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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

November 16, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis confers with FM Molyviatis, deputy FM Valynakis on current foreign policy issues
  • [02] Gov't stresses common approach between Athens and Nicosia
  • [03] Archbishop of America holds talks with US Secretary of State on FYROM issue
  • [04] 70 countries have recognized FYROM as ''Republic of Macedonia''
  • [05] Consultations at FYROM foreign ministry on name issue
  • [06] Foreign ministry spokesman reiterates Greece's position on Turkey's EU prospect
  • [07] Papandreou accuses gov't of 'continuous delays' in foreign policy
  • [08] Govt does not plan any quick moves on privatization, Greek FinMin says
  • [09] Athens Stock Exchange will see better days ahead, new head says
  • [10] Events for 31st anniversary of Polytechnic uprising commence
  • [11] DM to visit Britain on November 16-18
  • [12] EU principles on migration will serve as basis for Greece, interior minister Pavlopoulos tells int'l event on Migration Management
  • [13] Justice minister says government determined to combat corruption
  • [14] EU's Military Committee holds regular six-month session
  • [15] Foreign ministry on recent conviction of 5 ethnic Greeks in Albania
  • [16] Confidential files from Parliament investigation stolen during break-in at MP's office
  • [17] EU finance ministers to discuss draft Eurostat report on Greece, Commission spokesman says
  • [18] Greece's eurozone membership not questioned by EU, gov't stresses
  • [19] Government to unveil 2005 state budget on Thursday
  • [20] Greek merchandise trade deficit rose in September, yr/yr
  • [21] Gov't appoints members of working group to monitor execution of ESA agreement
  • [22] Central bank says higher productivity will bring higher wages
  • [23] SE European energy ministers to meet in Athens
  • [24] Government admits there is a 'deficit' of policies for equality
  • [25] Prosecutor orders probe into radio-TV council's procedures for issuing 'transparency certificates'
  • [26] Gov't overhauls customs services
  • [27] Stocks rise in renewed blue-chip buying
  • [28] Greek Navy, NATO vessels escort immigrant-smuggling vessel to Katakolo
  • [29] Bulgarian president Purvanov stranded in Halkidiki as storm winds prevent crossing to Mt. Athos for private visit
  • [30] Athens 2004 President meets with Stephanopoulos
  • [31] Ukrainian national killed during armed robbery at petrol station
  • [32] Education minister: Second foreign language will soon be taught in grade schools
  • [33] Greek film directors seek meeting with PM, warn of looming crisis for local film industry
  • [34] Cyprus Spokesman: Turkey not absolved of crime against Cyprus
  • [35] Cyprus government proceeds unilaterally with de-mining buffer zone

  • [01] PM Karamanlis confers with FM Molyviatis, deputy FM Valynakis on current foreign policy issues

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Monday with foreign minister Petros Molyviatis and deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis on all current foreign policy issues.

    Molyviatis is due to visit Sofia, Paris and the Hague for talks with his counterparts, including EU-Turkey relations, the Cyprus issue and the situation in the Balkans, ahead of next month's EU summit where the EU leaders will discuss the issue of granting Turkey a date for commencement of its EU accession negotiations.

    Foreign minister briefs U.S. ambassador on issues at upcoming EU summit

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Monday met United States Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller at his request in order to brief him on issues that will arise during the European Union summit in Brussels on December 17.

    Miller refused to comment on their discussion after he emerged from the meeting.

    In response to questions on anti-American sentiment in Greece following Washington's decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with the name 'Republic of Macedonia' that Greece objects to, Miller said only that he respected all points of view.

    He also expressed confidence that Greek authorities would efficiently handle security issues during the anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising on Wednesday, which traditionally includes a protest march to the U.S. embassy.

    [02] Gov't stresses common approach between Athens and Nicosia

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Monday stressed that Athens and Nicosia had a 'single line, shared views and a common approach' in response to questions regarding the purpose of a recent visit by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Cyprus and its results.

    The spokesman refused to comment on whether the Greek premier had pressured Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos to avoid exercising Cyprus' veto at the European Union Summit in December, when EU leaders are to discuss whether Turkey will receive a date for the start of accession negotiations with the Community, urging reporters "not to underestimate the Cyprus government".

    [03] Archbishop of America holds talks with US Secretary of State on FYROM issue

    WASHINGTON 16/11/2004 (ANA/A.Ellis)

    Archbishop of America Dimitrios and representatives of the Greek-American community expressed the community's dissatisfaction with the recent US decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by its constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia," during their meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman on Monday in Washington.

    Dimitrios expressed optimism regarding the FYROM issue, after the private meeting he had with Powell. Dimitrios emphasized that the US "has full knowledge of the difficulties and pain," its decision provoked among Greeks in Greece and abroad and said that he was promised the US would work towards finding a final solution and overcoming the problem.

    Grossman reassured Dimitrios and representatives of the Greek-American community that Washington will become actively involved in the efforts the United Nations are making for the Greece-FYROM negotiations to result in a mutually-acceptable solution.

    The under secretary also said that the US firmly supports the efforts of mediator Matthew Nimetz and the UN and that when Athens and Skopje reach an agreement, Washington will be happy to recognize FYROM by whatever name the two countries agree on.

    Finally, Grossman said that the US decision to recognize FYROM as "Republic of Macedonia" was not done to "punish" Greece, but to influence the referendum which was to take place a few days later.

    Later in the evening, Dimitrios and the representatives of the Greek-American community were scheduled to meet with US National Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

    [04] 70 countries have recognized FYROM as ''Republic of Macedonia''

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Seventy countries have recognized the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia", 53 of which did so during the tenure of PASOK governments, according to a list submitted by the Foreign Ministry to Parliament on Monday.

    The list was submitted, following the request of Parliament Vice President George Sourlas, in order to be made available to the Parliament's friendship groups.

    Among the countries which have recognized FYROM as the "Republic of Macedonia," are Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Turkey, U.S.A. North Korea, Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, and Sudan.

    [05] Consultations at FYROM foreign ministry on name issue

    Skopje 16/11/2004 (ANA/N. Fragopoulos)

    FYROM foreign minister Ilinka Mitreva on Sunday summoned the country's ambassadors to Greece and the US, Blagoye Hadjinski and Nikola Dimitrov, respectively, to the foreign ministry for consultations on the ongoing UN-sponsored dialogue in New York between FYROM and Greece on the issue of the country's name, the Skopje state radio reported.

    Citing diplomatic sources, the state radio reported that the Skopje government would continue to maintain its 'firm position' on the use of the country's disputed constitutional name of 'Republic of Macedonia' in its international communication, and on continuing the talks with Greece on finding a mutually acceptable solution regarding bilateral communication.

    According to the state radio, the consultations at the FYROM foreign ministry were due to have commenced on Sunday night and were to be resumed on Monday.

    [06] Foreign ministry spokesman reiterates Greece's position on Turkey's EU prospect

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Monday reiterated the Greek government's position in favor of Turkey's EU prospect, and repeated that this prospect to a great degree depended on Turkey itself and the degree to which it fulfilled its obligations.

    "Nothing is overlooked, and nothing is downgraded, and not a single infringement or violation coming from a European Turkey can be accepted," Koumoutsakos said during a regular press briefing, adding that "nothing is disengaged; everything remains linked in the manner that they have been linked".

    [07] Papandreou accuses gov't of 'continuous delays' in foreign policy

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou accused the government of ''continuous postponement in implementing foreign policy,'' in statements he made after attending the lunch hosted by Dutch Ambassador to Athens Paul Reitze Brouwer in which the ambassadors of the 24 EU member states also attended.

    Papandreou also referred to Turkey-EU relations, saying that there was no more room for delay regarding Turkey's EU accession talks.

    As for the controversial issue surrounding FYROM's name, Papandreou said, "We are ready to contribute proposals that will help solve the problem, but the government needs to make a specific proposal."

    Finally, referring to Palestine and the Middle East, Papandreou said that it is an opportunity to elect a new Palestinian leadership quickly and democratically, adding that the US and Israel need to contribute to this effort.

    [08] Govt does not plan any quick moves on privatization, Greek FinMin says

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    "The government's policy is not to proceed with rapid moves when things are not ready. We should first restructure state-owned groups and then talk of privatization," Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday. He was replying to questions if the government was seeking to sell its equity stake in Emporiki Bank to foreign investors.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Emporiki Bank's governor G. Provopoulos, Alogoskoufis said that an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, today and Tuesday, was crucial as it help "clarify the situation over past deficits and discuss the next steps on how Greece could bring its deficit below 3.0 percent of GDP".

    Economy ministry sources said that the ECOFIN meeting would not take any action against Greece although more pressures are expected to bring the country's state finances under control.

    The Greek government will emphasize that its fiscal data were not clear and discussions will focus on the time needed to get the country's fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of GDP.

    [09] Athens Stock Exchange will see better days ahead, new head says

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek stock market will see better days ahead, Spyros Kapralos, the new chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange and chief executive at Hellenic Stock Exchanges SA, said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters, during his first news conference since he took over at ASE, Kapralos stressed that "we have left behind us the dark days".

    Presenting his strategy for the market, Kapralos said his priority would be to build a climate of confidence with investors and to boost the bourse's credibility.

    He stressed that in cooperation with the Capital Markets' Commission; ASE was examining measures to support the stock share and derivatives market, and noted that his main interest was the average private investor.

    Kapralos said measures currently examined were reducing transaction costs and introducing new products, such as shipping derivatives and corporate bonds.

    [10] Events for 31st anniversary of Polytechnic uprising commence

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Events in commemoration of the 31st anniversary of a students' uprising at the Athens Polytechnic essentially began on Monday with the opening of the institution's gates in downtown Athens.

    Events will climax on Wednesday, Nov. 17, with an annual street march through Athens.

    This year's main event will take place at the Polytechnic's Averoff hall.

    Until Wednesday, the Polytechnic's gates will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the laying for wreaths by organizations and individuals.

    PM briefed on security for annual Polytechnic commemoration: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday received Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis at his office, with the latter briefing the premier over security measures ahead of this Wednesday's commemorative events -- especially regarding an annual street march -- honoring a students' uprising at the Athens Polytechnic on Nov. 17, 1973.

    "I hope that this year's march will take place within a framework that honors the anniversary, because it is a day of remembrance, one that all of us must honor; one that should not be marred by violence," Voulgarakis said.

    Six thousand officers to police protest march on Polytechnic anniversary, ministry says: Six thousand officers will be deployed to police the traditional protest march to the United States Embassy that takes place every year on the anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising of November 17, 1973, sources within the public order ministry said on Monday.

    They said that police had already begun to guard the area surrounding the Athens Polytechnic in order to avoid the violent incidents and vandalism that had marred the anniversary in previous years.

    The police presence will include the entire MAT riot police force, dozens of Attica police plainclothes officers, police patrol cars and emergency response motorcycle officers, as well as detectives in unmarked cars, who will guard shops and businesses along the route of the march.

    Police security measures have gone into effect from today and will continue until late on Wednesday night.

    Commenting on the ministry preparations, Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis expressed hope that the anniversary will be observed without unpleasant incidents and stressed that the goal of the government was "a peaceful march within the framework and meaning of the anniversary, without incidents that blacken the memory of the Polytechnic [uprising] and cancel the meaning and purpose of the youth march".

    Communist Party, Labor Confederation issue messages on anniversary of Polytechnic uprising: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in a message on the anniversary of the Polytechnic student uprising against the junta on November 17, 1973, said the content of commemorative events ''must correspond to the aggressiveness of imperialism which is abolishing social, democratic and sovereign rights, which is changing borders, organizing wars and imposing the policy of plutocracy in every way.''

    KKE added that developments in the Balkans, the Aegean and Cyprus, as well as in the wider region of the Middle East, ''show that the imperialists' new plans are under way.''

    The Communist Party further pointed out that events for the Polytechnic, which will heighten with the march to the U.S. embassy, ''will continue in spite of so many apparatuses which have been striving to abolish them for years.''

    In a similar message, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) said "movements against globalization show that in the present age as well young people are mobilizing themselves and claiming a better future for them and for society."

    GSEE also reiterated its positions against the occupation of Iraq by the United States, declared its support for the struggle of the Palestinian people and called for an end to Turkish occupation in Cyprus and the operation of a unified state.

    [11] DM to visit Britain on November 16-18

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos will visit Britain on November 16-18. On November 17 he will be holding talks with his British counterpart Geoffrey Hoon on defense policy issues concerning NATO and the European Union, as well as on the participation of both Greece and the United Kingdom in peacekeeping operations.

    Spiliotopoulos will be meeting the British Alternate Minister responsible for armaments issues Lord Bach on the same day.

    During his stay in London, the defense minister will also be briefed on the operation of the Crisis Management Centre and the Permanent Joint Operation Headquarters.

    [12] EU principles on migration will serve as basis for Greece, interior minister Pavlopoulos tells int'l event on Migration Management

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    The 11 principles set out by the EU on immigration will serve as the basis for Greece, which will exceed them, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said Monday, addressing an international event on "Management of Migration: The Greek, European and International Reality" organized in Athens by the Institute for Migration Policy (IMEPO).

    Pavlopoulos described the EU move as an "encouraging sign", noting that Europe had delayed in taking decisions on a common migration policy. Regarding Greece, he said that unfortunately, in the past, both legislation and policies had been inadequate in properly managing migration, resulting in side-effects and attitudes that did not suit Greece and its culture.

    Now, he added, the government intended, with the cooperation of all the political forces and agencies, to wipe out the tactics of the past so that the country could move forward -- for reasons of culture and democratic principles -- so that all those coming to the country would contribute to the growth of the economy and Greek civilization.

    Migration in Greece had a triple uniqueness, he said, given that Greece had no common borders with any other EU member states, 55 percent of its immigrants came from one country alone, and it had the largest proportion of immigrants than the other European countries.

    [13] Justice minister says government determined to combat corruption

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras, in an address in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Monday evening, said the government is determined to combat corruption.

    Speaking on the issue of "the problem of corruption and its handling", at an event organized by the Thessaloniki branch of the "International Transparency of Greece", Papaligouras said the government is determined "to set a one-way road to improvement which will not be limited to party expediencies and conjuncture."

    The minister further pointed out that it plans to shape an integrated framework to shield the political world and public life and "to ultimately put an end to the state of moral slackness, vested immunity and provocative impunity which has reached the point of corroding our social attitude and mentality."

    Papaligouras stressed that combating corruption is a target on which the present government and the prime minister personally, has placed top priority and said it was encouraging that Greek society, regardless of party affiliations, appears to have fully realized the extent of the phenomenon.

    [14] EU's Military Committee holds regular six-month session

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Plans concerning the development and improvement of the European Union's military potential in support of the Common European Defense and Security Policy are being implemented at a speedy rate, according to Monday's regular six-month session of the Military Committee of EU member-states.

    The session was attended by the EU's Higher Representative for Foreign Policy and Security issues Javier Solana, who stressed the need of developing this potential. Greece was represented by National Defense General Staff Chief Georgios Antonako-oulos.

    Also discussed were developments regarding the assumption by the EU of operation "Althea" in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is the third and biggest military operation being undertaken by the EU's defense pylon as of December 1. The previous operations were in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the Congo.

    Operation "Althea" concerns the deployment of 7,000 men in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Greece will be participating in the force with 130-150 men. The Greek force will be operating in the northern section, in Tuzla.

    [15] Foreign ministry on recent conviction of 5 ethnic Greeks in Albania

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's foreign ministry on Monday announced that it had made all the necessary diplomatic motions with a handful of relevant Albanian ministers and with that country's envoy in Athens over a case involving five ethnic Greeks of Albania, who were recently convicted in absentia by a court in that country.

    Additionally, an appeals process has commenced, according to foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos.

    "The issue was discussed, moreover, during the last European Union-Albania meeting," he said, adding that all information dealing with Tirana's handling and respect of minority rights is being recorded.

    [16] Confidential files from Parliament investigation stolen during break-in at MP's office

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Confidential court files concerning an investigation into armament procurement programs currently being examined by a Parliamentary investigative committee were reported stolen on Monday, following a break-in at the offices of New Democracy MP Costas Gioulekas.

    The break-in was discovered early on Monday morning by the MPs staff, who found the exterior door broken while an interior door showed signs of forced entry.

    Also missing were a video, two CD's containing archive material and various other documents.

    The MP has reported the incident to the head of the Parliamentary Investigative Committee.

    [17] EU finance ministers to discuss draft Eurostat report on Greece, Commission spokesman says

    BRUSSELS 16/11/2004 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    European Union finance and economy ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday will discuss the fiscal indices for Greece before it became part of the Eurozone, a spokesman for the European Commission told reporters here on Monday.

    He said the ministers will be briefed on a draft report by the EU statistics agency Eurostat on Greece's public finances and, while stressing that the report was not finalized and could not be officially announced by the Commission, he let it be understood that Eurostat's findings showed that the Greek public deficit was greater than 3 per cent of GDP at the time it entered the eurozone in 1999.

    Asked about the possible repercussions of such a revelation for Greece, the spokesman said that EU legal services considered that there was no legal basis for questioning the EU decision to allow Greece to participate in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    He said that Greece's candidacy for joining the Eurozone had been assessed after checking the implementation of convergence programs produced by Greece based on the agreed methodology that existed at that time for assessing the fiscal state of a country.

    Asked whether Greece might be taken to the European Court for failing to properly cooperate with the Commission or face cutbacks in EU subsidies, the spokesman said that these were matters that could be discussed in the future.

    At the same time, reliable sources within the Commission point out that the basic criteria for cutting back Community funding are not a country's past fiscal state but whether it properly implements policies to correct its fiscal state in the future.

    Further developments should, therefore, largely depend on the assessment by the Ecofin Council of the measures taken by Greece for fiscal reform that is due in December.

    [18] Greece's eurozone membership not questioned by EU, gov't stresses

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Monday stressed that Greece's membership of the eurozone had not been called into question by anyone within the European Union, following reports of the discovery by the EU statistics service Eurostat that Greece's public deficit in 1999 had been greater than 3 per cent of GDP.

    He said the ECOFIN meeting on Tuesday will focus on "both past and future issues" and that the main thing at this time was to stabilize the Greek economy and reduce deficits, urging reporters to wait for the statements that will be made by Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis after the meeting.

    [19] Government to unveil 2005 state budget on Thursday

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    The government will unveil the 2005 state budget on Thursday, barring unforeseen circumstances, it was announced on Monday.

    Also, the new draft development law would be made public the following week.

    [20] Greek merchandise trade deficit rose in September, yr/yr

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's merchandise trade deficit widened in September, with import-arrivals rising 7.1 percent in September, compared with the same month last year, while export-deliveries fell 6.6 percent over the same month, the National Statistics Service said on Monday

    NSS, in its monthly report, said that imports totaled 3.789 billion euros in September, from 3.539 billion in September 2003, while exports fell to 969.7 million euros from 1.038 billion euros over the same period. The statistics service said that imports rose in all merchandise transactions between Greece with the EU and Third countries, while exports fell in trade with both parties.

    NSS said that building activity fell by 3.3 percent (measured by the number of permits) or 9.6 percent (in volume) in the first seven months of 2004, compared with the same period last year. The statistics service said that building permits dropped 17.6 percent in Southern Aegean and by 8.5 percent in Attica, although they rose by 12.8 percent in Epirus, 6.0 percent in Western Greece and 3.4 percent in Central Macedonia. Building activity fell by 13.1 percent in July (measured by the number of permits), compared with the same month in 2003.

    NSS also said that the wholesale prices' index jumped 2.7 percent in September, compared with the same month in 2003. The index was up 1.5 percent in September 2003 and 1.9 percent in September 2002.

    The September monthly index rose 0.4 percent reflecting higher producer prices in manufacturing, imported goods and farm products.

    [21] Gov't appoints members of working group to monitor execution of ESA agreement

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Monday signed an order that appoints the members of a Working Group that will monitor the proper execution of an agreement between Greece and the European Space Agency, under which Greece will join the ESA Treaty.

    The group is made up of scientists and staff of the General Secretariat for Research and Technology proposed by the Research and Technology General Secretary Prof. Yiannis Tsoukalas.

    The minister also ordered the creation of an expert committee to decide on policy priorities in space research, headed by Tsoukalas.

    [22] Central bank says higher productivity will bring higher wages

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Bank of Greece said on Monday that a rise in productivity would lead to an increase in real wages, countering criticism from the country's largest trade union umbrella group that the central bank had advocated low salaries to help the economy.

    "The best way for real wages to rise at a brisker rate is to achieve a higher rate of productivity," the bank said in a statement.

    The General Confederation of Employees of Greece, which has around 800,000 members in the private and public sector, had accused the Bank of Greece's governor, Nikos Garganas, of wanting to keep wages down.

    The bank said that Garganas had not supported the idea of employees becoming poorer.

    [23] SE European energy ministers to meet in Athens

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Monday that southeast European energy ministers would meet in Athens to forge the guidelines for a convention on an electricity and natural gas market in the region.

    The meeting is to be held on December 13, Sioufas told the opening of a conference on energy and growth.

    European Union countries taking part actively in the scheme are Austria, Italy, Greece, Slovenia and Hungary. Contributing are Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania, Croatia, and Turkey, the minister said.

    Also contributing is the UN's special representation in Kosovo, with Moldova as an observer, he added.

    [24] Government admits there is a 'deficit' of policies for equality

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday admitted that there was a deficit of government policy for gender equality, particularly in terms of employment, during a joint press conference with Deputy Interior Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos and General Secretary for Equality Evgenia Tsoumani to outline policy priorities and lines of action in 2004-2008.

    The minister said that the government's goal was to achieve the Lisbon target, namely for employment levels for women to reach 60 per cent in relation to men by 2010. He said the government also intends to emphasize protection of women within the family and outside.

    Tsoumani referred to proposals to set up a national forum to discuss gender equality issues and to reinforce regional equality committees, as well as an Equality Cycle within the Ombudsman's office.

    She also presented programs currently underway with financing from the 3rd Community Support Framework to provide vocational training, employment and career advice to 9,018 women in rural areas and plans for an equal opportunities program to provide strong incentives to private enterprise to promote equal employment between men and women.

    [25] Prosecutor orders probe into radio-TV council's procedures for issuing 'transparency certificates'

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    The head of the Athens first instance prosecutor's office on Monday ordered a preliminary investigation into procedures followed by the National Radio-Television Council (ERS) for issuing so-called "transparency certificates", necessary documents for contractors that win various public sector contracts, including massive public works projects.

    The "transparency certificates" were envisioned as a method of ensuring that contractors don't own majority or controlling shares of private broadcast media.

    The chief prosecutor, Dimitris Papaggelopoulos, called for a probe into whether criminal actions have been committed by ERS' research or administrative staff.

    Additionally, he pointed to an investigation into charges that officials with contracting public sector entities signed contracts before necessary certificates were submitted or even when applications were rejected and no certificates submitted.

    The probe comes after a front-page article by the Athens daily "Rizospastis".

    A split decision by the ERS board last month to reject a "transparency certificate" application by the bourse-listed Aktor construction firm -- one of the largest in Greece -- sparked intense media coverage and renewed interest in how the council, established as an independent "watchdog" authority, functions.

    [26] Gov't overhauls customs services

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Deputy Finance Minister Adam Regouzas said on Monday that the government was overhauling customs services.

    The reform included an administrative restructuring in order to improve use of human resources, reducing red tape through e-government services gradually being introduced, and improving the quality of services.

    Rengouzas was inaugurating a photograph exhibition held by the Union of Customs Officers.

    [27] Stocks rise in renewed blue-chip buying

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher in renewed blue-chip buying, especially telecoms, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,618.99 points, showing a rise of 0.31 percent. Turnover was 128.5 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.36 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.21 percent up; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.61 percent lower.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 173 to 112 with 75 remaining unchanged.

    [28] Greek Navy, NATO vessels escort immigrant-smuggling vessel to Katakolo

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek Navy frigate "Adrias" and two NATO warships escorted an immigrant-smuggling vessel with 120 illegal immigrants on board to the port of Katakolo in the Peloponnese early on Monday morning, after the skipper of the 45-metre iron-hull fishing vessel, believed to have originated in Egypt, and issued a distress call while sailing in international waters near the Greek coast.

    According to the fishing craft's captain, the vessel was adrift due to mechanical breakdown and it was considered necessary to escort the vessel to a Greek port. Authorities noted, however, that this is a standard ploy used by immigrant smugglers.

    The 120 immigrants of various nationalities on board are being escorted off the fishing vessel in the presence of a public prosecutor, while coast guard officers will arrest the crew for illegally bringing immigrants into Greece.

    The immigrants will each undergo a medical checkup by order of the public prosecutor and will then be detained by authorities at a building set aside in the area, possibly the old hospital at Pyrgos in Ilia.

    [29] Bulgarian president Purvanov stranded in Halkidiki as storm winds prevent crossing to Mt. Athos for private visit

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov was in Halkidiki, northern Greece, on Monday as storm winds prevented him from beginning a scheduled two-day private visit to the Mt. Athos monastic community.

    Purvanov, who was due to begin his visit to Mt. Athos on Monday, arrived early in the morning by road in Ouranoupolis, but was unable to cross to Mt. Athos due to storm winds of 9 beau fort velocity in the northern Aegean, which have caused a ban on sailings to and from the Athos peninsula.

    The Bulgarian president would be staying in the area waiting for winds to subside, although the Greek meteorological service EMY was not forecast an easing of wind velocity earlier than Monday night.

    Purvanov's program on Athos includes visits to the Zographos monastery, inhabited by Bulgarian monks, and the Hilandarion monastery.

    [30] Athens 2004 President meets with Stephanopoulos

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki briefed President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos for the last time on Monday, having recently returned from Beijing - host of the 2008 Olympics - where she participated in the IOC's "Knowledge Transfer" program.

    Asked about the Athens 2004 budget after the meeting, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki reiterated that "the Athens 2004 budget is accurate. We spent as much as we received. The budget is balanced. We will present the Organizing Committee's financial management, down to the last antenna. The Games ended with great success. It was a tremendously difficult endeavor," she said.

    Angelopoulos-Daskalaki added that she feels very proud "since, wherever we've gone everyone talks about the Greek miracle."

    Speaking of her meeting with the Greek president, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said: "Mr. Stephanopoulos has been, from the very beginning, a valuable supporter and I reiterated to him that his contribution and personal interest helped a great deal."

    Later in the week, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki will also be briefing Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou, Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga and Nikos Constantopoulos, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) President.

    [31] Ukrainian national killed during armed robbery at petrol station

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    A Ukrainian attendant at a petrol station on Vari Avenue was killed late on Sunday night during an armed robbery by two men that were later picked following a high-speed police pursuit and an exchange of fire.

    The 33-year-old Ukrainian identified as Vladislav Sorosok was shot after he attempting to resist the two men, a 28-year-old Albanian and a 34-year-old Greek, when they demanded that he turn over the money in the till at gunpoint.

    The two men then sped away in a car that police later discovered had been stolen in August from Neos Kosmos, bearing number plates stolen in Nea Smyrni.

    Two other attendants at the petrol station noted down the vehicle's number plate and called the police, who pursued the two suspects and caught up with them in Alimos after they lost control of the car and collided with a dumpster. The two robbers then opened fire but were eventually taken into custody. The Greek was injured during the exchange and is now being treated at Asklipio Hospital in Voula.

    According to police, the pair has criminal records for robbery, theft and pimping and carrying fire-arms. Police are now investigating their possible involvement in other unsolved cases.

    [32] Education minister: Second foreign language will soon be taught in grade schools

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou called for simplification and more transparency in creating EU-wide programs for continuing adult education, in comments to her European counterparts during an EU council of education ministers' meeting.

    The council meeting focused on a progress report by the Euro-Parliament and the EU Council regarding continuing adult education.

    In regards to a stated EU goal of mandatory teaching of a second foreign language (a provision of the Barcelona Declaration) -- i.e. one's native language along with two others -- the Greek minister said implementation of the measure will soon begin in Greece's public elementary school system.

    [33] Greek film directors seek meeting with PM, warn of looming crisis for local film industry

    Athens 16/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Society of Greek Directors called for a radical change in government policy to support the domestic film industry and avoid a looming crisis during a press conference held in Athens on Monday, and said it was seeking a meeting with Prime Minister and Culture Minister Costas Karamanlis to discuss proposals to boost film production.

    The society's president Haris Papadopoulos said the Greek film industry is issuing an SOS because production had come to a standstill due to a lack of funding for the Greek Film Centre, at a time when the industry was undergoing a revival, with rising ticket sales and distinctions.

    He also called for a change in policy regarding the Thessaloniki Film Festival, the largest film festival in Greece.

    [34] Cyprus Spokesman: Turkey not absolved of crime against Cyprus

    NICOSIA 16/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    Turkey cannot be absolved of its continuing occupation of Cyprus' northern areas because it claims it has done all it could towards a political settlement, by backing a UN-proposed solution plan, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here on Monday.

    ''The illegal situation Ankara has created and maintains is not sidelined by claiming that Turkey has done its duty with regard to Cyprus by backing the UN (Annan) plan,'' the spokesman said on the anniversary of the unilateral declaration of independence by the Turkish Cypriot regime, which the UN has described as ''legally invalid.''

    He said Ankara had no difficulty in accepting the plan as it satisfied almost all its demands.

    ''The fruit of illegality is not recognized and this is a fundamental doctrine of international law,'' he said, adding that the European Court of Human Rights has described the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime ''a local subordinate administration to Turkey.''

    UN Security Council resolution 550 called on all states ''not to recognize the purported state of the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus', set up by secessionist acts and calls upon them not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity.''

    Responding to questions about the government's policy on the question of Cyprus, Chrysostomides called on everybody to stop claiming that neither the government nor other interested parties in the Cyprus question know what Nicosia wants with regard to changes in the Annan Plan.

    He pointed out that Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, in all his meetings, outlines his positions and everybody is well aware of the provisions of the Annan plan that led the Greek Cypriots to reject it.

    Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots backed the plan, approved by 65 per cent in a referendum by the Turkish Cypriot community.

    ''There is no set menu, there are however our demands and I believe the argument that neither we nor interested foreign parties do not know what we are seeking has to stop,'' he added.

    The spokesman said the Greek Cypriot side is ready to resume the process towards a negotiated settlement when the appropriate circumstances exist.

    [35] Cyprus government proceeds unilaterally with de-mining buffer zone

    NICOSIA 16/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government begins Tuesday unilaterally clearing of National Guard minefields within the UN-controlled buffer zone, in full support of UN policy and in accordance with the provisions of the Ottawa Convention.

    An estimated 2.300 mines will be cleared from 8 minefields, belonging to the National Guard. The project is expected to be completed in just over a year and work will take place on a daily basis, at an estimated cost of 2.5 million euro.

    Commenting on the decision, Cyprus Defense Minister Kyriakos Mavronicolas said the government intends to de-mine the length of the ceasefire line (about 180 kilometers) and expressed regret that the Turkish side was not willing to cooperate on this project.


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