|Wednesday, 13 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-01-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>January 5, 2005
 Donations continue to pour in for tsunami relief; more than ¬ 12.5 million raised so far
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)A telethon, organized by the Hellenic Broadcasting Corp. (ERT) and the Foreign Ministry, managed to generate more than ¬ 12.5 million as of Tuesday evening at press time, in an effort to raise funds for the relief of the victims of a devastating quake and the tsunamis that swept the coastlines of South and Southeast Asia on December 26.
Among sums donated were ¬ 50,000 from the Union of Prefecture Authorities of Greece (ENAE). ENAE president Fofi Gennimata stressed that this money was independent of any sums donated by individual prefectures.
Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki said that Parliament would initially donate ¬ 50,000 from its budget, while the Municipality of Athens also donated an additional ¬ 50,000.
The National Bank of Greece donated ¬ 200,000 while Eurobank and the Bank of Piraeus donated ¬ 100,000 each.
SKAI radio station also made a generous donation of ¬ 100,000, as did OTE-Cosmote (Hellenic Telecommunications Organization and its mobile telephony subsidiary), while the real estate company Babis Vovos contributed ¬ 150,000.
A further ¬ 50,000 was given by the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), whose president Paris Koukoulopoulos appealed to municipalities and communities throughout the country to actively support a program initiated by KEDKE and other groups in collaboration with UNICEF to support child victims of the December 26 quake and tsunami.
Olympic Airlines announced that it would be contributing 20 round-trip tickets for either members of relief organizations to travel to Southeast Asia or for patients and children needing help to be transported to Greece. The company also decided to cover the expenses needed for the transfer of humanitarian aid to the region. Finally, company executives have also pledged donations.
The three largest development ministry-affiliated utilities -- the Public Power Corp. (PPC), Hellenic Petroleum (EL.PE) and the Public Gas Corp. (DE.PA) -- on Tuesday presented the Greek Red Cross with a total of ¬ 250,000 for aid to tsunami-stricken countries.
PPC contributed ¬ 100,000, as did EL.PE, with DE.PA contributing ¬ 50,000.
Checks for the amounts were presented to Greek Red Cross President Andreas Martinis by the three companies management teams during a brief ceremony in Athens
The donations are the result of an initiative by Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas.
The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) has announced that it will join other European stock markets at 13:00 on Wednesday in observing three minutes of silence as a sign of respect for the victims of the Indian Ocean disaster, though the stock market's electronic trading system OASHS will continue to operate during that time.
An hour earlier on the same day, three minutes silence will be observed in all public-sector services in memory of the victims of the disaster, starting at noon. An emergency circular was sent out on Tuesday by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who has also asked that flags be flown at half-mast on government buildings throughout the day.
This show of respect was proposed by the outgoing Dutch presidency of the European Union in collaboration with the new Luxembourg EU presidency and will take place simultaneously in all EU member-states.
Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, accompanied by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, on Wednesday will be visiting the non-governmental aid organization Allillegii, run by the Church of Greece on Wednesday afternoon, where humanitarian aid for the victims of the South and SE Asia disaster is being collected and packed for sending.
 Stylianidis comments on Greece's relief efforts for tsunami victims
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)"Aid contributed by the Greek state, has already exceeded ¬ 1 million. I believe that by the end it will reach ¬ 3 million," Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis said in comments he made on Tuesday during the telethon organized by Hellenic Broadcasting (ERT) and the Foreign Ministry.
Stylianidis, who is also responsible for the ministry's International Development Cooperation Service (YDAS) and for coordinating the relief efforts for the tsunami victims, added that Greece will also contribute within the context of international aid that will be decided in Brussels during an emergency council meeting that will be held later in the week.
The deputy minister will also be representing Greece at an upcoming conference of southeast African countries, in which affected countries will participate, during which the amount of aid these countries will receive to reconstruct their infrastructure will be determined.
Speaking of the needs of the tsunami victims, Stylianidis said that "we must send them water, tents - for the homeless - and medication as soon as possible," adding that Greece has already sent two tons of medication, while another 400 tons of humanitarian aid will be shipped to the region.
Regarding Greece's readiness to respond to emergency situations, Stylianidis said that "our country was one of the first to announce the first round of aid - by sending two C-130 aircraft to the region, one carrying a rescue team, and the other carrying members of six non-government organizations specializing in crisis management."
 Greece to observe three-minute silence, flags to fly at half mast in memory of SE Asia victims
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Greece, along with the rest of its European Union partners, will observe a three-minute silence at noon on Wednesday and flags will fly at half mast in memory of the victims of the devastating earthquake in Southeast Asia and in solidarity with the population in the affected countries.
A foreign ministry announcement on Tuesday said the national flag will be at half mast in all government buildings throughout the day.
 Coalition (Synaspismos) party calls for more EU mobilization for aid to South Asia disaster zone
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party on Tuesday called for heightened mobilization on a European Union level to help the countries devastated by the Indian Ocean quake and tsunami on December 26.
At a press conference given at the European Parliament's offices in Athens, also attended by Greek European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas and others, Synaspismos MEPs said that the EU should develop an overall plan of strategic action to encourage permanent sustainable development in these regions.
For this, they added, additional powers and resources should be given to the EU Civil Protection agency so that it could coordinate actions on a national level and allow for unified and effective monitoring of developments and direct action on an EU level.
The Synaspismos MEPs also noted that the EU was still a very long way from achieving a target of giving 0.7 per cent of GDP annually in developmental aid. They said that increasing annual developmental aid should be a goal set at the next EU Council of Ministers, especially for the countries struck by the disaster, which should receive at least the amount that would have been due if the 0.7 per cent of GDP target had been met.
One way of doing this would be to write off outstanding debts owed by these countries, which was a proposal that Greece could make as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, they said.
Other speakers said the EU should do more in the direction of a global warning system for natural disasters, noting that Europe was currently considering such a system for the Mediterranean, which was an area of high seismic activity.
Dimas noted that both Greece and the EU had been among the first to respond to the disaster but he also stressed the need to further improve disaster prevention and warning mechanisms.
 British ambassador congratulates foreign ministry on aid efforts for tsunami victims
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)British Ambassador to Greece Simon Gass, sent a congratulatory letter to the Greek Foreign Ministry for its efforts in gathering and distributing humanitarian aid to the regions in Southeast Asia, devastated by the tsunami of December 26.
 ANA will not transmit news for three minutes on Wednesday in memory of SE Asia tsunami victims
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)The Athens News Agency is participating in the events in memory of the victims of the devastating earthquake in Southeast Asia on December 26 and in solidarity with the population in the affected countries.
The ANA will not transmit any news, information or Press release in all its departments on Wednesday from noon to 12:03 p.m.
The ANA responded to the relevant circular by Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos following the proposal of the previous Dutch EU Presidency and in understanding with the current presidency of Luxembourg for simultaneous events in all the member-countries of the European Union.
 Interior ministry to stress 'day-to-day problems' in action plan for the coming months
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)The leadership of the interior ministry on Tuesday met Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and discussed the ministry's general action plan for the coming months. According to Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the highest priority will be on so-called "day-to-day problems" that have a direct impact on the public.
Pavlopoulos said the premier was briefed on ministry activity so far but also on future planning during the 2.5-hour meeting, and was given a complete list of intended actions.
Improving daily life, reducing bureaucracy and increasing the efficiency of civil servants were primary targets, he said, while a high priority was also placed on two bills concerning local government and gender equality that were soon to be tabled in Parliament.
Pavlopoulos said the ministry intended to further improve the Citizens Service Centre (KEP) network and services and to reduce the number of signatures needed for certain procedures in order to reduce bureaucracy. He stressed that the number of cases handled by KEP centers had increased fivefold during the last nine months of 2004 relative to 2003.
Deputy Public Administration Minister Andreoulakos noted that KEP centers had handled 1,316,000 transactions between the state and the public in 2004, up from 356,000 in 2003, and that the government's goal was to turn them into "one-stop shops".
 Police locate car used in murder of Greek police guard at British military attaché's residence
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Detectives investigating the murder of a special police guard killed outside the residence of the British Embassy's military attache last week, on Tuesday announced that they had found the car used in the attack. They said the vehicle was a stolen white Nissan Micra found in Maroussi two days earlier, about three kilometers from the site of the killing.
Officers said this was confirmed by blood stains found in the interior of the car that matched the blood of the victim, which probably originated from the bloody semi-automatic weapon that was taken from the victim by his assailants.
According to sources within the police, meanwhile, the attack appears to have been pre-planned and well organized, while investigating officers are seriously considering the possibility that it was a terrorist strike.
Special police guard Haralambos Amanatidis, 32, was shot on Thursday night while he was stationed outside the residence of the British embassy's military attache at 47, Karpathos Street in Athens' northern suburb of Kifissia. He was found riddled with bullets early Friday outside his guard post.
The British defense attache Col. Mark Blatherwick and his family were all unhurt and had not been in danger at any time, according to a British embassy spokesperson. Blatherwick has been serving at the British embassy in Athens for the past nine months.
According to the coroner's report, the victim was shot at close range 5 times. Most of the bullets were fired above his neck, indicating that the perpetrators knew that he wore a bullet-proof vest and that gunshots below the neck would not have had the required impact.
Ballistics evidence showed that the perpetrators fired a total of 15 shots and used two weapons in the attack, a 38 special "Magnum" 357 revolver and a 9mm light machine gun that they probably grabbed from the guard. Five bullets were fired from the Magnum and ten from the other weapon, with two bullets from the first weapon and three bullets from the second weapon finding their target.
A ballistic examination revealed that neither of the two weapons had been used in the past in terrorist attacks or in cases of common crime.
 Public Order Minister Voulgarakis comments on murder of special police guard
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, during his participation in Tuesday's telethon which is being organized by the state television network NET to raise funds for the relief of the tsunami victims in Southeast Asia, when asked by reporters on the incident of the murder of a special police guard killed outside the residence of the British Embassy's military attache last week, said:
"It is a most complex case with very many question marks. As I had said from the start, from the first hour, all the possibilities are being examined very carefully, without naturally anything being excluded.
"The possibility that the perpetrators are common criminals cannot be excluded, as has occurred in other cases in the past.
"Now, if we are talking about a terrorist strike, we are talking about a completely new form of crime which hides blind violence and particular savagery, with a dubious ideological basis.
"In any case, however, as I had said from the first hour, all the possibilities are open and are being investigated with great attention and I think public opinion is being briefed by the ministry's relevant bodies."
Special police guard Haralambos Amanatidis, 32, was shot on early Friday morning while he was stationed outside the residence of the British embassy's military attache at 47, Karpathos Street in Athens' northern suburb of Kifissia.
 PASOK spokesman, in criticizing the gov't, speaks of 'yet another lost year for Greece'
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)"The only new start which the government of (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis can guarantee is the start of yet another lost year for Greece and the Greeks," main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said on Tuesday evening, commenting on the scheduled meetings, in light of the New Year, which the prime minister will have in the course of this week with ministers and deputies and which kicked off on Tuesday morning.
Athanassakis noted "the delay of ten months", with which each minister is called on to determine three priorities for the coming months.
The PASOK spokesman further said that in the ten months which have gone by since the March 7 general elections, the carrying out of the 2004 state budget "derailed." He added that "the ten lost months cannot be made up for with a repetition of policy statements and the known announcements, the implementation of which are continuously transferred for the future."
 PM to meet Finmin, National bank governor, foreign ministry leadership on Wednesday
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is scheduled to meet Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and National Bank of Greece governor Takis Arapoglou early on Wednesday at 9:30.
An hour later, he is to have talks with the leadership of the foreign ministry in the context of a drive to set immediate government priorities for tackling day-to-day problems.
At noon, the premier is scheduled to meet Environment Minister George Souflias.
 Gov't spokesman meets with National Radio & TV Council, comments on 'primary shareholder' bill and telethon
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Minister of State and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos met with the President and members of the National Radio and Television Council on Tuesday to discuss a series of issues.
"For 17 years in radio and 15 in television, permits have not been given out throughout the country and this is a major issue which the government will immediately focus on," Roussopoulos told reporters after the briefing.
Speaking of the "primary shareholder" bill, which will be discussed by the relevant parliamentary committee next week, Roussopoulos said that "the crushing majority of the National Radio & TV Council, as you know, is in support of the changes."
Roussopoulos also said that he has accepted certain proposals made by the Council regarding whether lawyers working in the Council's legal department will have salaried positions or not; "proposals, which I think will result in the Council's better operation," Roussopoulos said.
Asked whether something has changed in the "primary shareholder" bill, Roussopoulos replied that he has already provided an answer on the issue, and has nothing further to add.
Finally, the government spokesman congratulated the management of Hellenic Broadcasting (ERT) as well as all the state and private TV stations for their initiative to participate in Wednesday's telethon to raise funds for the relief of the tsunami victims in Southeast Asia.
 New Hellenic Navy hovercraft commissioned
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)The Hellenic Navy on Tuesday announced a same-day flag-raising ceremony aboard a recently acquired 550-ton transport hovercraft.
The vessel, a Zubr type, was commissioned at a brief ceremony at the Salamina Naval Station.
According to the navy, the hovercraft can sail at speeds of up to 60 knots and has a range of 300 nautical miles. It can transport armored vehicles and up to 230 troops, or a total cargo of 130 tons.
The vessel is the fourth such hovercraft acquired and commissioned by the Hellenic Navy.
 Greek PMI rose in December
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Greece's PMI index, measuring business activity in the manufacturing sector, rose to 51.8 points in December from 50.7 in November, recording the highest growth rate in the last four months.
Both production and new orders expanded strongly in December, with the latter rising for the first time in three months, while employment fell slightly in the month.
Production in the Greek manufacturing sector grew steadily in December, although with the highest rate in three months, while export orders rose for the first time since September, although slightly.
 PM meets with deputy development minister
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday received Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou at his office, as the latter briefed the premier on the vital sector of retail sales, among others.
Karamanlis has begun the New Year with a busy round of meetings with top ministers and deputy ministers.
In statements to reporters afterwards, Papathanasiou dismissed some press reports of a "new wave of price hikes", stressing that the latest data will be disclosed shortly.
In response to a question about a reported decrease in retail sales, the deputy minister reminded that a "decrease in sales does not lead to an increase in prices".
 IKA management calls on business owners to take advantage of favorable payment plan
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)The management of the Social Insurance Fund (IKA) called on business owners on Tuesday to take advantage of the favorable pay-back terms secured by law 3302/04, which concern amounts owed up until November 30, 2004. The deadline for business owners to take advantage of the payment plan is May 3, 2005.
According to the terms, business owners will have a discount of 50% off additional taxes by paying 5% of the total owed up front and the remaining amount in 80 monthly installments of ¬ 200 or more. If the entire amount is paid in one full payment then business owners will have an 80% discount off additional taxes.
Those interested, must fill out an application at their local IKA branch.
 Greek car market grew 12.6 pct in 2004
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Greece reported record car sales in 2004 with car registrations totalling 289,753 units, up 12.6 percent from 2003, official figures said on Tuesday.
The figures, by the Federation of Greek Car Importers and Dealers, showed once again that Greeks considered cars as a high priority consumer product. The Greek car market was boosted by the Olympic Games, as car hire companies renewed their fleets and by a more aggressive sales policy by car dealers.
Toyota was the top seller in 2004 with 26,441 units, or 9.1 percent of the market, followed by Hyundai (24,904 units, 8.6 pct) and Opel (23,585 units, 8.1 pct).
 Greek stocks rise for second day, consolidate gains
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)Greek stock maintained their upward momentum for a second consecutive day on Tuesday, rallying after losses on profit-taking early in the session to end at 0.45 per cent up, with the general share price index closing at 2,837.26 points. Turnover was 198.7 million euros.
Sector indices showed a mixed picture overall. The biggest gains were in Information Technology, up 1.51 per cent, Publishing, up 0.95 per cent and Banking, up 0.64 per cent. The biggest losses were in Textiles, down 1.96 per cent, Insurance, down 1.62 per cent and Construction, down 0.75 per cent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks rose 0.46 per cent; the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.95 per cent higher; and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index showed a marginal rise of 0.01 per cent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 212 to 90, with 46 issues unchanged.
Equity Index Futures:
 Culture ministry announces changes to system for awarding state prize for children's literature
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)The culture ministry on Tuesday announced a series of changes to the procedure for awarding state prizes for children's literature that would involve children both in the selection of the winners but also in the award ceremony.
Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis made the announcement in the presence of the current members of the Committee of State Prizes for Children's Books, saying the ministry decisions will go into effect from the start of 2005 and would signal the ministry's new approach to all committees for state prizes that is due to be announced in the near future.
Apart from increasing the involvement of children, the new system will also open the doors for foreign authors, with a special prize established for this category.
From now on, the members of the committee will receive titles submitted for consideration from the National Library but also from publishing houses and will then send them on the libraries in near-border areas and other institutions. About 310 books have been submitted for this year.
A short list will be announced in mid-January and the prizes will be awarded in a grand ceremony on February 15, in the presence of children.
 Weak quake felt near greater Athens area
Athens, 05/01/2005 (ANA)A minor earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale briefly shook the greater Athens area late Monday evening. The tremor, with an epicenter in the Saronic Gulf and at a depth of 115 kilometers under the sea floor, was recorded at 11:45.
Another quake in the region was recorded on Dec. 6, 2004.
 'The Treasures of Benaki Museum' exhibition to be held at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum
Melbourne, 05/01/2005 (ANA /S. Hatzimanolis)An exhibition titled "The Treasures of Benaki Museum" will be held at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, within the framework of this year's Greek Festival there.
The exhibition, which will be inaugurated on April 20, will cover the period from Greek antiquity until the liberation of Greece from Ottoman rule in the early 19th century.
Within the framework of the Greek Festival, which is organized by the Greek Community of New South Wales, a total of 20 cultural events will take place from March 20 until the end of April, which will include theatrical performances, exhibitions, lectures and concerts.
 Cyprus to study British documents for historical-political purposes
Nicosia, 05/01/2005 (CNA/ANA)Britain does not seem to have responded to its obligations as a guarantor power of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides stated on Tuesday, commenting on confidential papers of the British government of 1974, officially published on the 1st of the year.
He said the Cyprus government is trying to obtain copies of these documents, noting that after examining them the government may make further statements, if necessary, or take certain decisions.
Asked about the purpose of acquiring the copies, the spokesman said: "research, filing, enrichment of the public archives for historical purposes and of course studying them for political reasons and evaluation of what has taken place during that period".
The confidential papers, released the 1st of the year 2005, refer to documents of 1974 when the Turkish invasion of Cyprus took place.
They reveal that during the crucial talks between the British prime minister of the time Harold Wilson and his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit, at 10 Downing Street, in the evening of 17th July 1974, the British side gave an undertaking that in the event of Turkish forces intervening in Cyprus, Britain would not attempt to blockade their action.
According to the documents, at those talks, the first part of which were conducted during a working dinner and lasted three and a half hours, the Turkish prime minister asked whether the British side would allow Turkish forces to pass through the British military bases in Cyprus so that, as he put it, ''bloodshed would be avoided''.
While the Foreign Secretary James Callaghan said he would inquire what that would mean from the legal point of view and finally stated that such action would not be possible, the prime minister said at one point of the discussion he thought he ''understood the meaning of his counterpart's remarks''.
''If the situation of the Turkish community on the island deteriorated, Turkey would feel it necessary to intervene. But he did not think that the SBAs could be used for that kind of intervention'', he said.
Ecevit, the document adds, ''replied that he could not insist on the point. The Bases were not essential for his purpose, but he hoped that the British government might be able to find other means of helping Turkey''.
The foreign secretary asked what British help would involve. Ecevit - the paper goes on - said that meant that he hoped Britain would not put up obstacles and would persuade the USA not to do so. Çarold Wilson intervened to say that ''he understood Mr Ecevit's remarks as an expression of the Turkish wish that Britain would not blockade an action of the kind contemplated by Turkey but that they would blockade the Greeks''. Ecevit, the paper says, asked if Britain would be ready to do so. The foreign secretary said it was not impossible''.
Britain, Greece and Turkey are the three guarantor powers of the Republic of Cyprus, according to the 1960 treaties that established the Republic as an independent state, following an anti-colonial struggle.
Britain has retained two military bases on the island.
 Cyprus to take part in EU special meeting on SE Asia disaster
Nicosia, 05/01/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou will take part in an extraordinary meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels to be held on Friday, 7 January, called by the Luxembourg Presidency to address the consequences of the tidal wave in Southeast Asia.
Iacovou told CNA that Cyprus has acted in time by sending humanitarian aid to the countries stricken by the tsunami triggered by the massive 9 on the Richter scale quake in Southeast Asia, and mobilizing the public opinion.
The Brussels meeting will be chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the Council of the European Union, Jean Asselborn. The ministers for development cooperation and the ministers of health of the European Union will also take part in the meeting.
The Council will hear a report from the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Jean-Louis Schiltz, and the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, who have traveled to the region hit by the tidal wave.
The European ministers will prepare the donor's conference due to take place in Geneva on 11 January 2005 under the auspices of the United Nations. On the basis of a report by the Commission and information provided by UN representatives, the ministers will assess the emergency relief efforts undertaken by the EU and the Member States. They will also consider the mid- and long-term action of the EU in close cooperation with international organizations.
Asked if Cyprus will take part in the donor's conference, Iacovou said that at the moment, ''we have done all we could'', adding that Cyprus' participation in the conference will be examined in due course.
The Cyprus Cabinet has approved a total of 370 thousand dollars in humanitarian aid for the tsunami disaster. At the same time, a number
of local humanitarian organizations, political parties, banks, businesses and groups have undertaken to collect money and provide medicine, foodstuff and clothing, which will be dispatched to the affected areas.