow defendants and 26 fingerprints on items found at the group's safe houses.
He also claimed that the group as expressed by its leader had been ''contradictory, false-speaking and hypocritical'' since it had used to the utmost every legal advantage afforded to it by the ''bourgeios state'' that it had sought to bring down for 27 years.
The court will reconvene on Monday to hear the final arguments of the lawyers for the defense.
 4th World Forum on e-democracy announces a changing world of politicsISSY-LESMOULINEAUX 27/09/2003, France (ANA)
Politics Online and the 4th World Forum on e-Democracy announced on Friday the results of its second world wide survey recognizing the top 25 individuals, organizations and companies that are having the greatest impact on the way the Internet is changing politics.
According to a press release issued by the organization Politics Online, ''in recent years, the Internet and burgeoning information technologies have inexorably altered our body politic, fundamentally changing the way we do democracy''.
''The 4th Annual Worldwide Forum on Electronic Democracy, Politics Online recognized the best of the best -- the innovators and pioneers who blaze the e-political trails. Politics Online asked it's 30,000 readers and subscribers to name the people, organizations and companies that are changing the world of Internet and politics,'' the press release added.
From these nominations, 25 world changers and five rising stars were selected.
''From the beginning, politics has been about two things - ideas and the people that make these ideas realities,'' said Politics Online President Phil Noble, a guest speaker at the annual Worldwide Forum on Electronic Democracy.
''With this announcement, we honor the most innovative ideas and the most influential individuals. With so many people doing so much in this field, narrowing the list down to so few proved a more difficult task than we ever could have imagined - we thank everyone that submitted nominations, and we congratulate all those that were nominated'', said Mayor Andre Santini founder of the Forum.
''As with any list of the best, debate is sure to follow. We certainly hope it will, and that the ongoing conversation about the Internet and politics is carried further.'' Noble, Politics Online and other Politics Online affiliates were not eligible for recognition.
''Papandreou (www.iap.gr) one of the 25 selected individuals is the net savvy Foreign Minister of Greece and has been one of the strongest advocates of multi-national e-democracy having pushed e-democracy at the UN, EU and in other international governmental organizations. He and his Foundations have sponsored the Online Global Poll for the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and the e-Vote project of the Greek Presidency of the EU,'' the announcement added.
 French researcher says scientists on last stretch to creating AIDS vaccine
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)French researcher Luc Montagner said at the opening of a conference on the AIDS disease in the Aegean island of Rhodes on Friday, scientists have reached the last stretch in preparing the fist vaccine against the development and transmission of the deadly AIDS virus. He was the first to discover the virus 20 years ago.
Montagner said the medication exists and is already being tried on people affected in Africa and other countries. He added that tests must begin soon in developing countries as well, since at least five years are required to enable scientists to create the vaccine's final content and, primarily, therapies to take place at the same time to enable the virus to be placed under full control.
The researcher noted that the target of scientists is to create immunity against the virus, while what is also important are frequent checks all must do as well as a suitable diet.
 Gusinskiy reports break-in at his hotel room in Athens
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Wanted Russian multimillionaire Vladimir Gusinskiy, who is currently in Athens awaiting a decision from the Greek appeals council regarding a request for his extradition to Russia, on Friday reported a break-in at his hotel room in the Intercontinental Hotel.
Gusinskiy has been accused by Russian authorities of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds.
He said that unknown perpetrators had broken into his suite at the hotel and stolen 3,500 euros and a watch from the suite safe.
 Firebomb attacks on National Bank branch, McDonald's in Thessaloniki
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Unknown persons threw firebombs against a bank and a McDonald's fast food restaurant in Thessaloniki early Friday, but no group immediately claimed the attacks.
Thessaloniki police said one firebomb was thrown at a National Bank branch in the city centre and two more were thrown at a nearby McDonald's.
Minor damage but no injuries were reported.
 Rhodes mayor elected Int'l Cultural Heritage Organization president
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Mayor of Rhodes George Yiannopoulos on Friday was elected president of the Cities of International Cultural Heritage Organization board.
The 16 member board had to choose between the mayor of Rhodes and the mayor of Puebla Mexico. The board, which has a three-year mandate, is composed of the mayors of Rhodes, Puebla (Mexico), Bergen (Norway), Cordoba (Spain) Kazan (Russia) and Sus, (Tunisia).
The conference of the organization was attended by 622 persons from 168 cities, while an additional 300 observers were present in the meetings that focused on issues of protection and promotion of historic cities around the world.
 Three Rhodes doctors convicted for responsibility in death of British tourist
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Three hospital doctors on the holiday island of Rhodes were handed down a three-year jail sentence on Friday after being found responsible for the death of 23-year-old British tourist Christopher Rochester on June 11, 2000.
The convicted doctors Sergios Pavlidis, George Karavolias and Mihalis Sokorelos appealed the conviction and were released.
Paramedics Stergos Koukias and Despina Kazaki, who were also defendants in the case, were acquitted.
Rochester had been taken to hospital at 03:45 on June 11 after falling off a balcony at the hotel he was staying and being seriously injured. The tourist, who had been allegedly drunk, died three hours later.
The court's prosecutor had proposed the acquittal of all the defendants due to the lack of conclusive evidence.
The verdict met with mixed feelings in the courtroom. Relatives and friends of the deceased appeared satisfied by the outcome of the trial, but the hospital doctors and their lawyers expressed their displeasure.
Immediately after the verdict was announced, the Rhodes Medical Society issued an announcement, expressing great surprise over the conviction of the three doctors and underlining that ''they will not accept to become the scapegoats of whatever expediency.''
The Medical Society will also convene a special general assembly on Saturday night to examine the issue.
The Rochester case received widespread publicity in Britain, while even Britain's Parliament had examined the issue.
 Ten Greek movies to be screened in Diyarbakir, Turkey
ISTANBUL 27/09/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ten of the most well known and popular Greek movies will be screened in Diyarbakir, Turkey, as part of the "Days of Greek Cinema" festival organized in this eastern Turkish province by the city's Art Center, with the cooperation of the Greek Cinema Center.
The screenings will begin Friday evening and will run through Thursday at the local Galeria theater.
Greek Ambassador to Turkey M. Christidis will participate in the opening night events. The showcasing of Greek movies in Turkey is part of the promotion of the Greek cultural identity and the cooperation of the two countries -Greece and Turkey - in the culture sector.
 Hard days ahead for Athens motorists due to roadworks
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)The Attica traffic department on Friday announced a series of measures to allow the completion of works on major arterial roads within the city, urging Athens motorists to show patience in the difficult two to three months that lie ahead.
Specifically, they said that the right-hand lane in the Athens-bound direction of the Athens-Corinth national highway will be closed to traffic from the 42nd to the 49th kilometer between the hours of 8:00 to 18:00 on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays, as of September 30 and until December 15.
From now until December 18, meanwhile, Kifissos Avenue will be down to one lane in both directions between 20:00 and 5:30 each night from Dyrrahios Road to Athinon Avenue so that traffic barriers can be installed.
Finally, works to construct the Aigaleo metro will reduce the lanes of traffic in Iera Odos from two to one in the Aigaleo direction for the next three months, at the junction with Emmanuel Papa.
 Slight earthquake jolts Psachna in Evoia
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)A slight earthquake measuring 4.7 points on the Richter scale occurred in Psachna, in the eastern prefecture of Evoia, at 21:54 on Friday, according to an announcement by the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki's Geophysics Laboratory. No damage was reported as a result of the tremor.
 PM inaugurates National Sports Centre for Youth
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday inaugurated the National Sports Centre for Youth at Agios Kosmas, during a ceremony where he referred to upcoming 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The premier expressed confidence that the Games would be flawlessly carried out.
''The Olympic Games are returning to the place where they were born and revived in 1896. These Games are a national affair. Through them we must promote Greece and show it can compete effectively in the modern world. I believe the country is safely proceeding toward success,'' Simitis said.
He also focused on the task before Greek athletes, noting that the public expected them to do their best.
Commenting on the Agios Kosmas training centre, Simitis described them as the ''heart of preparations for the Olympic Games'' and said they formed part of an overall design, along with those at Ellinikon.
He also stressed the recent successes by Greek athletes in team sports, noting that huge efforts were being made to prepare the Greek Olympics team as fully as possible for the next Olympics.
Simitis said that the country had striven to add a special note to these Games through such initiatives as the Olympic Truce or the Cultural Olympiad and stressed that everyone would have to work and actively contribute for the effort to succeed.
He noted, meanwhile, that the Games were not just an Athenian affair but brought benefits to the entire country through the ''Greece 2004'' program, which had led to over 2,000 projects for sports infrastructure throughout Greece.
''The Athens Olympics are the first Olympics in Europe in the 21st century and will benefit our country. All these projects will promote development, accelerate modernization and establish the Olympic Spirit. Through a successful Olympiad, Greece will radiate everywhere, to the entire world,'' the prime minister said.
Simitis was succeeded by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who said the government had invested roughly 30 million euros in the Agios Kosmas facilities, which was now the most important training centre for athletes preparing for the Games.
 Mostly sunny on Saturday
Athens 27/09/2003 (ANA)Most parts of the country will be sunny, with scattered cloud in the west, centre and north. Winds variable, light to strong. In the north, temperatures will range from 12C to 27C; and in the rest of the country from 14C to 29C. Temperatures in Athens between 18C and 28C; and in Thessaloniki from 15C to 26C.
 Grossman pledges US energetic support to Cyprus solution efforts
UNITED NATIONS 27/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)The US remains energetically and squarely involved in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman pledged here Friday after a meeting with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.
President Papadopoulos said there is a difference of views regarding whether or not observers should be sent to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus during the so-called ''parliamentary elections'' later this year.
The president also said there is the view that the ''elections'' will open up new prospects for a Cyprus settlement.
In his statements, Grossman said he told the president ''that the US is squarely and energetically for a solution to the Cyprus problem, a solution that is fair and good for all the parties.''
Furthermore, he said the US continues ''to be impressed with the efforts of the Secretary General, to be impressed with the plan of the Secretary General,'' adding that he had ''the chance to listen the President's observation, where he thinks we are going.''
Invited by CNA to say what the obstacle was in efforts to bring about a solution, Grossman said ''the obstacles are, people in all sides need to commit themselves in resolving this problem.''
He reiterated that the US ''continues to believe that the possibility for Turkey's entry to the EU is a positive thing'' and expressed certainty that ''the path Cyprus is in now for the EU is a positive thing.''
Grossman further stressed that ''we ought to use the time between now and during next year.''
President Papadopoulos said that during the meeting, the view that the so-called ''elections'' in the Turkish occupied areas, scheduled for December, would open up some prospects for progress to the Cyprus problem was repeated.
Regarding the issue of observers monitoring the ''elections'', President Papadopoulos said he explained the government's position that ''the usefulness (of observers) is based on whether they will have the right to check the electoral lists to see if there are any settlers registered and how many,'' adding that ''it is not a matter of dispute but of different views.''
Asked if the weight of efforts would shift from May 2004 to December 2004, when the decision for Turkey to be given a date to start accession negotiation will be taken, President Papadopoulos said he did not want to make predictions because ''our firm position is that we are ready for negotiations under the UN chief's aegis.''
''There is the Annan plan and without preconditions he can invite us for negotiations,'' the president added.
He further said the Americans ''understand our right to ask for changes and understand that the changes will be useful, making the Annan Plan more viable.''
President Papadopoulos said he believes ''there is a shift from the previous position, that the Annan Plan is sacred and intact as it stands, and that no changes should be made apart from the completion of legislation and the unavoidable change of dates.''
Referring to his meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan,
Papadopoulos said the UN chief listened to his views but did not express any opinions. ''My belief is that he understands them,'' he concluded.
President Papadopoulos was due to attend a lunch later Friday, hosted by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Papadopoulos meets heads of Guyana, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Andorra
Commonwealth, European Union and Islamic Conference issues as well as bilateral relations were discussed during the meetings President Papadopoulos had in New York on Thursday with the heads of Guyana, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Andorra.
On the sidelines of the 58th session of the UN General Assembly,
Papadopoulos also had a brief meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During his meeting with his Guyana counterpart Bharrat Jagdeo, Papadopoulos discussed bilateral relations and several issues on the Commonwealth and Islamic Conference agenda.
Later on he met with Andorra Prime Minister Marc Forne Molne and they exchanged views on common interest issues.
Sri Lanka's relations with the European Union and bilateral relations were discussed during Papadopoulos' meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
With Mozambique counterpart Alberto Chissano the Cyprus president reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views concerning the Islamic Conference.
Papadopoulos met also with a delegation of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) headed by Chairman William J Flynn and President George D Schwab.
During the meeting he briefed the delegation on the efforts for a Cyprus settlement, stressing that the island needs stability, peace and a vision for the future.
Papadopoulos attended a reception hosted by well known political cartoonist Ranan Lurie in his honour. Papadopoulos described him as a firm supporter of the restoration of justice in Cyprus.
Later he attended a dinner hosted in his honour by State Departments' Special Representative for Cyprus Thomas Weston.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 Christofias outlines House role during 2002-2003NICOSIA (CNA/ANA)
The role of the House of Representatives will be upgraded in the event the Constitution of the European Convention for the Future of Europe is adopted, because the House will substantially participate in EU decision-making, House President Demetris Christofias said here Friday.
Speaking at a press conference during which he outlined the Parliament's work for the year 2002-2003, Christofias said ''this will happen when the parliaments will be monitoring EU legislations or review a proposal which does not comply with the acquis.''
On the House's international relations, Christofias said the representation of Cypriot deputies at various international parliamentary meetings was intensified over the year, as well as bilateral relations.
''It is natural that the promotion of the Cyprus problem and the need to resolve it based on the UN resolutions, was at the epicenter of this activity,'' Christofias added.
The number of overseas missions increased by 40%, he said, while a number of delegations from overseas parliaments or organizations also visited Cyprus.
He reminded that Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis visited Cyprus only three days after the signing of the Accession Treaty in Athens during the Greek EU presidency, and addressed the House, adding that European Parliament President Pat Cox also paid a visit to the island.
Regarding the House's relationship with the European Parliament, he said that from next year this role will change since the House will cooperate with the European Parliament just like any other EU member state where the EU Constitution will be effective ''giving parliaments throughout the EU a more upgraded role not only in the legislation and monitoring fields but also in the EU course.''
''The presence of observers from the acceding countries is temporary until the final accession of these countries and the European Parliament elections,'' Christofias said.
On the events scheduled to be held to mark the island's accession on May 1st 2004, the House President said he is in touch with the foreign ministry and a relevant program is being arranged which involves the House's participation too.
 EU approves Commission's proposals for occupied areas
BRUSSELS 27/09/03 (CNA/ANA)The EU member states, in the framework of the PHARE committee, approved on Friday the proposals to provide assistance worth 12 million euros to the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, aimed at promoting its economic development.
The Commission's package, which had been announced on June 3 by Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, responds to the European Council's request that the Commission should do all it can to help the people of the northern part of Cyprus.
The financial assistance provides for 12 million euros for 2003, which involves 9 million euros for economic development and 3 million euros for actions aiming at bringing the Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU, a statement by the Delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus said here Friday.
Most of the assistance for economic development will be implemented in cooperation with the UNDP/UNOPS and it will support infrastructure projects for the main cities in the northern part (Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia) focusing on wastewater, drinking water, sewage or rehabilitation issues, grant schemes for support to SMEs and feasibility studies to prepare the economic integration of the northern part of Cyprus with the EU after a political solution, including preparation of programs for future participation in the EU structural policy.
These studies would also serve to prepare future projects for other municipalities.
 Annan plan good basis for solution, Swedish deputy premier says
NICOSIA 27/09/03 (CNA/ANA)Sweden supports the UN Secretary General's peace plan for Cyprus which is ''a good basis for a solution of the Cyprus problem,'' Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Margareta Winberg said here on Friday. Speaking to CNA after a meeting with President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias, Winberg expressed hope that a reunited Cyprus will soon be member of the EU.
''We support the Annan plan, which is a good basis for a solution, so that a reunited Cyprus becomes a member of the EU,'' the Swedish official said.
Regarding her meeting with Christofias, she said that they discussed Cyprus' accession to the EU, the Annan plan and matters regarding gender equality, and the ideology of the political parties they represent.
Asked if her country would support the idea that Turkey gets a date for starting accession negotiations with the EU, before a solution of the Cyprus issue, Winberg said, ''I have no comment on that. It is a very controversial issue.''
The Swedish official also met with Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou. Apart from the Cyprus issue, they discussed the problem of women trafficking in Europe.
''Every year 500,000 women come to the EU as sex slaves. There is lots of money in this trafficking, maybe as much money as in drugs and weapons,'' she told CNA and stressed that the EU should cooperate in this issue.
On Thursday night Winberg gave a speech at a bicommunal event in Nicosia titled ''Feminist governance in practice''.
 Defense minister praises Greece's presence at October 1 parade
NICOSIA 27/09/03 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Defense Minister Kyriakos Mavronicolas expressed here Friday the view that the October 1st Independence Day parade will be ''fully satisfactory'' as far as the display of weaponry systems is concerned.
He also praised the fact that Greece's National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou will represent his country at the parade, noting that ''many strong political messages will be conveyed.''
Speaking at a press conference, Mavronicolas said Greece's presence at the parade symbolises its continued effort over the great national issues such as the island's accession to the EU, solution of the Cyprus problem, the joint defense pact between Cyprus and Greece and the strengthening of the National Guard.
The defense minister said that Papantoniou's arrival in Cyprus ''endorses the excellent relationship between the two ministries.''