|Wednesday, 12 August 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-08-31
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 31, 2004
 Olympic Games a starting point for new beginning of country, PM says in television address
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing the nation in a television address on Monday night, said the Olympic Games were a starting point for a new beginning for the country.
"The world celebration of culture and sport, the Olympic Games of 2004, are already a milestone and a starting point. A milestone for the Games in the country where they were born and were revived. A starting point for a new beginning for our country. Greece surprised the whole world positively. Greece proved that it can forge ahead," he said.
Karamanlis said that until a few months ago whispers of concern and cries of doubt for Greece's abilities and capabilities were being heard in many parts of the planet, adding that statements recognizing the excellent success of Greece's efforts are coming from all over the world today.
"The international community agrees that Greece distinguishes itself for the high level of hospitality, culture and security it provides for all, with absolute respect for human rights. Greek society proved that it has great possibilities, considerable abilities and unquestionable virtues. It places the bar of its efforts high and succeeds," he added.
The prime minister went on to say that over the period that passed Greece welcomed the Olympic family, the sports delegations and the visitors who came to feel the breeze of the country which gave birth to, revived and organized the Olympic Games.
"The success of the national effort fills all Greeks with feelings of satisfaction and pride," he said.
"First of all, all the Greek citizens who made these Games a reality with their sacrifices deserve congratulations and praise. The Greek athletes made us proud, exceeding themselves and achieving splendid distinctions. All the athletes of the world who honored the Games deserve congratulations.
"Congratulations also go to the people of the IOC and the 'Athens 2004' Organizing Committee who were responsible for the Games.
"They go to all the Greek and foreign volunteers who gave, with unselfishness, their very best, both inside and outside the stadiums.
"They go to all who had worked at the worksites and for the preparation of the Games. They go to the wonderful creators, the technocrats and the people of culture.
"They go to all who worked for the vital sector of transport, the functioning of public services and for the consolidation of a climate of security.
"Many people and many factors contributed to the success of the Games. Of course, the Simitis administration did contribute. Local administration contributed and first of all the municipality of Athens and the other Olympic municipalities of the country. Vital ministries contributed in particular on which the burden of difficult projects and operations fell. Agencies of the wider public, as well as the private, sector also contributed," the prime minister said.
Karamanlis further said that during this period the Greeks, with collective self-discipline and individual contribution, not only proved they are good hosts but also proved their readiness to turn a new page, adding that a new chapter has opened in Greek society.
Analyzing priorities for the future, the prime minister stressed that "we must treat steadily on the highest level of our social culture, we must utilize internationally the success of the Games, promoting Greece which achieves targets, we must attract tourism and investments, we must utilize the property left behind by the Olympic installations. And I want to place particular emphasis here because they are projects of high technology, as well as of a high cost, which Greek citizens paid for with their hard-earned money. We must prove that this great Greek summer is no parenthesis. We must prove that the success of such a great and complicated undertaking is not limited to two weeks of festive events. It is the milestone of a new era."
Karamanlis further noted that "the victory we have achieved is for all the Greek women and all the Greek men. It is for the today and tomorrow of our country", adding that "it is an investment in the new period that has already begun for Greece. It is capital for the years to come."
He also pointed out that issues which do not suit Greek culture and Olympic ideals will be dealt with decisively and with a feeling of responsibility towards citizens and young people in particular.
"I wish to express my conviction that the success of the Paralympic Games will be similar and even greater. It is the time that the attention of the world community turns to the people with a disability and to the strength of their will. It is the time of human sensitivity and of the realization of the obligations of every country and every society towards our fellow men with special needs, as well as with special possibilities. It is the time that we declare ourselves present again. To welcome new delegations and to applaud their participation, effort and joy. We must send all over the world a message of humanity together with the message of peace, solidarity and cooperation among peoples. I thank you," Karamanlis concluded.
 Government acknowledges everybody's contribution
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said on Monday that the prime minister Costas Karamanlis has repeatedly acknowledged the contribution of all previous governments in the success of the Olympic Games.
Replying to questions at the daily press briefing about the contribution of the president of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, he said "the prime minister has congratulated all those who have contributed to the success of the Games and of course the Organizing Committee."
 Greece met the challenge, says government
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said on Monday that Greece has met the challenge of the Olympic Games and showed that it can achieve its goals, adding that the country deserves a gold medal.
"Greece handed the Olympic flag to Beijing. The country met the challenges and showed - even to its most harsh critics - that it can achieve its goals, no matter how high they are set," he said.
He said the Games were the success of all the Greeks and congratulated everybody on their hard work, their patience, sacrifices and the welcome they extended to all.
Antonaros had a special thank you for the thousands of volunteers who, he said, "brightened up this unique celebration and contributed to showing the new face of Greece."
"Greece deserves a gold medal for the organization of the Games, the security, the transport and the infrastructure," he added, noting that the Games continue with the Paralympics on 17th September, when "the athletes of life" will compete.
On Sunday's incident during the Marathon, he said this is not the first time such incidents occur and added that it was fortunate that the Brazilian athlete finished third.
A 57-year-old Irish national, described by police as suffering from "severe psychological problems", is in custody after tackling Brazilian runner Vanderlei Lima on the 35th kilometer of the men's Marathon race early Sunday evening in downtown Athens. The Brazilian, ahead for much of the race, finished third.
On doping, the Alternate government spokesman said "clean Games is an issue that has preoccupied the government as a priority issue and was discussed at different levels."
On security measures, he said the zeppelin will fly in the Athens skies until the end of the Paralympics while for the rest of the measures, now in place, the agreed procedures will be followed.
 IOC President thanks Prime Minister for Olympic Games
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)IOC President Jacques Rogge conveyed to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, during a meeting on Monday, the gratitude of IOC towards the people of Greece for wonderful and safe Olympic Games.
During the meeting, Rogge presented Karamanlis with the highest IOC distinction, the gold Olympic medal, while Karamanlis thanked Rogge for the government's co-operation with the IOC and, on behalf of Greece, gave him a small silver olive tree.
Both Karamanlis and Rogge renewed their rendezvous for later this month, for the Paralympic Games.
IOC Vice President Denis Oswald thanked the Prime Minister, whom he presented with the highest medal of the International Rowing Federation, of which he is President.
Alternate Minister of Culture Fani Palli Petralia, Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki, Hellenic Olympic Committee President and IOC member Lambis Nikolaou, IOC member Nikos Filaretos and ATHOC senior officer Spyros Kapralos were also present at the meeting.
Following his meeting with Karamanlis, Rogge visited former Prime Minister Costas Simitis to thank him for their co-operation during preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and his personal contribution in their success.
IOC president thanks ERT: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge thanked Angelos Stagos, president of ERT (Greek national TV network) and the CEO (senior management of the Olympic Partners and National Sponsors), saying that ERT's contribution as a grand national sponsor of the 2004 Olympic Games has made the celebration of the ancient tradition possible in the modern world.
In a letter to Stagos, Rogge said that "Athens 2004 offered the world a bridge between the ancient and the modern worlds" and added that "we have witnessed a great moment in the history of the Olympic Movement."
"I would like to thank you and the entire ERT organization for your leadership before the Games, and your tremendous support in making this moment possible," Rogge said.
 Angelopoulos-Daskalaki: 2004 Games the biggest promotion ever for Greece
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Athens organizers (ATHOC) on Monday basked in the afterglow of what IOC President Jacques Rogge referred to as "unforgettable, dream Games" just 24 hours earlier -- and amid a cascade of international media praise and satisfaction.
"Today, we can say that we Greeks kept our promise to the world; to the world and to ourselves ... by organizing wonderful and successful Games; Games that were a dream, that were unique," ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki told reporters in the same hall where all the press briefings were held during the 17 days of the 28th Olympics.
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who chaired the bid committee that initially won the Games for Athens in 1997 and later assumed the helm of the organizing committee at a time when preparations were in a nadir (April 2000), quickly pointed to what she said were some of the highlights of Greece's "Olympic homecoming": - the most athletes (more than 11,000) - the most female athletes - 3,581,080 tickets sold, more than Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992 - Increased global television viewer ship by 20 percent, on average - 45,000 volunteers were involved in the hosting of the Games, whereas a total of 11,000 salaried employees were involved at one time or another - The "best" moniker for the main press centre, international broadcast centre and the "Olympic Village", as she stressed.
The high-profile ATHOC chief also fielded a couple of questions on her future plans, as local media speculation has long centered on her future political prospects.
"I own them (her family) something more than some time," she said.
Moreover, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki again repeated that the organizing committee's budget remains balanced.
One of the most crucial questions in the post-2004 Olympics period will be exactly how much was spent on the government side for the Games, from everything to infrastructure and venues, to security and logistics. One top government official, Deputy National Economy Minister Petros Doukas, recently put the figure at around 10 billion euros, whereas top cadres from the previous PASOK government (now the main opposition party) maintain that spending did not exceed the four to five-billion-euro mark.
"I believe that what was done won't be lost ... none of these projects will be squandered," she said, adding that 2004 Athens Games proved to be the biggest promotion ever for modern Greece.
Finally, she reminded reporters that the Paralympic Games are still ahead, between Sept. 17 and Sept. 28.
 U.S. government congratulates Greece on successful and safe Olympic Games
WASHINGTON, 31/8/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)Congratulations on behalf of the U.S. government on the success and safe organization of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games was conveyed on Monday by U.S. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher who stated that the telephone communication which U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had last Friday with his Greek counterpart Petros Molyviatis was in the same spirit.
Boucher said that despite the persistent initial doubts by many journalists in recent months and the continuous references they made on "disasters which would occur at our embassy, bomb explosions or also cancellations due to security problems," the view which was expressed by the U.S. government during this period that the Greeks could organize secure and successful Olympic Games was finally confirmed.
Boucher described the Games as "very successful," stressed that they filled humanity full of enthusiasm and expressed his country's full satisfaction about this fact.
Referring to the postponement of Powell's visit to Athens, the spokesman reiterated that it was due to the need for Powell's presence in Washington to deal with developments in Iraq and Sudan, something, which he said, Powell expressed personally to Molyviatis.
Boucher added that Powell has reached the conclusion that it is important for him to visit Greece in the autumn, probably early October. Boucher noted that "Mr. Powell is looking forward to his visit to Greece.'
 Antonaros speaks to APE on Olympic Games
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that comments about the 2004 Olympic Games, which finished Sunday, are flattering to the point that Greece is greatly 'surprised'.
In an interview with APE, he quoted British papers and other foreign media which said that Athens has been vindicated, critics failed in their predictions and the Games were excellent and well organized.
On suggestions that the Games should return permanently to Greece, he said this touches a chord in our hearts but it is easier said than done as many cities seek to host the Olympics to show their own culture and civilization.
"The Athens Games were special not only because we tried our best but also because they took place in the land that gave birth to the Olympic ideals and those who believe in them felt that sentiment while in Athens," he said.
This, he pointed out, is a specific advantage we have that nobody can take away from Greece. Participation in a Marathon along the route of the Marathon in ancient times or competing under the shadow of the Acropolis is something no other venue can offer.
Antonaros had a word for all those who over the past few months were very critical of Greece and its ability to host the Olympic Games.
"Services, organization, security, transport, the welcome - they were all impeccable. The foreign media was not just relieved, it stood in awe as the Games were unexpectedly good for them," he said.
He acknowledged that the Greeks are not exactly known for their good organizing skills but he also added "we have always known that we could do it, look at how the thousands of volunteers and many others have helped."
On media facilities, he said the Zappeion press centre was the home of some 3,000 journalists and the workplace of about 700 persons, on a 24 hour basis, from the ministry. He said work will resume at Zappeion when the Paralympic Games begin on 17 September.
 Petralia says Olympics greatest peaceful victory in modern times
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Alternate Minister of Culture Fani Palli Petralia said on Monday that "all Greeks, united, have achieved the greatest peaceful victory in Greece, in modern times."
"The Olympic Games are a huge reservoir of pride for all Greeks. At the same time, they are the beginning for the future of the country, for progress and development," Palli Petralia said after a meeting with IOC President Jacques Rogge.
Replying to questions, Palli Petralia said "this great reservoir of pride must be utilized and of course we will do so."
Regarding the post-Olympic use of the stadiums, the Alternate Minister said this has already begun, aiming at "improving the quality of life for Greek citizens."
 Vanhanen and Barosso congratulate Karamanlis for Olympic Games
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had separate meetings on Monday with his Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen and European Commission President designate Jose Manuel Barosso.
Both Vanhanen and Barosso congratulated the Prime Minister for the Athens 2004 Olympic Summer Games.
 South Africa pays tribute to Greece for hosting spectacular Games
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)South Africa on Monday paid tribute to Greece for not only hosting "spectacular Games" but also for "filling our hearts with emotions and beliefs that were forgotten".
South Africa said "thank you" to Greece in a statement by its ambassador in Athens Jannie Momberg, on behalf of the government and people of South Africa, released by the embassy here.
"On behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of South Africa and on the occasion of the closing of the 28th Olympic Games, I wish to express our utmost gratitude to Greece and its people for hosting a spectacular Games. The events in which we participated in, the moments that we all shared, the friends that we all made, will remain unforgettable," the ambassador said in a written statement.
"The Games came home to remind us all that athleticism is an idea which symbolizes, amongst others, world unification; the uniqueness of the spirit; the strength of the soul and the value of peace," he said.
"Greece reminded us once again that through our struggle for excellence, we have come to cherish universal values -- values which make us all proud," the ambassador continued.
"South Africa pays tribute to the Greek nation for not only hosting dream Games, but for filling our hearts with emotions and beliefs that were forgotten," Momberg concluded.
 PASOK to present detailed plan on post-Olympic era later in week
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)President of main opposition party PASOK George Papandreou gave on Monday an idea of the party's post-Olympic stance, saying it would be presenting a detailed plan later this week.
Papandreou said ruling New Democracy, before rising to power, was "one of the worst Cassandras" about the success of the Athens 2004 Olympic Summer Games, adding that when it came into power "it continued as a government to send negative messages, which had consequences for Greece, for example in the tourism sector."
PASOK's leader noted that "the Olympic Games are an investment for Greece," adding that "Greece has proven in these Games that it can win, while Hellenism achieved a new unity and national confidence."
Regarding the post-Olympic use of the projects, Papandreou said that later this week PASOK would be presenting a detailed plan and pointed out that the whole process should be carried out through a dialogue with the citizens.
Commenting on hopes in foreign press for the Olympic Games to be permanently hosted by Greece, Papandreou said "we must leave this prospect open and not rule out something like this being requested by the Olympic Movement itself.
 Health minister congratulates ESY on its provision of services during the Athens Olympics
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Minister of Health and Social Solidarity Nikitas Kaklamanis thanked all those working in the National Health System (ESY) for their provision of services and meeting all health care needs during the 2004 Athens Games.
"I thank them and I would like to believe that this tremendous experience will be capitalized upon over time so that ESY's services continue to improve," Kaklamanis wrote in a thank-you letter he sent on Monday. The minister also emphasized that efforts are continuing in order to cover whatever needs may arise during the upcoming Paralympic Games.
Kaklamanis also made public the statistical data gathered by the Coordinating Body of the Health Care Sector (SOTY), regarding the number of individuals visiting Olympic hospitals shortly before and during the Olympic Games in all the Olympic cities.
 National Defense minister congratulates armed forces
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Spilios Spiliotopoulos, Greek National Defense Minister, congratulated on Monday the members of the armed forces on their excellent behavior and the high level of professionalism they showed while on duty during the 2004 Olympic Games.
"As you have cooperated in an impeccable manner within a collective framework for the security of the Olympic Games, you have gained the trust and the admiration of the Greek people and are once again regarded in high esteem," the minister said in a message.
He called on the armed forces to show the same spirit as they exercise their duties during the Paralympics, that begin in Athens in mid September.
 Greece has won 28 medals in track and field events since the start of the modern Olympic Games
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Greece has won 28 medals in track and field events since the start of the modern Olympic Games from 1896 to August 29, 2004 when the Athens 2004 Olympic Games came to and end and which saw Greek women gathering another five medals.
Maybe in 1896 Greece did not have medals by Greek women given the fact that their participation was not then allowed, but 108 years later Greek medals had women's perfume.
In the history of the modern Olympic Games, Greece's tally of medals in track and field events, including by men and women, totalled six gold medals, twelve silver medals and ten bronze medals.
 Olympic know-how to go to Beijing
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)The Executive Director of the ATHENS 2004 Organizing Committee Spyros Kapralos said on Monday that a program of Olympic know-how would be transferred to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Answering questions about China's preparations for the next Olympics, he said observers from Beijing were following the Athens Games and added that before the end of the year an overall round up of the Olympic Games would be submitted.
 Deputy FM and U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Laura Kennedy discuss bilateral relations and Cyprus
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis and U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of State for European and Asian issues Laura Kennedy discussed bilateral relations between Greece and the U.S. on Monday, as well as developments on the issue of Cyprus and Turkey's accession course to the European Union.
Their talks confirmed the good level of relations between the U.S. and Greece and Kennedy took the opportunity to congratulate the Greek government for successfully hosting the Olympic Games "in a climate of security."
Diplomatic sources said that Kennedy, who will be staying in Athens until Wednesday, will be meeting foreign ministry officials, the ambassadors of Britain and Turkey and representatives of the main opposition PASOK party.
 Workers Confederation praises Games
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)The General Confederation of Free Workers (GSEE) said the 2004 Olympics Games, that ended on Sunday in Athens, are the best organized and most successful Games in recent history.
It congratulates all the workers, the volunteers and the athletes who participated, noting that the state should continue to support morally and materially Greek athletes.
The Confederation says a post-Olympics development project should be drafted through a wide social dialogue in order to decide on how best to use the Olympic facilities.
 Civil servants' union urge government to accept pay rise demands
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)ADEDY, the Greek civil servants' union, on Monday asked the government to accept its proposals over the implementation of a new payroll system aimed to achieve convergence with EU average payrolls.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, ADEDY's president Spyros Papaspyrou stressed that civil servants acknowledged they should not see the new government with prejudice although he noted that its leadership knew about problems facing civil servants since the time in opposition.
"We have a European living cost with low earnings," Papaspyrou said, adding that the government should offer clear answers to their demands ahead of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.
Monday's meeting between Alogoskoufis and ADEDY failed to reach a compromise. ADEDY will discuss the issue at its general assembly scheduled for September 10.
 Northern Greece Industry Union to meet with Prime Minister next week
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Northern Greece's Industry Union (SBEE) will meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis next week, the Union's president said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, SBBE's president Dimitris Symeonidis said that the Union expected the Prime Minister to speak on the social insurance issue during his speech at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair next week.
He stressed that the union would seek a discussion on the issue, adding that there were several measures implemented in other EU member-states that could be adopted in Greece also.
Symeonidis said the union encouraged the co-funding of public projects with private sector money, a policy successfully implemented in other countries, he supported a dialogue with the government and stressed that Mr Alogoskoufis supported their views.
 Stocks fall in correction
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished lower in a downward correction to five rises, with players raking in short-term gains in a slim market, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,308.55 points, showing a decline of 0.54 percent. Turnover was 41.5 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.43 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.80 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.53 percent down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 162 to 106 with 77 remaining unchanged.
 Record numbers at Athens airport
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Departures and arrivals at Athens international airport, Eleftherios Venizelos, are running smoothly with no delays in spite of increased air traffic, a day after the end of the 2004 Olympic Games.
Minister of transport and communications Mihalis Liapis, who visited the airport, said Monday is a very difficult day with some 900 flights.
He congratulated the airport staff and all those who have contributed to the successful running of the country's biggest airport at its peak time and said public transport also served the people very well.
According to airport statistics, 882 flights are scheduled for Monday and some 9.237 members of the Olympic family are set to leave. The busiest time so far was between 0900 and 1000 with 45 flights either taking off or landing.
 Mastermind of major cocaine shipment arrested in Germany, procedures set in motion for extradition to Greece
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)A Greek businessman, believed to be the mastermind of an international drug smuggling ring reportedly behind the shipment of 5.5 tons of cocaine seized off Gibraltar in mid-July was arrested Monday morning in Germany.
According to sources, Angelopoulos, known in the drug racket as "the fat man", was arrested by German police, acting on an international arrest warrant, raided the hotel near Stuttgart airport at around 4:00 a.m. local time as Angelopoulos was sleeping.
The Greek authorities have been informed of the arrest, and procedures have been set in motion for Angelopoulos' extradition to Greece.
More than five tons of cocaine were discovered aboard the Belize-registered trawler 'Africa 1' by Spanish customs agents in mid-July after being tipped off by Greek authorities. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was also involved in the bust, which took place approximately 100 kilometers off the SW coast of Spain. The crew of the vessel, five Greek nationals and one Italian, were detained, followed by further arrests in Greece. Those detained in Greece are: Apostolos Bousios, 28, Nikolaos Gavrilis 44, and Georgios Maragoudakis 57.
The mastermind behind the drug ring, Angelopoulos, is a northern Greece businessman and football club owner. His close associate, Nikolaos Antonakakis, 48 is also wanted, and believed to be in Belgium.
According to reports, Angelopoulos purchased the vessel in early May with the intention of sailing from Piraeus to Turkey. However, the vessel was soon placed under surveillance and it was discovered to have changed course and headed towards the Atlantic. The vessel loaded the cocaine in Brazil and headed towards Spain, authorities said.
Police seized bank accounts at the time and are investigating alleged money-laundering activities relating to the arrests.
 Irishman gets suspended jail sentence
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)A court in Athens passed a twelve month jail sentence on an Irish national, who tackled a Brazilian runner in Sunday's Marathon race, with a three year suspension. The 57-year-old Irishman Cornelius Horan was also fined 3,000 euros.
Horan apologized to the Brazilian athlete, who won the bronze medal, and said he would not act in this way again. He said he wanted to attract attention and added that the second coming would soon be here.
Horan tackled Vanderlei Lima, from Brazil, on the 35th kilometer of the men's Marathon race as the Brazilian was in the lead.
After the race , the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it will award the "Pierre de Coubertin" medal to the Brazilian marathon runner for the excellent behavior he showed after the Irish national had obstructed him.
 Kenteris gives evidence to public prosecutors
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)Costas Kenteris, the Greek athlete under investigation regarding a missed doping test on August 12, appeared before public prosecutors Spyros Mouzakitis and Athina Theodoropoulou on Monday and gave evidence in a session which lasted 7.5 hours. Upon exiting the courthouse, Kenteris told reporters that he had given evidence regarding "the situation as it's been during all these years." In answer to a reporter's question regarding his future plans, Kenteris said that he intends to run again, "but I don't know if and when I will run." Additionally, the athlete has not yet thought about who he would hire to replace Christos Tzekos as his coach.
Asked whether he planned on publicly discussing the entire case as a newspaper reported on Sunday, Kenteris said that he had not spoken with any newspaper, but perhaps friends and family had spoken on his behalf.
Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, Kenteris' lawyer, said that Kenteris is not avoiding speaking to the press and that he will talk about everything in due time. However, Kenteris cannot reveal anything further since he is part of an on-going investigation, his lawyer explained.
In response to questions involving the events of August 12, Dimitrakopoulos said that Kenteris and Katerina Thanou (Kenteris' training partner who also missed the doping test) went to the Olympic Village, but no one informed them that they were being summoned for a doping test. Their coach Tzekos was informed between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. that evening. According to Dimitrakopoulos, the athletes' and the coach's version of events are the same, since there is only one version of the truth.
According to sources, during Monday's session, Kenteris gave evidence regarding the missed doping test, the motorcycle accident which was reported later that evening, Tzekos' business activities as well as the financing of various sports bodies.
 Swedish king confers distinctions to ten Greeks
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)The king of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, conferred on Sunday the Royal Order of the Polar Star to ten Greek citizens in recognition of personal services to Sweden and for the promotion of Swedish interests.
The king, in Athens for the Olympic Games that ended on Sunday, warmly thanked the recipients and said he felt quite comfortable with adding ten medals to the already sizeable Greek harvest in the Olympics.
The ceremony took place at the residence of the Swedish Ambassador in Athens.
One Greek citizen became Commander of the Polar Star and nine received the rank of Kinght First Class or Member First Class.
 US Olympic volleyball player arrested for brawling and punching pregnant woman due to appear in court on Wednesday
Athens, 31/8/2004 (ANA)US Olympic volleyball team member Clayton Stanley was arrested early Monday after brawling with passers-by in central Athens and hitting a pregnant woman, and has been referred to a court hearing later in the week. The detainee was then released.
According to reports, which were later confirmed by a public order ministry spokesman, the 27-year-old Hawaii-born athlete, who was believed to have been drunk at the time, was arrested at 1:15 a.m. in central Athens' Mitropoleos square, after brawling with several people, including a couple on a motorbike, and punching the woman, who is eight months pregnant.
Passers-by intervened and police arrested the athlete, who was taken before a public prosecutor Monday morning. Stanley was referred to appear in court on Wednesday, facing charges of causing dangerous bodily damage without cause, using abusive language, and resisting authority
The woman, at her request, was taken to her obstetrician, but it was as yet unknown whether any problem has arisen with the pregnancy due to the incident.
According to reports, the woman had also pressed charges against Stanley
 Reunification remains top priority for Cyprus Government, says
FM NICOSIA 31/8/2004 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government's goal remains the peaceful reunification of the island in conditions of security and hope for the future, far from foreign interventions, Foreign Minister George Iacovou has stated.
He was declaring the opening of the Second International Conference of Cyprus Youth Overseas (NEPOMAK) and the 20th Annual Meeting of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) and the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) Central Councils which started here on Monday.
In their first day of deliberations the overseas Cypriots were briefed by Foreign Minister George Iacovou and the leaders or representatives of the parliamentary political parties on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.
Iacovou expressed optimism that with the overseas Cypriots' support Cyprus will succeed in its big goal for a united Cyprus, federal, bi-zonal, bi-communal within the European Union.
Welcoming the overseas Cypriots the foreign minister gave them the warm regards of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
''This meeting is the first after the successful acceding effort of Cyprus in the European Union," said the foreign minister adding that this ''goal was realized thanks to the contribution of the government, the political leadership, the Cyprus people, the overseas Cypriots as well as the support of Greece."
Referring to the efforts for a Cyprus settlement, he said that the ''struggle for freedom, for return, for national fulfillment, we feel it is necessary because it lights up our late national path, it is demanded by our dead and reminded by our refugees, the missing persons and their families."
He described the current period as ''critical and decisive for our national course'' and called on the people to stay united.
Referring to the Turkish European aspirations he describes as vein the hopes that they would contribute to an agreement for Cyprus and the end of the occupation and division of the island.
Within a wide geopolitical and geostrategic framework, Cyprus has become the target of international pressure for decriminalization in order to facilitate Turkey's European course, the foreign minister said.
Referring to the Annan Plan, the UN Secretary General's proposals for Cyprus, Iacovou said that ''what was received was a plan that was satisfying all Turkish demands, so as Ankara would be able to crow over its so-called conciliatory spirit making at the same time Cyprus its protectorate."
''We always knew that a Cyprus solution would be a painful compromise, but the element of injustice was very intense in the fifth Annan plan," he said, adding that this was the reason the
Greek Cypriots decided freely to reject the plan.
''Their decision was to reject the specific solution which was giving Turkey, with our signature, everything it aimed for all these years and not a viable, functional solution for a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation," he said, noting that the struggle for justice and a better settlement continues.
He also referred to the upgrading of the state Service for the overseas Cypriots and assured their representatives that the promotion of their issues is a major priority of the government of