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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-10-01

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

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

October 1, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government announces 5.4 pct pay rise to public sector workers in 2004
  • [02] Gov't on security for public figures, overnight attacks
  • [03] ND leader calls on Voulgarakis residence after arson attack
  • [04] ND slams gov't over spate of strikes, state of markets
  • [05] Papantoniou says Cypriot army ready to tackle offensive designs
  • [06] DM Papantoniou holds talks with Cyprus House President Christofias
  • [07] Greece stresses need for new EU decision-making mechanisms
  • [08] Foreign ministry spokesman says Foreign Policy Council discussed EU reforms
  • [09] PM and PASOK secretary discuss agenda for national council
  • [10] PM chairs PASOK party's Executive Bureau meeting
  • [11] Gov't comments on prospect of early Turkish polls
  • [12] Communist leader says Greek-Turkish relations' future does not justify optimism
  • [13] Yiannitsis to receive Albanian deputy PM on Wednesday
  • [14] Greek social spending reaches EU average, govt says
  • [15] ND criticizes General Bank privatization envisaged by gov't
  • [16] Eurodrip unveils expansion strategy plan
  • [17] Gov't begins talks over draft bill legalizing illegal structures
  • [18] ASE holds firm at 2,000-point support level
  • [19] Culture minister invites Laura Bush to attend Athens Olympics
  • [20] Second phase of Olympic ticket sales begins on Wed.
  • [21] Commission approves Greece's issue of commemorative Olympic two-euro coin
  • [22] Firebomb attacks against party offices, MP's cars, journalist's home
  • [23] Defense attorneys begin final statements at N17 trial
  • [24] Prosecutor files fraud, forgery charges against IT tycoon Kokkalis
  • [25] FM addresses event on 30th anniversary of coup d'etat in Chile
  • [26] Stephanopoulos unveils Korais statue at Montpellier, France
  • [27] Strong quake rocks areas of the Peloponnese, no damage reported
  • [28] Ministers discuss issues concerning overseas Greeks with CHA president
  • [29] Five killed, including 3 Britons, in Corfu road accident
  • [30] Athens mayor refers to Friendship Clubs on occasion of World Day for Elderly
  • [31] Cyprus Problem – a EU problem
  • [32] Cypriot ministers fly to Luxembourg for EU meeting
  • [33] FM Iacovou briefs EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee
  • [34] US supports peaceful and fair settlement in Cyprus, says Grossman
  • [35] Maltese prime minister expresses hope for Cyprus settlement

  • [01] Government announces 5.4 pct pay rise to public sector workers in 2004

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Tues-day presented the government's decision on pay rises to civil servants and pensioners for 2004, saying that pay rises reached the test limits of the economy.

    Mr Christodoulakis said that the government would submit to parliament a draft legislation, in the next few days, envisaging average pay rises of 5.4 percent to workers in the public sector.

    Under the government plan, elementary and high-school teachers would receive an average pay increase of 9.8 percent next year compared with 2003, while the same pay rise would be offered to clerics.

    Average monthly pay rise to workers in the healthcare sector would reach 6.8 percent in 2004, Mr Christodoulakis stressed.

    He noted that pay rises to university professors to range between 7.2-7.6 percent next year, while pay rises to doctors in a National Healthcare System would average 6.6 percent.

    Government announces 5.4 pct pay rise

    to public sector workers in 2004.

    The Greek minister said that the government would offer an average pay rise of 4.7 percent to public sector pensioners, and stressed that the decisions were terminating a round of negotiations over pay rises in 2004.

    Mr Christodoulakis called for efforts to restrain pay rise demands by other categories of workers and stressed that pay rises would exceed the average inflation rate in the country for 2004.

    He noted that total spending on wages in the public sector would reach 865 million euros, a figure included in a pre-text of next year's budget to be submitted to parliament next Monday.

    He reiterated that next year's budget would envisage a 4.2 percent growth rate from 4.0 percent in 2003.

    Commenting on a privatization program, Mr Christodoulakis said that the government was expected to reach decision on a privatization of a 35 percent equity stake in Natural Gas Public Enterprise, based on a bid submitted by Spain's Gas Natural.

    He noted that a flotation in Public Power Corporation was expected to proceed soon and that a privatization of Hellenic Tourist Real Estate SA (ETA) would be completed in November. Mr Christodoulakis said that the government was expected to announce a tender to find a strategic partner for Athens Water.

    Finally, he said that the government would absorb 97 percent of funds included in a Second Community Support Framework program.

    [02] Gov't on security for public figures, overnight attacks

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Responding to questions in the wake of arsonist attacks against public figures and party offices the previous night, government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Tuesday denied rumors that the government was intending to abolish the institution of police guards for public figures.

    "Our priority is the safety of the public, without overlooking the issue of security for public figures," Protopapas said, noting that the government was seeking an 'ideal compromise' in this issue and stressing the high priority given to the security of the Olympic Games.

    He said the Greek police were re-examining the system for guarding public figures and would make its report to the government, while noting the new conditions within Greece and the ongoing trial of the terrorist group 'November 17'.

    In comments on the attacks on Monday night and early Tuesday using incendiary devices, Protopapas said such actions were 'categorically condemned' by the government and that the authorities were doing their duty and taking all necessary action.

    [03] ND leader calls on Voulgarakis residence after arson attack

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday paid a visit to the home of top ND echelon George Voulgarakis, which was the target of an attack with an incendiary device earlier in the day.

    At the time of the attack, the house was occupied by Voulgarakis' wife Katerina and their four young children, one just a few months old, since Voulgarakis was away on a trip to Strasbourg. The family became trapped within the house and had to be rescued by firemen from the roof.

    No group has yet claimed responsibility for the string of arson attacks on Monday night and Tuesday morning targeting journalists, politicians and party offices.

    In statements after the visit, Roussopoulos stressed that such attempts are a direct attack on democracy and are unequivocally condemned by all Greek citizens and called on the state to discover who was behind the ''anonymity of these actions''.

    [04] ND slams gov't over spate of strikes, state of markets

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy on Tuesday launched a barrage of criticism against the government over a spate of recent strikes and the state of domestic markets.

    ND coordinator for production and trade George Salagoudis accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis of ''opening Pandora's Box'' through his social policy announcements and said the government exhibited general incompetence.

    According to Salagoudis, exports of fresh produce had all but stopped, while shortages were now apparent in foodstuffs, agricultural products, meat and the raw materials used by the food industry, which naturally led to rising prices.

    The ND coordinator also noted inefficiency in market control mechanisms for hygiene, quality and legality and stressed the dangers to public health as a result of a strike by veterinary technicians checking the safety of meats.

    [05] Papantoniou says Cypriot army ready to tackle offensive designs

    NICOSIA, 01/10/2003 (ANA/CNA)

    Minister of National Defense Yiannos Papantoniou said on Tuesday that the Cypriot National Guard was fully operational and ready to tackle any designs against the island.

    He also said that the joint Cypriot and Greek military exercises ''Nikiforos'' and ''Toxotis'' would take place as planned and noted that ''we are not under any pressure'' to call off these maneuvers.

    Speaking at a press conference after meeting with Cypriot Minister of Defense Kyriakos Mavronicolas and National Guard Commander Lieutenant General Athanasios Nikolodemos, Papantoniou stressed the great importance Greece gives to the Joint Defense Pact between Greece and Cyprus.

    ''Greece is not just a guarantor power of Cyprus' security in words. Greece with many actions has equipped and supported the Republic of Cyprus. The forces here in Cyprus are very strong and are becoming stronger'', he added.

    Papantoniou noted that the military hardware Greece has sent to Cyprus over the past few years fully covers the joint defense area.

    Mavronicolas thanked the Greek Minister for his country's support over the years, which has strengthened the Republic of Cyprus.

    Referring to the military exercise scheduled for later this year, Papantoniou said the Nikiforos-Toxotis maneuvers would be carried out under the instructions of the Greek and the Cypriot military leaderships.

    Asked if there had been any pressure to call off the exercise, Papantoniou said ''we have not been under pressure''.

    Furthermore, Papantoniou said that any threat against Cyprus from now on is a threat against the EU and will bear the consequences of a threat against any other part of the Union.

    He added that Cyprus' accession to the EU ''has changed the terms'' on both the political and the defense levels, noting that the line dividing Cyprus ''is the line that divides Turkey and the EU''. Papantoniou said it was up to Turkey to change its stance.

    ''Let Turkey not foster any illusions that its insistence on intransigent and unacceptable positions may come to terms with the promotion of its EU candidacy'', he said.

    Referring to the participation of Greece and Cyprus in the EU defense ministers' meeting in Rome later this week, which will focus on strengthening European defense in the context of a new constitution, Papantoniou said ''the European military force takes on new competencies and will possibly have its own head-quarters''.

    Papantoniou will be representing Greece at Wednesday's military parade to celebrate Cyprus' independence. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [06] DM Papantoniou holds talks with Cyprus House President Christofias

    NICOSIA, 01/10/2003 (ANA/G. Leonidas)

    Cyprus House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias met on Tuesday with visiting Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou who on Wednesday will observe the military parade marking the 43rd anniversary since the island republic's independence.

    Following his meeting with Christofias, Papantoniou said that ''it is inconceivable for Turkey to feel that there will be any EU member countries which will agree to proclaim it a candidate for accession to the Union, without a prior solution to the Cyprus problem having been achieved, on the basis of international law and on the basis of the international initiatives which have been undertaken by the United Nations.''

    Papantoniou recalled the statement made by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis during his recent visit to Cyprus that ''the Green Line of Nicosia is a line which separates Turkey from the EU.''

    On his part, Christofias said the joint effort by Greece and Cyprus ''is for a peaceful and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.''

    ''The Annan plan is on the negotiating table and we will work on this plan and on the basis of this plan to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the problem,'' Christofias added.

    [07] Greece stresses need for new EU decision-making mechanisms

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    The European Union will simply cease to exist unless radical changes are made to current decision-making mechanisms, especially now that it had enlarged to 25 member-states, Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Tuesday.

    He also noted that the draft text for a new EU Constitution being presented by European Convention president Valery Giscard d'Estaing contained a great many positive proposals that could form the basis of further discussion.

    He was responding to questions regarding the issue of the member-state 'veto' currently being discussed within the Inter-governmental Conference.

    [08] Foreign ministry spokesman says Foreign Policy Council discussed EU reforms

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis, referring to the National Foreign Policy Council's first regular session on Tuesday, said the main issue on the agenda was the discussion on the European Union's institutional reforms and Greece's positions in the framework of the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference meeting.

    According to Beglitis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou made a short briefing on other foreign policy issues as well and an exchange of views on them with the Council's members followed.

    In addition, the Coalition party's representative at the Council Nikos Hountis said the party has made it views known on the composition of the Council and the way it functions, differing from those ultimately adopted and which are anticipated in the relevant law.

    He added that what is necessary for this body to prove to be effective and useful is at least securing the timely and in-depth briefing of parties on foreign policy issues and its more regular functioning to enable views to be formulated in time and all sides to be aware of issues to be discussed.

    [09] PM and PASOK secretary discuss agenda for national council

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and PASOK Central Committee Secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the agenda for the party's national council on October 9-10, the results of recent opinion polls and labor action announced by various sections of the workforce.

    After the two-hour meeting, which was later also joined by Public Order Minister George Floridis, PASOK's secretary said the same issues would also be discussed at a meeting of PASOK's Executive Bureau later this evening.

    [10] PM chairs PASOK party's Executive Bureau meeting

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and ruling PASOK party leader Costas Simitis chaired a meeting of the party's Executive Bureau on Tuesday night, while a clear message was sent to social groups making claims and demands for benefits.

    According to reports, Simitis said ''we must not adopt the claims of various branches because in this way we shall be led to economic disaster.''

    A discussion was also reportedly held on the political situation and, among others, the prime minister termed the public administration program announced by the main opposition New Democracy party a ''bubble.''

    On the question of opinion polls, it was assessed that they signal a better climate for PASOK, while it was also stressed that the government's work is not affected by opinion polls because there is no election period at present.

    PASOK's Central Committee Secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis said in a statement salary increases announced by Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis for civil servants are generous and noted that ''there is no ground for further openings.''

    At the end of the meeting, Chrysohoidis presented the party's new spokeswoman Chrysa Arapoglou.

    [11] Gov't comments on prospect of early Turkish polls

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Tuesday expressed hope that conditions of political stability would prevail in neighboring Turkey so that it could make progress in talks on Greek-Turkish relations, re-open negotiations on the Cyprus problem and stay on track with reforms needed to join the European Union.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas was commenting on the recent ruling by a Turkish supreme court that upheld allegations of electoral fraud during the previous general elections and raised the prospect of early repeat polls in the neighboring country.

    He said the Greek government was closely monitoring the situation in Turkey, while noting that any possibility of instability within Turkey naturally caused concern to both Greece and the EU.

    [12] Communist leader says Greek-Turkish relations' future does not justify optimism

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said on Tuesday night the future of Greek-Turkish relations does not justify optimism and creates skepticism and uncertainty and expressed concern over the situation in the Balkans.

    Papariga was outlining her party's positions on issues concerning national defense and the armed forces during an event held at a downtown Athens hotel.

    She further said the creation of the European army and Greece's participation "constitutes a great commitment to serve the plans of imperialism" and expressed her opposition to NATO's new structure.

    Presenting her party's positions, Papariga said, among others, KKE does not recognize the transfer of sovereign defense rights to the US, NATO and the European Union, it opposes a mercenary army and calls for the return of armed forces units from Kosovo, Afghanistan and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    KKE's leader further said her party opposes the assignment of policing duties to armed forces units and their training in such a direction with whatever pretext, as is the case of the Olympic Games, and is also against armaments program concerning NATO's planning or the planning of European monopolies.

    [13] Yiannitsis to receive Albanian deputy PM on Wednesday

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis will receive Albanian Deputy Prime Minister Ermelinda Meksi early Wednesday afternoon at the foreign ministry.

    Statements to the media will follow, according to a foreign ministry press release.

    [14] Greek social spending reaches EU average, govt says

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Social spending, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in Greece equaled the average spending of EU member-states after a steady rise in social spending in the previous eight years in the country, Labor and Social Security Minister Dimitris Reppas said on Tuesday.

    Presenting the government's social budget to a Social Protection Commission meeting, Mr Reppas stressed that social spending totalled 22.1 percent of GDP this year, up from 13.98 percent in 1980 and 18.49 percent in 1993. The Greek minister noted, however, that according to a calculation method used by Eurostat, social spending in Greece rose to 27.7 percent of GDP, slightly exceeding the EU average rate of 27.5 percent.

    Mr Reppas also noted a government decision to raise a supplementary pension pay to low income pensioners and to offer healthcare coverage to long-term unemployed people aged more than 55 years old and less than 29 years old.

    He stressed that the country's social welfare system was "adequate to offer solutions for the next decades" and reiterated a prospect of unifying social security funds to a total of eight main social security funds in the country.

    Mr Reppas acknowledged, however, the demographic problem facing the Greek economy as reflected in a worker/pensioner ratio of 1:1.51 this year, from 1:2.46 in 1990. He expressed the hope that the ratio would improve to 1:2 in 2004 and to 1:2.8 or 3 in 2015.

    The country's social budget envisages that social security funds enjoy an operating surplus (revenues totalling 22.252 billion euros and expenses 21.159 billion euros).

    Social security funds' assets totalled 18.151 billion euros in 2002, significantly up from the previous year, despite a 41.36 percent drop in their equity portfolios' value over the same period.

    [15] ND criticizes General Bank privatization envisaged by gov't

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy on Tuesday criticized the government's handling of an attempted privatization of General Bank through the sale of the Army Shares Fund, a retirement fund for army officers, which owns a large percentage of General Bank stock.

    ND's National Defense sector head Spilios Spiliotopoulos accused the government of attempting to sell 35 per cent of the stock held by the Army Shares Fund for ''peanuts'' without even consulting the Fund's board.

    He also slammed the failure of previous efforts for the selective sale of the Army Share Fund stock, saying this had cost the Fund vast sums in ill-spent consultants' fees.

    According to Spiliotopoulos, the affair was ''huge'' and ''a scandal'' and he called for justice to intervene before the last assets of the Army Shares Fund were sold at a ridiculously low price.

    He also accused successive PASOK governments of selling the vast property of retired army officers that owned stock in the Army Share Fund out from under them, with the pretext that they would participate in the increased share capital of the General Bank.

    Over the years, the Army Share Fund's 68 per cent majority stake in the bank had been reduced to 38 per cent, while none of its shareholders had received dividends from the bank for years on the grounds that the bank was restructuring, Spiliotopoulos noted.

    [16] Eurodrip unveils expansion strategy plan

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Eurodrip ABEGE plans to set up 10-12 subsidiaries abroad (Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia) to develop new range of products and to expand cooperation with strategic partners, as part of a plan to maintain its leadership position in the domestic and international market.

    Dimitris Paraskevopoulos, the company's chairman and chief executive, speaking to reporters on Tuesday said he expected this year's turnover to total 16.4 million euros and pre-tax profits to reach 902,000 euros. He forecast a turnover of 19.458 million euros and pre-tax profits of 1.578 million euros in 2004, and turnover of 30 million euros and pre-tax profits of 3.5 million euros in 2005.

    Eurodrip recently signed a memorandum of cooperation to set up a subsidiary company in Russia under the form of an Open Joint Stock Company, and plans similar actions in Ukraine.

    The company holds an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting on Wednesday to approve a board plan for a share capital increase, worth 12.444 million euros.

    [17] Gov't begins talks over draft bill legalizing illegal structures

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    The government began a series of consultations with local government unions and the Technical Chamber of Commerce’s (TEE) leadership this week over a draft bill attempting to rationalize building codes around the country and to establish criteria for legalizing the tens of thousands of illegal buildings erected over the decades in practically every corner of Greece.

    Town Planning and Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou on Tuesday met with the leadership of the local municipalities’ union (KEDKE), the association of prefectures (ENAE) and TEE.

    The draft bill will be sent to state-controlled building license offices, municipalities and prefectures this week. The controversial draft bill will be tabled in Parliament immediately, with a vote expected by the end of the month.

    Power and water connections to illegally built residences will be forthcoming only after the bill is approved.

    [18] ASE holds firm at 2,000-point support level

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    A bout of buying orders in the last five minutes of trading pushed share prices to positive territory and the general index above the 2,000-

    point support level in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

    The general index ended 0.86 percent higher at 2,019.76 points, off the day's lows of 1,992.80 points.

    Turnover was an improved 111.3 million euros.

    The Retail, Publication and Textile sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (3.90 percent, 2.70 percent and 2.51 percent, respectively), while the IT Solution, Bank and Base Metal sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.66 percent, 0.20 percent and 0.12 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.42 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.47 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 1.31 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 208 to 90 with another 62 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Football Pools Organization, Alpha Bank, Vodafone, and Cosmote.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover

    at 64.0 mln euros Tuesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.42% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +1.47 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (214)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 64.0 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Tuesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.22 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 14 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (855 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 3.2 bln euros

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of September 30 2003

    Parities in euro

    Banknotes

    For Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,174 1,147

    [19] Culture minister invites Laura Bush to attend Athens Olympics

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday extended an official invitation to America's first lady Laura Bush to attend the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

    The invitation was made on the sidelines of a UNESCO biannual general conference taking place in Paris.

    Mrs. Bush is attending the meeting at the head of a delegation from the U.S., which formally rejoins the organization on Wednesday as a full member after a 19-year absence.

    Venizelos handed the invitation to a State Department official, who thanked Greece for its support of U.S. efforts to rejoin UNESCO as a full member.

    [20] Second phase of Olympic ticket sales begins on Wed.

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    The second phase of ticket sales for next year’s 2004 Olympic Games in Athens begins on Wednesday and continues through late February, with some 2.5 million tickets remaining to be sold -- 1.7 million were purchased in the first phase.

    Residents of the European Economic Area are eligible in the second phase, with purchases possible at the 140 branches around Greece of Athens-based Alpha Bank, and through the www.athens2004.com/tickets website using a “Visa” credit card.

    Tickets for a variety of sports competitions are available, although tickets for the Opening Ceremony have sold out.

    [21] Commission approves Greece's issue of commemorative Olympic two-euro coin

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    BRUSSELS (ANA - G. Zitouniati)

    The European Commission on Tuesday approved the issuing of a two-euro Olympic coin Greece is planning to issue on January 2004 in Europe, lifting the ban it had imposed on commemorative euro coins by member-states.

    The EU Council had decided in 1998 to ban commemorative coins during the early period after the euro's introduction to avert consumer confusion. Now the Commission stressed that two years after the introduction of the euro the public is well accustomed to the new currency, thus the ban can be lifted.

    The decision went further by limiting commemorative coins to one issue per year by each member-state and only for the use of the two-euro coin, while all technical characteristics must conform to the regular two-euro coin.

    [22] Firebomb attacks against party offices, MP's cars, journalist's home

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    A barrage of firebomb attacks against political party offices and an MP's cars were reported early Tuesday in Athens, within a space of 20 minutes, causing damage but no injuries. They followed a similar attack Monday evening on the home of a popular TV journalist.

    Home-made bombs comprising small propane canisters exploded at 2:20 a.m. at the entrance to the building housing main opposition New Democracy party MP George Voulgarakis' apartment in the central Athens residential district of Kolonaki. The makeshift bombs had been placed underneath three cars and a motorcycle belonging to the MP, and the ensuing fire destroyed one car and caused extensive damage to the two other cars and the motorcycle. Voulgarakis and his family were not at home at the time.

    At approximately the same time, unknown perpetrators threw a similar firebomb at the entrance of a ruling PASOK party office in the Athens district of Kato Patissia, breaking the window, while the fire that ensued caused damage inside the office. Another PASOK office, in the suburb of Anthoupolis, was the target of a similar attack a few minutes earlier, but the firebomb exploded on the pedestrian walk outside the office and caused no damage.

    A few minutes later, a similar firebomb was thrown at main opposition New Democracy offices in the suburb of Moschato, causing minor material damage.

    Another firebomb exploded outside the building housing the apartment of university professor George Veltsos on Lycabettus Hill in downtown Athens, causing minor damage to the building's entrance. The professor was not at home at the time.

    On Monday evening, a home-made bomb comprising three small propane canisters and a plastic canister of petrol exploded outside the entrance of the two-storey home of TV journalist Anna Panagiotarea, and the ensuing fire caused material damage. Eyewitnesses said they saw two young men on a motorcycle, wearing helmets, throwing the firebomb at Panagiotarea's house.

    [23] Defense attorneys begin final statements at N17 trial

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    The first of many final arguments by defense attorneys for 19 “November 17” defendants began on Tuesday, with the chief counsel for the group’s alleged top assassin and his wife criticizing the fact that the court flatly dismissed arguments of “political motivation” for N17’s deadly actions.

    Following a one-day postponement of her final argument, attorney Ioanna Kourtovik also deplored the conditions in which 17 defendants – two are free on bail – are being held at the Korydallos prison in the greater Athens area, as well as what she claimed was the credibility of many prosecution witnesses. Among others, she also cited the “fervor” of many attorneys representing the dozens of families of victims or targeted individuals that fell prey to the notorious ultra-leftist group since its first appearance in December 1975.

    She also said the highly anticipated trial, before a special appellate-level three-justice panel, had attracted an unprecedented number of top-notch attorneys (representing N17’s numerous victims), something Kourtovik claimed did not serve justice but instead “private interests.”

    In other statements, the noted Athens attorney said both her clients – self-styled beekeeper Dimitris Koufodinas and his long-time companion and recent spouse Angeliki Sotiropoulou – do not demand a “fair trial”, saying Koufodinas would simply characterize the case as an incident in an ongoing “social war”.

    Koufodinas, who lived under an assumed identity for more than two decades, has repeatedly assumed “political responsibility” for the group’s murders and attacks, while Sotiropoulou denies all charges against her.

    Proceedings continue on Wednesday.

    [24] Prosecutor files fraud, forgery charges against IT tycoon Kokkalis

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    A local first instance prosecutor on Tuesday filed felony fraud, forgery and money laundering charges against well-known IT tycoon Socrates Kokkalis, the founder and president of the Greece-based Intracom group, in connection with a lawsuit filed by the National Sports Foundation (NSF) of Russia against the latter over the summer.

    The NSF claims that the European Games firm, which assumed a 1994 contract to install and operate a nationwide lottery in Russia, was controlled by Kokkalis. The Foundation charges that a 15-million-dollar cash advance paid to the company was never returned, even when the contract’s conditions by the company were not met.

    The indictment, which covers all individuals related to the case as well, will now be conveyed to a judicial magistrate for further investigation.

    [25] FM addresses event on 30th anniversary of coup d'etat in Chile

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Tuesday Salvador Allende, "who sacrificed himself for democracy, loyal to values and ideals, inspires us in our present-day struggles for democracy".

    Papandreou was addressing an event on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the coup d'etat in Chile and 15 years after the referendum on October 5, 1988, with which the people of Chile rejected with their vote an ''extension'' of the dictatorial regime for another eight years.

    Papandreou said a heinous dictatorship was imposed in Chile on September 11, 1973, adding that the Greeks showed solidarity to the people of Chile with whom, apart from history, they are linked with music and art.

    ''Through the music of Mikis Theodorakis we sang together,'' Papandreou said.

    Chilean Ambassador to Athens Marcia Covarrubias said ''30 years ago Chile was entering the long night of terror and injustice.''

    Covarrubias placed emphasis on the contributions of Karolos Papoulias, Melina

    Mercouri, Costas Gavras, Mikis Theodorakis, Jules Dassin, Christos Papoutsis, Marietta Giannakou, Danai Stratigopoulou and the governments of Constantine Karamanlis and Andreas Papandreou.

    She said that on October 5, 1988, the people of Chile gave their reply to Pinochet in the ballot boxes, proving that the dictatorship had not destroyed their political culture and stressed that ''the elections of 1989 were a victory for the resistance.''

    [26] Stephanopoulos unveils Korais statue at Montpellier, France

    MONTPELLIER, 01/10/2003 (ANA/O. Tsipira)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Tuesday arrived here at the invitation of the Mayor of Montpellier Georges Freche and participated in the unveiling of the statue of Greek scholar Adamantios Korais at a central plaza of the city.

    Korais, a scholar of the Greek revolution, began his studies at the University of Montpellier in 1782 and graduated six years later with degrees in law and medicine. He was one of the driving forces behind the Greek renaissance at the late 18th and during the 19th century.

    The philhellene mayor of the city has created strong bonds with Greek antiquity, naming the plaza, where the statue of Korais was placed, after ancient drama heroine Antigone.

    The statue is a replica of Korais' likeness that is exhibited in the front yard of the Athens University.

    During Stephanopoulos' welcoming ceremony Freche presented him with the city's medals and declared him an honorary citizen of Montpellier.

    On his part, Stephanopoulos spoke of the bonds between this region of France and Greece since the Middle Ages when princes of the region created the Kingdom of Moreas in Greece.

    [27] Strong quake rocks areas of the Peloponnese, no damage reported

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    A strong earthquake measuring 4.8 points on the Richter scale occurred at 19:46 p.m. on Tuesday, its epicenter being the Erymanthia Mountains.

    The seismological laboratory of Patra University said that the centre of the quake was at a depth of 30 kilometers.

    The quake was particularly felt in Ilia and Achaia. There was slight panic in Pyrgos, Ilia, because the quake was followed by an echo.

    Police did nor report any damage.

    [28] Ministers discuss issues concerning overseas Greeks with CHA president

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Council of Hellenes Abroad (CHA) President Andreas Athens on Tuesday discussed issues concerning overseas Greeks in consecutive meetings with Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Costas Skandalidis and Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis and briefed them on the CHA's activities and programs.

    Athens and Skandalidis discussed the promotion of procedures for the implementation of the constitution's relevant article anticipating a letter vote for Greek citizens living abroad permanently.

    The minister expressed his personal interest in the issue which must be promoted immediately after national elections so as to be applied during elections in 2008.

    Athens showed interest in issues regarding overseas Greeks returning home and it was agreed that in two weeks time the CHA will submit its own proposals to the minister which will be discussed during a new meeting, possibly in early November.

    [29] Five killed, including 3 Britons, in Corfu road accident

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Five persons were killed, including three Britons, and four others injured early Tuesday in a collision between two cars on the Ionian holiday island of Corfu.

    A British couple and their young son were killed, while the fourth member of the family, a seven-year-old girl, was reported in serious condition. Two local residents were also killed and another three were seriously injured in the accident, which occurred shortly after midnight on a provincial road in northern Corfu, when a car carrying the four-member British family, driven by a local friend who was also seriously injured, collided with another car carrying four people.

    Police believe the collision was the result of speeding by the second vehicle, along with slippery road conditions.

    Neil I'Anson, 34, his wife Dawn, 28, and their son, Keegan Ashley-Leslie, 6, were the three British citizens fatally injured in the accident.

    [30] Athens mayor refers to Friendship Clubs on occasion of World Day for Elderly

    Athens, 01/10/2003 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday on the occasion of World Day for the Elderly on Wednesday, announced an integrated welfare policy framework provided through the Athens municipality's upgraded services.

    According to latest statistical data, 23.33 percent of the inhabitants of Athens are over 60 years old.

    Bakoyianni said the ratio is one to four and the municipality's increased care for this sensitive group is required, adding that for this reason Friendship Clubs were upgraded and supported, while the ''Aid at Home'' program was extended.

    [31] Cyprus Problem – a EU problem

    Nicosia, 01/10/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Tuesday that with Cyprus' accession to the EU, the island's political problem takes on a European perspective and prospect, thus making a viable and functional settlement the wish, demand and aim of the EU.

    Speaking at a special gathering in Limassol to celebrate Wednesday's anniversary of Cyprus' independence and the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, President Papadopoulos made clear that the Greek Cypriot side accepts a twice-revised UN peace plan as a basis for negotiations to solve the problem, noting that ''we do not pursue to overturn the context, the philosophy and the parameters of the plan, nor to remove the rights and privileges that the plan offers our Turkish Cypriot compatriots."

    Referring to the 1974 Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of the island's northern third, President Papadopoulos said the Republic of Cyprus has managed to effectively protect its entity and economy.

    He added that Cyprus' accession to the EU meant that ''the Cyprus problem now takes on its European perspective and prospect."

    President Papadopoulos said the Cyprus problem ''is now a European matter, not as an abhorrent burden but as an issue of reference and an element of interest," adding that a viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem ''now becomes the wish, demand and aim of the EU."

    Referring to the solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the president clarified that ''we accept the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations'' and expressed hope that ''through negotiations, without terms and preconditions, we will achieve improvements to the Annan plan, which will make the solution of the Cyprus problem more functional and consequently viable."

    He added that ''we do not pursue to overturn the context, philosophy and parameters of the plan, nor necessarily to remove the rights and privileges the plan offers our Turkish Cypriot compatriots."

    ''All our suggestions for improvements are within the parameters of the Annan plan and its philosophy and more and more people involved in the process recognize the viability of our arguments and the need for improvements, especially regarding the economic provisions of the plan and those regarding our constructive participation in EU procedures," he said.

    The president noted that the components of a functional and viable settlement were ''the reunification of our people and our country, the abolition of dividing lines, the withdrawal of Turkish troops and settlers, the safeguarding of the fundamental freedoms and human rights and the establishment of the basic preconditions for the smooth operation of the state."

    [32] Cypriot ministers fly to Luxembourg for EU meeting

    NICOSIA, 01/10/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot ministers of Justice and Public Order, Doros Theodorou, and the Interior, Andreas Christou, fly to Luxembourg on Wednesday to participate in the EU ministers' meeting on justice and internal affairs issues, to be held on October 2 and 3.

    The meeting will focus on developing a common policy on legitimate and illegal immigration, smuggling and the illegal trafficking of persons, external borders and the return of illegal immigrants.

    The ministers will also discuss the proposal for a Directive on the minimum demands for the procedures of granting and removing the refugee status and the Regulation proposal for the creation of a network of immigration officers and contacts.

    [33] FM Iacovou briefs EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee

    BRUSSELS, 01/10/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou briefed Monday members of the EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting in Luxembourg over latest developments in efforts to reach a Cyprus settlement.

    Addressing the session Iacovou noted the Cyprus government's sincere efforts to work for a solution, expressing its readiness to resume negotiations based on the Annan peace plan.

    The foreign minister referred to the Turkish side's intransigence and the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's denial to ensure the opening of a Greek secondary school at Rizokarpaso in Turkish occupied Cyprus, the expulsion of two Greek Cypriot teachers and their children from the occupied areas and the signing of a so called ''framework agreement for a customs union'' between Turkey and the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime.

    Cyprus' EU Harmonization Coordinator Takis Hadjidemetriou told the Luxembourg meeting that 150 laws covering all chapters have remained to be adopted by the island's parliament within the framework of Cyprus' harmonization process with the acquis communautaire.

    These chapters, he said, deal with important aspects of the acquis, i.e. free movement of persons, bank system, producers' organizations and statistical services.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem Hadjidemetriou said that ''now that we are at the last stage of accession it is even more intense that the people of Cyprus regardless of race or religion shares common goals, a Cyprus solution and accession to the EU.''

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [34] US supports peaceful and fair settlement in Cyprus, says Grossman

    NEW YORK, 01/10/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The US supports a Cyprus settlement that will be peaceful, just and fair to everyone, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman said here on Monday after a meeting he had with Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Demetrios.

    Grossman said he spoke to Demetrios about the meeting he had here last week with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos. ''We had a very good conversation about where we all hope things go from here. We support the Secretary General, we support the Secretary General's plan and we support a solution there that is going to be peaceful and just and fair to everyone,'' the American official added.

    Archbishop Demetrios said Grossman has been ''very helpful in the Cyprus situation.''

    Grossman ''is a constant friend and he has been a steady and unyielding supporter of the opening of Chalki for years and years and he continues to be. He has been also very helpful and assisting in the recognition of the Patriarch of Jerusalem by the Israeli state and he has been also very helpful in the Cyprus situation,'' Demetrios noted.

    [35] Maltese prime minister expresses hope for Cyprus settlement

    UNITED NATIONS, 01/10/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Prime Minister of Malta Edward Fenech dami has expressed hope that UN Secretary General's efforts for a Cyprus settlement, accompanied by the persuasion of the EU, will succeed in resolving the problem.

    Addressing the 58th session of the UN General Assembly, Adami also said his country hopes to welcome in May next year a reunited Cyprus into the EU.

    ''It is now our hope that the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General, accompanied by the persuasion of the European Union, will succeed in resolving one of the still outstanding problems in our region - the problem of Cyprus. Malta would welcome in May next year the integration of a reunited Cyprus into the folds of the European Union,'' Adami said.


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