|Friday, 1 December 2023|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-11-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 21, 2003
 Greece strongly condemns terror attacks in Istanbul
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday strongly condemned the recent spate of terror attacks in Istanbul, including the two blasts that rocked the city earlier the same day, saying that ''blind violence'' of this sort only propagated more violence and led to a vicious circle.
In statements regarding bomb blasts on Thursday that left dozens dead and hundreds injured, Simitis expressed his sorrow over the event and the victims.
''Blind violence arises from blind politics. Blind politics does not solve problems but leads to dead ends. Blind violence triggers violence and we thus move in a vicious circle,'' Simitis said.
''Those responsible for these actions must understand that they do not lead anywhere,'' he concluded.
In a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, Simitis extended his condolences to the Turkish nation and the families of those killed during the bomb attacks.
In the letter, Simitis said he was ''profoundly disturbed'' by the new bombings in the city and stressed that the Greek government ''condemns these abhorrent and cowardly attacks, whatever their motivation or origin.''
According to Government Spokesman Christos Protopapas, who distributed copies of the letter to the press during the regular press briefing, the Greek government absolutely condemned these ''unacceptable and barbarous terrorist acts''.
He expressed Greece's support for the Turkish people and underlined the need to reinforce international efforts against terrorism.
Protopapas also said that Greece was on the alert after the attacks in Istanbul, and would be tightening security in certain areas.
The explosions targeted Istanbul's commercial centre, destroying part of the HSBC Bank headquarters and a site near the British consulate.
Foreign Ìinister Papandreou strongly condemns: Foreign Minister George Papandreou also condemned the new terrorist attacks in Istanbul and expressed Greece's condolences to the Turkish government and the people of Turkey.
''For one more time we condemn, in the strongest way possible, the new terrorist attacks in Istanbul. They are acts of blind violence and barbarism with innocent citizens as victims. We express our condolences to the government and the people of Turkey, as well as to the government and people of Great Britain, since, as we are informed, there are victims in the British consulate as well,'' Papandreou said.
This is the second large scale terrorist attack in Istanbul in less than a week. Last Saturday, two Synagogues were bombed in the city killing and injuring scores of people.
On his part, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis, expressing the Greek government's condolences to the people of Turkey and Britain for those killed in the terrorist attacks, he stressed the need for the closest possible worldwide cooperation to combat international terrorism underlining that this problem caused instability in the wider area.
Beglitis said the foreign ministry was in contact with the defense and health ministries so as to be able to provide Turkey with whatever aid was needed, if this was requested, and that Foreign Minister George Papandreou had asked to speak with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, who is currently on an official visit to Sweden.
ND, Synaspismos condemn Istanbul terrorist attack: Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Thursday sent a letter to Turkish Premier Recep Erdogan expressing his deepest sorrow and condolences for those lost in the terrorist attack.
''I express the deepest condolences and solidarity to you, the Turkish people and the families of the victims, of the latest bomb attack in Istanbul. These criminal and heinous acts cause universal and categorical condemnation of all the international community and of every freely thinking person,'' Karamanlis said.
''Violence, every kind of fanaticism and cultivation of fear can't, nor will ever be able to become means for the achievement of any kind of aims,'' he concluded.
On its part, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos), through its member Nikos Hountis, condemned the murderous attack.
''We unequivocally condemn these new murderous terrorist attacks in Istanbul. With such actions and with the blood of innocent victims, no political aim is achieved, only the logic of violence and of blind attacks fed,'' Hountis said.
 Two members of the Greek community in Istanbul lightly injured
ISTANBUL, 21/11/2003 (ANA- A. Kourkoulas)The terrorist attack here also affected the Greek community, albeit, lightly, as only minor injuries and light damages were reported.
During the explosions, light damage was reported to the Church of the All Holly Merry of Peran and at least two individuals, a shopkeeper and a worker in the area of the explosion were lightly injured.
The shopkeeper, Nikos Vafiadis, escaped more serious injury, as he was not at his shop, which was very close to the explosion site, at the time.
 Stepped up security ordered in wake of Istanbul attacks
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)A Greek police spokesman said on Thursday that stepped up security measures were ordered around various buildings housing US, British and Israeli interests around the greater Athens area, all in the wake of Thursday's bombing attacks in Istanbul.
The same police official said that there was no indication or reasons to fear similar strikes in Greece, although precautionary measures were in place.
 PM presents PASOK party's 'policy orientation framework'
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis presented his ruling PASOK party's ''policy orientation framework'' covering the 2004-2008 period at the Zappeion Mansion on Thursday.
He raised the question whether Greek citizens will live in conditions of greater security, development and prosperity with PASOK or provide the right wing with the opportunity to stop the smooth course of progress of a decade with an authoritarian policy, improvisations and experiments.
Simitis said PASOK's targets for the next four years are a society of prosperity for all, a society of participation and justice for all, convergence with Europe and solutions for the major national issues.
The prime minister said the effort, after PASOK wins the next elections, is ''for us to complete with confidence the greatest political undertaking experienced by Greece and the Greek people.''
Simitis referred to the work accomplished by PASOK governments, terming it very important, adding that great successes were achieved over the same period which ''lead to the admission that Greece which has closed the historic cycle of the post-junta era has entered the new era with vigor'' which is characterized by the achievement of ''new national self-confidence.''
The political proclamation plan stresses that ''PASOK serves the interests of the Greek people, of Greece and of Hellenism'', while also appealing to ''the big progressive majority of the centre and the left'' for a common struggle to safeguard the interests ''of Greece and the Greeks in the Europe of tomorrow.''
It is also mentioned that the main question raised by citizens today is ''how can I increase my family's share in the new Greece which is being built around me'' and Simitis said the main rival is ''the citizen's insecurity.''
The answer given by the ''policy orientation framework'' is that this will be achieved ''with continuous high development in a framework of social justice which will give each person more safe and substantive possibilities.''
On the question of the country's European course and what kind of a Europe is desired, the text says ''Greece, with PASOK in power, succeeds in having its participation in the European Union being accompanied by great benefits for the country and the people.''
In addition, PASOK favors a ''strong Europe'' which must be turned into a ''political union with democratic institutions and a strengthened social character'' which will ''counterbalance neo-liberal globalization.''
As regards national issue, the principle ''Greece first'' remains, efforts to solve the Cyprus issue must be continued, while the Cyprus issue, the maturing of Greek-Turkish relations and a solution to the continental shelf question are issues which shall be decided by December 2004.
The year 2004 is considered a ''landmark for the course of major national and social targets'' since 30 years will have passed since the ''national disaster'' of 1974, with the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, while the holding of the Olympic Games in the same year will heighten efforts for the creation of a strong Greece.
Opposition parties react to PASOK party's 'policy orientation framework': The declaration by the Premier and ruling PASOK Party President Costas Simitis was met with acerbic criticism by opposition parties, all calling for a more equitable distribution and a more just society.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos underlined that Simitis ''broadcast, today as well, his divisive messages. A gray torrent of blackmailing dilemmas and threats''.
''The Greeks know full well who is responsible for the reality they are living in everyday. A just society is not one of unemployment, inequalities and disenfranchising. The social state is not built on partisanship, non-transparency and corruption,'' he added.
On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued a press release stressing that Simitis ''promised more profits for big capital and the continuation of the same anti-popular policy''.
''This is evident,'' the press release added, ''through the fact that he spoke triumphantly of the government policy of the 'strong Greece'. The measures he promoted, were those that limit the conquests and rights of the working class and the popular strata of society''.
The Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), charged that it is essentially aimed at “those that benefited and profiteered during Mr. Simitis’ lengthy stay in power and not the new ‘non-privileged’.”
Synaspismos also charged that PASOK’s declaration simply guarantees the continuation of the same policies “that led to the collapse of social cohesion, to unprecedented social inequities, to the disdain of politics and to the squeezing of institutions through strangulation by vested interests...”
The Parliament-represented party also stressed that the prime minister cannot hide behind what it called “unprecedented danger-mongering and anti-right rhetoric.”
On its part, the out-of-Parliament Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) party, established a few years ago by former PASOK minister Dimitris Tsovolas, referred to “outdated pre-election tactics of creating (political) bipolarization ... one that was applied in 1996 and in 2000.”
Tsovolas said it was “pitiful” that “the ‘neo-rightists’ of the promodernization PASOK are trying to rekindle, during the pre-election period, the danger of the ‘old-right’. This shows the increased confusion of PASOK’s leadership and also demonstrates its attempt to hide its inability to persuade the victims of its neo-conservative policies using political arguments,” Tsovolas said.
 PASOK party's Executive Bureau discusses election candidate issue
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)The ruling PASOK party will contest the elections in the spring of 2004 with 167 new candidates who have never sought election to Parliament in the past.
The issue of election candidates was discussed by the party's Executive Bureau on Thursday night, which will be submitting a relevant proposal at Friday's Central Committee meeting, where final decisions on the preparation of the party's tickets will be taken.
According to reports, the participation of women will reach 15 percent in PASOK's tickets for the next election, compared to 11 percent which accounted for women's participation in the elections in 2000.
 PM casts positive light on departures of PASOK MPs
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday said he was not concerned by the departures of PASOK MPs who declined to run for re-election in the next polls, saying this would prove useful for the ruling party.
Responding to questions during the presentation of PASOK's draft political proclamation, he said that the departure of those who disagreed with his presence at the helm of the party would prove useful both for themselves and for PASOK.
He praised those MPs who decided to withdraw from parliamentary activity while remaining within the ranks of PASOK so as to give their place to younger colleagues, stressing that renewal was a basic principle in PASOK.
''We want a clean, strong and rejuvenated front in the next elections,'' he said.
Asked whether the country could withstand the unusually long pre-election period, the premier noted that early elections were out of the question.
Simitis noted that there was provision in the Constitution for early elections in special circumstances, but these circumstances did not exist at the moment.
A PASOK official earlier announced that all PASOK MPs had submitted the letters requested by the prime minister, in which they declared whether or not they intended to stand for re-election, except for one deputy who was ill.
PASOK Parliamentary Group secretary Nikos Levoyiannis noted that all the MPs, even the ones who did not wish to run, had declared that they would participate in the party's pre-election battle.
So far, 12 MPs have said that they definitely do not intend to run. There is still uncertainty over the intentions of Costas Laliotis, Athanasios Matis, Alekos Papadopoulos and Costas Spyriounis, though the last two have publicly declared that they will not run.
 ND leader calls for early elections, support for his party by Greek people
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, speaking at an indoor stadium in the area of Polychni in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Thursday once again called for early elections and urged the Greek people to support his party with their votes.
''The prime minister reached the point today, admitting that he is applying himself to generalities, of accusing our party for all that citizens recognize in his own policy,'' he said.
Karamanlis further said Prime Minister Costas Simitis ''has abandoned governance and has applied himself to exercising opposition against the opposition'' and ''has let it be clearly understood that he is only interested in power.''
Karamanlis also visited the cultural centre at the municipality of Polychni where he inaugurated a photographic exhibition concerning the Pontian culture in the Black Sea region.
 Albanian authorities' treatment of Greek minority of concern to US gov'tWashington, 21/11/2003 D.C. (ANA-T. Ellis)
The Albanian authorities' treatment of the Greek ethnic minority in Albania was an issue that concerned the US government, according to US State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said Wednesday, in reply to questions during a regular press briefing.
Questioned on the irregularities in the recent Albanian elections, Ereli, said that "this is an issue that we, along with the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and other concerned parties, are working on with the Government of Albania.
"I don't have any specifics for you, other than to say that it is, you know, part of our ongoing engagement with the government there, and that the (US) Embassy (in Albania) is pursuing it," Ereli added.
On the Cyprus issue, in light of state department special coordinator on the Cyprus issue Tom Weston's current tour of Turkey, Greece and Cyprus for consultations, Ereli said that "the purpose of his trip is to convey U.S. views on the way ahead to a Cyprus settlement. Those views, as we've discussed, are clear. We urge all parties to express to the UN Security -- the UN Secretary General, as soon as possible, the necessary political willingness that he has requested to resume negotiations under the framework of the UN Good Offices mission on the basis of the Annan plan".
 Human Rights Party candidate wins Himarra mayorship
GJIROKASTER, 21/11/2003 (ANA/P.Barkas)The Central Supervisory Committee on Thursday confirmed the victory of Human Rights Union Party candidate Vassilis Bolanos in the municipality of Himarra.
The Central Supervisory Committee opened the ballot boxes in the four polling stations, where elections were repeated in Himarra on November 16, and ascertained that the number of ballots in the boxes was not identical with the results which had been recorded in the minutes.
 Interior minister says corruption a permanent international phenomenon
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Costas Skandalidis, addressing on Thursday an international scientific conference on ''Corruption and scandals in public administration and politics'', organized by the Panteios University, said corruption is a permanent international phenomenon.
Skandalidis said in conditions of globalization the problem is intensified since the economic ''pie'' distributed expands and at the same time it is revealed since economic forces act uncontrolled.
The minister said preconditions for cracking down on corruption are national strategy and consensus, an informed scientific administration, meritocracy and an evaluation of administrative staff.
''The problem exceeds the borders of a country and constitutes a scourge for all developed societies,'' he said, adding that ''the EU is also facing corruption problems due to community bureaucracy, while the problem is also intensified due to the activity of various 'development advisers'.''
Skandalidis further said the discovery of phenomena of corruption in past years shows the government's political will, but stressed that ''we must not embark on a witch-hunt and accuse entire social groups unwisely, which is very dangerous.''
 Sit-in at Athens University over 'Salonica Seven'
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Some 30 protestors began a symbolic sit-in at Athens University's central building on Thursday at 12:30, to demand the release of seven prisoners that have been held since their arrest during incidents at anti-globalization demonstrations at the EU Summit in Thessaloniki last June.
A rally and march in solidarity for the "Salonica Seven" is to take place at the Propylaia near the Athens Acropolis at 18:30, organized by the Greek Social Forum, the "Struggle 2003" Initiative and a number of anti-establishment and anarchist groups.
 Gov't to sell 2 pct of stake in National Bank of Greece to insurance funds
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)The state is to sell up to 2.0 percent of its stake in National Bank of Greece, a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, to domestic social insurance funds, Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday.
The sale of stock may be effected through direct sale outside the bourse, Christodoulakis told a function at National Bank.
The state's holding in National, the country's largest bank, will fall to about 5.0 percent from 7.5 percent after the transaction, he said.
"Social insurance funds, which will hold about 20 percent of the bank's stock, have a new, active role to play," the minister added
 Hellenic Railways tenders studies for new western rail link
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Hellenic Railways Organization on Wednesday called a tender for studies worth 21 million euros in a European Union project to build a rail link for western Greece.
The link, which is part of the EU's transport and energy networks, is between Kozani, Kalambaka, Ioannina and Igoumenitsa. It will mark the completion of the country's main rail infrastructure, linking western ports to the railway grid.
Phased construction is to begin in 2006 with a completion deadline of 2014.
The project's first phase studies cover transport and communications, topography, the environmental and geology ahead of a second phase to be tendered including statistics, electrical engineering and station buildings.
 ANEK Lines reports improved nine-month results
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)ANEK Lines, a listed Greek shipping company, on Thursday reported a 6.11 percent increase in its nine-month turnover to 136.94 million euros, from 129.05 million euros in the same period last year.
Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) totalled 34.35 million euros in the January-September period from 33.62 million euros last year, while net profits totalled 18.93 million euros from 15.83 percent million euros, up 19.6 percent over the same period.
ANEK Lines said it has recently completed the last remaining procedures in a plan to restructure its debt from a short-term to a long-term basis.
 Athens Water reports 15.4 pct rise in pre-tax profits
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Athens Water on Thursday reported a 15.4 percent increase in its pre-tax profits in the first nine months of 2003 to 55 million euros from 47.6 million euros last year.
Turnover rose 16.6 percent to 253.3 million euros in the January-September period from 217.1 million euros in the corresponding period last year.
Operating expenses, pre-amortizations, rose 17.4 percent or 71.7 percent of total turnover, reflecting higher cost of anti-flooding works undertaken by the company.
EBITDA rose 13.7 percent to 74.8 million euros in the first nine months of the year, from 65.8 million euros in 2002.
Amortizations rose to 23.5 million euros, up 6.9 percent from the previous year.
 S&B Industrial Minerals reports slightly improved results
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)S&B Industrial Minerals SA (former Silver & Baryte) on Thursday reported a 3.2 percent rise in its consolidated pre-tax profits in the first nine months of the year to 19.8 million euros, from 19.2 million euros last year.
Consolidated sales totalled 222.7 million euros, from 222.3 million euros last year, an increase of 0.2 percent.
The industrial minerals sector, accounting for more than three-quarters of total turnover in the group, reported a 0.6 percent drop in nine-month sales to 166.3 million euros from 167.4 million euros last year, while pre-tax profits rose 7.6 percent to 16 million euros.
S&B said its commercial activities' sales (Motodynamic AEE and Ergotrak SA) rose 2.7 percent in the January-September period to 56.3 million euros, while pre-tax profits fell 11.9 percent to 3.8 million euros.
 Titan Cement Group reports lower EBITDA earnings
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Titan Cement Group on Thursday reported a 1.0 percent decline in its group sales to 780 million euros in the first nine months of 2003 compared with the same period last year.
Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) totalled 215 million euros in the January-September period, down 3.0 percent from the previous year, while net profits and after minorities and tax provisions rose 4.0 percent to 87 million euros over the same period.
A company statement said its results rebounded in the third quarter of the year, continuing a trend from the previous quarter, although a 21 percent drop in the exchange rate of the US dollar against the euro negatively affected its profits from its activities in the United States.
The Group said demand for building materials rose slightly in Greece, the US market was generally stable, in Egypt an economic slowdown did not helped its profitability, a picture also shared in the western Balkans, while in Bulgaria, conditions improved further in the third quarter.
Parent sales rose 2.0 percent to 320 million euros, EBITDA rose 3.0 percent to 115 million euros and net after tax profits jumped 19 percent to 83 million euros.
 Attica Enterprises says nine-month profit up 101 pct
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Attica Enterprises Group on Thursday reported a 26 percent increase in its nine-month sales to 310 million euros, reflecting increased revenues from Superfast ferries' operations. Consolidated pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) totalled 85.8 million euros in the January-September period from 52.3 million euros last year, for an increase of 64 percent.
Consolidated pre-tax profits jumped 101 percent to 30.7 million euros including results from the group's equity holding in Strintzis Shipping Lines.
A company statement said that Superfast ferries retained the top spot in transportation of passengers, trucks and vehicles in the Greece-Italy sea line, with market shares of 31.8 percent, 31.7 percent and 25.9 percent, respectively.
Superfast VII and Superfast VIII ferries transported more than 140,000 passengers, 36,500 trucks and 45,000 cars in the Germany-Finland sea line in the first nine months of 2003, taking the leading position in the market, while its Superfast IX and Superfast X ferries transported more than 145,000 passengers, 22,500 trucks and 31,500 cars in the Scotland-Belgium line over the same period.
Strintzis Lines, in which Attica Enterprises holds a 48.6 percent equity stake, reported a 22.6 percent rise in its nine-month EBITDA to 25.9 million euros with sales of 105.8 million euros, up 11 percent from the same period last year.
 Centric Multimedia says pre-tax profit up 90 pct in Jan-Sept
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Centric Multimedia (former Despec Multimedia) on Thursday reported a 15 percent increase in its nine-month turnover to 6.447 million euros from 5.607 million euros last year.
The company said its net pre-tax profits totalled 314,054 euros in the January-September period, from 165,385 euros last year, for an increase of 89.9 percent.
A company statement said that its improved results was attributed to the strengthening of its gross profit margin (up 1.17 percentage points to 20.22 percent of turnover), a development resulting from higher sales of high value added products.
 Intracom in 26.5 mln euro contract with Zeiss Optronik
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Intracom on Thursday reported the signing of a contract, worth 26.5 million euros, with German company Zeiss Optronik for the production of a targeting system to be installed with the Leopard 1HEL tank of the Greek Army.
Under the contract, Intracom will manufacture a thermal camera Ophelios along with components for a periscope and a laser system.
The contract is expected to be completed in five years and lays the foundations for a further cooperation between the two companies.
 Kego reports slightly improved results in Jan-Sept
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Kego on Thursday reported a 2.03 percent increase in its profits in the first nine months of 2003 compared with the same period last year and said that this year's profits would be unchanged at last year's levels.
Sales totalled 19.53 million euros in the January-September period from 19.11 million euros last year, an increase of 2.19 percent.
Consolidated turnover totalled 21.355 million euros in the third quarter, up 5.49 percent from the same quarter in 2002, while pre-tax profits totalled 2.25 million euros, up 14.92 percent over the same period.
 Cosmote reports rise in Q3 earnings
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Athens-quoted Cosmote SA reported on Wednesday that earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (EBITDA) totalled 425.0 million euros in the third quarter of 2003, up 10.0 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Consolidated turnover was 994.1 million euros, marking a 12.1 percent increase over the third quarter of 2002, the company said in a statement.
Cosmote is a mobile phone subsidiary of state-owned Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse.
 Motor Oil Hellas reports 5.7 pct rise in nine-month profit
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Motor Oil Hellas on Thursday reported a slight improvement in its nine-month results, with pre-tax profits totalling 79.2 million euros, from 74.9 million euros in the same period last year, for an increase of 5.7 percent.
Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) totalled 100.8 million euros in the January-September period, from 97.5 million euros last year, while nine-month sales totalled 1.151 billion euros from 1.002 billion euros last year.
The volume of sales totalled 4.93 million metric tones in the first nine months of 2003, up 11 percent from the same period last year.
Motor Oil Hellas said its investment program was progressing as scheduled, with its investment budget totalling 70 million euros in 2003 and around 400 million euros in the 2003-2005 period.
The company announced it would pay a pre-dividend of 0.20 euros per share to its shareholders.
 Greek stocks fall on renewed geopolitical worries
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks ended substantially lower on Thursday hit by renewed geopolitical worries after a new wave of terrorist attacks in Turkey.
Small and medium-size capitalization stocks were badly hit, while blue chip stocks showed greater resistance.
The general index fell 1.15 percent to end at 2,106.11 points, with turnover a heavy 131.3 million euros.
The Investment sector was the only one to score gains (up 0.05 percent), while the Insurance (3.02 percent), Publications (2.70 percent), IT Solutions (2.40 percent), Metals (2.37 percent) and Holdings (2.19 percent) sector suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.02 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 1.57 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.23 percent down. The wider FTSE/ASE 140 index fell 1.23 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 293 to 34 with another 30 issues remaining unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Football Pools Organization, and Alpha Bank.
Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Thursday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of November 20 2003
Parities in euro
Foreign Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,200 1,173
 Athens 2004: Rogge reiterates confidence in Greek organizers' preparations,
MELBOURNE, 21/11/2003 (ANA)International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge on Thursday reiterated from Sydney that the upcoming 2004 Olympics in Athens will be excellent as long as Greek organizers continue preparations at the current rate.
He spoke during a press conference organized by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).
Asked about security for next year’s Olympics, an ever-timely subject especially in light of recent attacks in neighboring Turkey, Rogge cited what he called a very positive report on security preparations issued in the aftermath of this month’s visit to Athens by the director of America’s FBI.
Finally, he also stressed that the security director for the Sydney 2000 Games, Peter Ryan, is also amongst the top security advisers for the Athens Games.
 Defense for Giotopoulos insists there was no leader within N17
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)The ongoing trial of 19 suspected members of the terrorist organization ''November 17'' resumed after a two-day strike by lawyers on Thursday, with the defense for alleged N17 leader Alexandros Giotopoulos again addressing final arguments before the court and insisting that the terror group had no formal leader.
The defendant's second attorney Yiannis Rahiotis reiterated that no evidence had been heard during the proceedings to back the charges against his client and called on the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court to prove that Giotopoulos was the moral instigator of the terror group’s actions.
According to Rahiotis, N17 was an ''armed political organization of the far Left'' with alternating membership over several years that did not play insignificant roles.
He also argued that if N17 had a leadership figure, then that person would have been widely known, as in the cases of Che Guevara or Abdullah Ocalan.
The lawyer said that, based on the testimony heard in court, the organization was made up of small cells that communicated with each other via a single person.
Referring to the incriminating testimony given in court by Patroklos Tselentis, another defendant in the case, Rahiotis said that Tselentis was collaborating with police and ready to say anything.
Even though he dismissed Tselentis' statements as a ''distortion of reality'', however, he also noted that this testimony pointed to an organization where decisions were made jointly by all members rather than a single person.
''Nothing in the Tselentis testimony gives the impression of causation by a third party. The thread running throughout his statements was joint decision,'' Rahiotis said.
Rahiotis will wrap up his final arguments on Friday and will be followed by the defense for Anestis Papanastasiou, which will then bring this stage of the proceedings to a close.
 Police say family killed FYROM woman as part of insurance scam
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Four members of a northern Greece family were arrested on Thursday in connection with the death of a woman burned almost beyond recognition this week as part of an alleged insurance scam.
The unprecedented and insidious crime, by local standards, was reportedly uncovered after police partially identified the victim as a 45-year-old woman from the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) lured to Greece by the Kessopoulos family because she resembled Maria Kessopoulou, the family’s matriarch. No name for the victim has been announced although initial reports state she was poisoned to death.
Police said the four suspects attempted to deceive authorities into believing that Maria Kessopoulou was actually the victim of the car fire in order to collect a 1.5-million-euro life insurance policy issued by an unnamed German underwriter.
The incident occurred in the Arnissa township of Pella prefecture, northwestern Greece.
The father and two of the family’s five children were arrested shortly after the woman was discovered in the family’s burning vehicle, which was first driven off a cliff. The mother, Maria Kessopoulou, was arrested a day later on Thursday hiding in a rural region of neighboring Florina prefecture.
 Conference on Olympic Truce to take place in Amman
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Overseas Hellenism Secretary General Pavlos Geroulanos and the director of the International Olympic Truce Centre in Athens Stavros Lambrinidis will leave for Amman, Jordan, on Friday to inaugurate a conference on promoting the Olympic Truce, organized by young expatriates' organizations from the Middle East and Egypt.
The purpose of the event is to promote the signing of the Olympic Truce Proclamation among young people in the region. The initiative was launched by Greek youth representatives during Geroulanos' recent visit to the Middle East and it is backed by the Greek foreign ministry.
 Drug arrests on distressed ferry in Crete
Athens, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Two people who were on board a ferry on which a fire broke out off the island of Crete on Wednesday have been arrested drug charges, local police said Thursday.
Police in Heraklion, Crete, said that two men, one of them Albanian, were arrested in Heraklion port on Wednesday evening after they disembarked their car, in which the narcotics were hidden, from the distressed ferry.
A fire broke out in a truck loaded with household cleaning supplies in one of the garages of the car/passenger ferry Knossos Palace at dawn Wednesday, causing damage to the garage ceiling's cables that resulted in a short-circuit that disabled the vessel's hatchway.
The fire, which occurred as the ferry was sailing 40 nautical miles northwest of Heraklion, was extinguished by the vessel's automatic smoke detection/sprinkler system, and its 1040 passengers were evacuated from the vessel using emergency ladders and mobile stairs belonging to national carrier Olympic Airways.
A few hours after the ferry's arrival in port the hatchway was opened manually, enabling the passengers to disembark with their cars.
A team of Heraklion police officers, acting on a tip-off, found 755 grams of heroin, 97 grams of cocaine, and 529 ecstasy pills hidden inside the speaker of the driver's door and arrested the two men.
 Family affairs ministers hold European conference on child abuse
PARIS, 21/11/2003 (ANA)Family affairs ministers held a European conference here on Thursday titled ''Prevention of abuse, promoting the good treatment of childhood: a European ambition.''
The conference was inaugurated by French Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin, while Greece was represented by Deputy Health and Welfare Minister Vassilis Kontoyiannopoulos.
The issue of European telephone assistance networks for children was discussed during the conference, as well as the European Union's ''Daphne'' program on combatting violence against children, teenagers and women and the promotion of good treatment and the development of the possibilities of all children.
Participating in the discussion, Kontoyiannopoulos said Greece is systematically developing a protective network for the family and the child through structures and programs appealing to the entire population, particularly sensitive groups such as people with disabilities, single parent families, young offenders and children in danger.
 Weston urges parties concerned to reach a settlement by May 1st 2004
LARNACA, 21/11/2003 (CNA/ANA)US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston stressed the need for a settlement of the Cyprus issue by May 1st 2004, when the island will officially join the EU.
Weston, who arrived here on Thursday for talks on the Cyprus problem, said that regardless of the result of December's so called elections in the Turkish occupied part of northern Cyprus, the parties concerned have to commit themselves to achieve a settlement of the Cyprus issue by May 1st 2004.
He also expressed concern for the ''continuous failure of the parties to express the necessary political will to reach a settlement.''
The US diplomat met Thursday afternoon with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou. ''I think that it is in the interest of everyone in Cyprus, as well as Greece, Turkey, the EU and the US, that there will be a settlement before May 1. Because of that we have to put aside to some extend the elections in the north and commit ourselves to get a settlement by May 1, no matter what will happen in those elections'', Weston noted.
Weston, who arrived on the island after visiting Athens and Ankara, said that his talks there had been very extensive.
He added that ''I come from those talks with some degree of concern, which is also reflected by the UN and the Secretary General in his last report to the Security Council, in the continuous failure of the parties to express the necessary political will to reach a settlement''.
Asked whether there is still hope for a settlement, Weston said ''absolutely, this is what we are working for''.
Regarding the so-called elections in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, Weston said that there is no American official who expressed any certainty about the outcome of the elections.
''We don't know the result of any election until that election takes place'', he said.
Responding to a question about the foreign observers of the ''elections'' in the northern part of Cyprus, he said that some NGOs have been studying the electoral process already.
''These are private organizations but I understand that there is a
Finnish NGO there and the University of Oslo has a study under way now. Those are the ongoing activities'', Weston said.
Invited to comment recent statements by Turkey's chief of army Hilmi Ozkok on Cyprus, Weston said he did not want to make any comments on them.
He said though that ''there are elements of the Turkish political
system and elements in other political systems of Cyprus and Greece which harbor attitudes which are not necessarily in favor towards a settlement'', adding that ''we have to overcome those attitudes''.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of the island's territory.
 Christofias: Cyprus accession and Turkey's course a catalyst for solution
NICOSIA, 21/11/2003 (CNA/ANA)House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias has expressed the hope Cyprus' EU accession together with Turkey's European aspirations will act as a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Briefing Irish officials during a Cyprus House delegation visit to Ireland Christofias added that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Ankara share the responsibility for the lack of progress in the efforts for a Cyprus settlement.
The parliamentary delegation met with Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights Tom Kitt, Senate President Rory Kiely and Labor Party leader Fine Gael.
According to an official press release issued here on Thursday, the Irish officials expressed their appreciation over the Greek Cypriot side's efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.
They also expressed satisfaction with Cyprus' accession to the European Union during the Irish Presidency of the EU (first half of 2004) and agreed with Cyprus House President's view that the two countries have common interests.
The delegation, also comprising deputies Demetris Syllouris, Aristofanis Georgiou, Nicos Pittokopitis and Georgios Varnava, visited Ireland at the invitation of the Irish parliament's Speaker Rory O' Hanlon.