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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-14

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

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

September 14, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis attends UN summits, meets with UN chief Annan
  • [02] Gov't reiterates job security pledge for OA employees
  • [03] COREPER to examine EU counter-statement to Turkey on Wednesday
  • [04] Ecumenical Patriarch begins tour of northern Greece
  • [05] Main opposition continues harsh critique of gov't
  • [06] Rehn again stresses that Turkey must recognize EU member Cyprus
  • [07] Deputy DM tours military units and installations on Limnos
  • [08] PASOK party leader dines with former Prime Minister Costas Simitis
  • [09] Gov't cannot afford to offer financial relief for heating oil, FinMin says
  • [10] Gov't speeds up adaptation to new EU farm policy
  • [11] Northern Greece industrialists satisfied with PM's announcements
  • [12] Exports up, trade deficit narrows
  • [13] KKE leader Papariga to tour TIF on Wednesday
  • [14] Coalition party leader visits 70th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair
  • [15] Calatrava to redesign TIF's facilities
  • [16] EU shipping official in Athens for talks
  • [17] Greenpeace opposed to oil-fueled power plants
  • [18] Hellenic Railways tenders 100 mln euro project
  • [19] Greek textile industry suffers a three-year recession
  • [20] Pireaus prefecture unable to pay welfare subsidies
  • [21] Greek stocks continue slide
  • [22] Earthquake rocks Cephalonia, post-quake activity from Thessaloniki trembler normal
  • [23] Toxicology results on passengers of ill-fated Cypriot airliner turn up negative
  • [24] PM, Alternate Culture Minister congratulate Greek Emmy award winners
  • [25] Concert in memory of Maria Kalas to be held at Herod Atticus Theatre on September 16
  • [26] 34th Book Festival opens in Athens Sept. 16
  • [27] Public order minister warns of severe sanctions for schoolbus safety violators
  • [28] Police say store owner copied and sold customers' X-rated cell phone pics, videos
  • [29] Thessaloniki police crack human trafficking ring
  • [30] Fisherman nets WW2 torpedo off western Greece
  • [31] Olympiakos loses 3-1 at home to Rosenborg in Champions League match
  • [32] British Presidency circulates new EU draft counterstatement
  • [33] Cyprus not satisfied with new EU draft counterstatement

  • [01] PM Karamanlis attends UN summits, meets with UN chief Annan

    New York, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Ìinister Costas Karamanlis is due to meet with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan shortly after midnight Tuesday (Greek time) in New York, where the premier was due to arrive two hours earlier to attend a UN General Assembly summit, that opens the following day, and Wednesday's UN Security Council summit.

    Karamanlis, who is accompanied by foreign minister Petros Molyviatis, deputy foreign ministers Yannis Valinakis and Evripides Stylianidis, deputy government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros and other officials, was due to discuss with Annan a series of matters related to the international community, given that Greece holds a non-permanent member seat on the UN Security Council for the two-year term 2005-2006.

    The two men were also expected to discuss the Cyprus issue, as well as the UN's mediation efforts in the FYROM name issue.

    After the meeting with Annan, Karamanlis was scheduled to attend a reception hosted by US president George Bush in honor of the more than 180 foreign heads of state and government that are in New York for the September 14-16 UN General Assembly world summit.

    On Wednesday, Karamanlis will take part in the UN Security Council summit meeting.

    The Greek premier was due to address the UN General Assembly summit on Friday at 5:45 p.m. (Greek time), while he would also take part on Thursday in a round-table discussion on reforms to the Security Council, an international conference on financing for development, and an informal meeting of the Francophone countries, and hold bilateral sideline meetings with many of the attending heads of state and government.

    Karamanlis' itinerary during UN General Assembly to include several meetings with int'l leaders

    The government on Tuesday announced Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' official itinerary during his visit this week in New York City to attend the United Nations' General Assembly, with the premier scheduled to meet with UN chief Kofi Annan on Tuesday afternoon (local time) before attending a reception hosted by US President George W. Bush for visiting heads of state and government.

    On Wednesday morning, Karamanlis will attend the opening of the general assembly's sessions, whereas meetings with other world leaders are scheduled on the sidelines of the summit.

    Specifically, the Greek prime minister will meet separately on Wednesday with Mexican President Vicente Fox, Saudi Prince Abd al-Aziz Al Saud as well as recently elected Albanian Premier Sali Berisha.

    Karamanlis will also address a UN Security Council summit -- Greece currently holds a non-permanent seat on the body -- and attend a dinner of UN member-states' leaders.

    On Thursday, the prime minister will participate in an informal summit of the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) countries, before meeting with his Belgian counterpart Guy Verhofstadt. Karamanlis will attend a reception in his honor hosted by Greece's consul general in New York later in the evening, followed by his attendance at an awards ceremony sponsored by the Cypriot Federation of America.

    Karamanlis' address at the UN General Assembly will come on Friday morning. At noon he will meet with the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, before departing for Athens in the early afternoon.

    [02] Gov't reiterates job security pledge for OA employees

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The government reiterated on Tuesday that all employees of ailing national carrier Olympic Airways enjoy job security, only a day before the European Commission is expected to issue a decision linked directly to the fate of the company.

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos made the statement in answer to press questions over the status of OA contract-employees currently serving as flight attendants, in ground crews and even as airport ticket-counter staff.

    The spokesman's comments echoed a high-profile statement by the prime minister himself over the weekend in Thessaloniki, namely, that OA employees and staff would continue working regardless of the Commission's ruling.

    Nevertheless, Roussopoulos again stressed the Karamanlis government's unwavering target of drastically dealing with debt-plagued carrier.

    "It's the desire of all Greek citizens to stop paying half a billion drachmas (roughly 1.5 million euros) per day for this (OA) loss-making company to continue to operate in the manner that it operates; a company that became loss-making due to past policies, ones that led to today's decisions. This is what the Greek people demand," Roussopoulos said, continuing the scathing criticism aimed at a handful of previous PASOK governments long vilified by ruling ND as responsible for OA's mismanagement.

    The Commission on Wednesday is expected to rule on whether OA received, directly and indirectly, tens of millions of euros in illegal government subsidies over the past decade.

    Protests: Meanwhile, members of the parliament-represented Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party's youth wing along with OA trade unionists rallied outside the European Parliament's offices in the Greek capital on Tuesday.

    Protesters demanded that the Commission not seal the carrier's fate.

    Main opposition slams gov't over OA's dire straits: Main opposition PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis accused the government on Tuesday of devaluing Olympic Airlines (OA) and ruining the company's most recent restructuring plan.

    He also accused the government of trying to place the blame elsewhere rather than trying to find solutions.

    Athanassakis said that the government created more problems for the ailing state carrier by making announcements ahead of the European Commission's decision.

    He said PASOK would wait until the Commission rules on Wednesday whether OA received illegal state subsidies or not, before presenting its position on the matter.

    [03] COREPER to examine EU counter-statement to Turkey on Wednesday

    BRUSSELS, 14/9/2005 (ANA/B.Demiris)

    The European Union's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) will be examining on Wednesday the Union's response to Turkey's unilateral declaration that it refuses to recognize the Cyprus Republic, an EU member state.

    The draft counter-statement, of which the ANA obtained a copy, reads as follows:

    "The European Community and its Member States acknowledge the signature by Turkey of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States on the one part and Turkey on the other, in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004. They regret that Turkey felt it necessary to make a declaration regarding the Republic of Cyprus at the time of signature.

    The European Community and its Member States make clear that this declaration is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey's obligations.

    The European Community and its Member States expect full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol, and the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on means of transport. Turkey must apply the Protocol fully to all EU Member States. The EU will evaluate full implementation in 2006. The European Community and its Member States note that, as long as Turkey has not implemented its contractual obligations with the EU, negotiations on the relevant chapters cannot be opened.

    The European Community and its Member States recall that the Republic of Cyprus became a Member State of the European Union on 1st May 2004. They underline that they recognize the Republic of Cyprus, only, as a subject of international law.

    Prior recognition of all Member States is a necessary component of accession. Accordingly, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the normalization of relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, as soon as possible.

    In that context, the European Community and its Member States agree on the need to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, and that a just and lasting settlement will contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region.

    The Council will ensure a follow-up on the progress made on all these issues in 2006."

    On July 29, Turkey signed the Association Agreement Protocol -- by virtue of which Turkey extended its customs union agreement with the EU to the 10 new member states, including Cyprus. It submitted a separate declaration stating that it refused to recognize the Cyprus Republic and that its ports and airports would remain closed to Cypriot ships and planes.

    Gov't on EU 'counter-statement': Athens on Tuesday reminded that a COREPER meeting, scheduled for the next day, is expected to reach a decision over the European Union's "counter-statement" towards EU hopeful Turkey -- in essence a reply to Ankara's continuing provocation of not recognizing EU member-state Cyprus.

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also told reporters that Athens and Nicosia in were constant contact vis-a-vis the counter-statement's text, which was prepared by the EU British presidency.

    [04] Ecumenical Patriarch begins tour of northern Greece

    Thessaloniki, 14/9/2005 (ANA/B.Demiris)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos began a four-day visit to northern Greece on Tuesday with his arrival in Thessaloniki, the first stop of his tour.

    The Patriarch was greeted at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, who headed a large delegation of high-ranking Orthodox Church clerics. Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsonis represented the government while several other local and regional officials were on hand.

    Vartholomeos is expected to visit a handful of bishoprics in northern Greece.

    [05] Main opposition continues harsh critique of gov't

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The coordinating committee of main opposition PASOK's parliamentary group criticized the remarks made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair over the weekend as well as the government's handling of the ailing state carrier Olympic Airlines.

    Meeting on Tuesday, the coordinating committee continued to shell out criticism against the government, the same way the party's Political Council did on Monday.

    The coordinating committee also discussed the 128-page publication dubbed "Book of Unreliability" which allegedly keeps track of the government's failures and broken promises.

    The committee decided to adopt a similar approach in recording the government's performance throughout the country's regions.

    [06] Rehn again stresses that Turkey must recognize EU member Cyprus

    BRUSSELS, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    EU Commissioner Olli Rehn on Tuesday reiterated that Turkey must recognize EU member-state Cyprus as soon as possible despite the fact that such recognition is not a pre-condition for Ankara to begin accession negotiations on Oct. 3.

    Moreover, Rehn again stressed that Turkey must fully implement a customs union with all of the EU's 25 member-states, a group that includes Cyprus.

    The Finnish EU Commissioner spoke here during a meeting of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee.

    [07] Deputy DM tours military units and installations on Limnos

    Limnos, 14/9/2005, (ANA)

    The deputy defense minister began a two-day tour of military units and installations on the Aegean island of Limnos on Monday, also visiting the gunboat "Eleftheria" and installations for SKB-1 guided missiles and watching a military exercise involving cooperation between infantry and armored units.

    Addressing military personnel at the "Karadimas" army camp, the deputy defense minister said the ministry gives top priority to hygiene and security issues, as well as to living standards for staff.

    He also attended a dinner given on Monday by the commander of the 88th Military Command. The dinner was attended by prefectural and local administration officials, as well as by representatives of the military authorities.

    [08] PASOK party leader dines with former Prime Minister Costas Simitis

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou and former prime minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis attended a dinner in a northern suburb of Athens on Monday night. According to reports, they discussed latest developments on the occasion of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, as well as the current political and economic situation in the country. Simitis will be leaving for the United States on Wednesday to attend a conference of personalities organized by former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

    [09] Gov't cannot afford to offer financial relief for heating oil, FinMin says

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The government cannot afford to offer a financial relief to consumers for the purchase of heating oil this winter, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after an inner cabinet meeting, Alogoskoufis said that the government made every effort to find ways to offer financial relief to consumers but stressed that such a move could not be made on borrowed money.

    "There are no funds to offer a financial relief for heating oil," the Greek minister said.

    Commenting on the future of Olympic Airways, Alogoskoufis said the government was awaiting European Commission's decision and reiterated the Prime Minister's pledge that national carrier's workers would not be harmed. The Greek minister said the government was examining ways to support lower incomes in the context of next year's budget.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said declining oil prices in international markets started to affect domestic retail prices and expressed the hope that this trend would continue. Commenting on a draft legislation on reforming the operation of Greek chambers, Sioufas said the new bill would introduce a general commerce register and would help to promote transparency and improved operations in the country's chambers.

    Government's refusal to give heating subsidy to financially weaker classes unacceptable, PASOK party spokesman says: Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, commenting on Tuesday on the government's refusal to grant a heating subsidy for the financially weaker classes, which are in need of it in light of the oncoming winter, said it was unacceptable.

    Athanassakis further said that when PASOK was in power at a time when the price of oil was 32 dollars a barrel it had given a heating subsidy, which the government of the New Democracy party is refusing to give today.

    The PASOK party's spokesman also accused the government of being unable to tackle phenomena of profiteering and to control the petroleum products market and as a result, while international oil prices are decreasing, in Greece there is an increase in the price the consumer has to pay.

    [10] Gov't speeds up adaptation to new EU farm policy

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos said on Tuesday that procedures were being accelerated to implement the European Union's new common agricultural policy.

    The minister announced that 13 studies were to be tendered one for each of the country's regions, to examine the anticipated impact of the policy and recommend restructuring of the sector in each area.

    [11] Northern Greece industrialists satisfied with PM's announcements

    Thessaloniki, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Federation of Northern Greece's Industries (SBBE) on Tuesday expressed its satisfaction over the announcements made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during his customary speech to representatives of the production sector at the inauguration of the Thessaloniki International Fair.

    SBBE, in an announcement to the press, said the government needed to take additional measures regardless of any political cost.

    Northern Greece's industrialists stressed that the Greek PM adopted three significant recommendations made by SBBE, creating an "innovation zone" in eastern Thessaloniki, restructuring the country's regions and supporting the export activity of companies in the region.

    The federation said it was positive the commitment by the government's economic team to bring state finances in order, although it stressed that the government should work harder to implement the necessary economic reforms.

    [12] Exports up, trade deficit narrows

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Exports rose by 7.3% in the first half of 2005 against the same period a year earlier to total 6,384 million euros, the Greek National Statistics Service (GNSS) said on Tuesday.

    Fuelling the rise were exports to Italy, for the first time approaching levels of sales to Germany and Turkey. Exports to the USA remained satisfactory, GNSS said in a monthly statement.

    Also showing a sharp rise were exports to Syria and the United Arab Emirates, which are evolving into major markets for Greek products, the statement said.

    Agricultural exports posted a major rise, with industrial goods increasing slightly, despite a jump in chemical and allied products that accounted for 15% of the total value of exports.

    Fuel exports rose by 48% to represent roughly a tenth of the value of all exports.

    The rise in exports coupled with flat imports lowered the trade deficit to 14,734 million euros in the first half of 2005, marking a 3.5 decline against the corresponding period of 2004, the GNSS said.

    Commenting on the first-half 7.3% increase in exports, the Organization for the Promotion of Exports said the figure confirmed an outward-looking approach to business adopted by Greek companies, which has been encouraged by the government.

    [13] KKE leader Papariga to tour TIF on Wednesday

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga will visit the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Wednesday afternoon, where she will be given a tour of the various pavilions and also meet with local and trade union representatives.

    Papariga will also address a KKE event at the Skydra municipality's culture centre, Pella prefecture, on Wednesday night.

    On Thursday, Papariga will meet with representatives of national carrier Olympic Airlines (OA), the civil aviation authority (YPA), and employees at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport.

    Shortly after noon on Thursday she will give a press conference at the offices of the Macedonia-Thrace Union of Journalists (ESHEMTH), before addressing another party gathering in the evening.

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos was scheduled to tour the TIF on Tuesday at the head of a party delegation. He will also tour a local hospital, refinery and meet with affiliated municipal councilors during the two-day visit.

    [14] Coalition party leader visits 70th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Alekos Alavanos held talks on Tuesday with the administrations of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair's (TIF) two companies, as well as with their staff representatives.

    Alavanos was briefed on the main aspects of the TIF and was then given a guided tour of its pavilions. Commenting on the TIF, Alavanos said his party considers it to be an important institution which plays a great role for Greece and Thessaloniki.

    Referring to current developments in the country, Alavanos said the prime minister's decision not to give a heating subsidy was unacceptable and added that the government must make a substantive decrease or rebate of Value Added Tax (VAT) on oil.

    On the question of the Olympic Airlines company, the Coalition party leader said his party will not allow it to be dissolved or sold out. He called on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to follow the example set by his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi who opposed the dissolution of the "Alitalia" airline company.

    [15] Calatrava to redesign TIF's facilities

    Thessaloniki, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish architect who designed the Athens Olympic Stadium's new roof and several other Olympic projects in Athens, will lead a project to redesign the Thessaloniki International Fair's trade grounds.

    Calatrava presented his designs during a meeting with government ministers, Thessaloniki municipal authorities and the managements of Thessaloniki International Fair and Helexpo.

    According to local press reports, the redesign project would cover an expanded area including the White Tower, the new municipal hall, the city's two museums -Byzantine and archaeological- and the university.

    The project envisages the construction of a tower-symbol and a new conference centre.

    [16] EU shipping official in Athens for talks

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The merchant marine ministry on Tuesday hosted a working lunch for a senior European Union shipping official to hold informal talks on Greece's concerns in the sector.

    John Richardson, head of a Commission working group on evolving the EU's shipping policy for the future heard the ministry's secretary general, Ioannis Tzoannos, outline Greece's position on matters including the bloc's role in the International Maritime Organization, improvement of the image of EU shipping, and attracting young people into the merchant marine.

    Richardson is also secretary general of the Commission.

    [17] Greenpeace opposed to oil-fueled power plants

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Athens-based environmental organization Greenpeace expressed its opposition to the Public Power Corporation's (DEH) plans for the construction of new oil-fueled power plants on Aegean islands.

    Within the context of its clean energy campaign, Greenpeace members visited the island of Rhodes recently to submit their counter-proposal to responsible local authorities.

    According to Greenpeace, the Greek government is ignoring the high cost of investment associated with such power plants, particularly given soaring oil prices, as well as the extreme weather phenomena caused by the world's high dependency on fossil fuels.

    The organization also accused the government of failing to capitalize on the country's available renewable energy sources.

    DEH officials discounted the objections presented by Greenpeace and noted the technical difficulties inherent in the organization's proposal.

    They also noted that all the environmental studies for the oil-fueled power plant on Rhodes are complete and that the plant will only use low-sulfur oil.

    [18] Hellenic Railways tenders 100 mln euro project

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    ERGOSE, a subsidiary of Hellenic Railways Organization, on Tuesday announced that a joint venture between Aktor and Pantechniki was selected as provisional winner of a tender to build two railway tunnels, in the Athens-Patra railway line, worth 100.5 million euros.

    The two tunnels will be built in the Kiato-Aegio section of a new high-speed railway line linking Athens and Patra in the Peloponnese. The tunnels will have a length of around five km. The project is expected to be delivered in 36 months after signing of the contract.

    [19] Greek textile industry suffers a three-year recession

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek textile industry, one of the traditional sectors of the economy with significant contribution to exports and employment, is suffering from a significant recession in the last few years, a report by Hellastat said on Tuesday.

    The industry's profile, based on first quarter results, is disappointing. Consolidated sales are down 16.3 percent in the textile sector and off 18.6 percent in the clothing sector, compared with the same period in 2004. Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings were down by 20.7 percent and 62.6 percent, respectively, over the same period.

    An increase in raw material prices (cotton), higher labor costs, compared with increased competition from third countries (India, China, Turkey) -countries with incomparable lower costs- led to a significant increase of imports in Greece with domestic and European textiles industries losing significant market shares. Rising informal trade is another problem for the industry.

    Recession signs are highlighted by the fact that total revenues by the 642 larger textile companies for 2004 were 2.4 percent lower compared with 2003, while EBITDA fell by 17.2 percent over the same period, the report said.

    Hellastat said the sub-category of textile material was facing an even more difficult situation with turnover down 6.0 percent in 2004 and EBITDA down 21 percent annually in the period 2002-2004.

    The textile industry was also reporting a shrinking asset value (down 0.4 pct in 2004) and a rising debt (to 50.8 pct in 2004 from 49.4 pct in 2002).

    [20] Pireaus prefecture unable to pay welfare subsidies

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Piraeus Prefecture will not be able to pay out welfare subsidies to vulnerable social groups following the Finance Ministry's refusal to approve them, the city's Prefect Yiannis Michas said on Tuesday.

    He accused the government of "cutting back on its social sensitivity" and added that according to a recently-passed law the subsidies are now paid out of the state budget, not the prefecture's as was previously the case.

    According to Michas, the prefecture received ¬ 6,641,250 to disburse to 15,857 recipients instead of ¬ 6,943,376 that is required for the two-month period July-August.

    [21] Greek stocks continue slide

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Greek stocks eased slightly on Tuesday with investors continuing to take profits due to lack of fresh directions or incentives at the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The composite index fell 0.30 percent to end at 3,237.75 points, with turnover a moderate 188.4 million euros.

    Blue chip stocks suffered the heaviest losses, with the FTSE/ASE 20 index ending 0.51 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index up 0.25 percent the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index up 0.04 percent.

    The Telecommunications and Publications sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.03 pct and 1.57 pct, respectively), followed by Holdings (-1.54 pct), Textiles (-1.28 pct). The Industrials (1.0 pct), Mineral-Cement (0.28 pct), Retail (0.27 pct) and Food-Beverage (0.26 pct) sectors scored the biggest gains.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 145 to 132 with another 47 issues unchanged.

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.51%

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: +0.25%

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 3.5 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.237

    [22] Earthquake rocks Cephalonia, post-quake activity from Thessaloniki trembler normal

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    A strong earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale rocked the island of Cephalonia on Tuesday morning, but no damage was immediately reported.

    According to the Athens National Observatory's Geodynamic Institute and the Thessaloniki Aristotelion University's Geophysics Laboratory, the earthquake was recorded at 7:41 a.m., at a distance of 300 kilometers west of Athens, with its epicenter in the sea, 30 kilometers west of Cephalonia.

    The quake, which was registered by seismographs in Athens, Patras and Thessaloniki, was not widely felt, and was described by seismologists as "usual" for the region.

    Meanwhile, the post-quake activity from a 4.5 Richter earthquake that shook the northern capital of Thessaloniki on Monday night was developing normally, with four aftershocks of diminishing magnitude recorded late at night, but no further quake activity recorded throughout the night and up to 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, Geodynamic Institute seismologists told ANA.

    An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale jolted Thessaloniki at 10:08 Monday night, with its epicenter two kilometers northeast of the city, in Lake Volvi. The quake was felt in the city of Thessaloniki and other areas of central Macedonia, causing alarm among residents but no damage or injuries. The 4.5 Richter trembler, which is believed to have been the main quake, was preceded by a weak 2.8 Richter quake at 9:54 p.m., and was followed by three more quakes of diminishing magnitude: 2.8 Richter at 10:16 p.m., 4.2 Richter at 10:26 p.m., and the final aftershock at 10:53 p.m. which registered 3.3 Richter, all emanating from the same seismogenic area between the Lakes Great Volvi and Little Volvi. This same epicenter produced the catastrophic 6.5 Richter earthquake that hit Thessaloniki on June 20, 1978.

    Geophysics Laboratory seismologist Vassilis Karakostas told ANA that all indications pointed to a diminishing magnitude of the seismic activity, and consequently the 4.5 Richter trembler had most likely been the main quake. However, he added, the first critical 48 hours needed to pass for final conclusions to be reached.

    Also, a 4.7 Richter earthquake was recorded at 00:31 Tuesday morning, with its epicenter 320 kilometers northwest of Athens, in the sea southwest of Paxi islands.

    [23] Toxicology results on passengers of ill-fated Cypriot airliner turn up negative

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Toxicology results on the 121 victims that died when Helios Airways flight ZU522 crashed north of Athens last month are negative, a chief medical examiner announced in Athens on Tuesday.

    Coroner Filippos Koutsaftis said he briefed Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras of the findings, which more-or-less ruled out contamination by carbon monoxide or other toxic agents.

    Meanwhile, according to an ANA dispatch from London, the maintenance chief for the Helios planes along with another technician, both British nationals, met here with a Greek inquiry committee for several hours on Monday to provide testimony.

    According to reports, the committee's investigation will soon shift to the British company that held the contract for the Helios fleet's maintenance.

    [24] PM, Alternate Culture Minister congratulate Greek Emmy award winners

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Headline and par. 4 should read "Alternate Culture Minister" instead of "Deputy Culture Minister" as previously reported. Corrected text follows:

    Prime Minister and Culture Minister Costas Karamanlis congratulated Eleftheria Deko and Theodoros Tsevas for winning an Emmy Creative Arts Award each for their work on the 2004 Athens Olympics' opening and closing ceremonies.

    Deko, lighting designer and Tsevas, composer and sound designer, received their awards during the ceremony held in Los Angeles on Sunday.

    "One year ago, during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, the Olympic Stadium shone with the light and filled with the sounds of Greece. The awards won by Eleftheria Deko and Theodoros Tsevas, two of the leading players during those magical nights, prove the impressive impact the ceremonies had throughout the world, how deeply they became etched in the minds and hearts of billions of viewers, the messages Greece sent throughout the world," Karamanlis said.

    Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia also congratulated the two winners.

    "This award constitutes additional praise for the tremendous effort dozens of people made so that the Greek Olympic Games would come to be known as 'the best ever'," she said.

    [25] Concert in memory of Maria Kalas to be held at Herod Atticus Theatre on September 16

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Athenaeum International Artistic Centre will be holding the annual concert in memory of Maria Kalas at the Herod Atticus Theatre in Athens on Friday September 16.

    The performance will be carried out under the auspices of Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia who, hailing the event, said that "for us Maria Kalas constitutes a paramount symbol. One of the brightest stars in the galaxy of Greek culture."

    [26] 34th Book Festival opens in Athens Sept. 16

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    The 34th Book Festival will be held for the third consecutive year on the Dionyssios Areopagitis walkway near the Acropolis and will run from September 16 through October 2, while President Karolos Papoulias will be inaugurating the festival on September 19.

    The theme for this year's festival will be Greek books that have been translated into foreign languages and are promoted abroad.

    The festival is being organized by the Book Publishers' Association (SEKB) in cooperation with the Ministries of Culture and Tourism Development, the National Tourism Organization (EOT) and the Municipality of Athens.

    International celebrity authors Joan Rowling (Harry Potter) and Paulo Coelho have been invited to attend.

    [27] Public order minister warns of severe sanctions for schoolbus safety violators

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Public order minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday warned that severe sanctions would be imposed on violators of schoolbus safety rules, as police services mounted a massive spot inspections operation on streets throughout the country.

    Voulgarakis said that severe sanctions would be imposed on violators, and warned the schoolbus owners that the inspections would continue all year round.

    He further called on parents and pupils to immediately report any problems or irregularities they ascertained in the transportation services.

    Voulgarakis added that the first results of the inspections conducted by police services gave rise to strong concern, given that many of the school buses inspected did not fulfill the relevant safety regulations.

    The minister was speaking to reporters amid inspections being conducted throughout Attica prefecture, and immediately departed for the western port city of Patras, where he would later make statements on the data collected from the inspections on the local school buses.

    [28] Police say store owner copied and sold customers' X-rated cell phone pics, videos

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Police on Tuesday announced what they termed as the first-ever case in Greece of mobile phone photos and videos, most featuring X-rated scenes, being stolen and subsequently sold to other cell phone users.

    According to authorities, the owner of a mobile telephony store in central Athens was charged with copying customers' risqué digital photos and videos. The 44-year-old man would then allegedly send the digital files -- including up to 183 videos -- via the wireless "Bluetooth" technology to other individuals, charging between 15 to 20 euros for the "service".

    Police were reportedly tipped off to the case.

    The suspect, who was not named by authorities, was jailed pending his appearance before an Athens prosecutor.

    [29] Thessaloniki police crack human trafficking ring

    Thessaloniki, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Thessaloniki police disbanded one of the biggest human trafficking rings that smuggled illegal immigrants from Turkey to western European countries through Greece.

    Police arrested five suspects on Monday morning: a truck driver who was transporting 30 illegal immigrants, a driver who was riding ahead of the truck and is believed to be the ring leader, along with his wife; the driver of a second escort car; and a fifth suspect.

    According to Thessaloniki Police Chief Stergios Apostolidis, the illegal immigrants arrived from Turkey by boat and were met by the traffickers in Evros.

    The 30 immigrants had each paid $1,000 to two Turkish smugglers.

    Police believe that at least another 10 ring members from Greece, Turkey and Germany remain at large.

    [30] Fisherman nets WW2 torpedo off western Greece

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    A fisherman's joy at having a heavy haul was shortlived when, bringing his nets to the surface, he found to his dismay that he had netted a torpedo. He was fishing near the town of Lygia in the western prefecture of Preveza and at a distance of about two kilometers from the shore.

    Harbor officials and bomb disposal experts summoned to the scene discovered that the torpedo had been lying at the bottom of the Ionian Sea since World War 2 and arranged for it to be taken to a safe place to be destroyed.

    [31] Olympiakos loses 3-1 at home to Rosenborg in Champions League match

    Athens, 14/9/2005 (ANA)

    Olympiakos Piraeus lost 3-1 to Rosenborg Trondheim of Norway (halftime 1-1) in a Champions League Group F match played at the Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus on Tuesday night.

    Olympiakos went into the lead in the 19th minute with an own goal by Alejandro Lago. Rosenborg equalised in the 42 minute with Per Ciljan Skjelbred. The Norwegian club went ahead 2-1 with an own goal by Dimitris Mavrogenidis in the 47th and scored its third goal with Oyvind Storflor in (90+4).

    [32] British Presidency circulates new EU draft counterstatement

    BRUSSELS 14/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    In view of the meeting of the EU member states Permanent Representative Committee (COREPER) to be held on Wednesday in Brussels, the EU British Presidency communicated on Tuesday to the EU member states the new draft counterstatement to the declaration issued by Turkey that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

    EU sources said the new draft said ''the European Community and its Member States acknowledge the signature by Turkey of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States on the one part and Turkey on the other, in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004,'' and ''regret that Turkey felt it necessary to make a declaration regarding the Republic of Cyprus at the time of signature.''

    ''The European Community and its Member States make clear that this declaration is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey's obligations,'' it added.

    The draft said ''the European Community and its Member States expect full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol, and the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on means of transport.''

    ''Turkey must apply the Protocol fully to all EU Member States. The EU will evaluate full implementation in 2006. The European Community and its Member States note that, as long as Turkey has not implemented its contractual obligations with the EU, negotiations on the relevant chapters cannot be opened,'' the draft counterstatement noted.

    It added that ''the European Community and its Member States recall that the Republic of Cyprus became a Member State of the European Union on 1st May 2004'' and that the members ''underline that they recognize the Republic of Cyprus, only, as a subject of international law.''

    ''Prior recognition of all Member States is a necessary component of accession. Accordingly, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the normalization of relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, as soon as possible,'' it noted.

    In that context, the draft added, ''the European Community and its Member States agree on the need to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, and that a just and lasting settlement will contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region.''

    The draft said the Council would ensure a follow-up on the progress made on all these issues in 2006.

    [33] Cyprus not satisfied with new EU draft counterstatement

    NICOSIA, 14/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has said the government is not satisfied with the reference to later stages of issues that have an immediate effect, commenting on information that the EU British Presidency and France have agreed to a draft EU counterstatement responding to Ankara's declaration of not recognizing the Republic of Cyprus, which referred the recognition of all EU member states to the time before Turkey's accession.

    Responding to questions in view of COREPER's meeting on Wednesday, Chrysostomides said that Nicosia does not yet have at its disposal the draft counterstatement and criticized the British Presidency because it did not include into the deliberations a member state which is directly interested in the content of the counterstatement.

    He also said that the government links the counterstatement issue with Turkey's negotiating framework and evaluated that France's positions as regards Cyprus' positions has not changed ''despite the fact that there is an agreement, an understanding between France and the British Presidency.''

    Asked if the French conditions satisfy the positions of Cyprus, Chrysostomides said that the French conditions are conditions that the French government put on the table concerning its desires about the content of the counterstatement and reiterated that they do not comprise the full text of the counterstatement.

    ''We wait to see in what way the final draft will be presented, so that the Cyprus government expresses its views,'' he added.

    As regards the stance of the British Presidency, which discussed with other member states and not with the Cyprus government, Chrysostomides said that this is not something anticipated in the framework of an organization of 25 equal states.

    He expressed hope that there will be a unanimous decision of all EU member states.

    Asked what would happen if there was no unanimity, Chrysostomides said that there will be no counterstatement and explained that then Turkey's negotiating framework will have to be discussed, noting that unanimity is also required in this case.

    Asked if Nicosia links the two issues together, he said ''all are linked with each other.''

    Chrysostomides also noted that the EU Presidency has the obligation to take into consideration the views of all member states, or at least those who expressed their views during the Newport General Affairs Council.

    He added that some maneuvers of the Presidency do not meet its obligation for objectivity.


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