|Friday, 13 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-01-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>January 7, 2005
 Greece awaiting deeds from Turkey to prove its EU shift
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has called on Turkey to demonstrate the reality of its shift towards the European Union through concrete action.
"We back our neighbor's European prospects in the belief that this will benefit the Turkish people and the country's neighbors," Karamanlis told residents of the border island of Karpathos on Wednesday.
"Now is the time that our neighbors are called on to show in practice that they want to align with the EU's constitutional, economic and political law, and that they are able to do that, to respond to the principles and values of the EU, to international law, to the principles of good neighborliness, to human rights, towards religious minorities, and towards the Republic of Cyprus," the premier said.
Turning to the domestic outlook for 2005, Karamanlis pledged that his government would revitalize the country's production, create a robust economy, and improve services to the public.
He also sought consensus in order to leave behind rifts of the past; and said that the government was carrying out its election pledges.
Among the pledges were ensuring that no funding and no opportunities were lost; and seeking greater private sector initiative, the prime minister added.
 Greeks raise nearly 18 mln euros in tsunami relief drive
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Greeks on Thursday had raised almost 18 million euros in a telethon and auction for victims of the tsunami that devastated sweeps of southeastern Asia, killing over 150,000 people.
In addition to the telethon backed by the foreign ministry, an auction of goods donated by celebrities produced another 873,500 euros in aid.
Among the items was a fountain pen offered by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos that he used to sign state decrees, which was sold for 200,000 euros.
State-run ERT television is to hold another fund-raising auction of celebrity items in the near future.
Organizers said that text messages alone, each donating a minimum of one euro, had exceeded 1.634 million by 14:30, breaking the record for all other telethons previously held here.
Banks throughout the east Mediterranean country announced that they will accept deposits until closing time, as the nationally televised telethon entered its second day.
Offers were continuing to pour in from organizations and private individuals, such as the 200,000 euros pledged by the Bank of Greece, or the 10,000 euros pledged by Aegean Airlines, whose employees had started their own charity drive to collect money and goods for the Indian Ocean tsunami victims.
The unprecedented outpouring of support by Greek citizens translates into a per capita contribution of more than one euro, as the country's Greek-born population is roughly 11 million -- something also cited by news agency dispatches from the east Mediterranean nation.
At 22:00 on Wednesday night, meanwhile, the state TV channel NET will hold a grand auction of personal items donated by celebrities, athletes, and members of the state and government.
These include Greece's first citizen, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, who has offered the pen with which he has signed several presidential decrees.
Other items to be auctioned include a fighter pilot's helmet offered by the Greek Airforce.
ERT has separated the items offered into different categories:
Mementos from the Athens Olympic Games include the singlets worn by weightlifting champions Kakhi Kakhiashvili and Valerios Leonidas, a gold watch donated by Olympic sailing champion Sophia Bekatorou, shoes worn by silver medalist in the triple jump Pigi Devetzi, a cap worn by Greek water polo player Costas Loudis and an Athens Olympics T-shirt given by Aimilios Papathanassiou.
One of the highlights of the auction may well be the ball used by Greece's national team in their sensational EURO 2004 championship victory, signed by all the players, which will be among other EURO collectables from Portugal.
Sports celebrities in Greece have also stepped in, giving a signed shirt worn by soccer star Ronaldinio, offered by Juan Ramon Rocha, a pair of Adidas shoes belonging to Greek soccer star Demis Nicolaides, two shirts signed by the AEK, Panathinaikos and Olympiakos soccer teams, as well as two basketballs signed by AEK players Nikos Hatzis and Nikos Zisis.
Renowned Greek artist Alekos Fasianos, meanwhile has offered 10 signed silk-screen prints for the auction, while he will also be at the National Gallery between noon and 14:00 on Saturday and Sunday to hand out autographed copies of his works, the revenue from which will go to the charity drive.
According to Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, the total state, public sector, private sector and individual contributions -- in cash and material aid -- to tsunami-stricken countries may exceed the 20-million-euro mark.
Meanwhile, in a statement on Wednesday regarding the massive, by Greek standards, humanitarian drive still underway in the country, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said:
"The response by the Greek people to this telethon of solidarity for our fellow man in the stricken areas of SE Asia sends a clear message to the whole world: That a Greece of compassion and culture is once again dynamically present."
 PM Karamanlis meets with foreign ministry leadership
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday met with the entire political leadership of the foreign ministry at his office, with Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis saying afterwards that the European dimension of foreign policy dominated talks.
In also said that the Cyprus issue, bilateral relations with Turkey as well as the government's stepped up "economic diplomacy" and expatriate Hellenism were also broached.
Moreover, Molyviatis dismissed any notion that a long-projected plan to build a crude oil pipeline from Burgas, Bulgaria to Alexandroupoli, Greece will be abandoned.
Finally, Molyviatis expressed his praise for the ongoing humanitarian drives in Greece aimed at raising funds for tsunami relief.
Deputy FMs Yiannis Valinakis, Evripidis Stylianidis and Takis Skandalakis were also present at the meeting.
 PM's latest high-profile meeting with Souflias
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis continued his busy schedule of meetings with top ministers this week by receiving Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias at his office on Wednesday -- a closely watched meeting in light of recent high-profile statements by the veteran Souflias regarding government policy.
In statements to reporters afterwards, the Larissa-area deputy said his one-hour meeting with the premier "very productive".
Moreover, he emphasized that "joint efforts" are underway to achieve the best possible government result.
Finally, he dismissed any notions of transferring to another ministry.
 Ecumenical Patriarch receives Meimarakis, Kaklamanis
ISTANBUL 7/1/2004 (ANA/A Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Thursday received Evangelos Meimarakis, secretary of the ruling New Democracy party for talks on current events in Greece, Turkey and Europe.
"We discussed any possible difficulties that may emerge in the future. We fully believe in Turkey's European Union entry endeavor that is underway, and we consider that other efforts are needed to further improve the climate," Meimarakis told reporters.
"There is always the issue of the Halki School of Theology, and, mainly, the rights of the minority that lives in Turkey. There is a positive indication on Turkey's part. But in the course of time, we will look at this some more and intensify our efforts for a good outcome," he said.
In a separate meeting, the Patriarch received Apostolos Kaklamanis, former parliament speaker, for talks on the same issues.
 Gov't comments on US anti-Semitism report
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos said on Thursday that Greeks were open-hearted to all peoples following the release of a US report on global anti-Semitism.
"We do not harbor negative feelings for any people, and we open our hearts to all people, offering our love," Michaloliakos said in reply to a reporter's question.
In the country section on Greece, the State Department welcomed condemnation by the Greek government of domestic acts against Jews.
Among examples of anti-Semitic acts, the report cited Jewish monuments in Ioannina that were desecrated three times in 2003; the Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki desecrated in February 2003; anti-Semitic graffiti painted, removed by authorities, and repainted at points on the Athens-Corinth Highway; certain schoolbooks carrying negative references to Roman Catholics, Jews, and others; northern bookstores selling and displaying anti-Semitic literature including "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
In addition, the Wiesenthal Center issued a travel advisory in November 2003 warning Jewish visitors about "the failure of Greece to curb growing anti-Semitism;" but local Jewish community leaders did not support the advisory; and the National Tourist Organization continued to show on its website Easter traditions such as burning an effigy of Judas on some islands, sometimes known locally as the "burning of the Jew."
 1,000 euros for tsunami relief effort donated by ANA staff
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Staff members and employees of the Athens News Agency (ANA) will contribute 1,000 euros from their solidarity fund to an ongoing telethon being hosted by the state-run broadcast corporation for tsunami relief efforts, it was announced on Wednesday.
 EU to help finance three Greek farm programs
BRUSSELS 7/1/2004 (ANA/V Demiris)The European Union's executive Commission said on Thursday that it had agreed to co-finance three Greek agricultural programs that aim to provide information on farm products in the bloc and promote them.
The Commission said in a statement that the three programs are part of a total of 20 from 11 member states with the same purpose, which were judged eligible for financing for one to three years. The project's overall budget in the bloc is 48.2 million euros, of which the EU will contribute half, to help market organic products, olive oil, milk, meat, eggs, wine, fruit, flowers, mushrooms and potatoes.
The Greek schemes are for olive oil produced by Sebitel (total budget of 4.2 million euros); eggs produced by GASP Eggs (1.6 million euros); and apples produced by Zagoras Piliou, a farm cooperative (584,000 euros).
Measures under the program include public relations and promotions to highlight the advantages of EU products, especially in terms of quality, hygiene, food safety, nutrition, labeling, animal welfare and environment-friendly output methods.
The measures can also cover participation at events and fairs; information campaigns on the EU system of protected designations of origin, protected geographical indications and traditional specialty guaranteed; and information on EU quality and labeling systems and organic farming. Information campaigns on the EU system of quality wines produced in specified regions are also eligible, the statement said.
The annual EU budget available for promotion programs in the agriculture sector is 48.5 million euros.
 Kathimerini shipping subsidiary sells tanker
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)A shipping subsidiary of Athens-quoted publisher Kathimerini SA has sold a Greek-flagged tanker Nisos Christiana for $41.5 million minus a 2.0% commission, a statement said on Wednesday.
Seller Zenith Maritime Corp. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Argonautis, in turn wholly owned by Kathimerini, which publishes the daily newspaper of the same name.
Another Argonautis subsidiary, Bigal Shipping Corp., has signed a contract for sale of a tanker, the Nereis, for $52.2 million, also minus a 2.0% commission, which will be handed over to buyers at the end of January, the statement said.
 Greek stocks ease on profit taking
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Greek stocks ended lower on Wednesday as investors took profits after a three-day rally in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The composite index fell 0.67 percent to close at 2,818.33 points reflecting losses in blue chip stocks. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 0.82 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.22 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.53 percent.
Most sector indices ended lower. The IT Solutions, Textile and Telecommunications suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.96 pct, 2.69 pct and 2.13 pct, respectively).
On the other hand, the IT, Publications and Insurance sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (1.45 pct, 0.91 pct and 0.08 pct, respectively).
Turnover was an improved 263.5 million euros. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 202 to 78 with another 70 issues unchanged.
Athens Stock Exchange opening: Sluggish start: Equities fell at the opening of trading on Wednesday at the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), as investors were apparently affected by negative trading in other European stock markets.
The general share price index was down 0.53 percent at around 11:15 a.m., standing at 2,822.11 points, with turnover at a very brisk 22.8 million euros.
Individual sector indices were down, sans Foods & Beverages and IT, with gains of 0.33 and 0.23 percent, respectively. The biggest losses were in Textiles, down 1.91 percent, and Telecoms, down 1.24 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 0.54 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 0.17 percent, and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index was slipped 0.55 percent.
Of the stocks moved, 35 were up, 138 were down, and 55 were unchanged.
 Greeks "bless-the-waters" in Epiphany celebration
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Greeks nationwide on Thursday celebrated the Orthodox Epiphany holiday when youths dive into icy waters in order to retrieve a cross submerged to bless the waters.
Attending the main ceremony in Piraeus, the country's largest port, was the president of the republic, Kostis Stephanopoulos, and the leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement, George Papandreou.
In the island of Karpathos, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis watched the cross being retrieved from the island harbor by a local youth, telling reporters that he believed the symbolism of the ceremony was timely in terms of a need for "greater light, transparency and growth."
Karamanlis also said that his visit to the remote island showed that the government's priority of bringing the regions into the mainstream of national life by boosting growth and public services.
Taking part at an Athens swimming pool was the city's mayor, Dora Bakoyannis; and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, who repeated the government's pledge of tackling the country's economic and social problems.
 Police bust crime ring dealing in drugs and guns
Athens, 7/1/2004 (ANA)Police on Wednesday said they had arrested five members of a crime ring suspected of dealing in drugs and weaponry.
The arrests were made on Tuesday in Kallithea and included two women, a mother and daughter, while another two suspects are still being sought.
The five people arrested were found to be in possession of 15,960 ecstasy tablets and four kilos of cannabis.
Arresting officers also found two 7.62-mm sub-machineguns with 72 bullets of the same caliber and a 9-mm pistol with 11 bullets of the same caliber, three cell phones used to contact prospective clients buying drugs and electronic precision scales. They also confiscated a car that the ring is believed to have used to transport drugs and weapons.