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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-08-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 27, 2004


  • [01] Greece takes silver in women's Water Polo final
  • [02] Powell 'committed' to attending Olympics closing ceremonies, U.S. State Department says
  • [03] PM discusses future use of Olympic facilities
  • [04] Greek premier meets Cypriot president
  • [05] FINA presents highest distinction to ATHOC chief, staff and volunteers
  • [06] Sport Arbitration Court delegation pays courtesy call on Council of State president
  • [07] Fani Halkia: Doping furor unfair to thousands of clean athletes in Games
  • [08] Greek medalists speak of "the people's medal"
  • [09] Organizers satisfied with 'storage' of surrendered accreditations at IOC museum; doping again dominates briefing
  • [10] Olympic ticket sales officially top 3.5-million mark
  • [11] Carl Lewis on the Athens Games
  • [12] IAAF president Diack presented with Medal of the City of Athens by mayor Bakoyannis
  • [13] Athens mayor Bakoyannis meets with international colleagues
  • [14] Papandreou says Greece has much to gain from Olympics
  • [15] Security - Allowance for armed forces personnel
  • [16] IAAF defers judgment on Kenteris, Thanou
  • [17] Voyage into ancient Olympics at Athens Museum
  • [18] Athens Business Club 2004: Gov't seeks growth for defense industry
  • [19] PPC says profits up 9.8 pct in 1st half
  • [20] OTE chairman meets with visiting Serbian gov't ministers
  • [21] New suburban railway has earned confidence of commuters
  • [22] Sustainable growth plan for Pindos mountains
  • [23] Stocks rise, fuelled by sentiment abroad
  • [24] State honors taxi driver for return of Olympic medal
  • [25] Old cavalry stables transformed into sculpture gallery
  • [26] Commerce minister says Cyprus would welcome arrangements for free movement of goods

  • [01] Greece takes silver in women's Water Polo final

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Italy beat Greece 10-9 in overtime to take the gold in the women's Water Polo final at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games in a thriller match marked by point-by-point overtakes between the two teams.

    Consequently, Greece took the silver medal, its first-ever medal in a team sport in the history of the Olympic Games.

    Earlier, the US team beat Australia 6-5, clinching the bronze medal.

    PM Karamanlis, PASOK leader Papandreou congratulates Greek women's Water Polo team: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Thursday evening congratulated the Greek women's Water Polo team for winning the silver medal.

    In his message, Premier Karamanlis said: "The Greek water polo players with their excellent course offered Greece the highest until today Olympic distinction in a team sport and made us all very proud. I express my warm congratulations to the federal coach, our athletes and to all those who worked hard for this great success."

    In his message, Papandreou said: "Warm congratulations for the silver medal which you won for the first time in the history of Greek water polo. In our hearts you are the golden winners."

    [02] Powell 'committed' to attending Olympics closing ceremonies, U.S. State Department says

    WASHINGTON 27/8/2004 (ANA - A. Ellis)

    U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli on Wednesday said that a visit to Greece by U.S. Secretary Colin Powell for the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens was a commitment and would go ahead.

    Asked to comment on stories claiming that Powell was being urged not to visit Greece, Ereli said he was aware of them but stressed that "we are committed to visiting our Greek friends and sharing in this very important occasion".

    He noted that Powell would also be meeting with Greek officials and possibly holding some press events during his visit, during which he would have the opportunity to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues.

    The U.S. Secretary of State is due to arrive in Greece on Sunday, last day of the 28th Olympic Games in Athens, to represent the United States at the closing ceremony.

    Government will not forbid protest march in Athens against Powell visit: Acting government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Thursday stressed that the government will not seek to ban Saturday's protest march to the United States Embassy in Athens against an upcoming visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to attend the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games.

    "Greek citizens will exercise all their rights and the government is confident that law and order will be respected," Antonaros said.

    [03] PM discusses future use of Olympic facilities

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis had on Thursday initial discussions with members of his Cabinet about ways the government can put to good use Olympic facilities, after the end of the 2004 Olympic Games on Sunday, 29th August.

    Speaking after the meeting, minister of economy and finance George Alogoskoufis said the Games are "impeccable" and the government will make the best possible use of the Olympic facilities and immovable property built for the Games in an impeccable manner as well.

    According to sources, the government does not intend to sell facilities or property but wishes to use them in such a way as to cover their maintenance costs.

    The final decision on the matter will be taken after more consultations.

    [04] Greek premier meets Cypriot president

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis met here Thursday Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos, who is in Athens to attend the closing ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games on Sunday.

    No statements were made after the meeting but it is understood that the two leaders discussed future moves by the Greek and the Cypriot sides with regard to the national issue of Cyprus.

    Papadopoulos, following an invitation by Karamanlis, will watch the women's water polo final between Greece and Italy on Thursday evening.

    [05] FINA presents highest distinction to ATHOC chief, staff and volunteers

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    World Federation of Aquatic Sports (FINA) president Mustapha Larfaoui on Thursday presented the federation's highest distinction, the Fina Order, to Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki for her contribution and that of her staff and the ATHOC volunteers to the aquatic sport events at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    The award was presented Thursday evening before the final of the women's water polo tournament, following a unanimous decision by the FINA Bureau.

    "This award represents FINA's highest recognition to the President of ATHOC, her collaborators and especially the volunteers for their participation in the organization of aquatic sports (swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming), leading to the great FINA success here in Athens," FINA said in an announcement.

    In presenting the award, Larfaoui said that the volunteers were the soul of the Athens Games and had contributed to the maximum in the smooth organization of all the aquatic sports: the swimming competitions which had successfully concluded on Saturday as well as the other three pool events which were continuing.

    [06] Sport Arbitration Court delegation pays courtesy call on Council of State president

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    A delegation of judges of the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) paid a courtesy call Thursday on Greece's Council of State president Christos Geraris.

    The three-member delegation of judges, members of the special CAS department set up for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, paid a similar call on Greek Supreme Court (Areios Paghos) president G. Kapos before the commencement of the Olympic Games.

    The delegation comprised CAS president and former supreme court judge of India and former European Court of Justice at The Hague member R.S. Pathak, Greek lawyer Pantelis Dedes, and CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb.

    [07] Fani Halkia: Doping furor unfair to thousands of clean athletes in Games

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Her gold medal was the result of a year of hard work and great effort and the terrific boost from the crowd in the stadium, Greece's Fani Halkia told reporters late on Wednesday night, shortly sailing through the finish line in front of her opponents in the women's 400m hurdles.

    The athlete also stressed that the media spotlight on doping created a negative impression in the eyes of the public that was unfair to the many thousands of athletes participating in the Games who were clean.

    "In this Olympiad, those that have a problem are caught…It is a shame for isolated cases to become examples. In the 10,000 samples tested during these Olympic Games, the two exceptions have drawn all the spotlights. It is unfair on the rest," she said, referring particularly to the cases of fellow track athletes Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou and the controversy that surrounded their failure to take a doping test, which ultimately led to them missing the Games.

    Halkia also had words of support for Kenteris and Thanou, saying that their treatment by the media had been unfair: "They put them up against the wall with unbelievable scenarios. We know them from inside, from their nine hours of training in the stadium and they were waiting for the Games. What happened was unfair. I don't understand...crucifying you to get a story."

    At the same time, she briskly cut short reporters hinting at relations between her own coach Giorgos Panayiotopoulos and Costas Tzekos, who coached Thanou and Kenteris and has achieved notoriety since the start of the Olympics by being at the centre of a doping scandal that has led to a full-scale public prosecutor's investigation.

    "We have no collaboration with Tzekos" she said curtly to a member of the press who mentioned that her coach Giorgos Panayiotopoulos had once trained with Tzekos.

    Asked to explain how she improved her time from 56.40 seconds last year to the 52.88 seconds in the final, she said that a year of very hard work had paid off, adding that this was not strange to anyone familiar with track training.

    Halkia had nothing but praise for Panayiotopoulos as a coach when she described her efforts to return to athletics after a difficult two-year absence in which she had to do various jobs to survive.

    "When I returned I had no money. But I had the support of my family and my coach. I chose Panayiotopoulos to begin another career. I told him that I might not be good enough but he made me change my mind, he made me believe in myself. He's the best coach in the world," Halkia said.

    The athlete also described the incredible sensations she felt as she entered the stadium for the final:

    "What I experienced was wonderful. It was a dream… The people were sensational. I was numb at the start and all I wanted was to get to the finish line first. This gave me a tremendous boost after the 200m mark. I felt it like an earthquake, an unbelievable vibration, a mountain pushing me. I saw the stadium, I heard the people and the only thing I could think of was that I would get in and win. I remember the first hurdles and then I wanted to finish first, I wanted to get to the finish line quickly," she said, adding that she would now be able to sleep peacefully.

    Halkia said that she would do her utmost in her next event, the 4x400m, to get the Greek team into the final: "I want to live that again," she said.

    [08] Greek medalists speak of "the people's medal"

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Wednesday's Olympic Greek medalists (gold, silver and bronze) told a press conference on Thursday they all drew strength from the support and encouragement they received from the people, something that helped them get to the top.

    Fani Halkia, gold medalist in the women's 400 hurdles, said the power of the Greek soul should not be in doubt.

    "It felt as if there was an earthquake in the stadium yesterday, the people's support was out of this world and that pushed me to the finish line," she said of the thousands of cheering fans, waving the Greek flag and chanting in rhythm "Hellas" and her name.

    She said she would continue training for even better things.

    Nikos Kaklamanakis, silver medalist in men's sailing (Mistral), said the wreath, made of olive tree branches, he received with his medal was a bigger honor than the actual medal.

    "The most important medal however is what the people give you, I thank you for it," he added.

    Kaklamanakis sailing in Greece has a bright future and promised to help newcomers into the sport through his experience and expertise.

    Artiom Kouregkian, bronze medal winner in Greco-Roman wrestling, said he was very happy with what he had achieved, the result of hard work and thanked the people who cheered him during the event.

    [09] Organizers satisfied with 'storage' of surrendered accreditations at IOC museum; doping again dominates briefing

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Another two instances of doping-related violations on Thursday again peppered the regular daily press briefing by Athens organizers (ATHOC) and IOC officials, whereas the increasingly sensitive issue of how the IOC will handle the 'surrendered' accreditations of Greece's top two sprinters at its Lausanne museum also generated media queries.

    In terms of the latter issue, ATHOC communications director Mihalis Zaharatos merely reiterated that Greek organizers are "happy with the accreditations being put into storage at the museum", a more-or-less hint that their display as exhibits may not please the Greek side. Top draws Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, as well as controversial coach Christos Tzekos, turned over their accreditations days after the 2004 Olympics began, in essence avoiding any IOC executive board sanctions. IAAF is now the responsible body for sanctioning the trio.

    On her part, IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said her organization did, in fact, confirm on Wednesday that the accreditations would be sent to Lausanne after fielding questions directly on this point by reporters.

    Two new doping instances: One of the two athletes implicated in the latest doping instance is Ukrainian rower Olena Olefirenko, who tested positive on Aug. 22 for ethamivan. Her team had won the bronze medal in the women's quadruple sculls event.

    Although the IOC said the entire team will lose its medals and diplomas over the violation, Olefirenko, 26, will not be thrown out of the Games, as officials pointed to team doctor Ganna Gryshchenko as bearing the primary responsibility for the positive doping test. The latter had reportedly approved Olefirenko's taking of the medication Instenon, which contained the banned substance. The rower, moreover, had declared the medication on a questionnaire she filled out during the doping test.

    "The delegation declared that the medications were given to the athlete by the team doctor..." a written IOC statement read.

    The second athlete, Hungarian weightlifter (105kg class) Zoltan Kovacs, 27, was disqualified and excluded from the Games for refusing to provide a urine sample on Aug. 27.

    Davies noted that eight positive results have been recorded so far at the current Olympics, as opposed to 11 doping results at the previous Sydney Games, moments before attempting to downgrade the almost daily media focus on doping.

    "There's too much attention in this room (the large conference hall at the main press center at the main OAKA complex) on a very tiny number of athletes that don't want to play by the rules," she said, adding that testimonials from fans in the stadiums and around the world are lavish in their praise for the smooth-running 2004 Athens Games.

    In an unrelated development, Davies confirmed that the USOC has called on the Bush re-election committee to withdraw an advertisement that includes a reference to the Olympics.

    [10] Olympic ticket sales officially top 3.5-million mark

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Athens organizers (ATHOC) on Thursday announced that the official ticket sales figure for the ongoing Olympic Games has exceeded the 3.5-million mark, with 38,000 tickets sold the previous day alone.

    Four days of competition and Sunday evening's Closing Ceremony remain before the 2004 Games conclude, a crucial period for the overall success of the all-important ticket sales sector. A figure of close to 3.7 million sold tickets would help counter much of the criticism about empty seats in the first days of the Games -- and especially during the morning sessions and at lesser-known sports.

    Organizers added that Wednesday's events recorded an overall crowd capacity of 92 percent.

    "Operations are running smoothly, especially in terms of transportation and competition," ATHOC official Mihalis Zaharatos told reporters during a daily press briefing.

    [11] Carl Lewis on the Athens Games

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    US Olympic champion Carl Lewis had nothing but praise for the 2004 Olympic Games Athens is hosting, saying that once everything is said and done the memories which will linger will revolve around the faces of all the winners.

    Speaking after a meeting with minister of state for sport George Orphanos, he said that nobody could imagine that the Games would turn out to be so successful from beginning to end (the Games finish on 29th August).

    "This is a wonderful experience we are living," he said, adding that he feels very welcomed here.

    Lewis said at the Athens Games anti doping control is very strict and once people go back home, they will only keep fond memories of the faces of the winners.

    Orphanou and Lews discussed possible cooperation in the future.

    [12] IAAF president Diack presented with Medal of the City of Athens by mayor Bakoyannis

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack was presented with the Medal of the City of Athens on Thursday by the 2004 Olympics host city's mayor, Dora Bakoyannis.

    At an event hosted at the City Hall, which was also attended by alternate culture minister Fani Palli-Petralia, deputy minister for sports George Orfanos and IAAF member from Greece Minos Kyriakou, Bakoyannis said that Greece was "living a very big moment, a very special moment for Athens and Greece", with the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    The Games, she added, had now progressed to the track and field events, which were always at the "heart" of sporting events.

    "We are in the 13th day of the Games, and I can proudly say that everything is progressing very well," Bakoyannis said.

    "We are here today to humor a man whose contribution to the world athletic movement leaves no room for doubt," the mayor said.

    She said that Diack, "as an athlete, as chairman of the Municipal Council of Dakar, as a parliamentarian, as a member of his country's national Olympic Committee, and as IAAF president and IOC member, has always actively manifested his love for sports".

    The mayor said DIACK has worked persistently to advance the track and field sports, be they sprints, road races, long-distance races, or the walk, "but even more important is the fact that he has done this without any concessions or compromise with respect to the values that we all honor and safeguard".

    "Noble competition, good sportsmanship and satisfaction from personal improvement, are all fundamental elements of the IAAF's mission," Bakoyannis said.

    Diack, in response, said "we are very happy to be here on the occasion of the Olympic Games, and I believe that, when the Games conclude, Athens will have, in addition to the Acropolis, this wonderful stadium to show off, which was completely ready when we arrived".

    "We have the honor of being here for these excellent Olympic Games you have prepared. The past two days were exceptional. I believe that none of us have ever attended a 400 meters race that was so enthusiastic. For me and all my colleagues, it was something very special," Diack said.

    [13] Athens mayor Bakoyannis meets with international colleagues

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Athens mayor Dora Bakoyannis held a series of meetings on Thursday with her counterparts from several cities that are in Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Bakoyannis met separately with Antwerp mayor Patrick Janssens, Riga vice-mayor Sergeijs Dolgopolovs, Stockholm mayor Annika Billstrom, who was a Torchbearer of the Athens 2004 Games torch relay in her city, and Torino (Turin) mayor Sergio Chiamparino.

    She also hosted a luncheon in honor of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Robert Finch.

    [14] Papandreou says Greece has much to gain from Olympics

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    George Papandreou, leader of main opposition party PASOK, told reporters today at MPC (main press centre) that Greece had much to gain from the Athens 2004 Olympic Summer Games.

    "First of all we proved that we can organize large-scale events. Certainly the cost of the Olympic Games is an issue but for Athens and Greece I believe it was worth the trouble. We can cover the gap that will emerge over the next few years. It is not so big," Papandreou noted.

    Papandreou said he was impressed by the positive image of Greece abroad, and hoped the favorable climate would continue.

    Replying to questions on doping, Papandreou said the file would be opened after the Games. "The Games end in a few days. The Greeks should be proud of our athletes' achievements, which indicate that sports in our country have a future. As far as doping is concerned, it is a file that must open after the Games," he said.

    During a tour of MPC, Papandreou congratulated the volunteers on a job well done. "Bravo. We have heard the best comments about you from all over the world," he said.

    [15] Security - Allowance for armed forces personnel

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek government decided on Thursday to allocate an allowance to more persons, serving in the country's armed forces and engaged in security duties during the 2004 Olympic Games, than initially announced.

    Depending on the rank of a staff member and his or her extent of involvement in security duties, 11.700 persons will get 2.300 euro and 21.600 persons will get 700 euro.

    A total of 33.300 men and women will get the allowance, instead of the original 18.000 persons.

    [16] IAAF defers judgment on Kenteris, Thanou

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    The powerful international athletics federation (IAAF) decided here on Thursday to defer judgment on top Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, saying the organization will wait for Greece's track-&-field federation (SEGAS) to first conclude and forwards its own investigation and recommendation.

    Technically, the development means that 2000 Olympics gold medalist Kenteris (200m) and silver medalist Thanou (100m) have still not been sanctioned by IAAF.

    SEGAS will reportedly begin an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the pair's failure to take a doping test at the Olympic Village on Aug. 12, as well as a mysterious motorcycle accident -- hours later -- that left them hospitalized at an Athens hospital for four days.

    IAAF's council of delegates met at a downtown Athens hotel.

    [17] Voyage into ancient Olympics at Athens Museum

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    A voyage into the Olympics of ancient times is on the menu at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, presenting a collection of amphorae, coins, urns and sculptures, all depicting scenes from the Olympic Games in antiquity.

    The exhibition titled "Agon", which will be open until October 31st, comprises 178 works of ancient Greek art from 16 Greek museums and 18 from the rest of the world, including the British Museum and the Vatican Museum.

    It tells the tale of bodily virtues and spiritual achievements, which determined the thought pattern and actions of the Greeks in their own "Agon" (struggle), through the Olympic Games and mythology.

    Visitors can walk through the ideals of the Olympic Games and study the importance of exercise and preparation, the significance of fair play, the spirit of ancient celebrations, and the ritual of crowning the winners.

    [18] Athens Business Club 2004: Gov't seeks growth for defense industry

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said on Thursday that the government planned to boost growth in the defense industry.

    "Our aim is growth and support for a domestic industry and a technological defense base with high added value and competitiveness, operating cross-border and trans-Europe, in order to lower the balance of payments deficit. We want to ensure domestic production, and acquire new technology, know-how and new markets," Spiliotopoulos told the Athens Business Club 2004, set up to spur links during the Olympics.

    "At the same time, the government is taking measures to boost productivity and consolidate principles of equality before the law, transparency and equal opportunities," the minister said.

    The government would fund research and development programs, and create a register of approved defense contractors and sub-contractors in order to keep law-breakers out of the market, he added.

    [19] PPC says profits up 9.8 pct in 1st half

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Public Power Corporation SA, Greece's state-owned electricity utility, on Thursday reported a 9.8 percent increase in its after tax profits in the first half of 2004 to 192.9 million euros and a reduction of its net debt to 3.852 billion euros.

    Revenues rose 4.6 percent to 2.003 billion euros, whole revenues from electricity sales rose 4.4 percent due to relatively mild weather in the first half.

    PPC said its pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) rose 12.9 percent to 657.9 million euros while operating profits rose 20.2 percent to 388.1 million euros over the same period. EBITDA margin rose 8.6 percent to 311.9 million euros.

    The utility said that financial expenses were boosted because of negative foreign exchange balance (17.5 million euros) in the first half, net profits rose 9.8 percent to 192.9 million euros and earnings per share rose to 0.83 euros from 0.76 euros in 2003.

    Investment spending rose to 363.8 million euros, including Olympic projects' cost, while net debt fell to 3.852 billion euros from 4.005 billion euros.

    PPC said its workforce eased to 27,800 in the first half from 28,400 last year.

    Commenting on the results, PPC's chief executive Stergios Nezis said that "despite a 1.0 percent increase in electricity power demand, operating profits rose by 20 percent as a result of our constant effort to improve efficiency and contain operating spending".

    [20] OTE chairman meets with visiting Serbian gov't ministers

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization's chairman and chief executive Panagis Vourloumis on Thursday met with visiting Serbian Investment Minister Velimir Ilic and Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Post B. Lazic.

    According to an OTE announcement, the meeting was one more step towards improving relations between Hellenic Telecoms and the Serbian side, Telecom Serbia's main shareholder, in which OTE holds a 20 percent equity stake.

    [21] New suburban railway has earned confidence of commuters

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's brand new suburban railway, inaugurated shortly before the opening of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, appears to have earned the confidence of commuters, transporting tens of thousands of people on a daily basis, according to figures released on Thursday.

    According to the data, the number of passengers on a daily basis was approximately 10,000 in the first days of the railway's operation, but jumped to triple that number following the opening of its Neratziotissa station on August 5, due to its proximity to the main Olympic complex (OAKA).

    The number of tickets sold for the suburban railway in the second week of its operation almost doubled -- showing a 98.5 percent increase -- over the first week, while in its third week of operation, with the introduction of night routes, the increase jumped to 145.32 percent over the first week and 20 percent over the second week, notwithstanding the fact that holders of tickets for Olympics sport events and volunteers travel free of charge.

    In the three-day period of August 20-22 alone, more than 40,000 people were transported by the suburban railway daily, without any problems arising.

    [22] Sustainable growth plan for Pindos mountains

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Central government and northern local authorities on Thursday signed a cooperation protocol to devise and carry out a sustainable growth plan for the north and central Pindos mountain region.

    Areas of study will include infrastructure, quality of life, cultural heritage, and human resources.

    "The time has come to combine efforts to allow the opportunity for overall growth, to enliven our villages so that young people remain there, to spur economic growth in the area, so that it attracts business as well as tourism," Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias said.

    Local officials described the scheme as innovative.

    [23] Stocks rise, fuelled by sentiment abroad

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher in renewed buying, fuelled by robust sentiment in markets abroad and domestic corporate results, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,304.25 points, showing a rise of 0.96 percent. Turnover was 80.5 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.17 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.63 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.13 percent up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 146 to 118 with 86 remaining unchanged.

    [24] State honors taxi driver for return of Olympic medal

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Taxi driver Yiannis Zavos was praised by the state on Thursday for returning the silver medal Dutch rowing champion Simon Diederik had left behind when he boarded the taxi on Monday.

    Zavos' gesture received positive comments from sports people and the Olympic Family, as well as local and foreign media.

    On Thursday, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Anastasios Nerantzis received Yiannis Zavos to congratulate him.

    Nerantzis noted that Greek taxi drivers in their majority are good workers and honest, and presented Zavos with a commemorative book on the Olympic Games, which includes a stamp collection.

    [25] Old cavalry stables transformed into sculpture gallery

    Athens, 27/8/2004 (ANA)

    Two 19th-century stables which served the cavalry and cover a total area of 2,500 sq. meters, were recently refurbished and transformed into the new National Glyptotheque of Athens (Sculpture Gallery), a family member of the National Art Gallery. Located in the Alsos Stratou in Goudi, the sculpture gallery, as its name implies, houses only sculptures of Greek and international artists.

    Two current exhibits at the Glyptotheque are "Henry Moore: A Retrospective," which includes 73 of the sculptor's work, while the second exhibit features wood sculptures of Christos Kapralos. Kapralos has carved friezes from Zeus' temple in Olympia into eucalyptus.

    Speaking of the Glyptotheque, President of the National Art Gallery Marina Lampraki-Plaka said: "The creation of the National Glyptotheque pays part of the debt owed to the art of sculpture, which for years remained homeless within its own country - Greece."

    The choice of works of Moore and Kapralos was not random, Lampraki-Plaka explained, since both are great sculptors of the 20th century. The two had met when Moore visited Athens in March 1951, on the occasion of his exhibit at Zappeion Hall. Moore and Kapralos had a mutual respect for each other. "The choice of a Greek and a foreign artist is symbolic for the operation of the new exhibit space whose aim is to serve as a meeting point and promotional platform for international sculpture," Lampraki-Plaka said.

    [26] Commerce minister says Cyprus would welcome arrangements for free movement of goods

    NICOSIA 27/8/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus Government would welcome any practical arrangement on behalf of the regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus that would allow the unhindered movement of goods from the government-controlled areas to the occupied areas, Cyprus

    Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism George Lillikas said on Thursday.

    Lillikas added that any arrangement on behalf of the illegal for trade of goods from the free to the occupied areas would consist ''an action that would have an immediate economic benefit for the Turkish Cypriots and would contribute to their economic development.''

    ''We aim at supporting our Turkish Cypriots compatriots in achieving better economic development and this is the philosophy behind all the measures that we have announced and applied,' he said.

    The so-called council of ministers in the Turkish occupied areas decided on Wednesday new arrangements as regards trade between the occupied and the free areas.

    The so-called finance and tourism minister Dervis Kemal Deniz has said the ''council'' decided ''to stop all restrictions on imports from southern Cyprus and to begin trade gradually.''

    According to this decision, processing of semi-manufactured products and raw material from the government-controlled areas will take place in the occupied areas.

    Lillikas stressed that under no circumstances the Cypriot government will accept the measures announced by the occupying regime ''to be linked with their demand for direct trade and the opening of occupied ports and airports.''

    Invited to comment on the so called cabinet's decision, Lillikas said that ''the restrictions imposed by the occupying regime as regards trade and the movement of goods from the free to the occupied areas as well as the existence of the dividing line, are illegal.''

    He noted that the restrictions ''are against international and European law, and the presence of the occupation army continues to be illegal, therefore any practical arrangement is merely a partial

    lifting of the illegality and nothing else,'' he said.

    As regards the opening of the Famagusta port, Lillikas said that if the Turkish Cypriot side is indeed interested in the opening of the port, the way to do this is to accept the proposal for the return of Famagusta town to its lawful inhabitants.

    At the same time he stressed that it will be up to the Cyprus Government to decide whether and how it will open the Famagusta port to serve both communities.

    Lillikas said that Turkish Cypriots want the re-opening of the port for political reasons and not for economic ones since they produce very restricted quantities, insufficient for export.

    He added that those who suggest the opening of the port, do not aim at helping the Turkish Cypriots financially because such a move would lead them to bankruptcy.

    The Cypriot commerce minister stressed that ''we want to develop trade, financial and other relations between the two communities but these relations have to be mutual.''

    ''Turkish Cypriot products, as mentioned in the EU regulation, must be able to move towards the government-controlled areas and at the same time our Turkish Cypriot compatriots must be able to buy products from the free areas,'' he noted.

    Lillikas said the restrictions imposed by the occupying regime "lead Turkish Cypriots to isolation.''

    ''Those who are really concerned about the Turkish Cypriots' interest have nothing else to do but make practical arrangements so that there can be transactions between the two communities and only then they will come out of the isolation they have put them in,'' Lillikas stressed, adding that ''no Cyprus Government has placed Turkish Cypriots in isolation.''

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