|Sunday, 8 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-08-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 9, 2004
 ATHOC president says 'we're ready' for Olympic Games
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki stated on Sunday, at an Executive Board meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), that Athens is ready to host the Olympic Games.
"Today we had the opportunity to welcome President Rogge and the IOC Executive Board to an Athens that has truly become an Olympic City, once again," she said, adding that "this was my report: We're ready. Our venues are ready. Our people are ready. The tram, metro, light rail and Olympic Lanes are open. The athletes of the world are training in our venues. Athens is proudly wearing our Olympic colors."
Daskalaki further said "our top priority is being implemented; the most comprehensive, best-staffed and best-funded security operation in the history of the Olympic Games is in place."
Lastly, the ATHOC president stressed that "the Greek people are determined to make these Games a success-and a celebration. We invite the world to discover the true meaning and spirit of the Olympic tradition, and the new Greece that, this week, has the honor of welcoming the Olympic Games home." The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Sunday again expressed his optimism that the Athens 2004 Games -- five days before the Opening Ceremony -- will be absolutely successful.
Joining a crescendo of unprecedented recent international praise - including often skeptical media -- for Athens' accelerated preparations and organizational acumen, powerful IOC President Jacques Rogge told reporters that the Lausanne-based organization's leadership was "extremely satisfied", while noting that promises given by Athens organizers (ATHOC) had been met.
The Belgian IOC chief spoke at the conclusion of an IOC executive committee session at a downtown Athens hotel.
 Prime Minister Karamanlis tells 'Le Monde' he is optimistic Olympic Games will be a success
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)The French newspaper "Le Monde" in its Sunday-Monday edition published a special feature on the Athens 2004 Olympic Games under the headline "Political and cultural tour in Greece of the Olympic Games".
Also published in the feature is an interview with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis under the title "Costas Karamanlis wants a Greece in the vanguard of Europe", which he gave to journalists Didier Kunz and Daniel Vernet.
In his interview, Karamanlis said that he was "completely optimistic" about the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, at the same time noting: «Nobody, anywhere, can fully guarantee absolute security, but we have done everything humanly possible. First of all we have spent four times more on security than in Sydney four years ago. This shows the dimension of the effort which was made. In any case, nobody can guarantee security by himself. There is the need of international cooperation. We are working here for a long time with our partners and allies and one of my government's first decisions was to officially request the cooperation of NATO."
Asked what NATO's role would be, the Greek prime minister said that it was "basically the surveillance of air and sea, as well as support in the event of an incident with the use of biological, chemical or nuclear substances."
Karamanlis conceded that the cost of the Games exceeded original estimates, "which in part is due to the delay which was observed at the start, but I' m not a person who worries about things which can no longer be rectified." He added: «I do not believe that there will be a negative phase after the Olympics. Our priorities are investments in the infrastructure and public works in the country's regions, because it is true that these past years, because of the Olympic Games, the money was spent in Athens and around it."
 PM visits Olympic Games shooting, equestrian and rowing facilities
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis visited the Olympic Games shooting and equestrian facilities in the township of Markopoulo, outside Athens, and the rowing centre in the seaside region of Schinias on Saturday.
Karamanlis said in a statement the country is more than ready to hold excellent and safe Olympic Games.
The prime minister further said the Olympic Games facilities are ready to welcome the greatest global sports and cultural event, adding that Greece will provide the most modern installations for athletes, spectators and journalists from all over the world.
Karamanlis also said that when the Games are over, every possible effort will be made to have infrastructures, created in Athens and in other cities where Olympic Games events will be held, utilized in the best possible way.
 PASOK party leader George Papandreou leaves hospital
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou left the Attiko hospital in Athens at noon on Saturday after being treated for pulmonary infection.
Papandreou, who thanked the hospital's doctors and nursing staff, will be staying at home for three days.
Referring to the Olympic Games, Papandreou said the country is experiencing wonderful moments these days, adding that many people had worked for many years, while Athens and Greece are changing. He also said this is admitted by foreigners as well, following initial criticism.
 MRB HELLAS survey shows international image of Greece favorable
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)A survey conducted by the MRB HELLAS company on behalf of Athens 2004 in five countries (USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and France) shows that the international image of Greece is favorable.
The survey was conducted between 21 June-4 July 2004, using telephone interviews, across a sample of 1,003 people in the USA, 503 in Spain, 503 in Germany, 500 in the United Kingdom and 501 in France.
The results point to 59.9 percent of Americans considering Greece a safe family holiday destination. The corresponding percentage for Europeans is around 40 percent.
The opinion that people taking part in the survey have of Greece, based on what they have seen, read, and heard about it, is very favorable for 53.7 percent in the USA, 47.7 in the United Kingdom, 54.1 in Germany, 50.3 in Spain and 38.4 in France.
Finally, very high television ratings for the Olympic Torch Relay are recorded by the survey. Here, Americans take the lead with 81.7 percent, followed by the Germans (79.7), Britons (79.2), Spaniards (69.2) and the French with just 36.1.
 Over 3.9 billion people will watch Athens Olympic Games on TV
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Over 3.9 billion people are expected to watch the Athens Olympic Games, due to begin on Friday, on television.
According to an announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday, television coverage of the Games is expected to break all records from all points of view.
More than 300 networks will be providing footage from Athens, while total coverage is expected to exceed 35,000 hours (meaning 2,000 hours a day).
To enable comparisons to be made, 29,600 hours had been broadcast from the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, while during the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992 the number had been limited to 20,000.
 FIVB president says impressed with Greece's readiness for the Olympic Games
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)The President of the International Volleyball Federation, Dr. Ruben Acosta, in an interview he gave on Sunday ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, appeared enthusiastic over Greece's readiness for the great event.
The FIVB president said: «I went to the installations and I must say that I am enthusiastic by the Peace and Friendship Stadium and the excellent installation at the beach volley. The Greeks must feel very proud because they are the two best pitches ever used for Olympic Games."
Acosta also said that Greece deserves full marks on the issue of security. "I believe that Greece will host one of the best Games ever held. I am impressed by the security measures. A few months ago a friend of mine asked me on the specific issue. I answered him that Greece is a peace-loving country and that the Greeks will be ready."
 UN secretary general not planning to attend Athens Olympic Games opening ceremony
NEW YORK 9/8/2004(ANA)UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is not planning to visit Athens to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. UN sources said that Annan will be unable to come to Greece due to "difficulties" in his program.
However, no official announcement has been made yet by the UN's Secretariat. A slight possibility does exist for Annan to revise his decision at the last moment.
Annan's special sports adviser Adolf Ogi has been scheduled to represent him. UN General Assembly President Julian Robert Hunt will also be attending the opening ceremony.
 Holy Synod wishes for 'spirit of friendship and peace' at Olympic Games
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece in an announcement on Sunday wished "for a spirit of friendship and peace to prevail during the Olympic Games, far from conflicts, far from acts of violence and display of harshness."
The Holy Synod also stressed that it wishes the Games constitute an occasion for comprehending the due and critical battle for a Christian life.
 Pope John Paul II hails all Athens Olympic Games participants
VATICAN 9/8/2004(ANA)Pope John Paul II on Sunday hailed all who will be participating in the Athens Olympic Games, due to begin on Friday, and expressed the wish that they will take place without tensions.
Speaking to pilgrims, the Pope also expressed the wish that the Games will help in promoting world peace and understanding among peoples.
"In a world currently hit by hatred and violence, I hope from the depths of my heart that these Games will be an opportunity for a peaceful meeting and to help in promoting peace and understanding among peoples," he said.
The Pope called for the protection of the Virgin Mary for the Olympic Games and hailed Athens and the Greek people in a very warm manner.
 Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch arrives in
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch arrived in Athens on Saturday and expressed confidence that the Athens Olympic Games will be a success.
"I am very happy to be in Greece. I am confident that the Olympic Games will be successful and this success will not only have an impact in Greece but all over the world as well," he said.
 FIFA President Joseph Blatter to attend press conference in light of Olympic Games soccer tournament
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) President Joseph Blatter will attend the Federation's press conference in Athens on Monday in light of the Olympic Games' soccer tournament.
The press conference, to be attended by FIFA's Vice President and Olympic Soccer Tournament President Isa Hayiatu and the Soccer Director for the Athens Olympic Games Patrick Komninos, will take place immediately after a meeting of the Soccer Organizing Committee.
 IOC strips Bulgarian IOC member of Athens Olympic Games accreditation
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Bulgarian International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Ivan Slavkov has been removed temporarily from the IOC following charges made against him for alleged corruption.
"I am disappointed and very angry," IOC President Jacques Rogge told a press conference on Saturday and announced the decision taken by the Executive Committee on Slavkov.
"Ivan Slavkov will be deprived temporarily of the rights and offices resulting from his capacity as a member of the IOC. The decision stands until investigations to be held are completed," he added.
The IOC also stripped Slavkov of his accreditation for the Athens Olympic Games, which he will not be able to watch.
 New public transport arrangements go into effect as of Monday
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)New public transport arrangements in Athens will go into effect as of Monday, with the Tram and Electric Railway services operating round-the-clock. The Athens Metro will be operating from 5 a.m. until 2 after midnight.
The Olympic bus routes X11, X12 and X14, as well as the four Trolleybus lines 1,11, 14 and 20 will be operating non-stop as of August 13.
Meanwhile, taxis allowed access to Olympic Games venues will be provided with special signs by Monday.
 Cyprus to participate in Athens Olympic Games with 19 athletes
NICOSIA 9/8/2004 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Cyprus will participate in the Athens Olympic Games with 19 athletes who will be taking part in six events.
The first group, due to participate in yachting, is already training at Agios Kosmas.
Swimming, Judo and tennis participants will arrive in Athens on Sunday, while all the remaining athletes will be in Greece by Thursday.
 Hospital announcement says Judo champion Eleni Ioannou's condition 'critical'
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)An announcement issued by the Red Cross hospital in Athens on Saturday said the condition of Judo 78+ kilo champion Eleni Ioannou was critical.
Ioannou, 20, had been seriously injured after falling from a third-floor apartment in the Athens district of Perissos in the early hours of the morning.
According to the announcement, she was taken to the hospital on Saturday, suffering from multiple fractures and lesions.
She was admitted to the orthopedic ward, necessary surgery was carried out and she is currently being treated in the intensive care unit with respiratory mechanical support.
Lastly, the announcement said Ioannou had no accreditation card with her on being brought to the hospital and her athletic capacity had not been known at the time.
Greek Olympic team chief says serious injury of Eleni Ioannou 'sad occurrence': The serious injury on Saturday of Greek Judo 78+ champion Eleni Ioannou dampened the good atmosphere prevailing in the ranks of the Olympic team which has already established itself at the Olympic Village.
Ioannou, 20, suffered multiple fractures after falling from the third-floor apartment of a building in the Athens district of Perissos in the early hours of the morning. She is currently being treated in the intensive care unit at the Red Cross hospital in Athens.
"Unfortunately, it is a very sad occurrence which took place only a week before the beginning of the Olympic Games and, as it is natural, it burdened the climate for all of us when we found out about it," said the Greek team's chief Yiannis Papadoyiannakis in a statement to the Athens News Agency (ANA).
"The athlete was scheduled to enter the Olympic Village on the 11th of the month but she did not make it. From the beginning, being the Olympic Committee, we sent to the hospital to which she had been taken to the head of our medical services Mr. Nikos Maliaropoulos for him to help as much as he could on his part. We are closely watching the state of her health and all of us, without exception, are wholeheartedly hoping she will win in this struggle as well," he added.
Referring to the issue of Ioannou's replacement, Papadoyiannakis said "we have contacted the federation and we have requested the appointment of her replacement for us. We believe there will be no problem since the Olympic Games charter anticipates such a procedure in such emergencies as this."
 Opening ceremony for Pre-Olympic Conference held in Thessaloniki
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)The opening ceremony for the Pre-Olympic Conference was held at the Aristotelio University in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Friday in the presence of numerous celebrities, including Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos and Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos.
The institution was established by the International Council of Sports Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE) in 1960, at the Olympic Games in Rome, and since then it is organized a week before the Olympic Games begin in the host country and in a different city from the one the Games will be held in.
The Thessaloniki Conference, due to begin on Saturday and last until August 11, will be attended by over 1,200 delegates from 77 countries.
 Third Community Support Framework funds for the unemployed in culture sector
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Funds amounting to 53,335,000 euros, and coming from the Third Community Support Framework (CSF) for culture, will be released following consultations between Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis and Employment and Social Security Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos.
The funds concern the unemployed in the sector of culture and had been in danger of being lost.
 Tourism minister pledges support for Samos island's growth and progress
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, attending an event on Saturday marking the naval battle of Mykali and the 180th anniversary of the island of Samos's liberation, pledged support for the great effort being made by the island for growth and progress.
The minister attended an official Church service in the morning and later laid a wreath at the Memorial for the War Dead.
Avramopoulos also referred to the historic meeting he will be having on the island next month with the Turkish culture and tourism minister with the ultimate purpose of creating a climate of peace and cooperation which will help both countries and promote peace in the Aegean.
 Actor Dimitris Papamichail dies aged 70
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Popular actor Dimitris Papamichail died of heart failure at noon on Sunday aged 70.
According to initial reports, Papamichail was vacationing at his country home in the seaside resort of Ermioni, in the Peloponnese, when he felt unwell. He was rushed to the Health Centre in the town of Kranidi by his companion Nadia Mourouzi, but it was too late as all that doctors could do was to certify his death.
Papamichail, born in the port city of Piraeus in 1934, had attended the National Theatre's Drama Academy and had made his first appearance on the stage with the play "Ekavi" in 1955.
He also played many roles with the Art Theatre between 1955 and 1960, while also starring in many films during the golden age of the Greek cinema in the '50s.
Some of the films he starred in were "Papaflessas", "The Girl at the Luna Park", "Red Lights", "Mantalena", "Never on Sunday", "Astero", "The Aunt from Chicago" and "The Shepherd Girl's Lover."
Papamichail is survived by his son Yiannis, from his marriage with the late actress Aliki Vouyouklaki in 1965.
His funeral expenses will be undertaken by the culture ministry.
Premier Karamanlis sends condolences over the death of actor Dimitris Papamichail: Prime Minister and Culture Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday expressed his condolences to the family, relatives and friends of actor Dimitris Papamichail who died earlier in the day at the age of 70.
The premier said that "Dimitris Papamichail, in his lengthy creative term at the cinema and the theatre, gained the love of the Greeks. A multi-talented actor, restless creator and interpreter of a rich repertoire, he will remain alive in the memory of all of us through his work."
Alternate culture minister sends condolences over death of actor Dimitris Papamichail: Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Sunday sent condolences to the family, relatives and friends of actor Dimitris Papamichail who died earlier in the day at the age of 70.
Palli-Petralia said of Papamichail that "this superb actor wrote a brilliant course at the theatre and the cinema, leaving behind a significant legacy. His films will always keep him alive in the memory of all of us."
Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis also sent his condolences, noting that "a great chapter of our theatre and cinema has closed with the loss of this very significant actor with his interpretations which sealed an entire era."
 Music and theatrical performances organized on Saturday night for Rio-Antirrio bridge celebration
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)The Rio-Antirrio bridge's joint venture is promising a historic night with music and theatrical performances on Saturday as this great celebration will get under way at 8 p.m. and last until after midnight on the occasion of the new suspended bridge's inauguration.
Events will include a great concert dedicated to renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis in which high-profile singers will be participating. Half an hour before midnight, the sky above the bridge will be lit up by thousands of fireworks and the night will become day.
 Three die as car slams into bus on Athens-Lamia motorway
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)Three people were killed when a car collided with a bus on the Athens-Lamia motorway at 4 a.m. on Sunday. Two people boarding the car were killed, as well as a passenger on the bus. Eight more passengers were also slightly injured and were taken to a hospital in the city of Lamia for treatment.
According to traffic police, the accident occurred when the car, driving towards Lamia, swerved into an oncoming lane and slammed into the bus which was headed for Athens.
The site of the accident was sealed off for over two hours and traffic was diverted to other roads and through the town of Kamena Vourla.
 Cruise ship docks at Iraklio after 35 passengers and two crewmembers developed gastroenteritis symptoms
Athens, 9/8/2004 (ANA)The cruise ship R-6 docked at the port of Iraklio on Saturday morning after 35 passengers and two crewmembers had developed symptoms of gastroenteritis while the ship was leaving the island of Corfu.
The R-6, carrying 785 passengers and 388 crewmembers, had been obliged to dock at the port of Katakolo, in western Greece, where doctors had examined the patients and then had given the go-ahead for the cruise to continue.
A doctor also visited the cruise ship in the port of Iraklio and assured that the patients were in no danger and that the state of their health was developing smoothly.
The R-6 is expected to sail from Iraklio at 11.30 at night.
 Cyprus President: Solution only under UN auspices
PARALIMNI 9/8/2004 (CNA/ANA)The efforts of the Cypriot people for a solution to the Cyprus problem should be made under the auspices of the United Nations and cannot be replaced by any other actions, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed on Sunday.
''We should realize that the struggle of the Cypriots should be under the aegis of the United Nations and it can not be replaced by other actions outside the aegis of the UN'', President Papadopoulos said in statements after the 8th annual memorial service for Greek Cypriots Tasos Isaak and Solomos Solomou, who were murdered by Turks in August 1996, during anti-occupation demonstrations.
Cyprus President was also invited to comment on France's stance regarding the adoption of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's report for Cyprus after the 24th April referenda. He said that France had kept from the beginning a firm stance based on principles and supported that the UN Secretary General's report for Cyprus could not be adopted by the Security Council, ''since the report included inaccuracies and distortion of facts.''
The Cyprus president was also invited to comment statements by opposition party leader Nicos Anastasiades who called for a face to face meeting between President Papadopoulos and the so called Turkish Cypriot prime minister Mehmet Ali Talat.
President Papadopoulos said that if the purpose of such a meeting would be to discuss the measures announced by the Cyprus government, then ''this is already being done, since the matter of reopening the occupied Gymnasium of Rizokarpaso and the issue of the missing persons have been discussed and agreed upon several weeks ago.''
''It is not clear what should be discussed during this meeting. Would it be the measures or the solution of the Cyprus problem? We are interested in the solution'', he said.
Referring to Isaak and Solomou, he said that to end the occupation of Cyprus struggle and determination are needed and the two heroes Tasos Isaak and Solomos Solomou ''paid with their lives their resistance to the continuation of the occupation''.
At his speech at the memorial service Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides noted that the Greek Cypriot side has proven that it creates conditions that will lead to the reunification of Cyprus and not to the division of the island.
''Our side agrees, and has proven it by its policy to reduce military tensions, that we should cooperate and work together with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots for the economic unification of our country and to address the final goal of a solution,'' he said.
 Famagusta refugees reiterate their determination to return back to their homes
DHERYNIA 9/8/2004 (CNA/ANA)Greek Cypriot refugees from the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta marched on Saturday ''for solution - reunification - peace'' to the checkpoint leading to their town,
reiterating their wish and determination to return back to their ancestral homes.
The refugees gathered at Dherynia village square from where they marched to the checkpoint and peacefully expressed their will to return to Famagusta. They held banners and placards reading
''Famagusta lives and waits'', ''Famagusta, beloved town'' and ''30 years are enough''. When they arrived at the checkpoint they symbolically released white pigeons and balloons to the sky.
The event was organized by the Famagusta Municipality. Present at the event were Minister of Education and Culture Pefkios Georgiades on behalf of the government, President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias, President of the main opposition DISY party Nicos Anastasiades, Deputy President of ruling DIKO party Nicos Kleanthous, President of United Democrats party (EDI) George Vassiliou, Members of the Parliament, Mayors, thousands of refugees from Famagusta, as well as British Parliamentarian and honorary citizen on Famagusta Tom Cox, who said that he will discuss next month the Cyprus issue with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
The demonstrators marched from the checkpoint to Famagusta's Cultural Centre, where a ceremony took place.
The fenced-off area (Varosha) of Famagusta is under Turkish military administration. Security Council resolution 550 (11 May 1984) ''considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha (Famagusta) by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the islands territory.