|Monday, 18 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-08-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 3, 2004
 Athens Games a starting point for a new economic course, FinMin says
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)The Athens 2004 Olympic Games will not only have an organizing success but they will become the starting point of a new economic course that passes through a more external orientation, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, presenting the "Athens Business Club 2004" program in Zappeion Mansion, Alogoskoufis added that the Greece would have to begin a revolution of quality since the country could not compete other countries on a low cost basis.
The Greek minister stressed that the Olympic Games offered a unique opportunity to promoting the country abroad along with its cultural and economic achievements. Through the program, Greek and foreign businessmen would have the opportunity to meet and agree trade and economic deals, he said.
According to the figures released by the Hellenic Investment Centre (ELKE) a total of 600 foreign companies have expressed interest in discussing business deals with Greek companies, of which 135 from the US, 134 from Bulgaria, 111 from Germany, 105 from the UK, 59 from Australia and 56 from Italy. A total of 158 businesses have expressed interest in investments in electronics, 89 in clothing, 78 in food-beverages, 50 in securities transactions and 40 in computers.
Alogoskoufis said that the government aimed at achieving a "revolution of quality" and stressed that the Olympic Games offered a significant opportunity to boost the country's external profile.
Economy and Finance ministry offered an open invitation to the business world to invest in Greece through the Athens Business Club program.
A total of 2,104 companies have already registered with the program, of which 1,042 are foreign.
 PM Karamanlis calls for measures to stamp out soccer violence
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday called for measures to stamp out soccer violence and bring people back into the stadiums, during a meeting with the justice, sports and public order ministers.
The meeting also covered the issue of football club debts, which will be included in a bill for sports that is due to be tabled in Parliament from September onward, and issues related to the Olympic Games that begin in less than two weeks.
Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis did not rule out the possibility of postponing the start of the domestic soccer season, originally set for September 19, so that it won't coincide with the Paralympics.
Emerging from the meeting, Voulgarakis also stressed the organized efforts being made by the government to eradicate soccer violence, saying that preliminary work was at "a very good point". He said the work would be completed by the start of the soccer season and that the bill would be processed by the summer session of Parliament.
Regarding Olympic security, he said that checks to assess the readiness of the systems and staff were continuing and that so far everything was at "a good level". He also thanked the public for its understanding and the patience it had shown regarding measures for the Olympic Games.
Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos said that club debts would be settled with the payment of monthly installments, while the increases due to fines would range between 20-30 per cent. Clubs that missed two consecutive installments would lose the right to transfer players from January 2005 and would lose its certificate of participation in the next year's championship and be demoted, he said.
 Deputy DM Mihaloliakos visits military factories in Larissa and Velestino
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos visited military factories in Larissa and Velestino, in central Greece, on Monday and announced their upgrading.
Addressing serious operational problems faced by the 303 factory in Larissa, the deputy minister announced that 20,000 euros will be provided to upgrade working and safety conditions for staff.
He also requested the submission of an urgent study to upgrade the 303 factory's role.
Mihaloliakos referred during his visit to the 304 factory to financial benefits resulting for national defense due to the operation of modernization units for the country's armored potential and announced the facility's further upgrading.
 Deputy DM Lambropoulos visits Security Operation Units
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Deputy Defense Minister Ioannis Lambropoulos visited Security Operation Units in the Athens district of Haidari and the armored vehicles staff training centre in Avlona on Monday, calling on all Greeks to help the Olympic Games "succeed for our country."
He said "the Olympic Games constitute a great and difficult undertaking, but we are not a small country. We have a great civilization and a great history and I am confident that we shall succeed with the help of all Greeks."
Lambropoulos also assured that the armed forces guarantee the safe holding of the Olympic Games.
Addressing members of the units in question, Lambropoulos praised their contribution to the success of this task and pointed out that the military has never asked for benefits but has always provided and is providing for the country.
 Archbishop Stylianos of Australia pays courtesy call on FM Molyviatis
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Archbishop Stylianos of Australia on Monday paid a courtesy call on foreign minister Petros Molyviatis.
Replying to press questions after the visit, the Archbishop expressed satisfaction with Molyviatis' placement in the foreign ministry, saying that Molybiatis was a seasoned politician who was very knowledgeable on matters of his competency, and was actively interested in matters concerning Greeks abroad.
 Turkish air force's illegal activities over Aegean decrease in July
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)The Turkish air force's illegal activities over the Aegean Sea decreased in July this year compared to the corresponding month in 2003.
According to press reports, infringements by Turkish warplanes of air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) in July 2004 decreased by 22.7 percent as against July 2003.
National air space violations also decreased by 44.2 percent compared to July 2003, while the number of Turkish aircraft involved in illegal activities was 13 percent lower than in July last year.
 PASOK party leader George Papandreou hospitalized after contracting pulmonary infection
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou was admitted to the Attiko hospital in the Athens district of Haidari on Monday night after contracting a pulmonary infection, according to an announcement by the party's press office.
No further details were available, but party officials assured that Papandreou did not shorten his vacation and returned to Athens on Sunday according to schedule.
The announcement further said Papandreou will remain in hospital until all necessary medical tests are carried out.
Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos conveyed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' wishes to Papandreou for a quick recovery. Roussopoulos had a telephone conversation with Mrs. Anda Papandreou. Sources said that Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis will visit Papandreou at hospital on Tuesday.
 Greece launches "Olympic" working hours
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Greek shops on Monday began operating under a new so-called "Olympic" opening hours system, envisaging extending working hours, from 9.00 to 21.00 daily, while banks located in downtown Athens, in tourist areas and near Olympic facilities will remain open until 20.00.
Under the new system, petrol stations will remain open on a 24-hour basis, while the Tram system and the Athens Metro will operate also on a 24-hour basis. All other public transportation systems will have a rest period between 02.00 and 05.00 in the morning.
The Athens International Airport is ready to begin servicing the main volume of visitors expected during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. According to airport officials, the "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport was expected to service more than 500 flights daily in the period two days ahead of the Opening Ceremony and during the Closing Ceremony.
 Greek gov't announces new policy on private school fees
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Greek Development Deputy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou on Monday announced the ministry's new policy on private school fees for the school year 2005-2006 and said that a transition period would begin from September in the country.
Under the new policy, private schools would announce their annual fees for the next year in advance based on a mathematical type.
Papathanasiou said that this year's school fees would be around 6.5-7.0 percent.
The Greek minister also announced the full deregulation of the system for fees by private preparatory schools and foreign language schools.
 Minister inaugurates new wing at Sismanoglio Hospital in northeast Athens
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Inaugurating a new wing at Sismanoglio Hospital in northeast Athens, Health and Social Solidarity Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis on Monday reiterated that health-care staff would be paid for every minute of extra time they worked during the Olympics.
He was met at the door of the hospital by a crowd of protestors demanding a special Olympic bonus. Kaklamanis accepted a memorandum outlining their demands and agreed to meet them at the ministry, while stressing that he would back any fair demands made by the workforce.
The new wing inaugurated by Kaklamanis was comprised of operating theatres, a special care unit, an emergency room, out-patient surgeries and laboratories. "Our aim is to make Sismanoglio a pilot hospital within the National Health System and not just for the Olympic Games," he stressed.
Kaklamanis thanked both the previous government, which had started the project, and his own staff for its completion, while stressing that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had intervened in person to secure an additional 60 million euros, over and above the 2004 budget, so that work on the Olympic Hospitals could be completed.
Sismanoglio, which is very near the main Olympic sites, will be a key hospital in the health network set up for the Olympics, which begin in less than two weeks.
 Greenpeace notes concern over GMO contamination in open letter to minister
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)In an open letter to Agriculture Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Monday, the environmental organization Greenpeace underlined its concern that the extent of contamination of cotton and corn crops by genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) imported into Greece was much greater than reported.
While congratulating the minister on his stance regarding the issue of GMOs, the organization called for immediate measures to control imported GM seeds and avoid further contamination of the food chain, while demanding that farmers and the general public be fully and promptly informed. The letter was also sent to bodies and organizations involved in the production and processing of agricultural goods.
Greenpeace said that successive incidents when GM corn and cotton were found in a number of areas in the country show that the existing legal framework does not protect Greek agriculture from the invasion of GMOs.
It also noted that the ministry had failed to announce the final results of testing and the action it had taken to destroy GM crops when these were found, and asked that the ministry clarify how it would monitor fields where GM crops had been found to ensure they had been fully destroyed.
 Olympic timetable for Athens metro in effect
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)The Athens metro's Olympic timetable went into effect Sunday, whereby trains will run between 5 a.m. and 2 a.m. through August 29, according to an announcement released by Attiko Metro S.A. on Monday.
Also according to the announcement, 50,000 passengers used the metro over the weekend to and from the airport, which indicates the public's trust in this means of transport. However, Attiko Metro also indicated that use of the metro was free of charge Friday and Saturday and a large number of Athens residents left the capital for the weekend.
 Athens journalists approve two-year pay pact
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)The board of the Athens Union of Newspaper Journalists on Monday voted in favor of a collective labor agreement forged with employers that allows pay rises of 6.0-6.5 percent in 2004 and 5.6 percent in 2005.
Crafted on Friday with the Athens Union of Newspaper Owners, the contract grants the higher 6.5 percent increase to reporters in the sector's two lowest pay brackets. The rise for 2004 is backdated to January 1.
The pact also widens eligibility for years-of-service benefits; and obliges employers to pay pension contributions for workers made redundant three years before retirement, so that the pension limit is reached.
 Stocks drop in wake of markets abroad
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished lower following declines in markets abroad on fears of a terrorist strike on US financial targets, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,309.24 points, showing a decline of 0.43 percent. Turnover was 82.8 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.55 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.41 per cent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.67 per cent down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 248 to 53 with 51 remaining unchanged.
 Rio-Antirrio bridge to be officially opened for traffic on August 12
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)The Rio-Antirrio bridge is to be officially opened for use by traffic on August 12, during a special ceremony organized by the consortium that built it. The toll for the bridge has been set at 9.40 euros.
The Olympic Torch will pass over the bridge four days earlier on Sunday, August 8.
 New experimental exhibition opens at Weiler Building beneath the Acropolis
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)The experimental archaeological exhibition "Creating its Exhibition Style" will open its doors at the heritage Weiler Building on the southern base of the Acropolis on Monday evening, inaugurated by Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis.
The exhibition will include 34 sculptures, 90 per cent of which were previously held in the store rooms at the old Acropolis Museum and are on display for the first time. The exhibition will run until December 31, from 10:00 until 18:00.
Museum director Dimitris Pantermalis described the exhibition as "experimental" and said it aimed to present the classical and ancient sculptures in a modern way that targeted a modern audience.
Designers of the exhibition have placed great emphasis on the use of natural light, in addition to artificial light, through the use of reflection and the materials used as a base for the sculptures, for the first time using crystal and glass and structures that allow the sculptures to be seen from all angles, including their base and back.
Pantermalis said the exhibition was a trial for the style to be used in the new Acropolis Museum, when this was finally completed.
The Weiler Building will form part of the New Acropolis Museum, which is expected to be complete in roughly two years time. According to Pantermalis, the recent ruling by the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court clears up all the main obstacles to its construction and contracts for its construction can now be signed.
 IIPT - Promoting peace through tourism
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)"I am proud to be here as the world prepares for the 18th Olympic Games in Greece - the original home of the Olympics some 3,000 years ago - birthplace of the Olympic spirit of peace, friendship and cooperation among nations," Founder and President of the US-based International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) said during a press conference held at Zappion Hall on Monday.
"It is in this same spirit of peace, friendship and cooperation that IIPT was founded in 1986 - the UN International Year of Peace," he said, indicating that the institute was created as a response to tensions between East and West, between the have and have-not regions of the world, and terrorism which had seriously affected the world's travel industry.
Based on the philosophy that the travel and tourism industry - the world's largest industry - could become the world's first peace industry and that every traveler is potentially an 'ambassador for peace,' IIPT has made great progress in implementing its ideas.
Since its creation, it has brought together industry and political leaders at three global conferences, two African conferences, and two global summits as well as smaller conferences, symposia and workshops in various parts of the world. The Amman Declaration resulted from the IIPT's first global summit, which set out the philosophy and concept of peace through tourism, and has been incorporated as an official document of the United Nations.
The Thesssaloniki Declaration which resulted from the IIPT's 2001 conference in Greece, stated that "on the occasion of the Olympic Games to be held in Athens, 2004, the ancient traditions of the Olympic Truce be renewed according to which all wars had to stop, and terrorism and violence had to cease." However, D'Amore pointed out that "In the 20th century rather than the Games replacing war, war replaced the Games: in 1916, 1940 and 1944. As we begin the 21st century we are at war. It's important that we harness war, build international understanding in order to build the global family. Sports, travel and tourism, and culture have a key role to play in this."
"We've provided scholarships to students around the world. More and more students are writing theses and dissertations on peace through tourism," he said, while colleges and universities are incorporating 'peace through tourism' in their curricula.
D'Amore also announced the IIPT's upcoming third African conference to be held Feb. 6-11, 2005 in Zambia, and its third global summit in Pattaya, Thailand Sept. 18-22, 2005.
Additionally, the IIPT is opening a chapter in Greece, at the offices of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) with which it has been cooperating for the past four years. The cooperation began with the organization of a conference in Turkey which brought together industry leaders of Greece and Turkey in order to explore how travel could help improve relations between the people of both countries. The following year, HATTA hosted a similar conference in Thessaloniki. As HATTA President Yiannis Evangelou said, "Tourism doesn't only need peace, it promotes peace."
Leros was presented at the press conference as an example of a place that has tried to overcome historical tensions and implement the IIPT's philosophy. Particularly hard-hit by the Italian occupation, then the British, then the German and then a civil war, "Leros decided a few years ago to call out for peace in the world," Mayor of Leros Timotheos Kottakis said. "We believe that these results we saw of the war machine are not silent; they're calling out for peace." Leros became the twin city of a German city near Munich, and a Turkish municipality. From September 20-26, the island will stage a re-enactment of the 52-day battle of Leros (a short video was presented) and the leaders of the forces present at the time have been invited: from Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and India.
In closing, Kottakis described an incident which illustrated how the IIPT's philosophy can work. While recently attending an event organized by the island's German twin city, an old man approached Kottakis and told him he was the leader of the German invasion forces. After the war he has been visiting Leros for years, but never revealing his identity. He told Kottakis that had he known Leros the way he got to know it, he would have made great efforts so as not to have participated in the invasion. "If people get to know places and people, it will be much more difficult for leaders to stage war, they will find more resistance from their societies," Kottakis explained.
 Sea plane to link Piraeus with island of Kalymnos makes test flight
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)A sea plane carrying Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis and Minister of the Aegean Aristotelis Pavlidis made a test flight to the Aegean island of Kalymnos on Monday to ascertain whether its use for flights to the island will be effective.
The sea plane, belonging to a private company, took off from a marina located near the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Neo Faliro and landed in the port of Kalymnos 90 minutes later.
The two ministers then visited the town hall in Kalymnos where they held talks with local authorities on problems the island is currently facing.
 Ethniki Amyna metro station temporarily closed due to bomb scare
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)A bomb scare at Ethniki Amyna metro station briefly cut off services from Athens to the airport and the northern suburbs while authorities closed down the station to investigate.
The alarm was caused by a suspicious-looking suitcase left behind in the station, which later proved simply to have been forgotten by a passenger.
Towards the end of the week, the Athens metro extension to Peristeri and the stop at Aghios Antonios are expected to open for the public.
 ELA trial defendants released from custody
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)The last three defendants in the ELA terrorism trial still in custody were released on Monday when the 18 months permitted for detention on remand elapsed. Aggeletos Kanas, Irene Athanassaki and Costas Agapiou are all on trial as suspected members of the terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) and face charges for a number of criminal acts attributed to the group, along with Christos Tsigaridas and Mihalis Kassimis who were already out on bail.
All three of the defendants were forbidden to leave Attica and required to appear at a police station at regular intervals until the trial ends. Kanas and Athanassaki were each required to post 4,000 euros bail, while the public prosecutor agreed not to demand bail from Agapiou.
As the trial continued on Monday, presiding judge Elisavet Brilli noted that it had been a difficult case marked by incomplete evidence and a lack of material witnesses. She said the court had been obliged to step up its pace due to the Olympics but stressed that this would not affect its judgment.
The trial process is continuing with the arguments of lawyers representing civil suits in this case.
 Port of Piraeus to remain closed on August 4
Athens, 3/8/2004 (ANA)The port of Piraeus will remain closed for all ships between 10.00 and 11.30 on August 4, since a Greek Navy minesweeper will be carrying out searches in the wider region of the Saronic Sea, it was announced on Monday.
 Britain welcomes Cyprus government's new measures for T/C
LONDON 3/8/2004 (CNA/ANA)The British government welcomed the new measures announced by the government of Cyprus that aim in developing contacts and economic relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
''We welcome in principle the new measures announced by the government of the Republic of Cyprus. They help in creating a climate of confidence between the two sides'' a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson told CNA.
The measures, the FCO added, cannot be a substitute for the solution of the Cyprus problem and noted that the British government continues to believe that ''the Annan plan provides for the prospect of reunifying the island''.