|Saturday, 23 January 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-07-31
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 31, 2004
 Olympic security a precaution that will not mar spirit of Olympics, minister says
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)The measures being taken for Olympic Games security are precautionary and will in no way mar the spirit of the Olympics, Greek Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said on Friday after a visit to the 2nd Area Control Centre on Parnitha and the 26th Guided Missiles Squadron at Tatoi, where he was briefed on their operation.
The minister said he was fully satisfied with the operational readiness of the national early-warning system for airborne threats and the air-defense units charged with monitoring and security for Greece's airspace.
According to sources, one of the precautionary measures that will taken during the Games include the deployment of ranks of Patriot missiles around Athens and Thessaloniki for the protection of Olympic facilities, while the Civil Aviation Authority will be issuing a directive that establishes a 45-mile no-flight zone over Athens during the Olympics and Paralympics, which will span the area between Athens' international airport in Spata and the main Olympic stadium OAKA.
They also said that a NATO nuclear/biochem defense battalion was gradually being installed at Halkida, to the north of Athens, with the arrival of the first troops from Belgium and Hungary, while troops from Poland and the Czech Republic are expected to arrive in the next 24 hours.
On August 5, there will be a handover of the STANNAVFORMED NATO naval force command at Souda, which will also be contributing to Olympic security operations and will patrol international waters around Greece. The command is going to commander I. Karaiskos, a Greek, who is taking over from the previous German commander.
By next Tuesday, meanwhile, the Navy is also expected to have completed the deployment of some 35 vessels that will be patrolling Greek seas in collaboration with the Greek coast guard.
 Coordination center for Greek air space begins operating Sunday
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)The Civil Aviation Authority is on high alert as the Olympic Games approach and there is already heavy traffic in Greek air space. Traffic is expected to increase next week when foreign delegations start to arrive, with traffic expected to reach an all-time high between August 9 and 13.
In order to deal with the increased air traffic, the Civil Aviation Authority has designed a Control Coordinating Centre for Greek air space which will begin operating at midnight on Sunday, August 1.
Specially-trained staff will be monitoring all aircraft activity over Athens in order to provide immediate solutions in case complications occur. The centre will be in continuous contact with the ministries of Transport, Public Order, and Defense.
 US ambassador stresses that Olympics will go well
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)United States Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller on Friday underlined that the Athens Olympics would go well, during a visit to the island of Samos.
"I hope everything will go well. There is cooperation between Greece and the U.S. on the issue of security and the Olympic Games will go well," he said. He stressed the issue of security, noting that former U.S. President George Bush senior would be coming to Greece with his family.
 'Democratic Rally' to request restraining order against use of Zeppelin airship
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)The "Democratic Rally" will submit a request at an Athens court on August 2, calling for a restraining order for the shutdown of the Zeppelin airship's monitoring systems.
The group points out that the measures being taken with the pretext of safeguarding the Olympic Games and confronting terrorism, with an astronomic cost for the people, are leading to the creation of a huge monitoring and suppression apparatus with the aim of dealing a blow at popular struggles and preventing their development.
The "Democratic Rally' called on the Greek people and their social organizations to intensify their struggle for the abolition of laws and decisions which objectively deal a blow at the democratic rights and freedoms of the people.
 Turkish warplanes violate national air space over Aegean
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)Five formations of Turkish warplanes made an equal number of infringements of air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) on Friday which developed into 13 violations of national air space in the region to the north of the Aegean island of Chios, press reports said.
In all cases, the Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by Greek air force jets, while in some cases the interception process developed into an engagement.
According to the reports, six formations of Turkish warplanes had made an equal number of infringements of air traffic regulations on Thursday.
 Greek gov't expresses satisfaction over WTO talks
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)Greek Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos on Friday expressed his satisfaction over developments in the issue of cotton in the framework of a round of talks by the World Trade Organization held in Geneva.
Basiakos, accompanied by economy and finance ministry officials, represented Greece in a General and Foreign Affairs Council of Ministers in Geneva to discuss developments in a Doha round of world trade talks.
The Greek minister stressed that a final text on cotton, included in an updated framework-agreement text on multilateral trade negotiations, was improved significantly compared with its initial version and that this development avoided any possible negative developments for Greek cotton farmers. Basiakos noted that the Greek government reiterated its decision to reject the initial text because it questioned the viability of the sector. "The next text cleared all risks of linking EU subsidies on cotton with the African cotton.
 Thessaloniki International Fair SA unveils expansion strategy
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)Thessaloniki International Fair SA on Friday unveiled a new strategy aimed to expand its activities in the Greek region and abroad, to promote a more efficient use of its assets and to restructure its operations.
TIF's new board said it would seek to speed-up its growth rates to further support and promote businesses and the Greek economy in general. Its new strategy envisages opening a new Trade Fair Centre in Epirus, based on the models of previous centers set-up in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and in Crete.
Regional authorities in Epirus will seek to secure funding of the project while TIF will draft a viability survey with the aim to operate the new project in 2006. TIF's board is also expected to begin talks with other Greek regions, such as Western Macedonia and the Peloponnese.
TIF said the Ioannina Chamber has agreed to participate in two international trade fairs, ROMEXPO in Bucharest, Romania (November 3-7) and PANAIR in Skopje, FYROM (November 25-30).
A company announcement said that TIF has launched a tender for the leasing of its available real estate assets and for supply and installation of a parking management system.
 Greek textile-clothing union urges gov't to support the sector in WTO talks
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)SEPEE, the Federation of Greek Textile and Clothing Enterprises, on Friday urged for the need to extend, for three years, a deadline for lifting all quotas on textile products, in the framework of a World Trade Organization round of trade talks, and urged the Greek government to support its proposal during a scheduled meeting of WTO member-states in August 3.
In a letter sent to Economy and Finance ministry, SEPEE said that the August 3rd meeting included representatives by 18 member-states only and that the composition of the meeting "was likely in support of abolishing quotas". The Federation stressed that sector agencies from around the world have began an initiative, since April, aimed to extend a deadline on abolishing quotas, expected to end on December 31, 2004.
The so-called "Istanbul Declaration" is signed by 90 organizations from a total of 48 countries. This reaction was based on the behavior of China, a country "violating WTO rules and adopting practices that undermined healthy commerce," SEPEE said in its letter.
The organizations are asking for a three year extension to offer more time to create a new world trade framework that would safeguard competition and balance in the international textile-clothing market.
 Tourism minister meets Drama Prefect to discuss plan to develop tourism
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday met Drama Prefect Constantine Evmiridis in Athens, for talks on developing tourism in Drama, stressing that the area lent itself to year-round 'alternative' tourism.
It was decided that Avramopoulos will visit Drama and attend a meeting on developing tourism there, in order to formulate a special tourist development program that could be acted on immediately.
The prefect stressed during the meeting that over 7,000 jobs had been lost in Drama over the past decade by the migration of workshops and factories to neighboring Bulgaria and the closure of the Athinaiki Hartopoiia 'Softex' plant.
 Stocks drop in blue chip selling
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished lower with players dumping blue chips, especially banks, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,319.30 points, showing a decline of 1.38 per cent. Turnover was 136.7 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.60 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.16 per cent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.74 per cent down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 205 to 88 with 61 remaining unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 67.7 mln euros
Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.9 bln euros
 Metro and suburban railway begin services to Athens airport
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)Rail services for Athens International Airport were officially launched on Friday morning at 11:00, when the first trains of the Suburban Railway and an extension of the Athens Metro system from Ethniki Amyna to the airport were turned over for use by the public.
Regular services to and from the city centre and the airport began operating immediately after an inaugural ceremony attended by Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis.
For the first two days there will be no charge on either service, while the Suburban Railway will also be free until Sunday afternoon, so that the public can become acquainted with the new means of public transport.
Both were among the public transport works that Greece had promised to have ready for the Olympics. In statements at the inaugural ceremony, Liapis said it was a feat that the two projects were delivered on time, even if at the last minute.
For the suburban railway, in particular, he said there had been severe doubts as to whether it would be completed, while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had been prepared to settle for the short run between the Neratziotissa and Doukissis Plakentias stations.
He said the new rail and metro lines and the other new means of public transport prepared for the Olympics would create an integrated and organized public transport system for Athens and thanked all those involved in bringing them to completion, including his predecessors at the ministry, the contractors and all the workforce.
 New ICU and recovery units opened at Laiko Hospital in Athens
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis on Friday inaugurated a new 17-bed intensive-care unit (ICU) and an eight-bed recovery unit at Laiko Hospital in Athens, as well as a new 16-bed hospital ward and the second National Blood Donor Centre.
During the ceremony, the minister assured staff at the hospital that every minute of time they worked would be paid for and called on doctors and the hospital workforce to contribute to preparing the healthcare coverage for the Olympic Games.
Finally, he congratulated Health Minister Athanassios Yiannopoulos for his help in improving the hospital's image. Other speakers included doctors and professors of medicine, who congratulated the ministry for delivering in just 3.5 months projects that had dragged on for 15 years.
 Kalymnos island to soon have airport
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)The Dodecanese island of Kalymnos will soon acquire its own airport, which will not only satisfy the steadfast demand of the island's inhabitants, but also alleviate them from isolation in the winter months due to bad weather conditions.
The airport will be fully functional in January 2006 but flights will start in the summer of 2005 because the work will be completed in two phases.
 Defendants in ELA trial to be released from custody on Monday
Athens 31/7/2004 (ANA)Three of the five defendants on trial as members of the terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA), Costas Agapiou, Aggeletos Kanas and Irene Athanassaki, are to be released on Monday because the 18-month limit for detention on remand has expired.
This means that trial before the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court will continue next week with all five of the accused at large, since Christos Tsigaridas and Mihalis Kassimis were released on bail earlier on.
All of the defendants in the trial are barred from leaving the country.
Sunny weather is forecast in most parts of the country, with the north to see scattered showers and isolated storms. Winds northwesterly, moderate to strong. Temperatures in Athens from 24C to 34C; and in Thessaloniki between 22C and 29C.
 Government announces new measures for Turkish Cypriots
Nicosia 31/7/2004 (CNA/ANA)The government of the Republic of Cyprus on Friday announced a series of new measures regarding the movement of public-use vehicles for Turkish Cypriots to the government controlled areas, as well as the movement of goods and the development of contacts and economic relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
The new measures have been submitted to the European Commission and aim at facilitating the implementation of the EU Council's Green Line Regulation that was adopted on April 29, 2004.
Announcing the measures on Friday during a press conference at the Presidential Palace, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism George Lillikas expressed hope that ''the Turkish Cypriot side would respond to the facilitations and the measures that mostly serve the Turkish Cypriots.''
Asked about the implementation of the measures, the Minister of Commerce said, ''If the EU adopts the facilitations proposed by the Cyprus government, then the measures could be implemented immediately.''
Director of the President's Diplomatic Office Tasos Tzionis said that the EU was briefed orally over a month ago on the government's proposals and later on the Republic submitted its proposals in writing. ''The first EU reaction was encouraging and positive,'' Tzionis said.
Part of the trade package announced by the Minister of Commerce is exempting Turkish Cypriots from registering or paying Value Added Tax (VAT) if they sell their goods directly to Greek Cypriot consumers to the government controlled areas.
This measure will allow Turkish Cypriots to sell their merchandise to the controlled areas without the need to be registered in the VAT Register and follow the other tax procedures.
Minister of Communications and Works Charis Thrassou announced the measures for the movement of public-use vehicles for the Turkish Cypriots, saying that they aim to facilitate the movement of Turkish Cypriots with mechanically driven vehicles and the transport of goods and passengers to the government-controlled areas.
Thrassou said the government would grant, free of charge, a temporary driving license to Turkish Cypriots, as well as a temporary road service license (circulation license) to vehicles, which will be valid for one year.
''The relevant circulation license for trucks will be granted after the trucks are pronounced appropriate by the competent authorities of the Republic,'' Thrassou noted.
Announcing the government's proposals, the Minister of Commerce said that the measures aim to ease the commercial exchanges across the demarcation line and to further develop the exchanges and other financial relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
He noted that the measures concern only products and merchandise produced in the Turkish occupied areas and products that have in some way been processed in these areas.
Lillikas said that the government's proposal is the endorsement of a simplified measure according to which the person who is located in the areas that are not controlled by the government will not be registered in the VAT Register.
''Instead,'' he added, ''the buyer of the goods or the recipient of the services who is in the controlled areas and is registered in the VAT Register will have the obligation to pay the tax.''
''This measure will allow the Turkish Cypriots to sell their merchandise to the controlled areas without the need to be registered in the VAT Register and follow the other tax procedures,'' he explained.
He added that this measure concerns the sales that occur when the buyer is registered in the VAT Register.
The government also proposes a plan for the sale of goods to the consumers in the government-controlled areas by persons in the Turkish occupied areas who cross the line with their merchandise, without the need to register for VAT or undertake other procedures that might obstruct the exercise of commerce between the two communities.
Regarding the movement of goods across the demarcation line, Lillikas said that the government ''has suggested the amendment of the EU Regulation at this specific point so that the goods that are entitled to export return and which are entirely produced in the non-controlled areas are exempt from duties or surcharges of equivalent result when they cross the line and are considered as community goods."
''In this way, the free movement of these goods and the assistance to the Turkish Cypriots will be reinforced by providing them with the possibility to trade these goods in the entire community territory,'' he explained.
Moreover the government proposes the imposition of zero VAT on goods that cross the line to the Turkish occupied areas.
''With the application of these measures, the economic and trade relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will be developed, which is one of the goals of the government of the Republic of Cyprus,'' the Minister of Commerce said.
Minister of Communications and Works Charis Thrassou said that the government, in the framework of its declared and applied policy of rendering the EU Green Line Regulation more effective so as to facilitate the movement of Turkish Cypriots with mechanically driven vehicles and the transport of goods and passengers to the government-controlled areas, has decided the granting, free of charge, of a temporary driving licenses to Turkish Cypriots.
''The government has also decided a temporary road service license (circulation license) to vehicles, which will be valid for one year,'' Thrassou said.
The relevant circulation license for trucks will be granted after the trucks are pronounced appropriate by the competent authorities of the Republic.
 Cypriot UN Permanent Representative briefs Annan on CBMs
UNITED NATIONS 31/7/2004 (CNA/ANA)Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations Andreas Mavroyiannis send a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan informing him on the confidence-building measures that the government of the Republic of Cyprus announced on 16 July 2004.
''The measures aim at promoting cooperation and confidence between the two communities in Cyprus and developing a sense of security among Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, thus contributing to the efforts towards resolving the Cyprus problem,'' Mavroyiannis says in his letter to Annan dated 23 July 2004.
The letter briefs the UN Secretary General on the government's proposal for the opening of eight additional crossing points along the ceasefire line, lifting by both sides of the existing minefields, disengagement of military forces from the walled part of the capital, Nicosia, and from the wider Dherynia-Famagusta and Strovilia areas, as well as restricting military maneuvers.
''We believe that the implementation of these measures will make an important contribution in further defusing tensions on the ground and in improving conditions for allowing the mingling together and cooperation between members of the two communities in Cyprus,'' Mavroyiannis states in his letter.
He adds that ''at this juncture, it is essential to help all Cypriots to remain focused on the prospect of the reunification of their country.''
The Cypriot Permanent Representative to the UN also notes that Cyprus' accession to the EU ''is already playing a constructive role and is creating a new dynamic in this direction.''
''We hope a new window of opportunity for a settlement will open soon that will respond to the aspirations of all Cypriots. We expect that the United Nations, through its good offices mission, will once again play a central role,'' he says.
Mavroyiannis expresses hope that the Turkish side will adopt a constructive approach and cooperate in the implementation of the measures for the benefit of all.