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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-07-28

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

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

July 28, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM, Development Minister and DEH president discuss company's growth
  • [02] Non-recognition of member-state by candidate state 'institutional and political paradox', foreign ministry spokesman says
  • [03] Greece, Austria discuss research and technology cooperation
  • [04] Greece, Austria discuss priorities in transport sector
  • [05] PASOK leader pledges to reverse government's industrial relations bill when in power
  • [06] PASOK party leader discusses financial resources of prefectural administrations with prefectural union delegation
  • [07] Pan-Macedonian Association of America examines FYROM name controversy
  • [08] Security Studies Center's articles ratified
  • [09] Defense minister inaugurates training centre for new artillery corps recruits
  • [10] Athens Bar Association president calls for improvement of immigration bill
  • [11] Fining confident of improving budget revenues
  • [12] Greece, US discuss closer cooperation in energy sector
  • [13] Health minister unveils plans to restructuring health system
  • [14] Talks underway in Olympic Airlines sale
  • [15] Contracts for four considerable project studies signed in Patra in the presence of deputy culture minister
  • [16] Intracom buys 18.04 pct stake in Forthnet
  • [17] Greek telecom enterprises paid increased dividend to shareholders, report
  • [18] Development minister meets scientist for talks on use of liquid hydrogen
  • [19] Gov't vows to find best way to handle EU fines
  • [20] State trade fair organizer eyes deals with China
  • [21] European Consumer Centre received 110 requests for aid during first six months operation
  • [22] Tobacco advertising ban will reduce smoking, European health commissioner says
  • [23] PASOK MPs meets fuel trader unions
  • [24] ND's Evert demands 'name-and-shame' policy for firms adulterating drinks
  • [25] Farm minister sees better wine output this year
  • [26] "Kosmima 2005" to be held in Thessaloniki October 21-24
  • [27] Sfakianakis gets 80-mln bond loan
  • [28] Greek trade deficit up 2.1 pct in Jan-May, yr/yr
  • [29] Cypriot regulators take legal action over Greek share issue
  • [30] Thessaloniki share centre gets EU Egyptian project
  • [31] Strong buying pushes Greek market above 3,300 level
  • [32] Group claims bomb attacks on three construction companies in recent months
  • [33] Gang of petty thieves arrested in Ioannina
  • [34] Cypriot President says Blair's statements not conflicting
  • [35] Spokesman says Turkey must not contradict Protocol substance
  • [36] Cypriot government sees fresh start in relations with Britain

  • [01] PM, Development Minister and DEH president discuss company's growth

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis focused on the course and development of the Public Power Corporation (DEH) during his meeting with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and DEH President Ioannis Paleokrassas at Maximos Mansion on Wednesday.

    Sioufas underscored the fact that DEH has played and continues to play a significant role in the country's growth.

    He ruled out the possibility of DEH's privatization, noting that the government has pledged that the state will maintain a 51% share in the company.

    Sioufas and Paleokrassas also stressed that PPC's back-up system worked effectively during the heat waves, thus preventing power outages, and thanked citizens for complying with requests to limit use of electricity as well as employees and associated authorities for their work and commitment.

    Asked about DEH's rate increases, Sioufas said that they would most likely be in line with inflation.

    Finally, as for the single fuel tax, Sioufas said that relevant announcements would be made together with Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis. He did note, however, that the system to be implemented would be "honest and simple."

    [02] Non-recognition of member-state by candidate state 'institutional and political paradox', foreign ministry spokesman says

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, commenting on Wednesday on a statement reportedly made by British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the signing of the customs union protocol between Turkey and the European Union, said "it is clear that the non-recognition of a member-state by a candidate state constitutes an institutional and political paradox which must be lifted as soon as possible."

    Koumoutsakos added that "the clear signing is necessary, with whatever this entails, of the protocol on Turkey's extension of customs union with all EU member-states, including the Republic of Cyprus, of course."

    The spokesman further said that "this, in any case, according to the decisions taken by the European Council on December 17, constitutes an obligation by Turkey towards the EU, in light of the expected start of accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU on October 3."

    As was reported from London, Blair stated after his meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the agreement extending the validity of the customs union to all 10 new EU member-states, and which Turkey is going to sign, has nothing to do with the recognition of Cyprus by the Turkish government, while Erdogan said that Turkey will not recognize Cyprus until an overall settlement is reached.

    [03] Greece, Austria discuss research and technology cooperation

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday met with a visiting Austrian government delegation, headed by Transport, Innovation and Technology Minister Hubert Gorbach, also Austria's vice-chancellor, and was briefed over the Austrian EU Presidency's policy agenda.

    Austria takes over the rotating EU Presidency in January.

    The Greek minister, accompanied by ministry officials, the general secretary of Research and Technology, professor Ioannis Tsoukalas, and the president of the National Research and Technology Council, Dimitris Nanopoulos, also discussed research and technology issues with the Austrian delegation, such as funding of a Seventh Research and Technology Framework, European research institutions and bilateral cooperation in the framework of a European Space Organization. Sioufas reassured the Austrian minister over Greece's support for a Galileo project and a European space policy program.

    [04] Greece, Austria discuss priorities in transport sector

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis met with his Austrian counterpart and Vice Chancellor Hubert Gorbach on Wednesday to discuss Austria's priorities in the transport sector when it assumes the EU presidency in January 2006.

    Regarding air transport, Liapis emphasized the need to strike a balanced deal between the EU and the US and also stressed the need for adoption of necessary measures to ensure flight safety.

    As for ground transport, the Greek minister focused on the "Third Railroad Package" which is aimed at developing international rail passenger transport. The two officials also discussed the satellite navigation system Galileo.

    Liapis requested Austria's help regarding the tram, given that the Vienna Tram is the oldest in Europe and covers 500km.

    On his part, Gorbach announced that during its EU presidency, Austria will push for the signing of a protocol regarding cross-border travel on the pan-European axis which links central with southeast Europe.

    Gorbach also met separately with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis.

    [05] PASOK leader pledges to reverse government's industrial relations bill when in power

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    The leader of main opposition PASOK George Papandreou on Wednesday repeated a pledge to reverse the industrial relations bill tabled by the government once his party is restored to power.

    Speaking during the first summer session of Parliament during the debate on the bill, Papandreou slammed the bill as failing to address the central problems of Greek businesses and stressed that labor flexibility could not be obtained at the expense of job security.

    According to Papandreou, enhancing the competitiveness of Greek businesses required investment in the workforce, in the quality of products and labor, on research and innovation. In addition, it also meant cutting down bureaucracy, promoting electronic government, increasing transparency and combatting corruption. He stressed that none of these issues were addressed in the measures envisaged by the government for labor market reform.

    PASOK's leader said the bill would simply encourage complacency among employers due to the temporary rise in profits by reducing the cost of labor and increase their dependence on the state.

    Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos rejected Papandreou's criticism as "endless rhetoric" and a "political hypocrisy", claiming that the government's bill reinforced the eight-hour day and returned to an overtime pay system that had worked successfully for 25 years.

    Communist party decides to walk out of debate on industrial relations bill: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has chosen to walk out of the debate on the government's bill on industrial relations, rather than lend it legitimacy by staying to discuss it, KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga announced in Parliament on Wednesday.

    Papariga slammed the bill as "sweeping away everything left behind by PASOK" and of returning industrial relations to conditions that existed in the 19th century and before.

    Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos expressed his sorrow at KKE's departure but noted that "it is not possible to deal with the complex reality of the 21st century by using the tools and analysis of the 19th century".

    [06] PASOK party leader discusses financial resources of prefectural administrations with prefectural union delegation

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Wednesday discussed the financial resources and duties of prefectural self-administration bodies with a delegation of the Union of Prefectural Self-Administrations of Greece (ENAE), headed by its President and Athens-Piraeus Supraprefect Fofi Yennimata.

    "It appears that this government forgets very quickly," Yennimata said, adding that "just one month after it voted the law on the finances of prefectural self-administration, it is coming along with arbitrary decisions and withholding a considerable part of these funds without handing them over to prefectural self-administrations."

    Yennimata spoke of funds amounting to 25 million euros which have been withheld from the second half of 2005.

    She stressed that PASOK's president expressed solidarity for ENAE's claims and said that the decentralization of prefectural administration's duties and the distribution of funds is an issue of democracy.

    [07] Pan-Macedonian Association of America examines FYROM name controversy

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    The second day of the 59th Pan-Macedonian Association of America international conference, being held in Kavala, focused on the controversy regarding the use of "Republic of Macedonia" by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as its official name.

    Former Greek minister Nicholas Martis provided a detailed analysis of the "Macedonian Issue", presenting the region's history and leading up to the present political situation.

    He said that the adoption of a new name for FYROM will ensure peace in the region, putting an end to Skopje's false claims that there are Macedonian minorities in neighboring countries that are oppressed.

    Archbishop of America Dimitrios also referred to the issue, saying that in 50 AD St. Paul visited Filippi, Thessaloniki and Veroia, cities in the prefecture of Macedonia, which have had the same Greek names for centuries.

    The conference will run through July 31.

    [08] Security Studies Center's articles ratified

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    The discussion and ratification of articles of the Security Studies Centre was completed on Wednesday, after securing backing by the deputies of the ruling New Democracy party, while Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis reiterated before the relevant Parliamentary Committee that the bill creating this legal entity of private law has nothing to do with terrorism and its handling.

    Voulgarakis was referring to objections by opposition party deputies "on the timing of the bill's tabling in a climate of terror mongering and terrorism" and on fears of "individual rights and freedoms being restricted."

    The minister stressed categorically that "the Security Studies Centre has nothing to do with international terrorism. It will function as an advisory body and its main aim will be to utilize the very capable cadres belonging to the Greek Police (ELAS) on issues concerning security and the handling of organized crime."

    [09] Defense minister inaugurates training centre for new artillery corps recruits

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Spoils Spiliotopoulos on Wednesday attended the inauguration of a training centre for new artillery corps recruits in Paranesti, Drama.

    The centre can receive up to 300 new recruits and will also cover the training needs of units in the Fourth Corps. It will begin operating from next month and will be used mainly for new recruits from northern Greece.

    Due to be relocated and deployed at the centre, meanwhile, is the 165th Multiple Missile Launchers Battalion.

    The minister was also declared an honorary citizen of Paranesti.

    [10] Athens Bar Association president calls for improvement of immigration bill

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Athens Bar Association President Dimitris Paxinos, referring to the tabling of the interior ministry's immigration bill in Parliament, said on Wednesday that more improvements are necessary.

    "Even more improvements and changes are necessary in the clauses of the bill concerning the communication of aliens under administrative detention with their lawyers and their representatives, because if they are ratified they will render the exercising of the rights of aliens even more difficult," he said.

    Paxinos further said that with the bill "an extensive and serious effort to register the citizens of third countries staying in Greece either legally or illegally is being attempted for the first time after the year 2001 and it is bringing about improvements."

    [11] Fining confident of improving budget revenues

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday expressed his confidence over an improving situation in state revenues over the next few months of the year, as ministry agencies were intensifying their inspections with the aim to combat tax-evasion and smuggling.

    The Greek minister headed a meeting of the government's economic team which discussed state revenues and expenses and in particular VAT revenues which grew by 4.1 percent in the first five months of 2005 compared with an annual growth target of 11.4 pct.

    The meeting also discussed ways to integrate heating and diesel oil consumption taxes. The measures are expected to be announced on Friday.

    [12] Greece, US discuss closer cooperation in energy sector

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday met with US ambassador Charles Ries and other embassy officials and discussed ways to promote bilateral cooperation in the energy sector.

    The meeting discussed prospects of attracting more US investments in Greece, particularly in the energy sector, following the deregulation of domestic electricity and natural gas markets and a new licensing system for Renewable Energy Sources, expected to be introduced shortly.

    [13] Health minister unveils plans to restructuring health system

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Several millions of euros have been lost because of lack of a proper organizing in the country's National Health System, Greek Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said on Wednesday and vowed to work hard to improve this situation.

    Speaking to reporters, in a news conference, Kaklamanis said a total of around 3,000 workers in the health system were included in the payroll despite the fact that they were not eligible and stressed that 22 people working in the city of Patras were found to have double or not eligible payrolls, a fact that cost the system 500,000 euros.

    The Greek minister said the system has not made an accurate record of hospital beds and stressed that state hospitals' debt to suppliers exceeded 3.0 billion euros by 2004. Kaklamanis said rescheduled debt was 2.5 billion euros and noted that final figures would be unveiled in the next two weeks, while he said that the Finance ministry has ordered payments totalling 2.65 billion euros by July 20.

    The Greek minister said the ministry planned to create a hospital register, a suppliers' register and an information data for all suppliers and hospitals participating in the health system. The plans also include setting up special inspection mechanisms and introducing cash flow management rules in hospitals with the aim to save around 115-130 million euros from a rescheduling of debts, another 120-150 million euros in the first two years from a more effective use of reserves and 160-180 million euros annually from a reduction in supply prices.

    [14] Talks underway in Olympic Airlines sale

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    State negotiators are continuing their talks with Olympic Investors-York Capital in a tender for the privatization of Olympic Airlines, the national carrier, the finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The statement was released after the government's financial and legal adviser briefed a ministerial privatization committee.

    [15] Contracts for four considerable project studies signed in Patra in the presence of deputy culture minister

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Contracts on the preparation of studies for four considerable projects to be carried out in the framework of the institution titled "Patra Cultural Capital of Europe 2006" were signed in Patra, western Greece, on Wednesday in the presence of Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis.

    The studies concern the construction of an open theatre in the region of Riganocampos and the restoration of the former storehouses of ASO, the camping site at Agia and the old municipal hospital where cultural activities and events will be housed.

    The projects will cost 28.3 million euros, while Tatoulis announced that procedures are under way for the construction of the indoor theatre at the former "Ladopoulos" paper factory due to cost 33 million euros.

    The deputy minister also revealed that a total of 15 million euros will be provided for urban improvements in the city of Patra.

    [16] Intracom buys 18.04 pct stake in Forthnet

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Intracom on Wednesday said it was buying an 18.04 percent equity stake in Forthnet, a Greek-listed telecommunications and internet service provider company, for 5.02 euros per share.

    In a letter to the Athens Stock Exchange, Intracom said it had agreed with Minoan Shipping Lines to buy 3,039,663 common nominal shares, with voting rights, in Forthnet, or 18.04 percent of its equity capital.

    Forthnet SA has the first right to reject the bid within three days starting on Wednesday.

    [17] Greek telecom enterprises paid increased dividend to shareholders, report

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Greek telecommunications companies' dividend payment totalled 534 million euros in 2004, up 39 percent from the previous year, a report by Knowsys said on Wednesday.

    Cosmote spearheaded the trend in the previous year, with dividend payment totalling 500 million euros, of which 300 million euros were paid to Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) to support a voluntary pension program in the organization.

    OTE failed to pay a dividend because of extra financial burdens related with a restructuring program currently underway in the organization.

    Dividend payment would have been even larger if Vodafone-Panafon's dividend was included. The company paid 163 million euros to its shareholders.

    Intracom distributed around 45 percent of its earnings to its shareholders, with dividend payment unchanged from 2003 levels despite a fall in profitability. Germanos distributed 24 percent of its profits reflecting an increasing profitability in 2004.

    Intertech, Newsphone and TIM Hellas reported minor changes in their dividend policy, with the latter distributing only 4.4 percent of its profits to shareholders.

    The situation changes completely in the IT sector with the majority of companies reporting problems in creating profits, the report said. High competition and low profit margins failed to create added value to shareholders, with only a few exceptions to the general rule, such as Intralot. The company accounted for 60 percent of the sector's total dividend payment last year, following by Plaisio Computers (6.0 million euros in dividends), Inform Lycos and Unisystems (with dividend payments of more than 3.0 million euros each).

    A total of 17 enterprises in the IT sector failed to pay dividend for last year's results.

    [18] Development minister meets scientist for talks on use of liquid hydrogen

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday invited Professor Christos Koroneos, a scientist conducting research into energy sources at universities in northern Greece, and asked him to give the ministry a report on his research into the use of liquid hydrogen produced by renewable energy sources, so that it might examine ways in which to further assist the project.

    Koroneos is currently conducting research into heat transmission and environmental mechanics at Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University and is a replacement lecturer at the energy sources management department of Western Macedonia University.

    [19] Gov't vows to find best way to handle EU fines

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos said on Wednesday that the government will find the best way to handle fines recently imposed on Greece by the European Union for mismanagement of subsidies from the bloc on farm products in 2000-2003.

    Involved in the planning were two recent rulings by the European Court of Justice that cleared Greece on two counts, allowing the return of fines totalling 705.9 million euros concerning cotton and arable land at the end of the last decade.

    [20] State trade fair organizer eyes deals with China

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Helexpo SA, the Thessaloniki-based trade fair organizer, expects to sign agreements in September with Chinese trade groups.

    Managing director Themis Kartsiotis on Wednesday held talks with visiting representatives of China's International Trade Promotion Council, the country's chamber of commerce, Beijing's World Trade Centre and other key agencies.

    Kartsiotis called on the representatives to take part in Thessaloniki's annual international trade fair to be held in September, and the Infosystem and Philoxenia exhibitions.

    Finally, Helexpo and Beijing's international fair agreed to conduct market research into the viability of arranging exhibitions abroad.

    [21] European Consumer Centre received 110 requests for aid during first six months operation

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    The European Consumer Centre has received 110 calls for assistance from the public during the first six months of its operation at the development ministry, it was announced on Wednesday. About 36 were requests for information, while the rest concerned problems with transactions in other countries.

    Of these, 30 have been solved to the satisfaction of the applicants, while in eight cases the company involved has refused to respond to consumer's complaints.

    Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said that with the European Consumer Centre, the General Secretariat for Consumers, the 1520 Consumer Line and the Consumer Ombudsman, Greece was beginning to acquire comprehensive structures in the area of protecting consumers.

    The European Consumer Centre deals with cases where Greek citizens have faced problems in transactions carried out in other EU member-states. The most frequent requests concern faulty goods and services bought over the Internet, misleading offers for supposedly "free" advertising space, charges for car rental and problems with airline flights.

    [22] Tobacco advertising ban will reduce smoking, European health commissioner says

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou expressed optimism that the tobacco advertising ban - effective July 31 - will help reduce smoking and smoking-related illnesses.

    The relevant directive was passed by the European Parliament and the Council in 2003 and bans tobacco advertising in the printed media, the radio and the internet. Tobacco advertising on television has been banned in the EU since the early 1990s.

    The directive also prohibits tobacco sponsorship of cross-border cultural and sporting events.

    In a press release on Wednesday, the Commission cited a World Bank study, according to which "advertising bans can reduce smoking prevalence by up to 7%."

    In a separate development, the Commission has adopted a report on the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive.

    According to the report, "provisions on health warnings and maximum tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide are being respected. However, public authorities have a very incomplete picture of the ingredients being used in cigarettes, their functions and their health effects on consumers, mainly due to incomplete disclosure of information by tobacco companies. A consultation on how to make the disclosure rules on additives more effective will be launched in the autumn."

    [23] PASOK MPs meets fuel trader unions

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK's Parliamentary development sector on Wednesday met representatives of the Union of Liquid Fuel Traders and of the Federation of Petrol Sellers of Greece to hear their views on measures for uniform taxation of diesel oil and heating oil planned by the government.

    After the meeting, a PASOK announcement noted that the government was "following familiar tactics," and had not discussed the measures with any of the bodies of the retail fuel sector, while continuing to secretly prepare a measure whose repercussions on consumers were unknown.

    [24] ND's Evert demands 'name-and-shame' policy for firms adulterating drinks

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy president Miltiades Evert on Wednesday asked the finance ministry to make public the names of companies selling adulterated alcoholic beverages, stressing that consumers should know the people who supplied drinks that endangered health.

    Evert also called for continued inspections and stressed that the widespread adulteration of alcoholic drinks was a further blow to Greek tourism and the already poor image of the country, which he said was chiefly the work of unscrupulous business practices.

    A series of inspections by the financial crimes squad SDOE, in which samples of drinks were tested at the State General Laboratory, revealed that the percentage of adulterated hard drinks on sale ranged from 20 per cent for whisky to 100 per cent for drinks like rum and tequila.

    [25] Farm minister sees better wine output this year

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos said on Wednesday that a better harvest was expected this year in grapes cultivated for consumption and for winemaking.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the KEOSOE grape growers and vintners' cooperatives, Basiakos said government measures taken by the government would assist in distribution.

    In addition, efforts would be made to boost grape exports, the minister added.

    [26] "Kosmima 2005" to be held in Thessaloniki October 21-24

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    "Kosmima 2005", an international jewelry trade fair to be held in Thessaloniki October 21-24, is expected to have increased participation from exhibitors, Helexpo SA, the organizer of the fair said on Wednesday.

    Helexpo said the majority of older exhibitors were demanding increased space for their pavilions, while several businessmen have expressed interest in participating in the trade fair for the first time. Helexpo said it was offering special discount prices for groups of exhibitors and planned a series of special events during the trade fair with the aim to promoting jewelry and organize an Expo Partenariat bringing together businesses from the sector.

    [27] Sfakianakis gets 80-mln bond loan

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Athens-quoted Sfakianakis SA said on Wednesday that it had secured a bond loan of 80 million euros to refinance corporate debt as part of a restructuring of an existing syndicated loan and short- term borrowing.

    The loan was arranged and managed by Alpha Bank, Sfakianakis said in a statement.

    Bondholders are Alpha Bank, Geniki Bank, National Bank of Greece, Emporiki Bank, Bank of Attica, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Bank of Cyprus Ltd and Piraeus Bank, the statement added.

    [28] Greek trade deficit up 2.1 pct in Jan-May, yr/yr

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Greece's trade deficit totalled 11.969 billion euros in the January-May period from 11.724 billion euros in the same period in 2004, for an increase of 2.1 percent, the National Statistics Service said on Wednesday.

    NSS, in its regular report on the country's trade balance, said the increased deficit reflected a 9.1 percent rise in export-deliveries in the five-month period to 5.214 billion euros from 4.778 billion euros last year, and a 4.1 percent increase in import-arrivals to 17.184 billion euros from 16.502 billion euros over the same periods, respectively.

    [29] Cypriot regulators take legal action over Greek share issue

    NICOSIA, 28/07/2005 (ANA/A Viketos)

    Cyprus' capital market commission said on Wednesday that it would give the public prosecutor the findings of its enquiry into a breach of bourse legislation by the Bank of Cyprus.

    The commission is seeking legal action against the issue of 39 million shares in 2000 by the bank's Athens-quoted Greek operation.

    [30] Thessaloniki share centre gets EU Egyptian project

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Thessaloniki Stock Exchange Centre said on Wednesday that it had won a European Union project in Egypt to offer knowhow to the Middle Eastern country's capital market commission focusing on corporate governance.

    The project is to be undertaken on behalf of the center's owner, Athens-quoted Hellenic Stock Exchanges, the statement said.

    The Thessaloniki share centre will head a consortium of companies from Greece, Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Egypt.

    The three-year contract is budgeted at 2.6 million euros.

    [31] Strong buying pushes Greek market above 3,300 level

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    Greek stocks continued moving higher on Wednesday pushing the composite index above the 3,300 mark in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The index rose 0.81 percent to end at 3,307.56 points with turnover a heavy 211 million euros. Buying activity focused on medium-capitalization stocks and blue chips.

    The IT Solutions index was the only one to suffer losses (-1.35 pct), while the Insurance (10.66 pct), Mineral-Cement (2.49 pct), IT (1.40 pct), Publications (1.31 pct) and Holdings (1.14 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.76 pct, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.29 pct higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.48 pct.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 165 to 103 with another 70 issues unchanged.

    [32] Group claims bomb attacks on three construction companies in recent months

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    The 'Popular Revolutionary Action' group has claimed responsibility for three bomb attacks in recent months against construction companies, in a proclamation sent to an Athens daily newspaper late Monday night, it was made known on Wednesday.

    More specifically, the group claims responsibility for the bombs at the offices of "Techniki Olympiaki" in December 2004 in Alimos, of the company AVAX in Ambelokipi last May, and outside a construction site of the AKTOR company in the Gazi district in early July.

    The five pages of the proclamation, written on a PC, all bear a red star while on the first page is the seal of the organization LED (in Greek letters, referring to the Greek name of the organization 'Laiki Epanastatiki Drasi').

    The proclamation refers to the activities of the said construction companies, particularly in the projects for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, which it said reached 5.743 billion euros, exceeding the budget by 24 percent, and which it said was paid for by the popular strata but benefited the big capital.

    It further made extensive reference to each construction company individually with respect to labor accidents, the social insurance regime, and application of the flexible workhours.

    The proclamation said that the "vultures" of the large construction companies made huge profits, while on the altar of the Olympic Games, many important projects for the common good were delayed, such as the Malliakos Gulf stretch of national highway (the site of many lethal traffic accidents) and the construction of schools, roads, hospitals, etc.

    The group first emerged in the summer of 2003, in the post 'November 17' era, with a bomb planted at the Aliko insurance company offices on Michalakopoulou street in Athens.

    This is the third proclamation sent by the group.

    [33] Gang of petty thieves arrested in Ioannina

    Athens, 28/07/2005 (ANA)

    A gang of petty thieves suspected of burglaries and thefts throughout the country have been arrested by police in Ioannina.

    According to an announcement from Ioannina on Wednesday, the gang operated under the cover of being itinerant hawkers selling religious icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church, using this as an excuse to enter schools and private tuition institutes.

    They would then wait for an opportunity to enter empty classrooms or offices and take wallets, valuables, mobile phones and other items left unattended.

    Some of the stolen items were found on the suspects when they arrested and returned to their owners, while police are investigating the gang's links to similar incidents in Ioannina, Filippiada, Aitoloakarnania and Kamatero in Attica.

    [34] Cypriot President says Blair's statements not conflicting

    LONDON, 28/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said Wednesday's statement by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, that the signing of the protocol extending Turkey's customs union to the ten new EU member states does not involve the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, is not contrary or conflicting with all that the two discussed on Tuesday during their 10 Downing Street meeting.

    Referring to statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that there is no change in Turkey's approach to the issue of recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said that this is Turkey's standing position, which favors a solution with the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus and its substitution with something different.

    Evaluating the results of his visit to London, President Papadopoulos also said that a serious step was taken and Cyprus can look forward to a better understanding of its positions by Britain.

    Invited to comment on Erdogan's statements, the Cypriot President said that ''this is Turkey's standing position, it favors a solution

    to the Cyprus problem with the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus and its substitution with something else, however the EU has different views.''

    [35] Spokesman says Turkey must not contradict Protocol substance

    NICOSIA, 28/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Turkey is obliged to sign the Protocol expanding the Ankara Agreement to cover the European Union's ten new member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, Government Spokes-man Kypros Chrysostomides has said, stressing that any other action by Turkey apart from the signing should not contradict and retract the substance and the significance of the Protocol.

    In comments to CNA about statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a meeting with his British counterpart and

    EU council President Tony Blair in London on Wednesday, Chrysostomides noted that what is essential right now is the clear signing of the Protocol ''with whatever that entails''.

    In statements in London, Erdogan noted that Turkey would not recognize the Republic of Cyprus prior to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    ''The signing of the protocol constitutes an obligation for Turkey towards the EU collectively,'' the Cypriot spokesman added, stressing that ''every other Turkish action cannot contradict or retract the substance and the significance of the signing of the Protocol.''

    Chrysostomides pointed out that ''it has been repeatedly said that the signing of the Protocol means the commencement of the normalization procedure of the relations between Turkey and the EU member states and of course with the Republic of Cyprus, again with whatever that entails.''

    ''It is inconceivable for Turkey to insist on the non recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, while it desires to start accession negotiations with all EU member states collectively,'' Chrysostomides added, noting that it is also ''a paradox for Turkey to recognize the validity of the vote of a member state and at the same time not to recognize the same state.''

    Furthermore, Chrysostomides said the Cypriot government would monitor and assess Turkish actions.

    [36] Cypriot government sees fresh start in relations with Britain

    NICOSIA, 28/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said there is a new beginning in relations between Britain and Cyprus and described Tuesday's meetings in London between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos on one hand, and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou on the other hand, as very satisfying.

    ''There is a new beginning in the relations between Great Britain and Cyprus,'' he said, adding that ''the agreement for a structured dialogue is especially important, in order to have a constant direct communication to ascertain the positions of both sides leaving no room for rumors.''

    ''Identification of views has been ascertained, mainly on European issues, and a common position was outlined for the promotion of efforts for a solution and reunification of our country,'' he noted, adding that the stance of the British Premier was positive.

    The spokesman said that, ''as regards Turkey's obligations towards the EU, Blair was explicit, that all countries that want to join the EU must adopt and follow the same criteria.''

    Replying to questions, Chrysostomides said ''structured dialogue means the existence of a mechanism for continuing exchange of views and mutual briefing on issues in which the two countries are concerned and interested, in the EU framework or otherwise.'' He added that ''details and procedures have not yet been finalized.''

    Chrysostomides noted that this dialogue ''greatly helps to have a direct ascertainment of each side's position.''

    Replying to other questions, Chrysostomides said that Blair showed a positive stance and wanted to help towards a solution of the Cyprus problem and the reunification of the island.

    The spokesman noted that the overall climate that prevailed at the meeting was positive.

    Asked if the fact that there is a new beginning in relations between Britain and Cyprus is a conclusion of the Greek Cypriot side or a common conclusion, the spokesman said, ''I think it is a common conclusion, especially in view of the agreement for a structured dialogue, continuous contact between the two governments.''

    Replying to another question, Chrysostomides said the issue of the two EU pending regulations concerning the Turkish Cypriots was discussed during the meeting between Straw and Iacovou.

    He also said that Iacovou underlined the government's position regarding the signing on behalf of Ankara of the protocol extending Turkey's customs union with the EU to the ten new member states.

    Asked if the issue of missing persons was discussed during Blair's meeting with President Papadopoulos, Chrysostomides said it was discussed in terms that there is movement concerning this issue and the necessity to move forward to ascertain the fate of the missing and the conditions under which each missing person disappeared.

    Invited to say if the British and the Americans accept the need for changes to the Annan plan, Chrysostomides said ''the general position is that there must be a resumption of the procedures to have new negotiations.''

    ''I think this implies that all deem that there will be changes to the plan,'' he noted.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Cypriot President addresses POMAK event

    LONDON, 28/07/2005 (CNA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair was excellent, adding that they decided on ways to promote bilateral cooperation and dialogue.

    In his speech during an event organized by the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) in London, President Papadopoulos noted the

    importance of dialogue in order for the British government ''to understand our positions and us to support them in issues of common interest.''

    ''The bitterness of the past has no place. National interest necessitates the building of strong bridges to revive the traditionally good relations,'' he said.

    ''That which separates us is a lot but more is that which unites us. I sincerely believe that our interests are compatible with Britain's pursuits,'' the president said, noting that Britain did not keep its promises as a guarantor power.

    ''Either we did not manage to explain our positions, or our opponents have a stronger lever pressure,'' he said, noting that ''we must not be disappointed or prevented, all this must lead us towards the right policy and this is what we are trying to do.'' Referring to the settlement solution proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, President Papadopoulos said the Annan Plan was unfair and

    unacceptable and that the Greek Cypriot community made the right decision, taking into consideration its interests.

    Concluding, he noted that assistance towards the Turkish Cypriots would reach them through the Cyprus government, assuring that he would not encourage any divisionism stance


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